Category Archives: Consumer Tech
Lumia 928 Elevates Verizon’s Windows Phone 8 Offerings
It’s been a long time coming, but Nokia is finally bringing a high end smartphone to Verizon. That’s right, folks: the much-rumored, often hoped-for Nokia Lumia 928 is official and it’s coming to Verizon in just a few days. On May 16th the doors open and, for just $99, Verizon customers will be able to get their hands on Nokia’s latest.
The big question is, of course, what makes this thing so special, and why do we care about what might be just a mild revamp of a 6 month old AT&T phone, the Lumia 920? Head on past the jump for the straight skinny and find out!
Surface Pro Battery Doesn’t Have to End at 4 Hours
I’m working on a Surface Pro right now in preparation for our upcoming review, but this little piece can’t wait. One of the chief complaints I’ve seen leveled at the device as I’ve perused other reviews is in the battery performance of the device. In most cases, reviewers, evidently unable to distinguish between an ARM based tablet and one running a full-blown laptop processor, have decried the battery life as horrible. While it’s fair to say that it’s not up to par with an ARM based SoC (what is?) in that area, it also doesn’t have to be as terrible as people claim. No, Microsoft’s Surface Pro has the ability to do a little better, and all it takes is a bit of tweaking on your part (tweaking, I’ll add, that Microsoft should have done at the factory). As I type this, I’ve been using it off the outlet for 6 hours, 24 minutes, and I have 15% battery life remaining. Head on past the jump for what I did, and how I’m getting an average of 6 hours depending on how I’m working.
Today was the official launch date of Microsoft’s much-anticipated Surface Pro, the tablet device they famously announced in the summer of 2012. The device, supposed to bridge the gap between tablets and ultrabook laptops offering, if not a perfect amalgamation of the two, at least a superb blending of capabilities. From the various reviews, it sounds like the device more or less gets there, and a few days ago my fiancée and I managed to get some hands on time with the devices at Microsoft’s store in South Coast Plaza, Orange County, CA. We’d gone in hopes of getting a reservation card, announced a few days before. Kelley is an artist, and as such Surface represents probably the best value in tablet and computer on the market, thanks to its integrated Wacom digitizer that supports 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. After playing with the device in store that day, she knew it was worth getting as a worthy upgrade to her aging Tablet PC. She’d tried for a time with the iPad (which we finally got rid of awhile back), but that device simply isn’t up to the task. So we asked for a reservation card, but were told that they were already gone. Subsequently the employee said not to worry because “we’ll have hundreds, you won’t need a reservation,” so we left the store with no worries.
Then this morning arrived, and as we got ready to head to the store, I perused the news and came across a startling article: Surface Pro sells out immediately. What the hell happened?
Nvidia’s sees your Quad Core Graphics and says “Yeah? Here’s 68 more, bitches!”
So you thought your new Nexus 10 or iPad 4 was the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world, right? That your dual core tablet or smartphone, or A6-this, Exynos-that was the end-all, be-all of hot shit? Well, Nvidia’s just dropped a brick in your lap, and it’s called the Tegra 4 mobile processor. It makes your iPad 4 look like a joke. It strangles your Nexus 7, 10 or otherwise, and it does it all with a song in its low-energy core, a swanky games console wrapped around its shoulders and a sure bet that 2013′s mobile phones and tablets are going to take a big, fiery dump on everything you just got for Christmas. Follow me past the break for specs and thoughts on Nvidia’s new groundbreaking Tegra 4 processor!
Nvidia News, Notes, and other Exciting Gossip as Heard on the Live Webcast from CES!
We’ll be updating this post with news, notes, and information from Nvidia. To watch along, view their live webcase from CES in Las Vegas here. Press conference is scheduled to start at 8 pm (yes, just a few minutes) Pacific Time.
I received an interesting email this morning, with a message from Intuit regarding their Quickbooks GoPayment app support for Windows Phone. Normally this isn’t something I’d bother blogging about, but this is something that goes well outside the normal email for a service provider to send to its customers. The long and short of it is this: Intuit is actively encouraging users to abandon the Windows Phone platform in favor of Android and iOS. Yes, you read that correctly. In spite of the very new launch of Windows Phone 8, which offers more than adequate support for everything an Intuit app and card reader could possibly need, the company has not only pulled its existing Windows Phone 7 app from the store but is actually telling users to leave the platform for competing OS’s. This kind of behavior from a major app vendor is unusual and, quite frankly, unacceptable, but hopefully it’ll mean that Square, PayPal or one of the other processing merchants will step up to the plate and address the market that Intuit apparently doesn’t care to.
