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Showing posts from January, 2017

4K Xperia Incoming? How Many Phones Will Sony Announce At MWC?

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Last year's Xperia Z5 came with a range topper packing a 4K screen. Some of the time anyway. The Z5 Premium spent most of its time running at 1080p but could light up all its pixels individually to create a outstanding 4K experience for some applications - videos and photos primarily.
So the news that Sony is toying with another 4K screen for its 2017 flagship shouldn't come as a complete surprise. Especially given the current popularity of VR headsets.
Current QuadHD displays on hNew 4Kigh-end phones display noticeable pixelisation when viewed through the lenses of a VR headset. A 4K display would all but eliminate this. You would certainly expect Sony to be on the VR bandwagon, particularly given the early success of its PS4 headset.
In fact the rumour mill is suggesting that Sony will deliver five phones at MWC, this 4K flagship and a QuadHD version of the same (both powered by Snapdragon 835 CPUs); a pair of Helio P20 powered mid-rangers and another entry-level phone.
Tha…

Here's Why You Can Never Go iPad Only

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Ben Brooks is a big advocate of his iPad Pro only computing setup. Two iPads in fact.Two iPads and remote access to a Mac. Ah well, the concept is valid if flawed.
Anyway much of Ben's blog talks to the benefits of going iPad only. I'm far from convinced and for my money the advantages claimed offer virtually nothing over a similarly sized Windows tablet.
There is a huge downside though and this week it looks like Ben got bitten. Hard.
In this post Ben describes a lost day courtesy of the most simple of tasks. One that couldn't be achieved even with the fallback of a remote Mac Mini. I won't spoil the surprise.
Yes, an iPad does have some advantages in terms of speed and touch-first apps from a significant catalogue. But a Windows tablet is a Windows PC too and as a result will do anything you can do on a computer.
The iPad follows the 80:20 rule and eventually you're going to get caught out, as Ben did, and probably at the least convenient time. One day of extreme…

Readly, Runtastic,SmartThings, State Bank of India Say Farewell To Windows Mobile Users

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Big name apps continue to vacate the app store, with each one piling further pressure on those remaining. In the first three weeks of 2017 we've seen Minecraft and Runtastic abandon users with no further updates; and now Readly joins SmartThings and the State Bank of India in killing their apps completely.
If Microsoft has ambitions in the mobile space it's going to find that its empty app store is going to limit sales of even the most adventurous Surface Phone; and abandoned users are far from likely to forgive and forget this self inflicted immolation of the Windows Mobile platform.

LG Mobile Faceplants - Posts Dismal Q4 Results

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You'd almost think releasing an incendiary smartphone was a good business move. LG, handed a massive opportunity to drive its mobile business forward by Samsung's Note 7 disaster just posted its Q4 results, and it's hard to see how they could be any worse.
Mobile sales were down by 21% year on year, whilst losses grew by more than 650%. On their own a pretty dismal state of affairs, in concert with Samsung's earnings report yesterday it must be painful for the company's management.
Performance was so bad that the whole LG group was dragged into loss by the mobile division.
The modular G5 is being blamed for the awful performance, but I suspect the problem is more likely to be that the LG name has absolutely zero retail presence in smartphones. Which probably didn't matter when most of its phones had the Nexus brand to draw buyers in.
Without Google's direct support LG finds itself in a bad place. Across 2016 the mobile division managed to lose over $1bn. T…

Find My AirPod - Apple Addresses Most Common Concern

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There seem to be two types of AirPod owner - those whose ears conform to the Apple standard and for whom there is no danger of an AirPod falling from their ear except under extreme provocation; and everyone else, for whom AirPod loss is an every day worry.
For that latter group Apple has your backs, with iOS 10.3 sporting new Find My AirPod functionality, which will start a missing AirPod bleeping so that you can locate it by sound and, where appropriate will pulse Bluetooth beacons from all of your registered Apple devices in an attempt to locate it by proximity.
It won't guarantee that you can't lose your AirPod, but it is a clever way of helping you to retrieve one if you do misplace it.

