Posts

Showing posts from 2013

What to expect from OEMs in 2014

Image
2013 was a good year for Android OEMs in general. Smartphones have made huge leaps forward from their 2012 predecessors. Smartphones from every major Android OEM are pretty much neck and neck in terms of performance, they each have their own strengths (and weaknesses) and Google have refined Android to the extent that you pretty much can't go wrong with any phone you buy. In the past couple of years, there have been some fairly consistent trends in the Android ecosystem. Some OEMs keep doing the same things which we come to expect, while others keep surprising us with things we never thought possible. A couple of months ago I wrote about what I expect from smartphones in 2014, specs wise. This time I'm taking a more focused approach, and will share with you what I think we will see from each of the major Android OEMs in 2014.

Nexus 5: What I love, and what I don't

Image
I've had my Nexus 5 for almost one week now, and I've absolutely loved using this phone. It's my first Nexus phone (but not my first Nexus device, that would be my 1st gen Nexus 7) and I think Google and LG did an exceptional job with this phone. This won't be a full-fledged review, as there are hundreds of those already on the web. This will just be me, sharing with you what I like the most about the phone, and a few things which I don't that could be better. In case you're wondering, I got the Storm Trooper (white) 32GB model, unlocked the bootloader and rooted it, with TWRP as my custom recovery. I used to regularly flash custom ROMs on my Nexus 7, but I'm now running stock 4.4.2 on both, with Xposed Framework and GravityBox providing me with the added customisability I want. In all honesty, I like this setup more. Got Action Launcher Pro powering my home screen, and other than a black carbon fibre skin I got from +iCarbons Inc , my phone will probably s…

New Year's Resolutions - Mobile Tech Edition

Image
I'm not the kind of guy who makes resolutions when new year's comes along. Quite frankly I think the whole concept is silly. I mean, why wait until the turn of the year if you want to be a better person? If you really wanted to better yourself, you would do so then and there. But I digress. The reason why I'm writing this post despite my previous statement, is because I just got my Nexus 5. With a new device comes new opportunities to change your mobile habits. We are often restricted by our devices when it comes to what we can do. If we have a device with poor loudspeakers, we won't be listening to music much without earphones. If our device has a mid-range SoC, we won't be playing graphic intensive games. A poor camera, not a lot of photos. You get the point. Now some of my "resolutions" may not be directly related to, or a consequence of me owning a Nexus 5, but cover a broader scope of how I aim to improve my mobile habits. After all, if we don't …

Must have apps for new Android users

Image
Our smartphones are only as good as the apps we have on them. Having a powerful smartphone with a buttery smooth OS is cool sure, but having the right selection of apps is what makes the entire experience worthwhile. With over one million apps in the Play Store, choosing the best ones can be a bit difficult if you are new to smartphones or Android. Especially if you have no idea what Android is capable of, because some of the best apps in the Play Store take advantage of some of Android's strengths. This list is not a list of the best apps in the Play Store, because quite frankly, different people have different preferences. But these are some of the most popular in their respective categories, and I use all of them frequently on my smartphone. You can always look for alternatives if my suggestions don't suit your style. That's why Android is cool. You always have a choice. So here are my suggestions for must have apps if you are new to Android.

How social media is making traditional media irrelevant

Image
Ever since the turn of the millennium, social media started picking up pace. With various social networks for various situations, more and more adaptation by famous institutes and governing bodies, and of course the rise of smartphones and tablets in consumer markets, social media became huge. Seeing cat videos, pictures of food and cheesy inspirational quotes does get boring, like really boring. But the strength of social media is seen the most in moments of misfortune. I pretty much never read a newspaper anymore. Nor do I watch the news. If you know me, you'll know how much of a technophile I am. Pretty much everything I do, I do online. That includes getting updates on current events, local or global. Whenever there's a missing child in Malaysia, or natural disaster strikes somewhere in the country, or a robbery or murder has been committed (like this which happened in a neighbouring housing area to mine), social media is my go-to source for information, and I believe the …

