Smartphones are taking the world by storm. No gadget has captured the minds and imaginations of people like the smart phone. It seems everyone has one these days, and others not just one but several.
A mobile device like a smartphone makes it much easier to communicate and have fun. ((Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net))Smartphones are now like portable mini-computers. They can actually do a job of a PC all the while fitting inside the confines of your pocket.
Apps that Rock your Mobile Device
What makes the mobile device special is that they have a variety of applications with special functions. These apps do a number of things that make life easier, faster and more entertaining. Let’s look at what type of apps people prefer to download:
1. Games and Entertainment
2. Music and Audio
3. Camera and Photo Manipulation
5. Books and References
8. Tools and Puzzles
9. Travel and Local
Internet Radio—a Must-Have App
As you can see, music and audio apps are very popular downloads. And what’s making a huge wave these days is internet radio. This app puts the user at the forefront. Internet radio makes it possible for the user to choose the content he or she wants the way they want it. It veers away from the traditional radio format where the user is merely a passive listener.
And don’t think that internet radio has hit its peak. It’s still very much in the upswing with new features introduced every day. Let’s look at the reasons why internet radio apps are considered must-haves for every mobile device:
Perhaps the greatest lure in internet radio is the promise of free music. Only recently has free music been accepted as the new business model for music distribution. Users were always accustomed to paying for music they downloaded. But with internet radio, they get the songs they like without having to pay for it because they didn’t actually download it. What internet radio does is “stream” or broadcast the song over the internet.
Music When you Want It, However Way you Want it
Another inherent strength associated with internet radio is that the user gets to choose which songs they like and how they like it played. Some users prefer to simply stream music online. While there are those that wish to save the songs for later listening. Internet allows all these while not charging you a single cent.
Smart Recommendations to Suit your Preferences
These apps are smart enough to make music recommendations to you. What it does is it tracks the music you listen to. The app’s algorithm then goes to work, matching your choices with other tracks in similar categories. You’ll be surprised to learn that these apps can get quite accurate with their music suggestions. A good example is Pandora Internet Radio. Check out the Pandora App and experience how precise their recommendations are (http://pandoraapp.org/ ).
Easy Music Search
With internet radio, finding that song you’re looking for becomes a snap with its comprehensive search capability. All you need to do is type in keywords in the search bar and the app will find the song you’re looking for. Even if you can’t remember the name of the song, internet radio apps are capable of finding the song by browsing through categories (either by genre, artist, album, year, etc.).
Discovery of New Artists and Genres
Because it does a good job recommending songs for you, internet radio is an effective method to discover new music. You can get to learn more about new music artists, obscure releases, foreign music and other stuff you would not normally consider without the help of an internet radio making suggestions for you.
Make sure you have an internet radio app in your mobile device. Your smartphone or tablet will not be complete without it. Music is better enjoyed when you have a tool that delivers it to you the way you want it. Best of all, the majority of these sites are free. It’s no wonder internet radio is becoming one of the hottest apps to download right now. Don’t be left behind; download an internet radio app now.
Jimmy R. is a writer who understands and appreciates his music. He loves to write about anything and everything under the sun!
Web browsing is not fun when internet speeds are slow. Surfing in slow speeds brings back memories of the internet dark ages—the days where you used a dial up modem to connect to the internet.(Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net )
God bless you if you don’t remember those days (maybe you’re not old enough).
But for us who survived those years, we don’t want to hearken back to the internet stone age.
For those of you who are old enough to remember those times, let’s jog your memory a bit. Here are some things that were considered the norm back in the 90s that we totally take for granted now:
The sound (or tone) a modem makes when dialing up;
Using Napster to illegally download tunes;
Waiting five minutes for a webpage to load;
Chatting using MIRC software;
Only one person using the internet at one time (no wifi back then);
Being impressed seeing an animated email signature.
It’s a good thing web developers are real smart. They developed high performance web browser that can still perform at their peak even when internet speeds are compromised. We bring a list of these browsers that continue to outperform the competition even when speeds are slow:
FAST WEB BROWSER #5: Mozilla Firefox
The Firefox goes head to head with Google Chrome as the most popular web browser. Firefox has all the requisites of a good browser. The only hitch is that it takes up a lot of virtual memory to run. But it’s still quite fast with average start up speeds and navigation speeds of 6.3 and 5.7 seconds respectively.
FAST WEB BROWSER #4: Microsoft Internet Explorer
The Explorer is one of the oldest web browsers out there. But its age doesn’t hamper its performance. It’s still a very reliable and effective web browser, giving users security and speed. The Internet Explorer records fast times of 4 seconds for its average startup time and 4.5 seconds for its navigation time.
