A lot of different payment options besides cash have sprung up in recent years. While credit and debit cards have been around for quite a while, they are far from the new kids on the block now. The most recent developments in payment options are digital wallets and contactless payment.
The term “digital wallet” is actually a rather broad and all-encompassing term that enfolds a number of disparate payment options. The term digital wallet can include ID verification and multiple payment options that can cover purchasing with multiple different credit cards, according to Credit Cards. However, it’s important to note that digital payment options are still in their infancy. Credit cards, on the other hand, are a staple of the world economy and of people making purchases. For digital wallets and other contactless payments to take over from credit cards, some serious changes in economic infrastructure and consumer opinions will need to take place.
There are a number of different options available when looking for a digital wallet, otherwise known as an e-wallet, or other contactless payment method. For the most part, digital wallets are all smartphone apps available through various companies for both Android phones and iPhones. In fact, Hong Kiat provides a list of ten potential digital wallets anyone can download and use. Some of the companies that offer these services include Google, Apple, PayPal, and Square.
These apps don’t just hold on to your payment information, they can also store data from loyalty programs and member cards so you can continue accruing your earning rewards and the like even without the physical card. To use these digital wallets, all you ever have to do is swipe your phone across a reader. Of course, this means the business you’re shopping at needs to have a device capable of reading the unique wallet signals. If the store has the proper reader, then customers have an even easier and more convenient check out experience.
On the business side of things, there are expectations of digital wallets becoming the next big thing and taking over the world of payments. In an interview about digital wallets with CNet, Mario Shiliashki, the senior vice president of emerging payments for MasterCard said of the rise of e-wallets; “It’s absolutely an opportunity for us; we see it as what will help our business grow for the next 10, 20, 30 years, even faster than we’ve grown in past decades.”
The Odd Case of Contactless Payment Cards
“But I thought digital payment options were supposed to avoid the need for cards?” Some of you might ask, well, that’s why contactless payment cards are an odd mixture of both digital wallets and regular credit and debit cards. They can be considered in the group of digital wallets since you just need to swipe them pass a sensor to pay, but they’re a plastic card that still sits in your actual wallet and holds all your credit and debit card info. However, contactless payment cards don’t necessarily have to be cards; according to Transport for London, contactless payments might be made with key fobs and stickers as well.
In an article discussing the new San Francisco startup, Coin, Slate discusses the new idea of another type of payment card. This card, which Coin states will “simplify, improve, and fit seamlessly into your life,” is another plastic card with a changeable magnetic strip that can mimic the attributes of up to eight different credit cards. The card syncs up to an app on your smartphone via Bluetooth where you can designate which card it is to mimic at that particular moment. But like a regular credit or debit card, you swipe this one
There’s not too much to say about credit cards. They’ve been around for a number of decades, a ton of people have them, or multiples of them, and just about every business has a card reader. Of course these generalizations aren’t entirely true, but the fact is that credit cards are all over. And with mobile card readers and POS systems like those by Shopify becoming more and more popular, credit cards don’t really look like they’re going away any time soon. Although, during the CNet interview, when discussing global payment usage, Shiliashki stated, “This gives us a lot of runway to truly revolutionize the world and digitize payments, both in the 15 percent that is already using credit card networks, but also in the 85 percent that is still using cash.” Time will tell what Shiliashki and Mastercard will do.
Who Will Win?
As you can see, digital wallets, contactless payments and credit cards aren’t really disparate payment methods. All three are intertwined with credit cards as the primary foundation. The other methods are really just different ways to store your credit card info to make it easier to pay. Perhaps something major and different will be developed in the future at some point. However, until then, credit cards could technically be called the winner since the other payment methods stand on the back of the little plastic cards.
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I don’t necessarily classify myself as a gamer. More so a game enthusiast. Maybe that is the right term. I prefer average Joe really. I am “one of those” guys that enjoys it. I don’t care if I get killed 30 times and only take out 10. I don’t get upset that a bullet goes through a wall and kills me a full 10 seconds after I ducked behind cover. It just isn’t my nature. I have fun either way. I have learned that your gaming gear does make a difference in your playing habits and you enjoyment though. While this might not be the perfect place to talk about a PC gaming headset, I find it to be very useful in my daily Android life as well as my gaming life.
