Posted by Alan Buckingham at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2013
We have all been there — you are out and about and suddenly find that the battery in your smartphone has died. There are, of course, portable solutions for this. I spend a good deal of time hiking and camping in remote locations and have used a solar charger in the past to solve this problem, but it is a slow process.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, MyCharge unveiled a whole new line of portable charging solutions. Depending on your choice from the new lineup, you can potentially charge up to three devices at one time. There are a variety of choices and also a variety of colors and designs to suit everyone’s tastes.
The new line, which will include the Lightning connector for Apple, is expected to launch in the April-May timeframe. Depending on the charger you decide on, the price can range from $39 to $129.
Modern smartphones are expensive, relatively fragile and battery-hungry. Consequently, they’re pretty much useless in any tough emergency situation. Todd talks to Christian Scheder of SpareOne about their solution to the problem.
The SpareOne emergency phone is a mobile phone that runs off a standard AA battery rather than a rechargeable one more usually found in a mobile phone. While this gives 10 hours of use from a single battery, the benefit in an emergency is that the battery can simply be swapped for another. Further, Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries have a storage life of 15 years so this phone can be stored with batteries for up to 15 years, ready to go. The SpareOne is supplied in a waterproof bag that further protects the phone during storage and any wet emergencies.
The phone takes standard GSM SIMs for ordinary calls but the SpareOne can also call the emergency services even without a SIM card. If you are interested, the SpareOne is available now for $99 from the website.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 9:28 AM on January 3, 2013
Rovio made an announcement today regarding the company’s holiday season success. We knew that the 2012 holiday shopping season was going to be a big one for mobile devices — smartphones and tablets were the IT thing to have under your tree on December 25th and Rovio perhaps has lended some credence to that perception.
The Finnish game maker started off by tooting its own horn, as companies tend to do — and should do. In this case though, we do know a bit of the history of how well Rovio’s games did this year, with both Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars quickly rising up the download charts for both Android and iOS.
“Wow, what a year! We released four critically-acclaimed bestselling mobile games, developed two top-rated Facebook games, and reached more than a billion downloads – all before our 3rd “Birdday”! Angry Birds Star Wars and Bad Piggies in particular have dominated the app charts, with Angry Birds Star Wars holding the #1 position on the US iPhone chart ever since its release!”
The company went on to lay out its numbers.
“To top it all off, we had 30 million downloads during Christmas week (December 22-29) and, on Christmas Day, over 8 million downloads in 24 hours alone!”
Those are certainly eye-popping figures and definitely point to the number of new devices. According to a different post from ad network Chitika, those devices may have been topped by Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Of course, Google had a lot of problems keeping its Nexus 7 in stock, which may have helped Amazon out. Chitika reports a drop for the iPad, but an ad network is only one small sub-set of the picture.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2012
Just a few days ago Google released a small set of holiday wallpapers, but now the holidays are almost past and the dark, cold days of winter stretch out ahead of those of us in the northern hemisphere — exception for Todd and his Hawaiian paradise. Now it is time to switch to a new winter wallpaper.
Thankfully, the folks over at Android Foundry have stepped up to the plate and pushed out a nice one. The image depicts two of the little green “men” playing in the snow, along with a snowman and pine trees as a background.
The image is free and comes in multiple sizes to fit pretty much every device.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 3:35 PM on December 23, 2012
On the eve of Christmas Eve Google has pushed out its official holiday themes for Android devices — not a moment too soon. The mobile operating system will likely be a gift found under many trees this December 25th, but for those already using the number one selling devices then you can get in the spirit of the season now.
Four wallpapers were included in the release — all animated and all including the iconic green robot that we have all become so familiar with. An abominable snowman playing guitar, a polar bear using a tablet, and break-dancing penguins.
These images were announced yesterday by way of the Android Google Plus page. “We made some ‘Happy Holiday Cards’ to share with you this holiday season! Pass them along to friends and family by sharing this post and be sure to download the full high-resolution files…they make great wallpapers for your phone, tablet or desktop. Enjoy!”
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:37 AM on December 11, 2012
Rovio is celebrating the third birthday, or ‘Birdday’, of it’s ground-breaking Angry Birds game today. As part of the celebration the company released an update, bringing the app to version 3.0, and adding thirty new levels of pig-bashing fun. The game from the Finland-based company is certainly not showing it’s age, as it continues to hover near the top of mobile download charts.
There is a lot more to this update that just the new levels of play. Rovio also added the pink bird, which was introduced in the Angry Birds Seasons “Back to School” update, as well as full support for iPhone 5 handsets. The thirty new levels include 15 “Birdday Party” and 15 “Bad Piggies” themed levels.
