Is Rufus the Future of Wearables?

 

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Yes you can strap a 4 inch iPhone onto your wrist and do the same thing but the apps would not be convenient.

This is why Rufus was invented. Now he Rufus Cuff isn’t a spectacular device. you could of course strap any 4 inch Android to your wrist and get it working the way you see below without any problem.

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The whole idea behind the Rufus Cuff was for the industrial workforce to stay in touch but only through WIFI. The industrial version also comes with a bar code scanner that is connected via bluetooth to the Cuff, though I am not sure if the extra step is worth the trouble since battery life is limited to one day of use. It would have been more useful if the device used eInk screens since we don’t need full color applications for industrial use.

Consumer Version is a Dud

The consumer version is basically the same. And there are no external storage offered via microSD. So this means you have to ante up to the 64GB storage if you want to stream music or movies.

The other downside is that it hasn’t got any cell reception. It is just WIFI enabled.

And to throw a spanner in the works, there is no heart rate monitor. So its usefulness as a health tracker is severely restricted.

GPS is only useful if you have downloaded stored maps and you can’t access online mapping unless you have a WIFI enabled mobile router from the likes of Huawei.

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In spite of all this, the Rufus is working in the right direction for a wearable device, with the Apple Watch looking more like an expensive toy than an accessory.

I am sure the Chinese will figure this one out and slap on a low power screen, calling and messaging option via a proper mobile network and add both a front and rear facing camera in a package that runs stock Android.

The Chinese have already done this with a slew of watches made in China that does all of the above but battery life is really the main challenge. The technology for the Rufus is already available and it is just a matter of shrinking the chip sets to make the whole package wearable.

Specifications

TI CORTEX A9 PROCESSOR

BLUETOOTH 4.0

3.2 INCH TFT CAPACITIVE TOUCHSCREEN

9-AXIS ACCEL/GYRO/COMPASS

SPEAKER

MICROPHONE

FRONT-FACING VIDEO CAMERA

VIBRATION ALERT

16/32/64GB STORAGE

1175 MAH BATTERY

LED ALERTS & FLASH

ANDROID KIT KAT

MULTIPLE LANGUAGE SUPPORT

WI-FI 802.11 B/G/N

Wireless Charging: The Power of Qi

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I bumped into Chris of Waltzcomm a company specializing in Qi Chargers who was kind enough to give me a run down on what he was offering. For the longest time, people have been talking about wireless charging for iOS and Android devices and not many know that there are third party suppliers in the market who can do just that, make your device charge wirelessly and this includes the iPhone!

What is Induction Charging

When you hear people talk about Qi charging, one has to recall a few years ago when there was a Smartphone product called the Palm Pre, where a touchstone was used to charge it wirelessly. Well it’s the same thing. Using magnetic waves to charge the battery, it was way ahead of its time. Since then, the whole Qi charging community went wild when Google announced that the Nexus could be charged wirelessly as well. Wow…what a brilliant idea…but who cares it was three years too late. The technology isn’t new. It’s been around since the 90s and was used to charge the first generation electric vehicles.

Today, no one  talks about wireless Qi charging because over the years, the benefits are far too few for those who are in a hurry. Some smartphones have built in connectors for Qi charging but Apple is slow to follow. What’s more, if you are willing to sacrifice the lighting port on your iPhone 5, you can have wireless charging as well but it will void your warranty if you decide to install one in your iPhone.

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Capacity: 7000 mA Battery Bank

So you need both a transmitter and a receiver to load up on battery juice and this isn’t going to be easy if your phone wasn’t made for it in the first place. Fortunately for iPhone users, the receiver can be housed in a protective cover jacket for your iPhone while it plugs into lightning port. This also means you can’t use the port for anything USB related until you remove it.

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Usage in the Real World

It took a while for me to write this review as there were some experiments I had to run. For instance, if your charging transmitter is not place directly (albeit partially) over the receiver in your device, charging of the device will be 50% slower. So it does affect your charging times even if you dump your device in a hurry to get a quick top up.

Now Qi chargers are 30% slower than USB charging. The efficiency is probably the biggest deal here and doesn’t work to your advantage when you are in a hurry.

Putting a Qi charger in your car too doesn’t make much sense. At a slower rate of charge, you won’t be topping up any juice if you happen to use your device for playing music or video at the same time or for that matter leaving it in charging mode for short drives. Half an hour driving isn’t going to help you juice up much.

The biggest benefit really is that it has an overcharge circuit and when you put it to charge mode during the night. When we sleep, 8 hours or more, there is a tendency that the normal USB chargers will charge it up quickly and recharge it several times over during the night.

