What company is rolling out an iterative update to its best-selling smartphone in the world? One that builds upon the success of the previous model, yet for the most part retains the same shape, design, and form of last year’s phone? If you guessed Apple, you’d be wrong. The brand new Samsung Galaxy S4 improves upon the Galaxy S III in almost every way, but with HTC’s One already winning on materials and even user interface design, can Samsung build on its current momentum without reinventing the home button? More →
BlackBerry’s famous hardware keyboard is finally becoming available on the company’s latest operating system called BlackBerry 10 in the coming days, and the company’s new phone is called the BlackBerry Q10. Meshing up BlackBerry’s brand new OS with the same core features and specs of the BlackBerry Z10, the Q10 is the answer for die-hard BlackBerry fanatics. But considering how good the on-screen keyboard is on the Z10 — it’s the absolute best software keyboard I have ever used, in fact — is the Q10 even necessary in this day and age?
In many circles on competing services like Twitter, Facebook is the Nickelback of social networks. People love to discuss how awful it is and to joke about it constantly, mocking various aspects of the service and business such as how fast and loose it plays with users’ privacy. Everyone seems to have a Facebook account and yet no one seems to use the service actively. But just as Nickelback manages to sell millions of albums each year despite seemingly having no fans, Facebook — the social network people love to hate — has a billion monthly active users. More →
In the global smartphone market, Samsung (005930) is a force to be reckoned with. The company extended its lead during the fourth quarter as it shipped an astounding 63.7 million smartphones, representing 29% of the global market according to research firm IDC. Samsung’s next closest competitor was Apple (AAPL) which sold 47.8 million iPhones for 21.8% of the market during the same time span. The story is much different when it comes to tablets, however. IDC estimates that Samsung shipped 7.9 million tablets in Q4 2012 for 15.1% of the global market, which represented big year-over-year growth put still paled in comparison to Apple’s 43.6% share. In other words, Samsung still has a lot of work to do. More →
With smartphones, as with any category of consumer electronics, we have no choice but to accept compromises. This has been the case throughout the history of cell phones and it continues to hold true even with best handsets on the market today. Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 5 features a class-leading design with fast, smooth software, but it has a comparatively small display and lacks some of the great new functionality we’ve seen introduced on other platforms in recent years. The Samsung (005930) Galaxy S III is a sleek handset with a stunning screen and a great feature set, but it feels like a cheap toy, as does its successor. Nokia’s (NOK) Lumia 920 packs plenty of punch in a sleek package, but it’s thick and heavy, and it is missing a boatload of top apps. It’s inevitable — some level of compromise is inherent in all smartphones. More →
The HTC One (2498) smartphone comes at an important time. As good, thoughtful and purposeful as HTC’s products are, the company hasn’t been doing as well as it used to. Samsung’s (005930) been on a roll, and Apple (AAPL) is Apple. The latest flagship smartphone from HTC is the One, and it is a complete reset. It features a beautiful aluminum case, much lighter HTC Sense interface, and a load of innovative features that aren’t available on other smartphones. It’s a bag of tricks in a magician’s hat. So how does the HTC One stack up against the latest and greatest from the company’s competitors? Read on to learn more. More →
I first laid eyes on Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet just about four months ago. It was a rainy Monday morning in Redmond, Washington and we were barely into the first 20 minutes of a full day of meetings when I knew the Surface was a huge, huge deal. Microsoft — the world’s largest software company, responsible for the operating system that powers roughly 92% of all personal computers on the planet — was now a hardware vendor. More →
BlackBerry is back! Or is it? With a brand new operating system, brand new hardware, and a restructured company with some new people, Research In Motion (RIMM) has done everything possible to make the company’s brand new flagship smartphone a success. It combines the tried and true hardware we all know and love with a new take on the BlackBerry software experience. But is it enough to fight through the sea of iPhones, Android phones, and even Windows Phones? More →
One after another, HTC (2498) churns out positively gorgeous smartphones that make most rival Android handsets look like cheap toys. Stunning though the company’s work may be, HTC continues to struggle. After ending 2012 on something of a high note, HTC faces a daunting challenge in 2013. More than outdoing its previous designs, more than pushing the envelope with thinner phones and increasingly impressive specs, and more than innovating with new software and services, HTC must find a way to catch consumers’ collective eye despite the constant marketing barrage from its larger rivals. More →
Things haven’t been going well for HTC (2498). The company continues to lose market share to Samsung (005930) and Apple (AAPL), among others, and has seen its stock plummet over the past year. It was only a short time ago that HTC was riding high in the mobile space — in the third quarter of 2011, the Taiwanese manufacturer led Samsung to take the top spot in the U.S. smartphone market. The company couldn’t keep its lead, however, and sales of its One-series smartphones have been less than spectacular. HTC needs a game-changer and it believes it has found it with the DROID DNA smartphone on Verizon Wireless (VZ). In a crowded mobile market, is HTC’s latest effort too little too late? More →
The Microsoft Surface got off to a shaky start. Preorder demand seemed strong for Microsoft’s (MSFT) debut tablet but the company made it a point to note that initial supply would be limited following the Surface’s launch. CEO Steve Ballmer then stated on multiple occasions that Surface sales have been relatively slow, likely in an effort to keep investors’ expectations in check. Microsoft’s partners have slammed the Surface time and time again, and analysts have done the same. Is Microsoft’s premiere Windows hardware offering doomed to crash and burn? More →
I don’t believe in cases for your smartphone. Why cover up your svelte phone with a piece of cheap silicone or a plastic when its designers worked so hard to get its form down to be perfect enough for you to buy it? Just as most people (I hope) don’t wrap BMWs in car “bras” to protect them from getting scratched up and people don’t put screen protectors around Rolexes, smartphone covers do nothing but make your phone thicker and bulkier – even the “thin” ones. What about “bumpers?” Those are so 2010. I can’t understand how Google (GOOG) thinks selling selling people $20 Nexus 4 bumpers is still cool. So when I got the chance to try out Element’s Sector 5 aluminum “bumper,” I wasn’t expecting much, especially since it sells for a whopping $145. But at that price, I had to find out — what kind of protection does a bumper that costs nearly as much as an iPhone 5 on contract get you?
Almost like clockwork, every year around this time, Google (GOOG) introduces a new version of the company’s flagship smartphone, the Nexus. This year, we have the Nexus 4 manufactured by LG (066570) instead of HTC (2498) or Samsung (005930). In addition to a new Nexus, the phone is usually accompanied by a new version of the Android OS, and with the Nexus 4 Google has introduced Android 4.2. These phones always try to set the bar for the Android ecosystem, but funnily enough, I have never found that to be the case in the past. Does the Google Nexus 4 change this? More →