HTC is in a bind, too. Not a Nokia-sized bind, perhaps, but a tough situation nonetheless. The Taiwan-based vendor has been making terrific smartphones for a number of years now, but it really saw its business take off in 2011 with six consecutive months of record revenue. That impressive streak came to an abrupt end thanks to the launch of the iPhone 4S and increased competition from Samsung, however, and the company’s new One-series smartphones are the first collective step toward regaining an edge in the competitive smartphone market. Two One-series smartphones are set to launch in the United States this month, and here, I take a look at T-Mobile’s upcoming flagship One S to see if it may indeed position HTC for a comeback.
Nokia is in a bind. The company announced more than a year ago that it planned to abandon both Symbian and MeeGo in favor of Windows Phone, the emerging mobile Microsoft platform that is currently still emerging more than two years after it was introduced as “Windows Phone 7 Series” in February 2010. Nokia and Microsoft had a lot in common, of course. Beyond an executive who ran Microsoft’s business division before joining Nokia as its CEO, both companies were once giants in the smartphone space. Microsoft had long since toppled, and Nokia’s market share was plummeting as its products continued to struggle against Android and the iPhone. Just two smartphones have emerged so far from Nokia and Microsoft’s deal since it was announced more than a year ago, and only one launched with carrier support in the United States. Now, Nokia is preparing to release its first flagship Windows Phone for the U.S. market — the Lumia 900 — and I spent the past week testing the handset in order to determine whether or not this might finally be the device that puts both Nokia and Microsoft back on the map.
It almost feels like we’ve been here before. Apple launched a new product with almost the exact same exterior look and feel as the previous model, and almost all of the upgrades are buried deep within the device. Why can’t Apple make a brand new game-changing form factor every year?! Steve Jobs was the best (even though the people who say this now used to talk shit about him all the time on forums and in blog comments when he was alive) and now that he is gone, Apple is done!
Apple’s iOS platform seemed to come out of nowhere and take the world by storm in 2007. The introduction of the first-generation iPhone set in motion a chain of events that lead up to the holiday quarter in 2011, when Apple recorded the most profitable quarter in technology history thanks mainly to unbelievable iPhone, iPod touch and iPad sales. No platform is selling as quickly as Apple’s mobile platform right now, but iOS is still in its infancy and the fact remains: as hot as iOS is right now, and as popular as smartphones and media tablets are, no platform installed base on the planet even comes close to approaching the size of Windows right now.
You know what they say about guys with huge phones… They’re compensating for tiny data plans. Samsung’s Galaxy Note is a giant smartphone. Or a teeny tablet. After using AT&T’s version of this device for several days now, I’m still not quite sure which is the case. It handles voice calls like a cell phone and it runs Google’s Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread smartphone operating system, but it feels very much like a tablet and it includes a stylus, which hasn’t been seen alongside a smartphone in this hemisphere for quite some time. Somehow, however, Samsung manages to pull it all together into one interesting package that might not have been worth the $10 million introduction, but it could certainly find a niche in today’s supersized smartphone market. Maybe.
After years of trying to build a smartphone worthy of reinventing the world famous RAZR brand, Motorola finally launched a handset it deemed to be deserving of the moniker last November. The DROID RAZR was released on November 11th and was a marvel compared to the flip phone it modernized. At $500 on contract, the original RAZR touted a 176 x 220-pixel display, 5.5MB of internal storage, a VGA camera and support for data speeds up to 48Kbps. This new version of the iconic handset packed a 4.3-inch AMOLED display, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera, 16GB of internal storage and blazing fast 4G LTE connectivity into a slender case only 7.1 millimeters thick. While the new RAZR was well received by consumers, a few complaints surfaced following the smartphone’s launch and poor battery life was among them. For users willing to trade the RAZR’s slim profile in exchange for a bigger battery, however, Motorola and Verizon Wireless launched the DROID RAZR MAXX earlier this month. There is no question that the MAXX version of Motorola’s sleek handset took care of battery life, but is the giant 3,300 mAh power pack enough to make Motorola’s DROID RAZR MAXX one of the best Android phones on the market?
