Friday, December 20, 2013

Iphones to Start on Planet's China Mobile soon

iphones to start on planet's biggest transporter China Mobile soon, says report

China Mobile, the planet's biggest transporter with around the range of 700 million subscribers, will soon offer the most recent iphone, opening Apple up to the biggest single cell market to date. 

Refering to sources acquainted with the matter, The Wall Street Journal initially reported the as far back as anyone can remember expected (and exceedingly foreseen) proceed onward Wednesday.

The rollout is required to start later this month with a disclosing occasion got ready for December 18.

It's been quite a while nearing. The iphone is presently accessible on very nearly every significant Western and Asian cell transporter bar China Mobile. The hangup was credited on the most part to the bearer's failure to furnish 4g administrations, which it has been taking a shot at for as long as not many years.

China Mobile likewise runs an alternate 3g fittings base than China Unicom — the planet's third-biggest system with more than 125 million clients — which prompted cerebral pains at Cupertino. It wasn't as basic as simply building another unit to addition similarity as it did with Western units that oblige Cdma forms over Gsm, for instance. It obliged acquiring the right equipment and the suitable licenses. 

At last, both China Mobile and Apple expected to can avoid the 3g incompatibilities and bounce straight on the cell monster's Lte system. What's more that day arrived. Chinese powers at last allowed the bearer licenses to work the higher-speed systems, preparing for 4g perfect iphones to take a shot at the system.

China remains imperative to the iphone's development. Fruit's primary bread and spread is the cell phone unit, which consumes in almost half the organization's income at its most recent financial final quarter profit. Yet development generally speaking has been moderate — even in China, with a gigantic 1.3 billion potential compass. As such, Apple has just had the ability to secure manages the more diminutive Chinese transporters.

Hitting China hard has been a speculation worth the trouble at last, yet the result will come in the accompanying monetary quarters.

Consistent with Trefis research, China Mobile may have the ability to offer something like 1.5 million iphones for every month, totaling 20 million extra iphone initiations throughout 2014.

That alone might push the organization's iphone income up by to the extent that 17 percent year-over-year contrasted and 2013, finished S

LG G2 review: Recommended, unless you need storage expansion

Lg G2 survey: Recommended, unless you require space development

The Lg G2 is the lead handset from an organization that ostensibly doesn't get the credit it merits. The G2 is Lg's reply to any semblance of the Samsung Galaxy S4, Htc One, Sony Xperia Z1 — and obviously Apple's iphone 5s. With an expansive screen and great electric storage device life, The Lg G2 hits some essential targets — however does it match its high-end rivalry and defend its high cost — £340 (ex. Vat, or £408 inc. Vat)?


The advertising for the Lg G2 notice the positioning of its on/off catch and its 'close zero bezel'. These are absolutely notable characteristics, keeping in mind the previous won't be to each taste, the recent is liable to be invited by all. Lg has figured out how to pack a 5.2-inch screen, which we measured as 65mm wide, into a body that is only 70.9mm wide. The bezel along the long edges truly is just about non-existent, and is shockingly limited at the top and bottom as well. A speaker, front Polaroid and caution light are pressed in at the top, and the by and large impact is of a telephone that is practically all screen.

LG's leader G2 has a 5.2-inch Ips screen and is fueled by a top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Soc with 2gb of Ram. Our survey test had 32gb of inward space, however no Microsd opening for including additional limit. Note the force bind and volume rocker on the over of the handset. (Picture: Lg)

Regardless of its size, the screen doesn't appear to be excessively vast — despite the fact that we discovered it difficult to utilize one-gave. The presentation itself is sublime, with a full-Hd determination of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels giving it a pixel thickness of 424ppi that is just decimated by the 4.7in. Htc One (469ppi), 4.95in. Google Nexus 5 (445ppi), 5in. Samsung Galaxy S4 and 5in. Sony Xperia Z (both 441ppi). The Ips board has extraordinary colour rendering and brilliant survey plots. It's challenging to find blame here.

That other outline component we specified, the positioning of the on/off bind, is prone to be a little more petulant. As opposed to spot this on an edge, as is the standard, Lg has set it on the again, underneath the Polaroid lens. It's limited top and lowest part by the volume catches.

The little capsule formed force switch is marginally raised, making it conceivable to find by touch alone. We discovered a spot of a fiddle from the get go, however did get accustomed to it after a while. Lg has plainly recognised that the ergonomics will remain an issue for some individuals, and has furnished the alternative to twofold tap the screen for securing and opening the telephone.

Despite the fact that migrating the on/off bind may have been an improved move, we need to concede that the twofold screen tap is an incredible thought. It's especially suitable when the handset is sitting on a work area, and we'd get a kick out of the chance to see more telephone creators receive it.

The volume rocker that encompasses the on/off bind is a great deal less of an issue. It is less oftentimes utilized than the force bind, and we discovered it simple to gain entrance to with the handset in a pocket.

The Lg G2 takes a microsim that goes into a caddy on the left edge of the skeleton. Separated from the caddy and a headset jack and Micro-Usb connector on the bottom, the edges of the handset are free of disorder. They bend into the backplate which is gleaming, shows up finger-oil and is not especially hold cordial.

The main other edge-mounted characteristic is a couple of speaker grilles on the base of the frame. These convey a sound volume, despite the fact that there's some mutilation at the precise loudest level. It's not difficult to blanket these grilles when you're holding the handset in scene mode (when gaming for instance), which will stifle the sound.


As Lg's leader handset, the G2's particulars are great, with one disturbing (however all too regular) special case: there's no Microsd card space for space development. Our audit unit had 32gb of inner space, however that is not accessible in the Uk, where 16gb is standard. The working framework and different Lg additional items consumed 8gb of space on our audit handset, leaving 24gb for client applications and information. The 16gb model will have even less free space to play with, and its a genuine compassion that limit is hampered along  these  lines.