FAST WEB BROWSER #3 Google Chrome
Chrome is a new entry to the market but they are already decimating most of the competition. No other browser boasts speed, security and features like Google Chrome. Google spent millions of dollars and man-hours to develop Chrome into the powerhouse browser it is today. It only takes chrome 4.3 seconds to start loading webpages. And it takes 4.4 seconds for you to navigate.
FAST WEB BROWSER #3: Safari
The great thing about Safari is it’s lightweight while still packing a lot of punch. But don’t let it fool you into thinking that it’s slow. Safari is considered one of the fastest browsers out there. Safari clocks in an amazing 3.7 seconds as its average start up time. Navigation time is not far behind at 3.8 seconds.
FAST WEB BROWSER #1: Opera Mini
Opera Mini became popular because of its ability to load pages real fast even when speeds are slow. They are in our number 1 spot just for this reason alone. What Opera Mini does is it does away with all the extraneous content a website has. It gives users the bare-bones version of a webpage. And sometimes that’s all users need
Its average start up time and navigation time is a decent 4.4 and 4.5 seconds respectively. But what will astound you is that these times are maintained even in slow internet speeds. You don’t have to take our word for it. Download Opera Mini now and check it out for yourself. And here’s more good news: Opera is now available for PC users in Opera Mini for PC (http://operaminiforpc.com/).
Again, you don’t have to suffer slow internet speeds. There are a lot of options to choose from when talking about fast web browsers. These browsers are not only fast but they provide security and a load of features as well.
You’re sure to be delighted with any of these browsers we’ve featured. Now you know which one to use if ever your internet speed suddenly lags. The Opera Mini is a great choice because it’s light on the hard drive and only gives you the basics when loading web pages. It’s a good back up to your current browser.
Jimmy R. is a game and tech blogger who’s been around long enough to know about these web browsers. Jimmy spends hours dissecting each browser he uses.
A few things were missing from NVIDIA’s Tegra Note 7 when it launched a month and a half ago, but the company promised that users would get a timely update that filled in some of the holes. That refresh, which includes Android 4.3 and a handful of other enhancements, is coming out to the $200 Tegra 4-powered tablet today. One of the biggest features that should’ve been offered from the very beginning is Always-on HDR (AOHDR), which does exactly what the feature’s name implies — make sure users can snap a real-time HDR shot without waiting several seconds for the camera to process it. There are a few other nice touches in the changelog, such as left-handed stylus support, improvements in the DirectStylus’ response, notifications and the ability to transfer files to microSD from internal memory. Granted, this isn’t the latest version of Android (4.4), but NVIDIA is planning on bringing it to the Note 7 eventually. In the meantime, at least users can enjoy the current update as it begins rolling out today around the world, regardless of which market you live in.
It’s relatively easy to simulate life in an abstract sense, but it’s tricky to do that cell-by-cell — just ask the OpenWorm Project, which has spent months recreating a nematode in software. However, the team recently cleared an important milestone by getting its virtual worm to wiggle for the first time. The project now has an algorithm that triggers the same muscle contractions you’d see in the real organism, getting the 1,000-cell simulation to “swim” in a convincing fashion. There’s still a long way to go before OpenWorm has a complete lifeform on its hands, mind you. The group has to introduce code for a nervous system, and performance is a problem — it takes 72 hours to emulate one third of a second’s worth of activity. If all goes well, though, you’ll eventually get to play with the worm through a browser. In the meantime, you can check out the digital critter’s motion in a video after the break.
The Korea Herald has reported that LG will soon announce a G-Arch smartwatch and G-Health fitness band to go along with an LG G2 smartphone successor. Its unnamed sources pegged the devices as companions for an alleged LG G3 smartphone and said they’d arrive alongside it at Barcelona in February for MWC 2014. A possible smartwatch was actually leaked by an LG exec earlier this year and the company flaunted a Fuelband-like Smart Activity Tracker at CES 2013, which still hasn’t been released. We reached out to LG, and though it wouldn’t comment on the rumors, it confirmed to us that it does have a “wearable product” in the pipeline. Meanwhile, take any rumors with the necessary salt — and if such smartwatches do exist, hopefully they’ll actually be ready for the market.
