Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And yet another Samsung Galaxy Tab is released on Verizon

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is now available in Verizon Wireless Stores and online at The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is one of the smaller tablets on the market and features a Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen display.

It can access speedy Verizon's 4G LTE network, and has a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor

One unique feature is that it allows customers to use their tablet as a remote contorl. The Peel Smart Remote feature eliminates the need for multiple remote controls for televisions, audio players and other home entertainment systems, as customers can make their Tab 7.7 the master controller

Customers also can stream media to a compatible TV using the multimedia dock with a built-in HDMI port or the HDTV Adapter (sold separately).

Additional features

·7.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus display (1280x800)

·Android 3.2 Honeycomb – supports Google Mobile Services, including Gmail, YouTube, Google Talkwith video chat, Google Search, Google Maps, as well as access to Google Books, movie rentals and more than 400,000 apps on Android Market

· — 3.2-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash, full 720p recording and 1080p playback (1080p playback through HDMI dock or adapter)

· — Front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chat

·16 GB on-board storage (actual formatted capacity is less)

· — Support for up to 32 GB microSD card

The tablet can be turned into a Mobile Hotspot for an extra monthly fee, allowing it to share its 4G LTE connection with up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled device.


· Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 costs $499.99 with a new two-year customer agreement.

Customers that purchase a Tab 7.7 will need to subscribe to a 4G LTE mobile broadband data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at

Toshiba brings the Excite 10 LE tablet to U.S. starting March 6; claims it is world's thinnest tablet

Another tablet has entered the market.

Toshiba has
announced that the Excite 10 LE tablet will be available for purchase from select U.S. retailers March 6. Previously introduced as the Excite X10, the company says the Excite 10 LE is the world’s thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablet — measuring just 0.3 inches (7.7mm) thin and weighing 1.18 pounds.

So far nobody has been able to emerge as the one alternative to the iPad that everyone wants, and I doubt this will change that trend. But if it's as solid as they say, it might be able to garner some fans.

Here's a rundown of what the
Excite 10 LE has to offer:

The Excite 10 LE tablet will feature the Android operating system, and will have a starting price of $529.99 for the 16GB model and $599.99 for the 32GB model.

Calling it a'luxury tablet, Carl Pinto — vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division — said: “We have engineered this tablet with premium materials and components, given it elegant yet durable styling and more connectivity options than any other tablet in its class, while fitting everything into an astonishingly thin and light design.”

The Excite 10 LE features a high-resolution 10.1-inch diagonal AutoBrite display, and features a magnesium alloy surface and scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass display with an anti-smudge coating.

The tablet also comes with micro-USB and HDMI ports, a micro-SD slot to share content and files with other devices, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. An enhanced sound performance is promised, too, plus front and back HD cameras, and 1080p video recording.

The Excite 10 LE tablet will come first with Android 3.2, Honeycomb, and later upgraded to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. Accessories such as a docking station and cases will be offered.

Here are some more specs:
— 10.1-inch diagonal LED Backlit widescreen Corning Gorilla Glass display with IPS technology and 10-finger multi-touch support
1280 x 800 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio
Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 multicore processor; 1.2GHz with 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
16GB and 32GB configurations
2 megapixel front-facing camera
5 megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash
Micro USB, Micro HDMI ports
Micro SD card slot
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Gyroscope, Accelerometer, GPS, eCompass and Ambient Light Sensor
Stereo speakers with sound enhancements by Toshiba and SRS Labs
Built-in 25 watt-hour rechargeable lithium ion battery
10.1” (W) x 6.9” (D) x 0.3” (H)
1.18 pounds (535g)

Contact Matt Myftiu at

Sunday, February 26, 2012

T-Mobile announces the new HTC One S smartphone, complete with Ice Cream Sandwich and new HTC Sense UI

