Over NYC

Exciting times, folks. I'm writing this from somewhere over New York and Pennsylvania and Maryland and Virginia, on the way home from the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE event, and recuperated from the 3 a.m. release of our HTC One X/One S/Sense 4 content earlier in the week. And I'm excited. I'm excited for us to have new devices to play with and explore and write about. And I'm excited for you folks to get your hands on them, too. (And if you haven't waded into our EVO 4G LTE forums, you're missing out on some great stuff.)

It's easy to get caught up in it all, even for us. It's easy to see what we want to see. The One X isn't perfect. The One S isn't perfect. The EVO 4G LTE has a ridiculous name (though at least it doesn't have any commas in it), and folks are freaking out too much over its design (which hardly is the worst thing in the world) without having actually held the damn thing.

A deep breath might be needed. And judging by our completely unscientific poll, 70 percent of you are plenty happy with what you've seen so far.

But you know what the really fun part is? This is still pretty early. HTC's just the first of the major manufacturers to unveil its new generation of Android smartphones. Samsung and Motorola are still to come. We've gotten an early look at LG, but still need to spend some quality time with them. So, yeah. Right now we're all focused on HTC, and that's fine. But there's still more to come.

Your weekly "Samsung Galaxy S III fake" section ...

Another SGSIII Fake

Alex Dobie is a smart man. (You already knew that, right?) He reminded me of something so painfully obvious I'm a bit embarrassed I hadn't thought of it.

See, we get our share of invites to launch events. As in, events where devices that have yet to be announced are shown off. And there is a constant in these invites:

Not one of them ever flat-out gives you the name of the device that's being announced. At best you can hope someone slips up and uses the device name as the name of an image file. (And that's pretty sloppy.) But never does anyone say "Hey, bloggers! Come see our super new product that we've yet to actually announce, the Awesomephone 4000!" It just doesn't happen. You announce the product at the event -- not in the invite. 

So remember that when you see the next fake announcement go up.

HTC Sense 4 privacy policy

I really want folks to read this one, because it's especially important in the wake of all the FUD and fire over privacy and data collection. HTC's done a nice job of explaining its "Tell HTC" data collection and reporting. It's easy to understand, and easy to opt out of, either initially or later.

Me? I'm leaving it on. The amount of data is small. I'm not worried about what it's collecting. And I don't mind helping manufacturers to make their services better.

So be sure to read our Q&A on the HTC privacy policy. And be sure to read the policy itself.

Dropbox deserves an apology ...

One of the cool features in the new HTC One phones is that with them you get 23GB of free online storage from Dropbox for two years (in addition to the 2GB you get for just signing up, and in addition to whatever other storage you have with Dropbox). That's pretty awesome.

Thing is, on March 17 a thread went up on XDA-Developers linking to a cracked version of the Dropbox app. (Remember that One X and One S ROMs have been floating around for a while.) The cracked version would allow you to get the free space by installing it on any phone -- not by having one of the new HTC One phones. To XDA's credit, the thread was closed and the link killed that same day. Fourteen hours and 22 pages of posts later, but it was still rightfully closed. (And seeing NRGZ28 was the one who closed it is a blast from the Windows Mobile past.)

Dropbox has said in its forums that it's removing the extra storage from anyone who used the cracked app, and it should. It's also owed an apology. Finding loopholes and exploits is one thing, as is taking advantage of the system. I get that. It's part of the nerd/hacker game. But (and I mentioned this in last week's quick hits) that folks think it's OK to unpack, modify and redistribute someone else's app should be beyond the pale. Yet we still see it happen all the time, on any number of sites.

You will not see it here. (And before anyone starts sending me e-mails about posts where we might have done the same in years past, consider this an up-front mea culpa.)

For the LMAO files ...

So Android Police and Engadget got a single screen shot from Best Buy's internal sewing circle news blog showing that the Motorola Droid RAZR/MAXX ICS update was to be released last week. Only, it didn't happen. Same for the HTC Rezound. Best Buy says the updates were "delayed." Easy to say that after the fact, Best Buy. And never mind that what was released turned out to be yet another non-ICS soak test. (And never mind that soak tests are hardly news anymore. They're for only a few people, and the official release usually is so close behind.) It be one thing if word of the ICS update had leaked elsewhere -- Verizon's a pretty big sieve. That Best Buy was the first -- and only -- source should have given anyone pause.

