Just took a Field Trip to the Verizon and Best Buy stores after lunch today, I’m going to call these posts Field Trips because I have to go out and play with new tech. Some of the main things I played with at the store were the iPad Mini, MacBook Pro with Retina display, Kindle Fire HD, and Nokia Lumia 822. I also played with some of the ASUS gaming laptops and a dead Samsung Chromebook.
While these aren’t the best settings for playing with them because I could not spend a lot of time playing and they were tethered to the display I did my best just playing with them. I also would like to get some of these in as review units or if some donations come in for a specific product I would review it also.
Mac Book Pro with Retina Display is a very powerful laptop computer, and with the higher resolution screen it looked nice but is it going to be worth the extra $500 or so for that nicer screen. I liked how it worked and had the older model side by side and couldn’t see much difference other than the Retina had more contrast, I’m sure more using it from the older model you may see a difference. Read the full mini review for more.
Nokia Lumia 822 is one of the flagship Windows Phone 8 devices while it has smooth operation and looked good, Windows Phone 8 seemed empty and just lacking in non-core apps even from a display model. See what I saw in the mini review.
Those are the big ones I played with but I did look over some other devices such as the ASUS gaming laptop that had good specs and all the keyboard was kind of clunky and seemed overpriced for what I could get a Mac Book for almost the same specs. I also don’t like Windows 8 all that much on a non-tablet or touch screen.
The Samsung Chromebook was set up kind of off to the side in an under equipped display that only had one left in a box that looked like it was taped closed after being opened at Best Buy I wanted to see it work but the system said click to start but I only got a spinning indicator and even after trying to power cycle it nothing came up so I left not knowing how things will work on that system. Too bad because I wanted to know how the system performed but bad displays will not sell these even with a low price tag.
Microsoft sent out invitations to the Windows Phone 8 release event they are holding October 29th 2012 in San Francisco California. The news hasn’t hit any of Microsoft’s own websites yet but lots of sites are reporting getting invitations. This would mean that most of the new Windows Phone 8 powered devices will be coming this November. Such as the announcement that the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 will be available this Holiday season on AT&T in the United States. We will be paying attrition to the announcements from this event to see if there is more news about Windows Phone 8.
Update: October 4 2012: AT&T announced that they will have the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 on there network in the United States. AT&T also stated that they are the top seller of Windows Phone’s. While there are only them an T-Mobile who have phones that work on there network its not that unusual that they would be the top seller. No mention of price or release date were given, but invitations to the release of Windows Phone 8 will be announced on October 29th 2012.
Nokia release two new phones that will be running Windows Phone 8 that stand up to most of the new Android phones coming out. Both the Lumia 920 and 820 will be running Windows Phone 8 when it is release, have Snapdragon S4 1.5Ghz Dual-Core processors have great cameras, and have the ability to wireless charging. The phones also come in a bunch of bright colors and they have a bunch of color matching accessories such as a Bluetooth hands free unit, wireless charging plates, and speakers that charge wirelessly. Check out the specs list below.
|Nokia Lumia 820||Nokia Lumia 920|
|Dual-Core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Processor||Dual-Core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Processor|
|GSM with Micro SIM||GSM with Micro SIM|
|Qi Wireless Charging||Qi Wireless Charging|
|4.3″ 800x480px Screen||4.5″ 1280x768px Screen|
|8MP Carl Zeiss Tessar Lens Camera||8.7MP Nokia PureView Camera|
|8GB w/ microSD up to 32GB + 7GB SkyDrive||32GB + 7GB SkyDrive|
|1000MB RAM||1000MB RAM|
|NFC, Bluetooth 3.1, GPS, WiFi Direct||NFC, Bluetooth 3.1, GPS, WiFi Direct|
|1650mAh battery, 330h standby, 8-14h talk||2000mAh battery, 400h standby, 10-17h talk|
|Red, Yellow, White, Cyan, Purple, Gray, Black||Yellow, Red, White, Gray, Black|
The wireless charging has been around for a while yet not taken off because of the added cost. But it looks like they are making the charging something that they really want to push. With things like charging built into a JBL speaker that also color matches the phone, also they have the Bluetooth Handset that match the colors and can charge using the same wireless mats.
