Tag Archives: sprint

What are Your First Impressions of the T-Mobile myTouch 4G?

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Jake Ludington shares his first impressions of the T-Mobile myTouch 4G. The myTouch features HSPA+ 4G broadband service, both front and rear facing cameras, 720p video, Qik for lifecasting, and a number of other enhancements over 3G phones. In comparing speeds via Speedtest.net T-Mobile was at least twice as fast as Sprint 4G in side-by-side tests during this 48 hour period. myTouch also includes some features to track actions of your friends, as well lock the dialing and SMS features if small children are using your phone.

Jake is switching up to the myTouch from the Nexus 1. He says that this phone is much faster. Please don’t give him any flak about his choice of carrier. That is a no-brainer for Jake and his family. He does not receive any service at his home with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon… but he does with T-Mobile. You use what works best for you, remember?

He loves being able to shoot 720p video with his phone. He says it’s not “better” than the iPhone 4 video quality, but is definitely on par with it. The front-facing camera on the myTouch is not very good, with poor resolution and quality. The rear camera is far better, and gives him everything he could ask for.

This device came with Froyo out of the box. Jake would have preferred Gingerbread, of course. To that end, it seemed to him as though all of his software was instantly out of date. Several apps which ship with the phone needed an update in order to even work.

Another thing that bothers our friend is an experience that leaves much to be desired when it comes to music and apps purchased. With the iPhone, you can buy a new model and sync to your iTunes account. Everything you’ve purchased or downloaded in the past (so long as you backed up and sync’d at some point in time!) will automagically download to your new phone. This is not true with the Android devices. You have to figure out which apps are missing and re-download them again. That’s very frustrating and time-consuming.

One feature that Jake is very happy with is the Kids Mode. He has a young daughter who likes to watch videos on his phone. He doesn’t want her to accidentally send a text message or dial a phone number. Kids Mode will prevent this problem. Set it up to allow the kids to interact with the phone features that YOU choose.

T-Mobile has done a few things to go beyond the Android experience. Some of those things are great – and some not so great. However, those little items will boil down to a matter of preference, depending on the user.

Overall, Jake is pretty happy with his upgrade. Have you used a myTouch 4G yet? What are your thoughts?

How to Buy a Netbook

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While using the I Am T-Pain Auto-Tune app the other night, someone in chat asked if I would buy a netbook through Sprint or just purchase one outright from a regular store. You know me – I had to keep singing along through the app as I gave my answer.

I would definitely buy the device outright and not through Sprint. Think about it this way: Sprint could be dead in the water in a couple of years. Yes, they have a large network. Many other companies have had large networks only to die out for no apparent reason. With the economy the way it is, you just never know what’s going to happen. Where will you be with your Sprint netbook then, my friend?

Buying a device outright whenever possible is just smart, in my opinion. You aren’t tethered to any specific network or service. You’re free to choose what you do with that device, and how (and where!) you do it. There’s no contracts to worry about and no being tied down to limitations of a company – such as Sprint.

Would YOU buy through Sprint or any other company, or would you just head to your local gadget store and pick one up there?

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EVO 4G First to Have Froyo – Coming Tuesday

It’s official! The EVO 4G will be the first in a long line of phones to be updated to Android 2.2 Froyo, beginning August 3rd. The release will be rolled out in stages according to Sprint. However, they will provide a manual download link for those of you who cannot wait another moment. According to further reports, both the HTC Desire and the original Droid phones will be hit with the update later in the week.

The list of features and fixes is a long one, and owners couldn’t be more excited. Given the list I’ve been seeing, it’s no wonder you’re chomping at the bit to get Froyo onto your devices. The update boasts new preloaded widgets, flashlight mode for your LED flash, light-assisted 720p video with improvement to the quality of your video captures. Going by the image that Engadget has up on their site, you’ll see a heck of a lot of updates in other areas, as well.

Mail will see groups tabs and auto-saving when you press the back key. Additionally, your email will be saved as a draft automatically should you lose connection in the middle of composing a missive. You’ll enjoy a large composition area and the capability to send a Contact card via SMS.

There are a lot of enhanced features for the social media addict in you, as well. Your calendar will display birthdays and events from Facebook. The Gallery will now support the Facebook “Comments” function. And… you’ll be able to quickly link a contact to a Plurk or Twitter contact.

Are you planning to wait it out until the update is rolled to your phone, or will you be rushing to download manually?

Sprint 4G Markets Increasing – But Where are the Phones?

Sprint launched 4G service in seven new markets today, bringing the current total to 43. The company predicts that large markets such as Los Angeles and New York will see the same service before the end of this year. However, there aren’t any phones to be had anywhere. The only available 4G phone (as of the writing of this post) is the HTC EVO 4G. Sadly, HTC cannot begin to keep up with demand due to parts shortages.