There's a new competitor coming to the smartphone arena, and it's part of the newly unveiled three-phone "HTC One" series by HTC.
Today at Mobile World Congress 2012, HTC announced that starting this spring, they will be offering the HTC One
S. The HTC One S will be T-Mobile’s thinnest smartphone (7.95mm) and featuring an ultra-sleek, aluminum unibody design. The HTC One S is T-Mobile’s first product to ship with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and the HTC Sense 4 user interface.
The HTC One S allows offers entertainment features such as Beats By Dr. Dre sound technology. The HTC One S also makes it simple to get and listen to music, with Google Music pre-loaded on the device for easy cloud-based access to the user’s personal music collection.
We’re thrilled to partner with HTC on the launch of its new HTC One series of smartphones and to bring the HTC One S to the U.S.,” said Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president, marketing, T-Mobile USA. “With the HTC One S, we’re not only delivering on our promise to bring leading-edge technology to market but are continuing to provide customers with the best 4G entertainment experiences from listening to high-quality music to streaming high-resolution movies.”
The phone's camera and video technology is also a highlight.
Camera enhancements include:
-- Fast Capture – The HTC One S dramatically reduces the time it takes to capture those key moments, with an estimated 0.7-second shot time and a 0.2-second autofocus that allows for nearly unlimited continuous shots.
-- High Quality Photos in Adverse Conditions – The HTC One S delivers dramatic enhancements in image capture quality even in adverse lighting conditions. The f/2.0 lens on the HTC One S offers amazing low-light performance, capturing 40 percent more light than the f/2.4 lenses available on other high-end phones.
-- Concurrent Video/Still Capture – HTC One S lets the user capture a shot and shoot video at the same time – perfect for capturing life’s moments as they happen. While shooting 1080p HD video, consumers just need to tap the shutter button and the device snaps a high-resolution still photo while the video continues to shoot. Consumers can also capture a still from a previously recorded video.
“People take photos on their phone more than any activity other than making phone calls, which is why we improved every part of the camera experience on HTC One S,” said Jason Mackenzie, president, global sales and marketing, HTC Corporation. “We’re thrilled to bring our combination of our premium design, amazing camera and authentic sound to T-Mobile customers in the U.S.”
The HTC One S will be equipped with a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor by Qualcomm and a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED touch screen.
The HTC One S is expected to be available this spring from T-Mobile at retail stores, select dealers and retailers nationwide, and online at For more information, visit or

Matt Myftiu can be reached at

Thursday, February 23, 2012

REVIEW: Supersize your battery life with the Droid Razr Maxx

Everyone complains about smartphone battery life, so it’s amazing to me that no phone has ever been released with a truly awesome extended life battery.

Well, make that no phone “had” been released, as the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx knocks out all contenders in terms of battery life and will make charging a much less common affair. To be perfectly clear here, the Droid Razr Maxx is the exact same phone as the Droid Razr, it just has a much better battery. And since the Razr comes with top-notch specs, and was one of my favorite phones last year, I would bet the farm that the Maxx will be a blockbuster, as it addresses the key concern so many people have about their phones.

Let me break down the numbers, so you know how big the advantage is.
The big thing that drains battery life on phones is data use, especially programs that are more data-intensive like Pandora Radio or Netflix. In my testing of the Razr Maxx, I opened up Pandora when the battery was full and let it run all day until it was completely drained. In the process, I was very impressed to see that the phone did not run dry for 16 hours.
To put this in perspective, I would be lucky to get half that much battery life on other smartphones if I ran Pandora nonstop. Some would be closer to 35 or 40 percent of that total.
For those who watch movies on their phones via Netflix, the numbers will be very similar. Lots of life, lots of movies before recharging.

This is the big selling point on this phone. If you like to run apps like this for many hours a day, you can still go a couple or even three days without charging the phone (really, no one is going to run Pandora for 16 hours, as I did in the test. We usually have other stuff to do during the day.)
If you’re a big talker, Verizon promises 21.5 hours of continuous talk time before the battery dies. I don’t really use my phone too much for talking that much, so I didn’t get to test this out, but even if they’re a few hours too generous with that number, that’s still a very impressive number. Standby time is listed at up to 380 hours.

This is all due to the 3300 mAh Lithium Ion battery on the Razr Maxx, a number which stomps all over the competition’s numbers. The regular Razr only has a 1780 mAh Lithium Ion battery, and some other phones on Verizon and elsewhere are even less impressive.
To sum it up in a sentence, however often you charge your phone currently, if you get the Droid Razr Maxx your worst case scenario is you’ll have to charge it half as often, maybe even less. Not too shabby

The only beef I have with the battery is kind of a fairness issue: Why wait to introduce this and make two versions? If I was an early adopter of the Razr, and couldn’t upgrade to the Maxx, I would be very annoyed. They should have skipped the original and gone straight to this one.

You still have a big (4.3 inch), very slim and attractive phone in the Droid Razr Maxx, though it is slightly thicker than the original Razr due to the bigger battery. You cannot remove the battery on the phone, but since you really don’t have a bigger battery option that you could switch to, that’s not a concern. Like the original, you get a Kevlar reinforced backplate, and the Gorilla Glass on the touchscreen does a great job to protect the phone in case of drops.

