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 "flagship killer" that demands that you "NEVER SETTLE" breaks cover. The pioneer of the modern mobile browser shares his story. And at long last, Microsoft and Nokia finally consummate their love. We could have a feature segment, but with news this hot, do we really need one? Not with a guest like Stefan Constantinescu of TabDump to bring some flavor (and profanity) to the proceedings, that's for sure. A word on the language of this episode: we've recently ditched the "Clean" content rating that's been with us from the start of the Weekly, trading it in for Apple's ominous "Explicit" ...

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    Yesterday will be a day long remembered: it saw the end of Nokia as we know it. After a long regulatory approval process, the company's devices and services division has finally been scooped up by the company whose software has powered its offerings for the past few years: Microsoft. But the looming acquisition by Windows Phone's corporate overlord didn't stop Nokia from experimenting with new ideas in the months leading up to that merger. At this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company finally laid bare its new offerings for developing markets: a trio of midrange ...

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    One of the hallmarks of our review process is the comparison video, and one of our favorite comparisons to make is the cross-platform faceoff. That's especially true when the two competitors are powered by Android and Windows Phone: there are so many disparities to cover, so many philosophical differences to delve into, that it can be a bit daunting – but the payoff, whatever it is, is usually worth it. In today's comparison, that satisfaction comes in the form of surprise. Because the Icon, like most Nokia Lumia devices, is built largely to support its camera, we expected the Verizon ...

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    "Your move, Samsung." That's how we wrapped up last month's review of the HTC One M8, a product that we called "an elegant smartphone for a more civilized age." The One M8 is such an impressive device that it might well be on its way to dominating the smartphone sales charts by now, were it not for the South Korean juggernaut whose brand has become synonymous with Android. Yes, it's time for the next Galaxy S: the fifth installment in a legacy stretching back to 2010. But where Samsung's front-running smartphone brand has previously brought us iPhone alternatives, devices with natural ...

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    It's the question every buyer with a limited budget or a frugal sensibility asks when a new flagship smartphone lands: do I need the new one, or can I save some dough by buying last year's model? Thanks to our annual-upgrade culture here in the States, the question is asked millions of times a month each spring season, mimicking the clockwork of the smartphone release cycle. But though the dilemma isn't a new one, the devices are: "Galaxy S5 vs S4" is just as crucial as "Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8" – a comparison we already bestowed upon you a few days back.  In fact, thanks to the ...

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    Skipping listener mail for two weeks in a row? We know, we know ... unconscionable. But we also know you'll forgive us in exchange for two things: a packed review schedule, and an awesome podcast guest. We're bringing you both of those as the week winds down to a close. In addition to the usual news segment narrated by the soothing voice of Chief News Editor Stephen Schenck, we've got additional insights on Samsung's new Galaxy S5: how it compares to its forebears, how well it fares against competition like the HTC One M8, and a debate on the merits of standout features like the ...

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    "One device is a product of an Android juggernaut, a fourth-generation powerhouse from a take-no-prisoners Goliath that essentially owns the Google-powered smartphone space. The other is a last-ditch effort to save its creator from certain destruction, a product forged from that peculiar mixture of desperation and determination that sometimes begets pure art." That's a pretty pretentious way of putting a smartphone comparison, but it's how we kicked off last year's HTC One (M7) vs Galaxy S 4 comparison video. The interesting thing is, if you change "fourth-generation" to ...

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    "Once we’ve got the 3D pose of each photo, we compute the depth of each pixel in the reference photo using Multi-View Stereo algorithms. MVS works the way human stereo vision does: given the location of the same object in two different images, we can triangulate the 3D position of the object and compute the distance to it. How do we figure out which pixel in one image corresponds to a pixel in another image? MVS measures how similar they are -- on mobile devices, one particularly simple and efficient way is computing the Sum of Absolute Differences (SAD) of the RGB colors of the two ...

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    "You know what this is?" "I know what this is." That's a dialogue couplet from the film True Lies, an Arnold Schwarzenegger action-comedy from the mid 1990s that has positively nothing to do with the newest stupendo-smartphone out of Seoul. Nothing, except for those two lines. Because you do know what this is. Even under the AT&T finery, even under the thick veneer of faux wood packaging, even despite the fifteen seconds of playful banter at the top of this video, you know what we're looking at: it's the most hyped smartphone of the year, like always. It's another Samsung flagship ...

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    Windows Phone 8.1 is not Windows Phone 9. It might seem merely a bland truth or a bit of farcical arithmetic, but the above statement is important to keep in mind when considering Microsoft's latest update to its distinctive smartphone operating system. After over a year since the last major upgrade, it's natural for advocates and casual users alike to pine for something profound – a ground-up rewrite that propels the third-place contender to the top in one fell swoop. Windows Phone 8.1 is not that rewrite. Less a reinvention than a honing of what came before, the new Windows Phone ...

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    Update: We're live now! Join in below! We've got a Windows Phone 8.1 review video live and on the wire, a Windows Phone 8.1 written review coming down the pipe, an in-depth feature article on Cortana on the front page, and a ton of Windows Phone 8.1 impressions coming at you in a Pocketnow Weekly podcast going under the mic in a couple days. But we know you, and that's not enough: you need live, off-the-cuff impressions from the team you've come to trust for such things – and you'd like to see us on camera as we do it. Fair enough. That's right; it's Editorial Roundtable territory once ...

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    Of all the understatements and mischaracterizations of the tech world, probably the most ignominious is the point-upgrade. No matter how many major improvements they've contained, updates like the bump from Android 4.3 to 4.4, and BlackBerry 10.1 to 10.2 have always seemed somehow less impressive due to their miniscule numeric promotion. And that's more true than ever before with Windows Phone 8.1. From the introduction of a native voice assistant to some long-overdue interface overhauls, Microsoft's new software injects some sorely-needed modernity into its smartphone platform, and we're ...

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    When an avalanche of reviews is rumbling its way down your mountain, it's rarely easy to assemble a podcast team – but as we frequently remind you, the Pocketnow Weekly has never missed a week, and we'll be damned if it'll do so now. So despite the forthcoming reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S 5, Gear Fit, Gear 2, Oppo Find 7a, Nokia X, and the just-completed reviews of the ZENS Qi line, BlackBerry 10.2.1, and the Verizon HTC One M8, we're banding together behind microphones in three separate cities on two continents to bring you the news and editorials of a very busy week in mobile. ...

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    There’s something ineffable about using a BlackBerry in 2014. Some of it is pure nostalgia, the kind of unavoidable reminiscence that comes with using a device bearing a 15-year-old brand. But the bigger part is the software: BlackBerry 10 is a blend of old and new, a kind of hodgepodge of traditional successes alongside more exotic ideas that couldn’t flourish elsewhere. And while the company continues to suffer from carrier woes and a steady loss of market share, it’s by no means taking these punishments sitting down: its latest operating system update just recently cleared US ...

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    So you’re looking for a set of speakers a little beefier than what your smartphone’s packing out of the box. We've been down this road before, most notably with our unboxing of the monstrous JBL PowerUp dock that we bought to match our Nokia Lumia 920 back in 2012. But such big sound often requires big equipment: the PowerUp is a monster. And if you go for a smaller solution, you're often left dealing either with tangled-up cables or a speaker with a battery so small that it dies within a few hours. Truly, these are trying times for mobile audio (unless you own a phone with BoomSound, ...

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