Posts Tagged ‘ LG ’

Android Tablet Comparison Spring 2011

The state of the tablet

by Dave Loft

Tablets were as inevitable as paper but it wasn’t till 2010 that we had the hardware fast enough to run the software well and small enough to fit in the thin form factor. Apple has had impeccable timing and implementation when it came to the iPod, iPhone and iPad. In 2010, tablets were dominated by Apple in a market caught off guard by the low price and prediction breaking sales numbers of the iPad. The only viable competitor wasn’t even a direct competitor when you step back and look at them.

The iPad is the same size as a small laptop and allowed users and developers to think big when it came to apps.  Apples goal is to put iPads in every consumers hands and leave the Macbook Pro’s for the content creators. The fact is the vast majority of people using a laptop today do very little with it. Why lug around a much heavier laptop with it’s short battery life just to email and browse the web when you can get a tablet with 1/4 the weight and 4 times the battery life.

On the left is the Apple iPad, on the right is the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Tablets are to scale.

The difference between the Galaxy Tab’s 7″ display compared to the iPad’s 9.7″ is much more pronounced in picture then in print. But that smaller size lends itself much more on the go usage. You can easily carry the Galaxy Tab in your purse or jacket pocket and that 7″ display in portrait makes for some excellent thumb typing. The device also makes a much better reading device with a display closer in size to a paperback book and the weight nearly half that of the iPad. The issue with the Galaxy Tab is it does not replace your laptop and as such has kept this device a niche product.

Apple’s to Android’s

The first major step for Android towards a better tablet future was the announcement of Honeycomb. Honeycomb is a version of Android optimized specifically for tablets. Honeycomb brings desktop OS elements in to Android and actually takes advantage of the extra screen real estate. Just taking the same UI of the phone and streching it to the size of a tablet as the iPad has done won’t cut it going forward.

While the main UI is important, optimized apps is even more crucial to success. This is the area where Apple is currently very strong. The apps on the iPad are what make it a great device. Android developers will have some catching up to do once the first Honeycomb devices hit. Thankfully Google has implemented an easy was for developers to make a single app and have it work well on phones and tablets. This should allow for rapid deployment of tablet optimized apps.

Just how quickly Android Tablet apps are made available will determine if Android will take over tablets by the end of 2011 or if it will take till 2012. Either way it’s inevitable that Android will overtake Apple in the tablet space, just as they did with smartphones. I know there are many people who are skeptical, but not many people thought Android could overtake Apple in the smartphone space when they launched their first phone just a little over two years ago.

Android tablets look to follow the Android smartphone approach with more powerful devices, different sizes and configurations from multiple manufacturers. So far there have been four big tablet announcements for Android this year.

Clockwise from top left; Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, LG Optimus One and HTC Flyer.
Click on the image to get a closer look. Tablets are to scale.

Looking at this lineup and you can see Nvidia has done a great job getting their dual core chips in the majority of devices. But I think the main reason for this is availability as Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Samsung do not have their dual core ready in the quantities required for this launch.

Stock Android is one of the thing that many will champion about these new Honeycomb Android devices. I’m sorry to disappointed everyone but it has nothing to do with any Google implemented policy or the manufacturers preference to release a stock device. It simple has to do with the fact that they have the hardware ready and are waiting on Google to finish Honeycomb.  I suspect that almost all Honeycomb devices released after the first half of 2011 will have their customizations back in effect.

I have no issue with manufacturers trying to customize their device. HTC has done a great job on their phones. I much prefer the optimized apps on my Galaxy S to the stock camera app, music player and  lame video playback capability of stock Android. If you just don’t like the basic user interface, Launcher Pro and ADW Launcher do a great job of replicating stock Android while also providing more customization. Love it or hate it, tablets will find themselves in much the same situation.

Now some might say that customization is the reason in the delay of phone updates. I have heard it used as the reason why Samsung hasn’t updated all of their Galaxy S devices yet. But that’s an American point of view and in Canada, all Galaxy S devices have been updated and their running the same customization. I think the main reason updates take so long is the shear number of devices and the magnitude of configuration options on these devices.

