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!

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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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!

more info from www.easyappsbusiness.com

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.

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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.

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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!

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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.

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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.

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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.

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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Friday, 11 October 2013

New Androids phones galore, iPads incoming, brand new Chromebooks and more

 

New Androids phones galore, iPads incoming, brand new Chromebooks and more: Gadget Digest

Here we are again: it’s the end of the week and that means it’s time for your round-up of the top stories from the world of tech. We’ve spotted a leak of HTC’s next big phone, Samsung’s unleashed the world’s first bendy blower and Sony’s Xperia Z1 gets downsized. There are also yet more Android gaming gizmos on the way, the iPad 5 event is coming up and there’s a brand new duo of Chromebooks touching down too. We’ve got everything you need, right here in your gadget digest.

Android flagship phone fiesta: HTC, Samsung and Sony

What a week for Android phone fans! We’ve spotted a peek at the hotly rumoured HTC One Max, and it looks like it’s a super-sized Galaxy Note rival that’s set to come packing fingerprint sensing skills, just like the iPhone 5s. The phone looks like a definite reply to Apple’s latest flagship phone and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, but will it be able to best either of them? Not to be outdone, Samsung meanwhile has trotted out its brand new Galaxy Round, the world’s first phone that comes packing a curved display.

We were impressed by Sony’s current flagship Xperia Z1, and it’s now it’s had the mini-me treatment, just like Samsung’s and HTC’s flagship phones before it. Meet the Xperia Z1 f, a downsized version of Sony’s current top blower, but unlike the HTC One Mini and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Sony’s smaller version comes packing the same speedy specs as its bigger brother, only in a smaller, more pocket-friendly version: there’s the same quad-core processor and 20.7-megapixel camera on board. It’s currently heading to Japan in December, and while there’s no international launch planned just yet, we hope to be seeing it soon.

Brand new iPads are on the way

We’ve just had the brand new iPhones, and now we’re getting some new iPads too: according to a report by AllThingsD, Apple will be hosting a major event on 22 October, and we expect to see the iPad 5 and a new iPad mini there too! We’ve already spotted a leak of the iPad 5, and there’s been plenty of buzz around a next-gen iPad mini with a Retina display, so in less than two weeks, we’ll be treated to plenty more Apple gizmos. Are you looking forward to them?

Get your Android gaming on!

Have you been itching to play with Mad Catz’s Ouya rival, Project Mojo? You won’t have long to wait, as the super-speedy Android gaming console has now got a date and price: you can get your hands on the Tegra 4-powered Mojo on 10 December – but it will cost an eye-watering £219.99. Phew.

Fancy your Android gaming on the go instead? Archos has got a brand new version of its GamePad on the way, and it’s out this month! The Archos GamePad 2 delivers the same physical controls as its predecessor, but it boasts better specs, an improved screen and a slick new redesign. Will you be grabbing one?

Even more Google Chromebooks are on the way!

Google’s Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks are making a lot of headway thanks to their low prices and lightweight and powerful software, and now there’s a new duo on the way to help make Chromebooks a real force to be reckoned with. HP’s brand new Chromebook 11 offers a stylish little laptop, complete with a low £229 price tag and can even be juiced up by the same charger as your phone.

Acer’s also got a tiny titan on the way, the C720 Chromebook, that features the same 11-inch form factor, but this one’s armed with one of Intel’s low-power chips to give it an impressive battery life of eight and half hours – making it absolutely perfect for your 9-5 away from a plug socket. Windows 8.1, eat your heart out.

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Monday, 7 October 2013

LG G Flex incoming - but what's the point in a bendy phone?

 

LG G Flex incoming - but what's the point in a bendy phone?

We’ve heard that LG has been working on flexible screen tech for some time now, and now the South Korean company says it’s ready to start production of its first bendy phone, which is set to be called the G Flex, beating Samsung to the punch in the process. LG’s brand new blower is nearly here, but what’s the point in a phone that bends anyway? Smartphones with 3D screens never took off, but this isn’t just another tech gimmick: here are a few reasons why flexible gizmos will be the next big thing.

Imagine a phone that starts small but can fold out to be even bigger

Remember the days of folding out a map to figure out where you’re going? That unravelling motion could soon make a come back with bendy displays, letting your pocket-sized phone fold out to a super-slate. It’s still early doors with the tech at the moment, but in the future you could see phones that fold out like a clamshell, without the ugly visible hinge in the middle. Take the Kyocera Echo, for instance, a dual-screened, folding Android phone that lets you use both screens as one: imagine that with a seamless, singular, flexible screen instead. Bendy screens just open up even more possibilities – your next newspaper could rock a folding E Ink display, for instance. Of course, we’ll need to invent flexible batteries and processors too – but this is the direction we’re heading.