Like the original Razr, the Maxx still features Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is promised soon. It’s a bit of a disappointment that it’s not there yet, as ICS has some very nice improvements to the OS, but it’s not the end of the world to have to wait probably a few months for it.

Without going into all the details, the specs that carry over from the original Razr are top-notch; from the high-end cameras, to the 1.2 GHz dual-core processor to the 4G LTE Verizon network that you can access for ultra fast downloads and uploads. To get a full rundown on the specs on the Razr and Razr Maxx, go online to ( )
The Droid Razr Maxx will cost you $299.99 with a two-year contract. This is $100 more than the original RAZR, and trust me that $100 is worth it (just think of electricity costs for twice the charging over a two-year span. At this point I don’t know why anyone would buy the original RAZR.

If you want the best smartphone battery out there on the market right now, the Droid Razr Maxx is the way to go. And with the original Razr already being a great smartphone in terms of overall specs and performance, I can see the Maxx and its supercharged battery being a huge hit for Verizon this year. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a bunch of copycat extended battery smartphones in its wake, as others wonder why they didn’t do it first

Matt Myftiu can be reached at or 248-745-4617. Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu or become a fan of the Facebook page “OPTechTime”.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

T-Mobile announces March launch of Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G

T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile) have confirmed the upcoming March availability of the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G from T-Mobile. The Galaxy S Blaze 4G is the latest addition to the successful Galaxy S line of products.
T-Mobile’s newest 4G smartphone offers a variety of features and applications. The Galaxy S Blaze 4G entertainment offerings make it easy for T-Mobile customers to stream their favorite movies on Netflix®, enjoy live or on-demand TV programs on T-Mobile TV in mobile HD or download a popular movie or TV show using Samsung Media Hub. Additionally, the smartphone features TeleNav GPS Navigator, which provides hands-free, voice-guided turn-by-turn driving directions, real-time traffic alerts, full-color 3-D moving maps and local alerts, helping customers get to where they need to go. The Galaxy S Blaze 4G also comes preloaded with a customized version of the Yelp mobile application, featuring the ability to save profiles so users can keep preferences the same with one touch in any city, making it easy to find and read reviews for local places to eat, shop, drink and play.
Also pre-loaded on the device, the T-Mobile 4GPro App Pack offers an aggregation of key business applications, such as DropBox, Evernote, Square, TripIt, Camscanner and LinkedIn, helping busy consumers be even more productive while balancing their professional and personal lives.
“The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G is loaded with rich features and services to keep consumers entertained and connected virtually anywhere they want to go,” said Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president, marketing, T-Mobile USA. “Paired with T-Mobile’s fast 4G network and our unlimited data plans, we’re making it easy for consumers to enjoy the benefits of 4G experiences at a price they can afford.”

The smartphone comes in a carbon black color and runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The Galaxy S Blaze 4G also features a Snapdragon S3 processor by Qualcomm with 1.5 GHz dual-core CPUs and a beautiful 3.97-inch Super AMOLED touch screen providing consumers with a rich experience watching their favorite movie or TV show on the device.
The Galaxy S Blaze 4G also features a 720p HD video recorder, 5-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, flash and advanced shooting modes, as well as a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat.

The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G is expected to be available at T-Mobile retail stores, select dealers and retailers nationwide, and online starting in late March. The Galaxy S Blaze 4G is expected to cost $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate card, with a two-year service agreement and qualifying Classic voice and data plan. For more information, visit

Matt Myftiu can be reached at

Sunday, February 19, 2012

As furor over throttling of data speeds grows, AT&T should address user concerns

AT&T is some hot water, specifically in regard to its recent efforts to “throttle” what it calls high-profile data users – basically making their data speeds ridiculously slow if the company thinks they’re hogging too much data. They claim it’s only affecting the top five percent of users, and most people won’t be affected.

The issue goes down to the fact that some people still have “unlimited” data plans, though new users can not get unlimited data and must choose a tier from AT&T’s list of data offerings.

So while those grandfathered into the unlimited plan might have thought they were in the clear to use as much data as they please, apparently that’s not the case, and they get real annoyed when things start to run very slowly. Some say it’s happening far more often than AT&T will admit, and affecting more people than the company says.

