New video series!

As its been a long time since we covered ANYTHING tech related, we wanted to try to get you all some more juicy content – so we’re going to be doing a new video series – video podcasts!  I’ll be recording both our phone and in-person podcasts, so that you can listen or watch whatever your preference might be.

The link to the latest show is below, and let us know what you think.  You can still find the audio only version anywhere you get your podcasts, but this is another option for those in YouTube already but want to still get caught up on the show.  Hit us up in the comments and tell me what you think!

What’s new in iOS 11 that you might like

File_000 (1)With the release of the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus devices from Apple, also comes a slightly less heralded event – the release of a new version of the iOS operating system that run the iPhones.  iOS 11 is very similar to previous versions of the operating system, but there are some new and important details that could change how you interact with your phone.  As this update is coming to almost all of the iPhone models released in the last 4 years (iPhone 6, 6s, 7, and now 8 and their Plus counterparts) chances are good your iPhone is going to get this update.  If you are interested in seeing how it will impact your phone, read on!

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[Op-Ed] A completely unbiased Android users opinion of iOS 7 – it sucks

Image courtesy of Apple.com

So…yeah.  I’m an Android guy.  Have been for a long time, and its still my current phone.  But as many already know, I DO own Apple products.  Yes, even me.  For all my bashing of their not really being a tech company more than a marketing company and not having had an innovation since the iPad first debuted, I do like and purchase (or ask for as gifts) some of their devices.  This puts me in a unique position: to be on the outside looking in.  No “iSheep” fanboiness here…I’m looking solely at how the device works best for me.  And I have to be honest – I wish Apple would have left my iPod touch the way it was before iOS 7.

I really couldn’t live without my iPod.  For all my posturing, I love this piece of tech.  It makes my daily commute more bearable and allows me to listen to my entire library of music in a small, portable package.  And it has done so since they had little trackwheels and clicky buttons.  And when I got my latest iPod touch (see my review here) I was elated.  And recently, when I heard about the upgrade to iOS 7, I figured “why not?”  I was actually a little interesting in getting a chance to play around with it, and I’d seen the early release photos of what it was supposed to look like as well.  But the reality did not match the idea I had of what the experience was going to be like in my mind.

First off, lets get the obvious out of the way – the colors are hideous.  Flat out annoying.  And standardized icons have been changed (along with some of their names) to boot.  Which (for me) means that after downloading and launching it for the first time, my first thought was “did something go wrong with this install?”  Because things sure look and feel off around here.  Folders no longer look like folders, but more like grey blobs in which other, more colorful blobs reside.  Facetime was moved out of the folder blob where I had placed it, and it was now front and center on my home screen.  Really, Apple?

Image courtesy of Apple.com

Okay, okay – maybe I’m being overly critical you might say.  The colors don’t look that bad.  And haven’t you been saying that iOS is tired and could use an update?  Yes – perhaps all of these things are true.  But there’s tweaking and there is radical redesign; this is the latter.  And not all change for the sake of change is good.  Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean others won’t either…but as with most things Apple, you don’t get a choice.  With my Android phone, if I don’t like how the stock look and feel of things is, I can install a custom launcher and then choose from dozens (if not hundreds) of other icon packs, themes, and other such to change it over and over and over again until I find something I like that works for me.  Rather than the “Apple tells me that I will love it” (whether I love it or not) approach.

My annoyance with iOS 7 is more than skin deep however.  There are other relatively minor changes that are puzzling too.  For example, on iOS 6 one of the features I used most was a double button press to wake the screen which, if your last activity was playing music, would wake the iPod to the music player and allow you to play the current or next track with just a single additional tap on the screen.  This is gone in iOS 7, now replaced with the double button press taking me to the lock screen and asking me to swipe to unlock, then pressing again on the music player to start my track playing.  While not important to some, this is one of the main features I used with my iPod, and now it takes longer to get my music to play.  Perhaps this has something to do with more security in this version of iOS, but honestly, its more irritating than anything else about the operating system to me.

Image courtesy of Apple.com

Hey, its not all bad – the Control Center feature (accessing your settings from a single contextual swipe up menu from the bottom of the screen) is useful and actually decently implemented.  Not something radically innovative again, as this “feature” (in various forms) has been in versions of Android for a while now, but at least it was well thought out. The new animations for things opening and closing/launching is neat, but hardly something I would hang my hat on if I was touting the merits of the overall operating system.  The sorting of pictures (excuse me, Photos) into Collections and Moments is long overdue, and a vast improvement over the glut of photos en masse in Camera Roll – but again, this is something that should come as the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.  And all these changes come at a price – even my less than 1 year old iPod touch (5th gen) stutters and lags a bit when performing routine tasks.  I can’t imagine what the new iOS its doing to owners of iPhones from the 3S-4S range.

