Posts tagged with: Editorial
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    The Apple Watch has been on the market for a grand total of three days, and already reports of Apple Watch problems are rolling in. On the hardware side, probably the most visible Apple Watch problem thus far comes from noted YouTuber UnboxTherapy (of #bendgate fame), who took a variety of abrasive materials to two purported samples of the Apple Watch cover glass and found that the Ion-X material scratches more easily than expected. Granted, you're not going to be taking sandpaper to your smartwatch every day ever, but this does raise the question of just how well the Watch will fare ...

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    It wasn't that long ago that almost every mobile operating system (and variant thereof) was heavily stylized after tangible items that we come across every day. Notepads apps looked like legal pads, volume controls looked like dials and knobs, toggle buttons looked like switches, and so on. Pushing beyond just tangible "things", many OEMs incorporated skeuomorphic hints in their textures and backgrounds. Patterns modeled after stitching, denim, paper, and even fine leather could be found in our UIs. Skeuomorphism One of the main arguments for skeuomorphic design is the relative ease for ...

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    Phones have hit a bit of a lull of late. From a design perspective, you’ve got your candy bars and you’ve got...absolutely nothing else. Every flagship that comes out these days is a black slab phone, 4.7 – 6 inches in size with some kind of material/color on the back. Maybe it’s leather, maybe it’s metal, maybe it’s a pretty color. But for the most part, when you are toddling on down to the phone store looking for a flagship, you have a vision in your mind of what you’ll be looking at. Darwinian It’s that very vision that has driven smartphone design for years now. It’s ...

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    One of the neatest products on the market today is the ASUS PadFone. The PadFone is an interesting device in that it may solve a problem a lot of us have – which screen should I use? This is a question I deal with every day when I wonder what device I should use when I’m on the train, or at work, or at my desk at home. Ideally, I’d have one device that grew and shrank as I need it, or as the situation dictates. There isn’t one device that is ideal for all situations. People talk about tablets replacing laptops, or large phones supplanting tablets, but in reality each device is ...

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    The mobile world moves quickly – probably faster than just about any other industry in the world. New devices are announced on what feels like a weekly basis; perpetual software updates are hitting for the hundreds of mobile devices; one-off press events are always happening; and while phones seem to have a longer life span than they did back in, say 2010, they still become antiques in what feels like no time. Looking back, it's crazy to see how far the industry has come in less than a decade – from phones that (barely) handled email to pocket-sized computers that a increasingly ...

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    When I was a baby I had a blanket that my mother always covered me with when I slept. I ran my fingers over one corner until it was literally threadbare. Call it OCD or a sensory disorder, that habit apparently stuck with me. When my daily driver was a Nexus 4, with it's gently curved sides, I often found myself sweeping my thumb from side to side across the screen. Thankfully the Gorilla Glass 2 was harder than my baby blanket and didn't show a wear-mark from that habit. Most OEMs never adopted anything more than very slightly curved edges. Now, however, Samsung has brought back ...

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    Man, HTC, I just don’t know what to do with you. You try and redefine the industry with a new kind of camera, you fail, you try again with the same thing, you fail, and then you re-join the mainstream and you fail at that. Just what the actual heck, HTC? Maybe we need to take a step back and look at how we arrived here. History Two years ago, HTC designed and released one of the most beautiful phones to ever grace a hand. The HTC One, later known as the HTC One M7, was a gorgeous piece of hardware, but then HTC dropped the bomb on us in the form of a four ultrapixel camera. "What?! Four ...

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    Over the years since smartphones became a "thing", specifications have been on a continual march upward. Processors have gotten faster (from megahertz in the hundreds to gigahertz in the plural), they've also added cores (with quad- and even octa-cores being commonplace). RAM has increased from a few dozen MB to a few GB. Storage has increased. Data speeds are through the roof! One area that hasn't seen much improvement over the years is battery capacity. Though battery capacities may still be lagging, OEMs are doing the next best thing: decreasing our charge times. I'm Joe Levi with ...

