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CNET Tech Review
Event Verizon: The point of no returnThis week on the CNET Tech Review: see what's new and what's not on the Verizon iPhone 4; Google's Android Market opens for business on the Web; keep yourself safe when browsing Facebook; and get your grub on with two tasty take-out apps.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review: The Verizon iPhone is coming. We've got it now, but is this the right time to buy it? Plus, Google launches the android market. News Corp. launches The Daily, and Tap That App brings lunches to your doorstep. It's all coming up right now. Hi everyone. I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET Tech Review where we collect our hottest videos of the week and tell you what's good and what's bad in the world of tech plus offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of The Bottom Line. Let's start with the good. The wait is finally over. For so long, it was just a pipe dream, but now the iPhone 4 is really coming to Verizon; and Kent German was among the lucky few to get his hands on one before they went on sale. Is it the answer to all of your iPhone prayers? Here's Kent with his First Look. -Hi. I'm Kent German, senior editor for cnet.com. Today, we'll take a First Look at the Verizon iPhone 4. Indeed, I was very happy when Verizon and Apple announced this phone in early January. Sure it's great that AT&T is no longer an exclusive carrier, but I'm more excited that longest cast rumors finally have been put to rest. So, what is the Verizon iPhone? Well, the answer is the Verizon iPhone is almost the same device as the AT&T counterpart. There are a couple of differences and one is pretty important, but it's still the same phone in most regards. I'll start with the one difference in the design. To accommodate the CDMA antenna, the ringer switch has been moved slightly closer to the volume rocker. Also, the gap that's currently on top of the AT&T handset has been moved to the top left side. Apple wouldn't discuss the specifics of the re-design, but in preliminary testing, we didn't encounter the death grip that we found on the AT&T iPhone. Unfortunately though, the antenna change means that many current iPhone cases like this here won't fit, so you need to buy new ones. Also, because it runs on CDMA, the Verizon iPhone doesn't have a SIM card slot. Otherwise, the price in handset is exactly the same. You'll find the same controls, camera features, headset and charger jacks, speaker and microphone, and retina display. Verizon says it will carry the Y iPhone, but we still have no idea when that will be. Last time I heard it was sometime in spring. Now, inside the Verizon iPhone is one major difference. Unlike the AT&T handset, the Verizon iPhone can function as a personal hotspot for up to 5 devices. You will need to activate the hotspot functionality with Verizon first, but once you do, it will appear in the settings menu. So, after you set a password and you turn on the feature, you can get started. You can connect devices through WiFi, Bluetooth, and also a USB cable. What's really nice is you can use all 3 connections types at once. Another difference is the Verizon iPhone currently runs iOS 4.2.6 while in comparison, the AT&T iPhone runs iOS 4.2.1. Apple said 4.2.6 is a version unique to the Verizon handset and the only changes it brings are CDMA support and hotspot feature. The other features of the device are exactly the same, so expect to see no changes from the AT&T phone. Of course, there are few things that Verizon iPhone can't do. Unlike AT&T's handset, it can't perform simultaneous voice and data. If you're on WiFi, it does do that, but if you're on the cellular network, no, and it doesn't offer global roaming for GSM networks. Also, the Verizon is growing its LTE 4G network. It's currently Verizon iPhone, which tops out at 3G. We're still on the midst of testing the device. You will have to read the review for our full performance analysis. Voice quality, however, we noticed few differences, but it's a preliminary testing, so I won't emphasize that. Whatever our results though, I have to stress that you shouldn't expect the Verizon iPhone to be a miracle device. You'll see differences, no doubt, but don't expect it to completely cure your reception woes. You're still using the cellular network that will vary according to your location, interference, and how many people are using at one time. The expectations for Verizon iPhone are immensely and ridiculously high and, this handset I have to say runs a big risk of not living up to them. That's why it's important to keep those hopes in check. Just recognize this is a phone, still gonna have problems once in a while. More importantly though, the latest smart phone landscape is very, very different than it was in 2007 when the first iPhone went on sale. Not only are there many other fantastic smart phones in the market, but also, there are a lot of people that are perfectly happy with their