Just one year ago we didn’t have watches that run your favourite apps or a palm-sized HDTV streaming device. The technology advances in 2013 brought us even more ways to enjoy TV, watch our homes and talk to our smartphones. Check out these favourite tech toys and tools of the year and add some of them to your must have list of technology for 2014.
Archive for December, 2013
Are we going to see stickers on cars bumpers saying Android Onboard? It looks like Google wants to dominate our roadways next, and we aren’t talking about their self-driving cars either. According to recent reports Google and Audi will announce a partnership at CES in January. The details of this partnership reportedly revolve around an Android-based automobile entertainment/navigation and information user interface. Google is partnering up with one of the most well respected auto manufacturers in the globe in order to help build global recognition of Android as the premier core element for music, navigation, apps, and Google voice search in future cars.
We will keep an eye out at CES for any hint of this partnership and bring the details as quickly as we can. As a sidebar, there is also talk that NVIDIA might also be partnering up with auto-makers to provide the hardware to power these Android-based car entertainment/nav systems.
Back in 2010 when Android tablets were seen as a gamble and often compared to oversized smartphones, many companies chanced their arm to shape the tablet scene. Advent, Toshiba and Samsung were making waves however there were an number of smaller companies pushing their way into the spotlight. One of these was Notion Ink, an Indian company who spent most of 2010 putting together a mindful and exciting tablet experience.
The Notion Ink Adam was a tablet I really wanted to get my hands on, however I never managed to. Running a Nvidia Tegra 250 processor with a 1 GHz Dual Core Cortex A9 the Adam delivered Android 2.2 Froyo with a heavy overlay that dared to be an all in one companion.
Recently Notion Ink have launched the Adam II. A surprise as few expected the Adam to have been popular enough to have warranted a follow up.
- 1.5GHz Dual Core Cortex A9
- Quad-Core Mali 400 (clocked at 400MHz)
- DDR3 1GB (clocked at 400MHz)
- 10.1″(diagonal), 1280×800 resolution with Wide Viewing Angle & IPS technology
- Multi-touch Capacitive & Asahi Scratch Resistant Glass
- Super Twister Nematic (STN), 100×5 pixels, 2 Displays
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G (Data only, no calls)
- 8GB internal Memory, Mirco-SD card support (up to 32GB)
- 3.15MP front and back with BSI Technology, 720p HD Video Recording
- Mini-HDMI, High speed micro USB 2.0 (OTG) & 3.5mm Headphone Jack
- Dual 1.0W front facing speakers, front facing built-in microphone
- 6000mAh Lithium Polymer Ion battery
- Android 4.2.2
Whilst the specifications are hardly anything to write home about, a killer feature is included. A secondary display built into the tablet’s side. This “super-twisted nematic” screen display notifications and contextual information in black and white along the side of the device.
A gimmick? Perhaps, however thinking of the tablet in a slip case this may work for some. Others will probably use a phone or perhaps a wearable to keep up with updates. However, we will endeavour to locate a device and give it a good going over, if we are lucky.
Following the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat, HTC were one of the first manufacturers to come out and say that they were going to make 4.4 available on several of their current flagship devices, most notably the HTC One.
HTC have now gone a step further and in a bid to be as transparent as possible when it comes to firmware updates, have added a couple of pages to their US site, dedicated to sharing news and the status of firmare updates.
Currently we can see that Android 4.4 KitKat is complete for the HTC One Unlocked, Developer and Google editions with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint versions still going through the integration process.
HTC have gone further still and have provided an infographic to explain the processes that must be completed to in order to deploy an Android OS update.
So far there’s no update for my unlocked, UK HTC One and there’s not the same level of information for US here in the UK, which is a shame. I hope that HTC UK will follow suit sometime soon.
For more on this and to monitor the update status of the HTC One Max, HTC One Mini, HTC One X/X+ and HTC One S, head over to the HTC Software updates page.
It’s nice to see another well know hardware manufacturer dipping their toe into the Chrome ecosystem. Toshiba are joining the ranks of HP, Dell, Samsung and Asus by putting out their own version featuring Google’s Operating System. Things look quite similar aside from one particular design aspect: the screen.
So far we have seen Chromebooks currently feature either 11-inch, 12-inch or 14-inch. Toshiba have opted for a 13.3-inch screen. The back of the screen has a textured feel. Running at a resolution of 1366×768 is fairly standard. There is no touch-support or super hi pixel density.
As with the recent HP, Acer and Dell devices, the Toshiba uses an Intel Celeron 2955U CPU. This dual-core Haswell chip is clocked at 1.4Ghz and, for the most part, is more than up to the job of powering Chrome OS and Chrome Apps. Also on-board are 2GB of RAM, while there is also the now-standard 16GB SSD.
