An Android phone is like a Leatherman Tool. It does a lot of things - without a doubt, a triumph of function over form. Android is the world's most versatile mobile operating system, the most tweakable, the most adaptable, and the most fully-featured. It just does more than any other comparable product out there. But if Android is a Leatherman, the iPhone is the basic Swiss Army Knife - compact, simple, iconic, and good enough for the vast majority of people, even if it does do a little less.
Budget smartphones are a lot like those miniature cans of Coca-Cola you'll find on supermarket shelves - cheaper by the half-dozen than their higher-volume counterparts, but with the obvious catch that you're getting less sweet, delicious corn-juice for your dollar. It doesn't take more than 30 seconds to stop, think about this, and realize that even if you won't finish the big 12oz can during your lunch (or don't want to drink that much soda), you're still basically paying more for choosing to buy less.
We've been waiting for weeks for Instagram to come to Android, and it looks like today's the day - it's available now in the Play Store. The hit iOS app offers a way to "breathe new info into your mobile photos" using filters and easy sharing. It's like a social network designed specifically for people who like to take photos.
- 100% free custom designed filters and borders
- Lux works its magic by making your photos more vibrant and brings out details in your photos you couldn't see before
- Instant sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare (Flickr coming very soon)
- Interact with friends through giving & receiving likes and comments
- Works with Android versions 2.2 and above that support OpenGL ES 2
- Full front & back camera support
- And much much more...
Nowadays, it's not often that we come across some blurrycam shots of a device and don't know what it is, but that's exactly the case here. Luckily, the shots do reveal some information, and there a few other things we can surmise from there.
Assuming they make it into the final product (this is, after all, a prototype), here's what we're looking at for organs:
1.2GHz dual-core CPU
8MP camera on the back, VGA front-facing camera
WiFi (presumably up to 802.11n) and Bluetooth
Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
HTC's Sense 4.0
All in all, nothing really impressive, but a respectable showing for a mid-range smartphone.
A few weeks ago, we highlighted a neat accessory for your cell's camera called the Easy-Macro Lens Band. After reading our coverage of the item, the creator of it hit me up on Twitter to say thanks, and then sent me a few samples. I absolutely love macro photos, so I've spent the last several weeks playing with this little band and wanted to share my feelings.
What Is It?
For those unaware, the Easy-Macro band is an extremely simple solution for taking macro photos.
Late yesterday, we got a chance to spend some time with the Motorola DROID 4 over at the Verizon booth here at CES, and we have to say - It sure seems like Motorola has done it again. The DROID 4 will likely once again set the bar for QWERTY slider phones, and thanks to the addition of 4G LTE and a snappy TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor (the same one found in the DROID RAZR), it's also going to be the fastest DROID yet.
We stopped by the Sony booth earlier this morning at CES, and got some hands-on time with the very first Sony smartphones (Sony-Ericsson is no more, subject to regulatory approval) - the Xperia Ion and the Xperia S. While these devices were designed before the Sony Ericsson breakup, they'll be marketed as Sony devices when they hit retail channels.
First up is the Xperia Ion, announced a couple of days ago by AT&T.
Budget phone. The very sound of those two words, together, makes me slightly ill. In fact, it makes me almost immediately seethe with a sort of "nerd-rage." I hate the way budget phones are peddled onto the tech-illiterate by commission-motivated hucksters at "Big Four" carrier phone stores. I hate seeing people get locked into 2-year contracts because they got a "great deal" on a smartphone. "It was free!" they'll say, and that the nice sales representative (his name was Jimmy) kept them from buying "something they didn't need," because they walked in with a firm spending limit and they weren't going to budge!
The Toshiba Thrive and I don't exactly have a great history. And that's probably putting it mildly. In fact, in my first review of Toshiba's first Tegra 2 tablet (yes, I had to write a second one) earlier this year, I panned it so hard that I basically just started textually abusing the poor thing. So, at the behest of commenters and colleagues, I rewrote it. My revised review (here) was a little less harsh, but I'll be the first to admit: I didn't like the Thrive, and after spending even more time with it after the review, my feelings were unchanged.