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Windows 8 Review

Before I begin my review on Windows 8, I want to explain how I approached this review. I'm not going to review Windows 8 from the power user's perspective, I'm looking at this from the average, casual computer user. That is the user who is going to be most affected by this change from Windows 7 to Windows 8. To that end, I've been using Windows 8 for the past two months in the most traditional way, on my work PC and on my home PC, with no new touch or gesture enabled hardware, just a keyboard and a mouse.

Windows 8: A Bipolar Operating System Windows 8 represents a monumental shift from Microsoft to combat Apple and Android devices that have been stealing mind and market-share away from Windows based devices. Unlike Google who has Chrome OS and Android or Apple who has OSX and iOS, Microsoft is opting to use Windows 8 across the board for phone, tablet and desktop. While this strategy allows for Microsoft to re-use thousands of lines of code across platforms, it also f…

Android Has Lost its Appeal

Android, currently the world's favorite mobile operating system, is held in high regard by many and high contempt by others, namely Apple fans. Lately for me, Android has become un-inspiring and too tied into this always on, always connected online only world that Google is pushing. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about being connected, but the feeling that I have to be connected for my device to be useful, it sometimes as limiting as it is liberating. I currently own a Galaxy Nexus on Sprint running the latest 4.1 Jelly Bean build. This is supposed to be the premier Android experience, and I will say, it's up there as one of the best, if not the best Android phone's I've owned. But I want more.

I say I want more, but what I really mean is, I want less. I want to spend less time customizing, syncing the right accounts with the right apps, searching for the needle in the haystack of apps for the few good ones that really help me out and make my phone mor…

iPhone 5 Thoughts

Apple announced the iPhone 5 to the world yesterday. In what many see as a response to Android's rise, Apple has changed the screen size to taller 4-inch display, added LTE connectivity and made the phone even thinner and lighter than before. For some the announcement was a let down, mainly because it was a confirmation of the leaks we had all been reading about for the past few months, for others it was because Apple didn't include NFC support or didn't add some new feature with iOS 6 that Apple had kept exclusively for their newest phone. I respect what Apple is doing with their latest device and here's why.

The iPhone 5 represents the culmination of everything Apple has done in the mobile space since 2007. It's the best iPhone to date, and in many ways, one of the best, most polished phones you can own period. Everyone is clamoring for radical changes, amazing new features or crazy new designs. Apple did that once, it was called the iPhone, and it launched in 20…

Details Microsoft! Details!

Last week Microsoft and Nokia held their Windows Phone 8 party to show off some seriously sexy Nokia Lumia hardware with the Lumia 920 and 820. Nokia did a wonderful job showing off some great hardware that brings Windows Phone in line with the Android offerings in terms of hardware and showed off some amazing new camera tech with PureView image stabilization that will help differentiate Nokia from the "me-too" offerings from Android OEMs. Wireless charging and the partnership deals that Nokia has with Coffee Bean to get wireless charging stations embedded in tables at their shops is an amazing leap forward to bring wireless charging mainstream. Wireless charging and wireless power are going to be one of the next big things in my opinion. Why should I have to run a bunch of cables through my desk and plug them all in, when I could just plug in the desk and set my LCD, phone, wireless keyboard and mouse right on top and not have to worry about separate cords for any of them? …

Samsung Shows us the First Windows Phone 8

Samsung is out the door with the world's first Windows 8 Phone. The Ativ S. Basically a Samsung Galaxy S III running Windows Phone. I don't mean that as a put down to the device. One of the reasons (in my mind) why Windows Phone hasn't succeeded when compared to the iPhone or Android is because of hardware buzzwords that Windows Phone couldn't stack up next to it's name. Does the average consumer know how the dual or quad core processor in their phone is or isn't helping them? Of course not. But they'll tell you it's there and claim to feel the speed difference over their old phone that likely has nothing to do with the processor. We all saw how many AT&T iPhone 4S customers thought their iPhones were going so much faster after the "4G" label got added to their phones with the iOS 5.1 update when they were still using the same 3G network as before. This perception is real enough that consumers will spend money on what they believe to be tr…

Microsoft Surfaces

Microsoft took the wraps off it's answer to the iPad yesterday at an event in downtown LA. Taking the Microsoft Surface name that most consumers aren't familiar with and re-branding it for their home grown tablet offering. (PS: The old Microsoft Surface, the big table, has been renamed, PixelSense) While some may argue that Microsoft is coming out with two little two late to combat the iPad, I don't think this can be written off as another would be competitor who like most of the Android's out there have failed to even come close to touching what Apple has in the iPad.

