What Phone Should I buy?

I get asked this question a lot. On one level, it’s a difficult question to answer since I haven’t actually tried all the models out there (and in the Android world, there are a TON of phones available). On the other hand, I read a lot of reviews, and I know which ones to avoid and the ones that have a consensus of favorable ratings. I always get a little tripped up by the whole “Android versus iPhone” debate – while I am an unabashed fan of Android, I do understand why iPhones would make better options. But at the same time, I’ve seen people who I thought would love Android deciding to move back to iPhone while people for whom I was concerned about end up fully embracing the Google operating system. It’s really kind of a crapshoot.

 

Before we go over some choices, let me make this very, very clear — do NOT buy the phone that’s free with a two year contract. Free is great. Free is tempting. But in this instance, free will just be frustrating. And not just merely frustrating — it will be frustrating for two whole years. Struggling with your phone for 24 months will chip away at your soul and your sanity – the $200 it costs to get the latest and greatest is totally worth it when you consider this is $8.33 per month to have something that works. To have something that isn’t handicapped by a multitude of limitations. To have something you will love instead of disdain. I’m not trying to trivialize $200 – it’s a lot of money. But let’s do the math – you’re going to be spending $2000-$3000 over the course of your two year contract. You can either spend another $200 and leverage the resources you’re paying handsomely for, or you can go with free and barely make use of your $2000 investment. It would be like paying for the complete HD Digital cable package and watching it on a 19″ set from 1995. Except a nice HDTV will set you back way more than $200.

 

What’s the difference between free and $200? Typically, a phone is free because it’s cheaply built. It has internals that are two or three years old and runs software that’s at least a year old. Nothing about the phone is cutting edge, and halfway into your two year contract, your free phone is already obsolete. Can you make calls and texts? A little email? Some web browsing? Yes, yes, yes, and bare minimum. Can you run the newer apps? Many times, no. Can you load it up with music and take photos? Again, due to cut down storage in these free phones, you will be running out of space a lot. The photos will suck. And keep in mind that carriers advertise free phones to pull people into stores. They would rather sell you  a newer phone, which is why every free phone has some huge deal breaking weakness. But that may not be entirely evident to you if you’re distracted by the word, “FREE”. What will happen is this: Sometime into your two year contract, you will come to the realization that you would gladly pay $200 right now to upgrade your phone. But you can’t — you have at least a year to go. The only way out is to pay an early termination fee and lose your phone number, or buy a phone off contract, which will set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $600. It’s a terrible feeling to carry around with you for the rest of your contract.

 

Okay, so let’s say I’ve convinced you to pay the $200. What phone should you get? I would say across the board, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a top choice for it’s large screen, slim profile, highly rated camera, and light weight. If your battery can’t seem to last a day, you can get either a spare battery or an extended life battery (which nets you a spare battery as well). And if your music and photos are bursting your storage capacity storage at the seams, you can always pick up relatively inexpensive microSD cards to pick up the slack. How inexpensive? 32gb cards are routinely available for under $25. Compare that to the $100 Apple charges you to move up to 32gb. For a quarter of that price, you end up with 50% more storage. Need even more storage? The S3 takes up to 64gb microSD cards (around $60-$70). Furthermore, the sheer ubiquity of the Galaxy S3 (30 million sold and counting) means there’s a plethora of options when it comes to custom accessories.

 

However, I would argue that the Galaxy Note 2 is the better phone on Sprint. The reason is that the radios on the Note 2 are amazingly good, allowing you to access their 3G network with usable speeds. And voice is loud and clear on the Note 2. Considering it may take anywhere from 6 months to over a year before Sprint’s 4G LTE network is available in most areas, adequate 3G is a huge area of need for any Sprint phone.

