Seth Weintraub

August 19

GOOG: 660.90

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From Specials.9to5toys.com:

Moto-E-2015

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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Google_Campus

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

Moto-G-2015-review

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.

expand full story

20150728_082442

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

expand full story

June 17

Following today’s big Nest announcements, the company released a broad overview video of the company’s philosophy and from it we can conclude that the company has much bigger ambitions than just thermostats, smart webcams and smoke detectors.  In the video Nest thoughtfully breaks down a large number of household items that can become smart with many of them already made smart by other companies like Wemo, Ring and others. 

Of particular note, I’ve heard personally that Nest was working on sprinkler management and the front door security products. Most of the others aren’t big stretches.

Here’s the full list from the video: expand full story

May 26

Stephen and I are off to Google I/O 2015 this week (the first time we’ve sent 2 people – for double the coverage!) but we wanted to preview what we we’re excited about this week. I’d run through the list of expectations but Chance already made 90% of the list when the sessions were launched. Go check it out. Here’s what I’ve been hearing… expand full story

May 5

From 9to5toys.com comes what appears to be a no-brainer deal for those who need a second emergency phone or who have kids/parents who want that 1st smartphone….

4c93d2dcace8656050970b6aae37a2ec107ba288 main hero image9to5Toys Specials currently has the Nexus 5 with One Year of Unlimited Talk-and-Text from FreedomPop for $200 with free shipping. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better phone at this price.

Google’s version of Android is the cleanest around, and it is matched nicely by the Nexus 5’s sleek exterior. But it is the specs of this handset that will really turn heads — a 2.26 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, with a 1080×1920 high-resolution display and an 8MP rear-facing camera. It also sports 16GB of internal storage and a 1.3MP camera. In this deal, the Nexus 5 comes bundled with a year of FreedomPop wireless service. The generous Unlimited Talk-and-Text plan provides exactly what the name implies, along with 500MB of 4G LTE per month, voicemail, and tethering options — all with no contract.

Nexus 5

  • 2.26 GHz quad-core processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Processor
  • 8MP rear-facing autofocus camera and camcorder with LED flash
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera and camcorder
  • Android 5.1 (Lollipop)
  • 1080 × 1920, multi-touch screen
  • 16 GB of internal memory, 2GB RAM

Unlimited Talk-and-Text from FreedomPop

  • Unlimited texting and talking, plus 500MB 4G/3G LTE data per month
  • One year of visual voicemail – $30 value
  • One year of tethering – $47.88 value
  • One year of usage alerts – $23.88 value
  • No contracts or early termination fees

Grab this deal here.

May 4

HTC-one-m9-ew

HTC is now following up its flagship One M9 launch with a year’s worth of variants to satisfy local tastes. In China, that is manifesting it what is fairly being called the “M9ew” and will include larger M9+ proportions and a cheaper plastic shell according to local reports.

The figure above this unpublished products topped the models’ M9ew “, the body should look plastic material, bottom of the screen is also equipped with the same M9 + fingerprint reader. Specifications, it uses a 5.2-inch “1,440 x 1,560 (2,560 and wrong should be it …)” IPS screen, while the eight-core 2.2GHz processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB built-in storage capacity (up to 128GB Support microSD card expansion). Camera parts, only a 20MP main camera on the back, the front of the front lens still spend UltraPixel HTC’s own technology.

The specs and SD card expansion seem solid aside from the Mediatec processor but frankly, I’d take a One M8 Google Play Edition in a heartbeat over this. How about you? expand full story

May 2

Screenshot 2015-05-02 09.34.30

The speaker icon in Chrome browser tabs is one of the amazingly helpful features that makes Chrome my default browser. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to mute a tab without going into the actual page that’s making all of the noise? It turns out that the Chrome team is actually working on such functionality and it is available as a beta product by putting the following URL into Chrome:

chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting

Once there, you’ll see a line like this:

Screenshot 2015-05-02 09.25.07

Simply click “enable” and restart Chrome. I’ve been playing with it for about 30 minutes and it seems to work well but isn’t 100% effective on Adobe’s Flash volume according to a thread on the matter.  As someone who usually steers clear of Flash, it isn’t a big deal and it makes life a little better.

