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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

[News] Verizon Galaxy Note 2 to go on sale tomorrow

The day many have longed for has come...the Galaxy Note 2 will be available for purchase through Verizon Wireless starting tomorrow, November 29th.  If you're jonesing for the largest, most powerful smartphone/tablet/phablet on the market with LTE on board, wait no more.

Pricing will likely depend on whether or not you on on or off contract, but with a new 2 year agreement you can pick this one up at Big Red's stores for $299.  As Mr. Plunkett has already made his purchase, expect an in-depth review of this magical device coming soon from the Two Tech Geeks!

*Source:  BGR

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

[Special Feature]Two Tech Geeks Best of Tech 2012

With the year coming to a close, and the looming Mayan Apocalypse, the Two Tech Geeks thought it would be a good idea to take a look back and highlight some of our favorite things from that wacky, wonderful year that was.  Without further ado, we bring you our Best of Tech 2012:

Best Small Tablet (8" screen or smaller):
Sean: Asus Nexus 7
The Nexus 7 has it all; a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a 1280 x 800 IPS LCD display, 1GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of internal memory.  Better yet, the 16GB version will only set you back $199.99 while the 32GB version goes for $249.99.  Sure the iPad mini may be thinner and constructed of nicer materials, but it has an inferior screen and the 16GB iPad Mini costs 65% more than a 16GB Nexus 7.  In the smaller tablet market, the Nexus 7 reigns supreme.

Shawn: Asus Nexus 7
You'll get no argument from me here.  I recently purchased a Nexus 7, and can't actually use it because the wife likes it so much.  Great materials, great screen, small enough to be portable, but big enough to be useful for things your phone is too small for.  In short - its perfect.

[News] Nexus 4 to go back on sale today

After some "issues" on launch day with getting the Nexus 4 phone sold to as many people who wanted it, Google has indicated that the new Android flagship phone from Google and LG is now back stock and will go back on sale to the consumer at noon Pacific time.

If you are an AT&T or T-Mobile customer and are in the market for a new Android device, this might be right up your alley.  For detailed specs on pricing and the device, go here.  For a link to the Google Play to buy this unlocked bad boy, go here.

*Source: BGR

Monday, November 26, 2012

[News] Analyst predicts tablet sales to surpass notebooks in 2013

According to the good folks over at Digitimes, the face of mobile computing is going to undertake a radical shift in the next year, with tablet sales predicted to outpace notebook PC sales for the first time ever.  210 million units are estimated to be sold in 2013, which is surely a significant enough number for OEMs to sit up and take notice.  Predictably, Apple's iPad will be the forecast top hardware seller, with Google's Android OS to be the top operating system sold.

As a recent tablet owner, I can speak for its usefulness in certain settings, but can I see it replacing what a laptop can do for me?  No.  Having said that, I think that our lives have been forever changed by things like the iPad and to a lesser extent other tablets like the Nexus 7.  The way we act and behave on a daily basis is almost exclusively focused on mobile computing.  And those devices that aid us in our quest to always be connected.

Sound off in the comments if you have an opinion!

*Source:  BGR

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[Op-Ed] The road to a proposed Google Wireless

When the rumors of Google potentially becoming a wireless carrier themselves broke everywhere on the internet yesterday, of course the world (including yours truly) began to rejoice.  But what would it take to make this beautiful dream a reality?  The short answer is: a lot.  But Michael H. over at Phone Arena has written a pretty good "plain language" opinion piece on this whole process, and some of the potential roadblocks to it actually coming to fruition.

See the article here to read up on what hopefully be in our very near future.

*Source:  Phone Arena

[News] Coming soon to a blog near you...

Well folks...its been a slow news week so far, and with the holidays coming up, it looks like it might stay that way for a while.  So in an effort to keep you (the informed tech enthusiast and consumer) update to date with what's going on out in the world, we've decided to have a few more opinion/editorial pieces coming out, as well as a cool Special Feature direct from the Tech Geeks!

All of this is just our way of saying that while the "news" portion of the site may dwindle a little bit, please keep checking back with us frequently for more new content!  Like the US Post Office, nothing can keep us from making our daily tech rounds of news and views!  Wishing everyone a safe holiday season!

