HTC One Series Smartphone – What’s New For Android Users?

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World’s renowned Smartphone maker, HTC Corp, Taiwan has finally launched an ultimate range of phones that are enriched with advanced camera and music features. These brand new designs have been introduced in order to recover from the rapid fall that company experienced last year. It was losing its fight at the end of last year, when its sales were drooping drastically and investors deserted all its shares on the concern that it may lose the edge.

The launch hosted at Barcelona Mobile World Congress is being considered as a crucial venture for HTC with its battle against big players like Apple Inc. and Samsung. Brand’s rise from a vague contract maker to a designer of Smartphones was quite rapid and analysts after scrutinizing the new gadgets said that its approach with the novel devices characterize a pragmatic choice for a business that lacks the resources of its big playing rivals.

HTC Android One Series

HTC One series comprises three models, namely One X, One S and One V, that run the latest version of Google’s Android software. All these gadgets are loaded with Image Sense camera technology that offers photography on a par with traditional digital cameras, including low light shooting and fast autofocus. In addition to this, these devices feature sharing software and photo storage, as well.

The fast processors for graphics along with polycarbonate and metal cases make the newly launched devices even harder and resilient than the standard ones. Music features include integrating internet radio and using audio technology from Beats Electronics, which the brand bought last year, for games and music.

Experts Comments

Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media stated that HTC seems to have learned from its mistakes that it made in 2011. He added that company is now aiming to focus on what they do best and have built their brand on bringing innovation through design of premium devices rather than spreading efforts across all the segments of market.

Head of research at CCS Insight stated that the products look competitive, but company executives will be looking over their shoulders nervously to see how these new devices stack up against rival Android Smartphones that are also being announced at the show. Principal analyst at Ovum added that company’s strategy to streamline its branding and to offer fewer, better differentiated products is a reaction to both market forces and engineering necessity.

While the big brand was expecting a drop in revenue of as much as 36% for the first quarter, the launch of new Smartphone range is anticipated to prove as a ray of hope.

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Top 10 Must-Have Features of the Best Smartphone

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Many consumers demand different things from smartphone makers but getting everything is not easy. There are some features that are less important than others and here we are talking about the must-have features of a good smartphone. When one is going to purchase a smartphone, it is an important decision and one should make sure that the essential features are a part of that phone.

1. Platform

When it comes to best smartphone platforms, there are three wide choices: Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone. Android and iOS are the most popular ones and Windows Phone is slowly trying to grab a remarkable share in the market. iOS is used on every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It is simple to use and learn and has enough features to make you productive and satisfied. New and innovative apps make their debuts at this platform on regular basis. Android is rapidly taking over the mobile landscape. This open source platform appeals to massive smartphones ranging from small, three-inch devices to massive smartphones with screens well over six inches in sizes. As developed by Google, it offers the best integration with Google’s services such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, Google Drive, Google Hangouts and many more.

2. Hardware

One of the biggest Android’s strengths is the vast variety of hardware. The powerful android phones have massive screens. Virtual keyboards have come a long way in terms of accuracy and speed. It comes with predictive features, making the lack of hardware keyboard a non-issue for most people. Many of the best smartphone available today feature virtual keyboard.

3. Appealing Design

The most appealing feature of a smartphone is its design. The smartphone should be good-looking and decently built. This is a subjective matter and may vary from person to person but essentially, is an important factor. The phone should be well-built and look good. A good mobile phone must be light weight and small. When trying to purchase next mobile phone, you should make sure that it can easily put into your pocket without much trouble. It should be very portable so that it’s not easy for your cell phone to get lost.

4. Good Battery

The best smartphone also have a good battery. Phones with stronger batteries can last days and battery is a very essential feature one looks in for a smartphones. As more people complain about the battery drainage problem, it is important to take this factor into consideration prior to making the purchase. You should read out online reviews to get an insight about the durability of phone’s battery. The best smartphones have quality battery management system.

5. A Better User Experience

Another quality of the best smartphone is it’s ease of use. It should not take me hours to locate my camera or gallery. The overall experience of using a smartphone should be well optimized or bug free. It should also contain quality applications and a firmware version to make it easy for users to use external files.

6. Screen Size and Resolution

With a plethora of smartphones flooding the market, it is essential to consider the factors that are most comfortable to you. Today, there are so many big phones (phablets) available in the market and you should make sure that the smartphone you buy is comfortable to hold and relatively light weight. Larger screen enables one to see much more and is ideal for elderly and those with vision problems. Screen resolution is the amount of pixels in the screen and when buying a phone, makes sure the display has a resolution of 1280 by 720 or higher. Now, one needs to make the choice for LCD and AMOLED screens. LCD screens have a slight advantage over AMOLED due to accuracy and brightness. Colors are not always accurate in AMOLED displays.

