Archive for the ‘Phones’ Category

Using Split Screen Safari in iOS 10

… Including how to get back out of it! 

 

Go To 

How To Geek

 

 

And how to get out of it…!

…to go back to a single Safari window is to tap and hold on the tabs button in either Safari window. Select “Merge All Tabs” from the popup menu.

I H8 iOS 8…

New operating systems have glitches. When that company then brings out a patch, you expect it to fix those glitches.

Well… Apparently not. Not for iOS 8 anyway.

It’s definitely annoying enough to hate. I thought it was a good idea to upgrade from iOS 7. It may have been a really, really dumb move. I should have waited. Definitely should have waited.

My poor iPad hasn’t been the same since… She’s been struggling with processing anything. Freezing. Crashing. Sluggish. Slow to close (closing apps in slow-motion…literally). Has difficulty with wifi connections – sluggish online despite other devices being fine. Slow to wake up. Has required more reboots than she’s probably ever had before in her life. And worse of all, my Messages no longer sync between Macbook and iPad.

Now that really makes me annoyed.

I missed messages. I’m not a happy bunny. About as happy as this one…

 

unhappy bunny

A Very Unhappy Bunny…

And, yes, I have updated to v8.0.2.

It’s still rubbish.

The OS seems to make my iPad clumsy, glitchy, irritatingly slow, and difficult to use. It ran smoothly and seamlessly on iOS 7 – I miss that.

 

Old vs New…

I cannot even imagine any issues is because my girl can’t handle it. My iPad not exactly geriatric, but she is getting on the “mature” side of Apple products. She’s coming up to 2 years old – I got her in 2012, shortly after iPad (4) Retina. But she’s absolutely no slouch. She’s got dual-core A6X chip with quad-core graphics… That’s more than enough to comfortably power basic operating system without a problem. I know she’s not quite as good as the new iPad Air, with her fancy-pants A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor. But she’s still more than good enough for iOS8 – and me.

I get the feeling the Messages thing will be addressed with OSX Yosemite… Or at least it better be. iOS 8 and Yosemite are supposed to be made to go hand-in-glove, so they say… This allows me to hope that in the near future, when my Macbook is updated, they will work as a Messaging partnership once again. If it isn’t… Well, I’ll really be miffed.

 

Then vs Now…

It’s unfortunate that right now the system is really slowing my iPad down. This isn’t doing itself any favours. The fact that it’s bigger than the last OS also means there’s less actual space left on my 16GB device. 12.5GB to be exact, meaning 3.5GB is somehow taken up by the system and whatever extra whatnots. I’ve had to delete things to get this OS onto the thing, but then I’ve had to keep some things deleted because there’s less space on it. My space is still sparse now, despite this – probably adding to making the CPU sluggish. It’s beginning to become painfully obvious that 16GB (or rather 12BG in real space) models are completely outdated now. Just put three avarege-sized games/films/shows on one of these and it’s completely stuffed, sitting alongside the usual things that everyone has on there too.

I can no longer fit a lot of photos, or games, on my iPad. Hearthfire had to go, as did Capcom’s Ace Attorney. That first one stung. A whole bunch of photos have to go as soon as they’ve been uploaded into Cloud drives. And I obviously can’t be the only one who suffers from this space loss. Given it’s the cheapest of their models, I imagine quite a high percentage of people have 16GB iPhones/Pads/Pods. I imagine they’re also facing the same annoying space issue. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder why they keep stocking them – they’re borderline useless these days. Especially now the system itself taking up so much space.

In the two years since iPad (4) Retina, Apple have gone from iOS 6, which it what iPad Retina shipped with in late 2012, to this. Two years ago the internet was ablaze with astounded fury when iOS 6.1 turned up with a 983MB update… Sounds a bit of a joke now, right – since these very same, now-mature devices have just been clobbered with a 5.8GB upgrade with iOS 8.

Two years down the line and we’re up from 983MB to 5.8GB for updates. It just goes to show the difference 24 months can make in TechLand.