Note 7 Fires And Executive Scandals Be Damned, Samsung Had A Stunning Holiday Season

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With the fallout from the exploding Note 7 very much still front of mind, the ongoing executive scandal that threatened to result in the arrest of heir apparent Jay Y Lee and of course the various ongoing patent battles with Apple; the final quarter of 2016 wasn't expected to be a great one for Samsung.
Turns out Samsung fans remain as loyal to Samsung as Apple fans do to Apple. Despite the problems the company has faced sales haven't fallen off as expected. The mobile division (IM) returned sales down just 5% year on year, but increased profitability by 12%, somehow managing to achieve that without the highest of its high-end devices. 
For the full year there was a slight increase in profitability in the Mobile division even allowing for a third quarter that was wiped out by the costs of the the Note 7 recall.
Across the company the story was much the same for Q4 - flat sales but increased profitability. The only outlier being the Consumer Electronics division, which saw sal…

Google Commits To Android Apps On All 2017 Chromebooks

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Consumers are going to have another reason to rethink what sort of computing they use on a daily basis after Google committed all 2017 Chromebooks to running Android apps.
With Chromebooks already taking large chunks of the education market around the world, Apple and Microsoft must be wary about the damage Google's partners could do with cheap, lightweight and sturdy machines that effectively run maintenance free and have access to both Chrome and Play app stores.
For Microsoft and Apple it's an announcement of note. Mac and PC sales are in decline and a Chromebook is capable of being much more of a PC replacement than an iPad - especially when it has access to the wealth of the Android app catalogue.
It won't just be cheap machines either, Google and Samsung have already demonstrated that there is a market for a premium Chromebook.
There will remain a core of use cases that are beyond the capability of a Chromebook, but this announcement suggests that Google has a prod…

Norwegian Government Seeks Android Replacement For Windows Phones

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Various sites are reporting on the end of the Windows phone era in Norway. The government there had leveraged the security and device management strengths of Windows Phone to move mobile services onto Microsoft's mobile platform.
Now the dearth of replacements for the last generation of Nokia handsets, which blended capability with affordability, has led Oslo to pursue Android for its replacement program.
Whilst the death of Windows phone as a viable product makes this unsurprising it also carries a risk for Microsoft. A move away from Windows on a phone is just one step removed from abandoning Windows elsewhere.

Samsung Confirms Galaxy S8 Delay Whilst Revealing Note 7 Inquest Results

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Samsung regained a lot of credibility with the openness of its Note 7 battery investigations, the results of which have been widely published and critiqued, so I won't do the same here.
Just as important was the message that the Galaxy S8 won't be revealed at MWC - breaking from tradition.
It's a positive sign that Samsung hasn't just placed the blame on battery manufacture but understands the root cause of the debacle - a rush to beat the iPhone 7 to market and the shortcuts in the review and testing of design decisions which resulted.
More than anything it remind me of the actions of British Leyland in the 70s. So caught up in the day to day need to respond to new competition from Europe and Japan, as well as the home grown competition from Ford and Vauxhall, that products were rushed to market, half-finished and with significant quality control issues.
At the start of the seventies the British motor industry dominated car sales across half the world, by the end of …

Surface Pro 4 Pen-free SKU Goes Global

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Just before the start of the Christmas buying season Microsoft introduced a new entry level Surface Pro 4 to the Australian and New Zealand markets. The 'unbundle' amounted to the entry level Intel Core m3 version of the SP4 minus the Surface Pen.
The new package was offered at a very good price in the run up to Christmas, usually retailing for 40% less than the regular SP4 m3. Even allowing for the need to buy a Surface Pen and/or Type Cover, that was still something of a bargain.
Anecdotally I heard from several retailers that interest in the SP4 had blown through the roof as a result.
Clearly that interest translated into a significant sales boost as Microsoft has now introduced the pen-free SP4 in more territories.

