Phandroid » Opinion http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:00:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Motorola’s Shamu, the first Nexus phone I do not want [Opinion] http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/motorola-shamu-nexus-6-do-not-want/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/motorola-shamu-nexus-6-do-not-want/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 00:24:49 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145753 Nexus-Shamu

When you own a Nexus device, you get a few perks for being backed by El Goog. Nexus means your device will be developer friendly with an unlockable bootloader, have supported AOSP code, precompiled binaries for certain pieces of hardware, and of course factory images in case you happen to tinker a bit too hard. You’ll also be privy to the latest and greatest versions of Android, with timely updates. Last and certainly not least, Nexus devices also set a standard for the entire Android ecosystem in not only software, but hardware too.

The Information apparently has three difference sources confirming the existence of Motorola “Shamu,” which is rumored to be the Nexus 6. Why Shamu? Well, besides aligning with Google’s fishy device codenames, it’s apparently a whale of a phone, literally. 5.9 inches to be exact.

That’s just insane. I might be a self proclaimed Android fanboy, but holy hell. I do not want something that big. I might live and breathe Nexus and Android, however I’m saddened to say that this might be the first Nexus phone that I won’t salivate over or end up buying. It’s just too damn big to comfortably use.

For example, the Oppo Find 7 and OnePlus One are just great phones when it comes to hardware specs and software like CyanogenMod. But, no matter how great the hardware and software combinations are for these phones, the sheer size of these devices with their 5.5 inch displays are one of their downfalls. Having to move the phone up and down in your hand like some one handed kung-fu move just to reach the top and bottom of the phone is something I just do not want to experience day in and day out.

Sure, you can argue that Nexus isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that Google should further alienate the brand. While large screened phones also known as phablets (I hate that word) are becoming more and more prevalent, that does’t mean the reference device for Android should embrace their size as a standard, setting the stage for devices to continually grow larger and larger.

Who knows? Maybe Android Silver isn’t dead and this is Google’s way to ween people away from the Nexus program by launching a less than desirable device? Maybe Android L will launch with even more hands-free actions allowing smartphone users to accomplish more without even having to touch their massive screened device. At this point until we hear the good word from Google, anything is possible.

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Has Google’s reputation turned sour? http://phandroid.com/2014/05/19/google-youtube-twitch-reputation/ http://phandroid.com/2014/05/19/google-youtube-twitch-reputation/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 20:13:09 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=140934 google sour

Don’t be evil.

That is the (unofficial) slogan that first helped Google become such a beloved company. They exploded onto the scene with a search engine that was simple to use and blew our minds with results. Then they started giving away great products like Gmail, Docs, and of course Android, for free. There was a time when Google could do no wrong, but fast forward to today and a growing amount of consumers don’t believe that famous slogan to be true anymore. What changed?

This sentiment was perfectly demonstrated over the weekend when the rumor that YouTube (Google) is interested in buying Twitch.tv surfaced. The news was met with negative reactions by a large portion of the internet, especially the gaming community. #RIPTwitch was trending on Twitter quickly after the news broke. Threads on Reddit were filled with complaints, disappointment, and this gif. The most remarkable thing about all of these reactions is how different they would have been just a couple of years ago.

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YouTube is the best example. In the beginning people seemed to love everything Google did with YouTube. However, in the past few years many people have started getting upset with the changes Google has implemented. Things like the Google+ comment system are still being complained about today. Which is exactly why some people are so worried about Twitch. Google’s once shining reputation has turned sour as consumers fear they will ruin their favorite services.

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Google+ alone is a major point of contention among many consumers. When the social network was brand new and invite-only there was a lot of excitement. But the more Google has pushed it the more consumers have pushed back. For many internet users the first time they saw Google+ was when they needed to sign up to continue using YouTube. That’s not a good first impression. Unfortunately, this social network has turned into an arch nemesis for a lot of internet users.

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Last year Google’s VP of Corporate Development said a third of their acquisitions end up failing. This is obviously the worst case scenario in the minds of Twitch users. A few notable Google products that have been shut down include Picnik, Aardvark, Dodgeball, Google Reader, Wave, and Buzz. Not all of these services were acquisitions, but it goes to show how unafraid Google is to shut down a service. Obviously users of Twitch don’t want that to happen.

Another reason that many consumers are wary of Google is how much of the internet they own. A user on Reddit had this to say:

“Google will control the largest video sharing service, the largest video streaming service, the largest e-mail service, a large social network service, 50% of the smart-phone market and is now even providing your internet – yet no one, including the government seems to care.”

They didn’t even mention the fact that most people use Google Search to find information, Google Maps to navigate, they access the internet with Google Chrome, Google Glass can see everything they see, and their car may soon be controlled with Google technology. When one company owns so many popular services it makes people nervous. Just look at what happened to Microsoft in the 90′s. They were accused of creating a monopoly in web browsers by bundling IE with every version of Windows. Anyone that owns a Nexus device or Chromebook will see the similarities. Microsoft is still fighting the negative reputation it earned during that era. Could Google be on a similar path?

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Something else that has changed their reputation is just the sheer size of the company. It’s easy to love an upstart  that tries a bunch of crazy things and disrupts industries. They are seen as the anti-corporation. Eventually every successful company becomes a giant. Now that Google has become such a worldwide powerhouse they are no different from the likes of Microsoft, IBM, and Apple in the eyes of many people. Google will continue to battle this as they get bigger and bigger. The question will be how do they respond? It’s hard to be cool forever.

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What do you think? Has Google’s reputation turned sour? Do you find that more people are afraid of Google than ever before? What do you think has caused this? Is Google+ to blame? Do you feel the same way?

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Annoying Comcast ad brags about their stance on Net Neutrality http://phandroid.com/2014/05/12/comcast-time-warner-ad-net-neutrality/ http://phandroid.com/2014/05/12/comcast-time-warner-ad-net-neutrality/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 16:00:58 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=140442 There aren’t many things I hate more than misleading advertisements. Flip through the print edition of the Wall Street Journal today and you’ll see one such ad from Comcast and Time Warner.

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The ad is posed as a multiple choice question listing 4 potential benefits from the proposed Comcast and Time Warner merger. It leads with “Net Neutrality Protection” but of course  has “All Of The Above” selected, suggesting the merger will also create faster, more secure, more reliable, and more readily available internet for its customers.

Comcast leading with Net Neutrality is laughable, but unfortunately, Net Neutrality isn’t a laughing matter.

Ever wonder why Netflix used to be so slow on Comcast? It’s because Netflix hadn’t yet started paying Comcast for preferential treatment to ensure better speeds for its customers. The idea that Internet Service Providers like Comcast can pick and choose which sites and services get good speeds and which get worse speeds is what the entire net neutrality debate hinges upon. Yet they’ve created an entire site to spout about their dedication to net neutrality.

“There has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet than Comcast.”

Yeah and Donald Sterling is the next Gandhi.

Technically speaking, Comcast does support Net Neutrality… but only because the current proposed version of Net Neutrality laws are in direct conflict with the spirit of a free and open Internet. Comcast supports the version of Net Neutrality where things aren’t neutral because they can sell preferred access to specific companies. So by my measure there are at least 150 companies that have a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet.

