It is almost every Android phone owner’s headache and one of Apple’s bragging points about their products; battery life. If you own an Android phone we can bet the one thing you are probably the most disappointed with it how long the battery lasts. We have now gone through two Android phones (the EVO 4G and the EVD 3D) and while the EVO 3D that we have now is much better than the original it still cannot compete with what the average iPhone 4 (or 4S) gets. However, unlike the iPhone with an Android phone you can always grab a larger battery. Today we are taking a look at one from a company called Ontrion. This extended battery comes complete with a new back (so we do not have to worry about it being an external case) and almost doubles the capacity of the stock battery from HTC. So let’s take a look at what Ontrion has to offer and just how much more life this battery gives our EVO 3D.
During our trip to CES 2012 we managed to stumble across some cool technology. Some of this was in the form of gadgets, while some was more about supporting the gadgets and extending what they can do. One of these products was DryCASE. DryCASE makes exactly that, a case intended to keep everything inside of it dry. The demo for this product was pretty impressive; we contacted them and asked about performing our own review on this product.
We have all heard the sad news that Sprint is ending the Premier benefits plans at the end of 2011 or October 1st; no one seems to really know and a call to Sprint will not get you any information. However, what you will get is very interesting and makes the loss of the Premier Benefits seem like less of a blow. Not too long ago I upgraded from an EVO 4G to the EVO 3D using this plan. At the time I asked if this would be available for others on my plan. I was told yes, but my wife wanted to wait to get the 3D so we did not take advantage of it at the time (we were also told we could get an extra line at 6 months in, that still has not happened). Now that the iPhone is coming to Sprint in mid-October the tone and attitude of the employees and sales reps at Sprint have changed. After reading and being told that the Premier benefits end on October 1st my Wife decided to go ahead and upgrade. When she looked online the prices of phones were astonishing. Sprint’s website showed that the account was a Silver Premier member, but the EVO 3D showed as $474! The only credit allotted to the account was $75 off the price of the phone; the RETAIL price of the phone.
We were understandably confused so we called into Sprint where we were told that the Premier benefits only apply to the first or primary number on the account. They are no offered to any other. If you want to get upgrade pricing you have to wait 22 months to get it or you are paying full unsubsidized price for the phone (with that $75 credit). However, this was not what I was told when we signed up for the account nor was it what I was told when I upgraded my phone. It seems that Sprint has gone back to their old habits of dumping on their long term customers (the very thing that earned them the worst customer service rating in the industry for several years). We know they are prepping for an influx of new iPhone users, but are alienating existing subscribers that will want to get that phone. Even AT&T was not that stupid, but it really appears that Sprint is.
So while we can be sad that the Premier Benefits are going away, it turns out they were very limited to begin with so the loss is not all that major. What is potentially a loss for Sprint will be the loss of existing customers who will want the new iPhone, but will find themselves having to pay full price to get it. I have a feeling that unless Sprint changes their tune rapidly they will find people leaving to go to one of the other iPhone carries shortly after mid-October.
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So Apple had their little press event yesterday. The Hype was there, the buildup was there, and even the usual plethora of rumors was there. However, sadly neither Steve Jobs nor an exciting new product was there. We watched a little bit of the event, but after a while when we did not see the normal euphoric responses from the press we got bored and moved on to something else.
This morning we decided to check out the “morning after” reports and were rather surprised to see that the majority of analysts felt the same way that I did. The reactions went from mildly disappointed to one headline that stated that people should not bother waiting in line for this one. The impact was also felt in Apple’s wallet as their stock prices several point before rebounding, but leaving Apple a little over 1% down from their normal lofty height. In fact at one point during the trading Apple lost close to 13 Billion (with a B) in market value.
Why all of the antics and the sour grapes? Well here is the deal, remember that yesterday we talked about how Microsoft runs on the “build it and they will come” school of business? Well we are actually seeing Apple fall into that. Instead of launching a device that is truly revolutionary Apple gave us a phone that matches the core specifications of phones that have been on the market for months. Yes Apple has caught up to HTC, Samsung, and others in terms of CPU (the dual core A5) and memory. However, Apple failed to match any of them in terms of connection speed. So you are buying a phone that will have an average speed slower than many other phones on the market.
Some of the Apple fans have chimed in with comments saying Apple left of 4G to preserve battery life and other things of that nature, but in reality these are excuses to cover the fact that Apple did not have anything real to offer at this time. The iPhone 4S is a kneejerk reaction to the success of phones like the HTC Evo 3D, the Samsung Galaxy IIS (which Apple is desperately trying to bury) and others. These phones are gaining in popularity for their speed, style, and flexibility. This is driving Apple nuts as they have been used to being the only game in town.
All hope is not lost though. Apple did do something very smart; they are partnering up with Sprint. Before you scoff at that statement I want you to think about one of the biggest complaints about the iPhone in recent years; data plan caps. Anyone remember the outcry when AT&T capped their data plans? Or when Verizon did right after they started offering the iPhone? Both times the actions of these carriers angered their customers. Sprint has already announced that they are going to maintain unlimited data for their new iPhone 4S customers. This is sure to bring in some customers from AT&T and Verizon that are tired of watching their data each month. It will also convert a few exiting Sprint customers that are looking to upgrade from their older Android phones (like the Original EVO and its horrible batter life).
Apple will gain a few new customers and will sell the iPhone 4S to its existing fan base, but in the end this is not a magical or revolutionary device and Apple may find it harder to spin this one and charm the press into thinking it is something more than device to play catch up with the competition. We have our own review (on Sprit) planned for this one and will let you know how it fares against the Dual Core HTC Evo 3D. For now, let’s all sit back and see what Apple does to compensate for the less than stellar response from the press and the market.
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I know that lot of people question that Apple is concerned about Samsung when the Korean Giant posts a down quarter despite increased phone sales. Well If you take a closer look at those reports you might notice that Samsung’s legal bills are getting quite high (think AMD here) due to the number of legal spats they are getting into with Apple (and a few other companies) over patents.
So that that we understand where Samsung is and what is going on there then we are sure you will want to know who Apple’s next target is. In another time we might have considered Google as a likely target, but there is still too much between the companies to allow open warfare just yet. No, the next target on Apple’s list will be HTC. Not all that long ago HTC was almost unknown in the US and its handsets were bulky and unimaginative. In the last few years, HTC has reinvented themselves and has released more than a few show stoppers. From the EVO 3D (the original EVO was something of a pig) through the Amaze 4G and right up to the Sensation. People are taking notice of HTC and buying their hardware. On top of the hardware is the popular SenseUI. This stylish skin for Android gives life to the basic ROM that Google ships out and to many people (myself included) it is a much cleaner UI than even Apple’s cherished iPhone.
It is all of this that enabled HTC to pull off a record setting $4.54 Billion (in US Dollars) quarter which is up 68% from the same quarter in 2010. Their net profit for the quarter was $625 Million (US Dollars). HTC also announced an increase in units shipped. For Q3 2011 they shipped 13.2 million units which is an increase of 93% over last same quarter 2010. So if you want to get an idea of who might be next on Apple’s hit list, just look at the figures above and then factor in HTC relatively weak patent portfolio and low cash reserves. It is an equation that we are sure has the Apple legal team salivating while looking for that one opening… maybe it will be slide to lock this time.
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