Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By February 8, 2014 Read More →

More on the HTC M8

HTC M8Things are definitely hotting up around the device that’s set to supersede HTC One, the HTC M8. Almost every day we’re seeing a new leaked image or screen shot of the phone that’s soon set to become HTC’s new flagship device.

This week we saw images of the HTC M8 which appear to confirm the claims that HTC have done away with the on screen buttons in favour of capacitive buttons below the screen. However, other images, including the ones in this post, seem to show a lack of both on-screen and off-screen buttons which is one reason why many are calling the current round of leaked images ‘fake’.

Other images released this week reveal the new look of HTC Sense 6 and, in particular, how Blinkfeed has just become a whole lot sexier.

Posted in: News, Phones, Rumours
Tags: ,
By February 6, 2014 Read More →

3 Ways Technology Continues to Transform B2B

3 Ways Technology Continues to Transform B2BTypical sales used to be a repetitive routine of call sheets and scripted conversations. Today’s B2B landscape has a whole new array of tools and tricks for sales teams to create new, lasting partnerships, leaving cold calls a thing of the past.

Analytics give professionals ammunition to build tailored proposals before they contact leads. Sales funneling software walks leads through the sales process one step at a time, and video and mobile technology make the sales process more efficient, knowledge-based and client-friendly. Here are three ways that technology has made a big impression on B2B.

Lead Sources

Higher sales start with better leads. The more you’re able to target potential clients, the more likely they’ll be to partner with your business. Plenty of outlets dedicate their resources toward finding ways to collect quality leads. Most of the improvement comes from targeted advertising, which can deliver relevant leads on a budget. According to an eMarketer.com survey, however, the highest quality B2B leads come from third-party lead originators. These lead shops enable businesses to purchase information based on desired age, industry, salary range and many other demographic categories. These firms take the hassle out of gathering prospects. With a quality insurance lead or small business lead in hand, you can do the hard work of converting it to a sale.

CRM Software

Once you have a lead in your sales funnel, customer relationship management software (CRM) with keep you on track throughout the sales process. Salesforce, the most popular CRM platform, offers analytics to research leads, cloud marketing to gain new leads, and automated tools that will enable you to stay hands-on with the warmest prospects. Think of CRM software as the personal assistant you never had. It will remind you when to contact leads, keep your schedule, and file away important documents on a cloud-based platform. Research firm Gartner forecasts that CRM will be a $36.5 billion market by 2017. If you’re not using this cutting-edge sales software, you may have a hard time keeping up in the highly competitive sales space.

Video Communication

Communication advancements have given salespeople unprecedented tools to close deal. Video conferencing enables B2B professionals to build a more personal rapport. Now, you can meet face to face with a prospect from across the country. A report from Eyenetwork.com revealed that 65 percent of CIOs believe desk phones will be redundant by 2017. Skype and other video communication platforms are free to use, and they can help salespeople close deals faster.

Face-to-face video communication isn’t the only way professionals are using this technology, however. Live screencast tools enable salespeople to walk prospects through the online platforms associated with their businesses. This is particularly helpful for software as a service (SaaS) businesses. Screenr is one of the many web-based screen recorders. With this technology, you can create tutorials and share them with leads or connect online and hold a one-on-one session.

Posted in: Editorial
By February 5, 2014 Read More →

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro unboxing and first impressions

YOGA-2-pro_Orange_Standard_04The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro sits towards the top end of the multimode Ultrabook market and is the latest Lenovo model to enter this space. Lenovo have several ‘multimode’ models in their range but one thing that certainly sets the Yoga 2 Pro apart from the rest of the crowd is the amazing 13.3″ QHD+ display, that’s 3200×1800 pixels!

The Yoga 2 Pro comes in a variety of flavours including Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor, 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SSD and 4GB/8GB RAM. The one we have is the i5 with 256GB SSD and 4GB RAM.

Some of you may know that I already have the Yoga 13 and I use that quite often. The Yoga 2 Pro has a similar footprint to the Yoga 13 but is a little lighter and, as I mentioned above, has an amazing QHD+ display. In the video below I’m doing my best to demonstrate just how good it is!

So check out the video, I’m hands-on with the Yoga 2 Pro and take a look at the hardware before firing up the OS.

