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The Future of Messaging Apps

clock May 3, 2013 22:30 by author Jeremy

With the rapid innovation of messaging apps, a common question called to mind is, "Which one am I supposed to use?" It's hard enough having to choose between which carrier or manufacturer we want to side with, let alone having to choose how you want to communicate. Long gone are the days of sending a simple text: nowadays, you might get your response back from a handful of different methods. Creators of apps and websites like SnapChat, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and Kik are keeping their markets of consumers happy, but is there a way to bring them together to collectively keep our conversations in one medium?

From the sounds of it, the likelihood that these apps will align under one banner to create a convenient messaging stream for the rest of us, is slim. They are simply too different with their varying features, and people all over the world have their preferences - most seem to be specific to their region or country. What is popular in the United States may not be the preferred method in Australia or Japan. You could, of course, download a universal messaging app that combines them all - but it's still another 3rd party controlling it all.

However, that seems to to be just fine for many of these publishers, who have taken the laborious efforts of text/email and barely tweaked it just for their gain. Each group has their modicum of consumers, and we continue to use every means available, from video chat to picture texts, all for the sake of never losing touch.

But what we might not realize is that despite apps coming and going, our say in adapting and rejecting various forms of media will forge the necessary steps of innovation for creators in the future. Maybe we shouldn't be asking, "Which should I use?" but instead ask, "What do I want to help make popular, since it may have future potential?" We're already using multiple forms of communication - we might as well help push forward the good ideas and reject the bad or repetitive ones while we keep in touch.

Source: TheVerge



Apple stays on trail with iPhone 4S, not iPhone 5

clock October 5, 2011 00:24 by author Jeremy

The biggest news to emerge from today's Apple event is, of course, the unveiling of their latest iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 4S. This will come with quite a few new specs, particularly iOS 5. The iPhone 4S itself can be pre-ordered starting Oct 7th and will be available Oct. 14th. Meanwhile, iOS 5 will be released on Oct. 12th. So let's take a look at what we're dealing with, shall we?

The iPhone 4S will have the same retina display and back glass-casing as the iPhone 4, but comes with the brand new A5 chip. This chip is said to be twice as fast as its predecessor and has dual-core graphics. A new battery will provide 8 hours of talk-time, 6 hours of browsing (or 9 if done through WiFi), 10 hours of video and 40 hours of music, all done via the supposed 14.4 Mbps download speeds. And with AirPlay Mirroring, you can view some of these things on a bigger screen, either through a wired or wireless connection.

A new 8 megapixel camera is provided as well, bringing 60% better performance over the iPhone 4; this camera will also take in 73% more light, has 26% better white balance and an IR filter for more accurate colors. Plus, it's faster: a mere 1.1 seconds required to take one picture and only 0.5 seconds to take a second picture.

Perhaps the biggest new feature of the iPhone 4S/iOS 5 is Siri - originally a company that handled a voice recognition app, but was bought out by Apply in early 2010. Finally, Siri is bringing their expertise to the table by becoming Apple's (very intuitive) voice program. Quite a few examples were done at Apple's event today, with various questions/demands being asked: "What time is it in Paris", "Do I need to wear a raincoat today", "Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto", "Wake me up tomorrow at 6 AM", "Search Wikipedia for...". With each command, Siri either responded in kind or brought up the specific app that would help (such as a web browser with a wiki-page open).

Of course, the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 weren't the only news (granted, they were what everyone was waiting for) - the iPod Nano and iPod Touch both got a few touch-ups and price-alterations today. The iPod Nano, which now has a multi-touch display for app-swiping and 16 new clocks (including a Mickey Mouse clock!), will be available for $129 (8GB) or $149 (16 GB). Meanwhile, the iPod Touch, which now has iMessaging - bringing texts from your Apple devices to your iPod - will be for sale at $199 for 8GB, $299 for 32GB, or $399 for 64GB.

Also fresh off the Cupertino-grill is iTunes Match, the long-awaited music service that works with iTunes. This feature will scan your library, find the corresponding songs in iTunes for you and gives you the same benefits that iTunes-purchased-music would. This will be live at the end of the month.

Definitely an exciting day for Apple loyalists, and an exciting day for Sprint customers too - it was officially announced today at the event that Sprint will be getting the iPhone as well.

Oh, and as if all the news above wasn't enough, here's a last piece of joy for you: the iPhone 4S will now be available in white as well.

Sources: 9to5Mac, engadget (pictures)



Battery Life: iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

clock June 17, 2011 01:00 by author Jeremy

A recent article on AllThingsD by Katherine Boehret compared the differences between the iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. While the prices are the same for each ($499 for the 16GB WiFi model, $599 for the 32GB WiFi model), differences include the camera, the physical size, and the app market.

Most importantly, however, was the difference in battery life. Boehret's testing (which included 75% screen brightness, WiFi-enabled, and a video loop) concluded that the iPad 2 would last just slightly over 10 hours, while the Galaxy Tab ran at a measly 5 hours 38 minutes in comparison.

Sure, the Galaxy Tab may be just a bit thinner (and really, who doesn't like sleek?) and have better camera quality; but is it worth half the battery life? Granted, it's doubtful people will be using the battery constantly like Boehret did in her testing, so I'm sure that the battery lasts longer than 5 hours on average. Nonetheless, it's something to consider when purchasing a tablet.

Source: AllThingsD

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Lights! Camera! ...Atrix!

clock March 7, 2011 23:05 by author Jeremy

I'm normally not one to have the latest gadgets, best technology, or shiniest toys, but after seeing the Motorola Atrix at CES with its Laptop Dock and HD Dock, I just couldn't resist. I went ahead and pre-ordered one and got it the day before its official release. After two weeks of playing with it, I'm still amazed at the service the phone brings.

