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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    As fun as it can be to marginalize and criticize them, smartphones are magical pieces of technology. From something as benign as an iPhone to a device as futuristic as a G Flex, today's pocket communicators are modern miracles of miniaturized intelligence. As I say at the top of every 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 up so spectacularly. Here's five ...

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    When it comes to trade shows, we at Pocketnow keep it low-key. As we discussed in detail on a recent episode of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast, we don't have all the resources of a major media corporation, so we're often called upon to do a lot with a little. That's been the case with the last few trade shows we attended, and IFA 2014 is no different. Taylor Martin and I will be the guys on the ground for this show, alternating duties as cameraman and host, backed up by the rest of the Pocketnow team who'll be supporting us remotely from five different time zones. The work itself ...

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    "What are your favorite Windows Phone apps?" is a question I never get asked on the internet, mainly because people are too busy asking me what my daily drivers are, despite the fact that it's all there in my Twitter profile. But it's an important question. Because even though I feel that you shouldn't carry a particular device just because I carry it, the question of which apps and services we opt to use is another story. To step back to 2008 for a second: apps are magical things. As we discovered on a recent episode of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast, almost all of us can remember ...

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    Update 2: Thanks to a commenter who pointed out the offensive comment in today's podcast regarding "roofies." This will shortly be excised from the official edited podcast. Until then, please accept this update as a temporary apology while we work to clean up our mess. Thank you for your patience. Updated with high-quality downloads in the Links section for those of you who couldn't catch us live. See you next week! The Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin. You know it as "the ee-fa." Old-timers might still call it the Berlin Radio Show. Stephen Schenck for some reason refers to it ...

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    There are folks out there who don’t have the time for a ten-minute video or a 3,000-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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    There was a time when the name "HTC" was synonymous with "Windows Mobile." The two were so intertwined during the latter half of the last decade that, no matter what form factor or Windows version you needed, you could find an HTC-badged smartphone to suit you. Then came the great Windows reboot of 2010, wherein Microsoft completely reinvented its mobile platform to better compete with iOS and Android. HTC's efforts with the new Windows Phone 7 were at first strong and nearly as varied as they were in the Windows Mobile days ... but the platform's sluggish adoption rate and HTC's ...

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    Updated with timecodes and links to the high-quality episode! Enjoy the show, everyone! Let it never be said that the weeks leading up to a trade show are dull ones. Since we last podcasted, we've gone hands-on with no fewer than three new mobile devices, reviewed another two, set up a giveaway for the world's most privacy-centric smartphone, and brought you an exclusive leak of the world's next big smartwatch. And with IFA still two weeks away, you can bet the news avalanche will keep on rolling. Join us, then, for a discussion on HTC's new Windows Phone; Motorola's new Android(s); ...

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    Barnes & Noble hasn't had much luck competing with Amazon's Kindle line of e-readers, its Nook tablets selling poorly enough to prompt an announcement from the bookseller in June that it was spinning off the whole division. That hasn't stopped the company from actively trying to better the line, though; it'll still sell the e-readers in stores even after the split is complete, and it's delegated manufacture of new Nook devices to Samsung. The latter company joined with Barnes & Noble this morning in New York City to announce the new Nook. Technically co-branded as the ...

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    The HTC One M8 for Windows is official as of this morning, and we're right this very minute getting some video coverage of the device for those of you who value sweaty, jittery hands-on phone footage above all else. But we also managed to snag a few minutes with the device formerly known as the HTC One W8 prior to this morning's festivities, and we've prepared some first impressions for those who prefer the written word to the spoken one. First the basics, in case you missed the official news post in this morning's flurry of releases. The HTC One M8 for Windows is a carbon copy of the ...

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    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." That's a quote that probably didn't come from the Buddha, one I've seen it tossed around the internet since I was a teenager. It always struck me as bad advice: some of the most important lessons I've ever learned were a direct result of my own "reason" and "common sense" being proven utterly, profoundly wrong. Sometimes, as that other tiresome saying goes, you just need to see something to believe it. If you're a smartphone ...

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    It's one of the top buzzwords of the year in mobile technology: the sapphire screen. More appropriately called a sapphire crystal display, its remarkability lies not in clarity or resolution or thumb-feel ... but in saving us from our oafish, clumsy-handed selves. Sapphire crystal is hard, see – harder than anything on the good 'ole Mohs hardness scale except diamond (as we discussed in a piece last year on why sapphire is awesome). And since we don't generally carry diamonds in our pockets on the regular, the thinking goes that a sapphire screen would be harder than anything that could ...

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    Updated with links to the high-quality version of the podcast below! Thanks for joining us for the live show, everyone, and enjoy the HQ downloads in the Links section. One of the nice things about a mobilized mob of fanatics is ... well, nothing. For the purposes of intelligent discourse and civility, there's nothing cool or helpful about a bunch of heated fanboys rabidly denigrating a new product because it happens to threaten their preferred smartphone. We've talked about this sort of thing before, and now we're talking about it again – this time in the context of Blackphone vs ...

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    As I write this review, my Facebook wall sits abuzz with consternation from friends and family alike, all of them complaining about the same offense in a rare show of unified ire. Facebook's recent mandate that mobile users install its Messenger app, with all its Orwellian security permissions, has reignited a discussion more and more common among the general public: in today's world, how much privacy are we really giving away ... and how do we get some of it back? To answer the latter question, cyber-security outfit Silent Circle came together with hardware firm Geeksphone to ...