By February 1, 2014 Read More →

Apple TV or Roku? 5 Considerations for Buying a Set-Top Streaming Box

Apple TV or RokuIn 2007, around two million American homes were without cable or satellite television. A 2013 Nielsen study found that today more than five million homes have embraced an existence without traditional TV. But that doesn’t mean they’re staring at their four walls. More than three-quarters of these homes rely on the internet for their entertainment. Here’s an iptv guide if you’re not familiar with it already. If you’re ready to join them, just one question remains: Apple TV or Roku?

Roku Offers More, Easy-to-Use Channels

In June 2013, Apple TV offered just 18 channels compared to more than 750 on the Roku box. In late 2013, Apple expanded its library with some more crowd-pleasing channels, including ABC, Crackle, and Bloomberg, but Roku users have been enjoying these for years. Roku now offers more than 1,200 channels on offer, but quantity doesn’t always equate to quality. Many users insist they only watch a small percentage of Roku’s offerings, so in actuality your viewing experience might not be too different.

Roku is the clear winner when comparing the bare bones systems, but canny Apple fans have found ways to expand their viewing options. For example, many compare the price of a standard internet service with a FiOS bundle, which allows them to stream or download movies. If you’re going to spend money on additional entertainment, this package may end up being more cost effective.

Roku’s extensive channel list could get unwieldy without its universal search. Tech bloggers have suggested Apple would do well to incorporate this feature, which allows users to search for the title of the movie or television program they’ve been dying to see. The Roku interface displays the installed apps that can show the content, and how much streaming will cost on each.

Roku Has Headphones

It sounds like a small point, but if you’re one of the many people who enjoys binging on television while the rest of your household sleeps you’ll love the Roku’s headphone functionality. Its remote control has a headphone jack to make private viewing easy. Just pop in the included earbuds and you can watch your favorite shows without disturbing your loved ones. The quality of the earbuds isn’t outstanding, but audiophiles can easily use their own.

Apple TV Feels Familiar for Brand’s Fans

Apple’s familiarity will give it an edge for many consumers discovering internet television for the first time. Its interface resembles Apple’s popular iOS system, with rectangular channel icons which resemble apps. It also integrates with iTunes so users can use their existing account to purchase television series and movies.

It’s not that Roku is difficult to use, but it can’t capitalize on brand loyalty the way that Apple can. A 2013 study found 81 percent of Apple smartphone customers stuck with the iOS platform over a 12-month period, compared to 68 percent remaining loyal to Android. Another 2013 report by international brand consulting firm Interbrand ranked Apple as the world’s number one brand, ahead of Coca-Cola, Google, and IBM. When it comes to brand loyalty, Roku simply can’t compete.

Apple TV Offers AirPlay

Apple appeals to the loyalty of its faithful followers with AirPlay, a feature which lets you wirelessly stream photos, music, and videos from your iOS device or iTunes to your television set. This innovative device also integrates with key third-party apps including Pandora and Spotify.

To be fair, Roku has attempted to mimic AirPlay’s success with the release of its new Roku 3. This latest streaming set-top box features Play on Roku, which allows users to stream the photos, music, and video files stored on their favorite Android or iOS device. However, unlike AirPlay, Play on Roku doesn’t allow device mirroring, so it’s still got some way to go.

Roku is Often More Affordable

Both units have comparable recommended retail prices, with Apple TV selling for $99 and Roku 3 costing $99.99. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Apple knows it can count on customer loyalty, so it rarely discounts its streaming television. In contrast, the latest Roku set-top streaming box is regularly sold online for around $10 less than its nearest rival. If you’re still not certain which unit is best, then the price could sway you.

Apple TV and Roku both have their merits, so it’s worth thinking carefully before committing to your preferred device for streaming internet entertainment.

By January 28, 2014 Read More →

HTC One gets Android 4.4.2 KitKat

HTCOneKKThanks to HTC’s own Android update status page, we knew that the KitKat update for the HTC One was pretty imminent and today many users will have been presented with a notification to say that there was indeed an update available for their HTC One.

At the moment I’m installing the update on my own HTC One and so far it seems to be pretty painless.

The latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat update promises the following:

  • System improvements
    • Android 4.4.2 update
    • Security Enhancements
  • Printing imrovements
    • Cloud Print Services
  • Bluetooth improvement
    • New Bluetooth profiles to support more media interactions
  • Browser
    • Support of Flash Player removed
Posted in: News, Phones
Tags: ,
By January 27, 2014 Read More →

Three Main Reasons Why a Thriving Company Requires Business Video Conferencing Solutions

Video Conferencing SolutionsThese days, more and more companies decide to pursue their bold ambitions by opening satellite offices in different parts of the globe. This is an amazing opportunity to boost their influence and their profit margins; nonetheless, this decision also leads to a series of inevitable changes and new requirements that should be handled with maximum care by all business owners.

