Wahoo Fitness Pack turns your iPhone into a helpful workout buddy

This fitness pack from Wahoo offers tracking for runners as well as its own free app and helpful heart-rate monitoring belt.
One of the many benefits of having a smartphone that is thin enough and light enough to carry anywhere in the palm of your hand, is being able to use it to help track and learn about your own fitness regimen, assuming that you have one. There are plenty of apps in the Apple App Store that let you track how far and how fast you run based on GPS, and there are also plenty of external devices (watches, monitors) that help track those same things, as well as vitals like your heart rate. The Wahoo Fitness Pack ($120) combines the best of both worlds and let’s your iPhone do the work — no need for a fitness-centric watch or tracker. 
The “pack,” which can be used for running or other means of exercise (the gym, per se), includes a tiny dongle that plugs into your iPhone’s 30-pin dock connector, and a helpful heart-rate belt to monitor just how hard your insides are working. All of this works in conjunction with Wahoo’s very own free fitness app, but if you’re loyal to a different fitness app, the industry-standard ANT+ integration means that the dongle and heart-rate belt will work just as well with a non-Wahoo-branded app. 
The most unique aspect of this kit is the ability to accurately monitor your heart rate and the amount of calories you’ve burned while you exercise. If you’re an outdoor runner, you likely have no idea how many calories you burn in a single session. If you are partial to the treadmill, you think you know how many calories you’re burning, but that number is probably wrong. With time, distance, and heart-rate statistics, the Wahoo pack can determine a much more accurate number, giving you a better handle on your fitness goals. The Wahoo Fitness Pack is available at Best Buy, both in stores and online. 

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth makes its way stateside

 Look out for the new America-ready 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

If you’ve seen those Fiat commercials playing on TV with a glamorously-clad Jennifer Lopez dancing around and driving her own cream-colored Fiat 500, then you know that the “small but wicked” European car has made its way to the states. In a much more exciting turn for those who like the “wicked” descriptor, it appears that the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth will also be making its way stateside after a big reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The souped-up version of the 500 will reportedly feature a new 1.4 liter MultiAir Turbo, an Abarth-tuned brake and suspension system, and will be capable of 135 hp and 151 lb ft torque. As you can tell by its looks, the 500 Abarth is designed for racing enthusiasts, with both power and performance in the small, European-style package. No word yet on price, but we’re guessing it will be significantly more than the standard Fiat 500 price tag of $15,500.

iHome reveals 80s-inspired Boombox iP4 model

IHome has a new iPhone dock, and it's got a very retro vibe.
Apple-loving brand iHome is known mostly for its bedside iPhone/iPod docks, but the company also generally keeps things looking sleek and simple. With that in mind, it’s a bit of a surprise to see the new 80s-inspired, iP4 Portable FM Stereo Boombox (we think will run about $200), which looks like a modern concrete sculpture of the retro stereo that used to be carried around on shoulders. The hefty (7.5 lb) boombox replica has a dark grey, matte finish with the most clean and modern look you can give to a chunky stereo. The amplifier and speaker system was specifically designed for the iPhone, but thanks to a 3.5mm jack, you can plug just about any other device into it as well. 
The iP4 uses SRS TruBass digital signal processing technology, has a 5-band EQ for fine-tuning, and comes equipped with two 4″ carbon composite subwoofers, and a pair of dome tweeters. True to its old-school design, the iP4 has an FM tuner for radio, but no cassette player (sorry). The big boombox that should have big sound operates on either the included AC adapter or 6 D-cell batteries for portability. 

Case-Mate Military Grade Tank case will protect your iPhone at all costs

Get the ultimate in protection (and sacrifice looks) with the Case-Mate Tank case for your iPhone. For the accident-prone only.
If you’ve been searching for a case that will protect your iPhone against the most severe drops, bumps, and bruises, we may have found your match. Most people need a case to protect the precious glass-and-aluminum phone from breaking after the slightest drop, but only a select few will have the clumsy-factor needed to be the proud owner of a military-grade iPhone case like The Tank ($60) from Case-Mate. 
This rugged case packs protection of all forms in a rather bulky package, but that’s to be expected when you are looking for sturdiness and protection above all else. If you have too much concern about the aesthetics of your iPhone, you might as well stop reading now because this chunky case is not for you. For those who are a little bit more accident-prone, however; this case offers serious protection and doesn’t look terrible. The ruggedized case has a hard, shatter-resistant polycarbonate layer outside, but is lined with a thick layer of cushy silicone for impact resistance. The case reportedly passed Military Specifications for sand/dust, shock/drop, wind/rain, and vibration, so this thing will have you covered no matter the situation. 
According to Case-Mate, and a video that’s viewable on the company’s Website, the Tank case tests number one when it comes to impact resistance against other ‘rugged’ cases. A retractable screen (seen above) adds extra protection from impact, cracks, and condensation. The case plugs your iPhone’s ports to prevent dust and dirt from getting in, and the exterior polycarbonate has a soft-touch finish that should provide a good grip without getting stuck in your pocket. The heavy-duty case is available in four different color options and even comes with a geeky holster belt. 

Killspencer’s new iPhone Veils available in zebrawood or ebony finish

This stunning Killspencer backing "Veil" for your iPhone 4 or 4S will give you the wood look, minus the bulk.
Wood and bamboo cases for everything Apple have become somewhat of a trend, but there’s one major problem with encasing your iPhone or iPad in a piece of beautiful wood — the bulk factor. It’s extremely difficult to create a wood case for the iPhone that stays slim, lightweight, and keeps the stunning form factor of the iPhone 4/4S looking good. Most iPhone minimalists we know eschew wood cases altogether for that fact alone. Well, thanks to the folks over at Killspencer, those who like the wood look but want something with less bulk (and protection, we may add) now have something to dress up their phones in. 
The Killspencer iPhone 4/4S Veil ($30) is a hard wood ‘sticker’ that adheres to the back of your iPhone for protection and some added style. The Veil was designed and developed in Los Angeles and each ‘sticker’ is handcrafted there as well. The company uses locally-sourced zebrawood, macassar ebony, or black birdseye maple, although we have to say that we are particularly partial to the stripy zebrawood seen in the photo above. The sleek Veils have cutouts for the iPhone’s camera and feature an understated Killspencer logo at the bottom. While adding one of these to your iPhone won’t help you much if you drop your phone on its face, it will protect the glass back from scratches and keep your iPhone looking sleek and slim. 

