Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 goes Gangnam style for India launch, 2013


Phones, Samsung, Samsung Galaxy S4

Prepare to witness the most cringeworthy piece of smartphone advertising ever conceived. Samsung has reworked the iconic YouTube Psy Gangnam Style track with Galaxy S4 lyrics for the Indian SGS4 launch.
It doesn't surprise us, Samsung's New York Galaxy S4 unveiling was equally as strange. The company put together a Broadway style play for the handset's Radio City launch. It made fathoming out actually what was new about the phone fairly tough.

This India performance is even more difficult to work out. So much is going on, we're not exactly sure what the Galaxy S4 is by the time they are done dancing.
On the flipside however, Samsung has put together some incredible adverts in the past. The recentRomain Gavras advert entitled "charge" for example, was one of the best tech adverts we have seen in a long time.

Donald Trump - Demands An iPhone With A Larger Screen

Whatever the next iPhone turns out to be, one thing we’ll pretty certain about is it will sell millions of units, even if it’s just a simple upgrade to the device’s internal specs and doesn’t offer any real evolution. But an iPhone with a larger screen is something some current owners would love to have, even Donald Trump.
Donald Trump Demands Apple Build An iPhone With A Larger Screen
Yes – Donald Trump is now throwing his two cents into the tech world as he is pretty much demanding Apple increase the size of the iPhone’s screen by way of sending a message out through Twitter and Facebook. Trump said the following:
I have a lot of @Apple stock— and I miss Steve Jobs. Tim Cook must immediately increase the size of the screen on the iPhone. It should be slightly larger than the Samsung screen- and they better get it right fast because they will lose a lot of business. I like the larger screen.
We’re not sure why Trump decided now would be the best time to become vocal about the iPhone, especially when he isn’t known to share his opinions in regards to the tech world on a regular basis. We’re not sure if an iPhone with a larger screen would magically make non-iPhone owners want to pick one up. What do you think?

BlackBerry CEO - Questions Future of Tablet 2013

BlackBerry CEO: Tablets will be dead in five years
BlackBerry (BBRY) Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said he sees a limited future for tablet computers, an indication he may shelve plans to build a follow- up to the smartphone maker’s ill-fated PlayBook device.“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” Heins said in an interview yesterday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. “Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”
While Heins pushes ahead with fresh smartphones built on the new BlackBerry 10 platform to engineer a sales recovery, he’s rethinking whether to offer larger devices. The PlayBook, introduced in 2011, was panned by critics for debuting without built-in e-mail, delivering the tablet a near-fatal blow. Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry took a $485 million charge later that year to write down unsold inventory after shipping as few as 150,000 PlayBooks in the third quarter of 2012.
Heins said in a January interview he’ll only consider a PlayBook successor if it can be profitable. He reiterated yesterday that a BlackBerry tablet has to offer a unique proposition in a crowded market.
BlackBerry CEO Questions Future of Tablets After PlayBook Flop
“In five years, I see BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing -- that’s what we’re aiming for,” Heins said. “I want to gain as much market share as I can, but not by being a copycat.”

Q10 Prospects

In a separate interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday, Heins said he was optimistic about prospects for BlackBerry’s new Q10 phone, which sports a physical keyboard. It debuted over the weekend in the U.K.
“We have very, very good first signs already after the launch in the U.K.,” Heins said. “This is going into the installed base of more than 70 million BlackBerry users, so we have quite some expectations. We expect several tens of million of units.”
The shares rose 1.7 percent to $15.87 at 10:17 a.m. in New York. The stock had increased 32 percent this year before today on speculation that the BlackBerry 10 lineup can help fuel a comeback.
The company is counting on a wave of upgrade buying from BlackBerry users who prefer a physical keyboard to drive Q10 sales and help revive revenue growth. While the touch-screen Z10 sold a million units in its first quarter that ended March 2, in line with analyst estimates, the company’s stock has experienced volatility in recent weeks following reports of lackluster demand for the Z10.