As an energy-efficient chip Toshiba estimate that their Toshiba Chromebook can run for 9 hours before needing a charge. Elsewhere there’s a smattering of USB 3.0 ports, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, a Kensington lock, SD card reader and full-size HDMI out.
At less than 1-inch thick and weighing in at 3Ibs, the Toshiba device is more than matched with Chromebooks on offer from Samsung and Acer.
Finally, price. PC Mag say that the device will retail in the US at $279. This is the same price as the HP Chromebook 11, and $20 cheaper than the larger (if similarly spec’d) HP Chromebook 14.
As more and more employees are bringing their own mobile devices to work, the debate over the risks and rewards of bring your own device, BYOD, is heating up. On one side of the argument, analysts such as Nucleus Research are pointing out hidden costs of BYOD, such as increased support and security requirements, and wondering if the gains truly offset these expenses. On the other hand, the BYOD trend seems destined to win over all objections, with Gartner predicting that half of employers will require workers to supply their own devices by 2017. Given this eventuality, rather than resisting BYOD without reservations, the prudent strategy for enterprises is to investigate BYOD’s potential risks and rewards and develop security practices suitable for the oncoming mobile device era.
Securing Your Mobile Perimeter
Data security remains one of the biggest challenges facing enterprise BYOD adoption. A Dimension Data global enterprise survey released this October found that 70 percent of business leaders view employee use of mobile devices at work as potentially dangerous and expensive. Careless mixing of business and personal device usage can compromise both enterprise and consumer information and introduce malware to corporate networks.
To address this, mobile providers and security specialists have been developing innovative approaches to securing devices. For instance, the latest BlackBerry 10 operating system employs a new technology called Balance which, as the name implies, helps manage the act of balancing business and personal use of mobile devices. BlackBerry Balance lets enterprises create a virtual partition on devices separating business and personal workspace. Encryption by a 256-bit AES safeguards company data and email accounts within the device’s business workspace. Users can swipe apps pages to switch between business and personal profiles, but they cannot share files across the enterprise-protected wall.
Discouraging Device Theft
Another BYOD risk that concerns employers is stolen devices. Lookout Mobile Security, a company that recovers lost smartphones, estimates that lost mobile phones cost Americans $30 billion annually. In the District of Columbia alone, 1,829 smartphones were stolen during robberies last year. Mobile devices are most frequently lost at bars and pubs and during festivals and are also prone to get misplaced during bus and plane trips.
The Seltzer Law Firm, which specializes in employment law, has developed some recommended best practices to help address this type of issue. Among other precautions, it recommends that employers require workers to activate apps for finding lost smartphones and to report stolen devices within 24 hours.
Planning Disaster Recovery Policies
What can employers do in the event a device is stolen or a network is breached, or even if an employee simply leaves the company with sensitive data on their smartphone? As with any other area of IT, it’s vital to have policy for how to respond in the event of a data disaster. In its BYOD best practices manual, software provider Citrix recommends that employers should design networks so that they can remotely terminate access to company apps and databases, close employee software-as-a-service, SaaS, accounts, and selectively wipe work-related data from worker devices.
Christmas Day is over again for another year and Boxing Day 2013 is already upon us! With Phones4u you can be the among first in-line to get your hands on a contract price drop, which includes a number of stand-out ‘free from’ handsets. One of the hottest smartphones of the year – the HTC One will be reducing to free from £29 (was free from £33), whilst the Nokia 1020 will be reducing to free from £42 (was £47), and the Sony Xperia Z will also be reducing to free from £25 (was £29).
After Christmas we can all be a little strapped for cash, so Phones4u is also offering up to £200 instant cash back on a range of handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, Moto G and Sony Xperia SP.
The goodwill gestures don’t stop there, with some cracking SIM Only deals, and up to 25% off all Vodafone12M3G SIMO plans, as well as a range of amazing deals on pay as you go smartphone purchases. Phones4u is offering up to half price on the Nokia Lumia 625, now from £139.95 on selected networks (previously £299.95), PAYG from £2.95 when you upgrade, and up to 45% off the Sony Xperia SP, now from £179.95 on selected networks (previously priced £329.95).
A range of handsets free from £18.99 on 4G EE – the lowest ever 4G free from, offering you a saving of up to £120. This tariff has 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB data. Handsets available on this great deal include the new Samsung Galaxy Ace 3, Sony Xperia SP – exclusively in Red, Nokia 625 and HTC One SV.
Last but certainly not least, Phones4u be offering you a free wireless speaker worth £120 with every Samsung Galaxy on both 3G and 4G.
