Posts by Michael Fisher

Michael Fisher has followed the world of mobile technology for over ten years as hobbyist, retailer, and reviewer. A lengthy stint as a Sprint Nextel employee and a long-time devotion to webOS have cemented his love for the underdog platforms of the world. In addition to serving as Pocketnow's Editorial Director, Michael is a stage, screen, and voice actor, as well as co-founder of a profitable YouTube-based business. He lives in Boston, MA. Read more about Michael Fisher!

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  • by | April 23, 2014 5:00 PM

    "Your move, Samsung." That's how we wrapped up last month's review of the HTC One M8, a product that we called "an elegant smartphone for a more civilized age." The One M8 is such an impressive device that it might well be on its way to dominating the smartphone sales charts by now, were it not for the South Korean juggernaut whose brand has become synonymous with Android. Yes, it's time for the next Galaxy S: the fifth installment in a legacy stretching back to 2010. But where Samsung's front-running smartphone brand has previously brought us iPhone alternatives, devices with natural ...

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  • by | April 22, 2014 8:14 AM

    It's the question every buyer with a limited budget or a frugal sensibility asks when a new flagship smartphone lands: do I need the new one, or can I save some dough by buying last year's model? Thanks to our annual-upgrade culture here in the States, the question is asked millions of times a month each spring season, mimicking the clockwork of the smartphone release cycle. But though the dilemma isn't a new one, the devices are: "Galaxy S5 vs S4" is just as crucial as "Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8" – a comparison we already bestowed upon you a few days back.  In fact, thanks to the ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 5:43 PM

    Skipping listener mail for two weeks in a row? We know, we know ... unconscionable. But we also know you'll forgive us in exchange for two things: a packed review schedule, and an awesome podcast guest. We're bringing you both of those as the week winds down to a close. In addition to the usual news segment narrated by the soothing voice of Chief News Editor Stephen Schenck, we've got additional insights on Samsung's new Galaxy S5: how it compares to its forebears, how well it fares against competition like the HTC One M8, and a debate on the merits of standout features like the ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 11:42 AM

    "One device is a product of an Android juggernaut, a fourth-generation powerhouse from a take-no-prisoners Goliath that essentially owns the Google-powered smartphone space. The other is a last-ditch effort to save its creator from certain destruction, a product forged from that peculiar mixture of desperation and determination that sometimes begets pure art." That's a pretty pretentious way of putting a smartphone comparison, but it's how we kicked off last year's HTC One (M7) vs Galaxy S 4 comparison video. The interesting thing is, if you change "fourth-generation" to ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 7:26 PM

    "Once we’ve got the 3D pose of each photo, we compute the depth of each pixel in the reference photo using Multi-View Stereo algorithms. MVS works the way human stereo vision does: given the location of the same object in two different images, we can triangulate the 3D position of the object and compute the distance to it. How do we figure out which pixel in one image corresponds to a pixel in another image? MVS measures how similar they are -- on mobile devices, one particularly simple and efficient way is computing the Sum of Absolute Differences (SAD) of the RGB colors of the two ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 7:02 AM

    "You know what this is?" "I know what this is." That's a dialogue couplet from the film True Lies, an Arnold Schwarzenegger action-comedy from the mid 1990s that has positively nothing to do with the newest stupendo-smartphone out of Seoul. Nothing, except for those two lines. Because you do know what this is. Even under the AT&T finery, even under the thick veneer of faux wood packaging, even despite the fifteen seconds of playful banter at the top of this video, you know what we're looking at: it's the most hyped smartphone of the year, like always. It's another Samsung flagship ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 11:33 PM

    Windows Phone 8.1 is not Windows Phone 9. It might seem merely a bland truth or a bit of farcical arithmetic, but the above statement is important to keep in mind when considering Microsoft's latest update to its distinctive smartphone operating system. After over a year since the last major upgrade, it's natural for advocates and casual users alike to pine for something profound – a ground-up rewrite that propels the third-place contender to the top in one fell swoop. Windows Phone 8.1 is not that rewrite. Less a reinvention than a honing of what came before, the new Windows Phone ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 10:05 AM

