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Smartphones

Greenpeace deluges Amazon Fire Phone with one-star protest reviews
October 3, 2014 | 5:56 pm

greenpeaceWow, everyone’s piling onto Amazon these days. The latest fight Amazon’s picked with someone (or vice versa) is with, of all organizations, Greenpeace. Seeking Alpha reports that the environmental organization is upset Amazon hasn’t committed to moving to 100% green energy for its data centers the way other big data users like Google, Apple, and Facebook have. Even Yahoo and Microsoft have been making improvements, but Amazon hasn’t seen the need. So, Greenpeace decided to stage a protest. And since Amazon doesn’t have any ships they can row dinghies in front of or send scuba divers to sabotage, they...

Switch from iOS to Android on my phone (Part 2)
September 10, 2014 | 12:25 pm

ios to androidIn Part 1, I talked about why I decided to make the switch from iOS to Android. Now let me talk about the experience and whether I have any regrets. As I said in the first part, I still think iOS is a good operating system. However, for my phone, I now prefer Android, even though the experience hasn't always been smooth. Let me talk for a moment about the HTC One M8 (which really needs a better name).  So far, it's a great phone. Battery life has been excellent. I've only charged during the day once, and that was because I...

Switch from iOS to Android on my phone (Part 1)
September 9, 2014 | 1:09 pm

switch from ios to androidAnyone think it's ironic that I'm writing this while waiting for the iPhone 6 event to start? I was probably crazy to switch from an iPhone 4S to an HTC One M8 just a few weeks before the launch of the iPhone 6, but I did it for a reason. I've been wanting to make the switch from iOS to Android on my phone for months now, but I was afraid if I waited for the iPhone 6 launch, I'd cave and get another iPhone. This way I'm "stuck" for 18 months. So far, I'm okay with that. I thought a couple...

xkcd explains why texting is good for writing skills
August 29, 2014 | 7:18 am

Origin 8292014 70958 AM.bmpRandall Munroe, Hugo-winning webcomic artist of xkcd, has hit the nail on the head with another keen observation about our mobile lifestyle. The xkcd character Cueball is not surprised when his friend observes that SMS texting is actually good for spelling and grammar. Practice, he explains in the rest of the strip, makes perfect. (The text does contain an F-bomb, but it’s an F-bomb that was dropped by James Joyce.) Be sure and pay attention to the alt-text that comes up when you mouse over the comic. In an odd juxtaposition, this came just a few minutes after I...

Mobile game Ingress has implications straight out of science-fiction
August 26, 2014 | 7:11 pm

braceletSo, this past weekend I took part in my first ever “Anomaly,” a big local event for players of the Ingress game (which I wrote about for Answers here) by Niantic Labs, a subsidiary of Google. In these events, players in certain towns gather together and fight over specific virtual bits of real territory, needing to hold as much of it as they can at specific time points when the score is counted. It was a great deal of fun, and very involved. The Resistance (the faction I play) is very well-organized around these parts. We met at 10:30...

Smartphone shipments hit 300 million says IDC
August 15, 2014 | 6:12 pm

IDC_logoThe latest figures in the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker show the global smartphone market hitting a new record high, with a sharp hike on last year's figures. According to the data, "vendors shipped a total of 301.3 million smartphones worldwide in 2Q14, up 25.3 percent from the 240.5 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2013" - the first time shipments have risen over 300 million. This comes from the same research house that a short time ago noted a decline in tablet shipments amid an explosion in the popularity of phablets. Judging from these...

Yota Devices moving from Russia to Canada
August 10, 2014 | 2:56 pm

According to a report in Canada's Financial Post, Yota Devices, the makers of router equipment and the very interesting Yotaphone, is relocating from its original home base in Moscow to either Toronto or Waterloo, Ontario. The decision is unrelated to the current political climate in and regarding Russia, according to the article, but is prompted partly by the desire to tap the talent pool of current and former BlackBerry engineers in Canada. The Yotaphone attracted attention before because of its eink back display, which is designed to combine with its front-facing LCD to provide a complete hybrid smartphone/ereader experience. So far,...

Smartphone size no obstacle to long reading
August 5, 2014 | 8:45 am

Hey, guess what? People read on their smartphones. That’s the thrust of a piece in Wired that talks about how the smartphone has been a godsend for long-form written journalism. Where people used to read their newspapers on the subway, now they read their smartphones—and despite the predictions of those who said such devices would destroy our attention span, the evidence is pretty good that smartphone users are able to concentrate enough to read articles thousands of words long in one go. The Atlantic recently reported that a gorgeously illustrated 6,200-word story on BuzzFeed—which likewise...

How I modded my aging smartphone into a proper ereading platform
August 1, 2014 | 10:20 am

IMG_20140731_150728Following Juli Monroe's illuminating article on how she installed Cyanogen Mod 11 on her Nook HD, I thought I'd share how I pulled off a similar trick on my aging ZTE Skate, an older model Chinese-manufactured phone which, although robust and built with an attractive 4.5" screen, was fast being left in the dust by the ever more bloated ereaders and other apps of the latest Android generation. And in the case of the Skate, the problem was made worse by the machine's niggardly internal memory of 512 MB - only some 200MB of which was available for apps. To squeeze...

Amazon Prime streaming video app coming soon to Android, Amazon says
July 23, 2014 | 12:36 am

It might be a bit surprising, but one of our most popular articles here at TeleRead deals not with books but rather with video—in particular, how to use a Flash-enabled web browser to watch Amazon Prime streaming videos on Android devices. Since there’s no native Android player application for the service, the way there are for Kindle Fire and iOS devices, this workaround has been the best that Android owners can do. (And even that didn’t work outside of the US.) Until now. PC Advisor reports that Amazon Instant Video marketing director Russell Morris said at an event in...

Zombies, Run! and The Walk cross a pedometer with audiobooks
July 13, 2014 | 2:35 pm

Screenshot_2014-07-13-14-28-56Mobile technology is really bringing about some interesting new forms of gaming, isn’t it? Lately I’ve been experimenting with an Android/iOS smartphone game called “Zombies, Run!” while I play Ingress. I had heard from friends that it was a pretty good game, and after finding out that it worked just as well on a bicycle as on foot, I decided to give it a shot. The premise of Zombies, Run! is that you’re “Runner 5,” a rather quiet military operative sent in to help a small settlement called Able Township by running missions to fetch supplies, deliver messages, and...

Amazon gives away 30 free Android apps June 27, 28
June 27, 2014 | 3:36 pm

If you’ve got an Android tablet and are looking for something fun to put on it, don’t miss this Amazon giveaway. Instead of just one app, today Amazon’s giving away thirty with a combined total value of over $100. And these aren’t some random apps you’ve never heard of, either. Gizmodo has a rundown of some of the better ones.  The list includes the Plex media streamer, AccuWeather Platinum (a great weather app, which I personally used myself already), Notepad+, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and more. Most of them will work with any Android tablet, as long as you’ve...