olloclip Quick-Flip Case

There are literally hundreds of iPhone cases, so what makes the Quick-Flip Case by olloclip special? There are three things. One, it is specifically designed so the olloclip 3-in-1 lens fits onto a naked iPhone body when the Quick-Flip corner is, well, flipped out of the way. If you have the olloclip 3-in-1 lens and want to protect your iPhone with a case the Quick-Flip Case is a no-brainer.

Second, the Quick-Flip case is a solid case. I prefer my iPhone naked, but if I had to choose from the few cases I’ve tested the Quick-Flip would be my choice for the following reasons: It is aesthetically pleasing with a simply designed slightly translucent black plastic (there’s a white version too), adds functionality for photographers, and protects the iPhone without a lot of bulk.

Third, is the Pro-Photo adapter, which screws into a tripod. A Quick-Flip encased iPhone then easily slides into it. Nifty. Tripod mounting the iPhone cannot be simpler. It’s also convenient when I want to type on a keyboard and need the iPhone on a stand. Although I did not test it, the Cold Shoe Mount can be used for attachments such as microphones and video lights. The olloclip Quick-Flip Case is US$49.99 on Amazon (affiliate link).

Google Nexus 7 (2013)

David Pierce:

For me, a good display is the most important feature of a tablet. I don’t need a hugely specialized set of apps—I play some games, but don’t consider any one to be mission-critical—I just need a tablet that makes books and movies look awesome. That’s the new Nexus 7 in a nutshell, thanks to its new 7.02-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS display. Google says it’s the sharpest 7-inch tablet ever (at 323ppi it’s hard to argue otherwise), but I’d put this screen up against anything from the iPad to the Nexus 10. It has bright, vivid colors without being oversaturated; the viewing angles are ridiculous; and text, photos, and 1080p Netflix looks incredible. Even the Google Play magazines, which are just shoddy PDFs of Esquire and Better Homes and Gardens, are completely readable at their tiny default sizes.

The improved Nexus 7, a solid retina-caliber tablet for US$229, is an excellent deal.

Smartphones: Samsung > 2x Apple

IDC:

Samsung, on the heels of its Galaxy S4 launch during the quarter, saw its volumes reach new levels and accounted for nearly a third of the entire smartphone market. Not to be overlooked is the continued success of its Galaxy S III smartphones, which saw renewed interest following discounted prices in advance of the Galaxy S4 launch. By the end of the quarter, Samsung more than doubled the total volumes of the next largest vendor, and shipped more units than the next four vendors combined.

Samsung’s smartphone shipment unit share in Q2’13 was 30.4%. The next largest vendor? Apple, with 13.1% share. This is a big win for Samsung no doubt, but I’m more interested in profit share.

Google Isn’t That Interested In Phones Anymore

Ben Thompson:

So, now that Android is good enough on phones, there simply isn’t any point in investing in it as heavily as before.

By no means is Android perfect; there are still a lot of things that need to be improved, such as scrolling. But Thompson makes a good point: Android is good enough on smartphones compared to iOS on the iPhone. When iOS first debuted it was a fast-moving target, but more recently iOS development velocity has dwindled and allowed Android to catch up for the most part. I haven’t played with the beta version of iOS 7, but I don’t think it will be a significant leap ahead of Android when it becomes available to the public later this year. Google will need to continue advancing Android on smartphones, but not as rapidly as it has so far. (Android on tablets is another story.)

Motorola Droid Ultra & Maxx

Nathan Ingraham, The Verge:

As for the displays, both devices feature 5-inch, 720p screens. We’re a little disappointed with the resolution at that size, but on the plus side both screens use OLED technology and do not include the Pentile sub-pixel arrangement found on previous Droid RAZR devices.

RGB OLED displays is definitely a move in the right direction. Unfortunately the 1280×720 pixel format is not competitive with other high end smartphones such as the 4.7-inch 1920×1080 HTC One. But that doesn’t mean the OLED display is not good in terms of resolution; the Droid Ultra sports a resolution of about 294 ppi, which will provide a retina display experience for most. Resolution isn’t everything so we will have to wait and see what Raymond Soneira says about the Droid Ultra’s OLED display to know for sure.