It’s perfect for smartwatches

Small curved displays make for the perfect tech to sling around your wrist. We’ve even seen concept examples from the likes of Samsung in the past, but rumours are now circulating that Apple will be using similar screens for its smartwatch. With flexible displays steadily making improvements, and smartwatches currently all the rage, you could see the next-gen Galaxy Gear or Sony Smart Watch packing in a curved display to give your more screen space and a comfier fit.

Never smash your screen again

In addition to being bendy, flexible displays are also a lot more durable – potentially even unbreakable – meaning you can say goodbye to smashed screens. They can roll, they can fold, and they can survive a lot more than your traditional, brittle glass touchscreen too. That means you won’t have to deal with yet another scratched-up display, or fork out a premium to get it replaced.

Fit it anywhere

Phones are getting bigger and bigger these days, and that means that you might not be able to fit your phone in your pocket – and sooner rather than later if you’re into skinny jeans. That could change thanks to flexible screen tech: in time, you’ll be able to bend the whole phone and stuff it into your pocket better than a whole, rigid six-inch phone. As it’s flexible, it’ll contour to the shape of your leg too, so it’ll be a perfect fit into your pocket each and every time. And one day, when bendy screens mature even more, you’ll be able to just fold up your phone into a size that could even fit into your smallest jean pocket – yes, the one that no one seems to know is for.

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Meet Dell's next-gen Windows 8.1 Venue tablets!

 

 

Meet Dell's next-gen Windows 8.1 Venue tablets!

Watch out Apple: the next generation of Windows 8 tablets mean business. Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s own Surface 2 reveal, American computer giant Dell is storming ahead with a duo of new tablets that pack in some impressive specs. Meet the Dell Venue 8 Pro and the Dell Venue 11 Pro, two new tablets that aim to keep you productive on the go!

Dell’s new Venue tablets bring full-fat Windows 8.1 to you in a small, thin package, and they both give Microsoft’s latest tablets and Apple’s iPad a run for their money in the specs and looks department. Both tablets are very slim despite the beefy internal guts, and Dell is also providing a range of accessories to help you with your productivity when you’re on the move.

First up is the smaller of the two tablets, the Dell Venue 8 Pro, and like its name suggests, it’s an 8-inch tablet that comes with a HD IPS display and an Intel Atom quad-core processor under the hood. Dell has also armed it with a range of connectivity options, including mobile internet, Wi-Fi and micro USB. It measures up at just 8.9mm, and has a battery life rated for up to 10 hours. We got a quick play with it, and found it to be a very sturdy slate, completely free of any flex. Dell is also bundling Office 2013 Home & Student with the device and there’s also an optional Dell Active Stylus available.

The larger of the duo, the Dell Venue 11 Pro, features a 10.9-inch full HD IPS display, and is powered by Intel’s latest processors. You can configure your Venue 11 with either an Intel Atom quad-core Bay Trail processor, up to a fourth Generation Intel Core i3 and i5 processors or even an Intel vPro processor. The Venue 11 Pro also comes with full size USB ports, making it easy for you to plug in USB sticks and keyboards, while there’s also a user replaceable battery on the back which you can access by peeling back the rear cover. You’ll also be able to arm the 11 Pro with up to 8GB of RAM and a massive 256GB of storage, plus there’s also Wi-Di (wireless display) tech embedded and NFC too.

To go along with the tablets, Dell is also unleashing a range of accessories, including cases, an active stylus, a dock (which comes with a second video output to let you hook up an additional two monitors!) and two new keyboards that look like they can go toe-to-toe with Microsoft’s new Surface Touch Cover. First up is the simply named Dell Mobile Keyboard which comes with an additional battery to provide you with up to 18 hours of wireless freedom, and it also has a trackpad beneath its full sized chiclet keys. When folded up, it’s almost like you’ve got yourself an Ultrabook. The Dell Slim Keyboard is much more similar to Microsoft’s offerings, and gives you added protection and a stylus holder as well as a full sized keyboard with keys that have 0.2mm of travel, meaning you’ll feel some feedback as you type.

