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 1/29/2015: the answer now lies at the bottom of this post, so be careful when scrolling if this is your first time seeing this edition of the smartphone guessing game! Also, our apologies for the late update, folks; our lead smartphone reviewer came down with a wicked-bad case of the coughs in this year's Boston Blizzard, so he's been out of commission.) When it comes to analyzing the quality of a smartphone's camera, there are two main approaches. There's the guided style: "We had a gander at the new [Smartphone] from the fine folks at [Smartphone Manufacturer], and we took its ...

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    Windows 10, Windows Holographic, and an 84-inch Microsoft Surface – say whaaaaat? A Galaxy S6 Edge with dual curves and an HTC M9 with a square camera? Get outta town! Hackers hacking the very fabric of the cellular network to listen in on your calls to grandma? Shut the front door. And hold on to your hats, because that's not all. BlackBerry's CEO seems to think net neutrality entitles his smartphones to more third-party apps, Google might be dipping its toes in MVNO waters once more, and Sharp –bless it– refuses to let flip-phones die! The techno-world is going plum crazy, folks, ...

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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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    Openly carrying a BlackBerry in 2015 is an invitation to be interrupted. You’re bound to be asked by some well-meaning friend or nosey stranger, “is that a BlackBerry? Do people still use those?” And while the answer to both questions is an unqualified yes, the more interesting question (to me) is “what’s that like?” Thanks to the fine folks at GSM Nation and US Mobile, I had the opportunity to spend a couple weeks finding out. The result is the BlackBerry Classic review video below. During my time with the BlackBerry Classic, I took pages and pages of notes over several ...

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    E-Ink. It powers everything from the YotaPhone 2 to the Amazon Kindle. It's simultaneously one of the most understated and futuristic display technologies around. And it's being put to use in devices and venues you've never even thought of. But what exactly is E-Ink, and how does it work? That's a question we had for the folks at E-Ink Corporation, the brains behind the world's leading electrophoretic ink technology, and they were more than happy to answer it. In fact, they invited us to tour their Innovation Center and Headquarters facility in Massachusetts, down the road from their ...

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    If you’ve been using the popular music-streaming app on Android and iOS for the past few months, almost nothing about today's Spotify news will surprise you. But for Windows Phone owners, there’s lots to celebrate indeed. The new Spotify Windows Phone update brings Microsoft's smartphone platform one step closer to parity with its Android and iOS rivals. Version 5.0.5491.5995 clears away the oversimplified, space-wasting Spotify of yore with a refresh that cleans up the layout, streamlines the typefaces, and dims the background so the content "pops" more dramatically. It also ...

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    Updated with links to stream and download the high-quality audio version of the podcast, as well as time-codes to navigate your way through the podcast. We hope you enjoyed this week's show, and we'll see you right back here for Episode 132 of the Pocketnow Weekly next week! A coming HTC event, a two-faced smartphone, new 4G tablets, and a smartwatch with a rotating bezel. From the big to the weird to the dull to the small, it's a new and varied news cycle and that's just the kind we like to come back to. Fresh from the holidays and from the roaring insanity of CES, the Pocketnow Weekly ...

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    If you're like me, the first thing you think of when you see an E-Paper display is an e-reader like the Kindle Paperwhite. While Yota Devices definitely had that use case in mind when it designed the original dual-screen YotaPhone, its sequel is no one-trick pony. With benefits ranging from extended battery life to always-on widgets to virtually unlimited customization, the YotaPhone 2's second screen brings something we've been craving –innovation– and actually makes something useful out of it. As the saying goes: "new minds, fresh ideas." But there's another saying too: "the more ...

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    The YotaPhone 2 packs a lot of features that set it apart from the typical smartphone. It's got more curves than we usually see these days, a volume rocker that does double-duty as a SIM card tray, and it comes to us from Russia. Oh, and it's got a second screen around back. The YotaPhone 2's E-Paper Display (EPD) is a 4.7" 960x540 E-Ink panel that dominates the rear cover of the device. With no backlight, just 16 levels of greyscale and a pixel density of only 235ppi, it's not all that impressive on paper – but YotaPhone nonetheless manages to squeeze a lot of mileage out of its key ...