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    Updated with time codes, new streaming portals, and links to the high-quality version. Skip past the YouTube embed and download your very own copy of this week's podcast. Enjoy! Thanks to our new Blackphone review devices, we're already halfway off the grid ... or at least, halfway buried under Post-It notes littered with passwords, which is almost the same thing. Before we get too stealthy, though, we're hosting us a little show. Some of you might know it as the mobile technology podcast that's gone 108 episodes without missing a single week (accurate). Others might know it as the last ...

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    As studious subscribers of our YouTube Channel already know, we just unboxed a brand-new Blackphone courtesy of the good people at GSM Nation. After breaking cover at MWC in February, the security-centric smartphone is finally hitting US store shelves over the next few weeks, and we'll be giving it the full review treatment –as well as a slot in the Pocketnow Summer of Giveaways– in the next week or so. While Blackphone is already well-known in tech circles as the world's only consumer smartphone focused primarily on privacy, there are precious few photos out there to show ...

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    It captured our imagination at MWC 2014: a smartphone built specifically to provide secure communications in an era of ever-increasing surveillance. Blackphone may not be the most distinctive or highest-end handheld on the market, but it's certainly chosen the right time to break out onto the scene. We're taking a close look at the device, a joint initiative of Silent Circle and Geeksphone, in the week ahead – and we're also planning a special Blackphone chapter of Pocketnow's Summer of Giveaways in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, we're kicking ...

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    There was a time, here in the States, when each wireless carrier boasted its own variant of almost every flagship Android smartphone. Verizon had its DROID line, Sprint pushed the Evo series, AT&T thought up names like "Galaxy S II Skyrocket" and the pre-Legere T-Mobile USA ... well, it basically took whatever manufacturers decided to give it. This was the time of ridiculous customization for customization's sake, of top-tier devices segregated by features and design at the fickle whim of carriers, of ridiculous brand names like the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch. Those ...

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    Looking for our original Dell Venue Pro review from 2011? Check it out here. Wondering about the tablet family with the same name from 2013? Peep this. Want a sweet nostalgia trip? See below. • There was a time when manufacturers still pushed the boundaries of industrial design, when Windows Phone was the newest smartphone platform around, and Dell still called itself a smartphone maker. These were the days of WVGA displays being sold as "high resolution," of 3G masquerading as 4G, of 5-megapixel primary cameras and QWERTY keyboards with individual spring-loaded plastic keys. Into ...

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    Smartphone security is a good idea, but it’s also a pain in the butt. So if you’re sick of swiping patterns and selecting security codes (and you’re into temporary body modification) Vivalnk and Motorola have just the thing for you. The Vivalnk digital tattoo is a temporary wearable NFC tag coated with 3M adhesive that works with the Moto X's Skip technology to allow you to unlock your smartphone without entering a passcode, swiping a pattern, or smiling for the camera. Just wake the Moto X's screen and tap it to your wrist (or wherever you've stuck the digital tattoo), and you're ...

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    Time was, the only road to a consistent smartphone experience was to drop a metric buttload of cash and hope the device lived up to its hype. If it didn't, and you didn't catch it before the return period expired, too bad: you were stuck with that $600 brick for the rest of your two-year contract unless you could find someone to take it off your hands. Over the past year, the reality of the absurdly expensive smartphone has begun to come apart. Sure, most true flagships are still awfully pricey when you look at their off-contract cost, but devices like Motorola's Moto G and Moto E have ...

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    Updated with high-quality audio and links to download and stream below! Enjoy! Round smartwatches, roundly terrifying TOS agreements, and roundtable smartphone discussion: 'round here, it doesn't take much more than that to get a mobile podcast together, and –assuming the Hangouts gods will it– we'll be proving it to you in less than four hours. On today's episode, we're returning to a new favorite in the segments list, plumbing the depths of the podcast inbox to let you know what phone you should buy. We'll also tell you who won last week's smartphone giveaway and surprise you with ...

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    Remember that AT&T Galaxy S5 Active we inadvertently destroyed a few weeks back? We felt pretty badly about that (despite the fact that it wasn't our fault) and we've been itching to give the whole notion of a ruggedized Galaxy S5 another go. As luck would have it, Sprint recently landed its very own beefed-up Galaxy S5 in the form of the Galaxy S5 Sport, and the carrier was nice enough to shoot us a review unit. Instead of camouflage, our Electric Blue review device comes packing a rubberized backside and a whole boatload of bloat meant to make it more attractive to the exercise ...

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    The long-rumored, long-awaited "Amazon Phone" is finally here, and it's a doozy in more ways than one. Over the past week of testing, we’ve shown you its most fun features and run through its camera capabilities, and we've taken your questions live on the air during a special segment of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast. Now it's time to see how our impressions of the Fire Phone have changed since our first hands-on. As Amazon's own site helpfully reminds buyers, Fire is the only smartphone on the market with "Dynamic Perspective, Firefly, Mayday, and more." It's the only phone that gives ...

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    The Fire Phone is many things to many people: a funky 3D screen; a portal to a Prime membership; a refreshing escape from the normalcy of the typical smartphone world; a gimmick to be disregarded until the next generation – the list goes on. But whatever your personal opinion, the fact remains that as Amazon's first-ever smartphone, the newest Fire is indisputably significant. And part of its significance lies in its camera. The Amazon Fire Phone camera is a 13MP sensor backed up by the usual slew of glowing marketing material on the device's purchase page: it's a "custom-tuned camera ...

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    The Amazon Fire Phone is still a newcomer to our labs, but it's already been reviewed in several publications the world over. The verdict thus far: this might not be the phone you bring home to momma – not yet, anyway. Though we offered some initial impressions on the Fire Phone in the latest episode of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast and in the unboxing video embedded below, our minds are still chewing on the question of whether Amazon's first smartphone deserves to exist. The answer will have to wait for our full review coming (very) soon, but in the interim, we thought we'd whip up ...

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