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Posts tagged smartphones

Mobile phones go wingardium leviosa
October 9, 2014 | 2:25 pm

For those wanting to take the Harry Potter approach to controlling and interacting with your mobile device, there are some welcome developments on the horizon. Already there is the Amazon Fire Phone, which, although it hasn't exactly set the ... ahem ... world on fire, does incorporate gesture control via its four forward-facing cameras. However, there is also Elliptic Labs, which seeks to make mobile devices gesture-capable via ultrasound. Elliptic's Touchless Gesture Recognition Engine is already implemented in a Windows 8 suite and an Android SDK. According to the company's materials, "ultrasound signals sent through the air from speakers integrated in smart...

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...

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...

Android One means more low-cost smartphones for e-reading
June 26, 2014 | 10:25 am

androidone5-600x400Fans of dirt-cheap e-reading devices - and who isn't? - will be gladdened by one of the many announcements to come out of the Google I/O 2014 development conference, still under way in San Francisco. There, Google Android supremo Sundar Pichai introduced Android One, a new reference platform designed to bring an almost-full Android experience to users in emerging markets, with a sub-$100 price tag. According to the official Google Blog: There are many people—billions of people, in fact—who still don’t have access to a smartphone. We want to change that; so today we announced an important initiative called Android One....

Aereo loses, cell phone privacy wins at Supreme Court today
June 25, 2014 | 11:22 am

A pair of important Supreme Court decisions came down today—one disappointing and one critically important to anyone who uses mobile devices. The disappointing one is a 6-3 decision killing Aereo. The service that used dedicated individual miniature antennas to stream broadcast TV service to people’s computers over the Internet has been ruled to appear too much like a cable company, even as it scrupulously followed the letter of existing case law (while nonetheless skirting its spirit). Aereo could try to license content from the networks going forward, but would have to pass the costs on to consumers—and as Gizmodo...

UK print media still so not ready for mobile
June 19, 2014 | 10:25 am

CanadaThe Opera mobile web browser has been around for 14 years, the 2G standard dates back to 1991, so it really shows how on top the mobile revolution and internet stuff in general UK print media are that after all this time, at least according to a survey by cross-platform advertising firm Vibrant Media, nearly half of the top titles don't have sites that work properly on mobile devices. And this despite, according to Vibrant Media, a 90 percent expected increase in money spent on mobile advertising in the UK, to  £2.26 billion ($3.84 billion). Daily news publications are the best optimized for...

Ericsson Mobility Report shows mobile broadband, smartphone penetration escalating
June 6, 2014 | 12:02 pm

Ericsson has just released its June 2014 Ericsson Mobility Report on the state of the planet's mobile communications, available in its entirety as a PDF here. And the Report not only puts the planet on course for one phone connection per head, with 100 percent penetration at least 7.2 billion connections by 2015, it also shows that smartphones and mobile broadband are taking up an ever greater share of that penetration....

comScore U.S. rankings give Android OS lead, Apple still leading devices
June 5, 2014 | 3:11 pm

The latest numbers from comScore, Inc., "a global leader in digital measurement and analytics," showing U.S. mobile phone market share for April 2014, reveal that Android is now well entrenched as the Number One smartphone OS, with 52.5 percent of market share by platform, followed by Apple with 41.4 percent. Apple, however, continues to hold the lead in market share by device manufacturer, with 41.4 percent of the market, while Samsung comes in second at 27.7 percent....

Latest Kantar data shows smartphone big boys struggling in Europe
May 27, 2014 | 5:25 pm

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-IIIjpg_thumb.jpgThe latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, covering the three months until April 2014, shows that international leading brands, from Apple to Samsung, are facing attrition from smaller newcomers who are picking away at their market share. Alongside comeback stories from the likes of Motorola are significant successes by companies like China's Huawei, which saw its sales rise 123 percent in the five most significant European markets (the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) over the past year. "Across Europe there is an accelerating trend of fragmentation in the handset market as smaller brands gain real traction," said Dominic...

Phablet use distinct from smartphones and tablets
May 23, 2014 | 10:25 am

0298_what_is_phablet_768x432_mainI saw this article on re/code about phablet use, and none of is seemed surprising to me. I also didn't agree with all of it. Check the page URL for the article: phablets aren't just eating tablets' lunch, they're changing behavior (which wasn't the same as the article headline--interesting). Do remember that this is the same site that published an article on how our love affair with tablets is over. Okay, let's step back a moment. The data on phablet use was interesting. Social networking was more than 50% of the usage, which didn't surprise me. My iPhone 4S is a bit...