The Surface represents the first time Microsoft has directly competed against it's own hardware partners. In some ways this marks a shift for Microsoft. They realized with Windows Phone that they needed to control their own destiny and not leave it up to their partners to produce products that were compelling, they had to guide them along the way. With Surface, Microsoft isn't just guiding other …

How Android can make Fragmentation a Non-Issue

The big F word. Not the swear, although to Android users like myself, sometime uttering the word fragmentation does seem like a swear when we look at iPhone or Windows Phone users. The reality of the Android world is that it's fragmented. Not much can stop that now. Some will argue this is a good thing (I'm still trying to understand that opinion) and most say it's a bad thing, the reality is, it's going to be a problem as long as manufactures like Samsung or HTC continue to give their customers the shaft.

Some may wonder what I mean, considering HTC doesn't seem to have the same software update problems that Samsung or Motorola seem to have. This post isn't to point fingers and call companies out, it's meant to show how the major Android players can make the fragmentation issue a thing of the past with their phones. It takes one simple strategy. Respect your customers after they buy your product. Here's what I mean by that.

I hate to do it, but look at…

Why No One will Beat Apple at their Game

So often in the marketing of new phones, tablet and computers, you hear how the product will better than whatever Apple's current offering is and how it's the iPad or iPhone killer and it's finally arrived to save us from Apple. Or whatever. Yet I've noticed something, every year, every new release cycle, there's always an iPhone killer coming out, which would suggest that the iPhone and iPad or whatever Apple comparison you want to make, hasn't been killed yet. I'll go so far as to argue that Apple hasn't been beat at their own game yet, and never will be, unless Apple themselves falter.

What is it exactly about the iPhone or iPad that makes it such a great device that arguably no one else has been able to top it yet? Apple uses now the same design in their handsets for two years running, the iPad is essentially just a scaled up version of the phone. What makes it so hard for everyone else to compete with? Why is there no true iPhone or iPad killer eve…

Dropbox and Google Drive Face an Uphill Battle

The clouds are gathering for what looks to be quite the storm on the latest front to move through the tech world, with major titans in Microsoft, Apple, Google, Dropbox and now Amazon squaring off to win your usage and dollars in the cloud storage wars. Dropbox was the first major player to strike first with dead simple use, great integration with user's desktops and a simple, yet powerful web interface. The recent additions to their phone app (at least for Android) that adds features like automatic photo backup are an added bonus to great usability.

Apple's iCloud has really put the squeeze on Dropbox for Mac users however. With tight integration with iOS devices as well as the desktop and even Windows users to an extent, iCloud is positioning itself as the go to option for consumers with iDevices. Amazon has just recently worked to expand their cloud storage options to the desktop with an actual client as opposed to web based interfaces. Amazon's services live and die w…

HTC is the Best of Android

HTC, after floundering and doing some soul searching in 2011 has returned in strong form to become the premier Android handset maker in my opinion. The One Series shows that HTC understands how beautiful design of both hardware and software not only make sense (pun intended) but elicits a positive emotional response from customers as well. These are the best phones Android has to offer, form any manufacturer or any carrier hands down.
I applaud AT&T and T-Mobile (in the US) for releasing these amazing phones as they are with only their logo added on. I accept the fact that the upcoming HTC EVO 4G LTE is a reworked HTC One X to mesh with Sprint's branding initiatives and to follow up the success of the EVO family on Sprint. I don't get why Verizon is insisting on a new HTC Incredible that is also most likely a riff on the HTC One X. I would much rather HTC focus their efforts on a single great line of products that all the carriers could use. Why does AT&T get the One X…

Does Sprint Have a Comeback in Them?

On April 22 Sprint took the first steps towards actually competing on network performance, rather than just price with AT&T and Verizon. The LG Viper and the Galaxy Nexus, the first LTE capable handsets for Sprint, have launched. Now there's no LTE network for them to connect to just yet as Sprint hasn't turned the service on in their launch markets yet. But this launch of devices, followed up with the launch of the HTC EVO 4G LTE in another month or so (hopefully with LTE service to back it up) shows the carrier is ready to play ball with the big boys.

