Monday, May 20, 2013

Nexus 5 Speculation

     Lets not beat around the bushes here, lets get right into it.

 What will be the Nexus 5? 

     For starters we know or believe it to be produced by LG so that can give us some information about a few of the components but first, when will we see it?
     Google is celebrating Android's 5th birthday (as a relesed OS) in September and since Key Lime Pie is Android 5.0 and we are talking about the Nexus 5 well you can start to see how the number 5 becomes significant here. We also belive that the LG / Google Nexus 5 will have a 5in display which we will talk more about in just a few moments. Not to mention this is the fifth generation Nexus to be released giving us sound reasoning as to why it will be called the Nexus 5 and when to expect it. To sum it up:
  • Android's 5th birthday is in September
  • Key Lime Pie is Android 5.0
  • Nexus 5 is fifth gen Nexus with a 5in display.
     So expect to hear something at or around the celebration of Android's 5th birthday in September!

*(Yes the true birthday of Android is in  November of 2007 as a Beta. It was not released until September of 2008 as Android 1.0)*

 What kind of hardware will we see in it? 

     LG gives us a few hints into the area. LG themselves are one of the top LCD manufactures in the world so it would be safe to assume that 'if' LG is making the Nexus 5 then we would most likely get and LG lcd display. Currently LG has produces some very nice displays such as the flexible 5in OLED panel that they have designed specifically for mobile devices. Does this mean we will be getting one of those nifty hit-it-on-your-wrist-and-it-wraps-around-phones? Doubt it as cool as that would be. But the other more likely option is LG's Oxide TFT display which can be encased in as little as a 1mm bezel creating an edge to edge display allowing for a smaller overall device that would hold that 5in screen. LG is also one of the top 3D display manufactures so it is very possible that we could end up with and edge to edge 5in full HD 3D display.

Lg Display Co.

     CPU is a different story and becomes more like a prediction then and educated guess. Just for the sake of pure doubt I'm not going to include Samsung's Exynos just because I don't think it will be up to the level of performance of other chips like the Tegra 4 and Snapdragon 800 at the time of production. Do I think we will get a Snapdragon 800? I'm not too sure. Nvidia's Tegra chip is quite powerful but at the same time power hungry and in order for it to perform at peak capacity and beat out the Snapdragon 800 it will need lots of juice. Now if we see a lower power display that reserve power could be used to run the Tegra 4 but I truly don't think so. The Snapdragon 800 provides not only sufficient computing power for a five inch Android device but it does it at lower peak power and it comes with integrated true 4G world LTE meaning when it comes to cost alone the Snapdragon 800 would be the right choice.

     Now the only reason I am even talking about such high end CPUs is because we are talking about a phone that wont be announced until around October and probably not available until early December, right in time for the Christmas shopping season in North America.

     As for RAM I see a standard 2GB because there is just no need for anymore to run the Android OS despite the amount of apps you have. More is always better but I highly doubt the Nexus 5 will have 4GB of LPDDR3 800Mhz RAM.

     Standards like USB 3.0 (which are becoming standard now), Bluetooth, NFC and all the other typical goodies are well, certain.

     The camera is an area that Google could improve with its Nexus devices. That's not to say that the cameras have been bad, they could just be better. I'm thinking a typical 13mp camera and nothing special.
     Storage will most likely be starting at the 16GB mark and could go up to 64GB with the reason being that Google will probably try to keep a starting price of $249-$299usd.

Now lets see what all this sounds like in order,
  • 5in full HD edge to edge display (possibly 3D)
  • Snapdragon 800 CPU with world LTE support
  • 2GB LPDD3 RAM @ 800Mhz
  • 13MP Camera
  • 16/32/64GB storage
  • Bluetooth, NFC, USB 3.0 and all the other goodies
Now remember, this is just guess work but it is sound and educated guess work and the Nexus 5 should come equipped in close order. As for the design, we believe the Nexus 5 will hold similar to the other Nexus devices being a slightly rounded rectangle and of plastic construction. Google does what it can to keep the cost of their devices to a minimum so they can appeal to a larger audience.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Nexus 5

...or should we say, Samsung Galaxy Nexus 5

Google I/O gave us a few things. Chrome Book, blah, blah, blah. A few other blah, blah, blahs and a Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android. This is going to be pretty predictable but lets have a look at what's being dubbed the Nexus 5.

