Galaxy Nexus – Best Phone Ever?

Ever since I got rid of my iPhone and moved farther away from iTunes and the whole Apple ecosystem, I’ve tried quite a few different devices. Because I was funding my transition from device to device out of my own pocket, it hasn’t been a fast or cheap adventure. As an AT&T customer since the early 2000’s, I’ve fulfilled my fair share of contracts and purchased many subsidized phones. Today, I couldn’t be less interested in 2-year contracts and cheap upgrade prices. Enter the Galaxy Nexus…

iPhone users are quick to point out that while Android devices do have very similar functionality, the Android landscape is very complex. For the most part, they are correct. Here you have Google handing out a free operating system and a plethora of manufacturers waiting to destroy it. By “destroy”, I simply mean that they decide to add their own software which sits[pullquote_right]A 2-year contract carries over more than your promise to stay onboard with just cell service.[/pullquote_right]
on top of Android like a heavy fog in a city park. In most cases, this extra software adds a great deal of functionality that jives perfectly with the physical features of the phone. For the most part, the lines between Android and the add-ons are blurred, but once you pick up a Samsung device and compare it to an HTC device and then compare it again to a Motorola device, you start to feel like you’re holding three very distinct Android versions. In fact, you’re probably looking at the same version, but aren’t used to seeing the vast differences between manufacturer-skinned Android software. On top of this, you have the carriers adding their own software, network logos and other features all while blocking certain apps and hardware functions. This is simply unfair marketing.

Bloatware Abounds

For example, Google Wallet is a really sick piece of software that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) to allow you to pay for products at supporting retailers simply by choosing a digitally saved copy of your credit card information on your phone and touching the phone to the receiver at the register. This is a perfect marriage between hardware and software, but AT&T and Verizon block the app from being used on all their Android devices!! Why?! Because they are in a joint venture with T-Mobile to create a competing service called ISIS that does the same thing. The problem I have with this is what if I prefer to trust Google with my account information or maybe I like their software better…why can’t I choose what service to use? Apparently, the carriers feel that a 2-year contract carries over more than your promise to stay onboard with just cell service.

Another example of unfair marketing is how AT&T adds their versions of maps, navigation/GPS services and other software that is completely un-removable from the device. Granted, I don’t have to use them if I choose, but why can’t I remove them from MY device?! They just have to sit there taking up space. It doesn’t even end there…AT&T’s partnership with Yellow Pages has placed a permanent entry into my contacts list for the Yellow Pages directory service! It’s at the top of the list and cannot be renamed, deleted or moved.

Lastly, getting the latest Android updates are a nightmare! Because of all this extra software, the Android updates have to come down from Google, get approved and tweaked by the manufacturer, then sent over for the same process at the carriers. The entire process adds months and months onto the expected release time.  So while all the iPhone users are getting their updates on the same day, the Android users are all using different versions for a very long time.

But I digress. Wasn’t I supposed to be chatting about the Galaxy Nexus?!

Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy NexusOk, so the Galaxy Nexus is a Samsung device that is part of Google’s Nexus program. If you’re unfamiliar with it, WikiPedia has a nice spread about it, but I’ll summarize here. Google contracts with a hardware manufacturer to make a device worthy of a pure Android experience. Up until recently, this program has selected one manufacturer to make one device that is void of any software tweaks and hacks. The manufacturer is only allowed to make the hardware and cannot touch the software.

The Nexus phone came out last November and was only available on Verizon. I have to say that this single device almost made me switch to Verizon, but I stayed on AT&T due to my remaining contract. Needless to say, I was excited when I found out that Google began selling an unlocked GSM version on their website. I can’t seem to locate information on when the GSM version began selling, but I hadn’t seen it until about four months ago. The device sells for $349 + tax and comes unlocked and ready to use on any GSM carrier worldwide. I secured a 3-week old one on CraigsList for $300 tax free about a month ago.

I can’t explain it, but there is nothing like a pure Android experience on a phone! Having come from a Galaxy SII Skyrocket, which is technically a better phone spec-wise, I can say without a doubt that the Nexus is the best phone I’ve ever used. I have just two complaints. One, it’s not 4G and two, it’s stuck at 16GB with no SD card slot. However, the HSPA+ speed is very comparable to 4G considering that 4G isn’t even available in a lot of places yet and the memory issue doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.

But the best part is that there’s no carrier branding, no locks on Google Wallet and no bloatware to laugh at me as I try unsuccessfully to remove. Also, just the other day I discovered that the built-in wi-fi hotspot tethering feature is not blocked either! Normally, AT&T requires you to upgrade to a tethering data plan before they allow you to hook it to your laptop or tablet. This can set you back $60 per month and remove your unlimited data plan if you’re lucky enough to still have one…like I do. The Nexus simply allows me to turn it on, configure a wireless network and be off and running. AT&T has no way of blocking this because the Nexus is not a device that’s registered on their network. In fact, when I log into my AT&T account manager, it doesn’t even recognize what kind of phone I’m using and that pleases me to no end.