The EVO accesses the web over 4G and can also share the WiMAX connection with other devices… for a fee. With capabilities such as this, the phone is the flagship for Sprint’s next-generation network. If the phone isn’t available, though, how much of a crimp does that put into Sprint’s timetable and plans? HTC says that they have contracted with additional suppliers to ratchet up EVO production. Let’s hope this is the case, and that we’ll see EVOs back on the shelves in the near future.

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3G vs 4G Speed Tests

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Please post a video response demonstrating how your speeds measure up against mine. Your mileage may vary!

From where I sit in this home office, however, I’m not so sure I see a clear difference between Sprint’s 4G network and AT&T’s 3G network – at least, from these two devices today. That may change with network upgrades, of course.

If anything, most of my off-camera tests showed Sprint’s 4G network had better download speeds, worse upload speeds, and higher latency. Much like there’s a megapixel myth with digital cameras, there may be a “G” myth soon enough…

What are your thoughts? Is there a viable difference between the two types of network? Do we really see increased speeds?

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Families Love FaceTime on the iPhone

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Should my dad go with a “Sprint phone” or an iPhone 4? Here’s your chance to influence his decision! The family that FaceTimes together… stays together. At least, virtually. I decided to live stream and capture the first FaceTime call with my parents. I wanted them to see just how easy it was to do.

Then, my dad launched into a series of questions – asking which is better, a Sprint phone or an iPhone? I gave him my answer – but perhaps you have a different response. If you can come up with a good list of reasons of which would be better for him, you can email them to me and I’ll forward them on to him.

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12 Reasons to Love the HTC Evo 4G / Google Android

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Here we go again! While I’m nowhere near ready to make a review (although I have already given my first impressions), I thought I’d take the time to point out some of the nicer features of the HTC Evo 4G – and, vicariously, the Android Platform.

You can’t “love” or “hate” a device based only on its spec sheet, gang – you have to use it. You have to feel it. You have to experience it. You have to share your initial impressions, which may very well be different from a lasting impression. Get it? Good.

Keep in mind that I always try to approach reviews and first impressions from the viewpoint of an average user. I ask myself if the item in my hand is going to be intuitive to them and not just to an expert or power-user.

Twelve things I happen to love about the HTC EVO 4G (and the Android platform) thus far:

  • I’m digging the screen. It’s about 4.3″ in length and is 480×800 resolution. It’s crystal-clear and very responsive to the touch.
  • The feedback when interacting with elements on the screen is quite cool.There’s a vibrating touch that happens anytime you are tapping an application on the screen.
  • I have all of these different icons on my Home screen. They’re widgets! It’s very easy to add widgets, too.
  • In the background is an animated wallpaper. As you drag across your screen, the wallpaper will change perspective.
  • I love having the FM radio on the EVO 4G! Believe it or not, I still use the radio quite often.
  • Even though I don’t feel the output of the default camera app is all that wonderful, I do love the amount of settings that it has. I love being able to quickly change effects, contrast, sharpness and much more.
  • The Android Marketplace has several thousand apps available. I checked out the “top free” apps off the bat. Before you download an application, you’ll be given information about it. You’ll see more about what the app will do, and how it will interface with your platform. It will tell you what parts of your phone it will have access to. Google is giving users more of an idea of what – exactly – they’re installing.
  • I am VERY impressed with the voice mail on this device/platform. You can reply to a voice mail without having to dial the person back! You can also mark a message as urgent or mark it for usage later. I am impressed… big time.
  • The notifications bar could be done a bit better. It’s hard to hit the right area with accuracy. I don’t know if it’s due to the sensitivity of the screen, or the touch-points of the bar itself. It’s great, though, to have easy access to a variety of apps instead of disruptive notifications like I have on my iPhone.
  • I like the connect options. I can choose how this device is connected to a computer, including being able to mount the internal storage as a disc. This allows me to quickly add files. It gives you more granular control.
  • If you’re addicted to software in any kind of marketplace, you’ll love this. You can choose whether or not you want the phone to allow you to install things from non-Market applications.
  • I love being able to turn this thing into a hotspot. I can easily connect other devices to it and save myself headaches when I’m out in the field. It’s a nice feature to have when I’m on the go.

Some of these features are found in any Android device, but others are specific to the EVO 4G. For the money, I don’t think you’ll find a bigger screen and wider array of options. You’ll also find one heck of an enthusiastic community.

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The Problem with Google Android: Its Users?

I love open source. I do. I really, really do. I also love Google.

