The iPhone 6 is far from perfect, is this the cure?

61b5eaddeadfb43a6e92ba5fb000345d_originalThe iPhone 6+ has poor battery life because Jony Ive thinks it should have a smaller battery to save on weight. Personally, I think he fibbed. A larger battery would have cost more and eat into Apple profits.

This is probably why these folks from China are thinking of improving it with an Evol iPhone 6+ camera case that does so much more. The pitch on Kickstarter sounds great. The concept explains it all.

  • Extended battery built as a Modular Add on
  • Extra SIM card access as a Modular Add on
  • Second camera for 3D Photo imaging as a Modular Add on
  • MagSafe Power recharging dock
  • External Storage of up to 64GB more with Modular Add on

80465084c8e2b0e530ab635b969b3c80_originalThese modular add ons can only be used on their Evol concept iPhone 6+ casing. Ok, they have the add on lenses but I never thought much about the external lenses since you can already get them from a host of other vendors.

The iPhone 6 is not supported, only the + model because it needs the extra real estate to mount this modular add ons.

What these folks are offering a consumer centric needs and not Apple needs. Remember the Apple Pay *BS about helping you pay more securely? Apple just wants to get into the banking business of managing your money that’s all.

Everything that Apple is introducing onto iOS only makes business sense and do not cater to consumer requirements for a more personal device as opposed to just another smartphone. Because that’s what the iPhone has devolved into, just another Smartphone.

Why did iOS 9 look so much like Android Lollipop? Didn’t they think they had a chance by doing better than that? Apparently not. Apple is so far behind in this. Remember the Xiaomi model of business, the older the technology, the bigger the hardware margins over time to create  the device. Why is storage still so expensive on the iPhone? Why do you keep having apps that crash because of RAM availability even though they say it won’t happen? Nah, it cost too much to add that and Apple wants to milk more money from users with older tech.

Evol is probably jumping far ahead by offering a whole themepark of add ons which I think are great, but to Apple, that’s like stealing their business.

18623a33ed8441e527539e9023d4c251_originalTo be fair, Evol should be given a chance. Even four out of six features that make it to the Evol casing would make it infinitely more usable, and extending the product life of the iPhone 6+. Oh wait, Apple wants you to upgrade every year to a new device. Will this fly?

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NEXUS 6 or iPhone 6+?

Motorola Nexus 6 Blade Runner

For the longest time, I have always suspected that Google harboured a secret love relationship with anything robotic and hence they doubled down on Android as an operating system. In Geek speak, what could be closer to the future than the sci-fi fantasy Blade Runner? In the movie, the test product of the Tyrell Corp goes rogue. It had cutting edge technology to boot too. The product was a Nexus 6 replicant (which Deckard is long suspected to be one as well) So does the Nexus 6 live up to that expectation?

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In smart phones, it was the Apple iPhone that broke new ground or did it? Wasn’t the User Interface eerily similar to the Palm Pilot? The only difference was that you only needed to stab the iPhone screen with your finger instead of a stylus. So let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that Steve Jobs was a genius. Nor can Tim Cook be responsible for the success of the iDevices.The cunning marketing ploys by Apple has of course played to the dark side, encouraging you to ante up on Hardware that at best, is only useful for them to make even more money out of you.

NEXUS 6 Versus iPhone 6+

Big screen devices dominate. No point giving credit to Apple when Jobs himself hated that. He was in denial that a bigger iPhone screen is what people wanted. Today we have the iPhone 6+, a huge…almost iPad Mini like device which kicks butt. Or so it seems.

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Apple Pay is No Ace

Cash is king. No doubt about it and Apple Pay offers American societies to pay via NFC terminals—which a merchant must invest in. Can you use this outside of the US? Apparently not. NFC capabilities are nothing new of course but presently, using this is locked into Apple. It does nothing for you if you live outside of the US. Apple Pay is touted as a secure service, but for the average user who doesn’t need to go to get his daily highs on Starbucks, Apple Pay is a only useful for those who want cashless POS.

