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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    Update: The podcast has been updated with audio from our Motorola event editorial roundtable. Enjoy! The flagship killer might've just gotten killed by a killer flagship! A new phablet might make former phablets obsolete! Windows Update just updated its last Windows! And your gaming tablet's so hot it's about to catch fire?! You can't get much ... hotter than that. Amirite? The news of the week in mobile technology is up next, from OnePlus to Windows to Motorola and beyond –plus your listener mail– on episode 159 of the Pocketnow Weekly! So say your keyphrase and listen closely, ...

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    The Moto G is about to get replaced … by the Moto G. As we saw during our initial hands-on earlier this week, the 2015 model brings a few hardware bumps and much more customizability to Motorola’s best-selling smartphone of all time, and it packs some serious software improvements as well. While we’ll have complete impressions in next week’s full review, first let’s take a look at what’s changed between last year's Moto G and this year's. You may be surprised at where the new phone pulls ahead – and where it doesn't. Moto G 2015 vs Moto G 2014

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    San Diego-based accessory maker Satechi is no stranger to mobile swag. The company's catalog boasts legions of smartphone sidekick products ranging from external batteries to Bluetooth speakers to bicycle mounts. It's made a name for itself in the single-button remote market (a segment I had no idea existed prior to today) with products like the Satechi Bluetooth Home Button and Satechi Bluetooth Shutter Button, and today it expands on the lineup with the Satechi Bluetooth Cortana Button for Windows 10. Don't let the fancy blue decal fool you; the Bluetooth Cortana Button is a direct ...

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    Two years ago, the original Moto G redefined the concept of the affordable smartphone. In a world where even midrange devices commanded $300-$400 unlocked, Motorola's game-changer debuted at just $179. It brought much of the pocketability and visual appeal of the contemporaneous first-gen Moto X, and thanks to the pairing of near-stock software and a solid processor, it ran Android almost as smoothly as the day's top-tier flagships. We called it "a surprising pleasure to use" in our full review, ultimately concluding that it was a steal. Motorola improved on the formula with last year's ...

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    It's not exactly news that the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6 pack two of the best smartphone cameras ever. We specifically called them out for their optical excellence in our full reviews, dubbing the G4's camera "the best available on Android today" and singling out the Galaxy S6's shooter as "one of the best low-light performers we’ve seen." Putting them up against each other in a direct comparison, the closest we could get to a conclusion was to say that they were neck-and-neck, with a slight edge going to the LG G4 thanks to its more precise manual controls and out-of-box RAW image ...

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    If you're a longtime follower of Pocketnow's review videos (and heaven knows you should be), you already know about 28mobile. The Hong Kong-based mobile retailer has made a name for itself in the five years it's existed, slinging smartphones, tablets, wearables and more to more than 10,000 satisfied customers the world over. Thanks to device loans from 28mobile, we've been able to bring you coverage of devices like the Nokia N1, Galaxy Alpha and Xiaomi Mi4, among others. In return, we've kept you abreast of the company's latest discounts and offers. Now the company is extending a ...

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    Most new device launches go the same way: usually the press gets review units before they’re widely available, and we get to use them for a few days -or a week if we’re lucky- as we work on our review. Then press day arrives. The embargo on media coverage lifts, and everyone posts their reviews and videos at the same time. It’s a huge frenzy, commenters go nuts, and it’s a giant explosion of frantic opinion-sharing activity. For about … a day. And then it all goes away. Sure, there’s followup coverage as people find bugs and hidden features, but after that initial blast, not ...

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    The cloud-based note-taking app Evernote has been a staple of my mobile life since 2008. I've used it on six different mobile platforms and hundreds of devices ranging from desktop computers to smartphones to wearables. Evernote has been an indispensable component of my work and personal lives, a crucial sidekick for scheduling everything from editorials to theatre rehearsals. And for the first time in seven years, I'm seriously considering a switch. My problem with Evernote isn't its awkward UI, its feature bloat, or its bizarre transition to a backpack-selling "lifestyle brand." ...