 

Too Old?

And when you put it like that, it certainly seems that the 16GB devices are definitely playing outside their original parameters now – involved in a fight way above their weight class. Maybe I should expecting my girl to be a little sluggish. After all, iOS 8 was made with iPad Air in mind – and she’s got a lot of assets at her disposal… Much more than her big sister, now two years her senior.

The specs between iPhone 6 and iPad Air and their predecessors are pretty big, tech-wise. My poor girl just wasn’t designed for this kind of processing, hence the poorer performance with a stuffed local memory, and therefore probably ensuring she’s lacking in the extra oomph needed to run this new software. Deleting even more of my lovely precious photos has ensured she runs a little smoother… Proving that 16GB just isn’t enough to power the device as well as have anything of significance on it.

On the other hand, iOS 8 was designed to work with the “older” devices, and therefore all this should be taken into consideration. Hence, I’m still miffed that this system is making my iPad sluggish and continuously freezing and crashing apps. They should have worked these things out better before setting it loose, and it should be designed so it doesn’t cause all this trouble.

And I would still be able to get all my Messages on all my devices too.




Raise Hell and; Break Shit

Not Worth the Jail Time
 

I thought updating to other iOS platforms was bad…

This latest on has been simply nothing but a nightmare!

Apple iOS8 for iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch. For too many people worldwide, the above statement is a very short sentence that quite a lot of people have thought and felt, and (in not so many words) said. Possibly even saying the words iOS 8 would make their hackles rise and leave them foaming at the mouth… And I can’t really blame them. The rollout wasn’t just a bit of a PR disaster, it was a nightmare for pretty much every single iOS owner that ever was.

It’s been 3 or 4 days since I installed it. My iPad has been rather a grumpy git since then, and sometimes I kinda wish I’d never bothered. I’m beginning to think my mother has the right idea when she keeps saying, “oh, I’ll do it eventually…” – because when “eventually” turns up, they probably would have fixed everything that’s bugging me (and it) by then. On the other hand, it’s a new operating system, and these things do happen.

What shouldn’t happen is that it’s shipped out without much of an explanation or any instructions from Apple as to how you should deal with the software upgrade.

*

The Magic Number…

Like me, most people were probably far too keen to get this going and install it now. We didn’t wait, we didn’t think, we went straight into Settings and went to download it. Then we realised just what we were in for, and probably sat and stared when we saw just what was required to get it.

Kitten and Keyboard

“Noooo… Seriously??!… Meh…”

That space thing was a real charmer. I simply stared at that number that was nearly half the entire onboard space on my iPad (Retina). I literally had to empty nearly everything in the poor thing to shoehorn that damned update onto it… And 5.8GB of space is a lot to ask from any device that’s only 16GB onboard the first place.

It took ages going through each set of apps, checking the Usage total, then deleting some more and checking again – over and over again, until there was virtually nothing left.

I even listed all the things I took off: The final count was 61 apps and 6 games. Not all of them bounced back with everything, which definitely added insult to injury. I am still working on getting it back together again.

Dog-Tired

“Are we nearly there yet…?”

It was only after a long time of repeating the delete-and-check thing so many times, I finally saw the magic numbers “5.9GB” – there was finally enough space free on that damned thing! So I breathed a sigh of relief and despondency, and tapped the Install icon. It only took a couple of hours to get there, now it was finally time!…

Is it supposed to be somehow my fault for “just” getting the 16GB edition? It certainly feels like it – but I really hope that’s not how Apple thinks. And if it is, I strongly suggest they make the 128GB the same price at the 16GB, because that’s the only way these huge updates are going to be managed. What else is there to assume, that I’m almost being punished for having the smallest iPad edition, when I have to have near half my onboard storage allowance dumped to manage this upgrade? (And this is not the part where you point out anything about the PC/Mac option – that’s really not the point right now…).

The actual space used was 1.1GB. The rest of it was installation space. OK, it did need all that extra space to “unpack” the package and install the new iOS onto the device. But that doesn’t soothe the sting of having to effectively upend my iPad into a virtual bin and shake it until there was enough space to fit it in.