On behalf of the team here at tracyandmatt I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers and listeners a very Merry Christmas! Thank you all for fab support and for following us on twitter etc.
Thanks also from me to the guys that work with me on the site, Gareth, James, Phil and Chris. Your helps and support is amazing and greatly appreciated.
Over the next few months we have a lot planned and there will be some changes as well as more of the same news, reviews and videos. We’ll be further developing our podcast hangouts and there’s a few other things up our sleeves too.
We’ll be be back to posting news and reviews again in a few days.
Paick is set to show off at CES a new super-slim ½-inch thick 6000mAh portable battery. This ultra-thin wallet-sized is designed for the back pocket or to be thrown in a bag with a dust-proof dual USB/Micro USB slot for Smartphone Charging. The battery is tipped to be compatablie with iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, Samsung Galaxy, HTC, Android Phones, tablets and most USB devices.
Paick www.paick.com, the company creating new digital fashion ideas for life, launched today Noble, the ultra-thin ½ inch portable 6000mAh power bank for business professionals. Fashionably styled with a streamlined wallet-sized aluminium alloy high performance casing, Noble is much thinner than other power banks, which are usually over 1 inch thick. Noble easily fits in a back pocket or bag for easy portability and is low cost with a promotional pricing of only $49.99 from now until March 23, 2013 (normally priced at $64.99). Noble features an intelligentdustproof pop-up interface with two USB slots and 1 Micro USB slot that lets you pop-up for access to the USB charging slots or pop-down to keep it extra slim and free of dust.
Charges iPhone Three Times, Galaxy Twice and iPad Once – One Touch Screen Activation
A Li-polymer battery charger, Noble is more stable and safer than Li-ion batteries. Noble charges iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, Samsung Galaxy, HTC, Android phones, tablets & most USB devices, fully charging an iPhone three times, a Galaxy phone twice, or an iPad once. Noble also features an Advanced Odin Circuit System with efficient synchronous rectifier output, an intelligent on/off touch sensor with one-touch screen activation, Smart Safety Protection and LEDs that show remaining power: 1 LED indicates less than 25%, 2 LEDs: 25%-50%, 3 LEDs: 50%-75%, 4 LEDs: 75%-100%.
Noble to be Introduced at CES 2014 in Las Vegas
Paick will introduce the new Noble super-thin low-cost 6000mAh power bank at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held Jan. 7-10, 2014 in Las Vegas, at the Noble Booth #70902 – Venetian Ballroom. To schedule press meetings at CES, contact: Karen Thomas/Eva Yutani/Bill Kouwenhovenkthomas@thomaspr.com, firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com.
• 6000mAh portable charger.
• Charges iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, Samsung Galaxy, HTC, Android phones, tablets & most USB devices.
• Unique pop-up interface provides the best dustproofing and a slim design.
• LED lighting design displays remaining battery life.
• Intelligent on/off touch sensor with one-touch screen activation.
• Dual USB ports: One 5V-2.1A and one 5V-1A USB output.
• 1 Micro USB port.
• Odin Circuit System: Synchronous Rectifier Output.
• Intelligent fast charging.
• Smart Safety Protection ensures safe charging.
• Dimensions: 4.6” length x 2.8” wide x ½” thick (118.2 x 2.2 x 13.6mm).
Promotional Pricing until March 20, 2013
Noble includes the power bank, USB/Micro USB cable, and skid-resistance rubber belt. Normally priced at $64.99, with promotional pricing of $49.99 from now until March 20, 2013, Noble is available immediately from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/
Available for a one-off upfront cost of £4.99 on a one-month rolling contract of £15.99/month for 5GB of data, or from £24.99 on Pay As You Go with 1GB of data pre-loaded. The ZTE MF730M dongle is connected to Three’s Advanced 3G network, which already covers over 80 per cent of the UK population.
If you don’t have a connected tablet or want to stay online but don’t have a modem built into your laptop, the ZTE MF730M dongle connects to the internet via Three’s mobile network. Simply plug it into your laptop and you are ready to browse the internet, work on the go, stream videos, download music and files or play online games just as you would on your phone.
The handy dongle is just 86mm long and 10.5mm slim, it fits easily inside a pocket, briefcase or bag so simple to access and use while you are travelling.
According to the latest YouGov DongleTrack survey, Three is the best rated network for mobile broadband, leading on 11 out of 12 measures of quality including download speeds, network coverage, quality and reliability.
- Plug it straight into your laptop to get the internet whenever you want
- Connects to Three’s Advanced 3G (DC-HSDPA) mobile network
- Works with PC and Mac
- Windows 8 certified