Tag Archives: smartphone

Android Takes Over as Leading Smartphone Platform

According to new research by Canalys, Google’s Android platform has taken over the top smartphone platform spot from Symbian in the last quarter of 2010. Global sales of Android phones during this time period was 33.3 million. This is in comparison to Symbian’s 31 million. Apple came in at third place with 16.2 million iOS smartphones shipped, followed by RIM with 14.6 million and Microsoft with 3.1 million.

Android is being used by manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC. All of these companies has seen excellent sales results with devices based on this platform. Is it fair, though, to compare something like Android to iOS? Apple’s operating system only appears on one smartphone, whereas Android shows up in more devices than we can count. In light of that, I’d say that the iOS numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

The change at the top doesn’t come as much of a shock. Nokia reported not long ago that they are having weak sales. The company claims this is a result of their struggles to transform the Symbian platform into something that can truly compete with iOS and Android.

Which smartphone platform are you using? What do you love about it?

Do You Rely on Your Phone?


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Someone asked recently if I could live without my cell phone. Ten years ago, I could have. Back then, my phone wasn’t smart at all. It was big. It had a lot of buttons on it. But it didn’t really DO much.

These days, my smartphone has turned into the best computer I’ve ever had. It’s with me anytime I leave the room, let alone the house. I don’t (and can’t) always carry my iPad or laptop with me. I certainly don’t haul my desktop around. My phone is always in my pocket and I can use it to do nearly anything I can do with the other devices.

My phone allows me to stay better connected with the world around me. I’m able to do most of what I need to do from wherever I am – I’m even always online. This is a more powerful computer than what I had back in high school. I don’t need a physical keyboard or mouse for a device to be a computer. It’s a basic input/output device. That’s all I need.

I don’t know if – today – I could live without my phone. I truly don’t think I could. How about you? Could you live without your phone?

Top Ten Free Travel Apps for Smartphones

This is a guest post written by Christian Arno.

Whether you have a smartphone or not, the chances are you’ve at least heard of them. With Web connectivity and a myriad of software created especially, smartphones are the perfect portable PC for business people across the world. And their built-in support for a multitude of media formats makes them perfect for consumers too.

There’s more to smartphones besides their built-in systems. Applications are what makes them special. Easy to download and install, there’s a smartphone app for just about everything you could ever dream of.

If you’re a bit of a nomad at heart and have a penchant for foreign travel, you’re probably sick of carrying extra luggage such as maps, dictionaries and travel guides. And that’s where smartphone travel apps can come to the rescue.

It doesn’t matter if you have a Blackberry, HTC, iPhone, Samsung or other smartphone on the market, chances are you’ll find what you need on the Web.

Some apps are free, while others can cost up to $15. If you’re not a big spender, don’t worry – many free smartphone apps are just as good.

Here are the top ten free smartphone travel apps you can’t do without.

BlackBerry

  • WorldMate – This application identifies your flight, hotel, and car rental confirmation emails on your BlackBerry and creates a single itinerary with all the details synched to your BlackBerry. Once you begin your journey, WorldMate guides you through all the stages of the trip.
  • XE Currency – A must have BlackBerry application if you’re not good with numbers. XE Currency can convert more than 180 currencies with up-to-minute rates, provided you’re in an open Wi-Fi zone. Or, you can take the hit on your roaming charges. If you update it just before you leave on your trip, XE Currency has the latest rates gathered to help you even if there’s no internet connection, and the chances are the rates won’t change to much throughout the course of your trip.
  • TripCase – Winner of the ‘Best Travel Application’ in June 2009, TripCase offers flight updates, displays car rental services and restaurants around you (with pictures and prices). If you’re in an Internet zone, TripCase can connect with hundreds of travel websites to create the best itinerary.

