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 | February 24, 2014 11:31 PM

    The leaks were right on. Samsung's newest Android flagship arrived right on schedule today, bearing the pockmarked skin the photos predicted and nearly all the features the spec sheets promised. The long-lasting AMOLED-equipped device is familiar both in form factor and general capabilities, but it carries an upgraded 16MP camera with special HDR and focus functions, a new emphasis on fitness in both hardware and software, and built-in resistance to dust and water exposure. Oh, and yes: the much-discussed fingerprint scanner is here as well, though it's probably not what (or where) you ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 11:29 PM

    When a company churns out its first smart watch after less than a year's development, then follows it up with a sequel less than six months later, there's something funky going on. So what does it mean when a company releases not one, but two sequels to its half-baked initial offering, announcing them alongside a funky fitness bracelet and the headlining Android smartphone for 2014? It says the company is determined to make a meaningful splash in the wearables space before its competitors get the chance, and it's taking a typical Samsung approach to getting there. To be sure, the Gear 2 ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 11:01 PM

    Announced alongside the Galaxy S 5, Gear 2, and Gear 2 Neo at today's Samsung Unpacked event was the Samsung Gear Fit, a tiny ampule of colorful technology that, if leveraged properly, has the potential to revolutionize Samsung's position in the wearable tech space. But that's an idea exercise for another day. What matters now is how good the little device looks and feels in person - and fortunately, we've got just that sort of info in the video below. Click on down for our observations on the smallest and (obviously) most fitness-oriented of Samsung's devices, this stylish blend of Fitbit ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 11:55 AM

    It's not just midrange smartphones coming out of HTC's MWC 2014 press conference in Barcelona. The company has also announced its new "Power to Give" campaign, which looks to coordinate the processing power of millions of HTC One smartphones in an effort to solve some of humanity's most pressing problems. The idea will be familiar to anyone who's run SETI@home on a personal computer any time in the past two decades. Distributing processing tasks over many individual devices to divide up a vast workload is a pretty smart move, and it can result in impressive processing power: HTC claims ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 9:36 AM

    We've shown you Sony's new flagship and we've also given you a taste of Sony's new mid-ranger, both on display in Barcelona for MWC 2014. What is required now, especially for device-vs-device buffs and the eternally undecided smartphone shoppers, is a side-by-side comparison. Watch as Anton D. Nagy takes you through a bullet list of differences between these handsets right from the show floor. You'll get a crash course in immersion resistance, Snapdragon processors, battery life, and camera resolution - as well as a good look at how these phones differ in terms of screen and chassis size. ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 9:15 AM

    What do you do if you want the look and feel of Sony's flagship Android smartphones, without the cumbersome size? Well ... honestly, you probably grab a Z1 Compact if you can find one. Those little suckers are pretty sweet, if a tad on the pricey side. But if you can't (or don't want to) foot such an exorbitant bill, and you don't think you'll be dropping your smartphone in the toilet anytime soon, Sony has just the thing for you: the Xperia M2. With a 4.8-inch qHD display, 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 SoC, and none of the immersion resistance of its Z-series siblings, the M2 is very clearly a ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 8:46 AM

    A 1.7GHz quad-core SoC. A 4.7-inch IPS display at qHD resolution. A 2400 mAh battery. 8MP or 13MP camera (depending on market) with no optical image stabilization. LTE Category 4 with Android 4.4 KitKat. Oh, and a rear key. You know the old saying: if it's a mixed bag of impressive and meh, it's probably a "mini" phone. That's the sitch with LG's new midsize smartphone, a device we bemoaned as not enough mini and not enough G2 on last week's episode of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast. Still, the G2 mini exists - and now that we've had a chance to play with it in person, we're not entirely ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 8:29 AM

    "Out of all the Android tablets we saw last year, one of our favorites was the Sony Tablet Z - and now we get to see its successor, the Xperia Tablet Z2." Jaime Rivera is spot on with his intro to this hands-on video: the Tablet Z wowed us when we reviewed it last year, its thin waterproof chassis raising the bar for tablet hardware quality - but its smallish battery and sometimes-sluggish software impaired an otherwise excellent experience. With the Xperia Tablet Z2, Sony (presumably) aims to fix some of those shortcomings. Its front-firing speakers, Snapdragon 801 processor, and 3GB of ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 8:08 AM

