Bnnr2

Mobile battery life could be getting better

There have been countless posts about the new importance battery life plays as a deciding factor in mobile electronics. Most smartphones today do pretty much the same basics, equivalent of the point A to point B reference commonly used. So one of the biggest differentiator has become battery life, after all what good are all the features if you can’t use them? Well it seems that some new breakthroughs mean mobile battery life could be getting better eventually.

There are some things that are being held back by the constraints of battery life.Take for example Siri, the digital personal assistant on Apple’s iOS devices. Currently the assistant has to be activated with a key press because having the device listen for audio ques would cause horrible battery life. This is just one example of a feature that could be made exponentially better if battery life was removed from the eqaution as a concern. Well then the new advancements that have been made at the University of Illinois could have a very big impact in that area. The article “Small in size, big on power” explains how the microbatteries offer phenominal power in their small size. The article explains that,

The most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery – and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye.

Now that is some serious juice and could unlock a world of potential in mobile computing. Potential in both features and also the size of devices. I’m all for a time when running low on battery power is not a concern the same day devices are charged.

Now if you pair that with the work of a California teen who has come up with a way to recharge a dead phone in just 20 seconds flat the future of mobile technology looks even brighter. Just this past long weekend here in Canada as we celebrated Victoria Day my iPhone was brought to it’s knees. Before I powered it off at 10% battery life. I was at a trailer enjoying the sunshine and barbeque food with family and friends. I was doing some internet browsing, on a few social networks and all of it through LTE so my battery was understandable getting low. As a result I’ve started looking for external battery packs that I can use to extend the charge of my mobile devices. With a two week holiday coming up later this year I’m anticipating a greater need for the device. Well imagine if all it took to recharge my battery was 20 seconds, 5 minutes would make me jump for joy so at under half a minute that is just unbelievable.

As this Yahoo piece explains Eesha Khare used her impressive knowledge of chemistry to solve the issue of a “dead battery” in mobile devices. She invented an energy storage device that can charge a cell phone in 20-30 seconds! The “supercapacitor” stores lots of energy in a tiny space and can hold it for a long time. It also lasts for 10,000 recharge cycles, compared to the usual 1,000 for current rechargeable batteries. The invention was part of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair that took place in Phoenix, AZ a week ago. Eesha Khare for her supercapacitor got the Young Scientist Award along with $50,000. The prize however is very small compared to what this could mean for the world of mobile. So with brilliant people making these kind of advancements the future of mobile looks even brighter. It must be powered by a microbattery.

Sources: Illinois News Bureau, NBC.com and Yahoo

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BlackBerry

Will BlackBerry Make a Comeback?

The smartphone made for businessmen has taken a backseat over the past couple of years, especially with the large growth of Android users. Businessmen tend to stick with their iPhones nowadays, and the BlackBerry is more of a forgotten relic than a true player in the smartphone market. That seems to be changing now, as the BlackBerry Q10 has seen impressive sales numbers internationally. Maybe there’s more fight in BlackBerry than we thought.

With so many smartphone options these days, it looked like having 3 major operating systems available was a bit of a jam, and that was before Windows decided to get serious about the market with their release of Windows 8. BlackBerry has so far managed to survive through the competition, and appear ready for a resurgence with the release of their new phones, the BlackBerry Q10 and BlackBerry Z10.

The Q10 released in Canada and Great Britain earlier this week, and feedback has been great so far. The Q10 features a full keyboard, which is a rarity in top of the line smartphones these days. For those of us who aren’t a big fan of touchscreen typing, it’s a welcome sight to see. So far, the Q10 has managed to remain sold out with nearly all carriers. There is no official timetable on when it will be available in other regions, other than Q2 2013.

With the Z10 doing well with the critics, but not as well on the sales floor, it’s a breath of fresh air for BlackBerry users to see the Q10 start to find success. BlackBerry devices are still trying to find their niche in the market, and having a powerful smartphone with a physical keyboard might be the direction that they’ll head in.

With the success of the Q10 in it’s limited release, BlackBerry stocks have managed to sneak up 2.2% at the US Stock Exchange. For those wondering if BlackBerry was going to be leaving the market anytime soon, I guess you’ll have to wait a little bit longer. Despite falling behind in market share, they now boast the largest user base they have ever had.

