Articles about Smartphones

Microsoft's new Portable Power external charger packs 6,000 mAh battery

DC-21-Lumia-930

While traveling, my smartphone's always running out of juice sooner than it normally does. This leads to some frustrating moments, like being unable to make calls, open a map or send texts, not to mention having to watch the percentage indicator. Not knowing where someone is, for instance, is never great news in such situations. I know I could use an external battery charger, but I tend to avoid them, and for good reasons.

They generally tend to be bulky, ugly, and almost fragile. Getting the impression that what can only be regarded as a tool is flimsy is not confidence-inspiring -- if it breaks, it's going to be a problem. Microsoft's new Portable Power appears to be different, however. And why wouldn't it be, when it has some Nokia DNA in it?

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Microsoft launches Sway -- Office's new idea collection tool

Microsoft launches Sway -- Office's new idea collection tool

Having unveiled Windows 10 yesterday, Microsoft today welcomed a new addition to the fold in the form of Sway. This is the latest member of the Office family and it's being billed as a way to "reimagine how your ideas come to life". What does this actually mean? In many ways, Sway is an extension of OneNote. It's a web-based way to collect content, store images and text, add videos, and generally piece together everything you might need for a presentation, project, or idea. Sway is currently a preview product and, in keeping with Microsoft's "mobile-first, cloud-first world" there's a strong focus on cross-platform compatibility and cross-device syncing.

Sway is an interesting blend of existing Microsoft products, but it also brings in some new ideas. It's integrated with OneDrive, and has the note-taking features of OneNote. The various templates that can be used to present the data that is collected gives it something of a feel of PowerPoint, but it could also be used for very simple planning and project management like a cut-down, accessible version of Microsoft Project. It's all web-based and Microsoft is touting it as a "new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas".

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iPhone 6: an honest review

iPhone 6

I preordered Apple's new smartphone on September 12, and it wasn't easy. Few months back, I went "Microsoft All-In" for the summer, purchasing the Nokia Lumia Icon on contract from Verizon. So I didn't qualify for the discounted, upgrade price. But when there's a will, there's a way -- and a generous family member helps make something special happen.

My iPhone 6 review begins with such disclaimer. Like iPad Air, I paid for the device. Apple didn't send me a review unit, but I did ask, and I am not on the preferred list of writers who get early access to "iDevices" and who presumably are more likely to rave. Such qualification is necessary, because iPhone 6 is an exceptionally satisfying handset, and I don't want to be mislabeled fanboy for stating such. That's a brash conclusion coming from someone abandoning a competing smartphone with better specs and satisfying user experience.

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'Grandroid' smartphone designed to meet the needs of the elderly

Amplicomms-M9000

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.

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Nokia Lumia 830 now available

Lumia-830-charging-wirelessly

Nokia Lumia 830 is meant to act as a gap-filler in Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 line, slotting in-between the Lumia 930 flagship and the Lumia 735 budget-friendly offering. It's a mid-ranger, in both hardware features and price. It is also the successor to the two year-old Lumia 820, as its name implies.

Microsoft has high hopes for Lumia 830, calling it "the first affordable flagship" and marketing it as cheaper alternative to the likes of Apple iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5. It's a strategy which could pay off in emerging markets, where consumers want premium devices but cannot afford the cost premiums. We will have to see how the market reacts to Lumia 830, which goes on sale starting this week.

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OnePlus will launch One successor around mid-2015, ponders smaller devices

OnePlus One

By now I am sure that everyone with an interest in smartphones has heard about One Plus and its One phablet. It is undoubtedly among the most interesting Android devices launched this year, and one of the most hyped also. How did OnePlus, basically a new player in the mobile space, achieve that? Well, One managed to make a splash in no small part thanks to its $299 entry-level price, which allows it to undercut virtually every known rival, paired with some of the best and most powerful hardware around. That's a recipe for success in the Android realm, and OnePlus knows it all too well.

But, what tops its lovely hardware and the low asking price is that One has never actually been available to the general public, per se. Sure, people have been able to buy One, but they have been able to do so only through invites. As a way to sell smartphones -- commodities, really -- that is crazy. But, what is even crazier is that, even as One is still not generally available, OnePlus reveals a launch date for its successor.

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Microsoft rolls out the new MSN, rebrands Bing apps for Windows, Windows Phone

New MSN

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.