*

More Problems…

The pain didn’t just end there, though. I squeezed the new operating system in, brought up my list, reinstalled all the apps and games I had deleted, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Insulting ComputerBut it wasn’t over. It wasn’t until the day after that I found out my Messages app wasn’t working properly on my iPad anymore. It was only when I opened the Messages app on my MacBook (which I rarely do, but luckily I did this time) that I realised I even had messages. Damn important ones too, which I missed. I wasn’t too impressed about that.

After all the effort I had already gone to, to delete and then reinstall them again afterwards, it was rather an irritating byproduct of the new upload and seemed rather sloppy on their part that such a glitch would exist.

Rebooting helped a little. It at least sorted out the conversations already going on the Mac’s Messages app that were already open. But anyone that didn’t have an open conversation on the iPad couldn’t get a message through to it. I had to open conversations, sending Testing messages to see that it would still at least work then. I’m unfortunately fairly sure that anyone I still haven’t got open conversations going with won’t get through to me on my iPad.

To add some insult to the “injury” of the difficulty of dealing with the nightmare that is iOS 8, my iPad has also become rather slow and a bit clunky afterwards. I’m a bit unconvinced that the whole thing was a rather good idea at all.

I must admit that I was very lucky regarding how long it took. The entire process took maybe an hour or less, perhaps helped along by the high-speed broadband I am fortunate enough to have. I managed to avoid the reported 12+ hours (minimum) that others were reporting. Once the mass deleting was done, the entire thing ran smoothly and took about as long as expected. I’m not sure, given what has happened, that I would choose to do it all over again, though…

IMG_0748*

Space and Size Matters

The best way to avoid most of all the hassle of updating the operating system is to run it via iTunes. You can avoid the storage issue by simply connecting the device(s) to a PC/Mac, and iTunes will pretty much do the rest for you. No mass deleting required. It’s straightforward enough in theory – but 6GB of data is a lot of work for the average broadband package, whichever option you choose.

The problem in most places, certainly in relation to the UK, do not even have access to decent broadband, let alone get the choice to pay got anything over 20mb. Running at full pelt – and when does it ever do that? – it still may take quite some time to crunch through 6GB. In more rural areas, 8mb is the best they can hope for and 2mb is common… Is it no wonder people are having difficulty with it? The problem always has been that Apple live in the future, and BT’s broadband rollout isn’t even trying to keep up in the UK. In some big cities here, including London, up to 300mb broadband is available – for an eye-watering price, of course. Unfortunately Apple seems to believe it’s everywhere in the world, and everyone has it.

Hooking up your device to a computer may solve the storage space issue, but if you don’t have the bandwidth it’s not going to go too great. Broadband is going to have to grow up a bit, as will the providers, for everyone to keep up with technology in the way they want to. Unfortunately, the providers aren’t really doing such a spiffing job of this as everyone wished they would, and ergo we keep having these issues each time people are faced with huge download sizes to very (im)patiently sit through.

***

Hate iOS 8? 

Actually, I don’t hate iOS 8. Or Apple. At all.

In fact, I wouldn’t blame Apple in the least for the teething problems of iOS 8 (well, apart from screwing up my Messages app… but that’s just normal teething problems). It’s not their fault that most of this country doesn’t have the broadband capacity to deal with much more than email and YouTube videos. I have higher broadband; I had no trouble whatsoever with the download and installation of the software.

Yet everywhere else here, there is an uproar because so many people are struggling to manage to do it. Anyone complaining about storage should just use iTunes… At the time I wanted to install the new system, I didn’t have access to my MacBook, so I just bit the bullet and did what I had to do to get it installed. OK, I still complain, but I’m aware I had choices, and I could have waited and done it through the computer if I cared that much.

The basic matter of the issue is that people pay several hundred pounds for their Apple devices. For MacBooks/iMacs/PCs, Smart TVs/TV boxes… Yet they are still not supported by the broadband width required.

