So Microsoft and Google are fighting about YouTube again. If you don’t remember the original battle, I’ll give a synopsis.

During the early days of WP7, MS shipped the phones with a YouTube “app” that really just redirected you to the mobile YouTube site, because Google prevented access to the same “metadata” that Android and iOS has, and therefore a conventional app was not possible. MS further filed an anti-trust complaint with the Euopean Union, stating that “Without proper access to YouTube, Bing and other search engines cannot stand with Google on an equal footing in returning search results with links to YouTube videos and that, of course, drives more users away from competitors and to Google.” Of course, this complaint went nowhere, and nothing really changed, despite MS’s promise, earlier this year, that they are still seeking resolution. Well things got a bit more heated in May, when MS released their own app…without ads and with an offline viewing option.

For those who don’t know, Google does not sanction either of these things and they are both against the terms of service agreement, but typically some 3rd party app makers somehow manage to put in offline viewing options and even prevent ads. But, while Google is willing to let Joe Schmo app developer do his thing for a couple bucks, they certainly wouldn’t and shouldn’t tolerate Microsoft doing this. The hilarious twist is that Microsoft basically built an app around what they had been using all along, the mobile YouTube website, which has never show ads before. However, Microsoft did reverse engineer a Google API, which is fairly shady. But in any case, Microsoft was clearly trying to get Google’s attention, and they did.

On May 16th, Google’s Larry Page got up on stage at Google I/O and demanded that tech companies stop bickering about little things and described a dreamy vision where people were free to experiment and build radical new things and not be afraid of patent lawsuits. At the same time, Google sent a cease and desist letter to Microsoft, demanding that the company not only remove their YouTube app from the Windows Store by May 22nd, but also force remove it from their customer’s handsets (which it can do, by the way). Many in the tech world were stunned by the ironic timing and the hypocrisy of it all. Microsoft quickly responded in a quote given to Neowin: “Google has refused to work with us to develop an app on par with the apps for other platforms…We’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs” and also referenced the hypocrisy as they said “In light of Larry Page’s comments today calling for more interoperability and less negativity, we look forward to solving this matter together for our mutual customers.” Now, not to say that Microsoft’s rather childish tactics were justified, but why the heck would Google, who’s corporate motto is “Do no evil” and staunchly fights for open internet and open source, refuse to provide access to an API to Microsoft? In any case, Microsoft did not remove the app as Google requested. Instead, the tech giant updated the app and removed the offline view mode, although it still lacked ads.

On May 24th, a joint Google/Microsoft e-mail went out to multiple tech feeds like The Verge and Neowin, stating that the two companies would be working together on a new version of the app for Windows Phone and would work together to bring the app into compliance with Google’s API terms of service. Many of us finally breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, Google had taken the high ground and agreed to provide API access to Microsoft. But the saga was still not over. You see, while many of us believed that they were working together, nothing could be further from the truth.


On August 13th, Microsoft publicly announced that the new YouTube app was now available in the Windows Store, but now with ads. Many flocked to download it and it seemed to work fairly flawlessly on day 1. On day 2, however, users were welcomed to this error message. As it turned out, Google was blocking the API key that Microsoft was using to run the app. Apparently there was more bickering behind the scenes. You see, Google really wanted Microsoft to rebuild the app from the ground up, in HTML5. Microsoft was as floored by this request as I am learning of it. As much as it would be great if HTML5 was used for developing apps, since all modern desktop and mobile browsers utilize the standard, nobody develops for HTML5 because it simply sucks. HTML5 is hard to develop for, not very powerful, sluggish, and also has a lot of limitations, especially on an OS like Windows Phone and iOS, which puts HTML content in a fenced off box for security purposes.

In a rather nasty blog post entitled “The Limits of Gooogle’s Openness,” Microsoft laid out their side of the story for why the YouTube app was submitted and later blocked. In the letter, Microsoft claims that they devoted significant technical resources to exploring the possibility of an HTML5 app, but after a lot of time and effort, both they and the Google experts they were supposedly working with, agreed that building such an app would be “technically difficult and time consuming”, which is really putting it mildly. LIke I said, while HTML5 was built to transition into successful webapps, it is nowhere near powerful enough to build a app like YouTube. To make things worse, Google doesn’t even adhere to this standard. There has never been an HTML5 YouTube app ever made. Ever. For any platform. Ever. I would imagine that Google wants to eventually transition into HTML5, but the fact is, it hasn’t yet. So why place this arbitrary restriction on Microsoft when Google employees clearly understand that such an app would be difficult or impossible?

