Monday, 2 February 2015

Microsoft HoloLens, Windows 10, Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, OnePlus One: Gadget Digest


With CES now well behind us, we've started to see more and more gadgets being announced or leaked, and it's been a brilliant few days for tech lovers. From augmented reality gaming and Microsoft’s brand new Windows 10, to leaked high-end smartphones like the HTC One M9, there's plenty to catch up on as we head into the weekend. It’s all here for you in your Gadget Digest.

High-end smartphones leaked

HTC One M9 specs

Out of all the latest gadgets, high-end smartphones always leave us drooling in anticipation, and it looks like HTC and Samsung could be the next to unleash a couple of blinders. The Samsung Galaxy S6 popped up on our radar yesterday, and although there weren't any pics on offer, the thought of a 5.1-inch QHD smartphone packing a 64-bit octa-core processor and a 20-megapixel snapper into an aluminium chassis certainly left us wanting more.

Samsung will have a tough fight on its hands if it's going to beat HTC's next flagship though, with the HTC One M9 also hitting the headlines. The high-end blower may look near identical to the older HTC One (M8), including a slick metal body and BoomSound speakers, but this time it's claimed to cram in a bleeding-edge Snapdragon 810 chip and an even sharper screen.

Fans of the OnePlus One also got the chance to get their hands on one of last year's best handsets without needing an invite, at least for a couple of hours. Sadly it's back to invite only again now (plus £229 of your money), so you may well end up playing the waiting game if you want one.

Wonderful wearables

apple watch

Not content to let LG and Motorola enjoy the limelight when it comes to round smartwatches, Samsung has also been working on its own round Apple Watch beater, and it may also be one of Samsung’s first smartwatches to use wireless charging tech as well.

Speaking of Apple's upcoming wearable, the Apple Watch also hit the news today, with a claimed battery life of just 2.5 hours under heavy use, and not a lot longer simply having the watch face turned on constantly. That's desperately disappointing for one of the year's most anticipated gadgets, but evidently the price to pay for power-packed components and a small battery. Fingers crossed it holds up better under mixed use.

Microsoft unleashes some awesome concepts

microsoft hololens

It was Microsoft's jaw-dropping HoloLens that really caught our eye this week though, with the augmented reality wearable promising to shake up gaming and other industries. We particularly loved the demo showing off Minecraft, and instead of playing the game in your own little world, HoloLens makes it possible to drop blocks on your living room furniture and interact with the world around you. It looks brilliant, and we really can't wait for Microsoft to bring its vision closer to reality.

No doubt the HoloLens will be pricey when it finally does land though, and if you're looking for a cheaper wearable to help keep you warm, the Smart Scarf looks ideal. It's another concept from Microsoft, and biometric sensors help to make it warmer (or indeed cooler) to help keep you at the perfect temperature. Throw in vibrations to alert you of notifications, and it won't matter when your Apple Watch's battery dies a death after a couple of hours either!

In other Microsoft news, the Redmond giant also unleashed a closer look at Windows 10, and it promises to make it a lot easier to switch between Windows phones, PCs, the Xbox One and tablets. It also ushers in a new era for cross-platform gaming, which sounds good to us!

And in other news...

hp pro slate 12

With so many exciting announcements this week, narrowing down our gadget digest to just a few different stories has been incredibly difficult! With that in mind, it's also well worth checking out the 12-inch MacBook Air, the Mission Impossible book that can destroy itself, and HP's HTC-alike Android tablet. Throw in the drone-hunting drone (that's right, a drone that hunts its own!) and an entire PC crammed into a mouse and it really has been a fab week for gadget lovers. Which one’s your favourite though?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Amazon Fire Phone: Five ways we’d fix this Android upstart


Amazon’s Kindle business has been a roaring success, and its Kindle Fire tablets have been well received likewise. But its smartphone attempt has not quite had the same spark. The e-tailer reported a huge $430m (£273m) loss in quarterly earnings today, and much of that was down to a $170m (£105m) writedown on the Fire Phone, which was met with poor sales in the US (It’s only just gone on sale in the UK). We were similarly unimpressed, pointing out in our recent review that the Kindle Fire fails to offer anything particularly compelling compared to other Google certified Android phones. Yet. It’s not too late for Amazon to turn it around: here’s how we’d do it if we were Jeff Bezos.

Add Google Play

Google Play

There’s no getting around it: Amazon isn’t improving Android by removing all of Google’s software from the underlying open-source software, just limiting it. While the Amazon AppStore is fairly well stocked with must play games and useful services, it’s the omission of Google’s own apps on the Fire Phone that smarts the most. Amazon’s email app is clunky and underpowered compared to the peerless Gmail Android client, and there’s a big Google Maps shaped hole in Fire OS too. All of these problems would be negated for punters if they could just have access to the Google Play store too. After all, if Amazon is so confident its software is better, what’s it got to be scared of?

Cut the price

Amazon like to tout its phone as affordable, but the truth is the Amazon Fire Phone is not a great deal, even if you’re tempted by the year’s subscription to Amazon Prime thrown in. At £28 per month on a two year contract, or £399 upfront on Pay As You Go, the Fire Phone is far more expensive than the stunning new Motorola Moto G, which comes with a huge five-inch HD screen and costs just £144 unlocked for use on any network. While Amazon’s phone may sport a slightly faster processor, the truth is you’d be hard pressed to detect much difference in performance between the pair. Which brings us to the next point...