‘False’ Information

Department store Selfridges and outlets of Carphone Warehouse Group Plc (CPW) sold out of the Q10 quickly, Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies Group LLC (JEF) in New York, wrote in a note yesterday.
“Salespeople were well-versed on the device, and there was more apparent buzz versus the Z10 launch,” Misek said.
BlackBerry said April 12 it would ask securities regulators to investigate a report from Detwiler Fenton & Co. that its new phones have high return rates, saying that the “false” information may have been released in a deliberate attempt to manipulate its stock price.
“Whatever the motivation is, you have to use the right facts, and that’s what we’re challenging right now,” Heins said, referring to the company’s request for both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission to review the report.
Data from BlackBerry and one of its U.S. carrier partners Verizon Wireless show that Z10 returns are “completely in line” with the industry and “better than previous BlackBerry launches were, so the quality speaks for itself,” Heins said.

‘Remain Steady’

In a separate report last week, Wedge Partners said BlackBerry is probably scaling back Z10 production.
Misek, who has a buy rating on BlackBerry shares, said he saw no sign of Z10 manufacturing cuts and that “Z10 sales in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. remain steady with no inventory or return issues.”
The Q10, set to go on sale in the U.S. at the end of May, will sell through the four largest U.S. carriers for about $249 on a two-year contract. While that’s $50 more than Apple Inc (AAPL).’s iPhone 5, it’s part of a strategy to target business users willing to pay more for a phone they think will boost their productivity, according to analysts including Anil Doradla at William Blair & Co. in Chicago.

Lost Ground

The company, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd. (BB), has steadily lost ground over the past three years to Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), which offered more compelling touch- screen devices. Samsung accounted for one-third of smartphone sales last quarter, while Apple had 17 percent, according to IDC. BlackBerry’s share fell to 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter and then dropped out of the top five in the first three months of this year.
Heins has said he is exploring the potential licensing of the BlackBerry 10 operating system to other companies.
A successful introduction of the new phones will “create a certain attraction toward BlackBerry 10, and then whatever comes up, we will entertain any valuable discussion for the company,” Heins said yesterday. “We are still observing and watching that space, and that’s what we will continue to do.”

Nokia - Is planning to invest in Lytro-like camera technology for smartphones

Nokia to invest in Lytro-like camera technology for future phones

Nokia is planning on making an investment in U.S. Pelican Imaging, a California startup developing Lytro-like camera technology for smartphones and other mobile devices.

In case you are not familiar with the Lytro camera, it basically allows you to focus after you snap an image. This frees you from worrying about where to focus and basically means your whole picture will always be in focus. You can choose to selectively focus on an area after you have taken the image.

To achieve that Pelican Imaging is developing an array of sensors that capture the same picture and adds a sprinkle of software magic on top to achieve the Lytro-like effect quickly. We have also seen a software-only approach in apps like FocusTwist but those come with a lot of limitations - objects in the picture should not be moving and it takes a while to shoot the image. Pelican’s technology is more advanced in that sense.
Lytro-like technology will allow you to choose what to focus after you take a picture
Nokia has the longest history in cameraphones of all handset manufacturers. Most recently, it released the industry leading 41-megapixel Nokia 808 PureView, a Symbian smartphone with a huge sensor, and theNokia Lumia 920 with best-in-class optical image stabilization and enhanced low light performance. Nokia’s upcoming cameraphone is said to feature a mixture of the advances made in those two devices.

New Nokia Lumia 920 - adds 12x optical zoom to the PureView camera

This crazy accessory brings 12x optical zoom to the Nokia Lumia 920
If that 8MP PureView Phase II camera on the Lumia 920 just doesn't cut it for you, then it means you have unrealistic expectations towards smartphones. Nevertheless, there is now a unique accessory that will allow you to achieve something far more extraordinary than what the Lumia 920's camera was meant to be.

Fellow shutterbugs, allow us to present to you this... case, which is much more than a simple case, because it also features a 12x telephoto lens and even a small tripod to exterminate those unpleasant shakes. In order to use this intriguing accessory, you simply have to insert the phone into the case, and you're ready to go! Who said you can't use optical zoom with your 920? Those 808 PureView fanboys laughed at you when you said you want a real smartphone, but who'll be laughing now?!
This crazy accessory brings 12x optical zoom to the Nokia Lumia 920
All joking aside, if you actually happen to be such a shameless enthusiast, it might be useful for you to know that the accessory is fairly cheap at $31.99. So, who's buying it?

