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How to save loads of memory on a MediaTek device
June 25, 2015 | 9:11 am

MTK logger settingsReaders may recall I rooted my Navon Mizu M500 phone a short while ago, partly in order to stop the machine running short of phone memory and refusing to update apps. Sure enough, the problem started to manifest again, with hidden files apparently filling up the machine's onboard capacity. In most cases on Android phones, the culprit appears to be log files, which are implemented by differing manufacturers in various ways and progressively fill up the system with activity logs. With a rooted device, you can get down and actually clean these out. But how? The following fix appears to apply...

A dedicated smartphone for e-reading?
June 6, 2015 | 9:34 am

dedicatedsmartphoneThe launch of the ASUS ZenPhone Selfie, a smartphone - well, obviously - optimized for taking selfies, put me in mind of other dedicated, specialized phones out in the market right now. Smartphones, remember, are increasingly commoditized, and differentiation is ever more important, especially for the East Asian manufacturers who pursue market share as their prime goal. You have the Sony Xperia C4, desperately jockeying for the title of "world's best selfie smartphone." You have the Samsung Galaxy Note, purposed for taking notes, receiving input, and generally making standalone tablets obsolete. You have the LG G Flex and the Samsung...

Typo settles with Blackberry, stops making phone keyboards
June 2, 2015 | 6:20 pm

Don’t mess with Blackberry, even if you’re Ryan Seacrest. That’s the lesson Typo seems to have learned. After a lawsuit and an injunction, the company has reached a settlement with BlackBerry to stop selling its Blackberry-like smartphone Bluetooth thumb keyboards. It can still make keyboards for tablets, but its entire original raison d’être—to make a more useful smartphone keyboard—is now completely off the table. This seems like a pity for people who prefer the thumb keyboard style that’s so hard to find on non-BlackBerry touchscreen smartphones these days, but it can hardly be disputed that Typo made some pretty...

E-books on your Windows phone: Try free Freda app—offering text to speech and easy downloads of free books
June 2, 2015 | 6:05 am

fredavideo  A free e-reading app called Freda might be just the ticket for your Windows phone. Freda already shines by Windows Phone e-reading standards. It’s won an average of 4.5 stars out of 5 from 1,384 customers of the Windows Phone Store. Perhaps when a Win 10 update rolls around for the app itself, Freda will be still better. Versions come in English, German, French, Chinese and several other languages. The above video from XDA TV is not up entirely to date but will still help you understand the app’s possibilities. As described by Turnipsoft Limited, here are some goodies: Reads ePub (DRM-free), HTML, and...

Phablets Are Too Big?
May 19, 2015 | 3:10 pm

phabletAh, first world problems. Phablets are too big to comfortably use one-handed. The post on ReadWrite goes into some detail about how inconvenient large screen phones can be. (Check it out for the image of the phone ring on the iPhone 6+. I didn't know they were a thing.) Basically, the point comes down to if you can't use it one-handed, it's not worth getting. I admit the post had me rolling my eyes. (If you read the comments, others had the same reaction.) It's not like this should actually be a surprise to anyone. I used to be in the camp...

Tor and BitLit offer discounted e-books to print book owners
May 4, 2015 | 11:53 am

bitlitTor has just announced it will be using BitLit to make DRM-free e-books of TorForge titles available at a discount to people who can prove they own the physical version of the book. It joins HarperCollins, which began using the program last year. BitLit is an iOS or Android smartphone app that allows readers who can prove they own a physical copy of a book to buy the e-book version at a discounted price. It works by taking “shelfies”—shelf-by-shelf photos of your bookshelves with the spines out—and then attempting to recognize which books you own. Once it’s matched one,...

LG G Stylo offers new Samsung Note competition for a song
April 23, 2015 | 6:25 pm

LG Electronics in Korea has announced a new budget smartphone/phablet, the LG G Stylo, with size, specs, and pen input implementation to challenge the Samsung Galaxy Note, at a considerably lower price point. For some readers - me included - this could be the portable writing and productivity platform of their bargain-basement dreams. The new device offers a 5.7 inch HD IPS display, with Android 5.0 Lollipop as the OS, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU. Spokesperson Cho Jun-Ho, president of LG Electronics, stressed that "for consumers who prefer a large screen smartphone the G Stylo is focused on providing affordability...

OnePlus One phone available to all, OnePlus Two to follow
April 22, 2015 | 1:25 pm

The OnePlus initiative, previously covered in Teleread, was a bid to create a smarter, better Android-based smartphone that has achieved some success and quite a few fans, with some commentators claiming that its debut OnePlus One model put Google's own Nexus phones completely in the shade. Now, the company has upped the price of the OnePlus One in Europe, in response to the sliding value of the Euro, to a basic EUR299 ($320) for the smaller 16GB model. However, it's also thrown this open for general purchase - previously the OnePlus One could only be bought by invitation. Furthermore, the company...

