Many kids nowadays are lazy and sedentary. They come from school, sit on the couch, eat Go-Gurt and watch nonsense like Adventure Time. Actually, swap the Go-Gurt for Teddy Grahams and Adventure Time for Heathcliff and it sounds like my youth, but I digress. Kids don't play outside enough and thanks to smartphones and tablets, they don't get as much sleep as they should. Hell, can you blame them? If I had an iPad in the 80s, I never would have slept.
Today, a new product called KidFit from a company called X-Doria becomes available. In a nutshell, it is a watch-like wearable that you strap onto your kids, so you can track both their activity and sleep patterns. While some may claim the use of such a product is lazy parenting, I disagree; utilizing this technology is a proactive approach to combatting obesity and fatigue.
It is estimated that one in three smartphones shipped in 2018 will be a phablet, which is more than double their projected share for 2014. For Google -- with Android still likely to run on the majority of phablets -- helping developers to properly optimize their apps for larger screens has become a top priority. Ensuring that Android phablets provide a great user experience is paramount; otherwise, users may jump ship to Apple's iPhones or Microsoft's Windows Phones.
So, today, Google takes the wraps off its first phablet, Nexus 6. It is the embodiment of all the great features we have come to expect out of a phablet from late-2014: super high-resolution screen, super fast processor, solid cameras, very thin bezels and a huge battery. As expected, Google also announced a new tablet, the first one to come since July 2013, called Nexus 9. It does not disappoint either. Of course, both run the new Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is shipping in the next few weeks.
A company's "cool-factor" can vary wildly, but one has not yet lost its magic -- Google. Sure, privacy advocates decry the search-giant's long reach into the lives of many, but that is what makes the company's products so endearing -- Google needs that data to know you. It is the customized and tailored experiences that create a bond between the user and Google.
The biggest bond, however, is Android; the mobile operating system has been wildly popular, bringing Linux to a user base that no one thought possible. People are fans of Android, unlike any other operating system before it. Hell, people collect plastic figures of the mascot; that is dedication. We should soon be experiencing the final version of Android 5.0, which will have an "L" code name. Will it be lollipop? Lemon meringue? Well, today Google releases a cool video, which has fun with the Android 5.0 name.
Most people who own expensive smartphones have the latest Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S or Galaxy Note device, which, at launch, costs at least $650 off-contract. Even though they are unattainable to the average buyer, tens of millions of consumers can still afford to get them. And that creates a problem for the elitist one percenters of the world, who are faced with an unusual dilemma: own a smartphone that even their chauffeurs may afford or turn to a proper luxury device.
For those who can pay €12,500 for a smartphone and just so happen to be Bentley owners or enthusiasts, renowned luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu has unveiled Vertu for Bentley. It is the first device to come out of the new five-year partnership with the high-end British car maker. Luckily, for that much money, it certainly is special.
While many people into technology spend their days languishing on the couch or vegetating in an office chair, others live active lifestyles. In fact, many people would identify themselves as being "extreme" by doing activities such as skydiving, rock climbing and parkour. However, people also work extreme jobs, like working in the sewers, construction or law enforcement.
If you are somebody doing an extreme or hardcore job, the average tablet won't cut it for you. Extreme people need extreme technology and today, Samsung announces the availability of its hardcore Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 8 inch tablet. It is a slate designed for people that work dirty jobs and need it to take a beating. However, it may meet the needs of people that have extreme hobbies too.
The world's largest smartphone manufacturer is troubled. Overnight, Samsung warned that its third-quarter operating profit could fall as much as 61.8 percent because of weakness in its largest division, mobile, from which phones account for about 60 percent of company profits. Smartphone shipments are up slightly, but the money they generate is down substantially.
For Google, the news is a mixed blessing. In April 2012, I warned that "Google has lost control of Android" -- Samsung's dominance with customized versions of the mobile operating system being major reason. Big G effectively responded by separating core apps and services from Android, spreading them out across versions, and better unifying the user experience. Still, Samsung's TouchWiz UI is the main way tens of millions of people experience Android every day. The South Korean company's problems could eventually be good for Google, but will they benefit Android or pull it down?
Galaxy Note 4 is not yet available in most markets across the globe, as Samsung has opted for a staggered launch. However, despite the limited market availability, a well-known Android modding enthusiast has already achieved root access for the phablet.
Chainfire, the developer behind dedicated modding tools like SuperSU, has announced on his Google+ page that a number of Galaxy Note 4 models, based on Samsung's own Exynos chip as well as Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 processor, are now supported by CF-Auto-Root. The software has been designed to automatically enable root access on Android devices.
The red telephone booth is one of the most enduring icons of the UK; but as delightful as their housings may be, the humble payphone has had its day. Coin and card-fed phones are on the verge of being consigned to the history books, while the mobile phone goes from strength to strength. But mobile phones, for all their strength in portability, coverage, and flexibility, have their kryptonite: battery life. In keeping with the environmentally-friendly preference for recycling and reusing rather than trashing, unused phone boxes are being given a new lease on life.