non-Apple device and don't wanna buy one. The iPhone is on a new carrier. That's great. There's more customer choice and remains a very good phone, but it remains just one player in a very competitive field. I'm Kent German here with the First Look at the Verizon iPhone 4. -Way to manage expectations, Kent. Personally, if I was looking to buy an iPhone right now, I would wait to see what the next generation of hardware has to offer, but that's just me. For more reasons why you might not wanna rush into a relationship with Verizon, stick around for this week's top 5 coming up later in the show. So maybe you don't like AT&T, or Verizon, or phone contracts in general, but you still wanna jump on the smart phone bandwagon, well, if you're willing to go the android route and you should be, you'll wanna check out LG's Optimus V. That's V as is virgin. -I'm Nicole Lee, senior associate editor for cnet.com; and this is a First Look at the LG Optimus V for Virgin Mobile. The LG Optimus V is almost identical to the LG Optimus S. In fact, it has the same design and everything. However, the only difference is that the bottom placement is slightly different. For example, at the bottom here, you do get the hard sensor keys for the menu key, the home key, the back key, and the search key. Otherwise, the overall interface is pretty similar to the other LG Optimus phones. You get up to 5 customizable home screens and the LG Optimus V comes with its own Virgin Mobile skin. It's nice and slim as you can see here; and it's coated with a nice, comfortable, soft-touch finish. On the back is the 3.2-megapixel camera. The LG Optimus V is built as an entry-level smart phone, but that doesn't mean it's lacking any features. In fact, it has WiFi, GPS as well as EVDO Rev A. It also ships with Android 2.2. However, it doesn't have Flash video in the browser, and it does not allow mobile hotspot tethering. Aside from the usual Google Maps that include Gmail, Google Voice Search, and more, it also has Virgin Mobile apps like Virgin Mobile Live that lets you view and stream music videos from Virgin Mobile Festival artists. A few other apps included in here are, of course, Google Maps as well as YouTube and WHERE (a location-based app). The LG Optimus V is very affordably priced at only $150 without a contract. I'm Nicole Lee. This has been a First Look at the LG Optimus V. -And of course, once you've taken the android leap, there's nothing stopping you from loading up your new phone with a bunch of apps. Until now, that process has been a little bit tedious, but luckily this week, Google unveiled its new apps store, I mean android market web store. -Google finally debuts the long-missing and long-demanded way to get your apps on your android phones and tablets, a web-based marketplace. Hi. I am Seth Rosenblatt for CNET. And in this First Look, I will be taking you on a tour of the new android market at android.market.com. One of the best things about the market that's sure to make iPhone users jealous is that you can search for apps directly from your browser and without logging in. Once logged in, you could push apps directly to your phone or tablet. The majority of Google's development work here is clearly focused on app presentation. Featured apps take center stage on a large rotating carousel of highlights, but the key thing here is the new search option that persistently lives at the top. Enter a query and a slick black bar appears between the bottom of the search box and your results. Click it to reveal search filters. You can install an app directly from the results or click through to learn more about each app. When you do hit the install link, the market will let your choose which device to install the app to as well as show you a list of permissions that the app uses and its cost. You can also push an app to multiple devices as long as they're associated under the same account. Currently, pushing an app is kind of a slow and tedious process and definitely a bit buggy. It's not clear whether that's from the crush of users, from app sinking problems, or some other nefarious Google bug. At one point, jumping into the market app on my phone actually got the app to finally install properly, so it does work eventually. When you're logged in, you can also jump to your account up at the top right of the page. It takes you to a My Orders tab that lists all your installed apps. These are organized by date last updated, the name of the app, category, price, and status. Currently, these headings can only be sorted by date, although it looks like the kind of layout that will receive an update with more sort parameters in the feature. A second tab labelled Settings currently shows only a list of the devices associated with your account. It shows nickname, visibility, make model, carrier, last used, and registered on date. Clicking the edit button on the right lets you give the device a nickname and choose whether to hide the device from android menus. Users who have routed their devices in a running custom