If Smartphones were Star Wars Characters

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If Smartphones were Star Wars Characters

I just saw The Force Awakens (don’t worry, no spoilers), and I really enjoyed the movie.   In the days leading up to the movie I had Star Wars on the brain; I also had smart phones on the brain, which created a convergence in the force.   What came out of that convergence is this post.

Not all smartphones can be Star Wars Characters and not all Star wars Characters can be smartphones.  Other times the connections are so clear, that you can’t deny it.  Have a look at the connections that I made and let me know your thoughts.  Do you agree with my selections?  If you have other thoughts please share them.   Below are my connections.

ONE PLUS 2 – Han SoloHan Solo

 

In most people’s minds the One Plus started the “best bang for your buck” smart phone revolution.   Personally I think that the 2013 Nexus 5 should be wearing that badge of honour but hey, that is not what this post is about.  The one thing that I think we can all agree on is that the one plus is a rebel of a phone and so are those that carry it.  I have yet to see a One Plus 2 live, and I have only seen a OnePlus 1 twice but both times when I said “Wow, is that the One Plus 1?” The reply was not just yes or some other affirmative.  The first person replied with “yes and it is running Oxygen OS.”  The second person replied with “CM 12.1 nightly and he quoted the date.”  Who the heck actually knows the date of the last nightly they downloaded? That is bad ass!

One plus is still a relatively niche company with a non-conformist appeal.   In a sea of Galaxies and iPhones the OnePlus 2 has some roguish charm to help it stand out.  Even the company One Plus reminds me of Han with its crazy social media campaigns and invite system.   Plans never work out like they are meant to but somehow Han manages to keep things together only to fall into another mess, usually of his own making……. just like OnePlus

 

 

Droid Turbo 2 – ChewbaccaChewy

Star Wars had its fair share of tough guys but only one of them would rip off your arms if they started to lose at a Dejarik (Holo Chess).  Chewbacca is known for his strength and endurance, so is the Droid Turbo 2.   With a 21MP camera, a 3760 mAh battery and shatterproof screen this is a rough and tumble phone ready for anything.  Half of Han Solo’s charm came from the fact that his best friend was there through everything and would never let Han down.  Like Chewy, this phone is something to keep by your side through all of your daily adventures, something that will never let you down, even if you drop it into a trash compactor.    Motorola even calls the backing material Ballistic Nylon!   That just sounds cool to me.

The Droid Turbo 2 is not the smallest or prettiest of phones, but neither was Chewbacca.  The phone is definitely a man’s best friend or something that a princess would use to help her rescue her prince charming from carbonate status.

 

 

 

BlackBerry – Yodayoda

 

For eight hundred years has BlackBerry trained people to type with their thumbs, its own council will it keep on the use of physical keyboards.   Just like Yoda the BlackBerry can look old to young eyes but my fellow Canadians have been making phones and pages since 1984.  Before google existed and while Apple was planning to fire Steve Jobs, this company came up with the idea of seeing an email on your pager.  One thing led to another and the smartphone was born.

Yoda has been around for a long time and so has BlackBerry.  With hundreds of years training Jedi, Yoda’s influence can be felt throughout the force.   So too can the BlackBerry’s influence be felt thoughout the smart phone world.  Dependent on your age you may see the BlackBerry Passport as something irrelevant but market share matters not!  BlackBerrys are the phones that created the smart phone revolution and brought email on a phone to the world.  If you are close in age to me you can remember a time when texting was billed by the characters and you only had a number pad to type with.  Those were dark times, indeed. BB may not be doing much now, kind of like Yoda sitting in a swamp waiting for something to happen, but their genius can still be seen today in modern phones.  Have a look at the operating system of a BlackBerry from the 90’s and you can still see their influence on iOS and android even today.

These phones should have lasted forever, strong were they with the force, but not that strong.

 

 

iPhone – Emperor Palpatineiphone

 

This was perhaps the easiest connection.   Emperor Palpatine led the Galactic Empire through fear, fear of this battle station (Deathstar).   Apple leads in profit through fear, fear keeping up with the Jones’.   The empire was not an equal opportunity employer.   They used the Wookies and other species as slaves to build what the empire referred to as the ultimate power in the universe.   Replace wookies with Foxcomm employees and you can keep the arrogance of believing their creation to be the ultimate power in the universe.  Much like the Emperor, the iPhone’s overconfidence is its weakness.

There is no contradicting the fact that the Emperor was powerful, so is the iPhone.  The Emperor’s reach stretched across the better part of the Galaxy and the iphone’s reach stretches across most of North America and Europe.   The empire brought conformity to the galaxy and seemed unstoppable but rebellion comes to us in many forms.  With companies like Xiaomi, Obi, Wiley Fox, Microsoft, Nextbit,  OnePlus, and Nokia all looking to make their mark, or reclaim lost ground, there is a new hope!

 

I hope that you have enjoyed this fun little article.  If you have a few connections of your own, please leave them below.  I would enjoy hearing from others on this one.

 

Until next time…..

Episode Tuesday

 

 

Flashing ROMs like My Wife Drives.