Cyanogen looks to diversify mobile experience with Microsoft apps
April 20, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Cyanogen Inc., the commercial operation behind the highly popular Cyanogen range of Android OS variants, has announced a partnership with Microsoft that offers prospects of a more diverse Android platform in future - if it still counts as Android OS at all. "Cyanogen Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced a partnership to integrate popular Microsoft services across the Cyanogen Operating System," states the Cyanogen release. "Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft's consumer apps and services across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services. As part of this collaboration, Microsoft will create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling...

comScore report shows Android still in US OS smartphone platform lead
April 14, 2015 | 12:25 pm

comScore-IncU.S. analytics firm comScore has just released its report on smartphone subscriber market share in the U.S. covering February 2015. And the figures show that "Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer with 41.7 percent OEM market share, while Google Android led as the #1 smartphone platform with 52.8 percent platform market share. Facebook ranked as the top individual smartphone app." According to comScore, the U.S. smartphone snowball just keeps on rolling downhill, gathering momentum: "186.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (76.6 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in February, up 5 percent since November." Manufacturers bringing...

The BQ Aquaris E4.5 – an Ubuntu option for your mobile reading pleasure
April 14, 2015 | 10:25 am

I already reported more than once on the advent of Ubuntu Phones, which seek to bring the open-source popularity and ubiquity of Linux-based computing to mobile platforms. Now devices based on the platform are finally coming to market. And one of the first out of the gate is the bq Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, offered by BQ, a Spanish company hitherto mostly associated with 3D printers and portable devices. BQ emphasizes heavily the Ubuntu Phone's new features, such as Scopes, "individual quick start screens that give you access to everything you need: music, videos, social networks, etc. without having to go from...

The curious case of the developing world’s smartphone gender gap
March 2, 2015 | 10:25 am

Névtelen Waiting for new smartphone programs like Android One to bring the four billion global citizens who still don't have internet access, and put ebooks in the hands of the developing world? Well, for the female half of that four billion, you may have to wait more than a little while longer. That's according to the GSMA Connected Women Global Development Alliance program, which has just released a report on "Bridging the gender gap: Mobile access and usage in low- and middle-income countries." According to the report, "based on primary and secondary research conducted by Altai Consulting," with primary field research "conducted in...

Ubuntu Phone platform surmounts App Store envy?
February 8, 2015 | 4:26 pm

Ubuntu's rather delayed attempt to crack the mobile market with a Linux-based mobile phone is getting even more attention than it otherwise might, not only because of its transition to an open source OS, but also because of its replacement for apps: Scopes. Ubuntu descibes these as: "a world away from the traditional app icon grid ... Scopes are a new UI paradigm, designed to deliver content and services directly to categorised home screens, giving users a rich, unfragmented experience. Developers have a new way to create app-like experiences that are easier to discover, build, and are integral to the OS." Jay...

Lenovo gotta lotta Moto
February 4, 2015 | 10:25 am

Lenovo's decision to purchase the Motorola smartphone division has been more than vindicated with its latest Q32014-15 results, which beat business analyst consensus and showed Motorola shipping more than 10 million units, up 118 percent year-over-year, for US$1.9 billion additional revenue. Yuanqing Yang, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, said of Motorola and his other new acquisition, the IBM System X assets: “The two newly acquired businesses are achieving great momentum in their first quarter of integration.  They are definitely becoming our growth engines. Motorola is already a global strength: for the first time it sold more than 10 million units in the...

HTC out of the woods?
January 7, 2015 | 2:25 pm

ios to androidHTC, which makes some of the best Android handsets - and hence, most preferred mobile ereading devices - around, has just posted its most favorable sales numbers for a long time, recording $1.5 billion of sales in the fourth quarter of 2014, a marginal increase on the same period a year earlier and the first time it has seen quarterly revenue growth since the third quarter of 2011, according to Bloomberg. HTC also recorded a solid operating profit for the period, against analyst consensus estimates of a loss. Bloomberg attributes this turnaround partly to new mid-range handsets in HTC's portfolio, as well...

Reuters Huawei sales report chimes badly with Apple victory march
January 2, 2015 | 6:25 pm

HuaweiThe already rather surprising report from analytics firm Flurry that implied mobile device market leadership for Apple at end 2014 received fresh contradiction with a year-end news item from Reuters, based on a leaked internal memo, which indicated that Chinese telecoms major Huawei shipped 75 million smartphones in 2014, an over 40 percent y-o-y increase. This compares with an analyst estimate, also quoted by Reuters, which indicates that Apple may have enjoyed 20 percent sales growth after launching the iPhone 6. Xiaomi, meanwhile, has a  sales target of 60 million for the full year of 2014, three times its 2013 sales of 18.7 million....

Xiaomi heads for the big time with $1 billion capital raise
December 22, 2014 | 11:25 am

A Xiaomi smartphone looks like an increasingly safe bet for your next ereading device: the Chinese smartphone manufacturer has just scored $1 billion in a fundraising round that values the entire company at $45 billion, according to a source quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Participants in the fundraising round included All-Stars Investment, Russian investment firm DST Global and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC), according to the WSJ. Already cited by Gartner as China's Number One smartphone brand, with 336 percent growth in end user sales in the third quarter of 2014 alone, Xiaomi is already being...

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