With almost 150,000 apps in the iTunes App Store, it shouldn't come as a surprise that some apps have slipped under my radar. Though it's embarrassing to admit, some of my great app discoveries happened only because I read about them long after their release, or I had a friend pull out their iPhone and say, "You mean you've never tried 'X'?" But I think that's part of what is so fun about owning an iPhone: you virtually never stop discovering new things you can do with it even if the app isn'… Read more
Market research firm IDC on Thursday reported a record level of smartphone shipments for the fourth quarter of 2009, when vendors shipped 54.4 million devices. That's up 39 percent from the same quarter a year ago, the company said.
The handset company with the largest growth in 2009 was Apple. Apple's unit shipments for the year were 25.1 million, up from 13.8 million units in 2008. The company's market share rose from 9.1 percent in 2008 to 14.4 percent in 2009, an 81.9 percent year-over-year increase.
That represents the largest year-over-year … Read more
Greetings, sports fans. We're proud to present another cell phone Prizefight. This time we threw the iPhone 3GS into the ring with the new kid on the smartphone block, the Google Android-equipped Nexus One from HTC.
It goes without saying that each of these handsets packs a powerful punch. The iPhone excels at multimedia and is compatible with thousands of apps, but the Nexus One counters with a fast processor and multitasking. And just this week the Nexus One gained multitouch support in a software update.
We promise you: this is an epic battle. So, to see it for … Read more
Welcome to the 411, my Q&A column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have the same questions, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Do you think there's any chance of Verizon carrying the LG BL40 chocolate? I don't get why a phone would be released in Europe and Asia but not in the States. Thanks.--Ana, via e-mail
Sorry Ana, but I don't think we will ever see the LG BL40 Chocolate offered here in the States. Verizon does offer a scaled-down version of the Chocolate in the form of the LG Chocolate Touch, but it's really not the same phone at all. If you really have to have it, you could probably get an unlocked version and try it with an AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card, but I can't guarantee you will get the phone's full functionality. Some cell phone manufacturers are better about bringing their global phones to the States, like Nokia and sometimes Sony Ericsson, but others prefer to make and sell a phone specific to a particular region, usually with help from the carriers. I'm sure that's not a satisfactory answer, but that's currently how the cell phone market works.… Read more
I usually write about two iPhone apps every week, but this week is special. This week, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars came out for the iPhone and it is worth every cent of the $9.99 price tag. Though it is certainly not what I would call a family game, it is done so well that serious gamers should head to the iTunes Store immediately. I want to reiterate here: this is not a family game. Gratuitous violence, bad language, drugs, theft, and murder, are all commonplace in Chinatown Wars--in other words, we strongly suggest you don't buy it … Read more
If you've been following the latest Mac news, you already know that Apple is having a special event later this month. Most people believe that we will finally see the long-awaited Apple tablet--a multitouch device that's rumored to fall between the form factor of the iPod Touch and Apple's smallest MacBook laptops. Complete with touch-screen capabilities and rumored compatibility with iPhone apps, the new Apple tablet could be the mobile device a lot of people have been waiting for. Rick Broida wrote a post today saying iPhone OS 4.0 is imminent and it looks like he … Read more
Camera accessory maker Tiffen's new Steadicam gadget for the iPhone 3GS should have some heads turning--that is, if you bring it to your next barbecue or family event. The "Smoothee," as Tiffen calls it, looks similar to a Jai Alai mitt and lets you strap an iPhone onto a platform that's kept stable by a counterweight. As you move one way, the attached weight counters your actions. The setup promises smoother video shots from shots that would otherwise be made herky-jerky by sudden body movements.
In addition to being hand-held, users can disconnect the phone-holding mount … Read more
Rumors cropped up last week that Apple had put down a big order for LED flashes, something useful for one thing, and one thing only: a digital camera. It doesn't take much to figure that the next iteration of the iPhone is likely to be packing one of these, since many of the latest cell phones--including HTC's recently released Nexus One, now have them included.
That got me thinking: how does the Nexus One's 5-megapixel camera and its eye-searing flash stack up against the 3-megapixel flashless camera module of the now-aging iPhone 3GS? Is the ability to take bigger and better-lit photos worth touting as the end-all, be-all feature among smartphone cameras? The easiest way to figure that out is to run a few tests.
Full disclosure here: I'm not a camera-testing expert. I am an avid photographer with a handful of pro gear, as well as a few high school and college photography courses under my belt. I'm not even going to try to get into things like testing dynamic range, color sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio, etc. So instead, I've set up the two cameras to take essentially the same photo in various situations, to see how the two stack up.
All photos in this comparison were taken within the same minute of each other, while balanced from a leveled tripod to maintain the same height and distance. Images were then transferred directly from the devices for analysis. All comparison shots are presented side by size, at full quality, without any recompression or conversion. Any timings were done with a stopwatch.… Read more
LAS VEGAS--Regular readers of the CNET Car Tech Blog will likely be familiar with the Alpine iDA-X305, one of our favorite car stereos for iPod users that distinguishes itself by completely omitting a CD drive. Besides adding an "S" to the end of its model name, the new iDA-X305S is a real evolution of the previous model, adding Pandora Internet Radio support to the mix.
The iDA-X305S is able to control the Pandora app on a connected iPhone 3G or 3GS, streaming your user-created radio stations over a 3G data connection and out of your vehicle's speakers. … Read more
On a recent trip to the California desert, with access to both a BlackBerry Storm and an iPhone 3GS, I had a chance to test Verizon's vaunted claims about better coverage.
Anza Borrego Desert State Park, about two hours south of Palm Springs by car, is California's largest state park and covers roughly 1,000 square miles of desert. In other words, it's mostly raw, but stunningly beautiful, wilderness. Over the years, I have often made day trips (alone or with friends/family) to boulder up washes (aka arroyos) in the surrounding mountains (see photo).
The largest town in the area, Borrego Springs (the 2000 census put the population at about 2,500), is famous for having rock-solid 2G (and increasingly 3G) coverage for most major carriers. In fact, in the spot shown in the photo (embedded in this post), which was taken after an hour of bouldering up a wash just west of Borrego Springs, there is no hiccup in service.
But Borrego Springs, surrounded by a desert (figuratively) of dead zones, is the exception. Outside of town, in places like the outback of Coyote Canyon or in the desert east of the Shelter Valley area (part of Julian, Calif.), it's very hit or miss.… Read more