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Android™ App Reviews by Verizon

November 2nd, 2012 Comments off

Before downloading that new and popular app for your Android phone, Verizon has created an application to help you rate each of these apps before you download. The review offers more information than the user ratings that appear within the application in the Google Play Store and will include the security of the application, battery consumption, data usage, and user experience. The apps are selected based on their rank within the Google Play Store over a 30-day period. Apps that are preloaded on certain devices when bought from Verizon Wireless will not be rated. Each review will be rated on a 5 point scale from agree to disagree.

The security is rated on each app by being scanned to identify if the application can perform harmful activities or read private information without the users permission. Then, the risk level is evaluated based on the how it will affect you, your device’s performance and the information that is stored on the device itself.

The battery consumption is rated by the amount of battery drain from each application and how it is measured when the app is open and not being used at the time. The review also looks at whether the app is completely turned off when not in use. The battery drain is calculated when the app is not in use by comparing the battery drainage on two separate devices over a certain amount of time. One of the devices has the application running while the other does not. Then, the devices are allowed to fall into sleep mode and then the measurements of the battery drain are taken. The differences in drainage within the two devices will decide which one uses the most battery power when it is running in the background.

Data usage is measured with the amount of data that is being sent and received when the app is open and running while it’s not in use. A real time device data collections measures the performance and a diagnostic monitoring tool logs the data traffic during the testing.

Lastly, the review rates the user experience on the application. When seeing how well the app pleases each user, there are multiple experiences that are looked at; that the app is safe, stable, responsive, intuitive, easy to learn, simple, and polished. The evaluators for the applications use each app for 30 minutes and look for instances where the app might cause confusion or frustration with first time users. They make sure to pay attention to poor experiences that may result in mistakes in the use of the app.

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Behold, the HTC Rezound [Review]

October 12th, 2012 Comments off

I got a chance to spend several weeks testing out and using the Incredible and the Rezound.

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The RAZR Returns

February 21st, 2012 Comments off

As a devout iPhone user, I’ve always thought of Android devices as being much bulkier than most smartphones, and the Droid RAZR is no different. Though it is thinner than most, it still retains the same bulky aspect as its predecessors. At first I wasn’t entirely sure where to go with this as I’ve only encountered a few Android devices before. So, seeing as this was the first time I’d actually gotten this involved with any kind of droid, I decided to compare the RAZR to my trusty iPhone 4.

Display

When I placed the RAZR and my iPhone 4 next to each other, right away I noticed the difference in design. The RAZR has the look of modern technology, practically boasting a “space age” quality. My iPhone 4, while simple and sleek, looks a bit outdated and not nearly as candescent as the RAZR.

The 4.3″ RAZR screen is impressive and provides a lot more room for surfing the web, checking e-mail or opening documents, but the iPhone’s display is still noticeably superior.  From a practical standpoint, the iPhone’s display is just fine for typical usage, but if you use your smartphone to look at documents or especially spreadsheets, the RAZR’s extra large screen is quite handy.
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Thunder Struck!

April 28th, 2011 Comments off

Verizon Wireless has just released its first phone to run on the powerful 4G LTE network: the HTC ThunderBolt. Powered by a 1 GHz processor, the ThunderBolt allows you to talk, text, and surf at the same time on the nation’s largest 4G network. With fully customizable features, the ability to stream content wirelessly, and access to the Android Market,  HTC has created a device that will compete with the iPhone. On the outside, the ThunderBolt features a 4.3″ capacitive touch screen (480 x 800 WVGA display), 8 MP rear camera, 1.3 MP front camera, and four buttons (Home, Menu, Back, and Search). It also has the ability for HD capture and supports several audio and video formats. Under the hood, the ThunderBolt runs on the Android 2.2 OS with HTC Sense 2.0. Additionally, it also boasts Bluetooth support, an HTML browser with Adobe Flash Player 10.1, and audio support for most popular media formats.

Source: Gottabemobile.com

Positives:

  • Fast speeds coupled with app support (SpeedTest.net Results: 3G Coverage – Download: 1350 kbps, Upload: 933 kbps, Ping: 128ms)
  • Flash support
  • Surround sound – loud and clear even at high volume levels
  • Mobile HotSpot (Tested speed: 1 user – 54.0 Mbps)
  • Kickstand is perfect for watching videos and listening to music on a flat surface
  • Made to run Google and GMail
  • Friend Stream allows you to sync your Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter accounts
  • Sturdy build

Source: Gottabemobile.com

Negatives:

  • Questionable battery life
  • Speaker is located under the kickstand and sounds muffled when the kickstand isn’t out
  • Charging port is located in a spot that does not allow you to charge the device while it is sitting horizontally on the kickstand
  • Sturdy build can also be construed as heavy, and bulky (6.23 oz)
  • Single core processor
  • Display doesn’t match the iPhone 4’s Retina display

 

Source: Gottabemobile.com

Verdict:

The ThunderBolt is destined to become HTC’s finest smartphone offered by Verizon Wireless and will sway customers who need Adobe Flash, Mobile HotSpot, and a media machine on the nation’s largest 4G network.

