I’ve seen a lot of Android devices and they start to meld together and become one generic beast after a while. Weight begins to feel the same, color and size are in a common range. They all run one OS version lower than is currently released. I’ve become bored of Android phones because of this. The coolness factor begins to wear out when manufacturers pump out devices so fast that the newest one today is old when you go to the store tomorrow. But one line of Android phones has consistently outranked the others and I’ve been very impressed by the newest in the line of Samsung Galaxy S devices — the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Every phone that comes out claims it’s lighter and thinner and so much easier to hold and use but the Galaxy S III has them beat. My wife thought her Samsung Fascinate (part of the Galaxy S family) was thin and light but even she was surprised when she held the Galaxy S III! Not to mention the screen is beautiful to look at. I could play with the live wallpaper all day just because it looks so pretty.
Throwing the phone in my pocket, even with it’s large footprint, wasn’t anymore of a hassle than carrying my Thunderbolt (I even managed to carry both in the same pocket a couple of times and not notice too large of a bulge in the side of my leg).
I was let down by the fact that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet from being installed and run on the device. I even tried side-loading the app but it wouldn’t install at all. According to rumor it is because of ISIS, or another NFC payment app, but I wish that Verizon wouldn’t have been so stingy and let users install Google Wallet if they wanted. I was especially looking forward to reviewing this device for that since I signed up for Google Wallet when I reviewed the Galaxy Nexus and wasn’t able to try it out much with that device or any prior to it.
All the cool features that the commercials show are only great if your friends have Galaxy S III phones, unfortunately I didn’t have anyone to try them out with around me since most of the people I know are not scheduled for upgrades yet and have older Android phones without all the cool features. The anti-Apple commercials that they are showing on TV don’t show you that part.
Despite not getting to try everything on the phone and its lack of Google Wallet, my time with the Samsung Galaxy S III was very enjoyable. Wait, let me underline and bold that: very enjoyable. There. If someone were to ask me right now which Android phone I would purchase I would point them toward the Galaxy S III (In fact, I did that this morning to a fellow colleague). It is a really great phone and one that should last you through the next two years so long as Samsung keeps it updated with Key Lime Pie (Android 4.2) in a few months time.
I’ve been an Android proponent for a long time. I was with Alltel when Android first came out so I couldn’t get a G1, but I had an HTC Touch that I ran Android by running a bootloader to boot into it. Sure, if I had to reboot then I had to start the bootloader manually and then wait for Android to boot up and I didn’t have all the cool sensors that the G1 had, but I had an Android device not a Windows Mobile phone.
Everything was great! Some of my friends and coworkers got iPhones when they came out and some got Android devices as they began to grow in popularity. When my contract was up (after Alltel merged with Verizon) I got a Motorola Droid. All this time I was still running This Mobile Life and I was getting emails from companies about iOS and Android news and I had to just wade through all the iOS news to get to Android since that’s what I had. Then something changed.
Netbooks were out and tablets were in. The iPad had made a large ripple in the water and Android tablets were beginning to join the party. By this time I had been rooting my Android devices and when I bought my current phone (HTC Thunderbolt 4G) I didn’t hesitate to root and start installing roms. I picked up a used ASUS Transformer TF101 from a coworker and I was in the game with everyone else. Months have gone by and now my device list has grown to include an iPad, a BlackBerry Playbook, and two Palm Pre+ phones as well. Through all this, I still receive a whole lot more iOS news than anything else.
And now I get to the reason I’m going to make the switch for my daily device. I’m not going to leave Android because of the fragmentation, I’m not leaving because the Manufacturers and Providers just drop all support for a device when they release a new one. I’m getting an iPhone because everything comes out for iOS before it comes out for Android, if it comes to my favorite OS at all!
The icing on the cake for me was the new web-based bank, Simple. I signed up when it was all the rage to leave your bank and when I got my invitation I was excited to try it out but they only support iOS with Android support coming “later”, just like everything else that comes out. Android, I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at your developers. I’ve been an Android developer for a little over a year now and I enjoy the platform, but when you look around for companies needing developers they are looking for iOS developers first, Android second. iOS rules the development scene, so iOS rules the commercial scene.
So, that’s the reason — I’m leaving because I’m tired of being left out of the cool new apps and since I’m trying to stay on the cutting edge with this blog, I need to have get my hands on the cool apps right away. I won’t leave Android forever. I don’t plan on getting rid of my Thunderbolt, it’s my Android development device and most everything runs fine on WiFi. But, my daily device will change as soon as I can renew my contract with Verizon (next January).