New Best HTC One accessories

The HTC One is a very nicely put together piece of kit. It's one of those phones you really don’t want to drop.
The brushed-aluminium shell is tough, but it likes to ding, dent and scratch more than most, so investing in a proper case is no bad idea. But why stop there? The HTC One is a popular handset and has all sorts of great accessories you can pick up for it.


HTC One Double Dip hard shell and flip cover
These are some of our favourite phone cases for the HTC One. Put together by HTC itself for the handset, rather than detracting from its good looks, they add to it.

Both cases have a split red and black colour scheme which looks the bee's knees. With the hard shell, the whole phone, including screen, is protected. The flip cover keeps the screen safe in your pocket and then folds back, turning the handset into a stand when you want it. Price: Double Dip Hard Shell £17.99,Double Dip Flip Case: £24.99

Otterbox HTC One Commuter and Defender cases
Otterbox is known for making ultra-tough phone cases, so you can carry your smartphone about even in the most extreme of situations. Its flagship product, the Defender, has been saving handsets from drops for several years now.

With the HTC One, things shouldn’t be any different. It combines screen protection with a silicone inner layer and a hard outer layer to keep the whole handset wrapped up as safe as you could want it. The Commuter is for those who want a bit of added security, but not all the extra bulk that the Defender case brings. It still features all the inner and outer layer protection as well as a screen cover, but just isn’t quite as hardy. Price: Commuter £29.95, Defender £34.95
Speck cases
Speck has a wide range of accessories for the HTC One: the Gemshell, Smartflex view, Candyshell and Candyshell grip. They break down rather simply, each falling into their own distinct case category.

The Gemshell is see-through, so you can still enjoy the looks of your HTC One. The Smartflex view features a stand and the Candyshell is just a case. The Candyshell grip is easier to hold. Price: Candyshell £29, Gemshell £25, Smartflex £30
Incipio cases
Incipio has a choice of cases for the HTC One. Some are the same shape but use different materials; the DualPro and DualPro CF, for example. The latter uses carbon fibre.

The highlight of the Incipio range is the Feather, which is incredibly thin and does little to add weight to the phone. Just don’t expect it to keep the front of the phone that protected. Price: DualPro £22, Feather £17


HTC stereo and HTC Bluetooth stereo headphones
HTC’s own offering matches the brushed-aluminium looks of the HTC One. The stereo headphones feature soft earbuds and a clever flat anti-tangle cable with three-button volume control.

The HTC Bluetooth stereo headphones are slightly different. The have a cable attached to a small box, roughly the size of an iPod shuffle. That box features audio controls and is designed to bring superior Bluetooth 3.0 quality sound without the need for a straight line to your handset. Price: HTC Bluetooth headphones £44, Wired headset £29
Bang and Olufsen BeoPlay H6
Keeping up the brushed aluminium theme is the BeoPlay H6. They carry the usual price premium of B&O products, but look just as good as your HTC One.

The light tan leather with brushed-aluminium inserts on each headphone match really well with the light silver HTC One. The dark metal version matches the darker HTC One nicely as well. Price: £329

Atomic Floyd Superdarts
The Atomic Floyd Superdarts are some of our favourite in-ear headphones. They sound fantastic and have a bomb-proof build quality that means we have no qualms leaving them sitting in our pocket or in a handbag.

The sound you get from the Superdarts is both bass and treble heavy, emphasised even further by the included Beats audio technology with the HTC One. The result is audio that is perfectly suited to noisy train journeys but not necessarily great for using at home. Price: £199


Bose SoundLink
The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth wireless speaker is small and compact, designed to be transported around and used whenever you fancy beefing up the audio from your smartphone.

We especially like the choice of leather and Nylon covers you can fit to the SoundLink. Despite its 70s transistor radio design not quite matching the modern edge of the HTC One, it definitely carries the same style kudos. Price: £299

Pure Sensia 200D
Pure’s Sensia 200D is designed with audio streaming in mind. It uses the Pure Connect app on Android to receive wireless audio, which is completely lossless - much like Apple's AirPlay technology. Also included is a USB port on the back which will charge your HTC One.

