If You Plan to Buy a New Moto X, Buy a Turbo Charger Just in Case.

Over the weekend, Motorola announced that the new Moto X would go up for pre-order on Tuesday, along with their Turbo Charger, a device that utilizes Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology to give the new X up to 8 hours of battery power within 15 minutes. If you plan to buy the new Moto X, fork out the extra $35 for the Turbo Charger. Just do. And I don’t say that because I think it’s a cool accessory (even if it is). No, I say that because the battery life on this phone is average, and you never know when you are going to need another 8 hours of juice in a day.

I hate to bring semi-bad news like this on a Monday, but after testing the new Moto X for over a week now, I don’t have any other word to bring on a battery life front.  (more…)

Thoughts on Moto 360 Battery Life

Thanks to a handful of initial reviews from select press that surfaced close to last Friday’s embargo time, everyone thinks the Moto 360 has terrible battery life. Forget the fact that these reviewers couldn’t possibly have given the device thorough testing on its battery in the 12 hours (some less) that they had the watch in hand, but after having one on wrist for four days now, I think I can safely say that battery life is no where near as terrible as it was made to sound.

Let’s talk about the Moto 360 and some battery-related items.  (more…)

Verizon Thinks You are a Fool for Not Wanting a 2-Year Contract, Because You are Saying “No” to Discounted Phones

Calling a 2-year service agreement with a wireless carrier in the US a “scam” is probably putting it too lightly. There are few deals in any industry as bad as the “deal” you get when you lock yourself into a contract for wireless service. Don’t tell that to the person in charge of Verizon’s official Facebook account, though, as they seem to think you are a fool for not wanting to sign a contract. Why? Because you are saying “no to discounted phones. Period.”  (more…)

Dear Carriers, If You are Going to Take Features From Phones to Make Money, Give Us Options to Get Them Back

Last week, we featured a deal for an unlocked LG G3 that could be snagged on eBay for $500. We picked one up because international versions of phones not only seem to receive updates much quicker than their counterparts here in the States (a topic for another day), but this is the model of the G3 that features wireless charging out of the box, something US carriers (Verizon and AT&T in particular) removed so that they could make extra money off of customers like you and me with accessories that add features like this on.

Once the device arrived, I slapped it on the Qi wireless charger that never leaves my desk, just to test the functionality on a G3. Sure enough, it worked without hassle straight out of the box. I didn’t need to slap a new cover on or attach a case, it just charges as if the feature is built-in, which it is. While this should have brought immediate joy, it also brought on a substantial amount of anger even quicker. Why? Because carriers in the US have robbed us of features like this for years to help them make an extra buck or two. And while I’m fine with companies trying to get richer (I’m sure we all would do the same), the way they go about it frustrates the hell out of me. What I mean is that if you are going to dumb down my smart device, so that you can charge me for accessories to make it smarter, give me some damn choices.  (more…)

The Moto 360 is the Only Android Wear Device I Want

Tim and I were seated in the press section during Google I/O’s keynote last week as director of Android engineering David Singleton announced to all attendees that the first Android Wear smartwatches would be available later in the day. He started with the LG G Watch. A small golf clap followed. He then thought he was surprising us all by announcing that Samsung had created the Gear Live, which would also be available within a few hours. Another small golf clap followed. You could then feel the building about to explode with joy as he moved on to the Moto 360, a watch that is without a doubt the most anticipated smartwatch of all time on Android. And then came the news – it wouldn’t be available until “later this summer.” The entire crowd of around 6,000 booed and moaned and sighed simultaneously. While I’m a member of the press and technically not allowed to join in on that outcry, deep inside, I did. The Moto 360 is the only Android Wear smartwatch I want.

Why is it the only smartwatch I want, you ask? For one major reason – it doesn’t look like a smartwatch. When I wear a watch, I do so because it’s a fashion item that is also useful. Actually, to tell you the truth, at this point, it is really all about the fashion. I have a phone that can tell me the time if I really need it to. A watch has become an accessory first that also happens to tell the time. And since the Moto 360 has been beautifully crafted with stainless steel and leather to look like a watch first, smartwatch second, it wins in my book. (more…)

Death of Phablet.

The “phablet” is dead. You can stop saying that word. Stop putting tablet and phone together. There is no longer a category of phones that blurs the line between phone and small tablet. They are now all just phones. Big ones. Because you told manufacturers that you wanted them to be big – all of them.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the phone industry was getting clowned on by Steve Jobs, who referred to phones like the Droid X and its 4.3-inch display as “Hummers.” How silly does that sound now, when you consider the fact that just yesterday, LG announced that it had received final approval for mass production on its latest display, which weighs in at 5.5-inches and will be featured in its next flagship phone, the G3. Keep in mind that LG released a “phablet” in 2013 with a 5.5-inch display, called the Optimus G Pro. And let’s not forget that the Samsung Galaxy S5 sports a 5.1-inch display, yet the world thought they were mad in 2011 when they introduced the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note “phablet.”  (more…)

I Hate Today’s Smartphones.

They are all too damn big. Bigger, bigger, bigger. Bigger is better. Bigger means more value. Bigger means more will buy them. Bigger. BIGGER.

BIGGER.

I can’t stand it. Outside of Motorola and Apple, no one wants to make a phone you can actually use anymore. Well, use with one hand efficiently that is. It’s one giant race to see who can do it bigger, with more pixels and megapixels and inches and batteries. Why? Stop it already, Samsung, LG, Sony, Oppo, and the rest of you. I don’t want to use two hands just to control my smartphone.  (more…)

HTC, You are Guilty of Gimmicks Just as Much as Samsung is, Maybe Even Worse

HTC cracks me up. Because they are fighting for their lives, they’ll say anything at this point to try and win you over. Whether that’s by claiming to reinvent the smartphone or by attempting to re-create the camera with the “UltraPixel” or calling out Samsung for pushing out a couple of gimmicks instead of innovating , they want to be loud and in-your-face. Let’s be clear though – there isn’t anything wrong with a little trash talking, but if we’re being brutally honest here, HTC is guilty of just as many gimmicks as Samsung. And that includes their new HTC One (M8), which may contain the mother of all gimmicks.  (more…)