      Well for starters its $649 for a 16gb, no wait, 13.3gb model. I'm not too sure just how many people will be willing to pay that kind of money for a mobile. Most people know someone who at least knows someone who cann put a stock 4.2.2 on just about any device so why not just get the Samsung Galaxy S4 from your carrier as an upgrade and flash the stock firmware. After a proper backup you could then have the choice of Samsung Touch Wiz or Stock Android.

     We were really hoping to see a real Nexus at goolge I/O but we weren't expecting one. Hopes were for a device with the new Snapdragon 800, now that would have been something. Maybe Goolge had realized what we too have realized. You only need so much computing power in a hand held.

Any-who, lets have a look at that Nexus 5 shall we.

     Now, as you can tell this is just a Galaxy S4 with stock Android. Bored? So are we.

It likely wont have the Samsung print at the top just below the headset speaker and the backdoor will most probably have Google written on it. The black navigation bar at the bottom of the screen will probably be done away with and that's the end of that. We know the specs of a Samsung Galaxy S4 and we've used Jelly Bean so basically all that been done here is the equivalent of putting a laser pointer on a pen. Still both the same things just now in one place and at a pocket lightening $649!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

LG Optimus G2 Android smartphone leaks: Doubt its Nexus 5

     May 30th approaches and we are getting more information and leaked pictures of what could be LG's newest handset under their own branding. Doubts arise due to some of the photos as to whether this is a Nexus 5 or not and since the Nexus 4 isn't too old yet it very well could be the LG Optimus 2G.

     This image that was leaked from evleaks shows what is close to and edge to edge display on this new LG superphone. As with any edge to edge display there will be, at least for some foreseable future, a slight bezel around the edges to save the fragile corners.

     The LG logo at the bottom suggest that this isn't going to be the new Nexus 5 but that could also be an in house branding routine.

     Sources include @evleaks and slashgear

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs The New HTC One - the final word..

     This is the most detailed technical comparison of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the new HTC One. We will be doing our best to keep this comparison on the short side and looking at main component hardware specifications only and not software. Lets get started.


     The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a large plastic device while the HTC is a large aluminum device and both have their benefits. The plastic shell on the Galaxy S4 help keep the weight of this super phone to a minimum while in contrast provides a somewhat cheap, not inexpensive but cheap feel to the phone in comparison to some other high end Android phones. The HTC One on the other hand consists of and aluminum chassis with a zero gap construction and this is by all means beautiful but it does provide users with a slightly larger phone and adds on a few grams of weight in comparison to the Galaxy S4. Here's how the two stack up.

HTC One Galaxy S4
Height 137.4mm 136.6mm
Width 68.2mm 69.8mm
Depth 9.3mm 7.9mm
Weight 143grams 130grams

     So the Galaxy S4 is a better size but when we consider the materials the two phones are constructed out of we have to go with the HTC One. Sacrificing a few grams of extra weigh to carry around and a slightly thicker body for such a well crafted phone isn't that big of a deal to us.


     Again here it looks as though the Samsung Galaxy S4 takes top prize over the HTC One but there is some criticism about the S4's ability to produce visible images well in bright light conditions. With that exception aside well see how the two screens stack up to one another.

HTC One Galaxy S4
Size 4.7in 5.0in
Resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080
Ppi 468 441
LCD Super LCD3 PenTile Super AMOLED
Glass Corning Gorilla Glass 2.0 Corning Gorilla Glass 3.0

     The size of both the Android super phones is close enough that we think screen size does matter so the Galaxy S4 takes the size victory here but with the details we can see why Samsung's screen has trouble keeping up in high lighting conditions in comparison to the HTC One. The Super LCD3 is a much better display if not just for luminance but more for the rendering of colors which gives the impression that the screen is brighter because the colors are more vivid. This Super LCD3 also possesses quicker pixel response times providing a better high definition experience. Samsung on the other had has given us the new Gorilla glass for a stronger and and more resistant screen and with so many square inches to protect that's a good thing.
     Both the displays offer more then enough pixel density to please the eye and in our best opinion shouldn't be a deciding factor in the purchase of one device over the other. Held side by side they appear just as clear.


     While this article will be focusing on the North American versions of both these phones we do believe due to production purposes that aside from the CPU, all other information should be relevant to global devices.

Galaxy S4
CPU 1.7Ghz Quad Core Snapdragon 600 1.9Ghz Quad Core Snapdragon 600

Adreno 320 Adreno 320
RAM Speed 533Mhz LPDDR2 800Mhz LPDDR3

     If the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One were computers (they pretty much are) sitting side by side and you could see these specs the choice would be clear but we have to consider the design and other features as well since these are not just black boxes we are stashing under a desk somewhere.
     The Galaxy S4 takes the top here and if it came down to having to use these phones connected to a HD display as a virtual laptop the Samsung's S4 would most likely provide the better user experience over the HTC One.