7. Camera

These days, camera is one of the most cherished features. As the craze for pictures and selfies is on the high, the need to choose the right camera phone is becoming increasingly important. To choose the right camera, it is not sufficient to look at the megapixels. You can look at online reviews of the phone’s camera and view sample photos taken with the phone’s camera. You should look at sample videos of the smartphones as well.

8. Software Features

In addition to hardware features, one needs to consider software features as well. The newest and latest phones should have the latest and productive features. Online reviews provide detailed information about software as well. Check out the video demonstrations of the features and watch how these features work. You should access your needs and make sure that they benefit you and make you more productive.

9. Memory and Processing Power

Owing to the increasing competition, manufacturers are stuffing more and more memory and processing cores into the smartphones. Flagship phones have 2-3 GB RAM, Quad Core Snapdragon 600 or 800 Processor, while Midrange Phone specs are 1-2 GB RAM and Dual Core Snap S4 Pro Processor. The device should offer good value for money and provide a satisfactory experience. It should have enough features to do your necessary tasks.

10. Accessories

Last not but the least, here comes accessories. They really enhance the functionality of mobile phone. Flagship smartphones typically offer more support and have a great variety of cases, screen covers, stylus pens and many more. On the other hand, mid range devices are also good choices when you want to save money and by good accessories.

Conclusion:

With so many features to look around, almost every phone falls short in one area or the other. You should determine your budgets, the features you want and then shortlist the phones. Online reviews ease your task of finding the best smartphone. As the reviews are unbiased and trustworthy, they help you land to the smartphone of your choice. To get the best android phones, you really need to do some researching before spending your valuable money. Be sure to consider above features while making the purchase.

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Smartphone Apps for Your Car

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Cars and phones can be a good combination. While it is unsafe to text or talk on the phone while driving,  Smartphones  and automakers are teaming up in a different way. Automakers are beginning to introduce applications for phones that can assist drivers with their vehicles in a variety of ways. While different manufacturers have created very different Apps, the trend as a whole is heading in a similar direction, which is making more information available to drivers in a fast, easy, fun, and environmentally-friendly way.

Chrysler has replaced paper owner’s manuals with a  Smartphone  app. Since owner’s manuals are often hundreds of pages long, this app is both environmentally friendly and more convenient. Drivers no longer have to store bulky manuals in their glove compartment, and the app will make sections of the manual easier to find than they are in the manual or on the CD version that is offered with some models. This app will be free and will also include video demonstrations.

Another automaker introducing  Smartphone  apps is Audi. While their CarMonitor app is still in development, the application will give drivers information about their car by plugging it into their car’s OBD-II port, which is the same port mechanics use to communicate with the car’s computer. This app will tell the driver what miles per gallon their car is getting over the course of a trip, engine revolutions, and emissions. Audi drivers will also be able to use this app to communicate with other Audi owners and find comparable data. Drivers will then be able to use this data to find more information, such as which routes are the most efficient.

Some auto manufacturers have been linking  Smartphones  to cars for a little while now. This summer, GM’s OnStar communications service introduced a feature that allows GM drivers to lock or start their car remotely from their  Smartphone . The application also allows owners to flash their headlights or honk the car’s horn from their phone to help find it in a crowded parking lot. However, this service is only available to OnStar subscribers.

While most of these features have been created by the car manufacturers themselves, there are also some helpful apps that are being designed by third parties. One of these is a radar detection application, which picks up signals from police speed radar guns and warns the driver. This feature also warns the driver of red-light cameras. Another application currently being developed overseas is a webcam, which will allow drivers to transmit webcam images to their phone. This would allow parents to watch their teenager or anyone else who is driving their car when they are not in the vehicle with them. Although neither of these applications are free, as most of the automaker apps are or will be, they are definitely beneficial and something to look into.

Whether customers are looking for convenience, cool applications, help with their car, or just the latest technology, the alliance between vehicles and  Smartphone  apps is definitely a step in the right direction.

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Smartphone Baby Monitors – Common Misunderstandings

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What exactly are smartphone baby monitors, and how do they work? There are several popular misconceptions and misunderstandings about smartphone monitors, and so in this article I’ll be taking a look at some of them, and making it easier for parents to know what to look out for.

First of all, what exactly is a smartphone baby monitor? Years ago the traditional baby monitor included two parts. One part was the sensor unit which was placed in your child’s nursery, and which transmitted the audio from the nursery, a video feed from the built in camera, and possibly other information such as the temperature of the room.