If you’re interested in picking up either of Dell’s new tablets, the Venue 8 Pro can be yours from 19 November, although the price is yet to be announced, while the beefier Venue 11 Pro will be available from 7 November for £349 – both from Dell’s website.

Do you fancy either of Dell’s new tablets, are you gunning for Microsoft’s Surface or are you happy with your iPad? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

www.easyappsbusiness.com

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Saturday, 14 September 2013

The iPhone 5S-Class

 

The iPhone 5S-Class

IMG_9085

The Mercedes S-Class has been the flagship of the German automaker’s sedan lineup since the early 70’s. It’s a car that provides the finest technology that the company has to offer with powerful engines, safety advancements and creature comforts often making their first appearance in any mass-produced vehicle.

The Mercedes S-Class was the first passenger car to introduce airbags to Europe. It popularized anti-lock braking, electronic stability systems and impact crumple zones. It continues to promote new technology with things like infrared night vision and self-driving systems. As the top-end car in Mercedes’ lineup it has the margins and luxury audience to be an ambassador for the brand and for the new technology that wouldn’t be available in low-end models or to other manufacturers for some time.

The iPhone 5S is Apple’s Mercedes S-Class. It features technologies that spell out the future of both Apple and other companies like Samsung that take many of their cues from the iPhone.

iPhones have always been ambassadors for technologies that then made their way out to the general market. Not necessarily always firsts, but executing well and proving their desirability. And, with their ubiquity, making them must-have watermarks for other manufacturers. Retina-quality screens, capacitive touch, no physical keyboards, a great camera — the list of technology or technical concepts that have ‘trickled down’ from the iPhone to the rest of the market goes on.

Now, Apple has its own new model to trickle its technology down to: the iPhone 5C.

The iPhone 5C of today is essentially an iPhone 5 with a few upgraded components. But its desirability lies in a completely different arena than the iPhone 5S. We’ll talk more about that later. What it does offer, though, is a way for Apple to capitalize on the technology that it’s pioneered in the past and the manufacturing pipeline it already has in place to offer a lower-cost yet high-margin iPhone to the masses.

It seems likely at this point that this will be Apple’s strategy going forward. No longer will it pioneer technology only to see competitors take advantage of how cheap and ‘reasonable’ Apple made it seem. It is now Apple to funnel that tech into a device that is just good enough to appeal to millions of new customers, many of which will never need to drive a high-end luxury vehicle. To stretch the analogy a bit, the iPhone 5C is Apple’s ‘C-Class’, a Mercedes for the masses.

It’s a wallet, a game console, a wearable device

But the trickle-down benefits of the iPhone 5S don’t stop at making the mid-line iPhones a more attractive buy for the next model year. There is also a host of very interesting testing going on inside the new flagship.

The new iPhone features a fingerprint sensor which, from early reports by our own staff on the scene, seems quick and easy to use. As I remarked on our TC panel yesterday, including a fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S seems like a brilliant way to make people familiar and comfortable with the concepts of fingerprint recognition in preparation for making it much more capable.

Back in June of 2012, Apple introduced Passbook and I noted that getting people to familiarize themselves with a wallet-like interface that held (second-party) money was a great way to build trust. Apple already holds a great deal of that by making the iTunes Store an easy place to buy media and apps. But Passbook was its first attempt to go ‘out of network’ in a big way. To set up your iPhone as a place to pay for all kinds of stuff.

The fingerprint sensor is ‘boiling the frog’ in a similar way. Yes, it’s starting out as a way to unlock your device and pay for things ‘in-network’ to Apple. But the ability to expand that once you’ve built familiarity with it cannot be understated.

And if you couple that with Passbook or another payments API, while keeping the fingerprint data cordoned off in an encrypted store of the A7 chip, you’ve got yourself a wallet. And, when the time comes, that system can be trickled down to the ‘iPhone 6C’ or what have you.

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In addition to the fingerprint sensor, the iPhone 5S also has a custom-built A7 processor. It’s a 64-bit unit, which has raised a lot of eyebrows because current users of the iPhone won’t see a whole lot of benefit from moving to the new architecture just yet. But, if you think of it in terms of products outside the iPhone family it begins to make more sense.

In addition, Apple has stopped referring to the graphics processor in the iPhone 5S by its PowerVR designation. PowerVR is the company that has built the graphics component of Apple’s SoC since the first iPhone. But this year, Apple’s documentation refers not to the PowerVR name but to an ‘Apple A7 GPU’.