Design does matter

 Kindle smartphone hits the UK today!

If you are going to charge £400 in a world where the Motorola Moto G exists, you’d better make sure your phone looks the part. Sadly, the Amazon Fire Phone does not. While the company just about got away with the plain black plastic vibe on the Fire tablet line up (after all, a tablet is still a luxury device, and all about the screen), customers clearly aren’t giving the Fire Phone a similar pass. As we said in our review, the thick, smeary, glossy Fire Phone looks like an encased iPhone prototype an employee accidentally left in a bar somewhere. Compared to the iPhone 6, HTC One (M8) or the full metal jacketed Samsung Galaxy Alpha, well, it just doesn’t - and these rivals are only marginally more expensive.

Enter the specs war

If Amazon isn’t going to up its design game, it should at least consider entering the smartphone specs arms race. The 720p resolution screen of the Fire Phone looks paltry in comparison to the astonishing 2K, beyond HD panel on the LG G3 Android phone. The 13 megapixel camera meanwhile can’t compete with the latest sensors from Apple, Sony and Nokia (now Microsoft). Future Fire Phones need to at least keep up with the big boys if the company’s going to charge much the same price as Samsung, Sony et al.

Stop focusing on selling

Amazon treats its Fire devices much like digital kiosks, and another chance to hawk you all its wares. You can’t really begrudge it that after all, since the company runs on wafer thin margins at the best of times, but it’s telling that the best ideas Amazon has introduced to tablets and smartphones are the ones that aren’t trying to get you to buy batteries or a few more chances to lose at Candy Crush Saga. Its Mayday helpline, manned by real assistants who can draw on your screen and change settings for you, is a godsend for technophobes, while its multiple cameras on the front face let you peek and pan around the screen without even touching it - an idea with lots of potential still to be realised. More focus on the user convenience, and less on the impulse buys will surely help make the next Fire Phone more of an impulse buy itself.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Christmas Competition win Ice Coolers, Waxitaxi's and other great prizes

Great Prizes in the Christmas competition.  clcik here to enter

1st place - Ice Cooler, Ice Lantern, Ice Dessert, Waxitaxi, Magic Snow & Easy Shovel
2nd place - Ice Cooler, Ice Lantern, Waxitaxi
3rd Place - Ice Cooler
5 runner up prizes of a Waxitaxi gift set or an Easy Shovel.

Most Votes will win a ice cooler.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Just great gift ideas

Just great gift ideas, from the waxitaxi to the ice cooler .  Be different this christmas.

Oppo R5, Fitbit Surge and Charge, Microsoft Band, Amazon Fire TV Stick and a real life Transformer

Here we go, we've made it to another weekend and that means it's time for your weekly wrap-up of the week's hottest tech! Leading up to this Halloween, we've seen all sorts of gizmo goodies, ranging from the world's thinnest phone, to three brand new Fitbit trackers and even a Microsoft wearable too. Amazon's debuted an even smaller Fire TV, and we've spotted what looks like a real life Transformer! Mad, right? Luckily for you, we've chopped it all down into bite-sized chunks.

Meet the world's slimmest phone!
We've seen some supremely slim phones before, but nothing comes close to how thin the Oppo R5 is. Measuring up at just 4.85mm, Oppo's latest blower is even smaller than Elife's tiny 5.15mm-thick Elife S5.1, and it'll easily put your iPhone 6 to shame too. It's pretty quick too, as Oppo has managed to cram in an octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 13-Megapixel camera, all under a 5.2-inch full HD display. Sadly, you don't get a microSD slot, and you have to use a micro USB adapter to use your headphones, but we'll take those small trade-offs for something extremely thin. Fitness mad!
It looks like we're going fitness mad according to the recent drop of brand new wearables. Fitbit has not one, not two, but three brand new bands to help track your fitness, ranging from the basic Charge for logging your steps, to the Charge HR for logging your heart rate, or the high-end Surge, which packs in built-in GPS, a larger display and can show off your phone's notifications.
Microsoft's also joining the party with its own Microsoft Band, its ticket to the world of wearable fitness tech. The $199 (£125) band has plenty of sensors to track your fitness, ranging from heart rate, steps taken, sun exposure, stress levels, calories burned and even your sleep quality. All that data is then beamed over to Microsoft's brand new Health service, which has companion apps on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, meaning you'll always have a way to check out your stats. Its full colour touch display looks great too, and if you're touting a Windows Phone blower, you'll be able to bark commands at your wrist for use with Cortana. Pretty handy, right? Thumb-sized Amazon Fire TV
We've only just had the Amazon Fire TV touch down in the UK, but already the e-tailer has made one that's even smaller. The thumb-sized Fire TV Stick plugs right into your telly's HDMI port, and can beam down your favourite TV shows and games, but it's not the only one out there. We took a look at some of the other tip-top stick-sized streamers to see what Amazon's going up against. Fancy a real life Transformer?
While the Transformers films get more and more far fetched with each sequel, they still have a few cool ideas. Morphing robots? Brilliant, right? Well, two Japanese inventors think so too, as they've been hard at work on making a real life transforming 'bot, and the latest prototype is the biggest yet! They're still hard at work, and by 2020, they aim to have a full-sized Transformer walking the streets. Want one?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Digitsole: The radiator for your shoe!


