Last week Apple announced its highly-anticipated iOS 7 update would come with a flurry of "new" features. From the look of things, however, we've seen a lot of these supposedly fresh designs in Android, WebOS, and Windows before.
What's new in Jelly Bean 4.2, best Android apps, and Android battery saving tips
With the recent release of Android version 4.2 (codename: Jelly Bean) and a handful of new Nexus devices (See: Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10), we figured it was time we updated our Android Guide. This time around, we’ve got some useful tips for getting the most out of the newly added features in the latest Jelly Bean update, a few general tricks for all of the Android users out there, and a list of great apps that are worth checking out.
It's incredibly tough to keep a product launch under wraps with the Internet serving as the ultimate spoiler. Samsung can attest to this after seeing its Galaxy Note II plans leaked to the Web ahead of its offical launch. Be that as it may, all a company can do is forge ahead with business as usual, as Samsung did by officially unveiling its second generation Galaxy Note device. There is one surprise, however -- Samsung's skipping a U.S. launch until later this year.
THE MARKETING BLITZ swirling around the Droid Razr’s launch drive home these twin selling points: thin, yet powerful. This wafer of a smartphone measures just over a quarter of an inch thick along most of its chassis before filling out at the top where the camera lens and flash; speaker; and HDMI, USB, and headphone jacks reside. A layer of Kevlar fiber drapes the backside, and the Gorilla Glass covering the 4.3-inch display has a water-repellent coating for protection against errant spills and inevitable raindrops.
For all its vaunted thinness, the Razr feels very sturdy in your hand, while its substantial surface area assures that it doesn’t feel small. If anything, it’s a bit unwieldy for one-handed operation. The thin build has its share of downsides, too: The side-mounted power and volume buttons are too small, and this is one of the rare Android form factors that doesn’t let you remove the battery.
We do, however, cherish the generous qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display, which exhibits vivacious colors and deep black levels. The Razr is one of the first smartphones to allow Netflix streaming in HD; and for what it’s worth on a screen this size, movies, other HD video, and games look extraordinary.
Oh, Skype. We have you to thank for transforming thousands, of not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people into cheapskates. I say that lovingly, for I, too, dream of a day when I can forever free myself from the confines of a monthly cell phone plan and run into the loving, warm embrace of no-monthly-cost, Skype-based chatting…
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit overdramatic. But it would be silly to think that Skype hasn’t radically transformed the way a lot of people go about their daily lives. In fact, some people do indeed subsist on this service, and this service alone, for all of their phone-based needs. And many more people use Skype to conduct business; to make podcasts; to call loved ones from afar, as is the case with Maximum PC dream date winner Magali and her French family.
In short, Skype is kind of a big deal. You know it, I know it, but… the one thing that you likely don’t know off the top of your head is all the different ways you can maximize your VoIP-chatting experience through the use of third-party Skype add-ons, software tweaks, and more! That’s what we’ll be covering in this comprehensive tips guide: Making Skype awesome.
Lo-Jack schmojack. You don't need some spendy GPS unit and to keep tabs on that new Escalade. Uplinking your wheels to the great eye in the sky without breaking the bank is easier than you think.
Standalone GPS units can cost hundreds. And that's not counting the installation and (frequently hefty) activation and monthly fees associated with whatever service you do choose. For most of us, it's overkill. The good news is that if you happen to have a GPS-equipped phone lying around, you can rig your own vehicle tracking system for virtually nothing. Here's how it's done...
Facebook was quick to deny rumors that it's working on a mobile phone. After catching wind of a TechCrunch story on late Saturday night / early Sunday morning that the social networking site is "building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware," a Facebook PR jumped in to kill the speculation.
Straight and to the point, the PR dude said the report "is not accurate," adding "Facebook is not building a phone." End of story, right?
Perhaps so, but TechCrunch isn't convinced, who points out that Google also denied it wasn't working on a Google Phone prior to the Nexus One launch. And technically, if Facebook is pinging a third-party developer to construct the device, then it wouldn't be lying for the social networking giant to say that it's "not building a phone", but that's splitting hairs.
There are now more than 5 billion mobile phones in use around the globe, according to a study by Swedish telecom Ericsson. To put that into perspective, the world population stands at a little under 6.7 billion, which means there are almost enough mobile phones for every living human.
"In the year 2000, about 730 million people had mobile subscriptions, less than the amount of users in China alone today," Ericsson said.
Ericsson's study counts mobile subscriptions, where "subscriptions" refer to both billed contracts with providers and the pay-as-you-go plans. With some people having more than one subscription (separate plans/phones for work and home, for example), this doesn't mean there are 5 billion people walking around with cell phones.
On a related note, Ericsson says that mobile broadband subscriptions are growing at the same breakneck pace and are expected to reach 3.4 billion by 2015, up from 360 million in 2009.
Alright, Android phone owners. This one's for you, so if you have no idea what I'm talking about and/or don't actually own an Android-based phone, you can steer clear this week. Otherwise... get ready to be rocked.
A clever little Firefox add-on called Send to Phone is an amazing resource for those of you that use Android-based phones. Here's why: One of the more frustrating things one does as a phone owner is getting information--like a Web URL, a friend's email address, or a note to thyself--from your PC to your mobile device. Short of emailing it to yourself (or, worse, texting it to yourself), you really don't have a great way to convey information that you've found on the Interwebs to your phone.
Send to Phone fixes that issue in two ways, and they're both detailed after the jump!
Microsoft TechFest is an opportunity for developers and researchers to preview some pretty oddball technology advances, but one of the more down to earth applications might just revolutionize the way international business meetings are conducted. The new "Microsoft Translating Telephone" allows users to communicate in different languages, and experience voice to text translation on the fly.
A representative from Cnet attending the conference claims they were able to comfortably carry on a normal conversation with a second party in German, and while it wasn't perfect, it looked pretty darn close. No announcements were made on when if ever this would become available to the public, but clearly it addresses a pretty important need.
If they could wrap this up into a nice tidy little application for Windows Phone 7 I dare say they would have the killer app for mobile business professionals who would suddenly find themselves able to order a beer in any language.
The Translating Telephone is tied in my books with the Air Guitar for best TechFest tech demo. Which one are you rooting for?