The front of the Sensia 200D features a large 5.7-inch screen from which you can control all its other functions, including radio and the Pure Music store. Again, it's the stylish exterior that invokes compatibility with the sleek lines of the HTC One. Price: £180

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sony’s water resistant Xperia Tablet Z

Have you been waiting with bated breath for Sony’s latest tablet, the Xperia Tablet Z, to finally hit the market? Well, the wait is almost over. As Sony reported on its blog a few days ago, the device is now available for pre-order in the U.S.
Aren’t sure if the Xperia is right for you? Not too long ago we got our hands on it and had the chance to play play around. Here’s what you can expect to find:
The design duplicated the sleek, simple look of the Xperia Z smartphone, which we loved. The 10.1-inch tablet is super thin — just 6.9mm thick — and extremely lightweight, at 495g. Out of the box, it will feature Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, use a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, and come with 2GB RAM. It sports a 1920 x 1200 pixel screen, which perfectly complements its 8-megapixel rear-facing and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras. When we tried it out, the camera shutter was quick to focus and snap a shot, and photos were sharp. (Though we do wish we had the opportunity to try it out in a lower light setting.)
Another cool feature is the NFC pairing: simply tap the tablet to a Sony speaker and it instantly syncs, letting you enjoy all your favorite music the way it was meant to be heard. To boot, the device is water resistant, so if you find yourself caught in a freak downpour with no means to cover up your tablet, you shouldn’t have to worry.
The tablet sells for $500 for 16GB and $600 for the 32GB model. The smaller model comes in black only, while the larger model also has a white option. If you order the white Xperia before May 24 (which is when the tablets are expected to begin shipping), you’ll be given a free cradle to go along with it.

BlackBerry Q10 Review

blackberry q10

The BlackBerry Q10 is here, and it is hard to imagine that only six short years ago, a phone without a keyboard seemed absurd. 
How would you type? How would you dial? 
But the huge wave of touchscreen phones that started with the original iPhone proved that was what most consumers really wanted. 
BlackBerry largely missed that trend and is only just recently catching up with its new touch-friendly mobile operating system BlackBerry 10, which debuted last month on the BlackBerry Z10.
But the company is still trying to appeal to its core audience with another new phone running BlackBerry 10, the BlackBerry Q10.
And this time, you get that iconic BlackBerry keyboard.
Let's be clear though. The Q10 isn't for the typical consumer. It's a serious device and designed as such. It has a smaller touchscreen, which isn't the best for gaming, streaming video, or any of that other fun stuff. It's an email, messaging, and productivity beast.
If that's you're style, you're going to love this phone.

Design And Hardware

The BlackBerry Q10 looks a lot like BlackBerry's last generation of Bold smartphones, except it has a much larger 3.1-inch screen and a wider keyboard with bigger individual keys.
It's a delight to type on. I haven't used a physical keyboard in ages, but the keys are designed so well that I was flying. It's definitely a better and more accurate experience than most touchscreen keyboards, as long as you can get past the tradeoff of a smaller screen.
The Q10 feels great to hold too, thanks to a special rubbery coating that helps protect it from dings and scratches. The entire phone is just plain solid. There aren't any creaks or squeaks like you see on many non-metal smartphones. It also has a removable battery and SD card slot for extra memory, two other throwback features that'll please BlackBerry lovers.t is a bit odd to switch between the touchscreen and the keyboard so often though. Most of the BlackBerry 10 operating system is designed for touch gestures, so there's really no need for the keyboard most of the time. Whereas most touch-based operating systems only show you the keyboard when you need it, the Q10's keyboard is always there. It feels like wasted space when you're not typing.
It's a minor drawback, and one keyboard lovers will surely have no problem overlooking.

