Tag Archives: android

The little smart watch that could: A pebble love story

If you’ve ever wondered what the geekiest gadget is to own you may get a few different responses. Maybe its a drone, maybe its a ringtone that is an anime intro song, but for a lot of tech nerds it was the Pebble watch.

Why do gadget heads love it so much? Well, Back in 2012 Pebble did a kickstarter campaign to fund the would-be watch company. It ended up being the most funded kickstarter ever. And geeks love a good kickstarter story. It’s the nerd version of David vs. Goliath.

But we also loved the technology behind it. Pebble watches were always water resistant. The battery life was about a week. The display is a e-paper display, and tech savvy people love discussing how much they love e-paper displays. Looking at the first generation apple watch, pebble had more battery life (7x more, actually), it had swimming support, and it did it all years before anyone else did.

By far, pebble watches have the most battery life compared to other popular watches

Pebble’s starting price is half of the next best watch AND has more battery life and swimming support.

Pebble and the Apple Watch 2 are the only watches on this list with swimming support. Remember that this is the basic pebble time watch. The pebble time 2 + heart rate has even more athletic support

Pebble was the under dog that never stopped impressing.

It’s app store had 1000 applications. That’s a ton for the little smart watch that could. You could attach the time piece to your bike and it would track your speed. The pebble watch 2 with heart rate could track your sleep schedule and calories (full disclosure, I bought one of these yesterday and am currently waiting for it to come via snail mail). It vibrates when you get a text or email; and unlike the latest and greatest Fitbit Charge 2, you can respond to text messages from the watch! All while maintaining incredible battery life.

Back in 2016, pebble was bought out by fitbit. A worthy adversary. And for a company that was primarily funded via kickstarter, it was an entrepreneurs’ dream. This means that pebble is selling off all of their inventory, so get yourself a pebble watch before they go away forever. Then you too can have the geekiest gadget around.

Good bye Pebble. You were dearly loved.

Finally Making the Switch: Android to iPhone

By now, as you’re reading this, I have made a life altering decision.

A decision not about school, work, stupid purchases, etc., but for the single thing I use everyday when I stumble out of bed in the morning and crash into the same bed at night. That’s right; I switched my brand of cellphone. Yes, I caved into an Apple technology dominated landscape and now own an iPhone.

I should premise this by saying that I am not anti-Apple or anti-Android. Not only have I owned at least 4 other Android phones before I got myself an iPhone (ranging from Samsung to LG to HTC), I also have a PC, Macbook Pro, iPad… you get the picture. So its safe to say I have been a mixed-technology kind of guy my whole life, I just (used to) prefer my phones be Android, sort of like how people prefer their eggs scrambled, shirts tucked in, black cars, how ever you compare it.

On to the good stuff…

The iPhone 6S Plus (source: three.co.uk)

This sexy piece of technology now sits snug in the pocket of my jeans or the pouch in my jacket every day, and follows me wherever I travel to. Being an owner of this device for the past two months, having never personally owned an iPhone, this device has completely blown my expectations out of the water. On the outside, a sleek design is highlighted by its large display, curvaceous edges, brushed aluminum that’s cold to the touch, and yes, that seemingly annoying camera bump.

I count on this thing to do EVERYTHING for me. My whole day is logged in to it. From schedules to work out plans to messages to health logging, this phone does it all for me. [Unpopular opinion trigger warning]: The iPhone is the better device. Over any Android phone, give me the S7, Note 7 (RIP), LG V20, G5, anything you name and I will surely be impressed with the function of my iPhone over them all.

Apple has done something right. For the past ten years, Apple has shown why they are the top dog in the smartphone department. People keep coming back to buy their newer iPhones and continue to be impressed. And this isn’t an opinion guys; this is fact.

U.S. Smartphone brand marketshare for 2015 (source: statisa)

U.S. Smartphone brand market share for 2015 (source: statisa)

According to statisa, the iPhone dominates the current smartphone market littered with many different brands, devices, and companies. Why has Apple, a company with one line of smartphone that comes out continue to have this much of a share over companies cranking out multiple smartphone lines every year? The answer is simple: Apple has perfected the smartphone.

The design, the operating system, the hardware inside, the features of the phone, you name it. All of these aspects continue to make the iPhone great (making iPhones great again). Yes, some Android devices may have stronger components, bigger storages, better cameras etc., but its the perfect blend of all the pieces together that makes the iPhone tower over the weaker competition. All of this, and I leave out the most important thing: functionality.

Functionality in an iPhone is much better than any Android phone I’ve ever used and owned. The iPhone is simply a smoother operating experience in its transitions, animations, multitasking, battery life. Its like upgrading to a brand new Audi, what a smooth ride, every time you hop in the driver’s seat and take it for a spin. After weeks of ownership, you can start to see a weakening in operation and delays in use on an Android phone. A couple months in, my iPhone shows now signs of slowing down.

Let’s face it folks, the iPhone is the best device you could buy. Sure, I’ll miss my expandable storage of my G4 (which is getting phased out of Android phones too), but for the best experience of a phone your money can buy, I’ll take it.

Working towards Perfect Information in the Digital Age

Voting with your dollar has been an idea since the earliest days of economic theory. It goes like this: In the absence of government intervention, ethical standards will be upheld by consumers, who will — being moral people — refuse to buy from companies that violate what they see as important rules and standards of ethical conduct.

As great as this idea sounds, for most of human history, it’s been a bit of a fantasy. After all, who but the most devoted of humanitarians with the most leisure time would take the time to research and evaluate every one of the companies they patronize? Like everyone interested in technology, you’re probably looking at this problem and wondering… Isn’t there an app for that? The answer is YES (http://www.buycott.com/): there IS an app for that. Multiple, in fact, but Buycott is my favorite. They crowd-source everything, and create a collaborative knowledge database on companies both in America and abroad, noting everything from corporate family trees to campaign donations.

