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Showing posts from March, 2012

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…

Why the new iPad is Revolutionary and not Evolutionary

The newest version of Apple's iPad has been unveiled to the world at large. Truth be told, the updates made to the device are pretty much along the lines of what people expected. Retina display, 4G radios, better camera (although not where I predicted) iOS 5.1 and the iPad 2 continuing to sell at a reduced $399.

So why is an expected update so revolutionary? What makes this iPad any better or more special than the previous two? The screen resolution. The fact that people can now hold a screen in their hand that will look better than the one hanging on their wall at home. The fact that Apple appears to be making the push for sharp, clear content on all of their devices. Apple is showing the world that the way you engage with and interact with content, apps and anything else has always been and always will be through the display. When content looks it's best and images, text, buttons, and all manner of graphics look as crisp and sharp as possible, the fact that you're lookin…

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Part 2 - The Pain Points

So in my first post dealing with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I talked about how I loved the integration of Microsoft's services and that this connected Metro future looked like quite a bold and bright future for Microsoft. Now I want to talk about the pain points, where I feel Microsoft has to make some changes before handing Windows 8 to consumers.

Keyboard and mouse use of Metro has to be my biggest complaint so far. Don't let that fool you, overall the experience is much improved from the Developer Preview of last year, but still falls short in my opinion. My problems come from the fact that many of the various actions that need to be done with the mouse with no real indication that you can or should do them without someone telling you before hand. In Windows 7 Microsoft removed the "View Desktop" icon from the quick launch bar near the start menu and moved it to the far end of the taskbar next to the clock, but in doing so changed the texture of the corner to…

Steam Box? PC Gaming’s Salvation?

Late last week, The Verge broke in with the story that Valve may be secretly working on a Steam powered set top box for the living room based off of Valve’s Big Picture mode they displayed last year at GDC and that the Alienware X51 may have been intended to be one of the first devices released under the Steam branding.

This could go a few different ways, with Valve setting the minimum specifications for a Steam Box and then any other manufacturer building their own and selling it on their own. Could this usher in a revival of PC gaming to the masses which has been slowly on the decline for the past few years? The costs associated with PC gaming as well as the moving target for developers have long been blamed for the decline in PC gaming sales. This proposition of a one size fits all PC for TV option is quite intriguing. The prospect of PCs heading to the home entertainment center raises a few questions though.

If Valve does launch this service with the help of PC partners, (Valve buil…

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Impressions Part 1

Well, Microsoft has released their Consumer Preview of Windows 8 to the world at large and one day later over 1 million people have decided to download the preview and check out Microsoft's latest offering. I plan on breaking down my thoughts into 2 different sections. Initial impressions of what Microsoft has done and how it ties into their larger ecosystem and then what I think Microsoft still needs to fix before launch or worse case scenario, fix with Service Pack 1. So lets dive into what Microsoft's newest OS has to offer.

For my impressions of Windows 8, I'm looking at how the operating system works with a keyboard and mouse as I have no touch hardware I can use with Windows. I've tried the Consumer Preview on both a desktop and a laptop. I am typing this post right now in the Metro version of IE 10 on a modified Google CR-48 Chrome OS laptop running the consumer preview. (Full disclosure, this hardware was never meant to run Windows, but I don't have a PC fo…

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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.…