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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    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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    If you've been hanging around Pocketnow for the past few weeks, you know of our recently rekindled interest in Google's Nexus 6. We brought our AT&T demo device off the back burner last month, kicking off the summer with an After The Buzz re-review of Motorola's oversized phablet, followed by a feature piece on Google's Nexus 6-only Project Fi service. Despite its monstrous dimensions and (arguably) high price tag, the Nexus 6 has a devoted following among Android fans – and with Android 5.1 having smoothed some of Lollipop's launch wrinkles, most of us here at the P-Machine ...

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    As fun as it can be to marginalize and criticize them, smartwatches are magical pieces of technology. From something as mainstream as an Apple Watch to something as fringe as a Cogito Classic, today’s wristborne wearables are modern miracles of miniaturized intelligence. As I say at the top of every Pocketnow Weekly podcast, these real-life tools are the manifestation of many childhood dreams, mine included … and it’s incredible to stop and think about just how complex they really are. All of which makes it doubly frustrating when these supposedly “smart” devices screw ...

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    Editor's note: In the gulf between iPhone releases and in the run-up to the next Windows Phone resurrection, the ratio of Android to non-Android phones in our review inventory continues to rise. As a result, this piece is written from a predominantly Android-centric perspective. Everybody wants awesome smartphone battery life. Whether you’re addicted to the latest power-draining augmented reality game or just trying to get through a day of texting and talking, the panic moment is a familiar one: mid-afternoon, no charger in sight, and a pop-up dialog warning you that you’re 15% away ...

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    You could be forgiven for getting a little sick of hearing about Samsung's new Galaxy S6 Active. By the time this piece hits the feeds, Samsung's rugged superphone will have gotten unboxed, drop-tested, compared with its lighter-weight Galaxy S6 sibling and given the full review treatment. We tend to cover smartphones to death here at Pocketnow, and this mil-spec box of techno-toughness is certainly no exception. But there's more to say about the Galaxy S6 Active, and this time the story is a very specific one. If you've listened to the Pocketnow Weekly podcast or checked out our After ...

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    This morning, as we prepared for what turned out to be a pretty solid installment of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast, a leaked image hit our feeds that suddenly sent us scrambling to update the rundown. It was the press render seen above, featuring a dramatic view of a sleek new BlackBerry handset with front-firing speakers, a curved glass display ... and Android as an operating system. Sure, we'd heard rumblings about such a thing before, but today's leak put a name to the rumors ("BlackBerry Venice") and a face to the specs (a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 5.4-inch Quad HD ...

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    Update (July 7, 6:00pm): Job finally done. Thanks for being patient. There's an Apple patent that might have us all sharing files with handshakes in the not-too-distant future. Sprint's new CEO is finally fed up with John Legere and recently said so on Twitter. Android is running on BlackBerry. And there's a 10,000 mAh (or 10Ah, if you prefer) smartphone out there that, judging from the photos, is not the size of a household refrigerator. All this news demands more than a quick blurb on the front page; it should be immortalized in the halls of podcast history, and that's what we're ...

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    Maybe it's because I'm still giddy from the change-high I got from my switch to T-Mobile earlier this year; maybe it's because I recently confessed to liking the Nexus 6 more than I did a few months ago; or maybe it's because I'm trying to save money after a lengthy spending spree ... but for the past 48 hours I've been practically obsessed with the notion of trying out Google's new wireless service, Project Fi. We reported on Project Fi, Google's North American virtual wireless carrier, back in April, and the service has been slowly growing ever since. For now, Project Fi is open ...

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    If you've been following along for the past few weeks, you know I've been a little busy – too busy to focus on the latest Android Wear developments, in fact. But that doesn't mean I've been oblivious to the goings-on in Google's wearable world: during my review period with Pebble Time I took all kinds of mental notes on how the new smartwatch compared to Android Wear. During that time, I watched our editor-in-chief's LG Watch Urbane review video ... and all I kept coming back to was this: You don't have to feel bad if this is making you laugh. The first time I saw it, I too took 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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    Updated to reflect revised Apple Watch sales estimates. (Thanks, SocialBrian!) I remember the moment I realized smartwatches had a chance at being the next big thing in mobile. It was the spring of 2012, I'd just spent a week with the original Pebble, and I suddenly found myself unable to live without it. It was 1999 all over again: I was a wristwatch-wearing man, and leaving the house without it prompted angry expletives and a day full of accidental glances at an empty wrist. Three years later, smartwatches have made the jump to the mainstream consciousness. No longer confined to the ...