Why so successful? I suspect that a large number of Surface 3 and SP3 owners saw the opportunity of a cheap upgrade. Either selling on their older tablet or repurposing it as a static machine with a cheap keyboard, mouse and display.

Why such a good deal on the…

Oppo Spreading Its Wings With NZ Expansion

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Oppo may be the most popular smartphone you've never heard of. Outside of Asia it has next to no market presence, with a small Australian operation selling phones through JB Hifi, and very little else. For a top five smartphone OEM that's a ridiculously localised market
Now Oppo is crossing The Ditch and will launch its smartphones in New Zealand, which is a more interesting move than the introduction to a market just 4.5m strong would suggest.
New Zealand is a notoriously good bellwether for other markets around the world and has been used as a test bed for all sorts of products. Manufacturers are able to get an indication of the success or failure of their design or recipe decisions here.
For Oppo a successful launch in New Zealand could be the harbinger of a more global expansion, similar to Huawei's rapid growth in the last three years.
For now Oppo's phones a well-priced well specified Android phones that blatantly rip off Apple's hardware designs and softwar…

macOS Sierra Is Three Months Old And DisplayLink Support Is Still Broken

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Now I might be a bit of an edge case here, but I use DisplayLink docks for connectivity across my various offices and work locations, allowing me to go from portable to full triple display, desktop keyboard / mouse and wired connectivity with the plug of one cable.
DisplayLink has pretty much universal support, with drivers available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. So whatever device you are using you can go from mobile to desktop easily.
Up until September anyway, because the macOS Sierra update broke DisplayLink functionality, with screen corruption and performance issues.
Three months down the road and there's still no fix available. Not the end of the world, as my MBA is third choice machine after my two Windows 10 PCs, but still frustrating for those days when the MBA's form factor would work best for me.
More and more I'm finding that 'It Just Works' is a slogan that exists just to contrast how badly it doesn't just work. For a company like Apple th…

TAG Heuer Connected Smartwatch Trebles Expected Sales, Gets Second Generation As Reward

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Speaking to Swiss news journal NZZ, Jean-Claude Biver, Head of LVMH (the company which owns Swiss Watch brands TAG-Heuer, Zenith and Hublöt) made some interesting comments about the TAG-Heuer Connected Smartwatch and future plans for the company in that area.
First off sales. Expected at 20,000 annually, Biver said 56,000 had found owners and the first production run was all but exhausted. A new version of 2017 is slated for May. Biver is looking at 150,000 sales for 2017 as a whole.
At $1,500 per piece that makes the smartwatch a $85m business already, with the 2017 sales target potentially netting a quarter of a billion dollars. Not a bad return on a product only slightly functionally differentiated from the rest of the Android Wear crowd.
Later this year TAG's new Intel approved production facilities will allow it to comply with the standards for branding the Connected 'Swiss Made'. Not really a big selling point for what is essentially a mini-computer on your wrist, b…

Stream Of Apps Leaving Windows Mobile Becoming A Flood

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At this point it's becoming easier to comment on the days when third-parties aren't informing their users that Windows phone is a dead platform they will no longer support.
Today's report comes from French Windows site The Windose which relates the news that the French arm of HSBC bank will be killing its Windows phone app and encouraging customers to switch to iOS or Android.
Given that at the last reckoning Microsoft was still managing to pull 3-4% of the French mobile market, 18 months after Satya Nadella gave the Windows Mobile platform the kiss of death, that's a brutal announcement. Not least for those new users who find themselves cut off from mobile banking services.
I'll reiterate my previous advice once more. Unless you are buying a phone for a youngster who you need to keep tabs on (and thus can benefit from Microsoft's Family service) there is no logical reason for buying a Windows phone at the moment or for the foreseeable future.