April 20

The Nokia Brand phone company that Microsoft subsumed may be on the verge of a comeback to phones if recent rumors prove true.  According to a recent report, the new/old Nokia will begin producing phones as soon as it is contractually able to do so and those phones unsurprisingly will run a flavor of Android.

Unlike other patent houses that do little more than license intellectual property, Nokia Technologies has designed new products and licensed them to other companies. So far, these ambitions have been small in scale. The division has released just two products — an Android program called Zlauncher and the N1, an Android tablet design it licensed to another manufacturer that is selling it under the Nokia name in China. Its return to the market is likely to employ a similar tactic.

But insiders said those two products are just the beginning.

“They have a lot of great stuff in development,” said Richard Kerris, a former Nokia executive who also consulted for the company until last year as part of his last startup.  “It gave me complete confidence that Nokia is a company that is not going away.”

While Kerris said he couldn’t go into specifics, he said people will be blown away if some of the stuff he saw comes to market.

If you consider Nokia’s N1 Android tablet, the first to use the newly popular USB-C type of interface, which apparently, it can release outside of its Microsoft agreement the rumor isn’t surprising. In fact, it is pretty obvious.

But this whole episode really stinks to me. Microsoft’s Stephen Elop moved to Nokia in 2010 from Microsoft. Within months, he wrote a frightening memo that the company had to shift courses and eventually move to Microsoft’s shifting phone OS which was as disastrous a decision as it could make. Then, as the value of the company was rapidly depleted based off of that poor decision, the smartphone part of the business with Elop in tow gets bought by Microsoft at a steep discount.

Now, a lifetime later in mobile phone years, Nokia is doing what it should have done a long time ago and move to Android. Perhaps there is still some life left in the company.  We’ll see. expand full story

April 14

Google-EU-2-798x310

Update: the EU Commission has now filed its complaint

It doesn’t sound good for Google in Europe where the company has faced continued criticism, some comical and some less so, for using its dominant 90+% search share to give advantages to its other properties and squash competitors. FT:

Google will on Wednesday be accused by Brussels of illegally abusing its dominance of the internet search market in Europe, a step that ultimately could force it to change its business model fundamentally and pay hefty fines. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, is to say that the US group will soon be served with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals to favour its own services, according to two people familiar with the case.

The NYTimes:

Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to make an announcement that Google has abused its dominant position on Wednesday in Brussels, according to two people who spoke on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity…

“The E.U. competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, will decide what steps they want to go,” Günther Oettinger, a German politician who is charge of Europe’s digital economy, told Die Welt am Sonntag, a German newspaper, on Sunday. “I think that they will be far-reaching.”

Google has yet to comment on the matter but if Google fails to rebut any formal charges, Ms. Vestager could “levy a huge fine that could go above 6 billion euros, or $6.4 billion, amounting to about 10 percent of Google’s most recent annual revenue”.

Google stock is off 2 points today.

Image via TNW

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April 8

Android-wear-faces-1000

Google is trying to prevent Apple Watch news from stealing 100% of the spotlight with some minor Android Wear advances today including announcing over 1000 watch faces available for Android Wear.

Function and fashion. The watch has always been a great mix of both, and with Android Wear, we’re working with an ecosystem of manufacturers and developers to help you get more done and dress things up, right on your wrist. Today we’re adding even more ways to express your personal style.

There are now more than one thousand different watch faces available for Android Wear—from ones that match your clothes, to ones with napping cats, to ones that show the stars. To help you find your favorites, we’ve expanded our hand-picked collection on Google Play. So try a watch face on for size, and change things up as often as you want.

Google is also getting into the curated strap game with a number of different options from different makers:

Most Android Wear watches use industry standard 22mm bands, so you can choose almost any strap for your device. Starting this week, you can also explore a curated set of options from E3 Supply Co., Worn & Wound, and Clockwork Synergy.

While these definitely aren’t what I’d call Watch platform differentiators, it is good to see Google isn’t giving up without a bit of a fight.

