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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mayan Calendar Points to Galaxy Nexus Release Date

BREAKING NEWS- Scientists have just announced that the Mayan "long count" calendar (see: 2012) may not indicate the end of the world. Instead, they say, December 21st of next year is actually the US release date of the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon's 4G LTE network.

"We have decoded part of the calendar which suggests the beginning of a new epoch," says a source who refuses to be identified. "This, coupled with a release day leak that appears to be legitimate, is unambiguous proof that the Nexus will come to Verizon on 12/21/12."

The Galaxy Nexus is Google's new Android reference device and sports the new incarnation of the OS (4.0- codenamed "Ice Cream Sandwich"). Critics have praised the phone, calling it "the best Android phone ever made."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

iPhone 4S

Apple held its "Let's Talk iPhone" event on Tuesday, unveiling the next generation iPhone and the Cupertino-based company's plans for the future. While the phone itself is not a major change from the 4, it is definitely an upgrade (hence why it's called the 4S, not the 5 as some predicted). Here's a breakdown of the features incorporated into the 4S:

iOS 5
Apple's newest version of its iOS operating system runs the 4S, adding over 200 new features to the phone. These include a Notification Center (ala Android's notification bar), iMessage (ala Blackberry's BBM), deep Twitter integration, reminders, and enhanced camera functionality. Updates are now computer-free, meaning you can activate or update your phone on the go.

Dual-Core A5 Processor
The 4S will feature Apple's A5 dual core processor, resulting in faster processing and graphics speed (up to 7x faster than the iPhone 4, according to Apple). The upshot is that this iPhone is designed with gamers in mind... graphics-intensive apps will perform like never before.

iCloud brings deep cloud functionality to all your Apple devices. Music, photos, documents, contacts, mail, apps, etc will sync automatically between your iPhone and any other iOS 5 device you own.

The iPhone 4S will operate on both GSM and CDMA networks, making it a global phone. According to Apple, it also uses two antennas that "intelligently" switch between transmitting and receiving, making for faster browsing and download speeds. Also, the new phone will debut on three US carriers, Sprint being added alongside of AT&T and Verizon.

One of the major improvements of the 4, the 4S introduces an 8-megapixel (60% more than the 4) camera with a new lens, a larger aperature, and a new sensor. Photos will have fantastic resolution, and the backside illumination sensor will make for brighter, full-colored shots even in poor ambient light conditions. The camcorder function will record in 1080p HD, and both stills and video can be edited on the phone itself.

Siri (Beta)
Okay, I saved the best for last. Siri is your new personal assistant (courtesy of Apple), and it can do just about anything on the phone. The kicker is, it recognizes "natural language"... just talk to it like you'd talk to a friend. Siri can recognize and answer the question "What is the weather in Chicago?" or "Will the weather be better today?" or "Will it rain today?" Siri transcends simple voice commands. For instance, say you get a text asking if you're free next Friday. Siri can look at your calendar, reply correctly, then start a new event for you. Maybe you want a reminder? Siri can do that too. Just a basic search? Yup. Most anything that can be asked of Siri, it can do... and it's only going to get better.

Final Analysis
Though the 4S is not a revolutionary device, Apple has produced another great product that will cause millions to stand in line for hours, waiting to get their hands on the newest, best iPhone. Is it a gamechanger? No. Will it spell the death of Android? Doubtful. Is it fancy and cool? Hell yes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jury Springer

Am I the only one who thinks the recent smartphone courtroom drama sounds like a Jerry Springer show? Feuding giants Apple and Microsoft slept together to acquire patents (which they already license) in order to keep sucking in revenue from Android (wtf?). Apple sues HTC, hoping to gain partial custody over their successful Android devices. Microsoft threatens to beat the shit out of HTC, Samsung and every other Android manufacturer for spurious patent infringement claims. Apple, whose iPhones are inseminated by Samsung's chipsets and displays, is getting a divorce from the Korean powerhouse 'cause they believe it copied the iPad. RIMjob sits pouting in a corner because their BlackBerries have gone out of season. JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!

The truth is, Android terrifies Apple and Microsoft. Android offers something they don't- an open platform that encourages manufacturers to develop products that fit every lifestyle. The Thunderbolt is a phone for speed freaks, the Droid Pro and Optimus Pro are handsets for the businessperson, Samsung's Super-AMOLED displays are great for movies, Casio makes rugged Droids for the construction worker, the Xperia Play is for the gamer, etc.  Add a vibrant development community and the power of Google, and you've got a real threat to iOS.

Don't get me wrong, iPhones can be attractive to people who want a simple, straightforward smartphone. I can pick up anyone's iPhone and it works just like every other iPhone. They're all the same, which is great if you want to be an iClone. Most of us inhabit a world that's quickly becoming increasingly tech savvy, though, and we relish in the type of customization that Apple can't (won't?) offer. Want a physical keyboard? You're SOL. Battery change? No way. Oh, and I hope you don't need Flash or want to change your UI. Steve Jobs doesn't like to share the sandbox, nor does he think outside of it.

As for the Windows Phone, there's not much to say other than it blows. The OS has a horrible user interface that is illogical at best.  The software looks like it was designed for a 5-year-old, there's no customization and little functionality.

Rather than listening consumers feedback by investing in better technology or trying to improve their products, Apple and Microsoft are instead attempting to (a)intimidate manufacturers into paying them for a free platform they didn't make, and/or (b)kill Android via litigation instead of competition. This is a toxic atmosphere for development and continued innovation, and the consumer is the ultimate victim.

Next time you see an iPhone or a Windows Phone, think about how Apple and Microsoft are acting like the drunk redneck who caught an STD from her neighbor's mule. You might have to start chanting... JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!

It helps me, anyhow.