Fingerprint Sensor Saves your Ass

A good way to lock in your product and get another layer of security authentication. Is this big deal? Apparent so if you happen to work for some secret intelligence agency or have your credit card hijacked by crooks with the regularity of your own bowel movement. Fingerprint sensors are the way forward if you are prone to such unfortunate incidents. But the hardware has to be written off anyway once you lose your device.

Health Apps

An apt reminder to the majority of Americans who are overweight—you may view this as Tim Cook’s legacy to get you into shape. This applies to the rich Chinese too who love spoon feeding their overweight children until adult age.  If you love the way you are without having to go to the Gym. Health apps can be a waste of time and an insult to your self belief. However if you are fat, overweight and hate yourself for it, then maybe the iPhone will do you some good.

iOS 8 versus Lollipop

For iOS nothing has really changed since Steve passed on. Is there a new way to notify you? Sure. But that’s a Cydia clone. For the longest time, iOS was trying to compete with Cydia Jailbreaks that offer so much more than the stock standard version from Apple. Free apps are the draw of any OS. Both have a suite, Apple has given Pages for free for work use while Google as Docs Apps.

Lollipop seems like a good step forward but remember this is Google. They basically auction you as a piece of data for advertisers to buy into. Do I have a preference for either? Sorry not really. Both have their caveats.

Fast Charging

Nexus 6 wins this one. I need fast charging. Nexus gives you 6 hours of use with just 15 mins of charging. iPhone will not give you fast charging. Furthermore, Nexus 6 supports Qi Charging, which is a wireless charging method reviewed here some time back. I am not totally sold on Qi charging as it is more convenient. Nexus 6 fast charging is via cable use only.

Big Screen Display

To an ant, this is IMAX cinema. For the rest of us, screen density is what determines the quality. That said Nexus 6 has a way better screen than the dated retina technology hogged by Apple. Nexus 6 pixel density is higher than the iPhone so let’s leave it at that. No more BS on retina display from Apple.

Camera

Apple is offering you what they gave people back on the iPhone 5S. It’s a decent camera and it is by no means innovative. The problem I have with the stock camera app is the limited capture options. You may have 240fps slo-mo video in 720p but the Nexus has 4K video in 30fps viewable on that UHD widescreen TV you just bought home. What’s more, Google’s new HDR+ feature on the stock camera app rocks! It kicks Apple ass anytime! So what all this means is that you are not getting a better camera app on iOS.

Conclusion by Images

When the iPhone first came out, it was sold based on a unique user experience. This is no longer true since Google released Android. The idea that something like the iPhone 6 is cutting edge is probably true if you live on a desert island surrounded by Elvis impersonators.

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For the rest of us. we are proud that Motorola (Lenovo) has given life to a product worthy of the Nexus 6 namesake. That’s all we were asking for. Hardware innovation. Apple has failed to deliver that. It’s ok. I can live with it. As for firmware innovation, how far has it gone? If it made a goose step, would that count as a leap?

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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.

 

 

 

Paper Makes Facebook Cool again?

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So how do you make your service cool again? Having spent the last 10 years milking the same traffic, Facebook has to reinvent itself and this is where Paper comes in.

I am one of those who resolutely refuse to install the Facebook App on my primary device, it is by all accounts a resource hog and taking up a massive 56MB of RAM. On Android devices, Facebook offers you Messenger for chat and Facebook Pages to manage your brand and followers. The total cost in RAM? Roughly 100MB of RAM space when all three is running. You could delete FB Messenger and save roughly 36MB of RAM since it also duplicates your SMS app but that’s about all you can save.

Ultimately, this is a lot of space for those who are already saddled with 1GB of RAM, the Facebook app works in the background getting notifications and stuff from your fan pages so you can’t power that down. I ejected Facebook app from my primary smartphone since it is just a browser for my timeline. It doesn’t do much beyond that.

I did explore the possibility of using a third-party app, which at best, did the same thing….feed me with lots of adverts right into my time line. But these are poor copies that duplicates the service via the mobile web app feed.

