Seth Weintraub

October 29

GOOG: 716.92

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Alphabet/then Google CEO Larry Page spilled the beans on Motorola’s big product announcement way back in 2013 on an earnings call justifying the purchase of Motorola:

“Think about your device. Battery life is a challenge for most people. You shouldn’t need to carry around a charger to make it through the day. If your kid spills their drink on your tablet, the screen shouldn’t die. And when you drop your phone, it shouldn’t shatter.

“Having just seen Motorola’s upcoming products myself, I’m real excited about the potential there. In just under a year, they have accomplished a lot, and have impressive velocity and execution.”

Unfortunately, Google capitulated to Samsung and sold off the Motorola division to Lenovo early last year.  That doesn’t mean that the things Motorola was working on stopped.

In fact, there’s a very real possibility that Page was referring to a shatterproof Google-branded Moto Nexus 6, but the shatterproof technology wasn’t ready for launch…just like the fingerprint reader that also wasn’t.

Fast forward to this week and Motorola along with its Droid carrier partner Verizon debuted two new Droids, the Droid Turbo 2 and Maxx 2. I’ve been using both phones since the event and have a pretty good viewpoint on their role in the Android ecosystem.

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October 28

GOOG: 712.95

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Unfortunately I don’t have too much to add on the experience of the HTC One A9 first look I posted last week. A TL;DR is that it looks a lot like an iPhone but nevertheless is a solid usable device with very respectable features at a very reasonable (although temporary) $399 price. The downsides are that it isn’t top-of-line specs, camera is just good (but not great), and of course HTC Sense and all the carrier garbage is still going to likely be on the phone you get (unless you opt for the unlocked version).

But really the One A9 is breaking new ground for HTC… expand full story

October 25

GOOG: 702.00

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I’ve had the HTC One A9 in my hands for a few days but didn’t want to give my initial thoughts until the Taiwanese smartphone maker pushed an update fix to the Android 6.0 phones yesterday.

I’ll get the obvious out of the way right off the bat: Yes, for better or worse, it looks like an iPhone 6. Sure, HTC invented the antenna strips with the M7 a few years ago and there are significant differences like the size (5-inches, halfway between the iPhone  and iPhone Plus models) camera placement at the center top as opposed to corner and oval fingerprint reader instead of Apple’s circle. But the rounded edges speaker grill, colors and other design tweaks look way too much like the iPhone.

In fact, I’ve mistaken the A9 for my iPhone on a few occasions over the past few days and the A9 is black and my iPhone is white/silver! The iPhone resemblance is a big bummer because HTC has long taken pride in their distinctive, if not overly-heavy, phone designs.

Now that that’s out of the way, there are plenty of things to like about the new One A9, including the size as I mentioned before being right in between the two iPhone models. For me, 5 inch screens is the sweet spot, no question. HTC has removed most of everything else around the screen so this is really a svelte phone. The curves feel great in the hand, the buttons are placed perfectly. The power button has a distinct feel so you won’t mistakenly hit it when you are trying to turn up the volume.

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October 23

GOOG: 702.00

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I hadn’t seen the new site which also includes talks stretching back years almost like a Google “Ted Talks”. Some great videos so you can lean back and watch over the weekend.  expand full story

October 21

GOOG: 642.61

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Not to be confused with (Red) Youtube or RedTube, Google announced a new streaming Netflix competitor today dubbed YouTube Red.  The service will also include YouTube streaming music which is also Google Play Music all access which currently carries a $9.99/month price tag so the effective upgrade is $0 for streaming videos and much more… expand full story

October 19

GOOG: 666.10

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The Moto G has always been a great deal but it hasn’t been paired with the best budget carriers to date. In what might be a big holiday seller for mid-tier users, Sprint subsidy Virgin today began offering 3 new Android smartphones including the Moto G 3rd gen. for $150, the HTC Desire 626s for $130 and Huawei Union at $80.

The standout here is the Moto G which I absolutely loved (with a few caveats) which retails at $180. The 5-inch phone is pretty close to flagship level last year with a few missing bits. The 5 inch screen is perfect sized but the lack of NFC payment options might be a turn off. It shares the camera of the Nexus 6 and it is IPX7 waterproof to 3 feet for 30 minutes.  Hopefully Virgin won’t mess with the almost stock Android and provide timely updates (fingers crossed)

That $30 you save you can pay your 1st month of usage on the 3 gig 4G of data plan (see plans below). While Sprint’s network may not be the strongest in all areas, I’ve found it to be improving rapidly lately.

The Moto G will almost certainly be the first Android 6.0 device on Virgin and at $150 down and $30/month a great gift idea for the kids/parents/grandparents out there. Alternatively, if you want to use an Android device like an iPod touch (without a carrier) this is the first $30 discount we’ve seen. expand full story


October 1

GOOG: 611.29

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We’re here at the Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater to cover what has been rumored for quite some time and announced just last night... expand full story

September 29

GOOG: 594.97

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Today’s Google event was chock full of new products and services many of which were leaked ahead of the event. While most of the new items had been covered in recent days (casemakers were ready), Stephen, Cam, Jordan and Chance did an excellent job rounding up the unexpected too. Some things that stood out:

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September 19

GOOG: 629.25

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In all of the excitement about the new Chromecasts yesterday we missed a semi-important milestone. Android Pay  can now be downloaded at the Play store meaning it is now the de facto way to pay for goods and services offline with NFC readers.  The new service in recent weeks brought heavies like McDonald’sCitibank and Wells Fargo.