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    I’ve learned that there are two things about being a mobile technology reviewer. The first thing: you get to handle awesome gadgetry days or weeks ahead of its official release date, and you’re not just allowed to use the heck out of it; you need to, in order to do your job. That’s the awesome thing. The other (less-awesome) thing: you eventually have to give it all back. Empty Nest is a recurring column discussing what I miss -and what I don’t- about the devices I’ve had to return. • I wore the Apple Watch Sport for the better part of last month as preparation for our ...

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    Update: That's a wrap, folks! Thanks to all who joined in. Click here to see the archive! Ever wonder what our esteemable Editorial Director Michael Fisher is doing when he's not reviewing technology, tweeting about Star Trek, or referring to himself in the third person? Well, this Sunday night he'll be trying his hand at his first Reddit AMA! Isn't that crazy? Join us over in the r/Android subreddit at 8pm Eastern (click here for your local time) where for three hours Michael Fisher will field questions ranging from tech blogging to ... well, who knows? To the uninitiated, "AMA" ...

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    There are folks out there who don’t have the time for a ten-minute video or a 4,000-word review, and they certainly don’t have an hour to absorb a meandering podcast (no matter how many awards it’s won). These people might be sneaking a quick YouTube fix on a bathroom break, trying to make a point to a rival smartphone owner at a bar, or even standing in line at a wireless retail store, waiting to make a purchase. They need the facts delivered quickly, with a minimum of window dressing and a firm conclusion in as little time as possible. For them, we’ve created the 60-Second ...

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    It was over two years ago that we gave you a taste of life on the very first Pebble – the product that smashed crowdfunding records and almost singlehandedly launched the modern smartwatch era. The little Bluetooth wearable would go on to sell over a million units in both standard and Steel trims, and when the sequel Pebble Time hit Kickstarter this past March, it broke another record by being the first Kickstarter project in history to raise a million dollars … in 49 minutes. Clearly, the people at Pebble know a little something about getting the masses excited for a new gadget. ...

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    Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are absolutely beautiful smartphones … but they're also absolutely impractical for anything resembling a sporty lifestyle. Enter the Galaxy S6 Active, a heavyweight version of the 2015 flagship built to take tougher treatment and last longer on a single charge. We covered the differences between them in a comparison last week; now, after seven days, it’s time to render our final verdict. Does the Galaxy S6 Active correct the problems faced by its two Active forebears? Is it worth considering over its well-regarded siblings in the S6 ...

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    Another year, another Galaxy S-vs-Galaxy Active comparison. It all started with the pretty (but leaky) Galaxy S 4 Active in 2013, followed by the much less pretty (but no less leaky) Galaxy S5 Active last year. For 2015, Samsung has let up somewhat on the ugly stick while adding even more durability, resulting in a phone that we called "the most sensible Active yet" after just 24 hours with the device. How much more durability are we talking about? Well, the S6 Active is rated to IP68 for complete protection against dust, and it will also function underwater at greater depths than previous ...

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    Last week, we told you about Google's new smartphone chooser, an online tool designed to help you pick the right Android phone for your particular needs. I was immediately taken with the idea, envisioning a web app that leveraged Google's awesome knowledge base to ask you a series of questions that would gradually whittle down the vast pool of available Android devices until Your Perfect Smartphone appeared on the screen. Yeah, my expectations might have been a little extreme ... but then again, this is Google we're talking about. So I pointed my browser to Android – Which ...

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    Updated 06/21 01:30am Eastern: Hurry hurry! The podcast is out! What does a smartwatch need to succeed in 2015? Is it a color screen? A digital crown? An intuitive UI? Or is it just the right brand name? We're weighing those factors and more today as we take a look at the latest smartwatch from the people who effectively invented the category. Join us as we talk Pebble Time on the Pocketnow Weekly! The news doesn't stop at watches, of course, so we're also covering all the haps from the week in mobile technology. From the iPad Pro to the 3D Nexus to a Samsung BlackBerry, we're hitting all ...

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