-Sean and Shawn

[News] Nexus 7 sales "better than expected"

Published reports are indicating that Google was surprised (probably pleasantly so) over increased demand for the Nexus 7 tablet.  So much so, that they have ordered an additional 2.5 million devices from manufacturer Asus to keep up with sales before the end of 2012.  This comes on top of the estimated 2.5 million tablets already sold so far.  This comes as no surprise to me...I love everything about this tablet.  You can read my review of the Nexus 7 to see my thoughts on this device.

While these numbers don't compare to the number of iPads sold each day, week, or month, demand for the Nexus 7 is growing - indicating a definite need in the market for a 7 inch tablet.  Google and Asus have a home run on their hands with this one.

*Source:  Droid-Life

Friday, November 16, 2012

[Rumor] Google looking into becoming wireless carrier *Updated*

According to sources at the Wall Street Journal, Google may be looking to move beyond fiber optics and move directly into the mobile wireless space by becoming a competitor of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.  The report indicates that talks of a partnership with Dish Network could result in Google offering wireless services to any and all.  The talks are rumored to be very early, and nothing is committed to for now, but if true, this could prove to be a game changer.

Google is well known for providing low cost, high quality solutions for free or next-to-free pricing, and as a wireless carrier, I can think of nothing but good things to come from the good folks in Mountain View, California.

*UPDATE*  Droid-Life is indicating that they have information from a 3rd party source that these talks are more than preliminary, and that Google is "deep into development" and might be targeting a mid-2013 launch for this service.  The who, what, where, and when of this new "Google Wireless" is still as yet unknown, but as I said before - this could be a game changer for the industry.  Would AT&T or Verizon Wireless see a defection of people leaving for a service that offers reasonably priced smartphones, with a potential for unlimited data/voice plans at below AT&T/Verizon prices?  I for one would leave Verizon in a heartbeat, if not sooner.  Stay tuned for more details as we come across them.


*Source:  BGRDroid-Life

Thursday, November 15, 2012

[News] Popular Science names Google Now "Innovation of the Year"

Google Now, the feature built into Android that works to predict and display info you might find useful, has been named by Popular Science as their "Innovation of the Year."  There are those who claim that Google Now's constant searching of your phones information is overly intrusive.  As an Android user myself, I can tell you there are loads of ways this feature has come in very handy in my personal life.  With the recent updates to the Google Search feature preparing for the release of Android 4.2, the cards Google Now provides are more timely and informative than ever.  You can also now use certain voice commands, although this I would label as still a "work in progress."

Any Android users out there love Google Now?  Hate it?  Think its just more ways for the government to get past our tin foil hats to steal our personal info?  Personally I don't think the government cares that much about me or my life, but hey - other folks may feel differently.  Sound off how you feel in the comments!

*Source:  Droid-Life

[News] Apple's Tim Cook named most powerful figure in wireless

According to FierceWireless, Apple's CEO is the most powerful person in the wireless game today.  The website released their list of the Top 25 Most Powerful People in U.S. Wireless 2012, and Cook heads the list.  This probably won't come as a shock to many folks considering the success of products like the iPhone 5 and updated iPad.  Other folks on the list include Larry Page of Google, Lowell McAdam of Verizon Wireless, and Dan Hesse of Sprint.

For the entire list, which is an interesting read, go here.

*Source:  BGR

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

[Special Feature]Fearless Predictions for 2013

Shawn and I thought it would be fun to do a predictions piece for 2013 so we would be able to come back and laugh at ourselves when none of it comes true.  These opinions are solely ours, and have not been put forth with any insider information from any OEM.  Most of these actually have no basis in fact whatsoever.  But with that in mind, here are our fearless 2013 predictions:

Sean's Predictions:

1) Apple will release an iPhone 5S that looks virtually identical to the iPhone 5.  The internet will decry the  new phone and say Apple has lost its way.  Tech sites and blogs will write editorials expressing their disappointment.  Apple will sell as many as they can produce.