Should you find yourself wandering down London's Tottenham Court Road and notice that your battery is getting a little low, there's a green solution popping up. Phone booths that would have otherwise be left to rack and ruin are being converted into solar-powered charging stations that can be used completely free of charge.
As any Facebook user knows, 'liking' content online has become almost second nature. Facebook has Likes, Google+ has +1s, and various other variations exist. But it is Facebook's Like button that reigns supreme -- regardless of the privacy concerns it may raise. Today Facebook is expanding its Like feature so that mobile app developers can take advantage of it. Not just content with giving web users the chance to indicate their approval of a particular Facebook post or online article, it is now possible to 'like' any piece of content within a supported app on iOS and Android.
It's a feature that is likely to be picked up very quickly by game developers, so you can expect to see notifications in the near future letting you know that your Facebook friends like level 118 of Candy Crush Saga. The feature was previewed earlier this year, but is now being made available to any developer who wants to use it. Facebook says:
As increasing numbers of government and other services go online, internet access becomes more important and mobile devices play a big part in that.
Yet according to charity Age UK there are 10.8 million people aged 65 or over in the UK but only three percent of them own a smartphone which could mean they're missing out on 'digital inclusion'. In order to make smartphones more accessible to older users, the new Amplicomms M9000 has all the benefits of an Android touch screen phone but with hardware and software specially adapted for the less technically adept.
Microsoft did something rather unexpected earlier this month. The software giant unveiled a revamped MSN, saving the online portal from oblivion -- its biggest merit lately is being the default website for Internet Explorer. The new MSN looks great, connects users to Microsoft's consumer-facing cloud services, and can be tailored to suit their preference. It also makes it easy to trigger a search across the InterWebs. Heck, I have even said it might work as the Bing landing page.
Fast forward to today and Microsoft announces that more than 10 million users have tested the new MSN, with more than 80,000 of them also submitting feedback. Those numbers look really good. And they should, considering the online portal's Microsoft-focused audience. The feedback it has received must have been good also, as Microsoft announces it is rolling out the new MSN in the next three days.
When I bought my first Chromebook, the 2012 Samsung model, I did it mostly for one reason -- price. I drove down to my local Best Buy and was blown away by how inexpensive it was; at $249 it looked like a MacBook Air and promised good battery life. Even though I knew the limitations of Chrome OS beforehand, I still handed over my money thinking I could find a place for it in my home. For the most part it was OK; I mean, it changed the way I thought about computing, but it soon became apparent that it could not replace my Windows machine. I didn't return it; I kept for basic typing on the go, but I later sold it as it collected dust. You see, my iPad Air when coupled with a keyboard-case was a better portable machine.
Now, in 2014, Chromebooks are making huge strides in homes, schools and the enterprise, but Windows still reigns supreme. While I do recommend Chromebooks for people low on cash that only have basic computing needs, today this changes. You see, HP announces the $199.99 Stream 11 laptop, and with a price that low, why would you bother with Chrome OS?
How much do you hate ads? How much do ads piss you off? Well prepare to turn into an even bigger ball of hate-filled pissed-off-ness when you hear about Facebook's latest ventures in advertising. Few people would argue against the suggestion that Facebook has all but given up any pretence of being a social network and has become little more than a huge cog in a massive advertising machine. Claims have been made that ads are being made more relevant to users, but the truth of the matter is that users are being made more relevant to advertisers. And Facebook now has a whole new way to follow you around the web to make sure you are delivered even more better-targeted ads.
While we all await the arrival of the next Nexus from Google -- and the wait isn't likely to be very long now -- other low cost Android tablets are trying to attract both our attention and our cash. Asus has a good track record in this respect. Lest we forget, Asus was in fact Google's partner for the last Nexus tablet, though it looks like Google may be ringing the changes in terms of a hardware partner this time round.
Anyhow, what we have here is the MeMO Pad 8, the latest in a line of smaller format, lower cost tablets from Asus that are designed to cater to our desire for a larger than phablet screen that's still potentially pocket-friendly in size and wallet-friendly in price. The MeMO Pad 8 will set you back around £160.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has decided that mobile phones are completely safe to use in-flight, including during take-off and landing. Previous rules required passengers to either switch off phones, or flip them into airplane mode. The EASA's latest decision does not mean that there is an automatic right of mobile use afforded to fliers, but airlines now have the option to permit handset use on their flights. So if you've splashed out on an iPhone 6, bendy or otherwise, you can show it off to your fellow fliers.
While airplane mode blocks the ability to send and receive calls and messages, many passengers have found that they are asked to switch off entirely and refrain from using their handset in any way. The new ruling will arm passengers with more ammunition if they want to argue their case, but it's likely that many European flights will quickly bow to popular demand and permit the use of phones.