So, Microsoft did something that’s justified, but in a snarky manner. You see, Google had requested as part of the agreement that it have final approval over any app that’s published to the Windows Store. This is certainly justifiable, as YouTube is Google’s property and they own the content. On August 13th, Microsoft released their YouTube app that was built with native code, still without an offline viewing option, but now with ads. However, it sent the application to Google on the same day that it published it to the store. Microsoft, this move was childish. On August 14th, Google blocked the API access that Microsoft was using for it’s native app, and it was then, as it still is now, broken for Windows Phone users. On August 15th, Microsoft’s Vice President of Litigation and Antitrust uploaded the aforementioned blog post, which chides Google for preventing Microsoft from providing WP8 users a YouTube experience that’s on par with the Android and iOS experience of the platform. It is a very snarky blog post and perhaps a bit bitchy at times, but it clearly shows how frustrated Microsoft has become with Google.

But I’m confused. Why the heck is this fight still going on? I know that Google considers Windows Phone to be beneath them and undeserving of their attention and effort, but why is this still going on? David Howard brings up a good point in his snarky blog post: “When we first built a YouTube app for Windows Phone, we did so with the understanding that Google claimed to grow its business based on open access to its platforms and content, a point it reiterated last year….We did this all at no cost to Google, which one would think would want a YouTube app on Windows Phone that would only serve to bring Google new users and additional revenue.” The reason Google has become such a jewel in everyone’s eye is because it gives away stuff. Android is free and open. YouTube is free and open. Google search is free and open. The reason for this is clear, advertisements. Google makes money on delivering advertisements and collecting data to provide more targeted advertisements. This revenue is bolstered by all of it’s services, including YouTube. A WP8 YouTube app with advertisements is a source of revenue for Google, and Microsoft is willing to give it to them for free. That’s a pretty killer deal and I feel like if I was Joe Google, I would be okay with providing whatever Microsoft needed for that. Bing is nowhere near a serious competitor to Google search. Windows Phone is nowhere near big enough to compete with Android.

The only reason I am writing this article is because of the responses I’ve seen throughout the net. Microsoft is being petty, sure, but so is Google. The fact is, Microsoft is known for this behavior. Google, however, is showing a real ugly side that perhaps hasn’t been shown before. I’ve seen so many articles and heard so many podcasts lamenting that “This is old Microsoft baiting and bullying Google.” Is it? Or is it Google that is baiting and bullying Microsoft? You see, Microsoft is no longer the dominant power it used to be. It’s quickly losing the only advantages it used to have. Windows is losing marketshare. Windows Mobile has died and Windows Phone is struggling to gain back some of that traction. Google completely dominates over Microsoft in ever single market that they compete. Why are we saying that Microsoft is bullying Google when clearly it’s the other way around? I’m not saying that we should take Microsoft’s side, as we still have not heard an updated response from Google, but maybe Google should be considering that it has so much more to lose over this than Microsoft. Google will not only lose ad revenue and meta data to mine, but also it’s reputation is on the line. And Google’s reputation is really what props up that company. If the “Do no evil” mantra is removed, do we really trust Google with our digital lives and marketing data? The fact is, Microsoft is building an empire of digital services to compete with Google. The more Google blocks Gmail, Maps, YouTube, etc. from Windows Phone, the more Windows Phone users, the fastest growing segment of the mobile economy, will agree to let Microsoft steward their digital lives.

Oh and by the way, if you want a truly great YouTube experience on Windows Phone and can’t wait for the official app, try a 3rd party. MetroTube isn’t free, but it has all the features that Google’s making Microsoft remove. Or there’s this free one. Or if you want an alternative, you could always try Vimeo.


In addition to confirmation of the worlds strongest material scientists have apparently discovered the worlds most absorbent material. Named after its origin University in Uppsala, Sweden, Upsalite is a powdered form of Magnesium Carbonate which is so porous that should you manage to “stretch out” the actual material present in a gram of it, it would reach out 800 square meters, which is as large as this yacht. It is also completely devoid of water, which lends to its highly absorbent nature.