Get simplified internet radio anywhere with the Q2 cube

The Q2 cube offers a simplified way to listen to your favorite internet radio stations at home or on the go. Flip the cube to different sides to switch between four personally-selected stations.
While most of us think that the only option for having good, Internet-based music at home is either playing it from your crummy computer speakers or buying a nice smartphone-compatible speaker dock, the people over at Q2 Wi-Fi Internet Radio have come up with something else. Instead of using smartphone-based apps or your computer, the Q2 Cube ($130) uses a Wi-Fi network and four personally-selected Internet radio stations to create a simple and easy music solution. 
The small, square speaker lets users set a radio station for each side of the cube,using motion control so that users can change the station by simple flipping the cube to a different side. It might seem silly to only be able to access four different stations, but think about the actual radio in your car — chances are you probably switch between four (or fewer) stations to hear something that strikes your fancy. We wouldn’t want this as a main stereo system in our homes, to be sure, but it’s a solid portable option to get some tunes going and would be great in areas like the kitchen or a kids room.
The setup is simple and users can select their four favorite stations from tens of thousands of streams available from all over the world. Once you’ve chosen your stations, things couldn’t be any more simple. Flip the cube onto different sides to change stations, and tilt the Q2 up and down to adjust the volume. Simplicity isn’t always a bad thing. 

T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide Review

Review: T-Mobile’s MyTouch 4G Slide may be the best deal going on T-Mobile, offering a hot dual-core processor, full QWERTY keyboard and capable 8-megapixel camera for $99.

T-Mobile has a few key brands to its name, and in the Android world, MyTouch is one that draws its lineage all the way from the second Android phone ever sold stateside. Surprisingly, instead of relying on the name to sell the phone, T-Mobile and HTC have created a real bargain with the MyTouch 4G Slide. Though we have some small issues with the phone, for $99 (currently a Web-only offer), it’s one great deal.

Design and feel

The MyTouch 4G Slide is not a lightweight phone, by any definition. We wouldn’t say it’s too heavy, but it does weigh in at 6.5 ounces, more than 1.5 ounces heavier than the iPhone 4. With that said, the iPhone 4 does not have a full QWERTY keyboard. The MyTouch 4G Slide does. The 4G Slide has a black front, brushed metal bumper, and tan or black shell (depending on your color choice).


At 3.7 inches, the LCD screen on the 4G Slide is a bit larger than the iPhone 4, which is a nice compromise for those looking for a bit of real estate, but without having to buy a massive 4.3-inch phone. This may be a feature of the software, but we also found the touchscreen to be faster and more responsive than most.

Navigation buttons

The face buttons on the 4G Slide are a welcome change from the usual haptic touch buttons we get on most Android phones. They’re perfectly sized and have a good click to them. They feel fairly durable as well. We’re not so sure about the MyTouch Genius button, though. As with other MyTouch phones, T-Mobile has removed the Google Search button in favor of a Genius button, which has a list of voice commands you can use to search for things, call friends, send texts or email, or find businesses. We found the Genius search to work as well as Google’s voice search, so we can’t complain much. With more and more manufacturers using their own proprietary voice search, we hope Google takes note and improves its own voice search.


A few smartphones still have touch pads, a remnant of the pre-touchscreen era. The MyTouch 4G Slide’s touchpad is more effective than most, and doesn’t feel like a complete waste of space like the Sidekick 4G‘s touchpad did.


Few phones have full slide-out keyboards these days, but it’s nice to be able to type and look at a full screen of content. Onscreen keyboards take up so much real estate. The sliding mechanism of the MyTouch 4G Slide is fantastic. This is one of those phones that you’ll slide open and shut out of habit because it just feels fun. Using the keyboard is not as rewarding an experience. The four-row QWERTY keyboard has all the buttons it needs, but it’s a bit too flat and stretched out for our purposes. After a while, we got used to it, but it does not match up to keyboards on the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G or the Motorola Droid 3. These devices have a dedicated number row and feel natural to type on. For all its space, the 4G Slide isn’t quite there.

Power and volume

While we were initially puzzled by the decision to put the volume rocker and power button on the left side instead of right, the decision makes sense because it puts your hand in the correct position to slide open the device and shift into a typing position — smart design on HTC’s part. The volume rocker is a bit hard to find if you’re shuffling for it in your pocket while listening to music, however. Since it has no physical markings on either side, it’s difficult to tell if you’re about to move the volume up or down. Once you use the phone enough, this shouldn’t be a big issue.


Despite its low price, the MyTouch 4G Slide packs more power than almost any other phone on the market, on T-Mobile or any other carrier. Packed inside is a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 768MB of RAM, and 9GB of memory storage (1GB internal, 8GB microSD card). The screen clocks in at 3.7 inches and has a resolution of 480 x 800, which is a bit low considering some phones are exceeding 960 x 540 these days, but the highly responsive HTC Sense 3.0 and Android 2.3 experience make up for the difference. Camera geeks should get most excited, however. The 4G Slide has one of the best cameras (8-megapixel) we’ve seen outside a Nokia phone. It can record 1080p video as well.

Android 2.3 operating system with HTC Sense 3.0

Almost every Android phone comes with a few pieces of flair that the manufacturer throws in to make their devices stand out from the pack. We’re excited to say that the 4G Slide comes with Android 2.3 underneath, which is a much more stable and improved OS than Android 2.2, which was on almost every phone until late July. HTC’s Sense 3.0 UI is arguably the best-looking user interface available. Thanks to the dual-core power of the phone, you’ll get plenty of pretty 3D effects as well. No other UI has as many widgets, themes, visual flourishes, and useful modifications. We particularly like how HTC added a quick settings dialog in the Notifications bar.

Apps and Web

If there is one downside to owning an HTC phone, it’s that the company insists on modifying or replacing Google’s apps to fit the design and themes of HTC Sense. While they definitely look good, it also means that several core apps, like Google Navigation and Places, are missing some really great features that have been added this year, like turn-by-turn walking directions and searching for restaurants that are currently open. HTC’s music app also lacks the ability to connect to Google Music Beta. These are small issues, but we’d really like to see HTC update its core apps more often.

As usual, there are a few unremovable preloaded apps. The standard set of T-Mobile apps come preloaded on the phone, as does Bejeweled 2, dT Sync (not a bad app, actually), Netflix, Polaris Office, and Zinio Reader.

HTC’s Web browser isn’t terrible, but also suffers from a few annoying issues. Mostly, unlike Google’s browser, it does not automatically resize webpages. Instead, it leaves them full size, forcing you to zoom out yourself or scroll around the page. It’s not hard to zoom out, but Google’s browser automatically does this. Why did HTC have to mess with it?