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    For us, every trade show starts with the same goal: we want to cover everything. Whether it's the newest smartphone or the latest Bluetooth accessory, from the thinnest tablet to the chunkiest smartwatch – if it's a piece of mobile gadgetry, we want to see it, film it, and share it with you. But at a show the size of CES 2015 (or "the 2015 International CES" if you want to be prissy about it) that's not possible. Not even with a team of a hundred – and certainly not with a team of three. Hayato, Jaime and I tried to be discerning in our selections for video coverage, so some of our ...

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    An echo-filled hotel room, hosts with cracked voices and stuffy noses, and a rundown full of the hottest new mobile technology in the world. Those ingredients can spell only one thing: a CES 2015 wrap-up podcast straight from the heart of Las Vegas, hosted by your very own Pocketnow pixel pirates. And we're not alone! Joining us on this two-hour mission to tame the wild ramparts of the mobile tech scene are two podcast guests near and dear to our hearts: Nicole Scott of MobileGeeks and Joshua Vergara of Android Authority. Together with our CES video host/producer Hayato Huseman, it makes ...

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    As you may recall, ten days ago I returned to my long-neglected Lumia 1020 for the holidays. This overdue reunion of contrarian nerd with fringe platform was meant to answer a question we get quite often in the Pocketnow Weekly mailbag: at the dawn of a new year, is Windows Phone still a world worth moving to (or even visiting)? In an atmosphere of delayed flagship launches and growing skepticism among some smartphone manufacturers, the question is more pertinent than ever. The answer, as it turns out, is yes — but it carries some very important qualifiers, and it's certainly not ...

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    Updated with the HQ version of the podcast. Thanks for tuning in – we hope to see you next week from CES 2015! The mercury is dropping, the champagne corks are popping, and the annual complaints about PR pitches are flowing freely in the Twittersphere. All that can only mean one thing: another CES is just around the corner, and it's time to talk about what we're expecting from America's largest consumer electronics show! As always, we're keeping our focus confined to mobile - and joining us on this special CES pre-show is another luminary in the mobile tech space, Booredatwork's own ...

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    For months I've carried on under the guise of a Windows Phone user. My Twitter profile states it outright; longtime readers cite it in my defense whenever commenters call me on the carpet for "anti-Microsoft bias"; and my friends even unwittingly re-verify it when choosing random Facebook photos to tag me in. But as I explained in last week's episode of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast, my title of Windows Phone user has dwindled to a largely honorary one of late. The neverending stream of review devices from the Android, iOS, and wearable worlds has kept me outside the Microsoft ecosystem ...

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    Updated with the high-quality audio version of the podcast (methods to both download it and stream it), as well as timecodes and more. As always, we thank you for your listenership, and we hope to see you right back here again next week! Everyone needs a break. When the year is winding down, the news cycle is as cold as the snow outside, sickness is in the air and holiday travel looms in the distance like a brake light-studded Christmas tree, it can be tempting to just pull the ejection handle and say "sorry!" to the whole podcast affair, just once. But this is the Pocketnow Weekly, ...

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    Updated with links to the high-quality version of the podcast (both to stream and download it), as well as timecodes to let you jump through the podcast. As always, thanks for listening, and we'll see you right here next week! "Bring us alternate topics," you said. And boy oh boy, have the waning days of December delivered. On today's podcast, we're joined by Daniel Bader of MobileSyrup for a firsthand account of the BlackBerry Classic launch and an acoustic retelling of MobileSyrup's BlackBerry Classic review, told as only a true Canadian can tell it. On the heels of that, we're ...

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    Remember last year, when we prefaced our nonsensical Nexus 5 vs Note 3 comparison video with the declaration that we were only doing it because so many of you had asked us to? Google saved us the trouble this year, by building its new Nexus to large-enough proportions that you could almost mistake it for this year's Galaxy Note 4. (If you were far enough away, that is. And if your eyesight wasn't too good.) Point is: unlike the Nexus 5, the Nexus 6 is a large-format smartphone. And unlike the Nexus 5, the Nexus 6 packs the absolute latest in technology without also taking a dive on the ...