The team was apparently trying to create new ways of delivering medication, and mistakenly left some equipment on. When they came back, they found the material. What do you do when you see a strange material that formed overnight? Do science on it of course! Not only is this material more absorbs than anyone thought possible, but its also rather cheap to produce. In any case, upsalite is an important discovery with numerous benefits. It will certainly help with oil spill cleanups, developing medicine, keeping water away from sensitive electronics, among many other possibilities. Yay for accidental science!


Graphene may have just been replaced as the strongest and stiffest material. Scientists led by Mingjie Lu at Houston University have calculated that a previously mysterious form of Carbon that has only been rarely found in space is stronger and stiffer than graphene (which is stronger than diamonds).

How strong? Well a diamond’s strength ranges between 2.5-6.5 X 10^7 Nm/kg, and graphene mostly beats that at 4.7-5.5 X 10^7 Nm/kg. Carbyn, as it is called, has a strength range between 6.0-7.5 X 10^7 Nm/kg. It blows away both diamonds and graphene. Its also stiffer, read: doesn’t sway like a piece of string in the wind. While graphene has a stiffness of 4.8 X 10^8 Nm/kg, carbyn has a stiffness of about 10^9 Nm/kg. For those not math inclined, carbyn is much stronger than the strongest previously known materials.

Previously, this material has only been observed as an energy signature in interstellar space, but a couple years ago, scientists apparently manufactured a chain that was at least 44 atoms long. However, the conventional chemist thought was that putting multiple strings together would lead to explosive results.

Despite this, the team conducted experiments on the mysterious material and found that while groups of chains can react, an activation barrier prevents consistent reactions, which means there is potential for multiple string substrates to be stable at room temperature, even. Should scientists be able to create carbyn with a more consistent activation barrier, or even figure out how to consistently improve stability, the ramifications of this material could be enormous. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

Source: arXiv (Cornell University Library)

The newest Humble Bundle has been released and its pretty incredible. Its been billed as the Origin Humble Bundle, although most of the titles are available with Steam downloads as well. I suspect the name is meant to hide that these are all EA games, but whatever.

For a measely buck, you get Origin keys for Dead Space, Dead Space 3, Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Crysis 2: Maximum Edition, Mirror’s Edge, and the most recent Metal of Honor. Steam keys are also available for all but Dead Space 3. That’s six pretty awesome AAA titles for a buck. Heck, Mirror’s Edge is worth that.

If you pay more than the average ($4.63 at the moment), you’ll also get Origin(only) keys for Battlefield 3 and the Sims 3 Starter Pack. Whether the extra $3.50 for those games is worth it is debatable and up to you. Either way, all proceeds go to various charities and the Humble Tip and interestingly, there’s no option to give the devs or EA money. So, if you need to catch up on some great AAA titles, this is the way to go.

Source: Humble Bundle


Yesterday, the hyped-less-than-the-moto-X flagship LG G2 was announced alongside its more budget oriented cousins, the Optimus F6 and Optimus F3. Obviously, the lionshare of the coverage is going to the G2, and many are wondering how this handset compares. Its a powerhouse that will sell decently at first, but ultimately I think it will be a forgettable handset.

Hah! Take that Samsung!

Most of the internet is comparing this to the Galaxy S4, and for good reason. From its cheaper plasticky body to its beefy spec sheet, to the S-View-like QuickWindow optional covers, LG is clearly targeting Samsung’s typical M.O.

Where the G2 really suceeds against Samsung is in performance. It features a 2.3 Ghz Snapdragon 800 quad core processor with an Adreno 320 GPU. To those not as technically inclined, the previous performance beast, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a slightly less powerful 1.9Ghz Snapdragon 600. Will 400 Mhz matter on Android? Absolutely not. However, a quick look at Qualcomm’s comparison shows that there are a few extra additions: a built in cell radio (normally means better battery life), USB 3.0 support for faster transfer speeds when you plug it into a computer, a GPU that supports 4K content, and a dedicated ISP which should make picture taking and editing a bit more speedy. Round those specs up with 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32 GB of storage, and a rather gigantic 5.2″ 1080p but unfortunately IPS LCD (read: not of the AMOLED variety) screen, a 13 MP camera with optical image stabilization, and a 2.1 MP front camera, and you’ve got a pretty decent one-up to the Galaxy S4.