For the first time, I feel like I’m on my own terms and have not fallen victim to whatever biddings AT&T and Samsung would like me to follow. I also love the fact that I can take this phone to another country, install a locally serviced SIM card and have cell service without having to pay international roaming fees. As for those pesky software updates that never seem to come…well the Nexus updates come directly from Google so there’s no more waiting.

All of this freedom comes at a price however. Gone for me are the days of subsidized pricing (but then again, so are the contracts) and it appears my device choices are limited, but that’s ok…I was an iPhone user for many years so I’m used to it. I can’t wait for the Nexus 2.

iPhone 5 is here, but does anyone care?

I know the title sounds vicious and I don’t mean to imply that nobody cares about the iPhone anymore because clearly they do. I’m just asking because it seems to me that Apple has hit a roadblock with their “innovation” ideas. Samsung’s Galaxy S III features technology such as NFC, which allows you to connect automatically to other NFC-capable devices like portable speakers; S-Beam, which allows you to perform data transfers simply by touching your device to another and new motion gestures such as being able to convert a text conversation into a phone call simply by raising the device to your ear. What exactly has Apple improved on iPhone 5 as compared to the iPhone 4S?


From the looks of it, not much. Yes, they finally addressed the size issue that some have been complaining about when comparing an iPhone to just about every Android device. But rather than make the entire phone larger, they simply made it taller. Their reasoning behind this was that a smartphone should be easy to use with just one hand and making a wider phone would limit this. Instead, they’ve added about an inch to the phone’s height which brings the screen size to a total of 4 inches and a 16:9 aspect ratio. This is a 0.5 inch increase over the iPhone 4.

The Retina display remains mostly the same although they claim that the resolution and depth of colors have been improved making the display more vibrant. This is true considering the resolution is now 1136px-by-640px whereas the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 screens were 960px-by-640px.

CameraiPhone 5 camera

The camera has not changed at all on the spec side, but there is apparently a new type of lens that allows sharper and more vibrant images to be taken. I have a feeling the pictures just look better because the screen has been improved! We’ll have to wait and see. They’ve also added better image stabilization and the ability to take still photos while recording a video.

I’ve never been a fan on cell phone cameras other than their convenience and portability, so for me personally the camera specs aren’t usually what I look for on a phone. Besides, the Galaxy S III also has only an 8MP camera. One change with the iPhone 5 is that the front-facing camera now records video in 720p HD and takes 1.2MP photos, while the iPhone 4 only had standard VGA quality.


iPhone is now LTE compatible. This makes iPhone 5 the first true 4G phone even though Apple recently touted the iPhone 4 and 4S as being 4G phones. They were able to pull this off by comparing the actual download speeds of iPhone 4 on the 3G network and a true 4G phone, in which they found that they were comparable.

iPhone 5 also now uses the new nano SIM card which makes this phone no longer compatible with the previous micro SIM cards. What this means is that if you buy this phone from a 3rd party and it doesn’t come with a SIM card, you have to go down to your carrier and pick up a new one. This could cost a fee.

My two cents

First of all, if you want to see the complete comparison between the iPhone 5 and and iPhone 4S, check out Apple’s page. Second, I’m not impressed at all. Yes, it looks great (as most Apple products do) but I’ve gotten out of that club…the club of people that will buy anything with an Apple logo on it. To me, the iPhone 5 isn’t much of an upgrade and I would tell any iPhone owner that there’s no real need to buy this phone…unless of course you’re using an iPhone 3G.

Currently, I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S II and I was waiting on getting the S III to see what Apple was planning on releasing. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m getting the S III.

But if you’re an iPhone fan and love what you see, pre-orders start tomorrow and the phone ships September 21st.

iPad 2 vs iPhone 4S vs iPod Touch (4th Generation)

With the release of Apple’s latest product, the iPhone 4S and iOS 5, Apple’s lineup has 3 great products all operating with the same OS. There is no longer a distinction between these devices in terms of software. The world of Apple now revolves around OS X and iOS with both of these revolving around iTunes. Steve Jobs may have left us, but Apple’s ecosystem is far from gone. However, the question still comes down to whether we need all three of these devices or just one or maybe two. Today, I’d like to compare all three and let you decide.iPod Touch (white)

Let’s start with the iPod. Here’s a device that changed the portable music industry forever. Of course, during its humble beginnings, it was simply a music device. For whatever reason, Apple felt like there needed to be more, so they have created numerous iterations of this one device over the years and today, we have iPod Touch.