Nokia also made a point to talk about how good the camera is. This includes things such as stabilization built into the entire camera module, really good lenses, and being able to take more light in with the stabilization to take darker photos and have them look brighter.
In the software part of things this will have Windows Phone 8 that should have more apps since they change how the apps are built and can be built for Windows 8 and be easily ported to Windows Phone 8. The Nokia Maps has their own mapping data, directions, navigation, and offline maps. Also SkyDrive is integrated deeply into the OS to share photos, documents and other files.
This phone looks nice, but no details on the release date or price out yet. This is also the first Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices and seems to be a very polished device. More images in the gallery below.
Today Apple‘s CEO Tim Cook put out a letter talking about maps. Apple removed the older app they had in iOS from the core operating system that used mapping data from Google Maps when they put out iOS6 for their iPhones and iPads. A large number of users have reported a bad experience with the new maps Apple has been building, having problems like incomplete mapping data, wrong or misleading directions, and just a bad experience using the maps application.
In the letter Cook says sorry about the maps app in the first paragraph.
We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.
He also talks later about how you can also use other applications from the App Store to get maps or to use Google or Nokia web apps to get maps. He also talks about how 100 million iOS devices use the new maps and have been used to search half a billion locations. To finish, he talks about how they are working to improve the app and get it up to their high standard.
While this doesn’t fix the app or bring Google Maps to iOS in a meaningful way, it does show they how even Apple makes mistakes and like all companies has to fix them, so expect an update coming at some point to make them better. This would be a good time for Google to drop in with an iOS Google Maps app and get a lot of people to use the trusted maps they are use too.
Full text of the letter below…
To our customers,
At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.
We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.
There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.
While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.
Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.
Now that CES 2012 is over lets look over what came from the show. There were a lot of new products introduced over the week, but it wasn’t anything all that new.
Some of the most innovative things out were the OLED TV’s that were 55″ from LG and [OTHER NAME]. These were very thin screens with great colors, and they were looking as if they were going to be put into production not just showing that they could make it but will be selling it soon. But I would have to say hold off on getting one of these screens when they first come out and give it one to two years from when they come out so that the price will drop, sizes will increase, and more options on who makes them will increase.
Another big deal at this CES was the Ultrabooks being introduced. These were thin and light laptops that are built to exceed the Ultrabook spec by Intel in most cases. What makes these different from normal laptops is that they are thin, light, long battery, and fast. Most of the laptops that were thin and light were slow and didn’t get much in the way of battery, but most of the ones shown looked very nice. If you were looking at a nice portable system then these would be one to get, and the prices weren’t all that much more than a normal laptop with the same specs.
There were a lot of Android phone announcements most having big screens, LTE, and having fast processers. One thing to look past on these when hearing the hype matchean is that they will be running Android 2.3, while this sounds bad because Android 4 just came out, it has to do with the fact that Android 4 is only a few months old and these were developed when Android 3 was a tablet only version and Android 2.3 was all there was. I’m sure by the end of the year a new set of phones will come out in the summer and will be all build running Android 4 and also be faster. But for now these phones will be running faster processers, have more storage, and be able to run on LTE 4G networks for the carrers who are working on setting them up. But one thing to know about LTE is that it is only avalible in a select set of Major Cities and you would want to see if your city is on their list.
Android tablets were also a big item, but not as much as last year, most of these will run Android 3.2 and be able to update to Android 4 at some point. There are a few good looking ones, and also a bunch of cheep tablets that are also lacking in a lot of specs. The less expensive, but better tablets are contract locked with phone companies.
Windows 8 was a big thing for some of the tablet makers and PC makers, they were showing it running and talking about products that will have it when it is out, but Microsoft talked only a little on it and how it is part of their phone stratigy coming up. But from what I see it may be good on a tablet but not so good on a desktop.
Windows Phone 7 had some press and also a few new phones including Nokia making a comeback, but we will have to see if anyone will every buy these phones. I think all the hype seems a lot like the Palm Pree [FIX NAME]. Most people only know the iPhone and they want an Android Smartphone, but that may change because Microsoft will be paying the people at stores commissions to sell the phones so who knows marketing is what sells products, that’s why the iPhone is doing good.