The second part was the receiving unit which was carried by the parent. This unit received the data from the one in the nursery, broadcasting the sound, displaying the temperature and providing live footage from the nursery camera.

Today however smartphone technology has allowed for this second unit to be replaced with a smartphone instead. This makes a lot of sense, because if you have a unit in the nursery which is transmitting audio, video and data, what better way of receiving and viewing that data than with a modern mobile phone?

Not only this, but it’s a lot more convenient for the parent. Most of us carry our smartphones with us wherever we go anyway, and they’re usually small, slim and lightweight enough to be extremely portable. Many of the receiving units for baby monitors were a good deal larger, bulkier and heavier, and there seems little point carrying two devices around when one of them can do the job of both anyway.

One of the common misconceptions people have is that you have to use an iPhone. Certainly an Apple iPhone will work extremely well as part of this sort of monitoring system, and in fact iPads can also be used. But there’s absolutely no reason to assume that such technology is limited to Apple devices. Android phones will also be able to use baby monitoring devices too, and almost every type of smartphone today will be able to take advantage of this technology.

Another popular myth is that such a system is hard to set up, especially compared to most other types of baby monitor systems. In fact this couldn’t be more wrong, and many people have found that smartphone baby monitors are easier to set up than anything.

The manufacturer of these devices will also have made and published a free app which you can download to your phone, and which will then connect to your sensor monitor in your child’s nursery. It will do this by using your existing wireless network. If you can download and install Angry Birds, you can set up and install a smartphone monitoring system!

A third assumption often made is that you have to be connected to your home wireless network in order to be able to view your baby, hear them, or even talk to them through the device in their nursery. In fact one of the great advantages with these devices is that you can be anywhere in the world, and still be able to see your little one, hear their little gurgles, and talk to them so that they can hear your voice whilst resting in their cot.

All you need is an internet connection. The app installed on your phone will provide you with a completely secure and completely private connection to the monitor in your child’s nursery, so that if you need to be away on a business trip, you’ll still be able to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from seeing and hearing your child is safe, well and happy.

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Basic First Aid For Your Smartphone

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“It’s all my fault,” Colin stated sadly as he lowered his head into his hands. “I shouldn’t have been in such a rush.”

“It was a freak accident,” his girlfriend said sympathetically.

As Colin sat there, reliving the nightmare over and over in his head, he saw the door open. He quickly stood up to ask from across the waiting area, “Is everything OK?”

The doctor laid his hand on Colin’s shoulder, saying, “We did all we could… “

“You mean… ?”

“Yep,” said the doctor. “We got all the water out and your phone is good as new!”

Scenes like this play out every day, where hundreds of people imagine the absolute worst when their device has been damaged. I don’t blame them. When you see your phone smashed up, you think the chances of it ever working again are equal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell winning a popularity contest in Louisiana.

Although pessimism is normal, today’s smart devices can often be repaired, even after suffering severe damage.

While not all devices can be saved (Remember that time your baby niece heated up your phone in the toaster after slathering it with butter?), there are things you can do to increase the odds of your device surviving a traumatic event until you are able to bring it to a professional repair technician.

SMARTPHONE FIRST AID GUIDE

Problem: Liquid damage

Note: A wet device has high potential for short-circuiting if not quickly addressed.

Common Causes: Toilets, sinks, puddles, pools, soft drinks, alcohol.

First Aid: Surprisingly, about 8 out of 10 of all moisture-damaged phones can be saved if the device is powered down and brought in for immediate repair.

Try removing any liquid as soon as possible. If you have access to a vacuum cleaner, you can use it to help suck the liquid out. Avoid using a blow-dryer, as it can push the liquid farther into the crevices of your device. If possible, immediately remove the battery and do not plug the device in. Put your device in a zip-locked bag filled with dry rice or silica packets; the more, the better. These items draw in and absorb moisture and are a good way to save your device.

Leave the device in the bag for a minimum of 24 hours; however, if the device “sank beneath the waves,” as in it was completely submerged, then keep it in for 48-72 hours. Also, place it in a warm area to increase the evaporation speed. But, remember, do not put the battery back in or hook it up to any power source. Even if the device starts working, it’s best to bring it to a repair tech to have someone look it over. Previously wet devices have a high chance of future failure due to what’s left behind after the liquid has evaporated, which can corrode the device’s interior. Be safe-bring it in.

Problem: Software failure

Note: If the phone’s software isn’t working, all you have is an expensive paperweight.