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    When Google showed off its vision for Material Design at Google I/O last year, it was a refreshing UI overhaul, the biggest change to the core aesthetics of Android since 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. With its vision, Google promised a refreshing new way of looking at the user experience. Dynamic and vibrant, with its bold use of colors and seamless transition animations, Android would finally be “beautiful and delightful”. Now, a few months down the road, Android Lollipop has been released, and with it came Material Design. It was new, it was refreshing, with its pretty animations and its ...

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    HTC can never seem to catch a break when it comes to the cameras in their smartphones. They’ve tried large pixels, they’ve tried many pixels, they’ve tried the strange dual sensor setup from the One M8… If nothing else, you have to give them participation points. But no matter what HTC does, the end result is always the same: subpar performance that falls short of the competition. A lot of people, myself included, have learned to accept that fact, and continue to buy HTC phones anyway for their outstanding build quality, BoomSound speakers, and so on. But if you look around at the ...

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    The iPad is easily the most popular tablet series on the market. I have an iPad mini with Retina display, and there’s a good chance you probably have an iPad too. It’s not hard to imagine why; just like the iPhone, the iPad is elegant, beautifully designed, and dead simple to use. The app ecosystem is best in class, and there’s a ton of third party accessories, from cases to keyboards to docks and so much more. A lot of this is thanks to Apple’s huge status in the industry. Of course there are accessories, of course there are apps. Who wouldn’t want to get in on the best-selling ...

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    After spending some time in Singapore with the Oppo N3 a few months ago, I won't deny that I was really interested in taking the device for a spin. Smartphone designs have become dull lately, with predictable camera setups and the usual controls. For that reason alone, it's hard for our inner geek to not be excited about something as unique as the motorized camera on Oppo's N3, where you no longer have to compromise a selfie to a less-powerful camera, or a panorama to a pair of shaky hands. After spending nearly a month the the Oppo N3 and its camera, here are some thoughts about its ...

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    I’m not a fan of cases. This is a pretty well documented fact. Putting a case on a phone is a waste of millions of R&D dollars. Sure you’re protecting your investment, but a phone is not an investment – at least not the kind of investment that you can expect a return from. All things being equal, a phone shouldn’t have to be all that protected. It’s meant to be in your pocket or in your hand. Butter fingers aside, those should be relatively damage free environments. Watches on the other hand are a different matter. Those devices are meant to be strapped onto the outside of ...

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    Up until recently I was very much of the opinion that HTC made beautiful phones and Samsung - to put it mildly - didn't. With the release of the Galaxy S6, that opinion is shifting. Sure, HTC still makes beautiful hardware (both aesthetically and functionally), but when we're talking about Android, Samsung is the uncontested leader, leaving all other OEMs to fight for light in its ever-expanding shadow. How can HTC escape? Copycat First we've got to admit that Samsung is a copycat. Apple is the leader in mobile design. Yes, I know, I'm "Joe the Android Guy", but even I can see that much is ...

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    The 2015 international auto show is going on this month in New York City and we took a look at a good number of the in-car computer set ups. Many were not fully functional and some of the booth staff members didn't want to give us full demonstrations, but we got a pretty good idea of how many of them worked. First of all, the graphic interface designs, functions, and controls are vastly different on all of them. Even different cars by the same manufacturers have different in-car computers. It's an awful mess... almost like what smartphones were like in the last decade. Remember how many ...

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    The mobile world moves quickly – probably faster than just about any other industry in the world. New devices are announced on what feels like a weekly basis; perpetual software updates are hitting for the hundreds of mobile devices; one-off press events are always happening; and while phones seem to have a longer life span than they did back in, say 2010, they still become antiques in what feels like no time. Looking back, it's crazy to see how far the industry has come in less than a decade – from phones that (barely) handled email to pocket-sized computers that a increasingly ...

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    Flagships are a way for OEMs to show off their latest and greatest technologies and prove,once and for all, they are king of the hill - for a little while anyway. Today HTC has the One M9 and Samsung has the Galaxy S6. Both are powerhouses in their own right, but the LG G4 could eclipse each of them. Looking at the specifications, the three top-tier phones all seem to be pretty closely matched. HTC and Samsung opt for 4 x 4 processor configurations with the LG G4 employing a six-core solution. RAM is the same across the board. LG and Samsung have screens with the same resolution, but LG ...