ROMs will not see data for make and model. It appears that multiple simultaneous account log-ins, a feature recently pushed to Gmail users, are not supported at this time either. Hardcore android fans will notice that the market currently offers less than third-party markets like AppBrain. You can't create customized lists of apps for one thing, and you can't uninstall from the marketplace either. With that all being said, it's a good sign that Google is finally entering the market for markets because at the very least it will force third-party markets to up their game or become irrelevant. With the First Look at Google's android market, I'm Seth Rosenblatt for CNET. -Now, if you end up going a little crazy in downloading too many apps, be sure to check out Antuan Goodwin's video on how to free up space for apps on android 2.2. You could find that, like all of today's videos and more at cnettv.com. Turning to today news, News, publishing magnate, Rupert Murdoch, was in New York on Wednesday to debut a new publication for the iPad called the Daily. -We'll call it a newspaper for lack of a better word, but as Caroline McCarthy shows us, it's definitely a paper custom-made for the digital age. -I'm Caroline McCarthy for CNET News, and we are at the Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York where today News Corporation unveiled The Daily, what it says is the first daily news publication optimized and designed specifically for Apple's iPad. -I'm pleased to welcome you to the launch of The Daily, a national news publication for the iPad that we have created from scratch. -Right now, the content from The Daily is available only on the iPad app and on the web behind the paywall. Currently, there are no plans to release it on any other tablet devices, though Rupert Murdoch has said that when the tablet market beyond the iPad is a little bit more mature, then he wants to be on every major tablet device. As for subscription fees, The Daily costs 99 cents per week or $39.99 if you want to pay for an entire year upfront. News Corp. executives made certain at the launch of The Daily that they want this product to be a completely new brand with a completely new experience. It's heavy on audio and video-- -Hello. I'm Erin [unk]. Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Daily. -as well as touchscreen friendly features like scrolling between different stories and clicking on interactive 360-degree photos. The content in the inaugural issue of The Daily is anchored by a cover story about the ongoing political upheaval in Egypt. But among some of the other headlines you can see are the snowstorms that are all over the country right now, Natalie Portman's pregnancy, and a New York Disco for dogs, but what excites me the most is there is a crossword puzzle. I'm Caroline McCarthy for CNET News. -Now, before you get too excited, you should know that I have already submitted my virtual Silly Putty app to the app store for making transfers, so back off. Alright, speaking of apps I guess, yeah lame transition, I know. Anyway, this week's installment of Tap that App is serving up some hot and tasty treats that bring the joy of ordering takeout to your phone app style. Okay now, that's more like it. -Hey everyone. Here's a good trick for the supremely lazy meal hunter who's always on the go. Instead of calling in an order for delivery, you can just create one with an app before you even get home. I'm Jessica Dolcourt and this is Tap that App, the show where we show you the latest and greatest mobile apps. This time, we're taking a look at GrubHub and SeamlessWeb on iPhone and Android. You may be familiar with both these services online, and indeed, the mobile apps mostly recreate the menu viewing and meal ordering services. I think it's easier to create your account online first, but you can also register from the apps. Now, the GrubHub app may be more makeshift than the full online version, but it is still usable. You can search your current location and look for restaurants. Ordering online pulls up a menu. You just tap an entry to add it to your order, add in your address, and finalize the order. Then there's the bizarrely-named SeamlessWeb. It sounds like a web standards consortium, but really it's a GrubHub rival that does a better job on the mobile app. SeamlessWeb has a few more options for placing an order for delivery or pickup. And it also gives you a map and filters. Apart from that, it works pretty much the same way. After viewing the menu, tap your selection and any additional lunch or dinner items to add them to your bag. You can also type in special instructions. Keep in mind that both these delivery services will require a minimum dollar order. They also have limited databases and don't service every U.S. city. So, if you've got your heart set on the little neighborhood Thai restaurant down the street, you better forget these apps and just pick up the phone. Otherwise, these apps are a great option for quickly ordering food from anywhere you've got a