    Update: We're live now! Join in below! We've got a Windows Phone 8.1 review video live and on the wire, a Windows Phone 8.1 written review coming down the pipe, an in-depth feature article on Cortana on the front page, and a ton of Windows Phone 8.1 impressions coming at you in a Pocketnow Weekly podcast going under the mic in a couple days. But we know you, and that's not enough: you need live, off-the-cuff impressions from the team you've come to trust for such things – and you'd like to see us on camera as we do it. Fair enough. That's right; it's Editorial Roundtable territory once ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 8:00 AM

    Of all the understatements and mischaracterizations of the tech world, probably the most ignominious is the point-upgrade. No matter how many major improvements they've contained, updates like the bump from Android 4.3 to 4.4, and BlackBerry 10.1 to 10.2 have always seemed somehow less impressive due to their miniscule numeric promotion. And that's more true than ever before with Windows Phone 8.1. From the introduction of a native voice assistant to some long-overdue interface overhauls, Microsoft's new software injects some sorely-needed modernity into its smartphone platform, and we're ...

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  • by | April 11, 2014 3:30 PM

    When an avalanche of reviews is rumbling its way down your mountain, it's rarely easy to assemble a podcast team – but as we frequently remind you, the Pocketnow Weekly has never missed a week, and we'll be damned if it'll do so now. So despite the forthcoming reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S 5, Gear Fit, Gear 2, Oppo Find 7a, Nokia X, and the just-completed reviews of the ZENS Qi line, BlackBerry 10.2.1, and the Verizon HTC One M8, we're banding together behind microphones in three separate cities on two continents to bring you the news and editorials of a very busy week in mobile. ...

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  • by | April 10, 2014 8:01 AM

    There’s something ineffable about using a BlackBerry in 2014. Some of it is pure nostalgia, the kind of unavoidable reminiscence that comes with using a device bearing a 15-year-old brand. But the bigger part is the software: BlackBerry 10 is a blend of old and new, a kind of hodgepodge of traditional successes alongside more exotic ideas that couldn’t flourish elsewhere. And while the company continues to suffer from carrier woes and a steady loss of market share, it’s by no means taking these punishments sitting down: its latest operating system update just recently cleared US ...

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  • by | April 8, 2014 2:03 PM

    So you’re looking for a set of speakers a little beefier than what your smartphone’s packing out of the box. We've been down this road before, most notably with our unboxing of the monstrous JBL PowerUp dock that we bought to match our Nokia Lumia 920 back in 2012. But such big sound often requires big equipment: the PowerUp is a monster. And if you go for a smaller solution, you're often left dealing either with tangled-up cables or a speaker with a battery so small that it dies within a few hours. Truly, these are trying times for mobile audio (unless you own a phone with BoomSound, ...

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  • by | April 3, 2014 7:00 PM

    Microsoft gets itself a striking new digital assistant, Nokia prepares sharp new smartphone hardware, Samsung and HTC kick off a new round of rasslin', and Pocketnow team members start an informal book club! It might be a scatterbrained itinerary, but at least it's action-packed – and that's just scratching the surface of this week's epic two-hour mobile technology podcast. Join us as we debate the merits of Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana, the forthcoming Nokia Cyan update, and the Samsung ATIV SE before moving on to non-Build topics ranging from BoomSound to smartphone waterproofing ... not ...

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  • by | April 3, 2014 7:30 AM

    An initial hands-on. A full review. Comparison after comparison. An Editorial Roundtable. A special-edition Pocketnow Weekly. An After The Buzz. A durability report. And now, a second durability report. Say what you will about Pocketnow; you've got to admit we're pretty thorough. This followup durability report on Motorola's 2013 reboot isn't just for kicks, though; we've had many folks ask us for an update to our Moto X coverage ever since the wooden editions landed, with several specific calls for another durability pass. As the lone team member with a wood-backed Moto X, the honor fell ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 8:56 PM

    "We have to temper our enthusiasm," warns Stephen Schenck, "lest we get ahead of ourselves." It's sage advice. The news piece broadcasting that warning also contained a rumor as tantalizing as it was familiar: some folks over at WPDang had heard through the grapevine that HTC intended to follow up its new One M8 with a Windows-powered variant of the same hardware. We'd heard tell of a similar rumor when the One M7 launched last year, only to spend the next twelve months buried under a wave of Nokia Lumia devices, punctuated by the occasional Samsung rehash. Rather than the Live ...

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