People have often complained about the relatively small size of the iPhone screen in comparison with other smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the Motorola Moto X; Apple seems to be addressing the iPhone’s screen size with the new iPhone 6. The current iPhone 5s has a 4-inch display with 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 PPI.
The forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 is rumored to ship with a 5.25-inch display. The Galaxy Note 3 comes with a larger 5.7-inche screen pushing it into “phablet” territory.
Research firm DisplaySearch reports in their new Quarterly Worldwide FPD Shipment and Forecast Report reports that Apple may come out with two new versions of next-generation iPhone with two larger display options. According to the report Apple will launch a 4.7-inch model with 1600×900 resolution, 386ppi and LTPS TFT LCD display technology. A larger version of the “iPhone 6″ could pack a 5.5-inch display with 1920×1080 resolution at 401 PPI utilizing the same display technology.
Different markets desire different sizes for the screens. Some consumers prefer the Apple’s more compact size to keep more easily in their pockets, or those who prefer to use their tablets for work. However diversifying their market would appear a wise move on Apple’s part, as Android and Windows phones have moved the iPhone into a smaller market share. It will be interesting to see if they release a few different phones, or if the iPhone 5C experience has made them wary.
Part of the iPhone experience desired by Apple is that of a totally contained phone, with as few buttons as possible, making the majority of interaction done on the screen. Not everyone, however, loves the iPhone’s virtual keyboard. In fact, the lack of a physical keyboard tends to be among the reasons that Blackberry users refuse to switch to the successful Apple phone.
Enter the Typo Keyboard case. Typo is actually a cellphone case, currently available for the iPhone 5 and 5s, with a wireless keyboard on the bottom. The Typo’s keys are laid out in typical Qwerty fashion, with alternate keys for capitalization, numbers and symbols. re-creates the Blackberry experience for use on the iPhone; it is so close to replicating it that Blackberry has filed a lawsuit against the fledgling company.
Inside is a tiny lithium-ion battery, only 1 millimeter thick. The keyboard covers the bottom of the phone, but the ports are still accessible. Lastly, setup via Bluetooth is simple to do.
Unlike bulky Bluetooth keyboards, the 1.4-ounce Typo fits snugly around the iPhone 5 or 5S like a regular slip-on case, adding about a half an inch to the phone’s overall length, and it has shown to increase typing speed for users. However, the Typo covers up the iPhone’s home button and remaps it to a button on the bottom right of the keyboard. It takes some getting used to and if you have a 5S, you lose the convenience of the fingerprint scanner, distinctly altering the iPhone’s intended functionality. Furthermore, The Bluetooth connection disables the iPhone’s auto-correct feature, making the user have to manually correct any typos.
The Typo retails at $99; preorders have sold out and new orders will ship in February.
It appears as though the dominance Apple once held in the smartphone world is at an end, as the phones using the Android and Windows operating systems have increased globally. From C-Net:
Looking at the global smartphone market for the three months ending November 2013, Kantar found that Apple’s share had dropped in almost all regions compared with the same period in 2012. During that stretch, the iPhone’s market share fell by 9.9 percent in the US, by 6.5 percent in the European Union Five, and by 1.5 percent in China.
In most of the regions covered, Apple took second place behind Android. Only in Japan was Apple on top with a 69.1 percent share versus Android’s 30 percent share. Both Android and Windows Phone saw gains in market share across most regions during the year-long period.
Google has updated its Play Music app for the iOS 7, the new operating system for the iPhone 5 and new iPad models. The folks over at 9to5mac.com explain:
Google has updated its Google Play Music app for iPhone with several new features and a refreshed UI for iOS 7. The app was first released last month but had not yet been designed for the latest version of iOS.
Besides the updated interface, the app includes support for “I’m feeling lucky” radio stations, the ability to search for music and create stations by genre, and auto-playlists.
You can grab Google Play Music for free on the App Store.
What’s New in Version 188.8.131.528
- UI updated for iOS7
- Added support for I’m feeling lucky radio
- Auto-playlists (including Thumbs Up playlist) added to playlist view
- Genre radio stations added for All Access users
- Added ability to search for genres
It’s quite possible you have in your possession a varied assortment of battery chargers – cords, plugs, power strips, USB cables, HDMI cables, A/V cables, phone chargers, ebook chargers, charger adapters, and whole bunch of cords with pins sticking out of them. Further complicating the matter is losing the ones you use the most. “Do I have a backup? Does this work with my device?” is what you’ll ask yourself, and you’ll grab the first thing that fits in two sockets.
But is it an optimal choice? Just because it works doesn’t mean that it works. You could be waiting an inordinate amount of time to charge your phone because you found a cable that is compatible with both your phone and an electrical outlet, or maybe just a USB port. So what should you look for in your charger, and should you opt for another?
I’ve recently been thinking about this after losing my phone charger on vacation. I bought a cheap USB charger at a CVS around the corner from my hotel, and I’ve been too lazy to buy a new charger.* What I’ve noticed is a much slower charge time. So what makes the difference?
The first thing to make sure of is that your generic charger is the connector type is compatible with your phone. Phone connections are not standardized, and many use a different connection, Apple included.
Secondly, know your voltage and amperage. Simply put, voltage is what pulls energy into the device. If the voltage is too high, you could blow out your devices because by overloading the circuits. For mobile phones and other mobile devices like the Kindle that charge with USB, the voltage is typically 5V. A laptop charger might be as high as 20V or 25V. You can usually find the voltage your device needs on the device itself, on the battery, or on the manufacturer’s web site.
As for amperage: amps are the current that’s supplied to your device. Amps are usually listed on your power supply as 2.7A or 1A, for example. This regulates how much power flows through from the power supply to the cell phone or tablet. The amperage listed on your power supply needs to match or exceed the amperage required by your device.
