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Old October 5th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why can't the OEMs get it right?

With the exception of Samsung, none of the other OEMs seem to get it right.

It seems the formula for success, based on most user input here and elsewhere, is to make a phone like this:

1. use a lightly or non-skinned Android UI, vanilla is best of course. Back that up with good support for updates to newer versions of Android.

2. offer SD card storage. Data cap limits / cloud storage / poor wifi & cellular coverage limits severely cramp phones with limited internal storage only.

3. offer removable battery (this one may not be as critical as 1 & 2), but it's one of the reasons I did not go for the HTC One series versus the S3 that I carry.

4. Don't encrypt the bootloader, or at least allow people to unlock it (another ding against HTC, why I went with Samsung). Even though my S3 is still stock, I feel much better that if I choose, I can root it and put a ROM on it should I desire.

Samsung has got it mostly right on these points. Why no other OEM follow these guidelines seems mysterious. Understand carrier bloat and all of that junk, but seeing the new LG Nexus phone rumors makes me sad (no removable battery, no SD card, plus LG's poor reputation of OS update support - even if this is a Nexus device).

Android owners would all be better off if more OEMs followed these principles. Come on LG and HTC and others, don't languish in mediocrity by crippling your Android devices in one more more key ways listed here.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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AndroidSPCS, i could no agree with you more, i was extremely disappointed to see the LG Nexus having no removable battery, which realizing the greatness of an extended battery always will probably get one now.

The battery power in that LG has to be good, otherwise the phone will be a bust.

I love Samsung, even if they just did lose a Billion to Apple, if anything i will now keep buying Samsung just because Apple did that. Honestly i enjoy what Samsung does, i just feel like they could do a little better job with there radios, since it doesnt have the greatest reception.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 12:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Samsung has the worst skinned version of android of any phone, Touchwiz is an awful UI and to be honest I'd trade removable battery (that lasts 24hrs) so I can have the unibody design of the One X.

SD Cards aren't going to be in phones much longer, the cloud is the way forward and I find 32gb more than enough on a phone. I can't speak for international versions of my phone but mine has no problems with wifi, battery or anything.

I get what you are saying about the bootloader as that is important to people who want to change and I hate bloatware too.. I wouldn't root mine as I don't feel the need to but people should be given the choice. I honestly couldn't care less about the battery or sd card though, it was a necessity to make the best looking phone on the market and I think in the near future most phones will need to be made this way to make them thinner while improving performance.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here is why and the key is the user input you reference is actually a small percentage of the market - ie not the average user:

1) The average user doesn't care about the interface long as it works. Skinning the UI is a way for the OEM to differentiate their product and possibly score points for a sale when being compared in the store

2) SD Cards are a complication for the average user. It is easier to push cloud services instead of confusing the user with file management.

3) Non-removable batteries offer greater capacity for the same amount of physical space. This translates to longer battery life which is more desireable to the average user over managing either multiple batteries or keeping it charge. It also allows for more flexible physical designs which helps make their product stand out.

4) The average user has no clue what a bootloader is or what unlocking it allows them to do. For manfacturers though it prevents them from loading unstable software and the support calls that result from it.

What it comes down to is OEM's are making phones for the average user and not you because that is where the money is. Be glad though you have a marketplace of choice that sees value in providing the features you value while at the same time catering to the different set of features your friend values.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 01:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good responses, on the cloud front I'd say it being easier than SD card is sadly not the truth.

I have Dropbox, box.com, Google Drive, Sky Drive, etc... all of them have varying limitations and UI limitations, not to mention take forever to upload and sometimes download (depending on content) to be practical right now.

For example I have 8 GB of work out videos that I use on a regular basis. I can't easily put that on the cloud because choosing the right service and then paying for it is a pain, with all of the ongoing changes in cloud storage. And even if it was on the cloud, streaming it is a pain because there is no free wifi at the gym, data caps on most carriers kill the streaming anyway because I want to preserve my data.

So despite many people claiming "cloud cloud cloud" I feel it is an empty chant with no real substance behind it for the multi-media uses that many of us need the phones for. Cloud is okay for a document here and there, but not for the vast video and music libraries that many of us use. I even use Spotify and have issues with that regularly as well, despite the premium nature of the subscription.

