Monthly Archives: December 2015

For some people, the older the smartphone, the better

“When you first get a sparkly, top notch gadget and you peel off the plastic covering, and spend the following two months bearing it in an impenetrable case, at the point when your lovely new Samsung Galaxy whatever is pristine and scratch-free, everything’s working impeccably, and the battery life keeps going throughout the day. In any case, a few years in, your once-delightful telephone is currently a mass of scratches, dings, and imprints, and you’re counting the time until you can exchange it in for a more up to date model. You no more trouble with the impenetrable case—or any case by any means—and you could mind less if your telephone falls in the toilet.”

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Between splashy launches, lavish new-phone offers (get a free HDTV on activation!) and frequent software updates that slow down your old handset, it sometimes feels like the entire technology industry is pushing you to buy the latest smartphone. Yet some holdouts resist.

Take Zak Sommerfield, 35, a software analyst in New York, who has hung onto his LG Delight flip phone for five years, even though his friends and co-workers make fun of it. “I hate smartphones, I hate how they take over people’s lives and they spend all their time looking at them,” he says. “I’d love to stay on this phone forever.”

People like Sommerfield are a rarity. More than 90 percent of smartphone users trade up for newer models within two years, says Ramon Llamas, who tracks mobile phones at research firm IDC. But a fraction of the population continues to cling to older phones, some 3 to 4 years old—or more.

These upgrade holdouts have different reasons for standing athwart techno-progress, yelling “Stop!” Some reject the trend toward ever-larger screens, preferring smaller phones that are harder to find these days. Others simply aren’t wowed by the latest features, or see no reason to spend hundreds of dollars when their current phones still work fine.

“Just as we saw with PCs and tablets, lifetimes on people’s devices are generally getting a bit longer,” says Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.

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A Japanese firm has created the world’s first washable smartphone

“A Japanese organization made a solution with what it depicts as the world’s first cell phone that can be washed with cleanser or soap and water. Waterproof smart phones have been available for some time in Japan. Nonetheless, that did not protect smart phones from the sort of thorough scrubbing expected to entirely clean the gadget and eliminate microorganisms.”

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TIRED of those unsightly smudges and other dirt on your bacteria-laden smartphone?

A Japanese firm says it has the solution with what it describes the world’s first smartphone that can be washed with soap and water.

Waterproof smartphones have been on the market for a while. But telecom company KDDI says its new “Digno rafre” phone — to be launched in Japan next week — is the only one that can withstand a soapy bath.

“Our development team washed the smartphone more than 700 times to test its durability,” a company spokesman told AFP.

An online commercial aimed at proving its credentials features a child dropping the phone onto a plate of food topped with ketchup.

His mother assures her shocked family that those red globs are nothing to worry about as she soaps up the phone under a running tap.

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Children’s Tablets Review: The Electronic Baby Sitter Wises Up

“There are new gadgets that are brushing up on their electronic baby sitting skills. These tables don’t come not just with protective covers but walled gardens of content—parents aren’t left having to figure everything out for themselves. These are also full-fledged Android tablets, not toys. Tablets have the potential to turn children into zombies, but there’s evidence touch screens can help develop young minds, too. It requires a holistic view: exposure to the right apps, in the right amount, for each child’s needs.”

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The tablet has become a staple of the American tween’s life, just five years after its invention. But can a tablet be a guilt-free baby sitter?

I found out, by putting the latest youth-targeted tablets to the test.

A survey released Tuesday by the nonprofit family advocacy group Common Sense Mediafinds Americans age 8 to 12 spend an average of an hour each day using a tablet. Add to that the time these children spend playing games and videos on smartphones and iPods, and it eclipses even the time they spend in front of a TV. Call them Generation Touchscreen.

The tablet transition is stressing out moms and dads. “Parents like to make themselves feel guilty,” says Common Sense’s research director Michael Robb. They fret about limiting tablet screen time, which is harder to monitor than TVs used in common rooms. And some families share one iPad that mixes grown-up apps and open Web browsers with child-appropriate fare. A common nightmare begins, “Junior just Googled what?”

Tablets have the potential to turn children into zombies, but there’s evidence touch screens can help develop young minds, too. It requires a holistic view: exposure to the right apps, in the right amount, for each child’s needs.

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10 Fun Office Toys and Gadgets

“The workplace can be a grim spot, so gadgets were tasked with the mission to ease the drudgery, and give you a plenty of ease to make going to work something you’ll anticipate. With these gadgets and absolute necessities, you’ll have everybody in the workplace thinking about how much win could originate from one individual. Be the awesome you want your office to be.”

