Rain

When your fair city finds itself getting more than a foot of rain in less than a day, there's no escaping that sense of helplessness. There's not a damn thing you can do, and that's not exactly the sort of thing you can prepare for. Even the hurricanes I've been through haven't dumped that much rain. (Or if they did, the wind kept it moving enough so that the standing water didn't overtake things.)

And unlike during a hurricane, my phone wasn't much of a help. See, in a hurricane, the power and cable often are the first to go, meaning you'll be relying on mobile communications for as long as they'll last. (And since the awful hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, the carriers have been quick to tell us all about the improvements they've made to their backup systems.) But during Saturday's rain, I had power. I had Internet. And so I sat here, at my desk, keeping up on where the worst flooding was, what the radar was like, and what the next 24 hours was going to bring. (Hint: More rain.) That's not to say it's not important to have a phone around for emergencies, it's just that in this case, when we weren't exactly in imminent danger, there just wasn't much use for it. It was an odd feeling.

We'll talk some more about this later this week, but I'd urge everyone to think about their phones and tablets and how they can help get you through those days when Mother Nature decides to be a real bitch. 

Oh, look. It's starting to pour again.

The Droid RAZR HD leak

I'm pretty non-plussed by those supposed pics of the Motorola Droid RAZR HD. Let's be fair, though, all we really know is that it'll have a gianormous Kevlar-looking back, (presumably) massive non-removable battery, and the HDMI, microUSB and SIM card and (presumably) microSD card slots on the side. Assume the display is bumped to 720p wide. But after that ... what?

Motorola devices are at a bit of a disadvantage at this point in the year. We're intimately with the HTC One series. We're knee-deep in the Samsung Galaxy S III. Whatever Motorola finally brings to the table this year will be compared to those excellent platforms. And the bar has been set pretty damn high.

One way or another, though, I'm ready for Motorola to move past that post-apocalyptic industrial design. At the very least, changing things up would go a long way to making us feel like we've got something new and special, and not just another iteration of a phone we can trace back to the OG Droid.

I know, I know. I'm getting ahead of things here. We're going to give whatever Motorola releases a fair shot. On the other hand, are we really six months into the year without a major U.S. release? Figure the Google acquisition is to blame, but still. That's just nuts.

How much online storage are you entitled to?

The answer, of course, is none. Yes, it's disappointing to learn that Verizon and AT&T won't be pitching in for a free 48 gigabytes of Dropbox storage on their Galaxy S IIIs. But neither is it the end of the world. And how many of us actually use that much Dropbox space now? I know, some of you will. And, actually, now that I'm automatically uploading all of my phone's pictures to Dropbox, I'll been keeping a closer eye on things. But as it stands, I'm using 11 gigabytes of space. 

The point, though, is that promotions like this are a bonus, not an entitlement. AT&T and Verizon must have looked at the numbers and said "Know what? Most folks don't use anywhere near that much online storage, so it's just not worth the cost of us paying for the promotion." That's business, folks. 

AT&T HTC One X update

I finally gave up waiting on AT&T to let me update our review unit One X to the 1.85 software and used the leaked RUU instead. (It's the same version after all.) I'd forgotten how frustrating AT&T's update protocol can be, where you can only check for the update once a day. I get it, it saves strain on servers. But that's really no way to run a railroad. Make the update available, let me pull it down, and let me get back to business.

I'm still going through my list of gripes to see if they're fixed in 1.85, but I have a feeling this won't be the last update we see.

What's Apple doing this week?

If you need me, I'll be glued to iMore all this week as Apple's WWDC developer conference takes place in San Francisco. (At the same venue where you can find myself, Jerry and Alex in a couple weeks for Google IO.) Scoff all you want, but I'm curious as hell to see what the Evil Empire brings, especially if a larger-screened iPhone is in the works.

We've got just about the best display we've ever seen in an Android smartphone in the HTC One X. I daresay it's even better than the iPhone's display. Will Apple be able to one-up ol' HTC? Find out on Monday, I guess.

 

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From the Editor's Desk: When your phone can't do a damn thing to help ...

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"We've got just about the best display we've ever seen in an Android smartphone in the HTC One S."

Typo for the 'X'?

I think he means the one S. The S & X have the same screen just that the S is 4.3 and not 4.7. But this would also mean more Pixels PSI. If this is why if put the one S then it is a better screen then the X number wise. either way still better then CrApple.

I gotta ask... what are "pixels PSI"??? I think you're looking for PPI, or pixels per inch. The one x and one s use the same display technology but in no way are they the same. The pixel density is a very important difference that should not be downplayed, especially considering that was one of the largest advantages the iPhone screen had.

They don't use the same display tech tho, couldn't be more different in fact, and while the One S has a sub 250 ppi the One X nearly on par with the iPhone (312 vs 326) while offering a much larger display area.

