Brevity Review: Samsung Focus 2 — Why So Capable, But Flawed?

It likes grass. Quite recently, a certain Samsung Focus 2 went on sale at AT&T for $49.99 on a new, 2-year contract. The idea? A Windows Phone 7.5 Mango successor to the original Focus, but only in white, with 4G LTE connectivity. However, in my time testing the Focus 2 unit sent to me by AT&T’s PR family, I found that not only that the Focus 2 is not as compelling at first as the Focus Flash was, what I deemed the best low-budget Windows Phone, but it also lacks the true 4G LTE speeds it purportedly has access to; never once have I experienced the same LTE-class speeds on the Focus 2 like I have on the Nokia Lumia 900, both in anecdotal and speed tests.

Samsung Focus 2 Gallery

Still, the 4-inch Super AMOLED display is quite impressive, the 5 megapixel camera capable of taking decent shots and 720p HD video, and the battery life is quite suitable to be used on a daily basis. What I did not like was the visible light leaking on the touch sensitive buttons because of the brilliant white exterior and the small 8GB of storage space, albeit it  can be expanded by using a micro SD card.

But be honest, Stefan: where are you going to find this much quality for a $50 smartphone? Turns out, it’s (still) solely an AT&T and Samsung affair.

Score: 7/10

Twitter debuts “expanded tweets” for major news outlets on web, mobile soon following

Part of what has made Twitter so successful was its 140 character limit. But now, news outlets like The New York TimesDer Spiegel and Tim (among others) will have the ability to use Twitter’s in-house expanded tweets option, which changes the dynamics of the whole ecosystem Twitter has created for the past few years. Publications will be able to embed video and photography into the expanded tweet, along with an introduction to the article. Is this a “bad” move by Twitter? It will take time to see exactly what happens, but the idea is actually rather solid — skimming the news becomes a more detailed experience, but it does take more time.

And lest I forget: this experience is also coming to the official Android and iOS apps.

Via: Twitter

Google Debuts Retina Display Version Of Chrome Via Canary Channel

With the debut of the Retina Display on the new 2012 15-inch Macbook Pro, Google has created a high-resolution version of Google Chrome, via their Canary bleeding-edge development channel, reserved for only the newest Chrome developments. Early word is that the app performs just as it should for the Retina display. Mac OS X users 10.5 and above can check it out at the source link.

ViaGoogle Chrome BlogChrome Canary for OS X

XKCD Shows Us The Awkwardness Of Smart Keyboards

And in case you don’t know what they’re referring to, SwiftKey is an Android keyboard that works like every other keyboard out there, but is filled with complex algorithms that can understand what you’ve typed before, and predicts what you’ll type, before you do. So, someone else using your phone would be very surprised once they start playing around. Yikes. Via: XKCD

Spotify For Android 4.0 Released On Google Play, With New Design Elements

While it has been a beta for more than a month, Spotify for Android 4.0 is official as of now on the Google Play Store. New features include a completely new design, better sharing, ‘Extreme’ sound quality at 320kbps, crossfade between songs, high quality album art, and related artist views. That being said, the app is fully compatible with Android 4.0 and below (essentially, it works with similarly modern Android smartphones). You can grab it now off the Google Play store.

Via: Google Play

The New Macbook Air Gets Torn Apart To Reveal Tasty Parts By iFixit Crew

So, the Macbook Air 2012 edition is still uber-thin, but one thing that has changed is the faster, more powerful internal chips and systems. So, veteran teardown site iFixit is currently disassembling a brand new Macbook Air, just to figure out what is inside. Head on over to the source link to enjoy the gore that is a $1000 and up disassembled laptop. Via: iFixit

Samsung Galaxy Note With T-Mobile 3G Waves Spotted At FCC

Here’s the story: A Galaxy Note for the some time has been swimming around the FCC with bands compatible for its 3G network. Filed under the SGH-T879 codename, the giant smartphone phablet has passed through the agency with the needed 1,700MHz HSPA band for T-Mobile 3G while also supporting 850MHz and 1,900MHz 3G in the same breath. When and if a Galaxy Note for T-Mobile debuts is the question. Oh, and with bits of news floating about a successor to the very successful Galaxy Note, what would the point of an LTE-less version that would be outdated?

Via: FCC