 

In fact, the Galaxy Note 2 comes out as a close runner up to the GS3 on all carriers. Battery life is 50%-80% longer with the Note 2, and it will likely get newer operating system updates first. Plus, the SPen is great for Draw Something, and it’s just crazy smooth and fast. Of course, it comes with a heftier price tag (around $100 more than the S3) and it’s rather ginormous. I’ve been able to acclimate to the size as I believe  most people would, but if you think the 4.8″ Galaxy S3 is already a little to big for you, the 5.5″ Galaxy Note 2 comes off as comically large.

 

Then there’s iPhone (although T-Mobile still doesn’t carry the iPhone). There’s nothing wrong with getting an iPhone. It’s clearly not my cup of tea, but it’s a mass market people pleaser. I’m not fond of its limitations, namely lack of storage, sealed battery, and small screen size. The operating system is rigid and locked down. Maps are a disaster. And it’s expensive to own — the Lightning Port accessories, like chargers and connection cables, are ludicrously overpriced, and you have to pay separately for your iPhone and iPad for the same app. Not to mention many paid apps in the App Store are free on Android. That said, if you are going go that way, the iPhone to get is the Verizon version — they have the best voice network, the best data network, and the SIM is unlocked out of the box (meaning you can use an inexpensive local SIM when traveling overseas). Plus, they don’t charge you for Facetime over 3G or 4G. And tethering is free if you have one of the new data plans (meaning you can use the iPhone like a modem for your laptop or tablet). The Sprint version is the worst due to the irrelevance of their 4G LTE network. It won’t be available for most people until well into next year.

 

If you are a bargain hunter, the best deal in US cellular phones is the Nexus 4 with a prepaid T-Mobile plan. For $350, you buy the Nexus 4 outright, with no contract to sign. This sounds expensive up front, but the monthly plan savings more than make up for it. Consider this (the taxes and fees are approximate — I used 13% as the taxes & fees charge):

 

Verizon with 2GB data and voice/text – $113/mo including taxes and fees. $2712 over 24 months plus $200 for phone.

Total cost = $2912

 

AT&T with 4GB data and unlimited voice/text – $125/mo including taxes and fess. $3000 over 24 months plus $200 for phone.

Total cost = $3200

 

Sprint with Unlimited data and 400 landline minutes – $90/mo including taxes and fees. $2160 over 24 months plus $200 for phone.

Total cost = $2360

 

T-Mobile with Unlimited data and voice/text – $101/mo including taxes and fees. $2424 for 24 months plus $280 for phone.

Total cost = $2704

 

Nexus 4 with 2GB 4G data and unlimited voice.text – $60/mo flat. $1440 for 24 months plus $350 for phone.

Total cost = $1790

 

That’s almost $600 cheaper than the Sprint option and over $1400 cheaper than AT&T (there is no 2GB plan on AT&T). The biggest caveat, however, is that while T-Mobile data is actually pretty good, their voice service is by far the worst. But using hundreds of minutes a month talking is almost an antiquated concept. If your T-Mo voice service is really bad, you could always send texts on the road and use a voice over IP service like Skype or Google Talk over wifi. The days when communication on your mobile phone was about cellular voice is in the past now. Consider that AT&T and Verizon now sell you data first and voice as an add on feature. It’s all about smartphones and data now. That you can talk on your phone is secondary consideration now.

 

There are some shortcomings to the Nexus 4 as well. For starters, good luck finding one. Supplies are constrained, and the entire run sold out rather clumsily in one day. It also shares some of the limitations of the iPhone, namely sealed battery and no microSD slot.  And it doesn’t run on 4G LTE networks. This isn’t really a problem if you’re going with T-Mobile, since they don’t even have a 4G LTE network.  AT&T has a 4G LTE network, but it’s not as large as their HSPA+ network that gets you 10-20 mbps download speeds. Only Verizon has a viable 4G LTE network, but you can’t use the Nexus 4 on it (it can’t be used on Sprint either). And if you somehow get your hands on one, make sure it’s the 16GB model. Do not buy the 8GB model for $299 – it ends up being 3GB usable storage, and if you don’t need more than 3GB storage, you might want to rethink if you even need a smartphone at all.