Once installed, iOS 8 has the usual minor teething issues of a new operating system. It runs well, looks nice, streamlines and adds a few things – and of course there’s all that “added security” in it (or you could just not take naked pictures… no one would ever care  about the crap I have in my PhotoStream, which probably mainly consists of about a thousand pictures of my dog on his beanbag or rolling around on the floor… And if they do hack it – enjoy, they’re so cute!)

*

Lacking Collaboration…

I certainly don’t hate iOS 8 for this. I had even initially thought that what has happened with iOS 8 would make me feel rather weary of updating my MacBook to OSX Yosemite, coming “This Fall”… Probably around October/November. But it doesn’t. I’m looking forward to it. I have that luxury of knowing that I don’t have any issues with downloading and installing products (when there’s onboard space for them…).

There is really no problem with the actually operating system itself. Once installed, there are some minor, yet irritating, issues and glitches with iOS 8. But that’s all, and that’s to be expected. It’s normal for a new operating system rollout. It would be odd if that didn’t happen. But the point is, there is no real issue with iOS 8 itself, the installation process, or with space (if you’re willing to be savvy about it and plug it into the computer, or you have the 128GB edition).

Probably a smarter than the average broadband tech...?

Probably a smarter than the average broadband tech…?

I say if you’re going to look to anyone for accountability to the downloading issues of this system, look to your broadband provider – for being so ridiculously incompetent and overpriced, offering ridiculously low speeds for their relatively high prices. I don’t pay that much more for high-speed broadband, though even that price would be out of most people’s reach, I would think – but more importantly that that, most people don’t even have that option. I’m very happy to sacrifice some things to afford the higher speed package… But I at least had all the options available to me.   I imagine there are people out there who would do the same thing. I imagine after having paid out for their iOS device, they would quite like to be able to install its new software without having to wait a week whilst it downloads.

In an ideal world, tech companies should be collaborating and strongly encouraging the broadband network providers to keep up with them and their requirements, locally, nationwide, worldwide. High speed broadband needs to be everywhere. Microsoft famously had to retract their “always-on DRM” for gamers when they effectively booed it all over the internet. And why did they do that? Because their internet never works properly, they can’t afford it a good speed, or they don’t have it in the first place because it’s expensive. For Tech to move forward, the broadband network providers have to as well.

*

Thoughts of the Future…

I am now a little concerned that Apple have now set the precedent for future updates… I’m not sure how much more of these kinds of download sizes a little 16GB iPad can take. I can imagine the next one being bigger… And what if they get one that’s 10GB? I imagine this is the time I should be thinking about getting the 128GB edition – and if I had a spare £700 knocking about I would certainly be getting it now… Although I have to admit I’d quite happily bet I’d stuffed even that so full I’d have to delete stuff to get a 6GB update onto it!

Apple - Think Different

Apple – Think Different

I can see where Apple is going with this, and I imagine a 16GB edition will very soon be obsolete and not even offered. These days even 32GB is not enough for what we expect to be able to download onto our mobile devices, particularly when the system takes up a larger and larger percentage of that space just for itself. We also need to hope that broadband providers will also be along for this ride, otherwise we’re really going to be struggling with the bigger download expectations coming from the hardware companies.

If the tech and the broadband access became in sync, we’d all be much happier campers in the world of gadgets, gizmos, and tech thingies. We would probably be more confident and happier to invest in these things too. My parents live in a rural area that has such a bad internet service my phone has better online access on its 3G network than they do via their landline package. I have no idea if they’ll even be able to update their devices. If they have any sense, they’ll come here and do it!

In an ideal world, these sectors would start working together, in collaboration, to get their products out to the people who want them. One requires the other to manage. I’m fairly certain that lightbulb will not go off in any their heads, but I hope it does – and it certainly should.

*

The Samsung S5 is about to launch… We are wondering why they’re bothering.

