Posts tagged with: Weekend Debate
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    I suppose it was inevitable. I mean, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold out for too long. I thought I’d last longer, but I hear that’s common in tech reviewers my age. But here I am, finally. I may as well just accept it. I’m using two consecutive phones with biometric unlock capability. What did you think I was talking about? Anyway. I picked up an iPhone 6 plus for another work-related experiment. The iPhone 6 Plus, of course, features Touch ID, arguably the gold standard of fingerprint unlock in the smartphone space. Before that (and after), I was using the Samsung Galaxy S6 ...

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    At WWDC, Apple introduced a host of new features to iOS 9, including its new Proactive feature. This is a very Google Now-like service that will give contextually aware reminders, take actions without prompting, anticipate what you want, etc. This is all a really nice upgrade for the iOS experience. And if Apple had left it at that, this article would not exist. It's your data But Apple was quick to point out that unlike some other personal assistants out there, Apple’s does everything on device and there is absolutely no access to your personal data. What happens on the phone, stays on ...

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    The other day, I wrote about midrange phones, and their cameras. Specifically, I cited how average and generally not-worth-writing-home-about they were. While I still think there is a market there, a possible solution occurred to me – get a flagship…from last year! That way I could have the latest and greatest cameras from a year ago, which were pretty good, but still manage a midrange price. It was so crazy it just might work. Yesterday's power After all, flagships from last year include the Samsung Galaxy S5, the iPhone 5s, the HTC One M8, and the LG G3. All of these had pretty good ...

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    At Google I/O, a virtual standing ovation erupted from the crowd when Google announced that Android M would include a user’s ability to determine their own app permissions. ZOMG! Woot! This has been a long-requested feature that as actually been available in some Android builds, most notably the Blackphone. Finally, users will be able to decide just what an app will be allowed to do and what it can’t do. You do you After all, it’s your phone. Why shouldn’t you be able to control what it does and does not do. If you’re an Android fan, you are no stranger to customization and ...

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    The life of a reviewer, reporter, blogger (whatever you want to call us) is a hard one, riddled with tribulations and hardship. Ok, who am I kidding? It’s pretty awesome. We get to play with toys aplenty, from watches, to tablets, to phones, and sometimes even some other peripheral devices. HTC Vive anyone? Sometimes, we get to play with devices that cross platforms. Others of us are focused more on one platform above all others. We write, we video, we have some fun. I’m a Windows Phone fan, but these days I’m toting around a OnePlus One. But in the interest of expanding my horizons ...

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    Yesterday, I got off on a little rant about Continuum and specifically the fact that it’ll be missing on older hardware. This is due to hardware limitations in the devices themselves and that in and of itself is understandable. But then I started thinking about Continuum and just how useful it really was. It's all in the brains Using your phone as the brains of a “computer” is something I’ve wanted for some time now. Back in the webOS days, HP teased that kind of functionality. Then it died Later on, the Ubuntu Edge promised the same functionality. Then it died. Now, Windows 10 ...

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    Smartwatches are here. Smartwatches are now. Smartwatches are everywhere. Actually, they’re not everywhere, really. Not yet. But some day, they might be. We have to wonder how pervasive these devices are going to be and if there is one thing that might prevent them from being truly ubiquitous – compatibility. Smartwatches are new ground here, and different smartwatches are taking different approaches to the smart phones that power them. Mine! On one side of the spectrum, you have smartwatches by Samsung. These Tizen-powered devices only work with a certain kind of smartphone. Not only ...

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    You know? I was willing to let it slide when just one OEM was doing it, but now that it seems to be becoming a trend, maybe it’s time to say something. A lot of us are obsessed with the design and build quality of modern smartphones, and we’re becoming more and more aware of the materials that our phones are built out of. There is such a call out there for metal, aluminum (or al-you-min-e-yum, if you’re pretentious) or even more exotic (for a smartphone) materials – leather, bamboo, and the like. And introducing... Motorola made a splash when it announced Moto Maker. Specifically, ...

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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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    Samsung shifted its position on a pretty critical and polarizing issue recently. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge both came without two of the things it had always bragged about in the past – removable battery and expandable storage via microSD card. This was a major departure from previous iterations of the devices and it has caused quite a stir. After all, these were two trademarks that set Samsung devices apart from a number of other flagships. HTC, often referred to as the first alternative to Samsung, has shunned both the battery and memory card swapping crowds for years now. Other ...

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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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    Much like the Pocketnow Weekly, of which Michael Fisher likes to brag that they have “never missed a week” so too can the Weekend Debate claim this similar, although far shorter claim. So it’s Easter Sunday (for some) and here the Weekend Debate carries on! This weekend, the Weekend Debate is taking on a slightly different tone. Normally, I write in and provide both sides of an issue and let you debate in the comments which is the correct side. Not so much this weekend. Because to my eyes, something really bad has happened to a great concept, and I just cannot fathom why. So I’m ...

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    The news has dropped, the review is out, so let’s take a long hard look at this smartphone that HTC is calling its flagship and find out if HTC hit a home run, or a lazy fly to the shortstop. On the one hand, the HTC One M9 does bring some new specifications in the same gorgeous package as its predecessors. Without a doubt, the Snapdragon 810 processor is a step up over the One M8’s Snapdragon 801. Add to that Android Lollipop, an extra gig of RAM and a bigger battery and this is a decent spec bump over its predecessor. Smarter smartphones HTC is also trying to get smarter about its ...