 

And if you were wondering, both Blackberry and Windows Phone are currently unworthy of your business. The Blackberry is somewhere around Homo Habilis in the smartphone evolutionary ladder, and Windows Phone 8 is not ready for prime time. The dearth of good apps and the freezes and reboots are just not what you want from a modern smartphone.

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The AOL of Smartphones?

The iPhone is increasingly falling behind other smartphone manufacturers in areas of customization and features, as Apple’s stubborn insistence on a “one size fits all” phone is starting to show its cracks. The lack of choice in the iPhone market has fueled Android to overtake the iPhone OS as the number one smartphone operating system worldwide, and the  Samsung Galaxy S3 actually outsold the iPhone in the U.S. last month, a feat that no single smartphone model has accomplished since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007.

Like AOL, the iPhone’s simple and easy to use interface is what made it attractive to newbies when it launched. But five years later, a lot of people find it too simple. Like AOL, the iPhone will have its place in the market. Technophobes and people who just can’t let go will still want the newest iPhone when it’s released. But unless Apple is willing to move to truly bigger screen sizes and more (any!) user customization, it will eventually become what AOL is today — once monolithic and ubiquitous, but now a sure sign of being unhip and out of touch.

Hey, maybe these two titans will merge into one company and we’ll see ads like this:

One More Essential Android App

I noticed that I overlooked one important app in my list of 15 Essential Android Apps. So here’s number 16.

Oovoo

Price: Free

What it does:

It’s video chat software. But the hook here is that it’s a completely cross platform video chat solution. It runs on Android, iPhone, PC, and Mac. So I can video chat with my sister’s iPad, my sister-in-law’s netbook, and my niece’s Macbook. I haven’t actually tried the 4 way feature, but I someone told me that they successfully conducted their fantasy football draft through Oovoo. The only other app that features cross platform video chat is Skype, but it’s quite buggy on Android. When you throw in the 4 way chat, it’s really a no brainer.

15 Essential Android Apps

Like many, many other smartphone users, you have an Android phone. Maybe your carrier forced you into a smartphone and it was free with contract. Maybe you heard about Android and decided to check it out. Maybe you got tired of your iPhone and headed for greener pastures. Or maybe you’re on T-Mobile and it’s the closest thing to and iPhone. Whatever the reason, you are now privy to a veritable panoply of apps for your convenience and/or pleasure.

A few notes: first off, I am not including games here because I’m not a game reviewer nor am I that enthusiastic about mobile gaming. Also, I noted for Kindle Fire users if the app was also in the Amazon App Store, since there is no Play Store access on the Fire. And finally, some of these apps have multiple programs with the same functionality, and I offered up the one that I picked for myself months ago. But things change quickly. If there’s a better app than the one I’m recommending, drop me a note and I’ll check out. Note that this started as a top 6 list, but I just kept piling on the apps. I could probably add another 10 apps to this list, but a lot of those are more essential to me than to normal users. Maybe for another day. So on with the list in no particular order.

Google Maps/Navigation

Price: Free (Pre-installed)

What it does:

Gets you directions and turn by turn navigation. Everyone knows Google Maps by now. But there is much more to be had once you tap the blue arrowhead in the lower right hand corner – now the location information is taken to the Navigation program, where a soothing female voice tells you when your turns and exits are coming. It’s essentially a Garmin in your phone, for free. I usually turn this program on and shut off the screen. The voice directions are enough to get me to where I’m going.

Swiftkey 3

Price: $2.99 (also in the Amazon Appstore)

What it does:

It will change your life. Swiftkey is an alternative keyboard that basically takes all other soft keyboards and smashes them into the floor repeatedly like the Hulk. Swiftkey’s word suggestions are not merely dictionary based, but also syntax based. It also learns from the way you type, taking into consideration names, phrases and word combinations that pop up in your emails and texts (this feature can be turned off for the paranoids). For the most part, three or four letters is all it takes to get the right word 90% of the time, and there are times Swiftkey will string together three or four words in a row, which is like a hitting 4 X 4 combo in Tetris.