Camera & Features

     We have read a lot about the cameras on both these phone and how they compare to other cameras out there including the iPhone 5 which has or had the best camera on the market. We wont be focusing on camera quality because each have their perks so we will highlight the best features of both. Included in this features list will be storage and battery information as well as speakers.

HTC One Galaxy S4
Camera MP 4.0 Ultra Pixel 13.0
Low Light Very Good Not Good
Ideal Light Ok Very Good/Excellent
Speakers Dual Stereo - Excellent Single Stereo - Ok
Storage 32/64 16/32 (to date)
Sd Card No 64GB UHS-1
Removable Battery No Yes
Battery Size 2,300 mAh Li-Po 2,600 mAh Li-ion

     It starts to become pretty clear from a hardware stand point just which of these phones is better and if all you care about is whats in the phone then the choice is clear but there are other thing to consider like future software upgrades, how important removable storage is, just how often you use the camera and for what, as well as design.

     The remaining features like WiFi and Bluetooth are pretty standard these days in high end phones so they wont be covered at all. What we wanted to do was provide the final word on just which phone is better and from a hardware perspective that is clearly the Samsung Galaxy S4. Now with that said, if what you prefer is a sleek and stylish Android phone that does everything you current phone does and most likely more, well that choice is clear too and its the HTC One.

     The choice is simple now. Are you more Geek or more Sleek?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One

...who will win?

We've taken a look at booth these super phones and it's a really tough decision but there must be a winner here somewhere. Both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One have their perks but both Android devices have their faults too.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a superb camera and a very clear, large yet some what dim screen while the HTC One has a brilliant screen, amazing construction, and an ok camera. So which phone is better? Well over at CNET they have put together a nice video for us rounding up the main features of each of these Android super phones and scored both. The CNET Prizefight video can be seen here and I encourage you to have a look for yourself.

Now I personally felt as though the CNET Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One Prizefight video was slightly rigged in the scoring but you decide.

The New HTC One

...a beauty

     The new HTC One is stunning. A brilliant display, sleek and stylish body and of course HTC's own take on Android, HTC Sense, make this phone a must have if you're looking for an upgrade or are just getting tired of your old device. There is a few drawbacks in comparison to some other phone out there but are they enough to put the HTC One on the back burner? I don't think so.

Design and Style

     HTC has given the One a zero gap design meaning that there are no 'real' visible gaps in the body just clean lines where the whole unit it put together and it is magnificent. The body itself is crafted and yes, I do mean crafted from aluminum so it is nice and stirdy in yours hands giving the phone a well-put-together feel. The aluminum body does add slightly to the 143grams of the HTC One also making it a little thick too at 9.3mm while the rest of the dimensions are about average at 137.4mm tall and 68.2mm wide.
     Buttons are on the top and sides of the bezel and they are quite blended so as to no protrude out and be and eyesore which in turn makes them feel very clean as well as looking clean. The entire design does though remind me a little of the iPhone 5 yet not enough to really compare them. The outer shape of course but than who can really patent a rounded rectangle (Apple apparently), but the resemblance is more from the black even spacing above and below the display. Now HTC has managed to create a very symmetrical look by adding speaker grills to both the top and bottom of the front face to distinguish the HTC One from its counter parts.
     The rear camera is central on the back top of the phone with dedicated flash where as the front facing camera is located top right on the face with the led and ambient sensor on the top left of the face. All together this is a wonderful phone to see and aside from the iPhone 5 there really isn't much to compare the design and build to.


     Right, so lets get to it you say. Just what is inside this new HTC One? Well, for starters how about a quad core 1.7ghz Snapdragon 600 paired with and Adreno 320gpu? In some benchmarks the HTC One has managed to push the famed Galaxy S4 to second place and its likely just because the Adreno is designed to run alongside a Snapdragon plain and simple.
     Working with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 and the Adreno 320gpu is 2GB of ddr2 ram in order to ensure a smooth experience. Now I did try to find out just what spped that memory is but I came up short in my findings. I do however know that the Snapdragon 600 is capable of addressing ddr3 800mhz ram but that is not what's inside the HTC One so, I would assume and it might be wrong of me to do so but my best guess would be ddr2 533mhz.
     You will also get all the goodies like Bluetooth and WiFi (on just about every channel), gyroscope and all the other stuff youve become accustome to in the use of your smartphone.