I was sent the HTC Evo 4G (courtesy of Sprint). After hearing so much about it, I couldn’t wait to dive into my second Android experience and give ‘er another go. I’ve been told that the platform improves with every increment, but without budget or access to hardware, I’m left to my own devices (so to speak).

Within an hour’s time, I decided to post my first impressions to YouTube – and that video was met with a cacophony of complaints. How dare I post my opinions to the Internet! What is this world coming to?! Oh, an hour’s time is apparently not long enough to gather a first impression – right?

Some kids went as far as to accuse me of posting a biased review… when… in the title of my post… I clearly pointed out that I was sharing my first impressions. Let’s dive into the definition of “impressions” for a moment, in case you’re confused or hurt by what I did:

An idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, esp. one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.

In other words, my knee-jerk reactions – not a review. Capisci?

Android enthusiasts are under the illusion that once anybody holds onto an Android device, it will completely transform their lives and render all other devices worthless. If you deviate from this line of thinking, you’re an outcast. Mob mentality at its finest.

Didn’t we already do this with Windows Vista? Well, I remember being quite vocal about its flaws – and spurned as persona non grata throughout the blogosphere… until, years later, the people who once lynched me finally admitted that Windows Vista was (indeed) a colossal failure on many counts.

So, maybe my problem isn’t that I have opinions that I’m not afraid to share, but sharing them before “everyone else” does? Or, perhaps it’s just a problem with other people being so uncomfortable in their own decisions that they need to admonish those who have disparate points of view.

“Geeks” are quick to pit any Android device against the iPhone, but… it’ll always be an unfair comparison. Apple controls the hardware, the software, and the experience. Google doesn’t. You could try to compare hardware features, but even that’s unfair. It’s never about the raw power of the hardware but how a feature it enables is actually implemented. May I return to Microsoft Windows for an analogy? Microsoft Windows 7 on a state-of-the-art PC will more than likely outperform Windows Millennium Edition on the same machine. Get it? The hardware’s the same, but it’s the software that spells all the difference.

So, anyway… back to the whole “problem” with Android.

As I mentioned in my video, the HTC Evo 4G is almost too geeky. There’s an array of options and widgets and possibilities available at a moment’s notice – and that’s entirely overpowering. Some might be quick to blame HTC for the software experience, but Google is who allowed that to happen. It’d be like blaming the dog for eating the cake that you left on the floor. It tastes like there were too many chefs in the kitchen with this one. And you know what? I’m not alone in this belief.

A solution? Gingerbread.

So, apparently I’m wrong to say that the user experience in today’s Android platform is lackadaisical – but Google already sees the problem and is making moves to fix it. How, again, is this MY problem? Take off your Android-enthusiastic goggles for a moment and see that I’M ON THE SAME SIDE AS YOU ARE. I want to see Google make Android better – WHO wouldn’t?!

As a tech enthusiast, I don’t want ANY device to fail. I want EVERY device to be perfect. But you know what? They do, and they’re not.

So, then I posted my “second impressions” after practically using the device for a couple of hours. I needed a recharge:

WTF? People were screaming for me to adjust this, download that, and stand on my head the right way in order to save battery life. I don’t have any friends at Gizmodo, but at least they beat me to the punch with complaining about this particular problem.

You honestly believe that the average consumer is going to know to do any of this? You really think they’re going to buy this shiny new device only to be told that they have to throttle back the features which make it so attractive to them in the first place? Excuse me? You MUST be joking.

I repeat: WTF?!

My favorite moment in this entire situation has to be when I was called “biased” for pointing out somebody else’s BLATANT USABILITY ISSUE. While I have enough knowledge to figure out that grouped dots typically indicate a draggable element, I wasn’t able to ascertain the proper direction to slide the bar to unlock the device. I was holding the phone upright, so sliding up was more intuitive a motion. Nope. You have to slide it down (per my video demonstration). Of course, nowhere did the UI explain that I needed to slide the bar in a downward fashion.

Still, people called *ME* stupid?

Yeah, well… if having to figure out a device makes me stupid, then I dare to be stupid. As an adult, I want to use something powerful that even a toddler can figure out. If you don’t understand that the simplicity of experiences is what makes them powerful, then you need to wake up and smell the usability.

The number of buttons on a gadget appears to be inversely proportional to its ease-of-use.

“Who holds a device that way?” was one comment I read in the YouTube thread. I didn’t realize there was a right or wrong way to hold something? Well, yes – with the Evo, if you maneuver it a certain direction, the touch-screen (hardware) buttons get swiped accidentally. Oops. Yeah, I discovered that again when I was trying to capture some video later that evening.

This, again, is apparently MY failure?

I hesitate to think what people would have said about me had I bothered to point out the visible half-screen refresh when one pops open the virtual keyboard. You can literally see the screen clunk away by half rather than in full. Its incredibly jarring (anything but smooth).