The slower rate of charge for Qi chargers makes it ideal that this does not happen, plus the fact that it maintains a 95% charge during trickle mode. This mode only kicks in once the battery is fully charged at 100%, then it stops charging totally until the battery falls to 95%, before topping it up again to 100%.

Because of this cut off, there is no constant trickle charge to keep your device at 100%, ensuring a longer battery life. Waltzcomm has several rather creative solutions, including Qi battery packs, LED lamp with built in Qi Charger, Car Qi Charger and dual Qi chargers. The downside is that those are made only for smartphones and not tablets. According to Chris, tablets draw too much power and have much larger batteries making Qi chargers useless. So for now, it’s only good for iPhones and Galaxy devices. Please note that not all Galaxy devices support the wireless receiver module you need to plug into the back of your smart device. Only the S series and the Note series are currently supported. If you look it up online, there are third party Qi chargers selling for less than US$30 (including the transmitter and receiver) so you can get them cheaper but these products come without warranty. Waltzcomm offers a 12 month warranty for all products purchased from them.

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Apple creeps up on the Galaxy Note

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Steve jobs was adamant. Before he died, he had said that no one would buy a bigger screen smart phone. But before he passed on, he was involved in two contradictory products, a bigger iPhone and a smaller iPad. He never lived to see that come to fruition. His padawan underling, Tim Cook, broke ranks and made the iPhone bigger, so much bigger that Steve would be tossing in his grave if he ever found out.

Needless to say, the new iPhone 6 Plus will be a hit for those who were waiting for more. The new iPhones will make billions for Apple and the chief reason is this. The iPhone is no longer a consumer product. It is a fashion statement. Take a look at the prices below for the new iPhones without contract and you’ll get what I mean. All prices are quoted is USD.

  • iPhone 6 (16GB): $649
  • iPhone 6 (64GB): $749
  • iPhone 6 (128GB): $849
  • iPhone 6 Plus (16GB): $749
  • iPhone 6 Plus (64GB): $849
  • iPhone 6 Plus (128GB): $949

Price Factor for Success

Let’s examine what you get from it all. Chief among them is the fingerprint scanner, Health Kit integration, Apple Pay and OIS camera stabilisation either digital or optical for the new iPhones. The camera stays the same, some may be disappointed by this but truth be told, Apple fan boys will buy into this regardless. Mobile photographers will no doubt be disappointed as the flock in droves to Nokia’s 1020 64GB shooter which offers the purest photography experience. Mobile Videographers on the other hand have already defected to Samsung Galaxy Note 4 thanks in part to its 4K video capture. Artist who like to draw in freehand have already doubled down on the Galaxy Note, so that leaves the rest of you out there sitting on the fence, undecided.

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Chart is from Android Authority

There is no mention of RAM by Apple during the launch, which of course is a good thing for Apple because you won’t know when it fails and run out of memory so you end up blaming the app developers instead for creating something buggy. Apple will be blameless for this, even though they set the highest parameters for apps that go through their store, the onus is on you when you download and run them.

Battery life will vary, and is said to be between 20 to 30 percent for the 6 and 6 Plus models over the older 5S model. This doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be wall hugging from time to time. The main problem as always the display. Bigger screens need more power.

Going Big Against the Galaxy Note 4

Presently, there is no comparison. The IPS displays from Apple cannot match the pixel resolution of the Galaxy Note 4 and it shows. To think that this is going to change the game would be a mistake. Apple’s 5.5 inch screen is rated average and is nothing to shout about.

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Chart from Android Authority

In terms of display real estate. The Galaxy Note’s 5.7 inch might be a tad too big, while the 5.5 inch screen is more ideal as it is still pocketable for the bigger folks. To be honest, screen density is subjective. If you suffer from any vision problems, no amount of pixel is going save you. The only benefit is of course the large text that appears on screen, which is a boon to the old.

Screen density is most noticeable in movie playback. The details on the screen will be sheer joy to your eyes.

Why the Apple iPhone will be a success

The majority of us are only looking for a device that meets our requirement and sometimes a bigger screen will just do it. Apple lost a huge market to Android because of this and technically speaking, there is no real advantage between both the platforms. You have all your productivity software given to you free to meet all your office requirement. Facebook app works out of the box for both, and so does Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Foursquares, and Twitter.

Beyond this, it’s just your learning curve. Trusted that Apple’s iPhone is designed to be more fool proof than fool hardy, those who have been dissatisfied with the complexities of the Android platform can now safely move back to the iOS sphere where it is no longer saddled with a smaller display screen.