Source: Reuters

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Cheap Apps Bnnr

Don’t be a cheapskate when buying apps

The race to the bottom in app pricing has been talked about a lot. People will always pay the least they have to whenever they can but just keep in mind “A cheap app isn’t always good and a good app isn’t always cheap”. But as consumers, customers we get so much more for the price we pay when we buy an app. So please don’t be a cheapskate when buying apps.

I wrote a post sometime last year about just this topic and since it’s now gone that means I get to try to bring some attention to the issue again. Over at Macworld Lex Friedman (@lexfri) wrote a great post “A $5 app isn’t expensive” it’s a great read, check it out, there are many great points. I’m also going to talk about the same topic and will speak on some of the same points but with my own opinions and point of view. To start off with let’s look at what we get when we buy an app. If I buy an app I’m not only able to run it on my iPhone. I can run it on my iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or iPad Mini, if I owned all of those devices. I don’t need to pay again or pay a licensing fee for each device I just pay for the app once and I can enjoy it on a multitude of devices. The updates to apps so far have also been free. I still have apps I bought when I owned an iPhone 3G. Whenever there are updates to increase the functionality, enjoyment, etc. I get it without having to pay a cent.

Coffee, Beer and Smokes

Now I’m not saying buying coffee at Starbucks, a 24 pack of Bud or a pack of cigarettes is less worthwhile than an app. Every person can spend their hard earned money on whatever they want. My point is if a person just takes a minute to add up how much buying a Latte, 24 pack or cigarettes costs for a month or a year and then compare it to the cost of buying a few good apps at 2.99, 5.99, 10.99. It would be eye-opening what the difference in cost is and yet the apps will be entertaining, useful and relevant much longer than any of the consumables will last. Now I know there are people who might buy bargain price coffee or not drink or smoke at all. However that is not the point, most people have things that we spend money on, hobbies, interests things that we enjoy. Apps provide the same things enjoyment, productivity, creativity, entertainment. So why do we value them so cheaply when compared to other things?

Developers need to make a living too

I know the executives from Apple always stand on stage and show the image of a check for the Billions of dollars that has been paid out to developers. The amount seems enormous and paints a picture that every developer is rolling on easy street. Now while I’m sure many developers have been successful at making a living take a look at the number of apps that are in the app store. If every developer was raking in thousands of dollars the money paid out would be much larger. It’s a hard process to create these apps that help us to do things, create things, keep in touch, or just relax. Just like you and I these developers have families, mortgages and bills to pay. I feel like this is something that is partially Apple’s fault because by bringing big companies up on stage at their keynotes they have made developers out to be these big companies able to produce blockbuster titles. People don’t get to see the little guys who are trying to make it on their ideas and talent. So what happens when consumers shy away from the pricier apps? The standard of quality of the apps goes down because if only the cheap apps sell then developers will just make apps cheaply. Apps will get abandoned or never be updated because the developer will just move on to some other endeavor that will feed their family. Perhaps one day we will even start having to pay for updates, it might seem impossible now but never say never!

Race to the bottom

When I compare Apple’s app store to the Jailbreak app store “Cydia” it’s funny because it is not as I would expect. In Cydia there hasn’t been a race to the bottom with most apps costing 0.99 cents. There are many themes, tweaks and apps that are free whether supported through ads or they were just made out of the developers love of providing features or a theme. However many of the functional tweaks, apps or full system wide themes, tweaks like Gridlock 2, Infinidock, Zephyr and apps like BiteSMS, will cost 3.99 all the way up to 10.99 and people will pay. Perhaps because there aren’t a multitude of apps that do much of the same thing but cost less. Perhaps because the developers set the price and you either pay or move on. I’m not sure why but that is what I would love to see in the Apple app store. I’d love to see apps that cost what they are worth, for the gorgeous interface, brilliant features and the usefulness it provides to the customer. I’d love to see more developers making more polished apps because customers are willing to pay for them when they are put in the app store.