In addition, it seems to hurt no one to at least have the option of SD support. If you don't need it / want it, it's not going to bother you having a tiny microSD slot in the phone. But for those of us who do want it, it's going to be a huge deal. Besides putting local media on there, we can use it to do Nandroid backups, ROM swaps, and more cool things. Plus, putting media on the phone is simple as copy / paste onto the SD card, insert into phone, done, rather than using some wifi interface / network interface to copy media onto cloud or phone that takes forrreeeevvveeeerrr.

I just don't see the negative of having a SD card slot. I do see the negative of leaving it out, since it turns off a portion of buyers like myself.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 01:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The lack of a SD card is straight from Google.

Why Nexus devices have no SD card | Android Central

I'm like you, and must have one. It is why I bought the GS3 over waiting for a rumored Nexus. We are not average users, though. Not everyone has the same needs, which is why it's great to have so many choices. There will always be a device available to meet most, if not all, of our individual needs.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 01:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm getting extremely concerned that the trend seems to be lack of SD card. That is bad, very bad. If they eliminate SD card altogether from Android in the future I will have to reavaluate my allegiance to Google, since they will be no better than Windows Phone / iPhone.

Even though it might be for a smaller set of users (which I think still are the most influential of the group), having that option differentiates Android from the other competing platforms. This is why I think the S3 sells so well, compared to HTC and others.

It's also the reason I bought 2 Samsung Galaxy tab 2 7.0 tablets (damn long name), over the Nexus 7 tablet, because of the SD card support, rear camera, and infrared transmitter.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 02:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have the HTC EVO 4G LTE and I don't buy the removable battery BS. The battery that came with the original EVO, sucked but the device it's a non factor. Also, when you're at work, how much are you really using your phone? (unless it is your main business phone) If you are you have power source to connect to via the usb on your pc.

The HTC EVO 4G on Sprint had a better battery than the HTC One Line and a SC Card. Besdies with Google Drive and other cloud services, how important is the SD card?
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Old October 5th, 2012, 02:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The non-removable battery is simply limiting a feature that otherwise could prove useful to many people.

I do not work at a traditional office. Instead I work at client sites, and travel from location to location. I am not a cubicle worker that has the luxury to plug in my phone all day. If that were the case, then I wouldn't care if the battery only lasted 30 minutes, because it would be on the charger all day.

The lack of removable / replaceable battery is a major deal for some people, like myself, even though I have a plethra of car chargers.

Same thing with the microSD card. I forgot to mention another major benefit of the microSD card.

When I used the HTC Evo 3D, in stock form, I experienced a black screen of death. Only a factory reset would bring the phone back to life. Unfortunately I had used the internal storage to store some photos / videos, and after the reset, all of that media was wiped out. Had I stored it on external SD card, that information would still be recoverable by simply pulling out the SD card and reading it on a different device / PC.

By not having an external storage, you place your valuable photos and media at the mercy of the Gods, should your phone get some serious damage that requires a factory reset, or is non-functional at all (dropped in water, bricked, etc...). External SD cards at least offer you a chance at saving your data in these scenarios.

This major benefit plus all the other numerous benefits mentioned above should sway most reasonable people as to why SD card support is important, and removable battery too.

The S3 is pretty slim, does not sacrifice form factor to have a removable battery or SD card. So why should Android users have to suffer and be limited in their choices?

There is NO proof that non-removable battery / lack of SD card provides any compelling benefits on Android, especially if a user doesn't care if the option is there or not. In these cases, then why defend the limitations to those who want a removable battery or SD card support? I can't understand that.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 02:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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By the way, you can unlock the HTC bootloader through a service at htcdev.com.

That still leaves encrypted security on, but all that means is that you have do old school kernel and radio flashing, rather than through recovery.

Agree about the sd card, I sport 64 GB in my EVO 4G LTE (the Sprint One X).
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Old October 5th, 2012, 02:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidSPCS View Post
With the exception of Samsung, none of the other OEMs seem to get it right.

It seems the formula for success, based on most user input here and elsewhere, is to make a phone like this:

1. use a lightly or non-skinned Android UI, vanilla is best of course. Back that up with good support for updates to newer versions of Android.

2. offer SD card storage. Data cap limits / cloud storage / poor wifi & cellular coverage limits severely cramp phones with limited internal storage only.

3. offer removable battery (this one may not be as critical as 1 & 2), but it's one of the reasons I did not go for the HTC One series versus the S3 that I carry.