Most of the changes seem forced, copies of other operating systems innovations (the tabbed multi-tasking or Safari tab switchers come to mind immediately) or fall into the catagory of just plain “why haven’t we had this until now?”  I think that Apple’s leadership realized that they needed to make a big splash with something and they were counting on iOS 7 and the new iPhone 5S/C to do just that.  Well, maybe just the iOS 7 and 5C since the 5S (as usual) is mostly just a spec bump and a new gold color chassis.  For my money, I’ve been thinking more and more often how I wish I had my old drab looking iOS 6 look and feel back.  At least with it, I knew where everything was.

[Review] iPod touch (5th Gen)

Santa was very generous this year, and delivered down my chimney the black 64GB 5th generation iPod touch.  I have long desired the thinner, taller version of my old 3rd generation iPod touch, and this year the jolly guy in the red suit came through for me.  Well…it was actually my wife who came through for me, but I’m sure you get the idea.  As I mentioned in our Best of Tech 2012 article, the design elements of the new iPod touch are simply beautiful.  I got the very sinister black and grey colorway, and I’ll delve a little deeper into some of the pros and cons of Apple’s latest generation music player below.

How It Looks:

First up – size.  No matter what anyone tries to tell you, size does matter.  In this case, the increase in screen size of the iPod to 4 inches makes a fair bit of difference.  Folks who have the 4th gen iPod touch know that the so-called “retina” display was a big improvement over the previous screen type, and the increase in size for the 5th gen device is another leap forward.  The screen is crisp, clear, and displays everything from web pages to apps to music album covers equally well.  More screen real estate also means more rows of icons (or folders if you prefer) and while iOS is long past the point of feeling stale, you can’t fault the hardware for this issue.  It does its job, and quite well.

The anodized aluminum chassis comes in a wide variety of colors to suit just about any taste.  The colors are sharp and vibrant, and the look of the device is as clean and as minimalist as it ever was.  The new leash feature (Apple calls it “the Loop”) that comes brand new in the 5th gen iPod is also integrated extremely well, and is there when (or if) you want to use it, and is unobtrusively out of the way when you don’t.  The look of the device does nothing to sway you from the opinion that this is a high end device – the price tag won’t fool you either.  The starting 32GB size will set you back $299

How It Feels:

The first thing that struck me when I checked out the 5th gen iPod touch in stores was how incredibly light it felt.  Almost unnaturally so.  I mean…it weighs damn near nothing.  Apple’s website claims a weight of 3.10oz…I’m not sure what exactly to compares that too, but the device falls into what I would call the “super light” category.  Its only 0.24 inches think (thin?) and this, combined with the ultra light weight, make it an easy device to pocket for long periods of time.  The inclusion of the new proprietary “Lightning” dock connector has enabled Apple to reduce the weight and size of the device, and while I might comment that the change seems more like a blatant cash grab towards new accessories, no one can deny the hardware benefits of making the change.

The longer, rectangular shape of the device still fits nicely in the hand, but alas, not as nicely as I found my 3rd gen iPod to be.  Sometimes a little more heft and weight is a good thing…and I know part of Apple’s mission is to make things as light and as thin as they can be.  But to me, this device is a little too thin and light.  The aluminum back I found to be a touch slippery, compared to previous versions of the device.  I wanted to get a case on it as soon as I could to give it a little more grip and to help remind me it’s actually there.  The included revamped EarPods work well, and I found the new shape to work just fine in my ears.  The sound is decent, nothing to write home about, but good enough for free.

How It Works:

Well…its a music player, right?  So it should play music…and that it does my friends.  For what it is, it suits my needs exactly – nothing less, and actually a little something more.  Having had the 32GB version of the iPod touch previously, my biggest concern was space – the 64GB version eliminates that concern and then some.  With over 2200 songs, about a dozen TV shows/music vidoes, and 6 full length movies on it, I still have over 30GB of space free.  Enough for a few more movies (which I watch on occasion while I’m out and about), TV shows, or any amount of music.  When it comes to portable media devices, storage is king and more is always better.  The included dual core A5 processor makes transitions between apps and scrolling through home screens fluid and easy and it’s as responsive as I would have expected a device manufactured by Apple to be.

