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Does Android have a new King? This title is usually passed by default to the latest Nexus phone, but the Nexus 4 is a unique bird. Though it’s a top-of-the-line handset, Google and LG made a few trade-offs. How does the Nexus 4 compare to the reigning Android monarch, the Samsung Galaxy S III? Let’s take a look …
Both phones sport slick designs. The Galaxy S III has a slightly larger surface area, but is also thinner. The Nexus 4 has a glass front and back, sandwiched together with a plastic band.
The Nexus 4’s back is even bedazzled, and – under the right light – will emit a subtle glitter. Fear not, though, masculine geeks: we’re talking more Nexus One live wallpaper, and less My Little Pony.
The thicker Nexus 4 also tips the scales a bit more than the S3. Though there are lighter phones on the market, neither device has a lot of heft.
Both displays should look great. The Nexus 4 has slightly higher resolution, and – with its smaller screen – a bit higher pixel density as well. Some customers are turned off by the Super AMOLED PenTile screen in the Galaxy S III, but most agree that it’s one of the leading smartphone displays on the market.
It’s hard to say which phone has the edge here, particularly with the different Galaxy S III models sold in North America and everywhere else. Perhaps the simplest answer is that you’ll be hard-pressed to find many apps that tax either phone.
The US version of the Galaxy S III matches the Nexus 4 with 2GB of RAM, while its international counterpart has 1GB.
This is a potential drawback for Nexus 4 customers. To keep its off-contract price down, Google and LG limited the base model to 8GB of internal storage. The Galaxy S3, meanwhile, starts at 16GB, and can be expanded further with a microSD card.
This is the other big tradeoff for the Nexus 4: it lacks LTE. The “3G” label above is a bit deceiving; the Nexus 4 utilizes HSPA+, which can reach theoretical speeds of 42Mbps. This is often marketed as “4G,” and – if you live in the right area – you can potentially get LTE-like download speeds.
Both phones have equal wattage, but remember that other factors affect actual battery life. We’ll have to wait until the Nexus 4 releases on November 13 for actual uptimes.
On paper, the cameras look similar. The Galaxy S3’s front camera has a slightly higher megapixel rating.
Nexus devices are beloved for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that they run stock Android. The Nexus 4 – along with its big brothers, the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 – heralds the arrival of Android 4.2. The new version of Jellybean brings several new features, like a Swype-like trace keyboard, wireless display mirroring, and a 360 degree panorama photography tool called Photo Sphere.
Perhaps even more importantly, the Nexus 4 should receive future Android updates long before the Galaxy S III. This initial version of the handset isn’t sold directly by carriers, so there is no lengthy update approval process.
The Nexus 4 is also one of the first big handsets to ship with wireless charging capabilities. Buy any Qi-compatible wireless charging accessory, and the Nexus 4 will be good to go.
It’s worth reiterating the Galaxy S III’s advantage with LTE. If you live in an area that supports the blazing-fast network, this could be a deal-breaker. Even in areas where HSPA+ can rival LTE’s download speeds, LTE tends to have superior upstream speeds and lower latency.
You can easily call the Nexus 4 the new cream of the Android crop, but you could still make the same argument for the Galaxy S III. The devices’ specifications have a lot in common. The Nexus 4’s pure Android experience could tip some customers its way, while the S3’s LTE could tip many more in its direction.
Our advice? Don’t worry about titles: just find which phone works best for you, and enjoy.
Police ‘too scared to do their job’
The Queensland Police Union criticises the new commissioner, saying police have a “fear of retribution” but Ian Stewart says he just wants mistakes by officers “quickly handled”.
A stoush between the Queensland police union and incoming police commissioner Ian Stewart has erupted into public warfare, with the union accusing Mr Stewart of being dictatorial and claiming police are scared to do their job beneath him.
Tensions have been brewing for weeks, but it is understood they were kept behind closed doors until Police Union president Ian Leavers sent an email to more than 10,000 members complaining about Mr Stewart.
He then went on ABC 612 Brisbane this morning to say police were scared to do their jobs as they believe Mr Stewart is going to introduce a dictatorial regime with brutal punishments for police who make mistakes.
Ian Stewart will take over the role of Queensland Police Commissioner from retiring Bob Atkinson. Photo: Michelle Smith
“What I’m very concerned about, and so are the majority of police, they feel scared to be able to do their job through retribution, all they have heard is the big stick approach,” Mr Leavers said.
“… all of these ideas have been mooted in the media about what he’s going to do, he’s going to get tough, especially on discipline.