For the rest of us who have migrated over to Android, there is no real reason to go back. And that’s the way it will always be.

GN4: Let the Big Screen Battle Begin

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With the iPhone 6 looming on the horizon, Samsung’s other flagship product, the Galaxy Note, needs to claw itself above the competition. The much rumored 5.5 inch display of the premium iPhone 6 will be keenly watched by Samsung as they have seen their other flagship product, the Galaxy S, being savaged by Chinese competitors.

Samsung’s own Galaxy Note 4 isn’t going to die standing and as a way to fight back, it has delivered two products, namely the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge. The Edge is a strange device, like an infinity pool with a curved drop off, the screen’s cutting edge is revealed, though you can’t really slice bread with it.

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Galaxy Note Edge

The build quality has improved, but sadly, I have no idea why they did this as it will only make it more expensive for the consumer upgrading from a previous version. The body frame is now made of aluminum. D’huh!

With the exception of women with handbags, men often carry their phones with a jacket or a cover installed, so you never get to see the plastic frame of previous generations. Why has Samsung pandered to the ivory tower? I really do not know. The issue of a metal frame is really a non issue. Who the hell cares if it has a plastic frame given it’s shock absorption capability? Aluminum frames will just bend out of shape the moment you drop them and with the added weight, gravity will not be kind to it.

Display Stays the Same

Yup, it has a 5.7-inch Quad HD resolution of 2,560 by 1,440, matching that of the LG G3. With a 515 ppi pixel density, this is something that the iPhone 6 will have a tough time with as long as it sticks to retina displays. Such densities on a LCD screen makes it cool for 4K video. Watching movies would be a boon except that it won’t hold up to endless hours thanks in part to the paltry battery 3220 mAh. Then again compared to the iPhone users, they are wall huggers. GN users can still move about with a spare battery in their pocket, just swap it out and you’re good for another 12 hours. The new iPhone 6 will have a bigger battery but that is not going to save you from hugging walls. You do need a battery pack booster and I am sure you will find the space in your tight fitting jeans for it. 

Camera has been Improved

Following in the footsteps of Apple, there is a finger print sensor but Samsung has also thrown in a UV sensor for those Dark Ops moments. Not sure if you can sense fake dollar bills but if you can’t, I hope the UV sensor will do the trick. The included heart rate monitor would only be useful before you actually commit to buying this device, not after. Nor are there any claims to having your heart rate reading splashed on Twitter but I suppose some  brilliant soul would come up with an app for that.

The Galaxy Note 4’s camera has also been updated, and now features a 16-megapixel shooter with Smart Optical Image Stabilization, putting it right on par with the Samsung Galaxy S5. A 3.7-megapixel camera can be found up front for camera whoring and those thinking of posting nude pictures of themselves will be thrilled to know that you can now do so in full HD. 

Video killed the Radio Star

Today it is Ultra-HD Video (UHD) and if you happen to be in one of Samsung’s showrooms, they would have a Ultra-HD TV set for all to see. The resolution is lovely but the Galaxy Note 3 didn’t quite measure up to expectations previously and Samsung will have another go at it with a larger 16 megapixel sensor. 4K video takes your breath away but you need to have a huge TV screen to enjoy it. Think 52 inch and you’ll get my idea. 

This is where Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 will shine. The video can be recorded in 4K and stored on microSD. If you run out of space, just flip it open and drop in a new 64GB microSD card and carry on. No problem. Try that with the freaking iPhone and you will know how frustrating it is.

4K video capture will be limited to 30fps. With post processing to 24fps, you get a cinema like experience from the video. Low light capture is rumored and with the help of optical stabilization, video footage on the Galaxy Note 4 can’t be beaten by iOS. What’s more, the iPhone 6 hasn’t been rumored to support 4K video capture. If that happens for real. Great. If not, well you have been warned.

More Storage for the Masses

Depending on how you feel about adding microSD storage, this time round Samsung has made it a 32GB work horse with 3GB of RAM and microSD card storage. That’s ample compared to the current 1GB RAM of the iPhone 5s…and with no external storage, you’re better off not recording any video while on holiday. Apple might increase the RAM size to 2GB for the iPhone 6 but that’s still 2GB short of what a 64bit processor is capable of.

Historically speaking, Apple is fond of selling you a Ford Mustang with skinny wheels and rims. The power is under the hood but you can’t fully use it.

The Cost of Technology

The chief reason why a price wasn’t announced at press time is that Samsung wants to know how much the iPhone 6 would cost and make a decision on it thereafter. It is a fact that the iPhone 6 will cost more, it’s just a matter of how much more and for that, how much would you pay for a premium Android device.