General Info:

What I received was in no means an understatement to what everyone has said about the phone: this thing is wicked fast. With amazing video and sound quality, the Motorola Atrix can load videos and maps in seconds, assuming you're connected wirelessly to the internet.

One of the best parts, I think, is switching between apps. This seemingly nonexistent transition occurs just like in any other smartphone: with the tap of a button or the swipe of a finger. But once you do it, any video you were watching, any facebook status you were updating, or any picture you were taking, suddenly halts and switches to whatever you aimed to do next. Pauses to load screens are minimal, if there are any at all.

This is, of course, on an Android phone with Motoblur. There are customizable widgets and gadgets and whatchamaroos everywhere, and it's up to you on how you want to make your home screens look. You can drop your icons like it's hot (yeah, I went there) throughout seven different screens, allowing one to neatly bypass the alphabetic menu of apps. This is the first time I've had an Android phone before; I was an iPhone wielder previously, and we didn't have this "customizable icon" and "widget-sprees" that you young'uns have.

The best way to determine processing speed? By gaming, of course. The Atrix was nice enough to come with a demo of Need For Speed: Shift. Playing the game was just about as smooth as playing on a console at home: no lag, no bumps, no freezing. I suggest not drinking a cup of coffee beforehand though, as the phone will pick up even the slightest shakes of a hand while you drive.

Sound/Audio:

The sound is just on par with the visuals. Phone calls aren't strained, and I didn't find myself once jamming my phone into my ear thinking it would help hear the other end better - and be honest, you know you've done the same thing before. The speaker on the bottom backside of the phone packs quite a punch, too: whether it's used as a speakerphone or just listening to music, everything comes out loud and clear. Speaking of music, there are pre-set Equalizer settings that you can tinker with. Listening to music on Pandora basically had my phone vibrating, and it wasn't even on a high bass setting at the time.

Camera:

Quality? Definitely not bad. The Atrix came equipped with a 5-megapixel camera that can shoot HD video as well. You can customize your shots too, ranging from things such as sepia tones or landscape view. It may not be a digital camera replacement, but it definitely holds its own against other camera-phones. The best part, in my opinion, was the front-facing camera. This added piece of hardware is becoming very popular in today's gadgets, and with due reason. Thankfully, the Atrix did not disappoint consumers here.

 

Props to you if you can read that bottom line - I wrote so small that I couldn't even read it normally!

Apps:

The Motorola Atrix comes packed with a bunch of extra apps that I, personally, wouldn't use: Blockbuster, Latitude, and YellowPagesMobile, just to name a few. Removable? Some, but not all, which means that I (and possibly you) will have a few useless apps sitting around eating precious space.

Speaking of apps, the Atrix comes with the "Webtop" app, which is what the Atrix relies on when connected to one of its many docks. You can still make phone calls, send text messages, and reply to emails. Which leads us to the...

 

Laptop Dock:

Ah, the infamous Motorola Laptop Dock, one of several accessories that helped drive the Atrix to such popularity. There have been quite a number of negative reviews on the Atrix Laptop Dock, and after tinkering with it for a while, I can see why. Even on a wireless network, loading times are somewhat slow. Granted, the Atrix still doesn't compare to an actual desktop with their fancy videocards and such. Consumers should keep in mind that the visuals on the Laptop Dock are still being powered by your phone; essentially, you're just looking at your phone through a bigger screen.

Pros: This is going to be redundant, but...bigger screen. The phone easily connects to the Laptop Dock, and it's quite quick to boot up. Anything you were previously doing on your phone will be immediately launched on the Laptop Dock, transitioning them seamlessly. The Laptop Dock will also let you do a few things your phone can't do just yet: for example, watching hulu videos. For some reason, Hulu doesn't work on Android just yet, but it'll definitely let you watch it on Atrix's Laptop Dock. It also has Microsoft Office on it, allowing the work-oriented businesspeople to bring their spreadsheets and documents just about anywhere on this sleek device.

Cons: Quite expensive. Even with the $100 discount and the $100 rebate (assuming you bought the Motorola Atrix + Laptop Dock bundle for $500), you're looking at $300 for what is basically a netbook that can't function without the phone. Some say you're better off purchasing a tablet since it can do more, but that's up to you. For $300 though, I'd expect the Laptop Dock to have a bit more "kick" in it. It just seemed somewhat slow, laggy, and delayed. To top it all off, there's the fact that you need to pay a little extra each month for the tethering service that's required for the Laptop Dock.

Overall:

I like the phone, and it definitely gets the job done, whatever the job may be: phone calls, video calls, app-gaming, taking pictures and video, music management, or a social media outlet. The processing speed gets top-notch points, and I only wish I could say the same for the Laptop Dock.



The Daily: iPad's Digital Newspaper

clock February 3, 2011 00:20 by author Jeremy

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, unveiled a new type of journalism in the form of an app specifically for the iPad. Called "The Daily", this newspaper can be purchased at the rate of $0.99 per week, or $39.99 for a year.

Their press release states, "The Daily's unique mix of text, photography, audio, video, information graphics, touch interactivity and real-time data and social feeds provides editors with the ability to decide not only which stories are most important -- but also the best format to deliver these stories to their reads."

We can expect articles covering six major topics: news, sports, gossip/celebrity, opinion, arts/life, and apps/games. "It will offer views from across the political spectrum. They will come from across cultures and generations, across America and the world."

Oh, and my personal favorite part? "The Daily will feature Sudoku and crossword puzzles." Whoo-hoo!

Not only can you read the story, but you can listen to it or watch it, depending on each article. And in case you have something to say, you're allowed to leave comments (both written and audio allowed).

Source: BusinessWire.com

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