Category: Mobile

Amazon Kindle Fire — First Look

Just received my Kindle Fire and three things are readily apparent.

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The Motorola Droid Razr — Thin & Ultra-Capable

I loved my original Motorola Razr phone. So when Verizon announced the new Motorola Droid Razr, I was anxious to take a look.

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Amazon Fire – My Pick for the Hottest Holiday Gadget

Amazon Fire

Okay, I’m sticking my neck out early this year. My pick for this years hot holiday gadget is a device with a hot name — the Amazon Fire.

If you haven’t yet heard of the Fire, it is a tablet PC with a touchscreen that Amazon will be selling for $199. The Fire is not an iPad killer, instead it is the tablet for those who want to get into the tablet market without spending $500 or $600 dollars. The Fire is smaller than the iPad (7″ screen vs. 9.7″.) It has no camera or microphone, and can only connect through Wi-Fi (no cellular connection.)Yet it will allow you to surf the web, send and receive email, listen to music, read books, watch movies and TV shows, view magazines in color, and even read documents like Word documents

and PDFs. Oh, and I almost forgot….it will also let you play games. Amazon has created its own App store where you can download games and other apps just as you can from the Apple iTunes store.

The Fire uses the Android operating system, but has a special interface that was created by Amazon. It also has a special Web browser, called Silk, that is said to be very fast. The Fire will start shipping on November 15th. Amazon did a great job of creating the Kindle e-book readers so I am convinced that the Fire will also be a great product. I already put in my order. We won’t know until November 16th just how good the Fire is or how hot the flame will be, but if it meets expectations, I predict that it will be the hottest holiday gadget this year.

For $199 you can get a portable device that will do about 80% of what you do on a computer. And there is no monthly service charge.

I think we are looking at a winner!


Apple’s iOS 5 Goes Live – How to Update

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that you would like to upgrade to IOS 5, you can do it now. Apple made the upgrade available about 1 pm (eastern) today.

Upgrading is easy. You can make it even easier by doing two preliminary preparations:

1. Download iTunes 10.5. This version just became available last night, so you probably don’t have it yet. To get it, start  iTunes, click on the About menu option, and click on Check for Updates. Then follow the on-screen directions to complete the update.

2. Update all of your applications.

Once that is done, you can proceed to the iOS 5 update:

1. Plug your iPhone (3GS or 4), iPad (original or iPad 2), or iPod touch (3rd or 4th generation) into your computer with the USB cord.

2. If iTunes doesn’t open automatically, launch it by clicking on the iTunes icon.

3. On the left side of the iTunes windows, find your device, for example, “Sandy’s iPad,” and click it.

4. Click on the button that says “Update.” Then follow the on-screen directions.

iOS 5 — Apple’s New OS — Update your iPad & iPhone Now

Along with Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 4S, came another very important announcement — iOS 5. This is Apple’s newest operating system. Although it will come preinstalled on the new iPhones when they are released on Oct. 14th, it will be available for other Apple devices tomorrow.

If you have an iPhone, iPad, our iPod touch, you won’t want to miss out on this. It promises to be a fantastic upgrade. And it is FREE!

iOS 5 will work on the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4. It will also work with 3rd and 4th generation iPod touches and both versions of the iPad.

Install it by hooking up your device to iTunes and checking for an update. Once installed you should see a new Notification area, Twitter integration, a new Reminder feature, and improvements to navigation, surfing, messaging, and picture taking.

Apple didn’t say exactly what time the update will be available, but I am going to try to be the first in line!

If you don’t want to be first in line, I understand. Check back here in a day or two for my take on how hard or easy the download was and how worthwhile iOS 5 really is before you download it.

The New iPhone — 4S

It’s not the iPhone 5, as much of the media has expected. Instead it will be called the iPhone 4S. The case and the screen will be basically the same. It will have a faster processor, faster graphics, better battery life, better camera with 1080p video, and a better antenna system. It will also be a world phone, so you can use it for traveling overseas.

All of these features are already available in a variety of Android phones. The 4S will only have 3G capabilities. It won’t take advantage of the new 4G cellular network that makes data transfers faster. Many Android phones already have 4G capability.

It looks like where the iPhone 4S will trump the Android operating system is in it’s addition of verbal commands. You will be able to ask the 4S  every day questions and have it answer you. Also, Apple has included a complete overhaul of their iOS operating system. So the software on this iPhone is bound to be better and have new features.

I think the fact that Apple called it the iPhone 4S instead of the iPhone 5 says a lot. Instead of being an entirely new revision of hardware and software, it is only incrementally better. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be a great smart phone. It is sure to sell extremely well, but unless the new operating system is truly more spectacular than the Android operating system, I won’t be in a hurry to buy one.


Thunderbolt — Great HTC Phone on Verizon

The HTC Thunderbolt is, without a doubt, one of the best smartphones in the market today.  It is the first 4G phone that runs on the new Verizon LTE network. If you don’t know wat 4G LTE is, it can be summed up in one word — FAST. With download speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps is the fastest smartphone that we’ve reviewed. No waiting for web pages or directions…everything appears quickly and easily.

At 4.75 x 2.44 x 0.56 inches, the Thunderbolt is on the large size for a cell phone. That size, however, gives you a large 4.3-inch TFT LCDscreen. The Thunderbolt also has an FM radio and a kickstand that holds it upright. It runs the 2.1 Android operating system, which is excellent and very customizable.

If you like a big phone with a large screen, the HTC Thunderbolt is the best device of this type in Verizon’s current lineup. The clear and responsive screen, good storage capabilities, useful email interface, excellent music player, and FM radio make it hard to beat. The kickstand adds even more functionality. It is blazingly fast on Verizon’s new 4G LTE network and has the ability to perform voice and data tasks simultaneously.

Although battery life could be better, most average users will find it adequate. Verizon will be releasing several new 4G phones in the near future, so you may want to see what these phones will offer, but my guess is that the HTC Thunderbolt will be able to hold its own against upcoming competition.  If the Verizon 4G service is available in your area, this is a great phone.

The Good

  • Fast 4G data speeds
  • Simultaneous voice and data
  • Large screen
  • Ample storage
  • Good camera
  • Good social media integration
  • Very customizable
  • Good email interface and search
  • Very good music player
  • FM radio

The Bad

  • Only fair battery life
  • Heavy
  • Can’t charge while using the kickstand
  • Ending letters of labels on the screen sometimes cut off
  • No HDMI port

Check out my full review with pictures at the Hardware Secrets website.

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