BlackBerry 10, Improved

The Q10 will be the first phone to ship with BlackBerry's first major update to BlackBerry 10, version 10.1. That version includes a handful of minor improvements over the last version, including a more robust tutorial mode to help beginners learn how to navigate the phone. 
The notifications center, called the BlackBerry Hub, has also been tweaked to help you tell the difference between what apps are sending you updates. Now it's a lot easier to filter notifications from Facebook, email, calendar appointments, etc. thanks to some handy symbols that tell you where each one is coming from. 
The BlackBerry Hub.
blackberry q10
BlackBerry 10 also takes advantage of the Q10's always-present keyboard. From the home screen, you just have to start typing to search your phone for anything you need: contacts, messages, emails, apps, you name it. It's an amazing and seamless way to find stuff on your device. You can also tweet or post to Facebook from the home screen just by typing "tweet" or "fb" plus your message. Pretty cool.
Overall, the BlackBerry 10 experience on the Q10 is nearly identical to what you get with the Z10. It has an excellent multitasking system that lets you swipe up to close out an app and view your recently used one. It's much more intuitive than multitasking on the iPhone, Android, or Windows phone. 
But as solid as BlackBerry 10 is, it still suffers from a poor app selection. You won't find many of the top-tier apps on BlackBerry. There's no Instagram, Spotify, Netflix, Pandora, Hulu...the list goes on and on. Most of those big developers either refuse to develop for BlackBerry 10 or won't say if they plan to at all. Either way, it's not a good sign for the platform.
However, there is one big app on the way, and I got to test a beta version on the Q10. BlackBerry has finally confirmed Skype is coming very soon.
BlackBerry 10 has a poor selection of apps.

Should You Buy It?

blackberry q10
There's only one question you need to ask yourself before buying the BlackBerry Q10: Do you absolutely need a physical keyboard? If the answer is yes, then the Q10 is the best phone you can buy. In fact, it's pretty much you're only option unless you want to buy one of the older, outdated BlackBerrys.
If you're still a BlackBerry fan and don't need the keyboard, you're much better off with the touchscreen-only BlackBerry Z10.
The Q10 won't be available in the US until the end of May, and exact pricing and availability will vary by carrier. BlackBerry says the phone will cost around $250.

HTC One Mobiles Republic Powers BlinkFeed

HTC One black master 2
You might have heard the name Mobiles Republic a few times before, thanks to their News Republic, Appy Geek and Appy Gamer Android apps. They’re one of the biggest mobile news syndicators with over 1,500 licensed sources – including ourselves! What you might not know however, is that they’re the people behind HTC’s BlinkFeed, which is one of the headlining features of the HTC One (our review is coming real soon!). You might already know what BlinkFeed is and what it does but, we’ll let HTC quickly fill you in 
Essentially, it’s the news you care about, right there at your fingertips. It’s a great feature of the One and if you just have to know what’s going on at every waking moment, then you’ll love BlinkFeed. You go ahead and set-up your customized feed in the settings and then you’ll get your own news selection on your homescreen whenever you need it:
2013-04-25 09.15.01
You can read the whole article without having to head on over to the source page as well, like this post of ours here:
2013-04-25 14.10.39
BlinkFeed might be the RSS reader you think it is but, that’s a good thing, it makes it quick and easy to get the news you care about without having to go into individual apps. There’s a vast amount of sources on offer so you don’t have to keep jumping from app to app. You can lump in the more serious news with your gaming and tech news, to make sure that you get your fix wherever and whenever.
If you don’t have an HTC One, you can still get our stories in the Appy Geek app, which just recently got a sizable update with some tweaks and it takes better advantage of tablets like the Nexus 7.

Samsung 16GB Galaxy S4 Only Has 8.82GB of Free Space 2013

The Samsung Galaxy s4 siv promo
How many of you are waiting to go and grab your Galaxy S4? Well before you do, you’ll want to read this so you don’t freak out. Or maybe you were expecting this. It appears that the Galaxy S4 has only 8.82GB of free space. The rest of it is used by the system, bloat apps, and other features Samsung has thrown into the device.
Over the weekend, on Google+ I noticed a few people that had already picked up the Galaxy S4 and were a bit ticked off that the device has only 8.82GB (around that amount) free to the user before installing any apps, loading up any music, or photos. Perhaps this is why Samsung kept the microSD card slot?
By comparison, the HTC One lists 7.14GB of your storage being used for the system, Sense 5, and such. But the HTC One also has 32GB and 64GB of space, and no microSD card slot. So as far as that goes, it’s all up to personal preference. Don’t forget you can expand your Galaxy S4′s storage with up to a 64GB microSD card.
So there you have it, the 16GB Galaxy S4 comes with just 8.82GB of storage that you can use, so the 32GB version will probably have around 24-25GB of free storage, by my calculation. Most of the panic here is probably going to come from the fact that you can’t even see the rest of the 16GB of storage. Many people might think that they have a 8GB model instead of the 16GB model.
Is this a deal breaker for anyone? Or are you just going to flash CyanogenMod onto your Galaxy S4? At least there is a microSD card slot included in the Galaxy S4, unlike with many other flagship devices. So at least Samsung has done that for it’s customers. Let us know in the comments down below.