iPod Touch vs iPhones

The iPod Touch has seen 4 revisions since it was first introduced back in 2007 and this latest one is the closest they’ve come to the iPhone since. Because of this, let’s first compare the Touch to the latest iPhones:

iPod touch iPhone 4S iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS
Capacity 8 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
8 GB (as of Oct ’11)
16 GB
32 GB
8 GB
16 GB
Screen size (inches)
3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 480 x 320
Processor Apple A4 Apple A5 1 dual-core 1 GHz Apple A4 Samsung ARM Cortex-A8
Battery Life Video: 7 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 8/10/9 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 7/10/10 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 5/10/5 hours
Audio: 30 hours
A-GPS No Yes Yes Yes
Camera under 1 megapixel 8 megapixel & VGA 5 megapixel & VGA 3.2 megapixel
Video Camera 720p HD 1080p HD 720p HD Yes
FaceTime 4th gen. and later Yes Yes No
Siri Support No Yes No No
Phone No Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Size (in inches) 4.4 x 2.3 x .28 4.5 x 2.31 x .37 4.51 x 2.31 x .37 4.5 x 2.4 x .48
Weight (in ounces) 3.56 4.9 4.8 4.8
iOS 5 Support? 3rd gen and later Yes Yes Yes
Monthly Fees No $55-$99 $55-$99 $55-$99
Price $199/$299/$399 $199/$299/$399
(w/ 2-year contract)
(w/ 2-year contract)
(w/ 2-year contract)

Clearly, the 4th gen Touch most closely resembles the iPhone 4. The great thing about that is for all of you who don’t want an iPhone because you already have another device you love or you’re stuck in a contract, the iPod Touch is the perfect replacement. It can give you access to all the apps that iPhone owners rave about and now with the new generation of Touch, you have the dual cameras, iOS 5 software and it comes in white too! Also, with iMessage, you can now send instant text messages to every other iOS device over wi-fi.

Now I no longer own an iPhone, I’ve been seriously considering the new iPod Touch. Not only for its music capabilities in my car, but also for the apps that I miss—mainly my Chase bank app that allows me to deposit checks just by taking a photo of it. With the front-facing camera, you can use the Facetime app to communicate with every iOS device over wi-fi. So essentially, you can use the iPod Touch just like an iPhone when you’re connected to a network.

iPad vs iPod Touch

Apple iPad
The iPad was a “revolutionary device” that Apple made us believe that we needed. And despite the fact that it’s the best selling tablet on the market today, some people still wonder what its main purpose is. Those of us who have owned an iPad at some point understand that it’s really nothing more than a large iPhone. Although I make that sound like a negative thing, it’s actually the one fact that is what makes the iPad such a popular device. Apple’s ecosystem of devices and their connectivity to iTunes has made these products indispensable.

iPod touch iPad iPad 2
Capacity 8 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
Screen size (inches)
3.5 / 960 x 480 9.7 / 1024 x 768 9.7 / 1024 x 768
Processor Apple A4 Apple A4 Apple A5 dual-core 1 GHz
Battery Life Video: 7 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Video/Web: 8/10
9 hours on 3G
Video/Web: 8/10
9 hours on 3G
A-GPS No Yes (3G models) Yes (3G models)
Camera 0.7MP back, 0.3MP front N/A 0.7MP back, 0.3MP front
Video Camera 720p HD N/A 720p HD
FaceTime 4th gen. and later No Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Size (in inches) 4.4 x 2.3 x .28 9.56 x 7.47 x .528 9.5 x 7.31 x .346
Weight 3.56 oz 1.5 lbs/td>

1.32 lbs
iOS 5 Support? 3rd gen and later Yes Yes
Monthly Fees No AT&T –
250MB $14.99 per month
2GB $25.00 per month
Verizon –
1GB $20 per month
2GB $30 per month
5Gb $50 per month
10GB $80 per month
AT&T –
250MB $14.99 per month
2GB $25.00 per month
Verizon –
1GB $20 per month
2GB $30 per month
5Gb $50 per month
10GB $80 per month
Price $199/$299/$399 Wi-fi only
Wi-fi + 3G
Wi-fi only
Wi-fi + 3G

The iPad and iPods are not to be directly compared of course due to their very different sizes, but the point of these charts were to show you just how close the iPod touch is to Apple’s other mobile products.

My two cents

I owned an iPhone since the first one came on the market right up until I sold my iPhone 4 just a few months ago. I did this in hopes that the new iPhone would be a significant upgrade, but it looks like I’ll have to wait until the next phone until I get back on iPhone. In the past year or so, I’ve also owned an iPad and an iPod Classic. For a phone, I’ve been using the Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7 on it and I love it. However, I do miss some of the apps I once had on the iPhone and as a result, I’ve been tempted to buy an iPod touch. After researching the information above, I’ve concluded that the 4th generation iPod Touch is the closest thing I can get to an iPhone without having to buy an iPhone.

