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So a friend of mine asked which would I choose, the HTC M7 or the Galaxy S4? After reading several rumors and based off existing hardware (Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC ONE X, and HTC EVO 4G), I would choose the HTC M7.
Again, this is all speculation and for fun. Want to know how I came about that decision, here's the why:
Processors - M7
The S4 is rumored to have an 8 core processor that will have the same power consumption as the 4 core international version of the S3. The M7 will have a 4 core most likely. The current 4 core in the S3 doesn't produce much better results than the 2 core US version of the phone based on several benchmarks and reviews I've seen and read. At the time, I don't think Android, nor many apps knew what to do with all that horsepower. Developers are now starting to get good with dual core processors so I think the time that these two come out, they'll be ready for the quad cores, leaving the 8 core again, with all that power but nothing to really take advantage of it. Also by then, quad cores will be better at power consumption than the current ones.
Internals (Radios, Memory, Storage) - Tie
Both the M7 and the S4 seem like they will be evenly matched in this area as both will probably have 2GB of RAM, LTE, WiFi, NFC, GPS, KFC, etc. etc. and both will have 32GB and 64GB variants with possible 128GB versions as well.
Screens - M7
The S3 uses a pentile AMOLED display, the OneX/EVO uses a super LCD display. Both screen look great in their own right but when placed side by side the LCD looks far better in my opinion. It had better color reproduction and even though the S3 produces deeper blacks, everything else has a weird bluish hue that looks really weird after you've seen the S-LCD. The S4 is again supposed to use a pentile display and the M7 is rumored to sport a new S-LCD3 display. Both will be 1080p however the smaller screen size of the M7 (4.7 inch screen) means it will have a higher pixel density than the S4 (5 inch screen). Also, from a form factor stand point, 5" is just way too big in my opinion. I have the EVO which is also 4.7" and it is almost on the border of being too big but feels just right, any bigger and my thumbs would be straining big time.
Camera - M7
I haven't found much on the S4's camera, but the S3 has a really good camera that some say is better than the ONE X / EVO so if this was all I had to go on I would give this one to the S4. There are rumors floating around about the M7's camera though. It is supposed to have 3 4.7 megapixel sensors which is being dubbed as "ultrapixels". Each sensor is layered on top of the other and each one is dedicated to one color in the RGB color spectrum. So while you'll get smaller pictures, they'll be of much higher clarity. This configuration will produce images that are better than some of Nokia's smart phone offerings which have some of the best cameras in the game right now.
Build Quality - M7
Going solely off of today's existing phones and the track records of both company's, HTC makes phones that feel of higher quality. The S3 is nice looking but in hand feels plastic-y and again, after you've laid hands on the solid metal feeling ONE X and EVO, it's hard to go back to that big plastic phone. The new Windows phones that HTC is making look and feel high quality as well so I wouldn't be surprised if they kept up the trend here. Samsung could surprise us and finally ditch the plastic that they've loved to use in so many of their Android phones but again, I'm making this call based on what exists today.
OS - Depends - Will you Root?
Yes - M7
If you're like me, you will root your phone on day one and flash ROMs until your heart's desire. If that is the case then the OS is moot and all you would really care about is the hardware which if you see the list above, I am highly in favor of the M7.
No - S4
Both phones will come with Jelly Bean 4.2 but that doesn't mean much since both phones will have their big bloated skins running on top of Android. HTC has Sense and Samsung has TouchWiz. Both cause slow down in the operating system, and both mean you will not get updates from Google the day they are available. You will have to wait until the manufactures optimize the latest and greatest version of Android to work with their skin. Samsung has had a better history of providing more timely updates and supporting updates for longer periods of time. HTC hasn't had a very good track record on this front. The add on features that TouchWiz provides also seem pretty cool and more beneficial than those of Sense. Couple that with the fact that Android lets you customize almost every aspect of a phone via apps, you could always replaced your dialer, sms client, or camera with something else while not giving up the other benefits of the skin.
Outcome - M7 (Not as much as you think though)
I'm a geek. I root phones. I customize different Android launchers and use different themes on a weekly basis. People like me will see that the M7 is the winner here. For some that is not the case though. For some, all they care about is the experience of using the phone. All this horsepower won't mean anything if it has a skin bogging it down. If Sense 5 is lighter than the existing version of Sense, then the M7 might be buttery smooth, however at this point, it's a toss up. If TouchWiz is also buttery smooth and provides all and more of the features it has today that might still be enough for someone to pick the S4 over the M7. I think the one thing we can agree on though is that we live in an awesome time right now where mobile phones can do amazing things and at the end of the day, both of these phones will be beasts. So am I crazy to pick a winner based on rumors alone? Here's my number, call me, maybe?