Digitsole: The radiator for your shoe!

Frosty feet whilst commuting and cold toes on the slopes may be a thing of the past thanks to the invention of Digitsole. By now you’ll be familiar with your wrists being decked in the latest technology with smartwatches and the launch of the Apple Watch this week. But it’s your feet that are the centre of attention with this product.

Digitsole is a connected insole that you can control straight from your smartphone which allows you to choose the temperature of your shoes. It doesn’t just keep your feet warm: once you’ve entered your height and weight it will also measure how many steps you’ve taken and how many calories you’ve burned.

It looks like any other shoe insole you might have used before, but this one has been created specially by the Digitsole engineers. They’ve created an insole made from lightweight materials Neotech and Poron to control vibrations, spread heat equally and better absorb shock.

To start using the Digitsole you need to charge it via a USB port, load the app and connect it to your smartphone using Bluetooth 4.0. It can be used in almost any shoe and you can adjust the temperature and keep an eye on your health at any time. All you need to do is get your hands on a pair, download the dedicated app and off you trot.

Fancy taking Digitsole for a stroll? The invention is up on Kickstarter right now: you can currently get the ‘super early bird’ price of $99 (£60.90) but the standard retail price will be $149 (£91.90), estimated to arrive in January 2015. If you’re after it as a Christmas present you can pay an extra £18.50 for it to arrive in time and give the gift of toastie feet.

The new Angolan police app now available in nthe apple and android store

The Angolan police app for the general public is now available for the iphone. This app allows users some unique functions at the click of a button.

Some of the unique features are.

·         SOS button, no matter where in the country you are only  click away from safety.

·         Live updates for lost people.

·         Live updates for wanted criminals.

·         Find your closest police station

·         Report a crime

The main feature is the SOS button, if you press this in the main HQ for the Police a map appears with your details requesting assistance.  The controller can find the closes police person to you and tell them exactly where you are transferring your location to the police man and he can come and find you.  If you change location the system keep track of you no matter where you go.




Thursday, 4 September 2014

PS4 comes to android phones

Sony's latest smartphones and tablets can stream PlayStation 4 video games.

Owners will be able to attach the new devices to an existing PS4 controller via a special mount to play titles powered by the console's processors.

Until now this "remote play" facility had only been offered to the firm's PlayStation Vita handheld console.

Experts said the feature should help Sony's kit stand out from Android rivals at a time when competition is intensifying.

But despite the popularity of the PS4, they added, the move was likely to have only a slight impact on sales.

The Japanese company also unveiled a new smartwatch and a fitness tracker at a press conference in Berlin, ahead of the start of the Ifa tech show.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Sony PlayStation TV, Alienware Alpha, Skully smart helmet



Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Sony PlayStation TV, Alienware Alpha, Skully smart helmet: Gadget digest

This week has seen some brilliantly cool gadgets, including the latest all-metal Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone. Throw in a couple of phablets, a smart motorcycle helmet and a Pi-powered camera, and there’s lots to catch up on. So read on for our weekly roundup, where we’re looking at the biggest and best stories of the week!

Super-smart Smartphones!

Samsung smartphones have always walked the walk when it comes to features, but they’ve generally lagged behind the very best when it comes to premium materials. Not so the Galaxy Alpha, which is the first Galaxy blower to feature a full metal jacket. It’s great to see a Samsung device finally take on the HTC One (M8) and Apple iPhone 5s in the style stakes!

We also spotted some incredibly cool ways to jazz up your Android smartphone this week, with the InkCase Plus promising to change the way you read notifications and e-books on the move forever. The compact case packs in an e-ink screen, letting you access a whole world of content without even having to unlock your phone!

If the Galaxy Alpha doesn’t do it for you, and you’re on a much more extreme budget, then Nokia may have the perfect handset for you. The new Nokia 130 crams video and music playback capabilities into a handset costing just £15 – could this be the ideal second phone for festivals or holidays?

High-end and low-end Phablets

In other Samsung news, the Galaxy Note 4 popped up on an Indonesian website this week, leaking out the specs we’ve been dying to know more about. How does a Quad HD screen and the latest Snapdragon processor grab you, for starters? It could turn Samsung into the king of phablets once again!

Games galore

With gadgets like the Nvidia Shield promising to stream games to the big screen from your PC, traditional consoles like the PlayStation 4 have a tough fight on their hands. Which is why Sony announced at Gamescom earlier this week that its own micro console – the PlayStation TV – will be on the way in November and packs in the ability to beam down games from PlayStation Now, along with streaming PS4 games via Remote Play – all for around £85. Not bad, eh?

That wasn’t the only gaming device to make an appearance this week though, with the Alienware Alpha also popping up. The Alpha was originally set to debut under Valve’s delayed Steam Machines initiative, but Alienware has decided to launch sooner, packing in some serious PC gaming punch into a tiny console, but you’ll be able to get your hands on one a lot sooner!