Basic security tips for Android

Image
Security is a major concern many people have in this modern technological era. With so much information in data streams, going back and forth between user devices and servers, with so much of our personal lives online, it shouldn't come as a surprise if some users value the data and information in their devices (or the cloud) more than the actual devices themselves. With more and more people using mobile devices, the mobile industry is becoming more appealing to would-be hackers and data phishers. I believe that anything can be "hacked", to use the term loosely. There's no such thing as 100% security when it comes to something as vast and interconnected as the world wide web. But that doesn't mean we should shun the advancements of technology all together. There are many security measures taken by service providers to ensure the security of their clients' data and information, and there are also many security measures users can take on their end to ensure the…

New year hopes for mobile technology

Image
With the product cycles for this year's mobile devices coming to an end, many are already looking forward to 2014. We've heard rumours of a metallic Galaxy S5, rumours of a larger iPhone, and even seen leaks of the alleged successor to the HTC One. I've shared with you what I think we will see on spec sheets in 2014, from an OEM perspective. But this time I'm taking a different approach, a more consumer-centric approach. Once a new device has been launched, we normally say things like "I wish they made this like this", or "I wish they didn't include this" when reviewing devices. As consumers, we have our own preferences, hopes and dare I say, expectations with regards to the mobile devices we carry on our person at all times. This post won't focus on one particular device or brand specifically, but on the industry in general. Things that I hope I'll see more of (or in one particular example, less of) in 2014 in the mobile industry.

My top Android OEMs for 2013

Image
We're at the tail end of 2013, which means another year of product releases in the mobile industry is coming to an end. Well, technically the product cycles for 2013 have already ended, with all major Android OEMs having already announced their line-up for 2013. We've had some great products this year, some more spectacular than others. Some OEMs have surprised us with their flagships, and even with some other unique devices as well. My list of top OEMs for 2013 will not be based on any measurable metric; it will just be based on what I consider to be great contributions to the industry. It's not going to be solely based on who sold the most phones, who made the most profit, who made the "best" devices or anything of that nature. Of course I will take some of that into consideration but in my eyes, the best OEM needs to do more than just make and sell great products, they need to challenge the market and push it forward, which is what I think my top 3 OEMs each a…

5 ridiculously tiny things about Android that I love

Image
When you talk about Android with any Android enthusiast, and ask what they love most about the platform, you'll probably get the usual geeky answers; excellent integration among Google services, almost complete freedom with regards to the design of the home screen, the ability to sideload apps, root access and custom ROMs, file explorers etc. But what about the little things that we barely even notice? The things that we see and use every day without even noticing them. The things that we will only really notice once they're gone. Things that even the most basic of Android users can understand and appreciate? That's what I want to share with you here. Android is extremely powerful and grants the user almost complete access to it's inner workings, but from time to time, we need to appreciate the little things.

What other OEMs can learn from Motorola

Image
Motorola recently unveiled the Moto G, initially rumoured to be a "cheaper" version of the Moto X for the international market. And while it is less powerful than the Moto X, and significantly cheaper, it's not really a poor man's Moto X, no it isn't. If you ask me, the Moto G is Motorola's effort to redefine the mid-range smartphone market, the same way the Moto X was intended to redefine what we call a "high-end" flagship. As was mentioned at the event, consumers looking for a smartphone but who can't (or won't) spend the high amounts of money a flagship demands are restricted to two poor options; buy a new but cheap phone with outdated hardware (and possibly software), or buy an outdated flagship, which usually are still quite expensive. The Moto G aims to solve this problem by offering a phone that is both highly affordable, while at the same time highly respectable on paper. Motorola's approach to hardware and software, and their ov…

Why didn't you buy that phone?

