The Unplugged Phone

The snake oil practically sells itself. Wingnuts have been convinced that both Apple and Google are on the wrong side of the woke-commie-libtard / heroic-patriot tribal divide. But, just like people who are sane, wingnuts’ phones are deeply integrated into their lives. They’re thus stuck in a catch-22 — they don’t trust Apple or Google and definitely don’t want either company to profit from them, but seemingly every phone they might want to buy is either an iPhone or an Android phone dependent on Google services… More here.

Excellent analysis by John.

Persistent Lock Screen Ads (on Android of course)

Glance, a tech company based in India, will soon be putting ads on your Android lock screens, aided and abetted by your friendly wireless carriers.

Glance is a $2 billion advertising technology (adtech) company backed by Google and other investors. It serves various kinds of media to the home screens of participating handsets, and may actually be pretty compelling for some people. Glance puts a feed of news, quizzes, photos, videos, and so on, right onto your lock screen… More here.

How awful that sounds, just awful.

Rudderless HTC

Presumably the buzzword gimmicks are meant as a distraction from the fact that the HTC Desire 22 Pro is a generic-looking mid-range phone. It has a Snapdragon 695, a 120 Hz, 6.6-inch, 2412×1080 LCD, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4520 mAh battery. It has Android 12, a fingerprint reader, wireless charging, a microSD slot, and an IP67 water-resistance rating, which HTC only describes as “splash proof.” For cameras, you have a 65 MP main camera, a 13 MP ultrawide, 5 MP depth sensor, and 32 MP front camera. HTC’s spec sheet curiously also lists “Face ID” as a feature, which is an Apple trademark. HTC probably means generic face recognition… More here.

HTC was the king before the iPhone and before any other company it jumped on the touch screen only format to compete. From that point onwards it has been nothing but failure and I am surprised phones are still released to this day. Time to give up, do something else and find a way to thrive again.

The BMW Motorsport-branded Iqoo 9 Pro

Remember when phones were fun? Recently, I’ve slotted my SIM into a bunch of high-end models that will never come to the US. The latest, the BMW Motorsport-branded Iqoo 9 Pro, is a ridiculous, over-the-top smartphone that can’t help but make you smile. Of course, like a high-performance sports car, this phone is completely impractical as a daily driver in the US. Inspired by its out-of-the-box design, I couldn’t help but use it for a few days anyway… More here.

I mentioned how phones should have more personality the other day. If this is to be the end result, I take it all back.

The HUAWEI MatePad Paper

There’s more than just books though, as this seems like a fully-functioning productivity device with emails, calendars, certain apps available to download from the Huawei App Gallery, handwriting conversion (using the stylus), connectivity between the Paper and a smartphone or PC, voice recording, video playback and more… More here.

Almost. This does look good, but the limitations of e-ink remain. Give me an e-ink phone that does most things and I would be on board in a heartbeat.

Samsung Galaxy (Note 22☺) S22 Ultra 5G First Thoughts

(In case of variances – UK model – Black – 512gb/12GB – Dual sim – direct from Samsung)

Been a while since I reviewed anything – but since it’s arrived 2 days before official launch day, it’d be rude not to give some initial impressions (clearly they’re more relaxed than Apple about launch day protocols).

I will, albeit probably poorly, attempt to avoid comparing to my Z Fold 3 which has done me really well barring some niggles. Things I really want to check out – the camera (so different to the Z Fold 3’s average 12MP snapper), and the s-pen (built in). All photos were taken with an iphone 13 mini except for the camera comparison ones.

I’ll spare you an over the top unboxing essay. I’m sure there’s plenty of those elsewhere. It’s the usual new era minimalist approach – small black box, including phone plus unnecessary (imo) usb-c cable & ejector pin. NO extra s-pen nibs that I can see (unlike historically, maybe the pen is one unit now)

This thing is one solid lump, which is good, as my Z Fold 3 while feeling really high quality and sturdy, still left me nervous when its opened up.

After the standard Samsung setup process, its time to play. Careful ejecting the sim card tray and not the microphone hole right next to it :/

Right, lets take a quick look at that camera, specifically the zoom. What I tend to do is take a standard picture, and then zoom in. My door handle (cropped) as part of a x1 shot…

My door handle x10…

So you can see the level of detail that the optical zoom means that you gain.

The pen is excellent. As responsive as the s-pen pro I have with my fold 3, and with all those features (due to the Bluetooth capability). One complaint – Samsung notes can now to sync to one note (it could do so with the ZFold 3 too), but for whatever reason, the integration is only to one note “feed” (huh?) which means it only appears in a special place and you have to then move notes you want to keep, into full one note. An odd quirk, that may become annoying.

The fingerprint reader feels much better than it was on my old S21 ultra as well. Its nearly as good as the one on the Z Fold 3 (which is a dedicated side one built into the power button). I’ve only had one false negative so far which is nice.

A final quick nighttime shot before I send this to Shaun. Excuse the flare from the window (its cold out there), but otherwise it looks at a glance, impressive. The picture shows far more than my eyes do.

Full verdict to follow, but in the first few hours, the Galaxy Note 22 (oops) looks to be an excellent all-round device. And if you like a decent zoom, then vs the best from Apple, it’s a winner. I think the battery life is yet to be clear (it was down 15% for me after light use, but all those initial setup services will be greedy.)

It’s sold out in some specifications (from Samsung) until April 2022, so book early to ensure disappointment.


Google Pixel Watch renders

These slides come courtesy of Jon Prosser, highlighting the watch’s circular display with a bezel-less design and how it will bring “unity to hardware and software.” The circular knob on the right of the smartwatch could be helpful while scrolling through large lists and navigating the UI. The wearable is referred to as the Pixel Watch in the leak, hinting that this could very well be its final marketing name. Other renders show the smartwatch with different color watch bands, including orange, yellow, and white… More here..

It may not be a design I would wear, but it is the first I have seen that looks capable of competing with the Apple Watch on originality.