The processor is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 running at 2.26ghz. It's the present processor of decision for top-end handsets and, went down by 2gb of Ram, is exceptionally zippy: screen moves, page renders and motion picture playback were all quick and smooth. We've no protestations about this handset's speed.

This is a Lte handset with a full supplement of remote characteristics — Wi-Fi (double band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth (4.0), in addition to Nfc and Gps (with A-Gps and Glonass help). Music backing incorporates the lossless Flac codec — one of various additional items that Lg has overlain on top of Android 4.2.2.

The Polaroid is a for example. The back Polaroid has a 13-megapixel determination — a sound particular, and one that processes some fantastic shots. Optical picture stabilisation helps diminish the probability of smeared pictures (particularly in low light), and you can take photographs that incorporate what both the front (2.1mpixel) and back Polaroids can see; there's likewise a mode that shoots five pictures rapidly, permitting you to hold the one you like best.

You can design the front touch catches to your enjoying, changing the setup of the left and right binds and adding a fourth bind either to start Lg's Quickmemo application — which gives you a chance to take a screenshot and explain it, and after that spare or stake it — or to force down the warning board.

The warning symbols could be altered to incorporate simply the alternate routes you require. Qslide is an extra utility that sits in the warnings range and furnishes access to an extent of pop-up applications that open on top of whatever you are doing around then. These are resizeable and incorporate not only applets as an adding machine and a note-taker, additionally weightier applications, for example, a document director.

When you connect to a headset, four alternate ways pop up indicating significant applications, and you can alter these so your favorite quartet is offered. There's also an eye tracking system that pauses video if you look away from the screen and keeps the screen awake while you're looking at it — overriding whatever time-out you've set.

The LG packs a 3,000mAh battery beneath the G2's non-removable backplate, claiming up to 17.5 hours of 3G talk and 900 hours (37.5 days) on standby. For once we're not complaining about having to find mains power mid-afternoon, or even early evening. Even if you're a power user, you should be able to get through a day without charging the battery. This feature alone may draw you to the LG G2.


LG has done a great job with the G2, and its battery life will be a big plus for many potential buyers. The power button placement is odd, but isn't a deal-breaker. The G2's only real drawback is its lack of MicroSD storage expansion. If don't need this, then it's well worth shortlisting.

Thinkpad Yoga Laptop Tablet

Thinkpad Yoga: Serious work portable computer, genuine work tablet (active)

Thinkpad has come to mean work portable computer, and with the new Thinkpad Yoga it additionally implies work tablet. Lenovo manufactured an exceptional portable computer and put a swivel screen on it that transforms it into a sensible tablet for work. It does that with a flare, as the keys subside into the unit in tablet mode. 

Equipment determinations as assessed:
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 1.6 Ghz (Haswell)
  • Memory: 4 Gb
  • Display: 12.5-inch Ips, 1920x1080, touch screen, pen help
  • Os: Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Storage: 128gb Ssd
  • Camera: 720p webcam
  • Keyboard: Lift "n" Lock in tablet mode, illuminated
  • Ports: 2-Usb 3.0, sound combo, minihdmi, Vga, 4-in-1 Sd/mmc card onlooker, exclusive dock connector
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours
  • Dimensions: 12.46" x 8.70" x 0.74"
  • Weight: 3.52 lbs 
  • Price as arranged: $1,299
  • Adaptable portable computer
Lenovo bounced ready regarding the adaptability of Windows 8 at an opportune time with its interesting Yoga laptops. These have a screen that could be turned the distance once again until the console is confronting out under the even show. This transforms the Yoga smart phone into a tablet, exploiting Windows 8.

The screen might be ceased halfway in the turn, permitting both a stand mode (screen confronting regressively, console down) and a tent mode (unit shaping an upside-down "V" for review). The four modes — smart phone, tent, stand, and tablet — are the wellspring of the Yoga name brand.

The Thinkpad Yoga is an accurate business-class smart phone, and the first Thinkpad from Lenovo convey the Yoga brand. It is overall built and might as well remained up to the rigors of the versatile proficient.

The 12.5-inch screen is splendid (400 nits) and has 10-finger touch control. Notwithstanding standard touch, it additionally upholds pen control by means of the incorporated stylus. The stylus is saved in an advantageous storehouse in the unit when not being utilized, a superb touch.

No audit of a Thinkpad might be finished without tending to the console. As an aficionado of Thinkpad consoles, I can authenticate that the one on the Yoga is magnificent. It has chiclet keys, yet like those of the Thinkpad X240 (Zdnet audit here). The keys on the Yoga have key travel that feels like conventional keys. The console is agreeable, feels just right, and helps quick touch writing helpfully.

As comparative as the Yoga console is to that of the X240, it has one characteristic that is remarkable that becomes an integral factor when pressed into tablet obligation. That will be clarified in the tablet area.

Discussing the Thinkpad X240, the Yoga has a comparative trackpad, as well. It is not excessively extensive however works easily and is a buttonless model. Pressing down on the trackpad gives a different rodent click. It is a great trackpad for a Windows portable computer.

Devotees of the red Thinkpad Trackstick won't be frustrated as the Yoga has one amidst the console. In lieu of the standard three rodent binds, the top edge of the trackpad serves as the catches which are obviously checked.

The Core i5 in the audit unit has extraordinary execution and handles even an overwhelming framework stack effortlessly. Applications stack rapidly and run extremely quick. The illustrations scroll easily and without slack in most Windows Metro applications.

Lenovo cites an electric cell life of up to 8 hours and that appears exact in testing. The Haswell processor is doing its work in growing the electric cell life while not obliging a gigantic overwhelming power block inside the Thinkpad Yoga. The electric cell is fixed and Lenovo did not utilize the two electric storage device Power Bridge innovation as it did on the X240.

Sensible tablet

The Thinkpad Yoga can venture in and execute as a tablet when fancied and its a really respectable one. I'm not a huge devotee of Windows tablets that are dependably connected to the console because of the additional weight. The Yoga is without a doubt substantial at 3.5 pounds when utilized as a tablet yet resting on a meeting table, that weakness is moderated to a degree.

