Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal [Opinion]

iOS 7 Lock Screen

On Monday, Apple revealed the latest version of iOS to the press and developers at its annual World Wide Developers Conference. Apple showed off a lot of new features on iOS, many of which are iterations on ideas from other companies. Unsurprisingly, I saw a lot of people complaining on Twitter that Apple was claiming to reinvent everything and that they stole everything from Android. The truth is that they took ideas from Android, webOS, Windows Phone, and a handful of jailbreak tweaks and, most importantly, iterated on them. Apple didn’t claim to be reinventing anything (they’ve avoided that claim for years now); instead, Apple claimed to be iterating. iOS 7 really is the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone was released in 2007.

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Thoughts on the New Gmail for Android

new gmail

Well, now that it’s rolling out to everyone are you fans of the new Gmail for Android? The app itself is a mix of new and old, in terms of functionality and looks. Gone is the bottom action bar, in is a new top action bar. The pulldown menu for switching accounts or accessing different labels or inboxes is gone, in is a new slideout side navigation drawer. There are massive colored icons for contacts that default to big letters if you don’t have the sender as a contact, account switching has changed slightly, and you may need to tell Gmail to show either Archive or Delete buttons depending on your preference. It’s a pretty big change, while not being that big of a change – if that makes sense.  (more…)

A Few Thoughts on This “Nexus Experience” Program

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The “Nexus experience” device appears to be all the rage these days, grabbing headlines left and right. After Google announced the first in this new category at Google I/O as the Samsung Galaxy S4 “Nexus experience,” HTC decided they would like to be a part of this elite crowd as well. This morning, Android leader Sundar Pichai announced the HTC One “Nexus experience” to an applause from tech enthusiasts across the globe. It’s a move I think many of us have hoped for all along – you know, the latest flagship devices running stock Android, receiving timely updates, and having no part of a manufacturer skin.

It’s a dream, right? Mostly, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have questions, concerns, and other thoughts in general. Here are a few that immediately come to mind.

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Google I/O 2013 Predictions, Speculation, and Rumors: New Nexus Q, Android 4.3, Chrome Dongle, New Gmail, and More

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Google I/O 2013 is next week. Hard to believe, right? It seems like only a few weeks ago that we were freaking out as the Nexus 7, Nexus Q and Jelly bean (Android 4.1) were all being unveiled through Google Play as we were entering the day 1 keynote of 2012’s I/O. But here we are, almost a year removed from that event and six months out from Google’s cancelled winter event that was supposed to feature the Nexus 4, Nexus 10, new version of Jelly Bean (Android 4.2), and an updated HSPA+ version of the Nexus 7. So as we approach next week, we thought we should drop some of our own predictions, include a few rumors that are floating about, and even a few whispers that have entered our inbox over the last week or so.

Ready? Here is our list of Google I/O predictions.  (more…)

HTC, You Win – I Can’t Stop Using BlinkFeed

htc blinkfeed

As painful as it is for me to admit this publicly, I feel it’s only right that I do. My name is Kellen, and I’m a BlinkFeed user.

When HTC announced the One back in February, I was one of the quickest to write off BlinkFeed as another marketing gimmick and option that no real tech user would ever touch. I called it “terrible” (twice). Sure, it was perfect for the average user who loves Facebook, but for people like me, it didn’t stand a chance. It was a Flipboard copy, remember? It was even promoted with this super creepy, stalker-friendly ad. Well, after going through my second unlocked One, and making it my daily driver, I’ve found myself using the damn service more than I had ever expected to. In fact, I’m loving every second of it. Ugh.  (more…)

Why the Unlocked U.S. Version of the HTC One is My New Phone [Opinion]

News flash! Even tech bloggers don’t get to keep devices that are sent to them for review purposes. No sir, we have to pick and choose our personal devices with care just like each and every one of you. Sure, we get to put our grubby little paws all over the newest tech before the general public, but that doesn’t mean those devices hang around for more than a couple of weeks. Once our reviews are done, we tend to ship them back to PR departments before going back to whatever phone we have chosen to be our daily driver. After some time spent with both the new HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, I have made a decision on what that new daily driver should be. 

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The Potential in Smartwatches [Opinion]

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When I first saw the Pebble I was honestly amazed. As the amazement wore off and the waiting settled in, I daydreamed about receiving notifications and being able to control my music from my wrist. Then, I received my Pebble and reality took over.

Now that I’ve had the Pebble for a week I’ve resorted to turning off the Bluetooth and using the watch to tell time and play Snake. Was it worth $150 for that? Not really, but I do love being able to shake my wrist to activate the backlight. Even though I’m generally disappointed with the Pebble, having it has made me think more about what a smartwatch should do and whether or not it’s a product that has the potential to change the way we interact with the world around us in a meaningful way.  (more…)