Obviously, alarm bells should be going off right away, as Apple’s chip efforts have been under the watch of Bob ‘special projects’ Mansfield.

From what we understand, this ‘A7 GPU’ is not a custom Apple-built part — but owning the name is very much in preparation for a move that way in the future. We’ll likely hear more about the GPU once the iPhone reviews start rolling in but a PowerVR Series6-based unit is one possibility.

a7

Indeed, it makes a ton of sense for Apple to move all of its chip design in-house in order to get the best performance out of the radios, processors and other silicon.

The iPad, which is very gaming-friendly already, would benefit from increased memory and a 64-bit chip quite readily. But the real benefits will likely come when Apple begins using these 64-bit processors in products like the Apple TV.

If you think of the Apple TV as a game console in waiting, a custom GPU, 64-bit processor and a bunch of memory starts to make a lot of sense. For now, that’s not happening. But the iPhone 5S is setting the stage for devices to come. Apple is thinking forward with the A7, rather than just producing something that’s good enough for this generation, which is great to see.

And lastly we have the M7 — a dedicated motion processing chip. Essentially a bundle of sensors that can be operated independently of the iPhone’s main processor in order to save power. If you don’t immediately think of this chip as an ideal brain for a wearable device then you haven’t been paying attention.

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The M7 and the new A7 processor both feel like Mansfield’s purview. And Mansfield and ex-Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch are rumored to be working on something at Apple — something that may have required the hiring of Nike+ guy Jay Blahnik. And what did Apple happen to demonstrate to show off the M7? A Nike+ Move app, an activity monitor that essentially turns your iPhone 5S into a Fuelband.

Indeed, the iPhone 5S is already a wearable computer — or at least a testbed for one. The technology that could power your Apple wrist computer is shipping this month.

Trickle down

I don’t think that this cascading structure for iPhone technology is coincidental or short-lived. This is the new pattern for iPhone releases going forward. Apple will pioneer new technology in the flagship model, pushing various areas of its chip and fabrication business forward. It will then utilize the established supply and manufacturing resources for that product to craft less expensive and higher-margin models that can be marketed younger.

It’s already commoditized this technology for other makers for years, why not for itself?

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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Siri, Meet JARVIS : Marvel To Launch iOS App Based On Iron Man's AI Assistant

 

On Sept. 10, Apple is expected to officially announce the so-called “iPhone 5S” and “iPhone 5C.” On the same day, Marvel is set to launch an iOS app that may very well set Siri’s heart aflutter.

The app in question is JARVIS, a voice-activated personal assistant app of sorts based on the A.I. of the same name from the “Iron Man” films. Indeed, JARVIS is a tie-in for the home media release of “Iron Man 3,” offering as it does a remote control function for the movie’s Blu-ray menus.

JARVIS

Check out the list below for the key features of JARVIS, as outlined by Marvel:

  • Like Tony Stark, users can engage JARVIS through voice-activated commands
  • Receive messages from JARVIS, download ringtones, post to Facebook and more
  • Check time, local weather as well as set alarms through the integrated Clock mode
  • Initiate media delivered in messages, including video, audio, image, ringtone or website
  • Install unique ringtones
  • Unlock 42 unique Iron Man suits (plus additional “Ghost” file)
  • When connected to the same network as the Blu-ray player, JARVIS will function as the Blu-ray remote control, or the user can simply “say what you see” and the app will do the rest.

Jarvis home screen  Jarvis Blu-Ray remote

Jarvis armor  Jarvis clock
Jarvis

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Friday, 6 September 2013

Microsoft Lumia, Apple's big event, Android KitKat, Samsung Galaxy Gear and more:

 

Microsoft Lumia, Apple's big event, Android KitKat, Samsung Galaxy Gear and more: Gadget Digest

We’re here again at the end of the week, and that means it’s time for your gadget digest! And what a week it’s been, as we’ve been busy bees thanks to the massive IFA tech conference, and there’s been no shortage of top end phones and gadgets showing up from Berlin. Microsoft announced it had big plans for its phone division ahead, Google surprised all with its tasty new name for the next version of Android, Samsung showed off its hot new hardware, while Apple made its next big event official. We’ve got everything you need from this week in tech, and it’s all right here in your gadget digest.