So the next time anyone is browsing the app store or a friend or family member has suggested an app. Try not to let yourself react in shock at the sticker price of the app and immediately close the app store. I’m sure many of us can afford that $2, $5 or $10 so just consider if what the app will enable you to do is worth the price tag. Don’t be a cheapskate when buying apps!

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40MO Bnnr

40 years of mobile phones

There have been quite a few posts on T3KD lately talking about the mobile industry. Where is it going, what new hardware is out, better battery life, etc. So I thought with all this talk about better battery life among other features we’d love to see. Why not take a look back since it’s now been 40 years since the first mobile phone call was made. A look back that might bring perspective on how far we’ve come and why we don’t have it so bad after all.

So Gizmodo did a post on the 40th Anniversary of the first mobile call with a Yahoo post expanding even further on the information. They are both definitely worth a read and could possibly bring back some nostalgic feelings, if you were alive back then or older than 10 years old. I wont re-hash everything in the posts but instead highlight the important thing that struck me about how far we have come in the 40 years of mobile phones. I’ll also include a Motorola video that pretty much predicted the mobile phone trajectory in the future which is now our present!

The first call was made by Martin Cooper, April 3rd 1973 with a Motorola DynaTAC. The DynaTAC was nicknamed the “Brick” because it was 9 inches tall and weighed 28 ounces or 1.75 lbs! It had 30 circuit boards inside and 10 hours of charging gave you about 35 minutes of talk time! Can anyone even imagine that, in comparison the very first iPad weighed 1.6 lbs while most smartphones these days will last at the very least 4 hours on a single charge. It is just mind-blowing to look at the difference. Well enjoy a few pictures and video of mobile phones that had their moment in the spotlight.

Did you own one of these?

dkmb86g-420cxnstvcw-b-jpg_160018 dkmb86g-479d4jjqng4-b-jpg_155909 dkmb86g-483d3843pgh-b-jpg_160249

Source – Engadget

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Bnnr

Do you really want a bigger iPhone?

Yesterday I was reading a Gizmodo post “Battery Life Is the Only Spec That Matters” which had some valid points and others that were assumptions. However there was one good point, we are possibly to blame for the thinner iPhone 5. The reason I bring it up is because it is pretty much a common idea now that most people would have rather had a thicker iPhone 5. But although we say that and think why did Apple make it “Lighter” and “Thinner”? Perhaps we are the ones to blame. So ask yourself “Do you really want a bigger iPhone?”

Confused now well just bear with me and it will all make sense. So the new argument is that the size and heft of the iPhone 4/4s was great. So with the new machining process and materials used for the iPhone 5 having it at the same size and weight would have resulted in more battery. More battery would have resulted in phenomenal battery life and we would have all been over the moon. But would we? have been over the moon that is. It is easy to say it in hindsight but with competitors hot on the heels of the iPhone it’s hard to tell. There are blog posts and articles abound about how Apple is no longer innovating. I am one of the people who would have loved a fatter iPhone 5 with crazy good battery life. However don’t forget that battery life is different for each and every person. I get over 24 hours on each charge of my iPhone 5 so I only charge it once a day. However every user is different in the apps they use, web browsing habits, social media use and those are just a few of the things that make the battery life different in each case.

Now let’s just say Apple did make the iPhone 5 the same size and weight of the iPhone 4/4s and used the extra space to pack in extra battery. Some people, like me would have excellent battery life but still some would still have mediocre battery life. It’s those people who would then complain that even though the design is new the iPhone 5 was still the same size as the iPhone 4/4s and Apple wasn’t innovating. They would point at the competitors and all their “innovations” but most of all Apple would have lost more mind-share of consumers. The Gizmodo post highlights an excellent point, when the iPad 3 debuted with Retina Display it was slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. Did people love the fact that the increased size gave them Retina Display with the same or better battery life? no complaints were all over the place about the increased size and that it was now heavier. So when consumers, blogs, media outlets react like that can we really blame Apple for making devices thinner and lighter instead of giving us more battery?