The 12.5-inch screen works well as a tablet and touch operation is quite superbly executed. It works well in both representation and scene introductions.

And also touch operation takes on the Yoga, pen help works all in all as decently. The incorporated stylus could be slipped out of the storehouse on the unit and being used in seconds. Composing on the screen in either Windows Journal or Onenote is as smooth as could be and feels characteristic. Aficionados of inking know how vital that is, and not all tablets have pen help this great.

Like other Yoga tablets, the Thinkpad Yoga has the console uncovered on the bottom of the showcase when in tablet mode. This is not optimal and it could be difficult to get used to feeling the keys when utilizing the tablet. To minimize this, Lenovo has connected some novel designing to the Yoga.

As the screen is pushed go into tablet mode, the keys subside into the apparatus. They are level with the "back" when the showcase is completely pivoted into tablet mode. It's not the ideal result however far best to different tablets that leave the keys completely augmented.


The Thinkpad Yoga is an extraordinary work smart phone that could be pressed into tablet obligation when coveted. Its substantial obligation Thinkpad development will remained up to the rigors of a way warrior. The electric cell life is sensible and the wonderful screen works well in both portable computer and tablet modes.

The smart phone is accessible from Lenovo for $1,299 as assessed, and as is common for Lenovo items is configurable to help the purchaser.

  •  Not exorbitant for a Thinkpad
  •  Great console
  •  Good execution
  •  Battery life is satisfactory
  • Heavy in tablet mode

USB Flash Drives to RAID Units

Best space apparatuses: From Usb streak drives to Raid units

While the cloud has seemed without a moment to spare to offer free and simple access to gigabytes of space, some individuals jump at the chance to keep their information near hand. Here are a percentage of the best space apparatuses cash can purchase. 


As we go about our day making more information, so the interest for space increments. While the cloud has seemed without a moment to spare to offer free and simple access to gigabytes of space, some individuals jump at the chance to keep their information near hand. This is the place particular space becomes possibly the most important factor. Additionally, its not simple to movement gigabytes of information to and from the cloud unless you have a genuine web association.

And also being a tech geek I'm additionally a camera person, and this implies that I make colossal amounts of information. Simply a day or two ago I made a 10 second timelapse motion picture, which on the substance of it doesn't appear as though much, however including the information, yield and halfway documents put the aggregate space expended by this one extend at 10gb.

That is a considerable measure of information. I recollect when all I had was a 10mb hard drive!

Engineers progressions Apple ios 7

How engineers are managing the progressions Apple created in ios 7

Macintosh's new interface changes in ios 7 have annoyed some iphone and ipad clients. Be that as it may engineers have all that anyone could need inconveniences of their own coordinating the significant framework redesign. The upgrade is carrying some intense decisions to engineers, consistent with engineer and creator Matt Neuburg, in an entrancing post at Tidbits.

In How ios 7 Will Affect Developers — and You, Developer parts engineer and client interface issues with the essential interface changes, for example, binds; new Uikit Dynamics activitys and smudged moves; foundation downloading; content changes; and bugs.

Designers demonstrates screenshots of his application Zotz! prior and then afterward ios 7, and examined the suggestions for its convenience. Tragically, the progressions important to overhaul the code might make it an agony to administer more seasoned code.

Attempting to untangle the ensuing interface mess is troublesome to the point that numerous engineers will presumably find it not worth their opportunity and exertion to support similarity with ios 6 and some time recently. It's far less difficult to drop ios 6 backing, or to distribute two separate applications (one for ios 7 and one for pre–ios 7), than to rejigger one application to look right on various frameworks. It took me a few days to settle the way Zotz looked; when I was carried out, I had a tolerable ios 7 interface, however there was no retreating.

The settings screen of my Zotz application demonstrates to a percentage of the conformities I needed to make so as to manage changes in how widgets draw themselves. The issue with binds was especially intense; the framework was no more indicating clients that these were catches — they looked like simple content. To elucidate the interface, I wound up drawing my own particular rather unacceptable custom catch like fringes. On the left, how it looked in ios 6; on the right, how I figured out how to get it to look, finally, in ios 7. 

The languid way that ios 7 is finalizing some more seasoned fittings will keep numerous clients on the more senior ios 6 and much more seasoned forms. At the same time as Developer infers, engineers may be centered progressively on managing ios 7 issues, as opposed to redesigning for more seasoned adaptations. This could expedite a fast, mass stranding of these more senior applications.

Engineers examined various typographical characteristics in Dynamic Text, about which I posted in the sunny season. He additionally discusses the carrying of the Mac's Os X content layout motor to ios.

How designers will utilize this newly discovered force is anyone's supposition, yet attracting styled content refined ways will be immensely simpler. Hope to see inline pictures, tab stops, message "adornments" of different sorts, (for example, extraordinary hued underlines or word foundations), and content masterminded in fascinating shapes. Case in point, I'm not certain if or how I could have laid out a represented value record in segments in past renditions of ios, yet in ios 7 its simple. (The missing "0" isn't an error; its to demonstrate that my tab stop arranges the costs on the decimal focus.)

As per Developer, ios 7 is the "buggiest major ios framework discharge ever." Many applications should incorporate workarounds, he says, and a few engineers are holding off on redesigns since "basic purpose no more works accurately." He said there's an interface component that works under ios 6 and ios 7.0.3, yet breaks under the most recent Version 7.1.

On the other hand widgets that worked from ios 4 thru

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Acer C720 Chromebook first impressions: Fast and cheap

Acer C720 Chromebook first impressions: Fast and cheap

Acer is not a stranger to the Chromebook world and the new C720 is looking to outperform the rest of the pack. The decision to use an Intel Celeron with Haswell technology was a sound one by Acer based on our hands-on testing. The Acer C720 Chromebook is the fastest model we've tested with the exception of the $1,200 Pixel by Google.