But as I see it, having the latest OS is not as critical as some make it out to be. As long you have 2.2 you will be guaranteed to have the latest Google apps and support of almost every application. It’s also worth noting that even though the HTC Flyer and the original Samsung Galaxy Tab do not run Honeycomb, there is no reason tablet optimized apps won’t run on them. Much of the added functionality that the Honeycomb SDK brings carry over to older devices. An app that takes advantage of  Honeycomb’s fragments that allows the same app to work on your phone and tablet will work with devices as far back as 1.6.

Bloggers and tech reporters really exaggerate the ‘fragmentation’ issue. Typically today they get half a dozen new Android devices to review every month. I can understand their frustration as each one offers a different UI and button configuration and just as they get used to one, they get another device to review and get used to. But for the rest of us who get a device and use it for 6 to 24 months, it really doesn’t matter. I went from the Nexus One to a Galaxy S, a stock Android UI to Samsung’s TouchWiz. Yet even though the UI is different all my apps still run just the same. It is after all the apps that make a smartphone and this is the key to Android. The Android Market allows a developer to reach multiple devices from a single ecosystem. It was the key to Android taking the smartphone market and it will happen all over again with tablets.

The HP RIM Shot

There are two other players in the tablet space I have yet to talk about. RIM who is currently in a downward spiral with sales of their smartphone and are in desperate need of a refresh. Rim has chosen QNX as their platform of choice going forward, but so far it only appears to be coming to tablets.

On the left is the Blackberry Playbook and on the right is the HP TouchPad. Tablets are to scale.

Hp bought Palm in 2010 and are using that acquisition to offer a complete package like RIM and Apple they will completely control their mobile platform, from hardware to software. I’m not sure the strategy will work so well for RIM or HP as they lack Apple’s finesse in vertical integration.

As mentioned before Apple’s success in the tablet space is mainly due to their developers. Developers who were already familiar with iOS were easily able to create apps to take advantage of the larger screen device. Web OS does not have the same developer support and have already been passed by Windows Phone 7 in number of apps. RIM will be in worse shape as they are using an all new platform for their tablet. As it stands it’s very unlikely RIM or HP will have an app ecosystem that can compete with Google, let alone Apple.

For RIM to succeed they will need to convince Businesses to get Playbook’s in their employee’s hands. For HP to succeed they will need to use their strong ties in the retail space to drive the TouchPad home. If they don’t succeed in getting these devices in customers hands they won’t have a chance at convincing developers to make applications and without applications their tablets are dead in the water.

Best Android Phones by Carrier February 2011

by Dave Loft

For many people, one way or another they’re stuck with a specific carrier. If your in that boat and looking to get an Android phone in the near future, read on to find out what I recommend getting.

Bell

  • Motorola Atrix ($170 on contract, $600)
  • Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant ($150 on contract, $500)
  • HTC Desire Z ($130 on contract, $500)
  • LG Optimus Chic ($250)

Rogers

  • Samsung Galaxy S Captivate ($100 on contract, $550)
  • Acer Liquid mt ($50 on contract, $400)

Telus

  • HTC Desire HD ($150 on contract, $500)
  • Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate ($150 on contract, $530)
  • HTC Desire ($80 on contract, $450)
  • LG Optimus One ($200)

Virgin Mobile

  • Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant ($150 on contract, $500)
  • HTC Legend (free on contract, $350)

Koodo

  • LG Optimus One ($225)

Videotron

  • Google Nexus One ($50 on contract, $480)

Mobilicity

  • Google Nexus One ($500)

Wind

  • Motorola Milestone XT720 ($400)

AT&T

  • Motorola Atrix 4G ($200 on contract, $500)
  • HTC Inspire 4G ($100 on contract, $400)
  • HTC Aria (free on contract)

Verizon

  • HTC Thunderbolt 4G ($250 on contract, $600)
  • Motorola Droid X ($200 on contract, $570)
  • Motorola Droid 2 Global ($200 on contract, $560)
  • HTC Droid Incredible ($150 on contract, $530)

Sprint

  • Samsung Galaxy S Epic 4G ($250 on contract, $500)
  • HTC Evo 4G ($200 on contract, $450)
  • HTC Evo Shift 4G ($150 on contract, $400)
  • LG Optimus S ($50 on contract, $300)

T-Mobile

  • Google Nexus S ($200 on contract, $530)
  • HTC G2 ($200 on contract, $500)
  • Samsung Galaxy S 4G ($200 on contract, $500)
  • Motorola Defy ($100 on contract, 380)
  • LG Optimus T ($240)

Android Devices Upgraded to 2.2 in Canada

The big news story in the US is how Samsung has been slow to update their Galaxy S line. A similar chart was made in the US to show the percentage of manufacturers that upgrade their phone. When comparing the two charts you see completely different results between Canada and the US.