Both the iPhone 6 and GN 4 isn’t going to be cheaper. So if you are thinking that technology will get cheaper in time is probably quite misleading for brand name devices. Both the iPhone and GN are flagship devices and even when sales are falling world wide, the thrust of the matter is to make those who can afford it pay more.

With that said, I don’t think I will be upgrading to one too soon unless Santa sends me one before Christmas.

 

 

 

 

Time to say Goodbye to the 3.5mm Audio Jack

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Recent announcements by both Apple for it’s iOS8 and Google’s Android 5.0 hints clearly at the possible demise of the humble 3.5mm audio jack and that’s troubling

Both operating systems feature a new API that allows for audio to be passed through digitally thereby bypassing the Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)  found on current handsets. The reason? Better sound quality they say.

This might sound like an audiophile’s dream but trust me, it’s not good news for you and me. First let me clarify that I am very fond of the 3.5mm audio jack. Back in the days of the Sony Walkman craze, I have found that the jack delivers and depending on how your file was digitally encoded, it was nothing short of marvelous.

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I had for a brief period flirted with the MiniDisc system from Sony and loved it. The ATRACC encoding was nothing short of excellent and it delivered the quality I expected from the humble 3.5mm audio jack—the quality is far better than the highest MP3 encoding found today.

To say that smartphones can do better by going all digital with a digital output is nothing short of a political travesty.

Android’s USB Audio

Google announced the USB Audio API for handset makers to dabble in and in doing so, has opened up a can of worms. I remember once I had a Sony Ericsson P1i and it didn’t have a dedicated 3.5mm stereo jack. Instead, what they gave you was a proprietary adapter and with it an external cable that housed the 3.5mm jack socket. It was a nuisance to use, fell out when you least expected it and flimsy in construction.

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Here, I am reminded of this same possibility, that people from Samsung, HTC to Motorola will start to implement their own proprietary socket to get you to buy into their digital audio accessories.  Digital files, especially those MP3 files aren’t necessarily better in quality. You could have FLAC based files which are excellent for audiophile use but take up a warehouse of storage. Handsets are not made to handle audiophile quality digital files so it will not satisfy the purist.

Audio accessories that plays digital music must have a built-in DAC. The DAC has to convert incoming music data  before you hear anything that remotely sounds like music. This also means that headsets would  need to have their own power source to drive the DAC process. Siphoning power from a cable plugged to your smart device could work but this will affect your battery life, which at best is just enough for a 12 hour day.

And because the audio data is totally digital, your headphone or audio device must provide for the DAC process. So speakers which worked on the traditional analogue audio input will be made obsolete. That Altec Lansing speaker system you got for last Christmas is now a massive door stopper. We have all seen how that happened when audio devices which pandered to the iOS socket of old were beaten out with a new lightning connector. The same is going to happen once the 3.5mm audio jack is tossed out with the bath water.

March with the Beat

Well know you know why Apple bought out BEATS audio for a song. It’s not just for the streaming music service alone but for the hardware technology behind it. Beats headphones (yes those all too popular headgear worn by sports stars) has its own power source in the form of a battery to give you those great sounding bass beats. These headphones can be transformed to carry and process digital signals without relying on the iPhone or iPad for power.

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Lightning connectors used on Apple’s iOS devices will be the future digital audio source and by saving on the DAC chipset, Apple has effectively made it impossible for you to downgrade to analog earphones or headphones.

Why Digital will be more Expensive

It is an ecosystem that is suppose to bind you in, and not let you out. Analog in this case is an open system, digital however makes more money. Apple can license the lightning connectors to third parties and make a killing from it. You as a user would have to buy only those products that interfaces with your iOS device. Apple hopes to enslave you with their paper thin logic for better sound as long as you ante up to a digital listening apparatus.

Google’s USB Audio API also does the same thing but Google themselves are not in the accessories business. Instead, they have given out a blank cheque to handset manufacturers to create their own audio ecosystem.

I want to be using my favorite headphones for many years to come but with such a possibility looming on the horizon, your headphones could be toss onto a dung heap at your next hardware upgrade.

The only other way to interface your old world analog audio device is to get an external DAC unit that pushes analog signals thru a 3.5mm headphone jack…but why in the world would I do that? This would mean carrying another accessory just to listen to music. Sounds like a bummer doesn’t it?