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    Update (July 27, 12:30am): Check out #EditLive on Twitter to see what goes into editing the Pocketnow Weekly. See you next time! True story: as a high schooler spending the night in a new house, I awoke one morning to find my kitchen flooded with water due to a plumbing problem. My parents were out of town and the family friends who were house-sitting were frantically trying to find the shutoff valve ... but due to my terrible academic tardiness record I couldn't stay to help them find it. To ensure I wasn't required to repeat my senior year, I had to leave my family friends ...

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    Say the word “tablet” today and you probably picture something like this. Even back in 2011 –the origin year for today's deep dive into nostalgia– the word conjured up a big slab, not an oversized eyeglass case. But the latter is just what we got with the Sony Tablet P, a bizarre foldable mobile device that better resembled a palmtop computer than any "tablet" I'd ever seen. It was weird – but that's just why I liked it. The Sony Tablet P was the first review device I ever requested (and the first of many I never received). Three years later, thanks to eBay, I finally got the ...

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    Updated 3:55pm ET to include statement from AT&T. A couple years ago, my younger, whipper-snappier self put a question to the masses: why were we still using traditional SMS text messaging? Given alternatives like Google Voice, iMessage, WhatsApp and the like, SMS seemed positively archaic with its 160-character limit and lack of rich messaging functions. Worse yet, wireless carriers were charging a lot for the privilege of using this outdated system, demanding upwards of $20 per month for unlimited access to a resource that cost them essentially nothing to provide. Flash forward to ...

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    Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 is one of the most controversial pieces of silicon in recent memory. The OnePlus Two is the imminent sequel to one of the best-reviewed smartphones of the past few years. And very soon the two will come together to produce one of the most anticipated products in mobile. Then it's going to get trashed in the press, because it "overheats." And then I'm going to roll my eyes so hard they get stuck. To be fair to the very smart folks who've written very smart articles on the subject, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 definitely isn't the best system-on-a-chip the company ...

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    The HTC One M9 does many things well, but being "active" is not among them. Its IPX3 splash-resistance rating doesn't cover accidental dunks in the swimming pool; its soft aluminum housing is more scratch-prone than some of its plastic competition; and its cover glass may or may not be the latest from Corning. For those in search of a rough-and-tumble smartphone, there are certainly better options out there – but what if you want a device that can look good when it needs to, hold up to abuse when it doesn't, and even (when necessary) walk the fine line in-between? That's what its ...

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    It's tough to get excited about tablets nowadays. With the rise of ever-more-capable large format smartphones like the Galaxy Note 4 and Google Nexus 6, the "large" screens of tablets are no longer as alluring – and their higher price tags not quite as easy to justify. To really stand out, a modern tablet needs an element of novelty (like the innovative Sailfish OS on the Jolla Tablet), a rare hardware feature (like the water-resistance of Sony's Xperia line) or a compelling productivity enhancement (like the S Pen stylus on Samsung's larger Galaxy Note tablets). The Galaxy Tab S2, ...

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    If your virtual assistant of choice comes from the world of Halo, great news: she’s not confined to Windows Phone anymore. As we reported earlier today, an early Windows Insider build of Cortana for Android has leaked to the masses, and we've got it running like a dream on our Samsung Galaxy S6 review unit. It's a prerelease version, so performance might not exactly match what we'll see from Microsoft's final take, but it's a pretty darn polished Beta – and we're here to share it with you in our very first Cortana on Android hands-on! Check out the original news post for a few more ...

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    Update: Warning - peaking audio levels at the beginning and end of this podcast. Enjoy! Yo dudes. This week was gnar, dudes. First we get word from Commodore that they're (sorta) back and they've got a fleshtone phone to prove it. Then we hear that some kind of modern-day Iron Man is building a phone out of a material called "liquidmorphium." Then we go hands-on with an all-metal, super-stylized ZTE phone, before hearing that Samsung's new smartwatch is gonna have a digital crown and a rotating bezel control. And that's not even half of the geekgasm that was this week in mobile tech. All ...

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    If you’ve got an LG G4, you’ve got a pretty solid smartphone. We enjoyed our time with the new flagship, finding it to be a "leather looker with a killer camera" in our full review – and in some ways it even compares favorably with the Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9. But out of the box, it’s lacking one cool feature that OEMs have steadily been adding to their smartphones: Qi wireless charging. Sure, you could buy a Quick Circle case from LG to enable this feature, but it’s pricey – and not everyone finds a booklet-style case convenient. Fortunately, as we recently learned from a ...

