Why the Blackberry Priv Matters [Opinion]

I’ve never been a Blackberry fan. Before I ended up getting an HTC Touch Pro 2 I had considered getting a Blackberry Storm because Verizon was offering a buy one get one free deal. I was too young to know that was a bad sign, but eventually I ended up doing more research before landing on the Touch Pro 2.

Since then I’ve continued to do what most smartphone fans have done regarding Blackberry; I’ve ignored them until a press release reminds me that they haven’t been sold to someone or finally closed up shop. I remember laughing to myself that the company who prided itself on having a stellar email experience (which, by the way, was not the case if you were a business that used Microsoft Exchange) didn’t have an email application for their first tablet. I remember reading about how the company was so baffled that Apple had made an honest to God smartphone that they thought Apple had faked the whole thing until they could get their hands on one. Blackberry has always been a joke to me, but the Priv is different.

Sorry, HTC, I’m Not Buying Your One A9 Message

HTC wants you to think they are doing “Something special, something different” with their new One A9. Sorry, I’m just not buying any of it. Call me an HTC hater (which I know many of you will), but this is just another Android phone no one will care about or remember in a couple of weeks. Well, you may remember it, just not because of what it can or can’t do. You will remember this phone because of its appearance and the non-stop cracks we will all make about its resemblance to the most popular phone on the planet.  (more…)

Ugh, Smartwatches.

I’ve spent the better part of the last year or so with a smartwatch or smart something-or-other strapped to my wrist. It has been a miserable experience. From Android Wear to Pebble to Apple Watch to Samsung’s new Tizen-powered Gear S2, I think it’s safe to say that I’m smartwatch’d out. I need a break. My wrist needs an immediate break or I might snap.  (more…)

OnePlus, Stop Apologizing, and Just Make Your Phone Available

To begin, I would like to share a quote, first spoken by Lao Tzu. “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” To me, these few words speak volumes with regard to the way new companies on the block market themselves. Everything is “hype” this and “never settle” that. The fact of the matter is, getting people excited for an unreleased product is incredibly easy. Yell out a few top-tier specs, then slap on an affordable price and boom, now you have the entire Android community praising you.

But then you make the most incredibly poor decisions with marketing, such as a “sexist” contest, destroying perfectly good phones when they should be donated to those in need, and most importantly, not delivering on what you promised for a second year in a row.

If you need me to connect the dots for you, I’m talking about OnePlus(more…)

Thoughts on the Galaxy Note 5 from an iPhone User [Opinion]

Late last year I was sitting in my car playing with my tiny iPhone 5c. I had just finished reviewing the Sony Z3v and it dawned on me. I missed Android. I started messaging with everyone at Droid Life and within a few minutes I decided I was going to switch to Android. I have an upgrade coming up in October so I figured I would upgrade to the Note 5 since it would be the latest phone out then. Then I got to spend some time with the Galaxy S6. It was a great phone with some shortcomings, but surely the Note 5 would be the phone for me.

More time passed and I continued to evaluate. Would the Note 5 meet my needs? Can I live with a more advanced OS that doesn’t get apps or updates first? Can I give up iMessage for SMS? I had lots of questions and few answers. Read on to get my impressions of the Galaxy Note 5 and what I decided.  (more…)

It’s 2015, Why Do All Android Phones Still Include a “But”

The year is 2015 and we still don’t have a perfect smartphone. I’d argue that there isn’t even a phone that is all that close to being perfect. I’m not saying that all of today’s phones are bad, because most are very, very good and you will probably be satisfied with whatever you choose. But every single one of them includes a big “but.” Hear me out.

Over the past few years, we have seen display technology from Samsung that looks more life-like than your TV and is mindblowingly good. We have seen processors reach PC-like power and efficiency levels. RAM is insanely fast. The Galaxy Note 5 has 4GB of it, people. 4GB. Storage is also faster than ever before. We even have fast wireless charging now! Cameras are reaching point-and-shoot territory. No, smartphone cameras are coming close to eclipsing some point-and-shoots. Metals are being used. Glass is too. Phones look like high-end watches or jewelry, yet do more than a computer in many instances. Technology is, well, pure awesome right now. So why is it that every single Android manufacturer can’t make us the perfect phone.

Why isn’t there a perfect option right now?   (more…)

Near Future Consternation [Opinion]

A lot of people seem to be upset that the OnePlus 2 does not have NFC. As we all know, OnePlus likes to talk a big game. They are the ones who “#neversettle,” after all. But how can this flagship killer actually kill flagships without NFC? Why not just include it?

Here’s the thing – Near Field Communication, or NFC as the kids are calling it these days, simply doesn’t matter in 2015. I want you to come with me on a journey back to yesteryear. No, literally, think back to 2014. Everyone thought that once Apple added NFC to the iPhone, NFC would become a big deal. The teens would be bumping their phones to exchange contacts, every single store in America would support mobile payments, and all of the big issues plaguing our country would be solved.

Well, it’s been almost a year since NFC was added to the iPhone exclusively for contactless payments and you can still hardly use it anywhere. Even major businesses like Starbucks are continuing to use barcodes for payment like it’s 2011. And it isn’t just Apple’s problem. While Android phones have been able to pay for things with Google Wallet and myriad of other services, most stores still want a credit card. (more…)

I’m Using the Nexus 6 Right Now…and Dammit, I Kind of Like It

I reviewed the Nexus 6 some eight months ago now, saying that it was the best Nexus yet and that everyone should try to get their hands on it at some point to see if they could handle the whale-like size. That was one of the last times I spent serious time with “shamu,” because for me, this big of a phone is just too much to handle. And not only that, but the Galaxy S6 arrived shortly after, a phone that I still would consider to be the best phone you can currently buy.

Over the last couple of weeks, though, something happened to my T-Mobile Galaxy S6. It has become a total lagfest of a disaster that needs constant reboots and RAM wipes and task kills in order to function. I don’t know why this is happening, but I’m leaning towards blaming the Android 5.1.1 update that it received in mid-June. My unlocked Galaxy S6 that is still on 5.0.2 seems to be fine.

Because of the recent frustrations that the Galaxy S6 gods have pushed down upon me, I’ve found myself firing up a Nexus 6. I couldn’t tell you what brought me this way instead of to the G4 or Moto X or variety of other phones on my desk (that’s a lie, I’m about to tell you why), but this is where I’m at. And you know what, as big of a sea creature as this may be, I’m kind of liking it at the moment. Like, really liking it.  (more…)