But the fact remains that Galaxy S4 is not a slouch. No one really complains about performance. While its nice to see hardware improvements, a bump from Snapdragon 600 to 800 is not a feature that will sell phones except to benchmarkers. In order to try to differentiate themselves a bit more, LG skinned Android and threw in a few software tweaks.

Wierd Software Stuff

With the G2, LG is following the typical Android OEM path of skinning the base Android and trying to differentiate themselves with various pointless bloatware software features. Interestingly, Motorola seems to be more unique by offering a completely unskinned version of Android, but unless the Moto X becomes a runaway hit, this won’t change. So out of the box, it’ll come with the already old and skinned Android 4.2.2. Thankfully the skinning is fairly minimal, compared to the heavy modification that HTC did with Sense 4, but still comes with a full compliment of LG specific software.

Plug and Poplgsoft8

When the device is plugged in via USB or the headphone jack, a software pop up shows you apps you can use with that. I can guarantee you that this will be more annoying than useful. I normally have my music player up before I plug in my headphones. Those who don’t will have to scroll through their music players until they find the right one, instead of tapping once on the homescreen like normal people. And what if it doesn’t recognize the right app? Not to mention: every time you plug in your phone to charge? Really?

Slide Aside

Perhaps a homeage to their recent purchase of WebOS, LG threw in a quick close gesture. Swipe three fingers from the edge if the screen and you’ll essentially force-close the app. Kinda cool, but only because it saves you one tap.

Knock On

Tap the display twice and wake the phone. Not exactly new as the Moto X already has it and Lumia phones are getting it too, but its nice to see this feature becoming more standard. Considering LG’s track record with software, though, I’m curious to see how well it’ll work (and how often it’ll go off in your pocket).

Answer Melgsoft9

Bring your phone to your ear and it’ll answer it for you. Also kinda cool, but it saves you a single tap. LG’s really looking out for your fingertips.

Quick Remote

Supposedly, this thing has an IR reader that can “learn” from IR remotes and control many types of devices like home theater systems, TVs, DVRs, and Blue-Ray players. Theoretically, anything with a remote will work. Honestly, this is a pretty cool feature, except that I’m sure you’ll have to create and load profiles for each device. It might work well, but its more likely that it’ll be more work to open get your phone ready than to just grab your remote.

Guest Modelgsoft5

Hide any apps you want from your friends so when they steal your phone, they can’t out your homosexual desires on Facebook. All joking aside, this is a fantastic feature for people who frequently forget their phone somewhere, or let friends use their phone, or especially parents that let their kids play with their phones. This is an example of an OEM moving slightly ahead of Google since Google hasn’t built in multiple user accounts into the phone version of Android yet.  Restricted user accounts just became available in Android 4.3, but only for tablets.

Wierd Design Featureslgg2

So the G2 has its power button and volume rocker on the back. Wat? No that’s on a typo. These normally side-mounted buttons are on the back. According to LG, its more ergonomic. The first look reports I’ve seen report that the buttons are in a more natural position considering the design of the phone, but since I haven’t fondled one yet, I’ll have to take their word on it. Upon looking at that back though, at least it doesn’t seem too unnatural.

To finish up the feature set, the G2 will have a screen that can light up a small window in the top-center portion of the display (see below).

LG-G2-QuickWindow-CaseCheck out those cases. Is it me or is this a blatant rip off of Samsung’s already gimmicky S-View cases. These are optional cases for the G2 that you will have to buy, and they are called QuickWindow. Despite the fact that lighting up a small amount of an LCD screen would take much more power and battery life than an AMOLED, I still don’t get why this feature exists. I don’t need to turn my phone into an iPod Nano. It’s already better than an iPod Nano. I guess the advantage is that if you are going to cover your screen with foldy polyurethane, like an iPad Smart Cover for phones (theres a reason Apple doesn’t make these), it would be nice to interact with the phone while in the case. But if it’s interactible, it doesn’t protect the screen. So…let part of the screen be exposed? The whole idea behind this gimmick makes no sense to me and I’m not entirely convinced that in the age of Gorilla glass, Invisishields, and OtterBox’s, that there is really a reason to cover my phone’s screen with an obnoxious piece of foldy polyurethane. So S-View and QuickWindow create a solution to a problem with a product that doesn’t need to exist.

