This is what the The Verge excels at, video reviews. They are well made and with just enough detail to cover most everything. There are people who complain that the reviews aren’t technical enough, but that’s why we have Anandtech.
I like the hardware for the new HTC First phone. The size looks good, easy enough to use in one hand, and a decent 720p screen. It looks like you can disable most of the Facebook Home overlay if you want, and run basically stock Android. Although the reviewer calls the hardware “midrange”, the CPU is really good and 1GB of RAM is perfectly acceptable for a decent Android experience. Most of these reviewers live in bubbles being exposed to the best of the best and become a bit jaded when dealing with something less than top notch.
Regarding the Facebook Home experience, I am impressed with the visuals. Dieter from The Verge knocks it for dumbing down the Android Experience, but for it’s intended audience, it’s spot on. Remember, Facebook wants you to use their interface as much as possible, and to leave it for Android as little as possible. I would imagine as Facebook updates the app, more and more of it will be replacing the stock Android with Facebook Home replacements. As Matt Drance from TUAW
wrote, this could be a test run for a complete overhaul of Android with Facebook home Front and Center. I wished that HTC and Facebook could work out a deal similar to the Nexus phone series to sell this phone contract free at a reasonable price, ($250-300) I could see myself picking one up at that price. It’s not worth signing another contract with ATT to me.
“Anybody here from New York? Any of you use AT&T? Any of you that use them, you happy? Of course not, the network’s crap.”
Pretty bold words from a CEO of a major company? For a while ATT and T-Mobile have been trading jabs about network quality. I have been testing the T-Mobile network on my Galaxy Nexus for the past few months in the Long Beach area of California, and, so far, it has worked better than the ATT HSPAA+ network. I also have not had a dropped call, which happens pretty frequently with my ATT service. It looks like the iPhone 5 that will be released in April on the T-Mobile network will support the specific LTE and HSPA+ frequencies for the T-Mobile network. For Android folks, it looks like they will also be selling the highly regarded HTC One also. Both can be had for $99 down and then $20/month. I’m not sure if they phones come unlocked, but that would be nice if they were.
I found this comment via Hacker News to be interesting, here is the content:
I think you miss the point of the google play store. Certainly, Samsung could fork and offer their own storefront, but they would lose some of the core Google applications. Take for instance Google maps, we have already seen what happens when a company like apple dumps maps for an alternative.
To which OGinparadise says:
Like Apple ? If you are going to lose it, bite the bullet, better now than later. Google is about to tighten the screws and Samsung et al will be on the losing end if they don’t act now. They are no friendships or handshakes, Google has been fearing Samsung for a while and vice-versa, knives have been sharpened already.
What happened to Apple and maps? Nothing, a bunch of bloggers were pissed, iPhones still selling like hot cakes, Samsung did their part but still. Now Apple has their maps and all data goes to Apple, not Google. Soon enough they’ll get better, meaning Google loses. It’s in Google’s interests and they’ll pay to have Apple, and Samsung to run Google Search and other G apps. But would you develop if Samsung Galaxy was out of “Android” ? Only time will tell.
Now you see what is happening in the Android world. Samsung is reaping the majority of the profits in the Android realm. Google still makes money off of it, but in the long run, they could lose control of Android to Samsung. Samsung, if they are smart, are building or looking for replacement apps for the core Google Apps, such as the maps app. I’m going to go out on a limb here and think that Google must be doing something with Motorola to release a phone that competes favorably with Samsung devices. Apple bit the bullet and replaced the Google Maps app with their own, for better or worse. Can Samsung do something similar as a way to control their destiny and become less dependent on Google?
HTC announced that they are rolling out an unlocked version of their well regarded HTC one phone. It’s not locked to any carrier and its boot loader is unlocked. But going by the frequencies that they are supporting on it, here in the US you can basically only use it on the ATT network. You may get some 3G connectivity with the T-Mobile network, but it’s pretty spotty at the moment. No deal for Verizon, or Sprint. It costs $649. Kind of makes you wonder either how much Google is subsidizing the Nexus 4, or how much profit there is on $650 phones.
Anyways, more info here:
Gruber has an article about Andy Ihnatko switching to a Samsung Galaxy SIII from an iPhone 4s. He is surprised about him picking the Samsung over the current Nexus device. I’m going to guess it had to do with wanting the speed of LTE vs. HSPA+. It’s a hard choice, I have the previous Nexus, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Frankly, the hardware sucks. I’m not knocking Android, I think it’s great, but really from what I’ve seen with my Samsung Phone, and some friends who have other Samsung devices, they are definitely not in the Apple level of devices. (I also have the original Nexus phone too.)