Point is, this is yet another reason software update rumors so often turn out to be bullshit. They push when they push. And generally when they push, it's often (though not always) to a few people at first. Patience is hard, we know. So, too, is common sense, apparently.

The Instagram hate

This really is one of the silliest things I've seen come out of the iOS fan sites -- and we're talking sites that obsess over which company makes the screws that hold the phones together.

My review of Instagram for Android: Great social platform. Lousy Android app. It's just not particularly good. Never mind that there are a number of phones it simply doesn't work on. As far as camera apps go, it's lacking. Sure, I could use the default camera app of whatever phone I happen to be using in conjunction with the Instagram app. But that kinda defeats the purpose.

If you want the filter effects, more power to ya. They're built into the new HTC camera. There are plenty of third-party apps that add effects. But we've got some great phones with great cameras and great displays. Dumbing down pics to a 1x1 ratio and making them look aged just doesn't do it for me.

But I'm also not going to wage a war against anyone who uses Instagram.

Project Glass

We're all still aware this is a long way off from you actually purchase, and maybe we shouldn't treat it like a real consumer product just yet, right?

That said, I do love how Google's doing things for the sake of doing them. You climb the mountain because it's there -- not because you care what bloggers are going to think of you doing it.

Samsung Nexus S 4G finally gets official ICS!

And, see, that didn't take so long, did it? <ducks>

Welcome home ...

I was on the road about 60 days in 2011. Folks sometimes ask why I just don't move to New York or San Francisco. Here's 4 minutes, 16 seconds showing why.


Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: HTC all up in here; all your SGSIII's are fake; apologies to Dropbox


Most of this article I agree with except....

It doesn't matter whether you hold a phone in your hand or not because most people can tell just by looking at it whether or not they like it. See, I for one, am NOT a big fan of 1: Piano glossy black and 2: Try color anything. It still may be a great running phone with great features but just by looking at it,(just threw up in my mouth a little), can tell I just. Don't. Like. It. I know, I can get a case, but I should be able to like a phone to my tastes with or without a case bulking it up. But this statement is soley my opinion and taste.

All true, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion. Everyone has different tastes, and some care about the way it looks more than others. I don't think it's the coolest looking phone ever (I thought the HTC Pyramid looked much sexier), but it doesn't really bother me. I'm much more worried about the specs and how it performs than how it looks.

And on a side note, thanks for expressing your opinion *and* keeping it classy :)

I agree, too many folks got their panties all twisted because of the design of the Evo 4G LTE. While I think they should have gone with a different top, I don't mind the one it has one bit. I still think its a beautifully designed piece of hardware. When people see it, they will know that its an HTC Evo. It's thin, it's sleek, and when it comes out, it will be the BEST Android phone on the market.

Sure, its entirely possible that this device will be one-upped by the Galaxy S III, but (EDIT:) some things I want to point out:

HTC habitually release their awesome phones just in time for the Summer. Samsung release their awesome phones during the beginning of Fall. Motorola seems to jump in the game during the late Summer. Also of note, the new Nexus phones are generally released just in time for Winter. So, the question you all have to ask yourself is, Do you want to have the best Phone for the Summer, Fall, or Winter?

For me, I have had the best Android Phone during the Summer for 2 years straight (Evo 4G for Summer of 2010, Evo 3D for Summer of 2011). And Summer is the perfect time to snap those great photos (Like I did on my 3D last Summer). I look forward to working with that awesome cam of the Best Android phone for Summer of 2012. Evo LTE!

Dangit Jim, I'm a phone user NOT a plumber! But my panties are twisted because that's the way Klingon females like it on me!!

Remember "Flight of the Navigator" movie. The UFO that was completely seamless. Thats what this GS3 mockup reminds me of. Alien tech at Samsung, sweet.

Look, design is just as important as whats under the hood. Plain and simple I thought I finally could have a "socially desirable" phone running Android while the sheeple of millions continue to flock to iPhone.