The major concern when searching for a cell phone cable or adapter is to make sure the connector matches your phone. For modern cell phones, the other critical specifications are nearly always the same. To avoid problems, always look for cables and adapters which state that they are for your brand and (if possible) model of phone.
With the rising number of smartphone thefts has come a wave of new technologies that can help prevent or mitigate losses from theft. That is, if your carrier will let it. On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to top executives of AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular inquiring into their recent decision to prevent Samsung from featuring a “kill switch” in carrier-approved smartphones. A remote kill switch could disable a stolen phone, rendering it worthless to thieves looking to sell it on the black market.
Why would the wireless carriers decide to block a technology that prevents smartphone theft? One of the possible notions Schneiderman now is looking into whether the nation’s phone companies are rejecting a potential solution to phone theft because it will cut into sales of phone insurance.
The top four wireless carriers will gain about $7.8 billion this year in insurance premiums from their customers, according to an estimate by Warranty Week, an industry trade publication. Asurion, a phone insurance company that pays the wireless carriers for each policy they sell, made an estimated $98 million in profit in 2010, according to Businessweek. Phone insurance plans normally cost between $7 and $11 per month, and require consumers to pay deductibles as high as $200 for a replacement phone.
These same carriers are blocking not just a hard “kill switch” but also software solutions which can actually track a lost or stolen smartphone. Absolute Software markets itself as “Absolute Software specializes in technology and services for the management and security of mobile computers, netbooks, and smartphones,” and has recovered more than 30,000 devices — mostly laptops and PCs — over the last two decades in more than 104 countries.
However their efforts to extend their service to smartphones has been thwarted by the very carriers that have nixed the kill switch. Executives said they had planned to embed their software, which can also disable stolen phones, in all new Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets this year. But wireless carriers, which decide which features are embedded in the devices they sell, have rejected the technology, according to Absolute Software executives.
But while top law enforcement officials have demanded that phone manufacturers create a kill switch to reduce phone robberies, Absolute Software executives say they would prefer their customers don’t use the feature. That’s because killing the phone prevents them from gathering crucial evidence that could help them recover the device.
“Once you kill the phone, you kiss $600 goodbye,” Clapham said.
For $30 a year, Absolute Software can erase sensitive data on the phone, activate a kill switch that renders the handset inoperable, or attempt to recover a stolen device. The company does not yet guarantee that it will replace the stolen phone if it can’t retrieve it.
“The carriers blocked us,” said Ward Clapham, vice president of investigations at Absolute Software.
As for Schneiderman, he has opened the official discussion into these matters, publicly stating: “If carriers are colluding to prevent theft-deterrent features from being pre-installed on devices as means to sell more insurance products, they are doing so at the expense of public safety and putting their customers in danger.”
From the tech site TechRadarPro comes a great review of a WiFi Network kit, for homes with spotty reception in parts of the house. From the article:
The problem is, not many people know what powerline networking is, or how it can help them improve their wireless connectivity throughout their house. Devolo’s response to this is to rid the box the Devolo dLAN 500 WiFi Network Kit comes in, along with any marketing materials, of confusing jargon that means little to the majority of people.
Instead, there are big, bold promises of easily improving the reach of your network and internet connection – both wired and wireless – throughout your house. Time will tell if this marketing push will pay off, but we can still check out the product itself to see if it delivers on these promises.
The Devolo dLAN 500 WiFi Network Kit we tested came with three adapters, which we feel is about the right amount if you want to make sure you have a good spread of Wi-Fi throughout the house.
Read more about the WiFi Network Kit at the review, here.
Nowadays it seems that everyone has an iPhone or an iPad. Even finding others who have them in different colors isn’t unique any more. The only way to individualize your devices is to change the view on the inside. iPhone wallpaper can make your smartphone your own, and make it distinguishable from your sibling or your significant other. And while there are many different options on the web, we’ve decided to select a few of our favorite sites for iPhone wallpaper and other digital art.
1. Abduzeedo – Abduzeedo is a graphic design blog that’s got it all – various artistic collections, designs, interviews, daily inspiration, and, of course, wallpaper. In fact, it just celebrated its 7th anniversary of “Wallpaper of the Week”, its weekly focus on one particular artist’s work. There are pages and pages to choose from; however, if you don’t like any of them, Abduzeedo will help you make your own, with a free online tutorial found on the site. It’s got tutorials for Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Pixelmator, and some case studies from other blog readers.
2. The Fox Is Black – Like Abduzeedo, The Fox Is Black is a blog by and for designers, showcasing their favorite graphic design works, also with a weekly wallpaper from a profiled artist. The amount of creative styles should satisfy anyone looking to spice up their personalized phone art collection.
3. deviantART – On its website, deviantART boasts that they are the world’s largest online art community, “proudly showing 273 million pieces of art from over 29 million registered artists and art appreciators”. That’s a lot of art, and its wallpaper collection isn’t anything to sneeze at, with 24 different categories of art to choose from — anything from politics to people, and from minimalist to macabre.
4. I Love Typography – We’re adding this because we actually do love typography, sad as that may be to some of you. You’ll find some minimalist font styles that are definitely not the common wallpaper.
5. Poolga – This well-organized site offers illustrated wallpapers for iPhone retina displays, the new iPhone 5, iPad and iPad retina. The wallpapers are contributed by graphic artists and illustrators.
6. TSeventy – A sister site to Poolga, this features photographs instead of illustrations, sorted for iPhone, iPhone 4 and iPad.
7. iPhone Retina 5 Wallpaper – Wallpapers on this site are categorized and tagged for easy search. A wallpaper rating system allows you to see all of the top-rated wallpapers and download those as well. As a bonus feature, you can preview what the wallpaper would look like on the lock screen and home screen of your iPhone 5.