Photo courtesy of Apple.com

The inclusion of the 5MP iSight camera is a nice feature in the latest generation of iPods, since as the old saying goes “the best camera is the one you have with you.”  I’ve often wished for the ability to snap photos when I’m out jogging or walking and now my iPod has an app for that.  The front facing camera leaves me eager to FaceTime with family across the country (although admittedly I’ve not yet gotten around to it.)  The power and volume buttons I find to be a great size, and the placement is exactly where they should be.  I enjoy having separated up/down volume buttons, as the previous rocker volume controls sometimes aren’t as easy to manipulate one handed.  The switch in placement of the power button and headphone jack (from left to right, and right to left respectively) left me feeling a little odd, since it would have been nice to keep the feeling consistent with previous versions of the device, but I’m sure Apple had good reasons for doing so.

The Final Word:

I guess what it all boils down to for me was a simple question – do the features of the 5th generation iPod touch make it worth my while to replace my currently “working just fine” 3rd gen iPod touch?  At the end of the day, the answer was “yes” – and I’m not just saying that because I didn’t end up having to pay for it myself.  The reduction in weight is a benefit at workout time, the inclusion of front & rear cameras makes communicating and connecting with the world easier than ever, and the upgrade to a 4 inch “retina” display makes everything look better.  Should the average consumer look to get the newest version of Apple’s music player…that’s a harder questions to answer.  If you want the best, you are going to pay for it, with the retail price of the device ranging from $299 to $399 – not an insignificant sum.  If you can afford the expense, you will get a device and an experience you won’t regret.

[Special Feature]Fearless Predictions for 2013

Shawn and I thought it would be fun to do a predictions piece for 2013 so we would be able to come back and laugh at ourselves when none of it comes true.  These opinions are solely ours, and have not been put forth with any insider information from any OEM.  Most of these actually have no basis in fact whatsoever.  But with that in mind, here are our fearless 2013 predictions:

Sean’s Predictions:

1) Apple will release an iPhone 5S that looks virtually identical to the iPhone 5.  The internet will decry the  new phone and say Apple has lost its way.  Tech sites and blogs will write editorials expressing their disappointment.  Apple will sell as many as they can produce.

Shawn’s Response:
I’m probably on board with this one, considering the years and years of history we have of Apple to fall back on.  I’m really not sure where Apple takes their iPhone from here though…even thinnerer and lighterer?

World Exclusive: the iPhone 5S will look exactly like this


2) Google will release an updated Nexus 7 with a 1080p screen.  Pricing will be the same as the current Nexus 7

Shawn’s Response:
Not sure I agree here.  I think putting a 1080p viewpanel in a Nexus 7 drives the cost up past the point where Google is able to offer it at $249/$299.  I see the Nexus 7 as their “mid-grade” line of tablets, and the Nexus 10 as the high end tablets.  So I’m not sure I see this in Asus or Google’s future.

3) Samsung will release the Galaxy S IV with a 5″ 1080p screen, a quad-core Exynos 5450 CPU, 3GB of RAM, a 2600MAH battery and a 13MP camera.  It will inexplicably still have a home button.

Shawn’s Response:
Samsung has a real hit on their hands with the Galaxy series.  I think these specs could be dead on…but I’m predicting not only a physical home button, but also a total of 4 capacitive buttons as well, 2 on either side of the home button.  Samsung’s official stance:  “People love buttons!”

4) Microsoft will produce its own Surface Phone.  Nokia will continue to struggle until they are eventually bought.  Windows Phone 8 still won’t exceed 5% market share in the United States.

Shawn’s Response:
Microsoft does this only if they’re incredibly stupid.  The Surface (which may or may not be a great device) does nothing but put Microsoft squarely in the center of a war with their hardware partners which they can’t really win.  The phone space has enough dead or dying OEMs already (Nokia or RIM ring a bell?) for MS to really think they can jump in with a device that will move Samsung’s Galaxy S or Apple’s iPhone out from a top spot.  Also…Windows Phone 8 is not a good product.  Considering the amount of money that MS has spent on marketing for the Surface, they had better have a lot more cash reserves  if they want to make a move into the mobile phone space.  Then again..since Sean is predicting that Nokia will be bought – perhaps it will be Microsoft that buys them?