Common Causes: App glitches/bugs, carrier updates, malware, dropped device

First Aid: If you are certain there is no moisture in the device, simply plug it into a charger and perform a “power on” or “hard reset.” Hard resets vary from phone to phone. For an iPhone, hold both the circular “home” button and power button for a minimum of 15 seconds. Many Samsung devices have differing hard reset key functions, but the primary process is holding the power and volume keys for a period of about 10 seconds. Generally, following these simple steps after a tough drop will bring your phone back online.

Problem: Battery issues

Note: The phone isn’t powering on or it’s losing power at a rapid pace

Common Causes: Extended usage, long time between charges

First Aid: Turn your device off at the end of your day and put it on the charger. You’ll find that your phone will fall into a regular cycle of maintaining power throughout the day without having to be plugged in again as soon as you finish your morning coffee. Another option is to charge your device when its battery is at 40 percent, not 10 percent. Recharging when it’s almost dead too often will make the battery do more work and lower its life expectancy. Finally, you can save battery life by dimming your device’s screen. By keeping the brightness level as low as possible, you will help your battery gain more time between charges. Also, turn off all background data, Wi-Fi, GPS or any other apps running behind the scenes. If the battery is still dropping fast after trying these tips, it’s probably time for a battery replacement.

Problem: Hardware failure

Note: Devices fall on hard times just like the rest of us

Common Causes: Concrete, other items in your pocket and/or purse, et cetera

First Aid: Many hardware failures involve a broken screen, cracked case, non-functioning speakers or busted connection ports. Short of using a protective case, you can’t really correct hardware issues without replacing the broken pieces.

If the touch sensor on your front screen is damaged, you will be unable to use the primary functions on your phone and will need to bring it to a repair tech for a quick screen replacement. Depending on the make and model, most broken devices can be fixed within an hour. Of course, you could always try using tape because, you know, tape fixes everything. Kidding.

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Smartphones – Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Blackberry, iPhone, Samsung?

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The new breed of mobile phones, the smartphones are taking over the mobile market and there are several variants flooded in the market. Which one to choose is the question that needs to be solved. Giants of mobile phones, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Blackberry or iPhone, all of them trying to make their niche in the clutter of smartphones, each of them master in their own right!

iPhone has managed to get maximum market share in the Americas while in European countries, Blackberry and Nokia still have presence at large. India and China and other Asian countries are dominated primarily by Nokia and Sony Ericsson. Each company trying to get into the markets of the others by adding new features every now and then. If we look at the strengths of each of the manufacturers, Nokia is known for its amazing variants, their latest offering E7 smartphone seems promising and they have, if i have to speak from an Indian context, launched the phone at a premium price before Sony Ericsson is launching a similar phone in their XPERIA series ie. Sony Ericsson XPERIA Pro. What could be the primary reason behind it?

The reason being simple, symbian operating system, after enjoying popularity over the past decade, has been overshadowed by the android operating system. Although, Symbian is the proprietary operating system of Nokia, they must try and come up with phones that are android driven, primarily because they might be able to fight more effectively against other competing phones. Blackberry is known for its amazing operating system Blackberry OS, but they are more known for their secure form of email sending communication.

iPhone is also at a very high position when it comes to features in smartphones. Steve jobs has done a tremendous job in making iOS a success. Also, all one has to do is browse “App Store” and download whatever application one wants. Nokia also has its own “Ovi Store” on similar lines. iPhone are also known for its stylish and sleek designs. Android driven phones have, again on the similar lines of “App Store” and “Ovi Store”, a on phone “Android Market”. But the number of free applications available on Android Market is far more than their counterparts. Sony Ericsson one of the leading manufacturers of android based phones has made an entire series of XPERIA phones based on Android technology.

Sony Ericsson is known for its amazing quality of phones be it aesthetic sense, battery life, operating system, the processor speed and design. Another giant in the smartphone market Samsung is also competing heavily with its counterparts, primarily in the Asian market. They have come up a combination of phone series, some of which run on Android, while some others run on their proprietary Operating System “BADA OS”. If one has to talk about the camera and picture quality, it is generally noticed that given a particular megapixel, Sony Ericsson phone cameras are far superior than any of their competitors’ cameras.