Yep, but the operative phrase here is “up to”. I’ve checked the trade in for my phone (HTC Thunderbolt 4G on Verizon) at a few websites and been very bummed to see the price that I’m quoted at, but I thought that maybe since this was from the same manufacturer that I might get a better deal.
So, off to the HTC Trade Up site to choose my phone from the thousands of phones they have listed. It seems like they have every phone ever made on this site, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you can get some money out of your old HTC T-Mobile G1 Android phone. I picked a couple of older phones first and got a big ‘ole goose egg for the trade in value and a nice little message from HTC saying that I shouldn’t worry if I didn’t get the price I wanted, they could still sell me an HTC One X for “a mere” $99!
But, my phone isn’t that old, and it was one of Verizon’s flagship phones for their 4G LTE service. So, I thought that this might get me some brownie points and maybe a little extra cash in my wallet. So I clicked through the drop-downs, choose that the phone still works fine, has no damage to the screen and no water damage, and clicked the submit button with my fingers crossed. Apparently, all that gets me is a $40 visa pre-paid card. I should have known it would be pretty much a wasted effort to check, this was a $250 phone (on contract) 18 months ago after all! How could I think I would pay more?
For giggles I plugged in the Samsung Galaxy S III (16GB) and was greeted with the happy price of $265. Also, the Apple iPhone 4S (16gb), a one-year old phone, has a trade in value of $215.
TeamViewer just released a new version of their Android app which lets you remotely transfer files from your Android device to your PC (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and vice versa. If you’ve ever used TeamViewer to transfer files, doing it from your mobile device is very similar. I gave it a try from my phone to my Mac (both of which I use TeamViewer on very often) and found it very simple.
There’s a new tab at the bottom of the app titled Files, touch that and you are shown the root folder of your device, browse through the folders until you find the file you are looking for (touch the file to get a preview of it) and then check the box beside it. Now tap the “Remote Files” button at the bottom and connect to the PC you want to send the file to, then browse to the folder on the PC. Tap the file button at the top and the transfer will begin. It’s so simple and easy, and wire-free!
You will need to have the TeamViewer for Remote Control app on your Android device and also the application loaded on the PC you wish to remotely transfer the files to. Both of these are free for personal use.
Read the press release after the break.
I signed up for LootCrate a couple of weeks ago, it’s like other “boxes” that you can get shipped that have a random assortment of trials and goodies except this one is only for geeks/nerds/gamers/technophiles/whatever you want to call yourself. Here’s my unpacking of what I got this month, so if you also are getting one, let me know in the comments if you got something different.
I plan on doing these for each box, so let me know if you want more info or something different.
That’s right, we finally have an official date, we all hoped it would be before the Masters Tournament but Verizon needed a bit longer to get things ready and now they have set a date — July 21, 2011.
Get your 4G phones turned back to 3G/4G, you only have a month to wait. You can read the press release below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2011
VERIZON WIRELESS LAUNCHES 4G LTE IN AUGUSTA ON JULY 21
AUGUSTA, GA – Verizon Wireless announced today that it is bringing the world’s first
large-scale 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to Augusta, Georgia on July 21. Residents
in Augusta, North Augusta and Aiken, SC with 4G LTE smartphones, laptop modems and
hotspots will be able to take advantage of speeds up to 10 times faster than the company’s 3G
“Verizon Wireless is making the best network even better,” said Jeff Mango, president of
the Georgia/Alabama Region of Verizon Wireless. “The activation of our lightning fast 4G LTE
network in Augusta is further evidence of our commitment to and investment in the residents of
In real-world, fully-loaded network environments, 4G LTE users should experience
average data rates of 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on
the uplink. Verizon Wireless began introducing the globe’s first large-scale LTE network on
December 5, 2010, covering more than 110 million Americans, and is quickly expanding
national coverage, currently offering service in 74 metropolitan areas. The company is rapidly
building out its 4G LTE network, and is on course to deliver 4G LTE to its entire 3G wireless
footprint by the end of 2013.
As the first wireless company in the world to broadly deploy game-changing 4G LTE
technology, Verizon Wireless is committed to building its 4G network with the same
performance and reliability for which it has long been recognized. Verizon Wireless’ consistent
focus on reliability is based on rigid engineering standards and a disciplined deployment
approach year after year. The company’s 700 MHz spectrum gives Verizon Wireless specific
advantages with 4G, including a contiguous, nationwide network license.
Visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte for more information about Verizon Wireless’ 4G
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest, most advanced 4G network and largest, most
reliable 3G network. The company serves 104 million total wireless connections, including
more than 88 million retail customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000
employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications
(NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit
www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-
resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia
Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
So, Verizon released their first Windows Phone OS 7 phone recently and I got a chance to play with it for a bit. I have been using Android phones for the past couple of years (even running Android on an Windows Mobile phone before Android was taking over) so I am biased when it comes to phones, but I put my biases way for a week and picked up Microsoft’s new mobile OS on Verizon’s network for a test run and came to some conclusions that I knew I would come to and found some things that were very interesting.
Before we get to the meaty part of Windows Phone OS 7, lets start with an overview of the HTC Trophy. It has a small form-factor, weighing in at just under 5 ounces with a screen size of 3.8 inches. It’s not a great mobile media device like some of the 4.0+ inch screen devices but it’s nice to see a smaller sized device on the market. The weight and size make it comfortable to hold and it’s not a nuisance to carry in your pocket.
The Trophy has all the same buttons that every Windows Phone OS 7 phone must have: back, Start, search, camera, power, and volume up and down buttons. These are a requirement from Microsoft and you’ll see why some are required a little later. There’s also a USB mini port for charging and mounting the device as a hard drive, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The camera is alright, I would place it around the same as the Motorola Droid. It does alright in day and well-lit areas but don’t expect too much in the dark or at night. Also, no front-facing camera means you will be taking pictures of yourself in the mirror and you can’t use any video conferencing apps.
Windows Phone OS 7 is a new OS, I only point that out because people are comparing it to Apple’s iOS and the Android OS, both of which are several years old and have substantially changed and updated themselves over the years. Of course, one could argue (and I do) that Microsoft has had that much time to make an OS that could be even better than the others because they have had plenty of time to compare and build the best OS. There are glaring omissions by Microsoft in the OS, like cut-and-paste (that will come in Mango, we are told) and lack of multi-tasking and the lack of feeling of ownership of the device because it is locked down so tightly.
This is a great improvement on the Windows Mobile OS, don’t get me wrong, but there should have been someone who worked with the OS saying, “Why don’t we take some of the great things about Windows Mobile OS and add it to Windows Phone OS 7?”.
A phone OS should be intuitive. I should be able to pick it up and use it without having to tap around and drag my finger in odd ways on the screen just to figure out how to get past the unlock screen (I did that at first because I wasn’t quite sure which way to drag… found out it was up after it bounced a few seconds later). Also, I noticed that the signal and battery life icons go away after you get to the Start screen and I thought they weren’t shown again unless you were at the lock screen, it took another friend to play around with it until he tapped near the top of the screen and it showed back up. That’s not the way I would have designed it but it does keep a clean look on the Start screen.
And then there’s the feeling of your phone being totally locked down. With Windows Mobile phones you could dive as deeply into the file structure as you wanted, there was even a file browser installed on the phone out of the box. Not so with Windows Phone OS 7, I couldn’t even find a file browser on the marketplace. Not to mention the fact that the SD card is being used as part of the phone’s memory.
Since we are on the marketplace, the Windows Phone 7 marketplace sucks. It really does. If you look at data charts comparing free and pay apps on other mobile markets you will see a huge difference between Android and iOS and the Windows Marketplace. There were even a few free apps that I found on other markets that were pay on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace!
But for all it’s cons there are a few things that I liked about the OS:
-I can take a picture super-fast. Windows put in a great feature where if the phone’s screen is off or you are at the lock screen you can hold the camera button down for a few seconds and the phone comes to life at the camera screen. There is the chance that you will take a million pictures of the inside of your pocket but I never experienced that while I was carrying it around.
-Integrated with XBox Live and Facebook. The latter not so well but it is integrated.
-Simple Start screen. You get the simplicity of iOS with the ability to use live tiles like Android’s widgets. You can add and remove tiles, and rearrange them how you would like.
So, what do I think of the HTC Trophy? I know that what you all are reading this article for this anyway; I hope you didn’t just skip to the bottom.
I think, although the phone is a sturdy phone and battery life was good for a smartphone, Windows Phone OS 7 needs a lot of refinement. Like HP’s WebOS, I think this one will fall by the wayside and be picked up by a few people here and there because the iPhone is too expensive or the Android OS is too overwhelming. Unless Microsoft can really step up their game it’s going to be out of the real race and eventually will not even be a big contender.