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Your office workspace bites. Sure, the pet photos are very humanizing, and your assorted action figures really let us know you’re a kid at heart. But don’t you think it’s time you took office toys seriously? If you’re ready to inject a little high-tech fun into your work life, this list should get you off to the right start.

Go ahead and trash those stress balls and return your company-issued swag back to the PR department from which it came. Human civilization has risen to dizzying heights of scientific discovery, venturing into the stars and even glimpsing the fundamental building blocks of life itself. We’ve also created the most sophisticated farting novelty toys the world has ever seen.

First up, let’s kick things off with some office warfare.

10. Office Warfare Just Got Real

The average workplace is a hotbed of repressed aggression. If left to fester, these emotions are bound to explode in a highly inappropriate manner. Fortunately, there’s a way to relieve these tensions. It’s called office warfare, and it’s as simple as blasting your co-worker with a Nerf cannon during a conference call.

Sure, today’s Nerf guns are crazy sophisticated, but we’re living in the computer age, so get with the arms race already. If you’re in the market for a USB-powered desktop missile launcher, you can actually choose between a handful of different products priced between $15 and $50. Install the launcher’s software on your work computer and you can actually aim and fire the foam projectiles without lifting a finger from your mouse and keyboard. Some models even boast laser sighting.

Speaking of lasers, you probably need more of them at your desk. Heck, you probably need a keyboard made out of lasers. Skip to the next page for the details.

9. My Keyboard Is Made of Lasers

Why do you still waste your time with a physical computer keyboard? It’s the 21st century! User interface devices like that should be either in a museum or nailed to the walls of a funky New York coffee shop. Get it off your desk now and replace it with lasers already.

What’s that? You don’t think we can build a keyboard out of light particles that amplify a stimulated emission of radiation? Brace yourself, grandpa, because here comes a shocker: The Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard is already on the market. For roughly $170, you can fire up this wireless, palm-sized device and let it project a full-size laser keyboard onto any flat surface. A built-in sensor picks up on your finger movements as you type, and a tiny speaker even belts out some clacking noises to make everything feel authentic.

A laser keyboard may feel a bit too work-related for some of you. Before you reach for that low-tech squeeze ball, consider the awesomeness of Buckyballs.

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How to properly charge a phone’s battery: stop charging from zero to 100% and other tips

“Coming up short on battery power on your mobile phone is a normal modern-day drawback, yet things take a more genuine turn when we’re discussing work. While phones can do it all, the conclusion of that will be that a dead gadget can mean everything turns out badly immediately, from lost login points of interest to missed meeting updates, unsent messages and obscure locations.”

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Batteries are one of tech’s most boring subjects … until your phone, tablet or laptop dies, that is. While most of us live in fear of a fading phone battery when we’re out and about, we don’t worry too much about that battery’s eventual lifespan, but there are ways to keep your battery in tip-top shape for a long and fruitful life. (probably between three and five years). Just how should you charge your iPhone or Android? Also see: How to charge your phone or tablet’s battery faster.
Batteries do not enjoy eternal life. Most smartphone manufacturers say their devices rate their batteries at 300-500 cycles. Apple claims that its laptop batteries reach 80 percent of their original capacity after 1,000 charges. After this point batteries aren’t able to hold as much electricity and will power your device for increasingly shorter periods of time. See: Best smartphones

So here’s some tips to extend your battery’s lifespan, be that in an iPhone, Android phone, Windows phone, tablet, or laptop.
The big questions about how to re-charge a battery is whether you should let it run to zero before re-charging to 100%.

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Technology in 2015 – the new gadgets coming your way

“The 2015 show drew out a huge amount of truly astounding new gadgets and advances. It would appear that our future is just showing signs of improvement with the new creative devices that are coming our direction. So a large number of these are made to make our lives less demanding and to settle little issues that we encounter once a day.

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Smarter appliances, cars, watches and virtual reality. All paid for with a swipe of your smartphone? 2015 may make it a reality

The smart-home

The Internet of Things (IoT) has, for some time, suggested the interconnectivity of otherwise separate devices and ecosystems; connected devices improving the practicality of our day to day lives. 2015 will see the IoT come to a domestic setting in a big way – with connected devices pulling the idea of the smart home sharply into focus. Thanks to prospective pushes from the likes of LG and Samsung, the smart home market looks set for sudden growth. The industry drive may mean surges in home sensor and security products (accessed and controlled via a smartphone). But it will also mean more smart devices aimed at monitoring utilities and home systems, aiding productivity and delivering entertainment.

