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Two New iPhones coming...

Posted on January 25, 2014 | 0 comments

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Making your smartphone battery last longer

Posted on July 18, 2013 | 0 comments

 

Photo: Aaron Yoo on Flickr

We're a smartphone society now -- people do everything on their phones, from checking e-mail and Facebook posts to watching video and surfing the Web. All that comes at a price, though: short battery life.

While there's little I can do about the bears, I can offer a near-dozen practical tips for extending the battery life of your phone, which reduces the frequency of charges (and hopefully let's you make it home at the end of the day before the juice runs dry).

Adjust the screen brightness. The default setting for your screen is probably brighter than it needs to be, and the display is the single largest consumer of battery power on your phone. Turn it down to the lowest level that still comfortable to see.

Sleep sooner. Your phone lets you specify how quickly to turn off the display and put the phone to sleep. You can extend the life of your phone significantly by ensuring the phone turns itself off quickly rather than staying on for several minutes every time you check the time.

Turn off notifications. Many apps enable display notifications. Most of the time, these are pointless and a waste of battery power since they force your screen to light up briefly many times throughout the day. Disable apps' notifications to extend  battery power.

Disable any antennas not in use. Never (or only rarely) use Bluetooth. Make sure it's turned off in your settings. The same is true of Wi-Fi, though if you're like most people, you probably use that quite a bit. If your battery is near death, though, and you need to keep it alive as long as possible, you can enter Airplane Mode (which turns off all the radios, including voice).

Minimize the gadgets your phone syncs with. The new Pebble smartwatch is great, but it imposes a battery penalty on your phone to the tune of about 10 percent of battery life per day. There are also Bluetooth headsets, your car and other high-tech conveniences that consume power. If you want to maximize battery life, minimize the number of gadgets you connect to.

Say no to location requests. Many apps ask permission to detect your location so they can provide more targeted information. That might be useful, but every time an app has to ping your GPS chip, it uses power. Unless you really need that location function, just say no.

Sync less frequently. Most smartphones are designed to check for e-mail and apps data every 15 or 30 minutes. If you can live with less frequent updates, extend those minutes to a full hour. This will have a noticeable effect on battery life.

Lower the volume. Turn down your phone's overall volume, including the ringer.

Turn off vibrate. You might need this feature -- especially if you leave your phone in your pocket all the time -- but making a mechanical vibrator jiggle takes a lot of juice. Turn it off for more runtime.

Keep it cool. A hot battery drains faster than a cool one -- so if your phone is hot to the touch, it's running inefficiently. That can happen when you leave it in your car, in your pocket or on top of another hot gadget, like a laptop. Running the phone continuously can also make it heat up.

Turn it off completely. If you know you won't use your phone for a while -- like in a meeting or at the movie theater -- shut it off rather than just quieting the ringer.

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HTC One: New Smartphone?

Posted on February 19, 2013 | 0 comments

HTC One: Smartphone Reinvented? 

By JOANNA STERN | ABC News 02/19/2013

HTC is kicking off the start of Android phone season. At an event in New York City today, the Taiwan-based company announced its latest flagship Android phone -- the HTC One. 

 

"We think it's time to shake things up in the smartphone space," Mike Woodward, President of HTC America, told ABC News in an interview. "We have decided to come out and reinvent the smartphone."

Of course, HTC hasn't completely reinvented what the smartphone looks like -- it's still a large rectangle -- but according to Woodward, the One is a complete shift for the industry, built around how people use their phones now.

"We have re-architected the phone around how Generation Feed behaves," Woodward said. Woodward and HTC say Generation Feed is those of us who look down at their phones constantly, staying up to date on news and friends.

Ahead of the Hardware
HTC's Android phones have always been known for their top-of-the-line hardware parts and the One is no different.

The phone is made entirely of aluminum -- no small feat, according to Woodward, who said it took two years to make a good all-metal phone. It also has a large 4.7-inch, 1080p screen, which is flanked vertically by two speaker strips. (HTC calls it Boomsound.) The phone is fast too, thanks to its quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM.

Ultrapixel: Forget Megapixels
Where the One stands out from other Android phones on specs is with its camera. "Generation Feed grew up with a camera in their pocket, but the pictures that they take are not always great and they're not always outside," Woodward said.

With that, HTC has ditched megapixels for an ultrapixel camera.

"An ultrapixel is twice the size of a megapixel -- it lets in 300 percent more light," Woodward says. "We paired that with dual-axis stabilization. This is different than letting a shutter open."

