Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Return of the T-Mobile Side Kick!

This was some very shocking news for me but T-Mobile is looking to revive the Sidekick brand! They will be realsing the Sidekick 4G with Android in the place of the throwback Danger Hiptop OS.  The phone will run on T-Mobile's 4G HSPA+ network and should be very interesting if nothing else. I can't wait to see how this one turns out. It'll be interesting to see the once king of mobile communication make its return to the world of smart phones. But is it still a Sidekick if it's running Android? How many of you are going to be copping one of these when they come out?!

Source: Engadget


T-Mobile's 4G Galaxy S - Vibrant 4G

In typical Samsung fashion a revised version of their T-Mobile flavored Galaxy S device the Samsung Vibrant will be released toting 4G HSPA+ functionality.  The new Vibrant 4G appears to be very similar to the original Vibrant but adds a front facing camera, 4G, and possibly Android 2.3 Gingerbread.  I for one wouldn't touch a Samsung device with a 10 foot pole, but for those of you in love with the vivid Super-Amoled display and already on T-Mobile this could be the phone for you.  "Upgrades" like this are exactly why I don't like Samsung. Why didn't the original Vibrant have this functionality and why do customers have to buy a new phone to get the latest Android versions?  Any way it should be a good device for those just entering the smartphone market on T-Mobile and a slap in the face to those who just purchased a Vibrant and locked themselves into a contract.

Source: Engadget


Sprint Decides To Charge ALL Smartphone Customers An Extra 10 Bucks

So when I got my Evo I was really pissed to see that it came with an additional $10/month "premium data" surcharge.  I called Sprint I complained, I questioned and tried to reason with them, but no luck if I wanted a 4G capable phone I had to pay the fee. I tried to reason that I didn't have 4G coverage but Sprint insisted that it wasn't 4G that I was paying for; they said that it was to cover the increased data consumption that my super phone would pull down. Well it looks like they will be expanding this concept to ALL of their smart phone devices, starting January 30, 2011 all smartphones will require an additional $10/month data surcharge increasing all of their Everything Unlimited plans by 10 bucks.  It should be noted however that even with this increase Sprint is still cheaper than its competitors, but I know that doesn't make this pill any easier to swallow. Existing customers will not be effected by the changes, at least not until you get a new phone, do an ESN swap, or make any changes to your plan.  This definitely makes getting a 4G phone all the more enticing if you are going to be charged the $10 regardless.  If you were considering getting a new 3G smart phone any time soon you better do it before January 30th or you'll be paying an extra 10!

Key quotes from the press release:
"The charge will assist Sprint in offering simple and affordable unlimited plans for its customers while maintaining a wireless network able to meet the growing appetite for a richer mobile experience."
"Sprint’s decision to apply the Premium Data add-on charge to activations of smartphones going forward recognizes the enhanced user experience that today’s smartphones deliver, which, in turn, drives substantially higher data usage and cost."
"Building, maintaining and expanding wireless data networks isn’t free – there are real costs involved. In effect, Sprint has chosen to increase the price of its unlimited Everything Data plans, which is still below that of its major competitors, for the segment of customers – smartphone users  – who are using wireless data the most and are driving up cost."
Smartphones, as defined by Sprint, are handsets with "robust operating systems that deliver a rich wireless experience by bringing the full function of mobile applications and programs to life." This includes all Android, Palm/webOS, Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry phones.
Source: Good and Evo, Sprint


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sprint's HTC Evo Shift 4G Review


The keyboard equipped Evo that many have been waiting for has finally arrived and been out for a while now and I finally got my hands on one for a review! I really like this phone! As an Evo owner I immediately felt right at home. Albeit a home with less square footage, but bigger isn't always better.  As the newest Evo the Shift holds its own. It's important to also understand where Sprint is going with the Evo as a product line. The Shift  serves as the second phone in the new "Evo" line of phones, very similar to how Verizon has its Droid line of phones (Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Droid Incredible).  The idea is that a number of Evo phones may be introduced with varying form factors and hardware specs in the future.

I've discussed the raw specs before but in a nut shell the Shift takes the original Evo reduces the screen size from 4.3-inches to 3.6-inches, removes the front camera and HDMI port and reduces the rear camera from 8MP dual-flash to 5MP single flash, BUT adds a slide out physical keyboard and a snappier 2nd generation processor. Don't think of the two as one being better than the other but more of a trade off of features. Both phones are great and the newer processor should not only boost speed and graphics performance but should also reduce battery consumption.  The differences between the 800MHz processor in the Shift and the 1GHz one in the OG Evo can be envisioned as water running through a pipe, where the water is data. The Evo has a more narrow pipe but pumps it through faster, whereas the Shift has a wider pipe and can pump the same quantity of water through slower or with less effort. These differences are somewhat noticeable side by side but not staggering.

The phone is a great alternative option to the Evo and if you really need a physical keyboard and or don't just have to have a front facing camera the Shift is a great choice; the keyboard slides out smoothly, has a great button layout and tactile feedback and the phone in general has excellent build quality. Check out the pics and my video review below.












Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Verizon iPhone FINALLY officially announced.... AT&T Prepares For Mass Customer Exodus

Probably the most highly anticipated and rumored agreement in history has finally come to pass.  Verizon will officially be offering the iPhone 4 as one of it's many smart phone options! The new CDMA iPhone will not, however be blessed with 4G LTE.  Verizon's iPhone is pratically identical in every way to its GSM cousin on AT&T and will be available to the public February 10th, or what will come to be know as the day that AT&T died lol. Seriously though, This has to take one hell of a chunk out of AT&T's subscriber base.  I expect many AT&T iPhone 4's to start popping up on Ebay and Craigslist as people make the jump and abandon the AT&T ship.  Good thing they're finally getting some good Android handsets to offset the migration a bit.

Check out the pics below, there are a few differences like the changes in the CDMA antenna that have shifted the volume buttons down a bit, you know just enough so that you can't use many of the existing iPhone 4 cases and the addition of Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality but other than that its the same iPhone we all know and love. Is Verizon service and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality enough to make you switch/ choose VZW over AT&T?


Notice the slight shift in volume up/down button placement

Sources: Engadget, Boy Genius Report


Friday, January 7, 2011

Gorilla Glass and Why You Want It

So if you've been paying attention to the many new features manufactures are bragging about recently you have likely heard Gorilla Glass mentioned, but what is it? Well it's the new super strong glass that for obvious reason is being incorporated into many of the glass covered gadgets we love to drop and scrape the crap out of with keys, ink pens and other pocket shrapnel.  This new glass is being introduced in new devices like the iPhone 4, Galaxy TabDell Venue Pro and Motorola Droid and is able to take a very impressive beating.

Check out the videos to get a true idea of Gorilla Glass's strength. It's actually pretty amazing I would never try this at home though, but it definitely makes you think twice before wasting money on a "screen protector" for these devices.

Source: Gizmodo


Skype Mobile WITH Video Calls Headed to Android

Skype has already released their crippled Skype mobile Android app to all Android phones after a short exclusive term on Verizon Android devices.  Unfortunately it came without video calling, you know, Skype's number one feature; but now they are ready to correct that problem and will be introducing a fully featured version of their app.  There is likely to be a small catch however.  If history tells us anything, it debuting on Verizon's upcoming 4G LTE, Tegra dual-core powered, 4.3-inch Droid Bionic, likely means that it will for at least a little while be a Verizon exclusive; and  not because of any LTE related specifications, but because VZW has that kind of pull.

On the plus side I'm sure once the Droid Bionic is released hacking and porting that apps functionality over to other capable phones will be at the top of many developers to-do list and hopefully my Evo will be Skype video calling within days of its release!  Either way video chat on any Android has to be good for all Androids eventually.... Now we wait....

Oh and I forgot to mention Skype's recent acquisition of Qik, the half baked video calling app thats installed on many video chat capable Androids, especially of the Sprint variety.  This has to be a good thing for the spread of that new video calling functionality beyond the big red walls of Verizon.  Lets hope that once that acquisition is completed all phones that come with a default install of Qik get the option to use Skype.  I really wasn't feeling Qik at all... This is sure to take a chunk out of Fring's user base too I'm sure.

*UPDATE: It's looking like all of Verizon's 4G video chat capable phones will be running the new Skype! Hopefully this means hacking it will be even easier if it ends up being a Verizon exclusive.

Source: Engadget


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Motorola Xoom Tablet... AKA iPad Killer

iPad kicked things off in the true mobile OS tablet arena and the Galaxy Tab followed with and Android 2.2 based beauty, now Motorola and Verizon will be introducing the next killer Google powered tablet the Motorola Xoom!  It will be the first tablet running Android 3.0 Honeycomb Google's tablet specific OS, a Tegra dual-core processor,  10.1-inch Gorilla Glass display, 5MP rear camera, and front facing camera, HDMI output, DLNA support, 1GB, and 10 finger-multi touch!  To make it even better it will be on Verizon's LTE 4G network.  I'm really liking the way the 2011 tablet game is looking!

Source: Engadget


AT&T Joins the Android Party with Samsung Infuse 4G, HTC Inspire 4G and Motorola Atrix 4G

AT&T seemed to kind of sit back and watch the high-end Android train leave the station in 2010, but it looks like they were just bidding their time for an amazing 2011 lineup. Going from relatively no high-end options (except the recent  Samsung Captivate, AT&T is preparing to drop three new super-smartphones.

Samsung Infuse 4G

First up is the Samsung Infuse 4G running on AT&T's HSPA+ "4G" network (not compatible with their LTE 4G network going active 2012-2013-ish) with a 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus display. It's said to be super thin (thinnest on AT&T) and running on a 1.2 Ghz (single core Hummingbird) processor, 8MP rear camera, 1.3 MP front facing camera.

HTC Inspire 4G

This appears to basically be an AT&T flavored Thunderbolt/ Desire HD/ Evo 4G which will be a very welcome offering on AT&T! Standard Android 2.2, 8MP shooter with 1.2 (I believe) front facing camera, and 4.3 inch display.