WiFi or data connection. So, what's your favorite app? Send along your suggestions to Tap That App at cnet.com. I'm Jessica Dolcourt and keep on tapping. -I guess these apps are pretty handy if you don't know what kind of food you're in the mood for or you don't know what's nearby, but if you're just ordering from the chinese place around the corner, is it really that much easier to use an app than to just call them on the phone with your phone? -Actually, yeah, I guess you're right. Sometimes, it is easier. Anyway, while you go pay the delivery guy, don't forget to tip. Let's take a quick break and we'll be right back with more Tech Review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV. Moving right along, let's see what we've got this week in the bad. Once again, it's time to open up the How-to vault and offer some good solutions to bad problems. First up, how to make sure that creep in the coffee shop doesn't steal your Facebook log-in and then I'm gonna show you how to help your friends and family members stop paying to use AOL because you stopped a long time ago, right? Our little secret. Take a look. -Hi! I'm Sharon Vaknin for cnet.com. And today, I'm showing you how to safely browse Facebook and fend off hackers with an easy security setting. Recently, Facebook learned that even its own founder can get hacked. Mark Zuckerberg's fan page was hijacked and now the company has finally decided to do something about its user security. Until now, the only way to encrypt your Facebook sessions was to download a browser add on or manually enter each https in the address bar. What https does is ensure that the communication between you and your web server is private so that no one can eavesdrop on your activity. So, let me show how to officially enable https browsing. From any page, head to account and select account settings. From here, add to account security. Here, check out browse Facebook on a secure connection. If you don't see the option yet, be patient. Facebook is slowly rolling out the features to all of its users. Until then, you continue to add the s yourself if you like. You'll also see a privacy feature that allows you to be notified when a new device logs into your account. Consider enabling this one too. You never know if an ex or frenemy is logging into your account with your credentials. Save your settings, and you're ready to go, but we warned, Facebook features always come with side effects. Some pages will load slower and certain third-party apps don't support the feature, but that's a small price to pay for the added security. For cnet.com, I'm Sharon Vaknin, and I'll see you on the encrypted inter webs. -Hi. I'm Molly Wood from cnet.com and I'm here to show you how to stop paying for AOL. A recent New Yorker article suggested that as much as 80% of AOL's revenue could come from people who don't need to be paying for the service. See, in the old days, an AOL account costs anywhere from 10 bucks a month to $25 a month. Those accounts still exist. But if you already pay for a separate internet connection to your home and you only use AOL for email or browsing, you do not need to be paying anything. In fact, you shouldn't be. So, here's how to set your account free literally. You can make this change from the web or from your AOL software. Here's how to do it from the Web. On your aol.com home page, sign in to your account and then scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click the blue "Help" link. On the bottom of that page, you'll see an orange link on the right labeled "Go To Account & Settings." Now, click the big box labeled "Manage My Account." You'll be asked to log-in again and either answer or create a security question. Now, way down on the bottom right, under price plans, there's an option to "Change My Plan" or "Cancel My Billing." If your account says anything but "Free," click the "Cancel my Billing link." Now, the next page will present you with a buffet of paid options. You want the pink one for free AOL. Here, you'll see a page that tries to sell you the $4.99 a month support plus option, which includes virus scanning and tech support. Now, if you're watching this video, you don't need tech support or you can probably Google whatever your parents might need. And there are plenty of free security options out there. So, click "Zero Dollars." Finally, AOL will let you know that you will suddenly see pop-ups in your AOL if you had blocked them before and that if you use your phone bill or checking account to auto-pay for any AOL premium services, they're still gonna try to charge you $7 a month, so you probably want to cancel that too. Now, click "Save", and you're all set. You're living the free AOL life and I think you're gonna like it. Now, if you'd like to do the same thing through your AOL desktop software, sign on and go to the Keyword menu, or press Control K. Type in change plan. On the screen that pops up, you should see your security question again along with the same options that you see on the web. Follow