Shawn's Response:
I'm probably on board with this one, considering the years and years of history we have of Apple to fall back on.  I'm really not sure where Apple takes their iPhone from here though...even thinnerer and lighterer?
World Exclusive: the iPhone 5S will look exactly like this

[News] Verizon Galaxy Note 2 spotted at Best Buy

A very lucky Droid-Life reader happened to be cruising through his local Best Buy store, and ran across the Verizon branded version of the Galaxy Note 2, as of yet not available on Verizon's service.  The rumor is the launch will be on or around November 29th, but nothing official as of yet.  Unless you count photos of the device at a local retail store as being official of course.

I know Sean is very much looking forward to this device (except for the inexplicable VZW branding on the home button) but is anyone else out there considering this device?  Check out more details on the device here...but let us know if this is your next smartphone in the comments!

Photo Courtesy of Droid-Life
*Source:  Droid-Life

[News] Analyst claims only 3-4 smartphone companies are generating profits

In what is surely seen as bad news for quite of few companies, an analyst from Asymco by the name of Horace Dediu tweeted this morning that he believes only 3 smartphone manufacturers are actually turning a profit:  Apple, HTC, and Samsung.  LG also is turning a teeny-tiny profit, if you can call  a 0.01% of the 3rd quarter profits "making money."  Apple and Samsung are the real players here, with HTC sneaking in with 1% of the reported profits, behind Apple's 60% share and Samsung's 39% share.  Plus or minus the usual margin of error, of course.  Monopolies in the tech market tend to reduce innovations, so here's to hoping that other companies like Nokia, RIM, and LG can turn things around with new offerings at the end of this year, or early in 2013.

*Source:  BGR 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[News] HTC Droid DNA launches on Verizon, pre-orders begin today

Well folks...its officially official.  The HTC Droid DNA will launch on Verizon on November 21, 2012, with pre-orders via the Verizon website beginning today.  The device will be a nifty $199 with a new 2 year agreement.  Cutting edge specs and a 1080p screen make this thing a beast...the only thing that remains to be seen is how well the 2020mAh battery holds up powering the quad core processor and the 5 inch screen.  HTC claims 10 hours of moderate use - I'm looking to see more info from folks who've had a chance to review the phone in depth.  If you are on Verizon, and looking for the best of the best in an Android device, check it out in your local Verizon store.  Or go to Verizon Wireless.com

[Special Feature] Hands on with the Nexus 4 & Nexus 10 **UPDATE**

The chaps over at Droid-Life managed to lay hands on both a Nexus 4 and a Nexus 10 and very generously did a walk through unboxing and hands on with these two devices ahead of launch day, which happens to be today.  If you are interested in picking up either of these devices, and were looking for some more info on them, check out the below video.  I will advise you up front - its a long video from a Google Hangout, so its not HD quality or anything...and some of the jokes are silly, nerdish, or just plain weird.  If you can get past that, there's some good info on both of the new Nexus devices being released by Google, LG, and Samsung today.  For those looking to buy right away, head to the Google Play store here.

UPDATED:  For those who were interested in buying the Nexus 4, it appears that all of the initial stock of both the 8GB and 16GB devices have sold out.  The device went on sale at 9:00am, and in less than a half hour, Google had updated the Play Store with the dreaded "Coming Soon" instead of the pricing and "Buy Now" button.  Sorry folks...we'll stay on top of this to see when they come back up.  In the meantime, you might be able to pick one up at your local T-Mobile store. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

[News]Verizon to officially announce HTC DROID DNA tomorrow, November 20th release date likely

Verizon will officially announce the HTC Droid DNA tomorrow at 11:00 EST in New York.
The technical specifications for the DNA are as follows:
Release Date: November 20th
Carrier(s): Verizon
Price: $199.99 on contract
CPU/GPU: Quad-Core Snapdragon S4 Pro/Adreno 320
Screen: 5" Super LCD-3 (RGB) 1920x1080p
Camera: 2.1MP(Fr)/8MP/1080p@30fps
Memory: 2GB
Storage: 16GB/32GB
SD Card Slot: No
Battery: Non-Removable/2500mah

The rumored November 20th date seems to be confirmed based on the post to the right from Verizon's official Google+ page.

Many potential buyers will be cross shopping the DNA with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.  The DNA has a slightly better CPU and GPU, is made of more premium materials, and has a much higher resolution screen.  It also has a smaller non-removable battery though.