HTC

  • Next2Me – This HTC app saves you looking like a tourist cliché and you don’t have to ask ‘where the post office is’. Using GPS, Next2Me offers everything you need to know about your surroundings. It provides a list with restaurants, movie theaters, ATM’s, gas stations and more. Besides pictures, reviews and other info, Next2Me offers phone numbers of restaurants and hotels so you can call ahead and make a reservation.
  • Trip Journal – Winner of Google’s Mobile Travel Application Award, Trip Journal allows you to make your own travel guide. Documenting every part of your trip, pictures, videos and notes of what you visit, routes you take as waypoints, Trip Journal can be shared with others, for a similar exciting vacation.

iPhone

  • Yelp! – Yelp! has an impressive collection of reviews and information on restaurants, bars, and clubs from all over the world. Besides pictures, contact info and working hours, Yelp! also provides the best way of reaching your place of choice.
  • World Customs & Cultures – This iPhone app can save you a lot of trouble when visiting a foreign country for the first time. It has a comprehensive list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ on most countries in the world. Don’t know if it’s impolite eating in the park? Check WCC’s database for all the local knowledge you’ll ever need.
  • Skype – A must have app if you don’t like spending all your hard earned cash on international calls. If you’re in a Wi-Fi zone you can chat or ‘instant message’ with friends back home without spending a penny.

Samsung Apps

  • Anti Mosquito Plus Sonic Insect Repeller – This application from Vanilla Breeze does pretty much what it says in the description. It’s an anti mosquito app that emits an insect-repelling sonic frequency that will keep you free of mosquito bites and any nasty diseases.
  • Talking Phrasebook – Packed with more than 500 professionally translated words and phrases, Talking Phrasebook might just be your best friend when you’re abroad. Each phrasebook provides both text and audio translations recorded by a native voice-over artist to help you get to grips with the local lingo and sounding like a local in no time!

Even though trips around the world are meant to be relaxing and fun, sometimes things don’t go your way. With a smartphone and some travel apps you can save time, money and keep yourself from having to carry a suitcase full of books and other paraphernalia.

Christian Arno is founder of Lingo24, a global language services provider that specializes in technical and creative translations across all industries, as well as translating websites of all sizes and scope. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 today has 150 full-time employees and a turnover of $8m.

What Smartphone Do Real Men Use?


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Wired reported that American Special Forces favor the Google Phone, vs. the Army who designs their own hardware/software. They like the fact that it’s an open source option, which means that they can customize it to their liking, vs. spending extra money/resources on designing something from scratch. These devices will assist soldiers with vital communications while on the field.

Lamarr wants to know if he uses a Blackberry or iPhone if that makes him a “girly man.” Just because he orders a light salad on the side with every meal does not make him less manly!

US Special Forces were looking for a simple communications platform to use with their soldiers. They wanted something that was highly customizable and configurable, so they chose Android. They asked coders to develop a suite of applications that soldiers can use in the field.

This is going to be called the Tactical Situational Awareness Application Suite. This includes files transfers, video displays, multi-touch white-boarding and even live chat.

What do you think about this? Can we trust the open source community with this? Would it be a security risk?

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Does Your Cell Phone Make You Rude?


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Back in the day, we tended to focus more on what the person across from us was saying vs. what the person on our phone that we couldn’t see was saying. Nowadays we check email, tweets, texts, calls, etc., and in social situations, this can seem extremely rude. Mashable tackled this in an article yesterday on ending social rudeness by putting your phone away. Lamarr has definite opinions as to what constitutes phone rudeness.

The problem, of course, is that constantly perusing your phone is freaking rude — a clear signal that your reception is more important than anything going on in the here and now. Get this: 10% of people 24 and younger think it’s OK to text during sex, according to consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo. That brings a whole meaning to the term multitasking.

When do you feel it is “okay” to grab your phone and give it more attention than you do those around you? Is it ever a good idea? Do YOU know when it’s time to turn that device off and just forget it even exists?

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Stupidphone vs Smartphone

Independent studies claim that the the Rotary beats both iPhones and Android devices in a series of real-world tests. How?