Image
Everyone talks about the phone(s) they own. Why they bought it, what they love about it, how it fits nicely into their daily routines etc. But as we all know, choice is one of the many strengths of the Android ecosystem. You have several OEMs to choose from, each with their own hardware and software features that make their devices stand out. HTC has BoomSound, Samsung has removable batteries, Sony has water resistance, LG has rear-mounted buttons, Motorola has Touchless Controls and so on. There is something for everyone, and that's why I love the Android ecosystem. While everyone has a favourite OEM, I'm sure they would've been tempted to try out something from another manufacturer. Or maybe you are not loyal to any particular OEM, and so you regularly switch between them. In any case, we all have a list of phones that we almost bought. Or phones that we short-listed but ultimately went with something else, and that is what this post is about. I am still using my first A…

Top 5: Amazing smartphone feats

Image
Our smartphones are really amazing pieces of technology. We take them for granted. We really do. We always find things to complain about, that we forget just how much they are already capable of. Lost in a city and need some directions but too shy to ask a stranger? Use Maps and find your way. Need to convert units in a recipe you are trying out? Use an app on your phone or just Google it. Need to take a quick note but don't have pen and paper? Take a note on your phone. Yup, we take our phones for granted. But sometimes, these pocket-sized devices truly do remarkable things. Like, newsworthy things. Things that don't always happen. And that's what this post is about. These are some of the most incredible things to have happened that involve modern smartphones. 

Z1, Note 3, Moto X, G2, Nexus 5 - End-year Android flagship guide

Image
Back in July, I wrote a simple guide comparing the current Android flagships at the time - the Xperia Z, the HTC One and the Galaxy S4. It wasn't meant to be an in-depth review, just an accumulation of opinions that I had gathered from various review sites, meant to help consumers decide which phone might suit them best. We are now approaching the end of 2013, and it's time for a second Android flagship guide, this time with phones released in the second half of the year. As I mentioned at the end of my first guide, this guide will include some of the most anticipated phones of the second half of the year, including the Galaxy Note 3, the Moto X, as well as the newly released Nexus 5. I'll also share some thoughts on the refresh of the Xperia Z, the Xperia Z1, as well as the LG G2, the phone which the Nexus 5 is based on. There's a lot to talk about, so let's get started.

Top 5: How my HTC One X sold me on Android

Image
So the Nexus 5 is finally official, and many consumers are already getting their hands on the device, just one day after Google announced the phone. Props to Google for a smooth launch after last year's problems with the Nexus 4. For those of you who don't already know, I'm getting the Nexus 5 when it becomes available in my country to replace my current HTC One X. It'll be my second Android phone and my second Nexus device, after the Nexus 7 (first gen). I recently wrote a post highlighting a few things that excite me about the upgrade, so this time I'm looking back to the past. I'll look back at how I felt when I first made the switch to Android from iOS, how I felt during the first few days and weeks of using my One X. First impressions are important and after 3 years of using iOS, the experience of using my first Android device was important. It would mould my perception of Android and help me determine whether or not my decision to leave iOS was justified.…

What I'm looking forward to most about upgrading from my One X to the Nexus 5

Image
The Nexus 5 is coming. Soon. Like real soon. We may not know much about KitKat yet, but everything about the Nexus 5 as a phone is pretty much confirmed, including dimensions, design and internal components (specs). Leaks have been plentiful, and I'm willing to bet that most of them were pretty accurate, which is why I'm confident enough to write this post. As everything about the new Nexus is already out there, I've been comparing it to my current phone, the HTC One X. As I've said in the past, I want the Nexus 5 and will get it when it becomes available to me in my country. So how does it stack up to my current daily driver? Well it's better, that's to be expected. There are several things about the upgrade that I am particularly looking forward to, which is what I want to share with you today.

Why is social media so huge?

Image
Social media is huge. There's no way to deny that. The turn of the 21st century will probably go down in history as the time when social media began taking over the world. Now, social networking as a concept is nothing new. Back in the day there were many social networks pre-Facebook. I'm sure many of you reading this remember Myspace and Friendster. At the time, those networks were huge in their own way. But the growth of social media today, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+, is unlike anything ever seen before. Hundreds of millions of people use these social networks monthly, and the amount of traffic these sites get is just astounding. So what's the deal? Why is social media suddenly so huge today? Well it's probably a combination of a few key factors, which I plan to discuss in this post.

What can we expect in 2014?