Microsoft should definitely copy this

5) Jony Ive will give iOS a major update which will include widgets and a new industrial look.  It’ll still be locked down and allow for little user customization.  Tech sites and blogs will give it rave reviews.

 Shawn’s Response:
While I’d be shocked and amazed if this actually happened, I don’t see it.  Ive is a great hardware designer (if you like the Apple products) but there’s a lot of change that would have to come to software side of Apple’s iOS that would make widgets in particular possible.  It goes against so much of the tradition of Apple and the iOS platform…I don’t know if it could be done in a year and I don’t know that Ive has the software chops to do it.  Perhaps 2-3 years out…but not in 2013.  

Shawn’s Predictions:


1) Motorola will produce a Google Nexus branded phone, with cutting edge (for the time) specs in processor, screen (non-pentile), and have a gigantic battery – probably called the Nexus Maxx HD.  This device will be sold with LTE through the Google store, unlocked, and be heralded as the greatest Android phone ever.

Sean’s Response:
I would love this so much, but I’m not sure I see it happening.  Google doesn’t want to risk alienating its partners and releasing a Motorola Nexus might do just that.  

This + 3300mah battery = win

2) Google will do “something” to further chip away at Apple’s dominance in the 10 inch tablet space.  Not sure exactly…but something good.  Like a massive public awareness campaign that will culminate in the launching of a Nexus 10 with HSPA+ wireless for $499.

Sean’s Response:
The Nexus 10 won’t sell in huge numbers.  While I think an HSPA+ Nexus 10 will definitely come out in the next year, I don’t see it “chipping” away too much at Apple’s dominance in the 10 inch tablet space.  If Google really wants to compete in the tablet space, they need to get a better tablet app infrastructure in place.  

3) Google will release the Key Lime Pie version of Android, version 5.0, which will at last unify the mobile device platforms of phone, small tablet, and large tablet.  App developers will flock to it and scaling apps will no longer be an issue for Android ever again.  Apple users will deadpan it as being too complicated and lacking polish, claiming it feels like an unfinished product.  It will launch on the Nexus Maxx HD, and be on someone’s Galaxy Nexus two days later.

Sean’s Response:
We’ll definitely see Key Lime Pie this year and I expect it to continue the refinement Android has undergone under Matias Duarte.  If Google can solve the smart phone/tablet apps issue they’ll finally be able to really compete with Apple.  KLP will definitely show up on the Galaxy Nexus in a day or two, but not on the Nexus Maxx HD because it won’t exist 😉

4) RIM releases Blackberry 10 and their new hardware devices, to deafening silence.  Large corporations continue to shed Blackberries from their mobile device fleet, until in August of 2013, RIM files for the Canadian equivalent of bankruptcy protection.  This comes after months of trying to sell their portfolio to anyone who will buy them…with no takers.

Sean’s Response:
I think Blackberry 10 has a chance.  In fact, I think it will outsell Windows Phone 8 (WP8) in 2013.  Although Rim has been hemorrhaging customers, it still has a dedicated and loyal fan base.  The hardware looks nice and Blackberry 10 has some cool features.  The major carriers have thrown fairly large support behind WP8 trying desperately to establish a third mobile OS in addition to Android and iOS, but they’re backing the wrong horse.  Blackberry 10 will do better than WP8 and finish the year with greater than 7% market share

Best looking Blackberry ever

[News] Apple losing two executives in top tier shake-up

Announced the same day as the Google Event, Apple is going to be losing two top level executives early next year.  Senior VP of iOS Scott Forstall and Senior VP of retail John Browett will be leaving the company, effective Spring of 2013.  The reasons behind the shake-up are fodder for the rumor mill (as usual), running the gamut from Mr. Forstall being “forced out” due to conflicts with other Apple divisions as well as potentially the well known snafu over the iOS 6 Maps app.


In an e-mail from Apple CEO Tim Cook, the real reason was to “encourage even more collaboration between our world class hardware, software, and services teams at all levels of our company.”  Whatever that really means.  Typically, when a big wig doesn’t play nice with everybody, he/she better be bringing something major to the table for what they are taking off of it.  And in this case, if Forstall was really responsible for the junk that was/is Apple’s Maps, he wasn’t long for this world.  Most of the other reports out at the time when John Browett was hired at Apple were met less than stellar enthusiasm.