HTC says the new technology should allow you to take much better low-light shots without having to use flash, which often makes for flat, blown-out images. We got a look at the camera and took this shot without a flash. A shot with the iPhone didn't match it. Nokia has focused on similar low-light settings with its Lumia 920 PureView camera vi.

HTC has paired that camera hardware with some new software features. It has livened up its gallery and allows you to take three-second videos when you take a photo. HTC calls this sort of video or photo a Zoe; the camera takes one second of video before you hit the shutter button and then two seconds right after, giving you photos that "come to life."

It sounds bit like the latest app from Twitter, called Vine, which takes six-second videos. HTC says you can share Zoes with anyone via a URL.

A Revamped Android
HTC has always added its own flare to Android with its Sense software. While HTC backed off from tweaking Android too heavily in its previous phones, it has begun to think of Google's software entirely differently with the One.

The phone is based on the latest version of Android (Android 4.2 or Jelly Bean), but HTC says that the majority of Android users only use one home screen instead of the three provided by Google (80 percent of Android users use fewer than three home screens, says HTC).

"We found that widgets and home panels aren't that well understood, so we wanted to simplify that," Woodward said. Called Blinkfeed, the home screen on the One is now a grid of news or a newsfeed of your social media accounts and news accounts.

"The idea is in a blink of an eye your phone is constantly refreshed and your phone is constantly alive. That becomes your home screen," Woodward said. The feed can be customized and if you don't like it, you can choose to put your Blinkfeed on another pane and use a regular Android home screen.

In addition to the Blinkfeed and redesigned user interface, HTC has added features like a Sense TV, which works with an IR blaster in the phone to turn the phone into a remote control for your TV.

Android Phone Season
The One will be offered by 180 carriers in 80 countries over the next few months. It will be available in the U.S. at T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T in March. HTC would not confirm the pricing, but said it would be competitive. Most high-end Android phones and the iPhone 5 cost $199 with a two-year contract.

But, of course, this is Android phone season and Samsung is rumored to be announcing the next version of its popular Galaxy S 3 -- the Galaxy S 4 -- in early March at its own event. While the One might be the only phone now designed for Generation Feed, it may make sense to wait to make sure it's the right one.

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Make Free Calls...

Posted on February 06, 2013 | 0 comments

Slash Your Cell Phone Bill: Make Free Calls On Your Smart Phone

By Becky Worley |Upgrade Your Life - 4 hrs ago

Your smartphone costs a fortune in monthly fees. But there are new ways to get unlimited voice calling and significantly decrease the number of cell voice minutes you need. So pull out your smartphone, and we’ll fire up a few tools to potentially save you hundreds of dollars on your cell phone bill this year.

Wi-Fi Calling on Cell Phones Explained
Your cell phone can communicate in four distinct ways: voice calls, texts, data over cell networks, and data over Wi-Fi. What many people don’t realize is that connecting via Wi-Fi doesn’t count at all against your cell phone bill. So how can you exploit this loophole to cut down on your overall cell phone bill?

Making voice calls on your computer over the Internet is nothing new; but you can now combine your cell phone with Wi-Fi to make calls for free on your mobile devices. This could enable you to talk over Wi-Fi and downgrade your cell service to the cheapest plan available – one with fewer voice minutes than you’re currently paying for.

Facebook Calling
Facebook recently announced that iPhone users who have the Facebook Messenger app installed can now make free phone calls to other iPhones users through the app. You’ll be alerted to an incoming call with a Facebook notification rather than with your phone’s ringtone, but if you have a Facebook friend with an iPhone whom you call a lot, this could help you conserve cell minutes.

Skype
Facebook is just the latest in a long line of upstarts taking aim at the established cell service market, like Line2 and Viber, but the biggest player is Skype. Their mobile app lets you make free Skype calls to anyone in the world with a free Skype account. But if you want to call any phone number in the US or Canada, whether or not the person you’re calling has a Skype account, you can pay $3 a month for this unlimited privilege. While $3 a month isn’t free, it could save you more than that on your cell service bill. Calling is simple: just fire up the app and dial the number.

Google Voice
Google offers a comprehensive service called Google Voice. With it, you get one unified phone number that rings on your cell or your landline, plus tons of cool features like transcribing your voicemail – and it makes calls over Wi-Fi. But beware: When you use Google Voice to make calls from your cell phone, it still counts against your cell phone minutes, unless you use an additional app like GrooVe IP or Sipdroid in conjunction with your Google Voice account. This combination will give you completely free Wi-Fi calling that doesn’t count against your minutes.

