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Showing posts from October 9, 2013

HTC One Max: Hefty, Tarnished, Crippled

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It's not that the HTC One Max has been a particularly well kept secret, more that there was hope that it would turn out to be more than a bigger One with a ropey implementation of a fingerprint sensor.

Unfortunately that's exactly what it is.

If this is the kind of effort that HTC is relying on to save its bacon then I can tell you, its arse is already in the pan.

For a start the fingerprint sensor. After the elegant simplicity of the iPhone 5S implementation of biometric security it should have been patently obvious that the One Max was going to look ridiculous by comparison. Remove the thing or make it work properly - don't ship garbage in 2013 because nobody is going to accept it.

Other than that we have a bog standard HTC One, stripped of Beats Audio, and force-fed growth hormones. Add the Boomsound speakers to the 5.9" screen and you end up with something large enough to take the crease and expect to knock-up a half decent innings.

Given the success that Samsung…

Why I Bought A Lumia 1020

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Phone upgrade time again. It has been a good year for innovative and desirable new phones. From the HTC One, with its refresh of Android interfaces and photo handling, through the Sony Xperia Z and its introduction of rugged to the mainstream, enhanced voice control on the Moto X, the fingerprint reader of the iPhone 5S and the greater stylus interactivity of the Galaxy Note 3.

Realistically though, there was only one phone that was going to get me to open my wallet: the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Whereas the other phones listed above are nice upgrades to what has gone before, the Lumia 1020 takes one area of smartphone use - photography - and blows the doors off everything that has come before.*

My smartphone use revolves around a few basic everyday staples: messaging (including social messaging); music, navigation, web browsing and photography. A smartphone that changes the game in one of those key areas was always going to be a must buy.

There are a few reasons why the Lumia may not suit y…

F1: Maria de Villota Dies In Spain

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Former Marussia test driver has died at a hotel in Seville whilst on a tour to promote the launch of her autobiography.

The Spaniard, who survived a grave accident during straight line testing with the Marussia team last year, is reported to have died of natural causes at the age of 33.

There's little in de Villota's driving record to suggest she would have gained a F1 seat on merit - being the daughter of former F1 midfielder Emilio de Villota probably carried her further than talent did - but the same is true of other women in the sport, Suzie Wolfe and the last woman to race a F1 car Giovanna Amati.

What has been achieved by these women is to push back the boundaries to the point that a woman could achieve an F1 drive on talent alone.

Maria's will be most memorable for the way that she triumphed over adversity following the serious head injury and loss of her right eye after last years disastrous accident.

If her legacy is that drivers taking part in test sessions benefit fr…

Another Musician Whinging About Spotify

You'd think the music industry would have got the message that the world has moved on from the days when customers were gouged with expensive, poor quality product, sold via a cartel that dictated price, choice and popularity.

Of course the world has moved on from the days when ripping free music from Napster and Limewire was acceptable and the rise of services like Spotify have made this possible.

David Byrne is the latest to push the artist's message of poverty as a result of the low streaming payments made by Spotify (even though this argument has been completely discredited in the past).

Musicians need to understand the new world order. The days when the sales of music on album were a license to print money are gone. Its time to realise that earning money as a musician is going to require as much work as other industries.

And a good less time at self congratulatory awards shows.

Artists need to embrace multiple different income streams: Spotify, live shows and radio play being …

Curved Displays: You're Doing It Wrong

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Sorry Samsung, but if there's one device that could have benefited from a curved display, it wasn't the phone you announced today. It seems like only yesterday that you announced the Galaxy Gear - a device crying out for some curved screen action and yet somehow lacking it.

If the technology was that close to production surely it could have been incorporated into your smart watch?

Now I realise that the actual capacity for bending these new displays is limited, but even a few degrees of display curve could have improved the way the Galaxy Gear hangs on the wrist.

Never mind, Samsung seems to have a pretty good understanding of the niches in the smartphone market, perhaps the Galaxy Round will prove to be its next big sleeper device.

Or perhaps not.