If you are looking for a new phone that is easy to use like the iPhone and has some live elements like Android widgets, and don’t mind the lack of polish and some features that other phones have, then give the HTC Trophy a try. You do have a trial period with Verizon that you can return it if you don’t like it and get something else. But if you are coming from another smartphone with an OS that you like and just want to try the HTC Trophy because it has a different OS, don’t bother.
Here’s a quick preview of Gameloft’s newest iOS game: Order & Chaos Online. It’s a WoW-like game that pits Order vs Chaos in a massively-multiplayer online RPG setting that you can carry around in your pocket (or bag, unless you have a pocket big enough to carry an iPad in).
It’s a great game and I can’t wait to see more games like it! You can find it in the Appstore for US$6.99, that includes a three month subscription and you can buy extra months for only US$0.99 a month.
Definitely worth checking out if you are into MMOs.
Samsung, for the 10th year in a row, is the winner in cell phone customer loyalty, according to the 2011 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index.
I had to look up how Brand Keys works, but basically they interview a sample of people (using online survey sites), a sample of around 100-150 people, and take their info from that small sample.
Good for Samsung, but I wonder just how true this is. Anyway, read the presser below.
SAMSUNG MOBILE HONORED AS #1 IN CUSTOMER LOYALTY FOR TENTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR IN THE MOBILE PHONE CATEGORY The No.1 U.S. Provider of Mobile Phones Celebrates a Decade of Customer Loyalty Leadership DALLAS – February 15, 2011 – Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC (Samsung Mobile), the number one mobile provider in the U.S. 1 began 2011 as the winner in cell phone customer loyalty for the tenth year in a row. According to the 2011 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index SM, Samsung is one of only 8 brands in any category to retain the lead in customer loyalty for an entire decade, and the only handset provider to be awarded the honor for ten consecutive years. The national survey identifies brands that are best able to engage consumers by meeting or exceeding expectations, thus, creating loyal customers. In the cell phone category, consumer preferences were based on wireless phone design and performance. “Samsung is honored once again to retain the Brand Keys customer loyalty distinction for yet another year, a clear sign of our commitment to not only creating innovative products, but to also continuously surpassing customer expectations,” said Dale Sohn, president for Samsung Mobile. “We know that a brand is only as strong as the people who support it, and securing many more decades of brand loyalty leadership is a task Samsung takes very seriously. We look forward to many more years of successfully and diligently meeting our customers’ needs as we continue to grow in the mobile marketplace.” Brand Keys is the only research consultancy in the world that specializes in customer loyalty, providing brand-equity measures that accurately predict future consumer behavior. Findings from the index rank brands based on those that consumers felt best met or exceeded their expectations and were most likely to demonstrate the highest levels of consumer loyalty and profitability over the next 12 to 18 months. The Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index examines customers’ relationships with 528 brands in 79 categories to paint a detailed picture of the category drivers that engage customers, foster loyalty and drive real profits. “In a category where expectations regarding technology travel at the speed of the consumer, it’s a real tribute that the Samsung brand has again managed to better meet customer expectations,” noted Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys Founder and President. “Being able to do it for 10 consecutive years seems to be a pretty good indicator of ‘delight.’ Satisfaction has never been more cost-of-entry; delight is the new differentiator, and we offer our congratulations to Samsung.” For more information about the 2011 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Awards, please visitwww.brandkeys.com/awards. About Samsung Telecommunications America, LLCSamsung Telecommunications America, LLC, a Dallas-based subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., researches, develops and markets wireless handsets and telecommunications products throughout North America. For more information, please visitwww.samsungwireless.com. About Samsung ElectronicsSamsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2008 consolidated sales of US$96 billion. Employing approximately 164,600 people in 179 offices across 61 countries, the company is recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands. Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com. About Brand KeysBrand Keys is the global leader in brand equity, loyalty and engagement research. It provides Global 500 clients with predictive category and brand metrics in both B2C and B2B environments in 35+ countries. Brand Keys methodology is based on clinical psychology providing in-depth insights into both the rational, and, more importantly, the emotional factors that strongly bond consumers to brands.
I don’t think my title is a stretch when you see this new T-Mobile ad. It’s online only for now, but will air on TV in a week. Tell me this doesn’t reek of my 4G network is bigger than yours is! Also if you didn’t notice, there’s a hint of the Android vs iPhone battle going on.