4G is here - and it seems like all four of America's biggest carriers are more than happy to advertise the fact that they've got it. Sprint was first on the scene - offering their WiMax 4G, and T-Mobile shortly thereafter began its upgrade to HSPA+ technology. Verizon was next, providing mobile broadband LTE via USB dongle for laptops, though its much-awaited debut 4G handset, the Thunderbolt, has yet to hit shelves after numerous delays. Finally, lagging behind in truly characteristic fashion, AT&T has begun to roll out its own HSPA+ network, with plans to offer LTE in the second half of the year.
Last week our friends at WireFly unboxed the HTC Thunderbolt, but spent little time actually using the device. They left us with a few tantalizing tidbits though, saying "this phone cranks," and promising a full video review, as well as head-to-head comparisons with the iPhone 4 and the EVO 4G. Yesterday, the last of the three videos went up - let's take a look.
The review video is just over 8 minutes long. The first few minutes are spent running through the system, and from the 4:10 mark onwards, they run some benchmarks and compare the scores to other devices.
In our last week's poll, we asked you your thoughts on the best overall Android music player, and over 1500 of you responded, clearly putting PowerAMP ahead of the competition, followed by Winamp. PowerAMP released the full version shortly after and still occupies the #1 spot for playing local music in my book.
However, rightfully so, some of you noted that there are some players out there specializing on remote media streaming, and by that I don't mean Shoutcast streams - I mean streaming your own music collections. Google's music service may one day supposedly join the party, as we saw demoed at Google I/O earlier this year, but right now, that solution does not yet exist.
Our good friends at Wirefly released a video a few days ago showing a browser speed test between the new T-Mobile myTouch 4G and Apple's iPhone 4. The results added another win for the Android crowd, as the myTouch 4G bested the iPhone 4 in both tests.
The win gets even sweeter, though: the second page loads faster on the MT4G, even with the embedded YouTube video (albeit, it doesn't actually load the video). Andrew (of Wirefly) reminds us that "... there's one big difference here - this [the MT4G] has YouTube on the page, and YouTube is, of course, Flash - whereas the iPhone 4 does not have Flash, so it can't render that part of the webpage."
Earlier this week, BGR leaked a likely $399 on-contract price tag for the Sprint's version of the upcoming Galaxy Tab. Today, TmoNews dug up some slides showing T-Mobile's version of the tablet coming with the same $399 price tag (on a 2-year contract of course), albeit after a $50 rebate. The version that will free you from the carrier's firm grip will make you part with an additional $250 and cost a whopping $649.99.
Galaxy Tab Vs The iPad
Comparing this to the iPad, where $499 buys you a comparable WiFi-only 16GB version and $629 gets you the WiFi+3G one, the Tab fits kind of in the middle.
With the Atlantic hurricane season ratcheting up and several named storms expected to form before the season ends on Nov. 30th, it makes sense for those of us in potential hurricane zones to look for an app that will help keep an eye on developing tropical systems. For example, Hurricane Danielle has dissipated in the North Atlantic, but Earl is expected to hit the East Coast before the end of the week and Fiona is hot on its heels.
Several applications are available through the Android Marketplace with varying degrees of usefulness. All of them rely on public domain information from the U.S.
Last year was definitely the year of the Kindle - we've seen a whole new generation of eBook readers come out, finally making this gadget category popular. To help you navigate the eBook reader waters, we spent the last few days compiling a table comparing some of the biggest eReader devices:
- Spring Design Alex
- Barnes & Noble Nook
- Amazon Kindle 2
- Amazon Kindle DX
If a category has a winner, it is highlighted in bold (in some cases there could be more than one winner).
Kindle DX features that are the same in Kindle 2 are marked with "<-".