What makes the presence of the Haswell Celeron so unusual is that Acer is able to use it while keeping the price of the C720 at $249.99. That makes this Chromebook an outstanding value given the performance compared to the ARM and Atom Chromebooks on the market.

Hardware specs as reviewed:
  •     CPU: Intel® Celeron® Processor 2955U, (1.4GHz, 2MB L3 Cache)
  •     OS: Chrome OS
  •     Memory: 4GB
  •     Storage: 16GB
  •     Display: 11.6-inch, 1366x768, anti-glare
  •     Camera: front webcam (1280x720)
  •     Connectivity: Wi-fi a/b/g/n
  •     Ports/slots: USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, SD slot
  •     Battery: 3,950 mAh, 8.5 hours
  •     Thickness: 0.75in
  •     Weight: 2.76lbs
The Acer C720 Chromebook is constructed of plastic as befitting its low price. It doesn't feel like it's poorly constructed but there is no doubt it's made of plastic.
Acer C720 Chromebook keyboard(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The keyboard facilitates fast typing and the keys have the right amount of travel when pressed. It is a standard Chrome OS keyboard with all of the expected Chrome control keys on the top row.

The trackpad works very well but is smaller than those found on other Chromebooks. This is no doubt to keep the C720 size as small as possible, but a slightly larger trackpad would be appreciated.
Acer C720 Chromebook left side(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

On the left side of the C720 is the power jack, HDMI port, USB port, and an the audio in/out jack. The right side has a lock slot, USB port, and SD slot. There are two blue and orange LED indicators on the front of the Chromebook that indicates power and charging status.
Acer C720 Chromebook right side(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Acer claims 8.5 hours on a charge and this seems to be accurate. The use of the Celeron is a good choice by Acer due to the low power requirements which yields good battery life.

The C720 is a fast performer due to this processor. The Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook that's been out for a while is a fast performer due to its last generation Celeron, and the Acer C720 Chromebook is much faster with the Haswell version. Both of those Chromebooks have 4GB of system memory so its a valid comparison of the Haswell processor. It's worth noting that the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook is currently selling for $500.

Using the Celeron in the C720 allows Acer to include 4GB of system memory, and this means better multi-tasking than other Chromebooks with only 2GB. In our testing the C720 Chromebook was able to handle lots of open tabs at once with no page refreshing when returning to earlier visited tabs as is common with models with only 2GB.

Of the many Chromebooks tested, the Acer is easily the fastest with the exception of the Chromebook Pixel. The Pixel costs over $1,000 more than the Acer so that's to be expected.
Acer C720 Chromebook closed(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The 11.6-inch display is just the right size for a portable system and it is an anti-glare screen. It is the standard resolution of 1366x768, which may be an issue for some. In our testing it is a decent screen, not the brightest but sufficient.

The Acer C720 Chromebook will be available shortly from Acer, Best Buy, and Amazon with a list price of $249.99. It's worth noting that this price is less than that of most tablets, an exceptional deal for a laptop.

Buyers of the Acer C720 Chromebook get 12 sessions of Gogo in-flight wi-fi access included along with 100GB of free storage on Google Drive, further enhancing the deal.

  • Cheap
  • Faster than most Chromebooks
  • 4GB memory
  • Battery life
  • Fast charging (1.5 hours from 10 percent to fully charged, less than 3 hours when completely drained)
  • Plastic construction
  • Small trackpad
Additional Chromebook coverage:
  •     Chromebooks: Unlikely battlefield for Intel vs. ARM
  •     HP Chromebook 11 hands on: Distraction-free writing with vivid display
  •     Google announces new Chrome devices from Acer, Asus, HP, and Toshiba
  •     Chromebook Pixel: One of the best laptops I've used
  •     Acer unveils first Chromebook with Haswell for $249
  •     Chromebook Pixel: 5 tips and trick
  •     Chromebook Pixel hands on (photos)

5 reasons why the iPhone 5c might be a flop

5 reasons why the iPhone 5c might be a flop

Rumors are circulating that Apple is cutting orders for the iPhone 5c in the face of weak demand, and this in turn is fueling speculation that the handset might be a misstep by the Cupertino giant.

But if the iPhone 5c ends up being a flop, what's behind the failure?

First off, I think that it is far too early to call the iPhone 5c a flop. Even if Apple is cutting orders, this could be part of the normal scaling back that happens following a launch as Apple re-evaluates the supply chain and balances things out. This sort of thing is normal.

Apple likes there to be as short a gap as possible between stuff coming off the assembly line, and that stuff being sold, and strives to have around 4 to 6 weeks of channel inventory. Given that iPhone 5c handsets (of all colors) are shipping within 24 hours, while the higher-priced flagship iPhone 5s is on 2 to 3 week back order, it makes sense for Apple to concentrate more on the iPhone 5s.

Another point worth bearing in mind is that we are unlikely to ever find out the sales figures of the individual handset models as Apple only reports data on iPhone sales as a whole. So if iPhone 5c sales are poor, but this is offset by strong iPhone 5s sales (and there's data to suggest that the latter is outselling the former by a significant margin) then the overall effect on sales will be hard to notice. Pundits and analysts like to focus on iPhone sales figures, but revenue and margin data are more telling and as a rule are better indicators of the health of the product line.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that a lot of people who buy handsets are locked into contract and upgrade cycles, and this could mean a delayed or extended upgrade cycle that extends well beyond the initial release. This may be doubly so for the non-flagship handset where consumers might be unwilling to pay unlocked prices to get their hands on the phone and instead wait until they are eligible for a subsidized upgrade.

But, if despite all I've said above, the iPhone 5c is judged to be a flop, what could be the reason behind it being a flop? Here are five possible reasons why.

