HTC has hit its stride again with its newest smartphone, the HTC 10. It has an aluminum body, much like the previous HTC phones, which is nice as opposed to the glass backs of the Galaxy phones from Samsung. The HTC 10 will be a little more robust because of that. It has an LCD screen, not OLED, but it is very nice. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, which is a big improvement over the lackluster Snapdragon 810 processor in last year's Android handsets. It's fast, cool, and energy efficient.
President Obama at SXSW on Friday said that smartphones can't be allowed to be black boxes, inaccessible to government. He said you can't take an absolutist view on this. "So if your bargain is strong encryption, no matter what, that we can and should in fact create 'black boxes,' then that I think does not strike the kind of balance that we have lived with for 200, 300 years, and it's fetishizing our phones above every other value."
The problem with this is that the math is done -- cryptography exists. And there's nothing anyone can do to stop that.
Nextbit is a company founded by a former designer of the HTC One along with a couple of ex Google Android developers. They raised money from venture capitalists and then went to Kickstarter and raised a few million more for a new Android phone called the Robin. It comes in two colors: Mint and Midnight Blue. It's made of soft plastic, not metal. It has hard, square edges. Like the HTC One, it has front-facing stereo speakers. The fingerprint reader is the power button on the side of the phone.
Ginger is ready to buy her first smartphone. She's with Sprint, but she's thinking of moving to Verizon. Leo says it depends on her location for what carrier is best. One service that Leo uses is Google Fi. It uses Sprint, T-Mobile or Wi-Fi.
Leo suggests going to fi.google.com to request an invitation. The service is limited to phones to Google's pure Nexus line. But for the first smartphone, Leo usually recommends an iPhone. Leo suggests choosing her carrier and then deciding which phone from there.
Mike needs a new phone and is looking at the latest Samsung Galaxy Note or Galaxy S6. He wants one with a replaceable battery. Mike found an unlocked international Samsung phone at an electronics store, and they said it doesn't have the extra software on it. Leo says it'll most certainly have the Samsung software installed, but since it's an unlocked international phone, it won't have any carrier software on it.
Leo got the BlackBerry Priv this week, which he says has to be the worst name for a phone ever. It's supposed to mean "Privileged" and "Private." Leo says that since BlackBerry has dropped their own OS in favor of Android, that the Priv is a very good mobile phone. There are some old things that make it a BlackBerry, like the physical keyboard. It brought back memories, but Leo says it was a difficult experience to use to type, leaving Leo to think that this kind of design is an anachronism. It's a feature whose time is over, and we've moved on.
Sam wants to buy an unlocked smartphone. He's heard Leo talk about the Motorola Moto G, but he's also looking at the Huawei P8 lite, and the Alcatel Idol 3. Leo says that the benefit of owning an unlocked phone is that he can take it to just about any carrier. It gives him flexibility, but it also means he'll have to pay for the phone completely up front.
If you're ever involved in an accident or have a medical emergency, your smartphone can play a critical role. But when it's locked, the information isn't accessible for emergency personnel to retrieve. That's where "ICE," or "In Case of Emergency" standards come in. You can set up your phone so that it will remain secure, while still making it possible for first responders to get to the critical information they need.
On the eve of Apple's iPhone 6S announcement, Leo says that 77% of US users have smartphones and the majority of internet use as a result is done with them. Leo also says that translates worldwide as mobile phones are the number one way to use the Internet as well. Leo says that this is largely due to the flood of cheap Android phones out there, like the Motorola Moto C.
Clarence just let go of his Samsung Galaxy S3 because the microUSB port was loose and it wouldn't charge. So it's time to get a new phone. He can pick up a Samsung Galaxy S 5 or a Note 4. Leo says that the Note 4 is a great phone and that's the one to get. He can get a charger cover that supports Qi. It's a great charger. Should he "Frankenstein" a system together and DIY it? Leo says he could. He did that on the Note 3, but the negative is that it makes it harder to remove and replace the battery.