Just a short while after the launch of the RAZR Motorola has announced that two new Android phones are due to be released very soon. The Motoluxe and Defy Mini both run on Android Gingerbread. Neither phone is quite as cutting edge as the RAZR but they are nice additions to Motorola’s burgeoning Android range.
The Motoluxe is a large 4 inch touchscreen phone that will be ideal for web based features and Android apps. The phone runs on quite a slow 800MHz processor but is fairly well endowed in 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also has a pretty decent 8 megapixel camera and a VGA front facing camera.
While the specs may not be amazing the Motoluxe is certainly a stylish phone, and has a unique ‘lanyard slot’ at the bottom right of the screen that will light up when you have a missed call, new message or email. This is a bit like the light indicators that used to be included on the exterior of flip-phones, and it is a wonder why this useful feature has not been included on more touchscreen phones. The lanyard slot allows you to quickly check whether you need to read a new message or check a missed call without actually having to walk across the room to pick up your phone.
The Defy Mini is a smaller version of the earlier Defy released in 2010. The Defy was a rugged phone, a phone designed to withstand the worst that Mother Nature had to throw at it (as well as your own cack-handedness). Being able to endure high volumes of dust, being held under water for extended periods and shrugging off drops to the floor that would leave other phones weeping into a thousand pieces are just some of the reasons that rugged phones have become popular with mountain climbers, divers and fans of other outdoor pursuits.
Until the Defy though, these rugged phones were pretty basic. Probably more basic than a phone you had ten years ago, but Motorola showed it was possible to bring this durability to touchscreen smartphones. The Defy Mini is the same sort of thing, albeit quite a bit smaller, which probably makes it even more ideal for outdoor activities.
The Mini is a little bit slower than the original Defy and the camera isn’t quite as good, but it does come with a more modern version of Android (Gingerbread) and the same decent Wi-Fi and 3G connections. Most importantly though, for when you find yourself lost on a mountaintop somewhere, the Defy Mini has a far superior battery life compared to the original for talk time and standby.
Both phones will feature MotoSwitch, which evolved out of Motorola’s earlier MotoBlur system. MotoSwitch has adopted ideas used on Facebook that will display contacts and app icons more prominently on your phone the more you interact with them. So if you have one contact that you phone ten times a day and another that you sent a single message to 8 months ago, your regular contact will be easier to access from the phone’s homescreen.
The two phones are due to be released in the coming weeks in Europe, China and Latin America, although Motorola has not released any price details just yet. When these phones are finally released you will be able to get them in the UK from mobile phone comparison website Best Mobile Contracts.
Christmas is right around the corner, so now it’s the right time to pick out some holiday apps for your iPhone. Here are the Christmas apps I personally enjoy, and I hope you’ll also like them. Continue reading »
One of the biggest gripes I have about the headphones that come as part of my phone package is their inability to fit the contours of my ears perfectly. And that is one important aspect that the new NoiseHush NX80 stereo headphones fixes. This headphone – that comes with a gold-plated 3.5mm jack and a 3.9 feet tangle-free cable – claims to deliver music at a powerful bass while retaining the quality of the output sound. The headphone also comes with an easily accessible control button that will let you pick calls while listening to music quite easily. Other specs include an 8mm driver unit, regular frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz and a rated power range of 2mw to 10mw. Continue reading »
As Apple tackles complaints made against battery life for the new iPhone 4S, they could have another problem to solve – SIM Cards. And the two issues could be linked.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, when launching the iPhone 4S, placed a lot of emphasis on an improved battery to cope with the faster processing speed in the new device. A better phone, he claimed, did not mean a reduced battery life. Despite his assurances some users complained on Apple forums of the device’s battery running down in under a day. Others claimed the battery would drop while the phone was inert. Apple posted suggestions and tips online for reducing battery drainage, including switching off location services and data usage when without signal. Now Apple has promised an iOS update, iOS 5.0.1 will solve the issue. But the battery problem may have created another.
Some users have taken to forums suggesting when they have received their iOS update their smartphone no longer recognises their SIM card. One user wrote that they re-inserted the card to be met with a note reading “SIM Failure”, another “Invalid SIM”. Without a SIM card users are unable to make calls or send texts making their iPhone 4S largely useless. Others have reported on the Apple help forums that while the SIM appears to have been recognised they have not been able to connect calls or receive texts. Others have complained that after the iOS 5.0.1 update they have still had a battery issue and even found it difficult to connect to Wi-Fi.
For Apple, the on-going issue of battery life and user complaints will have uncomfortable memories of what the press and bloggers dubbed “Antenna-gate”. When the iPhone 4 launched users quickly spotted a design flaw. When held in the left hand to make a call the user covered a sensor which meant the signal dropped off, making it difficult to make and receive calls. It was, they claimed, the fault of the antenna which was in the wrong place. When designing the iPhone 4S Apple took this issue seriously and wanted no repeat of the same issue. Two antennae were fitted to the new device. Yet while one problem is solved, another crops up.