Nov 03, 12
I Don't Miss My Start Menu
Start Screen, The Start Menu's Replacement
Windows 8is beautiful to look at, there's no doubt about that in my mind. The way I see it is that there are two ways to use Windows 8. One is the tiles view for when you're just doing some light web browsing, check some e-mails, or just wanna play some quick pick up and play games, look at photos or read the news. When you've got work to do that requires multiple windows up, that's where the desktop comes into play. The ability to snap a full screen "app" along side the desktop or another "app" is pretty convenient when you're reading and listening to music at the same time.
Traditional Desktop with Music App snapped next to it.
Cut the Rope App with Weather App snapped along side of it.
I've seen several reviews saying that the Windows App Store is rather anemic at the moment. While I agree with this, the fact of the matter is, this is still a full blown version of Windows so if you have an .exe file, for a program you want to run, you can still do that.
Games section of App Store
Sure the .exe will run in the "Traditional Desktop" but backwards compatibility is backwards compatibility and I've been able to run all my old stuff without a hitch. Keep in mind though, there's some really old school legacy apps out there that won't run in Windows 8 so your mileage may vary. As for the apps that are available in the app store though, they look pretty good and are a really great way of showing off a big hi-res screen if you've got one.
For "Power Users" all the traditional Windows things are there such as the Computer Management, Disk Manager, and other more under the hood type utilities.
Bottom line, if you use Windows 7 already, Windows 8 is a faster prettier version of that sans a start menu. At first the lack of a start menu was annoying, but after a day or so of being forced not to use it, I actually don't miss it. I went with 8 instead of 7 because 8 does away with Aero which makes my almost 4 year old laptop run like a dream. So, do you need to buy it? I would say if you have a newer machine that has an i3/5/7 processor and is running Windows 7 then no you don't need this. Should you buy it? If you have an older, dual core machine, then at $40 bucks, it's a fairly cheap way to breath some new life into an old machine. Then again, at $40 bucks, it's also fairly cheap for someone who is just a geek who enjoys tinkering with new things. Am I happy I bought it, yes, yes I am :-)
True story, my two and a half year old nephew is better at Angry Birdsthan I am. My one year old nephew is getting there.
I'm quite okay with this, in fact, I'm proud of it. When I was visiting my parents a while back, I took my Asus Transformer. My sister stopped by one day with my nephews, and the two year old knew what my tablet was. My sister told me her husband has a Xoom and that on occasion he lets my nephew play on it. I didn't believe her so I asked if he could play, I had to see this. With much fear, I handed over my tablet to this lil guy who is no taller than my knee cap.
He was able to navigate through the app drawer and find the games, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, and Angry Birds Rio, play them and switch between them all with ease. I hadn't unlocked too many levels so when he would open up another of the games, he would ask me "Uncle Willie, where's the level with _____?" I had no idea what he was talking about so I just nodded and he glared back at me in what I can only assume was disappointment. I supervised him and watched in astonishment as he unlocked level after level in all three of the games. After a while my sister took him outside and we resumed what to me are more normal activities for a 2 year old, running around outside, playing ball, and throwing said ball at our dogs.
A few weeks later I was back in San Antonio doing my thing, when I got a picture message from my sister. My younger nephew, not even a year old yet then, was playing with the tablet which was precariously balanced on the edge of his walker. If she hadn't sent me a picture of it I wouldn't believe it. She said he was getting better at it and that my brother-in-law was debating getting them a tablet. Again, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
I don't remember being 2 years old, but I'm pretty sure I didn't have something as expensive as a tablet. Granted, he was thinking of getting them a cheaper "non-Honeycomb" Android tablet, but still, it was a tablet! I'm 28 and just got a tablet a few months ago. Am I being bitter...possibly. I told her it probably wasn't a good idea but if he was going to do it, then to try and get the cheapest one possible because they were probably going to trash it.
Fast forward to Christmas time and I was back in my hometown. My family and I went to go visit my sister and I remembered the tablet. After arriving at her place and settling in, I finally asked to see what tablet they ended up getting for the kids. I was hoping for the best but was told that they ended up breaking it shortly after they got it. Alas, the advice to get the cheapest tablet possible was good advice in the end.