Whether you listen to a lot of music, watch a lot of movies or play a lot of games, there is no doubt that some of you spend a lot of time doing it. In my case, much of it is spent in front of my home computer in my bedroom. I am constantly reading my emails, feeds and articles along with responding and general browsing. While I sit here I tend to have a set of headphones on blasting tunes from Spotify or Google Play Music. The louder the better. It helps me drown out my random thoughts and keeps me focused. There is a pretty major downside though, I tend to miss a lot of calls, especially when gaming. Lets face it, when you are deep in battle the last thing you want to do is reach for your phone. Roccat has designed a rather unique solution with their Kave XTD 5.1 Digital gaming headset units that I found particularly helpful, Bluetooth pairing integration for your phone.
I wrote my full review of the Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 over on our all tech site, thesavvytechs, today, but the Bluetooth integration seemed worthy of mentioning in a separate post here. We do have a lot more followers here then over there still.
The Kave XTD’s have a heck of a lot going for them in-terms of sound, comfort and control. Especially in the realm of PC gaming. With the Bluetooth integration you can pair your phone to the control unit like you would any other Bluetooth device. Simply long press on the “phone” button until the Bluetooth light flashes. Then pair it to your device. Once paired the first time, it will auto pair when it is is in range.
Now, when a call comes in your games audio mutes. You can answer from your phone or by pressing the phone button on the controller unit. It is quite handy when you are in the middle of something a bit more important at the time of a call. It does get a little better too. If you have your phone set up for voice commands, via Google Now or Motorola’s Touchless Controls, a simple push on the phone button on the controller unit will initiate your voice actions and you can speak to it.
I found it to work really well in the middle of games and would allow me to concentrate on what I was doing more so than fumbling with the phone and tucking it under the earcup to talk. Don’t look surprised, I know you have done the same thing and it usually ended in a wreck or a death. There is a group of settings to change your out going voice through the Roccat software. You can change to a rubber duck, monster , man or woman. Unfortunately, as you hopefully read in the full review, I had a cat eat the cable. The mic still works, but the headphone aspect is shot. I never did get to test the voice changing function on mobile prior to the demise of the headset. Right now it doesn’t work, but I can’t confirm if it ever did. It did work out well on games and PC apps though.
While the call functionality and voice controls are nice, that is all you can get out of it. Don’t expect to sit down and connect to the Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital and play some Angry Birds on your phone and have full audio blasting to your brain. I wouldn’t want that in 5.1 digital surround sound either. It is a good cross-platform, solution solving, side to the headset that might keep you from sleeping on the couch if you are an avid PC gamer though.
Head over to my full review about the headset for more details and pricing if you are interested.
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The Moto 360 flew off the digital shelves of the Play Store quite quickly. You still could order it through Motorola or pick one up at BestBuy or other locations, but it isn’t the same as getting it from Google. Luckily it would appear that sometime over the weekend, or today, a new batch of stock has arrived and is available for order.
Currently the Black Leather and the Stone Leather are the only two strap color options available. The Gray Leather says it is out of stock. Word has it that the Gray Leather was discontinued and was to be replaced by the Stone Leather. Which is sad, I really liked the gray one. Any-who, she is back in the Play Store if that is and was your preferred ordering method. Price still holds at $249 with either of the color options shipping out in 1 – 2 business days.
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There are two particular accessory items for the HTC Nexus 9 that are of particular interest. The first is the Keyboard Folio. As the name would suggest, this is a folio style case that offers a built-in Bluetooth enabled keyboard for use with your Nexus 9. It will be offered in a Black Leather color and is designed specifically for the tablet. It will offer you two screen angle options, one being more upright like a laptop, and one slightly elevated at an angle for better viewing when you are more elevated above the set up. The Keyboard Folio isn’t available to order just yet, but when it does go up it will set you back $129.
The second, and probably the more interesting of the bunch, is the origami inspired cover. The cover will connected via magnets to your Nexus 9 and offer you peace of mind when it comes to protecting your screen. It is really interesting because the cover is just one piece. You don’t get two, if you want to protect the front and back with one, you will need to buy a set. However, most people are more worried about the screen when sticking their devices in bags and purses. Since the cover is magnetic and removable easily, you can quickly move it from the screen to the rear of the tablet. This is where all the magic happens. When it is placed flat on the rear you have a quick flip to access just the camera lens without having to remove the cover entirely.
