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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    The year is 2003. College-edition Michael Fisher is splitting his time between acting and trawling HowardForums for the latest mobile tech. His daily driver is a Samsung SPH-A600 cameraphone with a nifty rotating screen, and he likes it. But every day he walks past his college technology store on the way to class – and every day a bigger, beefier smart device beckons from the window. Twelve years later, he finally gets his hands on one. Now, despite the resemblance to its clamshell communicator contemporaries, this Sony Clie (the PEG-NR-70/U, with an accent on the é if you want to be ...

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    (Updated to correct a typo and clarify speculation regarding a 720p model.) You might say we've got a bit of a thing for the ASUS ZenFone 2 here at Pocketnow. It's only been a month since we first laid hands on the phone at CES 2015, and yet we've already had two full-length editorials from our resident Android guy about how the ASUS ZenFone 2 is at once the best bang for your buck and proof that other OEMs are overcharging for their flagship smartphones. Since its announcement, the device has also made a (virtual) appearance on nearly every episode of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast, it's ...

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    It's been a few weeks since Microsoft unveiled its newest operating system, including the fork Lumia-lovers have been waiting for: the mobile platform we're calling "Windows 10 phone edition." Since then, we've seen lots of news concerning the company's new smartphone software, from leaks documenting some of the features we saw on stage to statements regarding which devices will actually get Windows 10 phone edition, to user concerns about its move from a revolutionary to a derivative UX. And we've talked all of these issues to death on the last few episodes of our Weekly podcast. Amid ...

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    (Updated with links to the full, high-quality podcast download below. Enjoy the show – and the impromptu dubstep party at the end!) Everybody wants the new hotness, but no one wants to wait for it. That's evident from the deluge of leaks surrounding the world's most-talked-about mobile devices, and we're going to stick our straws in for a quick sip –just to whet our whistles– on today's podcast. Looking for more than just product talk? As a famous retailer used to say, "Yeah, we've got that." The FCC puts forth its hardest-hitting proposal ever for enforcing net neutrality, ...

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    If you're looking for a little pizzazz with your wireless charging, look no further than TYLT. The company cemented its place in our hearts with the original TYLT Vü, which we evaluated with the help of a then-new Lumia 920 back in 2013, and now it's back with a smaller, portable charger in the TYLT Vü Solo. Like the original Vü, the Solo takes its attention-grabbing power from a sleek design and bold colors, and it takes its phone-replenishment power from the magic of Qi inductive charging. But what if you own a phone that doesn't pack the necessary internals to feel the power of ...

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    Windows Phone has always been a visually striking platform, but for a long time it was also one of the least-customizable. Thankfully, that’s not true anymore – and we're closing out the week by giving you a quick video tour of two apps responsible for the change. The first is TileArt (or #TileArt if you wanna be teenybopper technical about it). This is an app from Ricc Webb, a Microsoft employee who built it in his spare time because he was frustrated with the other customization options available for Windows Phone. The Lumia Conversations blog has a good interview with Ricc, whom ...

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    The Inateck BTSP-10 Plus Bluetooth Speaker is powered by double 3-watt precision-tuned drivers, multi-band compressors and built with a high performance composite diaphragm 40 mm Rotunded 16-core NdFeB 3W magnetic driver. What's any of that mean? I don't know ... yet. But I'm fixing to find out! In the meantime, check out the first impressions video below so I can show you what I do know so far. Namely: the BTSP-10 Plus (or BTSP-10P if you wanna get personal about it) is a chunky, hexagon-studded, red-and-black monster box of a speaker. It's intensely loud, aggressively designed, and ...

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    After over two years on AT&T, Michael Fisher recently made the switch to T-Mobile US on his personal smartphone account. This is the first in a series of posts about the experience. (For those interested in jumping ahead, part 2 can be found here.) • My divorce from AT&T began with a realization familiar to anyone who's ever been in a doomed relationship (personal or otherwise): the cost/benefit ratio was no longer working out. I loved being an AT&T customer, but the charges were bleeding me dry. Some of those charges only affected me thanks to my newfound jet-setting ...

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    In the smartphone world, a five-inch display is a pretty sizable canvas … but what if you could add, say, 30 inches to that? That's the question the Microsoft HD-10 was built to answer, and we're taking a demo unit for a spin in today's video! The Microsoft HD-10 is an unassuming hockey puck of a device, a plastic pancake with two cable ports and precious little else to make it stand out. That means it blends right in with the Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire Stick, or whatever else you've got tethered to your television ... while leaving the real up-close-and-personal connectivity matters ...

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    When the Lumia 830 broke cover at IFA 2014, we were struck by its resemblance to the earlier Lumia 1020 – a device which, thanks to its huge 41MP camera, stands alone as the only true super-shooter in the Windows Phone lineup. Microsoft touted the 830 as a kind of affordable successor, a so-called “midrange flagship” designed to compete on cost. But with the Lumia 1020 still on Microsoft Store shelves for over $100 cheaper, is newer really better? As in most smartphone comparisons, the answer isn't exactly straightforward. The Lumia 830 is nearly two years younger than the ...

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    The Lumia 830's model number might be a full hundred digits below Windows Phone’s true flagship, but the step down in prestige also brings a step down in size: at 8.5mm and 150g, the Lumia 830 is a very palm-friendly, very pocketable little Windows Phone. The sides are cool aluminum and the back is a polycarbonate panel available in several colors and adorned with the old NOKIA logo – one of the last uses of the legacy branding you’ll see on a Windows Phone. Popping it off reveals a removable battery and a MicroSD expansion slot, increasingly rare customizations these days and ...

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    Updated with links to download and stream the HQ audio version of the podcast. We hope you enjoyed this Weekly. And we'll see you right back here next week! It's a mighty fine month to be an iPhone, a pretty terrible one to be a Windows Phone, and an interesting one (as always) if you're an Android. The first month of the new year brought equal parts delight and dismay for mobile users everywhere, and we'll be talking about both ends of the spectrum –and covering the rest of the mobile tech news space– on today's podcast. We're also putting in our public-service hours on today's show ...

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    Despite sluggish adoption, confusing marketing and a long-simmering standards war, wireless chargers litter today's tech landscape. From the TYLT Vu to the Aukey Luna to Google's Nexus "orb" to Nokia's old DT-900, owners of Qi-enabled smartphones have no shortage of options to juice up their devices in the most futuristic manner possible. But Microsoft wasn't satisfied with the status quo, as they made clear in a press event at IFA 2014. There, alongside the newly-announced Lumia 730 and 830, we got our first look at the DT-903: a flattened, enlarged sequel to the DT-900 charging plate ...

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    One of the unavoidable pitfalls of covering a field as vast as mobile technology is that sometimes, you get things wrong. It happens regardless of preparation, regardless of time spent with a device, and no matter how many colleagues help copy-edit your work. But it happens most often when you establish an opinion before going hands-on with a product, before incorporating it into your daily life. Out in the real world, that's called prejudice – and it's just as damaging to a product review as the myriad ways it's destructive to broader society. Yes, that's a shallow parallel ... ...

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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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