Pricing for all the phones shall vary based on the geographical area, the competition amongst the companies in the area and hence no insight can be given on this aspect with certainty, but since Sony Ericsson, iPhone are famous example of companies using market skimming strategy, you can safely assume that they shall try to sell their products at a premium price basing the hike in the price on their “quality” of product. Nokia and Samsung on the other hand, if i have to speak from an Indian market aspect, would try to have two sets of phones, one would be highly prices but generally not higher than competing Sony Ericsson or Apple phones, and another set of phones which would be affordable and would be if not very low, moderately priced thus trying to use market penetration strategy and try to reach the middle class income bracket. Thus one must choose their phone after doing thorough research in and around their neighborhood, you never know your phone of your dreams might just be cheaper there!

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Scientists Hint at Smartphone-Sized Quantum Computers

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Researchers say smartphone-sized quantum computers could be developed with the help of microwaves and ions, hinting at the possibility of smaller quantum computing devices in the future.

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have for the first time linked the quantum properties of two separated ions by manipulating them with microwaves rather than the usual laser beams.

They suggest it may be possible to replace an exotic room-sized quantum computing “laser park” with miniaturized, commercial microwave technology similar to that used in smart phones.

“It’s conceivable a modest-sized quantum computer could eventually look like a smart phone combined with a laser pointer-like device, while sophisticated machines might have an overall footprint comparable to a regular desktop PC,” says NIST physicist Dietrich Leibfried.

Scientists say microwave components could be expanded and upgraded more easily to build practical systems of thousands of ions for quantum computing and simulations, compared to complex, expensive laser sources.

Though microwaves, the carrier of wireless communications, have been used earlier to manipulate single ions, NIST researchers are the first to position microwaves sources close enough to the ions-just 30 micrometers away-and create the conditions enabling entanglement.

Entanglement is a quantum phenomenon expected to be crucial for transporting information and correcting errors in quantum computers.

Scientists integrated wiring for microwave sources directly on a chip-sized ion trap and used a desktop-scale table of lasers, mirrors and lenses that is only about one-tenth of the size previously required. Though low-power ultraviolet lasers are still needed to cool the ions and observe experimental results, it might eventually be made as small as those in portable DVD players.

“Although quantum computers are not thought of as convenience devices that everybody wants to carry around, they could use microwave electronics similar to what is used in smart phones. These components are well developed for a mass market to support innovation and reduce costs. The prospect excites us,” Leibfried added.

Ions are a leading candidate for use as quantum bits, or qubits, to hold information in a quantum computer. Although other promising candidates for qubits-notably superconducting circuits, or “artificial atoms”-are manipulated on chips with microwaves, ion qubits are at a more advanced stage experimentally in that more ions can be controlled with better accuracy and less loss of information.

In the latest experiments, the NIST team used microwaves to rotate the “spins” of individual magnesium ions and entangle the spins of a pair of ions. This is a “universal” set of quantum logic operations because rotations and entanglement can be combined in sequence to perform any calculation allowed by quantum mechanics, Leibfried says.

In the experiments, the two ions were held by electromagnetic fields, hovering above an ion trap chip consisting of gold electrodes electroplated onto an aluminum nitride backing. Some of the electrodes were activated to create pulses of oscillating microwave radiation around the ions. Radiation frequencies are in the 1 to 2 gigahertz range.

The microwaves produce magnetic fields used to rotate the ions’ spins, which can be thought of as tiny bar magnets pointing in different directions. The orientation of these tiny bar magnets is one of the quantum properties used to represent information.

Scientists entangled the ions by adapting a technique they first developed with lasers. If the microwaves’ magnetic fields gradually increase across the ions in just the right way, the ions’ motion can be excited depending on the spin orientations, and the spins can become entangled in the process.

Scientists had to find the right combination of settings in the three electrodes that provided the optimal change in the oscillating magnetic fields across the extent of the ions’ motion while minimizing other, unwanted effects. The properties of the entangled ions are linked, such that a measurement of one ion would reveal the state of the other.

A quantum computer is a device for computation making direct use of quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. The basic principle behind quantum computation is that quantum properties can be used to represent data and perform operations on these data.

Quantum computers would harness the unusual rules of quantum physics to solve certain problems-such as breaking today’s most widely used data encryption codes, which are currently intractable even with supercomputers.

A nearer-term goal is to design quantum simulations of important scientific problems, to explore quantum mysteries such as high-temperature superconductivity, the disappearance of electrical resistance in certain materials when sufficiently chilled.

Scientists say the use of microwaves reduces errors introduced by instabilities in laser beam pointing and power as well as laser-induced spontaneous emissions by the ions. However, microwave operations need to be improved to enable practical quantum computations or simulations.

There is still a long way to go. The NIST researchers achieved only entanglement 76 percent of the time, compared with the best laser-controlled operations at 99.3 percent.