And in other news…

There have also been loads of fun gadgets popping up over the internet in the past few days, with the SnapPiCam a fantastic example. Wondering what to do with your Raspberry Pi? SnapPiCam helps you to turn it into a 5-megapixel camera! We were also particularly impressed with the Skully smart helmet, which crams in a heads-up display and rear-view camera to potentially save you from accidents. All the better for not needing its more protective qualities!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Move over Netflix here comes Vident (video entertainment)

Over the past few years Netflix has become the master of video streaming for smart phones, smart devices, PC and nearly any items you can think of.  But soon there will be a new kid on the block, looking at taking video streaming to a whole new level.

Vident Corp (video entertainment) will be launching in December 2014 and its initial launch will be in South Africa.  This will be the first video streaming service available in the Africa continent. 

But what will make Vident different, at the moment video streaming is exactly that you watch, you put down.  Vident will not just be a video streaming app but it has several new ideas to make it a true future of digital entertainment., A mulit level platform with a variety of facets that allow you not just to watch movies on your smart device or PC but to interact with friends and family while you are using the Vident video streaming service.  One of the unique feature is that it will be a local app for each country showing not just US block buster movies but also local movies in local languages giving the viewers more to interact with.

Vident corp are a South African based company who have understood the future of video rental is through digital media and not your traditional outlets.

This app and the full system is being design By Easy Apps Business and will be available on Apple, Android, Blackberry, PC, Ipad and tablet at the launch and will then progress on to other smart devices, gaming consoles and countries in the following months.

More information at http:/

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Win and ice cooler, ice lantern and waxitaxi

click here to win

Click here to enter our great competition

Save your USB: A simple guide to keeping your USB gadgets safe!

Save your USB: A simple guide to keeping your USB gadgets safe!

Millions of us have been using USB memory sticks and peripherals for years, but your trusty flash drives and accessories have recently hit the headlines with potentially huge security flaws. The idea that hackers take over your computer with the help of some hidden code in your thumb drive’s firmware is terrifying, so read on to find out all you need to know and find out if you’re at risk.

What’s it all about?

USB memory sticks have become one of the default storage formats for taking files on the go over the past decade, but an invisible security flaw has recently been discovered that could let hackers gain full control of your computer. It’s not just storage devices either; plugging in any USB accessory could lead to hackers issuing their own commands to do what they want with your computer. The code is capable of handling anything from installing malware to redirecting the web pages you open, and the fact it’s virtually untraceable is even more alarming.

How was it discovered then?

The tech gurus at Security Research Labs (SR Labs) discovered the security flaw when reverse engineering firmware on USB devices, with the company explaining: “Once reprogrammed, benign devices can turn malicious in many ways.”

Where is the malicious code hidden?

Unlike traditional viruses or malware, the malicious code hidden away on USB products isn’t easily visible. Instead of appearing as a regular file, it can be hidden away in the firmware on your USB stick, USB mouse or even your humble keyboard. For a quick refresher, firmware is software installed on a device itself, that controls what it does each time you hook it up to a computer. So when you plug in a USB memory stick, for instance, your computer knows what it is, and can open up the relevant folder. This means that malicious hackers changing the code in your USB drive’s firmware can have a truly massive impact.

Why is the malicious code invisible?

While your anti-virus software is happy to scan your computer and any of the storage devices you connect for malware, it won’t check out what’s going on with the firmware on any of your devices. SR Labs adds: “Malware scanners cannot access the firmware running on USB devices, and USB firewalls that block certain devices do not (yet) exist.”

Are you at risk?

Yes and no. While USB devices have been a traditionally safe medium, the fact malicious code can go so easily undetected means you could be using an infected accessory without even knowing it. Although you can’t easily scan for issues, there are steps you can take to help avoid problems.

What can you do if you’re worried about infection?

Stick to what you know! Firmware needs to be updated by an installer, so if you are offered updates for your devices, make sure they’re being offered from a trusted source. Don’t go using second-hand memory sticks or devices that you don’t know the history of, meaning it’s worth buying new accessories from shops you know and trust. You’ll be a lot safer if you know where an accessory has come from and who may have updated the firmware.

And if you do have issues? Throw your USB gadget away! SR Labs concludes: “Once infected, computers and their USB peripherals can never be trusted again.” Fingers crossed it wasn’t an expensive gaming mouse or high capacity stick!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Apple iWatch, HTC Android Wear Smartwatch, Pink HTC One (M8), Huawei P7 Arsenal Edition smartphone:


Apple iWatch, HTC Android Wear Smartwatch, Pink HTC One (M8), Huawei P7 Arsenal Edition smartphone: Gadget Digest

It’s been another great week in the world of gadgets, and now we’re close to the end it’s time to look back and check out our favourite stories. From gaming tablets to smartphones, smartwatches and wearables, there’s been absolutely loads going on throughout the week. So read on to catch up on all the news from the past few days.

Smartphones for football fans!Football fans and smartphones may not usually go hand-in-hand, but Huawei wants to change all that with its new P7 Arsenal Edition. Will this svelte-looking blower be enough to tempt Gunners fans in their droves, or will it turn out like Arsenal’s last season: full of promise but unable to deliver when it matters… Only time will tell!

It’s been a good week for lesser-known (over in the UK at least) manufacturers, with Xiaomi also hitting the headlines with its brand new Mi 4 flagship. Boasting a full metal construction, could this be the ideal alternative to the HTC One (M8) or Apple iPhone 5s?