1) Old model in new clothes

While the iPhone 5c is undeniably a new handset, under the shiny polycarbonate shell it is essentially a rebadged iPhone 5. While it is unquestionably an upgrade for anyone running a non-retina display iPhone, for those already owning an iPhone 4s or iPhone 5, there's not much new beyond the color.

2) No sane color option

The iPhone 5c comes in white, pink, yellow, blue, and green, there's no subdued black/charcoal/space grey option. Given that a black (or a variant on black) has always seemed to be the most popular choice of finish, the fact that it is not on offer might be putting a damper on sales.

On top of that, the lack of a red option is particularly surprising, especially given Apple's desire to gain a foothold in the Chinese market (red is a color traditionally seen as symbolizing good fortune).

3) Stuck with one color

You can dress up the iPhone 5c is different colored silicone skins (at $29 a pop) or you can use third-party cases, but as to the actual color of your handset, you're stuck with it for the duration of ownership.

For the trendy or teens with short attention spans, this is a concept that might not float.

As an aside, the most popular color in the UK according to iPhoneStockChecker is pink, accounting for 46 percent of sales, followed by blue at 32 percent, and green at 12 percent. White is low down the list at 9 percent, and the yellow version seems to be the ugly duckling, only chosen by one out of every 100 buyers.

4) Price shock

Apple lists an unlocked 16GB iPhone 5c at $549, which is only $100 less than a 16GB iPhone 5s. You can pick up unlocked handsets for less than this, but that high official price – which got a lot of press attention at the iPhone unveiling – will have undoubtedly put some people off.

5) Second best

The popular perception is that iPhone buyers are swayed by style, and that owning the attest and greatest handset is a status symbol of sorts.

While there no denying that the iPhone 5c is a new handset, it isn't a flagship handset, and with so much attention focused on the iPhone 5s, does this make the iPhone 5c seems a lesser, inferior, second best purchase?

The bottom line

Apple CEO Tim Cook is on record as saying that the company doesn't fear cannibalization, and that extends as far as its own products cannibalizing one another. At the end of the day, whether consumers are buying the iPhone 5s or the iPhone 5c (or the older iPhone 4s), people are still buying an Apple product as opposed to the competition.

If the iPhone 5c is a viable product, then chances are that we'll see similar models coming down the pipe in the future, if not, then we may see Apple shift away from this approach. This is how businesses do business.

The Metro hater's guide to Windows 8.1

The Metro hater's guide to Windows 8.1

In unveiling Windows 8.1 earlier this year, Microsoft executives said, “We’re listening to feedback.” That’s a polite way of saying they were trying to avoid being splattered by a barrage of rotten tomatoes.

Some of the most vocal complaints—sorry, feedback—came from longtime Windows users who wanted the good parts of Windows 8 without sacrificing the familiar Windows 7 desktop. Responding to that complaint was the impetus behind Microsoft’s decision to restore the Start button in Windows 8.1 to its traditional place at the left side of the taskbar.

The good news: Windows 8.1 has all the user-interface pieces you need to bring the desktop to the foreground and make the Start screen recede far, far into the background.

The bad news: Windows 8.1 doesn’t have a magic “make Metro go away” button. Desktop diehards will need to spend a couple minutes (really, that’s all the time it takes) to tweak Windows 8.1 into submission.

Here’s what you need to do to make Windows 8.1 as desktop-friendly as possible. Note that all of the features I describe here are new or significantly changed in Windows 8.1 compared to Windows 8.

Step 1: Uninstall unwanted apps.

Your focus is on desktop apps. You have no desire to use any of the 20-plus built-in Metro apps and no plans to download any from the Windows Store. To reduce the chance that you will inadvertently launch one of the built-in apps, uninstall as many as you can. Windows 8.1 allows you to uninstall all of those apps in one operation; that’s a big improvement over Windows 8, which made you uninstall each app separately. (Note that you have the option to uninstall from a single machine or from all your synced devices.)

Step 2: Adjust the look of the Start screen.

Windows 8.1 includes an option that allows the Start screen to share the same background as the desktop. Personally, I find that setting somewhat distracting, so I leave it off. Instead, I recommend removing the pattern and adjusting the background color to something neutral. This dialog box isn’t in PC Settings, where you might expect it. Instead, you have to go to the Start screen, click the Settings charm, and then click Personalize. Note the background with no pattern is in the bottom row, second from the right.

Step 3: Tweak the Start screen settings to suit your preferences.

Right-click any empty space on the taskbar and click Properties. That opens up the familiar-looking Taskbar And Navigation Properties dialog box, with a Navigation tab that’s new to Windows 8.1. Options here allow you to bypass the Start screen at sign-in, show the All Apps screen when you click or tap Start, and disable the two hot corners at the top of the screen.

Step 4: Arrange the Apps screen.

You’ll probably want to avoid the Start screen completely, but you can’t avoid an occasional visit to the Apps view. It replaces the All Programs menu with a full-screen list, organized into groups. You have several sorting and grouping options in Windows 8.1 that aren’t available in Windows 8. To get to Apps view, go to Start by clicking the Start button or tapping the Windows key; then either swipe up from the bottom of the screen or move the mouse until a small down arrow appears in the lower left corner, which you can click to see your full list of apps.

Step 5: Pin your favorite desktop programs to the taskbar.

This is actually one thing Windows 8.1 does better than Windows 7. From the Apps view you can select as many desktop programs as you want and then click Pin to Taskbar from the command bar at the bottom of the screen.

Step 6: Set your default apps.

This is a step a lot of people overlook. By default, Windows 8 sets several common file types to open with Metro-style apps. Windows 8.1 follows in that tradition. You can use the awkward and confusing Default Programs option in the desktop Control Panel. But it’s much, much easier to use the new Defaults option, which you’ll find in PC Settings under Search & Apps.

Don’t forget to change your default browser here. If you use Chrome or Firefox, the desktop version of your preferred browser becomes the default. If you use Internet Explorer, be sure to visit the Internet Options dialog box using the desktop interface. On the Programs tab, under Opening Internet Explorer, choose Always In Internet Explorer On The Desktop, and also check the box beneath that setting (Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop).

