HTC One (M8)

HTC is trying once more to release a flagship phone, the HTC One (M8).

It may not outsell Samsung and the relentless marketing sure to follow the feature-rich Galaxy S5, but HTC executives say they don’t care. They say they just want to build a phone for people who like nice things.

I can still remember sitting at a red light, revving the A4’s engine and just listening to the car purr. I felt powerful. Invincible. I don’t know if my smartphone can ever make me feel quite that way, but the One’s a full step closer than any other Android phone out there.

I can't wait for next year's model.

The new One is great. Feels good in the hands. Works like a charm. HTC sense is better than ever, but still ridiculous compared to stock Android. In a nutshell, it's the best not-stock-Android phone you can buy on the market right now.

And... it still won't be enough. HTC still did not make the perfect Android phone for release to the market, and that's essentially what's going to kill them. 

It seems like HTC did not improve the camera that much in this new model, which is a real shame. It's still a 4 Megapixel camera with all its bells and whistles, with a second lens up top for better optimization of photos after the fact. But compared to even the Nexus 5, the camera is still pretty lackluster. Battery life has improved, which is a big plus, but that camera seems to be a big deal breaker for many people (including me, if I were in the market for a new phone). HTC has come so far, so close, to creating a perfect Android phone - it just seems like they come up short every time they make a new phone. They cannot even try to outsell - much less compete with - the S5 without doing so.

Pierce mentions in the end of a great One (M8) review that he "can't wait until next year's model", but at this point in the game, will there even be a next year for HTC? All of their financial woes and lackluster sales are certainly not going to get them into the black anytime soon. 

A shame that HTC will eventually, undoubtedly fail if they don't get acquired in a way. I sincerely doubt they're making money off of this new flagship model. For a company struggling financially, it's not a good sign. And even then, it's still not safe for them. Just look at what happened to Palm and the Pre. 

 

App.net Early Developer Accounts Are Expiring. Will They Pay Again?

If you are like me and joined the site in the first few weeks, you probably got an email a little while ago warning you that your account is soon expiring. I joined in August of 2012, but ADN gave me and many others six extra months for being early adopters. Thus, my account expired in March rather than August of last year.

I won't be one of those who will renew the service. I had forgotten about App.net for the most part; I'd post the occasional blog post or anything I would find worthy of posting, but after less than six months I stopped using the service on a daily basis, and haven't posted since November.

The majority of people who have heard of App.net probably aren't surprised to see that the service is on the decline. No one had realistic expectations that the service would overtake Twitter or Facebook, but with the amount of funding it got, many believed it could turn out to be something good.

So, what went wrong? Did anything go wrong? Is App.net a failure?

Apple's iPhone 5c 'failure flop' outsold Blackberry, Windows Phone and every Android flagship in Q4

So, about that iPhone 5c being a failure...

From the constant harping about the supposed “failure” of Apple’s iPhone 5c, you’d think the phone is selling poorly. The reality is that middle tier model, while dramatically less popular than Apple’s top of the line iPhone 5s, still managed to outsell every Blackberry, every Windows Phone and every Android flagship in the winter quarter, including Samsung’s Galaxy S4.

There have been plenty of rumblings in the past few months indicating that the iPhone 5c may not be selling as well as Apple intended it to be - but the thing is, since the 5s is selling so well, people believe the 5c to be a failure. But in fact, it's selling just fine. I've probably seen more 5c phones around than the 5s. 

Amazon Prime Is Still A Steal At $99/year

Amazon has confirmed what has been speculated for a while: Amazon Prime is going up in price from $79 a year to $99 a year. A lot of people are up in arms due to this price change, and some are even threatening not to renew their Prime account. 

My family and I use Amazon extensively, so one could say that $100 a year would cover our two-day shipping costs pretty well, as seen below:

A lot of people have taken Amazon's $79 pricetag for granted, and Amazon noted this in their email to all Prime customers earlier today. Shipping prices have gone up since they introduced the service in 2005, but the price has remained at $79 the entire time.

For some people, $100 might be too much. For some it's still a bargain. It all depends on how much you buy from Amazon. For my family and I, $99 alone would be enough to cover just one month of orders in terms of shipping costs. For many things on Amazon, two-day shipping costs are pretty steep without Prime, so you not only get free shipping, you get it quick. A lot of people don't realize the cost of shipping (that is, the gouging that companies do with it - not its intrinsic value).

Amazon Prime was a steal at $79/year. At $99, it's still a steal for the vast majority of Prime subscribers already using it. The free two-day shipping, the video streaming service which may come of actual value eventually, the music storage service, and the rumored music subscription service. All for 99 bucks a year.  

iPhone 5c Thoughts

Today, Apple announced what many people have already been speculating for months: two new designs for what is now the non-existent iPhone 5. They started off with the introduction of the iPhone 5C - a colorful version of the iPhone 5. It's packed with the standard A6 chip, the usual 8MP camera, and LTE. All seen on the iPhone 5.

What obviously stands out are the wide variety of colors - white, pink, yellow, blue, and green. These are all very light, iOS7-esque colors, and each will fit in with the iOS 7 wallpaper out of the box (if you buy a blue iPhone 5c, the wallpaper on the phone out of the box will be the same blue. It actually fits in really nicely). 

Not only that, but you can further customize your 5c to your liking using Apple's new cases. They are $29 a pop, and are offered in the same exact colors - with the addition of black.    

WTF is this?

WTF is this?

While I personally like the design - though not the colors - of the iPhone 5c, we need to have a serious discussion about these cases. What is this? They look like crocs. Crocs are bad. Additionally, look towards the bottom: you see "hon" exposed (It's the "iPhone" that's been so famously attached to every iPhone made) partially but not completely. And/or not completely covered either. When I noticed this, it completely ruined the whole design of the cases, and every time I look at them, the first thing I see is the ridiculous HON. Also, those holes are prone to so much dust collection & other debris, I'm already sneezing at the thought. 

iPhone 5Cheap? Nope. 

The iPhone 5c was never meant to be a cheap alternative, however. That is just what the rumor mill told you it was going to be. The 5c starts at $99 for the 16GB version, but unlocked it still remains the full $549 for the 16GB version (and $100 more respectively as you double the GBs). So surely this isn't really meant for emerging markets as we thought in the previous few months. This is simply a colorful, more personalized alternative, additionally to those who want a slightly cheaper entry price. It isn't exactly very friendly with international pricing, either. Apple is hoping that it becomes a hit in China, who gets it on day one. 

All in all, the iPhone 5c is something that will definitely cater to a younger audience. All of the vibrant colors - with vibrant cases - just seems like the hip thing teenagers will dig these days. And there's nothing wrong with that - it's not meant for us geeks.