Handsets will continue to have a DAC but you may not access it

As much as handset manufacturers would want it, it is virtually impossible to remove the use of a DAC in the first place. Games, movie playback and streaming audio data has to be processed and output via a device speakers. The initial fear here is that the DAC will coexist with your device but there is no way to output analog sound via a 3.5mm jack. This rather inconvenient way will mean that you have no other choice but to ante up on a digital accessories or a Bluetooth speaker that works wirelessly. Now that’s a scary thought if I may add.

 

 

 

Sell your Smartphone Photos on FOAP

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If you had the chance to clean out your old photos from your Android device, you might be wondering if any of it would be good enough for people to buy. Sure, you might post it up to Facebook or G+ but that said, it’s not going to make you a cent.

So how much are your photos worth if you do sell them? That’s rather subjective. Alamy, which sells stock photos will take your mobile photos but only for news related photos. So if you happen to see Godzilla come on land one fine day at the beach, well your photo will be worth something.

FOAP will take ANY of your photos, price it as a stock image at US$10 a pop and give you 50 percent of the proceeds from each sale. The only thing stopping your photos from getting on the retail shelves are the community reviewers who look at the photos and rate them. You need to get an average 2.6 star rating from five reviews to qualify.

What’s the Catch?

There is one. Your mobile photos should be at least 900 pixels on the shortest end to qualify for upload and all the uploading must be done from your mobile device.

This means, you get to shoot and upload as you go and that’s a very interesting proposition. The Android app itself does everything and you input the tags, GPS location and title of your photo. Once you put it up for review, would-be sellers will be asked to rate it. You’d be asked to do the same for five other photos. Once you complete this, then you are free to get back to your Angry Birds game.

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The webstore on the other hand is purely for retail purposes. Mobile device photographers are not allowed in and have no way of getting in to upload your photos because FOAP doesn’t want you to. They want your mobile photos so you do everything from the mobile app available for iOS and Android. Even payment (cashing out your earnings) is managed from the mobile app.

Royalty Free, the Bane of Cheap Photos?

Five bucks is not much and FOAP’s licensing covers both print and web use. An eight megapixel photo is probably good enough to use for print and even with the best pixel scaling software, you could stretch that a bit to about three times. FOAP licensing doesn’t cover image editing so people who buy these photos have the right to chop it up and create multimillion dollar branding with it.

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FOAP’s target buyers are brands that need cheap photos. We all know how cheap these brands are in America and this will sit well with them. Photos can be used in social media and branding with impunity or those cheap memes that get floated onto your FB timeline. Corporate America isn’t interested in paying top dollar for photos so why not give them some cheap alternatives?

Pro Photogs reading this could well declare Jihad against the likes of FOAP as the sully the good name of licensed images but hey, that’s life. Royalty free is here to stay and there is no stopping them.

What are the Security Issues?

Yes, with no way to get back to your earnings except from the app, you don’t exist outside of the mobile internet world. This means if you lost your phone or tablet, you can only reactivate your account via a new device. Anything else, you need to contact their support unit directly. This also means that all your photos on your device could be stolen and uploaded by the culprit under his name.

There is also the fear of stolen images ending up in some other conniving image thief. All they have to do is steal your flickr photos or device images, get them onto a device storage like a microSD card and then uploaded to FOAP as their own via the FOAP app. Then again if all you ever shot was your pet cat, I don’t think you’d be earning a pretty penny from them.

FOAP takes a hands off approach to copyright theft and if you have any grounds to chase them for copyright, then you could take it down using a DMCA complaint. It is a scorched earth policy you have to take if you want to put up photos for sale.

Should I, or Shouldn’t I?

If you shot solely on your iPhone or Android device, chances are you might have shot something that is worth something to someone. Large stock agencies on the other hand rarely pay attention to mobile stock images as their quality is suspect but not for the guys at FOAP. They think it is good enough and they might just be right.

So instead of relegating your mobile device photos to a wall post on Facebook, why not make some beer money for yourself? It is certainly worth a shot.

Why the Galaxy Note 3 is good value for Money

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Dollar for dollar, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is far better value for money than the iPhone 5S anytime and you don’t have to look far to know why. For the longest time, I have had sleepless nights thinking that maybe I should get back into Apple’s ecosystem after having invested so much money on apps. But the truth is, this is changing. The apps you have on the old Apple iOS 6 is a different breed than that of iOS 7. Developers have seized this new opportunity to develop new apps for iOS7 and want you to pay (again) for the same app you paid for iOS 6.

Upgrading seems insanely infantile. Just coz you want a new OS, you have to rebuy some of the old apps you had previously—all for a spiffy new iOS7 look.  What’s more, Apple forgot to mention that the 64 bit architecture isn’t going to speed up your iPhone one bit thanks to the limited amount of RAM you’re saddled with.