    "The one thing we never thought we'd see: Stephen Elop mentioning the word 'Android' and yes, we're running it [on this] Nokia XL. Let's talk about it." That's the intro to this historic hands-on from Jaime Rivera, so yes indeed - let's talk about it. Nokia's X, XL, and XL+ were announced this morning at MWC in Barcelona, a trio of Android-powered phones for developing markets meant to augment the Asha line while also serving as an on-ramp to services like Skype, HERE Maps, and Nokia Music, among others. The future of this Android-powered offering is anyone's guess once the Microsoft ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 7:48 AM

    "Wow. That Nokia XL is big." That's the first thought that hit my lobes when this hands-on comparison started playing on my monitor, but it certainly wasn't the last. Because while the 4.5-to-5-inch jump in screen size is one of the more instantly recognizable differences between Nokia's Windows Phone flagship and its new Android-powered phone for "the next billion," it's the least significant. Tune in to the side-by-side video below to see the Windows Phone-powered 1020 placed alongside the Nokia XL's tile-centric build of Android for a quick look at how the former has influenced the ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 7:29 AM

    "Even though the Sony Xperia Z2 is the new kid on the block, and the Galaxy S 4 will be obsolete in about five hours from now, we're gonna compare the two so you can get a sense of how well they [stack] up." That's from Anton D. Nagy, the administrator of this hands-on comparison, and hopefully it goes some way towards answering the inevitable flood of "why not compare with the S 5?" questions in the comments. The S 5 may be coming, but it's the Galaxy S 4 that's the phone on the streets right now, and as such it's a useful standard for size and feel-in-hand comparisons. So how does ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 7:11 AM

    "At a quick glance, you might think this is the Xperia Z1 or Z1S." That's how Anton D. Nagy kicks off the below hands-on video, and it's easy to see why: the Xperia Z2 bears more than a passing resemblance to those earlier Sony flagships, with a glass sandwich construction, silver accents, and aluminum midplate broken up by the typical port covers for immersion resistance. But there are a few improvements worth mentioning. The display has grown to 5.2 inches without a commensurate increase in bezel size; the processor underneath is a Snapdragon 801 running at 2.3GHz; and the 20.7MP camera ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 6:46 AM

    As part of its bid to "connect the next billion with affordable smartphones," Nokia today announced the long-rumored Nokia X: the device formerly known as the Normandy and Nokia's first-ever Android-powered smartphone. In terms of specs, the headlining Nokia Android phone is everything we expected: a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, 3MP camera, and 4" IPS WVGA display place the device firmly in the "developing markets" segment, while its particular flavor of Android is predictably Microsoft-leaning in its loyalties: the tile-centric interface bears more than a passing resemblance to Windows Phone, ...

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  • by | February 24, 2014 4:35 AM

    ZTE today announced the newest handset in its Android phablet line, the Grand Memo II LTE. The new device follows in the footsteps of last year's Grand Memo LTE, mating a 6-inch IPS display with a 3200 mAh battery and squeezing it all into a frame just 7.2mm thick. The device is powered by a Snapdragon 400 chipset (MSM8926, the quad-core version with the Adreno 305) backed up by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, with a 13MP Sony BSI camera around back and a 5MP unit up front. That hardware is powered by Android 4.4 KitKat with version 2.3 of ZTE's MiFavor UI running on top. According to ZTE, ...

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  • by | February 23, 2014 11:14 AM

    When Microsoft announced its intention to absorb Nokia's devices and services group last year, many wondered what effect the $7.2B acquisition would have on the company's relationship with its Windows Phone hardware partners. It's a sensible question (how can a company endorse partners' hardware while also building its own?) and it's one Microsoft addressed directly on its Windows Phone blog. Today, Microsoft has backed up its commitment to Windows Phone diversity by announcing nine new hardware partners for its mobile OS. The list of vendors is largely made up of Chinese and Indian ...

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