Galaxy Note III Design Still Up in The Air - 2013

Over the weekend, we ran a story about a Galaxy Note III prototype, which has since turned out to be fake, which is hardly surprising really. SamMobile are back with what they claim to be more information on the Galaxy Note III. Apparently, they’ve been passed an update which contains details on the design of the Galaxy Note III. They’re claiming that there are three types of prototype being tested by Samsung right now.
One of them is, of course, very similar to that of the Galaxy S 4, which is the path that they’ve taken with every Galaxy Note smartphone since the original. That would keep the two lines very close together in terms of branding but, with the Galaxy S growing again this year, is that what Samsung wants? Isn’t it about time for the Note line to stand outside of the Galaxy S’s shadow?
The second design is a completely new design that SamMobile were unable to comment about. A new design for the Note III would certainly help to make the device stand out and could give those uncertain of size reason to take a look. Who knows what this new design could be but, having the Note III look different to the Galaxy S IV can’t be a bad thing, surely?
Thirdly, there are rumors of a flexible-display packing Note III, specifically Samsung’s flexible AMOLED display tech that they showed off this year at CES 2013, it seems a little unlikely that it will be ready for mass-production come this fall but, stranger things have happened.
Again, these are just rumors and Samsung could be up to absolutely anything when it comes to the Note III but, we wouldn’t be surprised if they just went with the same sort of design as the Galaxy S 4, as Samsung have finally understood that a unified design language is a good marketing strategy. What do you think? Should the Note III become something different?

IOS 7 RUMOR - is the IPhone brokem and CAN Jony Ive fix it & video

rumor roundup apple ios 7 header image copyright_blackpool_creative

The usually overflowing well of Apple rumors has been oddly quiet when it comes to iOS 7. We have heard a few whispers here and there around development, but we’re in the dark as far as what specific features will make it to the finished product. It would seem that Jony Ive is a much better secret keeper than previous iOS helmer Scott Forstall. With a new version of the OS scheduled to debut in June, it’s high time we try and figure out what might be coming, and what we want from, the next iOS.

iOS 7 Rumor Roundup

We do know that Apple’s highly-respected and eccentric industrial designer, Jonathan Ive, was recently put in a directorial role for Human Interface development (read: software) at the company. He’s known for his hardware design prowess, focusing on simplicity and utility over anything else, leading to the now iconic MacBook Air, iPhone, and iPad, among many other successful Apple products. He’s also known to dislike skeumorphism in software design: the act of making virtual interfaces resemble their physical counterparts (ie: the Game Center app including green felt like in casino). Judging by his design preferences, if nothing else, we can expect to see a more streamlined look coming to iOS.
A flattened, less skeumorphic design
 rumor roundup apple ios 7 podcasts app screenshot
One of the first things that happened under Ive’s new leadership of iOS was a refresh of the almost universally reviled Podcasts app. It received a number of fixes and new features like iCloud-synced stations that can download new episodes automatically, as well as support for on-the-go playlists. The biggest change, however, was a visual one. The faux-tape deck and large, square buttons were trashed for a more cohesive design that was easier to navigate. 
If the revamped Podcasts app is any indication, and it is, then we can expect to see a lot more of this across iOS 7. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Games Center app had the carpet ripped up and icons were generally flattened and made more iconic and less … shiny. Whatever he’s doing behind closed doors, Ive’s seems to be making an impression. Rene Ritchie of iMore said in a recent Branch chat that Ive’s work is “apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad.”
People pulled from OSX to help meet WWDC deadline
There were rumblings of this earlier in the year, but it has become much more apparent lately. According to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, engineers are being pulled from their work on OS X 10.9 to help iOS 7 make its debut on time at the World Wide Developer Conference set to kick off on June 10. All signs are pointing to an announcement for iOS 7 at the conference, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the software’s actual launch waited to tag along with the iPhone 5S (or 6, whatever it is). OS X 10.9, the successor to Mountain Lion is also expected to make an appearance, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was pushed back because some of the team was pulled away.
Top secret operation
In typical Apple fashion, rumors around bizarre security practices are attached to Ive’s work on iOS 7. Gruber shared some information recently about the specific measures engineers are required to take while working on the latest mobile software. Apparently those designers with carry privileges (meaning they can take devices off Apple campus – assuming they promise not to leave them in a bar) must have a polarizing filter on the display. What this does is makes it extra difficult for passerbys and curious folks to sneak a peek at the unreleased software. This backs up claims of a “significant system-wide UI overhaul,” which would require a way to hide the new look.