Tip 1: If you do get Swiftkey, go into the advanced settings and change the long press delay to around 200ms. This will allow you to use the clearly marked alt numbers and symbols so quickly you’ll hardly even need to go to the second or third screen for them.

Tip 2: If you want to erase an entire word, swipe across the keyboard to the left. This deletes the entire word.

Think about this – you need to type on a smartphone all the time. Get the best keyboard out there. If you’re squeamish about spending the $3, there’s a free trial version that lets you take it out for a test drive. I wish I had Swiftkey on my desktop as well, since it would save me a staggering number of keystrokes.

Flashlight HD LED

Price: Free (also in the Amazon Appstore)

What it does:

Turns your LED flash into a flashlight. It could not be handier. Wanna see what’s under the couch? Need to see what’s in the recesses of your closet? This app will shine a light on your quest. The reason I picked one over a dozen other programs is that it lights up when you open the program. It’s all about one touch actions for me.

Note that Kindle Fire owners can only use the screen option. There’s no camera and ergo no flash on the Kindle Fire.

Facebook

Price: Free (also in the Amazon Appstore)

What it does:

It makes you cry. Because it’s slow. It hangs at times. It’s butt ugly. Unfortunately, it’s a reflection of the putrid website, so these things will probably never change. It’s easily the worst app on this entire list. So why is it “essential”? Because it allows you to upload photos to your Facebook account into a few taps, straight from your camera program. The new version even allows you to select multiple photos at a time. As a sharing interface, it’s the shit. As a user interface, it’s total shit. But if you like to post photos on Facebook, you must have it.

Pocket

Price: Free (also in the Amazon Appstore)

What it does:

It’s an offline reader. Almost any article on the internet can be sent to Pocket, where it is reconstructed into an easy to read and eye pleasing format. Originally, I loved Pocket because it allowed me to read articles even if I didn’t have a data connection (for instance, the train or the bathroom at work). What I love even more now is that I can read my articles without all the webpage clutter. It also generally saves my spot in the article if I exit out to another app (try to make your mobile browser to do that). And the kicker? Set up a pocket account and it will sync everything across your devices (including the desktop version of Chrome). So I can send an article to Pocket from my desk, start reading it on my phone, and then finish it up on my tablet. I installed Pocket solely because I wanted to read the internets while pooping, but it’s turned into so much more (Pocket, that is, not the pooping). The Read Later option is built into many website content apps, like Cracked.com and in most web browsers. Even better – it’s also found in Flipboard. What’s that, you may ask?

Flipboard (not available for 10” tablets)

Price: Free (also in the Amazon Appstore)

What it does: It’s a glorified RSS reader. But it’s also a glorious RSS reader. Three aspects of Flipboard make it stand out from the pack – first off, it updates your feeds and loads articles much faster than the other RSS readers I’ve used, like Pulse and Google Currents. And the curated topics will give you a lot of relevant stuff to read. It collects articles from the internet and delivers them to you in a magazine like format where you flip (swipe up) to the next article. But it’s also the best Facebook app around, displaying your wall as if it were a magazine spread. And even though it won’t display all of your wall posts (certain posts never show up in Flipboard and I’m not sure what setting is causing that), it’s 100 times nicer to check out Facebook on Flipboard than the actual Facebook app (which, like like I explained, is shit). The icing on the cake is the Pocket integration – long press in the article summary view (so you don’t even have to load the article), and you can tap Read Later to shoot the article to Pocket. I can queue up a dozen articles in a minute and read them later in Pocket. Flipboard + Pocket is an article consumption smorgasbord.