For the full details, plus a workaround, and where you can write to complain, hit the break!
I’ll have the full rundown tomorrow, but for now have a look at Windows Phone 8′s stunning new Start Screen. Microsoft was kind enough to provide a nice video covering the major features of the new UI revision. Thoughts later!
Xbox 360 Solidifies Position as Media Console Leader…Again
Microsoft has, for at least the past couple of years, banged the drum of “Media hub” when talking about Xbox 360. Each year the “core” gamers have moaned as Microsoft increasingly focused on building up Xbox 360′s street cred as a legitimate living room jack-of-all-trades, but for the most part it’s worked out well for the big M. Truth be told, it’s worked out well for gamers, too. We’ve gotten the ability to cheaply stream gobs of content from the likes of Hulu, Netflix and other sources to any TV, all while continuing to enjoy a wealth of high end games content and a great online service that still can’t be beat by any other console. So it should come as no surprise that this E3, while bereft of surprises and relatively light on new games franchises or non-sequel IP, has nevertheless delivered a plethora of cool stuff for the media consuming masses. I’m gonna take a moment to summarize a few of these right after the break, and I invite you to join me and share your thoughts on Xbox 360′s latest bounty.
Nokia’s Lumia 900 and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS Deliver The Goods
How did I end up with a Nokia Windows phone? For the past 10 years I have been an Apple fanboy: from their computers to their iOS devices and everything in between. When rumors of an Apple branded cell phone started flying in 2006, I knew I had to have it. I hoped it would be more than an iPod (at that time only the iPod classic existed) that could make phone calls. Finally in 2007 Steve Jobs announced the iPhone to the world. I was so glad it wasn’t just an iPod with a phone built-in! It was a new, mostly never seen device. It introduced us to easily acquired apps, and a new breed of smartphone was born. It took the world by storm, and everybody wanted one. The truth is that at that time, it was the best there was. Every year Apple religiously introduced a new model: Faster. Thinner. Smaller. A better camera. It became expected, foreseeable, and that’s where it is today.
What happened, unfortunately, was that although they introduced new features and devices, the OS practically stayed the same. It felt–and feels–stagnant. The same row after row of icons smiled back at me, year in and year out. Swipe left. Swipe right. I became bored and eventually disappointed. So after 4 years of living the iPhone dream I made the big decision. I switched ecosystems. Android was my new system of choice. I got me a spanking new Samsung Infuse. Nice phone, big screen, sharp colors–but that was it. Out of the box the phone is slow and the battery doesn’t last very long. Sure, Android offered incredible customization, but deep inside it felt like iOS. Yes, there are widgets (and I do love me some widgets), and yes I flashed a new rom a few times (as many an Android aficionado will tell you, the OS is really at its best when customized by the community. Out of the box the OS is…yeah) and yes, most of my apps were available in the Google market.
But the novelty wore thin after just a few months. I became bored again. Bored and tired of having to make sure the new app would be compatible with my phone. Yes, I went there, the bane of Android, the ugly “f” word: fragmentation. If not for the turn-by-turn spoken directions Android offers, I would had gone back to an iPhone (I can’t believe that after 5 years the iPhone still doesn’t offer native turn-by-turn spoken directions). But in this big “Google vs Apple” smartphone world, what else is there? To my shock and near horror, my attention was next caught by…Microsoft. Let me tell you what I found after the break!
Samsung’s Focus 2 Makes Focus S Look Pretty Good!
I was excited this morning when my friend Luis shot me a link to the announcement of the new Samsung Focus 2. Well, I was excited until I read it, anyway. Unfortunately, it seems the Focus 2 really offers very little over the existing focus, and aside from LTE, nothing at all over the Focus S.
The new phone offers a front facing camera, but at only 0.3MP, down from 1.3MP on the Focus S. But here’s a surprise: the rear camera drops from the Focus S’s 8MP shooter down to the original Focus’ 5MP. Maybe it has a better lens? One can hope, but the spec sheet’s declaration of a 4x Digital Zoom doesn’t give me a lot of hope. The Focus S keeps to the 4″ SAMOLED screen of the original Focus (though hopefully it at least gets away from the pentile tech of the earlier screen). Internal memory stays at 8GB, and there’s no mention of a MicroSD slot. Likewise, they don’t say anything specific about the RAM or processor, which immediately leads me to think this device does absolutely nothing special outside of holding the line for cheap smartphones. For all we know, this could be one of the new Tango 256MB RAM devices.
Have a look at the listing if you feel like being disappointed. As much as I love my original focus, this third iteration seems like a rather pointless addition.