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Sizzling Summer Apps For Your Smartphone

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It’s almost summertime, and for most people that means sunny afternoons by the pool, vacations and lighting up the grill. Okay, so not most of us. The majority of people will be zoning out at work while dreaming of doing those things or scrambling around trying to take time-off that ends up being more stressful than helpful. But hey, at least your ol’ trusty smartphone can help make the most of it!

We present iPhone and Android apps to get you in the mood-For summer traveling, at least.

Syncing with Summer

iPhone & Android Apps to help you enjoy your summer more fully! Most available on both iPhone & Android

TripIt – Turn your iPhone or Android phone into a travel planner. This free app allows you to keep track of your travel plans all in one place. It also helps you keep track of hotel information, restaurant reservations and more. [FREE]

Triple A Discounts – If you have Triple A Card, you’ll want this app. You’ll find all the nearest Triple A discounts on your next vacation. You’ll also get savings on hotels, rental cars, restaurants and more. Available for Android and iPhone. [FREE]

Carrr Matey (Android) – Never lose your car in a parking lot or a busy street again! CM guides you back using a compass or walking directions via Google Maps. Perfect for airports, stadiums, shopping malls, etc. Plus, use the timer to park at meters worry-free. [FREE]

Concierge Car Locator (iPhone) – A car finder build with you in mind! Simply click on SAVE when you park, close the app and forget about it. Simple to use, with super accurate code to get you back to any saved location. [FREE]

Expedia Hotels – Moving around a bit while you’re away? Expedia Hotels is a handy app for finding hotel deals worldwide. There’s no need to find an internet cafe or foreign travel agent to find accommodation when you’re abroad: with 130,000 hotels listed on the app and the ability to book your accommodation straight from your iPhone, it saves a lot of traipsing around, and means more time relaxing! Expedia Hotels also uses GPS to locate the nearest accommodation in a pinch. This app really is indispensable if you travel without too many pre-made plans. [FREE]

HoliWallet (iPhone) – Storing sensitive information you might need when you’re away is much easier with HoliWallet. It’ll securely store your credit card details and personal ID numbers in a PIN protected area as well as keeping your travel itinerary and tracking your spending. You can also set up one central account and share the information easily across your family’s menagerie of devices, including the iPod touch and iPad. [$2.99]

Wikitude World – Wikitude is an augmented reality travel guide that overlays Wikipedia entries and user contributed information onto a map of your location. It’s a neat little trick and turns your Android phone into a know-it-all guide to any country in the world. Using your phone’s GPS, compass and other sensors, Wikitude is able to tell exactly where you are, and dish up virtually any local information you could need. [FREE]

Google Translate – In some parts of the world, Google Translate could probably get you accused of witchcraft. The app lets you type in a phrase and almost instantly translate it and, in a new experimental mode, translate audio from English to Spanish (and vice versa). The app can translate between 53 different languages and is totally free, that’s absolutely brilliant in our book. [FREE]

FestiGoGo – A pocket full of music festivals. This app is a comprehensive U.S. music festival app that provides current and up-to-date information about all different types of music festivals across the nation. Lists music festival descriptions, dates and times, locations, and performer lineups; Search for music festivals by location, date, genre, or performer; Create your own Favorite Music Festival list; A map that displays music festival location and more! [FREE]

Gas Buddy – With gas prices increasing every day, this app can save you a pretty penny. It gives you a list of the gas stations near you, the price per gallon and directions to the station. [FREE]

WiFi Finder (iPhone) – With more than 500,000 locations in 144 countries, this app makes it easy to search for free- and pay-access Wi-Fi hotspots wherever you are or plan to be. JiWire’s Wi-Fi Finder taps into the world’s largest verified registry of hotspot locations and makes them all available on your smartphone. You can even submit free-access hotspots yourself. [FREE]

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A Guide to Buying a First Smartphone

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A smart phone is one which offers the user advance functions which exceed that of a standard mobile phone.

A smart phone may sometimes be named a PDA or double up as a PDA and have PC like features such as applications which would otherwise only be found on a PC or laptop.

In 1992 the first  smartphone  was pioneered by IBM named SIMON a concept at the time which over the last 18 years has led the innovation towards a hand held mobile phone integrated with a powerful CPU, vast quantities of memory and large clear displays. Current phones such as the HTC Desire or Samsung Galaxy S have more processing power and memory than recent net books such as the Asus eee PC 701.

IBM’s first smart handset contained basic applications we might not consider to be ‘smart’ today including: Calender, word clock and an address book. All of which are now very standard and expected mobile phone features.