Without further ado, let the best eReader win:
Barnes & Noble Nook
Amazon Kindle 2
Amazon Kindle DX
|Order of release||4||3||1||2|
|Release dates||April 14, 2010||November 30, 2009||February 9, 2009||June 10, 2009|
|Expandable memory||Yes - MicroSD||Yes - MicroSD||No - SD slot was removed||<-|
|Average # of books that can fit in internal memory||1500||1500||1500||3500|
|CPU speed||624 MHz||Unknown but in the range of 533-800 MHz||523 MHz||<-|
|Screen(s)||Dual, 6" E-Ink, 3.5" color LCD||Dual, 6" E-Ink, 3.5" color LCD||Single, 6" E-Ink||Single, 9.7" E-Ink|
|Screen resolution||6": 600 x 800 px
3.5": 480 x 320 px
|6": 600 x 800 px
3.5": 480 x 144 px
|600 x 800 px||1200 x 824 px|
|E-Ink display||Yes - 16 level grayscale||Yes - Vizplex, 16-level grayscale||Yes - 16-level grayscale||<-|
|WiFi||Yes - b/g||Yes - b/g (+free WiFi at B&N stores)||No||<-|
|Global wireless (3G, 4G, etc)||No but 3G, EVDO/CDMA, GSM support coming in a model that should be out later this year||Yes - 3G||Yes - 3G with fallback to EDGE/GPRS||<-|
|Web browser||Yes - on the color screen and the E-Ink screen||Stock Nook - no
Rooted Nook - yes
|Basic browser but a firmware update brought a more capable browser||<-|
|Content sharing/lending||No||Yes, up to 14 days, between nook, iPhone, iPod Touch, PC, and Mac devices||No||<-|
|Formats supported||EPUB, PDF, TXT, HTML, JPEG, GIF, BMP, MP3, MP4, Flash, 3GP||EPUB, PDB (eReader), PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, MP3||Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion||<- + Audible format 4, RTF|
|Speaker||Yes - stereo||Yes - mono||Yes - stereo||<-|
|Text-to-speech||No (confirmed to us by Spring Design)||No||Yes||<-|
|Auto rotation||No (confirmed to us by Spring Design)||Unknown||No||Yes|
|Battery capacity||3.7V 1530mAh (confirmed to us by Spring Design)||Unknown||1530mAh||<-|
|Battery life||14 days with wireless off,
6 hours with LCD screen on
|10 days with wireless off||7 days with wireless on,
14 days with wireless off
|User replaceable battery||Yes||Yes||No||<-|
|Book selection||Borders via Kobo, Google Books,
any protected ePub book from any bookseller
|Barnes & Noble - 1,000,000+ paid and 500,000+ free books, newspapers and magazines||Amazon - 450,000+ post-1923 and 1,800,000+ pre-1923 books at the time of this review||<-|
|Synchronized last page read between devices||No but promised later||No but promised in early 2010||Yes||<-|
|Operating system||Android 1.5 (2.0+ coming summer 2010)||Android 1.5||Linux||<-|
|OTA (Over-The-Air) software updates||Yes (confirmed to us by Spring Design)||Yes||Yes||<-|
|Size||8.9" x 4.7" x 0.4"||7.7" x 4.9" x 0.5"||8.0" x 5.3" x 0.36"||10.4" x 7.2" x 0.38"|
|Weight||11 oz||12.1 oz||10.2 oz||18.9 oz|
|Buy it||Buy It||Buy It||Buy It||Buy It|
Barnes & Noble Nook
Amazon Kindle 2
Amazon Kindle DX
So, who is the winner?
AdMob, one of the world's largest mobile advertisement networks, posted a report (PDF) yesterday citing various mobile related statistics for the period of February 2009 to February 2010.
We've looked through all the boring stuff and pulled out the interesting highlights (you all like highlights, don't you?).
Here are the highlights that we've cherry picked out of it for you (the data is year-over-year where applicable):
- AdMob currently serves over 15,000 mobile websites and applications and has received 14.1 billion (!) requests worldwide in the last year
- The number of smartphones went up 13% from 35% to 48%
- Smartphone traffic overall went up 193% (data transferred, number of requests)
- Non-smartphone phones share went down 23% from 58% to 35% (yup, soon everyone is going to have an PreiDroidberry of sorts)
- Android was the fastest growing operating system, up 22% from 2% to 24% (!!!)
- The top 5 Android devices by traffic were:
- Motorola Droid
- HTC Dream (G1)
- HTC Hero
- HTC Magic (MyTouch 3G)
- Motorola CLIQ
- Among the number of requests from smartphones, all non-Android devices posted a decline while all Android ones were up (except for the G1, which was the first generation Android and doesn't really count).