Speaking of the HTC One (M8), HTC launched a couple of new version of its range-topping handset. Fancy some colour to go with the premium build and minimalist design? You’ll now be able to buy both a pink and red HTC One (M8)!

There’s no need to spend all your cash to get a decent smartphone though, which is where the new Nokia Lumia 530 comes in. Windows Phone, a Snapdragon processor and a bright, vibrant design for under £80, what’s not to like?

Tablets, gaming tablets and more!

There’s been plenty going on this week when it comes to tablets, too, with the Nvidia Shield gaming tablet finally being officially announced. We’d already seen leaks and rumours about the tablet, so it’s great to see it make an appearance, complete with its own wireless controller for the perfect gaming experience.

The KingSing tablet sits at the other end of the scale, offering Windows for just £60. This 8-inch Chinese wonder may not set the world alight with its spec, but it’s certainly worth a look if you want to grab hold of a Windows tablet without spending a small fortune.

Samsung is also eyeing up the budget tablet market, launching the Android-based Galaxy Tab Q. It’s currently available in China only, but there’s every chance it could make it to those shores in the not too distant future.

Smartwatch invasion

It’s been a great few months for Android Wear smartwatches, with Samsung, LG and Motorola all getting behind the platform and launching new products. HTC is now also looking to join the party, with its very own all-metal smartwatch. With a metal bracelet and facia, it looks every bit stylish enough to wear on a night out, something that’s not always guaranteed with smartwatches!

Another week, and yet more leaks about Apple’s smartwatch – could it be the worst kept secret ever? This time, there’s news that Apple could be working on two completely different designs for its wearable, partnering the likes of Swatch to come up with something that’s as stylish as it is functional.

And in other news…

That’s just the start though! How about a gaming vest offering full body feedback? Or the latest face-tracking 3D games on the Amazon Fire phone? Or even a retro Bluetooth NES controller? Whatever you’re doing for the weekend, sit back, have a drink and enjoy catching up on the week’s stories.

Easy Apps Business

The new Easy Apps Business Video.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Forget the Android Auto Alliance and Apple CarPlay: Get a connected car now!


Forget the Android Auto Alliance and Apple CarPlay: Get a connected car now!

Google, Apple and Nokia have spent the past few years working on the ultimate connected car, but you don’t need to wait years to kit your car out with gadgets and apps. There are loads of things you can do to make your journey better, from stereos that sync effortlessly with your smartphone to apps that turn your phone into music streaming sat-nav device. Read on to find out how to get CarPlay-like tech here and now!

Oxygen Audio O Car head unitThere are loads of car stereos out there that hook up to your smartphone wirelessly, but not many ditch a screen completely in favour of your handset. The Oxygen Audio O Car stereo does just that, with your iPhone clipping into the head unit and a companion app letting you control the stereo from the phone’s touchscreen. It may not be quite as elegant as CarPlay or the Google Auto Alliance, but it’s not far off!

The in-car personal assistant

Last year we showed you ways you could control the tech in your car by voice alone, but things have come on in leaps and bounds since then. If you want to use your smartphone, you’ll now be able to choose from other digital assistants as well as Siri, with Cortana on Windows Phone and Google Now on Android both letting you make searches, send text messages and a whole lot more all without touching a button on your phone.

The perfect Car App

If you have a Windows Phone, there are few apps better suited to driving than Nokia Car App. One of the simplest and easy to use apps we’ve ever tried, Nokia Car App removes all the clutter, setting up a faux Start Screen with just three buttons on it. Even when you’re driving along, it would be easy to tap a button to launch Spotify, HERE Drive or any other Windows Phone app, without worrying about hitting the wrong one or needing to take your eyes off the road for precious seconds.

Find your way home

Whatever phone or tablet you go for, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to sat-nav apps from Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Go for a smartphone like the Nokia Lumia 930 and you won’t even need to download additional apps – HERE Drive is included as part of the package, and you can add free offline mapping for anywhere in the world. Both Apple and Android offer free turn-by-turn navigation apps as well, in the form of Apple Maps and Google Maps, respectively, and there are also plenty of paid for options too. If you don’t mind paying, apps don’t get much more comprehensive or easy to use than TomTom’s smartphone packages.

Apps apps apps

Connected tech like CarPlay promises to bring a host of prominent apps to the big screen in your car, but they’re all apps you can already get for your smartphone and tablet. All you need is a universal cradle to hold your device in place, a suitable means to charge your phone or tablet on the go, and a regular car stereo with Bluetooth or an Aux-in lead. Once you’ve connected your smartphone to your stereo, you’ll be able to stream music using Spotify and other services, listening to your favourite tracks through your car’s speakers! With audio streaming through your speakers, it’s even easy to set up a mini cinema in the back of the car for the kids, with apps like iPlayer and YouTube perfect for watching video on the move. Who needs CarPlay now?

Smartphone breathalyzer

Turning your car into a mobile tech fest doesn’t have to be restricted to entertainment either, with loads of cool gadgets out there that can help to keep you safe. Like the MobaBlow Bluetooth Brethalyzer, a Kickstarter gadget that works alongside your smartphone to help tell you when you’re OK to drive, or if you had a couple too many the night before and need to put the keys away for another couple of hours. And if you have drank too much, the accompanying app offers some nifty features like ‘Call a Cab’, ‘Call a Friend’ and even a ‘Find me’ feature!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Turn your iPad, Windows or Android tablet into a desktop PC replacement!