The camera on the MyTouch 4G Slide is one of the best we’ve seen. It still can’t compare to an expensive point-and-shoot or some of Nokia’s cameras, but it’s as good as any other phone we’ve used this year. Like most HTC Android devices, the 8-megapixel rear camera on the 4G Slide picks up color well and works in darker and more challenging lighting conditions better than most. The autofocus is faster, as is the shutter speed (not an actual shutter, mind you) than most other phones. HTC’s software lets you tap anywhere on the screen to focus and refocuses whenever you move the camera. This could get annoying if you’re setting up a shot, but for a quick shoot, it should work well. We had no problems with the 1080p video recording either. Cool feature: you can refocus during a video.

The phone has a dual LED flash as well, and the front-facing camera has some kind of facial recognition software built in, so it autofocuses on faces, though we wish it had a higher resolution than VGA.

Phone functionality

Call quality was good over T-Mobile’s network here in New York City, but “4G” HSPA+ data speeds have been terrible. We’ve been averaging about a third of one megabit per second (300Kbps to 400Kbps) download and upload speeds for the past few days. T-Mobile’s network must not be great in upper Manhattan. Before you purchase, test out T-Mobile’s network in your area. If you have a friend who uses the carrier, ask about their experiences, and download the Speedtest.net app on the phone. If you get good speeds, go for it.

Battery life

Like most HTC phones, we haven’t had any problems with the battery life on the MyTouch. The phone is officially rated for 9 hours of talk time and about 13 days of standby, meaning it should get you through the day, but the battery will drain a bit faster than some phones if you don’t charge it every few days. Mostly, you’re looking at a similar experience as with any other smartphone. You’ll be charging it every night.


From afar, the MyTouch 4G Slide looks like just another Android phone, but this one packs some interesting strengths. It’s dual-core, has a full QWERTY keyboard, and an excellent camera. Did we mention it runs Android 2.3 and has a responsive 3.7-inch screen? For the $99 online price, The MyTouch 4G Slide is probably the best bargain on T-Mobile.


Low price
Impressive dual-core specs
Great camera
Runs Android 2.3
Hardware is solid, built well

Keyboard is flat
Front camera is only VGA
Phone is a bit heavy
Some built-in apps need updating

HTC EVO 4G Review

We review Sprint's feature packed HTC EVO 4G to see if it can stack up to other Android standouts such as the HTC Incredible and Motorola Droid.


The Apple iPhone jolted the collective cellphone world three years ago, bursting consumer expectations of what a cellphone could and should be able to do. While the HTC EVO 4G, available on Sprint isn’t quite the breakthrough the iPhone was, it does represent the future of cellphones. Just as the iPhone made multi-touch touchscreens, accelerometers, proximity sensors and visual voicemail de rigueur for advanced cellphones, EVO’s 4G connectivity, front-facing camera for video chatting, HD camcorder, and especially its multiuser mobile hotspot capabilities, are all features future high-end cellphones will emulate. But don’t expect imitations any time soon; Sprint is currently the only network with 4G coverage.

Features and Design

EVO’s drool-ilicious pool of future tech is sure to make even Steve Jobs jealous – and maybe a bit mad that AT&T’s network can’t even enable iPhone tethering, much less include a mobile hotspot. It’s tough to imagine what tasty morsels HTC and Sprint have failed to toss into this cell salad.

EVO’s hot spot capability essentially works the same as a MiFi – it takes the 3G or 4G cell signal and creates a WiFi connection which can fuel up to eight different devices.

EVO’s other impressive soon-to-be-copied primary attributes include:

4G connectivity, which Sprint says will cover 44 markets by the end of this year;
4.3-inch LCD
1.3 MP front-facing camera for video chatting, sharing and virtual game play using Qik software (the service isn’t available yet, and you’ll likely need another EVO user to play)
8 MP camera with dual LED flash
720p HD video recorder
Mini HDMI output jack (cable not included)
There’s dozens of other fascinating and state-of-the-art functions and features, all powered by a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor under the Android 2.1 operating system.

On the rear is a handy kickstand for hands-free video watching in landscape mode; EVO topples over if you try and use the kickstand for portrait.

Physically, the phone is a doppelganger to HTC’s Incredible phone from Verizon, a flat black slab that’s heavy – 6 ounces, yet not as heavy as it looks. There are only four touch-sensitive buttons on the front – Home, Menu, Back and Search. On the right perimeter is a volume toggle, up top is an on/off switch and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and on the bottom is a microUSB jack next to the mini HDMI jack.

The EVO comes pre-loaded with an 8 GB microSD card buried under the large battery. But considering how much memory HD video footage, 8 MP photos and music sops up, you’ll likely need/want a bigger card.

Can a phone serve as a workable PMP?

With its big, beautiful screen, the EVO makes a great little movie viewer, but you’ll have to sideload your video for the time being. The EVO includes Sprint TV, but shows do not always display in full screen and don’t take full advantage of the copious display real estate. Sprint is likely to add some sort of movie download service to compliment its 4G networks, but there’s nothing yet.

In 4G territory, YouTube videos automatically load HQ/HD versions.

Since the EVO is an Android phone, it handles music as well as any other Android phone.

Sound Quality

For calls, conversation quality is above average; not exactly landline-like, with only a hint of cell tininess.

For movie watching, the earpiece and rear speaker are only loud enough for quiet environments.

We review Sprint's feature packed HTC EVO 4G to see if it can stack up to other Android standouts such as the HTC Incredible and Motorola Droid.

Phone Functionality

There’s no direct button on the phone to make a call; you have to go to the Android home screen to hit the “phone” control to get a dial pad. EVO’s screen is large enough to allow your “favorite” contacts to be listed above the dialpad.

The EVO’s touch scrolling isn’t as baby bottom smooth as the iPhone (but then again, no phone is). Haptic feedback helps on typing, and you get pinch-and-zoom for both Web pages and photos.


The EVO is a great 3G phone. Mobile-oriented pages such as CNN, ESPN and The New York Times jump to completed view in 3-4 seconds, while full HTML sites such as Digital Trends’ home page take around 8-9 seconds.

I took a day trip to Philadelphia, the closest city to New York with 4G service. There, all these pages loaded twice as fast – a near-instantaneous 1-2 seconds for mobile-oriented sites, 4-5 seconds for more full HTML pages.