While I don’t think I’ve made it any secret how I feel about Apple and their idea of what “innovation” is, this is obviously a pretty big deal.  When Steve Jobs passed away, there were many (myself included) who felt like the great driving creative force behind Apple’s success was gone.  What we learned on Monday was that Jobs’s successor, Tim Cook, isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and pull the trigger if he feels people aren’t getting the job done.  Whether this will bode well or ill for Apple’s long term success remains to be seen.

In potentially related news, Strategy Analytics reports that Apple’s loyalty rating is down this year compared to last year in both Europe and the U.S.  Western European iPhone users report only a 75% loyalty rating, down from 88% from last year.  U.S. iPhone users were only slightly less loyal (fanatical?), dropping to 88% from 93%.  While these numbers do not likely have the slightest thing to do with the executives moving on at Apple, it could be a precursor of things to come if Apple continues to rest on their laurels from past successes.    

*Source:  BGR

[News] New iPad mini will debut November 2nd for $329 *Updated*

Apple has announced the newest version of their iPad, a 7.9 inch display device coming in either white or black, with specs similar to last year’s iPad 2 for $329 to start, with 16GB of storage and WiFi enabled only.  An LTE enabled version will also be available for sale, price point as yet unknown.  All versions of the device should be available as of November 2nd, 2012.  More info on these and other Apple announcements as they come available.

Specs for the iPad mini (from the keynote speech):  measures 7.2mm thin (25% thinner than the larger iPad) and weighs 0.8lbs. The screen resolution is 1024 x 768 just like the first iPad and iPad 2, but the screen size is 7.9-inches. 4G LTE support is available for the cellular model, an Apple dual-core A5 processor, a FaceTime HD camera on the front, and 5 megapixel iSight camera on the back with 1080p HD video capture.”

Pricing for the different models of the iPad mini, in storage size and then by connectivity (from Apple.com):

Wi-Fi                                                                 Wi-Fi + Cellular

16GB
16GB
$329
$459
32GB
32GB
$429
$559
64GB
64GB
$529
$659

With the iPod mini, Apple also announced an updated version of their only 6 month old iPad 3, introducing both a new processor and the new Lightning connection.  This represents a departure from normal life cycle releases for Apple, who normally pushes a year out before a new version of a product is released.  Additionally, the 13 inch MacBook Pro now sports a Retina display, something I’m sure loads of MacBook Pro users were waiting for.  

[News] Apple’s event is tomorrow

A quick reminder for those Apple fans out there that Apple’s event is tomorrow, October 23, 2012 and will likely showcase the announcement of the iPad Mini (or whatever its real name ends up being).  In addition, there are some other rumors including:

  • The previous generation iPad 2 will be discontinued – end of life
  • The current iPad 3 will get a connection makeover, to include the new “Lightning” connector
  • MacBook Pro (the smaller versions) to receive the Retina Display panels
Will the iPad Mini be a huge hit or a tiny flop?  Are any of you looking forward to a smaller, more portable version of Apple’s tablet?  Can Apple make a dent in the 7 inch tablet market, currently dominated by Android tablets including the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire?  With Google’s event only a week a way, there will be even stiffer competition for the iPad Mini to face soon.  Stay tuned for the Two Tech Geeks coverage of the Apple event as it happens!
*Source:  BGR

[News] Apple sends invites for iPad mini event, world yawns with non-surprise

Well folks…its official – the invites have gone out from Apple for the “official” iPad mini event, scheduled for October 23, 2012.  With the catchy tag line of “We’ve got a a little more to show you.” the invitations certainly won’t blow anyone away with their creativity, but perhaps the product itself will do better.  We are now that much closer to seeing the actual look, feel, and specs of this new device.  There is still no official announcement of when the device will be sold, but some websites are reporting that it might even be as soon as October 24, the day after the event.  More info as it becomes available!

[Op-Ed]Why do Android manufacturers only reserve cutting edge specs for large phones?

My wife has a Samsung Galaxy S III (GSIII) and loves it.  Recently her best friend used the GSIII for a while and decided it was time for a smart phone of her own.  Knowing that I follow mobile tech fairly closely she asked my opinion on what to buy.  She wanted a powerful phone that was smaller than the GSIII, but larger than the iPhone 5.  Easy enough right?  Not in the world of Android flagships.  No such product exists.