Yes, the 4S is so desirable that even with the iphone 5 release on the horizon, people are still going out and getting the 4S. Maybe I was asking too much in the next gen of ICS phones.


This just needs to be turned off. There is no need for them to have this level of detail to "improve thdir phones "

What are they going to do differently if I have 2 email accounts synced vs 6? What if my memory isn't full of music. Do they reduce memory in future phones?

This looks like an attempt to get back what they gave up when they swore off carrier iq.

I don't want them to be successful in any way with this automatic data gathering. I want everyone to turn it off, you too Phil. If everyone turns off this nonsense they will stop wasting their time embedding this bloatware, and battery drain and concentrate on getting timely updates out.

Google already knows how many contacts i have and how many apps i have and how much music I have, and which phone model I use. Let HTC BUY anonymized data from Google.

I'm anticipating Motorola (or maybe Googorola makes it even better). They're making good smartphones now and it's getting even better - the RAZR MAXX was more than awesome. Give it newer innards and a 720p screen (and thinner bezels) and it's flagship that is a force to be reckoned with.
I'm personally not looking forward to Samsung unless they revamp their UI. Their hardware is getting less and less luring now that everyone else is making good smartphones.
The Instagram thing...I really don't know why those iFanboys behave like that. Android phones are equally useful phones after all, and we use the app in the same way. What's the big deal? What's the bias about - Android users being poor men? "Oh, stop it." says Siri. (Though the app is indeed lousy IMHO.)
Lastly the Project Glass is really really cool. Let's just hope it won't worsen my myopia and block our view with ads.

the evo backlash is weird to me.. I personally don't think it's the right device for me (no removable battery), but I still really like the device as a whole.. So when discussing it here, & other sites my opinion is positive.. I don't trash it because 1 or 2 things aren't to my liking...

>"The EVO 4G LTE has a ridiculous name"

Well, it is actually the "Sprint HTC Evo 4G LTE"

So, just call it the "Evo LTE".

"Evo" = Sprint and also = HTC. And there is only one Evo with LTE. Done!

it's silly to say a phone is ugly and no matter what the workings of the phone are you won't buy it...a phone could be a pink heart shape with purple polka dots...if the specs match up to what i want, i'll buy it...now, if two phones are equal in every other way, and it comes down to design, then yes, design is going to matter, but until then...why?

omg! the evo 5g zte has a 1M mp zero shutter lag camera, 5ghz octo core processor, 1080p screen and other great stats! but it's pink so i won't buy it even though it's the best phone on the market...see how silly that sounds?

It's not silly, it's personal preference. For me, appearance ranks pretty high. I don't want what I would consider an ugly phone! Besides, if I toted around a pink heart shaped phone with purple polka dots, I'd lose my man card. :)

I do agree that Appearance plays a role. But if pretty and shiny were the number one priority on my list, I'd have an iPhone and be quite content with it. However, I actually care about functionality and feature set. Appearance and design is a priority to me as well. Its why I chose the Evo 3D over the Motorola Photon. E3D looked better.

I suppose it is a matter of tastes. To use an academic anaolgy, for me, a phone's specs and features are 50% of its grade, Looks and aesthetic design are 30%, and Price is 20%. Hey, this would make a great forum topic... BRB.

What? Are you flippin' serious?

It's silly to purchase something you don't like just because it's innards are stellar. Just call me crazy but I happen to want to like what I look at.

I have seen that same view of landing in PNS many times. In fact, you barely missed recording my house as you flew over GB. I have been asked many times why I would want to live here. I tell them that I am blessed to live where most people pay a lot of money to vacation for a few days!

Thanks for the video, it evoked memories of one of the most beautiful places I've ever lived.

> "to unpack, modify and redistribute someone else's app should be beyond the pale."

What about Google Wallet on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus? It doesn't cost anybody anything to give me that access (unlike the Dropbox exploit), and it's only being kept from me because Verizon is being a b&^%$.

I'm not excusing the Dropbox hackers. I agree that what they did was wrong, but I also want to point out that it's not always such a black-and-white issue.