That kind of incremental Web access speed barely warrants a whole new network. But EVO’s mobile hot spot adds a whole new level of the need for speed. Used with an Apple iPad, EVO loaded pages three to four seconds faster in 4G than in 3G, not as fast as I expected, and still glacial compared to “real” WiFi. For instance, The New York Times loaded in 13 seconds with EVO’s 3G connection, 10 seconds in 4G and seven seconds in my home WiFi network. Used to provide WiFi to an iPad and a couple of iPhones, EVO’s speed dropped a second or two.


Yes, the EVO has an 8 MP still camera and a 720p video recorder, but both are compromised by the silly pinhole plastic lens, the cellcam equivalent of putting a Porsche engine in a riding motor. Photos are big and colorful, but often lack definition and edge detail, are sharp in one part of the image and out-of-focus in another, and are filled with digital artifacts, a lot of which could be solved with a better lens.

Like 4G, HD videos also fall short of expectations. Big, yes, and better than any VGA cell camcorder, but footage is unexpectedly choppy and fuzzy when compared to even the cheapest HD pocketcams such as the Flip. Videos also are large – a 10 second clip runs nearly 8 MB, and a 2:30-minute clip was 15 MP was 145 MB and took nearly 20 minutes to transfer from phone-to-PC via Bluetooth – all HD clips are too bulky to email.

And with only a touchscreen shutter release, it’s hard to keep EVO still enough to snap a clear image.

But considering how poor cell photos and videos usually are, this is really quibbling.

Battery Life

Quoting talk times for EVO is a waste of time since so little of your usage will be spent chatting, and there’ll be differences between 3G and 4G usage. Besides, neither Sprint nor HTC has releases talk times at press time.

I spent six hours in on-and-off-usage in 4G in Philadelphia before I got a 15 percent power remaining notice. Apparently, even with its enormous battery, using the hot spot really soaks up the juice. With average mixed usage, expect to have to refill its lithium ion tank in the late afternoon.


The EVO is a true breakthrough, not only for its impressive concoction of next-generation features and functions, but it’s overall look-and-feel. Even in “just” a 3G coverage area, the HTC EVO is an impressive cellphone, and will become more impressive as its 4G-enabled capabilities such as video chatting become available. In a 4G zone, it’ll likely be unmatched by another carrier until the iPhone LTE hits stores in 2011 at the earliest.


3G/4G connectivity
Built-in mobile hot spot
Bright, colorful, 4.3-inch screen
8 MP camera with dual LED flash
Front-facing camera

Hot spot, 4G shorten battery life
No external dedicated camera activation/shutter button

HTC Sensation 4G Review

The HTC Sensation 4G leverage powerhouse specs and sleek software tweaks to deliver one of the most likeable Android experiences available today.

Earlier this year, we gave a positive review to the HTC Inspire 4G on AT&T. Well, if you liked what that phone had to offer, you’re going to love this one. Building on much of the design sense of recent HTC handsets, the Sensation 4G on T-Mobile is one of the most powerful and sleek devices on the market. Better, it’s one of the first devices to run Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and comes with a brand new version of HTC Sense to boot.


Like the Inspire 4G, the Sensation is a 4.3-inch HTC touch device. The manufacturer’s entire line seems to look somewhat similar these days, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Gray, charcoal, and maroon stripes line its rounded backside along with an oddly placed speaker (no one knows where to put ‘em these days) and 8-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash up top. The familiar rounded speaker phone grill adorns the front of the device, surrounded by a front-facing camera and indicator light. On the bottom are the four capacitive Android home, menu, back, and search buttons. An easy-to-use volume toggle rests on the left side of the phone with a MicroUSB charging port, and the power button is on the top right of the phone. Overall, it has a very good feel to it.

The 4.3-inch screen does stand out a bit in that it has been set into the phone slightly, like the phone inhaled its screen a bit. This is nice, but does cause the screen’s edges (which slant inward) to reflect light oddly, a potentially distracting feature until you get used to the phone. We can’t say it doesn’t look pretty, though.

The phone has a unibody-like shell, which is completely removable, allowing what feels like too much access to the innards of the phone. Removing the shell of the Sensation reminded us of what it must have been like to remove Darth Vader’s helmet; the phone seems weak and exposed without it. Still, the tradeoff for knowing your phone is not invincible is battery, SIM card, and MicroSD card access, which is a bargain as far as we’re concerned. HTC is really getting slick at designing these devices. We’ve rarely seen a phone that comes apart as well as the Sensation.


The Sensation 4G is one of HTC’s most powerful Android phones. Running on a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM 8260 processor, it also outpaces the Moto Atrix and just about everything else on the market, save the G2x and the upcoming 3D phones (one of which is also an HTC). Helping that processor along is 768MB of RAM (we’d like 1GB, but oh well) and a 1,520 mAh battery, which we found to last a bit longer than some competing phones. The screen is qHD at 540 x 960 pixels, though it still runs on more standard S-LCD technology and isn’t quite as vibrant as the Samsung Infuse or Galaxy S II. Finally, on a disappointing note, though the Sensation comes with 4GB of internal storage, only 1GB is useable. Apparently Android and HTC Sense now require 3GB of space on a phone. Yikes. Luckily T-Mobile and HTC are throwing in an 8GB microSD card. Hardcore users will want 16GB to 32GB of extra space, however.

Android and HTC Sense

We’ve been toying around with HTC Sense 3.0 at trade shows since January and it’s great to finally see it running on a handset we can buy. There’s no good reason HTC waited so long to implement Android 2.3, which has a lot of good upgrades, but we’re happy to see that it has come with such a major HTC Sense upgrade as well.

(For those in the dark here, Android handset manufacturers often add their own customizations to Android to make their handsets stand out. Sense is what HTC calls its modified User Interface.)

HTC Sense 3.0 is probably the best Android UI yet for the mass market. The Sensation comes loaded with 76 custom HTC widgets and many others. Unlike most widgets you see by manufacturers, these are actually useful, with full-screen email, calendar, photo, music, movies, and clock widgets. And to help you implement these, the phone comes with a helpful tips guide and an entire personalization menu that also lets you change the color scheme of your phone, easily add app shortcuts, and do seemingly simple things like change the wallpaper on the lock screen. No other build of Android has this level of easy-to-use customization.

Visual enhancements are abound. The Android home screen now has a 3D-like carousel look to it, much like Android Honeycomb, but prettier. This new view lets you spin through your home screens; if you spin fast enough, they’ll actually fly away from for a second and then piece themselves back together. The unlock screen now lets you unlock the phone directly to the camera, email, phone dial, or messaging apps, which is helpful. However, we must note that we had a difficult time unlocking the phone at times due to how low the unlock ring is placed on the screen.

Our favorite new upgrade in HTC Sense 3.0 is the Android Notifications bar. Now, when you pull it down, a row of recently used app icons lines the top and a quick settings tab runs along the bottom. Using quick settings, you can open up the HTC task manager (very useful) and toggle Wi-Fi, hotspots, mobile data, Bluetooth, GPS, and enter the main Settings menu. It works great and saves us an entire homescreen widgets and icons that we normally create to do the same thing.

Apps and Web

Nary an Android manufacturer that can resist loading its phones up with tons of non-removable apps, and HTC is no different. Luckily, most of its apps are somewhat useful. Almost every standard Android app that doesn’t involve Google Maps or YouTube has been remade by HTC, right down to the calculator. The Sensation comes with a mirror app, flashlight app, FM radio, Lookout security (a malware program), Polaris Office (we did not test this), a task manager, Peep, and some HTC apps like the HTC Hub, which let you back up your data on HTC servers or buy apps from HTC. A bunch of T-Mobile apps have been included as well. Overall, none of these will get in your way too badly, but it is a shame that none can be removed from the phone.

The Web works well enough on HTC’s custom browser, though not quite as swiftly as on Google’s standard Android browser. Again, we don’t think HTC needed to replace this, but it has. HTC’s browser doesn’t minimize the address bar, nor does it auto zoom out on large Web pages, though you can mess with zoom in the settings. T-Mobile’s “4G” is fairly disappointing as well. Here in New York City, our speeds varied wildly, from 400kbps to 1.4mbps download and 500kbps to 1.5mbps upload speeds. Even at its fastest, however, it paled when compared to Verizon, and even AT&T’s networks. T-Mobile does have some strong areas of the country. We recommend that you install a speed-testing app on a phone to check service quality before you buy a “4G” from any carrier in your area.


The HTC Sensation has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front-facing camera. While the front camera is pretty anemic, we found the rear camera to pull in a lot more color than competing phones, with the exception of Samsung, which impresses. We’re also testing out the Motorola Droid X2, and it had noticeably washed-out photos and lacked the touchable auto-focus of the Sensation 4G. However, moving video is where the device shines, with full 1080p video recording capabilities. Most comparable phones max out at 720p recording. The audio recorded with video is about as good as you’d expect from a phone.

Phone functionality

As a phone, we have few qualms with the HTC Sensation, though we aren’t particularly happy with how HTC has disconnected the dialing screen from the call history and contacts sections. On stock Android 2.3, these experiences are tied together. With that said, we were able to get and retain signal as well as T-Mobile’s network allows in New York and had no issues with call quality. The phone microphone and earpiece appear to work well enough to service the low-fidelity calls we make over wireless networks.


With a 1,520mAh battery, the Sensation 4G is supposed to achieve a talk time of about 8.3 hours and standby time of 12 days. In our experience, the phone has proven to have remarkably stable and long battery life. With moderate use, you should have no problems using the device for an entire day and then some.


The Sensation 4G is HTC’s first Android Gingerbread phone, and the first with HTC Sense 3.0. Consider us impressed. Aside from a few small issues with the shape of its screen and the low amount of internal storage, the Sensation outpaces and outclasses almost every other Android phone. HTC Sense was already one of the best user interfaces available for Android, but the new 3D effects and useful feature upgrades — like embedded settings in the notifications tray — make it much friendlier to new users. Did I mention the 1.2GHz dual-core processor and solid battery life? We like this phone.


4.3-inch qHD (540x960px) display
1.2GHz dual-core processor packs power
HTC Sense 3.0 has a ton of useful new features
Good battery life

Only 1GB of free internal storage
Weak rear speaker
Rounded screen can reflect light oddly
New Sense 3.0 unlock screen is sometimes difficult to use

Charging Ryno: electric unicycle offers urban mobility on one wheel

Portland, Oregon based Ryno Motoros is introducing a different breed of personal transportation. The Ryno electric unicycle offers a seated alternative to other similar transportation systems, able to travel at speeds of up to 25 mph and distances of 30 miles.
For those of you sick of four wheels –and even two — why not try one? Perhaps that was on the mind of designer Chris Hoffman when he started his work on the Ryno Electric Unicycle.
The Ryno electric unicycle is a single-wheeled personal transportation system with a top speed of 25 mph and a range of up to 30 miles. Riders operate the vehicle by sitting on a seat that rests atop the 25-inch thick tire. While Segways require you to stand, what is nice about the Ryno is the ability for the driver to sit comfortably while zipping around town.
Currently the Ryno will set you back a hefty $25,000, but that is a pre-production model, of which Hoffmann already has five orders, with the final cost of the market model expected to drop significantly down to $4,200. Shipping the final models will initially begin early 2012 in Asia, with American and European orders taking place later in the year.

Samsung Droid Charge Review

The Samsung Droid Charge touts outstanding 4G LTE speeds, sharp OLED screen, and impressive battery life.

The Droid Charge is the second 4G LTE phone to launch on Verizon Wireless here in the States. That puts Samsung into direct combat with HTC’s ThunderBolt, which has seen strong sales since its debut in March. But at $299.99, $50 more than other 4G phones, is the Droid Charge worth the premium?

Design and features

Samsung has taken a few risks with the design of the Droid Charge. While it is essentially a big square touchscreen like most smartphones these days, the Charge stands out from the crowd in a few ways. The bottom of the phone contains the four standard Android buttons: menu, home, back, and search. However, unlike most devices, which rely on touch buttons with haptic feedback, these are actual buttons. At first they appear to be a bit cheap and dimly lit, but we grew to enjoy pressing physical buttons for a change. The power button on the top right of the phone is also remarkably easy to press when you need to unlock or lock the screen.

The four navigation buttons also shape the phone’s other defining characteristic: its pointed chin and bulbous behind. If that sounds odd, it’s only because we can’t find a better way to describe it. The bottom of the unit has a chin of sorts, meeting at mild point. Behind the chin is likely the 4G LTE antenna, which causes the Charge to bulge out a bit. At its thickest, the phone is still slightly thinner than the original Motorola Droid, though it has no keyboard as an excuse for its heft — only the demands of Verizon’s 4G network.

We’re very impressed by the 4.3-inch phone’s Super AMOLED Plus screen, and its 480 x 800 resolution. As promised, the screen delivers on vibrant color and clarity, and doesn’t appear stretched and pixelated like Samsung’s 4.5-inch Infuse 4G. It holds up decently in outdoor conditions, though we still had difficulty reading the screen on particularly sunny days.

Though we hate to harp on it, the Droid Charge has that same cheap, plastic shell that seems to be on every premium Samsung device. It’s a bit disheartening to buy a $299.99 phone and have it feel like a flip phone. Luckily, in the case of the Charge, Samsung has an actual reason to use plastic: It’s light. Even with the plastic shell, the Charge is no lightweight, so opting for sturdier materials might have been a mistake.

All the usuals are in place as well: Two cameras, a headphone jack, a micro HDMI and USB jacks, a microSD slot, and, yes, a Verizon SIM card slot are all included as well. Yep, with 4G, Verizon will begin supporting SIM cards, taking the hassle out of switching phones.


The Droid Charge is a mixed bag when it comes to stats. Unlike some top of the line Android phones, this is not a dual-core device. Like the ThunderBolt before it, the Charge runs on a single-core processor, this time a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird (ThunderBolt runs on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor). The scant 512MB of RAM can be felt as well, with applications and animations hiccupping ever so slightly here and there.

Storage is where the Droid Charge shines. The phone has 2GB of internal storage and Samsung has decided to include a 32GB microSD card with it. This doesn’t match the 8GB of internal storage and 32GB card in the ThunderBolt, but it’s still pretty nice when compared to any other phone.

One last thing: Like most new Android devices, the Droid Charge is still running Android 2.2. While this isn’t a terrible OS, Android 2.3 has been out for several months now. We’re hoping Samsung upgrades the device quickly. Representatives have said that an upgrade is on the way in the coming months. It can’t come soon enough.

Samsung TouchWiz interface

Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 UI mimics the iPhone too much, and it’s not as beginner-friendly as HTC Sense, but it has some good features. In particular, we like the built in toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, mute, and screen rotation into the pull-down notifications bar. Another new feature lets you pinch to see all seven home screens at once (a nod to Sense).

The Droid Charge also has a custom unlock screen that has proven very useful. To unlock the phone, you drag a jigsaw puzzle piece over to a corresponding hole. The same process is used to answer a call. However, if you happen to get a text, a special text message puzzle piece will pop up, allowing you to instantly go to your texts. We wish this feature was expanded for missed calls and emails.

The preinstalled widgets on the Droid Charge are also a step up from those on the Infuse 4G and other Samsung phones. Though you can still use the silly dual-clock (who needs two clocks stacked on top of one another?), a nice big weather clock is also available. In addition, four thin, semitransparent widgets are now available as well: one for the weather, one for stocks, one for news, and another for your calendar. The full-screen “feeds and updates” and buddy widgets also make a return. While we’d like to see Samsung work on the thematic consistency of its widgets and TouchWiz UI, everything seems to work well enough.

Web and apps

We really like browsing the Web on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Using the Speedtest.net app in New York City, we have been getting between 14 and 20 Megabits per second download speeds and 3.5 to 4.5 Mbps upload speeds. These are very, very fast speeds that rival what you probably get on a landline connection. In fact, while on a call, we maintained a 14 Mbps down and 3.4 Mbps up connection. Yep, AT&T won’t be able to run those fancy ads with Luke Wilson any more. Verizon’s 4G network lets you surf and talk at the same time. Expectedly, we lost connection while in the subway, but the Charge maintained a connection well while indoors and throughout Manhattan.

We also downloaded several music albums at speeds that rivaled a desktop. A 12-song MP3 album only took about 30 seconds and we were able to download 50MB podcasts before we really had time to read their paragraph long description. Setting up a mobile hotspot was also easy and worked very well, though it drained the battery something quick. There’s something to this LTE thing.

Wisely, Verizon has included a Data Usage widget with the Droid Charge, along with a lot of other Samsung and Verizon bloatware, which you cannot remove from the phone. It’s nothing that will ruin your day, but there’s really no reason why Rhapsody, V Cast Media, VZ Navigator, Slacker Radio, TuneWiki, ThinkFree Office, Rock Band, Blockbuster Video, AllShare, Verizon Apps, Amazon Kindle, Bitbop, CityID, Let’s Golf 2, Media Hub, and Weatherbug have been deemed so vital to the phone that they cannot be uninstalled. By all means, put some useful apps on the phone, Samsung, but don’t clog up the device by making them unremovable. Sadly, Samsung is not at all alone in this practice. Most manufacturers seem to be doing it.

Sight and sound

The Droid Charge comes loaded with an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel front camera. Like the camera on the Infuse 4G, both compare well to what’s out there. We like Samsung’s camera software, which lets you tap on the screen to choose an item to focus on. It also has a few fun modes for action shots, panoramas, smile shots, etc. Also like the Infuse, the still camera also did fairly well in low-light conditions thanks to the bright LED flash. We also got decent audio and motion from the video camera, which can record at up to 720p.

Like the Infuse, the Droid Charge has a poorly placed rear speaker. If you happen to set your phone on couch or pillow, the sound will be almost completely muffled. However, with a good pair of headphones, the sound from the Charge is fairly impressive. Supposedly, the device can also output 5.1 surround sound, though we weren’t able to get this feature running. This would be a nice bonus, if available.


The only downside to the blazing speeds of 4G Internet service are how poor standard phone calls still sound. However, as tinny and low-quality as real phone calls are, Samsung’s Droid Charge handles them well. We didn’t have a single lost call during our testing, and the speaker phone works fairly well. Another nice feature of TouchWiz is visible if you minimize the call screen during a phone call. By dragging down the notifications bar, you can see a few buttons for your active call, which let you quickly mute, turn on the speaker, or end the call.

Battery life

We’ve compared the Droid Charge to the HTC ThunderBolt, and for the most part, both are fairly evenly matched…until you get to battery life. Samsung’s phone has a 1800mAh battery, which is much larger than the 1400mAh battery in the ThunderBolt. The upgrade is needed as Verizon’s network is battery hungry. Still, thanks to the larger battery, few users should have a problem maintaining a charge throughout the day, or perhaps longer. We can’t emphasize enough how negatively a dead battery can affect your day.


There are some drawbacks to the Droid Charge, but for those comparing it to Verizon’s other 4G phone, the HTC ThunderBolt, none of the downsides compare to its strong battery life. We wish it had a metal shell, dual-core processor, and more RAM, but where Samsung shines, it shines bright. Its Super AMOLED Plus screen is quite impressive and visible outdoors, and it has a particularly nice camera and audio. Even at $50 more than the HTC ThunderBolt, it might be worth it if you aren’t able to plug in your phone throughout the day. Comparisons aside, the Droid Charge is expensive, but it is also a solid device that you probably won’t regret choosing once you leave the store.


4G LTE speeds are blazing
32GB MicroSD card included
Solid battery life for a 4G LTE device
Super AMOLED Plus screen is amazing
Autofocus camera works well

Plastic shell
Underwhelming specs
Inconsistent TouchWiz UI
Some permanent bloatware

Motorola Droid Razr Review

The Motorola Droid Razr aims to rekindle the company’s golden days with the thinnest body available in a smartphone, plus speedy 4G and a huge OLED display. Check out our full review for details.

Droid and Razr. Motorola Mobility’s two claims to fame have been combined. With Samsung and HTC breathing down its neck, the Razr represent’s Motorola’s best chance at keeping the hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of people who bought a Droid two years ago. But is it enough?

Design and feel

The Droid Razr is an interesting piece of industrial design. In some ways, it is exactly what it should be. At 7.1mm, it’s thinner than any other smartphone on the market (the iPhone 4S is 9.3mm thick), has a shiny dark gray frame, a big black Gorilla Glass screen, and even a woven Kevlar back. We don’t think it will stop bullets, but Motorola points out that the inner frame of this plastic phone is stainless steel, so it shouldn’t snap in your hands either. The phone is sturdy and thin enough that using a 4.3-inch screen becomes manageable.

There are issues with the design too. From an aesthetic perspective, the back is a lot prettier than the front, but both sides are littered with too many Motorola and Verizon logos. The front has an overly visible front-facing camera and the half-tapered edges look a little busy and inconsistent. We’re also not quite sure why, except for vanity’s sake, the Motorola logo is put on bright, shiny silver. It distracts from the rest of the design. On the back, the top bump is a lot thicker than the advertised 7.1mm design and is actually a bit thicker than an iPhone 4S. Overall, we don’t dislike the look of the phone, but Motorola went to pains to make this phone super thin and attractive. We wish the manufacturer would have been a little more consistent or mindful of its design choices.

More importantly than aesthetics is functionality, and here Motorola has made a couple small missteps as well. Like other large 4.3-inch phones, the Droid Razr has both the volume rocker and power button on the right side. (This is because few people will be able to comfortably reach the volume controls if they were still on the left which is where they often are on smaller phones.) Unfortunately, both buttons are a bit too small, and placed too low on the phone. When trying to switch between volume and power, your thumb will get a bit cramped. It’s not a huge deal, but Motorola did a much better job making the volume and power buttons easy to use on devices like the Motorola Photon. The power button, especially, is the most important button on the phone and here it feels like an afterthought.

The odd placement of the buttons and the strange decision to put all ports up top and make the battery non-removable all comes down to thickness. Motorola wanted the Razr to set a record, and the company did sacrifice some amount of comfort to do it. However, from a usability point of view, this phone could be a bit thicker in the middle and be a lot more comfortable for it. Sometimes being thin isn’t always best.

There is one upshot to the race to conserve space: Because there’s no removable battery, the SIM card and microSD card are more easily accessible on the side. This is a plus. It’s nice to be able to swap a SIM or memory card without the hassle that comes with removing the backplate of a phone.

Power and specs

You won’t find us complaining about the specs. The Droid Razr runs on a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor, has 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and comes with a 16GB microSD card. It’s as powerful a phone as you’re going to find this year. We did some benchmarking and in Quadrant, it got a score of 2,476, with subsequent tests coming out between 2300 and 2500. This is actually better than our recent tests on the 1.5GHz dual-core HTC Amaze 4G, and the Samsung Galaxy S II. However, the difference is mostly negligible. All three phones performed quite well.

Did we mention that the Razr has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels? Yep, you read that right: The Droid Razr has a Super AMOLED screen. This means it is instantly a helluva lot nicer to look at than any other Motorola phone this year. The Atrix, Photon, Droid 3 Droid X2, and Droid Bionic all used an LCD PenTile display that just didn’t display color well and had a visible subpixel grid that degraded the quality of the display, despite a high resolution. The new screen, which isn’t quite as rich as the Super AMOLED Plus display on the Samsung Galaxy S II, fixes one of Motorola’s biggest deficiencies.

Operating system

Motorola finally upgraded its screen technology, but it hasn’t yet designed a new interface to take advantage of it. The Droid Razr runs on Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with a custom Motorola user interface layered on top of it called NinjaBlur. Motorola’s NinjaBlur adds almost nothing to the Android experience aside from some useful widgets. It’s ugly dark-blue-and-gray color palette does suck the life out of Android, though. Companies like Samsung and HTC have prospered by making Android more colorful and user friendly, but Motorola has yet to grasp the concept. Perhaps it’s a good thing that the company is being bought by Google. It might mean the end of its custom interfaces.

Still, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will be released in mere weeks, and it looks a lot nicer than previous versions. Motorola has promised that Droid Razr owners will get the update by early 2012. Here’s to hoping that the manufacturer just leaves Google’s work alone and releases it as-is. For more information, check out our guide to Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

The typical slate of non-removable Verizon bloatware is included on the Droid Razr. Apps for BlockBuster, Amazon Kindle, GoToMeeting, Let’s Golf 2, Verizon services, Netflix, and NFL Mobile are all baked into the phone, so get used to them.

MotoCast and Smart Actions

The two big features Motorola touted during the Razr’s unveiling were MotoCast and Smart Actions. We found both to be wonderful ideas, but quite rough around the edges.

MotoCast: By plugging the Droid Razr into your PC, you can install software that will let you access music or any other files directly on your Razr. It’s a cool idea, even if it treads on what Google is already trying to do with its cloud storage Google Music Beta service. The setup went decently well, but when MotoCast tried to index our 12,000 songs, the Razr flipped out. Instead of showing a loading screen, the Razr let us go back to doing whatever we wanted while it loaded songs in the background. This was a mistake. Within a minute or so, the screen began flickering and re-refreshing itself every two or three seconds, quite visibly. Anything we tried to do was halted every few seconds. After MotoCast claimed it was finished with the process, which seemed to drain a good portion of the battery in a matter of minutes, we rebooted the phone because it would not respond well.

Downloading songs from MotoCast onto the phone was an equally painful process, which crashed our notification bar and required another restart. The phone appears to be fine now, and does stream content fine, but it was not a pleasant encounter and it is unlikely we’ll use the product much. Let us know how your experience with MotoCast is in the user reviews section. We hope you don’t encounter these issues, but be warned.

Smart Actions: This app allows you to program your own sets of actions. For example, you could tell your phone to turn off data and turn on Wi-Fi when you arrive at home. Or maybe you can tell it to turn off all essential services when the battery hits 30 percent. The options are endless, and we don’t mind the interface. Sadly, we had some issues with this app as well. We tried to create a Smart Action that would launch an application (Cut the Rope) as soon as we entered our home, but could not get the program’s mapping software to figure out where we were. It showed our location, but took a full minute to download the map — a Bing Map. Subsequent tries were just as slow. We also tried to get the phone to auto open up Facebook whenever we used Motion (shook the phone). This did not seem to work either. We have gotten one action to work: when we plug the headphones in, YouTube opens. The idea behind this app is great, but it needs refining.


Like all Motorola smartphones, the Droid Razr isn’t going to win any awards for its camera. The camera has a slow shutter speed, a somewhat unintuitive custom camera app, and incredibly slow auto-focus. Don’t take a picture of anything moving because it will be gone before you’re able to snap the pic. The phone does pull in a bit more color and light than the Droid X2 and some earlier phones, but it’s a far cry from the cameras on a Samsung. Don’t even try comparing it to the HTC Amaze 4G or the  Apple iPhone 4S. It would be cruel.

Still, the 8M-megapixel rear camera does take acceptable pictures and has a decent flash. The 1.3-megapixel front camera works as well, and the Razr can record video at 1080p, so all the elements are here. They just aren’t great. Don’t sell that point-and-shoot camera just yet.

Call quality and data speed

Call quality has been pretty stable. We did a few tests with the speakerphone, and aside from the usual ambient noise you hear on speakerphone, everything sounded pretty decent. On Verizon’s 4G LTE network, speeds here in Manhattan, New York City are holding up quite well. We got a consistent 9Mbps download speed and 6Mbps upload speed, which is quite amazing since our speeds when on Verizon’s DSL Wi-Fi were only about 11Mbps down and 1Mbps up. It’s entirely possible that Verizon’s high speed network is faster than a lot of wired, terrestrial connections.

Verizon’s LTE network continues to run circles around T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T’s “4G” networks. None of those carriers seem to be able to reach past 3.5Mbps download speeds on a continual basis, though T-Mobile does have spurts of 10Mbps speeds from time to time.

Battery life

Aside from the thin design and the custom apps, the other big selling point of the Droid Razr is its battery life. Motorola is touting 12.5 hours of talk time and up to 16 days of idle time on its 1,780mAh battery. We aren’t seeing those numbers, but the battery life has been decent. It outperforms the Droid Bionic by a good deal, as well as the HTC Amaze 4G. However, the phone tends to get extremely hot (not burning hot, but noticeably hot) when using Wi-Fi or downloading a lot of data. During these times, the battery drained excessively fast. This is somewhat normal, but it shows that the Droid Razr is not on a different level as other smartphones. Motorola claims that you can save an additional 30 percent battery life if you use Moto Smart Actions properly. We tried to do this, and there are some good suggestions, but Smart Actions may be a bit difficult to use for beginners. Overall, the Razr performs better than a lot of recent smartphones when it comes to battery life, but the entire category needs some work. We’re beginning to wonder if we’ll ever be able to go a night without plugging in our phone.


If you like it’s looks and size, the Motorola Droid Razr is a great option for those on the hunt for a powerful, fully-featured smartphone this holiday season. With a dual-core processor, a big colorful Super AMOLED screen, good battery life, 4G LTE connectivity, and a thin profile, it’s a great option. The only thing we don’t know is how it will compare to the Galaxy Nexus. The good news is that Motorola is promising Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) by early 2012, so those who choose the Razr shouldn’t be in the cold for too long.


Thin design
Good battery life
Bright Super AMOLED screen
Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) coming by early 2012
Verizon’s 4G LTE network rocks

Design is logo heavy
Power and volume buttons are small
NinjaBlur interface is lifeless
Smart Actions and MotoCast need work
Camera is weak

Apple replacing 1st-generation iPod nanos due to overheating issue

When it comes to batteries, Apple has been having a lousy week. After complaints that its updated iOS had failed to sort out a battery life problem with the iPhone 4S, now comes news that the company is launching a worldwide replacement program for the 1st-generation iPod nano - not that there can be too many of them still out there, of course.

Does anyone still listen to their tunes on a 1st-generation iPod nano?

According to a statement posted on the Apple website on Friday, the battery inside some of the early nanos could overheat, posing a potential safety risk.

“This issue has been traced to a single battery supplier that produced batteries with a manufacturing defect. While the possibility of an incident is rare, the likelihood increases as the battery ages,” the statement said.

As a result, the Cupertino company has launched a worldwide replacement program for the affected devices, which concerns those bought between September 2005 and December 2006. The early nanos have a black or white plastic front and a silver metal back. Later versions have a metal front and back.

The device’s serial number, found on the back of the nano, will need to be provided to confirm whether or not it is included in the replacement program.

As MacRumors pointed out, such a program was started in South Korea in 2009 and Japan in 2010 for the exact same problem. Apparently those programs were set up as a result of pressure from regulators. It’s not certain what prompted the start of the worldwide replacement program, or why it didn’t begin earlier.

Anyone that sends in an affected nano will have to wait about six weeks for a replacement to turn up, though whether it’ll be the original nano with a new battery inside or the latest version of the device isn’t specified in the statement.

Apple is advising anyone with an affected iPod nano to stop using it.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle mans-up with new design, available at dealerships now

We've got the rundown on the newly redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, which has already earned a reputation for being a more manly iteration of the iconic German car.
We brought you the first photos of the newly-redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Beetle and its special Black Turbo edition over the summer, but now the car is starting to roll into dealerships in its all-new form. The company has moved away from the feminine-leaning smooth round curves and semi-circle design in favor of a longer, leaner, and sportier look. The manlier new look, which was inspired by the iconic car’s original design, comes with the specs to match for a sporty, powerful drive. 
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, which starts at $19,800, comes with your choice of 2.5L 170-hp engine or 2.0L TSI 200-hp turbo-charged engine for the sportier model, and features like DSG performance transmission, Bi-Xenon lights, keyless access and push-button start, multi-function sport steering wheels, a touchscreen Fender sound system with navigation, Bluetooth capability, iPod/iPhone connectivity, customizable interior ambient lighting, a panoramic sunroof, and LED daytime running lights. 
Whether more dudes and fewer college girls flock to this new design is yet to be seen, but we’re hearing that the new model of the German car has enough agility and power to earn the distinction of being a ‘manlier’ Beetle