By comparison HTC has upgraded 50% of devices in the US to 2.2 but in Canada they have only upgraded 11% thus far. The HTC Desire on Telus is the single HTC devices upgraded. When we look at Motorola in the US we see 15.4% which doesn’t look great but it’s far better than in Canada where zero Motorola devices have been updated. Motorola’s support in Canada is pathetic with the best device being the Motorola Milestone aka Droid. Canada has no Droid 2 or Droid X or Droid Pro.

The real shocking difference is with Samsung. Who as I said has received a lot of complaint due to the length of time the update process has taken in the US. Unfortunately for Americans, Samsung has chosen to upgrade their devices last. As all Galaxy S devices in Canada have been upgraded to 2.2 and Samsung has done pretty much the same world wide. I find it odd that people blame Samsung for this and not the US carriers. Samsung has proven everywhere else they can update their devices in a timely fashion. In Canada we have 66% of all Samsung devices that have been upgraded to Froyo. In the US, it’s just 11.1%.

I know it’s frustrating to not get your update but I think Americans need to calm down and stop with the Samsung hate. They’re working on it and unfortunately the American carriers are slowing things down. Motorola is the biggest issue for us in Canada. But on Canadian mobile sites I don’t see Canadian Milestone owners going bat shit insane like their American counterparts have done. Thank god T-Mobile is in the process of finally releasing their update. I can’t wait till all 4 US carriers have it done, so we can finally put the Samsung hate to bed.

Dave Loft

Best Android Phone By Carrier November 2010

For many people, one way or another they’re stuck with a specific carrier. If your in that boat and looking to get an Android phone in the near future, read on to find out what I recommend getting.

Bell

  • Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant ($150 on contract, $500)
  • HTC Desire Z ($130 on contract, $500)

Rogers

  • Samsung Galaxy S Captivate ($180 on contract, $550)
  • Acer Liquid E ($20 on contract, $425)

Telus

  • Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate ($150 on contract, $550)
  • HTC Desire ($50 on contract, $400)
  • LG Optimus One ($200 no contract)

Virgin Mobile

  • Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant ($150 on contract, $500)
  • HTC Legend ($30 on contract, $350)

Mobilicity

  • Google Nexus One ($550)

Wind

  • Motorola Milestone XT720 ($450)

AT&T

  • Samsung Galaxy S Capacitive ($200 on contract, $500)

Verizon

  • Motorola Droid X ($200 on contract, $570)
  • HTC Droid Incredible ($150 on contract, $530)
  • Motorola Droid 2 Global ($200 on contract, $560)

Sprint

  • Samsung Galaxy S Epic 4G ($250 on contract, $500)
  • HTC Evo 4G ($200 on contract, $450)
  • LG Optimus S ($50 on contract, $300)

T-Mobile

  • HTC G2 ($200 on contract, $500)
  • Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant ($200 on contract, $500)
  • Motorola Defy ($100 on contract, 380)
  • LG Optimus T ($30 on contract, $240)

Best Android Phones

HTC Google Nexus One

The Nexus one is not available from any carrier. You must purchase it online from Google for a price of $529.99. But it has the benefit of being unlocked and gives you the ability to take it to whatever carrier is compatible with it, no contract required. The Nexus One has a 3.7” 480×800 display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM and 5MP camera.

The biggest benefit of this device comes from getting OS updates directly from Google. Android 2.2 should be getting full flash, JIT compiler for overall improved performance, additional NDK support for OpenGL ES 2.0, tethering, a Wi-Fi router and the ability to install applications on the SD card.