The Note 2 has a larger screen, a bigger/removable battery, an SD card slot, S-Pen and some cool proprietary features like multi-window.

If the battery holds up the DNA is a very compelling device, but I have my doubts and that's why I'm still leaning towards the Note 2.

What do you guys think, Note 2 or Droid DNA?

[News] Blackberry 10 debut officially scheduled

According to The Next Web's Daily Dose, RIM has officially announced a launch date for their Blackberry 10 operating system as associated devices:  January 10, 2013.  This falls in line with RIM's own admissions that the debut of their new OS and hardware would come in Q1 of 2013.  Most Blackberry enthusiasts were probably hoping for sooner rather than later, but hey its on the books at least.

Going into next year and missing the holiday rush is probably not going to do wonders for RIM's sales numbers.  However, doing anything to right the ship could help RIM's failing stock prices significantly.  I'm sure the whole world will be anxiously awaiting the end of January to see what Blackberry 10 has in store for us.

*Source:  TNW's Daily Dose

Sunday, November 11, 2012

[Review] 32GB Nexus 7 tablet

The Nexus 7 isn't new to the market, nor is it the most technically advanced Android tablet out there...but what it is, is one fine device for the money.

Way back in September, I made a decision to purchase a tablet for my own use around the house.  I have a burning desire to surf the web, check my fantasy basketball team, post on the Facebook, and blog all from the comfort of my couch.  Sure I could do this on my netbook, and I bought it with that in mind, but the idea of using a tablet for these endeavors seems darn near perfect.

The 16GB version now costs a mere $199, the 32GB w/WiFi only is $249 (plus applicable tax) and on November 13th, 2012 the 32GB version with HSPA+ will launch for $299.  I decided to pull the trigger once the 32GB WiFi only version arrived in a local retail store.  Since I had a few gift cards laying about, I picked it up last Wednesday night for exactly $41.36...and even as a fan of Android, I can easily say I'm impressed with this device.

Friday, November 9, 2012

[News] Samsung Galaxy Note 2 now available through AT&T

If you are an AT&T customer and have been waiting for a 5.5 inch phone+tablet to arrive, you need wait no longer.  As of today, the Galaxy Note 2 is now available for purchase through AT&T for $299 with a 2 year contract agreement.  As this phone boasts some of the best specs in the phone world right now (see the full review of this beast here) its worth a long look.  Now admittedly...if you've seen the Galaxy S3, this phablet is bigger (by almost a full inch) so make sure you test it in  before you buy.  But if the size doesn't bother you (as it surely doesn't bother my partner here on the site) this is a great phone.

If you've got spare cash and need a new phone (and are with those AT&T people) check it out.

*Source: Droid-Life

Thursday, November 8, 2012

[News]Select T-Mobile Samsung Phones Free with rebate November 16th and 17th

T-Mobile is running a promotion November 16th and 17th where select Samsung smart phones are free with rebate on a two year "classic plan" contract.

It's unclear exactly what Samsung phones are eligible for the deal, but the Galaxy S III (GSIII) is featured twice on the flyer, so it would be a pretty dick move if it wasn't included.

It also appears the Galaxy S II (GSII) is part of the promotion, but if both phones are free why would anyone buy a GSII over a GSIII?

Despite these questions marks, if you're a T-Mobile customer or looking to become one, a free Galaxy S III is a nice incentive.

[News] Nexus 10 sighting in the wild ahead of launch day

While the official launch date of the new Nexus 10 tablet is November 13th, apparently a Walmart store didn't get the memo.  One loyal Droid-Life fan was roaming the tech aisles at this local Walmart and found a sticker advertising the Nexus 10 next to a box or boxes of the product.  If you're an Android enthusiast, this product will likely be on your radar already...a tablet from Google and partner Samsung designed to tackle the iPad head on.

Below is a quick photo of the tag; if you're in the market for one of these, it might be worth a trip to your local Walmart to see if one can be had ahead of the launch week rush.