Source: Korea Herald
While some of us are still recovering from holiday, the TCL folks in China — whose products are better known under the Alcatel brand in many other countries — have gone ahead and launched a new phone. As the name suggests, the Idol X+ is pretty much an updated version of the already impressive Idol X, with the highlight being it’s the first device to carry the 2GHz bin of the octa-core MT6592 SoC (with 2GB RAM). TCL’s reps told us that this is courtesy of an exclusive deal they arranged with MediaTek. Additionally, you’ll find a familiar 5-inch 1080p IPS display within a slimmer 1.9mm bezel, plus a 13-megapixel f/2.0 camera on the back. Due to the larger 2,500mAh battery, the body is now slightly thicker at 7.9mm, but it’s actually not that much different when we saw a prototype earlier.
For a flagship Android phone that costs just CN¥1,999 or about US$330 unsubsidized, it’s pretty bold of TCL to also include a Bluetooth activity plus sleep tracker. This Boom Band is essentially a little nugget that sits inside a plastic wristband (available in several colors), and it can double as a proximity alarm in case you accidentally leave your phone behind. There’s obviously a companion app that lets you track your stats, and should you wish to, you can also share it with your friends. There’s no word on whether non-China markets will get the same package branded by Alcatel, but if you already reside in China, you can head to JD.com and order one on January 15th.
Via: Engadget China
Source: TCL (Sina Weibo)
LG really, really wants you to have a good chat with your washer/dryer and robotic vacuum cleaner. It just announced you’ll soon be able to use the Line messaging app and a new service called HomeChat to give natural language commands to its 2014 Smart Appliance lineup. If you tell the system “I’m going on vacation,” for instance, it’ll put your refrigerator into power-savings mode and program the robotic vacuum cleaner. The app will also update you as to what’s in the fridge, show a history of your robotic vacuum’s cleaning trips and recommend recipes via the smart oven, to name a few other features. LG also announced NFC tagging and smart diagnoses for its upcoming smart appliance lineup, a scheme that’ll help you avoid unnecessary repair visits, download new washing machine cycles and more. All of this will arrive in the flesh at CES 2014, but if you’re interested, maybe avoid seeing Maximum Overdrive in the meantime.
Video games are designed to entertain and can be very addictive. Fortunately, nowadays, you no longer have to get a console just to pay your favorite video games. You also no longer have to go to arcades to enjoy video games. Your favorite titles can now be played wherever you are through your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile devices. (Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Video gaming on the mobile platform offers a lot of advantages. There are many reasons why you can now unapologetically ditch gaming consoles or gaming PCs for video gaming on mobile devices. The following can be considered the top reasons why you may no longer miss playing video games with your consoles:
1. Gaming on the Go
With a smartphone or a tablet computer, you can play everywhere and anytime you feel like playing. There are even waterproof devices so you can enjoy your favorite games while on a bath or pool. You can play as you take a break from work. Do some Bejewelled or Coin Dozers as you take a long trip. Playing is no longer limited to one place where your console or gaming computer is located.
Mobile devices have vastly improved over the years. Their display resolutions have reached astounding levels. Now, discernable pixels are a history. You can enjoy games even In full HD right in your hands. The processors have also reached performance levels comparable to those of decent computers. Sophisticated games with impressive graphics, physics, and gameplay can now be played with a smartphone or tablet computer as they boost processor speeds of up to 2.3GHz and RAM of 3MB.
2. Free and Cheaper Games
Another advantage of mobile gaming is the availability of many free and cheap games. The most popular games are nowhere near the astronomical prices of console games. Of course, you can’t expect them to be as impressive in terms of graphics and action but they are most certainly not that inferior. Considering their prices, they provide excellent value for money spent.
Many flagship devices can already flawlessly run the equivalent of Minecraft PC and other popular console games. In fact, a good number of console and PC games have already been adopted for the mobile gaming platform. Not all of the ported or adopted versions of these games retain every feature of their console or PC counterpart but they still provide comparable gaming fun.
3. All-in-One Device
So why do you have to buy a separate device when you can do your video gaming with your smartphone or tablet computer? Mobile devices are no longer as limited as they used to be. With software and hardware advancements, they make it possible to enjoy video games without having to worry about performance issues. Your phone, web browsing device, clock, TV, radio, music player, netbook (just add a Bluetooth or USB OTG keyboard), and gaming console can be just one device.
If you are worried about the controls or if you are having difficulty adapting to the miniaturized interface, you can buy gaming accessories like the MOGA game controller or the 60beat wired controller. If you have been accustomed to the PlayStation controllers, you can attach your PS controllers directly to Xperia devices and other compatible smartphones or tablets and play with full gaming controls.
4. More Game Choices
Aside from free and cheaper games, another reason why mobile gaming is attractive is the extensive range of options available. Now, gaming with mobile phones is arguably more popular than playing with consoles or even with PCs. As such, many game developers have become interested to develop games for the mobile platform.