Angry users accuse AT&T of trying to “coax” them toward the tiered data limits and say they are getting warnings of throttling after just 1.5 GB of data being used.
Many people claim it’s all for nothing too, as throttling doesn’t necessarily improve network performance.

And in another wrinkle, AT&T offers a 3GB plan for $30 monthly (same price as the old unlimited plan) but that is not subject to throttling.

My observations:

-- If this throttling of unlimited plan customers is happening so early as many people claim, AT&T needs to be completely transparent about it. All numbers and facts should be out on the table for discussion purposes as this issue is resolved.

-- If people with unlimited plans are really annoyed by this throttling, they should be given the option to get out of their contracts … (Sprint is the only network that still offers an unlimited plan; many may be considering a switch to them, as they currently have no plans to kill their unlimited plan) ... or be allowed to switch to the 3GB limit tiered plan that is the same price so they can avoid throttling.

Side note: There is more bad news for AT&T customers: They have announced that the smartphone activation fee is now doubled from $18 to $36. This type of nickel and diming won’t gain them any fans, and is disappointing.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, digital style

According to a T-Mobile poll, the way we express our love is changing

The winner by a mile was "via text message"

Things could change, but as of 8:22 p.m. on Valentine's Day, here are the numbers so far with more than 8,000 votes in.

A full breakdown of the poll (votes are still coming in but 8,340+ votes have been tallied) is listed below:
  • 4,361 said via Sweet Text Message
  • 968 said via Loving Phone Call
  • 396 said via Thoughtful Picture Message
  • 213 said via Traditional Card
  • 109 said via Social Media Message
  • 1,152 said All of the Above
  • 1,141 said No Message this Year

Matt Myftiu can be reached at

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The sequels keep on coming: Verizon releases the DROID 4 smartphone, aimed at the QWERTY keyboard lovers

Apparently, the original DROID is so good, it deserves a third sequel.

The DROID 4 by Motorola will be available starting Feb. 10 in Verizon Wireless Stores and online at
Introduced at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the DROID 4 is the thinnest and most powerful 4G QWERTY smartphone measuring at less than half an inch.
DROID 4 features a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, plus a five-row QWERTY keyboard for those who don’t like typing on a touchscreen.
It has edge-lit keys for fast, precise typing, even in the dark. It is powered by Verizon’s 4G network.

Additional features
— Verizon Wireless 4G LTE – Customers can expect fast download speeds of 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G LTE Mobile Broadband coverage areas
— Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, to be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
— 4.0-inch qHD display with scratch and scrape resistant glass
— Government-grade encryption (FIPS 140-2) for email, calendar and contacts; preloaded with Citrix® Receiver for Android (available in webtop) for desktop virtualization and access
— 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture
— Front-facing camera for video chat
— 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot supporting up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices

Pricing and availability
— DROID 4 by Motorola is now available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at for $199.99 with a new two-year customer agreement.
— The Lapdock 500 is available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online for $299.97.
— Customers that purchase a DROID 4 will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan beginning at $39.99 monthly access and a smartphone data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DROID RAZR MAXX promises ever-elusive long battery life on a smartphone — and may actually deliver

What's the number one complaint about smartphones?

Easy -- battery life. Most suck it down so quick you're regularly running to the charger.

Well, Verizon has an offering they hope changes that -- the DROID RAZR MAXX from Motorola, with very lofty claims about how long it can last (up to 21 hours of talk time, in case you need to catch up with someone you haven't called in a decade.)

I'm about to test it out and I'll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, here's all the details on the latest big-name phone from Big Red.

— $299.99 with a new two-year customer agreement.
-- 8.99 mm thickness, an industry best
-- Dual-core 1.2 GHz processor
-- Verizon Wireless 4G LTE.
— Powered by Android™ 2.3.5 Gingerbread, upgradable to Android™ 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich -- 3300 mAh battery
— 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with 1080p HD video capture and image stabilization technology for crisp and clear videos
— Front-facing HD camera for video chat over 4G LTE, 3G or Wi-Fi
— 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot capable – customers can share 4G LTE speed with up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices
— Remote wipe, pin lock and government-grade encryption for email, calendar and contacts, as well as voice and video chat conferencing
— 32 GB memory – 16 GB on-board memory and 16 GB microSD™ card pre-installed (actual formatted capacity is less)
-- Customers that purchase a DROID RAZR MAXX will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan beginning at $39.99 monthly access and a smartphone data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data. For more information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to

Matt Myftiu can be reached at