Nokia proved it was back in the smartphone game when it launched the Lumia 800 last year. But can its Lumia 710 gain the attention of U.S. consumers? Many would argue that Nokia should have decided to launch the Lumia 800 to make a bigger splash in a market that has long forgotten the Finnish smartphone maker. But the Lumia 710 is affordable — it only costs $50 with a new two-year contract — and it’s also powerful. It’s not as feature-rich as the Lumia 800, but can it still compete with other smartphones in its price range? My full review follows after the break.
Amazon has been a leader in the eBook reader space since it first introduced the Kindle eReader in November 2007. At that point in time, the Kindle had a 6-inch E Ink display that supported just four shades of gray, it included 250MB of storage that could accommodate about 200 eBooks, and it retailed for $399. For the first six months or so, Amazon couldn’t keep the device in stock — it was a smash hit.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus isn’t just another Android phone, this is the standard by which all Ice Cream Sandwich phones will be judged. An example to every Android manufacturer out there, and every Android fan, this is the basic foundation of what you should expect in an Android smartphone. Is that setting the bar too high, though? The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the third addition to Google’s Nexus family, and second built by Samsung. It offers competitive specifications, innovative hardware, and it is the first phone to show off Google’s brand new OS, Android 4.0. Can Google and Samsung make the best Android device in the world together? Is Android 4.0 just another dessert-themed mess? I break it down like Jet Li in Chinatown after the break.
Nokia once had a big stake in the U.S. smartphone market. I remember being jealous in high school that I couldn’t tell anyone my Snake high score because I carried a Motorola phone. I seemed to be the only kid without a Nokia device so, when I went to college, I picked up the Nokia 6010. I was drawn to the color screen and interchangeable face plates, and I carried it through all four years of college, preferring its durability to the Motorola RAZR that all of my friends had bought. The iPhone was announced in 2007 and, seemingly almost overnight, Nokia was completely gone from the hands of U.S. wireless subscribers. Sure, there were a few flip phones from Verizon Wireless over the years and a handful of Symbian devices from AT&T and T-Mobile, but none of those phones had the power to bring Nokia back into the spotlight. The Lumia 800 does. It isn’t just a phone, it symbolizes Nokia’s efforts to re-enter the global wireless market with a unique point of view and a fresh portfolio. It’s not available here in the U.S. yet, but a variant almost certainly will be early next year. Does the Lumia 800 push boundaries? Is it the best Windows Phone out there? Are the hardware and software married so perfectly that the competition might be looking on with envy? My full review follows below.
Late last month, AT&T unveiled the first two smartphones that would launch with the ability to access its brand new 4G network (not to be confused with its old 4G network). The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket was a mouthful and a pocketful, identical to T-Mobile’s Galaxy S II save for the addition of an LTE radio. The other device was a brand new handset from HTC dubbed “Vivid.” In terms of hardware, the Vivid is a fairly substantial departure from other recent HTC phones. It is built with different materials and its shape is unlike any other handset from the vendor. Are its unique design, high-end specs and 4G LTE compatibility enough to make this smartphone worthy of your consideration? My full review follows below.
Verizon Wireless has not one but three powerhouse 4G LTE smartphones lined up for the holidays, and the HTC Rezound is one of them. Launching right after the Motorola DROID RAZR, the HTC Rezound takes things to another dimension, both visually and sonically. With an amazing 4.3-inch 720p HD display, a fast 1.5GHz dual-core processor, Beats-enhanced audio and other competitive specs in a solid package, is the HTC Rezound the 4G smartphone to beat this holiday season? Read on to find out how this phone shapes up against the DROID RAZR and Galaxy Nexus.
I haven’t turned on my Xbox 360 in almost a year. I did to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, though.
Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t differ greatly from previous editions of the game, though that’s not always a bad thing. The story events pick up right where Modern Warfare 2’s storyboard ended and you’re plopped right in the middle of downtown New York City, which is under siege and swarming with Ruskies. The storyline itself doesn’t have much depth, but for something you can get through in around five to six hours, it doesn’t exactly need to. Besides, the gameplay and graphics surely pull the weight here. More →