Sure, the iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5 or HTC One is much, much faster than the Lumia 635. Yes, they have higher-density displays, better cameras, more advanced wireless connectivity, and more sensors. But you could buy thirteen Lumia 635s for the price of an iPhone 6.
Recently, the Microsoft Store held a sale on the budget Lumia 635 smartphone, bringing it down from an already reasonable $80 price tag to a preposterous $49. As I’m sure you’re well aware, I have a fascination with both exploring diverse computing ecosystems and “good enough” computing, so naturally I snapped one up. The Lumia 635 mates a competent budget Windows Phone 8.1 experience to an LTE modem for a price only slightly above that of the older, 3G-only Lumia 520 (which as of time of writing is available for an equally absurd $29). So I have spent the last week or so using the Lumia 635 as my daily smart phone in place of my Galaxy S5 in order to get a feel for where both this device specifically and the Windows Phone 8.1 ecosystem lie. What follows, then, is not so much specifically a review of the Lumia 635 specifically as a piece of hardware, but more of a loose treatise on both Microsoft’s place in the smartphone economy and the general state of budget-vs-flagship smartphones.
Continue reading “A Gentle Stroll to the Bottom: The Nokia Lumia 635 Review”
Part One of the Windows 8 review coverage
There was a time when Microsoft’s web browser commanded about 95% of the global market. Internet Explorer was the way to browse the web, and deep integration into the equally-ubiquitous Windows operating system left Netscape without a leg to stand on. Internet Explorer got so big, in fact, that the federal government got involved, suing Microsoft for anti-competitive business practices. There was even talk of splitting up Microsoft, AT&T-style. Of course, that didn’t come to pass, but Microsoft was required to separate Internet Explorer from the core of Windows somewhat. In Europe, they faced even tougher restrictions: Windows 7 and up have to prompt the user which web browser they want to use on first boot, rather than shipping with IE installed by default.
The real decline in Internet Explorer’s market share, however, came of course from the explosion of two alternative browsers: first, Mozilla’s Firefox in 2004, and later Google’s Chrome in 2008. I have used Firefox off and on since the early betas (still called Phoenix at the time, before trademark issues forced Mozilla to change the name) and have been using Chrome as my primary browser for the last couple of years. I, like millions of others, eventually came to view Internet Explorer as “that thing that downloads Firefox/Chrome on new computers.”
Continue reading “Just Too Close To Love You: The Internet Explorer 10 Review”
The third-quarter sales figures are out from the usual suspects at Gartner and IDC, and they show (as was expected) a dip in sales from almost every major PC manufacturer in the US – even Apple, who have until now managed to continue selling more units despite an industry-wide slump. This time, only ThinkPad manufacturer Lenovo and famed king of reliability ASUS managed to keep their heads above the waterline – and did so spectacularly, with Lenovo moving up to 4th place behind Apple in the US, and taking the number one spot worldwide away from HP. Despite Lenovo’s successes, however, the industry as a whole declined for yet another quarter. The question on many people’s minds is obvious: why? Computers are faster and cheaper than ever, so why aren’t they selling as well? As it turns out, it’s actually a fairly complex answer that can’t be easily boiled down to something pithy like “iPad sales,” no matter how hard some members of the tech press might desire to do so.
Continue reading “Apocalypse Never: The PC Market In Perspective”