HTC First Facebook Phone Flops – AT&T to Discontinue Smartphone

HTC First

HTC First

Not just a few days ago, AT&T dropped the price of the HTC First phone from $99 to 99 cents. Now – one month after its debut – AT&T has decided to discontinue the phone.

An undisclosed source said the HTC First will soon be discontinued and the remaining inventory will be returned. According to BGR, their source said AT&T sold fewer than 15,000 units nationwide. That was even after the phone was slashed in price.

Of course its hard to sell against the iPhone5 and Samsung Galaxy S4, which are the biggest products at AT&T right now.

There is no word whether HTC First will be scrapped altogether or find another market for the phone. ALthough with Facebook Home still struggling to even get downloaded on Android devices (Home just hit 1 million according to CNet), it looks like Facebook’s domination of the smartphone market will have to wait.

 

CNET Announced Official “Best of CES” Award Winners

Every year, CES is packed with interesting and innovative products. I think it must be rather difficult to figure out which ones are the very best. CNET, however, has done exactly that. CNET announced the official “Best of CES” Award winners at International CES 2013 from the CNET Stage.

This year, Razer Edge received both Best of Show and the People’s Voice Award. Lindsey Turrentine, Editor-in-Chief, CNET Reviews had this to say about it:

As a full-fledged Windows 8 tablet, Razer Edge takes the best of hard-core gaming PCs and tablets to allow consumers to play full blown PC games practically anywhere.

The People’s Voice Award was decided upon based on hundreds of votes that came from the online audience of people who wanted to see their favorite gadget at CES 2013 get some recognition. The Best of Show Award was selected by more than 90 CNET editors who reviewed hundreds of products at CES 2013

There were also several Best of CES 2013 Award Winners. They are:

Gaming
Razer Edge
As a winner of three Best of CES 2013 awards, one can safely say that Razer Edge did really well this year.

PCs and Tablets
Lenovo 27-inch Horizon Table PC
Yes, it really should say “table” and not “tablet”. The device is large and could easily take over the entire surface of your coffee table!

TVs
Samsung UN85S 4K/UHD TV
It is a floor standing television that is mounted on what looks very similar to an artist’s easel. You can tilt it up and down. It is backlit with a full array of LEDs and has 4K ultra high-def resolution.

Car Tech
Chevrolet MyLink 2nd Generation
The new version of MyLink will be on the 2014 Chevy Impala, and released later this year.

Home Theater and Audio
Vizio 5.1 soundbar
It pairs a traditional sound bar with wireless rear speakers.

Wearable/Health
Fitbit Flex
A soft bracelet with a rubbery skin that is designed to be worn all day to track your movement, sleep, and calories burned.

Emerging Tech
3D Systems CubeX
It can print 3D objects in two colors and with both ABS and PLA plastic.

Networking and Storage
Seagate Wireless Plus
This is a wireless storage expander/media-streaming server for mobile devices.

Mobile
YotaPhone
The YotaPhone is a high-end Android 4.1 Jelly Bean smartphone with an e-ink display on the back.

And, there you have it! What do you think? Did CNET give awards to products that were your favorites, too? Or, do you have a differing opinion about what should have won a particular award?

Happy 15th Anniversary, Download.com

download.com

download.com

Today we have application stores up the ying-yang. But 15 years ago, trying to find applications for your computer was a lot harder. We did have two decent sources: Tucows.com and download.com (a CNet company, now owned by CBS). Since then, these two sources have grown to better catalog Freeware, shareware, and paid applications. This week, we say Happy anniversary to Download.com.

While the domain was registered on February 24, 1996, Download.com will officially launch on October 23rd, 1996 (Reference via CNet article). Since then, the website sees almost 10 million downloads of software a week. The top downloads being AVG and Avast antivirus software. A long cry from Hey, Macaroni (the dancing macaroni meme), WinZip 32 and Duke Nukem 3D – which was the most downloaded in 1996. WinZip is still one of the top 5 download pieces of software on the site.