I don’t like the iPad as much because of the pricing, so I’m willing to try the new Kindle Fire in November before I consider ever going back to an iPad. My new lineup might consist of the following before Christmas: MacBook Pro, iPod Touch (white 32Gb), Samsung Focus and Kindle Fire. It’s crazy how times change!

iPhone 5 Coming to Sprint in mid-October and With Unlimited Data

While it’s still anyone’s guess as to what kind of device we’re looking at with the proposed “iPhone 5” rumored to be making an appearance sometime next month, what is becoming clear is that the next iPhone is coming to Sprint—and most likely even T-Mobile. The best news to come from Sprint is the fact that they will be retaining their unlimited data plans with iPhone users, which will pit them against Verizon and AT&T in yet another battle for customers. If this is true, Sprint will be the only carrier left with an unrestricted, unlimited data plan for all of its customers.

The questions about the phone start with just one: Will the next iPhone be a completely brand new device called iPhone 5 or will it a simple spec upgrade, possibly being called iPhone 4S?

There are two big reasons why I believe it’ll be just a spec upgrade. The first reason is because Apple hasn’t followed through with their one-phone-per-year release model and the second reason is because they are also planning to release an upgraded iPad soon that won’t be an iPad 3. With that said, it would make sense for Apple to take the mid-upgrade step now like they did with the 3GS while holding off on a major upgrade and/or redesign until next summer. Another thought that came to mind is that maybe Apple was waiting until all the carriers had access to their phone before going forward with a brand new device. With Sprint and T-Mobile being the last ones left, this would make perfect sense not to release it until everyone has had a nice lead-in for new customers.

Sprint has admitted that even though unlimited data will be allowed initially, it may not be forever. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has acknowledged that Sprint may not be able to keep up with data demands from the added iPhone customers in the future and has implied that, should this become a reality, Sprint will wind up limiting their plans just as Verizon and AT&T have done. Just how they plan to do this is unclear. For example, AT&T and Verizon have taken this approach slightly different:

  • AT&T – They were the first to remove the unlimited data plans from their service offerings, but allowed existing plan holders to be grandfathered in. However, a few months ago, AT&T decided that grandfathered plans would be subjected to speed caps for users going over the “invisible” 2GB cap—2GB being the max for their new plans. So whereas a new customer would be charged for going over 2GB, but retain 3G speeds, an older customer wouldn’t be charged for going over, but would have to suffer losing 3G speeds.
  • Verizon – Once Verizon got the iPhone, it was no surprise that people jumped ship from AT&T. This was in part due to service quality concerns, but also Verizon still allowing unlimited data plans. This has now changed although they followed in AT&T’s footsteps by allowing existing customers to be grandfathered in. It remains to be seen whether they will implement speed caps like AT&T has.
  • T-Mobile – Although T-Mobile doesn’t currently have the iPhone, they are another carrier (besides Sprint) still offering unlimited data plans, but they have always had speed limits on these plans. This is likely to remain the same even if they get the next iPhone.

My two cents

I sold my iPhone 4 because I figured that if the new phone came out, I’d lose more value on it. In the meantime, I’ve been using an Android phone for a short period and now I’m on a Samsung focus with Windows Phone 7. I like Windows Phone 7 and from the looks of things, Samsung and Nokia are coming out with a few cool devices this October to compete with this new iPhone.

For me, I doubt I’ll jump back into another iPhone right away unless it really blows my mind. If it ends up being an iPhone 4S, I probably won’t even touch it. I’ll either stick with my Focus after upgrading to Windows Phone Mango (7.5) and wait until a newer iPhone shows up or I’ll explore other options. I’m still undecided, but let’s just say that October seems to be looking like a very interesting month in the way of technology.

My New Windows Phone

I’ve been using iPhone for over four years now and since everyone’s been egging me on to switch to an Android-based device, I decided to run the gamut of different devices out there firsthand to see which one I liked best. I tried Android 2.1 on a Sony Ericsson and while I wasn’t too impressed with the device itself, the OS was pretty clean. However, my first and only real complaint about Android was that it was too similar to iPhone and to be honest with you, I’m kind of bored of iOS.

Windows Phone 7

I’ve had some really bad experiences with Windows Mobile back in the day and I hated using it. It wasn’t so bad on the old PDAs we all used to carry around, but it needed help. First of all, Microsoft has always been attached to its Windows operating system and for good reason—besides Office, it’s really the only thing they have worth mentioning. The problem is that they have been so attached to it that they felt the need to basically put Windows on everything they could get their hands on. From PDAs to cell phones, stripped down thin-client desktops to point-of-sale cash machines. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well, Windows doesn’t look good or play right with every device. You don’t see Apple putting OS X on the iPhone do you?