What we want from iOS 7

With so little information on the specifics of iOS 7, designers, bloggers, and Apple fans have been posting words and videos either showcasing possible features or begging for changes to the tried-and-true formula. Suggestions have run the gamut of complete design overhauls to Android on the iPhone, but two areas seem to need the most love: Notifications, settings, and multi-tasking. Full disclosure: I’m not an iPhone or iPad user so I received inspiration from the complaints of my iOS-using editor.
“The iPhone should do things in the background so I don’t have to stare at every app.”
rumor roundup apple ios 7 spotify app screenshot
Much to my surprise as a Windows Phone / Android user, Apple still hasn’t mastered the art of background tasks. It can consistently throw you back into an app exactly where you left off, but that means the app usually does nothing while you were away. It’s simply frozen and unfrozen. Currently, apps like Spotify, and yes, even the new Podcasts app, need to be open to download new content. So the automatic download feature in the Podcasts app essentially just means new episodes begin downloading as soon as you open the app.

We’d like to see this fixed in iOS 7, with a nice mix of Android’s free-for-all task management and Windows Phone’s tightly managed, battery-savvy multi-tasking. Actually, it doesn’t even matter how Apple does it, as long as Spotify can sync without anyone looking at it. It’s not just media that’s affected either, the issue branches out into email (the Gmail app sends notifications, but doesn’t actually sync until you open it and refresh) and other areas.
“Notifications are still terrible.”
As a whole, notifications feel a bit like a feature thrown in as a crowd pleaser that Apple couldn’t care less about. Android is ruling the roost in this department with 4.2.2 bringing actionable notifications, meaning you can choose to read or reply to text messages right from the drop-down menu, among other tasks. Apple users want that; everybody wants that. Notifications are one of the most difficult things to manage on a smartphone and they need all the help they can get. Making them swipeable would be a great first step; a more swipeable interface in general would help iOS a lot actually.
The swipe-happy Mailbox app is a good example of the demand for it on iOS, with a long line of people signing up to access the beta. The tiny X that currently only deletes notifications in batches (all emails or none of them) is no longer sufficient. Finally, the alert system could use an overhaul as well. It’s funny that Apple has yet to recognize the usefulness of an LED indicator. All Android phones have one. The current system of completely turning the screen on not once, but two times (assuming you don’t cliick on it first) is barbaric and wasteful of precious battery juice.
“iOS needs a visual overhaul.”
rumor roundup apple ios 7 mailbox app screenshot
We covered this up top in the rumor section, but it bears repeating. Apple’s software is getting tired and it’s being left in the dust as Windows Phone continues to get more attractive and Android keeps getting more powerful. Part of that will happen with Ive’s enforcement of a more cohesive user experience that relies less on gradients and textures, but it needs to go further than that. User experience isn’t judged solely on the software’s look; it’s also based on ease of use. A unified way of handling settings would be a good first step. Currently, a random assortment of app settings are handled in-app with others accessed in the stand-alone Settings app.