The new iOS 5 has been rolled out on all compatible devices but so far the issues with the update only seem to be affecting iPhone 4S users, some of whom claim they are going back to using their iPhone 4. Form responses claim re-starting the phone can solve the problem temporarily or restoring from iTunes. Others claim it works if they switch off the 3G network. But none of these are solutions with any real longevity.
The success of the iPhone 4S, its status as the fastest selling smartphone despite its not so cheap mobile phone deals, have made this a bumper quarter for Apple who must have been hoping this would close the door on the marred launch of the iPhone 4. However, while one iOS update does not appear to have solved the battery issues on the new device, another will have to be forthcoming before a second software issue affects another new smartphone launch. Apple has so far made no comment about the SIM problems reported.
The Windows Phone marketplace is still a small ecosystem with just around 40,000 apps available for download. Around 3000 new apps are being added on a daily basis with more than 1650 of them being free. While this may sound like a small number, the fact that rivals like Apple and Google have had close to 3 years of headstart over Microsoft is an indication that Microsoft may be catching up faster than one may have thought. In the United States, Windows Phone 7 devices already make up close to 5% of all smartphones. Do remember that this does not include the older Windows Mobile 6.5 version devices.
So, what are the most popular apps among this fledgling population of users. First up, the top 10 free apps on the Windows Phone marketplace
2. Adobe Reader
4. Free Music Downloader (by Fast Code)
5. Bubble Shoot (by Words Mobile)
6. Penguin (by Mike Newman)
7. Xbox LIVE Extras
9. Physi Bricks (by Stiq Joy LLC)
10. Funny Jump (by AE Mobile)
So what are the apps that are being purchased the most? Here are the top 10
1. $2.99 Angry Birds
2. $2.99 Burn the Rope
3. $2.99 Gravity Guy
4. $2.99 Implode!
5. $2.99 COLLAPSE
6. $2.99 Fruit Ninja
7. $4.99 Need for Speed Undercover
8. $4.99 SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 4 Episode 1
9. $2.99 Fight Game Rivals
10 $4.99 PvZ
Siri, your “humble personal assistant” could be doing a lot many more things very soon. A patent application made public today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has revealed a newer version of the Nuance software that would enable the voice recognition software to record and interpret data provided to it over phone calls. The application has been filed by Nuance Communications – the company that powers the voice recognition technology on Siri.
In the patent application titled, “HANDS FREE CONTACT DATABASE INFORMATION ENTRY AT A COMMUNICATION DEVICE“, Nuance has described a new program that would initiate a recording system to store an ongoing conversation between the user and another person over a phone call and then translate this conversation into text and ultimately be able to interpret contact details like Name and Phone numbers that can be saved into the user’s phone book.
“In one embodiment, a recording system at a communication device detects a user initiation to record. Responsive to detecting the user initiation to record, the recording system records the ongoing conversation supported between the communication device and a second remote communication device. The recording system converts the recording of the conversation into text. Next, the recording system extracts contact information from the text. Then, the recording system stores the extracted contact information in an entry of the contact database, such that contact information is added to the contact database of the communication device without manual entry of the contact information by the user.”
The patent application points out that one of the important uses of such an utility would be while the user is driving and would hence not be able to note down details provided over the call. It is however interesting to note that the patent application is to a large extent specific about interpreting and storing “contact details” over the phone and not generic about taking all other sorts of commands. We will need to monitor future filings by Nuance to see the direction this exciting voice recognition technology is headed to.
If you have been using an Android phone, it is quite likely that you have been seeing ads on your notification bar. The ads are basically one liners that are marked with an icon that looks like a white star with a red dot in the middle. They are quite annoying especially because the notification bar is where you see all the important updates from your apps and is the last place one would want to see and click on an ad.
So, how do you remove them? Firstly, you need to know that it is not Android that shows the ads there in the first place. Instead, these ads are shown by some of the third party apps that you have installed in your phone. To do a quick check on what app is showing this annoying ad on the notification bar, simply tap on the ad and check out the name of the app that is displayed on the upper left side corner. This is the application that is showing these ads on your screen.
In most cases, this alone should be sufficient. But if you have multiple apps that is causing the problem, what you can do is install this free app from the Android market called the ‘AirPush Detector’. AirPush is basically the technology framework that enables the display of these intrusive apps. The AirPush Detector is an app developed by Dan Bjorge that lets you know all the apps on your phone that have this technology enabled (and so are causing this ad push).
Although the app is named ‘AirPush Detector’, the underlying application also helps detect other frameworks like LeadBolt, IAC and Appenda and is so pretty comprehensive in its coverage. Download the AirPush Detector app on your Android phone by clicking here.