So am I writing this to gloat? Not at all, I genuinely think it sucks that they busted their tablet. I wish they still had it and were able to enjoy all the goodness that one can get out of a tablet. No, I write this as a warning to those of you out there who think getting your kids a tablet is a good idea. At the end of the day, kids are kids, they will eventually end up breaking things, there's just no way around it. Getting them a tablet is just adding one more variable into the equation of destruction.
If you must get your kids a tablet because you're thinking "My kids/nephews/grandkids are not monsters like Willie's nephews!", then I would say your kids probably are and then I would say get them something that is at least built to be kid friendly. My niece-in-law got a LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet. It's a great tablet for kids and definitely is built for tiny hands that like to destroy things. I did a full review of it on my friend Eve's site, Beautiful Spitup, so check that out if you're interested in learning more before you pick one up. As for me, when I have kids, I'm getting them coloring books.
This year's Google I/O opening keynote speech held some awesome announcements for Android.
Google's I/O Conference Homepage
Given that this is the first I/O that I've experienced while owning an Android device, I was definitely excited to see some of the things that were announced. Relevant links are in the descriptions to the videos on their respective YouTube pages. A complete list of all announcements can be found on the I/O conference homepage.
Android Market Movie Rentals Similar to the Movies section that was recently added to YouTube, the Android Market now has a Movies section too.
Movies in the Android Market
The movies can be rented from the Market to be viewed on your PC. Updates will be coming to the mobile Android Market as well as a dedicated Movie player. The Movie player will be available soon for devices running Android 2.2 and higher and will also be bundled in with the upcoming Honeycomb 3.1 update for Tablets.
Honeycomb 3.1 Honeycomb 3.1 brings with it some updates and improvements to the user interface of Honeycomb.
Some of the changes of 3.1
Along with the ability to have a longer list of recently opened apps and resizeable widgets. One of my favorite updates is the support for USB devices. What this brings is the ability to use a variety of USB accessories on your tablet including keyboards, mice, and even game controllers. The keynote speech had a quick shot of someone playing a game on a Xoom with an Xbox 360 Wired Controller. As a gamer, I think this is awesome! Even better, I already own a wired controller that I use on my laptop.
The update which will roll out in the next couple of days for the Verizon Xoom and then afterwards for the WiFi Xoom. Updates for other Honeycomb tablets like the Acer Iconia, and the ASUS Transformer will be rolled out in subsequent weeks. Along with the UI and USB updates, two new apps will be included with the 3.1 update. One is the Movie app which I mentioned above, the other is the Music app.
Music by Google Music by Google is a new cloud based service from Google which is similar to Amazon Cloud Player.
Music by Google
The difference between the Amazon cloud player is that Music by Google will not have the option to purchase music. It will only allow you to upload music from your existing collection and then play it from any web browser or Android device. Unfortunately the PC/MAC client for uploading to the cloud is only available to those in the U.S. by invitation. It can however be downloaded from the Android Market right now and be used to play music that is locally stored on your device's memory card. The Music app is pretty nice and has a nice interface. It may be a sign of things to come in the future update to Android, Ice Cream Sandwich.
Ice Cream Sandwich In keeping with the dessert theme of all previous versions of Android (Donut, Eclair, Froyo) the latest version will be called Ice Cream Sandwich.
With a new version of Android, comes a new logo
Ice Cream Sandwich (saying that over and over is going to get annoying) will bring a unified UI to both phones and tablets for a seamless user experience. There was also talk of Android putting its foot down and trying to put an end to fragmentation by having future updates available across all devices that run Ice Cream Sandwich (really annoying). Ice Cream Sandwich will be available later this year.
The Rest of the Announcements Along with the stuff mentioned above, there was something called Google @ Home announced which is a series of devices with processors that are built to integrate with Android devices. Examples of using this technology include using your device to control your home's lights and thermostat and even integrating a game with lighting in the home so that every time you get shot the lights in your room flicker.
NFC chips, like those used in the Samsung Nexus S, were also on hand and demonstrated with Google @ Home. CD cases with integrated NFC chips were held up to a stereo, which had access to a Music by Google cloud library, and the stereo read the NFC chip and played that album. Pretty cool stuff. Pretty soon your blender will be able to run Android apps.
That's it for my highlights of the keynote speech. If you're interested in seeing it for yourself, it's available here.
Rumors have been flying around the interwebs about the Wii 2 with speculation galore about what exactly Nintendo plans to announce at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The Wii 2 is speculated to be more powerful than the PS3, have a new wacky control scheme, and be backward compatible with the Gamecube and Wii.
