Anyone that owns a smart phone these days knows that there never seems to be enough battery life. This is even more true for those of us with the HTC EVO 4G from Sprint. The phone is excellent (once it is configured properly). But has the worst battery life in a phone I have ever seen. In a normal day just in typical usage (for me) I get about 7-8 hours of life. If I am in an area with poor reception it is even worse (sometimes as little as 3 hours). There are multiple ways to try and extend this life; everything from killing tasks to running around with an extra battery pack to externally charge your phone. None of these really work though and all are time consuming. Trust me there is nothing like trying to talk with a giant tumbdrive dangling from your EVO. Fortunately there are battery packs and cases that do not require you to leave them hanging from the phone. We are taking a look at one of these today; it is the PowerSkin Silicone case with Bulit-in Battery for the HTC EVO 4G.
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.
When you think of “smart phones” you tend to think of two things. Android and iPhone (at least in the US that is the school of thought) this is despite the fact that there are many other operating systems available. There is Windows Mobile, WebOS, Symbian, and even others that are less common. Still the big battle seems to be between Apple and Google. Of course Google no longer makes a smart phone, so we are really talking about iOS Vs Android. Both sides have fans that would make the most ardent religious zealot look like an indecisive teenager. Because of this you cannot always trust what is written out there about the two.
Last year when Microsoft handed Nokia a very large check to help them promote Windows Phone, we joked about it wondering if Steve Ballmer really expected to see any of that money back. It was the type of moment when you can almost see the writing on the wall (that Nokia was in trouble). Nokia at the time was having financial problems and had even been blocked from transporting some of their gear out of one country they still owed money to. Microsoft saw this as an opportunity to get in with a phone company on the ground and partner with them directly. Nokia was not in any direct legal battles with Apple so there was not any worry that Apple could directly affect imports or sales of the products. Things were looking good.
Will we see a compelling line up of Windows Phone products? Yesterday we had an official statement from Microsoft about who their launch partners would be for the Windows Phone 8 launch. You had Nokia, Samsung, Huawei, and HTC. This little group would all be using Qualcomms SoCs under the screens to provide the power for the new phone OS from Microsoft. At the time we thought that including HTC was a little odd since Microsoft shut them out of making an ARM based Windows 8 tablet for the launch. According to some unconfirmed information the reason was that Microsoft did not feel HTC was able to deal with supply issues with Qualcomm and other critical components for the device.
Apple’s iPhone 5 should launch tomorrow, but it might be a launch that is short lived if Samsung and HTC have anything to say about it. Both companies plan to aggressively pursue Apple over the use of Long Term Evolution (LTE) in their products HTC already has a complaint into the ITC. To make matters worse for Apple (who is trying the invalidation tactic now) Judge Thomas Pender has ruled that HTC’s patents are most likely valid saying “Clear and convincing means something to me. I have to be pretty darn certain a U.S. patent is invalid”. Apple has also tried to claim that HTC only bought the patents to sue Apple. Judge Pender was quick with the reply: “I don't care if they bought these patents to sue you or not. They are a property right”.
As we continue to follow the Samsung V Apple trial we happened upon something rather funny today that is about the case, but also shows something much wider in scope that a battle between Samsung and Apple. We have talked about how the market pushes products and how people tend to identify items with one brand or another. There are many examples of this that we can talk about and they are often welcomed by the companies in question as it puts their brand name out there more than anyone else’s. We can point you to many examples of this; Band-Aid, Kool-Aid, Kleenex, Ziploc, Xerox, Ditto, Zippo, Superglue and yes iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Don’t you just hate it when you hear a song on the radio or in a mall and you would like to listen to it later but you don’t know what it's called? Well Shazam is the most popular smartphone app that helps you with that, having approximately 250 million people that use it. But they have some decent competition in SoundHound. The SoundHound team decided to respond to Shazam’s bragging about the numbers and revealed that they have over 100 million users that have download their app. Even though Shazam is in the lead by more than 2 times, this is still a respectable number. Shazam is currently on around 30% of the devices, including both Android and iOS.
As expected HTC presented their Windows Phone 8 devices yesterday. Windows Phone 8X and 8S will both be branded as Microsoft Signature Windows Phones. The 8X model will feature a 4.3-inch Super LCD II display with 720p resolution, a 1.5 GHz dual core Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM. As with most smartphones these days the 8x will have an 8 Mpix rear camera with BSI sensor and LED flash, while the front will be 2.1 Mpix with the ability to record 1080p HD video. A nice thing to know is that unlike Nokia's new phones the 8X can record video with stereo sound. The 8x will also have Gorilla Glass and optical lamination touchscreen. Storage capacity is 16GB which cannot be expanded with microSD cards. NFC, WiFi a/b/g/n and LTE (NA only) or HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (EMEA) are also supported. To take care of sound they brought in Beats Audio that gives the phone decent multimedia boost.
One of the things that has always bothered us is the continual lack of improvement in the smartphone market in the US. Although we get to read about new technologies for “world” phones and drool over the latest products from companies like Samsung and HTC which sport quad core SoCs (System on Chip) under their screens when they finally reach the US market they are shadows of what people are getting in other markets.