     The display on the new HTC One is so crystal clear its unbelievable. HTC has mannage to pack 468ppi into this 4.7 inch full HD 1920x1080 display.
This lcd3 Gorilla Glass display has better color reproduction and faster pixel responce than your average smartphone display and it will not dissapoint. At only 4.7 inches it actually looks much larger than it really is thanks to the super clear pictures it produces.

Camera and Features

     HTC has given us what they call the Ultra Pixel camera and this is where I tend to see some lack luster performance. Now its not to say that the camera is all bad just that it could be a lot better had HTC decided to go with a slightly higher mega pixel count.
Low light. iPhone 5 left, HTC One right. Source:
The HTC One's camera is no slouch in low light settings where this 4mp sensor can pick up more light thanks to its larger size but when we get out into clear and ideal lighting scenarios HTC's Ultra Pixel just cant keep up. Colors are reproduced quite well and focus is plenty fine but the clarity of the photos are just not up to par with today's smartphones. Had HTC produced the Ultra Pixel using and 8mp sensor well that I think would be a sight to see! A really good read on the camera can be found here at where the HTC's Ultra Pixel camera is pitted against the iPhone's camera.
     HTC's new camera features are quite useful as you would very soon find out the first time someone blinked during a photo.
The camera will actullly take a series of photos
when the shutter is pressed and create a live album
from them, you can then choose one that you like
iPhone 5 left, HTC One right. Source:
     Some things like a removable battery and a micro sd card are a no go on the new HTC One which is a bit of a disappointment. I personally like the ability of swapping out my sd card to transfer files if necessary or just having my files stored on the micro for when I connect the device to a computer. You wouldn't really need a removable sd card thanks to the 32/64GB of storage that's packed inside the HTC One but then again with the way we take all our pictures, music and movies with us these days you may find yourself running out of storage in time.

     If what you're looking for is a beautiful, functional, snappy phone with a brilliant display this is the one you should choose. Now on the other hand, if you 'need' a better quality camera then this might not be the right choice for you since there are a few phones out there on the market that can give the HTC One a run for its money and have a better camera.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - a short review it too much phone?

     The Samsung Galaxy S4 became available late last month and I don't know about you but I would love to have one of these as my daily device. Why? Well why the heck not!? I could get into all the great features but that would take forever so lets go through a short list of specs, or not so short.

Design and Size

     The S4 is thin, very thin for a phone of its strength and only 0.3mm thicker the the ever so slender iPhone 5. It is very light by design due to its plastic, no wait, polycarbonate shell and its only 1.1mm taller and 1.9mm wider than the once popular Samsung Galaxy Nexus, despite its larger screen.
It has a good feel in the hands mostly because it is about the size of most phones these days and weighs in roughly average at 130grams. Buttons for power, volume and home are located in typical locations as with most Samsung phones and they feel, well, like buttons. The most impressive thing about the design of the S4 is how they managed to get that screen on what could be considered in comparison to some devices, a mid sized phone.


     The technology is no doubt top of the line here. Sure there is a better this, or a better that, but with the S4 Samsung has mannaged to pack all the goodies right here in one device and then placed it in the palm of your hand. The S4 has a full HD screen at 1920x1080 with 441 pixels per inch made up of the new Corning Gorilla Glass3.The display is a Super AMOLED lcd
boasting 16million colors and its large enough for any and all of your needs at a 5 full inches. To put that into perspective, there are some netbooks out there that have a 7 inch screen and they are considered a laptop of sorts.

     Along with and incredible display the S4 has all the hardware needed to be considered a super computer just a decade ago. The quad core Snapdragon at 1.9ghz would have made a single threaded 1.6ghz Pentium 4 cry like a little girl having her hair pulled. Pack 2GB of dedicated ram into this picture and we know just how this fight would turn out. There is no doubt that the S4 is like having a computer in your pocket all the time. Benchmarks are off the charts, with the exception of the HTC One which has some how managed to squeak ahead but, like I was saying, sure there is a better this-n-that but not all in one place.


     Way too much to say here so I'll keep it short. There are more options and do-dads and do-hickeys in this camera than anyone would know what to do with. It is fun once you figure a few things out but that alone can take quite a while. All the extras aside and this camera is amazing!
At 13mp this camera takes awesome quality photos with little saturation and noise but it will suffer a little in low light condition which is common on most cell phone cameras. Even the front camera has a 2mp sensor which just a few years ago would have been the average for a main camera on a cell phone. All the features you would expect like flash and auto focus are on the S4 too. In fact almost, if not everything you would expect is on this device.