The cover takes its design somewhat from origami art and while you might see a flat cover for your tablet, you might also see some of the bendable aspects that give it more than one use.
Again, the Nexus 9 Cover isn’t quite ready for people to throw money at it just yet. When it does go on sale though you will have a few color choices: Mint Indigo, Coral Amethyst, Lime Stone and Black. The more colorful of the options give you one color on each side. They look pretty cool. Feel free to check them out for yourself via the links below.
The Nexus 9 is already shaping up to be a top notch tablet, but with the addition of the keyboard accessory it can be so much more. The keyboard measures 320 x 228 x 5mm, includes a 450 mAh battery and attaches to the tablet magnetically. The keyboard is your standard 5 row type, which includes a dedicated number row and dedicated emoji keys. While the Nexus 9 is not as powerful as a Microsoft Surface Pro, the combination of the tablet and keyboard could be a powerful productivity tool at lower price. Price and availability for the keyboard cover hasn’t been announced yet, but I would imagine that we hear soon, we’ll keep you updated!
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Smartwatches and wearable tech have been on the rise over the lat few years. The early years produced some odd creations. There were a number that took off and stood out, like the Pebble and Martian. Now we have Android Wear, and more prolifically known, the Moto 360. Along with the Apple watch. When Google and Apple get in the mix, that is when heads start to turn and the wearable tech concept starts to make its way to the more average consumers of the world. There is still somewhat of a disconnect, I feel, in the wearable space when it comes to the female side of things. Some of the fitness tracking wearable aren’t too terrible looking for active ladies, but they aren’t the kind of thing you would wear out to dinner. At least, not my wife. However, she is interested in having a smartwatch or wearable that offers her quick glance information, so long as it is small and elegant. That is what the H. TIMES is trying to accomplish with their new wearable, the H. Tang.
Like most wearable tech, the H.Tang uses Bluetooth 4.0 BLE to wirelessly connect to your Android or iOS device to deliver information to your wrist. It also monitors UV, temperature and humidity. The design of the H.Tang is certainly what is a bit more interesting. Its surface incorporates hand-polished sapphire glass and, a limited edition version, is encrusted with Swarovski diamonds. The main body will be offered in gold or silver with a variety of wrist bands.
The company is doing a funding run on Pozible right now. At the time of writing this the H.Tang already has hit $9,551 which cleared their start-up goal of $8,156. . There are still some Earlybird Specials left that put you with H.Tang in silver without the Swarovski stones for $82. If you want the Swarovski stones you can help fund for $98. It goes up from there. They have them listed with an estimated delivery of December 2014. Head over to the H.Tang Pozible page and take a look.
Back in March, we took a look at the MHL 3.0 tech that wrangles 4K video from a micro-USB jack while keeping the device charged. Well, now there’s a handy adapter for linking those compatible gadgets with any TV that packs HDMI ports for viewing sessions. If you’re in need of a refresher, the MHL 3.0 standard sorts 4K video output from a micro-USB port while also keeping said smartphone (like Sony’s Xperia Z3, for example) or slate charged with up to 10W of power. The adapter also takes care of 7.1 Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD 7.1 surround sound to match the visuals. If you happen to be wielding a MHL-compatible device, JCE’s handy accessory is set to arrive before the month’s end with a $30 price tag.
Filed under: Peripherals
MEElectronics M9 Classic In-Ear Headphones Review: The best earphones you can get for $14.99 (or $9.99 right now)
Those of you who regularly visit AndroidSPIN will likely know we’re big fans of MEElectronics products. They epitomize value for money in the audio products market by combining great audio quality with well-made products with plenty of extras. With their latest headphones, the MEElectronics M9 Classic In-Ear Headphones, MEElectronics has outdone even themselves in the value department by offering a great sounding pair of earphones for just $14.99 USD, and even offering it for the introductory price of $9.99. Let’s see exactly what this will get you.