Noreve Leather Rear Cover For Sony Xperia XZ Review

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As regulars will know, I haven't been a big fan of cases on my smartphones in the past. However after dropping and lightly damaging by Galaxy S6 I've been a little more willing to compromise.
Reviewing the cases available for the Xperia XZ I found the Noreve Leather Rear cover, which looked like an appealing option. Having had it installed on the XZ for a few days I find myself conflicted, with much to like about the case and one glaring issue which will probably prevent me from keeping it on the phone permanently.
The Noreve case covers the rear and sides of the Xperia XZ, with the sides standing a little proud of the face of the phone, to provide some screen protection when placed face down on a flat surface. On the right hand side it is cut away to allow access to the power button, volume control and camera button. The bottom and top of the XZ are left open, although the way the case wraps around at the ends does provide some protection.

It's made of genuine and hand f…

US-Bound Android One Phones Suggest Further Google Encroachment Into Marketplace

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Last week we started to hear that Google's Android One initiative, launched as an emerging market platform nearly three years ago, may be about to reach the United States, probably at a higher price point than current Android One phones achieve.
Strange decision? Maybe not. If the rumours are true Google will benefit in two ways: better control of Android upgrades and the exclusion of more OEMs.
The first is a no-brainer. Android Nougat has rolled out to a limited number of devices from a limited number of handsets. Almost exclusively they have been higher end phones from premium OEMs. Phones in the Android One programme get their updates from Google. By creating a new tier of Android phones in the developed world, Google takes back the upgrade high ground from Apple.
The second benefit is more complex. Right now OEMs are pushing phones into the market that are under specified and perform poorly, hurting the Android brand. Those mid-range Android OEMs who currently sell almost ex…

Tesla Crash Rate Down 40% With Autopilot

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As you're probably aware by now, Tesla has been cleared of blame for last year's fatal accident when a Model S in Auto Pilot mode under ran a truck and trailer, killing the driver. The investigation shows that the driver had at least seven seconds in which to take avoiding action but for whatever reason - inattention of some sort - did not do so.
That's great news for Tesla, especially as the NHTSA acknowledged that the company had provided sufficient warnings as to the capabilities of the system and the requirement for drivers to remain alert to the road ahead.
More importantly, not just for Tesla but for the whole automotive industry, was the finding that accidents involving Teslas were down 40% since the introduction of Auto Pilot. That doesn't mean necessarily mean there's a correlation between the two things, it is at least suggestive that increasing driver aids increases safety.

When distracted driving has been making headlines because of Apple's lawsuit…

Cause Or Effect? Minecraft Abandons Windows 10 Mobile

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Microsoft utter abandonment of its mobile platform has seen all sorts of third-party developers packing up their development teams and abandoning Windows 10 Mobile. Generally the reason has been low-usage.
Understandable really. Customers have abandoned Windows Mobile, but only after Microsoft effectively killed the platform with a series of pessimistic communications which originated at all levels of the business, right up to CEO Satya Nadella.
Now one of Microsoft's own first-party developers has announced that it will no longer be supporting Windows phones. Mojang killed Minecraft for the platform, citing lack of usage.
Well, duh!
If anyone was buying a Windows phone before (and they mostly weren't) this should be enough of a red flag to change their minds.
Aside from parents looking to leverage the twin benefits of Microsoft Family access controls and a barren app store, in a phone that's suitable for younger kids, nobody should be putting their money down on a phone …

iPhones Don't Kill People, People Kill People

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A California lawsuit is seeking to ban the sales of iPhones in the state, whilst another seeks damages following the death of a five year old girl in a car crash. The link between the two is Apple's 'failure' to implement a 2008 patent to prevent Facetime being used whilst driving.
It's an emotive subject and I feel for the parents of the girl, who was killed when a driver using Facetime ran into the back of their family car at 65mph. There are also the estimated 300+ other people killed by iPhone use in cars, and that's just in California.
The thing here is that its very hard to argue that Apple is responsible for any of this. Otherwise one would have to argue that every accident caused by inappropriate speed should be laid at the feet of car manufacturers. They certainly have the technology to ensure that speeding could be eliminated as a cause of road death.
It is the people who continue to use their phones whilst driving who are responsible and California, alo…