Turn your iPad, Windows or Android tablet into a desktop PC replacement!

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 may seem like the perfect tablet when it comes to actually doing work, but if you don’t have one, there’s loads you can do to turn your Android, Windows or iPad into a replacement for your desktop computer.

We’ve already looked at different ways you can turn your tablet into a laptop, but tablets these days are a lot more powerful. With quad-core processors and stacks of memory, gadgets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S can be ideal replacements for your desktop PC. So read on for some of the accessories and apps you’ll be needing if you want to ditch the desktop.

The big screen!The size of the screen is one of the biggest barriers to getting work done on your tablet, and nobody want to hammer out long documents on a tiny eight or 10-inch display. Thankfully, following a recent announcement at Google’s IO conference, it’s now possible to mirror the display on your Android tablet to your HDTV with a little help from the Google Chromecast, meaning you’ll no longer be left squinting at work you’re trying to do.

Apple’s iPad offers a handy solution when it comes to wirelessly streaming content from tablet to the big screen, in the form of the Apple TV. Meanwhile, the Windows 8.1 RT-based Nokia Lumia 2520 may not offer wireless screen mirroring, but it does cram in a micro HDMI-D port, making it easy to hook up to a big screen via cable.

Beating the Surface at typing

There’s no point in viewing content on your TV if you still have to resort to typing on a tiny touchscreen keypad though. Thankfully, there are loads of Bluetooth keyboards out there that are perfect for your tablet. Check out the Archos Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard for the Apple iPad, for example, or the Ultrathin Keyboard Folio from Logitech for your Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Productivity apps

If you’re serious about replacing your desktop computer, one of the first bits of software you’ll be needing is an office suite. Few are more accomplished the Microsoft Office, and the app is free for your Android tablet.

It’s just as easy to add Microsoft Office to your Apple iPad, but unfortunately, unlike your iPhone, you’ll still need to pay if you want to edit documents in addition to simply reading them. How much? Prices start at $70 (£43) for one computer and one iPad.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 goes one better, and it already has everything you need to start editing documents the second you take it out of the box. A full version of Microsoft Office – including Word and Excel – is pre-installed on the Lumia, so you’ll be good to say goodbye to the desktop as soon as you hook up to a proper keyboard and screen.

Add some tunes

If you’re working in a home office, the chances are you’ll also spend plenty of time listening to music. You’ll be needing speakers for your tablet then, letting you get the most out of Pandora, Spotify or your local music collection. Check out the NudeAudio Move L Bluetooth speaker as a great wireless solution for your iPad, Windows or Android tablet. We also loved the Creative Sound Blaster Roar SR20, which is another compact yet powerful wireless speaker.

You can print too…

Just being able to work on your tablet sometimes isn’t enough, and there’s a good chance you’ll want to print something every now and again. Thankfully there are loads of wireless options around, letting you connect straight from your tablet and print all without the need for cables.

The HP Envy 5530 e-All-in-One printer is a great example, offering integrated Wi-Fi to let you connect to a home network, or even letting you use Wireless Direct to let you beam data straight from your tablet to the printer. Perfect for the home office!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mobile Apps Trumps Mobile Web Usage - Easy App Business


While the amount of time spent watching T.V. has stayed relatively stable over the past few years, time spent using mobile apps is increasing wildly.  Mobile app usage was averaging about an hour each day in 2010, and it has now doubled to more than two hours, as reported by the app data analysis company Flurry. 

For reference, television watching takes up almost three hours each day, and web browsing takes a bit over an hour (although, for some of us, web browsing is running neck-and-neck with breathing for our most popular pastime).

At this level of importance, mobile apps are far too popular for businesses, especially small businesses, to ignore.  As we have discussed in other posts, the mobile web is still very important, and the best strategy is always to create both apps and quality mobile websites.  In terms of daily usage, however, apps are currently in the lead.

If you want to communicate with a particular market, you need to meet them where they are.  What this new data reveals for small businesses is that people are spending a ton of time on their mobile apps, and that this channel is far ahead of websites in terms of daily time spent (and quickly catching up to television). 

Of course, a lot of this time is double- and triple-counted, as users browse the web, play with apps, and watch T.V., all at the same time.  But the numbers don’t lie.

As far as practical advice goes, small businesses can 1) develop their own app, 2) develop their own mobile website 3) do both.  Developing apps or developing a mobile website, as app usage continues to climb, will increasingly have greater value and impact.

Look into it app makers!

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Friday, 11 July 2014

SoundSight smart headphones work with your smartphone to livestream gigs!


SoundSight smart headphones work with your smartphone to livestream gigs!

Ever play a gig and wish you could share with friends and fans who can’t make it? The SoundSight wireless headphones could change things forever for musicians cramming in cameras, microphones and a whole lot more to make it possible to livestream exactly what’s going on around you, without needing to carry extra equipment around.

There are plenty of options available if all you want is wireless music streaming for your headphones, with cans like the Beats Studio Wireless well worth a look. SoundSight offers a whole lot more though, and we love the idea of being able to share exactly what you can see and hear with the world.