Anyway, let’s get to the point. Microsoft has nailed it with Windows 7 in the PC world. They practically fixed everything that was wrong with Vista and added more features to make it really stand out against the competition which at this point is really only OS X and Microsoft’s own Windows XP. When I heard about the new Windows Phone, I didn’t really think much of it because I was already waist-deep into iPhone 4 and iOS. It wasn’t until I heard about the launch of Windows Phone 7 Mango (version 7.5) that I really started paying attention.

Android users have long complained about how simple the other operating systems are to use and how little customizing you can do to them, but those very reasons are why I loved iOS and now Windows Phone 7. Personally, I would never use my phone as my “haxor” device nor would I ever need to install a thousands apps that all do the same thing. To me, my phone is a phone. I use it to text, make calls, check email and from time to time, use the Internet and a play a game or two. Windows Phone not only does this, but it does it very well.

It’s sleek, it moves as fluid as the iPhone (something Android can’t seem to get down), it’s super fast and it’s intuitive. One quick comparison between Windows, Android and iOS is that Windows Phone 7 seems to integrate apps much better and it’ll get even better this fall with version 7.5. Android and iOS both require you to switch from app to app in order to complete a few related tasks. On Windows Phone for example if you want to see if your friend is on Facebook, Windows Live or just send an email or text, simply open the People tile and perform all these functions without ever leaving. You can also pin a specific contact right to the main menu for even easier access.

Rather than try to explain everything, I found a 2-part video showing off what Windows Phone 7 can do. Please note that the videos do not showcase what version 7.5 will be capable of.

Part 1:


Part 2:


My two cents

While it took me a little bit to really like this OS, it’s starting to grow on me super fast! Of course, there are always those little nuances that you have to get used to or find workarounds, but after that, it’s all good. A great example of this is on iPhone, if you start typing a text and then for whatever reason, you need to jump out and go into another app, your text message is right there when you come back. Windows Phone 7 doesn’t allow this. Once you leave, you’re basically starting over. However, this will likely be fixed in 7.5 due to the addition of multitasking. I don’t really feel like reviewing this phone just yet because 7.5 is going to add a whole lot of new features that will really bring this phone into a more legitimate comparison between iOS and Android. In the meantime, I highly recommend Windows Phone 7 to anyone looking for something different, exciting and cool. By the way, I use Windows Phone 7 on a Samsung Focus.

Will Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) Cut It?

The simple answer to this question is YES. After taking a look at some of the new features that Microsoft is bringing to the table, I have a feeling that between Windows Phone 7.5 and iOS 5, Android is going to have a tough time finding a spot to fit in. It would be interesting if I’m right considering Microsoft hasn’t had the best start in the smartphone arena with the new Windows Phone operating system.

I have to say that with all the latest news surrounding the new Nokia N9 and the subsequent complaints about it being the first and last device to run Nokia’s MeeGo operating system, I was stuck with a decision I hate making. That decision is whether I should buy a new phone with a new OS or stick with the tried and true iPhone and its new iOS 5 coming out this fall. In the last 4 years, I’ve used nothing but iPhone and surrounded myself with friends that use iPhone too, so I’ll admit I’m a little behind when it comes to knowing about other options that are out there.

But thanks in part to my brother showing me the “light” of how great Android is, I’ve started growing bored with my iPhone. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Apple products and my MacBook still reins at the top of the list when it comes to computers, but it’s time for a change. I’m tired of Apple being behind everyone else when it comes to the most basic features. As a result, I’ve been looking heavily into Android, but after reading articles touting Microsoft as a new contender in the market, I’m now turning my head toward Windows Phone 7.

Windows Phone 7.5

I used to own smartphones that ran Windows Mobile and I never had pleasant experiences with them so I gave up on Microsoft producing phone software. After seeing what Windows Phone 7 has brought to the table, I was slightly interested in seeing more and even considered using it at one point, but I was stuck in a contract with AT&T and iPhone 4.

Now is the time to explore my options and even though I love the Nokia N9, I don’t feel like using a phone where the operating system will eventually stop being supported. If in the future, the N9 or some other powerhouse Nokia device starts using Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), I think we’ll have a winner. It would be even more interesting if this combo happens because it’ll be like coming full circle for me—I started with Nokia 10 years ago and my first smartphone was Windows-based. Let’s take a look at Windows Phone 7.5 Mango:


I think the best feature Mango has going for it (besides the 500-some features that Microsoft says will be included) is the fact that it’s built around people. Simply put, in comparison to every other device out there, Mango doesn’t require you to open one app, perform a task, then close it, open another app and perform a different task, etc., etc. For example, in the People tile, you can click on a name and see all of that person’s social updates like Facebook status, Twitter updates and more. You can then chat with that person right from the same screen, place a call or send an email. There’s no app-jumping here.