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    Android 5.0: it's not just for smartphones anymore. (Well okay; it was for smartphones and tablets before, but that kinda ruins the joke.) With the latest software update out of Google, the company's wearable computing platform gets a big boost. Around here, we call it the Android Wear Lollipop edition – and it's already made our Moto 360 and G Watch R smartwatches much more capable. Join us for a guided tour of Android Wear Lollipop! In five minutes, we take you for a spin around new notification settings, specialized modes for movie theaters and beach days, a new gallery built just ...

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    Updated with links to download and stream the Weekly 126. Additionally, we'd like to apologize to our listeners this week, as the recording quality isn't quite as good as usual because of multiple technical difficulties. We hope you enjoy the episode, however, and we'll see you right back here next week! It's the sleekest slice of the future this side of the Galaxy Round and LG G Flex, and we've got it on the air. This week on the Pocketnow Weekly, it's the Galaxy Note Edge review (podcast edition) and we're eager to take all your questions just as quickly as you can submit them, so make ...

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    A manufacturer's "smartphone philosophy" might seem like a lofty concept dreamed up by a reviewer big on thesauri and light on sleep, but it's actually pretty easy to summarize with a quick story from Barcelona. A couple years ago at MWC, Editor-in-Chief Anton D. Nagy and I found ourselves at a briefing being shown a new Samsung product due for release. When we remarked that a competing product from another manufacturer exhibited more overall polish and cohesiveness, Samsung's response was quick and blunt: "Yeah, but ours can do more." That's been the story of the high-end Samsung ...

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    The Galaxy Note Edge screen is a 160-pixel-wide strip of pure potential – assuming you know how to use it. Given Samsung's typically robust software build and the sheer audacity of bolting such a novel addition onto an already feature-packed smartphone, we thought new Galaxy Note Edge owners might appreciate a little tutorial to kickstart their journey into bent-screen bliss. So we cooked up the below video to help you get acquainted with the raddest secondary display since the Motorola i930. From the quick-draw convenience of Quick Tools to the patronizing pleading of S Health, we've ...

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    The Galaxy Note Edge is a Galaxy Note 4 with a little something extra – 409,000 little somethings, actually. They're the pixels making up the display extension along the phone's right-hand side, a curved strip of AMOLED that Samsung calls the "Edge screen." It's built to add functionality to an already-potent portfolio of features ... but it also adds cost, and sacrifices some of the fit and finish we really appreciate on the Note 4. With both Notes on shelves this holiday season, we thought it wise to compare the new Notes and see what you're buying when you opt for one or the ...

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    The Nexus 6 is like no Google smartphone that's come before. Built to prodigious dimensions with the fortified heft that few but Motorola can manage, this newest Nexus debuted to a wave of demand – and discord. With a price tag nearly double that of last year's model and the footprint of a small tablet, the Nexus 6 comes as a significant shock to those who expected more of the same in 2014. The wonderful thing about shock, though, is that it wears off. And once it does, you start to remember that affordability has only occasionally been synonymous with the Nexus brand. You realize ...

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    Updated with links to download and stream the high-quality audio version, plus timecodes. Thanks for listening, folks – we'll see you next week right here! Around these parts, even the slow news weeks sizzle with excitement – and that's just fine with us. On the rundown for this edition of Pocketnow's once-a-week mobile technology podcast: a bevy of Motorola rumor and speculation, new odd smartphones from YotaPhone and Alcatel ONETOUCH, and ominous developments in the land of carrier meddling. On top of that, Brandon Miniman returns this week as our podcast guest! Our former ...

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    Nexus 6 vs Moto X: it's a debate playing itself out in browser tabs, retail stores, and fevered brains across the nation – one made more difficult by their shared ancestry and aesthetics. But difficult debates are Pocketnow's prime province, so naturally we've got some thoughts on the matter. While you don't have to look too closely to see that these Androids are indeed Motos from other mothers, you've got to dig a little deeper to find out just how different they are. From screen size to camera build to software load, right down to the direction of their USB ports, these Motorola ...

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