So how can Comcast stoop so low as to masquerade the net neutrality buzzword around like a crown jewel achievement when most people think a merger with Time Warner will be a disaster for users and severe blow to net neutrality? Where do they derive the gusto to promote participation in a movement when they’re widely considered the number one threat to that movement’s success?

In an open letter to the FCC, a long list of powerhouse tech companies shunned a proposal to legally allow for Internet “Fast Lanes”. Signed by the likes of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and 147 others, here’s a snippet of what they had to say:

According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them. If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet.

As you’ll notice, Comcast isn’t among those that signed. That’s because they’re among the Internet Service Providers who would (and do) charge tolls. They stand to make huge profits by charging companies like Netflix extra to ensure Netflix streaming videos load quick enough through Comcast’s bandwidth. You can bet those costs will be passed onto the consumer, so don’t blame Netflix if subscription hikes come soon- blame Comcast and the FCC.

If Comcast and the FCC have their way, it could prove to be a complete disaster for the Internet. It could be the start of something much bigger. We’re putting our toes on the tippy top of a slippery slope with an Internet iceberg underneath.

This Comcast advertisement is maddening, because in my mind, it couldn’t be more misleading. Or maybe they’re just delusional. This is the type of smoke and mirror advertising typically reserved for presidential campaigns, so disturbingly filled with BS propaganda that it makes me lack faith in humanity. It makes me loathe whoever schemed up these ads in some thought polluted, idiot filled backroom. It makes me more desperately crave Google Fiber.

But most of all… it makes me want to cancel my Comcast service.

[Thanks Tokugawa!]

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Google is creating their own Android experience to showcase their Googly UI [Rumor] http://phandroid.com/2014/05/09/google-experience-android-silver/ http://phandroid.com/2014/05/09/google-experience-android-silver/#comments Sat, 10 May 2014 02:12:25 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=140389 Google_Now_Launcher_Large_IconUntil very recently, Google’s Nexus line and Google Play edition devices have been “pure” Android, running mostly code directly out of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). With the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat and the Nexus 5, we began to see Google’s version of Android emerge thanks to the likes of the Google Dialer and Google Now Launcher. These applications launched a Google Experience for Nexus devices, laying the framework for how Google envisions their version of Android. Now, new design rumors have appeared that clearly show Google wants to put their own experience on top of Android, similar to what HTC is doing with Sense or what Samsung is doing with TouchWiz.

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With the Android Open Source Project, hardware and software partners from around the world collaboratively work on Android’s open source code. This code is then made available for hardware partners to use as they see fit. They can choose to work with Google and use Google Play Services, or they can go their own way like Nokia or Amazon.

Going the Google route means you’re going to use Google’s services, but you’re free to use your own services too. OEMs then customize Android to their own liking, promoting their own services and creating their own unique experience – and ultimately reaping all of the benefits while they build customer relationships on top of Google’s handiwork. Samsung is probably the worst offender.

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This is where the problem begins. I won’t even get into the fragmentation of applications and services issue that splits and segregates users around the Android platform because of this methodology. More importantly, Google is devoted to promoting their software experience by leveraging their array of cloud services. Up until now, Android has been Google’s platform for doing so. However, it seems we’re beginning to see a transition where Google is acting just like other OEMs and creating their own experience on top of Android.

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This is where those Android Silver rumors come into play I believe. Google needs to demonstrate how beneficial the entire Google Experience can be for users in a big way so that they continue to buy into the ecosystem. Google has to provide a robust enough out of box experience to convince handset makers that customers want the full Google package. The more customers that want to experience Android the Google way equates to more hardware sales – something handset makers can get behind. For Android Silver to succeed, the Google Experience needs to differ greatly from Sense, TouchWiz, and other OEM UIs.

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As with all rumors this size, it’s good to note that not all of these design implementations are guaranteed to make it into a final public release. At this time, Android Police is reporting that Google is working on breaking search out of it’s shell, having a revamped Recents menu, a new Notification shade, a drastically changed Home Screen launcher experience, and even Widgets could see a major usage change.  If these rumors hold true, we could be on the midst of a very defining announcement in the near future. Not only will Google be pushing the full Google Experience, but they could just be using Android Silver to do it.

Maybe the first Google Experience device will launch at Google IO in June on a brand new HTC manufactured tablet? In the meantime, let us know what you think about Google’s new direction in the comments.

Source: Android Police 1, 2

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250 miles with the Galaxy S5 http://phandroid.com/2014/04/30/bike-touring-with-the-galaxy-s5/ http://phandroid.com/2014/04/30/bike-touring-with-the-galaxy-s5/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 17:15:21 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=139407 20140425_155516

The rain begins soaking through my poncho as I zip along the muddy towpath skirting the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. I’ve come 100 miles by bike through the mountains of western Maryland and still have 30 more to go before setting up camp for the night. For a moment there is a sinking feeling in my gut as I remember I forgot to stow my phone, which is now wrapped tight in the heavy, waterlogged fabric of my cycling jersey. Then I remember that phone is a Galaxy S5.

Stopping for a moment to assess the situation and check that the rest of the gear — the sleeping bags and hammocks, the clothes, the food — is staying dry, I pull out the phone to snap a few pictures. It’s waterproof, after all. To prove the point to my riding partner I throw the phone in a deep puddle. I pick it up, wipe the mud off on my leg, and place the phone back into my pocket. Determining that our situation is unlikely to improve over the course of the next several miles, we do the only logical thing and crack open a beer.

Touring with the Galaxy S5

Our final route would cover nearly 250 miles from the valley housing Deep Creek Lake near the western boundaries of Maryland to the tidewaters of Baltimore. The four day cycling tour would be no walk in the park as we camped each night with the minimal amount of equipment we could stuff into the panniers hung from the backs of our bikes, pumped water from wells leeching their contents from the nearby Potomac River, and followed along a route that led us out of the comfortable confines of 4G LTE service into a world of cellular dead zones. And throughout it all, the Galaxy S5 might just have been the most important tool I brought along.

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Full disclosure: I had brought along a secondary phone — an iPhone — but the device saw little use. I also carried an Incipio portable battery pack with a solid 6000mAh of extra charge in case I needed it. But given that packing light was key so as to avoid the pain of dragging 100 pounds of bike and gear up steep mountain inclines, I had to keep a limit on the sorts of technology I brought along. In hindsight, the Galaxy S5 was probably all I needed, no extra phone or battery pack necessary.

This is not to say the S5 was perfect, and I wasn’t necessarily using the phone in the traditional sense — my glowing endorsement really only concerns its use as a GPS device and camera — but I really could have had no better companion for the trip. That’s if you don’t count my riding companion Lee Cumberland. You can catch a glimpse of the full ride as captured via GoPro and the Galaxy S5 over at his S/V Satori blog.

When it rains it pours

Most of the Galaxy S5 coverage we have seen to this point lauds the device for its IP67 certification. The phone’s resistance to dust and water has for the most part, however, only been demonstrated in very controlled settings. While it’s great to know we can drop the phone in a bowl of water or a toilet without fear, I would not call this a typical situation. I was able to put the phone through the paces in conditions that many folks would be much more likely to find themselves in.