My big concern at this moment is that Sprint is too late to the game and holding onto too much debt to make the run they need to. Sprint's merger with Nextel didn't go very well and while the number three carrier has made some improvements and taken some gambles to try and win back customers (like WiMAX), I'm concerned with their ability to keep things going long term.
Sprint made what I consider to be a deal wi…

What is Microsoft Thinking?

Microsoft, the underdog in the mobile space took radical steps to combat the iPhone and Android, to come back and become a relevant player in the market once again. The entire Windows Mobile line, scrapped and done away with. The old bath water drained out so a fresh new start could be made to truly tackle the mobile needs of consumers with a new mobile OS in Windows Phone 7. While a drastic move, it was widely praised as the right decision, even if it did burn bridges with consumers and business professionals who's work was built around applications that wouldn't run on WP7. Now Microsoft is going to do it all over again. With every single customer who's bought into the Windows Phone 7 system if the rumors are to be believed.

All I can say for Microsoft is that this is bad for business. The fact that this rumor, contradictions to it and general confusion have swirled around the web for as long as they have without being cleared up by Microsoft is not a good thing. Basical…

Why I can't Recommend anything but an iPhone

I've been putting a lot of thought into mobile phones lately. My honeymoon phase with Android has worn off and I'm having second thoughts about Windows Phones now that I'm starting to hear rumblings that no current Windows Phone running version 7.5 of the software will be upgraded to version 8. So the question I get from my friends and family right now is, what phone would you get?

If I had to pick a phone right now, this minute on any carrier, I'd have to choose the iPhone. I know you may be thinking, the iPhone? Really, are you sure? The iPhone 4S, without LTE and is destined to be updated in another 6 months with a new form factor, that iPhone? Yes, and here's why.

I'll put it plain and simple, Apple has their act together. They make one device, the exact same hardware no matter the carrier, and it's a really great device. Sprint and Verizon use the CDMA radio inside with the option to roam internationally with GSM radio. AT&T get's the GSM "…

An Open Letter to Microsoft about Windows Phone

The world we live in, the technological world, is evolving and changing at such a rapid pace. Just since 2007 we've seen the introduction of both the iPhone, Android, the introduction and fall of WebOS, Microsoft pulling the rug out from Windows Mobile and the launch of Windows Phone 7. That's just the major highlights in the mobile space. No matter how you look at it, the technology we use today has evolved and changed rapidly from what we were using just a few years ago.

This is why I wanted to take a moment and address Microsoft and their push to recapture market-share in mobile while simultaneously pushing to counter the iPad with Windows 8. Microsoft will likely never see this post, and I'm ok with that. I want to make my opinions known to the world at large. First off, I'd prefer to use a Microsoft product. I say I'd prefer to, but I don't always, because right now, they aren't always the best tool for the job. That doesn't mean I won't switch…

Google Plays Around

Google has re-branded the Android Market to the Google Play Store. While I understand this to be a part of a larger strategy to bring all of Google's offerings under one banner, I must say I'm not impressed with how this has been handled by Google. Google seems to be searching for a way to compete with the ecosystems that Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are building and by changing the branding for their digital marketplaces overnight, I will argue has caused even more confusion.

From the get go, the Google Play announcement was a strange one. Announced with nothing more than a blog post and then pushed to users with no warning or plan, it caused nothing but confusion for those who have Android devices and don't keep up with Google's latest plans. Thankfully Verizon had the foresight to send a text to Android device owners to warn them of the impending change, but that was one carrier in one country. Most consumers don't visit Google's web version of the Android M…

Sprint and HTC Set to Announce New Phone

Sprint announced the other day that they would be holding a press event on April 4th to unveil their latest "collaboration" with HTC. Most likely this will be to unveil a re-branded HTC One X or S that has LTE and will fly under the EVO name on Sprint's network.