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Blackberry calling the kettle black

Blackberry calling the kettle black

The CEO of the company formerly known as RIM, now Blackberry, Thorsten Heins claims that Apple is trailing when it comes to innovation. He also basically called iOS the Operating System(OS) that iDevices(iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc) run on old. Now to me aint that a little like the Blackberry calling the kettle black. Yes pun intended, but really it wasn’t very long ago that Blackberry was on the brink of destruction as their marketshare in the mobile space eroded with their dated offerings. So if anyone should know about old, outdated and quickly becoming irrelevant it would be Blackberry. The new BBX isn’t even a smash success yet so does Mr. Heins really feel justified in talking about a competitor whose device has more market share and makes more profit than his company does right now?

You can read more about what the Blackberry CEO had to say to The Australian Financial Review in this iMore post. Now before anyone claims that I’m getting deffensive because of my Apple Fanboyism. Go back and listen to some of the old T3kd podcasts where we argue and wax poetic about RIM and it’s future. I have been a supporter of them turning things around and being a player in the mobile market for awhile now. I have even written posts, which were destroyed when the site was taken down last year, about how Blackberry could claw their way back to relevance. I’ve done an iOS 7 wishlist post where I went through the things I hope Apple will impliment in their next OS refresh sometime this year. My issue is that by Heins saying what he did there is now an intense spotlight on how successful the BBX platform and devices will be and even the company and Heins himself. Why would he want to do that when BBX hasn’t been a runaway success and isn’t going to immediately reverse the abysmal market share Blackberry devices now hold?

I just feel that he has now put un-needed scrutiny on the new Blackberry devices, how the BBX OS will function and how well the devices will sell. The iPhone and along with it iOS might be long in the tooth but the benefit of that is also familiarity and ease of use. While it might not be cutting edge Apple is not in the position Blackberry was just in of having to fire employees and whittle their staff down in an effort to “Streamline operations”. Perhaps Heins’ comments were instead meant to goad Apple into rushing out new features tripping up the iPhone and iOS in the process. This still would be a pretty silly move since most people know that Apple in the majority of cases will wait and put out a polished product rather than hurry to put out a half baked product instead. Well no matter what the intentions were everyone is entitled to their opinions but as CEO of a company sometimes things that are said have a really bad way of coming back to bite you in the ass. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when iOS 7 or for that matter iOS 8 comes out since Blackberry’s new devices still have quite awhile to prove themselves too.

Source: imore.com

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The 3 cast

Lost Episode: The Sequel – The 3 Cast #109

This episode was recorded two weeks ago, but is just now being posted. Matt had some Apple software issues, that prevented the podcast from going up on time. This episode we talked about the playstation 4 announcement and what to expect, we bashed RIM some more, and we talked about Jailbreaking your iPhone.


 

Download mp3 | AAC | Video

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screen protector

How It’s Done – Protect Your Smartphone With a Screen Protector

screen protector

If you’re as paranoid as I am when it comes to scratching your smartphone, then you probably have your device in a bulky case that’s droop proof, spill proof, dust proof, and everything else proof. Most of the time heavy-duty cases don’t bother me, but every once in a while I wish I didn’t have to mess with the bulk and just switch to something a little slimmer, or maybe nothing at all.

Forget protecting your device from accidental drops, or water damage without a decent case, that isn’t going to happen any time soon. But if you’re interested in only preventing minor scratches from pocket junk like keys or change, then a decent screen protector can suit your needs quite well. It isn’t foolproof though, if you keep your phone in your pocket (or your bag) all the time it is going to develop scratches.

It should be pointed out that most newer devices use Gorilla Glass, or some variation, and while it is a highly scratch resistant compound it also is not foolproof. These things can scratch and break.

There’s actually quite a bit of diversity on the screen protector front and I’m going to go through the various options currently available in the sections below.

 

Tempered Glass, Urethane-Based Film, and PET

Tempered Glass (BEST)

Examples: GLAS.tIOCELL Ultrashield

I’ve found that people who enjoy using a stylus with their smart device often prefer tempered glass screen protectors over film screen protectors. Usually, it isn’t a sensitivity issue, but rather a gliding issue (they often find that their stylus will no longer slide along the surface of their smartphone). If you’re someone who often uses a stylus, a tempered glass screen protector is for you.

Tempered glass screen protectors also provide a greater deal of protection, often around three times stronger than PET film protectors.

Some tempered glass protectors have an oleophobic coating which prevents fingerprint spotting and other contaminants from adhering to the protector’s surface. It also makes cleaning a lot easier.