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The first day of riding on the C&O Canal towpath, an unpaved surface of packed dirt and loose gravel, saw no shortage of dust kicked up around the GS5. A major storm system would turn that dry and dusty path into a mess of mud by the next day, and the ensuing storm would soak us to the bone as we toughed it out to keep on schedule. No, this was not a test immersing the Galaxy S5 in a few inches of standing water. This was actively using the phone to navigate and track progress with no qualms about keeping it out of the damp and dirty conditions.

While the water protection was ace, that is not to say the Galaxy S5 was the most accommodating device to use in wet conditions. While damage was not an issue, water build up on the phone’s touchscreen made navigating the user interface impossible at times, and caused some issues when trying to snap off a few quick shots. This is not necessarily a flaw inherent to the Galaxy S5 itself — water would interfere with the accuracy of any capacitive touchscreen — but it does draw a distinction between “safe from water damage” and “usable in wet conditions.” Wiping off the display provided a quick remedy, but in a torrential downpour it wasn’t staying dry for long.

Still, the peace of mind that the Galaxy S5 could survive the rugged nature of the journey is a testament to its design. I did not go easy on the phone, nor did mother nature, but it made it back in one piece and no worse for the wear.

That camera, though

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Perhaps even more impressive than the device’s resistance to water and dust damage was the performance of its camera. The phone was always on hand and I used it to document the journey, snapping a few quick photos here and there as we rode along. Without thinking too hard about the photos or even messing much with the Galaxy S5’s modes and shooting settings, I was able to capture some pretty nice shots. All the photos you see in this post were taken with the phone.

The Galaxy S5 definitely does wonders in the sun. Give that 13MP camera ample natural light and you might just impress yourself with how good a photo you are able to capture. When the clouds rolled in the story wasn’t quite the same, but image quality remained impressive.

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Nearly everyone I have shown the photos since my return has made a comment along the lines of “that phone takes some pretty nice pictures.” And it does. My secondary iPhone might have done a a decent job itself in capturing photos, but the Galaxy S5 made sure that other handset stayed buried deep in my bag.

Battery life for days

Eight hours of GPS tracking per day, constantly connecting and disconnecting from cell towers while searching for a signal and moving in and out of roaming — these are just a few of the pitfalls that the Galaxy S5 had to face over the course of four long days traveling away from the comfort of an easily accessible wall outlet. Despite a life on the road that would test the limits of any phone’s battery, I never had to worry about keeping the Galaxy S5 powered.

After two days of use with a little over 30 percent left on the phone’s battery I gave it a quick recharge via my Incipio offGRID battery pack. I can’t say enough for that little device either. In an extremely portable and rugged-in-its-own-right package, the offGRID provided 6000mAh of backup juice (enough to get about two full charges of the GS5’s 2800mAh battery) with two USB ports providing 3.1 amps of charging power. Charge times were quick, and they needed to be. The trail waits for no one and we were constantly on the move.

But even without the Incipio battery pack I feel confident the GS5 could have made it to four full days of use had I worked the battery more efficiently, powering down when possible and limiting connectivity to avoid wasting power searching for data networks and downloading emails. If needed, the Galaxy’s Ultra Power Saving mode could have easily kept me connected for the duration had my battery waned to below 10 percent.

The struggle is real

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Riding hundreds of miles over four days is no easy task. Being the smartphone that tags along can be equally grueling. While the GS5 did its job and more, there were some areas where the device still fell short.

For starters, forget S Health. I didn’t bother using the pre-installed app to track the ride due to its extreme limitations. S Health is probably nice for the casual user that wants to track steps or a couple runs or shorter bike rides per week, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Strava, my default app for recording and analyzing my cycling activity.

The Galaxy S5 is also rather bulky and difficult to use with one hand. Opting to ride without a handlebar mount for the phone, removing the GS5 from my back pocket in order to check a map or take a photo typically meant coming to a complete stop. Not that it’s recommended to operate a bicycle with one hand and a smartphone simultaneously with the other, but the Galaxy S5 makes the task highly impractical.

With all the praise being heaped on the Galaxy S5’s display, it’s worth noting that in sunny conditions even the eye-searing brightness of the Super AMOLED display was greatly washed out. At maximum brightness there were still times where a hand was needed to shield the sun from the display.

As a smartphone user, I have my personal differences with the Galaxy S5 and Samsung. I’ve never been a fan of TouchWiz and the cheap feel of of the Galaxy line’s plastic build has provided me enough reason to keep my distance. But Samsung’s latest effort has given me some hope for the Galaxy brand. Sure, it’s still clunky in many ways — four days of solid use was not enough to demystify the bloated and at times overly complicated software of the phone — but it gets a lot right in the process, including battery life, ruggedness, and camera quality. If the Galaxy S5 is at home in any adventurer’s bag, it is equally worth consideration for a place in the average user’s pocket.

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Don’t Smash the Past: This OnePlus One promotion is a bad idea http://phandroid.com/2014/04/25/oneplus-one-phone-smash-bad/ http://phandroid.com/2014/04/25/oneplus-one-phone-smash-bad/#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:25:35 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=139252 Samsung Galaxy S3 cracked

After unveiling their “Flagship Killer” smartphone earlier this week, Chinese start-up OnePlus has announced that you can become one of the very first 100 people to purchase their new phone. Even better – it will only run you one dollar. All you have to do is enter a contest stating that you’ll smash your current smartphone if your entry is chosen. This is a bad idea.

Sure, drop test videos and “phone durability tests” generate an insane amount of views and dumb promotional stunts generate a lot of hype for businesses. These are reasons why we love the Internet – for sometimes dark and twisted entertainment. That said, these types of stunts are done on a very small scale. Asking 100 people to destroy perfectly fine smartphones is just bad form and someone could get hurt.

OnePlus has already stated that they won’t be held liable for any damage or injury that occurs while smashing your phone. Why did they put that clause in their FAQ? Because it’s a very real possibility. Remember the Galaxy S5 hammer test that sprayed out noxious fumes and caused the viewer physical harm? I’m sure he’ll never forget it.

Here’s a few alternatives to smashing your phone:

Sell it on Swappa. OnePlus wants you to smash your phone in lieu of $298. Did you know that a lot of the phones accepted by OnePlus’s Smash promo actually sell for a lot more on Swappa? For example, the unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, Sony Xperia Z, LG G Flex, and many others are selling for $450-$550 right now. You’d actually turn a profit if you sold your current phone on Swappa and used that cash to buy a OnePlus One.

Use it as a media device. Turn your phone into a music player. This is a great idea for kids. If you don’t have kids, no problem. Having a portable music player helps save your phones precious battery life. You could also turn your spare phone as a dedicated remote control for your Chromecast devices.

Turn your phone into a security camera. There’s plenty of camera apps on Google Play that allow you to turn your phone into a home surveillance device. You’ll be able to easily check in on things while you’re away from home and you don’t need to buy an expensive system to do so thanks to your existing Android phone and just an app.