My two cents

From what I’ve seen in the above video and countless others on YouTube, I have to give Mango two thumbs up and I also have to say that this fall is going to be an exciting time with new phones coming out from all the usual suspects (but maybe not Apple), new operating system updates and Nokia positioning itself to make a huge comeback after their new deal with Microsoft to load their phones with Windows Phone 7. This might be the first time in 4 years that I decide the iPhone is not for me.

Check out everything that Windows Phone 7.5 has to offer.

Nokia N9 and MeeGo OS

Just one day after Nokia officially announced their new N9 phone, the naysayers are already coming out of the woodwork. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about Nokia in recent times because I’ve been focused on my own battlefront of iPhone vs Android phones, but after reading practically everything I could find about the N9 phone and Nokia in general, it was interesting to learn about what’s been going on.Nokia N9

First of all, the new N9 phone has just been announced, it has no release date, no pricing information and we’re not even sure which countries will be able to get the phone—Nokia’s website allows us to believe that the device will only hit 23 countries, not including the U.S., the U.K. or even India.

Second, in light of Nokia’s new partnership deal with Microsoft, some wonder why Nokia would build a new device using an operating system that appears to be on its deathbed.

Nokia’s MeeGo OS

Whether or not MeeGo is being used on any mass-market devices, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. In fact, MeeGo is still being used on many mobile devices including netbooks, in-car stereos and tablets. The design of the software lends itself to the mobile platform in that it doesn’t require grossly over-powered system specs and tons of bells and whistles just to make it work.

However, after a failed partnership between Nokia and Intel not more than a year ago, Nokia was left wondering whether to drop MeeGo and go with Microsoft’s Windows Phone or Google’s Android or perhaps branch out on its own. We all know that Nokia might be a great hardware maker, but can they do software too?

Unfortunately there’s no telling what they might be doing, but with yesterday’s announcement of the new N9 phone that contains MeeGo and the fact that we know Nokia is developing Windows phones, one might speculate that Nokia will be utilizing two different operating systems to give choice to its customers.

Nokia and Windows Phone

Nokia and Microsoft struck a deal last Thursday to develop new phones using the Windows Phone operating system and Nokia’s world-famous devices. This partnership “is good for the industry”, said Steve Balmer of Microsoft. In fact, the announcement was so good that Eric Schmidt from Google might be shaking in his boots after his failed attempt to get Nokia to run with Android.

Nokia Windows Phone

It’s estimated that Android is poised to become the leading mobile phone operating system by the end of 2011 with Windows slowly taking up the second spot by 2015 thanks to this new deal. I guess that puts iOS in third?!

A Nokia device with the Windows Phone OS is probably just what both companies need. I’ve used the Windows Phone OS a few times and I have to say it’s not bad, but the choice of phones is not all that great. I still have bad memories of all the Verizon and Sprint phones using Windows Mobile! Only time will tell how this marriage plays out, but from what we’ve seen so far, things aren’t looking to shabby.

My two cents

There’s no doubt that the N9 is coming out with MeeGo and there’s also no doubt that Nokia is making devices with Windows Phone on them, but what does this mean? Some people are assuming that MeeGo is dead (or dying) and that the N9 will do nothing in terms of sales. This could also explain why Nokia hasn’t jumped back into the U.S. market yet. Others, like me, are thinking that Nokia will stick with both systems—possibly using MeeGo as an alternative to place into budget devices or phones not geared for a U.S. launch. Personally, I’m not leaning toward the “budget” theory because the N9 is estimated to cost about $700.

There’s no doubt that I’ll keep a close eye on these developments because I haven’t been this excited about a new phone since the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. Let’s hope that the way of the future is that phones and operating systems will be made and in the end, users can pick and choose which combinations they like best. This thought may not be too far from reality considering that phones are starting to turn into little computers.

Nokia Poised to Launch N9 to Compete With Android and iOS

There was a time when Nokia was the dominating force in cell phone technology. Back in the early days of cell phones, right about the time they started becoming more affordable, anyone who had a phone most likely had a Nokia. I remember when all my friends had the Nokia 5190. In my opinion, it was the first phone specifically marketed to the younger generation. It had text messaging, a phone book and a calendar. That’s all we needed at that age, but the one biggest draw this phone had was interchangeable faceplates that you could swap out to instantly change the color of your phone!

But, nothing lasts forever.

Somewhere down the line, some 7 years ago from today, Nokia seemed to drop the ball. I can’t say for sure if it was anything they did, but what is certain was that as more and more people were able to afford the dropping costs of cell phones, many new contenders began to arrive on the scene. I remember after getting rid of my Nokia 7210 in exchange for the Motorola Razr, I never looked back. Personally, the reason I stuck with Nokia for so long was because I hate flip phones and any device that had moving parts like a slide-out keyboard, but I did like the evolving technology that integrated music, videos and Internet with phones.