Microsoft snaps up Nokia’s phone business

We’ve heard plenty of rumours that Microsoft has been wanting to make its own Windows Phone for months, but now it looks like its actually happening: the Redmond-based company is buying up Nokia’s devices and services divisions for a whopping $7.2 billion (£4.6bn), while the Finnish company will continue to focus on its technology, mapping and network infrastructure businesses. That means we could be seeing the Microsoft Lumia pretty soon – fancy one?

It’s a phone fiesta!

It wouldn’t be a week in tech without new phones, and we got our eyes on some all-new flagship devices over the past few days. Sony’s revealed its brand new top-of-the-range Xperia Z1 at this year’s IFA expo, which improves on the previous Xperia Z with a huge 20.7-megapixel camera and even faster internals.

Samsung also took to Berlin to announce its latest handset, and phablet fans were not disappointed. The next-gen Galaxy Note 3 is bigger and better than before, measuring up at a huge 5.7-inches, yet manages to be even slimmer and lighter. Along with improved S-Pen stylus features, Samsung’s attached a 13-megapixel camera on the back that’s even capable of shooting 4K video.

That’s not all Samsung had to show: after all the rumours and leaks, the South Korean company officially announced the Galaxy Gear, an Android-powered smartwatch that’ll keep you always connected to your Galaxy device. It’s got a 1.63-inch screen and even comes with 1.9-megapixel camera in the strap, along with plenty of apps to keep your phone in your pocket.

Taiwanese phone maker HTC also had a few new phones to shout out about, which included an all-new range of mid-range Desire devices. First up is the HTC Desire 601, a 4.5-inch Android phone that’s armed with 4G and comes with some of the software smarts of the HTC One. There’s also the HTC Desire 300, the new entry-level device, which packs in a 4.3-inch screen and a nippy dual-core 1GHz processor. HTC also fleshed out its flagship One and One Mini in a new colour: a bright vivid blue that’ll help you stand out of the crowd.

Android and iPhone massive updates officially on the way

Who would have though that Google would be naming its next Android version after a Nestle brand? That’s just what’s happened, as Google’s giving Android 4.4 the title of KitKat – named after Nestle’s famed four-finger treat. That’s not all, as there’s also a Willy Wonka-style competition that’s been woven into actual KitKat bars that could see you win a brand new Nexus 7 tablet or credit to spend in the Google Play store.

Apple, meanwhile, gone and officially made 10 September as the big day for its next event, where we expect to go eyes-on with the all-new iPhone and the rumoured goodies that are set to be on show alongside it. We’re looking forward to seeing what Apple’s got in store, and we know you are too!

IFA’s in full swing!

This year’s massive IFA tech show is currently underway in Berlin, and all sorts of top gadgets have been spilling out of the convention centre halls. Pioneer is rolling out the next-generation of satnavs, which do away with your dashboard mounted GPS unit and instead use augmented reality tech to overlay your driving directions right onto your windscreen.

Smartphone maker Alcatel meanwhile had a few new phones to show off, but what really caught our eye was its new six-inch phone that comes complete with a phone cover that doubles up as an e-reader. The cover accessory lets you read ebooks or newspapers on the go without draining any of the main phone’s battery life, which makes it ideal for the commuter who only has a few pockets spare.

We’re not sure if this is genius or just plain bizarre, but Philips has announced a brand new male grooming trimmer that comes complete with a laser to keep your beard in check right to the millimetre. The Beard Trimmer 9000 is the first laser-guided trimmer in the world, and helps you line up the perfect cut so you’ll be able to craft the ideal five o’clock shadow each and every time.

Amazon and Spotify up your entertainment options

 

Amazon’s Kindles are still going strong, and the online retailer’s aiming to continue its dominance with the brand new Kindle Paperwhite that has an even brighter screen and is even faster than before. The Kindle software has also been given a sprucing up, with upgrades including a new scrubbing mode to let you check other pages, as well as a new children’s mode.

If music’s more your thing than reading, then Spotify’s latest addition will definitely be up your street. There’s already plenty of different ways to stream your music through the house, thanks to likes of Sonos, Pure’s Jongo line and Apple’s AirPlay, but now Spotify’s getting in on the wireless action with Spotify Connect which lets you stream down music from the cloud straight to compatible networked speakers. As everything’s in the cloud, you’ll also be able to pick up where you left off on any of your Spotify devices, so you can come straight home off the train and hit play on your iPad to continue exactly where you left off. Think you’ll give this a spin?

Dead Rising 3 preview

If you’re wanting some undead action in your next-gen gaming, take a look at this preview for the third outing of Dead Rising, exclusively on Xbox One.

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