Sony, you really confuse me sometimes. The US is just about to get the Xperia Ion on AT&T, supposedly the Sony-branded flagship smartphone. The problem is that the Xperia GX just took that crown from the Ion - before it even came out. I'm not sure what Sony's grand master plan here is, but looking from the outside in, it seems like the company (that lost $5.7 billion last year - most of it in the fourth quarter alone) is flying completely and utterly blind.
The Galaxy S III is... well... it's ugly. There's really no other way to put it. But why? Why is it ugly? I don't mean aesthetically, why is it ugly, I mean, "How did something like this ever make it out of Samsung's design studio?" I'll tell you how, it was never in the design studio. This phone design was born down the hall, in a room where the door sign reads "Samsung Legal."
It was designed by lawyers.
A long time ago (read: about 4 years), in a galaxy far, far away (read: Silicon Valley), a guy named Drew Houston started a little company called Dropbox. After securing seed funding from Y Combinator, Dropbox officially launched in 2008 at the TechCrunch50. To say nothing of the complexities of implementation, the idea was simple: put your files in one place, access them anywhere. And apparently, the idea was also a really good one: as of October last year, Dropbox had over 50 million users, doubling from a figure of 25 million in April.
Oh, RIM. You're hemorrhaging customers, executives, and share value. It's painfully obvious you're on track for a disaster of Palm-proportions. And still, your upper-level management fling zingers at the competition that would make anyone but the die-hardest of BlackBerry fans skip the facepalm and go straight to a facedesk. It's almost like watching a Shakespearean tragedy unfold.
If you've not been keeping up with the cutting edge of all things RIM, allow me to give you a quick run-down.
Clarification: Yes, it is 5 million sold to end consumers, officially confirmed by Samsung to Phone Scoop.
The Galaxy Note - it's a device that stirs up passions among many technology enthusiasts. It's big - so big that is just looks silly held up to your face. But its gorgeous, 5.3" HD display (1280x800) has owners absolutely loving the phablet (alright, I won't use it again - promise).
Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy Note
It was panned by critics, and online magazine Slate even called it a "disturbing trend," saying Samsung should "take a lesson from [Apple's] success and realize that bigger isn’t necessarily better and that a phone’s utility decreases as its screen inflates." The Galaxy Note debuted with an MSRP of $800, and while carrier subsidies have seen many consumers avoid that price, it's worth mentioning that still means the Note is pricier for carriers than the iPhone 4S.
If you've never heard of Mika Mobile, that's not a huge surprise - they're a small, but fairly successful mobile game developer that focuses primarily on iOS. Their number one title (in terms of recent sales) is Zombieville USA 2, which has over 68,000 ratings on the App Store, and the most recent version of the game has averaged 5 stars. So we're clear, that's no small feat.
Their first game, Zombieville USA, was released for Android last July.
I have heard an absolute heap of unpleasantness about the rebranding of the Android Market today. Google Play is childish. It's unprofessional. It makes Google look less than serious about its content business. The logo is weird. The name is ambiguous - play what? It reminds people of Sony products. There are endless gripes and, let's face it, there always will be when a company rebrands a popular product.
Tomorrow, countless analysts and "experts" will weigh in on whether the move was a good one, hawking over Google's stock price like a cardiograph readout.
Mobile payment providers. Yeah, I'm already getting a little sleepy thinking about them, too. Let's face it, they're not the most exciting topic in the world, but whenever we talk about how people spend their money, you know there are lots of companies out there eagerly eying the potential of various new payment technologies with great interest. Among such companies are cell phone carriers, and the reason why should be obvious: smartphones with NFC are ideal platforms for next-generation payment systems.
Google Music launched just 3 months ago, but CNET is already hearing from Google managers and record labels that the company is disappointed by the service's performance so far. In a nutshell: when Google Music launched, there were 200 million Android users, and that number was growing extremely quickly. The expectation was that it would be fairly easy to convert some of those users to Music customers. Unfortunately, that just isn't what's happened, with adoption lower than expected.
To say that DLC is a growing problem would be an understatement. Of the last five games I've reviewed for this site, all of them have had some form of in-app purchases to expand the game or unlock content. Sometimes it's awful, sometimes it's not so bad, but all of them guarantee you only get most of a game. A new service called Pocket Change, however, wants to let game developers charge on a per-play basis.