Here’s how it works: You create an account, and the app immediately prompts you to choose from a number of causes that you feel strongly about. Be that GMO labeling or Female empowerment in developing countries, or even acceptance of Bitcoin, you can probably find a campaign that suits your interests. The idea is that you select support for multiple campaigns, then use the in-app barcode scanner to check items you plan to buy, and see how the companies you support stack up to your dearly held beliefs. If they don’t (which is a probability if you’re like me and buy a lot of cheap products from large, monolithic corporations), the campaign suggests an ideology-safe alternative.

Can’t find a cause you’re looking for? Make your own! All campaigns are user-generated and user-maintained, and on the off-chance you scan a product Buycott hasn’t yet heard of, it prompts you through a simple module to enter it into their database for the benefit of other users.

Never before has voting with your dollar and living according to your beliefs been so easy. Through technology, Buycott has created a community of consumers, dedicated to giving the buyer more bargaining power to engage in activism without giving up quality of life. As technology advances and people become more open to the idea of sharing their thoughts and activities with the world, we can move closer and closer towards a perfect market, in which all parties to an exchange know of alternatives, of each party’s activities, and of the moral character of those with whom we trade, and make redundant the clunky regulation of government intervention.

 

PS: There’s also a Chrome Extension

New Dual-Boot Android/Windows Phone

Ever wanted to have an Android phone but still be able to play Xbox Live games on mobile? Soon you’ll be able to!

An upcoming handheld developed by a Chinese company called Elephone will be able to do just that! The new phone rumored to be arriving in June will reportedly be able to dual-boot Android 5.0 and Windows 10 giving you the best of both worlds.

 

 

Although Windows phones are not nearly as common as Android devices and iPhones, they are still packed with plenty of useful features.

  • Full Microsoft Office Suite. Word, Excel and Powerpoint are included on all Windows 10 phones. The Suite will work the same on your phone as it does on your desktop with minimal compromises. Outlook and Calendar are also being revamped for 10.
  • Xbox Live gaming on your phone. Currently with the Xbox Live app you can tweak your avatar, check achievements and Gamerscore and message your friends. Using the SmartGlass app from the Windows Phone store you can navigate your Xbox dashboard, start and pause movies, and view information about your games and videos. In Windows 10 Microsoft is planning to be able to allow users to play Xbox Live games on their phones. Although the list is short Microsoft is working to integrate mobile and Xbox multiplayer capabilities.

  • More Space! When you sign up for a Microsoft Account you get 7 GB of free space on their OneDrive cloud-based storage. You can automatically sync your photos and videos to your account.  You’ll be able to able to access all your content through your Xbox on the big screen.
  • Messaging. With inline messaging you’ll be able to send text messages and Skype messages through one app. You can also resize and drag the keyboard around for more one-handed usability.
  • Cortana. Windows’ version of Siri can assist at making phone calls, texting, making calendar events and setting reminders, control alarms and music, set up directions and help you find places to go. You can ask Cortana about certain facts, ask her to check sports scores, suggest weight loss workouts, and find out how the Dow Jones did today.

With the dual-OS option you’ll be able to access all those great features and at the same time run Android Lollipop which has a whole slew of unique features itself:

  • Access to the Google Play Store which contains the most mobile apps ( over 1.3 million) compared to the iOS app store, Amazon Appstore and Windows Phone store. You can also download movies, books, and music.
  • Full integration of Google Services. Out of the box Android phones come equipped with apps like Gmail, Maps, Play Music, Hangouts, YouTube and Google Drive. It’s handy having everything in one Google folder on the home screen.
  • Google Now. Although originally a Google Search application, Now can do everything Cortana and Siri can do. Google has announced that they will also begin supporting third party applications such as Pandora, Duolingo and Lyft, among others.
  • Open Source. It’s easier to design and program applications for Androids as they are written using the Java coding language. There is a lot of documentation out there and free programs where one can learn to develop mobile applications.

Elephone is planning on releasing two phones, one just with Android and the second with the dual boot capabilities. Both versions will have large 5.5-inch 2K displays (1440 x 2560), 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of built in storage. There will also be a a battery reported to exceed 3800 mAh  For reference, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2800 mAh battery and advertised for 21 hours of talk time.

There are slight differences in the 2 handhelds as the Android version of the phone will contain a 64-bit octa-core processor while the dual-OS phone will only contain a quad-core chip. Also, the Android-only handset will come with a 21MP camera while the dual version will only be 20.7MP. Both are expected to also come with fingerprint scanners.

If you, like myself, have been used to the Android interface but want to see what’s different or special about the mobile Windows OS you’ll be able to get both without sacrificing anything. Elephone is already popular outside of the United States for making affordable Androids so it’ll be interesting to see if they make any impact in the US market.

Reddit on the Go

Reddit is a popular online website that allows sharing of user created content as well as other material found online via articles, pictures, text based stories or comments, and videos. If you use it, you might want to access Reddit from your mobile device, as Reddit isn’t optimized for mobile browsers.

There are a lot of Reddit browsing apps available for mobile devices, and most of them are fantastic. But how do you choose which one to use? The easiest way to figure out which app works best for you is to try them, and here are a few free suggestions that might be worth checking out.

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Android Apps: Comic Book Readers

dcheroesWith the new superhero craze that’s sweeping across the nation, comic books are becoming ever more popular. You can buy comics, download them on your computer, and even get them on your phone or tablet. There’s a huge variety of file types you can end up with – .cbr, .cbz. .cb7, .cbt, .cba, and so on. But, with great variety comes great responsibility. If you want to read these comics on your phone (or tablet), you’ll need an app that can do it all. Continue reading