Today in Tech: Verizon iPhone reviewed, Android Honeycomb hands-on

February 3, 2011, 11:07 AM UTC

A curated selection of the day’s most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web.

  • The early Verizon iPhone reviews are in, and as expected, they’re extremely positive. Though the hardware remains largely the same as the iPhone 4 for AT&T — save the lack of a mini SIM card slot, as well as some slight shifting in the volume buttons and external antenna notches — changing mobile carriers did wonders for call quality: significantly fewer dropped calls, and overall better reception. For all you southpaws, though, beware: despite the superficial antenna changes, Verizon’s offering still suffers from the so-called “death grip.” And for any hardcore multitaskers, bear in mind that simultaneous voice calling and data usage other than texting is a no-no on Big Red, at least until the carrier’s 4G network and iPhone (inevitably) play nice. (Engadget)
  • Google made a splash yesterday with the official unveiling of Android 3.0, sweetly codenamed “Honeycomb.” My colleague Michael Copeland and I found much to like about the radically-upgraded interface, designed just as much for tablets as smartphones. Running off near-final builds of Motorola’s dual-core processor Xoom tablet, Honeycomb was wicked fast. As Copeland wrote, you can populate the home screen with a series of widgets: Gmail, your music collection, maybe electronic books, and interacting with any of the applications via a small version on the screen, is as easy as swiping down to swap through updates, while tapping on the Gmail application for instance brings it full-screen. The notifications system, which remains unobtrusive by updating dynamically in a small part of the bottom right-hand corner, puts iOS’s version to shame. That, along with the widgets and a “recently-visited” pane make the Android’s multitasking feature superior. Also well-done: Android Marketplace and the cordless syncing. Select an app and which compatible app its for, and the device instantly starts downloading it sans cord. Here’s a video of the launch. (Fortune)


  • Yesterday was also a big day for News Corp., which finally took the lid off its long-gestating iPad-exclusive (for now) newspaper, the Daily. When it launches, issues will be priced at 99-cents with yearly subscriptions going for $39.99. The first two weeks will be free, courtesy of Verizon. Our own resident Apple writer Phil Elmer-DeWitt blogged live from the event and flipped through the first 100-page issue. Said DeWitt: “The lead stories — the Cairo protests and winter snowstorm — read like pieces dashed off by one-man bureaus and can’t compete with, say, the New York Times, memeorandum or the Weather Channel. There are plenty of cheesecake celebrity photos, but they’re not going to turn the heads of kids raised on Internet porn.” Given overhead costs to the tune of $30 million just to get the publication out and $26 million annually to keep it up and running, its long-term viability remains questionable. (Fortune)
  • Take this as you will, but News Corp. COO Chase Carey officially said MySpace’s best hope for success (read: survival) now is likely a sale. “The new MySpace has been very well received by the market and we have some very encouraging metrics. But the plan to allow MySpace to reach it’s full potential may be best achieved under a new owner.” (paidContent)
  • Google reportedly tried to buy private network start-up Path for over $100 million. According to TechCrunch, Google was particularly interested in Path because of the company’s design skills and talent like ex-Facebooker, Dave Morin. (TechCrunch)

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