Stay on Top of Emerging Technology Trends
Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Many gadgets come through Mobile Tech Manor for review; it’s a big part of my week. I am a gadget lover, so each device that comes through the door brings excitement to the office with the prospect of trying out something new. Almost all of the gadgets arriving are only here for a while, as they go back where they came from after the evaluation process is done. The exception to this are those gadgets that have impressed me enough to get my wallet out of my pocket. It is rare, but I have no reluctance toward buying a gadget if it really proves itself to me during the evaluation. Such is the case with the HTC EVO 4G that was released a week ago. I now own one of these phones, and this week has been once of exploration and adopting it into my routine.
The EVO 4G from HTC has captured the attention of a lot of people in the tech world. No matter what tech site you visit you are bound to run into some coverage of this newly released phone. It is rare that a phone can get released just before Apple’s (s aapl) launch of the iPhone 4 and still get the amount of press coverage the EVO has received. It is a testament to how many enthusiasts are interested in this unique phone. When a new phone gets released I am inevitably asked if I recommend it or not for reader purchase. I refuse to do that, as each person’s needs vary and we each have our personal likes and dislikes. What I like you may not.
When asked for a recommendation about the EVO 4G, all I will say is that I bought one. I buy more gear than the average person, but the purchase of a gadget is as big a deal to me as it is to anyone. The phone impressed me enough to get my money, and that’s saying a lot. This week since the purchase I have been using it constantly; I don’t think it’s spent longer than 10 minutes on the desk since it arrived. I have integrated it into my daily routine, and I have been using it in as many different settings as I can to see how it performs under any circumstances.
I have already reviewed the EVO so I won’t rehash that; I will simply pass on the features that have been the most useful to me this week. Number one on that list has to be the 4G. I don’t have 4G coverage in the Manor, but it’s been available in most places in Houston I have visited this week. It is fast, and makes the EVO seem to be not so much a phone as a handheld computer. While using 4G things pop on the screen instantly, and it is impressive.
Another feature of the EVO that has been useful to me is the mobile hotspot capability. Using the EVO to get any device online is as simple as tapping the 4G widget on the homescreen. In just a few seconds the EVO turns into a Wi-Fi router connected to the Sprint (s s) 4G network and whatever computer I have with me is online with speed. The EVO is easier to use and faster to connect than the Sprint Overdrive I have been using. This made a tremendous impact while working mobile, and it’s convenient since it’s all done on the phone that is in my pocket anyway.
I have been using the hotspot with both laptops and the iPad all week. It has worked so well that I no longer search for a Wi-Fi hotspot to use for these sessions. I tap the EVO and get online in 4G. The EVO data plan is unlimited, so a mobile data cap is a thing of the past.
The EVO also works well as a 3G hotspot when 4G is not available. It is as fast as the MiFi that I used before getting the Overdrive. I have not seen a single dropped connection or any other problem while using the EVO has a mobile hotspot. To quote a company in California– “it just works.”
The long review of the EVO I wrote this week was a good example of how mobile tech can be a game changer. Most of that review was written in a coffee shop on the 13-inch MacBook. It’s a long review and I needed a good writing machine with me so the MacBook got the nod as the work machine. When I do a hardware review a second screen is helpful, as I frequently refer to online material from manufacturers and the like. The iPad served that role beautifully using the Air Display app I’ve covered previously.
I was frequently interrupted while writing that review, as my mobile setup intrigued those around me. I had the MacBook in front of me, the iPad to the left serving as a second monitor for the Mac, and the EVO was serving up 4G to the MacBook and iPad. It was a full office setup complete with fast broadband and two monitors, yet all sitting on a little table in the coffee shop. It is the most productive mobile configuration I have ever used, and I’ve used a lot of gear. What really impressed onlookers was the lack of wires — not one to be found anywhere.
This setup will be outstanding on business trips. It will fit in a little backpack yet provide more functionality than any gear I have used in the past. This can turn any hotel room into an office as fully functional as Mobile Tech Manor. I am sitting on a mobile tech panel in Orlando in a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to bring this mobile office with me.
I have been careful not to go crazy installing software on the EVO. I wanted to give the stock Android and HTC Sense apps a good try before hitting the Android Market and grabbling lots of apps. This has worked better than I expected, with a few exceptions.
I have settled on the Got to Do app ($2.99) with its integration with Toodledo to manage my to-do list. I have also installed the free Twicca app to use as my preferred Twitter client. I wanted to try the video chat capability on the EVO with the front-facing camera so I loaded up both Qik and Fring. Both work as advertised, and turn the EVO into a pretty decent video calling tool. The video quality of Qik is better than Fring, but Fring has integration with Skype contact lists. Qik also forced one of the callers to hit a talk button before saying anything, like the walkie-talkies of old. That is a royal pain.
Lastly, I installed the eReader app as the Android version is pretty good. I really wish there was an Android version of the Kindle app which would make my life much easier. It’s supposedly due this summer so we’ll see.
e-book of the week
This week I read a mystery novel that was superb. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (translated by Reg Keeland) is as good as any mystery I’ve read in a while. The story has great characters, and the mystery spans over 20 years. It is the first in a trilogy, and the first thing I did after finishing this book was buy the other two. The novels are Swedish, and Larsson tragically died after turning the manuscripts in to his publisher several years ago. The English translation is flawless, and I really enjoyed reading this book. I’ve already started the second in the series and it picks up where the first ended.
That’s how the week in Mobile Tech Manor went down. It was highly devoted to the EVO 4G as it was my newest gadget. I promise to get back onto regular coverage next week so be sure and drop by for a visit.
Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): Google’s Mobile Strategy: Understanding the Nexus One