BlackBerry 10 Coming January 30th With 15,000 Apps to Choose From

BlackBerry 10
BlackBerry 10

Research in Motion, aka RIM, the company behind the beleaguered BlackBerry, has officially announced that it will bring its latest BlackBerry to the world on January 30. Official press invites have gone out for the unveiling, and there are plenty of rumors and leaks about what we will and won’t see in the new revamped BlackBerry.

In case you haven’t been keeping up, BlackBerry 10, or BB 10, is RIM’s completely revamped proprietary operating system designed specifically for BlackBerry. As part of the release, RIM will also introduce complementary smartphones designed to run the new OS.

BlackBerry faces a familiar problem: it needs apps. One of the iPhone’s biggest selling points is both the variety and volume of apps available for download. Android, while initially lagging, has caught up with a very respectable selection. The less popular operating systems, like the Windows and BlackBerry, have fewer apps because they have a smaller customer base, and a smaller customer base because they don’t have a huge app selection. It’s a vicious cycle that can directly impact the success or failure of RIM’s risky new launch.

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Enter to Win a Free Smartphone from AT&T’s #HappyGiveaways Contest

AT&T Smartphone GiveawayOur sponsor AT&T is offering a great holiday treat this week: each day between today and December 17 they’re giving away one smartphone from their holiday lineup. They’re calling it #HappyGiveaways, and the entire contest will take place on Twitter. Each day at 2PM Eastern, @ATTPremier will announce a question they want you to answer on Twitter. You’ll have till midnight to answer, and even if you don’t win it’ll start all over the next day! All you have to do is follow their account (@ATTPremier) and answer the question, and include the hashtags #HappyGiveaways #spon.

For more info on how to enter, follow AT&T Premier’s Twitter account.

Comparing the New HTC One X+ and HTC One VX Phones

HTC One X+ for AT&T
HTC One X+

HTC has released 2 new Android phones in time for end of the year tech upgrades and holiday shopping, the One X+ and the One VX. The naming is a little confusing, but they’re similar phones, with the One X+ sitting at the top end of the range in both price and features, and the VX sitting somewhere closer to the middle.

The HTC One X+ may be familiar to you as an upgrade of the old One X. The form is basically the same, but HTC has gone ahead and upgraded the specs to put the One X+ out ahead as the flagship model. Like the original, the One X+ features a large 4.7 inch screen, molded black plastic exterior and Beat Audio tech. The weight of the phone stays almost the same too at 4.76 ounces.

One huge upgrade is the insane 64 GB of built-in storage, though there’s no SD card slot. Given that most phones feature 16GB of storage, and the iPhone has never had an SD card option, it shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of users. There’s also an upgrade to a quad-core processor, and a battery upgrade to go with it. A lot of the improvements in the experience of the One X+ come from the upgraded OS: the One X+ ships with the latest Android OS, Jellybean 4.1. It also has HTC’s proprietary user interface called Sense on top of the plain Android, and that gets an upgrade here too.

HTC One VX for AT&T

The One VX may look very similar to the One X+, but under the hood it’s just not quite as fast or strong. The screen size is slightly smaller, at 4.5 inches instead of 4.7, and the camera is only 5MP, instead of the One X+’s 8MP. The VX is noticeably thicker than the One X+, but actually weighs slightly less (though the difference is barely noticeable). It still features a dual core processor, 8 GB of internal storage, and the previous version of Android, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

What about the difference in price though? The X+ sells for a contract price of $199 from AT&T. The VX is way cheaper, at $50 with an AT&T contract. At that price difference, the VX may be worth it to folks who value saving money over the latest specs: after all, the VX is still a solid phone with good specs. On the other hand, the One X+ is one of the top Android phones on the market right now. Both could be a great device for the right user.

More information on the One VX here, and more information on the One X+ here.

Black Friday Shopping Guide: High-End Smartphones

Black Friday isn’t usually about phones: generally there’s a contract price on a network that doesn’t change during the shopping extravaganza. But a smartphone can still make a great gift. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick comparison of the top of the line smartphones: you may be surprised how similar they seem.

And that’s somewhat true, except size does matter. Just a quarter of an inch in length makes a huge difference in terms of how a phone feels. Generally, those gigantic phones may not be the best for someone who’s always out and about, or who is mostly interested in the “phone” part of smartphone. Also consider whether the phone will play nicely with the recipient’s other devices: a Windows 8 phone will work well with a new Windows 8 laptop or ultrabook.

Mostly though, consider whether a phone is the right gift, since it involves a continued outlay of cash to stay on a cellular and data plan. If you know that a person needs an upgrade, or is on your plan, or can handle the commitment, a phone can be a great gift!

Check out the chart below, and let us know if you have any question in the comments. All of the phones are shown with a contract price (we used AT&T because they’re our partner), except the Google Nexus. The Google Nexus is sold unlocked through the Google Play store, not on contract at AT&T. 

Black Friday Smartphone Shopping Guide Comparison Chart

Windows Phone 8X by HTC Launches Today Starting at $99 on AT&T

HTC Windows Phone 8X
HTC Windows Phone 8X in California Blue, Starting at $99

If you’re still not sure about Windows 8 mobile devices, it may be time to change your mind. Ever since we first got a chance to see it, we’ve loved the design of  the HTC’s Windows Phone 8X. Now that the phone is available from AT&T we’re loving the price, too: the 8GB model is only $99 with a 2-year contract, and the 16GB is only $199. The HTC Windows Phone 8X is a great deal for customers who want top-quality design and performance, but don’t want to spend a ton to get it.