There, you’re done.

That was probably more complicated than it needs to be, but the end result should be a system that is far more tolerant of your desktop habits, with far less Metro style.
Windows 8.1: What enterprise users need to know

Microsoft made available for download by the public as of October 17 the Windows 8.1 bits, as well as a few post-RTM updates to those bits. But what about enterprise customers?

Microsoft execs said last month that enterprise customers would be able to access the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) to get the Windows 8.1 Enterprise and 8.1 Pro bits, once they were made generally available. They noted at that time that Windows 8.1 (core) would not be available on VLSC.

Those promised Enterprise and Pro bits are available as of today, October 18, in the VLSC, Microsoft officials said. However, I am hearing from some volume license customers that they cannot see any listing for Windows 8.1 in the VLSC and they're being issued trouble tickets.

As Microsoft officials noted in an October 18 Springboard Series blog post, Windows 8.1 Enterprise cannot be updated via the Windows Store; it must be updated via the media from the VLSC.

Customers can opt to do an in-place update of their existing Windows 8 Enterprise installations by using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 or System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, or by burning the media to a DVD or copy to a USB key.

As a reminder: Anyone upgrading from Windows 8.1 Preview to Windows 8.1 GA should know that all applications — Windows Store and desktop/Win32 — need to be reinstalled as part of the update process.

Microsoft's Springboard blog post includes information on how those interested in moving from earlier versions of Windows and/or non-Enterprise SKUs of Windows 8 can move to Windows 8.1. The post also includes information about how IT pros can update their key-management service servers and keys for activation.

I've had a few users ask whether Microsoft plans to make Media (.ISO) updates available to the general public for Windows 8.1. The answer is no.

A spokesperson noted that the only way to update a retail-activated Windows 8 computer to Windows 8.1 will be to go through the Windows Store and download the updated bits. However, .ISO-based updates will be supported for volume-license installations (as well as for TechNet, MSDN and DreamSpark subscribers).

Why isn't Microsoft making the .ISO files broadly available for Windows 8.1? Another spokesperson told me it's because "8.1 was intended as an update for users with Windows 8 already installed." I know Windows Store downloads have been problematic for a number of users and spotty Internet has made downloading from the Store a challenge for some (especially outside the U.S.). But that's all Microsoft officials are saying right now about .ISOs.

Users asking about how to update their Windows To Go versions of Windows 8: Microsoft officials say you'll have to reimage your existing drives as part of the deployment process.

11 top Windows 8 apps

11 top Windows 8 apps for work and play

Windows 8.1 has rolled out, and the operating system is better than ever. Apps make any platform shine and while there aren't as many Windows 8 apps as there are on other platforms there are some pretty good ones.

11 top apps for Windows 8.x
This collection of 11 Windows 8 apps covers the spectrum, from leisure to productivity apps. There are apps to keep you informed and others to keep you up-to-date with your friends on social networks.

All of these apps have been tested on touch tablets to ensure each can be used handily by touch as well as on laptops and desktops.

There is a bonus slide that shows the author's favorite way to use snap view as that has been greatly improved in Windows 8.1.

These are not the only good apps on Windows 8 but are the top apps the author uses heavily. If your favorite app(s) is (are not) listed please share them in the comments below.

Note that all apps can be found in the Windows 8 app store, simply search for the app name in the Store app.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3 8.0

Hands-on with the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 (Gallery)


Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 on AT&T

My first Android tablet was an original Samsung Tab 7 inch device that served me well, but was a bit chunky by today's standards. I had the chance to test out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 for the past week and enjoyed both devices.
Regular readers know I am more focused on smartphones for working and playing on the go, but still have a couple tablets around. My preferred Android tablet is the Nexus 7, but I have to say that these two new Samsung 8 inch models almost had me clicking the buy button on Amazon. They are vastly improved over the original Tab 7 I owned a few years ago, but as a previous Galaxy Note II owner they appear to just be large devices with very similar hardware design elements.

Samsung Note 8.0 on AT&T

My local AT&T rep sent along the Galaxy Note 8.0 and as a very data-centric user this device is appealing to me. My Note II was a good test to see if I would use the S Pen enough to justify the cost and screen size. When I look back on my usage patterns, I rarely found it necessary to use the S Pen. However, part of that was the fact that I could only fit a few words on the display, even at 5.5 inches. The Galaxy Note 8.0 solves that issue with a much more ink-friendly sized display.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 doesn't support phone calls, but the data connection works on LTE and HSPA+ for a very fast experience when you are outside the range of a WiFi network. With AT&T, it only costs an additional $10 per month to add the Galaxy Note 8.0 to your current plan. You can also purchase a WiFi-only Galaxy Note 8.0, reviewed here on ZDNet.
Specifications of the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 include:
  • 1.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB internal storage with microSD card slot
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS
  • 8 inch 1280x800 pixels display
  • 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, DLNA
  • 4,600 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of: 8.29 x 5.35 x 0.31 inches and 12 ounces
New devices are launching with Android 4.2, but the Note 8.0 has been out in other parts of the world for a couple months so that helps explain why it was released with this version. There are a few nice updates in 4.2 so I hope Samsung updates the device soon.
The Note 8.0 has a center physical button with the menu and back capacitive areas on either side. The microSD and SIM card are on the left side, under covers, with the power and volume buttons located above the IR port on the right side. I have grown to be a huge fan of the IR port on my HTC One to control my TVs and appreciate having one on the Note 8.0 as well. The headset jack is on top with the microUSB port on the bottom. The 5 megapixel camera is centered on the upper back and takes decent photos.
The Note 8.0 is a bit wide for me to use for extended periods in one hand since they made a bezel that would allow you to hold it around an edge and then use the S Pen on the display. There is a S Pen silo on the lower right side and I found the design of the S Pen to be just fine for daily usage.
A few of the advanced functions seen on the Galaxy S4 are here on the Note 8.0, including multi-window and reading mode. I valued using multi-window on my Note II and it is even better on a larger display like we see in the Note 8.0. There is not a ton of extra AT&T or Samsung apps so the Android experience is pretty clean. I find value in these newer versions of TouchWiz as well.
Overall, I enjoyed using the Note 8.0 and saw I could pick up a WiFi-only refurb for $320, which really interests me. The full price of the WiFi model is $380, but if you buy at Samsung they are also offering you $25 in Google Play credit. The AT&T model is priced at $399.99 after a $100 savings with your contract. If I used the S Pen more on my Note II then I would buy one, but I don't think I can justify that advanced functionality. You can buy a Note 8.0 in white or brown/black and as a fan of brown I would likely get that color. I personally found the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 to be more interesting for my needs as you can read below.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0