In a strange and head scratcher “Google Reader” type move, Google decided to split the online payments (Google Wallet) with its offline payments (Andoid Pay) services to two apps. Perhaps that Wallet is an iOS app while Android Pay will never be is a reason for the split. Sure, I’ll take another app on my phone with a side of confusion, especially at the moment I’m stressfully taking out my phone and rolling the NFC dice …and the 10 people behind me in line don’t have to wait any longer for this bolted together payments system to work.

Oh, I notice that I have to re-enter all of my cards into Android Pay like I never set them up in Google Wallet so that’s a nice added kick in the teeth to get my Saturday started.

Where’s my coffee!?


September 15

GOOG: 635.14

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September 7

GOOG: 600.70

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The WSJ is reporting that Amazon is going to strip down a 6-inch tablet and sell it for $50 for the holidays. What’s amazing is that the theoretically color tablet was cheaper to make than even an ebook display version:

Mr. Bezos had set an internal goal of the $50 price tag for versions of both the Fire tablet and Kindle e-reader, viewing the rock-bottom prices as a crucial lure for a more cost-conscious group of buyers, the people said. But the e-reader screen technology from its vendors ultimately proved too expensive to drop the retail price, the people said. Amazon’s cheapest Kindle sells for $79.

It is likely that the $50 Tablet will be a pared down version of the already minimalist $99 6-inch Kindle which has gone on sale for as little at $69 in recent months. The report cites a mono speaker as one of the cost cutting initiatives but the company will likely drop things like cameras, display quality and battery life.

What might be more interesting to me is that Amazon is said to have fired many from its FireOS group in the wake of the Fire Phone flop and subsequent $170M writedown… expand full story


September 5

GOOG: 600.70

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While we’re off in Berlin at IFA, our good friend Mike “Detroit Borg” Kukielka got his hands on the $200 Google OnHub router manufactured by TP-Link. We’ve seen a lot of other reviews but this one is an excellent in-depth overview which hits all the right spots.

The TL;DR is that it is about as good a router you can buy but at $200 the differentiating features aren’t quite ready yet. Seems like a go especially if your home networking is currently lacking and you plan on living in Google’s home ecosystem in the future.  Pick up one at Amazon, Best Buy, NewEgg, Walmart, Google, or TP-Link .  Full video below

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September 4

GOOG: 600.70

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Amazon offers the Unlocked Motorola Nexus 6 32GB in Midnight Blue or Cloud White for $349.99 shipped. That’s $300 off the original list price, $150 less than Best Buy’s current listing, and the lowest we’ve ever seen. The move is likely a clearinghouse before new Nexus devices are revealed on or around September 29th. It is also in response to the newly on sale Moto X which has similar/better specs and a $399 price tag.

The Nexus 6 is still an incredibly solid phone and one of only a few options if you want to play with Andoid M Marshmallow right now.

Amazon shoppers gave it 4.2/5 stars. Last year’s 9to5Google review is hereexpand full story

August 30

GOOG: 630.38

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aukey-turbo-quallcomWhen the Nexus 6 was announced with a super speedy Quick Charge 2.0 feature last year, I didn’t think it would almost be standard gear in the Android flagship world less than a year later. But here we are and pretty much every new high end phone announced in 2015 with Qualcomm hardware on board has it. In hindsight however, it’s not hard to see why.

Fast charging is incredibly useful in the car, on the road and at work where you have minutes to add hours of charge. And Qualcomm chips are now nearly ubiquitous in flagship Android phones making it a perfect storm (full updated list of of Quick Charge 2.0 phones and tablets here).

Aukey, a value-priced, quality hardware manufacturer that sells mostly through Amazon sent me 4 Quick Charge 2.0 products to review. All of them work well but I found some nuances to consider… expand full story


August 19

GOOG: 660.90

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Unlike most phone networks, FreedomPop offers unlimited talking and texting with no contract. 9to5Toys Specials currently has one year of service bundled with the second generation Moto E for $150 shipped.

9to5Google’s review was unapologetically positive calling it the “best small Android phone that (a very little amount of) money can buyexpand full story

July 30

GOOG: 632.59

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You might notice that 9to5Google has changed. Indeed so has the whole network. Long before the page size/speed and advertising controversies, we knew that we needed to rethink how we presented ourselves.

While we were one of the lightest and fastest sites in our field, our feature creep and advertisers were adding complexity and page load times, which is especially crucial on mobile – an ever expanding percentage of our growing audience.

We decided to start over… expand full story

I’ve long been a fan of what Motorola has been doing with their smartphones and peripherals, and this week’s announcements are no exception. Both of the headphones Moto released, the Moto Surround and especially the Moto Pulse are top notch. I’ve been using the Pulse exclusively since the event and couldn’t be happier. They are so light that you forget they’re even on your head, while at the same time they have a mic for calls, a battery meter on your phone ,and they swivel so they pack flat. Oh and the sound is excellent – comparable to a $200 set of heavy cans from other mid/high tier vendors. At $60, the Pulse headphones are a no-brainer if you need light over-ears for a reasonable price.

But the Moto G 3rd edition is what we’re here to talk about… expand full story


July 28

The Moto X Style — called Moto X Pure Edition in the US — phones we got to play with at the end of today’s event were obviously very pure Android and with their much larger displays and heavy batteries very much reminiscent of the Nexus 6 that I’m carrying around. The one big and important difference is the Sony 21MP shooter on the back that in limited testing makes all the difference.

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It’s early but we’re here at the Moto ‘Choose a Better Relationship” event in NYC. We’re obviously expecting a new Moto X and Moto G but we’re really excited to see what a better mobile relationship entails. We’re live! Head below for the latest.

Screenshot 2015-07-28 09.35.18

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