FB Paper 

Why would Facebook put out Paper (which is at best… a Flipboard clone)? Well the original Facebook app isn’t cool anymore. With Paper,  you have the ability to browse content outside of your Facebook network, which makes it a handy app to use on a day-to-day basis without looking at the same old Facebook timeline content.

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Paper borrows heavily from Google Now as it uses a card base system to feature content. To read more or dismiss a card, you only have to swipe it away. The old Facebook app was complicated and didn’t support swipe controls—it was designed to work just like the desktop browser based timeline and that was a dull move. The left to right and right to left swipe didn’t do much but for Paper, it does a hell of a lot more. The idea behind it is really to get people to use the app more often and NOT just to view their Facebook timeline so it is more useful.

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Paper also has the neat feature of tilt to pan any landscape picture using your accelerometer instead of you having to swipe left or right. There is also more emphasis on images than text so people get to see more within a content card as opposed to just headlines.

Content and Control

Before you start using Facebook paper, you are given the freedom to customize your preferred content feed. These would be news items from various sources but for some reason of other, you cannot add your own content feed into the app.

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Content aggregation is probably one of the best places to start when you want to control advertising on apps. No more filler memes, nonsensical videos or borderline porn links posted on timelines as everyone will be digesting the same newsfeed on Paper. These kosher timeline feeds will make it far easier for Facebook to link advertising to them.

Second guessing a timeline post based on keywords can be a disaster for advertising so let’s not go there. Instead, put up an advert just like what Flipboard does within the content feed and you’d be safe.

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What’s more it also makes sharing of kosher content so much easier on mobile devices instead. For now, Flipboard does a damn good job in that department which Paper has to match.

Paper is sans advertising and I think this is the version that should not get updated. It just feels right without having tonnes of adverts pushed my way but if you look at how the App is designed, pushing adverts can already be done natively once the servers are switched on. Advertising cards can be inserted into content feeds and there is no opting out.

Paper’s Availability on Android

This will eventually come but it will be a while. Right now Facebook is testing the app on iOS and for good reason. Google has in recent times become a competitor in the content aggregation business with Google Play Newsstands replacing the Currents app as of November 2013. Newsstands app works just like Flipboard so you get to share any content link with any app on your Android device. Whereas the Google Newsstand app is heavy in content aggregation, Paper by comparison is much lighter and will appeal to those who just want to be entertained.

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Paper is probably the right direction for Facebook at least for now. Facebook has opened a new monetization channel with content aggregation, that is until you get bored with all the same news feed everyone is reading and junk it for Flipboard or Pulse. That said, Facebook’s Paper looks more like an app that would appeal to Hipsters—which is nothing more than a stop-gap measure to arrest declining revenue from a decade old service until the next big thing comes along.

Make your Day with Memes

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Memes. I have had a love hate relationship with them from day one. Hated the loud, badass, vulgar and stupid ones that are very American in culture. Memes are often created with pop culture icons from Hollywood, using stolen pictures from the Internet.

On the flip side, the Memes also gave birth to the Insta-Text, where words and pictures mix together in a seemingly fertile jelly of self expression. These memes are then posted on Instagram, the Polaroid snapshot of today — emblazoned with words of wisdom and cliched quotes. There is nothing risque about them, something which we all seem to associate with the memes of today.

Memematics on your Mobile

This is actually a spin-off topic while researching for my other blog, techmystique hosted on WordPress. It was a study on how people could generate content and in the process create content that was worth passing around.

Having assessed the apps on both the Appstore and Playstore, I have listed down some of the stuff you an get online that works out for both iOS and Android. There are basically two types of photo editing apps, one type is for beautifying your photos by allowing you edit and add filters to change the exposure while another type works by adding layered text onto the image.

Memes are created using the latter, and to make it more user friendly, these apps are built with a variety of graphics and font add-ons.

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Rhonna Design and Over

My personal fav has to be Rhonna Design App, which of course is only available on iOS and recently on Android. On the iPhone, it’s a pain when are born with big fingers. For this, the Hobbit wins hands down. Stabbing at the small screen is a tough task, much tougher than trying to destroy the Ring by tossing it into a Mordor volcano.

screen568x568Rhonna creates beautiful design motifs that is included in the app but there are extra font packs and graphics available via a in-app purchase method. The Android version is just catching up and has yet to allow full screen editing.