Smart appliances

A smart home needs smart gadgets and appliances. Entertainment, security and utilities are areas offering ample room for market development next year, but appliances and in-home gadgets offer even more. Bosch is one of the names which could kick-start a year filled with smart appliances. The company is the main sponsor of the smart-home section of January’s CES show too. Nest Labs, Philips, Belkin, Electrolux and others will be attending Las Vegas’ annual technology show in January, as products such as the Vessyl smart cup launch to market. With almost every area of our lives destined to become smarter this year, be prepared for appliances to get the technology treatment and be smarter as a result.

Mobile payments

It’s pretty much inevitable that smartphone mobile payments will become widespread, though they have yet to take off in the UK. But such services should be grabbing headlines throughout 2015. Apple appears ever-so-close to the UK roll-out of its Apple Pay service. And, in spite of the advent of Android, the iPhone manufacturer is still highly influential when breaking such ground. The launch of Apple Pay won’t be useful for everybody, but mobile payments as a whole will undoubtedly benefit. Services such as Zapp for Android are eyeing 2015 launches, and EE’s Cash on Tap service is laying the foundations for a year where every transaction from train journeys to chewing gum could get the mobile treatment.

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Nielsen: Smartphones, internet are eating our TV time

“It’s really clear that the continuous utilization of mobile phones phones is having some impact on the framework in general. The new research information likewise takes a look at time spent watching video on different gadgets, however not for TV-associated gadgets, where clients were timed playing games as well.Sometimes individuals are utilizing mobile phones while staring at the TV, or utilizing them outside the home where it wouldn’t cut into TV time. Furthermore, some mobile device use is, well, to watch TV shows.”

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LOS ANGELES: The use of internet-ready devices like smartphones appears to have seriously cut into the time Americans spend watching traditional TV, new Nielsen data show, potentially undermining the notion that mobile devices merely serve as second screens” while people are plopped in front of the set.

Data provided to The Associated Press show an increase in the number of 18-to-34-year-olds who used a smartphone, tablet or TV-connected device like a streaming box or game console. That grew 26% in May compared with a year earlier, to an average of 8.5 million people per minute.

Those devices, which all showed gains in usage, more than offset declines in traditional TV, radio and computers. In the same age group, the demographic most highly coveted by advertisers, use of those devices fell 8% over the same period to a combined 16.6 million people per minute.

It’s not a one-to-one tradeoff, though. Sometimes people are using smartphones while watching TV, or using them outside the home where it wouldn’t cut into TV time. In addition, some mobile device use is, well, to watch TV shows.

Nielsen’s inaugural “Comparable Metrics” report for the first time presents data on average use per minute, making it possible to directly compare various devices. The study counts all apps, web surfing and game play but not texts or calling.

The results confirm a trend in other Nielsen data that found viewing of traditional TV — through a cable or satellite connection or an antenna — peaked in the 2009-10 season.

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The rise and rise of headphones

“With the appearance of the MP3 and affordable storage, earphones started to supply us with our own, by and by curated soundtrack to a film in which we were the hero – and that made us feel extraordinary; at work we even began to trust that giving our ordinary errands a modified soundtrack would improve us perform. Radio communication kept on being the most evident use for earphone innovation; while earphones and music appear like regular partners today, it took a while for them to make some kind of breakthrough appropriately.”

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In the summer of 1981, Cliff Richard signalled to the world that it was time for us collectively to withdraw into our own private musical worlds. With a new Sony Walkman strapped to his belt and a pair of lightweight headphones on his head, he strutted through Central Milton Keynes shopping centre alongside legwarmer-clad dancers, all of them miming enthusiastically for the video of the song “Wired for Sound”.

“Walking about with a head full of music,” he sang, “Cassette in my pocket and I’m gonna use it… Stereo! Out on the street you know! Whoah-oh-oh…” At that time, the role of headphones was changing quite radically: They were being vigorously uncoupled from radios and hi-fis, prised out of the bedroom and living room and thrust into the public arena.

Wearing a pair of headphones outdoors was no longer the preserve of people trying to find Roman coins in fields while waving metal detectors. It suddenly stopped being a bit weird. Portable music had arrived, and headphones were the medium by which we accessed it.

For 30 years or so, that’s the way it stayed. Headphones were merely functional items; you popped them on (or in) your ears and they piped in music from a 3.5mm mini-jack socket. Then, almost without warning, they became big business. Dr Dre’s hunch that headphones might become a sought-after luxury item paid off in spectacular fashion: his company Beats was sold to Apple for $3bn (£2bn) in May 2014, by which time our whole attitude towards headphones had changed.

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