Image
The smartphone industry is probably the most rapidly advancing industry in the world of technology. I mean look back at the phones from just two years ago. The standard Android smartphone back then probably had a WVGA (800x480) display, a dual-core processor and a 5MP camera. Flagships nowadays have FHD (1920x1080) displays, quad-core processors and 13MP (even 20MP and 41MP) cameras. The technology in smartphones is evolving at such a rapid pace, that phones generally look outdated on the spec sheet after just one year, or even worse, a few months. Earlier in the year, almost everyone on Google+ would recommend getting the HTC One, Xperia Z or the Galaxy S4. But now? People normally recommend getting the LG G2, Xperia Z1 or the Note 3. Like, phones from just 6 months ago are no longer worth getting. But that's a rant for another day. As we approach the end of the year, with the Nexus 5 (that's what I'm calling it until it's officially launched) being the only Android p…

Where did HTC go wrong?

Image
HTC has had some pretty historic moments. It had many firsts in the industry like the first Android device, the first Nexus device, and the first 1080p device from a major Android partner (second to the Find 5 by Oppo). Even my first Android is a HTC device, the HTC One X. Whenever I see people talking about their favourite smartphones of all time, HTC devices are usually mentioned. When it comes to phones with great build quality, again you will find that HTC phones are mentioned quite often, most recently thanks to the HTC One. With so many great moments in the industry and one of the best phones of 2013, why then is HTC in such deep financial trouble? Some people are even saying that HTC could possibly end up like Nokia, BlackBerry and Motorola, i.e., be acquired by a larger corporation, like Lenovo. Where did HTC go wrong? How did a company that was once the king of Android get dethroned so brutally? I have a few thoughts, which I think most of you will probably agree with.


Are we witnessing the downfall of Apple?

Image
As Android users, we absolutely love poking fun at Apple. After the unveiling of the iPhone 5s and 5c, the Android community I'm a member of on Google+ was full of images and posts making fun of Apple. We were making fun of how the 5c looks like a children's toy, how iOS 7 looks like Android, and how the 64-bit A7 chip was nothing more than a gimmick to show how "advanced" the 5s is. All joking aside though, I honestly do think that Apple's best days are behind it. The iPhone 5s and the final version of iOS 7 have been out for about 2 weeks now, and reports of problems with both the hardware and the software are becoming more and more frequent. This is not something that we normally associate with Apple. The iPhone and iOS are supposed to "just work". There shouldn't be a laundry list of bugs, inconsistencies and hardware problems just days after the launch. The fact that Apple are already working on iOS 7.0.3, the third patch in less than a month p…

Why is Samsung so dominant?

Image
We have gotten to a point where to many people, Samsung is synonymous with Android. Samsung are so dominant in the Android realm, that many people probably associate Android with Samsung more than they associate it with Google, who actually own Android. A report from earlier in the year listed Samsung as having 42% market share among all Android smartphone shipments. What about everyone else? Well, they all have single-digit market share. So if any of the other OEMs were to suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth, Android's market share wouldn't be significantly affected. That's how dominant Samsung is. Personally, I don't really like Samsung devices, but it's obvious that many people do. Why is that? What is it about Samsung's devices that people like so much? The hardware? TouchWiz? The choices? Is it really a preference? Or are Samsung devices the only ones people see in the market? If you spend any amount of time following mobile tech news, you of cou…

Features and gimmicks - what's the difference?

Image
Over the last few product cycles, the word "innovation" has seen its significance dwindle quite a bit. Almost every "new" feature is said to be an innovation by OEMs trying to sell their product. But when it comes to journalists, reviewers and consumers like you and I, we tend to say that "features" nowadays are not innovations, but merely gimmicks. When is a feature a gimmick? Are all features gimmicks? What's the difference? If we were to look at textbook definitions, a feature is "a distinctive attribute or aspect of something", while a gimmick is "a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business". Now if you ask me, as far as smartphones go, these two definitions are practically synonymous. All distinctive attributes of a smartphone were put in there by the OEM with the sole purpose of attracting attention and business, right? So what's the difference? For the purpose of this discussion, lets make the…

Top 5: Things I dislike about Android

Image
I've been very critical of Apple in my blog. It started out when I shared the reasons why I fell out of love with the iPhone and iOS. I then followed that up with my thoughts on how WWDC 2013 was more of the same, vindicating my decision to leave the platform. I then wrote what was to be my most popular and most +1'd post, which highlighted the reasons why I think Apple are one of the most hated tech companies in the world. On the other hand, I've written nothing but positive articles when it comes to Android. Like my favourite announcements from I/O 2013, and the top 5 things I love about Android. So to prove that I am not a blind fandroid, and I am indeed aware of the shortcomings and weaknesses of my favourite platform, this post will be about the top 5 things I dislike about the best mobile platform in the world. Yes, this will be difficult to write.