 

11th April 2014 is the launch of the yet another new Samsung baby, the Galaxy S5. And I’m not sure I even care. Yes, me – gadget-obsessed, techaholic, new-shiny-loving me.

I love the latest phones, with their pretty novelty, tech advances, and shiny newness – but that is because I like the innovation that usually goes with them. When something comes out with nothing more than novelty tricks, it saddens me. Or worse… It bores me.

All that money, all the brains, all that effort, all that hype… And then they release something that is almost exactly the same. Except maybe you can sing in the shower with it.

I am cynical enough to believe this is a rather pointless addition to the Galaxy S range. It is hardly an upgrade to the S4 – it offers no technological leap, nor even a tiny extra step. Not in any way. It offers nothing new… except a handful of basic novelties. Seriously, does anyone really care that is dust- and sand-proof? Or that it’s sweat- and water-proof? Or that it has a heart rate monitor?  I can’t imagine it. But you can sing in the shower with it, and it does have a biometric lock on it… but then, that was only something genuinely advanced and interesting back in 1985.

From what I’ve seen so far of their campaign, this seems entirely geared towards appealing to extreme fitness fans, athletes, and marathon runners, health nuts – and ones with too much money at that. There is little extra for anyone else. The main thing points advertised for it are clearly geared towards anyone interested in running, or taking pictures of people running.

This phone may have had people flocking to it for these novelty factors during the 2012 Olympics. But that was rather a long time ago now, and I can’t see these mediocre fitness-focused extras as being particularly interesting to the average Joe who just wants a new phone.

 

So what tech does it have to offer?

It doesn’t offer too much that is new, but what it has is a bunch of practical upgrades that are necessary, but not really game-changers or unit-sellers. Not at the price they’re charging for it, anyway.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a fabulously hard-working battery, enabling up to 21 hours of 4G use, the latest Android Operating System, Kit Kat (yes, it’s really called Kit Kat…), and a super-fast processor – the 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 (this will mean it’s one of the fastest phones available and makes it on-par with new computers), and 2GB of RAM to run it.

Along with these points, it also has the expected staples now polished and made better: It has a  5.1” Super AMOLED HD screen (this means the screen is super clear, crisp and shiny, in 1080p with a nice 432 PPI – that’s Pixels Per Inch) – one that even adjusts to your current lighting, no less, a 16MP camera and 2MP front camera, and 16GB of internal memory – upgradable with Micro SD cards of up to 128GB.

It also has the other expected staples – it comes in different colours, it takes pretty pictures, it has 4G (if you have money to waste on overpriced plans for that too)… And, well, that’s about it, really.

Unfortunately, this not really so much as a cool new phone as it is a little toy for people who just like paying £600 for the latest shiny. It’s not for people who love tech, that’s for sure. Maybe it’s just for people who like running a lot, and they are somehow missing a bespoke phone that encompasses everything they require.

I’m beginning to think Samsung have hit the ceiling on tech advances, though, because we haven’t seen any for a while. So far, the only thing that has impressed me bout the Galaxy S5 is that it has a halfway decent battery that isn’t going to die a horrible death around lunchtime because you’ve been over-zealous in your obsession of constantly scrolling through Twitter. Otherwise, as a gadget-geek who doesn’t even run for the bus, this phone holds absolutely no interest whatsoever – and that disappoints me a lot.

 

Oh, Samsung… I did so expect better from you. 

Games can be more than just “games”. Games have been used for different things – and for reasons other than teenagers and young men wanting to shoot each other’s army into oblivion on a multiplayer map. I use them to help me stave away depression and deal with chronic pain. Others have used them as a basis for scientific research of team play, reflex action, etc. Many introverted people use them as a way of coming out into a form of social interactivity they cannot otherwise manage.

Cancer Research has decided to use gaming to help them analyse a mass amount of data, using everyone and anyone with an iOS or Android device.

With this Cancer Research have done something innovative and amazing: They created a game that proves to all of us who already know this – playing games can mean more than mindlessly shooing people in COD multiplayer maps, or knocking down fat green piggies with fat little birds.