Standard features include: being able to ring other users, being able to text other users, storing contact telephone numbers

There is no predefined standard for a smart phone and manufacturers name there phones accordingly.

Examples of Smart phones: – Apple iPhone (all versions), All RIM Blackberry devices, All phones with the Google Android mobile operating system (handset manufacturers include: HTC, Sony Ericsson, Samsung amongst others), Nokia models.

An example of smart phone functionality: Send and revive e-mails, Browse the Internet, GPS, WiFi, Wireless connectivity for high speed data transfer, Office applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, Mp3 / Media players amongst many more..

Moving from a standard handset can be a daunting experience, having all of these additional features may not seem like a benefit and doesn’t suit every phone user. The market trend for clever compact computing in mobile devices like the iPhone is growing and already there are few handsets offering only the essential services these ones however are very reasonably priced when compared ranging from £10 – £50, a basic smart phone would set you back between £50 – £100 with the more advance phones being £100+

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15 Tips to Buy Used Smartphone Without Spending Big

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If you are planning to buy a smartphone but have a small budget in your tight pocket, then you may want to pick up a used smartphone instead of a new one. However, buying a used smartphone can be a bit tricky if you don’t have any experience whatsoever about this “field”. You cannot just go up there to the smartphone store and make a random purchase without even checking the whole condition of that phone thoroughly. And if you got the wrong device, it might turn out to be a curse for you.

You might get a good looking used smartphone with a perfect case cover without any scratches on it, but you got no clue that maybe its internal hardware or its screen interface might not work anytime soon because there have been some critical damages inside of the phone caused by the previous owners. That’s why, it’s really important for you to avoid this kind of smartphone for your own good.

Talking about used smartphones, most people think that used smartphones mostly suck just for the sake that they are second hand smartphones. Well, the truth is, not all used smartphones that you find around the market are some damaged phones that don’t work anymore. In fact, some of this type of smartphone still works just as great as new one. So it’s irrelevant anymore to say that the quality of second hand smartphones will be that horrible.

Well, if you have made the final decision and are perfectly sure that this is the right time for you to buy your first ever used smartphone, then these are 15 useful tips that hopefully can be your first guidance every time you’re planning to buy used smartphones in the future.

1. Run a Quick Scan on the Case Cover

The first thing to notice from a smartphone is definitely its case cover. Therefore, every time you meet some used smartphones on any store, make sure that you always run a thorough scan of the device. Try to see if the device has any physical defect or scratch around the body of that device. This must be done in order to know more about what that device has been through in the past when it was still used by the previous owners.

2. Make Sure that the Case Cover is Original

Used smartphones are usually plagued with the perception that their case covers will tell you the whole thing about their condition. Well, that is so wrong. You cannot judge the overall quality of used smartphones just by looking at how glossy its chassis or how flawless its screen. There is a huge possibility that the seller already covers them up with some new 3rd party case covers that obviously will make them look like new phones, right?

Therefore, as a smart customer, always equip yourself with the mindset that the sellers could always replace the original but damaged case cover with some new 3rd party chassis in order to make sales.

3. Make Sure that All the Physical Buttons Work Perfectly

Physical buttons always become the fragile element on any smartphone that tends to be damaged easily if they have been pressed so many times by the owners. That’s why, when checking out any used smartphone on the store, always make sure that all the physical buttons, remember, all of them, can work perfectly, without any hiccup. The best thing to do that is by pressing each physical button over and over again. If you see that there is any button that gives a weak or delay response (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t) or even doesn’t work at all when you press it, then the best

4. Always Check the Screen Sensitivity with the User Interface

The next thing to check from a used smartphone is the screen surface and the sensitivity of its User Interface. In this process, always run a thorough scan if there is any scratch around the screen and make sure that the touch screen still works perfectly. Test the touch response from each corner of the screen until the middle area. Do some mixed and random gestures on the screen over and over again, from:

  • sliding the UI to the left/right/up/bottom,
  • doing multi-touch,
  • zooming in/out on the photos or web browser,
  • deleting widgets/apps/elements
  • typing on the virtual on-screen QWERTY keyboard
  • etc

And if you have a plenty of time, try to play some apps that are already installed on the phone, even high performance games and test the sensitivity of the screen interface. Remember, this is really crucial because most of the previous owners might already drop it on the ground for several times in the past, so it will directly impact to the sensitivity of the screen.

5. Check if There is Any Glitch or Weird Colors Reproduction on the Screen

Besides its sensitivity, the other important thing to check on the screen is the display. Usually, used smartphones have been dropped for several times by the previous owners. Therefore, it’s really important for you to see the whole area on the screen to check if there is any glitch or weird line on color reproduction around the screen. If you see any of these, then the screen is not fine.

