Tag Archive: Smartphones


Sony took to the stage at IFA 2011 to unveil its latest handset, the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S. It appears to be a refresh of the original that was launched earlier this year. The super-slim device just got a few bumps in features, including a 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor and an 8.1 megapixel camera with an Exmor R sensor that includes a “3D sweep panorama” mode, which offers the ability to take 2D (read: not stereoscopic) images and convert them into 3D. The new device will offer a similar 4.2-inch Reality Display that we’ve seen in the original Arc, and will be available in five colors globally this October.

Late this past spring, we heard about the first microSD card that would hit the 64GB mark, setting new limits for how much data you could store on your smartphone. While the cards were announced months ago, they’re just now becoming commercially-available products, and SanDisk is the first to bring one to market.

We had guessed back in May that one of these 64GB cards might fetch somewhere in the $200-300 range, and that’s pretty spot-on; SanDisk’s 64GB card goes for about $220. Obviously, you’re paying a premium for getting all that data crammed into one tiny package. An 8GB microSD card with the same speed rating (class 6) can be had for $11, which comes out to about $1.38 per gigabyte. For this 64GB card, you’re paying $3.44 per gigabyte, or two and a half times as much.

Then there’s the problem of compatibility to deal with. The new 64GB card is a microSDXC device, not just the SDHC we’re familiar with. SDHC tops-out at 32GB, and smartphones will need to be able to communicate with SDXC cards in order to take advantage of their increased storage space. We’ll absolutely start seeing SDXC support in future phones, both as the prices of the cards drop, and user storage needs grow. For the moment, at least, you’ll have to be content at 32GB.

iPhone Battery

I worked on the Genius Bar for almost two years, and the most difficult issue to solve was short battery life. It was extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why someone’s battery was draining. I made it my mission to discover the specific reasons for iOS battery drainage. This article is a product of my years of research and anecdotal evidence I gathered in the hundreds of Genius Bar appointments I took during my time as a Genius and iOS technician, as well as testing on my personal devices and the devices of my friends. iOS 7.1 came out recently and brought with it a bevy of design tweaks and performance enhancements. However, some users are reporting poor battery life since the update, and many blogs are reporting it as fact. This is not one of those “Turn off every useful feature of iOS” posts that grinds my gears.

Read the full story at Overthought.

Android

I don’t know how many people found an Android smartphone among their holiday gifts although I suspect it was more than a few. There’s no lack of good options available from Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola and others. No matter what Android phone you might have unwrapped, however, there are a few easy things you can do to make the experience a great one. Find a keyboard that works the way you do. I actually like the stock Google keyboard that comes with Android, but everyone is different. Luckily, Android lets you install and use the keyboard – or keyboards, for that matter – you prefer. A quick search in the Google Play store will get you started but most people can’t go wrong with SwiftKey. This app uses smart word prediction combined with a way to intelligently learn your personal typing styles by analyzing messages from Facebook, Twitter (twtr), Gmail and more.

Read the full story at Giga OM.

Hurry up WP7

Nokia has just posted its Q3 sales results and things aren’t looking too great for the company. The bottom line is that Nokia has managed a $94 million net loss in its third quarter with a worrying 39 per cent drop in smartphone sales.

CEO Stephen Elop has responded to the worrying financial results stating:

“I am encouraged by our progress around the first Nokia experience with Windows Phone, and we look forward to bringing the experience to consumers in select countries later this quarter. We then intend to systematically increase the number of countries and launch partners during the course of 2012.”

Looks like all eyes within Nokia are now on Windows Phone to turn the company’s fate around.

“To position Nokia for the future, we are driving fundamental changes in how we operate. In addition to the changes announced in April, in Q3 we announced plans for structural changes in manufacturing, Location & Commerce and supporting functions. The planned changes we have initiated are difficult but necessary in order to align the company to our strategy.” said Elop.

Nokia was most likely aware that these results were going to be bad. The company has been in a serious period of transition of late, moving towards Microsoft in the hope that Windows Phone 7 can re-affirm its position in the smartphone market.