Use HTC’s Power to Give program. With the Power to Give app, you can make the world a better place by using your phones CPU cycles to crunch research data. It may not be that much, but you’ll be able to sleep at night knowing your helping out in some way or another.

Donate your old phone to a good cause. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a nonprofit organization that provides free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. If you don’t want to have to keep a phone plugged in all of the time just to a good dead, this is probably your best option – helping those that have served your country.

Will you be entering the contest for a chance to smash your phone? Let us know in the comments.

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Strangling the Internet: Government headed in disastrous direction [OPINION] http://phandroid.com/2014/04/24/fcc-net-neutrality-fast-lanes/ http://phandroid.com/2014/04/24/fcc-net-neutrality-fast-lanes/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:54:31 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=139152 You can help by signing the petition to save the internet!

We may soon be entering an age of digital discrimination, where all websites are not created equal. The government is supporting a law to allow Internet Service Providers like Comcast to charge websites and companies fees to ensure their content is distributed with guaranteed speed to consumers.

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Some of today’s most powerful companies were built on the shoulders of the Internet. The US Government seems poised to section off the web into a VIP piggy back riding zone

Regardless of where you place “The Internet” on the list of greatest technological developments of the past century, it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t had the most profound global impact in the shortest period of time. Some of today’s most powerful companies – Google, Facebook, and Twitter – were built on the shoulders of the Internet. Hopeful entrepreneurs and innovators of the future may not have this same luxury: the US Government seems poised to section off the web into a VIP piggy back riding zone.

When you buy internet service from the likes of Comcast and Time Warner Cable you’re essentially paying for access to bandwidth. Up until now, for the most part, all bandwidth is created equal. Whether you’re reading e-mail, watching videos on Youtube, browsing Facebook, or checking up on the latest Android News on Phandroid, you could expect the same consistent speed and levels of service.

That could change. And if it does, it could be a devastating blow to this open and awesome thing we call the Internet.

The United States Government, by way of the FCC, has announced that it supports “fast lanes” for the Internet where companies are able to pay service providers for more and faster bandwidth to consumers. For example, Netflix could work out a deal with Comcast to ensure their content is streamed quick enough to give users a good movie-watching experience.

This helps absolutely nobody- except for the Internet service providers.

This hurts innovators trying to make “the next big thing” who can’t be sure their service is being delivered quickly relative to huge corporate competitors. This hurts huge corporate competitors who can be price gauged by Internet Service Providers if they want to ensure the best possible experience for customers. And this hurts consumers who – when they go online – could get an uneven and unfair experience depending on which site or companies they patronize.

This is bad.

In some regards you can sympathize with with the Internet Service Providers who have to deliver exponentially more bandwidth than in years past. Ten years ago, nobody was streaming HD content to their TV through their Internet on a daily basis, yet these companies are shouldering the increased bandwidth costs.

fcc-logoThe ISPs need to be provided a competitive environment, but the FCC can not allow for net neutrality to be the basis on which that environment is delivered. In 20 years from now, where will the Internet be? If these “fast lanes” are created, I don’t want to know. The government is putting their toes on a slippery slope that could create a very unfortunate and entitled Internet ecosystem. The sense of entitlement should be on the side of consumers, not the corporations and not the government.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler defended the stance, claiming the notion that they’re “gutting the Open Internet rule” is “flat out wrong”. But the stance is so open to interpretation that it can (and will) eventually be twisted by lobbyists and corporations.

Here are his “I’m talking but not saying anything” assurances:

The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original open Internet rules, and consistent with the court’s decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.

He also insisted companies would be forced to act in a “commercially reasonable manner.” If you ask me, commercially reasonable would mean keeping net neutrality… neutral… and finding other ways to correct the direction of their business that don’t violate Internet equality.

Edward Wyatt of the New York Times weighed in saying, “big, rich companies with the money to pay large fees to Internet service providers would be favored over small start-ups with innovative business models — stifling the birth of the next Facebook or Twitter.”

Perhaps Michael Weinberg of community advocacy group Public Knowledge said it best, “This standard allows Internet service providers to impose a new price of entry for innovation on the Internet.” And then once you make it, your newly great company will be “taxed” into the ground to ensure your content/service is properly delivered on the web.

If you ask me, one of the most beautiful things of the Internet is the ridiculously low barrier to entry. Almost nothing. And the value to access is astronomical.

Netflix responded to this development by issuing the following statement, “The proposed approach is the fastest lane to punish consumers and Internet innovators.”

Netflix

The more appropriate avenue to address these industry concerns would be to tell Comcast and similar companies to adjust their business model. We’ve seen mobile network providers like Verizon and AT&T deal with the bandwidth burden by adjusting their service packages based on data consumption. It might not be a popular move, but it beats what they’re proposing by light years. I’d be happy to pay a higher price and keep net neutrality intact and I think other consumers would, too, if they knew the potential long-term implications.

The government might think these “fast lanes” are a good idea to help the flow of traffic, but the only thing they’d be supporting is a highway to Internet hell.

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OnePlus One size and specs draw inexplicable anger http://phandroid.com/2014/04/23/oneplus-one-specs-and-size/ http://phandroid.com/2014/04/23/oneplus-one-specs-and-size/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:26:52 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=139065 The CyanogenMod based OnePlus One phone has just been announced along with a pretty crazy price and equally crazy promotion. But what we find craziest is a bizarre backlash against a specific OnePlus One spec announced: the dimensions.

Last month the company released a promotional image of the OnePlus One covered by the Sony Z1, insinuating the OnePlus One had smaller dimensions.You can see the OnePlus One barely peeking out from the sides – so we knew it would be slightly wider – and based on the angle of the picture no assumptions could be made about the thickness or height.

After all was said and done, here are the dimensions of the OnePlus One compared to some key competitors:

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 4.44.22 AM

It’s taller and wider than both the Sony Z1 and Oppo Find 7 and also taller than the Galaxy Note 3. Suddenly, for some inexplicable reason, that’s cause for chaos and a reason for disbanding the fabric of the universe. You can find a prime example of this on a thread titled “This company is founded on lies” on the OnePlus Forums and a discussion of the same on Reddit.

This isn’t an isolated incident, either: across many different forums and sites we’ve seen a multitude of people bash the company for being unfair, misleading, and lying about the OnePlus One in regards to the dimensions and specs. Unless this is a targeted attempt by OnePlus One’s competitors to discredit and troll the launch, I’m not sure where all the hate is coming from.

Let’s get a few things clear:

  • OnePlus never made claims that weren’t true… they posted a picture, people made assumptions, and are now holding OnePlus to words that other people put in their mouth.
  • Starting at $299, nobody should have anything to complain about
  • Especially a few millimeters here and there, which is exactly the difference. Unless these complainers saw this stat on a spec sheet, they’d never  know the difference
  • The people complaining are welcome to a refund. What’s that you say? They haven’t paid for anything yet? Oh… I see…

Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. The complaint is so absurd that I’m finding it hard to rule out some type of foul play.

I’m really excited about the OnePlus One and I’m sure our OnePlus One Forums will be heating up in no time. I’m not very excited to see people breaking their phones for a chance to get One, but I’ll just sit on the sidelines and hope someone tosses me an invite.