For 15 years, download.com has kept a great archive of software, weeding out the obsolete, malware producing items. They have been sued for some software downloads, most notably the free music download program LimeWire. While download.com did not promote the download of mp3 music or movies, the peer-to-peer software is another way to download legally shared items. Of course, this has always been the conundrum of file sharing.

In retrospect, TuCows has been in operation since 1994, offering the same services. Other services have come and gone, but download.com has stayed strong. So happy 15 years to a source that I’ve personally used many a time from my IT career.

Did Steve Jobs iPhone 4 “Blame Game” Work or Not?

This had to singularly be one of the worst presentations Steve Jobs has given in a while.

I was watching the video on CNet. The video itself was short and edited to be more to the point. We learned in 2:53 what took Steve Jobs 30 minutes to say. But the first 10 minutes were the most surprising. Let me quote:

Steve Jobs

Well it turns out, it’s certainly not unique to the iPhone 4. That is one of the first things we learned. You can go on YouTube and see videos of Nokia phones, Motorolla phones and other phones doing the same thing. Nobody ever looked at them much before…

This is true.

I found a video for a Nokia E71 where the bars disappear in their left hand.  HTC EVO tried the Deathgrip video, which showed if you hold it at the top, the signal goes down, so that is untrue. The Blackberry Deathgrip, however, caused antenna signal to go down.

Blame Game

So Steve was stating fact. Some other phones do loose signal if you cover the antenna. Maybe that’s something the FCC should look into, however, the blame game shouldn’t have been brought up as much as it did on Friday. The first 15 minutes was about stating “Other phones do it, too…”

Isn’t Apple Suppose to be Superior?

Everything I see and hear, Apple is suppose to be better than all other devices. Yes, they can make mistakes, however, don’t go saying that’s the standard when you tout that you are above the standard.

Steve said this was a “Very advanced, new antenna system”.

At least one with a very simple flaw.

Don’t Pick on Us, Bullies!

We don’t expect the iPhone to be perfect. We don’t expect any phone to be perfect. However, we expect a phone to work properly. When it doesn’t, we don’t want to hear “Well Johnny’s phone doesn’t work that well, either”.

I didn’t buy Johnny’s phone.

The Other Issues?

While the whole conversation was about “Antennagate”, nothing was mentioned about the yellowing issue. Nothing was mentioned about some owners seeing their screens crack easily. Mass quantities of phones put out through cheap manufacturing. Some issues happened simply because glue did not dry properly.

Of course, if it wasn’t for that cheap manufacturing, then we wouldn’t get our rumor leaks about Apple’s next big thing.

Should Apple have Recalled it?

The rest of the speech was Steve umming through a presentation he did not have that much time to learn. While that is understandable, the whole experience might have been better handled. Some say a $1.5 billion recall, for example, is in order.

While the Bumper is a simple fix (and apparently approved by Consumer Reports as Jobs noted), it has not helped Apple’s market share. In fact, shares have fallen over 10 percent since the iPhone 4 came out. $25 / Share. Now with 909 million shares out, that means Apple lost 22 billion dollars last month - 9 billion since Friday.

Of course, with a big price on a stock, dropping and raising always means major amounts of money are affected. Still, if Jobs would have said “Recall”, would that have appeased the stock holders, or would we have seen the price drop below $200 / share.

Overall

Apple has a product that contains a defect that is fixed by a case. That seems to go against Apple’s strategy for no cases, but O.K. – You can get a bumper for your phone. Maybe some software updates will fix the problem so you can take the bumper off. That remains to be seen.

The blame game might have hurt more than anything. There is an old addage that says if you get defensive to a problem, it may continue to be a problem. Since Apple surpasses the standard, do they have a right to be like any other phone?

GNC-2007-11-23 #319

I am your special guest Jeffrey Powers from Geekazine to help Todd out. Tons of news including Top 10 Gadgets for Geeks this Holiday Season.

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