“He wants to be judge, jury and executioner when it comes to the disciplinary process and have it done within a very short timeframe.”
Mr Stewart said he understood the union’s concerns and laughed off the nickname it has bestowed on him – “Hurricane Stewart” – referencing the destruction they believe he will cause to the police service.
Mr Leavers said he had had conversations with “very senior” police who were also worried about what the reign of Mr Stewart would be like.
“It’s either you do as you’re told, you don’t have an open mind or else,” he said.
Mr Leavers complained there had been no consultation with the union “in any way, shape or form” and everyone was finding out about Mr Stewart’s intentions through the media.
He praised outgoing commissioner Bob Atkinson, saying their relationship has been “very professional” and he hoped to emulate it with Mr Stewart.
“Never have I met a more compassionate man in times of need when police have been sick or been injured, and that is an important thing we need to remember about Commissioner Atkinson and everything else he has done,” Mr Leavers said.
“As for the new regime, all we have heard is about the negativity, all of this technology he wants to introduce.
“It’s very interesting when we talk about technology with Ian Stewart; where is the money coming from?”
Mr Stewart responded on 612 ABC Brisbane, saying the union was quite right to raise questions about the direction the police service was heading after 12 years of stability under Mr Atkinson.
“I don’t have any ill feeling towards the union in this case,” he said.
“Ian Leavers mentioned that one of the things I’m passionate about is discipline, but it’s about making sure we don’t overcook discipline. I do disagree with his perception of what he’s saying I’m about.
“I’m about saying the small issues, the inattention, the mistake that is done in good faith, that should be quickly handled locally, put out of the road and let people get on with their job.
“But the big-end-of-town ones, where police officers basically commit quasi-criminal offences, there is the excessive force that no member of the community could justify and they’re the ones that I’m talking about.”
Mr Stewart said he had three key things he wanted police to do, which were to stop crime, make the community safer and build relationships across the community.
When asked if he had ever sought retribution against a police officer as suggested by Mr Leavers, he replied, “Ian and I have a great relationship. I’ve known him an awful long time and many of the things he has talked about are things that I’m passionate about.”
Mr Stewart said a commissioner should have the power to quickly sack a police officer when the evidence was overwhelming, and the current process was “long and drawn out”.
He said he was “quite grateful” to the union for the nickname “Hurricane Stewart”.
“Because it is going to be a bumpy ride for the next couple of years and there are a whole range of reforms that I want to talk to the union about, or the unions. There are issues in terms of making us much more efficient, providing a better service to the community and ultimately managing the demands of a contemporary and very complex organisation as large as ours,” he said.
National Australia Bank chief Cameron Clyne has ruled out a “fire sale” of the bank’s loss making UK business, saying such a move would trigger deep shareholder losses.
Nor would there be any quick fixes to the UK, which remains NAB’s biggest challenge amid sluggish economic growth.
Problems in the UK underscored NAB’s disappointing 22 per cent drop in full year net profit to $4.08 billion, unveiled this morning.
Weighing down the result were hefty restructuring charges related to the UK business, which also reported a $213 million loss for the year.
The move comes as NAB takes a more downbeat view on the outlook of the Australian economy, suggesting the federal government’s growth forecasts of 3 per cent for each of the next two years is optimistic.
Just 2.5% growth this year
NAB is tipping the Australian economy will grow at 2.5 per cent this financial year and 2.8 per cent for financial 2014.
Still, it was the UK, namely NAB’s Clydesdale Bank which remains the “biggest challenge” for the lender, Mr Clyne said, adding he was disappointed with the UK loss.
“UK economic conditions have been particularly challenging, giving rise to increased loan losses – particularly in the commercial real estate portfolio,” he told an analyst briefing.
“The UK remains our biggest challenge, while data last week suggest the UK ended the recession during the September quarter, we remain very cautious on the outlook.”
He noted growth in the quarter had a one-off boost from the Olympics.
“The weak economic backdrop has contributed to further falls in property prices, particularly commercial real estate outside of London,” he said.
Fire sale ‘not in interest’ of investors
“Unfortunately there is no quick fix solution in the UK and believe me when I say we’ve been looking. The restructure we announced to the UK in April was the right response and will take time before that business will generate acceptable returns,” he said.
“A fire sale – even if possible would not be in the interest of our shareholders,” he said.
He pointed to the collapse earlier this month of efforts by Spanish bank Santander in its attempt to buy a branch network from Royal Bank of Scotland. This was a timely reminder that buyers of branch networks face significant technology and integration challenges, he said.