Each font/graphic pack can be purchased separately from Rhonna’s in-app purchase feature and these are priced at US$0.99 a pop. Good to go once you have the graphic pack or font of your choice. The downside of Rhonna’s app is that it is not free. Nor is there a free version for you to play with before buying it.

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Over app on the other hand uses similar Jedi mind tricks to get you to buy their graphics and font packs but at least they allow you to edit and save your stuff in a rectangular format. Over still has much refining to do as it’s quite limited in terms of choices.

Both Over and Rhonna Design apps allow you to download your own font, OTF or TFF types only, to your iDevice but you need to upload them to Dropbox or Box storage and open them within the app when prompted to do so. Android users probably have it easier by using iFont app but using it within the app is still a bit of a mystery for now. Over is currently only available on iOS.

Overly, PicLab & InsPhoto for Android

To be fair, Rhonna Design’s App is probably the best on offer for mobile but it does not support importing of graphics from custom sources; for this you need Photofy.

Photofy, available to both Android and iOS is the closest thing so far to being able to give you beautiful graphics and buying the unlock version allows you to import up to 24 custom designs of your own creation. The downside of Photofy is that it crops to a square format and is very rigid in its approach to adding elements on screen. For Android users, you probably need to use Rhonna Design and Photofy at the same time to create something really unique with a corporate logo.

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Photofy is a good app, but there just “so-so” when it comes to features and capability. There are loads of free content like mottos, quotes and cute text options. The sheer number of optional insta-text is what makes it super unique and the best choice for those with a wild imagination. Photofy is promising a new revised cropping tool for the app in future updates.

The editing options are less than satisfying. For one, you can’t add more than two elements and there is no avenue to import third party fonts for use within the app.

For corporate use,  Photofy is the best choice. Companies who use Instagram will find the freedom to import their own logos most useful. On the other hand, I don’t like the one line text caption that you are allowed to use for any of your images, furthermore, there is no way to skip the customary requirement for a graphic image added to your photo in the first instance.

In its own way, the app is pretty rigid in its approach. PicLab, which is also found on the Android platform doesn’t quite cut it as all it does is add text over your image.

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There are a few others that do exactly what PicLab does, so I won’t mention them here as they are not game changers. InsPhoto is similar in that respect. You can add text and enhance the image with a variety of settings but you can’t add graphic layers to it.

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Overly, which is still in Beta is not a clone of the Over app on iOS. I won’t add anything here on Overly as it has yet to make a proper debut and even if you take it for a spin, you’d get the idea that the app still needs a fair amount of work to be really useful.

Photo App Conclusions

Not all photo apps are made the same. There are so many free ones these days that we often cloud our home screens with them. Bear in mind that many are not suitable for meme making. Those with more complex editing options have a much steeper learning curve but you’ll get use to it soon enough. These apps work by adding layer upon layer of graphics over your original photo, decorating it before finally flattening the image as a JPG. Not many apps can do that but such editing options adds to the complexity. Therein lies the attraction, it becomes a blank canvas where your creativity is set free to make a simple picture more attractive. So prepare to amaze your friends with those one of a kind Memes from yours truly.

iOS versus Android: Christmas Shopping List

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Truth be told, I have never given up on my past times, some of which can only be found on iOS. For the most part, Android for me is more of a productivity tool. It connects and entertains but it has its weaknesses. In the coming Christmas season, you’d be wondering which platform you should get onto. Eric Schmidt of Google may have penned out this thoughts on how an iPhone user should switch to Android but technically speaking, that’s like ignoring the real issue at hand, that is…you gotta have some pretty good software to cater to different folks. Here’s a run down on what you should be buying this Christmas based on the strength of the apps found on both platforms.

Music Making

Hands down. iOS wins. Garageband in particular is fab, so are those DJ mixing apps and drumming, loop and any music generating apps. Best to get an iPad to do that. The iPhone is far too small to use as a music productivity tool. The iPad be it the mini, or the Air will be the darling of the music industry this Christmas. Android plain suxs on this. There is nothing on the playstore that can even come close to Garageband, let alone exceed it.