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The Connections Between Chris Lacy, Muggles and Flashing ROMs like My Wife Drives.

 

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It may be hard to see how Chris Lacy is connected to my wife’s driving skills.  I can understand if you are confused, Chris comes from the land down under while my wife’s driving takes place in the Great White North.  Geographically Australia and Canada are rather far apart but if you throw in Muggles and some ROMs to flash it all starts to connect.  Let me explain.

For those that have read my posts before, know that I am a big fan of the RootJunky website.  I guess that is obvious as I always post on his site.  I also visit other tech site that interest me and I enjoy podcasts. One of my favourite podcasts is the blerg, from Chris Lacey .  I have been listening to his podcast for a few months now and I really enjoy it.  He does seem a little harsh toward OEMs, from time to time, but he does it without bias towards any operation system or equipment manufacturer.  I would call him “tech agnostic”, not sure what he would say about that but that is how he comes across to me.  He is an accomplished developer and if anyone is allowed to dish out some harsh criticisms from time to time, it is an accomplished developer.  Dursleys-from-Harry-Potter

Anyway, I have heard him use the term Muggles when referring to people like me, newbs or the uninitiated.  As many of you may know the term Muggle comes from the Harry Potter book series, a Muggle is a person who lacks any sort of magical ability and was not born into the magical world. Muggles also do not have any magical blood. That’s a quote from Google.  Chris uses it to reference those who lack any sort of programing ability and were not born into the computer world or do not have any magical programming blood.  In the Harry Potter books it is a derogatory term, that the privileged few have for their lesser.  I don’t think that Chris uses it in that negative way. I actually like the way he uses it and I think it fits.

I remember the feeling of magic that fell upon me when I followed that first XDA thread, allowing me to flash slimROM on my aging Samsung tablet.  Installing Odin on my PC was done during a new moon.  The recovery was flashed while I danced naked with the witches of Salem.  Booting up the new ROM for the first time I sprinkled the blood of a Unicorn across the screen for good measure.  Just like magic or maybe because of it…….. my tablet booted up and ran like a dream.  It still runs to this day and runs really well on slimROM.  This whole process is very magical to me, so the term Muggle fits.odin-header

Chris Lacy can call me a Muggle anytime and I am OK with that.  I have magical friends like RootJunky to help me out when things go wrong.  Youtube is filled with great videos and XDA is always there.  If you have a problem chances are RootJunky has a video about it or the solution is waiting for you at XDA.  If you follow their magical directions you will be able to work miracles.  This bring me to my wife’s driving.

My wife is a great driver.  She is confident behind the wheel and has a good sense of the road.  A few years back when we were looking for a new vehicle, it was obvious that she would have preferred a high end sports car; too bad that was not in our budget, I would have preferred that too.  Sadly the Corvette in the photo is not ours.  Cars that had stronger engines, stiffer suspension and steering that let you feel the road was where her choices gravitated.  It was really interesting to watch her go through the process of testing cars because I happen to be a mechanical wizard.  To me she is an automobile Muggle.  Someone that is unaware of the magic that lies under the hood. Now just because my wife is a automobile Muggle please don’t think she can’t drive.  She may not understand the difference between 2 stroke and 4 stroke engines or understand what is taking place when you shift gears, but put her behind the wheel and she more than competent, perhaps even talented.  That is exactly how a thought I flashed ROMs, more than competent, perhaps even talented.  That is what I thought but I am not so sure now.

To me, guys like the RootJunky are wizards, Chris Lacey is like a level 20 Magic user and Chainfire is from another dimension. It is funny how many people there are like me.  We flash a few ROMS and then think that we can take down governments with our hacking abilities.  I really have no idea of what I am doing half the time and this became apparent a few weeks back.  When modding my phone, I follow the road as my wife does when she drives but I don’t instinctively hit my apex in the corners.  I would love to tell you how I have become one of the few, someone capable of magic but really I am just good at following directions.  In that respect I guess my wife’s driving is much better than my flashing.  She at least has an inborn talent for understanding space and the car’s place in it.  I am just good at following directions.

My ability to follow direction and my lack of any really Android knowledge became very apparent about two weeks ago.  I wanted to give Cyanogen 13.0 a try but I wanted to try out the CAF variant.  This took a little bit of magic and I…….I am just a Muggle.  I did get CM 13.0 CAF running on my phone but my actual phone app was crashing on me all the time.  Not much of a smartphone if you can’t make phone calls.   After a number of wipes and reinstall things were not getting any better.  So I did what I do best, I followed directions on XDA.  I started from scratch and got my phone back to stock Android. Oh the defeat and shame that I felt.  

It was at this time of defeat that I listened to Chris Lacey’s podcast and heard him used the term muggles again.  That is when all the connections hit me: Chris Lacy, Muggles, flashing ROMs, my wife’s driving and this post was born.

My phone is currently running well with CM13.0, but not the CAF variant.  I have decided to stay away from that.   It was a tough week for this muggle as I struggled through my phone issues. It was a little disappointing realizing  that after a year or two of flashing ROMS I am still driving without really knowing what is happening under the hood. I may never be at the level of a developer but as I have fun in the world that XDA has shown me I will improve day by day.  