“This is why I have not pursued it.”
He said efforts to cut costs and exit commercial property lending in the UK has positioned Clydesdale to benefit from any economic recovery.
Clydesdale is “not immune from the economic environment, but is on a path to better returns with lower risk”.
‘Multiple speed’ economy
Meanwhile Mr Clyne said the Australian economy remained relatively strong but he said it was operating at “multiple speeds”.
Indeed, Australia was showing “significant divergence in conditions and very different levels of activity across sectors and states”.
NAB chief financial officer Mark Joiner said a $250 million top-up in provisioning across the bank’s balance sheet had been aimed at covering potential UK losses. It was to also to help protect from a slowing Australian economy.
“Our view of the Australian economy is weaker than federal government’s. We see issues on the Australian front,” Mr Joiner also told the briefing.
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In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain suspended his troubled campaign to return to Washington. A financial disaster was threatening to bring down capitalism itself, the Dow Jones was tanking and both sides of American politics had reached an impasse as to how to solve the crisis.
Four years later, both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have also suspended their campaigns as Hurricane Sandy hurtles towards a cluster of states in the north-east corner of the US.
The closure of the New York Stock Exchange – the first unscheduled shutdown since September 11 – is an event that, quite simply, makes international trading patterns unrecognisable. It underlines the significance of this climatic event that’s hitting the US at a time of high political division, as well as New York’s enduring status as the world’s financial centre.
You can see the impact on Manhattan beyond Wall Street. The formidable public transport system that normally whisks American citizens and tourists across the Big Apple through all hours of the night has been completely shut down. The show does not go on for Broadway tonight, all performances have been cancelled for Monday and Tuesday.
The city that never sleeps is at least a bit groggy this evening.
Assuming Sandy – who’s particularly dangerous because she’s colliding with a cold front – stays on her expected path, the states that are going to cop it tonight are Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. Parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts are also in for a rough evening.
Both candidates have cancelled events with just eight days until the election is held. The impact come polling day could be as random as the destruction that will ensue this evening and in the days to come. But, broadly speaking, the political aftermath will be divided into two categories.
Firstly, the relative success or failure of the government-led emergency response will be transferred to Obama in some small way. If the damage is really bad and the response, which has actually been underway for several days, is really good it could prove to be a boost for the president.
But given the economic focus of this election campaign, sound crisis management from Obama probably won’t secure him a second term. The chronically unemployed will still be unemployed once the storm passes… unless they‘re skilled in construction.
Secondly, there’s the extent to which the ‘Frankenstorm’ disrupts voting systems. The two states in Sandy’s path that could seriously influence the final outcome of the election are Pennsylvania and Virginia. At the moment, the former is a toss up and the latter is leaning towards the Democrats.
Over the next few days, both the campaigns will have to play a couple of delicate balancing acts. When do they shift from hurricane aftermath back to electioneering? How much do they politicise a natural disaster?
You can already see this ‘crisis of narrative’ playing out on the cable TV channels. The content has become more and more political as the day has progressed.
As this column was written, American civil rights legend and Baptist Minister Al Sharpton was leading a discussion on the left-leaning MSNBC about Romney’s stance on the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA, which failed so spectacularly during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Meanwhile, over at the relentlessly right-leaning Fox News Network (owned by News Corp, the parent company of this website) host Brett Baier was directing a debate over how advantageous it is for Obama to look so ‘presidential’ during a national crisis. The talking heads peppered the discussion with pot shots at the president’s crisis management skills in the Middle East, with little regard for obvious comparisons with his predecessor.
All of this is in pretty poor taste. Tonight’s events could lead to fatalities. Reports indicate that Sandy killed at least 69 people in the Caribbean before heading up America’s east coast.
But this is what the cable channels are designed for – disasters and elections. That’s another collision that’s taking place this evening.
Alexander Liddington-Cox is Business Spectator’s North America Correspondent.
Note from writer: Thanks for all the well wishes from family, friends, and colleagues at Business Spectator.
By Michelle Conlin
NEW YORK (Reuters) – As Hurricane Sandy aimed straight for them, promising to hammer the place they live with lashing winds and extensive flooding, New Yorkers seemed to be all about nonchalance on Monday morning – an attitude that didn’t last into the afternoon.
Throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, few store owners had even bothered to board up their buildings. There was little taping of windows or buying of sump pumps.
Many New Yorkers, who watched last year’s Hurricane Irene taper away without taking a big toll on the city, seemed unfazed by predictions of major damage that even the most conservative of meteorologists have been making.