Hardware versus Hardware

Apple fanboys will take a blood oath and swear upon their mother’s grave that the hardware on the new iPhone 5S is the best value for money. Phoeey to you. Dollar for dollar you get more screen real estate from a Galaxy Note 3 than on the iPhone 5S. The two are priced within the same ballpark, with the Galaxy Note 3 getting cheaper as it matures.

Apple’s new camera sensor is suppose to take better Panoramas and low light pictures but that doesn’t mean you are going to hunt vampires in the night. What about the wide open vistas you are hoping to take? I do agree that the variable exposure settings is a pain on the old iOS6 and is much better on iOS 7, but how often do you shoot wide angle panoramas?

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Let’s not forget the Stylus. Sure, Steve Jobs wanted you to point with your finger and he had vehemently denied the usefulness of a pen or stylus. He could be right, I never saw anyone pick his nose or any bodily orifices  with a stylus or pen. But when it comes to drawing and taking notes, writing is indeed faster than an onscreen keyboard.

RAM is an issue with lesser Android devices but it is not so for the iPhone? You now why? Apple’s iPhone could never do multiscreen multitasking! It has always been a poor performer on multi tasking but it gives you the impression it could be a multi tasking beast as long as you have your music being played while you surf the net.

What about the radio? Apple’s iTunes radio service isn’t free as advertised. You have a data plan? Good. Watch that run out within a few days if you stream your music everyday over LTE or 3G. The Galaxy Note 3 has a Free-to-Air radio feature to get RF local stations won’t cost you a dime to use it, only battery juice. The only way you can get such a free radio service on your iPhone is to strap a transistor radio to it.

Need more room for storage? Ok, well ante up to the new iPhone 5S with 64GB of space. On the Galaxy Note 3, you could just pop in a microSD card with 128GB written on it and it will work. You want more storage on the iPhone 5S? Go get another iPhone.

What about video? The iPhone 5S is the top of the range device that supports 1080p video. The Galaxy Note 3’s top of the range model supports 4K video. Of course it won’t mean much to you if you have a puny 1080p TV, but wait till you get your hands on a 4K TV. Apple thinks it is a bad idea to future proof your device with 4K video capture so you have to wait for the iPhone 6 to enjoy this.

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Finally, iPhone’s retina display isn’t a big deal anymore. In fact, it is so old school that in it has become almost geriatric. Let’s not talk PPI. It puts the iPhone to shame. A long time ago, Apple’s retina display could boast of having the highest pixel density of 326ppi. Today, there are over a dozen models that can beat that score.

Innovation please…?

Buoyant by initial demand for the iPhone 5S, Apple fan boys will line up to be one of the first to own it. But sadly, even Wall Street knows that it isn’t worth the hype it was created on. Dollar for dollar you are paying so much for so much less in terms of hardware and features that you have to be blind in one eye to see any value in such an investment.

My scathing remark has to do with value and nothing else. I love Apple products. I still carry an iPod 5G for good measure. I wish Apple tried harder to win me over but they don’t see the value in doing such things. All they want is your money. Innovation is a forgotten inducement. My fear is that Apple becomes another Blackberry. Too late to innovate and too stubborn to listen. That’s what brought it down.

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As much as the credit goes to Jony Ive for the new iOS 7 update, that isn’t going to save the iPhone ecosphere— especially with a design borrowed from Android. Take a look at the Shade feature and you’d know what I mean. Parallax image background themes are old school Android themes made new again on iOS. That said, Jony has done nothing to change the way iOS operates. It just gave it a face lift and called it new. Neither Tim or Jony wants to be risky with innovation it could cost them a ton in stock options. They have so much more to lose. That said, innovation is dead at Apple.

What you need to know about 64 bit Processors

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As silly as it might sound but Samsung has committed itself to a slew of new mobile processors after being told by Apple to buckle up. This was after the launch of iPhone 5S where it was announced that 64 bit is where the A7processor stands today. The A7 is so new that no games or apps has been tailored to meet the new 65 bit requirements…oppss….requirement is the wrong word. Let’s back track a little.

Android Can’t talk 64 Bit

This is true. All the current line of Processors for the Android platform run on 32 bits. Even the code from Jelly Bean, the current OS from Google refuses to talk in 64 bit. Samsung promised that it will have a 64 bit processor ready….soon. Well, soon maybe a bit too early. Try next year when Android releases Kit Kat and find out for yourself if that is truly 64 bit . Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, which is suppose to take on the Apple devices this year has only a 32 bit processor! So does it mean anything?

iPhone’s Spiffy new Processor

iOS 7 and the A7 are both 64 bit compliant. That’s crazy if you asked me. Too damn fast for something that small. But how is that going to add up in terms of performance? Guess, what…..its zilch!. Here’s Why it won’t work.