They have shown that playing a game can be meaningful – and a fun, lighthearted way to do something important. By using a cute and simple mobile game in the front end, while in the backend, something innovative and amazing is happening.

They created a lovely little spaceship shooter game – but the difference is that behind the pretty and simply graphics is an amazingly ingenious data analysis program. You’re actually not just shooting asteroids and harvesting Element Alpha – you’re helping geneticists analyse the DNA of cancer.

 

They say:

Last week saw the launch of our new mobile game Genes in Space, which hit headlines across the globe from the BBC to The New York Times.

This revolutionary new app helps our scientists in their life-saving work by speeding up data analysis. As you steer your spaceship through the cosmos, you’re really analysing the genetic faults in cancer samples. So you can now help beat cancer on your train journey home or while waiting in a queue at the supermarket. And it’s fun too!

The more players we have, the more data we can analyse. This means more DNA faults can be identified, helping us beat cancer sooner. So if you haven’t downloaded the game for free yet, it’s time to join the mission! All you need is an Apple iOS or Android device.

 

It is definitely fun. Played on the iPad Retina, the graphics are lovely in HD, and rendered in cute 3D for spacecraft upgrading, with the spaceship slowly rotating. The upgrade screen and spaceships are pretty, with bright colours and nice graphics, and being thrown into the game itself is basic silly fun that can get addictive, because it is so simple.

Gameplay
The basic premise of the game is something of a space-invaders style of gameplay – the mission: to harvest Element Alpha and shoot and avoid asteroids and debris.

First the game asks you to create a flightpath to collect as much Element Alpha as possible. To do this, they present a data cluster that looks almost like DNA PCR results, which you need to plot a path through to maximise Element Alpha harvesting. Once the path is plotted, you’re thrown into Space to weave your way through the path to harvest as much of EA as possible, all the while shooting asteroids and having to avoid the fragments (or they’ll hurt your spacecraft shields).

Gyroscopic (tilting) or touchscreen controls to drive your spacecraft and you shoot the laser guns from the spacecraft to destroy asteroids.

At the end of the harvest, having put all that effort into it, they then throw you into a huge asteroid field, resulting in a rather intense asteroid-dodging game – the punishment for dying being that you lose all that Element Alpha you just collected. So far I have exploded each time I have tried it and have not managed to retrain the fruits of my labour. That ride at the end is stupidly exhilarating for a simple little game – with no Element Alpha, there’s no XP or credits for upgrades either!

You can upgrade your spacecrafts (you get a second ship at level 20) when you have enough credits, gained from XP which can be stored, or spent to gain credits.

It comes with fun 90s space trance-style music which adds to the space atmosphere – but of course, it can be turned off if that’s not your thing.

It’s basic, fun and simple – you get the hang of it easily, even if the mad-dash through the asteroid field isn’t so easy! It has all the things we love about games – upgrades, levelling, customisation (you can change the colour of your ship(s) as well as customise through upgrades), and the fact that it’s so easy you can while away the time on it without having to shoot guns or birds.

It’s cute, it’s quick, and it’s innovative. It’s also an imaginative and incredible way to implement games for something much more special that just a gamer score, achievements, and getting XP for upgrades. What it actually does is actually help Cancer Research. What is does is help scientists understand genetic models better. For once, you won’t just be pointlessly tapping away just to get through your commute – every time you launch yourself into space for Element Alpha, you’ll be doing something useful – vital – for people in the Cancer Research labs.

I have cancer victims, and I have cancer survivors, in my family. The survivors are still here because of scientists like these that each and every game enthusiast can help.

 

Do something amazing today – download the game, play it a lot, and maybe – just maybe – you might have helped save a life.

 

To 4G or not to 4G?… Soon it won’t even be a question

Let’s face it – a lot of the shiny new devices around now have been sporting their 4G-ready badges for some time. Now they actually might get the chance to use it!