March 26

The HTC One M9 goes on sale tonight in the US. We’d love to tell you all about it, but it is currently under embargo and Dom will have an amazing video review when the embargo is eventually over. Sure, lots of publications got to review the almost identical international version, and to sum up those reviews, it isn’t a huge upgrade from the M8. Think tweaked look, more megapixels in the camera, and a slightly toned down Sense overlay.

The device that goes on sale tonight is the GSM version, which is similar to the one that will be sold on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. It won’t be subsidized by the carriers and will cost $650.

If we were allowed to tell you about it, we’d probably tell you that the heat issues you’ve seen are unfounded. From pictures (above), you can tell it looks very nice in both the popular Gunmetal and Gold/Silver models. It feels less slippery in the hand and is very subtly smaller and lighter than its M8 predecessor (or so we’ve heard).

In general I do recommend buying a phone outright and getting yourself on an inexpensive pre-paid plan. If your carrier starts messing with you, you can easily go to another carrier either with number portability or, Google Voice/Hangouts (my choice).

Even with that in mind, though, should you buy this phone at full price?  expand full story

March 15

March 11

Verizon-Nexus 6

Remember the Nexus 6 launch waaaay back before the holiday shopping season last year? That’s when everyone except Verizon started carrying the Nexus 6 in the US. Shamefully, today, they are officially launching the phone almost 6 months after it launched on its competitors. It will be available to buy (After lots of rumors and delays) starting tomorrow and in Verizon Stores on March 19th for $250 on a 2 year Verizon plan or$27.08/month x24 on Verizon Edge (ouch – comparatively the $650 iPhone 6 is $199 subsidized).

A small bonus, it will ship with Android 5.1 and will come with 6 months of Google Play All Access – which will expire right about the time the next Nexus phone is launched. Verizon clearly has some catching up to do in the area of keeping modern and playing fair.

People have purchased the Nexus 6 from Google Play or other venues for $650 have had no issues putting in a Verizon SIM and at a $250 subsidized price, there is no reason to stop now. There is certainly some very bad blood between Google and Verizon – perhaps related to the latter’s MVNO ambitions. Verizon and Motorola continue to be good partners on their Droid lineup.

Press release follows: expand full story

I don’t usually agree with snarky corporate tweets but it is kind of nuts to spend $10-17K on a product that will be out of date in a few years.

nearlineToday, Google announced Google Cloud Storage “Nearline” – a new class of storage service for businesses to “easily backup and store limitless amounts of data at a very low cost and access it at any time, in a matter of seconds (instead of hours).”

The idea is that you can receive your data in a matter of seconds (which frankly is close to online service providers) but only pay what offline data providers charge. It is a big enterprise push and Google has lined up some impressive partners.

In this push, Google is leveraging its economies of scale and expertise in large scale storage combined with its Enterprise Apps offerings. It is a shot across the bow of traditional offline storage providers who can’t offer Google’s scale.  From the Blog post: expand full story

March 5

Acer Chromebox CXI VESA Mount

Watch out, all of a sudden those low end spec Chomeboxes are starting to get a little meat to them. The latest round from Acer feature the new 4th generation Intel Core i3 4030U dual-core processors and up to 8GB DDR3 SDRAM which allows support for 4K displays.

Acer’s low profile CXI Chromeboxes can either ride VESA styleon the back of one of their displays (pictured above w/Acer 4K Display) or sit standalone in very small form factor.

Acer Chromebox_kb_ms

The Acer Chromebox models include the CXI-i34GKM with 4GB memory that’s available for a MSRP of $349.99 and the Acer Chromebox CXI-i38GKM with 8GB memory that’s offered for a MSRP of $399.99. Both have 16GB SSDs with an additional 32GB of local storage available via SD card (And pretty much unlimited space via USB 3)

“We’ve extended our Chromebox CXI line with new models featuring enhanced processing power and memory for users with more demanding computing requirements,” said Leila Axelle-Robert, Acer America senior business manager. “A win/win for users and IT staff, the Chromebox CXI devices are easy to use and deploy, highly secure and save significant desk space. Featuring multiple accounts and Google Drive access, they’re ideal for any environment where multiple users will be sharing one device, such as classrooms, libraries, hotel business centers and reception areas.”

Full press release and image gallery follows… expand full story

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