Angry Birds was of course the first game in the now famous franchise, which has gone on to include Seasons, Rio, Space and, most recently, Star Wars.
Over the past 3-4 weeks I have been carrying a LG Optimus G and using it in my day to day cell phone use. Up to this point I have not had a lot of exposure to Android based mobile phones. I have a couple of tablets and was always underwhelmed by their performance.
First of all let me say that the thing that blew me away from with this phone was the 4.7 inch screen. The screen on this phone is simply incredible. I compared it with a iPhone 4s and it blew that phone out of the water from a screen quality perspective. Putting it head to head with the new iPhone 5 & Samsung Galaxy S III, I give the Optimus G the edge over the Samsung phone but call it dead even with the iPhone 5.
The second thing that was incredible is the performance, this phone is an animal it simply never slows down. The quad core performance is stellar and simply smoke checks an iPhone 5 hands down. I loaded multiple apps including gaming apps and switching between them was near instantaneous.
The third thing that I want to talk about in this initial review is the camera. The forwarding facing camera is a incredible @ 13 mega pixel. Their is a slight bump on the back of the phone to accommodate the camera. The pictures are simply stellar and the video quality is equally good.
The LG Optimus G has a 4.7 inch screen that has a very small outside edge buffer which ads to the wow factor. Even at this size it fits in my pocket cleanly and is not noticeable. One thing that I have been doing is handing it to every Android phone user that I run into. This phone from a quality standard should have no issue comparing with Samsung offerings.
Note: The specific model I have been using is the Sprint version of the phone the LS970 Model. Subscribe to my show where I share more intimate details about this mobile phone.
Disclaimer: I have been provided this phone to review, all reviews at Geek News Central are carried out with actual utilization of the device or product in the real world.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 9:41 AM on December 5, 2012
I don’t know if I should be happy or angry with YouMail today. Every company needs to make money or otherwise it has a way of ceasing to exist. YouMail has a great free version of it’s service and I have been a happy customer for quite some time now. Today, however, a message in my inbox announced some changes, none of which I found to be beneficial to me or the other free users out there.
I am happy to know that the company is moving forward and working to be profitable because I don’t want them to go away. I also respect the fact that YouMail flat out sent me an email to explain the changes the company is making. On the other hand I am losing features and gaining ads, which is never a good combination.
The feature being lost is SMS. When a call is missed or a voice mail is received then YouMail sends both a text message and an email. Now, users will have to rely on just the email — or the web site or the app. You will also be seeing more ads as well.
Of course, all of this can be avoided by upgrading to a Pro account, which will set you back $2.99 per month. That’s not a bad price and it does include a bit more than just SMS and a lack of ads.
As for me? I will live with losing SMS and seeing a few more ads.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:29 AM on November 17, 2012
Google is at it again. The company has begun rolling out version 3.10.9 of their Play store for Android. This updates comes closely on the heels of recent updates to versions 3.9.16 and 3.9.17. Version 3.9.16 brought a number of new features, while the following update seemed to be more of a bug fix.
The new 3.10.9 has also brought along a number of new features including a new screen that pops up after you start installing a new app. This screen is different than the one we become accustomed to seeing during an app installation as it now displays a “Users Also Installed” list that makes for easier discovery. There is also a “Keep shopping” button that pops up at the end.
The update also a “Remove” icon that has been added to the Wishlist feature that was added back in 3.9.16. Finally there is now a “Translate” button next to any app that includes a description that is not in your native language.
The update is rolling out gradually, but if you can’t wait then you can grab the .APK file now.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 6:09 AM on November 1, 2012
Rovio began talking about their latest Angry Birds game several weeks ago. Since then they have slowly teased the game out, first with a video that provided little clue of what was in store, then with one that finally displayed some game play and featured Luke and Leia. Today the Finnish game studio has pushed out their latest offering and this one shows off more game play, but features C-3PO and R2-D2 birds.
We are exactly one week from launch and we can probably expect a few more trailers to pop up during those coming days. The game, to probably nobody’s surprise, will greatly resemble Angry Birds Space, but only have themed birds and planets. The game will initially launch on iOS and Android, but a version will be coming shortly for Windows Phone and also Windows 8.
The Star Wars franchise is certainly in need of a boost these days, especially when a site like Tech Crunch labels it as “falling apart”. Perhaps it’s recent purchase by Disney and the Angry Birds juggernaut will be able to save it.