The iPhone 5s and 5c - more of the same, but in a totally different way

Image
So Apple finally made the oft-rumoured iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c official. Was there anything unexpected? No. Everything that was announced was already known well in advance. The iPhone 5s does indeed come with a fingerprint scanner, and the plastic iPhone 5c is real, and not exclusive to China as some people had thought. But looking at the big picture, this is quite a significant change in direction for Apple. A few things have changed since Steve Jobs passed, and yesterday's event proved it. We all know the iPhone 5s was never going to be a huge upgrade over the iPhone 5, but the way Apple announced it was, different. And the iPhone 5c? That's a whole new road Apple are taking. Here's what I think of the iPhone 5s and 5c, followed by some of my thoughts about the change in direction Apple are taking under Tim Cook.

Have our smartphones reached their peak?

Image
Not too long ago, I asked you how far do you think the Android spec wars will go. At the time, it seemed like Android OEMs would just keep pushing the limit, and events at IFA show no signs that the war is coming to an end, with phones running on 3GB of RAM and housing cameras capable of 4K video recording, despite the fact that many people don't even have 4K screens to watch the video on. From an OEM perspective, it seems that the war will continue for quite some time yet. But what about from our perspective, the consumer? Do we want the war to continue? Do we need it to? My current phone is the HTC One X, HTC's flagship from 2012. Now for me, my upgrade path is clear; get a phone with a better screen (1080p), a better processor (Snapdragon 600 at least), more RAM (1GB just ain't enough anymore), and a larger battery (1800 mAh is freaking tiny!). Those are the most important for me, hardware wise. But what about people who already have an S4 or a HTC One? Or who are plann…

App Spotlight, Episode 5 - Zedge

Image
Customisation is probably the greatest strength of Android. There are of course other reasons why Android is so great, but when it comes down to something that every Android user can easily do, without needing to do any hacking (i.e., rooting), simple customisation is what I see as Android's greatest strength. Some of the more advanced methods of customising an Android device like changing icon packs, the colour theme, grid size and transitions may require a bit of know-how with regards to custom launchers, but there are three things I believe anyone can do on their own right from the start; changing their wallpaper, ringtone, and notification tones. Don't laugh, it may seem trivial to many of us, but there are a lot of Android users who seem to not know about this simple customisation, or simply don't care. I've seen friends' phones that still use the stock wallpaper even after months of owning the phone, they use boring ringtones that come out of the box, and I c…

My memories of Nokia

Image
If you take note of the happenings in the world of technology, you must know of Microsoft's purchase of Nokia. Ok they didn't actually buy the entire company, just the company's Devices and Services Unit, which is basically the only part of the company people care about - the phone part. A lot has been said about the deal. Primarily how Stephen Elop was a trojan horse planted into Nokia by Microsoft, and how this puts an end to any hopes of an Android powered Lumia device, but here I want to take a different route. Instead of speculating about why or how the deal happened, or what the future holds, I want to look back to the past at all the great Nokia handphones of yesteryear. If you are anywhere near my age group, mid-20s to lets say, mid-30s, chances are your first handphone was a Nokia. I remember getting my first phone when I was 15 I think, a Nokia 8210. Only to lose it a few weeks later at school. My next phone? Also a Nokia, the Nokia 6510. Nokia phones represented…

Living a multi-screen lifestyle

Image
Things have changed over the past few years with regards to how we go about using technology in our daily lives. Before the age of smartphones, our computers and laptops were entirely separate entities from our dumbphones. What we did on our computers stayed on our computers, and what we did with our phones stayed on our phones. Of course, with the exception of certain business-minded individuals whose BlackBerrys were at the time, considered smart due to their ability to handle e-mail. Things have changed now. What we used to only be able to do on a computer can now also be done on a smartphone, and what we have on our phones can also be accessed from our computers. The barriers between desktop computers and the mobile computers we carry in our pockets have been knocked down. We now live in a multi-screen environment, and that doesn't seem like slowing down anytime soon.