4. Don't encrypt the bootloader, or at least allow people to unlock it (another ding against HTC, why I went with Samsung). Even though my S3 is still stock, I feel much better that if I choose, I can root it and put a ROM on it should I desire.

Samsung has got it mostly right on these points. Why no other OEM follow these guidelines seems mysterious. Understand carrier bloat and all of that junk, but seeing the new LG Nexus phone rumors makes me sad (no removable battery, no SD card, plus LG's poor reputation of OS update support - even if this is a Nexus device).

Android owners would all be better off if more OEMs followed these principles. Come on LG and HTC and others, don't languish in mediocrity by crippling your Android devices in one more more key ways listed here.
i agree with points 2 and 3... and some what 4.

the general public dont need to get deep into the phone.. they may do more harm that good... and who will they blame when the phone starts to act funny?? the OEM!!! saying how this phone sucks and what-not.
I do think they should not completely lock it down... have options for users to root the device without fear of bricking it.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 03:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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SD Cards aren't going to be in phones much longer, the cloud is the way forward and I find 32gb more than enough on a phone. I can't speak for international versions of my phone but mine has no problems with wifi, battery or anything.
The lack of an SD card is the reason why I rejected the HTC One S. 16 GB isn't enough and there was no way to increase it. I wanted to put all of my music on my phone and 16 GB wasn't enough. The cloud isn't going to help if I want to listen to my music while on a flight or if I'm out of the country.

I don't have a problem with skins in general. It's just what your personal preference is. I like the HTC Sense skin a lot, but not TouchWiz. I really missed it when going from my Desire Z to the SGS3.

A removable battery is OK, but I need a way to charge my spare battery. I used to have a charging stand for my phone which also allows you to charge your spare battery. It seems these days, the only way to charge your battery is to put it into a phone. Maybe the wireless charging units will make it more convenient to have a spare battery.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 03:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by AndroidSPCS View Post

There is NO proof that non-removable battery / lack of SD card provides any compelling benefits on Android, especially if a user doesn't care if the option is there or not. In these cases, then why defend the limitations to those who want a removable battery or SD card support? I can't understand that.
I would say the unibody design is a HUGE benefit of non-removable battery. The One X is a sexy looking device. To many users Fashion > Function. They don't care about having that battery swap capability. Not to mention....the dreaded iPhone has done just fine without either SD card or removable battery.

We're not the average user. If the One X had those two features, I would have bought it in a heartbeat over the GS3. Sadly, no go.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 03:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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While I love the look of stock android, i think the average person on the street doesn't. I showed my rooted desire hd with stock jellybean on it to a couple of my mates with the same phone but branded, and they hated it. Hated how basic it looked etc. I'm aware there's sense rom's but that's not the point. I think people actually like these shitty looking skins manurfacturers put over android. While I love stock android, i think we're in the minority.

SD cards on the other hand, need them. Like the op said, cloud is so slow when you wanna play music or whatever. Putting a document on the cloud is okay, but not as a substitution for storage.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 04:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Let me introduce you to a term here - cost/benefit analysis. Putting in an SDCARD means making the space for it, installing the circuitry for it, and implementing the software to support it. Then of course it becomes another possible point of failure that requires customer and warranty support.

By putting in a non-removeable battery they can use what are smaller probably cheaper batteries. They eliminate the need for the user to open the device and potentially damage it in the process. Because the battery is smaller they can either possibly support a more desirable feature or simply save the weight.

Locking the bootloader prevents the average user from hosing the device that results in customer support calls.

And as I mentioned skinning the device is all about differentiating so stands out to make that sale.

Now granted all of this may only cost a few dollars per device, but when you add it up across millions of devices it starts affecting the bottom line which is the ultimate goal for the company. If their research shows they can save money by shaving these features and still sell well to their target market, why wouldn't they?

And this isn't about defending them but explaining why the market is going the way it is. The answer is always money. If the market says phones lacking these features are acceptable then you will see more of them. If the market says they really want phone with these features, then you'll see more phones with them.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 03:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
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The lack of an SD card is the reason why I rejected the HTC One S. 16 GB isn't enough and there was no way to increase it. I wanted to put all of my music on my phone and 16 GB wasn't enough. The cloud isn't going to help if I want to listen to my music while on a flight or if I'm out of the country.

I don't have a problem with skins in general. It's just what your personal preference is. I like the HTC Sense skin a lot, but not TouchWiz. I really missed it when going from my Desire Z to the SGS3.