For instance, companies that have to establish and maintain solid relationships with remote clients, partners and staff members require the very best business video conferencing solutions designed to fill in the gaps created by distance, improve communication and enhance productivity.

Now, these highly beneficial elements are no longer a luxury, but a real necessity for businessmen who strive to take their enterprises to the next level on time and on a budget.

“As the software-based solutions evolve, we expect to see greater adoption of videoconferencing at lower price points,” explains Roopam Jain, Frost & Sullivan’s industry director of Unified Communications and Collaboration, cited by Corporate Tech Decisions.

Here are three of the most important reasons why business video conferencing options are a must-have for bold players who want to make a name for themselves on a larger scale.

First: The Increased Popularity of Video conferencing

The question is this: can you really afford to ignore the crucial importance of video conferencing, highlighted in almost any field? Video conferencing usage has witnessed a 50% growth only in 2012, and it becomes increasingly popular as more and more people realize that this revolutionary communication method perfects daily interactions with a broader audience and triggers considerable savings.

Second: Multipoint Video Calling Gradually Becomes an Indispensable ally

A new market study conducted by NPD In-Stat, mentioned by Social Media Today, reveals that videoconferencing is expected to hit a new record of 550 billion minutes of video calling, recorded until 2015. Moreover, the same source indicates that emerging videoconferencing solutions come from leading players like Skype, Tango, Google, Microsoft Kinect, ooVoo, and Raketu.

 

Video conferencing reduces travel expenses, consolidates the relationship between clients, partners, and employees, and boosts the productivity of any enterprise. As this revolutionary technology proliferates and becomes a powerful ally for more and more companies, businessmen feel the need to organize meetings with multiple participants. This method, entitled multipoint calls, is now utilized on a large scale. Now, the successful, result-oriented meetings include several meeting rooms and a considerably larger number of users.

Multipoint calls enable participants to express their ideas in front of different segments of public, in a time-effective manner. This communication method is highly effective, as it encourages the participation of several categories of users and allows participants to address different aspects without wasting any time in the process.

Third: Interoperability Requirements

Most importantly, business video conferencing solutions manage to prevent misunderstandings and eliminate communication barriers created by distance. At the same time, as technology evolves at a fast pace, users get the opportunity to connect with their clients, partners, or colleagues using a wide range of video-enabled devices.

This is the main reason why interoperability is an important requirement in the business sector. No matter what type of gadget they use to get actively involved in a meeting, smart business video conferencing solutions should enable participants to profit from flawless interactions anytime, anywhere and set up a thriving collaboration environment.

To be able to select the right business video conference solution for you, you must understand some of the most important trends and current approaches leading to a higher number of satisfied customers. The Wainhouse Research Paper provides concise answers to some of your most pressing questions and enables prospects to make an informed decision when it comes to identifying and implementing the best video conferencing alternative tailored to their specific needs.

This source of information allows users to

  • discover the multipoint video conferencing fundamentals
  • find everything there is to know about on-site multipoint bridging alternatives
  • analyze different deployment architectures and evaluate
  • select the best type of hosted video bridging services

 Of course using video conferencing technology is a smart way to to do business but there are still occasions when face-to-face meetings cannot be substituted. Business people will still need to book conference and meetings rooms so if you have rooms to rent out having a streamlined, easy to use booking system like MeetingsMaker on hand to do the heavy lifting is a must.

 

By January 25, 2014 Read More →

Do Laptop Tablets have Staying Power?

Ideapad-Yoga-11_07Last year, some 227 million tablets were sold and now they are more popular than smartphones when it comes to using the web. With almost 10% of visits coming from these devices, there’s a boom for them now, but will they still be popular in the future?

Currently, multimode and laptop tablet models are becoming the must have devices are they are ideal for both personal and business use. More portable than laptops, tablets have come a long way since humble beginnings back in 1989 with the GRiDPad. The amount of internet connected devices available is such that you can be diagnosed with a fear of not being connected – nomophobia. We have a look at what the future has in store.

 

The evolving relationship between humans and electronics

A smartphone seemingly isn’t a commodity anymore, merely something everyone is expected to have in order to send messages, pay bills and, well, live life. It is unsurprising that nomophobia is becoming a thing and relationships are becoming more intimate as wearables like smart watches and the innovative Google Glass continue to break new ground in the market. With analysts predicting that we’ll have (on average) five internet devices within the next few years, the falling prices mean that we have a different device for each activity. With phablets allegedly still a phenomenon to come and multimode tablets becoming a thing of the future, the crossover may have started.

