With Christmas right around the corner, it's the time of year when many people are scrambling around trying to find the "perfect" gift for their loved ones. Picking the right thing for "the person who has everything" can be quite the task – that's why we decided to offer up our favorite products for the year in a massive this-is-the-stuff-we-use-and-love-and-think-you-or-your-loved-ones-will-too (abbreviated as TitSWUaLaTYoYLOWT for short) list.
Each person from the AP team picked out a handful of stuff (or more, possibly several handfuls), that they either can't live without or feel like would make the perfect gift this holiday season.
The Huawei Honor 5X is a paradox for Android enthusiasts right out of the box. It costs just $199. But it runs Android 5.1. It has a surprisingly decent camera. But it doesn't support band 12 LTE on T-Mobile. The 1080p IPS display is very bright and may well be class-leading at this price point. But the Honor 5X doesn't have NFC. Its fingerprint reader pretty much lets it stand alone in the market for sub-$200 devices. But so does Huawei's software layer, and not in a good way. It has a microSD card slot. But it's only available with 16GB of storage, and no Marshmallow means no adoptable SD cards.
I loved the HTC One M7. Last year, it really did feel like a new breed of Android phone - bringing premium materials, a modernized interface, an innovative (if controversial) camera, and those trademark Boomsound speakers. The One M7 felt fresh in almost every way - it felt vital, it felt relevant.
The One M8 seeks to tame some of the raw newness - to build on it, soften up the edges, and modernize it. The chassis is sleek, smooth, and comfortable - gone is that sharp, angular look. Capacitive buttons have been eschewed for a set of correctly arranged (are you listening, LG?)
It's very easy to look at BlackBerry and see a technological Neandertal - the company that almost had it ("it" being smartphones), but then refused to evolve in order to keep up with the competition. Let's not mince words: the iPhone nearly killed BlackBerry, and Android is happily hammering the nails into its coffin.
After the disastrous Storm and Storm 2, few thought BlackBerry had the chops to break into full-touch devices in a big way, at least until Android really started taking off. At that point, it became clear pretty much anyone could make a half-decent smartphone, as long as the software was up to snuff (admittedly, that's about 95% of making a smartphone these days).
We recently posted an exclusive look at technical drawings for a Bluetooth keyboard cover destined for HTC's upcoming Nexus 9 (Volantis) tablet. At the time all we had to go on were drawings accompanying the information provided to us (and my own renders), but VR-Zone caught some photos of the keyboard case as it passed through NCC certification.
We can confirm that the model number for the keyboard in these photos (UG0B) matches the model number in the materials provided to us for our initial coverage, so - while the device pictured may still be in testing - we can say with confidence that this is the same keyboard case.
As part of the unveiling of Android 4.2 yesterday, Google introduced a brand-new input method on the stock Android keyboard called "Gesture Typing." Basically, it's Swype. If you don't know what Swype is, check out this video. Basically, you drag your finger to type instead of tapping. Here's Google's version in action:
While I'm not a fan of the Swype-style typing, a lot of people do seem to love it, and it's cool that Google is now providing a tertiary input method (alongside normal typing and voice typing) on the stock keyboard. It integrates seamlessly, too. There's nothing to turn on, nothing to toggle - it just works.
After a two week stint with the BlackBerry Z10 last month, I happened upon another chance to go across the platform border, this time into the Windows world - with the Nokia Lumia 928.
Microsoft and mobile have had a tumultuous, off-again on-again relationship. However, there is little doubt that MS's smartphone success peaked with Windows Mobile 6, and then very, very rapidly fell off as iOS and Android rolled onto the scene. I remember the announcement of Windows Phone 7, in 2010: a bold step forward visually, though in the minds of many a WinMo diehard, a huge step back functionally.
After going live for pre-order on Amazon last night, the Nexus 9 is now available on the Play Store. Google has the black and white versions in 16 and 32GB capacities ready for you to claim. The sand/flesh tone/beige thing and the LTE version are still just "coming soon."
NVIDIA’s SHIELD is a gaming device that defies classification. The full-sized controls and Android software make it more than a portable gaming device, at least on paper, but it doesn't compete with (or complement) more conventional mobile form factors. SHIELD is something entirely new.
The only way to evaluate a gaming machine is on how it plays games, and in that respect, SHIELD is amazing... at least in a few specific circumstances. Problems arise from the fact that Android gaming is still immature in many ways, and most of the games available right now are designed for touchscreens first and foremost.
The latest and greatest from Verizon and HTC's ongoing DROID partnership marks something of a shift in strategy for the two companies. In the past, if you wanted an HTC "DROID," your options were basically limited to the Incredible brand, which has become decidedly, well, less incredible over time. And while the Incredible started out as a top-of-the-heap smartphone back in 2010, it too was quickly eclipsed by bigger, better phones. Verizon's approach to HTC from basically day one has been "the DROID phone that costs less than some other DROID phone we throw a lot more marketing money behind."