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.

VPN Deals: Lifetime license for $16, monthly plans at $1 & more

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.