Switching from Android to Windows Phone 8 seems just about the worst decision that I have ever made in my entire tech life. It's sort of like trading a boring but solid marriage for a great one-night stand that has turned into a bad relationship not much further down the road. Granted, it all boils down to personal preference but right now I'd much rather have a spouse that I can rely on (Android) rather than someone that I can't stand anymore (Windows Phone 8).
Windows Phone 8 is all about trying to silence every voice in my head that says "You miss Android" and replace it with the "I can make it work if I try hard enough" broken record instead. Hope and blind faith is what keeps me going as I place my trust in Microsoft and developers to improve upon the operating system and its ecosystem in an update or app that never seems to come. Sadly, this mindset has failure written all over it. And I've reached the boiling point as every day there has to be something off with the Windows Phone 8 endeavor that makes me think "Why did I buy the HTC Windows Phone 8X in the first place?"
We've had to wait a tad longer than expected, but it's finally here. The team behind the popular custom Android distribution CyanogenMod unveiled the second monthly release based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, more than a month after the last build.
Like it usually happens with monthly builds, with CyanogenMod 10.1 M2 the focus is on stability improvements rather than introducing numerous new features that have yet to pass rigorous testing. As a result some of the latest features found in nightly builds may be left behind for future monthly releases in order to provide a custom Android distribution suited for daily-driver use.
The main ceremony, hosted by actor, comedian and swimmer David Walliams, was held on Tuesday and saw the Galaxy S III named the best smartphone of 2012, beating out the likes of the Apple iPhone 5, Nokia’s Lumia 920, and HTC’s Droid DNA.
That wasn’t the only upset for Apple as the iPad missed out too, with Google’s Asus-built Nexus 7 scooping the award for Best Tablet of 2012.
HTC’s new flagship smartphone, the HTC One, comes with an "Ultrapixel" back facing camera (it’s technically a 4-megapixel camera, but HTC refers to it as an Ultrapixel sensor because the pixel sizes are larger and can capture more light and, apparently, produce better quality images). It also comes with an impressive new live capture mode called Zoe Camera.
Zoe Camera automatically captures content through the camera’s lens when the app is active. Pressing the button will take a picture, but the app will automatically record the action before and after that moment. Zoe Camera can then mash together videos, images, effects, themes and a soundtrack, to produce what HTC calls a "Zoe". And if you want to see what these look like, the online hub for sharing them has just gone live.
Forget about the boring Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III for a moment, because while they may be impressive in their own right, both handsets now pale in comparison to the HTC-built Google Nexus One. The three year-old smartphone is the first to reach outer space and is circling around the Earth right now -- a feat that easily tops any other hardware or software feature.
HTC claims the Nexus One is the "world's first smartpho-naut" after the Android-powered device skyrocketed onto orbit from India, aboard the STRaND-1 nanosatellite. And that's not the best part. The STRaND-1 features WARP DRiVE (Water Alcohol Resistojet Propulsion Deorbit Re-entry Velocity Experiment) and electric PPTs (Pulsed Plasma Thrusters). How cool does that sound?
I'm not loving this year's big phone trade show. The news coming out of Barcelona is about as doldrums as the Spanish economy. Generally, the big stuff drops Day 0 and Day 1 at Mobile World Congress. They're done, and so far the product announcements are generally less than last year. The phone launch seemingly everyone waits for, Samsung Galaxy IV, comes in March. That's big commentary on what's missing from MWC 2013.
So far, I would call most new gear as the race to the bottom -- same concepts as the last couple of years, only offering less, selling for less and marketed to less-developed smartphone or tablet markets.
Nokia's augmented reality, map and navigation apps for Windows Phone just went through a name change, and now bear the HERE branding. As interesting as that may sound (which it doesn't, really) there is an even bigger announcement. HERE Drive Beta, HERE Maps and HERE Transit, which were formerly exclusive to Nokia devices, are now available for "any Windows Phone 8 smartphone".
Well, not for any Windows Phone 8 smartphone -- the three apps are only available for users in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, UK and US. That said, I have installed HERE Maps outside of a supported location and it works fine, without any apparent limitation. HERE Drive Beta and HERE Transit report an unsupported location and as a result neither works for me.
Call me crazy, but I love Mondays. Why? Because there is a new AOKP build coming just in time to kick off my week. The team behind the popular custom distribution Android Open Kang Project did not disappoint this time around either. Jelly Bean MR1 Build 4 made its way onto our modding hands with support for new devices and a much-awaited Android 4.2.2 base.
