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…)

Reader Opinion: If You Bought the HTC One (M8), Tell Us Your Thoughts

Since HTC decided to be awesome and make the One (M8) available the same day they announced it, we know that a few of you currently have the device in hand. With that being said, we know there is an even greater number of folks who are still undecided as to whether the M8 would be a good purchase. Who better to trust with such a decision than the fine DL reader community, right?  (more…)

Rapid Fire Thoughts on the New HTC One (M8)

Both Tim and I have had the HTC One (M8) in our possession for 24 hours now. We have taken the phone through an unboxing and quick tour, showed off the Dot View Flip Cover, and are deep diving into preparations for a full review. But before we get there, all sorts of initial thoughts have run through my mind about this 2014 flagship from the Taiwanese manufacturer that I wanted to share. Some good, some bad.

Below, since this is by no means a full assessment of the phone, I’ve put together a bunch of quick hitters that touch on things like the randomness of HTC using “(M8)” in the name, how much I love on-screen buttons, and how confusing it is that HTC and Google want you to pay $699 for the Google Play Edition.

We’ll have more later, but here are some initial thoughts.  (more…)