5. More Relatable Games, More Relatable Platform
It is also worth pointing out that the games on mobile devices tend to be more relatable. This is because of the fact that more people own smartphones and tablet computers than those who own gaming consoles or gaming PCs. Social media games can also be played on mobile devices. More people playing the same games mean common points of gaming discussions. The dilemma of conversing with gaming geeks or nerds may have disappeared as more people can now relate to conversations about gaming.
Try mobile gaming and experience all the advantages it can offer. It may not completely satisfy hardcore gamers who prefer PCs or consoles but it is something that surely appeals to a lot of players, especially those who enjoy casual games who value portability.
Jimmy R. believes that mobile gaming is the future. He loves exploring and writing about anything and everything under the sun.
Spotify is one of the most popular online music streaming services at present. It offers digital rights management -restricted music from major record labels. You can legally listen to many of the most popular music through the service. It is also multi-platform so you don’t only get to access it through a web browser. You can also use it on your mobile device or through your smart TV. It is a great music service but not without drawbacks. (Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Run as a privately held company, Spotify provides users a six-month free trial period. This trial period allows users to access standard features like browsing for music through artist name, song name, album, genre, record label, or playlist. It’s not really bad but you may want to consider the following disadvantages before deciding to make Spotify your online radio of choice.
1. The ads are annoying.
Spotify employs visual and radio-style advertising. Bear in mind that these ads are already present during the six-month trial period that is purported to be a free offering. These ads can ruin the mood as you listen to your favorite music. Of course, you can get rid of these ads by paying but how are you supposed to be enticed to pay when you are already bothered by the ads during the trial period?
2. It isn’t an unlimited free service.
There are many free options for online music so why would you still want to spend money just to listen to songs you can’t own. You can tune in to the web streaming of various radio stations, for example, or go to services like Jango Radio for free online music. Among commercial online music streaming services, Spotify does not even have the most attractive subscription packages.
Compared to Pandora, for instance, Spotify’s mobile ad-free service is thrice more expensive at $9.99 per month. There is an option to use Spotify for free (with ads) but it becomes limited to 10 hours per month or 2.5 hours per week after the six-month free trial period.
3. They are accused of not properly compensating artists.
If you can spend money for Spotify, it’s probably better spending your money buying your favorite songs to support your favorite artists. Spotify has been accused of not properly compensating the artists whose music are being played on Spotify. A report by Helienne Lindvall on The Guardian mentions a number of criticisms on the artist payment scheme of Spotify. If you really have the money to spare, better spend it buying the records of the artists you like.
According to some sources, an artist has to be streamed more than 4 million times every month just to be paid around $1,160 in a month, a minimum wage rate. Many are blaming Spotify’s less-than-desirable business model for this.
4. Subscriptions are limited to those who have PayPal accounts or credit or debit cards.
So what if you finally decided to spend your money for Spotify but you are still a student and you don’t have a credit card? You could get yourself a PayPal account but you couldn’t lift the limitations off because you don’t have a credit card. This is a major hurdle in using Spotify. Many young music lovers could be interested in what it has to offer but couldn’t be qualified to pay for the subscription.
5. There’s a feature that allows users to search for specific songs but you may get disappointed not finding the song you are looking for.
This could be because the artist opted not to be available on the search function or because of label restrictions in certain regions. Some are also complaining that the songs are available in Spotify but they still need to use the “Advanced Search” function to find them.
The bottom line here is that there are better online radio or music streaming services you can find. Spotify may be good but it is certainly not the best or among the better ones. You can try the free trial period and decide for yourself, though.
Jimmy R is a music enthusiast who also happens to be an avid Internet user. He’s a HUGE fan of Jango Radio and loves to write about anything and everything under the sun.
NASA likes to pack light for extraterrestrial visits, so it has been developing a tensegrity rover — a rod-based robot that uses cable tension to absorb blows and roll around, rather than a bulky chassis. Thanks to the agency’s demo for IEEE Spectrum, we now know what a prototype of the explorer, Super Ball Bot, looks like in action. While it’s not very graceful with only some of its motors working, the vehicle has little trouble getting across a room by squishing itself. The clever design should come in handy for a potential mission to Saturn’s moon Titan. Since the robot collapses into a smaller shape, NASA could pack multiple units into one spacecraft and study more of the moon’s surface. It also wouldn’t require the usual airbags or parachutes to land; a Super Ball Bot could fall from more than 62 miles above Titan without taking damage. Any interplanetary expedition is still years away, but it’s already evident that future rovers could bear little in common with their modern-day equivalents.
Filed under: Robots
Source: IEEE Spectrum