How far will the spec wars go?

Image
A few days ago, LG blew past current display technology standards and introduced the world's first QHD (Quad HD) smartphone display; a 5.5", 2560 x 1440 display, which comes in at a mind-blowing 538ppi. Current flagships boast only 1080p displays with ppi around the 400+ mark. Saying only 1080p seems a bit weird to me. I mean, 1080p displays on a pocket-sized device is an amazing feat of technology. Just last year, the standard was 720p, which on a smartphone display, is already beautiful. Then 1080p displays became the norm, and the consensus was that you will only notice the difference between a 1080p display and a 720p display if you put them side-by-side and look really closely for differences. Most people will be quite happy with a 720p display, including me. Up to a certain threshold, more pixels just don't make a difference. This is the concept behind Apple's Retina Display. A display that has enough pixels that the human eye can't discern individual pixels…

Top 5: Favourite Google products

Image
Google sure has grown as a company. What started out as a research project conducted by two Stanford University students is now quite possibly, one of the largest forces behind the internet today. What started our as merely a search engine, is now the driving force behind one of the most successful companies in history. It's quite astonishing how a company who got its start in just one area - providing an internet search engine - now has so many different products for all different types of purposes. If you ever need an online service, chances are Google have your back. Need an e-mail client? Gmail. Need to learn how to cook? I'm sure there are videos on YouTube. Want to see what the fastest route is from A to B? Google Maps. Need a tool to help you and your colleagues work on collaborative documents? Google Drive. Chat service? Hangouts. Internet browser? Chrome. And as always, if you need to find information, Google Search is the best way to go. The list just goes on. I pers…

Why I don't mind sharing my data with Google

Image
A few weeks ago, I was in my office minding my own business when these two ladies came in. They were salespeople and so I reluctantly allowed them to give me their pitch. If they were selling something I actually wanted, I might have actually paid attention. Instead, I spent the 15 minutes they spent talking thinking of how I would politely decline their offer after they were done with their pitch. After it was all said and done, I learned that I wasn't the first victim of the day. Several of my friends also had visits from the same salespeople, and they too were unmoved by their sales pitch. It had been a while since I had to deal with salespeople, so this was like a reminder as to how I feel about salespeople in general - I find them annoying. Now this isn't anything personal I have against the people themselves, it's the profession that I find annoying. Forcing themselves into your daily schedule, sometimes even bothering you at home, trying to sell something to you tha…

$h!t Android users say

Image
I've only been using Android for just over a year now. During the first few months I was mostly on my own, until a few months ago when I started being active on Google+ and in Android communities, joining discussions (and often debates) with other Android users, helping out with answering questions, asking a few of my own and so on. During my time in these communities, I've noticed some patterns in what we as a community of Android users tend to say over and over again. Stuff that gets repeated so many times it's almost like we should have permanent posts in each community so users won't post the same stuff again, like sticky threads in forums. I like to think that Android users are of a higher level than users of other platforms, but with hundreds of millions of Android users in the world, there are bound to be some goofballs. Here's some $h!t that Android users say.

Top 5: Things I like about Apple

Image
Apple have gone through a rough time lately. Ever since Steve Jobs passed away, the company has been criticised, ridiculed and mocked from almost every direction. I should know, I've been a very vocal critic of Apple since I switched to Android. But can you blame me? Apple have made it so easy to criticise them. iOS7 while a welcome change for all current iOS users, is nothing more than a theme and icon change (which is something Android users can do on their own), with some added functionality that has been present on other platforms for a long time. Their iOS line of devices has gone from setting market trends to following them. The iPhone 5 was given a 4" screen to compete with the larger Android flagships which people loved, the iPad Mini was released after seeing how successful smaller Android tablets can be, and we might see a mid-ranged iPhone 5c this year to compete with the army of affordable Android smartphones. Apple are no longer leading the market, and even their…

I'm getting the new Nexus phone!