 

Can laptop tablets break the market?

Quite a few tablets come with a keyboard now, and it is Lenovo who are breaking most of the ground and predicting that multimode tablets are the game changer moving forward. Microsoft obviously think this to be the case too as the Surface Pro 2 has been redesigned to be PC alternative that runs Office, a long battery and has a high performance. Some people have tried to suggest that the future of tablets isn’t healthy but the Aberdeen Group released a prediction that Windows 8 tablets will lead Android and Apple for market share this year as sales of tablets go into overload.

While the prediction says we are liking to have a number of different devices, they may still be required to do more than one job. If you’re getting a cheap tablet, then you know what it is for – and research from Ofcom has found that kids love tablets for browsing etc – then you know what you’re getting but there are calls for top-end products to be multimode – the Surface Pro 2, Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 2 and ASUS Transformer Book T100 are all good examples.

Today, keyboards are key accessories when it comes to tablets and that would suggest that the trend is here to stay. While all electronic devices have there place in the market, some smaller than others, the multimode tablets make for an appealing alternative to PCs – and even laptops. The touch experience is well loved and many manufacturers are looking to cash in on the trend. Laptop tablets are here to stay.

Posted in: Editorial, Laptops, News, Tablets
By January 22, 2014 Read More →

5 Tips for Getting Your Road Warriors the Best Equipment

Depositphotos_33850145_xsIn 2009, the average American drove 2,078 miles for work-related business, according to the National Household Travel Survey. If your employees are constantly on the go, equipping them with the right tools ensures the pace of business goes as smoothly as possible. Start with these five tips to cover your bases.

1. Pick light, portable work computers.

Your office may have clunky desktops and oversized monitors. Your on-the-road employees need something much lighter for travel; making them carry six-pound laptops simply won’t do. Consider a tablet for your on-the-road employees if they’re likely to be using the computer to consume (but not create) content. If your employees need to create or edit documents, try an ultrabook or a Mac Air, super lightweight laptops that will get the job done. Ensure that any device you choose has a lengthy battery life, since road warriors may not always have access to a charger. Also provide employees with cloud storage, so they can easily access any needed office materials while they are traveling for work.

Posted in: Editorial
By January 21, 2014 Read More →

LogMeIn discontinues free version

inUsers of LogMeIn Free will be getting emails today letting them know that the free version of the remote access product is to be discontinued. If  you already have the email, no it’s not a hoax or phishing scam, the free service really is going away from today!

Users are being told that they must now sign up for the paid-for Pro account in order to keep using LogMeIn.

I’m sure that most of us can understand why the free service would be withdrawn, after all, it’s a very good product that was not drastically different from the Pro version, which will be staying. However, the worrying and irritating thing here is that there’s very little notice being given, it’s not from from TODAY and there’s only a 7-day grace period to get yourself sorted out!

After ten years, LogMeIn’s free remote access product, LogMeIn Free, is going away.  We will be unifying our portfolio of free and premium remote access products into a single offering.  This product will be a paid-only offering, and it will offer what we believe to be the best premium desktop, cloud and mobile access experience available on the market today. We will be notifying those impacted by the change in the coming days and weeks.  In the meantime, we wanted to take a minute to explain the change and help users of LogMeIn’s access products better understand what this means for them.

Notification period

Impacted users will be notified via email and in-product messages.  While messaging started today, users will be given 7 days to make a purchase decision about LogMeIn Pro.  To be clear, the 7-day grace period starts when you next login to the LogMeIn service.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By January 20, 2014 Read More →

Motorola Moto G hands-on video

Motorola Moto GThe Motorola Moto G has been making the news quite a lot lately and its popularity seems to be surging. There’s now the Google Play Edition available for $179 for the 8GB model so it’s perhaps easy to see why this Android smartphone is being snapped up so quickly.

It may not have the best specification on offer but with a quad-core 1.2GHz CPU, 1GB RAM and a 720 x 1280 display, the Motorola Moto G is beginning to redefine entry-level.

As you know, we love to start out by unboxing a new products but our Motorola Moto G review unit is a beta device so arrived in a simple envelope. So our unboxing becomes an un-enveloping and I go hands-on with the Moto G, take a look at the hardware and then dig at the OS a little.

Full review up soon too.

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