Sony Winning Nougat Upgrade Race On Xperia

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Whilst most Android OEMs are only beginning to roll out Android 7 to recent flagship devices, Sony has been knocking the upgrade ball out of the park. Having already delivered Nougat to its most recent devices, the XZ and X Compact, as well as previous generation X and X Performance Xperias, yesterday Sony upped the ante by beginning to push the latest Android version tothe Xperia Z5 range.
That process is probably eased by the rate with which the Sony replaces its flagship devices. Even so, the Z5 launched in Septermber '15, giving Sony the widest Nougat deployment by handset models, if not by phones shipped.
With at least two new Xperias (XA and M5 replacements?) slated for launch at MWC, at the end of February, Sony seems to have renewed vigour around its smartphone business. As a brand that I hold in high regard that's good to see. Long may it continue.

Quick Review: Xiaomi Mi Mix

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Xiaomi's newest flagship device manages to break many conventions, as well as potentially trailing the look of future smartphones from more familiar names like Apple and Samsung.
Despite packing decent late-2016 specifications, the Mi Mix is all about its screen and bezels. Or more accurately, its screen and missing bezels, because the 6.4" 1080p+ screen runs from edge to edge and right to the top edge. Including, uniquely, right into the rounded corners.
On first sight the Mix is jaw-dropping. Its Ceramic build is pretty impressive before you even turn the screen on. Once you do however... everyone who saw me using it stopped to comment. In fact the most common reaction was to whip out their iPhone Plus (usually) and marvel at the disparity in screen size and quality for such a similarly sized device.
Get past the wonder of the screen and things aren't always as impressive. Performance-wise, the Snapdragon 821 and 4GB RAM keeps things humming along nicely. However you&…

Why Can't HTC Hit The Smartphone Mark?

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HTC used to be everyone's favourite smartphone brand, in fact it isn't so long ago that the company came from nowhere to outsell the iPhone.
However, HTC has been in a death spiral for a number of years now, as it has struggled to hit the mark with a compelling device, burnt money on weak and confusing advertising campaigns and even managed to blow the opportunity presented by partnering with Google to deliver the Nexus 9 tablet.
It's difficult to remember a time when HTC last delivered a compelling device. Its unibody One flagship has been through four iterations without ever making a good argument for itself. The previous One X suffered from terrible overheating issues and was wildly outperformed by the Galaxy S3.
Perhaps the last HTC phones which could be considered class leading were the Desire and Desire HD.
Why is HTC on such a run of poor form? I suspect it isn't the devices. After all its flagships have been on the end of plenty of awards and they may have had…

Apple Will Make Serious Moves Into TV In 2017

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Apple TV has been a hobby for far too long. With other hardware streams proving difficult to maintain and an expectation that Apple will look to more lucrative service based revenue streams in the future, Apple's play for the living room has to be its big bet for 2017.
Apple TV has slowly been growing into a device with broader appeal as features have been added to its armoury. In fact its probably fair to say that it is one short leap away from the explosive growth that characterised the early years of other iOS devices: compelling, exclusive content.
Netflix and Amazon have both shown that they understand what's going to drive revenue growth and subscriber numbers and both are pushing hard with their own content creation efforts. Amazon's Grand Tour is a particularly high profile example of this. Apple can't rely on piecemeal offerings of other provider's content to compete.
What strikes me as interesting is that Apple didn't take on Clarkson / May / Hammond…

How Android Updates Really Work For Buyers

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Android has one perceived weak spot when compared to iOS or Windows 10 Mobile: system updates. Whilst Apple manages to pump out new iOS versions to at least the last four generations of iPhone and Microsoft delivers new Windows 10 updates on an almost monthly basis, Android buyers face a more uncertain future.