So, what's it gonna be chief, jump in now, or wait for the Wii 2?
April 26th marked the U.S. launch of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. The cheapest Honeycomb Tablet to hit the market yet.
Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
Spec for spec, this is near identical to the Motorola Xoomand the Acer Iconia A500, even besting them by having an IPS display, the same kind of display found on the ever popular Apple iPad 2. But I'm not here to compare apples to honeycombs. At a price of $399.00, this tablet hits at what some say is a sweet spot as far as price ranges go for tablets (especially non-Apple tablets) to become more of a mainstream commodity. Add to that the fact that this thing has a docking station that, for $150.00 essentially turns it into an Android netbook, and you have a very promising package.
So do I have a shiny new Transformer in my hands? NOPE! Calling around the day before it came out, I knew it was going to be interesting to actually get my hands on one of these. The Best Buy near work said they were hoping to get in a few but still hadn't received anything. The Best Buy near home said they had 2 in stock. Fry's said they had 3 or so, but weren't very willing to confirm with me. Given that I had a meeting the following day, I knew I wasn't going to be making any mid morning runs to the store to get some hands on time with this. I was not alone it seems as everywhere, reports of shortages came through. Amazon, and Best Buy both currently show it as out of stock. There have been reports that the UK launch was such a hit, that Asus diverted some of their shipments that way to make up for demand, thus, cutting the U.S. short of our original shipment. So is this possibly the hit tablet that Android fans have been waiting for? The numbers seem to say so.
As for me, what are my plans? Well, for the time being I think I am over the whole tablet thing. There's a slew of tablets on the horizon. As much as I hate manufacturers skinning operating systems, I'm interested in seeing the HTC Flyer when that comes out just because I like the stylus interface option. I like drawing and that seems like it would be AMAZING to have. Many other tablets are on the way as well in various sizes, prices, and hardware and software configurations. I am still interested in the Transformer, but I'm also interested in what the future has in store.
It was running Pilotwings Resort, one of my fav SNES and N64 franchises, and my eyeballs lit up with joy. Then I started playing the thing. The 3D is really impressive, especially when you take into account that it pulls off the 3D sans 3D glasses. After playing after a while though....damn. My eyes felt like they were on fire, something like this:
Damn, that thing fried my eyes pretty bad. The viewing angle for a good crisp image is pretty small, you have to be right in the center of this thing so that it looks good. My buddies were next to me and they couldn't make out the image at all. I tried tweaking the 3DS slider next to the screen to turn down the 3D effect to get a larger "sweet spot" but still, in the end it felt like I was getting laser beams shot at my eyes.
I like that the you can turn the 3D effect off, but then, aren't you dropping the big bucks on this friggin thing because it is in 3D? This is kind of dumb but I would totally shell out a smaller amount of moolah in order to get a 3D-less 3DS just to play the new games. With everyone slowly jumping on the bandwagon of 3D, this kind of makes me worry about the future abuse our eyes are in for.
There's a construction site on my way home from work where a hospital is being built. There are some MASSIVE cranes being used to put this thing together, and I think I am obsessed with them! This hospital has been under construction for quite some time and I always noticed the cranes inching their way up the stacks (that's the name I made up for them so hmmpf!) little by little. Well in the last few weeks they've made their way to the top and all the glass has been put in on the side of the building. The result is some amazing sunset shots with no light peeking through any of the window holes. I finally made it a point to stop and take some pictures of these things this past Sunday when I was getting off of work. This is the result:
So I finally got a great sunset shot of these two metallic beasts. I love how the hard lines and angles of the cranes and the building clash with the soft curves of the light of the setting sun and the little tufts of clouds scattered about. I thought, finally, I can be free of the cranes! Well, then on my way home today, I see the sun setting AND clouds behind the cranes, but NOT in front. This is the shot that resulted from that!
So in an age where anyone and everyone can start a blog, why should you read this one? The reason I started doing this is because little by little, I've found myself being the source of tech, game, or gossip (movies, music, games) for a lot of my friends and family. Then I started a site, www.rgddesigns.com, to try and serve as a focal point for my work, be it videos, art, or pictures. That's when I realized, wait a second, why not add blogs onto this site as well? This way, whenever I hear about something interesting I can just blog about it here and have it funneled on over there. That way, I let my friends, family, and followers know what's going on with me and what I know about. Granted, I won't be reading minds and creating posts that stifle all questions, but hey, maybe you learn something, maybe you become curious about something else. Then again, on occasion, I'll just post something completely non-sensical :-)