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Games

Again, hands down, iOS wins. There are more paying customers on iOS than on Android and that’s the reason why game developers cannot ignore the iOS platform when releasing games. Android may have a larger user base but there are problems in getting games to play on different devices made by a variety of manufacturers. iPads are the best for gaming. iPhone is just too MEH….

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Mobile Photography

Sorry but Android takes this one. Forget the Nokia 1020 for a moment and think about the apps available on Android only. They kick iOS ass. Apps like Cameringo and native Android apps found on the Sony, HTC and Samsung can double down and win this race without bating an eyelid. A long time ago that Android camera apps were lacking, these days, it shines brighter than the star that Steve Jobs sits on. Cameringo alone puts all the other filter based iOS apps to shame. Forget the Hipstamatic app from iOS. It’s rubbish. And what about Photosphere? You can’t have that for free on iOS while it’s a standard feature on all Android 4.2 devices. The Google app lets you upload 360 pano bubbles to Google Maps, which is free for all to view.

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Work Productivity

So you want to do some serious work, encode files, upload to cloud and save files on flash drives? You can’t beat Android. iOS may have pioneered the mobile office suite but its iWork modules with new hardware running on iOS 7. Google already gives out its own Quickoffice for this and it’s not restricted by hardware. What’s more Android devices support read and write to flash drives using a OTG cable. Plug and Play. For iOS, you gotta be psychic to beam a file onto a flash drive. Bluetooth? Have you seen an iOS device send a Microsoft file to an Android device? How about NFC and WifiDirect? Does iOS have these under their belt? Both iOS and Android have productivity tools to do your work but it’s iOS that needs a data line to be of any use.

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Drawing and Art

As much as I love the Galaxy Note series with their pressure sensitive stylus, iOS wins hands down when it comes to drawing and exporting your art in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). Exporting a drawing in JPEG or any type of rasterized image is plain silly. People should be able to edit a drawing without compromising on the quality or the brush strokes. SVG allows you to do this as the data is vector encoded. Android’s support for these type of file is very poor at the moment. iOS wins hands down.

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Entertainment and Video

Android is the clear winner and by a mile. There are numerous apps that lets you consume video like never before. For Samsung devices, they have an All Share feature which can beam content to your set top box via Wifi. Third party apps are also available for you to do this. Connecting a DNLA device isn’t a problem on Android but it is a huge problem for iOS. Apple wants you to stream stuff through their Apple TV box. Making iPads or iPhone DLNA compatible for video is ritual suicide. Third party apps on iOS can support streaming of music but not Video. Streaming of music or video on Android is a no brainer. It just rocks.

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Buying Guide

You get what you pay for. Apple’s tablets and iPhone is on the highest end of the retail chain but price alone should not dictate your choices. Both devices have their strong and weak points when it comes to apps. You have to pay for apps, not expect them to be made free but there are times when the free apps alone will do fine.

For any internet device, there are two schools of users. Those who use their devices to maximize their creativity and productivity, and those who just consume digital media.

Consuming is easy. These are the same folks who use social media, play games with friends, read the news, read books and magazines. For this, any device be it from iOS or Android will do the trick.

Those of you who are more productive —who want to take pictures and have control over their captured parameters, make and create music, draw or take work along with them, will need something more. So choose wisely this Christmas and you’ll be duly rewarded.

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?

Camera360 updated with Neutered capture Resolution

camera360_iconAs a FREE camera app on the Android, there is nothing in my books that works better than Camera360 Ultimate. I have installed it in all my android devices and yes, it rocks but the latest update had me fuming.

For the last four months, I have used this on my Apple iPod Touch 5G and realize that there are distinct differences in how it was working. The Apple version of the app (also free) has captured widespread appeal because of its “real-time live view” function. This means that when you choose any effect, you can see it in real-time on what it actually looks like before capture—which unlike the Android version where you only get to see what the effected image would look like after having captured it. Thus the Android version still has some way to go before it gets to the stage of being on equal footing with the iPhone version.