A removable battery is OK, but I need a way to charge my spare battery. I used to have a charging stand for my phone which also allows you to charge your spare battery. It seems these days, the only way to charge your battery is to put it into a phone. Maybe the wireless charging units will make it more convenient to have a spare battery.
You can buy a universal external battery charger. I have one, and it works great on all kinds of phone batteries. Here is an example.
Amazon.com: Anker Multi-Purpose Universal Rapid Cell phone Battery Charger: Cell Phones & Accessories
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Old October 6th, 2012, 10:25 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Honestly, I really don't mind the skins, or the external sd storage as long as there is ample space on the device (nothing less than 32gb), but the removeable battery is very inportant to me. As I am a heavy user and I charge a lot, about 2-3x a day, or have my phone plugged while hotspot tethering, I've had several instances where batteries are swelling on me. This is a problem with non removeable batteries, and is dangerous. With removeable ones I can check the batteries once I pass the 10mo age if they are starting to swell or leak.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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You can buy a universal external battery charger. I have one, and it works great on all kinds of phone batteries. Here is an example.
Amazon.com: Anker Multi-Purpose Universal Rapid Cell phone Battery Charger: Cell Phones & Accessories
I don't think I know anyone who owns such a device or carries around a spare battery these days. Up to about 8 years ago, I had an external charger for my cell phone batteries. The original Motorola flip phone I used had chargers that only charged the battery while it is not attached to the phone. My LG phone had a charger that you can stick the phone in or a spare battery. Since then, all phones are charged by connecting the charger cable right into the phone.

Nowadays, the only extra charging accessory I use is a car charger. I find that is good enough. I also find that it is easy to find a charger almost anywhere I go as micro-USB chargers are pretty well standard everywhere. I don't recall every feeling I would like to have a spare battery with me like I did 10-15 years ago.

Another reason why I used spare batteries a decade ago and not now is that back then, battery technology isn't as advanced. Fifteen years ago, the standard batteries are nickel-metal hydride. They had a bad property where their lifespan shortens if you do not wait for them to be fully discharged before charging. I would keep the battery in the phone until it dies and then swap and charge my old battery. Usually it takes days before the battery runs out of charge.

Modern phone batteries do not need to be discharged before you charge them. I would just charge my phone every night regardless of how much or little charge it has remaining. A full charge will usually last a whole day for me. On those rare occasions where I need to charge my phone part way through the day, I can always do so in the car or somewhere else. A spare battery and extra charger just doesn't provide enough of a benefit for me at least these days.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 03:04 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidSPCS View Post
With the exception of Samsung, none of the other OEMs seem to get it right.

It seems the formula for success, based on most user input here and elsewhere, is to make a phone like this:

1. use a lightly or non-skinned Android UI, vanilla is best of course. Back that up with good support for updates to newer versions of Android.
Did you say "Samsung"? Best thing I ever did with a Galaxy S, was to install CyanogenMod.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 06:38 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danaj View Post
You can buy a universal external battery charger. I have one, and it works great on all kinds of phone batteries. Here is an example.
Amazon.com: Anker Multi-Purpose Universal Rapid Cell phone Battery Charger: Cell Phones & Accessories
One question about this battery charger. Looks like you can put a battery in the slot provided by the charger and also plug the phone into the charger using the stock charging/sync cable. That way you charge the phone and an extra battery. Is that possible?
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Old October 7th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Here is why and the key is the user input you reference is actually a small percentage of the market - ie not the average user:

2) SD Cards are a complication for the average user. It is easier to push cloud services instead of confusing the user with file management.
Nah, confuse the average user with jargon like "push cloud services" instead. or things like "We're sorry. Google Music is currently only available in the United States." or why they've got a huge phone bill from their carrier for unlimited* mobile data overage charges.

