I'm not sure if you've heard, but That Other Smartphone got a refresh this week. The people you'd expect to be excited about it are excited, while the people you'd expect to be skeptical are skeptical.
Superficially, the iPhone 5S is more or less in line with the cream of the current Android crop – with a lot of attention paid to bells and whistles like the camera, specialized motion-sensing chip and fingerprint scanner. The last item, it must be said, is a new one, and it's also risky for Apple in a couple of different ways – first, it really has to work seamlessly almost every single time or it's a major annoyance for users, and second, Apple's insistence that fingerprint scan data never leaves the device had better be well-grounded in fact, or it's a major privacy issue in an already jittery climate.
[NAME THAT ANDROID: The Android naming quiz]
But the thing that may impact the Android world most noticeably is the introduction of the 64-bit architecture in the new A7 chip, which powers the 5S. While this doesn't translate directly into increased performance, it opens the door to devices with more than 4GB of usable RAM – the limit for 32-bit architectures.
Android manufacturers have had a slight lead on the iPhone in terms of raw performance for some time, but the move to 64-bit signals that Apple's ready to start pushing the pace again. Samsung has already stated publicly that it's going to follow suit in building 64-bit phones, and it's hard to imagine too many makers of high-end devices ignoring the trend.
Back to purely Android-related matters: If you own an HTC One, check the camera – the company has admitted that many units have a software bug that dramatically reduces low-light performance, shrouding everything in what I really can't avoid describing as a purple haze.
The Italian tech blog that took the above picture was also the first to get an official statement out of HTC, which said that it would deploy a software fix, though it did not provide a time frame.
(H/T: The Verge)
Device manufacturers seem to hate bezels, which, for the uninitiated, are the area between the edge of a phone or tablet and the edge of the screen. It's likely an aesthetics thing, as the mini-bezel look can be visually quite striking.
But Adam Doud over at Pocketnow recently wrote a strong defense of the bezel that you should probably go read if you have time. Essentially, he's saying that today's nearly bezel-less designs make it difficult to operate the phone and view the entire screen without blocking it with your fat fingers. Makes a good point.
Verizon is, in a word, unpopular among the hackers and tinkerers of the ROM set, in large part because of the company's policy of locking up the bootloaders on its phones so that they can't be modified.
This makes the process of unlocking Verizon phones a complicated and time-consuming one – there's still no way to unlock the bootloader on a Galaxy S4, for example – in most cases. However, the clever folks over at XDA Developers have already rooted the Verizon version of the Moto X, according to RootzWiki. Good on them!
(H/T: Droid Life)
I'm trying to come up with an argument for these being a chilling glimpse into the near future, as smartphones make us progressively lazier, but I'm mostly still chuckling at “whoa, you are blowing up!”
Email Jon Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.