What’s in the box
If you needed any indication of what kind of deal you’re getting with the M9 Classic, you need only look at the packaging – no frills packaging means more quality on the inside, or at least, that’s the idea. Inside, you will find the M9 Classic earphones themselves as well as six additional earbuds in different sizes. The M9 Classic also comes with a double layer earbud as standard and I haven’t changed these since I got the earphones. More on that later.
You might have guessed already from the name of the M9 Classic that they are based on another of MEElectronics’ line of audio products, the M9. We’ve had a look at the M9P (2nd gen) before, and we found it to be one of the best value earphones you can get (read the full review here). The M9 Classic adopts the same 9mm drivers as the M9P as well as a similar motivation to provide great value, but does it with much more cost cutting. We’ve already mentioned the cardboard packaging, but unlike almost every other MEElectronic product we’ve looked at, the M9 Classic won’t be coming with a bag to carry your spares in, though you can probably make use of the ziplock bag you get them in if you needed to.
Overall, the M9 Classic has a predictably simplistic design, with design cues taken from the M9 line. I think it’s quite a sleek design, though the clear, plastic insulation can look a bit dubious in certain light.
How does it perform
As we mentioned before, the M9 Classic has the same audio drivers as the M9 so it’s unsurprising that they sound almost exactly the same. Much like the M9, the bass and mids are clear and even the highs are well formed – it was just as comfortable playing Savage’s Freaks as it was playing Bach’s Concerto No. 1 and there was no hint of distortion no matter how loud I turned them (without making my ears bleed).
One peeve I had with the M9P was that the earbud material was a smooth plastic that would often have trouble staying in my ear – the M9 Classic uses a softer plastic and doesn’t appear to have the same issues. If anything, I found myself enjoying the fit of the M9 Classic almost as much as the Denon Music Maniac earphones I declared as my favourite fitting earphones so far – and it’s not second by much. The M9 Classic is also smaller and presumably lighter than the M9 as well, making it a lightweight package to wear and transport.
What I like about the M9 Classic earphones
It’s hard not to mention the price when it comes to the M9 Classic. With the pedigree of the M9 earphones, even at the full retail price of $14.99, the M9 Classic is a fantastic deal, and the introductory price of $9.99 makes it an absolute steal if you’re looking for something that sounds great, but doesn’t necessarily need to look flashy.
What I don’t like about the M9 Classic earphones
While the M9 Classic doesn’t look flashy, it can look a bit tacky sometimes. The clear plastic over the the inner weaved black insulation can look cool up close but in general the M9 Classic looks a bit cheap, perhaps a bit too literally, for my tastes anyway. I’m not going to comment on the practicality of such a configuration, and at the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder – or the person paying for it.
What else is there to say about the M9 Classic? It’s ridiculously cheap and sounds fantastic, which should tick all the boxes for a solid audio option for yourself or something to stuff stockings with later this year. It might not be the flashiest or best looking earphones around, but its beauty is in the way it gets the job done. And did I mention it’s cheap?
The M9 Classic earphones are normally $14.99 USD, but MEElectronics are currently having an introductory sale that brings the price down to $9.99. To make the most of this deal while it lasts, be sure to visit the MEElectronics M9 Classic In-Ear Headphones product page here.
Gallery of Photos
There are several deals on various Apple products this week, including the iPad Air and several MacBooks. Target, for example, is offering a $100 gift card with the purchase of any iPad Air model, which is perfect for users who are looking for a good deal on an iPad Air and don’t need to wait for an upgraded model with Touch ID.
Best Buy is also offering $50 to $125 off several Apple MacBooks, including multiple 2014 MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro models. This can be combined with Best Buy’s EDU deals, which offer $50 off all MacBooks and $50 off iMacs.
Retina MacBook Pro
There are several other deals on the Retina MacBook Pro, letting prospective customers get $100 to $150 off from select sites. The 2.6Ghz/8GB/128GB 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available for $1,119.99 from Amazon B&H Photo, and Adorama. The 2.6Ghz/8GB/256GB 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available for $1,399 from Adorama, B&H Photo, and MacMall. The 2.8Ghz/8GB/512GB 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available for $1,699.99 from Amazon, Adorama, B&H Photo, and MacMall.
