Episode 29: Hot phones in cold Barcelona

This week's episode features highlights from Mobile World Congress, the iPod Shuffle and the iPod Nano versus snow, ski, and hot chocolate; and an in-depth Road Test of the Nest Thermostat.

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Barcelona is the place to be, and not just for the cafe con leche, the jamon iberico, or the incredible melted-stone facades of such Gaudi creations as the Sagrada Familia or the Casa Mila. Forget all that nonsense. It's all about the phones.

Mobile World Congress just wrapped in Barcelona, and with it came a bevy of new product announcements, ranging from Ubuntu and Firefox operating systems to new Samsung tablets, new phablets from LG and ZTE, a new Wi-Fi coffee-maker from Qualcomm, and...well, no, no Samsung Galaxy S4. That's next week. But this week's episode of Always On has a nice, concise summary of the major trends and some of the major announcements from MWC 2013.

At the ZTE booth, shortly after we set off the theft alarm. Watch the bloopers. You'll see.
Shortly after we set off the theft alarm at the ZTE booth. Watch the bloopers. You'll see.

We've also got the final installation of our snowy ski trip to the wonderful Mt. Shasta Ski Park, in which we put the iPod Nano, the iPod Shuffle, and the Monster iSport headphones to the test in our ski lift drop, ski-over test, and a dunk test involving both beer and hot chocolate (and a very sticky ear on my part).

This week's episode features one of my new favorite pieces, as well: an in-depth Road Test of the popular and stylish Nest Thermostat. I gave one to an interior designer, Cillesa Ullman, who installed it in her home and also shopped it around to her clients and contractors to see whether it's worth the $250 price tag and slightly daunting self-install process.

Finally, we learned a lot about tape mounts in this week's Mailbag, which only cements my belief that the Mailbag may be the single most informative segment of our show. Thanks to you, not us.

Enjoy Episode 29, and thanks for watching, everyone! See you next week!