 

Droid Really Does More… Anywhere.

April 7th, 2011 Comments off

According to ABI Research, the shipment of smartphones grew 71% from 2009 to 2010 with a reported 302 million devices being shipped to customers. Furthermore, with this increased growth, ABI Research anticipates that by 2016, Android will hold a 45% share of the smartphone market.  With 69 million smartphones running the Android operating system shipped out in 2010, it is safe to assume that Android, along with Bada and Blackberry, is seizing the opportunity to fill the vacuum left by the evanescent Symbian OS. What do all these numbers mean? Time to start looking at the Android operating system and some of the new devices that use it (By the way, for those interested parties, Apple iOS had a 15% market share in 2010). Anyway, here is quick review of a few devices from Verizon Wireless that I tested for an extended period of time.

The Phone: Samsung Fascinate

Source: PCMag.com

The 4-inch, 854-by-480 Super AMOLED screen on the Fascinate accents this slab-style Android smartphone whose size is in between the 3.7-inch screen on the HTC Incredible and the 4.3-inch screen on the Droid X. Although the body design is somewhat generic compared to the Incredible and Droid X, it more than compensates in its software capabilities and stellar features powered by a 1GHz Hummingbird processor . The gorgeous screen is surpassed only by what it displays, most notably the Media Hub, Samsung Social Hub, and full HTML browser. The Media Hub allows you to buy or rent movies or TV shows optimized for the screen and syncs everything to your account rather than your phone, so you will never have to pay for something twice. The Samsung Social Hub integrates your email, phone, and social networking contacts, while allowing you to post and see any recent social media updates on your home screen. The AMOLED screen comes in quite handy when you’re taking pictures using the Fascinates 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and 4x zoom. Conversely, the Samsung fascinate has its drawbacks. Its original platform is the Android 2.1 OS; however, Android 2.2 OS is slated to be released soon and will contain Adobe Flash. Additionally, users have reported that the GPS can be inaccurate, and the exclusive use of Bing on the browser is not a popular feature by far. Nevertheless, the Verizon Wireless 3G network allows this social networking and media monster to outperform many of its competitors.

The Tablet: Motorola Xoom

Source: Verizon Wireless

What’s not to like about the Motorola Xoom? It has a powerful, dual-core processor that fuels Android 3.0 (specifically designed for tablets) on a 10.1-inch HD widescreen. On the outside, the Xoom boasts a 2 megapixel Webcam, 5 megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture and playback, and dual stereo speakers. Under the hood, the Xoom shows why it is more than capable of competing with any tablet. It has 32 GB of storage with the ability to increase it with a micro-SD memory card. Additionally, Android 3.0 allows for the “Home Screen” button and “Back” button to move directly to the screen, so there are actual buttons on the front of the tablet. The OS also allows for full support from the Android marketplace, official Google Apps, GPS navigation, and a desktop-style tabbed web browser.  So the only real question left: what’s not to like about the Xoom? There are a few subtle drawbacks to Motorola Xoom. It is slightly heavier than other tablets, which can be significant considering that you will be holding it for extended periods of time. The smears and smudges that can build up from playing games, such as Angry Birds, are more noticeable than on other tablets, and the Xoom requires an additional dock to extract videos. The biggest drawbacks, however, are the 4G upgrade and price. If you want to access the highly publicized 4G LTE network provided by Verizon Wireless, you will have to part ways with your Xoom for up to 6 days or connect using a 4G modem. Though this doesn’t seem like a lengthy separation, it can seem longer when you’re without a device that is part of your everyday life. The cheapest Xoom starts and $599.99 and requires a two-year contract that can range from $20-$35/month with a $350 early termination fee. If you don’t want to be locked in, the Xoom is $799.99.

 

The Go-Anywhere Device: LG VL600 4G LTE modem

Source: Winarco.com

Need a go anywhere, do anything modem? Look no further than the LG VL600 4G LTE modem. This handy little device has been known outperform some home internet connections, supports HD video without buffering, and can handle multiplayer gaming thanks to Verizon Wireless’s 4G network. Nevertheless, the LG VL600 is rather bulky for a USB modem, and the hinge that protects the drive does not scream durability. Additionally, this modem is not yet supported on Macs and does not have the option for an unlimited plan. The LG VL600 is priced at $249.99 without a contract and $149.99 with a 2 year contract. Plans begin at $50/month for 5Gb or $80/month for 10 GB, plus $10/extra GB.