the same steps as above and you'll be all set. Alright, so what are you missing? Well, if you're on dialup, the $25 a month plan gives you a dialup number, McAfee security, and some vague insurance protection that's almost certainly part of your homeowners or renters insurance. And like I said, you can get free security suites everywhere. Check download.com, but that's also the plan they try to sign you up for when you first install AOL, 25 bucks a month even if you're on broadband. No! The cheaper plans for dialup offer the basic access and some tech support; and the broadband plans just try to charge you for McAfee security, backup dial-up numbers, and tech support once again. Trust me, for most of you, these are services that you just don't need. I'm sorry AOL. Everyone else? You're welcome. For CNET How-to, I'm Molly Wood. -So, now you're ready to be a good kid and help get your grandparents to stop paying for AOL. And if you're lucky, maybe there will be a little something extra on your birthday check this year. Alright, with that, it's time to check out this week's Bottom Line. Now, the Verizon iPhone doesn't go on sale until next week, but existing Verizon customers can start pre-ordering it right now, but if you're thinking of buying one as soon as you can, this week's top 5 might make you reconsider. -It wasn't long after the iPhone arrived at AT&T that the pining began. When do we get it on Verizon? I'm Brian Cooley with the top 5 that won't even rehash the reasons folks wanted it on any network other than AT&T. I mean that bitching is part of the America technology fabric at this point. Now, this is top 5 reasons that you should not buy the Verizon iPhone 4. Number 5, it doesn't do voice and data at the same time. Sad, but true. AT&T's GSM technology has it all over Verizon's CDMA network in this respect. AT&T iPhones can do data and voice at once. Well, that is if you can get a damn signal at all. I said I wouldn't do that, anyway. Bear in mind the folks behind CDMA technology promised a network upgrade for Verizon and others to allow dual-mode operation, sometime later this year maybe. It's still kinda iffy. Got to be concerned about that. Number 4, good luck overseas. Verizon's CDMA technology is on mixed bag for global use. You can roam mostly in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Asia, but not Europe, Russia. And by the way, that's roaming with all those lovely fees that make your eyes water. There's no chip in the CDMA phone, so you can't just buy an el cheapo SIM when you land in country and be up and running, not a great travel phone. Number 3, it's kind of a re-tool. The iPhone 4 on Verizon was a midseason refresh with CDMA innards, yes, but not designed from the ground up as far as we know to be a CDMA phone. I've just got this nagging feeling there has to be some shortcomings around that. Number 2, it's not 4G and that is the biggest thing going on in cellphone networks in the next couple of years that you'll be locked in to a contract 4G networks, and there you'll be sitting on your 3G iPhone 4 deciding between taking and checking e-mail, watching all your fellow Verizon customers with their [unk] dual-core 8-megapixel HDMI in and out android 4G phones thinking "dammit, Apple got me again." Before we get to number 1, another reason you've got to rethink the iPhone on Verizon is that you just have to plain rethink the iPhone. Check out the list of non-Apple smartphones we love on Verizon now and pending. You can find them all on CNET cellphone section. Okay, the number 1 reason you gotta think twice about getting the Verizon iPhone 4 is will Verizon be the next AT&T? This is the big question. Will Verizon's network drag to a crawl as the flood of AT&T defectors and waiting for Verizon sideliners jump onboard and hammer their network. AT&T's 3G network is technically faster. Maybe it just needs to lose a few million customers to show it. And Verizon is going to offer tube plugging, unlimited data plans for their iPhone customers 'til further notice, something AT&T put the brakes on sometime ago. So there, you might be on a Verizon for what? 2 years with your single tasking, not really global, sure as hell not 4G iPhone with a potentially bonking network. The smart money says give it about 6 months before you make the jump. Our complete comparisons in coverage of both flavors of iPhone are always up-to-date over on CNET's cellphone section. I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for watching. -The Botton Line this week: It's your call. I think we can all agree that the move to Verizon hardly makes this the second coming of the Jesus phone, but if you're still trying to make up your mind, be sure to check out our battle of the networks video on CNET TV. Jessica Dolcourt and Kent German put both phones through their paces in a variety of tests. Some of the results may surprise you. Alright, that's it for this week everyone. Join us next time for our brand-new CNET Tech Review. See you then and thank you for watching.