The cool-looking headphones pack in a tiny 1080p video camera and an impressive six microphones, letting you create your own music videos without even having to hold a camera. You can even rotate the lens on the outside of the earphones by 270 degrees, making sure you always get the perfect shots.

SoundSight isn’t just about recording everything you see and hear either, as it also crams in live streaming capabilities. The clever headphones work with a companion iOS and Android app, letting you edit video clips before you broadcast on social networks, and if the sounds you’ve captured don’t live up to expectations it’ll also be easy to add in music tracks or other audio.

The 800mAh battery delivers around four hours of use when recording, stretching up to 18 hours when you switch to just active noise cancellation instead. Don’t expect it to come cheap though, with pre-orders for SoundSight costing $349 (£204). That’s still a massive saving on the expected $499 (£291) retail price when SoundSight is officially launched next spring.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

You’ll soon be able to control Google Glass with your mind!


You’ll soon be able to control Google Glass with your mind!

Google’s Glass Explorer program has just kicked off in the UK, and thanks to its wider availability, plenty more apps have sprung up for Google’s wearable – including one that lets you control Glass with your mind! It’s called MindRDR, and with it, you’ll be able to snap a photo and share it to your favourite social network with just a thought! Read on for all the details!

Navigating through Google Glass with your voice or by using the awkward touch panel on the side, can sometimes be a pain, but what if you could simply carry out actions just by thinking? That’s what London-based design studio This Place is aiming to enable, all thanks to its new MindRDR app. Simply by thinking, you can snap a photo using Google Glass, and then share it to Facebook or Twitter with just a few brainwaves – the only drawback is that you need some extra kit to get it to work.

The first version of the free app links your already pricey £1,000 Google Glass wearable with a Neurosky MindWave EEG headset, which will set you back another £70 or so, and it’s an extra item to wear on your head. The MindWave also only measures four different senses out of a possible 18, meaning functionality is just limited at the moment – but it does open up the possibilities for the future, and as the app is open source, you could see even more apps pop up that let you use Google Glass with just your brain.

We’re excited to see where this app and hardware will take us in the future, and you could soon be seeing a fully integrated mind-reading solution too – we know we can’t wait to get our brains on it. No doubt you can expect to see more developments with the MindRDR app, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest as soon as we hear it.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The iOS phablet? Larger iPhones on the way in August!


The iOS phablet? Larger iPhones on the way in August!

We love the iPhone 5s, but with a relatively tiny 4-inch screen it feels like a bit of a relic in comparisons to phones like the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5, let alone the current crop of phablets. The iPhone 6 needs to be bigger then, and if reports are to be believe, it looks like it could well be, with a 4.7-inch model launching in August, with an even bigger version on the way in September.

There’s still plenty of scope for smaller smartphones – the launch of lots of ‘mini’ handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini confirms that – but it’d be great to see a bigger screen on the next-gen iPhone, making it better suited to videos and catching up with The Gadget Show.

And according to a report in Reuters and the Taiwanese Economic Daily News, we could be seeing a couple of new, larger iPhones later this year.

The first Apple iPhone 6 looks like hitting the shops in August – a few months earlier than previous years – with the 4.7-inch screen putting it more on par with rivals when it comes to display real estate. News of a gigantic 5.5 or 6-inch version hitting the shelves in September – in keeping with timing of the launch of the last new model – is even more exciting though, and we can’t wait to see an iOS phablet go toe to toe with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 and the Lumia 1520.

With 80 million iPhone 6 handsets reportedly in the making, this is definitely the biggest shakeup we’ve seen for the iPhone since the introduction of the iPhone 3G, with Apple needing to come up with something significant if it wants to stay on top.

Having bigger screens will definitely make a difference, but we’ll have to wait and see if Cupertino can nail the other specs. DSLR lenses for photography could certainly help it though!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet on sale December 4, costs £400


Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet on sale December 4, costs £400Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet on sale December 4, costs £400

Nokia’s first tablet will go on sale next week. The Finnish phone firm has announced its Lumia 2520 slate PC will hit shop shelves on Wednesday, December 4. It’ll cost £399.99, and will be exclusive to John Lewis at first.

We knew the tablet was coming sometime before Christmas, but this is the first we’ve heard of an exact date.

The 10.1-inch slate is equipped for 4G, and has a 6.7-megapixel snapper on the back. Given how impressive Nokia’s smartphone cameras are, we’re intrigued to see how its tablet’s snapper performs.

It also has a 2-megapixel front-facer.

Inside is a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM. Nokia claims its 800mAh battery will give it 11 hours of life before needing a recharge.

Windows RT 8.1 comes as standard, letting you edit Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents, as well as use Outlook. Nokia’s Camera and Video Director software also let you get creative with your stills and footage respectively.

The Lumia 2520 comes in a glossy case that’s white or red, or a matte case that’s black or cyan.