Or do they?
Comparing like for like devices is illuminating. For example Sony delivered two major updates to its Xperia Z3 range, taking them from KitKat to Marshmallow via Lollipop. A similar story is true for the HTC One M8, LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy S5, which follow the same path of upgrades. Interestingly the Nexus 5 won't be receiving the Nougat update either, giving the lie to the Nexus promise of better upgradeability.
The iPhone 6 - a phone of a similar vintage - has already received the latest version of iOS and will undoubtedly be receiving iOS 11 and 12 too.
A solid point for Apple then?
Not in the big picture. You'll probably be to busy juggling the storage o…

AirPods: Practically Magic? More Like Witchcraft If You Ask Me

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So this is the first of Apple's ad spots for its AirPods - totally wire-free headphones. Yes they connect to your iPhone when you open the charging case and pause music when you pop one out of your ear. Practically magic? Probably not.
Frankly the most amazing thing about this spot is the suggestion that dancer Lil Buck has made use of some dark magical forces to keep these attached to his ears.

The Apple App Store Monopoly

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A US Appeals court has given iPhone customers leave to sue over the App Store monopoly, potentially opening a path to third party App Stores on iOS. In the same week that Apple announced 60% growth in App Store revenue and confirmed $20bn was paid to developers in 2016, its a bad time for this news to break. The Appeals Court overturned an earlier ruling and reopens the question of Apple's app sales policy.
Apple's argument has always been that customers don't deal with Apple, they deal with individual developers. However the Appeals Court based its decision on customers paying Apple for the apps. It can hardly deny any interest in the transaction with this being the case. Even Apple's secondary argument that developers paid for space in the App Store (via the premium it pays to Apple on each sale) was rendered moot once Apple began demanding payment for subscriptions, as well as dictating how much apps and content could be sold for outside of the App Store.
Apple fan…

PC Sales Back To 2007 Levels

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2016 was the fifth consecutive year of declining PC sales, with the market having shrunk back to 2007 levels. In those five years sales have fallen by almost 25% compared to 2011’s all-time sales record of 353 million units.About the only good news is that 2016’s decline was less than 2015’s. The overall effect is more pain for PC manufacturers.Lenovo edged out HP as the number one seller, with Dell in a comfortable third place. All three increased their share of the market, with the top three being responsible for 56% of all sales. Unsurprising based on their high-volume, low profit enterprise sales focus.For the remaining players things look bleak. Worst hit is Acer – number two in sales as recently as 2010, the company has seen volume fall from 48m to 18m – accounting for almost half the fall off in sales all by itself. Apple managed to outshrink the overall market too – although higher selling prices mostly offset the pain.With the market continuing to shrink (and far below IDC’s …

Monkey See, Monkey Do: HTC Unveils A New U

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It's so long since HTC managed to bring a device to market that generated genuine customer interest I'm seriously doubting it is something which could ever happen again.

Evidence for this arrived today in the form of the new HTC U Ultra. A phone that appears to be the product of a company with no direction. Or clue.

HTC seems to have borrowed design decisions from as many rivals as possible, without considering whether they work either individually or together.

Most visible is the secondary display of the LG V10. Original, if ultimately futile, on the LG V range. Pretty lame here. Then mix in the glass / metal sandwich from (amongst others) the Galaxy S7 and finally leave the headphone jack out off. A famously unpopular feature of the iPhone 7.

Then there are the mistakes that HTC has managed to make all on its own. For a start, its an enormous device, yet its battery is comparatively small. That's bad for battery life (between charges) and battery life (charge cycles).

T…

Nokia's iPhone Response Revisited: How A Market Leader Fell

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When Apple announced the iPhone in 2007 Nokia was the world leader in phone technology and sales. Its smartphones ran versions of Symbian which, when combined, gave it first place in the smartphone market too. Nokia was the world number one in mobile communications everywhere outside the US.
Apple effectively gave Nokia a year's grace to respond to the iPhone. As previously discussed, that first device was horribly flawed and, as a bonus for Nokia, wasn't even available outside of the United States for most of its lifecycle.
How did Nokia respond to the iPhone so badly? Why did they fail to respond for so long? Nokia's iPhone competitor didn't arrive until October 2008 - 22 months after the iPhone launched and three months after Apple released the historically significant second generation iPhone, the 3G.
First of all Nokia was guilty of arrogance. Interviewed the day of the iPhone launch Pekka Pohjakallio, head of the company's smartphone division, called it &quo…

LG's Smartphone Problems Go Deeper Than Just Modularity

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I have never met anyone who owned an LG smartphone. In fact I can't recall ever seeing anyone using an LG smartphone. Despite delivering some interesting devices, with leading edge features, the company seems unable to get any kind of traction in the smartphone business.