As Elop states, this takes time and does require some painful financial results on route. Ultimately Windows Phone 7 has got to be Nokia’s last shot. A 39 per cent drop in sales is huge and despite Nokia’s position in the dumbphone and affordable handset market, more and more people are now adopting things like Android as the go-to for phones, expensive or not.

Fingers crossed for next week’s Nokia Windows Phone 7 launch, it’s going to have to be a good one.

Best iPhone Games of 2013

I love year-end lists! It’s my favorite thing about turning over the calendar. Here are my picks for the best iOS games on iPhone and iPad of 2013.

Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Ridiculous Fishing is my vote for Best iOS Game of the Year. A ridiculously (no pun intended?) simple concept had me hooked (again with the puns!) for hours. The game asks you to cast your line and avoid fish as long as you can on your way down. Once you hit the bottom – or once you hit a fish – you start to reel your line in and try to snag as many fish as you can on your way back up. When you make it to the surface, blast those fish out of the sky with shotguns and rocket launchers! If you’ve ever played a mobile game that’s had you saying, “Just one more run. I promise,” Ridiculous Fishing is for you. It’ll have you casting your reel just one… more… time… in the goal of getting that top-tier weapon to blast more fish to smithereens.

Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time (free for both the iPhone and iPad version)

In just about any other year, the amount of time I put into Plants vs. Zombies 2 would have far surpassed any other game; that should tell you how much I love this game. The first Plants vs. Zombies game is one of my favorite computer games of all time. This mobile-only sequel works perfectly on the iPad, and makes me forget about playing with a mouse altogether. The game has you defend your house from increasingly tougher hordes of zombies by using plants to ward them off. With dozens of plants and even more zombies, there’s no end to the variety you’ll encounter. Since it’s free, there’s no reason for you not to check this game out. Plus, PopCap is doing its part to help keep this game around – every couple days, I get push notifications to return to my game for new levels, new challenges or new seasonal upgrades.

Knightmare Tower ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Knightmare Tower is like Fruit Ninja, except the fruit fight back. And instead of fruit, it’s monsters. You’re tasked to rescue a dozen princesses from an evil overlord, and progressing through the levels earns you coins to unlock new stronger weapons, bigger bonuses and better potions. And once you beat the main game, you unlock a Survival Mode where you can keep playing forever… if you’re good enough to survive. The great art style, addictive gameplay and easy-to-understand controls will hook you instantly and keep you coming back for more. I loved this game.

Hundreds ($4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

What year-end best list would be complete without my first favorite mobile game of the year? This game came out waaaaaaay back in January and occupied most of the time on my flight to and from CES. If you’re looking to show off your iPad’s multi-touch abilities, check this out. This is game is deceptively difficult; you’re asked to make circles grow until their combined total hits 100. The first level is one circle with nothing around it. Hold down your finger and beat the level. Sounds easy, right? Not when you have spikes popping your circles, or when the circles are dancing all around. This made my five-hour flight to CES much more tolerable, and it can do the same for you.

Rayman Fiesta Run ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Rayman’s returned in a big way the past few years. The franchise has seen two awesome platformers make their way to home consoles, and two on-rails platformers – that might be even better! – make their way to mobile. Fiesta Run is the sequel to Jungle Run, which launched a few years back. It’s very approachable for anyone who picks up an iPad, but can really ramp up the difficulty if you want a challenge. Collecting all the lums throughout the levels will require timing, skill and a whole ton of patience. Plus, the game is gorgeous to look at, so even if you’re frustrated, you can sit back and enjoy the art!

Best (of the Rest) iPhone Games of 2013

BEST OF THE REST: Games I Haven’t Tried Yet

My video game backlog is obscene. I buy far more games every year than I could ever get through. There are a handful of games on the iPad that I think I’ll totally love – I just haven’t played them enough (or at all) to recommend them. If you’re looking for some more games to check out, here are a few I’m looking forward to playing.

  • Badland ($3.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • Cut the Rope 2 ($0.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • DEVICE 6 ($3.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • Pathogen ($0.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • The Room Two ($4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
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