Posts tagged with: Weekend Debate
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    Google is creating a wide array of products powered by Android. Phones and tablets are of course the big ones, but there are a number of other products Google is helping bring to market, including the category of wearables. Getting even more specific, as you have gleaned from the headline, I'm wondering about smartwatches. Smartwatches are leading the charge in the nascent category of wearables and are far and away the most popular wearable smart product on the market today. Where are they? But Google hasn't come out with its own smartwatch yet. Does that seem weird to anyone else? I mean ...

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    We’re in a rut, people. There’s not a lot you can say about that; there’s no real argument. Phones and tablets have gotten b-o-r-i-n-g. I held out hope with the Galaxy S6 Edge plus coming out, but it turns out it’s just a Galaxy S6 Edge that someone stuck a straw into and blew up a few puffs. I’m yawning just writing this sentence. Slab, slab, slab, slab, curvy slab, slab, slab. Bored yet? You wouldn’t be wrong. Putting the iPhone, Galaxy S6, LG G4, and HTC One M9 all on a table and you might think you’ve too many strawberry shots injected into your face (it’s alcohol, just ...

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    So there’s this thing on most smartphones. It’s a small thing, but it’s still a thing. It’s the power button. It has been on smartphones for as long as there have been smartphones. But does it really have to be? That’s what we’re here to talk about today. Right of the bat, you might be thinking, “It’s a power button. Who cares?” Well the thing is, I care. I care because I like optimizing the user experience, and I think we have moved – or are capable of moving – past the power button. It’s a relic of times past. Of course, an electronic device needs a power button. ...

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    It’s time to talk about a dirty word in apps – accounts. Never before has a single word ever inspired such passion in users and potential users of apps. Accounts. The very word makes one shiver. It seems like these days, accounts are everywhere. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what kind of app you’re using. It could be a game, a productivity app, or even something as simple as finding gas. Really, why does a gas price app ask me for an account every time I install it? Why do I need to give it my email address just so I can drive sixteen miles to save three cents per gallon on ...

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    When it's time to buy a new smartphone, you have a few options at your disposal – at least here in the United States. We have a few relatively unique options in our smartphone/carrier pricing options, so I thought it might be an interesting thought-experiment to take a look at those options and see what works for you folks. For the purposes of this article, imagine you have all of these options available to you wherever you are. Which would work best for you? Subsidized, contract pricing One of the older ways to purchase a cell phone was with the ol’ two-year contract. Basically you ...

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    This week, we’ll be attending a Motorola event in New York and it seems likely that we’ll be seeing the next Moto G, at least.  There may be other devices coming along with it, but we know the most about the Moto G because of some leaks that occurred over the last week.  This is interesting because the Moto G is really a fascinating phone in that it could be said that it made midrange phones “a thing”. But did midrange phones become a thing because of specifications or beauty? In the past, people bought midrange phones because, frankly, they couldn’t afford the flagships. But ...

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    Samsung hit a home run with its latest flagships – the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. You can read our review and review rebuttal if you don’t believe me, but there was one place where Samsung took one big step back in the design of the GS6 and GS 6 Edge – water proofing. The Galaxy S5 was waterproof bearing a 67 IP rating. The Galaxy S6, with its lack of memory card and non-removable battery does not get that same distinction. You would think it’d easier to waterproof a phone like that, but for whatever reason Samsung left it out. And it really shouldn’t have. All the protection ...

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    Consider for a moment that you hate how your phone looks. Or consider the very opposite – you love how it looks and you want it to look pristine until all the sands of time have fallen. Or consider you have a coupon. For whatever reason, you have disregarded all the designers and builders at your OEM of choice and you have decided to cover up your new beauty with..something. Well, let’s talk about those somethings. The case for the case Cases are one of the first things people think of when considering how to best protect their investment. Make no mistake; a phone is an investment. ...

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    OEMs are trying to find their place in this landscape. Some are more successful at this than others. But the one thing that many of these OEMs have in common is the fact that they’re all looking for that one magic bullet. That one thing that really sets them apart from others. Sometimes it’s building materials. Sometimes it’s software. Today, we’re talking about one such magic bullet – the curved screen phenomenon that we’ve seen of late. Curved screens have been somewhat elusive until recently for two real reasons. First, finding a durable material that could work being bent ...

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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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