Posts by Joe Levi

Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.

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    As we've had the opportunity to review devices manufactured by various OEMs, an interesting trend has begun to surface: OEM skins are getting lighter-weight, and a distinctive and bold color scheme has been evolving. We've reviewed the HTC One M8, the One mini 2, and the Desire 816. All of them run modern versions of HTC's Sense UI, and all feature very similar distinctive and bold color theming. We just spent a week with the ASUS PadFone X which runs its own "skin" on top of Android. It too features distinctive and bold colors inside its apps. LG's devices, despite having their own ...

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    Coming in right before Google I/O 2014 kicked off, search-engine giant Yahoo! got into the Android launcher game by releasing its app - Aviate Launcher - out of beta and into the Play Store - no special invitation needed. In the past, launchers focused on widgets, wallpapers, and making icons for your apps look good, with slick transitions between homescreens. Recently, however, that seems to be shifting. We just saw Nokia's new launcher (which is in a very limited pre-beta and won't run on rooted phones). It promises to learn how you use your device and show you the apps that are relevant ...

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    I'm very much an advocate of wearable technologies. Some of them go overboard, I'm not talking about Locutus of Borg with cybernetic implants and a funky eye-laser thing. I'm not even talking about Google Glass (though it does have a certain je ne sais quoi about it). Wearables come in all different categories, from augmented eyewear to devices that monitor your vital stats for health monitoring. Some count steps or even heartbeats. Others check your temperature or even your oxygen saturation. While those all have their place, the kind of wearables I'm talking about are an improvement on ...

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    Not long ago we had the opportunity to share our experiences with a unique device: the Asus PadFone X. If you haven't checked out our full review, make sure you find out why we call it "a beginner's flagship with a tablet in the box". Just like most of our reviews, we get our hands on the device, we run it through its paces, we write up our thoughts, and move on to the next device. This one was "different" and we wanted to give it a little bit more than just a normal review, because it's anything but a "normal" device. The PadFone X is a smartphone. It's also a tablet. Add on it's ...

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    OnePlus is the Cinderella story that wasn't. A company poised to break all the rules launched a marketing campaign that encouraged everyone to "Never Settle". With a tagline like that, expectations ran high - but it didn't stop there. OnePlus took an interesting approach, making end-users like you and I feel like the device was being crafted just for us. In the end, it looks like this was based more in marketing spin than in reality. Nonetheless, it bootstrapped the genesis of the company and its premier device. Next, apparently wanting to avoid any opening-day rushes (and the associated ...

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    One question I get asked more than all the others is "what do you have on your phone?" Sure, people wonder what phone I have, who my carrier is, how much I pay for my plan every month, what my favorite accessory is, and a whole slew of other things, but eventually it all comes back to that singular question: what does Joe the Android Guy have on his phone? Over the last month I've switched between the Nexus 5, the Asus PadFone X, HTC Desire 816, HTC One mini 2, HTC One M8 harman kardon edition, and even the Moto X - and that doesn't include tablets and wearables! Each of those devices has ...

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    Each year almost every manufacturer releases a flagship device. It's got the latest and greatest hardware, the best specs, and all the latest bells and whistles in the software it's running. Samsung released the Galaxy S 5, Apple released the iPhone 5S, HTC released the One M8, LG released the G3, and so on. Sure, a few corners may be cut along the way, but essentially, it's the device that particular manufacturer wants you think of when its name comes to mind. The downside to flagships are their relative expense. High-end components come with a high-end price tag, as does limited supply ...

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    Some people think Amazon is a book reseller, others think the company sells tangible products. Those people are exactly right - and totally wrong. Amazon is in the content delivery business. Sometimes that content is words on a page, other times it may be a disc of your favorite sci-fi series, or some other physical item. The future, however, is digitally delivered content: books, magazines, music, TV, movies, games, apps, and who knows what else. Switching to digital makes things easier all around: there are no warehouses to stock inventory, no need for people to staff those warehouses, ...

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    Huawei will be selling the Ascend Mate2 4G LTE direct to consumers via GetHuawei.com. Read that again: direct to consumers! For our readers across the pond and in various parts of the world outside these United States, that might not sound odd, interesting, or unique. However, for those of us in the States, it's somewhat unusual. Most phones over here are sold with a contract. Sometimes they're peddled by a carrier, but more often than not they're offered by an "authorized reseller" or "value added reseller". That might be a store down the street, a kiosk in the mall, a big box store, or ...

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    It's been a week since Google started releasing Android 4.4.3. Many have reported getting the update delivered to their Nexus over-the-air, and others have impatiently taken it upon themselves to download and manually flash the entire factory image - myself included. However, many are still waiting for the update to arrive, and that's where things start to get a little "weird". I've got a lot of Nexus devices in my household: two Galaxy Nexi running CyanogenMod, one 2012 Nexus 7 that's still on Android 4.4.2, a Nexus 4 that got the 4.4.3 OTA a few days ago, my own Nexus 5 onto which I ...

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    Take a look at that computer in your pocket. Yes, I'm talking about your smartphone - or your tablet. They really are full-featured computers, complete with an always-on, high-speed Internet connection. But today's portables go further than yesterday's computers ever did. These days smartphones and tablets know where you are, what direction you're heading, how fast you're going, what the barometric pressure is, how many steps you've taken, and more. Some know when you're looking at the screen, others can capture your fingerprints. They can even listen to you and record videos of what's ...

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    There was a time when, if you wanted to type something on your smartphone, you'd just type it. No muss. No fuss. It was simple. You pressed the keys of the letters you wanted to appear, and that was that. Unfortunately, that wasn't good enough. We had to get auto-correct (and the hilarious fails that came as a result). We had to get spell check. We got the ability to swipe our fingers across the keys, rather than all that annoying "typing". Some keyboards even got smart, watching our communications and adapting to how we write, getting better and better over time. We even got predictive ...

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    Our smartphones offer us many ways to communicate with each other. We can send SMS messages to one another. We can use Facebook to chat. Twitter lets us send direct messages back and form. Google's Hangouts offers us similar functionalities. On iOS there's iMessage. And let's not forget Skype, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Jabber, ChatOn, Kik, Snapchat, and who knows how many others. One could make the argument that there are simply too many ways with which we can communicate with one another. I wouldn't argue against that. The bigger issues, however, are identification and standards. If you want ...

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    HTC makes some great high-end devices, and we gave the One M8 one of the highest scores that we've ever given a device. But that's a "flagship" phone, what about the mid-tier? Luckily HTC has you covered there as well, in more ways that one! When diving to the middle, HTC had a couple ways it could go to keep the price of the device down. One option was to make the device smaller, the other was to drop the specifications - or both. We've already told you what we think of the HTC Desire 816 in our full review: a mid-tier phone with flagship DNA. Similarly, we've given the HTC One mini 2 ...

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    People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones - but what about people with glass smartphones? Pocketnow Power User is a series of videos and articles aimed at the "average Joe", explaining core concepts that might seem confusing, even daunting. On this episode of the Pocketnow Power User, we're going to talk about the glass that covers your smartphone, tablet, or wearable. Almost all of our smartphones, tablets, and wearables have a screen. Some are very small, like on your smartwatch or Google Glass, others are very large, like on your iPad or Surface. Still more are somewhere in ...

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