Friday, November 23, 2012

Clash Of The Phablets

Last week, HTC revealed the new HTC Droid DNA, a 5-inch phone that they refuse to call a phablet for an obscure reason. Phablets are the hybrid between phone and tablets and at 5 inches, I consider the Droid DNA to be one so I am going to compare it to the Samsung Galaxy Note II which was announced at the end of the summer. So lets do it !


HTC unveiled the Droid DNA on November 13th, the same day that the LG Nexus 4 “became available” in the PlayStore. That is one of the reason it did not get that much coverage by the media even if it is kind of a beast. It packs a Snapdragon quad-core 1500 MHz processor, 2048 MB of RAM, HDMI out through the micro-USB port, an 8 mega-pixels camera and a 2.1 MP front-facing camera. This is the first phone with a 5 inches screen with a resolution of 1080p and 441 ppi. Since it is made by HTC, it has a built-in amp from Beats Audio which makes the sound very clear. Also, it runs on Android Jellybean 4.1 with HTC Sense and it is powered  by a 2020 mAh battery that is not removable. Of course, it has NFC connectivity and it supports 4G LTE networks. The Droid DNA sure looks like something you should consider if you are currently looking for a new phone and you like big screens with full HD resolution.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

When Samsung outed the first version of the Galaxy Note, in October of 2011, it was introduced as a phablet because of it’s size. It also was one of the first to come equipped with a special active stylus for input. The Galaxy Note II is a big improvement especially for the quad-core 1600 MHz processor, the 2 GB of RAM and the 3100 mAh battery. The rest of the specs are essentially the same : an 8 MP camera in the back and a 1.9 mega-pixel one in the front, support for external storage, NFC, HDMI out and 4G network support. The screen is a little bit bigger, a 5.55 inches Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels which gives it 265 ppi. With the Galaxy Note II, Samsung introduced a true multi-tasking function that lets you display two different applications at the same time. This features also lets you play a YouTube video while taking notes or perform other relevant tasks. All of this runs on Android 4.1 with TouchWiz, take a look at this video from Android Central to see it in action.

In conclusion, both phones or phablets seem like very good products to me. If I had to choose between the two of them, I would probably go with the Galaxy Note II because of the multi-window feature. 
I would recommend any of them to anyone, you don’t even have to have a hand that is as big as Shaquille O’neil’s. Of course, it could take time before you get used to the bulkiness but in the end, it will definitely be for the best !


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Google Music

Almost exactly one year ago, Google launched it’s Music service in partnership with three huge record label, Universal, Sony Music and EMI. Google Music lets you upload your music collection to the clouds so you can listen to it wherever you are but it also lets you buy and discover new artists through Magnifier. The true advantage of this service is that you don’t have to have your full music collection on your device but you can still play it from anywhere. The sad thing is that unless you have a geeky friend like me, it is not accessible outside the USA. This week, Google announced it would become available in Europe pretty soon. I am not sure if this is completely legal so proceed with that in mind.

How to get access

Basically, what we are going to do is fake our location. Any device that has Internet access has an address made up from numbers. The website you need to use will give you a different address, one that is in the US, so you can get access to the content. This is how it is done :

1. First, go to and sign-up for the free 7-day trial. You won’t be asked for a credit card or anything like that so don’t worry, it is safe.

2. I recommend you do the manual setup, this way, you won’t have to download anything.

3. Once the setup is done, simply go to Google Music and your content is now available from anywhere !

4. Setup Google Music, install the manager and you are ready to go

5. Don’t forget to reset your settings or you might lose your Internet connection after a couple of days.

If you own an Android phone and you already started to upload some of your favorite tunes to the clouds, you can access those songs from your device by going into the Google Music app. To do so, your device has to run at least Android 2.2. It is also possible to access Google Music from an iOS device by using a browser. You can now select which songs you want to stay on your phone and which you just want in the clouds. If you need more info on how to do unlock Google Music, try this forum.