Blaming a user for poor design choices isn’t just asinine – its an exercise in futility.

I never said that the HTC Evo 4G didn’t have amazing capabilities – it absolutely does! I’m seriously interested in exploring its ability to act as a mobile hotspot (though, again, will wrestle with a 1hr battery life as indicated by other users). I’m excited to be able to dive into the Android Marketplace to see what more I might be able to do with the front-facing camera. That voicemail response tool was incredibly nifty – and I even made note of that in the video.

Or, and this was a real shocker: I can’t even connect my existing Google account to the Contacts app (at all), the Calendar (at all), or the email client (with ease). Isn’t this a… phone powered by Google?! If there DOES happen to be a field buried somewhere within the OS which would allow me to connect my Google account to these apps – I can’t find it. Shouldn’t an “account connection” feature be up front within each app, anyway?

…has my point not yet been made!?

I haven’t spent enough time with the device to give it an official review (even then, I’ll be likely put to blame for any further perceived shortcomings). Geeks will defend it to the death, I see – but I’m under the belief that this particular communications gadget is being marketed to more than just the nerdy crowd.

But even the nerds write… “Recommendation: Use caution.” Listen to what the rest of the community is saying and ask yourself if this is where you think the industry should be headed:

  • “this is an advanced ui for advanced people.” [HectorSabogal]
  • “its a “geeks’ phone, yes. which means it not going to be simple and deliberate in the way it presents the ui and is not going to be that intuitive.” [lsafirkan]
  • “I think people who are willing to read the instructions will get to learn their Android phone.” [River Khan]
  • “Also, learn how to hold the phone.” [ivoryman50]
  • “you say that the PC36100 is cryptic? this phone is not for every user, its for people ith half a brain and know how to operate a smartphone.” [nguyenbryan]
  • “If you want a simpleton phone. This is not your choice anyways period” [jluketwo]
  • “ease of use means nothing to me if ease of use means all the restrictions that att and apple put on the iphone i will take complicated and very very useful” [rioandashley]
  • “That’s not what android is really meant for imo, its meant for the geek who doesn’t care about friendliness.” [kprox1994]
  • “for some unknown reason you assume that if you don’t connect to a wifi network, you have wifi.” [Tafheemwii]
  • “some people are just too simple minded for Android” [naruek]
  • “its stability is questionable due to the fact that its open source and applications developed by us the people might not as consistent but that is one of the trade of for openness and accessibility” [mrdavidchen1122yt]
  • “It looks like phone made for engineers designed by engineers.” [zahi745]

Perhaps I should stand corrected on this point: the HTC Evo 4G is only for geeks (according to them)?

A “first impressions” is just that – my first impressions. I stand by my original “okay” sentiment in respect to the HTC Evo 4G: extreme power limited by haphazard usability. It requires an incredible amount of refinement at the hands of Sprint, HTC, and Google. All three companies are equally responsible for my experience with this Android phone, the HTC Evo 4G from Sprint.

I’m guessing, however, that the most ardent Android supporters will not have made it to this point in the post, blinded by whatever self-appointed righteousness that drives ’em. For someone to become enraged when anybody dares suggest that a product they support isn’t as sweet as they believe it is seems to speak to a wealth of personal insecurities more than anything.

Android still needs to grow up – and apparently, so does 90% of its community.

Is the iPhone Heading to Sprint?

Rumors have been floating around the Internet for what seems like forever, speculating as to when the iPhone will appear on the Verizon network. Today, however, TechUpdate says that the phone will be heading to Sprint sometime this summer. According to the story, a Best Buy employee in Pennsylvania told them that displays for the “iPhone 4G” will hit the shelves about the time that WWDC begins. Could this be true?

While I’m not sure we can believe some anonymous Best Buy employee, it does make sense to me. Sprint boasts the only 4G network thus far, offered in selected cities of United States which gives speeds of up to 10 Mbit/s. If the rumor is true, this means that a purported 4G iPhone would actually live up to its name. According to an email received by TechUpdate president Henry D’Andrea:

They’ve begun to grease the wheels for advertising. There is no news in regards to a Verizon version however. In regards to why it is moving to another carrier, our mobile manager speculates that Apple wanted to drop AT&T due to their poor service but managed to opt-out of the rest of their contract in exchange for the iPad service deal.

There is, of course, no proof given to back up these statements. The employee states he cannot supply it due to “privacy concerns” with their vendors. He also refused to identify which Best Buy he works for, in order to remain anonymous… and to keep his job, I’m sure. It will be interesting to see how this develops in the coming weeks.

What do you think? Will we be seeing the iPhone on the Spring network in the near future?

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