Nokia’s Lumia 1520 also goes on sale next week, on Friday December 6. The 6-inch smartie is the biggest Nokia has ever made, and also the largest ever Windows Phone handset.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

64% of smartphone shoppers will buy more from their mobiles this Christmas, predicts IMRG

Summer must be over: the predictions about ‘A Mobile Christmas’ are starting to arrive. First out of the paddock is IMRG-eDigitalResearch, suggesting that more than half (64%) of smartphone shoppers who are planning to shop from their devices this Christmas are claiming that they will make more mobile purchases this year compared to 2012.

eDigitalResearch and IMRG found that 44% of smartphone owners have said that they will consider doing some of their Christmas shopping online, with over half of these (64%) planning to purchase more gifts and Christmas items from their device than they did during the festive period in 2012. The survey of 2,000 online consumers also found that almost all respondents (96%) will shop online this Christmas, with 48% purchasing at least half of their Christmas shopping on the internet.

The results highlight the need for retailers to ensure that all their touch points – no matter how many they operate – are accessible to everyone in order to maximise Christmas sales.

The survey also found that a quarter (25%) of consumers feel that their online shopping experience is ‘significantly better’ or ‘slightly better’ at Christmas time thanks to special deals and a bigger range of products on offer. Just 7% feel that it gets worse.

In comparison, almost half (42%) feel that their in-store experience deteriorates during the festive period with busy stores, queues and a limited number of staff to deal with requests some of the main reasons that people feel high street shopping at Christmas is worse than any other time of the year.

The quarterly eCSI study has been tracking people’s Christmas shopping habits since 2008 and has found that consumers are increasingly turning to the internet and their online devices for better deals and more choice as household budgets continue to be squeezed.

Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, says: “Back in 2010 just 35% of smartphone owners said that they would even consider doing Christmas shopping from their devices. This Christmas, retailers are likely to see more festive purchases through mobile sites and apps than ever before. As a result, retailers and brands need to ensure that they are ready for the usual Christmas shopping spree and provide a seamless shopping experience no matter what channel a consumer uses. The customer experience has to be right from the offset – from a simple, yet inviting homepage right through to fulfilling orders on time as promised and ensuring that gifts arrive in time for the big day”.

Andy Mulcahy, Editor at IMRG, adds: “It is little wonder that such a high percentage of people (64%) say they are planning to do more shopping through their phones this Christmas; we’ve seen sales through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) grow rapidly over the past few years, accounting for 23% of online sales in Q2 of 2013 with site visits at 34%. To put in perspective the rate at which confidence in the channel has grown, three years ago at the start of 2010, sales through mobile devices stood at just 0.4% of online sales.”

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Samsung's Google Glass rival revealed!


Samsung's Google Glass rival revealed!

A new patent seems to suggest that Korean firm Samsung is following Google into the smart glasses space. Google Glass competitor, complete with translucent frames, side controls and what appears to be a camera on the front, so you can record with little more than a wink.

Earphones will allow users to listen to music, but unlike Google’s offering – which can operate independently of other tech – these specs pair with your smartphone in the same way that Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch does. There’s even some kind of connective plug on the back, which looks a bit old-fashioned to us.

Of course, this is just a patent and the final product – should it ever make it to market – will no doubt end up looking a lot different to these simple line drawings.

Are you excited about the concept of wearable tech, or do you think it’s a revolution that will fall flat on its face? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Adidas miCoach Smart Run: Sporty smartwatch packs GPS skills and heart rate tracking!


Adidas miCoach Smart Run: Sporty smartwatch packs GPS skills and heart rate tracking!

Nike just revealed its brand new FuelBand SE yesterday, and now it’s time for rival sports company Adidas to get in on the wearable tech action: meet the Adidas miCoach Smart Run, a smartwatch that packs in GPS skills and pulse-based heart rate tracking to help boost your running game. Who needs a FuelBand now?

Adidas’ new miCoach smartwatch is aimed directly at joggers, thanks to the inclusion of built-in GPS tracking to chart your runs and provide real-time coaching, plus you can keep on top of your heart rate thanks to optical technology. There’s also an accelerometer crammed into the watch to count your every step, while the GPS measures your speed so you know exactly how fast you’re running, how many steps you ran and the actual route you took. Handy.

You’ll also be able to load up your favourite tunes on the watch too, and push them via Bluetooth to a pair of wireless headphones, while you’ll also be able to receive training suggestions from your very own digital coach, who’ll tell you speed up or slow down. There’s also visual guidance for specific workouts on the watch’s 1.45-inch screen too, to help make sure you don’t pull a muscle and do each exercise correctly. That comes in the form of workouts and training plans listed on Adidas’ miCoach website, which the Smart Run watch can sync to over Wi-Fi, checking off different workouts when you’ve finished them.

If you were hoping for the miCoach to hook up to your smartphone or tablet, you won’t be in luck: the watch is a standalone gizmo to help with your heart rate-based interval training, meaning you won’t be reading your notifications, emails or text messages on the touchscreen display. And with the watch going on sale next month for $399 (£249.59), it might be a hard sell for those who want their smartwatch to do everything and anything, like with Samsung’s Galaxy Gear – and Nike’s new FuelBand offering is much cheaper at £129. Still, Adidas is offering a competitive package for runners who want to maximise their training, and with the addition of a heart rate monitor built right into the watch, it could be the next best thing since dedicated running shoes were invented, round about the same time as sliced bread and the wheel.

Are you interested in Adidas’ new miCoach Smart Run watch or are you more keen on Nike’s brand new offering? Let us know what you think in the comments below.