There are also some deals on remaining stock of the 2013 Retina MacBook Pros. The 2.4Ghz/4GB/128GB 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available for $1,099 from Adorama and B&H Photo. The 2.6Ghz/8GB/512GB 13-inch model is available for $1,549 from Adorama and B&H Photo. The 2.0Ghz/8GB/256GB 15-inch model is available for $1,599 from Adorama, and B&H Photo. The 2.0Ghz/16GB/512GB 15-inch model is available for $2,199 from Amazon, and Adorama.
B&H Photo is still offering low prices on some of its remaining 2013 MacBook Air inventory. The 1.3Ghz/4GB/128GB 11-inch MacBook Air is available for $819, while the 1.3Ghz/4GB/256GB 11-inch MacBook Air is available for $889.
B&H and Adorama, as always, are a good choice for buyers who live outside of New York and New Jersey, as the sites only charge sales tax in those states.
Stock configurations of Apple’s Mac Pro desktop computer are available at slightly discounted prices from several retailers this week. The 6-core 3.5Ghz/16GB/256GB machine can be purchased for $3,739.99 from Best Buy, Adorama, and B&H Photo, while the 4-core 3.7Ghz/12GB/256GB machine for $2,839.99 from Best Buy, Adorama, and B&H Photo.
Sabrent’s stylish aluminum 4-port USB Hub for the Mac is available for $17.99, a discount of $7 off the regular price from Groupon. Sony’s Portable Bluetooth Speaker with Lightning Dock is available for $169.99 from Groupon, a 32% discount.
Any customers purchasing products via Groupon this week can get an additional 10% off one purchase with the coupon code GOODS10, which will work through 10/13.
The popular Automatic Smart Driving Assistant can be purchased for $79.99 from Amazon, a discount of $19. Stacksocial is offering the Rain Design iRest iPad Stand for $35.99, down from its regular price of $50.
The myCharge Portable Power Bank 6000 with built-in Lightning and Micro USB is available for $49.99 from Best Buy, down from $99.99.
MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.
HTC has taken to the stage tonight to announce some new goodies for consumers. There was some new software, a new phone and the expected Re Camera. The camera, called Re, is available for pre-order starting right now for $199.99 in two colors options, white or orange.
The Re is a funny little device with a lot of surprises. The previous leaked lifestyle images of Re were spot on. The device is a small cylindrical tube with a curved end that houses a camera lens. It fits in your hand like a set of ‘C’ batteries. The Re spec outline is pretty interesting.
- 16MP 146 degree ultra-wide angle lens (f2.8)
- Takes 1080p video (30fps FHD)
- 32GB internal storage and SD card slot
- Only offers two buttons
- Waterproof IPX7 (waterproof cap enhances to IPX8)
- 820 mAh battery
- BLE, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n with Wi-Fi direct
- Micro USB charging port
The Re only offers up two buttons. One found on the top curve where your thumb naturally goes. This button is pressed to take a photo. If you long press it it then it starts the video. To stop the video simply press it again. There is also a button under the lens. Kind of like a trigger. This will give you quick access to take 1080p slow motion video that is 4x slower than life. Hope that makes sense. You might notice I didn’t mention and power button. There isn’t one. With the use of various sensor, the Re is always on and ready to go when you are. The battery is listed as a 840 mAh and HTC offers up that it should take 1200 photo or a 1 hour 40 minute video before it needs to be charged.
The whole thing loos and sounds pretty cool really. It gets better though. One thing I said that HTC would need to do to make the Re have a better chance of being a success was for them to make it not HTC specific. As in only works with HTC devices. They did. The Re will offer a free companion app that will be available for Android and iOS devices. With the app you can sync your images to your phone or tablet, use the phone or tablet as the view finder (even from a distance) to take photos or start and stop video and you can even set it up to take time lapse photos. ie. Set the Re up facing out a window and program it to take stills at set times for you.
Jason Mackenzie, HTC President for the US, also had some future details to divulge. In coming months there will be an update to the app that will enable real-time live broadcasting from the Re to YouTube. Not to mention they are opening up the API and SDK to third party developers.
The Re camera is available to pre-der through the official www.recamera.com website for $199.99. You have the choice of white or orange right now. Best Buy will be getting the exclusive on the navy blue offering.
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