At most, many bought flashlights, lugged home bags of bottled water and stocked their shelves with food. Others took pride in snubbing Sandy altogether.
“You want to know what I have in my fridge?” said Chris Conway, a 41-year-old who lives in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, not far from the Hudson River. “Four different kinds of Tabasco and one jar of A-1 steak sauce.”
Further south, though, the mood was more serious. Outside the Goldman Sachs headquarters building in Manhattan’s Battery Park City, part of a low-lying area of the island evacuated on Sunday night, workers were blocking the entrance with sandbags piled up five feet high. A few employees, wearing Friday casual-style clothes, were coming and going through the revolving door. There were no residents to be seen.
A Duane Reade drug store, across the street from the landmark Trinity Church, was still well stocked – except for beer and sandwiches, which had been picked over. The same was true at delis throughout the city. In Jackson Heights, Queens, the shelves were stripped of bottled water at Met Foods.
Outside the shuttered New York Stock Exchange, which was barricaded with some sandbags, Anne Ngo and Evy Suwono were out for a stroll but found little drama. “It’s a bit of a letdown, actually,” said Ngo.
Outside the evacuation zone, the mood was de rigueur. For many working parents, facing school closures and an absence of many nannies because all subways and buses have stopped running, it felt like a holiday as they watched their kids get dirty in the playground.
From the once Bohemian enclave of Greenwich Village, all the way north to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, people were walking their dogs and chatting on their cell phones. Many could be found sipping espressos in the cafes abundant in the city.
At many restaurants and delis there were no lines but the bars were slammed.
In Brooklyn, the streets were atypically quiet. The normally noisy, braggadocio borough fell silent. Even the dogs had stopped barking. Gusts of wind trashed the leaves and cans skittered down the street.
All morning, Brooklyn felt bipolar. Down near the seashore, in neighbourhoods like Red Hook, the streets were flooding. Grocery store shelves had been picked clean. The canyon-like streets were empty since the neighbourhood had been evacuated the night before.
But up the slope, in neighbourhoods like Boerum Hill, there was little sign of worry. The bars and restaurants were bustling. Bicyclists pedalled across the empty avenues. People in workout gear were huffing and puffing down the sidewalks for their daily jogs.
“We always run 4.5 miles, no matter what,” said one runner who had just finished a workout with his two roommates. “There were a lot of us out here today.”
At Building on Bond, a hipster haven in the area, the only difference from a regular, non-Sandy day was a limited menu. Employees had taken car services to work. A barista put out a tip can with the label: “Hurricane Relief Fund.”
“We don’t close,” said Grace Hahn, owner of the deli Apple Gourmet. The only thing Hahn was close to running out of was Kombucha, the health drink with fermented mushrooms that has become the elixir to many of Brooklyn’s yogis and vegans.
On the small island neighbourhood of City Island in the Bronx, many people were blowing off the mandatory evacuation order issued by New York City officials. The narrow island, known for its seafood joints and maritime-themed knickknack shops, is home to an isolated, working-class community of New Yorkers who say they know big storms. Residents said they’d rather stay to look after their houses than leave and then be unable to get back when they wanted.
Joe Connelly, 52, who had just checked on his two motor boats at the City Island Marina, said he had watched a nearby dock get swamped. “We were concerned that the whole dock was going to float away and out to sea,” he said.
Around noon, across the boroughs, the wind started to pick up. At the Bedouin Tent restaurant on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, they had used cardboard to cover the windows. By 1 p.m., the wind was getting so strong that people who live on the top floors of brownstones could hear tree branches knocking at their windows.
At about 2 p.m., Hanson Place, an apartment building across the street from Brooklyn’s new Barclays Centre sports and entertainment complex, the windows started to shake. “I’m actually scared,” said a resident of the 23rd floor. By mid afternoon, the wind had ripped the scaffolding off the building and residents on high floors started to evacuate. Nearby on Atlantic Avenue, a huge tree had snapped at its base.
In lower Manhattan, people were getting robo calls from electricity provider Consolidated Edison Inc, with word it might have to shut the power off.
Those who had departed for their weekend places in the Hamptons, the playground of Manhattan’s rich, said the swells were starting to create flooding. A crane at the building of a luxury high-rise tower on 57th street in Manhattan collapsed.
By mid-afternoon, even the most hard-core were rattled. People were starting to get it. Sandy was no joke. Like the storm itself, the mood was shifting.
(Additional reporting by Emily Flitter, Luciana Lopez and Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Martin Howell and Sandra Maler) Read story