Gauge Battery Widget

Price: Free

What it does: Tells you how much battery you have as a percentage in your notification bar. The default meter gives you a green gauge with no actual demarcations and such coarse levels that half may be half or more likely just over 25%. And while there is a percentage on the battery meter with the newer Android OS, it’s so teeny tiny that it’s difficult to read it at a glance. Other battery widgets tell you the remaining battery percentage as a homescreen widget. But Gauge will put that battery meter in your notification bar, which means you can check it at a glance without even unlocking your phone. Most apps display the notification bar on top, so for the most part, you don’t have to go out back to the home screen to see how much juice you have left. And I hate to say it, but knowing how much battery you have left is a fact of life with Android.

Pocket Casts

Price: $2.99

What it does:

It downloads, organizes, and plays podcasts. And there’s no middle man here – the podcasts download directly to your device. I listen to podcasts more than music while driving, and this is hands down the best one I’ve used on Android.

Chrome (ICS and above)

Price: Free

What it does:

It does the internet! It’s fast, it’s relatively stable, and even if it locks up every once in a while, it remembers where you were and picks up form the last time. I used to use Dolphin HD, but I’ve come around to Chrome and use it exclusively now. I still think Dolphin does a bunch of things better (like bookmarks, gestures, and font scaling/rendering), but Chrome is well more stable and faster. Note that you must be on at least Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich aka ICS) to install Chrome. Sorry man.

Amazon Appstore

Price: Free

What it does:

It allows you access to the Amazon App Store. It allows you to check out the Free App of The Day, a daily promotion that allows you to download… uh… free apps. Sure, 95% of the FAOTDs are rubbish games. But there’s some gold mixed in with the dross every now and then. Essentially all of the Amazon apps are also in the Play Store (but not vice versa), so you have a choice of which store to install it from (the actual app is identical). I tend to go for the Play Store version only because they tend to get quicker updates from the developers, and some devs have pulled out of Amazon’s Market, so you’ll never get updates in that case (buying an app through Amazon does not mean you have the rights to install it from the Play Store and vice versa). But if Amazon is giving away an app that’s full price in the Play Store, then that’s an easy decision. The best deal I’ve ever seen was Office Suite Pro, a $14.99 Word & Excel compatible app I got for free.

Kindle

Price: Free

What it does:

Reads mobi formatted books as well as pdf format (although on phones, the latter sucks donkey balls). You can purchase ebooks from Amazon and download them directly to your device. You can share your progress across devices if the mobi file supports it. This is the reason I never bought an actual Kindle. I didn’t need one.

Dice Player

Price: Free

What it does:

Plays almost every video format and container – avi, mkv, mp4, wmv, mov, divx, xvid, h.264, etc. Instead of converting video files before loading them onto your phone or tablet, just copy them straight to the device and Dice will take care of the rest. If you don’t feel like copying them, then go ahead and stream them directly from your PC – Dice will do that too. The only files I can’t play smoothly are HD broadcast recordings, but that’s a horsepower issue. Oh, and you can shrink your video to a resizeable pop-up window so you can send texts while watching a video. Currently, only the native video player on the Galaxy S3 supports that feature. And it also handles subtitles! And you can FF/RR with a swipe. The bottom line – I can’t believe this is free.

ES File Explorer File Manager

Price: Free (also in the Amazon Appstore)

What it does:

It’s a file explorer and unpacks zip and rar files. It can also browse and transfer files from network shares wirelessly. Why do you need this? Because sometimes you need to move files from one folder to another. Or unrar an archive file. Or move small files back and forth from your PC. I use this app every day. I also use Solid Explorer Beta 2 because it has a nice split screen view and wifi file transfers are much, much quicker, but ES File Explorer is much easier to use. Solid Explorer Beta 2 is more of a power user app.