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    Anyone accusing modern smartphones of being dull probably needs his eyes examined. With phones like the extravagant Galaxy S6 edge, the curvaceous LG G4 and the precision-machined HTC One M9 on store shelves, we seem in the midst of a golden age of Android smartphone design. But here's the thing: all of those are mainstream smartphones. Big-name manufacturers on big-deal wireless carriers, covered to death by big-time publications. You see these phones on the street, on the bus, and dangling from your friends' pockets and purses. They're great, sure, but they're so damn commonplace. ...

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    What do you do when you’re HTC and you want to create the perfect blend of price, design, and specs? You build a Desire phone. The company invited us to take an early look at its new HTC Desire 626, and we happily obliged. Join us as we go hands-on! HTC Desire 626 hands-on gallery [gallery columns="5" ids="441292,441293,441294,441295,441296,441297,441298,441299,441300,441301" orderby="rand"]   We’re actually taking a look at two phones here: the Desire 626 for postpaid Verizon and AT&T, and the 626S for a variety of prepaid carriers (including Cricket, MetroPCS and Boost Mobile, ...

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    Each of the two largest wireless carriers in the US offers its own ruggedized Android smartphone exclusive. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active (which we reviewed last month) is exclusive to AT&T; the Motorola Droid Turbo (which we reviewed last November) is exclusive to Verizon Wireless – and neither will work very well on a network it wasn't designed for. So if you’re already beholden to –or have a strong preference for– one of those operators over the other, congratulations: your choice is made. But if you’re a free agent and either network will do, the hardware makes all ...

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    By now you've seen the stories coming out of San Diego Comic Con featuring the new top contender for nerdiest phone gadget of 2015, the Wand Company's Star Trek Bluetooth Communicator. Some folks close to the manufacturer have known about the project for months, while others attending SDCC are going hands-on with the prototype even as I type these words. Because I'm in neither of those groups, I've spent the afternoon sitting in a New York sidewalk cafe fruitlessly throwing money at my computer screen and waiting for it to cough up a communicator of my own. I'm taking a break from that ...

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    Update (July 13, 5:00pm Eastern): Thanks for making three years of this possible. We start Year #4 this week. Hope you'll tag along. Laying off 7,800 people (in addition to the 18,000 from a few months back) and taking a $7.6B writedown on your highest-profile mobile acquisition ever isn't a great way to show your commitment to your smartphone platform ... but that's just what Microsoft did earlier this week, in the "Nadella Memo Heard Round the World." But are things really as gloomy as they seem for Windows Phone? We'll talk about that, plus news from Motorola, OnePlus, Sony and Amazon ...

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    Most new device launches go the same way: usually the press gets review units before they’re widely available, and we get to use them for a few days -or a week if we’re lucky- as we work on our review. Then press day arrives. The embargo on media coverage lifts, and everyone posts their reviews and videos at the same time. It’s a huge frenzy, commenters go nuts, and it’s a giant explosion of frantic opinion-sharing activity. For about … a day. And then it all goes away. Sure, there’s followup coverage as people find bugs and hidden features, but after that initial blast, not ...

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    In an email to employees Wednesday morning, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella dropped the sobering news hinted at by his "tough choices" memo of several weeks ago: the company is "fundamentally restructuring" its phone business. Phrasing the changes as part of Microsoft's ongoing "reinvention," Nadella said Microsoft would cut up to 7,800 jobs globally over the next several months. The cuts will take place primarily in the company's mobile-phone business, which grew from the acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services business in April of last year. Nadella also announced that Microsoft would ...

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    I recently paid a visit to my childhood home in rural New York, and because I'm not a normal person, it stirred memories of telecom from days gone by. Between updating my parents' smartphones and walking around to determine which corners of town were still waiting for LTE, I saw quite a few older handsets strapped to the belts of the predominantly pragmatic locals, mixed in with the tourists' generally flashier iPhones and Galaxy S6s. It got me thinking about mobile phone features from years past, features we considered indispensable in the days of old but don't really give a hoot ...

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