You're vastly misinformed, the S has an AMOLED display, a pretty poor one at that (Pentile with low sub pixel density, etc.)... And qHD res, same as most 4.3" phones from last year. In short, it's nothing special. The One X has a SLCD2 display, 720p, with a ppi density that's pretty close to the iPhone's (both over 300 IIRC) and higher than the One S... Not to mention the best viewing angles and color reproduction of any smartphone display right now.

I don't think HTC did us any favors, X and S are similar sounding letters, people can very easily say one when they mean the other.

"On the other hand, are we really six months into the year without a major U.S. release?"

What really amazes me is the fact that manufacturers are sticking to their guns about releasing fewer android phones this year. I mean we've had the One series (and really it's just the S and X that are noteworthy) and the GSIII and that's it. It seems so much different than last year when there seemingly was a new uberphone released each week.

Its AT&T that didn't do us any favors, demanding to use the X name for the XL phone, forever leading to confusion.

Phil, that's what we in central pa went through last year with hurricane lee. We got 14 inches of rain in a day and a half. My phone kept warning us of more flooding and more rain, gets depressing.

We had a freak storm here in Houston a few years back that was so sudden that I didn't even realized it had happened until I was on my way to work and started to see all the flooded car dealerships off the freeway (thank god it was elevated). That storm dropped 9" in just under 2 hours. There was 3' to 4' of standing water throughout most of South Houston. Hope everything came out ok for you, without much damage.

Power keeps going in and out in the Marcus Pointe area and I just got an email from UWF predicting 5 more inches of rain going as high as 10 in some areas.

Being from Florida, we're kind of used to it. When you live in the oldest city, you expect poor drainage, and that's what you get. We just stay in, watch Netflix and relax.

Really, the phone "can't do a damn thing to help" hugh? Well try texting your loved ones to ensure they're alright. So the cellphone (communication device) can bring some piece of mind. Been there, done that, have the tee-shirt.

Even when voice services are down, text messaging still goes through (FYI). Hence the establishment of the emergency texting services across the nation.

Well, I for one, am very VERY excited for the arrival of the RAZR HD. Lovin' my RAZR Maxx at the moment. Best phone I've ever owned. If this phone turns out to be a super beefed up version of my phone, then I'm all in on this one. Cheers. =)

"Whatever Motorola finally brings to the table this year will be compared to those excellent platforms. And the bar has been set pretty damn high."

Holy crap Phil, have you read the One X forum lately? As an outsider looking in it seems to me that HTC lowered the bar, not raised it. At least until the first big update hits.

Indeed it did. In fact it still holds the crown for highest pixel density in the market I believe. Note I didn't say announced but currently available. HTC left the iPhone display in the rear view mirror in November of last yr.

When I'm out and about, the weather maps help guide me around rain. That application alone makes it worth my whole having a smart phone. I had to be in Pensacola twice yesterday and the weather5 helped a bunch. I see your point about being home though. Brian

A micro SD slot that's accessible from the outside without prying any lids would be a big plus for a lot of people (RAZR & RAZR HD)... All my dumb feature phones had this, none of my smartphones have (yet). :/ I agree Moto's facing an uphill battery tho, but, if they deliver a RAZR HD MAXX version at launch with a bigger battery than the One X or SGS3 AND they deliver a mostly stock looking ROM like the leaked pics we saw of their ICS update for the RAZR, then they stand a very good chance of making a splash.

They won't sell as many phones as Samsung or HTC this year regardless, but then again that's the reason they were split from the networking half of the company and made available for acquiring... Moto was in trouble financially way before Google bought them and it was all due to poor execution. They've never had a huge presence in Europe and for the last few years they haven't even managed to consistently have phones available on every US carrier.

Easiest way to lose a fight is to not show up for it... Even LG, who's never has the sexiest designs, has managed to get phones across most carriers (regardless of whether they're low end or whatever, at least they're out there and LG has a presence in the market). Moto had the Photon last year, first Sprint phone in a while, and the Atrix series on AT&T, so that's a good start at least.

I feel your pain, Phil. I'm about an hour west of you, and it hasn't been pleasant; never mind the fact that we actually DID lose power for about 2 1/2 hours. On top of that, I'm with C Spire, so my phones suck.

Well said Phil,
In times like this, keep ALL your phones charged ... you know just in case
I hope the Weather gets better soon

South Santa Rosa County (ie, just east of Pensacola)........rain, rain, and more rain. Our cup runneth over!

Sounds like it is a good time to add some weather app reviews! Skip the crap, and head straight for the good stuff! PYKL3 and RadarScope seem like obvious places to start!

Yea, Pensacola was pretty bad yesterday. I saw pictures of cars being flooded to the windshield on Airport Blvd. BTW, the evil produce company will most likely over promise and under deliver when it comes to the new iPhone. Especially if they drop Google Maps.

Motorola has seriously disappointed so far this year. The phones they released at the end of last year were pretty underwhelming when compared to the competition and now the rumored release date for the RAZR HD (good lord I had no idea they would be able to run that brand into the ground this fast) is like August? Ridiculous. It's no wonder their market share continues to slip into oblivion while HTC and Samsung rise.