1958- very yellow phone

  1. The dialing mechanism has force feedback. None of this namby-pamby, touchscreen crap. Haptics are for the lazy.
  2. Forces you to remember actual phone numbers. That’s for when you’re trying to call your “best friend” (whose number you can’t remember) from another phone after your battery has died. And speaking of…
  3. No batteries required. Forget recharging – this is an all-day (and all-night) sucker.
  4. You can’t take it with you. Tired of people getting ahold of you anytime, anywhere? Screw that.
  5. Burns more calories. Ever mis-dial the 6th number, needing to hang up and try the whole darn thing again? Yeah, well that’s physical activity – and that burns calories.
  6. No case required. This thing is built from bakelite – one of the toughest plastics known to man. You drop the headpiece, there’s no worries about it shattering into a zillion pieces.
  7. No dropped calls. In order to make a connection to the mothership, you need to plug ‘er into the wall. You could run around the room all day long and never have to worry about interference.
  8. No accidental butt-dials. If you actually connect with a person after sitting on this phone, it would be the first time in history that such a thing has happened.
  9. Hasn’t changed in decades. Are you tired of having to re-learn a task every six months when an upgrade becomes available? Never fear! This device will never change. Ever.
  10. Curbs a drug dealer’s ability to buy and sell. I shit you not.

Stupidphone? Maybe it’s not so stupid after all.

Is Your Cell Phone Hurting Your Children?

Is your reliance on technology hurting your children? A new study shows that perhaps parents are too plugged in. The story cites a young mother who was ignoring her toddler in a busy shopping mall while she had her head buried in her cell phone’s screen. It goes on to discuss the negative impact that constant device usage can have on a child’s psyche and upbringing.

The study talks about the negative effects that a parent’s desire to always stay connected can have on children, yes. But it doesn’t touch on the dangers that could happen. It only takes a split second for someone to grab a child in a public place. Toddlers and babies are kidnapped in an instant while their parent or guardian looks away at an item on a store shelf. It isn’t inconceivable that the same thing could happen while mom is busy checking her Twitter stream or dad is reading the latest email from work. Children can be hit by a car, drown in a pool or run off without supervision in the blink of an eye. If a parent is engrossed in their phone for a few moments, bad things could potentially happen.

I’m not saying that you can never use your devices around your children. I’m saying that you need to stop tuning everything else out while you check up on things. I’m just as guilty as the next person of this infraction. I am quite good at tuning out the world around me whenever I feel I need to. Parents build up this ability as their children get older. It’s almost a survival instinct. You have to be able to filter out noise and distractions to get things done, right? But what if something tragic happens while you’re tuned out?

Photo credit to The Chef Alliance.

AT&T Abuses "Valued Customers" Over Verizon iPhone

For the most part, I’ve avoided speculating on the validity of the iPhone ultimately becoming available on Verizon’s network. Sure, I’ve been following the rumors – but they haven’t meant much to me… until tonight.

Now, I’ve been an AT&T customer for a number of years – having switched away directly FROM Verizon, feeling like I was being overcharged for rather “okay” service. Mind you, I’ve never been thrilled with any mobile voice or data service provider. Moreover, even before the iPhone, AT&T (Cingular) had a “better” array of phones to offer customers.

My iPhone drops calls more frequently than a man-whore drops trou. Despite this, I haven’t abandoned AT&T for a few reasons: (1) I don’t care to jailbreak my iPhone and move to T-Mobile; (2) I have tons of rollover minutes; (3) believe it or not, AT&T has offered to save me money on a few occasions; (4) momentum.

Today, however, AT&T planted a big “we love you so much, we’re going to overcharge you for leaving” statement into our laps – adding insult to injury by addressing us as “Valued Customers” all the while:

For customers who enter into new two-year service agreements in connection with the purchase of our more advanced, higher end devices, including netbooks and smartphones, the ETF will increase to $325. [Up from $175]

Why are they increasing their smartphone early termination fee (ETF) on June 1, 2010? There can be only one reason; they’re expecting smartphone users to jump ship soon. But why, pray tell, would smartphone users leave AT&T in the near future? Oh, that’s as easy to read as an iPhone’s “Call Failed” notification:

The next iPhone must be headed to Verizon’s network.

So, instead of offering me a discount for all the dropped calls I’ve incurred, they’re “offering” to charge me more to leave their network. Instead of putting the “work” back into their network, they’re making it financially disadvantageous to leave their ecosystem.

You know what, AT&T? That’s just messed up. You don’t treat your “valued customers” like convicts – you don’t force them to stay with you by levying fines.

How dare you: (a) call me a “valued customer” when you decided to stop treating me like one; (b) don’t enable commenting on your press release; (c) believe that this is anywhere near an “open” letter.