There are two models of the Nexus One. They have a model that works with T-Mobile in the U.S. and Wind in Canada, the other is designed for AT&T in the U.S. and Rogers, Bell and TELUS in Canada.

HTC Droid Incredible

The Droid Incredible is the cousin of the Nexus One. It shares the same screen size, resolution, processor and memory but upgrades the camera to 8MP.

The major improvements that HTC ads to the Droid Incredible is the improved usability the phone gets with the Sense UI added on top. It brings a much better keyboard, more widgets and fixes all the minor issues with Google’s original design.

The down side to the Incredible is it’s only available from Verizon in the U.S. and is not available in Canada at all. When Google releases an update it goes to HTC, they build it into the Incredible and pass it along to Verizon who modifies it to their liking and then finally releases it.

HTC Triumph

The HTC Triumph is known as the Desire in Europe and it’s more like the brother to the Nexus One. It shares the same screen size, resolution, processor and memory and camera. The biggest difference from the Nexus One is the use of an optical track pad as opposed to the Nexus One trackball.

The good news about the Triumph is the inclusion of all the HTC Sense UI enhancements that are general to their phones. The bad news is the availability will not happen till the summer on TELUS. This is the phone to get if you live in Canada and you want to get a high end phone subsidized.

HTC Hero \ Magic \ Droid Eris

This is for someone looking to get into Android without spending a fortune. With these devices you get a 3.2” 320×480 display, 528 MHz Qualcomm processor, 288MB RAM and a 5MP camera.

The Hero is available for $49.99 on a three year contract from TELUS in Canada. Hit up Roger’s for the Magic and be prepared to pay $79.99 on the standard three years in Canada. In the U.S. hit up Verizon for the Droid Eris, $79.99 on a 2 year contract and it’s all yours.

Most of these devices are still stuck with a much older version of Android, but supposedly HTC is working on it and they should soon have 2.1, hopefully before Google releases 2.2.

HTC Evo 4G

This is the new top dog in mobile phones. It has a 4.3” 480×800 display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front facing camera and Wi Max 4G data to go along with the standard 3G. This phone will be available June 4th.

This device has HTC’s Sense UI and all the benefits that the Droid Incredible has. The downside is it is only available on Sprint in the U.S. and you have to pay for 3G data as well as 4G. It also has the downsides of waiting for OS updates. Sprint will be charging $29.99 for Wi-Fi tethering when this phone launches. Considering Wi-Fi tethering is built into Android 2.2 it calls into question whether the carrier will release an upgrade at all.

Motorola Milestone

The Milestone is for those looking for a high end display on a phone with a slide out keyboard. It’s known as the Droid in the U.S. and is by far the most popular Android phone on the market. Its popularity is mostly due to the massive advertising that accompanies it.

It has a 3.7” 480 x 854 display, ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz processor, 256MB RAM and a 5MP camera. Expect to pay $149.99 on a three year contract from TELUS in Canada and a 2 year contract from Verizon in the U.S.

They were fairly quick to update it to Android 2.1, probably due to the fact that it runs a stock Android UI. So you shouldn’t have to wait long for a 2.2 update, as long as Motorola intends to release one that is.

The performance puts it behind the other high end phones on this list and with rumors of a new Motorola phone coming to replace this one. If you must have a keyboard and want the best you may be better off waiting to see what comes next.

Motorola DEXT \ Backflip

The Motorola DEXT is known as the CLIQ in the U.S. This is for someone looking for an entry level Android phone that has a slide out keyboard. It’s geared towards users who like to use social networks and want an interface that connects all of them in one place as done with MotoBlur. This device is aimed at the younger crowd.

It has a 3.1” 320 x 480 display, 528 MHz Qualcomm processor, 256MB RAM and a 5MP camera. Expect to pay $79.99 for both on a three year contract in Canada. Bell offers the DEXT while Telus offers the Backflip.

What’s Missing?

What’s missing is a device with a slide out keyboard, a 1GHz processor and 512MB of Ram. I know a few people waiting for something like this. So what do you do? Buy now and take a hit on performance for the physical keyboard or do you drop the physical keyboard for performance. The other option is waiting and I guess that choice is up to you. I couldn’t wait so I went with the Nexus one and I’m loving it.

Dave Loft

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