Image
The Nexus brand is quite unique. It's the most beloved brand among the Android enthusiasts, and despite being the purest brand of Android devices in the market, it's probably one of the least known brands among the global Android community. Being made and marketed by Google, most people don't know what a Nexus is. As a result of that, they don't even know what stock Android looks like. Ask any random Android user what brand of phone they are using, chances are you'll hear Samsung. Ask them what version of Android they are using, they'll say TouchWiz. Jelly Bean? 4.2? They won't have a clue. I began my Android journey with a HTC One X. Before making the purchase, I was deciding between the One X and the Galaxy SIII. I didn't know what the Galaxy Nexus was at the time. Not until about 4-5 months into Android did I discover and understand what a Nexus was, and what stock Android was. Now, after more than a year on Android, I am a Nexus fan. My One X has be…

App Spotlight, Episode 4 - Pocket

Image
Many of us nowadays get information from the world wide web. Be it educational information, entertainment gossip, political scandals, sports news, editorials or opinion articles, or even some new recipes we want to try, the internet is probably the most informative and knowledge-laden place in the world. But with so much information at our disposal, we often times find ourselves unable to consume all this information at any particular time. We may browse our favourite news aggregator or RSS feeds for interesting stories across various fields, but we may not have time to read all of them at that time. We could be preparing to go to work or school. We might only have a few minutes in the train. Or even while stuck in a jam. We could of course try to remember those articles we want to read and find them again later when we have some time to spare, but how reliable can our memory actually be in these situations? Thankfully for us, Pocket is an app that does all the remembering for us.

Smartphone and tablet pet peeves

Image
Smartphones and tablets have become common sights in society today. What started out as a premium market thanks to Apple's expensive iPhones and iPads, has now become a market that is much more accessible to the average Joe thanks to more affordable alternatives from the many Android partners. Unfortunately, as more and more people are using mobile devices, I find myself getting more and more irritated with certain habits. I'm sure everyone gets annoyed with people using their phones in the cinema, talking loudly in public or forgetting to put their phone on silent in a quiet environment, but those are not the habits I'm talking about. Those are cellphone habits. The pet peeves I'm talking about are specific to modern smartphones and tablets, post-2007 since the original iPhone was released. So I got this idea to write a post about smartphone and tablet habits that are particularly annoying to me. At first it was supposed to be a Top 5 post, but after listing down my p…

A beginner's guide to smartphones

Image
Yesterday, Google released the new Nexus 7 along with Android 4.3, among other things. But apart from announcing new products, Google also shared some interesting statistics. Among them, the Play Store has now surpassed the 1 million app mark, and has seen 50 billion downloads. Another interesting fact is that in the past year, the number of online videos that have been viewed on a smartphone or tablet have increased by 2.7x. Taken together, these stats suggest that we truly are in a mobile computing era. No longer are we bound to our desktops and laptops. More and more people are buying smartphones, and tablet sales have steadily increased as well. PC sales have dwindled since 2012, and that truly signifies the transition to mobile computing. But between smartphones and tablets, transitioning from an old dumbphone to a smartphone can be a bit more challenging than using a tablet for the first time. Even though modern smartphones have been around since the original iPhone back in 2007…

Top 5: Why I love Android

Image
I have now officially been part of the Android community for one year! It's my Android-versary!! In this one year I have learned A LOT about mobile technology. Not just about Android in general, but more specifically about the hardware that goes into our mobile devices and about all the community development that makes Android such a great mobile platform to use. I don't know why, but my interest in mobile technology started when I started using Android. During the three years I spent using iOS, I wasn't as interested in the industry as I am now. Sure I knew about Android and its OEM partners, but I never visited sites like +PhoneDog or +Pocketnow, which I regularly visit nowadays. I didn't know and was never interested in what processor was in my iPhone, I didn't know what resolution it had (only that it had a Retina display), I didn't know how much RAM it had. I basically knew nothing about mobile technology other than what I was told by Apple. I definitely d…