If anybody owes anybody anything, it’s you who owes your customers for all those failed promises (where’s my tethering option in the U.S.A.?). That you’re increasing this already-outrageous fee on the eve of the next iPhone announcement is pretty much confirming every Verizon-iPhone rumor out there.

Fact: a lost customer is one near-impossible to regain. I wasn’t even considering Verizon (or any other network) as an option… until I read your statement, AT&T. Verizon’s commercials didn’t faze me. I had no want, need, nor desire to leave you, AT&T. So, why are you putting the squeeze on me?!

“Won’t you tell (us) ’bout those rabbits, George?”

Don’t you ever call me a “valued customer” again – you have no right. I should leave you on principle, alone.

Some have noted that Verizon (itself) charges the same amount of money for early termination, but that doesn’t make it right. These policies are typically put in place to keep people where they are, and while the document further states the ETF will:

…be reduced by $10 for each month that you remain with us as a customer during the balance of your two-year service agreement. After that, the ETF will no longer apply.

Why changes things NOW – right before an iPhone announcement?

iPhone vs Windows Mobile

A geek known as Gilbert shares a familiar tale of frustration: which is the best mobile device to own? I’m sure you’ve already made up your mind by the time you reached the end of that sentence, but let’s hear a little bit more about what’s going on in Gilbert’s world. He scribbles:

Thanks for your great contrast between the iPhone and the Windows Mobile devices, on how it relates to business use. I had been using the HTC Advantage for a year and a half now. Although I loved the big screen and strong processor and memory, I’ve gotten tired of lugging that big “brick” around and was looking for an alternative.

I decided to purchase the HTC Fuze yesterday to lighten the load and replace the Advantage as my portable device. I brought it home and played with it, and I was . . . kinda impressed, but also disappointed. I have never owned an iPhone, but, I bought my wife an iPhone for Xmas last year, and my daughter also owns an ITouch. So, I had a cursory overview of what the Apple OS “PDA” could do.

Like yourself (back in the day), I was perfectly happy with WM, for the most part.

But there was a certain application it couldn’t do. So, frustrated, I came across your youtube opinion on the contrast between Windows Mobile, and specifically, the Sprint equivialant to the HTC Fuze, and, it hit home.

In less than 24 hours, I traded my Fuze in and am now a proud owner of an iPhone 3G. I think it was the right purchase, and, in the long run, it will pay off. But I want to tell you that, initially, I’m some what surprised as to the challenges that I’m now facing, that I didn’t have with my initial WM device.

First off, I have a Motorola S9 bluetooth headphones. It paired beutifally with my HTC. It paired with my iPhone, it just doesn’t work. I hear no music through the headphones, but plenty through iPhone speakers.

Second, the e-mail, which was a big sway for me in your commentary, I couldn’t get it register with the e-mail function on the iPhone. I utilize Hotmail, and the iPhone, didn’t configure it. I believe there was a $20/Year workaround by a gateway service, but hey, I didn’t need that using WM6. I then thought I’d sign up for Yahoo mail, but, that attempt failed since it appears you need a $20/Year upgrade to set up the proxy servings there, as well. And MobileMe, at $99/Year, when (my mail) ts free now, well, as you “tried” to say . . . “forget about it!” I also noticed that I couldn’t install Windows Live Search. This was a great function in WM6, that’s not, understandably so, available for our beloved Apple device.

These are just my first 12 hour initial observations. I am, for the most part excited about overcoming these “iPhone shortcomings”. But, I just thought I’d share with you my initial observations of the contrasts from my perspective. Yeah Windows Mobile is clunky and stale, but damm, it does a lot of things pretty adequately!

As a P.S., the reason I chose the HTC Advantage was because it had a Video Out, and, Windows Mobile had the SlingBox application. This worked well for me. I researched and knew that the iPhone doesn’t have the SlingBox capability yet, but Slingbox is working on it. The Video Out on the iPhone is limited to just the media output itself, but not the full functionality (menu scrolling, etc.) I say this in post script because, all this, I knew going into what the iPhone limitations were.

I am very intersted in your comments and reactions to this. For better or for worse, I took the fork in the road towards the iPhone, in part because of you (no pressure here!