If It’s Not Cheap, It Won’t Sell

In my mind, LG’s G2 has a few slight edges over it’s clearest competitor, the Galaxy S4. It’s software customizations are at least mostly useful, it’s more powerful, it has the same gimmicky case design, and it has a bigger screen. However, the trade-offs are that it has an even cheaper looking plasticky case, an LCD screen which will burn through your battery when you’re using your ridiculous QuickWindow, and it’s also running Android 4.2.2 with no clear signs towards 4.3 in sight. Oh, and it’s LG. Despite how much brand name doesn’t matter in practicality, it does matter on the sales floor and in the show room. In order to LG to stand against Samsung, it needs to have a device that is clearly and definitively better than the Galaxy S4, and I can’t honestly say that the G2 is that device.

But, this is LG we’re talking about. Despite all the benefits of the Moto X, Motorola will be hampered by price and the fact that it’s one killer benefit (customizable design) is exclusive to AT&T. HTC’s beautiful phones are hampered by a slow movement to multiple U.S. carriers and a heavy software overlay. LG will be launching the G2 on all four U.S. carriers. That’s pretty big. No matter how good your phone is, if people can’t get it on their carrier, they won’t be buying it.

But of course, the one major factor in this equation is price. LG is in a peculiar situation with this phone. Apple will certainly be releasing an Phone 5S in a few months, the Moto X will be releasing before this phone does, and in addition, Samsung is sure to announce a Galaxy S5 in about 6 months or so. This puts the G2′s launch at the most precarious and damaging position that it could possibly be at. I believe that their only saving grace will be price, which of course was not announced. T-Mobile did say it will be a “no money down” phone, but that doesn’t tell us much. If LG were to release this phone at $150 or even $99 on contract, I think it would have a chance. However, it would have had a better chance if it were to be released 2-3 months after the Galaxy S4, because it would have taken some sales away from the rapidly selling and heavily discounted Galaxy S3. But unfortuntately, releasing this phone at the end of the year, even if it is cheap, will mean that it only has a few months of being able to compete against Samsung before the Galaxy S5 completely blows it away (or the Galaxy S4 is price-dropped to blow it away), and it will also be taking hits from the Moto X and iPhone 5S. But then again, this is just more evidence to show that competing as an OEM in the Android ecosystem is as perilous as ever.

I have no doubt this phone will sell a few units due to it’s powerful nature, but I don’t think it will have anywhere near the impact that LG hopes it will. In this case, I don’t mind. The LG G2 is a disappointing attempt to clone Samsung’s success, and I feel that true innovation should be praised. But of course, in this ideal world, the HTC One and Moto X would be at the top of the Android tier.

Source: LG



moto-x-colorsSo, its official. The most badly kept secret of late has been released as the Moto X. Many have complained, many have shown interest. I, for one, am intrigued.

First the Bad News…

The Moto X’s relatively weak specs were not a surprise. It’s been widely understood that the Moto X be coming with an older dual-core processor, so lets just get this out of the way. The Moto X will be featuring a modified Snapdragon S4 processor dubbed the Motorola X8, which is the same chip in their new Droid Ultra, Maxx and Mini. Its not an octo-core processor, bur a last-Gen 1.7 Ghz dual core ARM chip. Throw in a 2200 mAhr battery, a 10 MP back cam, 2 MP front cam, a 4.7 inch 720P display, an unmodified but already old Android 4.2.2, and the standard compliment of LTE and bluetooth radios, and you’ve got a fairly ho-hum but solid mid-range phone.