I’ve run across a few users that have found removing a tempered glass protector a bit trickier than a urethane-based film, or PET film protector.

 

Urethane-Based Film(DECENT)

Examples: Invisible Shield, Phantom Skinz, Body Guardz

Engineered urethane film which provides a decent amount of protection. Not as good as tempered glass, but definitely better than an ordinary PET film.

These work well for the majority of users. If you want an unnoticeable layer of additional protection, then these should suit you fine.

 

PET Film(BLAH)

Examples: amFilm

These are the cheapies. Remember buying packs of ten? I’m not sure why anyone would use a simple PET film on a modern device. It provides a negligible amount of protection. My advice is, unless you’re protecting a small paper doll, don’t buy ordinary PET screen protectors. In fact, don’t even buy them for small paper dolls.

There’s a notable cost difference between urethane-based films and standard PET. If it’s really cheap, it’s PET.

 

Many coating variations can be found for screen protectors developed with a urethane-based film, or a standard PET film. Depending on your needs you might consider anti-glare, mirror, antibacterial, privacy, ultra-clear, glossy, or dirt-repellent.

Do you have a screen protector, or case that you love? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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The 3 cast

RIM Job: The 3 Cast #108

This week we talk about BlackBerry, formerly known as RIM. We talk about their new products, then we talk about how Apple sucks and will never be the same. Then we ask if Video Games really cause real violence. Plus picks and the final question, this week on The 3 Cast.

Download       mp3         |          AAC        |           Video

Subscribe to Video Version on iTunes Subscribe to Audio Version on iTunes Subscribe on YouTube

Hosts: Matthew Weber, Vincent Hui, Paul Shirey

Topics: RIM announcements, Apple’s future, and Video Game Violence

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smartphone and tablet

Smartphone & Tablet Market in 2013

smartphone and tablet

ABI Research has released their latest projections for the smartphone and tablet worldwide market in 2013. Based on their research there will be approximately 1.4 billion active smartphones and 268 million tablets this year. Android will retain the largest portion of the smartphone market, and iOS will continue staying in the lead with tablets. Microsoft and BlackBerry will still be active players, but with smaller shares keeping developers interested just enough to stay competitive.

According to ABI, by the end of 2013 there will be 45 million smartphones running a Windows OS and roughly 20 million BlackBerry 10 devices actively utilized globally. That’s about 3.2 percent and 1.4 percent of the market for the companies respectively. ABI stated that one of the primary driving forces behind growth in the smartphone and tablet markets is app development, and while Windows and BlackBerry devices might seem to have a very small portion of the overall market in comparison to Android and Apple, it seems that their footing will be enough to keep developers interested and continually releasing more applications for consumers.

ABI analyst Aapo Markkanen on ABI’s projections said, “The greatest fear for both Microsoft and BlackBerry is that the initial sales of their smartphones will disappoint and thereby kill off the developer interest, which then would effectively close the window of opportunity on further sales success… Our view is that the installed bases of this scale would be large enough to keep these two in the game.”

Nokia and BlackBerry might take this as good news, but really what it means is that these two manufacturers have to work extremely hard to gain greater market shares. Assuming they have enough interested developers, they really need to push them to come out with innovative applications instead of regurgitating old ideas and painting them in pretty colors.

Markkanen told TechCrunch, ” Based on our current shipment forecasts, we don’t see the installed base of either BB or WP reaching the double-digits within the next five years… It’ll be a slow climb, since if they both stay in the game they’ll be kind of eating into each other’s success. It won’t be that much-touted two-horse race, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a three- or four-horse race either. Maybe a race of two horses and two ponies.”

As far as tablets in 2013, iPad devices make up 62 percent of the market and Android devices have about 28 percent. Windows based tablets only account for roughly 2 percent of the overall market. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Since Apple has most of the market now, it stands to lose the most. Analysts suspect that this major difference in the tablet market could be a great opportunity for Android and Windows growth.

ABI has predicted that the growth rate for smartphones and tablets this year will be 44 percent and a whopping 125 percent respectively.

Will you be buying a tablet this year? Based on these numbers, chances are that you will be.

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