Palm vs iPhone

Andrew Norman sent me this note earlier today, and it was just too good not to share with you. He makes his case on why Palm is still a choice over the iPhone. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment and perspective? The following words are Andrew’s…

Some of the reasons for disliking the iPhone, even some of the important ones, have gone away over time, such as the abnormally high price both of the software and the service, both of which have reduced drastically (and I’ll have to give props to Apple for reducing the price of iPhone 3G to $200). However, I have a few thoughts on the iPhone, and after reading them maybe you will see why I opted to go with Palm instead.

It seems that the iPhone 3G fixes problems that the first iPhone should never have had. It should never have been on a 2G network, as other smartphones have been on 3G long enough that the iPhone should have started out that way.

Something that I think is even more important than that, however, is that it should always have had an office suite. I think I read somewhere that the iPhone 3G is going to have this feature, but this is something that should have been present from the very beginning. I honestly think that a PDA that cannot edit office documents is nearly useless except as a phone. A Walkman Slider, a non-smartphone, can play movies, music, send and receive email, and even browse the web (though the mobile version), but cannot view or edit office documents, and I think that’s the most important difference between a Walkman Slider and, say, a Palm Centro or an AT&T Tilt.

I’m not about to say that the iPhone is stupid, but I think it’s not nearly as revolutionary as Jobs seems to put on, if at all. The biggest advantage that the iPhone has over other smartphones (by far) is Safari, but after the public release of Skyfire that will disappear. After that, the only clear advantage is people who prefer the UI. 3G, GPS, mobile email, and most everything that the iPhone boasts has been on other smartphones for quite some time.

One of the more subtle disadvantages, at least in my opinion, is that the screen is not pressure sensitive. Multi-touch screens are good at times, but I don’t want to be putting my fingers all over my PDA, getting it smudgy all day. I like to be able to bring my PDA into restaurants with me and not worry about getting it dirty, and I definitely like not having to wipe the screen off all the time. I’m not the only one that sees this need, either; Thinkgeek.com has developed a stylus that can be used on the iPhone for people who think the same way. With the pressure-sensitive screen, however, I can use either my fingers or my stylus, whenever I desire. There are times that I use my fingers, like if I’m just pulling it out for a second and putting it right back, and times when I decide to use the stylus, like if I’m editing a document. And call me crazy, but I’d much rather have real buttons instead of an on-screen keyboard (and I say that having tried the iPhone keyboard).

I personally decided to go with a straight PDA instead of a smartphone because I didn’t want to deal with service issues, so I decided to get a Palm T|X, and I am very happy with it because it does everything I need it to (of course, that means I get neither 2G nor 3G, but for my purposes that works fine). At the same time, I do not think it is in any way idiotic to get a smartphone, and sometimes I have seen some of the features of my friends’ smartphones and thought I would like them (especially my friend’s beta version of Skyfire, which will unfortunately not be released for Palm or non-smartphones).

Documents-To-Go may be a fairly simple office suite, lacking many of the advanced features of a PC’s full office suites, but it is incredibly useful and I think one of the most important features of the Palm. Editing office documents is, I believe, the most important feature of any PDA, even over email and webbrowsing. What’s the point of having a computer with you wherever you go if it can’t perform very basic computer tasks? The most commonly used applications on my Palm are its office suite and its pdf reader, two things that I desired more than anything to bring with me anywhere. Of the two, the first iPhone had only the second. I edit documents constantly, including .doc files and .xls files. I use .doc files for many, many reasons, including taking notes while shopping around, creating lists of movies I want to see that I add to whenever I hear of one or subtract from whatever I see one, making personal notes, or even just writing down detailed outlines for ideas I’ll have for school papers or videos that I’m making. I use .xls files to reference my bank account instead of carrying around a check register with me. I’m also looking forward to a good mobile version of Photoshop or an equivalent (though it may be out there already; I haven’t really looked yet). I’d love Adobe Premiere on a mobile device, but I also realize that that’s very unrealistic.

I hope that this is something that you enjoyed reading, and, of course, I hope that it did not offend you as an iPhone user, especially since I do not think the iPhone is stupid.