At least that's my hope for a best case scenario. I'm a little more worried that Sprint will attempt to update the HTC EVO 3D. Now the EVO 3D is a fine phone, but ultimately I think 3D in general needs to go find it's quiet comfortable corner and die in peace. While the 3D gimmick (and that's all it is, a gimmick) has made for a few minutes of entertainment here and there with 3D video or 3D photos on the phone itself, I have no intention of ever taking photos in 3D or watching movies exclusively in 3D. The biggest reason I don't enjoy 3D is because it gives me headaches after viewing for extended periods of time or if I don't get to look at the image in just the right way. So no matter how…

Nokia's 5 Steps to Windows Phone Success

Nokia finds themself in a precarious position. They’ve gone all in with Microsoft to become the premier Windows Phone manufacturer and jumped ship from their in-house Symbian product. They once were synonymous with the thought of any cell phone. Nokia, along with everyone else was upended by the introduction of the iPhone by Apple and as a result, for the past few years have been largely absent from the North American continent, especially in the United States. Can Nokia reclaim their top spot, does Microsoft’s platform provide the software to get them there and will Nokia matter in the US marketplace now that Apple and Android are so firmly entrenched?
Nokia’s fall from favor began much like most other cell phone companies over the past few years, the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 by Apple and the failure to respond to the way that changed the game. I know it’s been said a thousand times, but it bears repeating, what Apple accomplished with the iPhone was nothing short of a rev…

Nintendo's Wii U Gamble

Nintendo outed the Wii U to gamers around the world last year at E3. This year we expect to see more of the games that will be accompanying the launch of the WiiU this fall and a better picture of the ecosystem that Nintendo looks to surround their new console with.

The Wii U looks to be a safe move by Nintendo. Take the successful formula that propelled the sales of the Nintendo Wii, upgrade the hardware, include the same motion controls, include backwards compatibility, and then add a new controller aimed at more hard-core gamers. This on the surface looks like a good move for Nintendo who, as of late, has been struggling to move as many Wii consoles into consumer’s hands. Overall it looks like Nintendo has listened to some of the vocal complaints against it and has plotted out a strategy to include gamers who are looking for a hard-core experience.

Nintendo still has a lot to follow through on though. With no real laid out online strategy, no content deals and almost no exclusive tit…

Popular posts from this blog

ARMing Windows

Qualcomm announced on June 4th, the Snapdragon 850 for use exclusively in PCs. A move that is clearly designed to improve the shortcomings of the Snapdragon 835 in current ARM-based Windows PCs. In fact, Qualcomm is telling us to expect a 30% improvement in performance over the 835 chip.
This new class of ARM chip from Qualcomm signals a new shot in the ongoing war of Intel vs ARM. Qualcomm clearly sees the opportunity for a return on its investment in customizing silicon for PCs otherwise the new wave of Always On, Always Connected PCs would be using the Snapdragon 845 that is currently featured in high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 or OnePlus 6. The 850 is the second-generation of the 10nm platform that debuted with the 835. Intel is now only beginning to slowly roll out 10nm chips, showing they've had a hard time reliably stepping down from 14nm.
I believe this new chip, along with continued development of Windows 10 on ARM could potentially make this new category of…

Windows 8 Review

Before I begin my review on Windows 8, I want to explain how I approached this review. I'm not going to review Windows 8 from the power user's perspective, I'm looking at this from the average, casual computer user. That is the user who is going to be most affected by this change from Windows 7 to Windows 8. To that end, I've been using Windows 8 for the past two months in the most traditional way, on my work PC and on my home PC, with no new touch or gesture enabled hardware, just a keyboard and a mouse.

Windows 8: A Bipolar Operating System Windows 8 represents a monumental shift from Microsoft to combat Apple and Android devices that have been stealing mind and market-share away from Windows based devices. Unlike Google who has Chrome OS and Android or Apple who has OSX and iOS, Microsoft is opting to use Windows 8 across the board for phone, tablet and desktop. While this strategy allows for Microsoft to re-use thousands of lines of code across platforms, it also f…

iPhone X isn't Worth It

So full disclosure, I haven't held or seen in person an iPhone X yet. But between the glitzy Apple ads, giant billboards, and hands on videos others have published, I know everything I need to know. The iPhone X isn't worth the money, at least not right now.
You may be wondering why I'm so quick to pass judgment on a product I've never used, let alone seen in person. Apple has admitted that the iPhone X was slated for 2018, but they worked really hard and got it out early. I don't buy that for a minute. The iPhone X is a reaction to Samsung, to Google, to LG, and HTC. Worse, it's a first generation reaction, with an unproven design, already admitted supply constraints, and compromises that don't make sense for users.

If you are an iPhone fan, I say buy the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus. These are proven designs of a great phone. No, there's no flashy design, but what are you losing from an iPhone X? A screen with a notch in it, Face ID, and Animoji. That's it.…