When I pulled the Tab 3 8.0 from the box, my first impression was that this was an awesome improvement over the Tab 7 inch I used to own. The width is perfect for my hand and it still amazes me how thin the device really is.
Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 include:
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Samsung processor
  • 1.5GB of RAM
  • 16GB internal storage with microSD card slot
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS
  • 8 inch 1280x800 pixels display
  • 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, DLNA
  • 4,450 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of: 8.26 x 4.87 x 0.275 inches and 10.9 ounces
As you can see in the specs comparison, the Tab 3 is narrower, slightly thinner, and lighter than the Note 8.0. The Tab has a dual-core processor, compared to quad-core, slightly less RAM, and slightly smaller battery. However, it has the latest and greatest version of Android, the same camera, same storage capacity, and same display resolution.
The Galaxy Tab 3.0 has nearly the same design elements as the Note 8.0, with the exception of the SIM card slot on the AT&T model I was testing out and the S Pen silo. The back camera is offset on the Tab 3 8.0, but has the same quality and performance. I personally don't care about the back camera on a tablet anyway, but the front camera is useful for video calling.
In terms of software, the latest version of Android and TouchWiz add in Smart Stay, screen mirroring, and a slightly updated settings layout. A major improvement is the use of the slick new Samsung camera utility. There are other improvements in 4.2.2 as well and I just hope Samsung upgrades the Note 8.0 soon.
The Galaxy Tab 3.0 is available for $300, which is just $55 less than the Note 8.0 WiFi when you account for the $25 Google Play Store credit. This makes the Note 8.0 a bit more compelling to me with the better specs and more functional tablet with the S Pen capability. If I used a tablet more, these are two I would seriously consider. They are not the least expensive tablets, but I think there is good value here.

First ten Android Apps

The first ten Android apps a professional should download

Most of the business executives and technology professionals I know who have given up their BlackBerry over the past few years have switched to iPhone, and the industry numbers reflect that (even if some of them are now tempted by the Q10 to return to BlackBerry).

However, in 2013 I've been seeing a lot more professionals picking up Android phones. I don't know if that will be reflected as a larger trend in surveys or studies later this year, but since I've been getting more questions and requests for app advice from these professionals, I thought I'd put together a quick list of the first 10 apps they should download on these new Android devices they are using for business. Something I haven't included on this list are corporate email/IM apps or office suite apps. Those are largely going to be based on what your company uses for its messaging and productivity software. Clearly, Google Apps users will want to download Google Drive and Microsoft Office users will want to download an office suite app like Docs to Go or Kingsoft Office.

I've been using an Android device as my primary business phone since January 2010 when I switched from a BlackBerry Curve to the Nexus One. I'm now on my fourth Android device, the Samsung Galaxy S4. Based on that experience, here is my list of 10 apps that most business users can benefit from when they are getting started on Android.

1. Swiftkey

You can count me as one of the many business professionals who missed the BlackBerry's hardware keyboard when I moved to full touchscreen device — until I started using Swiftkey. Before Swiftkey, I simply didn't respond to as many emails on my touchscreen device as I used to on BlackBerry, and I saved emails that required a response of more than a line or two until I got back to my laptop. Swiftkey lets you swipe across the keyboard with one finger in the general direction of the letters you want to make up a word and then it predicts with startling accuracy the word you are making. SwitKey 4 finally turned me into a converted skeptic of this technique, and it's the main reason why I'm now writing longer emails on my phone again. In fact, I've gotten so used to Swiftkey's magic that I regularly have to stop and remind myself that I can't use its techniques when I switch over to my personal phone (an iPhone 5).

2. Whatsapp

One of BlackBerry's other big advantages has always been BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), an advanced texting and mobile instant messaging client that offered status indicators on each message you sent so that you knew immediately if the message was received and/or read. Although BBM is now coming to Android and iOS this summer, there are now third-party apps that have the same functionality as BBM and are available across virtually all mobile platforms. The leader of the pack is Whatsapp. Oh, and it also works over your data connection so you don’t have to get ripped off by SMS charges.

3. Genius Scan

Smartphones have not only replaced most point-and-shoot cameras, but the cameras in smartphones can also replace most of the functions of two other technologies, scanners and photocopiers, once they are paired with the right app. Genius Scan is that app. With it, you can take photos of a multipage document, order the pages, turn it into a PDF and then save it to Dropbox, Google Drive,, Evernote or SkyDrive. Or, you can just print it or email it.

4. Evernote

Obviously, you don't want to use this to store highly sensitive company information (unless you're using Evernote Business). But, Evernote can be a tremendously useful tool for note-taking and information retrieval. For example, I'll often use the mobile app to take notes at an interview with an expert or a lunch meeting, and then by the time I get back to my desk to write up an article or a business document, all of my notes are already synced back to the Evernote desktop app so I can immediately reference them or quickly copy-and-paste the parts that I need.