But then there’s that price. You see, rumors up to the announcement had always pointed to a $200-$300 price point off-contract. This would put the phone squarely in the territory of the fairly well received (but often criticized) Nexus 4, albeit with a slightly slower processor. But we could forgive Motorola for that by including LTE. But boy was the collective internet surprised and pissed the phone will be running for $199-$249 with a 2-year contract! In an age when the $199 subsidized American market is saturated with the surprisingly well performing Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, both with quad core processors and 1920 x 1080 screens, not to mention the stalwart iPhone 5, has Moto flipped its lid? Much of the internet has exploded with disappointment over the price and its seemingly mid-range specs, and I was certainly hoping to be able to pick one up cheap off contract (as I am in the middle of my current contract). However, it’s not all bad news. Motorola claims that it has made improvements to the chip to make sure it will perform well. Also, frankly, mobile quad-core processors have turned out to not be worth all that much more than good dual-core processors. Most of NVidia’s quad core chips have proven to be mediocre at best and the quad-core chips in the Galaxy S4 and HTC One haven’t proven to be that much faster than their dual-core counterparts. Thanks to the improvements Google has made in the more recent versions of Android, dual-core processors may be good enough, but certainly it sucks that people who buy this phone will be stuck with an older processor for 2 full years.

What About The Other Six

Despite the fact that the X8 processor only has two CPUs, there are indeed 6 other cores on the chip. This is a “system on a chip” design, as most mobile cpus are, so four of the cores are GPU cores (graphics), but the other two are Digital Signal Processors or DSPs. The first DSP is a dedicated processor designed towards filtering out outside noise in the microphone, which is cool but whatever. The second DSP is apparently a non-ARM core that runs in the background when the screen is off and processes background notifications and ambient voice input. This core allows the phone to turn on parts of the screen to show you notifications without your input and also allows you to give voice commands to the phone without your input.

So in other words, all those times you reach for your phone while driving to text, e-mail, navigate, etc… No more. Just yell “OK Google” and Google Now will pop up and you can say your command. Pretty cool, I’d say, and a unique way to solve an old problem.

Of course the very real and creepy downside is that your phone listening to you…all the time…everywhere…in your pocket. This notches up the creepiness factor of Google Now a few more levels as your phone, the most intimate electronic device in your life, is listening to and processing everything. How creepy it is depends on how much you trust how Google handle that information, but as a company that makes money almost completely from ad revenue and from using data to provide their customers with accurate ad targeting, I’m a little creeped out by Google Now and definitely this implementation of it.

The good news is, it will be turned off by default. But, if you’re fully invested in Google’s ecosystem and Google Now, this will be a killer feature for you.

Colors n Stuff

The biggest appeal for this phone was always going to be aesthetics. The original promise for this phone was that it was going to be the most highly customizable phone EV4R! Motorola promised the Moto X to be the first phone “built by you.” What does that mean? Colors and materials of course.

moto-x-colors-wheelThis is a strange place for Moto to go. Throughout most of their life as a smartphone OEM, Motorola has built the “Droid” moniker to mean heavy duty, industrial, monochrome, and filled with testosterone. With the Moto X, I feel like Motorola just switched from a gun-toting football-watchin’ ‘Murican to an artsy ‘Frisco hipster. I mean look at those colors! There’s a lot of them. And most of them are not shades of black or white! The only strange omission is an orange, but pretty much everyone else will be satisfied by the amount of options available. Of course, most of these colors will require you to special order it from Motorola (retail stores will likely only carry white, black, and a few other options), but I love the amount of color options. Nobody has every created a green smartphone. Or a burgundy one. Or a flesh colored one.

And just in case you weren’t already sold, you have not just colors, but different materials as well. Yesterday, Moto also announced several different varieties of wood varnishes. Nobody has ever done that before. Various metal materials were also originally rumored, but I have heard no confirmation yet.


I love this much customization in hardware aesthetics. However, with this much custom ordering, combined with the fact that these phones are being assembled in a new American factory (supposidly to knock off some shipping time), Motorola can sorta start to justify its off-contract starting price of $574.99 ($629.99 for 32GB). But only if you are one to prioritize aesthetics over specs. Honestly, I’m sure many will.

Made by Google

Also, in case you didn’t know, Google owns Motorola Mobility. Although Motorola had a device lineup in the pipeline before it was bought, this phone is the first fruit borne of that merger. And boy does it show.  From the built in expanded functionality of Google Now, to the un-modified version of Android, to the highly customizable appearance and modest but decent specs, this phone practically sweats Google. As a result, I think this phone is going to get a lot of attention that it otherwise wouldn’t have gained. While it may not be a Nexus in name, you can bet the phone buying crowd will treat it that way.