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    Back in September, Tim Cook had something special to show off. The Apple Watch, featuring Apple Pay, a whole new app launcher, and the special “Imma watch you die” heartbeat sensor. It was small, it lasted a whole day, and it was coming…soon. Then, in October, “Wow! There it is again!” It’s small, it comes in a crap load of options and styles, and you can still watch your loved ones die. And it’s coming…soon. After that, there was a whole lotta nothing, presumably because they were ramping up the ol’ factories to get these babies going. Finally, in March we saw a whole ...

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    In life, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Similarly, despite the app stores being full of them, there's no such thing as a "free app", either. To explain what I mean, let's define some terms and some roles. "Free", in this sense, means "without cost or payment". Basically, if you don't have to open your wallet and fork over any hard-earned cash, it's "free" to you. However, that doesn't mean that it's "free", meaning unimpeded.  The first role is probably the one that you, dear reader, most closely align with yourself: a user. The second role likely applies to a smaller subset of ...

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    HTC makes great flagship phones, the most recent of which is the One M9... or is it? Not long after the One M9 was released, we learned of the One M9 Plus. One the surface, there aren't a lot of differences. The "Plus" has a round camera compared to the "One's" rounded square, but the Plus has a fingerprint scanning "button" (that isn't really a button at all). Inside, however, is a different story. Screen As you might have inferred from the name, the One M9+ has a larger screen. Measured diagonally it's 5.2-inches, compared to the One M9's 5.0-inch display. In other devices, increasing ...

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    Back in February we took a look at the first preview release of Windows 10 for phones and deemed it to be quite a mess.  Mostly we had to forgive Microsoft for the awful design, inconsistencies, usability problems, and lack of features because it was an early preview release and they're still working on it.  Well, if you thought that was bad, wait until you see the latest version that was just released on April 10th!  (You can read about the known issues in Microsoft's blog.) Again, it's a preview release so we have to give some forgiveness for the unfinished state still, but things are ...

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    Apple has a funny history of being incredibly strict when it comes to design and options. Two years ago the iPhone 5c came in its fun candy shell, featured five different colors. This was a great leap forward in the evolution of Apple design. Before the iPhone 5c, the iPhone pretty much came in black or white, or occasionally (and horribly) gold. So if you were looking to accessorize after Labor Day, you better hope you have the black one. But now, the iPhone 5c seems to have opened the floodgates as it were because now with the Apple Watch, the sky is the limit when it comes to choices. ...

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    I never thought that I would actually say that. Innovation in the realm of USB cables doesn't really seem possible. Sure, around the turn of the century there were some retractable Micro USB cables that had nice spring-loaded cylinders that would automatically wrap up the wire for easy storing. That was pretty nice.  But look at what Plantronics did for their just-released Explorer 500 Bluetooth headset!  Sure the Bluetooth headset is pretty nice. It's got HD voice, multilingual English, French or Spanish notifications, smartphone speech interface access, and noise/wind cancellation ...

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    Today is the big day! Apple Watch is finally available - sort of. Apple's website is open for pre-orders, but the soonest you can hope to see your shiny, new smartwatch will be four to six weeks from now. Most options will ship in June, but we're already seeing some dates in July pop up. In the meantime, Motorola's Moto 360 is now available on Amazon for as little as US$179 with Prime shipping. Sure, that doesn't mean a thing for every Apple user in the world - Android Wear isn't compatible with iOS (or the other way around, depending on your perspective). However, that could be ...

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    The mobile world moves quickly – probably faster than just about any other industry in the world. New devices are announced on what feels like a weekly basis; perpetual software updates are hitting for the hundreds of mobile devices; one-off press events are always happening; and while phones seem to have a longer life span than they did back in, say 2010, they still become antiques in what feels like no time. Looking back, it's crazy to see how far the industry has come in less than a decade – from phones that (barely) handled email to pocket-sized computers that a increasingly ...

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