Where’s My Gas Tank Dude?

Did you know that Apple claims that it has a 10 percent larger battery? Yup. If you are lucky, it is suppose to give you a further 10 hours or talk time, that’s provided you use it for talking and not playing games and other stuff. With any luck, your new iPhone will tank out  an hour later than previously assumed if you had all the connections made thru WiFi, IM, FB, Instagram running all at the same time. 64 bit processors are very thirsty to run. If you don’t have the fuel for it. You won’t go the extra mile.

Where is the Extra space Dude?

Apple never claimed anything extravagant about RAM, and that’s where it will give you the most problems. The iPhone 5 only has 1GB of RAM. The Galaxy Note 3 has 3GB of RAM. And guess what? For a 64 bit processor to show its true prowess, you need a minimum of 4GB of RAM! So if you unwrapped your new iPhone 5S, and find out that you only have 2GB of RAM tops. You are not going to seen any difference! Apple has been mum about the whole affair hoping that you won’t know the difference.

WTF is the Upgrade in plain English Dude?

There are no apps that are optimized for 64 bit processing but it will come later in the year. Then you have the problem of another kind, seeing some speed gain or superficial speed gain, which at this moment is negligible. Google doesn’t think you need 64 bit processing as yet for one simple reason. There is no reason to!

Apple has technically sold you a car with a fantastic new engine but without the necessary hardware to make it move faster than it was originally claimed. WTF is Apple doing? It can only be pointing in one direction. All of Apple’s processors for their desktops are running 64 bit. This new A7 will fit into the Apple TV Games Console that has yet to be announced. It will run iOS, and you’d be able to play games designed and developed for the iPhone and iPad. Makes perfect sense if you asked me. Games and software can be ported to iOS and then to its future TV device once it is ready for prime time.

In short, Apple has asked you to invest in their future. You bought into some redundant firmware and hardware which won’t run on that multicolored iPhone but heck, you have paid Apple to develop their spiffy new console device with your kind patronage. That kinda sucks doesn’t it?

March of the Android Watches

Neptune Pine

Where is Apple’s iWatch? I suppose it is on the horizon come Sept when Tim Cook announces it but then again he might not. But when Apple does come into play, the Watch market could be quite crowded.

Sony is planing an update to its Watch and there are already a few Android watches to date, so why not welcome another one that is up for pre order right now?

Neptune Pine Enters the Frey

If you have US$335 to spare, well put one down for a 16GB version. This baby isn’t just a watch, it is a fully fledged Android device! Neptune Pine sounds like an Apple product judging from the price of this baby.

2.4 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen 
320×240 QVGA resolution

Cellular Networks
GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1700, 1900
UMTS/HSPA+/WCDMA 850, 1700, 1900, 2100


Memory
512MB RAM 
16 or 32 GB mass storage

OS
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 
GPS 
Bluetooth 4.0 
USB 2.0 
Micro-SIM

So if you ever wanted to be like Dick Tracey or Batman, well this could be your next bet. Now, here is my beef with the product. How the hell do you type?

4318594

 

The 2.4 inch screen is probably pretty big if you were born Hobbit sized but then again, you could probably be able to type better on this than most of us can if you were that small. The keys are tiny! And please don’t use the long fabled example of Apple’s own tiny keyboard on the original iPhone. Judging from the number of “auto correct” faux pas we have seen, Putin could have accidentally text Obama his declaration of War if he ever used one. I don’t believe that such a keyboard can be optimized for anything more than just sending coded Text messages.

It is true that the mobile phone decimated the market for watches and right now, it seems to be going the other way. Will it work? Will it be a hit? Only Geeks and fashion victims may apply.

 

 

 

Bloated Battery from Samsung, an original battery that has given up its life in less than 18 months. The left battery is a third party battery

Li-ion Bloated Batteries? WTF?

Bloated Battery from Samsung, an original battery that has given up its life in less than 18 months. The left battery is a third party battery

Bloated Battery from Samsung, an original battery that has given up its life in less than 18 months. The left battery is a third party battery

So you have heard that Yuasa, the li-ion battery maker for Boeing’s Dreamliner start to give problems, the whole fleet of plans had to be grounded.