When Google Plus launched earlier this year, the company made it a point to let us know that the service was still available only to personal profiles and that brands and businesses who want to build a Google Plus page of their own will have to wait. In an interview to VentureBeat, a Google spokesman had said at that point,
“There will be a product very soon that has businesses’ interests in mind… We want to give them the features businesses expect and the features that can improve the sharing experience both for consumers and businesses. You can expect to see a level of analytics and measurement that you’d typically find in Google products as well as a nuanced approach to how things are shared. It encourages and enhances conversation, it doesn’t just put things in the stream.”
With business profiles expected to be announced soon, speculations are rife on what this new feature could mean to the business of social media. As we have seen in the past year or so, Google has been consolidating their properties – at least the utility part of it. We now have just one universal social property (barring Orkut for Brazil and pockets of India) from Google. Google Buzz and Wave are shutting down. Google Reader is losing its ‘Share’ option. And all of these are being replaced by Google Plus. Similarly, Google Videos is being phased out as users are now being encouraged to share videos via YouTube alone. Most Google properties now have the uniform profile bar at the top of the page that lets users connect to the different Google properties at one place.
So, does this consolidation provide us with a direction that this new Google Plus for Brands will take? One of the most likely possibilities is that Google could integrate the “RSS reader” functionality right into the service. A significant number of ‘Brands’ on Google Plus are likely to be blogs and other news media websites. At present, these websites have separate buttons to let users subscribe to RSS and newsletter feeds. In addition to this, these websites also carry a +1 button for independent posts as well as the website as a whole.
The next step in Google’s consolidation strategy could be to integrate these different elements so that users may follow their RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions and brand postings on Google+ right from the notifications section on the top of their Google window. What this means is that users no longer have to independently follow the brand pages on Google+ and re-read the same posts on their Google Reader. Instead, Google could be moving towards making Reader and Feedburner redundant by providing these features on Google Plus.
Why should they be cannibalizing their own properties? For one, Google does not monetize Reader or Feedburner and the only reason these properties have existed is to keep competition in the segment at bay. By moving towards one property that will fulfill all these requirements, Google would not only be keeping the interests of its users intact, but also establish a larger active base of users for Google Plus who will help the company beat its nemesis Facebook in the social networking segment.
A number of iPhone users have been writing in on the Apple support forums that they are having trouble connecting to Bluetooth devices after upgrading to the new iOS 5 operating system. What happens typically is that the iPhone may not be displaying the Bluetooth icon on the top of the screen even though you have the Bluetooth option turned on in the Settings option. Also, the iPhone may refuse to recognize any other Bluetooth enabled devices in the vicinity which means you may not be able to connect to any other device.
There is a simple fix for this though. What you need to do is go to Settings -> General -> Bluetooth and turn the option Off and then turn On again one more time. Your iPhone will start recognizing Bluetooth enabled devices once again. So how frequently will you see this problem? Every time you restart your iPhone. In any case, this is a major irritant for those of you who frequently connect your iPhones to Bluetooth devices. And if you own a new iPhone 4S that has battery issues as well, good luck since you will also have to deal with the phone conking out every now and then.
Let’s hope Apple fixes this issue soon in the next update.
Internet users have long poked fun at Internet Explorer and any of its users. While the browser can be used across any mobile broadband connection, it hasn’t exactly been a favorite of the internet savvy. Earlier this year, there was even a faux study released that suggested that internet users who preferred Internet Explorer were actually less intelligent than other internet users who chose different browsers.
In spite of these jabs and the negative commentary, however, Internet Explorer had continued to account for over 50 percent of all web browsers used – mainly because it came with every computer that operated on Windows. It’s hold, however, ended in October.
Due to the increase in Apple products using Safari, such as the iPhone and iPad, and Firefox’s growing popularity, Internet Explorer is no longer able to account for over 50 percent of browsing on the web – a percentage it relinquishes after a decade long hold. The only area in which the browser maintains its majority status, at 52.63 percent, is with desktop browsers – otherwise, it is becoming more and more obsolete, especially as the dependency on mobile browsing rises.
As of right now, Internet Explorer only accounts for 6 percent of browsing on smartphones and tablets. Safari on the other hand, has a majority of the mobile market with an astonishing 62.17 percent – most of which the iPhone can be thanked. Firefox, which is the second most popular overall browser, accounts for 21.20 percent of traffic, while Chrome and Safari account for just a fraction more than Firefox when combined.
While Internet Explorer is still the most widely used browser, most people are wondering who actually still uses IE, and a majority of those users are most likely those who are too lazy to change their default browser after they purchased a PC operating on Windows.
Unfortunately, Internet Explorer will only continue to lose ground as more and more mobile devices take over where desktops and laptops leave off. Simply put, people love their smartphones and tablets because of their portability, and their use has exponentially grown over the first year alone. Unless Internet Explorer evolves to offer an exceptional browsing experience, it will most likely lose out to Firefox in the near future and become nonexistent in the mobile browsing world.
Which really isn’t all the bad considering that only those of lower intelligence actually uses the browser. It’s simply a matter of survival of the fittest.