Dropbox

Price: Free (also in the Amazon Appstore)

What it does:

Two things: first, it allows you to shuttle files back and forth from your mobile device to your PC using the cloud as an intermediary. You can also share these files with friends as well. It also gives you to option to back up your photos automatically, although the 2GB you get for free probably won’t cover all of it (YMMV, I’m a bit of a shutterbug so 2GB is only about 6 month’s worth for me). This is another app I use on my phone at least once a week, although I use it daily to sync files across multiple desktops.

Google+

Price: Free

What it does:

It’s Google answer to Facebook and Twitter combined. In many respects it’s better than Facebook except for the fact that Facebook has a gajillion more people on it. Even if you don’t take advantage of the social aspects of Google+, the sole reason to sign up for an account is to upload every picture and video you take to Picasa automatically (this feature is defaulted to wifi only for those without unlimited data plans). Free cloud backup for all of your photos? Why are you waiting?

Key Ring

Price: Free

What it does:

Enter your store card data into the app and the cashier can scan the bar code from your phone. And you don’t even need to type in the barcode — there’s a built in bar code scanner that will do that for you.

So there’s my list, 15 apps that will turn your Android phone into a consumption and production powerhouse, all for the grand total of… $6. And if you get a tablet along with your phone, it will cost you an additional… $0. Because any app you buy can be installed in any of your other Android devices.

Sweet.

This is the Future of Photography

When I was a wee lad, photography was one of those things that was meant for adults — between the costs of film and developing and printing, letting junior snap away was an expensive proposition. The advent of digital photography allowed for a more affordable way to let a child develop their inner Ansel Adams — the instant feedback of the LCD screens and the zero cost of taking multiple shots meant that you could improve your skills on the fly. It’s such a huge leap that pretty much every professional photographer has turned to digital (the fact that a professional photography these days is as much about Photoshop as it is about lighting is another reason film has gone by the wayside).

But a huge part of consumer digital photography these days is the ability to share pictures with others. Once the carriers introduced picture via SMS, camera phones took off in a huge way. You could take pictures on a fancy DSLR, but it could be weeks before they were offloaded. Cameraphones afforded an immediacy that trumped their poor quality. After all, the picture you have on a memory card is worth the two that are only in your memories. Personally, the lag between picture taking and picture distribution from my point and shoot got so ridiculously stretched out that I was sending out pictures from Thanksgiving the next August. Yes, I admit that if I were more industrious it wouldn’t be that way, but c’est la vie.

Everything changed for me the summer of 2010. That was when I got my HTC Evo, an Android smartphone with a more than decent 8MP shooter. The trick to the Evo was this: with a couple of taps, I could upload any picture I had on the phone to Facebook. In fact, the realization that I could do this was the reason I joined Facebook. Instead of 8 months between taking the picture and emailing it, I could upload pictures to Facebook in almost real time. The act of sharing pictures had now become transparent. And if you’re not sharing your pictures, why are you taking them?

Which brings us to the future of photography. Sorry for the protracted prologue.

There have been cameras with wifi connectivity that uploaded to Facebook, but they were all a bit on the kludgy side. They were also limited — say you had a camera that worked with Facebook and Flickr but you wanted to upload to your Google+ account? Or you wanted to email the picture? Or use Instagram? Or whatever social or file sharing site that crops up? What about Dropbox, dammit? None of these proprietary interfaces were flexible enough or simple enough to be the best solution for a wifi-based photo sharing camera.

Here’s the solution: Android. Merge a Nikon point and shoot with a cellular-less Android phone (or tiny Android tablet if you will) and now you have this bad boy:

Nikon Coolpix S800c hands-on: a closer look at the Android camera (video)

Why, do yo ask? Because the Android part can connect to almost anything. Probably everything. You can email, upload, text (using Google Voice) — basically, it’s like having a phone with a 16MP camera and 10X optical zoom. That’s optical, not digital. 1080p video? Hells and yeah. Let’s upload that to YouTube. No one uses Facebook anymore? Download the app for the latest and greatest social networking site. It’s flexible and future-proofed. It’s flexture-proofable.