LG is hardly a name likely to get pulses racing. It has no currency outside of its native South Korean home. To gain some credibility it needs to do more than just deliver quality devices, it needs to back them up with a sustained, global marketing push which makes a virtue of their capabilities and presents them as a valid alternative to Samsung.

The G5 is a perfect example of why LG isn't a safe buy. Its modular design and ability to swap in 'Friends' modules sounds promising. Except LG hardly delivered any and third parties were completely disinterested. LG canned the idea and the G6 won't offer modules.

Now imagine if Apple's next iPhone has this capability. It would be sold from the get g…

Even Ten Years Ago The Original iPhone Wasn't Much Good

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The ten year anniversary of the iPhone's launch has had all sorts of commentators talking about how Steve Jobs changed the industry when he popped his little three device question on stage before unveiling the new iPhone. There's no question that the iPhone changed the industry, but that first iPhone? That was a pile of crap.
The first iPhone packed an iPod, a decent web browser and outdated hardware into a single device and that was about it. There were a few other programs included but for anything else Apple wanted you to use web apps. Aside from its capacitive multi-touch screen it was anything but a great phone.
The iPhone only achieved greatness with the launch of the iPhone 3G and App Store. Until then it lacked functions like push email, EAS, or even basic navigation capability. You couldn't add any new software to make it do what you wanted either. It took another year (and the arrival of the 3GS) to add basic functions like copy/paste and MMS.
With the 3G/3GS yo…

LinkedIn Not Killing Windows Phone App... Might As Well For All The Good It Is

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LinkedIn sent out a couple of emails to Windows phone users today, generating confusion and despair. In the first it effectively announced the death of LinkedIn on Windows phones, saying that older versions of the app (presumably on other dead or dying platforms) were being retired.
It followed that up a second email which basically said 'oops'.
LinkedIn for Windows phones isn't being retired after all. Despite it quite clearly being an older version of the app. In fact I'd go beyond saying it's an older version of the app to say that it is the bastard child app that LinkedIn abandoned years ago and put next to no effort into in the first place.
It is a car crash of ugly and unusable, possibly the worst big name app released for the platform. Windows phone users would be better off if LinkedIn took this abomination outside and had it shot. Twice.
That Microsoft now owns the company is unlikely to improve what is available either. Microsoft's own apps (especia…

Mac Usage Tumbling, Windows 10 On A Quarter Of PCs

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NetMarketshare's monthly report of PC usage looks bad for Apple, whilst Microsoft will be pleased to see that Windows 10 continues to be adopted at a record pace.
MacOS / OS X usage accounted for just 6% of the PC market in December, continuing to fall off at an enormous rate. That's a 10% contraction compared to November and the lowest share of usage since 2011. Clearly the backlash post-MacBook Pro launch, the failure to refresh the popular MacBook Air or any desktops is being reflected not just in a reduced upgrades, but in users switching to other vendors offering more flexible, better value alternatives.
Windows 10's usage growth exactly matched the decline in Mac usage, interestingly.
Microsoft's latest now accounts for one in four PCs, growing by 10% since the mini-slump in September, caused by the end of free upgrades.

Sony Xperia Projector - A Promising New Paradigm For PCs In The Home

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This concept is a little old now, dating from late 2016. That doesn't detract from the quality of the concept. Sony's design for a projector based Android device that turns any flat surface or wall into a usable screen has certainly received rave reviews from those who have had a chance to try the prototypes.

Sony's launch of new short throw projectors at CES 2017 suggest that this concept might not be too far from reality.

After A Poor 2016 How Is Apple Going To Move The Needle On iPad Sales?

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After Apple reported its executives had been hit in the pay packet for its poor performance in 2016 there can no longer be any denying that the company's leadership team has been missing goals with new products.
Sales have been down in all three of its main hardware earners, iPhone, Mac and iPad. In the latter its been a multi year trend which suggests that Apple has no innovation to offer in the tablet market. With the Mac market falling too - and recent announcements having been poorly received, one can't help but wonder whether the malaise will end at the iPad.
Reputationally Apple needs to fix the iPad sales slump with some compelling new devices. The iPad Pros may have persuaded Apple's customers to buy more expensive devices, but they were a failure in outright sales numbers and overall numbers continued to fall through 2016.
Apple's short term fix, if the rumours are to be believed, will be to launch three new iPads in the near future - two Pros and a replaceme…

Just How Much TV Do You Need?

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Andrew Marino, writing on The Verge, is apparently taken with the RCA TV because it will allow him to watch TV on the beach. TV on the beach? I mean come on... just how much TV can a human possibly need?
I don't know where Marino is from, but for crying out loud, you're on the beach man... do some swimming, do some surfing, rent a jet ski, play some volleyball, just get out and have some fun. Don't watch the damn idiot box.
I look at sites like The Verge (and it's by no means the worst) and I'm appalled by how much of the 'news' that gets reported is about TV series or films. Is this a fair reflection of how much time the average person is spending in front of the TV?
It's a pretty poor show if it is.

HMD Focuses On China With First Nokia Android Release

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HMD Global quietly launched its first Nokia branded Android phone today, a mid-range device targeted at the significant Chinese market. The Google-less device will be sold through the local JD.com retailer and target more affluent customers than local brands, whilst also staying safely out of the premium market.Specs wise the phone is a bit of a mish-mash, Android 7.0, 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage tied together in a monoblock aluminium body, encasing a 5.5” 1080p screen and stereo speakers.So far so good, however I’m not convinced that the Snapdragon 430 is the right processor to be powering this beast.Nevertheless, Nokia (pre-Microsoft) has a good name and reputation across China (as well as India and many African and South American countries) and a device like this would certainly stir up a lot of those positive sentiments when it hits the market.A global version of the phone – sporting Google services and the Play Store – is due to arrive at MWC if rumours are to be belived.

CES 2017 - Where's The Excitement

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So CES 2017 is all done bar the shouting. For the first time I'm left feeling a little deflated by the whole thing. Were there any announcements that left you salivating for the arrival of new product in stores? Was your wallet bouncing around as your credit cards twitched in anticipation of a technology spending spree?
Me neither.
Yes there were some sleek new TVs, some home gadgets and lots of talk of Cortana in cars. The show stopping new announcement? It didn't happen.
Have we become so immune to new technology that businesses need to start worrying about their future sales figures? Or was it just a fallow year?

Sony Xperia XZ Review

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Sony has been pumping out flagships like they were going out of fashion. The Xperia Z was announced at CES 2013, less than four years ago. Since then the Japanese giant has managed to release the Z1, Z2, Z3, Z3+, Z4, Z5 and Z5 Premium flagships, before ditching the Z line and moving to the X series, with the X, X Performance and XZ. By my count that's eleven range toppers, or close to three a year.
About eighteen months ago the company claimed it was going to slow down releases of its devices and rationalise its range. Clearly just words.
So the XZ is top of the Xperia line for the moment. Although with CES 2017 imminent that may not be the case by tomorrow morning. For a phone that launched in September, that's a short life at the top of the tree.
Best get things moving then.
The XZ sports the Snapdragon 820, 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage. There's USB-C, but 2.0 only, with no display out support, and micro SD support up to 256GB. There's a new industrial design, which …

Welcome To 2017, Here's John Lennon

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So it's a New Year and given the events of 2016 and the prospects for the near future I thought I'd just pop this on here. Likely to be a sentiment we come back at least a few times over the coming twelve months.