Berlin and IFA, a busy week and more

I had a great time in Berlin, Germany while covering IFA for When I say covering IFA, there was a lot more going on around the trade show as there always is.

IFA 2016

IFA 2016

IFA 2016 - #IFA16

IFA is the world's leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. Held in the beginning of September each year in Berlin, it's a trade show that sets up the scene nicely for the global trading period in the run up to the holiday trading period.

50 Shades Of Mockodile

50 Shades Of Mockodile

I arrived in Berlin the day before the madness of press week started and covered a series of press conferences over the next few days: Acer, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE and others. As well as press conferences, I visited many stands of brands more or less well known to the general public. There was a decent amount of mockodile to cover too. How could I not cover beautiful mockodile?

Beauty Makeup!

Beauty Makeup!

In the midst of this busy IFA week, I found time to catch up with friends old and new. We discussed the announcements and wares on show, consumed much beer and cocktails and when in more philosophical states put the consumer electronics product world to right.

For the first couple of days I paired up with Peter Holden of Peter is a top chap with a sense of humour who also has a great in-depth knowledge of the tech industry. We survived an Uber Taxi ride with a maniac driver who was actively trying to crash the Prius we were in. Having survived that we then went on to cover more press conferences with significantly more adrenaline to burn off.

It was cool to hang out with Bryan Burnett of TWiT. He was over in Berlin from the other side of The Pond with Padre SJ covering IFA before he headed off travelling around northern Europe. I'll be catching up with him in Petluma later this month when Candice and I are on vacation.

I'm a fashion blogger now, thanks to the Huawei Nova Plus Beauty Makeup 2.0.

I'm a fashion blogger now, thanks to the Huawei Nova Plus Beauty Makeup 2.0.

To sum up IFA and the surrounding press conferences and announcements: big tech companies have reached the point where they speak to the end users, often not needing the tech press as much as they needed to. Just looking at Huawei and Samsung's events, the highlights were a selfie masterclass and watch bros on stage talking about emotions of watch design. The advent of the fashion blogger or instagram celebrity on the tech scene is here. Maybe that's why they invite me to these events: I'll find a mockodile angle on anything shiny.

iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2

It is difficult to ignore the media frenzy that ensues when the fruity phone company announce their new devices. This time Tim Cook took to the stage to announce the Apple Watch Series 2 and the iPhone 7 (in its two variants).

This is waht the iPhone 7 should have been able to do. Thanks Oatmeal!

This is waht the iPhone 7 should have been able to do. Thanks Oatmeal!

As we called it at Coolsmartphone, the devices now lack 3.5mm audio jacks. Some of my legwork at IFA confirmed this as many vendors were very active in selling their new wares.

Coming Up

This week at IFA was pretty crazy, and my two main mobile devices I used to cover the trade show deserve honourable mentions.

Xiaomi Mi Max

Xiaomi Mi Max - Big Phone with Big Sandwich

Xiaomi Mi Max - Big Phone with Big Sandwich

I purchased this device specifically as a workhorse to cover IFA. The massive battery, big screen which makes two thumb typing easy and reasonable 16MP camera made it a success. If you travel a lot or really need all day battery life I would recommend this device.

Honor 8

Honor 8 - So Shiny!

Honor 8 - So Shiny!

The Honor 8 is my cameraphone of choice now. the snaps it takes are to my liking and with Google Photos sync it made managing the content I was creating simple. I love the way the Honor 8 feels in my hand though I live in terror of it slipping out. Battery life got me through the day

I'll be on vacation with Candice in the US of A and Canada from late next week, but before I leave I plan on publishing my full review of the Honor 8 on Coolsmartphone and starting the Huawei Nova Plus review. As usual any feedback is welcome, please do let me know what you would like to see in the upcoming reviews.

What a week! Nougat, All About Android & Honor 8

It's been quite a week! I'll focus on the geeky positives here, because quite a lot happened.


On Monday evening I updated my Nexus 6P and Nexus 9 to the public release of Android 7.0 Nougat. A pretty painless experience, the update weighed in at between 40MB and 50MB. There was no app optimisation process which sped things up considerably. There was no major change for the Nexus 6P, testament to the fact that the final beta was pretty much production ready. The NExus 9 on the other hand improved further. No lags or slowdowns yet, so I'm now happy to use the HTC made device again.

All About Android 280

On Tuesday (Petaluma Mean Time), early Wednesday morning here, I was a guest on All About Android. It was great fun being on and discussing the week's latest Android news and hardware, and it was the first time I was on the show with Flo. As usual I brought some bad puns, some goat and mockodile and my rampant opinionism to the table. 

This was the first episode of All About Android in the new TWiT Studio in the East-side of Petaluma. It was very thoughtful of Lisa, Leo and the rest of the TWiT crew to choose that location as the hotel Candice an I stay in when in Petaluma is across the road and it is within walking distance from the Lagunitas Brewery. I plan on being in Petaluma at the end of September and the end of October, so keep an eye on for my future appearances.

Honor 8

Not long after All About Android finished, I went to Edinburgh Airport and to Paris from there. In Paris I was a guest of Honor for the launch of the shiny new Honor 8.