New UI & Controls

I think the new UI is great. Slide the button to the left to get effect mode (filters) and slide right to get scene modes (for preset scene selection). Scene mode isn’t the same as you find in a digital camera, instead, it gives you access to  selection of preset scenes which you include part of the image.

There is also WB support now, whereas in earlier versions, this was not always available on all phones. The app has also been updated to support cloud integration and more social sharing sites beyond Facebook and Flickr to include Twitter too. But G+ support is still missing! The rests are of course China based SNS which you won’t be using unless you read and write Chinese.

Capture Resolution Problem

Sharing files are great but the captured image resolution now only supports up to 3 megapixels only on Android devices. I know this sucks but apparently the slew of new devices has made it difficult for the folks at Chengdu, China to have backward compatibility with all Android phones.

Frankly, I think that 3 megapixels is far too low. I think 5 megapixel should suffice and I have written to Pinguo Technology to change this. Now if you are only sharing your pictures online, 3 megapixel is ample. But if you are shooting to keep some of your photos for print later, then 5 megapixel should make the cut. By truncating it to 3 megapixel, your choices are restricted.

Conclusion

Yes, I am annoyed at the changes but it still remains one of the best FREE camera apps on the planet for your Android and iPhone. Yes, you may not believe me but you can go download it on your iDevice and use it and probably stop bothering to use any other camera app thereafter. I know I have.

**UPDATED** May 15 2013. 

Picture Size has been updated to 6 megapixel capture from 3 megapixel! 

 

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How to buy a Future Proof Android device

The guys at Apple magazine recently put a Samsung Galaxy S4 on its cover. For an independent magazine to do such a thing is tantamount to a sellout. Don’t matter if you are going to bash the device, it is never a good idea to put an Android product on an Apple Magazine, and here’s why.

It’s a hard look at future proofing your device, giving you the liberty to do more and have more fun. Apple iOS lost it. The innovation has come to a dead-end and you can safely predict the hardware spec on the next iPad or iPhone without gazing into a crystal ball. Apple has become very predictable in its choice of upgrades and you’d fall asleep once Tim Cook takes the stage. Apple Magazine could well be the next Android magazine if no new devices are coming out of Apple anytime soon.

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Tips for Choosing your Next Android

Smart Phones or Tablets? The choices are aplenty, but how do you buy one so that you won’t be out of date within 18 months? We all want a device for doing something we love and Android has it all, but how do you make sure you have a device that will last you the distance? With new models coming out every quarter, it becomes very difficult to choose one that will do the job without being outdated. Here is a list of things to watch out for.

1. Quad Core Processor

Forget the dual core, you need at least four cores to run things smoothly. The Octo-core processors will eventually make its debut within the next 12 months so you need a head start with a quad-core device. By early 2014, Octo-cores will be standard fare.

2. 2GB RAM minimum

This is the actual RAM on board the device. Forget the 1GB RAM devices, those are out of date. You need more RAM because true multi-tasking is just not possible without it. 3GB or more would be ideal if you can afford to get your paws on that one. By end 2o13, 2GB will be outdated. Going into 2014-15, you need to have at least 4GB of RAM to stomach future apps. Coz apps are getting bigger and they need more room to move around. Custom Launchers too like Chameleon need lots of free RAM to look slick. Bane or Bonus, custom launchers are here to stay. Many don’t work well now because of a lack of free RAM space.

3. More Internal Storage Please

Given the size of these apps, you need more internal storage. The 8GB and 16GB devices are passe, you need more coz there are more apps now on Google Play than ever. To future proof your purchase, you need 32GB of internal storage in 2013. Double that to 64GB in 2014-2015. There is also the issue of bloatware, which of course will reside in internal storage when you boot up. Bloatware on carrier branded devices could cost you a few hundred MB of RAM space.

4. Expandable Card Slot is a MUST

Got a cool device but no slot for additional external storage? Then you are screwed! The humble microSD card is getting cheaper and coming in at 64GB, you would be a fool not to have one. The external storage card can be very useful if you happen to consume media like crazy.  Got a load of MP3? Some movie files in MKV? Bring it on. You store all your files here. For some Camera Apps, you can specify a directory within your SD storage where it will save all the files. The card slot is your ticket to mass media consumption. You need this to put your music or your porn regardless of what turns you on.