Nice shot of 3 mile bridge. I found that the largest (among many) problems with Pensacola was the heat and the humidity. Admittedly, growing up in Perdido Key just off Gulf Beach Highway was fun as a child, learning that the PHS-EHS rivalry was the be all and end all of most people in the area suggested that my destiny was elsewhere... :)

You're the only reason I need to convince people this is the greatest Android site on earth. Jerry helps too, but Phil you're the coolest SOB no doubt. Rock out bossman

I preorderd the EVO 4G and got it on launch day.It's still rocking almost 2 years later.I just love this phone and if it was'nt for the new EVO,I would keep it.Come May the 7th I will be preordering this one.Sprint,come take my money.I don't understand all the hate on the appearance,if you don't like the way it looks,don't buy it.This is why I like Android.Your not tied down to one design like the I-Phone.There's a Android phone for every taste.So just chill and enjoy the EVO goodness.Oh by the way,what did you use to shoot that video of your landing with? Was it one of your phones and which one?

Actually, don't forget the big one - the cost of living (TAXES in NY and CA). I've spent a lot of time on the panhandle (Ft. Walton Beach/Destin) and I knew it wasn't for me when I was at a party in the middle of July at a club on the beach dripping sweat (inside or out - didn't matter) surrounded by bugs. Can't take the humidity. I'm a dry desert type of guy (going to the pool this afternoon - it's 85, clear and DRY). Why people get so wrapped up about looks - if you don't like it, DON'T BUY IT - there will be another one you might like.

A couple things:

1) Phil, you are a soothing voice among thousands of screams. Only 2 people who've earned my respect, you and Andy Samberg

2) Personally, the design of a phone is a make or brake decision for me. But I only look for sleek devices. While the back top portion isn't ideal, otherwise it's an extremely sleek AND formidable piece of tech. I would get it if I could, but I'm on AT&T so I can't haha.

3) Those lousy Korean advertisers always trying to trick the unsuspecting with alluring albeit fake invitation to highly anticipated events -___-.

4) @davemacd: There's a big difference between what happened with Dropbox and what's happening with the distribution of the Google Wallet exploit on other devices. The exploit for Google Wallet is actually helping Google's user base for the app, without unfairly providing free additional service that damages the owning company of such services, by expanding it's user basis. While with the Dropbox exploit it does just that. It's like if you were a car dealer and someone steals your advertising sheets and freely distributes them, versus stealing the actual cars themselves and freely distributing them to people. Which sounds better?

Nice landing Phil... Looks like you were on US Air… A319 or A320. The reverse thrusters sounded great on my iMac JBL stereo speakers!

I think this whole issue of design is really taking up way to much oxygen. Manufacturers don’t simply come up with designs and shove them out to an unsuspecting public. All manufacturers have focus groups that rate these things prior to going into production.

Evidentially, people must like the design forms for them to show up in the carrier stores for sale. I have an HTC Amaze 4G and feel the design factor is very good. Granted, it is not the lightest phone on the market, but then again, it is made of aluminum and has a good heft to it. That is something I personally like. As for the generic, looks like every other phone on the market design… who cares? It is a nice looking phone and performs up to my expectations. By-the-way, my expectations are very high.

Personally, the Amaze is as large a phone as I would ever purchase. Some of these phones are getting way to large and people look ridiculous walking around with a brick to their ear. Reminds me of the first Motorola portable cell phones… remember those with the battery that weighed over a pound!

Phil, love the video at the end (of your flight) - can't wait to head back to Japan in December. Thanks!

You Android apologists are not doing the cause any favors. Apple has $100 billion in the bank because of DESIGN. As a faithful non-apple, Google cloud using 13 year Sprint customer, I am holding all these companies to the design standards set by the industry leader. Praise the specs, praise the function, but do not tell me it looks ok, and to just put up with it. The new EVO should look better than it does. There is NO reason for it to look different than the stock One X, which appears to be absolutely beautiful. Phooey on Sprint and HTC for jacking it up.

Really Phil - You should be banned from flying on airplanes till you learn how to follow the rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

still have my free dropbox space. Guess dropbox decided to let it go. I do have a sense 4 rom installed on my phone.