Photo courtesy of Droid-Life
*Source:  Droid-Life

[News] Galaxy S3 best selling smartphone in 3rd quarter

For the first time in a VERY long time, the iPhone isn't the best selling smartphone in a business quarter.  For the 3rd quarter of 2012, that honor belongs to the Samsung Galaxy S3.  I don't think I have to tell you how popular the GS3 is, especially if you've been reading this site for a while (which I know you have).  Selling 18 million units in Q3, the GS3 narrowly edged out the iPhone 4S, which sold 16.2 million units.  Of note...the iPhone 5 sold 6 million units in the quarter, so if you combined the line of Apple products, they were still #1 in sales - and the iPhone 5 wasn't available for sale the whole 3rd quarter, so its possible this stay at the top for Samsung is short lived.  Still, I'm sure Sammy will take whatever small victories they can get.  

Until then...all hail the new king of smartphones!

*Source:  Engadget

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

[News] Joint Verizon and HTC event announced for November 13th

New York city has been hard hit recently, but that apparently isn't going to stop Verizon and HTC from announcing a joint venture at 11:00am on November 13th (Tuesday, a week from today) there.  The best guess so far is the "official" outing of the HTC "DLX" which apparently will debut on Big Red as the HTC Droid DNA (perhaps the single most cheesy name for a mobile phone, ever).

What's not cheesy is the specs on this monster - not the least of which is that 5 inch 1080p resolution display.  For more details on the rumored HTC superphone that we loved calling the Deluxe, go here.

More pics below - but I guess we'll all be waiting for next Tuesday's official unveiling.

Monday, November 5, 2012

[Op-Ed]Maybe Motorola does know what it's doing after all (or how I was *mostly* wrong about the Droid RAZR HD MAXX)

Shortly after Motorola announced their flagship Droid RAZR HD and HD MAXX I wrote an op-ed piece asking "what is Motorola doing?"  Why would consumers spend $299.99 for an HD MAXX when they could buy a Samsung Galaxy S III (SGSIII) for $99.99?  The specs were nearly identical and the extra battery capacity didn't justify the almost three times higher price tag in my view.  When Verizon officially announced pricing I wrote another piece about how overpriced both handsets were and again recommended the SGSIII.  After some hands on time with the HD MAXX, here are seven reasons why I was wrong and why it warrants consideration if you're in the market for a Verizon smart phone:

1) It's a great phone.  Bizarre reason, right?  In the era of quad-core processors and 720p screens it's easy to forget that a smart phone's primary function is to be an actual phone.  The RAZR HD MAXX continues the long Motorola tradition of excellent radios.  Measured side by side with the SGSIII, it continuously had better signal and pulled down faster data speeds.

[News] Samsung reports Galaxy S3 has sold 30 million units

The Samsung Galaxy line, in particular the Galaxy S3, have all sold really well.  But according to the latest sales figures reported by Samsung itself, the GS3 is their most popular phone ever, selling 30 million devices in 157 days.  That's 191,083 a day for those of you playing along at home.  That's....a lot of phones.  No question this was the home run that Samsung was looking for when they released the phone, but based on sales figures from the previous phones in the Galaxy line, I think if you'd said 30 million phones in a little over 5 months, people would have thought you were crazy.

Regardless, this Android phone is one of the best on the market for sure.  Those thinking about making a phone purchase before the end of the year should give the Galaxy S3 a serious look.  Unless you're into HTC...in which case the so-called HTC "Deluxe" or "Droid DNA" might be worth a look as well (see details here).

*Source:  Droid Life

Sunday, November 4, 2012

[Op-Ed]Google misses with the Nexus 4, but it's on the right track

Recently Google officially announced its new flagship Nexus 4 (N4) smart phone.  As expected it packs a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with an Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, a 4.7" TRUE HD IPS+ 1280 x 768 screen, an 8MP camera, a 2100mah internal battery, NFC capability and 8 or 16 GB of internal storage.  From a technical perspective the Nexus 4 is a beast.  It boasts flagship specs in every department save for internal memory.  As I suggested last month though, Google did this for cost cutting reasons.  Flash memory is the most expensive component in modern smart phones and they clearly wanted to keep the price of the N4 down.  They absolutely succeeded.  An unlocked 8GB will set you back only $299.99 through the Google Play Store while the 16GB version retails for $349.99.  The pricing is nothing short of incredible.