Now, this won’t replace my smartphone camera. My phone is always with me, and it’s available whenever I need impromptu snaps — this camera is for those times when I know I’ll be taking pictures. Holidays with the family. A day at the beach. A trip to the Corn Palace. Times when you know you’re going to want photographic mementos. But the whole offloading pictures business has gotten so bad that I frequently don’t bring the camera even if it’s one of those picture taking occasions because I know they’ll be stuck on the camera forever. The better picture quality wasn’t enough to make a difference over the overwhelming convenience of my smartphone. But the Coolpix S800c is the convergence product I’ve been looking for since I bought my first digital camera, only maybe I didn’t realize it until now. Now it seems so obvious. So obvious, in fact, that I’m sure Apple is scrambling to make their own iOS camera. Because it makes so much sense.

Maybe the reviews come out and there are a touch too many negatives. Maybe the picture quality isn’t all that great. Maybe the Android interface gobbles up too much battery. Maybe there’s some other horrible blemish that makes this a less than desirable product. It doesn’t matter. Even if this is a buggy first iteration alpha device, it’s going to happen with the next product. Because this is the future of consumer photography.

Also, Angry Birds. Yes, you can play Angry Birds on it.

One thing that went through my mind at the Nikon announcement was, “why didn’t Samsung think of this already?” Well, they did.

http://www.androidcentral.com/hands-samsung-galaxy-camera

It’s nice to have 3G connectivity I suppose (although I have zero need for it), but to be forced to buy a data contract for acamera is sheer insanity. And not the good kind. If it sells through carriers, it will be something like $600 off contract, $400 on. That’s nuts. And it don’t even make calls!

Hopefully, they will have a wifi version in time for the holidays. Selling through carriers absolutely killed the original Galaxy Tab. I have no idea why they’re going down the same low adoption route with what appears to be a hot shit device.

Nokia is getting hammered

Inductive charging. Sleek industrial design. Optical Anti-Shake. All good stuff. But despite all of the nice things the tech blogs had to say about the Lumia 920, Nokia’s newest flagship Windows Phone, the truth is the phone is likely a non-starter. It didn’t help that Nokia did not know when it would be released, which carrier would sell them, nor any release dates. Why are you hosting a launch event without those details locked down? That’s total fail.

So even though the usual suspects were perfectly cordial about the hardware and software, the lack of details and the minuscule amount of people even interested in Windows Phone has disappointed Wall Street.

Nokia stock sinks as new Lumias disappoint

Josh Topolsky tweeted, “I’m excited about Windows Phone 8, but if someone could flawlessly hack Jelly Bean onto the Lumia 920, I would give them $500.” He’s not the only one who feels Nokia’s talents are wasted on Windows Phone:

Nokia Should Have Just Made An Android Smartphone

And in the “kicking you while you’re down” department:

Nokia’s new PureView ad is amazing, too bad it’s faked

More kicking:

 Nokia’s PureView still photos also include fakes

 As long as current Nokia CEO and former Microsoft honcho Stephen Elop is there, Nokia will stick with Microsoft. But at this rate, the question is, “how long”?

Here’s the thing: Europe loves Nokia. And Europe loves Android. If Windows Phone fails again (and assuming Nokia is still around) maybe one day we’ll see this match made in heaven actually consummate their relationship. Until then, Nokia will keep making “yeah, but” phones (as in, “yeah, but I don’t want Windows Phone”). And there’s a chance that Blackberry 10 could reopen its shrinking lead against Windows Phone to cement its status as the distant 3rd place operating system. Actually, this isn’t out of the question — there are a lot people who still love the Blackberry brand.

If they put out just one Nokia Android phone with a Pureview camera, it would probably be the biggest phone in Europe. It’s like they don’t want to succeed. Their foundering attempts at differentiating themselves with Windows Phone completely negates the brilliant engineering and design that should otherwise make the Lumia 920 a rousing success. The bottom line is this: