Category Archives: iPhone

Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android – Writerdood’s Feedback

Earlier this week, I posted Grady Winston’s latest guest article – Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android – which lays out the moves and countermoves in a precarious battle between Apple and Google. The article has drawn a number of forward thinking comments which deserve wider distribution than a straight-forward comment might allow.

The following comment, by Writerdood, addresses some of the questions posed in the original article – then, raises a series of “functionality probability” teasers. Are they teasers – or, real issues which the smartphone industry needs to address?

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imageThe future of smartphones is an interesting topic. I don’t see Apple as being at the top of that list. RIM has fallen and can’t get up. And Microsoft’s solution is still an infant with potential.

Globally, I think Android will likely dominate, at least in the short term, but in the long term it’s difficult to say what will happen. Apple phones are beautiful devices, but so are Android phones. Brand-name loyalty will certainly ensure Apple always has a market, but their innovation seems to have reached its limit. Their latest release offers very little of consequence to most people.

What we’re missing is the functionality innovations – the leaps in operational use that allow users to do more things with their mobile devices.

Who will be the first to add infrared control as a standard in phones (allowing users to control their televisions without needing specific hardware)?

Who will add customization user interfaces (allowing users to decide how their screens display)?

Who will add tactile interfaces (allowing raised buttons to appear when needed)?

Will NFC take off and become a desired utility (allowing users to make payments or upload data with a wave of their phone)?

Will phones start to come stock with projectors?

Will full integration with XBox or Playstation make a big difference?

Will flexible expandable screens become a desired feature?

And all of them appear interested in AI of some type, which will produce the desired results?

Then there’s audio – and some manufacturers seem focused on pushing that to the extreme limits, making the screen itself into a speaker.

And then there’s Google’s project glass and integration between those glasses and their phones may force Apple and others to compete.

I think the smart phone world is poised to move on a variety of innovations that will vastly enhance the capabilities of the phones slated to come out in the next few years. Most of those phones will not belong to Apple.

To keep up with this wave of new functionality, Apple will have to either jump on that bandwagon – and pay the patent rights to use them – or come up with an intuitive leap just as risky as their first iPod venture. Their fans will support them regardless, but the rest of the world will only support them if that leap is useful to them and something they can’t get elsewhere.

Heck, if Apple put infrared and tactile into their phones, I’d even buy one. And a projector too? Worth it. Particularly if it can project a keyboard in addition to being used to project slides and video. But maybe these are features that don’t matter to most people. Only time and user adoption can tell that story.

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Filed under Android, Apple, Google, Guest Writers, iPhone, Smart Phone

Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageiPhone versus Android. The choice between the two smartphone platforms is as contentious as the battle between being a Mac or PC person. However, thanks to the war emerging between Apple and Google, the battle is not just heated — it’s just plain nasty.

It’s no secret Apple was displeased when Google entered the smartphone arena with army of Android phones and an app market, recently rebranded as Google Play. However, it shouldn’t have been a shock either.

Those who have a disdain for Apple products — and there are a lot of people on the planet who fit that description, despite the seeming ubiquity of iPhones — had as much right to inundate their smartphones with apps as iPhone users.

Although the Android app market is still small in comparison to Apple — 70,000 to 230,000 apps, respectively — the Android market is quickly gaining ground in the world of mobile application development. Incensing Apple even further, many Android apps are free. Why pay $.99 for an app on an iPhone when you can get it for nothing on a Galaxy III?

As tech goliaths, Apple and Google have run into more than a few disputes. Remember when Instagram moved from iOS-only to Android? Apple recently unveiled its new proprietary Maps application, designed to supplant Google’s ultra-popular-to-the-point-of-being-de-facto offering.

In a similar move, Apple is removing the YouTube app from its phones, effective with iOS6. This probably won’t be enough to make people chuck their iPhones, especially since the app hasn’t been recently updated, but it might make consumers on the fence choose an Android the next time their contract expires.

It’s hard to say if these differences will affect the populace in any more than a divisive capacity. Even when it comes to price, there isn’t much difference between the iPhone and Android phones. The iPhone 5 is priced at $199 with a contract, which is in the ballpark of the Galaxy and other mid- to upper-range smartphones. The decision may become clearer as the dust kicked up by the iPhone 5’s release begins to settle, even though it will be stirred up again with the next major smartphone release.

So, who’s going to emerge as the winner? As much as Apple and Google want to think they have the power to destroy each other through the end user, the bottom line is Apple people are Apple people and Android people are Android people. It’s really not much different than the Mac versus PC debate.

Sure, you do have people who cross over — some Mac people have Android phones and some PC users have iPhones — but for the most part, people are loyal to their brands. If Apple or Google want to crush each other, they’ll really have to do it without the help of the consumer. However, if they both continue to play nasty games, they make themselves ripe for a third player to emerge on the scene and take a share of both their markets away. I wonder if Linux plans to enter the cell phone market…

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Filed under Android, Apple, Connected Devices, Google, Guest Writers, iPhone

High-Def Life: The Future is Looking Clearer Than Ever

Where Apple goes others follow. Apple’s iPhone, iPad and other devices are known for being on the cutting edge of technology, particularly in terms of setting the bar for individual user experience.

Apple is making a huge push toward high-definition and customers are not pushing back. Instead, high-definition is being welcomed with open arms the way a new member to the family is accepted – as if she had been there the whole time.

High-definition displays are rapidly becoming a permanent fixture. Companies like Google, Motorola and Nvidia are putting out their own high-definition products to compete with Apple and meet customers’ new (and high) expectations.

imageThe interest in high-definition consumer electronics has seen a significant increase in the past couple of years. Usage of high-def TVs and laptops, particularly among children and teens, was growing, while that of other consumer electronics stayed the same or was down in 2010.

Today, the expectation for high-def has expanded to smartphones, tablets and other devices. Apple’s new Retina display on iPads and MacBook Pros is meeting this new need and capturing the attention of customers worldwide.

Apple claims that the new Retina display on their iPad 3 surpasses the retina’s perceptive capacity. The iPad 3 features an operating system that displays at 300 ppi and the ultra-HD video blows away previous viewing options.

Apple’s Retina display is also available on the MacBook Pro. Apple unveiled a new 15-inch MacBook Pro 2012 with Retina display at the Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this year, sparking rumors of a 13-inch model soon to come. The company also announced the retirement of the 17-inch MacBook Pro without Retina.

The success of the Retina display began when Apple introduced it on their iPhone 4. It was then used for the iPhone 4S and the iPad before making it onto the 15 inch MacBook Pro, which demonstrates Apple’s commitment to high def.

The larger screen pairs well with the phones cameras and video chat capabilities. A Droid Razr HD seen in China featured a 13-megapixel camera on the back plus a 3-megapixel camera on the front. The extra megapixels contribute to what appear to be nicer pictures from the Razr HD compared to the iPhone 4S.

imageTo compete against the iPhone 4, Motorola is releasing their Droid Razr HD. This device has become one of the most anticipated smartphones on the market, according to International Business Times. Reports suggest that the Razr HD will be stronger, thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S. The Motorola Droid Razr HD will feature a 4.5-inch 720p HD screen, while the iPhone has a 3.5-inch screen.

The Motorola Droid Razr HD’s screen is reportedly 1196×720, which matches the resolution of the Samsung Galaxy S3. The crisper, larger screens make both of these phones attractive alternatives for the iPhone 4S, though Apple is hard at work on the upcoming iPhone 5.

The industry now needs to catch up with the new technology by creating apps, games and other entertainment options that take advantage of the impressive high-def displays on portable devices.

Qualcomm’s impressive development wing had a good showing at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Spain and offered enthusiasts a sneak peak at what’s in store for the upcoming crop of HD smartphones, including impressive projector tech.

The bottom line is that high-def is here to stay and thanks to the efforts of Apple and its competitors, consumer electronic users are able to see more clearly than ever.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

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Filed under cell phone, Guest Writers, iPad, iPhone, Tech Net News, Video

Top 5 Apps for Travel

imageWhether you’re a business traveler or just like to hop around the world for leisure, utilizing travel apps on your smart phone device can make jet setting easier. From applications that help you organize an itinerary, to maps that provide details of far away lands you’re visiting, here is a look at the top 5 travel apps you should download to your smart phone device.

TripIt

Are you a disorganized traveler who can’t remember the details of your reservations? Are you a busy business traveler that travels from city to city? Then the TripIt app is for you. Why? Because this app takes the confirmation emails you receive from airlines, trains, hotels and rental car companies and it creates an itinerary for your trip.

The app also updates the departure and arrival gates for your flights as well as provides you directions to the airport. That’s quite a helpful tool when you’re traveling in a city where you’re unfamiliar.

iXpenseit

Keeping tabs on how much you spend when you travel is important for a couple of reasons. First, if you’re traveling for pleasure you want to make sure you’re not blowing your budget between meals and additional expenses you don’t usually have when you’re at home. If you’re on business, then often you’re reimbursed for the money you spend. Whatever the case, iXpenseit will track every penny you spend.

You have the option of pie, bar or standard charts which detail how much money you’re spending. It also lists your top expenses and how close you are to reaching your budget limit. Finally, the app also operates in multiple currencies making tracking international spending a snap.

Weatherbug

One of the toughest parts about traveling is knowing what to wear. While traveling you don’t have all the comforts of home to suddenly change when the weather surprises you. With Weatherbug, you’ll always be prepared. Weatherbug includes weather for your current location including updates of storm warnings and alerts.

The app also lets you check weather throughout the entire United States by simply pointing to that location on the map. This can be quite a handy tool prior to boarding a plane to that city. Finally, the app provides easy to read weather forecasts for up to 10 days.

AroundMe

Need to find a bank? Restaurant? Hotel in a pinch? Then AroundMe is the application for you. While you are probably familiar with where you live, AroundMe will provide information about everything that is around you when you travel to a new location. This can also be helpful when trying to find local area attractions in a new city.

Once you determine where you want to go, AroundMe will provide with directions and contact information in case you need to call the place you are heading.

World Customs & Cultures

When traveling to a foreign country, you want to be mindful and respectful of their customs. However, if you were never steeped in their traditions, how will you know? Enter the World Customs & Cultures application. Things such as eye contact, personal space, communication style and taboos are all discussed.

The app also details views of the time and gender issues that may or may not be present. Downloading this app will ensure that you are always an appropriate traveler.

While these are some of the best travel apps on the market, there are certainly many others that people use. What are some of your favorite apps?

Author Bio:

This is a guest post from Mark Lindstrom who is a savvy shopper trying to save money wherever he can. He uses everything from Priceline discount codes for travel, down to HP promo codes for the ultra book he takes with him.

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Filed under Cell Phone Apps, Guest Writers, iPhone, Mobile Applications, Software

Download Miro HD Video Player – Sync Your Media To Multiple Devices And A Whole Lot More!

imageThere’s been much discussion lately, in Tech media circles, on the benefits of  getting rid of expensive Cable TV, where prices seem to be skyrocketing, and focusing instead on the multiple alternatives which the Internet now provides.

Given that your computer screen is, in reality, a high-definition display, you can easily enjoy Internet sourced videos in HD full screen. Pretty neat – especially if you have a wide screen LCD display.

Miro (last updated May 20th, 2011), is a free (open source), Internet TV platform and Video Player (and so much more), that can certainly even out your path in breaking your reliance on Cable TV – and, the costs that go with it. Miro, in fact, might well be the perfect tool to help with your transition.

Not only can Miro play virtually any video in HD, including, QuickTime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, and XVID, but on top of that this application, which sports major changes from previous editions, is effectively a media management center.  I must admit, I was more than a little surprised at how effective Miro is in this role.

For example, the application quickly, smoothly, and effectively, located my music files after prompting me to select a search path. Playback controls are typical and playlists are easily created.

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The core of the program however, is the well designed video features including built-in Torrent download capabilities.

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In the following example I downloaded a 1.4 GB movie using the Torrent client. The test torrent download  took full advantage of my Internet settings – 1.7 MB per second.

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Playback of the downloaded file was a bit of a treat really. Definitely HD; smooth; quality sound.

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Additional features include the ability to sync media to multiple devices –  including Android phones and tablets. Better yet, Miro will even convert video files to the right format to play on your phone.

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Getting the application just right to meet your specific needs, using the Settings menu is straightforward and uncomplicated.

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Fast facts:

Works with your current music library – It’s very easy to switch from iTunes to Miro– without any copying. Just point Miro to your music and video folders and those files will appear. If you don’t like Miro (impossible!), nothing’s changed.

Converts and syncs to Android – You’d have to be crazy to use a music player that doesn’t sync to your phone. Miro is simply the best music and video player for Android phones and tablets.

Download and play almost any video – Do you still use separate programs to download, play music, play videos, and sync to your phone? Miro plays almost any video or music format and downloads from YouTube, podcasts, Amazon, and bittorrent.

Convert any video – You can convert almost any video with Miro into mp4/h264, with presets for almost any device you can think of (including iPhones, iPods, iPads, Android phones, and more).

Share Your Media on your Network – When two Miro’s are on the same Wi-Fi network, they can stream and transfer music and videos to each other. It’s the easiest way to watch a video or play music upstairs if the file is downstairs.

Ultra-fast torrent downloading – Miro has some of the fastest bittorrent downloading in the world, built in. Try us head-to-head with any bittorrent application!

Open-source – don’t lock yourself in – Unlike some other media players, Miro is not trying to run your life. Not only is Miro 100% free and open-source, it’s made by a non-profit organization. You don’t need to be locked down by one corporation to have a great media experience.

Buy Music and Apps inside Miro – The Amazon MP3 store is built-in to Miro. Buy, download, and listen, seamlessly. Buy Android apps from the Amazon or Google app stores and they will sync to your device.

There are many more features in Miro that can be quickly covered in a short review. I haven’t, for example, covered the easy way to stream and share music and video on your local/home network, using Miro. Checkout the publisher’s features page.

This program continues to receive high praise from video geeks, and it’s worth considering as an addition to your entertainment applications.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, Mac, Linux. (I have not tested this application in 64 bit – but, I understand 64 bit support is available).

Download at: Miro

User Manual for Miro 4.0 available here.

A caveat: During the install process, pay particular attention so that you don’t install items you may not want (Yahoo Toolbar/homepage) .

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Filed under Connected Devices, Digital Media, downloads, Easy Computer Networking, File Sharing, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet TV, iPhone, Linux, Mac, Media Player Replacement, Media Players, Multimedia Tools, Release Candidate, Software, Ubuntu, Video Players, Video Tools, Windows Tips and Tools

Will iTunes Become the New PayPal?

Guest writer Derek Vaughan walks you through Near Field Communications – a technology that may well make your wallet obsolete.

Imagine buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks and paying for it by simply ‘swiping’ your iPhone past the cashier. In seconds the money is paid to the retailer, and your iTunes account reflects the charge for the coffee. All of this has happened without you ever having to pull out your wallet or purse, and the transaction happens so quickly that you barely break stride on your way out of the store.

Sound like science fiction? Well, it’s not. If things materialize along the current lines iTunes may morph from an entertainment distribution platform into a full fledged banking system more akin to PayPal than to Napster.

This type of financial transaction will be enabled by a technology named Near Field Communications, or just NFC for short. As described by Wikipedia, NFC is ”a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 848 kbit/s. NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries.” In other words, NFC can securely transmit and receive data related to a purchase at a retail store – as long as the purchasing device is close enough to the receiver (and one assumes – that the buyer’s account has sufficient funds).

What brings NFC and iTunes together is the hardware currently being developed by Apple and enabled by iTunes. This would possibly include iPhones, iPads, iPods, and MAC computers.

A number of sources including PC Magazine are now reporting that the next generation iPhone – presumably named the iPhone 5 – will include NFC and be able to transact via NFC by charging the equipment owner’s iTunes account. The article goes on to quote a source familiar with the situation, ”From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information.”

Daniel Foster, an expert in online transactions and security with dedicated server company 34SP.com postulates, ”With the walled garden approach that Apple has developed coupled with the unparalleled growth of both the iPhone and iPad – Apple must be taken seriously if the company enters the transaction marketplace. Remember, many of the emerging market countries have yet to adopt the iPhone as well. The growth opportunities in India and China alone are enormous.”

So just how big is the marketplace for these types of transactions? A recent article by Bloomberg quotes PayPal President Scott Thompson from remarks made during a meeting with financial analysts. Mr. Thompson predicts that PayPal will double revenues and post sales of up to $7 billion by 2013. That would compare to sales of $3.4 billion in 2009. These revenues reflect only 12 percent of online purchases – and just a small fraction of offline purchases. Therefore, if Apple can enter this market and do for wireless transactions what it did for buying music – then $7 billion doesn’t seem at all unreasonable.

Although the path looks bright for deploying NFC technologies, not everyone is convinced that NFC will prevail in the future. Lou Honick is CEO of Host Merchant Services, a leading credit card transaction service. Mr. Honick notes, ”Near field communication technology holds significant promise for enabling mobile payments, however it comes with some significant caveats given the companies that are deploying it. Electronic payments have all but displaced cash, and while there are costs and drawbacks, businesses are forced to accept the bad with the good. Also, sixteen digit credit card numbers are really no longer adequate for the job they were intended to do because of fraud concerns.

NFC and mobile applications help solve this problem by adding enhanced security and encryption to transactions. However, while many merchants dream of breaking the Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express oligopoly on forms of payment processing, and NFC certainly opens up alternatives, we have to be careful that we aren’t simply trading Visa and Mastercard for Apple and Google or even worse, AT&T and Verizon without any significant savings and benefits to the merchant. While it makes sense to move to an application based payment platform facilitated by NFC, it would be of far greater benefit to consumers and merchant to get there with an open and flexible platform that encouraged competition.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that is the direction we are headed, and as much as I like Apple products, we all know how they feel about being open and flexible.

Whatever the final outcome, look for even more interest in NFC in the coming months as Android phones get into the act, and the mobile carriers themselves develop transactional systems to capture a bit of the payment system marketplace. With billions at stake, expect to see things move quickly in the wireless transaction market.

For more information on this technology – checkout The New York Times.

About the Author:

Derek Vaughan is a web hosting industry veteran and expert. Mr. Vaughan has architected the marketing growth of several prominent web hosting success stories leading to acquisition including Affinity Internet, Inc., Aplus.Net and HostMySite.com.

Prior to his entry into the web hosting industry, Mr. Vaughan was responsible for online marketing at The Walt Disney Company where he marketed ecommerce for the ESPN.com and NASCAR.com brands. Mr. Vaughan received his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University and currently serves on the HostingCon Advisory Board.

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Filed under Apple, Connected Devices, Financial, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Money Management, Point of View, Software

WinX Blu-ray DVD iPhone Ripper Giveaway – Free Until January 10th, 2011

Limited time license freebie, from Digiarty Software.

From the developer’s site:

Ideal software to rip and sync Blu-ray DVD to iPhone (iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4), iPod, iPad and Apple TV. Based on High Quality Engine and advanced De-interlacing, it delivers remarkable image quality which is near original movie. The software comes prepared with sets of profiles to maximally simplify the ripping process.

 

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To Download this application, go to the developer’s site. Following installation, enter this license codeAB-TQUQYZGY-PFRNUT

If you have no need for this application, your friends, coworkers, or family, with an iPhone, might like the opportunity. Consider passing it on.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Apple, CD/DVD Tools, Cell Phone Apps, Connected Devices, Digital Media, downloads, Free Full Versions, Giveaways, iPhone, Software, Software Giveaways, Video Tools