We love that this device isn’t one of the giant screen “mega-phones,” but instead has the right form and factor and size to be truly practical and comfortable. It’s light and sleek, but the 4.3″ display is big enough to make using the device a fun experience. But it’s not like the device sacrifices specs to be light and thin, either. Both model will boast impressive specs, including a Qualcomm dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, an 8MP camera, BeatsAudio technology for superior sound and a 341ppi “Super LCD” screen.

The 8GB model will be available in either California Blue or Limelight Yellow, while the 16GB model comes exclusively in California Blue. Want to see it in action? Watch our video below.

Click to here to order now from AT&T.

$99 Nokia Lumia 920, $49 Lumia 820 Pre-Order Begins Today

Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920 in yellow & red

Pre-orders for both the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820 begin today at AT&T. Amazingly, the insanely fast and feature-rich Lumia 920 is available for only $99 (contract price), while the 820 will go for $49.99 (also contract price).

Available exclusively on AT&T, the Lumia 920 is without a doubt the Nokia new flagship device for the holiday season. In the past few years the company has lost ground to manufacturers like Apple and Samsung, and the Lumia 920 is Nokia’s comeback effort. And it’s a strong one. Ton win back users, they’re offering a great deal: a premium phone at a budget-conscious price.

The Lumia 920 is all about offering lots of features. First of all, it’s got 32 GB of space, which is unheard of in a top of the line smartphone under $200. There are turn-by-turn directions. You can use the touchscreen with gloves on. And it can be charged wirelessly with a charging plate, without any additional software or bulky cases.

The build is serious too, with 4G LTE, a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and a 4.5″ inch display. And like previous Nokia offerings, they’ve put a lot of work into the 8.7 MP camera. There’s a Carl Zeiss lens, and proprietary camera technology called PureView that allows for better image stabilization for low-light photos. Read more on the specs and features of the Lumia 920 here.

And colors. Let’s not forget about the colors here. Cyan, red, yellow, black, and white. The design factor of the Lumia 920 is definitely bold, and is interesting after several years of mostly black and glass phones.

Click here for complete specs and pre-order information.

For the more budget-conscious, Nokia is also offering the Lumia 820, a more mid-range version of the 920. It will run off the same Snapdragon Processor, but feature a slightly smaller screen at 4.3 inches, and only comes with 8GB of internal memory. Still, it’s a very powerful smartphone for only $49.99. Click here for more information and to pre-order the Nokia Lumia 820.

First Look: The HTC Windows Phone 8X on AT&T

HTC Windows Phone 8X
HTC Windows Phone 8X

Despite the East Coast being completely shut down by Hurricane Sandy, Microsoft is going full steam ahead with their Windows Phone 8 announcement today in San Francisco. One of the phones that we’re finally allowed to show off, and the Windows Phone 8 device I’m most excited about, is the HTC Windows Phone 8X. Check out the video above to see my quick look at the phone.

We’re still waiting to hear about pricing and availability, so we’ll be updating this post later today if those are announced at the Microsoft event.

Lighter, thinner, sleeker, and softer than the Nokia Lumia 920, this is the Windows Phone I’m declaring the early winner in the race between manufacturers to bring out exciting new phones this holiday season. I’ve gotten a couple of chances to play with the phone now, first at the the AT&T Unveiled event last month and, last week, in-person and hands-on with Mario. For my thoughts, be sure to check out the video above.


Steve Ballmer is on stage now in San Francisco hyping up the Windows Phone 8X. Pricing and availability are not being announced at this time, but this phone will be available in November.

[This] is a remarkable phone. HTC’s designers saw our Live Tiles and were inspired to build Windows Phones from the ground up… Both the Windows Phone 8X and its little brother the 8S have killer sound thanks to beats audio and built in amps… Movies and music really sound incredible on these phones
– Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer

In the meantime, the AT&T Press Release has some of the tech specs for this phone:

The stunning Windows Phone 8X boasts an iconic design, immersive studio-quality sound and incredible camera capabilities. The first-ever Windows Phone 8 device with built-in Beats Audio™ technology, Windows Phone 8X offers authentic, studio-quality sound that delivers the spirit of the original recording. The 4.3-inch 720p HD (1280 x 720) display comes to life in the phone’s slim, sculpted design and improvements to the rear-facing camera let you capture great photos and record video in 1080p HD.

The HTC 8X isn’t the only Windows Phone hitting AT&T stores this fall. Sign up for news alerts from AT&T to be the first to find out when they launch.

LG Optimus G Coming November 2, $199 on AT&T

While we wait to find out what Google phone (or phones!) are going to be the next Nexus phones, possibly an alternate version of the LG Optimus G smartphone running a new version of Google’s Android OS, pre-orders for the actual, existing Optimus G are already starting on AT&T.

What is the Optimus G?

The new high-end smartphone from Korean smartphone giant LG, the Optimus G is a totally loaded smartphone featuring some of the highest end specs available today. The phone includes Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon S4, 2GB RAM, and 32GB of storage memory (expandable up to an insane 80GB with a micro SD card).

There are a few standout features of this new phone, detailed below.  Read More

TODAY: When is the right time to Upgrade?

I like to tell people, when considering a product to buy, break it down into a category. Is this a purchase of primary importance? Of secondary importance? Or is it a luxury?

On the TODAY show this morning I had the chance to talk to Matt Lauer about how you should think about smartphones and tablets. When do you upgrade your device? How do you make that upgrade decision? Is there anything you can do/buy to prolong having to make those decisions?

For more info about some recent tablets, phones, and other devices, check out the following links:
– My video review of the Microsoft Surface tablet a serious iPad competitor.
– Our Tablet Buying Guide where we break down price points, features, and specs on all the major tablets.
CONTEST: I’m giving away 10 smartphone and tablet accessories