6. Make Sure that the Battery is still Pretty Good

There is no doubt that battery is one of the most important elements in smartphones. Most of touch screen phones, even the new iPhone, have weak battery life (with the exception of Samsung or Motorola flagships of course). Therefore, it’s really crucial to always run a test on this sector every time you want to buy used smartphones. To name of few, you can do things like playing high performance 3D games or watching movies/videos to make sure that the battery is still in pretty good condition, if not great. If the battery drains pretty quickly even when you just open the photos or listen some songs (which are not really energy consuming activities), then there is something wrong with the battery.

7. Check if the Camera’s Shutter Key (if There is Any) Still Works

Some of smartphones usually have the physical shutter key for shooting photos/videos, even though it can be replaced with the on-screen virtual button. However, on some phones, there is a feature that lets you capture photos with shutter key even when the screen is still locked (e.g., Sony Xperia S, etc). That’s why, although you may not use it very often, always do a quick test on this shutter key by pressing it over and over again just to make sure that this button still works perfectly.

8. Ensure that the Cellular and Wi-Fi Connectivity Still Work Great

Connectivity is the other important element on smartphone. Without this sector, your used phone will be pretty much useless for you. You cannot surf the web, download stuff or connect the apps to internet. Therefore, always run the test of this connectivity feature by browsing the web with the pre-installed browser or any other apps that require 3G/4G and Wi-Fi connectivity on that used smartphone.

9. Check the Bluetooth, NFC or Any Other Off-line Connectivity

These connectivity features can be really important in the future because you like it or not, you will need Bluetooth and will use it very often to share contents like photos/music/videos/files with the other devices, while NFC is also really important for the future’s mobile payment. Therefore, never forget to always run the quick test on Bluetooth, NFC or other several offline connectivity features on the phone.

10. Test the Sound Quality of the Speaker

Making a phone call is the reason why cell phone is invented in the first place. Without it, your phone shouldn’t be called as a phone. That’s why, if this feature doesn’t work properly, then your used phone will be useless in the future. So it’s also really important to always run the test of this feature by making a random call on other devices and hear if there is something wrong with its sound quality, signal or its loudspeaker.

11. Try to Send Text Message

Usually, if the cellular connectivity still works great, then there is a huge chance that you can also send text messages with that phone. However, don’t get carried away and sending one text message wouldn’t hurt, right? This is for your own good.

12. Check the Sound Quality of the Phone, With and Without a Headset

Most of phone users usually don’t open wide the loudspeaker when listening to music or watching videos. They usually use a headset for most of activities that have sounds in it, like games, movies, music or anything. However, in order to make sure that everything is fine, just spend some seconds or minutes to check if the loudspeaker still sounds great or not.

13. Make Sure that the Charging Port Can Still Charge the Phone

Charging port is also the other most important thing on smartphone. If the charging port doesn’t work and cannot charge the device properly, this can be really dangerous for you in the future. These days, most smartphones’ charging ports are not just assembled with glue, but on some smartphones, this part is integrated deeply with solder. So be sure to always check the charging port of the device by plugging in/out the phone with the charger and see if there is slightly delay response on battery bar on the screen when being charged. Your phone is pretty much useless if it cannot be charged.

14. Check the microSD card slot (if there is any) to see if it still works

Despite the increasing popularity of huge internal storage smartphones, most phone users still think that microSD card slot as a really vital element on smartphones. This type of users tends to choose of having a smartphone with a small internal storage but can be expanded further with external microSD card. Therefore, if you’re planning to buy a microSD-card-enabled smartphone, it’s recommended for you to check if the card slot still works great or not. You don’t want to buy a phone with little storage that can’t read external microSD card, do you?

15. Ask the Seller if the Phone is already Jail-broken or Rooted

Jailbroken iPhone or rooted Android phones might be a good thing or bad thing. If you are a tech savvy user, then it’s a good thing because you can still do heck a lot of technical stuff with your phone even without the assistance of retailer. However, if you are non-tech-savvy buyer, you really need to ask the seller regarding this information. Especially for iPhone, which you may want to ask the seller to revert back your used iPhone to a non-jailbroken version, so you can still bring it safely to the official Apple store if there is anything wrong with your iPhone.

Well, those are 15 tips that you need to know before making a purchase of any used smartphone. Buying used smartphone might be a lot cheaper than getting the new one, but you as a customer still deserve to get the good quality product, even used one. So hopefully, these tips can be really useful for you every time you’re planning to buy used smartphones in the future.

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