A camera we expect and a processor is needed but what about some of the other things that manufactures are steering away form like a removable micro sd card? Yup, the S4 has that too and a removable battery which are two of my favorite features. Samsung has also given us a minimum of 16GB of storage space all the way up to 64GB to ensure we never run out of space for all those apps we must have.

Sum it up

     So I know i haven't really done the Galaxy S4 justice here by providing a short review like this but to be frank, there is just too much to mention. The Touch Wiz UI is what we would expect from Samsung but all the extra extras are more then we need. There are apps that wont get used but features like eye-tracking that will. Eye-tracking is an intuitive feature that will scroll web pages based on your eye movement or pause a video if you look away. Features like that are outstanding but a dashboard drop down that takes up better than half a 5inch screen providing quick buttons to virtually every button in the settings menu is a little much.

     The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a wonderful phone and it even makes phone calls! But, do we really need an almost 2.0ghz quad core computer with 2GB of ram and a 64GB hard drive with constant connectivity, a 13mp camera and eye-tracking software stuffed into our little pockets? Hells yeah we do! Is the S4 too much phone? That's easy. The Galaxy is no longer a phone but a personal pocket computer that is designed to compliment your everyday needs and than some.

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Ubuntu Touch Preview

Ubuntu Touch Preview

...and a preview is just what it is.

     I had the opportunity to take the Ubuntu Touch for a spin on my Galaxy Nexus and I have to say, it sure is something different. It's and interesting different. Looks like it could be fun too but, the preview build is really lacking usable features.

Lets have a look at the interface.

     When Ubuntu first boots you are welcomed with a bright Ubuntu screen that says there are tweets received. At first I didn't know what to do with this screen. I was tapping and touching, pinching and zooming and sweeping and swiping then finally I swiped from the left to the right and I got the Ubuntu menu which was well designed based on the Ubuntu 12 interface. The icons were of good quality and all in all everything was looking pretty good.

I was beginning to get a little excited at the possibility of taking this for a real test run since I have wanted to give it a try ever since I found out that Ubuntu would be coming to and Android device near me.

     (I should point out my device is a Samsung Galaxy Nexus GSM. I am rooted and running PARANOIDANDROID 2.99 with a Trinity Kernel. I had no problem flashing this preinstalled .zip from Ubuntu but I can't say you wont. There are a few ways to give this a try should you so please and all the instructions can be found here.)

 A gentle tap on the bottom icon of the swipe menu which is the Ubuntu logo and I was off to the races, accessing the home screen and four other screens all with a slight swipe left or right.

There are five screens all together as listed from left to right; Music, People, Home, Apps and Videos.

When scrolling from screen to screen a quick launch appears at the bottom
The apps screen shows all apps and running apps
Standard layout of one of the screens

Some of the best features of the Ubuntu Touch are the ability to switch to desktop mode via HDMI. I'm sure if you're reading this you have likely see some of the videos of Android devices booting to a desktop Ubuntu experience when connected to an HDMI TV or monitor and I wish I could have tested it.

Motion blur from scrolling while snapping the picture
The interface on the phone is really smooth, even though there is a disclaimer on the site saying it hasn't been optimized for memory use and may lag. I personally had no troubles with scrolling whatsoever and apps that worked opened in a snap but, after just a few short minutes my fun was over.

     Disappointment quickly set in as I discovered, at least in my attempts, I couldn't really do anything at all with this software. It came preloaded with contacts that couldn't be edited, messages that you couldn't get to and apps that wouldn't work. Some of the apps like the calendar and the calculator worked fine but anything that required the use of network access was a no go, at least for me. I did manage to get it to use my wifi but aside from and animated wifi icon at the top of the screen nothing happened. An sms was received during the test run but try as I might I couldn't locate it to reply.

     I would like to point out that I am not knocking this software. I was aware that it had limited functionality and was not intended for anything near a daily driver. I was hoping however to use a little more of the functions within the Ubuntu Touch.

     Everything here looks promising and I didn't even get the chance to connect to and HDMI via MHL to see what the interface looked like in desktop mode since the battery was running low and the phone appeared not to be charging while booted to Ubuntu. This is after all just a preview that I thought was worth previewing and if you're willing to flash other roms to your device, you may want to take a look too. If the efforts from Canonical continue I'm sure it wont be long before I get to take this for a real world test drive and I might just love it!

A short review of the new Samsung Galaxy S4