In May of 2010 the HTC EVO 4G launched on Sprint and ushered in the era of 4.3″ Android phones.  My current daily driver, the Motorola Droid X, followed shortly thereafter in July and also has a 4.3″ screen.  Here’s what Engadget had to say about it their review:

“So, let’s just save you a bit of time from the outset: the Droid X is an imposing device, and it’s definitely not for the small of hands. Makes no mistake, this is a big phone designed for use by big people. Well, not necessarily “big,” but let’s just say you’re going to have a tough go of it if you’re the kind of person that struggles to find a ball at the bowling alley where you can reach all the holes.”

Today every Android  flagship phone on the market is larger than the Droid X.  What was considered “imposing” in mid 2010 is medium sized today.

Study after study shows that consumers prefer larger screens, so it’s no mystery why smart phones have gotten bigger.  What is puzzling is why manufacturers have relegated the 4″-4.3″ smart phone to mid-range status. While users prefer larger phones, clearly a market exists for those that want high end specs in a less substantial package. 
Just last week Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini (GSIIIM).  Many hoped that finally a manufacturer was going to release a smaller product with flagship guts.  They were disappointed. The SGIIIM has a 4″ 800×480 Super AMOLED (pentile) screen that’s sourced from the original Galaxy S (released way back in 2010), a dual-core 1ghz processor from Sony that’s old tech, and a 5MP camera that’s far from bleeding edge.  Many wondered why Samsung even bothered trying to associate the GSIIIM with the GSIII given that they have virtually nothing in common except for similar looks.  
Surprisingly one company that seems to be on the right track is Motorola.  I’ve written a couple (1,2) articles lately taking Motorola to task for their flagship offerings, and almost completely ignored the RAZR M that was announced at the same time.  The RAZR M is very close to the type of phone I think a lot of consumers are looking for.  It has the same dual-core S4 processor featured in almost every U.S. Android flagship this year, a 4.3″ qHD screen, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP camera and a fairly large 2000mah battery.  It also features an edge to edge glass design that keeps the footprint of the phone small.  Here’s a size comparison with the 4″ iPhone 5 and two other Motorola 4.3″ phones:
The RAZR M is extremely compact for a 4.3″ phone.  It’s only slightly larger than the iPhone 5 and much, much smaller than either the Droid X or the DROID RAZR.  The pentile qHD screen is the only technical weak point.  Replace that with the 720p Super-LCD unit out of the HTC Rezound and you would have a compact, high end Android smart phone that could directly challenge the iPhone.
So, being an Android guy, what phone did I eventually advise my wife’s best friend to purchase?  The iPhone 5 of course.  Say what you will about Apple (and people say a lot), but the iPhone 5 is a fantastic package from a hardware standpoint.  The CPU, GPU, battery life, camera, materials quality and screen are all world class.  No it doesn’t have an SD card slot, and iOS isn’t nearly as customizable as Android, but most users just want a high quality phone that works and the iPhone 5 excels at that.  No smaller Android is its equal.
Recently Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, had this to say about the iPhone 5
“Part of me wishes Apple had not been so, kind of, arrogant and feeling like ‘we’re the only one with the right clue.’ I wish they had made wider versions — a small and a large version of the iPhone,” he said.

The quote struck me as ironic while searching for a smaller Android flagship.  Apple is roundly criticized for giving consumers only a single, smaller design to choose from because that’s what they’ve decided is “best.” Meanwhile Android manufacturers get a pass despite only offering flagship phones in sizes that would have been considered laughable two years ago.  A case could be made that OEM’s are simply giving the market what it wants, and the sales numbers of large phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III show that’s partially true, but iPhone sales show that a huge market exists for smaller, powerful hardware.

Large screens are great.  My next phone will be the 5.5″ Samsung Galaxy Note II, so I’m clearly not in the smaller phone camp.  Having said that, consumers that want a smaller device shouldn’t be penalized with inferior specs.  Not everyone wants a huge phone and one of the best things about Android is the diversity of products available.  How does not a single Android OEM offer a product that is competitive with the iPhone in both specs and size?  It’s mind-boggling given how many units Apple moves every year.

Maybe in 2013 Motorola will offer up a RAZR M II with a quad-core Qualcomm S4 Pro processor, a 4.3″ 720p Super LCD RGB screen, 2GB of RAM, an 8MP camera, an SD card slot, and a 2000mah battery.  If they can keep the current footprint of the RAZR M, then consumers would have a true iPhone alternative. 

Until then if anyone asks me what smaller phone they should buy, I’m going to tell them the iPhone 5.