It’s an all too frequent dilemma. You get one of the best high-end Android phones out there-maybe it’s a Galaxy S5, or maybe it’s an HTC One-and the hardware is impeccable. But the software experience is all mucked up from carrier add-ons and skinning. While you can root your phone to get the true stock Android phone experience you’d get from a Nexus device, you can actually get a similar stock experience without rooting. To remove apps, the easiest way is by downloading a few Google-made apps and making them your defaults. Google Calendar, Google Keyboard, and Google Hangouts are the calendar, typing, and chatting experiences you’d get on stock Android, and they’re available for download right from Google Play. Alternatively, you can download the APK for these and other stock KitKat features here.
Read the full story at Wired.
I have an iPad 2. I don’t use it very much, but it’s there for me whenever a new game comes out … or whenever my Macbook is just out of reach.
The iPad 2 came out on March 11, 2011. In the grand scheme of things (and I’m not talking about the “cosmic calendar” from “Cosmos”), three years is nothing. But when it comes to consumer tech, my iPad is ANCIENT. If you count the two iPad mini models, five new iPads have launched since my iPad 2 first hit store shelves. Five! In three years!
Every time I look at my iPad, I think about how I want a new one. The new models are lighter, thinner and faster, and all have better screens. I haven’t upgraded from iOS 6 to 7 because I’ve heard it doesn’t play well on the iPad 2. But I’m not going to upgrade my iPad, because I don’t use it enough and it still works fine.
But that got me wondering: When is the right time to upgrade your mobile tech?
I like to buy a really good (but not usually top-tier) piece of tech, then run it into the ground before I upgrade. If you’re the type of person who needs to have the latest-and-greatest everything, this advice doesn’t really apply to you. But if you’re like the rest of us, and you just want to know when to pony up for a new gadget, read on.
Let’s start with tablets, since that’s what got me into this whole mess.
iPad: For new iPads, Apple usually tosses in a slightly more powerful processor and makes the device a little thinner. Sure, there are bigger changes from time to time – like adding a Retina display – but those are more uncommon than you might think. Plus, iPads are incredibly expensive (relative to most other tablets), so upgrading is more of a financial commitment here than in other instances.
- Liberal Verdict: Every other generation. Got an iPad 2? Get a 4th-gen, then, too.
- Conservative Verdict: Every three or four generations, or when a bunch of apps no longer support your device.
Android Tablets: To be honest, I’m not too familiar with the Android tablet landscape. I know it’s dominated by the Nexus 7, but that’s a relative newcomer to the field, and it’s hard to gauge just how much innovation Google’s going to throw at that line each upgrade. Android tablets are relatively inexpensive (especially when compared to an iPad), so upgrading is less of an investment, but there aren’t too many massive upgrades from one generation to the next, so upgrading isn’t a necessity.
- Liberal Verdict: Every generation.
- Conservative Verdict: When your device isn’t eligible for the newest major Android OS.
Kindle Fire Tablets: Like the Nexus line, the Kindle Fires are also relative newcomers to the tech scene. But Amazon has impressed me with how much it has added to each release. When you compare it to the latest Kindle Fire, the first-gen Fire I bought in the fall of 2011 is like a weird second-cousin that you avoid at family gatherings. Amazon’s added a ton of new software features – like FreeTime and Mayday – and has also launched tablets with bigger screens, which is an (obvious) big difference. At some point, though, Amazon will slow down its massive updates; until then, new Fire tablets seem like a reasonable investment.
- Liberal Verdict: Every generation.
- Conservative Verdict: When your toddler drops it one-too-many times and it doesn’t work anymore.
I think it’s a big lie that you need to upgrade your phone every two years. Just because your carrier gives you a big time discount to get a new device doesn’t mean you need to take them up on their offer. They’re only giving you that discount to lock you into another two-year deal; if you don’t upgrade (or buy your phone outright), you can opt out at any point with no penalty.
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all recently introduced plans that let you upgrade your phone whenever the wind changes. But that program isn’t for us – that’s for the tech elite.
iPhones are like iPads – rarely does one generation to the next do much to wow me. The iPhone 6 will have a bigger screen, which is (arguably) the best improvement since Siri was added back with the 4S. But is it enough for me to upgrade just a year after I got my iPhone 5? Probably not.
Android devices can become obsolete much more quickly, especially if the manufacturer doesn’t get the latest version of Android to your device. Buying a Nexus will negate this problem, as will buying the top-tier devices, like the Galaxy S4 or HTC One M8. But if you’re buying mid-range, you might run into issues – and you’ll want to upgrade more quickly.
- Liberal Verdict: As soon as you’re eligible for an upgrade.
- Conservative Verdict: When your device won’t get the latest OS update, or when you drop it so many times that you can no longer read the screen.