But wait, there’s more…later

So, this phone announcement was apparently for America only. While its not surprising that Motorola, a company that has never done well in Europe, is focusing on the American market, Motorola’s CEO did allude to more versions being offered in the future, including a European version. In the announcement, CEO Dennis Woodside referred to Moto X as a “brand,” meaning that there will be multiple devices under the same moniker. Does that mean that a $300 lower specced version is coming? Maybe, but don’t hold your breath that that phone would be worth a damn. I wouldn’t recommend an Android phone running any lower specs than this. Nokia and Apple may be able to get away with a dual core processor in Windows Phone 8 and iOS, but those OS’s are considerably more efficient at dealing with lower end hardware than Android is. The point is, there will be more, there will be phones destined for other shores, and this is just the beginning.

Because of the innovative custom ordering process alone, I would love to see this phone succeed. I love the expanded features of Google Now, but I’m also conflicted about them. I fully expect that this phone will get a lot of attention, but I honestly don’t know how I expect it to perform. The fact is, Motorola is appealing to a crowd that we’re not really sure even exists. The Galaxy S4 is the only Android success story these days, and it’s clear that nobody picks the phone because of it’s beautiful hardware or variety of colors (I’m convinced the only reason Samsung succeeds is because of a combination of popularity, copious advertisements, and kool-aid drinking salespeople). Motorola might as well be fighting against the beautiful but ultimately poorly selling HTC One. Will people be willing to order their custom Moto X, wait for it to ship, and deal with ho-hum specs just for the sake of aesthetics and a few extra Google Now features?

I really hope so. I really want beauty and custom hardware to be the one to finally topple Samsung.

Source: Motorola

Nokia-Lumia-625-comes-with-a-new-generation-of-polycarbonate-shells (2)Its been a busy month for Nokia, but they still decided to release yet another Lumia phone. I’m a little disappointed that the “something big” that Nokia teased wasn’t a tablet, but the Lumia 625 was inevitable and while most tech bloggers will scoff this device, its clearly not designed for them or for America.

The major draws of this will be its bigger 4.7″ IPS LCD screen and its lower price tag of 220 EUR ($290). Because of the lower price point, the specs are notably low end, including a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 8GB of onboard storage, although it has a microSD card slot for expansion. That 4.7 inch LCD screen also has a rather low screen resolution of 800×480. While 800×480 looks surprisingly good on the 82x series, those phones benefit from OLED screens and are a full half-inch smaller, meaning even lower density of pixels and a higher risk of a user seeing the pixelation.

However, as I said, this phone was not designed for America, land of the subsidy, it was designed for the markets it was announced to be coming to: China, Europe, Asia Pacific, India, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Most cell carriers outside of America charge much less for cell service, but for customers to buy phones outright. Some of these markets (China and India, most notably) are markets that Apple and big named Android OEMs have struggled to get into because price is a major issue. Many simply don’t want to pay $700 for the latest and greatest, and many in developing markets simply can’t afford to anyway. This is the reason Apple is rumored to be building a cheaper and plastic version of the iPhone. To compound things in Nokia’s favor, many in these developing markets use their smartphone as their only computer. So does a phablet that’s priced under $300 appeal to this market? Absolutely. But other than just size, the device also sports LTE connectivity, an impressive addition for a lower price smartphone. With Euope’s LTE networks expanding quickly and LTE quickly becoming a standard in India and TD-LTE being researched for development in China, getting LTE into budget smartphones should be a priority to any OEM seeking higher penetration in markets without cell subsidies.Nokia-Lumia-625-comes-with-a-new-generation-of-polycarbonate-shells

If you’re interested, you can also read this article about the unique styling of the phone and check out the photo I’ve included of the unique colors of the replaceable translucent polycarbonate backs that Nokia will be selling with the phones, but ultimately ascetics aren’t super interesting with this phone. The Lumia 620 did it earlier this year, and this is just an evolution of that same design. The only important thing I’ve seen about the styling is that Nokia built it to feel like a pebble in your hand, which of course made me cringe in that awful Samsung way. However, Nokia’s phone will most definitely feel like a pebble, unlike the Galaxy S III and IV.

But regardless, this is going to be a very good smartphone that will probably sell fairly well for it’s intended markets. This phone will never see the light of day in America for the very good reason that it will absolutely will not sell. Is Nokia awful for targeting the only market that hasn’t been saturated by Samsung? Yeah, okay, that was a loaded question.