T-Mobile and Bobsled
T-Mobile has embraced free Wi-Fi calling whole hog. They provide an app called Bobsled to make free calls over Wi-Fi. You can call any US number. It works from any Android or Apple iOS device – not just phones, but computers and tablets as well. Surprisingly, this free service from T-Mobile does not even require you to be a T-Mobile customer; it works with any carrier. As of right now there are over 2 million Bobsled users, and T-Mobile says 95% of them aren’t T-Mobile subscribers For this reason, Bobsled is my number one pick for best way to make free WiFi calls on your smartphone.

But How’s the Quality?
I’ve tested Wi-Fi calling in a number of circumstances, and generally, the quality is pretty good – sometimes I’m aware of a slight delay, and some tinny audio quality, but overall comparable to what I get using my cell phone to make calls in the traditional way. And remember, making calls over Wi-Fi isn’t just about saving a few bucks by downgrading to a cheaper plan. Many people have poor cell reception in the places they use it most – in their own homes or at work – places where they might have an excellent Wi-Fi signal. If this is true for you, you might actually get better quality by making your voice calls using Wi-Fi.

Brad Marshland contributed to this story.

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iPad’s WiFi Issues...

Posted on February 04, 2013 | 0 comments

Get Connected: 7 Ways to Fix Persnickety iPad’s WiFi Issues

On December 28, 2012, Tips & Tricks, by A Girl 
 

The iPad may seem magical, but for many its best (or worst) trick is the ability to make a WiFi signal disappear. If you’re having problems with a wireless iPad then we’ve got a bit of magic of our own. Try these 7 ways to fix your iPad’s wandering WiFi connection.

1. Sometimes, you need to start at the end. Or, “when in doubt, reboot.” You’d be amazed at how many complex step-by-step instructions end with “if that doesn’t work, turn the iPad off and on again.” Remember, the iPad is a computer and it needs to be turned off every once in a while.

Follow these steps to reboot and watch the wonder of WiFi return:

  • Hold down the sleep/wake button until the red slider appears, and drag it to the right to power off.
  • To power on, hold down the button again and let the iPad go through its startup routine.

It’s amazing how often the “last resort” is the right answer. (Note to self: always skip to the end!)

2. Just because you can read on it, doesn’t mean your iPad is a book. Some iPad owners report that when they hold their iPad like a book—so that it is taller than it is wide—their previously-strong WiFi signal gets weaker and that often weaker signal disappear altogether. The moral of the story is if it hurts when you do that, then “don’t do that.” Keep your iPad turned on it’s side for the best wireless connection.

3. Just like my favorite episode of “I love Lucy,” you may need to “El break-o the lease-o.” Apple’s iPad has a well-known issue with DHCP leases. Like a unwelcome houseguest, the device tries to hold onto the Internet address assigned by the DHCP network—without actually renewing its DHCP lease. The network thinks the Internet address is fair game, and issues it to somebody else.

Here’s how to fix WiFi when working over a DHCP network:

  • Tap Settings/General. Under Auto-Lock, select “Never.”
  • If you’re losing the DHCP connection while working, tap the blue arrow next to the network name and “Renew Lease.”
  • When you finish working on the network, don’t lock your screen without either powering off or turning off your WiFi first. To turn off WiFi, go to Settings/WiFi, and set the switch to “Off.”

4. Wear your sunglasses at night. Most power-saving tips will tell you to turn down the screen brightness to preserve battery life, but if you’re losing connectivity don’t do it! Anecdotal evidence has shown that adjusting the brightness to a lower setting seems to lower the WiFi signal too. Other users complain that using auto-brightness is the culprit. In any case, turn your brightness up to the max with auto-brightness off, and you may get a sudden boost to your WiFi signal as well.

5. Protocol power struggle. WEP is a popular encryption protocol, but your iPad is more at home with WPA2. So, if the latter protocol is available on your wireless modem your answer to better-WiFi is: dump the WEP setting.

6. Power struggle part 2. QoS, which determines which devices get priority on your home network, selects from a broad range of bands automatically to connect you to the Internet – unless, of course, you’re on an Apple product like the iPad. Apple doesn’t support QoS, so disable it to increase your chances of better WiFi.

7. Future fixes for current problems. Make sure your iPad software is up-to-date. Apple is aware of the iPad’s WiFi problems and they’ve promised fixes in upcoming software releases. Of course, even if you’re not having wireless issues this keeping your software up-to-date is still a good idea.

 

Source: http://www.girlonapps.com/how-to-fix-ipads-wifi-issues/

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