The new Google Nexus 7 is a big improvement over the original with a bunch of additions like LTE and a super high-resolution display – the best in tablets, in fact. And that’s driving a lot of first generation device owners to trade in their old Nexus 7, according to gadget buy-back site Gazelle. There was a 333 percent spike in the number of Nexus 7 tablets traded in compared to the same day last week, for example.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, that spike was even higher – a 442 percent jump in Nexus 7 tablets happened between the day before Google’s official unveiling of the new model, and the day of. The Nexus 7 trade-in activity spiked so high that it made up nearly a quarter of all trade-ins for non-iPad tablets since the site began accepting them earlier this year.
Wednesday, the day Google made its announcement, was also the biggest Nexus 7 trade-in day at Gazelle to date, beating the next biggest day by 380 percent. That previous record was set when the new Nexus 7 leaked on July 17, which clearly prompted early adopters to take advantage of a small head start ahead of the big reveal.
The news means that Google Nexus 7 owners are probably happy with their devices and eager to grab new ones, by trading in their last-gen devices to fund their purchases, but there’s another stat that tells another side of the story: Gazelle saw no appreciable increase in iPad trade-ins on the new Nexus 7 launch day. That means Google probably isn’t luring iPad owners away from the iOS fold.
It’s probably not surprising to longtime tablet space watchers that the new Nexus 7, with all its apparent merit, isn’t an iPad killer. The Apple camp seems happy where they are, but the tablet market has plenty of room to grow; we’ll see if Google can expand outward, or if it’s mostly eating its own Nexus tail with this new model.
You may’ve noticed that recently unveiled LG Optimus LTE comes with an 4.5-inch True HD IPS display with 1280 720 pixels (16:9, 329 ppi) HD resolution. The Korean company thinks they have the best screen technology in the industry, the fact that’s been confirmed by international product testing and certification agency – Intertek. Apparently, True HD IPS displays perform better than AMOLED in areas of color accuracy, brightness, battery efficiency and performance. Yes – in case you wonder – they included Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus in the analysis as well and LG’s screen topped the chart.
Anyway, we like how it sounds and can only hope the Optimus LTE will be exported from the shores of the Korean peninsula sooner rather than later. Aside from packing such a powerful display, the Optimus LTE also comes with a dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, 1GB of RAM, Wi-Fi connectivity, 8-megapixel camera on the back, front-facing camera, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS and so on.
If you’re using Google’s “back up my data” feature for Android, the passwords to the Wi-Fi networks you access from your smartphone or tablet are available in plaintext to anyone with access to the data. And as a bug report submitted by an employee of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on July 12 suggests, that leaves them wide open to harvesting by agencies like the NSA or the FBI. “The ‘Back up my data’ option in Android is very convenient,” wrote Micah Lee, staff technologist at the EFF. “However, it means sending a lot of private information, including passwords, in plaintext to Google. This information is vulnerable to government requests for data.” The Backup Manager app stores Android device settings in Google’s cloud, associated with the user account paired with the device; the Backup Manager interface is part of the core Android application API as well, so it can be used by other Android apps.
Read the full story at Ars Technica.
Its literally raining rumors when it comes to the new Nexus 7. We have seen the leaked photos, specifications and what not. A new rumor suggest that the much awaited second generation Nexus 7 tablet will hit the shelves on 31st July with the price tag of $269, for the 32GB model. On the other hand, the 16GB model is expected to be priced at $229.
A few days back, a rumor suggested that a number of Samsung devices will skip the Android 4.2.2 Update and will be updated directly Android 4.3. It looks like the rumor turned out to be correct, at least for Galaxy Note II. Australian carrier Telstra has announced that the Galaxy Note II 4G will indeed skip Android 4.2.2 and will be updated to the “newer version” of Android, which is expected to be Android 4.3. Rumors have it that the search engine giant will unveil Android 4.3 very soon along with the second generation Nexus tablet.
Finally, we have some sort of confirmation about the upcoming Moto X. Motorola has started sending out invites for its press event that is scheduled on 1st August in New York. The not-so-secret Moto X has been the center of attraction from past few weeks. We have seen all sorts of things – images, teasers, videos and what not-related to Moto X. We have even seen Eric Schmidt using the infamous Moto X a few days back.
Many Galaxy S4 users were disappointed with the fact that the Snapdragon 800 powered beast was later released for South Korean audience. If you dont know, Galaxy S4 is announced in different versions: GT-I9500 that is powered by Exynos along with GT-I9505 that features Snapdragon 600 SoC. A new leak suggests that Samsung will unveil Galaxy Galaxy S4 (GT-I9506) with LTE powered by Snapdragon 800 with a clock speed of 2.3GHz, similar to the one that was released in Korea.
Few hours ago, Motorola sent out invites for the Moto X press event that is scheduled for 1st August. It is pretty obvious that the Google-owned company will launch Moto X. If all the leaked images didn’t satisfy you, there is another leak that shows us the first press shots of the infamous Moto X. The press shots of Moto X emerged from none other than @evLeaks and The Unlockr.