Furthermore, we’d like to be able to use the apps we want to use, not the ones Apple is pushing. (And maybe Apple’s apps could be improved?) Most of the built-in apps on iOS suck, not just the mapping system. If someone wants to uninstall the built-in Weather app for instance, and replace it with the Weather Network app then that should be able to happen. And we’re just going to say it, if iOS 7 brought support for widgets – both on the lockscreen and the homescreen – we wouldn’t be upset. We might even be excited.
For those of you that enjoy a good mock-up, there are a couple concept videos that have been making the rounds lately, showing off exactly how beautiful a new and improved iOS could be.
First up is a new take on the multitasking system, a major improvement to the icon-based system currently employed by Apple. Jesse Head is the designer. He’s not affiliated with Apple, but seems to have a good handle on the company’s design philosophy as his concept would like right at home on any iDevice. The most compelling parts of his design are the access to quick settings underneath open apps, as well as live previews, which allow the user to scroll between apps while watching them update live.
The second video is a bit longer and therefore covers more proposed features of iOS. The highlight is probably the Notification Center, which the designer, Agente Apple, shows with grouped notifications including an easy way to clear them all out. There are also widgets on display for things like weather and news, as well as a quick way to access common settings. The design is overcrowded, but the idea is solid. The other major overhaul happens with the lockscreen, which Agente Apple envisions with quick links to settings, a border that can change from black to white to suit your device, and more.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Samsung Rugged Galaxy S4 Phone - Coming in July,2013

Samsung is on to something very durable indeed. Its rugged version of the all-new Galaxy S4 phone is a gem of a device. Those people wanting a sturdy partner by their side will welcome the S4 phone.

Samsung Rugged Galaxy S4 Phone coming in July

New things come up time and again. But seldom does it happen that a tough technology arrives and enters the arena. Samsung has just recently come up with it Galaxy S4 phone. Both water-repellent and dust-proof, this marvel of engineering is environment-friendly to boot. According to the Wall Street Journal this information is hardly surprising since Samsung has always been a king of innovation.

The fact that this rough and tough model will cut down competing models down to size is another feather in Samsung’s cap. Google’s Motorola for one is facing the heat from this direction. That the Samsung Galaxy S4 will not break down or stop functioning due to pollutants or minor damages is an open challenge to Google‘s abilities.
The bond between Samsung and the guys at Google is a bit complicated. Google is definitely a bit on edge over the issues of a product created by Samsung that furthermore shows great tensile strength. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is also being touted for the military and this has the makers jumping for joy. It is precisely this act which has other big guns like Apple and Blackberry highly worried.

This was actually a race that was on between all the competitors. The first one to build a phone with a tough exterior would win the sweepstakes that this economic game held in store for the brave contender. It seems like Samsung just might have made it to the finish line in the nick of time.

iPhone Came With 10 Different Color Options, Plastic Back - PC

Oh, Apple, when will you just release a budget iPhone so that we can finally call time on all this speculation?
It’s becoming painfully clear that whether Apple is indeed getting ready to launch a budget iPhone or not, that’s not going to stop the rumor mill from coming down to its own set of conclusions.
Apple logo copy
As part of the iPhone rumor circus, one suggestion that keeps cropping up is that Apple’s budget handset – or iPhone – will feature an all-new polycarbonate plastic shell, not entirely dissimilar to the old iPhone 3G and 3GS models of yesteryear. With that firmly in mind, one Apple rumor site set about getting some models made in order to try and depict what the finished product might look like. The result is something you’ll need to see to truly appreciate.
We say appreciate, but whether you’re a fan of the idea will depend on your own aesthetic preferences. The concepts shown remind us of the old bubble iMac thanks mainly to the colors used, and that’s no bad thing. Even so, we’re not convinced such a release is on the cards at all, let alone one that would see Apple let loose with all manner of overly colorful iPhone bodies.
blue green
light blue black
orange purple
Apple has form for launching colorful products, and not just with the old iMacs. Current iPod models ship with a variety of colors available, but the iPad and iPhone ship in just two; blank and white. Offering a cheaper, less well-equipped iPhone in multiple colors may appeal to some, but Apple may be wary of diluting its own market. Would people actually prefer the colorful, cheaper models, potentially slowing sales of the high-end metal variety? That’s what market research is for – or it would be if Apple used it!

pink white
red yellow
At this point, the only real thing we know is that all the budget iPhone rumors are unlikely to go away until they actually come true, and eventually, it’s entirely likely that they will, throwing forth at least a couple of differently colored handsets.