I'm pretty sure most non-techy normal users are familiar with SD-cards. especially in their digital cameras. Even my father managed that one. Certainly easier than trying to explain to him, why he should spend two weeks uploading his 30GB of MP3s to the internet, instead of keeping them on his PC or on the SD-card in his phone. But he won't be able to listen to them when he's on a plane, ocean cruise or in a foreign country etc, And that he should be careful about how much of his music he listens to, because it could get rather expensive.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #22 (permalink)
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One question about this battery charger. Looks like you can put a battery in the slot provided by the charger and also plug the phone into the charger using the stock charging/sync cable. That way you charge the phone and an extra battery. Is that possible?
Yes it is possible I have one, removable batteries benifit those of us who rarely sit still long enough to charge their battery in one shot (which is best for your batt. reguardless of its type). SD cards allow for not just "local" storage but make it possible to use those files reguardless of your current network status, I use cloud storage like an attic or basement don't use it for things you need or want instant access to.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 01:00 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Honestly, I really don't mind the skins, or the external sd storage as long as there is ample space on the device (nothing less than 32gb), but the removeable battery is very inportant to me. As I am a heavy user and I charge a lot, about 2-3x a day, or have my phone plugged while hotspot tethering, I've had several instances where batteries are swelling on me. This is a problem with non removeable batteries, and is dangerous. With removeable ones I can check the batteries once I pass the 10mo age if they are starting to swell or leak.
What device? I find a lot of people (not you) are comparing the battery usage to old phone models or making assumptions without having used a newer models such as the HTC EV) 4G, Samsung Galaxy SIII.

As I stated earlier, i had an original EVO and the battery performance was horrible, but my new EVO 4G LTE, the battery is amazing. Yesterday I went out at 9am, Heavy texting, tweeted, FourSquare, heavy searching on Google maps, internet, taking pictures, reading books and played a few games. My phone was good until 9:30pm and I still had 17% battery left.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 01:29 PM   #24 (permalink)
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When Android starts taking away all of our choices, for whatever reason, cost, convenience, asthetics, etc, we might as well just go with Apple.
Just my opinion.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 12:03 AM   #25 (permalink)
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When Android starts taking away all of our choices, for whatever reason, cost, convenience, asthetics, etc, we might as well just go with Apple.
Just my opinion.
Manufacturers will do whatever it takes to make the most profit per unit. They will change if enough people complain, but manufacturers make the cloud seem so attractive, the public goes for it.

My theory is many people are attracted to the cloud without considering how limiting it is.

We need more people complaining. That is how things get done and it is how we change manufacturer's minds.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 12:12 AM   #26 (permalink)
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there is a large portion of the market that dont leave covered areas.. and if they do, it aint for long. Could services are a good solution for many.

i think...privacy is the only major hurdle for could services. I myself only use it for work. Data is important.. but only to the company. My private info.. i try to keep off the net.



because Apple already has the market cornered for .. locked down walled gardens. and they make a good product for it... with a very loyal following. No new contenders into this market will do well.
so, google will not try to follow apple into that walled garden. they can not let OEMs take away android's biggest differentiators.. choices!

if one OEM drops SDcard support... but another still offers it.. then the market forces (supply and demand) will do its thing.. and i am sure the superior choice will win out.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 12:58 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I agree on many of your points.

But, I do like heavily skinned ROMs like Sense. They might not be vanilla, but they work great (A custom Sense ROM is great- it's got beauty, and everything works better than how I think vanilla does, and if tweaked right, it'll be extremely slick).

More things to add:

Some more things: make a solid phone: one of the reasons I don't go with samsung, I don't want a phone with a plastic body. I want a solid aluminum casing like on my I4g, and I want to be able to drop it on solid concrete from 5 feet while running down the stairs, and have only a tiny nick on the aluminum backing, and a little on the screen (done that multiple times with my I4g, no issues at all)

Don't make phones with screens larger than 4.7 inches. I think 4.3 is perfect, YMMV, but seriously, the galaxy note is crazy. Even 4.7 inches is way to big IMO. 4.5 inches is another good size.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 09:24 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by KENNECTED View Post
What device? I find a lot of people (not you) are comparing the battery usage to old phone models or making assumptions without having used a newer models such as the HTC EV) 4G, Samsung Galaxy SIII.

As I stated earlier, i had an original EVO and the battery performance was horrible, but my new EVO 4G LTE, the battery is amazing. Yesterday I went out at 9am, Heavy texting, tweeted, FourSquare, heavy searching on Google maps, internet, taking pictures, reading books and played a few games. My phone was good until 9:30pm and I still had 17% battery left.
No phone battery will last that long if you use it to tether to your laptop for say like 5hrs a day. I use it as my primary internet connection on the go. Besides, it doesn't matter whether or not it lasts through me the day or it doesn't. What's important to me is I am able to check the health of the battery regularly. You can't see it swelling if its a non-removeable one.
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