For some reason Nokia appeared to only be making business-type phones geared for professionals—not something that I was at the time. I stopped “shopping” phone models in 2007 when the iPhone came out. I was successfully brainwashed!

Nokia N9

In the never-ending battle between iOS and Android, one would think the worst move you could make was to drop another fighter in the ring, but Nokia is coming baby. With them comes their own OS called, MeeGo. It’s a Linux-based operating system that was launched back in May of 2010 as a mobile-only OS and currently used on tablet PCs, in-car stereo receivers and hand-held devices.

The N9 is a phone that does away with ALL buttons. According to Nokia’s website, it’s all touchcreen. I have to say, I’m liking this already. Let’s look at some specs:

Networks: Pentaband WCDMA 850, 900, 1900, 1700, 2100, Quad band GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

Speed: HSDPA Cat10: 14.4Mbps, HSUPA: Cat6 5.76Mbps

Display: 3.9” WVGA (854×480) AMOLED display with curved Gorilla glass, no air gap, anti-glare polarizer

OS: MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan

Memory: 1024MB RAM, 16GB/64GB storage

Camera: 8Mpix auto-focus Carl Zeiss, wide-angle lens, 2x LED flash, Video capturing MPEG-4 SP 720p @ 30fps, 2nd camera for video calls

Size / Weight: 116.45 mm x 61.2 mm x 7.6–12.1 mm (L x W x T) / 76 cm3/ 135 g

Connectivity: BT 2.1, GPS, A-GPS, WLAN 802.11abgn, NFC, 3.5mm AV connector, micro USB connector, USB charging

Processor: ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 1 Ghz, PowerVR SGX530

Audio: MP3 player, Audio jack: 3.5mm, Supported codecs: mp3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, FLAC.

Battery: 1450 mAh

Operating Times
Talk time: (GSM/WCDMA) up to 11 h / up to 7 hours
Standby time: Up to 450 hours (WCDMA), up to 380 hours (GSM)
Video playback (720P): up to 4.5 hours
Music playback: up to 50 hours

Of course, these specs are not guaranteed and can change whenever this device comes out, but I can be pretty sure that this is looking like a serious contender for my next phone purchase. That is unless the next iPhone doesn’t blow it away! Anyway, let’s watch the video:


My two cents

There’s not much to go on as of yet, so I won’t be making any predictions about how great this device is, but I can promise you that I’ll be following it as more develops. My two concerns at this time is how well Nokia can (or will) compete with the size of Apple’s App Store and the Android Market and when this phone might be available in the U.S. One thing is for sure, since leaving Nokia as a customer over 5 years ago, it would be very refreshing if they could win me back and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s looking good.

Apple iOS 5 Features

Apple is really great at giving you things you never thought you needed. I remember thinking with iOS 4 and 4.3 came out with all their new features, that we must have everything now. The phone is awesome and what else could you really want or need?! I guess that’s the way life is with technology—just as you settle in with your new device, along comes another one to make you feel like you’re behind the curve again.

There are over 200 features with the new release of iOS 5 coming out this fall, so I won’t touch on all of them, but here are my top 5 favorites:

iOS 5 Features

iOS 5 Notification CenterNotification Center – As it is right now, whenever you’re using an app or playing a game on your device, you will be rudely interrupted if you get a text message or some other app notification. To retrieve your message, you have to exit the app and then come back to it and some apps might not return you to where you were. With Notification Center, all messages and alerts appear at the top of the app in a little information bar which you can then pull down with one swipe, reply to a text, acknowledge an alert or whatever else you need to do and then make it disappear having never to leave your app or game!

Another great feature of this is that these notifications also appear on the lock screen. They are fully functional too, so you can listen to voicemails or read texts without having to unlock your phone and access them directly. I wonder how it’ll handle privacy for those of us who don’t allow the content of text messages to appear on a locked device.

iOS 5 Quick Access CameraCamera – How can you better a camera that already has physical specs that can’t change? Oh yeah, make it available to use without having to fumble around with passcodes and icons. Such a simple solution to a really annoying problem. There’s an old saying that says “The best camera is the one you have at the moment.” and how true is that when you’re out and about and you see something you really wanted to take a picture of, but you missed it because you took your phone out and you spent 30 seconds trying to enter your passcode and then remember where you put your camera app icon?

