Phil Nickinson

​It's been in with the "old" and out with the new for me this week. The Samsung Galaxy S3 review units are going back, and I've put my AT&T SIM back in the HTC One X. It's always a good thing when I pick up a phone after a couple months away and find myself in a familiar place -- and don't want to put the phone down. And that's been the case for me with the One X.

I've had other reason to pick up the One X again -- HTC changed the way it handles the on-screen menu function. Jerry's not crazy about it, but I think it's a decent compromise. I'm probably most in favor of on-screen buttons, like on the Galaxy Nexus or the new Motorola Atrix HD, with HTC's capacitive buttons coming in second. I'm definitely over the physical home button Samsung's still in love with. (And I don't see Sammy killing that off anytime soon.) Oh, and AnandTech got HTC to say that the change in menu options will be rolling out to other Sense-based phones. Makes, erm, sense.

Also making the rounds the past few days has been talk of an HTC One X+, with a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor. A few thoughts on that:

  1. Argh. We're as guilty of it as anyone, but we all really need to stop using the number of cores as a major descriptor for these platforms. 
  2. Same goes for megahertz. If you can tell the difference 200 MHz makes on a reworked architecture, well, more power to you. But most people can't. It's just more mindless repeating of specs.
  3. NVIDIA's Tegra 3 roadmap has been public for some time now. Coming up is Tegra 3+ (aka "Kai"). That'll be followed by "Wayne" and "Gray," and finally by Tegra 3 with the Icera LTE modem. This is all old (but welcome) news.

So, yeah. New stuff is coming. A lot of it, in fact.

And now, a few other thoughts. ...

Samsung ramping up ...

We're slowly edging our way into the fall release cycle. So far, we're pretty sure we're going to see the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 get some release love on Aug. 15 in New York City. Yeah, we saw the Galaxy Note 10.1 for the first time at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In late February. And I'm willing to bet whatever it is we see in New York next week will be subtly different, either in hardware, or software, or both. There's precedent for such changes, but it still makes us wonder why the hell a device is announced months ahead of release, only be see changes along the way.

Have we (the trade-show-goers) become the new focus groups? Unlikely. But it's still a little odd.

Then there's the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which we should see at IFA in Berlin at the end of this month. What's a Note 2 going to have that the original Note lacks? Good question.

Another question, which our pals at TmoNews asked, is what the impending announcement of the second-generation Galaxy Note will do to sales of the T-Mobile (USA) GNote, which should begin any time now. Only, it's a misguided question.

The original Galaxy Note was announced on Sept. 1, 2011 at IFA. We didn't get it on a U.S. carrier until Feb. 19, 2012 -- more than five months later. It's certainly fair to question the timing of TMOUS releasing the original Galaxy Note nearly a year after it was announced, with a successor on the horizon. Then again, you take what you can get. And while it's possible Samsung will attempt a worldwide launch of the next Galaxy Note like it did with the Galaxy S3, I don't think it's going to happen. We're probably a few months away (at least) from seeing the next Galaxy Note hit the shelves.

Fun fact ...

The indoor volleyball you've been watching at the Olympics is taking place at Earl's Court -- the same venue we were at in May for the Galaxy S3 announcement.

The long slo​g of patent trials ...

So Samsung (and, yes, I'm getting tired of writing about Sammy in this column) and Apple are having their days and days in court over patents. It's important stuff. And interesting stuff. And, yes, ridiculously tedious. And I have absolutely no desire to rewrite someone else's account of it. 

Instead, I recommend you read the stories from folks who are actually in the courtroom. It's still not the same as being there -- the nuance and body language and subtleties of court can be difficult to translate to print -- but it's as good as it's going to get in this case. (And I have a feeling everyone has nailed their descriptions of Judge Koh's displeasure.)

The process is either fascinating or mind-numbinly dull, but this one has some major ramifications. The usual game of blogger telephone should be avoided. (Worse is that I'm seeing third-hand information. Reblogging reblogged stories.) Me? I'm reading All Things D, The Verge and Reuters.

But if you'll allow me this one bit of armchair quarterbacking: Anyone who thought Judge Koh was going to grant Apple an outright win over the release of already-public docs ... well, it was never going to happen.

Google Play links

Android CentralYou might have noticed that we've simplified the way we're linking to apps in the Google Play store. And, frankly, we should have done this a long time ago. Just look for the "Get it from Google Play button. Click it, and you'll be taken directly to the app, either on your phone or in a web browser.

Google Play's made it so easy to install an app, we're getting rid of QR codes. Just click, and install.


TTFN. Catch ya'll this week.

 
There are 32 comments

Floss82 says:

Great story Phil. Keep up the good work #Android ftw!!!

crxssi says:

Agreed. And I like the Play links.

HAAS599 says:

Google Play buttons are a great addition to the site.

It would be great if you put Play Store links in your YouTube video descriptions also.

alacrify says:

QR codes have value for situations (like public or work computers) where you can't be automatically logged in to the play store account - and don't want to log in on the browser you're on at the moment. It's a helpful option that doesn't take much space - please reconsider.

nimer55 says:

It does however make the page look uglier, and the percent of time users find themselves on a computer where they can't log in into their google account is quite low.

cunnie84 says:

I dont understand apple's problem, as far as im aware samsung make 70% of the iphones components, so why dont samsung jus tell them to give up the court cases or they can find some other mug to make the components??? Or someone should tell apple to just grow up and innovate instead of irratate !! And nows the perfect time for samsung and google to start filing cases against apple ready for the announcement of the ipad mini, im sure its already been done b4 with the nexus 7 an gtab 7, apple seem to sue for copyright infringement dont google and sammy hav patents on their devices ???

jnrbshp says:

They won't tell apple to step off because they want their money

rcook55 says:

I don't think it's 70% that Samsung makes of the iPhone but why would you not want a part of that action? Samsung is effectively supplying the most popular phones in the world with sales in the 10s of millions. You don't cut your nose to spite your face in this position.