You might think that such battery failure is rare but the truth is that it is more common than imagined because Li-ion batteries are one of the most volatile when used incorrectly. For mobile devices, it is the same as something has got to give when you have a power hungry device so here’s the deal. The battery in your Android and iPhone are never made to last more than 18 months. I got a brand new iPod Touch 5G which went kaput within four months of intense use. The end result was a brand new replacement.

My GN wasn’t so fortunate. After 14 months of use. It decided to die on me. This was the original GN battery from Samsung that gave way, to it goes to show that even if you buy branded, chances are that it will eventually fail.

Then my Blackberry Bold failed, battery was a third party product but a high capacity charged version. So that said, I am no stranger to battery failure.

Why Li-ions Fail

There are really just two reason. Over charging and excess HEAT. These are the two main culprits. So lets deal with the first one. Overcharging is very easy to do. This is when you leave the device running while charging at the same time. I know you can’t deal with the fact that your Facebook notifications goes unread during the hours you are fast asleep but heck, you are running down your battery at the same time.

What are Heat Problems

Remember the time I told you that my GN had battery problems because it was running the background apps over and over without stopping? That cause the device to run really hot, contributing to the overall overheating of the whole unit.

Viruses on Android  are also contributing factor when you suddenly find out that the battery you have is draining exceptionally quick after a full charge.

Bad apps, such as those found on both iOS and Android contribute to the demise of your  battery when the app goes OCD by checking and reconnecting for notification updates.

Proper Battery Maintenance

This new finding has also proven that Li-ion Batteries have Memory Effect. This means that the myth that your new Li-ion battery is immune to charge related problems is now busted. You need to maintain your battery to ensure a longer life.

1. Discharge your Battery completely ONCE a month

This is something many of you refuse to do. By discharging your battery completely once a month, you are allowing your battery gauge to recalibrate. Do not do this more than once a month as the recommended discharge recalibration is once every 30 charges. So if you happen to charge your device once a day, then remember to discharge you battery completely once every 30 days.

2. Stop  Running Hot

Never allow your device to run hot as this affects your battery performance. One of the key problems is bad apps and not properly closing games or other apps that stay awake. For example some online games will not allow your device to go into a sleep state. Once in stasis mode, even when the game is not actively running, the battery is consumed as the display is always on. Another problem is related to viruses on the Android platform. If you suspect you have downloaded a bug, just get a virus eradicator like the one from Avast, which will help you stamp out the rogue app that is causing this.

3. Getting a Full Charge versus Partial Charge

If you have charged up your device, then take it out of the charger. Never leave it running as a way to maintain a full charge state. There is this article on Li-ion batteries that you should read. And I quote it here.

Li-ion does not need to be fully charged, as is the case with lead acid, nor is it desirable to do so. In fact, it is better not to fully charge, because high voltages stresses the battery. Choosing a lower voltage threshold, or eliminating the saturation charge altogether, prolongs battery life but this reduces the runtime. Since the consumer market promotes maximum runtime, these chargers go for maximum capacity rather than extended service life.

Forget about what you read about the cut off charge in Li-ion batteries, that too is a myth. There is a trickle charge that makes sure the battery  stays on maximum capacity and this stresses the battery out. So leaving your battery in a charger is never good.

4. Turn Off the Device when Charging

This is to prevent the charger from sending out a trickle charge as a way to top off the battery’s optimum capacity. This might be a hinderance to iPhone or HTC owners who have no access to the battery to allow for some kind of swapping. This continuous charge to top off the capacity is what stresses the battery out. So if you are wondering why your battery isn’t giving you the hours you expect from it, well now you know.

5. Never charge at a higher Voltage

Some devices have built in detectors to monitor the correct voltage input before it allows the device to be charged. This is not a bad thing as some third party chargers promise higher voltage charges just to decrease the amount of charge time at the expense of your battery. If you have a device that doesn’t have such a circuit, then you are pretty much in trouble if you use a third party charger.

I have noticed that my ASUS transformer and iPod Touch won’t charge with just ANY USB charger, meaning they have built in a monitoring circuit to ensure you only use a charger that conforms to the device battery. By charging at a higher voltage, chances are you are damaging your battery by stressing it out. This is what happens when your battery gets bloated like the one in the picture.

Conclusion

All Li-ion batteries have a shelf life. Most of them won’t last more than 400 to 500 cycles of charging, which is good for about a year’s use. Taking into account that you need to charge your battery once a day, that’s 365 times in a year. By taking the correct precautions, you could extend your battery life a bit more than that. For those who are stuck on devices that won’t allow you to swap batteries, fret not. Take out an insurance cover that gives you free maintenance should your device ever break down due to battery related problems. Not all insurance covers are the same as some don’t cover the battery so please remember to read between the lines.