No more worries with that one! iOS 5 allows you to access your camera right from the lock screen and what’s even better is the ability to take shots using the volume-up button! Adding to this amazing feature is the ability to use grid lines to compose a shot and then perform basic editing like redeye removal, cropping and autoexposure to clean up your photos. When using iCloud, all the photos you take are instantly sent to all of your other iCloud devices. How much better can this get?!

iOS 5 iMessageiMessage – Text messaging has replaced phone calls, but for those of you who don’t like paying for texts or maybe you’re an iPod Touch user or non-3G iPad user and you can’t use text. Or at least if you wanted to, you had to download an app for it. Well not anymore! With iMessage, you can now send texts from any 3G or wi-fi connection to and from all iOS devices and just about any other 3G text-capable device. Plus, you can now see when the other person is typing. Another neat feature is the ability to start a text conversation on your iPhone and continue it on your iPad—no more fumbling around between devices.

A couple of other cool features are the ability to track sent and received messages through tracking receipts and the universal ability to send group messages as well as photos, locations, contacts and videos to all iOS devices.

iOS 5 NewsstandNewsstand – For those of you that have digital subscriptions to magazines or newspapers, you now have a better place to get the latest issues. Before, you were probably downloading them one by one or having to use the publisher’s app to get the latest edition, but now Newsstand will organize all of you subscriptions in one central location. When a new issue comes out, it’s automatically sent to Newsstand with an image of the newest cover automatically. If you want to manage your subscriptions or purchase new ones, you can do so right from Newsstand or access the new subscription store in iTunes.

I only feel sorry for today’s paperboy!

iOS 5 RemindersReminders – There are literally tons of reminder apps out there—some are free, some you have to pay big bucks for. What I never understood is why didn’t Apple ever make their own a long time ago?? Now, we don’t have to worry about that. Reminders makes creating to–do lists super easy. You can create any number of things you need to do complete with due dates, locations and alerts. What’s really cool about the location feature is let’s say you create a grocery list and you map it to your favorite grocery store. On the off-chance that you forgot you actually made the shopping list, you might have gone shopping and didn’t remember some items, right? Not with Reminders!! With location mapping, as soon as you pull into the parking lot of that store, you are sent an alert that reminds you about your shopping list.

This app appears to be absolutely amazing; especially for someone like me who always forgets the little things.

My two cents

From what I see so far, iOS 5 is just more proof that Apple keeps delivering great features with every new update they put out. I know a lot of Droid owners will probably read this and say they’ve had features like this for a long time now, but what I love about Apple is these features are integrated into more than just one device and the they are created by Apple directly. I for one would prefer not to use third-party apps because sometimes they don’t always play well with devices.

At any rate, I can’t wait for this release and if you’re interested in seeing the complete list of features within iOS 5, check out Apple’s website.

Unlimited Data*

I’m really getting fed up with all of these services offering “Unlimited Data” with a little asterisk next to it. When you finally make your way down to the fine print, you end up learning that your unlimited data plan is anything but.


It seems like AT&T is the ringleader in this mess—starting first by removing the unlimited data plans for iPhone and continuing now by adding a data cap to their Internet customers! You heard me right, as of May 2nd, AT&T now caps Internet usage on both DSL and Uverse accounts! For DSL customers, the cap is set at 150GB of data transfer per month. Uverse customers get 250GB of data transfer. It’s not clear whether the TV portion of Uverse is included in the 250GB. In either case, AT&T will send you two warnings if you exceed these caps. On the third time, you will be billed $10 for each 50GB you go over.

When asked why they did this, AT&T’s response was:

AT&T has experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of data that is sent and received over its wireline broadband networks. This dramatic increase is driven primarily by a small fraction of our customers. In fact, the top 2% of customers use about 20% of the total capacity on our network. A single high traffic user can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households. Lopsided usage patterns can cause congestion at certain points in the network, which can slow Internet speeds and interfere with other customers’ access to and use of the network.

For complete details on AT&T’s new data caps, check out


Fortunately, for those of you lucky enough to get FiOS, you don’t have to worry! When it comes to fiber optic Internet lines directly to your home, Verizon got it right. Each home is outfitted with a direct fiber line to Verizon which minimizes slowdowns and network congestion which has caused AT&T to limit their customers.

The same might not be said about Verizon Wireless when the iPhone 5 comes out. Rumors are abound that Verizon will cap their wireless data plans for smartphones soon. Of course we’ve heard this before, so maybe nothing will come out of it, but the thought is still daunting. It’s a fair statement to say that most people will never reach a data cap, but just the thought of having a limitation there is agonizing. Nobody wants to be surprised with a cell phone bill that has suddenly increased due to unknown overages.

According to Mobiledia, this rumor looks to be coming true.


Sprint appears to have the best “Unlimited” service you can get. According to one of their commercials, “only Sprint gives you true unlimited” and it would seem so. Nowhere on their website do they say anything about data caps, speed throttling, etc.


My two cents

If you’re going to cap your data plans, do it. But, don’t sell them as unlimited just because your definition is that your customers won’t reach the cap, thereby making it feel unlimited! To me, this is false advertising at its worst.