Compared to it's predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4 is an improvement in virtually every way.  While the bump up in specs is expected, the improvement in materials is a welcome surprise.  The N4 quite frankly makes the Galaxy Nexus look cheap in comparison.  Aside from the HTC One series and Motorola's new RAZR HD phones, the build quality of OEM Android manufacturers is lacking.  Samsung in particular has a history of using cheap feeling plastics in their phones.  It's nice to see LG and Google break from the pack and produce a phone with premium specs and materials.  Yes the glass back on the Nexus 4 may end up being more fragile than the plastic back on the Galaxy Nexus, but it's still a step in the right direction.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

[Op-Ed] How the iPad mini dilutes Apple's brand

iPad mini (front and rear)
I heard a report on the local news Friday morning about how there weren't the same long lines for the iPad mini (which launched on November 2nd) as there were for the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, and it got me thinking.  With legions of Apple fans around the world, why would the iPad mini go on sale with less fanfare than other devices from months or years past?  Is there a crack in the facade of a company that can seemingly do no wrong when it comes to the launch of a new product?  Let's dig deeper and see if there is evidence of what I believe to be true:  by making the iPad mini, Apple has diluted their own brand and potentially made a serious business blunder.

Friday, November 2, 2012

[Rumor] FTC reported to be looking into lawsuit against Google

In what is just another battle in the ongoing "patent wars," a report recently released seems to indicate that the Federal Trade Commission is looking to open a suit against Google over licensing issues and patents currently held by Motorola.  The issue mostly stems from FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) patents which (in a nut-shell) means that if some technology patent is submitted as a "standard," it must be able to be licensed to other OEMs for use in other products.  This prevents something as widespread as LTE, for example, from being denied into mobile devices because the patent holder is unwilling to license the patent for anything less than exorbitant sums of cash.

As fate would have it, LTE is one of the issues that has been haggled over in this presumed suit.  As most are aware, one of the features of the iPhone 5 is LTE connectivity, and there was another report recently that Apple was willing to pay Motorola (now owned by Google) $1 per iPhone for the license fee, and not a penny more.  This presumably prompted Googs to seek an injunction ban against all devices that they felt violated this patent.  And thus, the flame wars began...

Most of these suits are nonsense, and if it is true that any or all of the Motorola patents were applied for under the FRAND standard, then Google doesn't really have a leg to stand on for their injunction.  How this will play out is anyone's guess...but if you're like me, you're pretty much over this whole "patent trolling" thing.

*Source: via BGR

[News] New York Times interview with Google exec John Lagerling talks all things Nexus

The New York Times published an interesting interview with Android's Director of Business Development, John Lagerling, this morning.  In it, he discusses a bit of the strategy behind the Nexus brand of devices from Google, as well as diving into some of the reasons behind their pricing structure for the new devices.  I love how there's no names of brands mentioned...just "the Cupertino guys."  One of the points in the article I found particularly interesting is clipped below:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

[News]Nokia Lumia 920 reviews starting to trickle out

The embargo on the Nokia Lumia 920 ended this evening and the first reviews have started hitting the web.  So, does the Lumia 920 live up to the hype?

The reviews so far are mostly complementary.

Both theverge and cnet reviews praise the screen, battery life, out of the box wireless charging, general design and performance of the new Windows Phone 8 (WP8) flagship.

Complaints are mostly aimed at the large size and heft of the device.  The verge review simply states "The Lumia 920 is a tank," while cnet says "Nokia's Lumia 920 is sculpted, but also heavy and bulky."

The much hyped 8.7MP PureView camera seems to be a bit of a mixed bag as well.  While apparently capable of taking great pictures, especially in low light, it is short on options and has a fairly steep learning curve.

The Lumia 920 looks like it's a nice device, but is it enough to sway Android and iOS users to WP8?


Engadget has its review up and it echoes the sentiments of the other two.

[Review] Android 4.2 keyboard and camera updates

Two of the many cool new features that have been leaked out in advance of the general release of Android 4.2 are the keyboard typing and input system, as well as the new camera software.  Both of these features are touched upon in the video provided by the Verge in an exclusive sneak peak (check it out here) but after getting both of these updated to my Galaxy Nexus, I wanted to give a quick review of someone who has some hands on time with both these updates.