Hint, hint?

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100 Billion Google searches are done every month http://phandroid.com/2014/04/22/100-billion-google-searches/ http://phandroid.com/2014/04/22/100-billion-google-searches/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:09:34 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=138979 At an event for Google Adwords advertisers the company revealed a bombshell statistic: 100 Billion Google searches are done every month.

100-billion-google-searches

To put that in perspective: if you gave me a nickle for every time someone did a Google search, I’d be a millionaire in 9 minutes.

That’s about 3.3 billion Google searches each day. There are roughly 7 billion humans on earth. Clearly that’s not enough Google searches per person so the company wants to fly thousands of WiFi balloons around the world so 3rd world countries can get inernet, too. And no… that’s not a a joke.

What’s unclear for the 100 billion stat are the guidelines for what’s considered Google.com. If I do a google voice search that brings up a google search on my android phone, is that included in the 100 billion? If I’m getting information from Google Now is that considered part of this 100 billion?

The answer: it doesn’t really matter.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 5.15.24 PM

The 100 Billion statistic is a towering number, but when you consider that Google.com is just a small part of our relationship with Google, it’s an overwhelming statistic. Consider Google Maps, Google Navigation, GMail, Google Docs, Google Adsense ads seen on sites across the web, Android Phones, Chrome Browsers, and the list goes on and will continue to grow.

When Google first announced Android, they insisted they weren’t trying to create a cash cow of their own, and instead trying to bring the internet to more places so Google’s core services could flourish. Let me refresh your memory: in a 2008 interview a Google Executive flat out told me that there is no monetization strategy for Android.

Their sincerity was questioned but they’ve stuck by that principle, continuing to bring the internet to more places in more ways, looking especially towards opportunities like Google FiberProject Loon, and the Open Automotive Alliance.

Here is an excerpt from the full presentation:

For a couple of years we’ve been talking about the opportunity of mobile and mobile’s importance in your advertising. But today I’d like to tell you that it’s not really about mobile, it’s about consumers. And as consumers, what we really want to do is connect with the people and things that matter the most. Wherever we are, whenever, on any device.

If there’s one thing that you take away from my talk today, it’s this: it’s no longer about devices. It’s about connecting people to the content that they care about whether they’re online, on mobile sites, or in apps.

watch the full event above

Perhaps he should have added, “Or wearing Google Glass, or Android Wear, or watching Android TV, or riding in an Android Car developed by Open Automotive Alliance members.”

This is a theme I anticipate we’ll see pushed heavily at Google IO this year as well. It’s not just about all these different operating systems and platforms and hardware Google has pushed… it’s about improving the entire ecosystem and then unifying the experience under it.

This is something Google has been laying the groundwork for heavily for quite awhile, most recently with Google+ and the single sign on they’ve oh so fluently weaved into our experience across the web. Speaking of which, I absolutely love.

The event where this statistic was revealed focuses on the #1 source of Google revenue: advertisers. The company’s most recent earnings report disappointingly missed analyst expectations. The reason? Growing percentages of users are moving their web habits mobile, where advertising competition is lower and advertisers struggle to deliver measurable and effective campaigns.

This is a problem Google will be scrambling to solve in the upcoming year. Two obvious methods: encouraging advertisers to push downloads of their apps/games and getting advertisers to run ads that send users directly into the app if it’s already downloaded to their device (perhaps targeting them, too).

Over 80% of downloaded apps are used only once and then deleted.*  Lots of businesses are able to get their apps onto a device, but might never see their customer again.  Today we announced a new app re-engagement campaign type in AdWords for both search and display so that consumers can be taken directly into already-installed apps.  For example, if someone has the HotelTonight app installed on their phone and searches for “hotels in San Francisco” on Google.com, they can go directly to the specific page in HotelTonight about SF hotels, instead of being taken to the app’s main landing page.

I’m sure we’ll hear a ton more statistics like these come Google IO and start preparing yourself for information overload: me, Steve Albright, and Derek Ross will all be attending Google IO to bring you the most and best coverage possible.

It’s an interesting dance Google is doing and in many ways they’re walking a fine line. On the one side they’re expanding their business to more hardware and platforms yet simultaneously trying to consolidate the user experience. On another side they’re generating ad revenue as a search engine that penalizes scrapers and spammers and ranks content based on quality and relevance yet they simultaneously bypass these publishers by scraping bits of their content and delivering it to uses through Google Now and the Google Knowledge Graph.

Google has a lot of important decisions to make. The company’s astronomical growth looks like it could continue, potentially becoming the most important company of our lifetime. But when you’re the leader in the tech industry and you’re the #1 trail blazer, you’re much more susceptible to making missteps because you’ve got no footprints to follow.

Circle June 24th and 25th on your calendar with magic marker, spray paint, panther’s blood, whatever… and pop into Phandroid to see what revolutionary things Google has lined up as we cover Google IO 2014 live from San Francisco.

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8 things I hate about the Samsung Galaxy S5 http://phandroid.com/2014/04/19/8-things-i-hate-about-the-samsung-galaxy-s5/ http://phandroid.com/2014/04/19/8-things-i-hate-about-the-samsung-galaxy-s5/#comments Sat, 19 Apr 2014 15:36:05 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=138566 Samsung Galaxy S5 back DSC05780

WARNING: Loads of opinion ahead, leave your fanboyism at the door. If you’re looking for a honest opinion, please proceed.

With that out of the way, I just want to say I understand well that there is no such thing as the “perfect” smartphone. Like my mother used to tell me, you’ll never find the perfect woman, only the perfect woman for you. Because, Android is a wonderful mess right now, manufacturers put a lot of time and effort into offering their unique versions of Android, that simply put — aren’t for everyone. Having owned the Samsung Galaxy S5 for a full week now, I think it’s time to stop beating around the bush: this phone simply isn’t for me.

Bu don’t get me wrong, I tried to make it work, I wanted to make it work. Despite my friends and family warning me that buying the Galaxy S5 would only end in heartbreak, I went against their better judgement and purchased the phone anyway. Why? There were only 2 features on my mind: SAMOLED display, and the high-resolution ISOCELL camera. Like a great pair of…. eyes on a woman, they’re all I saw. Everything else? I figured that would work itself out. “I could always put a case over it and TouchWiz is all new,” I told myself. Boy, was I wrong. May I present to you, my list of top 8 things I hate about the Samsung Galaxy S5.

1. TouchWiz Lag

I like to think of myself as a patient man. Whether it’s kids, pets, or the ‘ol gf, it takes a lot to get under my skin. But one area I absolutely have zero patience for is in my electronics. Laptop, camera, you name it. Having owned a HTC One (M7), Nexus 5, and an LG G2 for all these months, maybe I’ve just been spoiled by snappy, lag-free performance. Who knows.

What I do know is that there is something horribly wrong with the fact that you can have a phone with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, software based on the the newest, lightest version of Android yet (KitKat), and yet still somehow serve users a piping hot plate of lag on a silver platter. It takes a special kind of “software” to mess that up.

Whether it’s waking up the phone from a sleeping state, waiting for the keyboard to popup or catch up with typing, opening the multitasking menu or applications — lag, lag, mother-effin-lag. I couldn’t handle it. I kid you not, I was having nightmares that my phone was getting laggier and laggier, only to wake up and find myself in cold sweats.

Is a .8 second lag going to kill you? Probably not. But I paid too damn much for this phone only to have to”suffer” with lackluster performance. Still don’t believe me? See this video here. I mean, what’s the point of upgrading to a faster processor, when you don’t actually reap any of the benefits? The Galaxy S5 is Lag City. Population: you.

2. Limited Internal Storage

Galaxy S5 Storage constraints

External storage is great — when there are apps that actually support. Aside from KitKat making things fun with the way apps handle external storage, finding applications other than games that can actually be moved to the SD card is rare. Sure, you can always root and move everything to the SD card, but that’s a topic for another time. You can have a 128GB UHS 1 micro SD card in the phone, but a 16GB Galaxy S5 — the only version currently offered by US carriers — sucks. There’s no way around it, and I don’t understand how this was overlooked.

3. Touchscreen Sensitivity

Galaxy S5

No, I’m not saying the Galaxy S5′s display isn’t responsive enough. The problem I’m have is that that it’s too responsive. I know, that sounds like a silly thing complain about, but when you type as quickly as I do, the phone is registering screen taps/long presses I never meant it to. In fact, I thought for a minute there I was losing my mind. Really, who would notice something like this?

I think this might have something to do with S5′s new “Air gesture” feature that allows you to interact with the display, without actually touching it. This also means the phone can register screen presses even while wearing gloves — a great feature for sure — but not when it messes with normal use. There is a reason, after all, they included an option to disable it. But even when disabled, it’s far too sensitive (note: I’ve had it disabled since day 1). A great idea, just one better left on paper.

4. Camera

Sony A7 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Woah, woah, woah. I’m not saying the Galaxy S5 camera isn’t great. It is. But my problem is it only performs well in the most ideal of situations. Taking it out on a bright Spring day, shooting some pics of the kids by the pool, it performs wonderfully. Images are razor sharp.

My issue? As soon as you lose some of that light — shooting indoors on a cloudy day, or a dimly lit restaurant, etc. — everything turns to absolute sh*t. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at my comparison photo above. One side you have a picture I snapped with my full frame camera to show you exactly how much light was actually in this scene. On the right is how well the Galaxy S5 handles in the smallest dip in light: like a muddy mess. Not good. In fact, there were many a times, my Nexus 5 performed better than the Galaxy S5. Don’t believe me? Check out this image here.

5. S Emoji

Galaxy S5 emoji

You’d think that having the system wide emoji support in KitKat would be great new feature, but not when you see what Samsung’s done with them. Say hello to the most hideous emoji’s this side of the iPhone. Like some kind of bastardized version AOL smileys meets Lisa Frank, they look horribly out of place on Samsung’s new minimal interface. What I don’t get is, why even change them? What was so wrong with Android’s stock emoji that you had to create these abominations? Not cool.

6. Chrome Bezel

Samsung Galaxy S5 water logo wm DSC05776
Like many of the items on this list, this ones more a subjective opinion. So let me just say, I abhor chrome. I don’t want it near my electronics, I don’t like it on my rims, and I sure as heck can’t stand it on my smartphone. I thought we left this behind with the original Galaxy S? Whenever I see it, it reminds me of 1950′s future and not modern smartphone design we see on devices like the HTC One M8.

Besides its looks (which I found myself wanting to sand paper away or Plasti-Dip over), the chrome rim around the side of the phone is actually raised, creating a lip around the glass. Everyone praised the Nexus 4 for including beveled edges on the sides of the display (something we also saw in the HTC Sensation back in the day). This ensured sliding the ever growing UI elements from the sides of the display was always a pleasurable experience. The Galaxy S5 is the complete opposite of that.

7. USB Flap / No Wireless Charging

DSC05798

Until USB 3.1, becomes the new standard, it’s bad enough we have to put some level of thought or concentration into getting our USB cable inserted correctly into our smartphones. If you thought that was annoying, how about not being able to access this port until you first removed a plastic flap? I get why it’s there, I do. In order to IP67 certify the Galaxy S5, some ports would need to be covered. But it doesn’t make it any more convenient.

Besides needing a healthy amount of fingernail to get the damn thing open, the real problem I have with the S Flap, is it wouldn’t even be an issue if Samsung simply included wireless charging with the device. Sure, you could always spend an extra $30 and order one direct from Samsung, but why should you have to? It’s because between the fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor, Samsung had to cut those “little” features no one really cares about (sarcasm).

8. Fingerprint Scanner Home Button

Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Reader

When Apple introduced the fingerprint scanner in the iPhone 5S, for the most part, it was done well. Offering a medium level of security, you were able to press the home button as you’d normally do, but this time it’d only take you to the homescreen if it recognized your fingerprint. Great for keeping snooping eyes out of your phone, sure it wasn’t full proof, but it was enough security for most cases.

As we all know, the Galaxy S5 uses a similar security feature, with a new fingerprint scanner found in the home button. Only problem is in their implementation, you actually have to slide your finger across the home button, not simply press it. Why is this a pain in the ass? Because this means every time you go to unlock your phone, you’ll have to use 2 hands to do it. Once again, I know it sounds crazy to complain about, but think of all the times you’re using your phone with only 1 hand available. Holding a beer, your gf’s hand, walking the dog, eating. Requiring 2 hands to simply unlock your phone is a major oversight, and one that should have never made it out of R&D.

Samsung Galaxy S5  back cover removed DSC05768

Before I leave you, I just want to remind that this is merely the opinion of a single lonely blogger (no matter how right it is). Also, there are a lot of things I like about the Galaxy S5 that many of you may find more valuable than the minor annoyances listed here. Things like the small bezels, battery life, the Super AMOLED display (along with saturation controls), camera (when shooting in daylight), super quick 2A charging, removable battery, or its weather proofing.

Those are all great things, wonderful things about the Galaxy S5. But unfortunately, things that for me couldn’t outweigh the “bad.” Come tomorrow I’ll be packing up my Samsung Galaxy S5, heading on over to my local T-Mobile, and eating their ridiculous $50 restocking fee. Here’s to the Next Big Thing.

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HTC exec defends the One M8′s infamous black bezel bar http://phandroid.com/2014/04/02/htc-defends-one-m8-black-bezel/ http://phandroid.com/2014/04/02/htc-defends-one-m8-black-bezel/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 23:14:54 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=137186 htc one m8 hands-on 14

I don’t think anyone would argue with the fact that the HTC One M8 is one of the most gorgeous, borderline sexy, smartphones to date. Featuring an aluminum unibody construction, it’s clear HTC takes the design of the smartphones very seriously. Maybe that’s why for some, it was puzzling to find that — despite the One M8 adding software buttons for 2014 — the smartphone is drastically taller than last year’s model.

We’ve seen it mentioned in our comments that HTC possibly could have made the entire device smaller by simply eliminating the infamous “black bezel bar” found towards the bottom of the display. It’s a criticism that seems to have made it’s way back to Jeff Gordon, HTC’s global communications manager.

In a public tweet from his Twitter profile, Gordon addresses comments that HTC could have simply removed the black bezel, making the overall height of the device smaller by saying:

HTC One 2014 vs 2013 comparison video

Okay, so we get it. There’s actually stuff behind the black bezel. And while we wont argue with Gordon that the phone — which has not doubt seen countless revisions by engineers and designers — couldn’t possibly have been made any smaller, is it also possible the display could have been stretched out to “cover” the area where the bezel lays? Gordon claims that by stretching the display, it would have screwed up phone’s aspect ratio. This is true.

But perhaps the real problem lays in the HTC opting for software buttons on the M8 (which we admit, are just following Android’s design guidelines). It seems that, in trying to address complaints about the original One M8′s odd 2-button layout, HTC plugged up one hole in their dyke, only to find a new one spring forth.

For some, you simply don’t get the hoopla being made over bezel-gate 2014. And that’s fine. For others, we’ve reached a point in mobile tech that all we have left is to nitpick over the fine details. What may not be a deal breaker for some, will drive someone else to the point of madness. One thing is certain — there is no perfect smartphone. When it comes to the HTC One M8, no one is saying it’s not a great smartphone. In fact, it’s possibly the best phone to date. But at least HTC knows what they need to improve for next year’s model.

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Will HTC unveil an Android Wear powered Smartwatch along with the HTC One 2014 in NYC? [Opinion] http://phandroid.com/2014/03/24/htc-android-wear-smartwatch-one-m8-nyc/ http://phandroid.com/2014/03/24/htc-android-wear-smartwatch-one-m8-nyc/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 01:05:51 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=136344 HTC_NYC

Tomorrow at 11am in New York City, HTC plans on unveiling their next flagship phone, the all new HTC One (M8), the successor to last year’s One. The new 2014 edition of the HTC One has big shoes to fill, seeing as the original HTC One was able to snag the smartphone of the year title at the Global Mobile Awards. The build quality and user experience of the HTC One was able to capture awards, but HTC has still produced profits below expectations. The Taiwanese smartphone maker has a lot riding on tomorrow’s event as they struggles to escape from Samsung’s marketing muscle.

Last month, HTC’s rival Samsung announced the Galaxy S5 along with new wearables: the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit. While the new line of Gear devices seems to be more appealing than the original Galaxy Gear that launched last fall, Samsung’s new smartwatches have already been overshadowed themselves thanks to Google’s recent Android Wear announcements.

samsung-galaxy-gear-neo-2

This is where HTC has a chance to stick to Samsung once and for all.

Back in October, HTC’s Peter Chou mentioned the company’s view on wearables. He indicated that the wearable market was important and that HTC would want to get it right the first time. He said they weren’t interested in coming out with a weak entry device (like the Galaxy Gear), but instead wanted their first foray into the new product category to be something special and useful for everyone. Additionally, last month HTC’s Cher Wang mentioned the company would be getting to wearables before the end of the year.

If you didn’t notice, HTC is part of the Android Wear ecosystem, listed as a hardware partner on the official Android Wear website. Chances are, that membership means sometime in the future, HTC will produce a wearable device powered by Android Wear.

Entering into the wearable tech market with an Android Wear powered device would be an intelligent business move for HTC. They would be absorbing some of the current hype surrounding the Moto 360, the LG G Watch, and cool tools developers are making. More importantly for consumers, HTC could announced and sell the two devices together as a bundle.

Will HTC unveil a smartwatch, smartband, or another wearable tomorrow in New York City? Your guess is as good as ours. One thing’s for sure, we know the HTC One 2014 (M8) is coming tomorrow morning (or tonight, oops). Anything else will be a welcomed addition. Our own Rob Jackson will be onsite for the event and we’ll let you know when we know more.

HTC_One_M8

 

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LG G Flex review [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/03/08/lg-g-flex-review/ http://phandroid.com/2014/03/08/lg-g-flex-review/#comments Sat, 08 Mar 2014 21:17:01 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=135331 lg-g-flex-2

LG was one of the first manufacturers to release a device with a flexible display, followed by years of rumors of such screens coming to the market. Is there a market for such novelty? Would it be of any help? The LG G Flex is here to prove itself, and we have been putting it to the test for you.

The LG G Flex is one of the first of its kind, meaning it will not be perfect. But it seems like it doesn’t need to be. In a world where specs, awesome displays and amazing performance is very usual in a smartphone, people get more excited by devices that “stand out”.

At MWC, LG had the LG G Pro 2, for example. This happens to be pretty much the most powerful and awesome smartphone out there, but most people gave the G Flex much more attention. Other reporters said it was “much more unique and innovative.”

Yes, the LG G Flex is different. It is innovative. And dare I say, it’s pretty darn cool – but is it worth your money? Is it better to go with another smartphone at this point? Stick around for our full review to find out!

LG G Flex specs

lg-g-flex-side

  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • 6.0-inch 1280x720p POLED curved display
  • 2.26 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of internal storage
  • 13 MP / 2.1 MP cameras
  • 3,500 mAh battery (3,400 for T-Mobile)

Display

Ok, so let’s cut through the chase. How is that flexible display working out for me? Well… it’s not the best, to say the least. Not only is the 6-inch screen pushed back by its 720p resolution (which is a big deal on such a large display), but it is also affected by other issues.

Display problems

We have heard of bumpy displays caused by the device’s flexibility, for example. I haven’t been able to notice anything like this on my test device, but I have noticed other problems. There is an obvious ghosting issue, for example.

This display is ALWAYS ghosting. Ghosting, for those who don’t know, is also known as screen burn-in. It’s when you can see previous images displayed on the phone, even after your current image has changed.

lg-g-flex-6

For some reason this display burns in very quickly. Most times, all it takes is to pull down the notification area to see the time, Google Search bar and other elements stay around. These disappear after a few seconds, but it’s annoying, nonetheless.

I have also found the LG G Flex’s display to be inferior for daylight viewing. I am not sure if it’s because of the nature of the flexible display, or what, but there is this weird glow/reflection this screen gets when hit by direct sunlight. This is something I have never seen before. It’s like a golden brown reflection.

Display advantages

Aside from those issues, and when indoors, though, the screen is ok. Colors are nicely saturated and the blacks are really black, like one would exprect from an OLED display.

In short: the display is not the LG G Flex’s strength. Even if it’s curved design is very unique and innovative.

Design and build quality

I know I was a bit harsh on the display, but that doesn’t mean the phone is horrible. In fact, it’s a pretty darn good device – and design/build quality is where it will stand out the most. This phone is unique and will turn many heads!

lg-g-flex-4Not only is it one hell of a big smartphone, it is a completely different smartphone. People see it and scratch their heads, not knowing if what you are holding is even real. Everything about the phone is just off! Curved display? 6-inch screen? Buttons in the back?!

If what you want is a uniquely-designed device, there is nothing more original than the LG G Flex. It will be different from anything else out there, and I must say it is good-looking! In fact, I believe people will mind its size more than they will mind it’s curved design and back buttons.