5. Tripit

Tripit remains the best app I've found for keeping track of travel itineraries (although Google Now is starting to catch up). Part of Tripit's magic is that it's powered by some excellent backend systems that automate things for you. You simply forward your confirmation emails (or use the Gmail plugin to do it automatically) for your flights, hotels, rental cars, and reservations to and it automatically organizes them into trips with all your details and confirmation numbers. Bonus app: Travelers can also use the Trip Advisor app to check the ratings of hotels, restaurants, and local sites.


6. Google Finance 

If you work in the corporate world then you typically are going to track market performance and business developments, since the stock market is traditionally considered a future economic indicator. The Google Finance app gives you almost real-time updates on the various international stock markets and lets you set up portfolios so you can track market segments like tech or healthcare or aerospace and the most important companies in those markets. While it doesn’t offer all of the great data you can get on the web version of Google Finance, and some will argue that the Yahoo Finance app is better, the integration with Google Now and the nice Android widget make Google Finance my pick.

7. Linkedin

Linkedin used to just be an online resume network, but it has methodically added more and more business-friendly features to the point that it's become an indispensable professional tool. The mobile app in particular can help you quickly look up who to contact at a company or research a business associate that you're about to meet for lunch or quickly send a connection request to someone important you just met (before you forget their name at the end of the day). Linkedin has dedicated a lot of resources to improving its mobile apps recently, and with more people using the service to share links and updates, this is arguably the most valuable social media app for professionals.

8. Accuweather

Whether you're traveling on business in a new city or just trying to decide what to wear to work in the morning, the smartphone has become the go-to source of quick weather information. There are tons of weather apps and widgets on Android, but the one that offers the best combination of convenience and in-depth information is Accuweather. The app itself has in-depth meteorological data, hourly and daily views, maps, and video. But the two things that I like most about Accuweather are the temperature indicator that it sits in the upper left corner of the status bar and its handy half-page widget for at-a-glance weather information.

9. Google Translate

If you work in a growing, expanding business or a larger organization then there's an excellent chance that you now work with people in other countries and you have to overcome the language barrier — even if they speak some English (today's de facto international business language). Whether you're studying another language to help bridge the gap, translating documents or emails, or just quickly looking up translations to words or phrases, the Google Translate app will be a valuable resource.

10. Speed Test

Despite quad core smartphones with LTE chips and 2GB of RAM, we all still run into situations where our phones lag while doing simple things like loading web pages or sending files or downloading images. While it's easy to get frustrated with the phone, the problem is often with your connection — even if you've got five bars on your connection icon. The best way to quickly tell if you're being limited by your connection is to fire up the app and see if you're experiencing any lag in Ping (latency) or Download/Upload speeds (bandwidth). This will tell you if your cell site is overcrowded or if your Wi-Fi connection is throttled or overloaded. Switching between Wi-Fi and mobile broadband or simply slightly changing location may solve the problem.

New Google Nexus 7

Seven reasons to buy the new Google Nexus 7

Yesterday Google announced the new Nexus 7 device that leapfrogs the iPad Mini, for now. I own last year's Nexus 7, but just pre-ordered a new 32GB WiFi model at Best Buy yesterday and here are seven reasons I made that decision. The new Nexus 7 comes in 16GB ($229) and 32GB ($269) WiFi models that will be available on 30 July. A LTE model that works on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon will be available in the future for $349. With my smartphones now all having tethering capability I went for a 32GB WiFi model that you can pre-order at Best Buy now, but am still considering the LTE model too.

Reason #1: I need Android in my life

I use Gmail, Google+, Google Play Movies, Google Maps Navigation, and more Google services on a daily basis and have now integrated their services into my life. I love my HTC One, but as a smartphone reviewer I jump between a lot of mobile operating systems. Having a Nexus 7 gives me a portable, consistent Android companion that helps provide Google services even if I am using a Windows Phone 8 or BlackBerry 10 device for my smartphone needs.

Reason #2: Android OS updates

The new Nexus 7 launches with Android 4.3 and like the previous model and Nexus smartphone line, it will get the next versions of Android first. We will likely see Android 5, aka Key Lime Pie, sometime before the end of 2013 and you can bet the Nexus 7 will get that update.

Reason #3: The price is right

The WiFi only models are $229 and $269, which are more expensive than last year's Nexus 7 offering for a lot more device. When you look at the iPad Mini at $329 and $429 though, the Nexus 7 is attractively priced. I understand the iPad Mini has a slightly larger display, but the new Nexus 7 blows the iPad display out of the water. You can look at comparable Amazon Kindle Fire HD unit and see they are similar in price, yet the new Nexus 7 offers an optimal Google experience rather than an Amazon one.

Reason #4: 9 hours of HD playback

My daily commute consists of 2 hours of train riding and I can be found on an airplane about once a month. I like renting movies from the Google Play Store and with the 3,950 mAh battery on the new Nexus 7 it looks like I can travel across the country and be covered for entertainment.

Reason #5: High resolution display

The new Nexus 7 comes with a 1920x1200 pixels LCD at 323 ppi, which is a jump from 1290x800 pixels and 216 ppi seen on last year's model. As most of my smartphones now have pixel density like this, my eyes are spoiled by high resolution displays. The iPad Mini has a 163 ppi display while the iPad 3 that I enjoy using has a 236 ppi display. I can't wait to see the new Nexus 7 display in person next week.

Reason #6: Qi wireless charging

Nokia spoiled me with wireless charging in the Lumia 920 and now I want that in all of my devices. I have three Qi wireless charging pads at home and in the office and find it much more convenient to just set down a device on the pad rather than messing around with a microUSB cable and figuring out which end is up to plug it in.

Reason #7: Stereo speakers

The HTC One is a device that has also spoiled me, with its fantastic BoomSound front facing speaker system. The new Nexus 7 has stereo speakers with Surround Sound powered by Fraunhofer and if it is anything like the amazing sound found on the Chromebook Pixel I will be impressed. 

While I use headphones on my commute and airplane, I also often show videos from YouTube and Facebook to my family with my HTC One so having good speakers is important to me as well.

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