The Honor 8 is Honor's new flagship and is definitely an eye catcher. With its shiny glass design, impressive spec sheet and awesome camera setup it has immediately placed itself in my current top 4 smartphones for everyday use. Leigh was great support for Coolsmartphone coverage from the UK, and yesterday I published a sample camera gallery to show off how awesome the Honor 8 camera is. I'll be passing my Huawei P9 on to Candice who will no doubt do great things with it. Expect my review of the Honor 8 after I've been using it for IFA.

#ShotOnAndroid #ShotOnHonor8 #Honor8

#ShotOnAndroid #ShotOnHonor8 #Honor8

Coming Up

Speaking of IFA, I'll be covering the consumer electronics show in Berlin for Coolsmartphone next week and the one after. I'm excited by all the WiFi connected LED bulbs I'll see there. Or maybe not...

Oh well, keep an eye on my Interknight presence (that one is for you Alex Dobie) in the coming week for IFA coverage and my other ramblings. Expect to see the #honor8 and #ShotOnHonor8 tag used a lot, I'm enjoying the shiny new blue smartphone.

Changelog - First Fortnight of 2016

In the Changelog I go through the top news in tech and mobile, and maybe provide a few extra snippets. Opinions are my own, and links provided are to my preferred news sources.

We're into 2016 and this is the first Changelog of the year. 2016 started with the tech news explosion that was CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, which is held in Las Vegas. CES is a massive trade-show where most consumer electronics and tech companies have some sort of presence. Nowadays there are less actual product launches during the show as tech news lifespan during CES is short lived. Below are the main CES Changelog items.

Huawei announce the Honor 5X for the US market. A mid-range Android device in price, but which delivers considerable bang for buck, you'll only have to put down $199 for it when it goes on sale towards the end of this month. This is a very US-centric announcement as the Honor 5X has already been available in China for a while and is expected to come to Europe "soon". Phil Nickinson of Android Central did a good hands-on with the 5X.

Huawei also announced the Jewel and  Elegant editions of the Huawei Watch. Thanks to Alex Dobie for pandering to my "mockodile thing" in his tweet.

Car Tech was a big thing at CES 2016. Most automotive companies now want to use the consumer electronics and systems on board their vehicles to be a value-add proposition for thier customers. Lots of talk about smartphone integrations, as well as Ford showing off Amazon's Echo integreation. Below is Yahoo Tech's quick video summary.

Hoverboards and CES. I dislike using the term, because if it doesn't hover or have a Mattel logo in my view it isn't a hoverboard. Heavy! Anyway, these mini-segway thingamabobs were very popular towards the end of 2015 to the point that "user testing" prove they are not entirely "consumer proof" [insert rant about average customers of consumer electronics]. When in Asia on business last year they were a very big thing in Shenzhen and I was tempted to put a disco-light boombox two-wheeler in my suitcase on the way back. Many different "hoverboard" companies were at CES, but what caught my attention was the booth raided by authorities due to patent complaints.

Android distribution numbers. Moving away from CES, Google announced the Dashboard update for Android distribution numbers. This is always an interesting snapshot of where Android is in Google markets. Lollipop (Android 5.x) is now more than 32% of the devices using the Google Play Store. Marshmallow (Android 6.x) has just passed 0.7% of the market. Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x) has now almost completely sunsetted at 3%. Full Android Dashboard report here.

BBC 3 new logo unveiled. The BBC showed off the new BBC 3 logo and the interwebs went a bit bananas. I'm not sure what went on at the BBC, but I have a gut feel that they just wanted to troll everyone. Some were angry and most of us just sat back and chuckled. I even made my own effort with a banana for scale, obviously.

March Of The Droids 2016 tickets are now on sale. I'll be at the event this year MCing. A great Android themed event and an occasion for you to meet like-minded people in real life, this year the event takes place in Edinburgh. Purchase your tickets here.

Microsoft discontinues support for IE 8, 9 and 10. This is actually a good thing for the internet. It will eventually force more users onto more modern browsers. Edge has me pleasantly surprised by how good it is. Brave move from Microsoft which also will improve things for the rest of us.

Skyscanner, my employer, was in the news too. This news confirms Skyscanner is a company well set for doing great things going forward.

Xiaomi announced the Redmi 3. At the price point it will deliver incredible value for money, as well as good battery life (4000 mAh) and a bit more of a quality build. It is on my shopping list. More on the announcement here.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! At the beginning of 2016, I would like to wish you all a healthy and fruitful year ahead.


Last night I enjoyed using my Google Nexus 6P (manufactured by Huawei) to take pictures of the fireworks above Edinburgh Castle for Hogmanay. I'm really impressed by how well the Nexus 6P's camera performs and will no doubt be attempting to fill the Internet with more pictures in the coming year.

Now, if you excuse me, I need to catch up on some sleep and re-hydrate... Podcast 141 - Honor for the brave!

Yesterday evening I was a special guest on the podcast. Wilkin Lee of Honor (Huawei) and I were hosted by James Pearce.

As well as discussing Honor, Huawei and a few other smartphone related topics, we even managed to mention mockodile... I had great fun and look forward to the next time I'm on the show. Thanks to James for having me back!

Head over to to get the full podcast, as well as links to other sources of the audio only show.