Samsung is in business to make money not ideology.

Vyrlokar says:

On the trials, my source of information has been Growklaw (www.groklaw.com). They had reporters in the Googacle trial, and they post all the public exhibits and documents available on Pacer. They're been covering the Samsung vs Apple trial too, but mostly from the material in PACER, and helping interpret what people that are actually in the court tweet/post/etc. Never quote FOSSPatents BTW, that guy's a paid shill.

As for the QR codes, I'll miss them too, but I understand they're not as necessary as they used to be. Why not put a javascript or CSS based popup for them?

I hope you are incorrect about the release of the Note 2. I want to pick it up when my contract is up in the middle of November. But.. You are the expert ;-)

U know those bent over volleyball players ur seeing.. ya... I wasthere. Lol

Immolate says:

Glad the One-X is still viable after the S3 release. Dang-near free too which is attractive. I've always like HTC's since my Tbolt, with all its flaws, but there's no One-X on Verizon and I'm not giving up the king of networks for some marginal differences in a phone.

Speaking of Verizon, I've seen references, even a pic of (I assume) a mock-up of the Note 2 with a Big Red tag on it. Is there any truth to that rumor, or is it just a fan-boy fantasy? I loved my note but gave it up because the AT&T network was so crappy. I'm quite satisfied with the S3, although still sore about the bootloader, but I'd burn an upgrade on a Note in a heartbeat if it came to my carrier of choice.

Gator352 says:

Great article. But just a few points of my opinion though:

I think sammy hasn't lost the physical button due to a few reasons. One being that using the on-screen buttons takes up screen real estate and two, the physical "home" button is a jab at apple by having something in the middle that you physically press...just like the iphone/ipad.

I don't know about you but I would rather use 4.8 inches of a 4.8 inch screen than having .3 inches takin up by on-screen icons. I know they disappear (just like on my Acer Iconia 500) but for the most part, they are still there.

As for the Samsung and Apple patent war, apple needs to get over it and Google needs to step up to the plate and start defending it's own OS. Reason why apple hasn't gone after google themselves is that it's easier for apple to hit manufacturers one by one to help dwindle market share. See, there is more than one manufacturer of android devices, so by hitting them one on one to collect royalties, they stand to make much more than just hitting google alone. But I personally think google isn't totally innocent as to why you don't hear much from them about this issue....or any issue for that matter.

crxssi says:

A phone (or other device) designed with no buttons can then have a larger screen and isn't "losing" any space at all.

Gator352 says:

It is in fact losing space when they are on screen. Are they not? Some apps make use of them while others don't. The ones that do make use of them, sometimes they fade out but sometimes they are always on screen. It all depends on the app.

crxssi says:

Example- your designs specify a rectangle of a certain space and that is what you much have. You then something like this choice to make:

4.6" screen with capacitive buttons or 4.8" screen without any buttons.

So which would you choose? Because that is what the decision is about. You can have a larger screen with no buttons, but you have to give up a bit of the screen real estate sometimes for the virtual buttons. They can fade away for video and other stuff, giving you more space and a larger total screen. Or you can ALWAYS have a smaller screen with dedicated buttons below the screen.

After using a Xoom for a long time compared to phones with buttons, I can tell you that I would always choose the larger screen/no physical buttons. I think it is a more elegant and useful solution.

Gator352 says:

Point well made. I also agree that having no buttons is more elegant and useful solution.

randyw says:

True, I used to think that the on screen buttons would take up too much screen area till I got my Nexus. It is posible to change the size of the buttons which I did and changed them from white to blue with a simple download. I am fast getting used to them and like them a lot.

Kinglo says:

I think it's less a jab, and more like that's one of the reasons they're in court now.

Kunzie says:

I love the addition of the Google Play link.

I like the fact that it's right there in your face. Better late than never.

JonJJon says:

So Phil are you looking forward to trying out some of the on-screen buttons on the upcoming Sony device/s. Should they ever release in the US/UK any time soon? I'm liking the look of them. My upgrade is in 63 days time and I'm looking towards a Sony device if a new Nexus phone isn't on the horizon at the back end of this year or early next year :)

NateBoii says:

the sgs4 will have that quad im sure, so what will the next iphone have? idk i just love android and samsung. Those two are great together, sooo...galaxy
series ftw man, for me anyway!

learntall says:

Great writing Phil, love reading the columns, thank you!

tohio says:

Anyone know if HTC has fixed the, "It ain't broke we designed it that way" multitasking issue?

crxssi says:

Not yet, unfortunately. Some people are saying that there is more free memory available after the not-quite-fully-released One X update and this helps. But that probably doesn't make the problem go away, and is not widespread yet, nor has it appeared at all for the Evo LTE.

The default settings (that are not user adjustable) are too aggressive at suspending and killing off apps and Sense is now just too large for a 1GB of RAM and maintain real multitasking. Something has to give.

Small_law says:

For those interested, there is also an odd blue police box located outside the Earl's Court tube station that's worth a look.

Clak says:

That SOB told me he'd be back months ago, damn unreliable aliens.

smooth3006 says:

Hard to believe fall is right around the corner. How the time flys.

I like the new links to Google Play.

If I can also make a recommendation, please bring back the "YouTube link for mobile viewing" link under videos on the site. I hate trying to watch a video from my phone using the browser.

Thanks & keep up the great work!

marisdaman says:

I hate the physical home button too on the gs3. probably the only thing I don't like

a.d.am says:

All anyone cares about at this point is the next NEXUS phone. Take your + and your quad and your ppi and GTFO. Just a bunch of dog and pony shows.....

lolwut?