In a nutshell, it looks much like a bent and stretched LG G2. It’s not exactly built like one too, though. The LG G Flex does feel more plasticky and not as solidly-built as the G2. But the LG G Flex is much more resistant, which you will love if you are hard on your smartphone.

Flexible, self-healing and durable

LG built this phone to be one of the most resistant out there. IT is no IP-67 certified device, but it can handle its own when taking life’s hits. To start off, the device is flexible to a certain extent.

We wouldn’t recommend intentionally putting it to the test, but you can place it face down and push the phone to a completely flat state. The device will go back to its curved state as soon as you let go and it will work as expected. This would be great for those who usually sit on their phones, for example.

lg-g-flex-5

On the back of the phone is another hidden aesthetic treasure. This phone will never suffer from scratches on its back! The device’s back cover is made of a self-healing material that can literally regenerate when scratched. It’s some Terminator stuff, right there!

Now don’t go stabbing the phone either. This material can usually handle superficial scratches, not very deep ones. I have tested it with key and coin scratches, and works great. After all, these scratches are usually what really affect a phone’s look, anyways.

Performance and software

Now, you will not be disappointed in this area. If what you are looking for is a fast, well-performing phone, you can’t go wrong with the LG G Flex. Sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2 GB of RAM and LG UI, this phone is up there with the LG G2.

Though the specs are very similar and the G Flex’s resolution is lower, I do see lower performance compared to the G2. Not sure what may be causing this, but the LG G Flex is one powerful and fast phone, anyways.

lg-g-flex-1

It can handle any app or game you throw at it, and I never saw it lag or stutter.

LG is doing great at bringing all its awesome features to all their devices. In these terms, the LG G Flex is getting the whole LG treatment. We have Kock On, soon it will get Knock Code, there’s the infrared antenna with Quick Mote, QSlide, QuickMemo, Wireless Storage, NFC and more.

This phone doesn’t ask anything from any of the big guys. It is full-featured and will keep you happy if you like LG’s user interface. Now this is a matter of preference. You can see more about the UI in the LG G2 review, which pretty much sports the same software.

Camera performance

This phone’s camera is pretty good, but it is not really up to bar with the best smartphone cameras out there. Its 13 MP sensor makes for pretty large images and fair quality.

Low-light performance is also pretty average. The camera can take images in the dark pretty well, but they will come out pretty grainy and without great color accuracy. This is what you can expect with low ISO shots in smartphone cameras, though. Images also come out a bit blurry when indoor, though. Unless the lights are very bright.

In daylight, the camera works very well – that’s where the camera shines. Colors are bright and images are crisp. I actually love the camera in this phone for daylight photos.

On the other hand, this is not your phone if you want a selfie machine. The front facing camera is simply not the best. Images come out blurry 1 out of 3 times and the resolution is not great. It does have a 2.1 MP front-facing camera, but I have seen lower-megapixel cameras perform better.

By the way, it does record UHD video! (3840x2160p). Enough talking, though. Let the images and test video speak for themselves.

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Battery Life

The LG G2 set a standard when it comes to battery life. LG’s premium device could go for over 2 days on light usage and over a day of average-to-heavy usage. This type of battery life performance is something we have come to expect from LG, and with the G Flex they have done it again.

Like with the LG G2, it is nearly impossible to make this phone die in under 24 hours. With normal usage, I could not get this phone to die in under 30 hours! Yes, even when using the phone for a movie, some gaming and other hardware-intensive activities.

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Long story short, you will be pleased with this phone’s battery life. It is among the best out there, in terms of battery life. Its 3,500 mAh battery really do it justice (3,400 mAh for the T-Mobile version).

Should you buy the LG G Flex?

The LG G Flex is one hell of a device. It is unique, powerful, good-looking (subjective topic) and has stunning battery life. But is it worth your hard-earned cash?

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One thing we must consider is that this phone is priced parallel to top-of-the-line smartphones. It costs $600-$695 off-contract from US carriers, and $250-$300 on-contract. IT is far from being affordable. In fact, it just may be one of the most expensive smartphones out there.

Though I like the LG G Flex, I believe you can get better options at said price point. Ones that offer all the advantaged of the LG G Flex, without all its shortcomings (display being the biggest of them).

Some of you may love the LG’s design and unique features, though. If you highly value battery life and design, you could be very happy with the LG G Flex.

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Hands-on: Huawei MediaPad X1 [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/03/02/hands-on-huawei-mediapad-x1/ http://phandroid.com/2014/03/02/hands-on-huawei-mediapad-x1/#comments Sun, 02 Mar 2014 23:30:27 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=134946 huawei-mediapad-x1-2

If you were not convinced by the MediaPad M1, you might want to check out the Huawei MediaPad X1. This is the manufacturer’s new higher-end tablet. It is still not a beast, but we were actually quite impressed by it when we checked it out at Mobile World Congress!

Huawei MediaPad X1 specs

  • Android 4.2.2
  • 7-inch 1920x1200p IPS display
  • 1.6 GHz quad-core processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of internal storage
  • 13 MP / 5 MP cameras
  • 5000 mAh battery

The tablet is pretty well-built, made mostly of aluminum. It feels much more solid than any other Huawei device I have ever felt. It also performs better than the MediaPad M1 for some reason, even though it seems to have the same processor.

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What’s interesting is that this is not just a tablet. It actually doubles as a smartphone… one big smartphone! This is why it’s the first device to be compatible with the Huawei TalkBand B1. The fitness watch doubles as a bluetooth headset, allowing users to leave the tablet in the pocket or bag. No need to put that big tablet up to your face!

Check out our hands on video and let us know what you think of this tablet! I actually kinda like it!

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Hands-on: Huawei MediaPad M1 [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/03/02/hands-on-huawei-mediapad-m1/ http://phandroid.com/2014/03/02/hands-on-huawei-mediapad-m1/#comments Sun, 02 Mar 2014 22:58:10 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=134944 huawei-mediapad-m1-1

MWC was full of unique smartphones and tablets, but the Huawei MediaPad M1 looked very familiar to us. This tablet impressed us, and we are not sure if it’s for good reasons. It looks just like a bigger HTC One!

This makes it a good-looking tablet from the get-go, but the specs and quality still don’t match HTC’s. After all, this does happen to be a mid range tablet that will come with a good price.

Huawei MediaPad M1 specs

  • Android 4.2.2
  • 8-inch 1280x800p IPS display
  • 1.6 GHz quad-core processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 8 GB of internal storage
  • 5 MP / 1 MP cameras
  • 4800 mAh battery

The device does feel good. The back seems like aluminum and there are no loose or jiggly parts. The device is not too fast, though. Animations and performance were a bit sluggish. The screen does look good in terms of colors and brightness, but the 1280×800 resolution makes things a bit fuzzy.

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Huawei MediaPad M1 price and availability

Given its specs and performance, you probably know the Huawei MediaPad M1 will not be an expensive tablet. It is set to be released at 299 Euros when it’s released before the Spring.

That’s not expensive at all, but there happen to be great options for tablets at that price range. The Nexus 7 is the obvious example of a tablet that would cost less and give you more bang for your buck.

Those who like the look of it might enjoy it, though.

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