Motorola Atrix 4G

This in my opinion is the most exciting of all of AT&T's upcoming phones and honestly maybe even the most exciting phone period!  The Atrix 4G has a Tegra dual-core processor, 1GB of Ram supports up to 48GB of memory, 4-inch QHD display, front facing vga camera and a 5MP rear shooter with LED flash, a 1930 mAh battery promising 9 hours of talk time, finger print login security and runs on Android 2.2.  But what really makes this phone unique are its accessories.  Motorola will be offering a special media dock and laptop dock that allows your phone to power a small laptop, or serve as a virtual computer and media center.  This is the kind of all in one solution I have dreamed of.  Imagine docking your phone at home and getting a computer like experience on your hdtv or computer monitor with full keyboard and mouse support, then popping it out and continuing your mobile computing via the smartphone itself, then whipping out the laptop dock and getting a large screen, keyboard and touch pad supported laptop experience all powered by your smart phone all done with a seamless experience.  This is the future of computing my friends and its all due to the power of these new dual core tegra processors. I really hope other manufacturers take note of this set up and it becomes more common.  No longer will we be burdened with a plethora of dedicated devices. I love it! Check out the video for a better idea of how this all works. 

One thing is for sure these devices are sure to give the iPhone a run for it's money, so far it has been completely unchallenged on AT&T. It'll be intresting to see Apple's response to this Android offensive on it's home turf!

Source: Engadget


LG Coming Hard with Android Devices in 2011

After the stellar success of LG's multi-carrier value device the LG Optimus (S, T and U or Vortex on VZW), LG is back with two amazing high-end smart phones.

First is the beast of a phone the LG Optimus 2X.  It is the first dual core processor phone, utilizing the NVIDIA Tegra 2 1Ghz dual core chip, this new chip promises unmatched processing power.  Tegra 2 and dual core chips will defintely be the big thing in 2011, the chip seems to completely elimnate lag, allows amazing console level gaming and much more.  The Optimus 2X also has and HDMI out port with full 1080p output as well as HDMI mirroring which allows for video output to be displayed on the device and a larger screen simultaneously, even for playing games!  The phone is incredibly thin and will have a 4 inch display, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front facing camera, 8GB internal storage (and microSD slot). It is running on Android 2.2 but will be updated to the Android 2.3 and is expected to be available on T-Mobile Check out the videos to see it in action.

LG will also be releasing the LG Optimus Black with 4-inch WVGA NOVA display that is very bright while still being power friendly and provides amazing visibility even under bright light (LG claims the brightest and clearest display at 700 nits).  Another stand out feature of the Optimus Black is it's Wi-Fi Direct feature, which allows it to directly transfer files via WiFi. LG is also touting that it is the world's thinnest and lightest smartphone.


Android 3.0 Honeycomb Preview

The tablet game that the iPad kicked off is really about to heat up! Google just teased the world with some video and photos of their upcoming tablet-edition of Android, Honeycomb.  This is the fabled Android 3.0 we've been hearing about so much and it will be a tablet specific OS.  The new OS really looks nothing like Android as we know it but this may be a good thing since our tablets should be more than just jumbo phones.  Check out the pics and video from the CES conference in Vegas!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sprint's HTC Evo Shift 4G Coming January 9th!

Not too long ago I posted about a leak regarding Sprint's next big phone headed out this month. Well the new HTC Evo Shift 4G will officially be available January 9th for $149.99. Though many are thinking of it as a sucussor to the Evo, I'd say it's more of a sibling; similiar to the Droid 2, Droid X, and Droid Incredible on Verizon. It shows Sprint's decision to launch an Evo line of phones; a smart move in my opinion. I'm loving HTC's phones right now and Sprint's line up was definitely in need of more variety and another  NON-SAMSUNG full qwerty Android device. I am not really feeling Samsung right now for a number of reasons (possibly an entire separate post), so a qwerty device from HTC is definitely welcome.

Not quite the "Evo with a Keyboard" I hoped it to be, the Shift ( as I am dubbing it) is still a really good phone!  It basically takes the Evo, adds a keyboard and a newer snappier processor but reduces the screen and rear camera and removes the front facing camera.  It's actually a lot closer to the the T-Mobile G2 (also made by HTC).

Looking at the Specs might draw a better picture:

HTC Evo Shift 4GHTC Evo 4G (OG Evo)
800MHz Scorpion (Qualcomm MSM 7230) Processor1GHz Snapdragon (Qualcomm QSD8650) Processor
3.6 inch LCD screen4.3 inch LCD screen
1GB internal memory1GB internal memory
Android 2.2Android 2.2
5MP rear camera8MP rear camera
X1.3MP front facing camera
Physical QWERTY keyboardX
*Forgot to add OG Evo has HDMI out. I don't believe the Shift does

At the end of the day the new Evo Shift 4G will definietely be one of the best phones on Sprint and right at the top of the Android class across carriers.  Priced well at $150 too.  Given my preference for HTC mainly because of their far superior software support and modifications, I'd definitely say it's between the Evo's for Sprint's top smartphone spot.  HTC provides a more reliable stock route to Gingerbread ( Android 2.3), and has proven to respond to software bugs and glitches much more reliably than the Samsung alternatives. 

Check out the video:

Source: WireFly