The Week: Most Recent The Digital Age:Smartphone Wars recent posts.en-usTue, 19 Feb 2013 13:00:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent The Digital Age:Smartphone Wars from THE WEEKTue, 19 Feb 2013 13:00:00 -0500Everything you need to know about the new HTC One<img src="" /></P><p>For HTC, 2012 wasn't a pretty year. In January, the Taiwanese phone maker posted a 90 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit as it struggled to build an identity alongside the mass appeal of Apple's iPhone 5 or the glitzy engine humming inside Samsung's Galaxy S III. The figures spoke loud and clear: Something needed to change.</p><p>On Tuesday, the company pulled the curtains off the HTC One, its new flagship Android smartphone that, according to <em>The Verge</em>, "sticks closely to the company's tradition of wowing fans with lofty specs," but also "innovates dramatically in a couple of key areas." Tech...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Tue, 19 Feb 2013 13:00:00 -05005 rules for taking #selfies on Instagram<img src="" /></P><p>Selfies&nbsp;are horrible. At least, that's the implied argument in a new essay by <em>ReadWrite</em>'s John Paul Titlow, who's drawing some much-needed attention to the indulgent, narcissistic act of snapping a self-portrait and uploading it onto the internet for other human eyeballs to consume. The sheer number of selfies with the #me hashtag on Instagram is a "scourge," argues&nbsp;Titlow, and transforms the beloved photo-sharing service into a "high school popularity contest on digital steroids."&nbsp;</p><p>But humans have long been narcissists. It's part of what makes us us. And indulging in the latent...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Thu, 31 Jan 2013 16:10:00 -0500Everything you need to know about the big BlackBerry 10 unveiling<img src="" /></P><p>RIM is no more. The company officially changed its name to "BlackBerry" to signal the start of a new era after a disastrous past couple of years turned the Canadian phone-maker into the tech world's laughingstock. On Wednesday, a newly baptized BlackBerry (which will trade under the stock ticker BBRY) formally unveiled BlackBerry 10, the long-awaited mobile operating system charged with the monumental tasks of eating away at market share from the mighty iPhone and a formidable army of Androids. Here, everything you need to know from this morning's big unveiling:</p><p><strong>Huh? RIM changed its name?<br /></strong>Yep....</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Wed, 30 Jan 2013 14:25:00 -05005 easy Instagram tips from a professional food photographer<img src="" /></P><p>I hate to break this to you, but that brunch photo of brioche French toast with bacon marmalade you just posted on Instagram? It's not very good. It's so terrible, in fact, that we can't be friends anymore.</p><p>Just kidding. (Kind of.) To be fair, I'm as guilty as anyone of posting underexposed, soulless photos of my meals online. Take this unimaginative&nbsp;Shake Shack burger. Or this boring pint of lukewarm beer. Or&hellip; well, you get the point.&nbsp;</p><p>All these awful photos aren't a bad thing, necessarily. Oversharing isn't a disease exclusive to a generation raised with phones in their hands...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Wed, 23 Jan 2013 17:16:00 -0500Who's excited for Mozilla's orange Firefox phones?<img src="" /></P><p>Calling all gadget nerds: Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, is working on a new mobile OS to go toe-to-toe with the smartphone establishment of iOS and Android. Firefox OS, as they're calling it, will be built using open web standards, which Devindra Hardawar at <em>VentureBeat</em> calls Mozilla's "big selling point for the platform." But a new ecosystem is worthless without any apps to back it up, and that's why the company is enticing developers with&nbsp;two limited-release preview phones: The Keon and the Peak. Both come in orange or white and will be built by Spanish hardware-maker...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Tue, 22 Jan 2013 12:56:00 -0500Why you should be rooting for RIM and BlackBerry 10 to succeed<img src="" /></P><p>It's time to stop making fun of RIM. Seriously. Full stop. After years of devolving into a laughingstock of a tech company, Research in Motion is somehow finding its way back to the brink of relevance, and will soon embark on a make-or-break mission that just a couple of months ago would've sounded impossible: RIM wants you to like it again. And I think it has a shot.</p><p class="p2">To be fair, the Canada-based phone-maker hasn't exactly made it easy for you, the consumer, to cheer the company onward,&nbsp;especially<em>&nbsp;</em>with the smothering shadows cast by Google and Apple.&nbsp;In fact, RIM's downward spiral...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Thu, 10 Jan 2013 14:45:00 -0500The text message turns 20: A brief history of SMS<img src="" /></P><p>HBD, text messaging! The first SMS text was sent 20 years ago today by Neil Papworth, then a 22-year-old communications engineer working in the United Kingdom. Papworth's SMS &mdash; Short Messaging Service &mdash; text was sent from a PC (phones didn't yet have keyboards) to a friend at a holiday party across town and read simply, "Merry Christmas." Here, a brief history of the humble beginnings and ensuing explosion of texting:</p><p class="p2"><strong>1984: An idea is born</strong><br />Sitting at a typewriter at his home in Bonn, Germany,&nbsp;Friedhelm Hillebrand types random sentences and questions, counting every letter, number...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Mon, 03 Dec 2012 12:25:00 -0500AT&T: Still the worst carrier?<img src="" /></P><p>For the third straight year, AT&amp;T placed dead last in <em>Consumer Reports</em>' annual cell phone service provider rankings, which suggests that the wireless carrier may have to spend some extra time rethinking possible. Coming in first place with the most satisfied customers was Verizon Wireless, followed by Sprint, and then T-Mobile. The survey of 63,253 cell phone subscribers gave Verizon top marks for the second year in a row for its superior voice, data, and customer service. But it wasn't exactly all bad news for AT&amp;T. A few takeaways from the report:</p><p class="p2"><strong>1. AT&amp;T bested the competition with...