Believe it or not, we have news to discuss this week that doesn't concern the iPhone 4. Android is back front and center with the Samsung Captivate and Vibrant, the first two Galaxy S models to go on sale. Bonnie gives us the scoop on both models and reports on the hot New York weather. Also in the podcast, Nicole tackles Android from the budget angle; Kent lists silly cell phone names; and, yes, we even talk about the latest controversy with Apple's handset.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) … Read more
Editors' note: As we shot our First Look video prior to today's announcement, we give the Vibrant's original release date at the end of the clip.
We suspected this might happen, and now it's official: T-Mobile has moved up the release date of the Samsung Vibrant from July 21 to July 15, with the same price tag of $199.99 with a two-year contract.
Ah, there's nothing like a good platform war to stir up the emotions. We've seen plenty of battles over the years. Old stalwarts like Windows versus Mac and Xbox 360 versus PS3 always manage to light up the message boards. And I still miss all the personal attacks I got from HD DVD versus Blu-ray wars. But nothing seems to get people more worked up these days than Android versus iPhone.
Take a recent post I did on the 20 most-wanted features I'd like to see in the next-generation iPhone, which may be called the iPhone 5. The comments section immediately degenerated into a battle between iPhone versus Android backers. Here are some samples from the melee.
zizzybaloobah: "You can waste your time wishing for a phone w/these features, or get an Android phone that already has them."
javawebdeveloper: "@Bonesbautista, @slickuser No, you are giving the typical iPhone fanboy response: You are so convinced that the iPhone is the best thing since sliced bread that you cannot accept that a competing device has features that the iPhone does not have, so you denigrate them as being unimportant, hazardous, or only 'for geeks'. If they are implemented in iPhone 5, then they will magically transform into Apple innovations."
Ebraheem: "Anyone thinking that ports are a synonym for holes really shouldn't be talking about security. iOS has 65535 ports, Android has 65535 ports, Windows has 65535 ports, and pretty much anything that has a TCP/IP stack has 65535 ports! Typical non-geek mentality, thinking you understand technical details when you don't."
Sourdust: "So the author [David Carnoy] basically wishes the iPhone were more like an Android phone. As other have written, just buy an Android and be done with it. It seems the real wish here is for Android phones to run the iPhone OS. But that would have been a much shorter article (one sentence) and might not have been published."
bonesbautista: "Typical response from Android fanboys. Too much kludge with stock Android, too many complaints of poor RF with most of the HTC smart phones. The new iOS is missing a Today screen and better notifications. Android? Meh."
slickuser: "Typical geek (Android) mentality! By the time iPhone 5 is out, Flash would be on a lifeline."
MaLvaDo39: "Why do you want an Android? Just another fake iPhone...follow the leader is all Google and Microsoft could ever do."
NeonRazor4: "Since you seem so eager to write about missing features, why not write an article about the features you want from the Motorola Droid 2 or the Blackberry Storm 3? Why do you feel such a need to nitpick the iPhone? Sure it's missing a few features, but there are many other phones that are missing some features we wish it had. Yet, they don't get the same amount of vicious scrutiny as the iPhone does..."
Chandyyyyyy: "Alrighty. So I'm not a geek or a nerd, but I understand the argument and what each person is saying if that helps you understand where I am coming from. I have an iPhone along with thousands of other consumers. I'm not a fanboy. But I couldn't care less about which phone is better. I'm very happy with my iPhone, and I see many more iPhones than droids htc or whatever. What the iPhone has that other phones do not is an iPod. That's no better than any other mp3 player, but it's the top brand of mp3 player. It's convenient and easy to use, even older folks have one."
As you can see from these comments, some lines are being drawn and some stereotypes are being formed. Here's how I envision the two sides see each other based on some of the vitriol going around. (Yes, these are sexist descriptions, but 85 percent of our readers are male. If you're part of our female audience, feel free to comment with your views on all of this). … Read more
Developers interested in creating apps for Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform can now play with the newest beta of the development tools.
Graduating from community technology preview status in March to near-final status on Monday, the Windows Phone Developer Tools offer several new features designed to intrigue developers thinking of building games and other apps for the platform.
Microsoft has now integrated its Expression Blend 4 development tool directly into the Windows Phone 7 environment. Using Expression Blend, developers will be able to build graphical interfaces for their mobile apps using a drag-and-drop approach. Expression Blend 4 joins … Read more
I can't tell you how many people I've talked to this summer who have told me that they had finally made their decision to get a new smartphone only to have their plans thwarted when they got to the store and their well-researched choice was unavailable.
This is exactly what happened to my former college roommate, Stephanie Rahill. After months of research and several conversations with me, her husband came out of the Verizon Wireless store three weeks ago and told her that she would have to wait nearly a month for her new HTC Droid Incredible smartphone.… Read more
Recently, AT&T completed upgrades to its 3G network in New York City, more specifically in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, and the carrier was hopeful that its customers would see improved 3G performance voice and data performance during peak hours.
Wanting to put AT&T's claims to test, we asked you to share your experiences with us, and the results were mixed; some of you said service was worse, while others said it was about the same, and still, a few said performance was better.
Unfortunately, without having any data from before the AT&T network upgrade, it's hard for us to do a before and after comparison, but we thought it would be a good opportunity to do a data speed comparison among the four major U.S. carriers. In an ideal world, we would conduct these tests over an extended period, but time constraints and other responsibilities prevent us from doing so right now. Still, we wanted to provide you with a snapshot of what we experienced on a weekday in New York.