Jelly Bean MR1 Build 4 is the first release based on Android 4.2.2, the latter of which incorporates a number of new features including improved security as well as bug fixes for Bluetooth and other areas. The latest AOKP build touts minor changes, however, compared to its predecessor. The team behind the project says that the focus was on bugfixes, a "flawless AOSP merge" and the expansion of the lunch table (the lunch table is comprised of build configurations that can be compiled into per-device ROMs).
On Tuesday, after numerous leaks and rumors, Taiwanese mobile device manufacturer HTC unveiled a new flagship Android smartphone tastefully named One. With One the company has jumped off the ever increasing display size bandwagon and decided to stick to a more tried and true 4.7-inch panel, while packing a high-end quad-core processor.
The international One comes in silver and black and, depending on the market, other colors such as red might be available as well. The front of the handset is dominated by rounded corners and symmetrical speakers while the back features the now traditional tapered edges that HTC previously introduced with smartphones such as the Windows Phone 8X or DROID DNA. It's simply striking to look at.
Great news for Android enthusiasts rocking an HTC One S, One XL or DROID DNA! A team of developers has revealed an S-Off hack that fully unleashes the modding potential of the three smartphones by allowing users to flash a custom recovery or distribution straight from hboot.
In order to achieve S-Off nirvana, One S, One XL and DROID DNA users must enable root and have superCID, the latter of which allows for the installation of custom distributions independent of the country identifier (CID). Afterwards, the process is fairly simple to carry out with users only needing to download a patcher file and input a number of commands inside a terminal.
Two days ago Vodafone UK teased subscribers and potential customers by announcing that, starting February 6, Windows Phone 8 smartphones would be available for purchase. There was no mention of price at the time, but today the missing piece of the puzzle is finally revealed.
The most expensive Windows Phone 8 device to be had with no upfront costs is the Nokia Lumia 920. For the Finnish manufacturer's flagship Vodafone UK customers have to shell out GBP42 per month during a two-year agreement, and in return they receive 2GB of cellular data as well as unlimited calls and texts.
On Monday, the United Kingdom arm of the global telecommunications company Vodafone revealed that, starting February 6, it will carry a Windows Phone 8 smartphone lineup. In merely two days, Vodafone UK customers will have access to five devices sporting Microsoft's new mobile operating system.
The UK carrier covers the market from top to bottom, with the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X taking the role of the flagship Windows Phone 8 smartphones. The former ships in black and yellow, while the latter comes in California Blue or black.
The HTC Windows Phone 8X is a smartphone that you will either love or not want to touch even with a 10 foot pole. Part of the arguments for and against it stem from the operating system of choice, Microsoft's latest (and greatest) Windows Phone iteration. Sure, the device has good build quality and the software is fluid and responsive, but the app selection is currently lacking compared to rivals like Android and iOS. So where does one draw the line between success and failure?
I've been using the Windows Phone 8X for almost two weeks and the early impressions are still on the positive side. In my initial review I touched on a number of points that I found revealing for my brief time with it, but the real test is how the Windows Phone 8X fares over a longer period of time. My main and initial gripes concern the limited app selection and general usability issues of Windows Phone 8 when coming from the stock flavor of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The real question is this: Is it good enough?
Before anyone labels me as an Android fanboy, let me tell you this -- I like Windows Phone 8, I like it a lot. Even though my smartphone of choice is the Google Galaxy Nexus running either of the two Jelly Bean iterations, Microsoft's mobile operating system has always appealed to me, especially the latest iteration which is by far the best of the bunch. I’ve always wanted to review Windows Phone 8, but there was one big problem -- I couldn't get a review unit for an in-depth look at it. So I did what PR folks were not expecting -- I bought an HTC Windows Phone 8X.
So why the Windows Phone 8X? There are not many devices running the new OS at the moment, but in my part of the world the selection is even more limited -- HTC is the only manufacturer that currently sells a Windows Phone 8 smartphone. The price is also very attractive at EUR479 which is marginally less than what the Samsung Galaxy S III goes for, for instance. By contrast the Nokia Lumia 920, which is not yet available locally through official channels, costs more than EUR700 at major retailers, a price difference that I cannot justify at all. So, as you can imagine, the Windows Phone 8X is my one and only choice.
Microsoft may have pulled out from CES 2013, leaving Qualcomm to steal the spotlight with its opening keynote presentation, but the firm's smartphone operating system lives and breathes at the popular trade show. US carriers Sprint and Verizon Wireless unveiled plans to offer new devices running Windows Phone 8, with the big red being the first of the two to release a product to market with the Samsung ATIV Odyssey.
For quite some time the ATIV Odyssey was rumored to surface as a Verizon-branded version of the ATIV S, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The new device comes with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 800 by 480, a 5MP back-facing camera capable of 1080p video recording and a 1.2MP front-facing camera. The handset is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and a 2,100mAh battery.