</strong></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Thu, 29 Nov 2012 12:12:00 -05009 strange ways to power your cellphone [Updated]<img src="" /></P><p>Sure, you could always charge your phone the old fashioned way by plugging it into a wall outlet. But where's the fun in that? Here, nine strange and ingenious ways to power your mobile device on the go:</p><p><strong>1. A hand-cranked charger<br /></strong>This one requires a bit of elbow grease. Eton's BoostTurbine2000 is a backup battery powered by a hand crank. A minute of cranking will create enough power to make a short phone call or send a few text messages &mdash; so don't expect to fully charge a dead phone without a serious workout.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2.&nbsp;</strong><strong>A fuel cell powered by lighter fluid<br /></strong>A Zippo-like fuel cell promises...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 24 Oct 2012 13:40:00 -0400The Sprint-Softbank merger: 4 takeaways<img src="" /></P><p>Japanese telecommunications company Softbank has announced that it will purchase an ownership stake of 70 percent in Sprint, the U.S.'s third-largest mobile carrier, for $20 billion. It is the biggest-ever overseas acquisition by a Japanese company, and the latest sign of consolidation in the U.S. mobile industry, coming shortly after T-Mobile announced that it would partner with MetroPCS. Here, four takeaways from the Sprint-Softbank merger:</p><p class="p1"><strong>1. This gives Softbank a huge opportunity</strong><br />"Softbank stands to gain entrance to the U.S. market and capture the growth that's largely disappeared from the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 15 Oct 2012 13:19:00 -0400Samsung's Galaxy S III mini: Is a smaller phone really such a good idea?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><strong>The story:</strong> After weeks of rumors, Samsung has confirmed that a miniature version of its massively popular Galaxy S III will be announced in Germany on Oct. 11 &mdash; bucking the trend toward giant Android phones (the original S III has a 4.8-inch display) with an eminently more pocketable 4-inch screen. Speaking to the Korean press on Wednesday, Samsung head of Mobile Communications JK Shin said the new device won't just be an entry-level product, but will boast a "full form factor" on par with high-end Androids. Some critics have pointed out that the new Galaxy S III mini's size puts it in direct...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 10 Oct 2012 10:40:00 -0400Should Hewlett-Packard acquire BlackBerry?<img src="" /></P><p>Hewlett-Packard hired CEO Meg Whitman last year to turn the company around, but judging by HP's tumbling stock prices, she still has a long way to go. With computer sales slumping as customers move to newer mobile devices, HP released a grim profit outlook for the coming year on Wednesday, sending its shares dropping&nbsp;seven percent. Whitman is getting a lot of free advice from armchair advisers, some of whom have urged her to buy BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to gain instant access to the smartphone market, but she flatly says that's out of the question. Should she reconsider?<br /><br /><strong>Yes. This...</strong></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 03 Oct 2012 16:30:00 -0400Samsung's anti-Apple Galaxy S III ad: Are the jokes wearing thin?<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> Samsung and Apple are at it again. No, not in the courtroom, but on your TV. The Korean manufacturer's latest spot, released this week, takes jabs at the throngs of Apple faithful braving long lines for the new iPhone 5. In the 90-second ad (watch it below), dubbed "The Next Big Thing is Already Here," Galaxy S III users mock the iPhone 5's arguably inconvenient new dock connector before reminding the iSheep that their Android handset already has 4G and a big screen. In the kicker, a Galaxy S III user tells a few members in the line that he's just saving a space for someone else... who...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 20 Sep 2012 15:51:00 -0400Will the new Lumia 920 save Nokia?<img src="" /></P><p>Techies were all ears Wednesday morning when Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop shared a stage to unveil the impressive new Nokia Lumia 920, the first phone to run on Microsoft's dazzingly new mobile platform Windows Phone 8. The handset boasts some serious hardware specs &mdash; a high-definition 4.5-inch touchscreen on par with Apple's Retina display, Nokia's top-ranked&nbsp;PureView camera technology, and a snappy 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. The phone gives the profits-challenged Finnish manufacturer its best shot in years to recapture market share gobbled up...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 06 Sep 2012 11:59:00 -0400Samsung's Galaxy Note II: Do people really want massive phones?<img src="" /></P><p>Samsung is still reeling after its brutal courtroom takedown at the hands of Apple. The Korean manufacturer was found guilty to the tune of $1.05 billion for infringing on six of seven patents belonging to the iPhone and iPad, which is why some watchers say that the launch of its next phone, the successor to the surprise hit Galaxy Note, could be the company's most important release yet. The Note II (release date TBD) is even more monstrous than its predecessor with a massive 5.5-inch screen. But it's also narrower, and comes packing an advanced new stylus, an improved 8-megapixel camera, and a...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 30 Aug 2012 14:57:00 -0400Is RIM selling its BlackBerry handset business?<img src="" /></P><p>Ailing BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion is looking to sell off its hardware business, according to a report from British newspaper <em>The Sunday Times&nbsp;</em>(subscription required). Potential buyers for its phone division allegedly include Facebook and Amazon. Meanwhile the Canadian company is renewing its focus on developing and licensing its proprietary messaging software &mdash; such as BlackBerry Messenger and email &mdash; to other companies. <em>The Sunday Times</em> report, however, doesn't cite any sources, although RIM's relatively new CEO Thorsten Hein once said that the firm was in need...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 26 Jun 2012 07:35:00 -0400