Xperia Z vs One vs S4 - Mid-year Android flagship guide

Image
It's the middle of the year and anyone looking for an Android smartphone has quite a few great options to choose from. HTC, Samsung and Sony - three of the major Android manufacturers - have already released their respective flagships for the year, and choosing between them can be a bit of a challenge for someone just looking to get their first smartphone, or someone who is looking to upgrade to a flagship from a mid-range or entry-level smartphone. I wrote a post last month with some tips to help potential buyers choose a smartphone which would best suit them based on their needs and preferences. This time I will try to provide a bit more, based on specific flagships for those who are still undecided. This won't be a review, as I don't own and don't have any experience with any of the devices. This will act more as a buyer's guide based on reviews I have read and hands-on videos I have watched, which are quite plentiful to be honest (I spend a lot of time online).…

When is a phone too big to be a phone?

Image
Over the years, we have continually changed our definition of what an acceptable screen size is for a smartphone. The original iPhone with a 3.5" screen was the gold standard in 2007, but in 2013 a 3.5" smartphone is just pitiful (sorry iPhone 4s-and-earlier owners). 4.3" was then the accepted size, then it grew to 4.7"-4.8", and now most flagships come with 5" screens and are well accepted. Samsung pushed the boundaries with the original Note, which surprisingly was a great success. Samsung proved that there are people who enjoy using large phones. As a result of this, many other manufacturers have joined the large smartphone market, most recently Sony. They recently unveiled the gargantuan 6.4" Xperia Z Ultra. That's just 0.6" smaller than a 7" tablet. If Samsung blurred the lines between phone and tablet, what Sony are now doing is borderline insanity. Has the smartphone market truly come to a "mine is bigger than yours" me…

App Spotlight, Episode 3 - Dropbox (cloud storage)

Image
Smartphones and tablets have really come a long way. They are now highly capable of performing almost every task the average consumer would use them for. Taking and viewing pictures, writing and editing documents, recording and watching videos, all can be done without a hitch. I view smartphones and tablets as more of an extension of our computers. Things we would usually do exclusively on our computers can now also be done on our mobile devices. While this is a great convenience for people who are always on the move and aren't always in front of their computers, it does pose another problem; file management. With so many different devices, how do we manage all our files? Do we constantly need to be plugging in our phones and tablets to our computers to copy and paste files? Do we need to email ourselves a document from our work computer so we can access it at home? What if we leave the house having forgotten to transfer a document into our tablet that we needed for work? We could…

How mobile technology is taking over

Image
Mobile technology has made so much progress this past decade or so. Things that we never thought would be possible to do on a mobile phone are now common features on all smartphones. Some of which we might even take for granted from time to time. Being able to do more things on our phones and tablets makes life easier. More convenient. Want to know tomorrow's weather? Check your phone. Want to know the score to last night's game? Check your phone. Need to convert ounces to grams for that recipe? Use your phone. Need to send an important letter to someone but don't have a scanner? Take a picture using your phone, make some adjustments and e-mail it from your phone. Need directions to some place? Use your phone. The possibilities are practically endless for what we can do using our mobile devices. What ever you think of, there's probably an app for that. But there have been some casualties along the way. For everything our phones "learn" to do, the old ways of …

Top 5: Why people keep hating on Apple

Image
Ever since I started taking an interest in the mobile industry about a year ago, I started realising that a lot of people hate Apple. I mean like, A LOT. I myself have had my fair share of rants and ridicules about Apple. I honestly try my best not to hate, but I keep being reminded of why I do. Does this imply that other companies are perfect and free from any flaws? Of course not. I've criticised Samsung for having too many devices in their portfolio. I've criticised HTC for not being aggressive enough in marketing their products. Even Google has made some really ridiculous mistakes in the past as well. But none of these companies receive as much criticism and hate as Apple.  We wanted Apple to redesign iOS. They did, but it was labelled confusing and inconsistent. We wanted Apple to include more functionality into iOS. They did, but it still wasn't enough. We wanted Apple to make iOS more like other platforms. They did, and were labelled copycats. Why is that? I have so…