Who knows, one day I may be able to flash ROMs like my wife drives!

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Episode Tuesday

Google and Apple Hate Italians

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Google and Apple hate Italians, Samsung hates the British but One Plus likes everyone.

First the back story

For those that don’t know me, I started writing for the RootJunky website about a month ago. My last post was a review of the Nexus 6P, it’s a great device by the way. Check out the review here. I ended that post with:

“Well it (Nexus 6P) may be the best value for your dollar unless you are Italian. Why am I picking on the Italians? Well I’m not, but come back to view my next post and find out who is”

So who is picking on the Italians? Well it looks like Google and Apples are teaming up against the country that brought pizza to the world.

Ok there are a few things that I should say right off the bat. I am not an economist or an accountant. I am not even a professional journalist. I am just a guy that likes tech and has opinions to share. This week I would like to share some interesting thing that I found when reviewing the price for the Nexus 6P.

I live in Canada and my good friend Tom the RootJunky lives in the USofA. It is standard knowledge that technology items are cheaper south of the border but after you work out the exchange it is usually a wash. A few bucks here or there, no big deal. While writing my review I had watched an angry Damir Franc rant about the price of the Nexus in German. I decided to investigate further.

Investigating prices

I started my investigation by picking a few countries spread throughout our little planet. I looked at the rate of exchange; this was in early november, and compared prices. Have a look at what i found out below.

6p

 

nexus 6P

If you compare the prices for the 32gb, 64gb, and 128gb models, Italians are paying an average of $285.58 extra for their phones. That sucks! Small wonder why Damir was so upset. He lives in Germany not Italy, but i am sure that most countries that use the Euro are very close in price. Things are not much better in New Zealand or the United Kingdom. My fellow Canadians are doing ok but the pacific side of the world, not so much. Australia is overcharged by $160, Japan by $130 and India by about a hundred dollars. Why? I have not clue. Honestly i don’t know why this happens. I decided to investigate a little further.

I thought to myself that this may be a Google thing? Perhaps Apple does it differently? Nope have a look at there numbers below.

6s

iphone 6s

The iphone 6s had nearly identical overcharges when compared to the 6p. Uk, Italy, Australia and New Zealand were within $15 dollars of the Nexus overcharge amount. Again, my hockey playing brethren had the best deal at $65 overcharge but those iphones are so damned expensive already. Japan did ok but India got treated like an Italian stepson by accounting department at Apple. Again I am asking why? Perhaps both companies have some long standing vendetta against spaghetti and are now planning to make the entire country suffer?

Did samsung come out any better? Not really. Their chart and numbers are below. Samsung was a little nicer to the Italians and India but they seem to dislike the people that brought us Dr. Who. Your average Brit is paying over $200 more than an american for the same phone. The south Korean company seems to like Canadians, as we are pay about $3 less than anyone else. As a Canadian all I can say is “sorry about that, eh.”

6 edge

Galaxy 6 Edge

Throughout this entire time I was researching prices, the question of why kept on coming around and I had not found a solid answer. While looking for that answer I did question my methods. I was using a dollar conversion rate from a random day in November, the prices I used for the phones were just pulled off of websites that were easily translated. My Japanese and Hindi are a little rusty so perhaps I could have found better prices had I been able to do some comparison shopping. Even with all my possible errors in approaching there is a pattern. Pricing is not even across the globe. There has to be a reason.

After looking at these three phones I started to think that this must be some kind of tariff effect. The taxes in these countries are set up to penalize technology. Not being an economist, I don’t understand the full workings of trade tariffs and taxes but we have all read about them from time to time and know that they exist and their basic workings. This was a pill I could swallow. It was not a perfect answer but the UK and European Union seem to pay higher rates for phones while Canadia seems to remain on par with the US. This pattern seemed repeatable. This seemed to make sense until i looked at OnePlus. Check out their numbers below.

1+2

OnePlus 2

OnePlus can somehow manage to be “fair” to everyone’s wallet, never mind what kind of bills you put into it. Looking at this kind of blows that tariff/tax idea out of the water. If OnePlus can keep their phones to within $107, why can’t everyone else? With OnePlus there are even some countries that are paying less than the United States. Canada, Japan and India pay less for the OnePlus 2 after conversation to US OnePlus .

 

Conclusion

I would like to know what others think but here is my two sense. Samsung, Google and Apple charge more because…… well I think it is because they can.  I don’t really think that any company would have it our for one country or another.  That is not how the world works, but the world does run on money.  OnePlus is a new company that is trying gain a reputation for giving its customers the best bang for your buck. You can’t do that and ask Italians to pay $280 more, all at the same time. OnePlus wants and needs the sale and that is reflected in the price. These other three phones are vying for premium spots in the market. They want you to associate them as top end. One way to do that is increase the price. If it is expensive lots of people will assume that it has value. That is my best guess.

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts on this, especial if you are from any of the listed countries.  Have you been able to find better deal?  Area you leaning toward other OEMs like OnePlus because they are giving you a fair deal?  I would be interested in hearing what you think.

 

Until next time

E. Tuesday

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