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iPhone 6 and 6 Plus available in China next month

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

In case you did not know, China is the largest smartphone market worldwide, bigger even than the good old US of A. For the major players in the mobile industry, it is hugely important to be leading there, as being successful in China leads to a healthy market share growth overall, but, more importantly, a healthy increase in the bottom line also.

You can imagine then just how important it is for Apple to have its new iPhones on sale in China as soon as possible. Due to regulatory approvals, it has not happened yet, but luckily for the company, that will soon change.

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Educated, tall, rich, female coffee drinker? You must own an iPhone

woman iPhone user

When the first iPhone went on sale in June 2007 expert opinion was very much of the view that it wouldn't have a significant impact. Steve Wildstrom of Business Week for example said, "The iPhone will never be a threat to the BlackBerry".

Proving that experts can be very wrong, the iPhone has of course gone from strength to strength and Carphone Warehouse in Ireland has produced a fascinating infographic charting its evolution up to the latest version.

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iPhone 6: Lovely, but not groundbreaking [Review]

Apple-iPhone-6-slideshow-1_slideshowdisplayv3

The new iPhone, as every smartphone fan knows by now, is not in fact one phone, but two. And unlike last time Apple launched two handsets at once, this time you don't have to choose between a cut down version (the iPhone 5c) or a full-fat version (the iPhone 5s).

This time, while there are some differences between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, apart from screen size they are subtle ones, and your choice is primarily about size -- do you want a 4.7-inch screen or a 5.5-inch one? This review is of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, kindly provided by Three -- our review of the iPhone 6 Plus will follow.

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European airlines to allow the use of phones during flights

European airlines to allow the use of phones during flights

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.

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What a shocker! FBI head complains about Apple and Google's encryption practices

cry baby

Apple and Google do not want the US Government to be able to access your private data, even when search warrants are involved. It's a bold stand they're taking, which has been applauded by privacy advocates and, quite probably, criminals as well. But, guess what? That does not sit well with the authorities. FBI Director James Comey is troubled by the idea that the all-mighty agency that he runs can be stopped dead in its tracks when trying to see your intimate photos, videos and whatnot. Imagine that.

Here's what the fuss is all about. If encryption is turned on, the encryption key, that is needed in order to access the data that is stored on an Android or iOS 8 device, is in the user's control, instead of Google's or Apple's. As such, this allows the companies to be unable to comply with search warrants. It's clever: you can't give what you don't have.

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8 reasons why Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus 'bendgate' is a good thing

iPhone 6 Plus bends

The newest Apple "gate" is upon us. Many users complain that their new iPhones bend in the pants. Flexible display is a compelling technology, when designed that way. Surely, Apple doesn't want customers, ah, adapting iPhone 6 and 6 Plus designs in their pockets. Someone call the lawyers! But wait, who sues whom? Apple for buyers violating its design patents, or users complaining the handsets are flawed? Oh, these legal quagmires are treacherous!

Personally, I'd like to do a gallery showing of bent iPhones as art. Maybe I can open a museum of pop culture here in San Diego. My point: There are some unseen benefits to Apple's apparent iPhone fiasco. Here, I present eight -- and surely there are many more. Please decorate our comment gallery with your additions.

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Apple to iPhone 6 users: Downgrade from iOS 8.0.1 because of nasty bugs

angry-cellphone-user

Apple is now advising its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus-toting customers to downgrade from iOS 8.0.1, which was only introduced yesterday, because the latest version of its mobile operating system contains some pretty nasty bugs that ruin the user experience.

Apple publicly admits that installing iOS 8.0.1 on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus may lead to a loss of cellular service and the inability to make use of Touch ID, neither of which plagues iOS 8. The older iteration, which was rolled out on September 17, is not without bugs, however Apple would rather you run into them again over not being able to make calls and use the fingerprint scanner.

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If iPhone 6 or 6 Plus bends, it's YOUR fault

finger point pointing accuse accusation

Aluminum is a soft metal. Anyone who has used tinfoil to wrap up food should know this. As such, there are ways you really shouldn't handle a personal device made of the metal. Front or back pocket is a no-no without a case, at least. Better: Not at all -- or use a plastic phone made by Motorola, Nokia, or Samsung.

That's my short response to colleague Mihaita Bamburic's analysis: "If your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus bends, it's Apple's fault" He is "inclined to believe that Apple did not thoroughly test its new devices, based on my engineering background". You read that right. Mihaita may be a prolific writer, but his real profession is engineering. I trust his judgment but nevertheless disagree. If iPhone 6 or 6 Plus bends, it's your fault.

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