5. Eight megapixel is Enough

You don’t need a 13 or 12 megapixel camera, just 8 will be enough. The reason is simple. The bigger the megapixel, the larger the file will be. No point shooting something to share when you only need 5 megapixel at most. So 8 megapixel will be just fine for everything else. What’s more, you can’t possibly rely on that tiny BI sensor to deliver pro quality images for print. It is a different beast you need to capture those photos. However for a social media whore, dang….8 megapixel make me look good! Don’t be fooled into thinking about those 16 megapixel shooters— which will be standard fare in 2014. Stay safe, shoot with 8 megapixels my friend.

6. Get a Great Color Display

I was deeply disappointed with the Galaxy Note 10.1 as the display was pretty poor. I am also pretty disappointed with the Galaxy Note 8 display too. You gotta know that a good display makes it all the more pleasing to use and trust me on this one. I find myself using my Galaxy Tab 7.7 more than my Asus TF300 just because the display is so pleasing to look at. There are many to choose from FHD OLED, Super AMOLED, Retina Display, TFT, Super LCD3, etc. Which one suits you best? Well it’s really up to you. A better screen is a joy to behold.

The Last Word

I don’t believe that a gadget you buy will last you forever. Every 12 months or so, a new gadget arrives but there are some which cost more that offers some future proofing. For example, the Galaxy S4, with 32GB internal storage and 2GB RAM can last you into the end of 2015. But a 16GB version will be very restrictive and chances are you’ll ante up to a new device by end 2014.

Apple products fortunately are made to last longer because of its poor hardware upgrades. If you have an iOS device, chances are you can use it for a good 18 months before the hardware becomes restrictive. Today, we see iPads with 128GB of storage. Tomorrow, we can expect to see 32GB iPhones as standard. Rumors of a cheap iPhone does not make sense. If you have poor hardware, people will compare that with Android devices and choose something from HTC  or Asus. A cheaper iPhone already exist in the form of the overpriced iPhone 4s and 4. If you need a second phone, the iPhone 4 fits the bill. If Apple offers an even cheaper iPhone, it’s one that would look more like the 3GS—gutted to fit a new processor and limited 16GB RAM.

The second biggest market for the iPhone is China, but the China Appstore is one that doesn’t make any money for Apple because of the rampant fraud that goes on with Appstore credits used to buy online media and apps. It just doesn’t make sense to make a cheaper iPhone for just that market.

Firmware update hiccups on Android and iOS

The word is that ANY firmware updates are going to cause you some grief. And I think that is true for both the iOS and Android platform. My friend just told me that he collected his shiny new iPhone 5 and it started to run on overdrive, so I asked him what the symptoms were. He said the iPhone 5 would keep running hot, and drains the battery within four hours. I could have sworn he was using a Galaxy Note running Android 4.0 as what he explained was what I encountered during the early part of up new firmware update.

He had just backed up his apps to iCloud and downloaded them onto this iPhone 5. The fact of the matter was this, some of the apps were not optimized for use on iOS6 and on new hardware. This will cause the apps to run in circles, draining the battery in the process.

A clean install might work, reset the phone and download the apps once again from the store, but it remains to be seen if it will cure the battery drain issue once and for all. Let’s not forget that the new hardware needs to be optimized  with the apps and unless the apps are reworked, chances are it won’t be running smooth. If you are using just a few third party apps, then you might be in luck, less problems means a smoother experience.

This puts the myth to rest that the iPhone is really a better platform. In fact, if you go round to the Apple forums, people are already talking about the battery drain issue on the iPhone 5 and not a peep has come from Apple regarding the issue.

I just got my Jellybean update for the second time for my Asus TF-300 and for once, there are no more coma problems. It runs smoother too. So for users of the iPhone 5, you just have to bear with it. If you have loads of third party apps that you used often, you have to wait for the new app updates.

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