We conducted the tests on a Thursday afternoon and into the evening rush hour at four different locations in Manhattan--CNET's offices in Midtown, Columbus Circle, Times Square, and Union Square. To measure download and upload speeds, we downloaded the Ookla's Speedtest.net mobile app (set to the same server and set to measure in kilobits per second) to the iPhone 4 for AT&T, Nexus One for T-Mobile, HTC Evo 4G for Sprint, and Motorola Droid X for Verizon. We ran the test three times on each phone at each of the locations and then averaged the results, which are found in the tables below.
Separately, I (Bonnie) went around the same locations over the weekend, as well as other reported trouble spots, including the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, and Greenwich Village, and made phone calls to one annoyed little brother. I used the Palm Pre Plus, wanting to avoid any issues that might be a result of the antenna problems on the iPhone 4, and my experience was mostly positive. I had two dropped calls in Union Square, but otherwise was able to have conversations without problem.
Finally, for a more comprehensive and detailed look at the service in your area, including average signal strength, data throughput, and dropped calls, be sure to check out our Root Wireless carrier coverage map and don't forget to help us rate carrier coverage by contributing your own data.… Read more
Editors' note: If you've already read "Battle Royale: Five smartphones face off," then you may experience some deja vu when reading this article. We've used the same tests and presented the article in the same style. Only the phones in question and the details of their performance have changed.
A few months ago in my never-ending pursuit of pain and sadness, I volunteered to test the display quality of five of the most popular smartphones at that time. Using DisplayMate Multimedia Edition for Mobile Displays, I put each phone through a battery of tests and lost a couple of weekends in the process.
With the recent release of the iPhone 4, as well as the hype that's been generated by the "Retina Display," now's the best time to determine just how good the display really is. I've decided to compare the iPhone 4's screen with only two others: the winner of the last roundup, the Motorola Droid, and relative newcomer the HTC Evo 4G. The Evo was chosen because of its popularity and relatively gigantic screen.
Like last time, we used three different types of tests to evaluate each phone:
Scientific measurements: We used the Konica Minolta CS-200 ChromaMeter to test the maximum brightness, black level, and contrast ratio of each phone and reported numbers for each of these three tests.
Test pattern screens: We used several DisplayMate Mobile test patterns to test for color-tracking errors, 24-bit color, and font legibility, among others.
Real-world: Finally, we conducted real-world anecdotal testing using 3D games, photos, and a little tool I like to call "the sun" to test the diffuse reflectance of each display.
All test screens were viewed within each phone's native gallery application. Some phones may handle pictures differently--and even improve them to some extent--outside the application. That said, we believe that testing within the respective gallery applications is still a viable test, as this is where most users will view pictures on their phones.
Note: Since we conducted our first round of tests, the Motorola Droid has received some noteworthy changes. When the Motorola Droid is upgraded to version 2.1, the Gallery (the principal image viewer for the phone) is downgraded to 16-bit color from its original full 24-bit color in version 2.0. Fortunately, version 2.1 of the Android Browser on the Droid still delivers full 24-bit color. Presumably these errors will be fixed in a future software upgrade, so the Droid will at some point return to its original, excellent 24-bit color. The tests here reflect the Droid in its 2.1 incarnation.
In order to diminish potential repetition, I'll dive right into the details of how each phone performed; if you'd like to know more about our tests, you can binge on nerdy details in our "How we tested" section at the bottom of this article. Please note that this is an evaluation of each phone's screen performance and nothing else. Check out the full reviews of these phones to determine which is right for you. Also, DisplayMate recently conducted a more technically focused evaluation of the Motorola Droid's screen that I recommend you check out.
The bottom line… Read more
On Friday, the carrier announced its Your Navigator Deluxe service that offers such features as voice-guided directions, 3D maps, speech recognition, more than 12 million business listings, and traffic and weather information. Even better, there isn't an additional fee to use TeleNav as it's all included in U.S. Cellular's new smartphone data plan, which costs $30 per month.
Supported smartphones include the recently announced Samsung Acclaim, as well as the HTC Touch Pro2, HTC Snap, the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630, … Read more
Though Google's Android is still in fourth place in U.S. smartphone usage, it was the only platform to win more market share for the three months ended May, according to the latest stats from ComScore.
During the three months from March to May, 49.1 million consumers in the U.S. owned smartphones, reported ComScore, an 8.1 percent jump from the prior three months. Of those, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion led the market with a 41.7 percent share, followed by Apple with 24.4 percent and Microsoft with 13.2 percent.
Though Google's 13 percent share kept it a shade behind Microsoft, its Android platform was the only one in positive territory with a market share gain of four percentage points, or almost 45 percent, from the prior three months. The other four vendors all lost market share for the period. Those results seem to give the biggest win to Android, but ComScore points out that most smartphone platforms continue to grab more customers as demand keeps surging. ComScore's numbers for Apple also exclude the iPhone 4, which hit the market with a bang in June.
Eyeing the total mobile phone market, 234 million people in the U.S. owned mobile devices during the three months ended May, said ComScore. Samsung claimed the top spot with a 22.4 percent stake of the market. In second place was LG with a 21.5 percent share, followed by Motorola, RIM, and Nokia.
What are all these consumers doing with their mobile phones?… Read more
It looks like AT&T will be the first one to release one of the Samsung Galaxy S smartphones, as the carrier announced on Thursday that the Samsung Captivate will be available starting July 18 for $199.99 with a two-year contract (voice plan and minimum $15 data plan required).
The Captivate is AT&T's most feature-rich and powerful Android device to date, featuring a 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen, Samsung's 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 16GB of onboard storage, and a 5-megapixel camera, among other things. You can check out our hands-on video for a closer look … Read more