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    Last weekend on the debate, we examined the price of the Apple Watch. The cheapest Apple watch came in at 33% greater than the most expensive competition, the Pebble Time Steel. Whether or not the price is too high isn’t the question this week. What we’re going to examine this week is whether or not the Apple Watch price will help or hinder the platform in general. After that, I promise we won't talk about money. Here’s the part where I say that pricing for all of these devices varies by region, so we’re going to concentrate of US pricing for the sake of consistency. Consider for a ...

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    It wasn’t really a surprise. I mean, Tim Cook announced pricing on the Apple Watch months ago. Maybe we were all just hoping for a “Gotcha!” after he said it. Maybe we’d hoped he’d just seen the light. But sure enough, during the Apple Watch event, we got reminded of the price of the Apple Watch. It came in at just a hair over half the price of an iPhone. But the thing is, that’s where the price starts. $349 is for the very base model. The Apple Watch comes in a variety of styles that goes all the way up to seventeen-holy-crap-thousand-yes-I-said-thousand dollars. For ...

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    MWC has come and gone and we saw a number of really great products coming out of Barcelona. A couple of those products really broke the mold when it comes to “traditional products.” Those products were, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the HTC Vive. Neither of these products are necessarily “new”, per se. Both are iterations of recent innovations. The Note Edge came out last fall. The S6 Edge builds on that theme. It is similar at least so there’s not a whole lot of new ground being broken here. But, it is still relatively new territory. Similarly the HTC Vive isn’t all that new ...

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    I love weird phones. This isn’t really a secret. I’ve had a parade of weird phones march across my desk for the past eight months. Now, the Galaxy S6 Edge is official. Another weird phone has come to the masses! The phones themselves were shaped weird, worked in a weird way, or were just weird to use (by societal standards). I’ve become something of a weird aficionado. I love weird phones. But here’s the thing. The very fact that they’re weird begs the question – why make weird phones? From a strictly bottom line standpoint, weird phones are money suckers. They take a ton of ...

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    MWC is the largest mobile electronics show of the season. From around the globe vendors, OEMs, and carriers unite in Barcelona for a week filled with toys and gadgets that make sites like these downright giddy with excitement. It’s like Christmas and Opening Day rolled into one. There’s hope and anticipation hanging in the air. And right in the middle of it, two Android powerhouses square off and deliver an epic one-two punch to the mobile industry. Samsung stands unrivaled in market share around the world, but has found that stranglehold slipping of late. HTC is the plucky upstart – ...

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    Microsoft introduced its brand new developer preview of Windows 10 to the eager masses last week. Well, it delivered it to some of the eager masses last week. To the rest of the eager masses, there was a giant shoulder shrug emanating out of Redmond. So it made us wonder – what is with Microsoft and its failure to smoothly launch Windows software? Some have argued that Microsoft’s Windows 10 Preview launch is not going all that well, so far. Stephen Schenck wondered this aloud on his latest “Dial ‘F’ for Fail” segment of the latest Pocketnow Weekly. He laid out some excellent ...

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    Once a few years ago, my wife and I were sitting on the couch, and a commercial came on. In it were a few scenarios where a user would activate Siri and do…whatever. When the commercial was over, my wife turned to me and said, “That makes me want to get an iPhone.” More recently, Google has been running a series of “OK, Google” commercials in which people are asking Google to do various things, or look things up. On the Windows Phone side of things, Joe Belfiore has an unabashed love affair going on with Cortana. So it made me wonder, are digital assistants really the way to sell ...

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    App developers have an important question to ask themselves. That question is simply – for whom do I develop? The answer is not necessarily all that simple. The evidence seems to suggest that you need to develop for iOS first, Android second, and Windows Phone if you have the resources. But is it that cut and dried? I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look at some strategies here and see where we all end up. iOS flavors iOS is not necessarily the easy answer. Why? Well, because you have two very distinct screen sizes to work with – iPhone and iPad. Lately, you even have two sizes of ...

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    This past week, we got to see a bit of what Microsoft was planning for Windows Phone. Microsoft even checked off a few items on our wish list, which we appreciated. One other little nugget that Microsoft dropped on us was that new flagship hardware was coming.  There were few real details about from whom, or when. It was just an “oh by the way” on the way out the door. Perhaps we will see Microsoft focus on flagships for a while. This is great news! One of the reasons tech people (myself included) have been walking away from the platform is because of that very lack of high-end ...

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    A lot needs to go into smartphone design. It frankly takes a lot of design and brainpower to pack all the stuff into a super slim case and still make it beautiful. So when some features like selfie flashes start to become a thing, phone OEMs start needing to make some calls. Of course, selfie flashes are the meat of this article because of Lenovo’s recent CES offering – the Vibe Extension selfie flash. This battery-operated accessory is small, fits in your pocket, and plugs into the headphone jack on your phone. It’s a great solution to a problem many phones have – no flash on the ...

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    Last week at CES, we got some exciting news. Palm is coming back, and this time, it means war! Ok, that’s not the exact message that was being broadcast, but still Palm is coming back. Who, you might wonder, is the patron of our beloved lost OEM? TCL Communications, a Chinese OEM who also holds Alcatel Onetouch, that’s who. Palm, it seems will be the high-end hardware to compliment the mid to low-end phones brought to you by Alcatel Onetouch. So this is great news right? Palm is back! Well… Expectations First of all, if you’re expecting webOS, stop it – it’s not happening. TCL ...

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    There has been a lot of talk of late about phones that can have different operating systems on them. In most cases, these different operating systems are put on by the manufacturer and purchased as a Windows Phone, or an Android Phone, or in some, extremely rare cases, a Firefix Phone. But that has naturally brought up the idea of a user running multiple platforms on a single device. To clarify, this debate is not about whether an OEM should build a phone that could support multiple OS’s, much like some editorials have suggested of HTC. That just makes business sense. If you can have the ...

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