LG 55EA9800

The Verge: The LG 55EA9800 is a curved 55-inch OLED TV. The two prominent features are a thickness of 4.3 mm and that it’s curved. Priced at US$14,999 the 55EA9800 will be widely available in the U.S. at Magnolia.

A 55-inch TV need not be curved since you’re watching from a distance. The premium for this non-essential but interesting feature, for a TV, is too much. What I think would sell is a curved 21:9 30-inch OLED monitor with 4K, at one-tenth the price.

Update 2013.09.09: Raymond Soneira:

But what makes this LG TV absolutely stunning is the combination of OLED display technology together with a very accurate factory calibration that delivers picture quality and accuracy that is visually indistinguishable from perfect based on our extensive Lab tests – a commendable and impressive achievement!

Is perfect worth US$10,000?

Sony ‘Honami’ Xperia i1

Rumor has it Sony is working on its next flagship smartphone codenamed Honami, which will be marketed as the Sony Xperia i1. There are two features that I am interested in. One is the 5-inch 1920×1080 Triluminos LCD sporting quantum dots, and the second is the 20-megapixel Exmor R image sensor capable of recording 4K video and top-notch low-light photography.

Sony’s Triluminos technology takes advantage of a blue LED and a glass tube with two types of quantum dots. The quantum dots absorb and re-emit the blue light from the blue LED as red and green light. Compared to the broad spectrum light generated by a blue LED coated with yellow phosphor, white light using quantum dots result in more intense reds, greens, and blues.

A large color gamut without accurate colors end up being useless; just have a look at the blown out colors on many OLED display equipped Samsung Galaxy smartphones. I hope Sony takes advantage of its brilliant TV heritage and make colors as real as possible. Sony has an opportunity to bring to market a smartphone with a remarkable display.

The 20-megapixel Exmor R image sensor is rumored to be the same one used in the newly introduced RX-100 II compact camera. The RX-100 II is capable of quickly focusing on subjects in near dark environments; it’s low-light capabilities are best in class. Imagine a smartphone that takes photos as good as the RX-100 II. And, there’s 4K.

Once 4K recording is possible on a smartphone it’s game over; 4K has come. The only concern I have is storage space. According to rumors Honami will come in two versions: 16GB and 32GB, with SD expansion up to an additional 64GB. With new video compression algorithms such as H.265, 4K video should be only about 50% larger than 1080p. Be on the look out for 64GB SD deals; you’ll need them.

A 5-inch 1080p Triluminos LCD combined with RX-100 II-like photo capabilities and 4K recording makes the rumored Sony ‘Honami’ Xperia i1 one heck of a smartphone.

Apple Can’t Afford to Wait on a Retina iPad Mini

Evan Niu, The Motley Fool:

A fresh report from China’s Economic Daily News believes that Apple has indeed delayed the Retina iPad Mini’s launch until early 2014 because of the troubles it’s having.

Apple can’t afford to wait that long.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt points to Chitika’s May 2013 tablet usage share of web traffic where “All iPads” make up 82.4%. Second place is a distant 6.5% by “Amazon Kindle Fire”. I think Apple can wait, and Apple often does, to make sure the product is as good as it can make it before bringing it to market. Of course, Apple is far from perfect and brings to market far from perfect products, but at least I can count on Apple’s willingness to wait.

Quadrupling the number of pixels to 2048×1536 will increase power consumption. To maintain the same 10 hours of battery life Apple will need to pack a lot of battery into a retina iPad mini. Assuming a 10% annual increase in battery efficiency, Apple will need to wait. Even if IGZO was used to manufacture the retina LCD to improve light transmittance (for less than doubling of the LED backlight output) and the rest of the electronics were shrunk considerably the significantly larger battery still wouldn’t fit into the current iPad mini. And Apple can’t make the retina iPad mini much heavier because lightness is one of its main features.

I’d love to be proven wrong since I’d get one, but Apple will need to wait for battery technology to improve. I think a retina iPad mini won’t happen this year.