BANG FOR YOUR BUCK - ANDROID EDITION

Sunday, July 9 - 7:25 pm

An Android phone that doesn't suck that costs less than $100. $70 even! If you're on a budget, you're getting more bang for your buck than ever before.


SPEAKING OF AN EXPENSIVE MOBILE DEVICE WITH A HOLOGRAPHIC DISPLAY COMING OUT IN 2018

Saturday, July 8 - 11:22 am

Confirmed.


SURFACE PHONE AKA HOLOLENS MOBILE

Saturday, July 8 - 11:08 am

Brad Sams on this week's The Sams Report speculating on a new ARM prototype mobile-like device floating around Microsoft right now:

The following makes sense but is uninteresting:

1) it runs on ARM.

2) it won't be cheap.

Next, this also makes sense but is interesting:

3) it aims to re-engage OEMs with Microsoft's mobile play by creating a new device category similar to what the original Surface accomplished with 2-in-1's.

Finally, this makes no sense but is helluva interesting:

4) Alex Kipman is working on the display. That is HoloLens' inventor. Also the guy who recently claimed the phone is dead.

The last point does however make a lot of sense when you pair it with 3). This device will be less Surface Phone, more HoloLens Mobile. I still have concerns that however interesting the hardware may end up being, software may make it DOA. I would hold off until Windows is Fluent, Store has serious traction, and Edge is as good as Chrome.

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Update: speaking of an expensive mobile device with a holographic display coming out in 2018.


NOT AGAIN

Saturday, July 8 - 12:16 am

Paul Thurrott reporting on the most recent Surface Pro reliability problem:

It looks like Microsoft has a new Surface reliability problem on its hands: According to hundreds of customers in its support forums, the new Surface Pro spontaneously shuts down, even when the device is in use.

..

So I’m going to guess that this problem doesn’t impact all Surface Pros. But then that’s what makes reliability issues like this so painful: You never know what you’re going to get. With the infamous Skylake-based problems in Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, one’s results were equally sporadic, with some people having nothing but problems and others reporting problem-free usage. (I had issues with all three Surface Books I tested, but my Surface Pro 4 never had any issues.)

Microsoft are no longer new to hardware. This is their fifth Surface Pro. This shouldn't be happening. My Surface Pro 4 was unreliable for many months. Although it took them a while, Microsoft eventually fixed the problem and to their credit have continued to support the device with regular updates even though it's approaching two years old. But they shouldn't need to. It should just work out of the box.


ELECTRON APPS

Friday, July 7 - 11:54 pm

Nylas Mail is another Electron app I'm familiar with. It's the best email app I've used on Windows. But, like Slack, it's a battery hog. Cross platform is a luxury for developers, but for users it's the worst.


SKYPE'S MIDLIFE CRISIS

Wednesday, July 5 - 6:20 am

The reviews are not looking good. I can't opine as I've not tried it yet, but this has all the signs of Microsoft alienating their core Skype user base in order to grab a seat at the cool table. Not for the first time.


HTC U11

Tuesday, July 4 - 11:40 pm

If you're an Android user, much like Windows laptops these days, you're spoilt for choice whether you're shopping for premium or budget. Take the HTC U11. It was released back in May without much buzz. Even though it looks a great phone with its differentiator, squeezy edges, actually more substance than gimmick; it may actually be more intutive than usually difficult to reach and not customisable physical buttons on the top sides of a phone.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF ONEPLUS 5

Tuesday, July 4 - 10:35 pm

I'm super impressed. From the minimalist packaging to the attractive hardware to the delightful on-boarding experience to the thoughtful software customisations, there's an admirable attention to detail that has, frankly, blown me away. And I had pretty high expectations going into this. I haven't tested out the camera yet, but at this point even if it isn't the best camera, I'm okay with that. At this price, for this performance.


ANDROID SUPPORTING WINDOWS

Monday, July 3 - 11:47 pm

Tom Warren reporting for The Verge on improved Windows support coming to Samsung Android phones:

Samsung is updating its Flow apps to add support for the Windows Hello feature of Windows 10. Devices like the Galaxy S6, S7, and S8 will all be able to unlock Windows 10 PCs using the fingerprint reader.

..

Alongside the fingerprint support, Samsung is also enabling the ability to sync smartphone notifications to your PC.

This sort of thing makes Android smartphones and Windows computers an obvious pairing. Microsoft conceding mobile makes becoming smartphone users' second screen essential. Stop being that, and they become irrelevant.


REPLACING WINDOWS

Monday, July 3 - 11:15 pm

There's a post by Fraser Speirs from two years ago recently re-doing the rounds discussing whether the MacBook Pro can replace your iPad. What I find most telling is that the criticism targetted at Mac OS applies to Windows too, obviously. For example:

Mac OS X also suffers from a much smaller range of available apps. Instead of the native apps you get on iOS for services like Netflix, Airbnb, Google Docs, YouTube and the like, Mac users have to make do with accessing these services through a web browser. That's quite a hoop to jump through to get your work done: forcing such a huge proportion of your work through one app.

Web apps didn't take off because native apps offer a much better experience. Nothing has changed recently to suggest that this won't remain the case for the forseeable future. The push via Centennial to get as many Win32 apps on the Windows Store won't help at all with any remaining aspirations Microsoft may still have to be relevant in the post-PC space. iOS is Apple's future-proof alternative to Mac OS, whereas Microsoft these days, and ever since Windows 8, seem content for Windows to thrive solely as a conventional (desktop) operating system.


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