In the UK, merged network EE (formally Orange & T-Mobile) has been sporting 4G for almost a year. The other big UK networks, O2 and Vodafone, are joining in from 29 August 2013 in London (with O2 adding Leeds and Bradford also). By the end of 2014 it’ll be (almost) everywhere. If they do it right, by then we might have the same attitude to 3G we’ve had towards dial-up internet for the last ten years. They hope we’ll sit around and wonder how we ever managed without 4G in our fast-paced lives. I would be surprised if we didn’t!

But right now, there are still a lot of people wondering what this 4G stuff really is about, and whether it really is required or particularly relevant… Here’s a hint – it is!

4G LTE – The Next Generation: 

You’ll have seen this quite a lot by now – “4G LTE”: It’s the well-used acronym used for what is known as 4th Generation Long Term Evolution. To non-techies out there, that means it’s the “superfast broadband” equivalent for your mobiles, tablets and dongles. It will make doing online with mobile devices a whizzy doddle. It uses the same frequency as your old telly used to before it went digital – and it’s been recycled into the shiny new “Next Gen” of mobile devices; a new era of online interaction with the world.

Currently, 4GEE (running on EE) manages “up to” 60Mbps (megabits per second). To put that in perspective, the average home broadband manages “up to” 16Mbps in a good area, with fibre-optic “superfast” broadband like BT Infinity running “up to” 76Mbps. Technically, 4G is capable of delivering as much as 120Mbps. 3G services generally offer an average of 1.5Mbps – so not only is 4G a radically better service, it’s also even capable of beating the socks off your home wifi too. That’s just win-win.

Basically, this all means that using 4G is going to be really fast. FaceBook Check-In in nanoseconds – here we come!

Racehorses or Ponies?

Our new and shiny mobile devices are currently like hyped up racehorses stuck in a stable box – what they really need is to be allowed to do is run. This is what 4G is going to allow them to do. If you have (or are thinking about buying) one of the new snazzy 4G phones out there, you’ll be missing out on its breakneck online speeds if you ignore this new network opportunity, keeping your shiny new racehorse stuck in its stable. You’ll make it very sad, I’m sure.

But not every shiny new phone has a 4G ready badge, though – and the most surprising behemoth not to carry it is Apple’s latest flagship, iPhone 5. This is the one phone you would have expected to be a racehorse – but no. It’s a slower little 3G pony. Apple’s only racehorses in the 4G steeplechase are iPad 4 [Retina] and iPad Mini – and these thoroughbreds are rearing to go with a new 4G SIM.

The biggest racehorse out there is everyone’s favourite, the Samsung Galaxy S4. The entire S4 family is actually 4G ready, as is the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. Standing tall next to them are the new BlackBerry 10s, HTC One, the Nokia Lumia high-end range, and the Sony Z. Also rearing to go are tablets Sony Xperia Tablet Z, Google Nexus 7 and Galaxy Note 10.1. It won’t be long until there are many, many more, though, have no doubt!

To 4G or not to 4G? 

This new technology is still evolving and it’s still getting better. It’s going to end up being awesome – because we’ll be able to do everything online better and faster. You’re witnessing the start of the latest online revolution. 4G will once again radically change the way we use online services.

Having 4G will mean we can finally do what we always wanted to do with our hi-tech mobile devices: Watch iPlayer, download a new movie, and email large photos, videos or documents all at the same time without it lagging or buffering or failing whilst out and about. The kids can stream CBeebies in the back of the car without moaning every five minutes because it’s freezing. You can download a new film and actually watch it whilst your train is delayed – without having to wait longer for the download than you do for the train…

You get the idea. You can do a lot you couldn’t do now without throwing your phone out the car window in frustration.

Is It worth It?

Within 12 months you probably won’t even need to ask, it will just be the norm. It might not be nationwide and particularly affordable right now – but give it another few months and those prices will start toppling as the network and competition grows.

Like most new tech, the price is always high and usage allowance low at the beginning of its lifespan. For most people, the best advice with new technology is always to stay back and watch it evolve before getting involved.

Those who remember the transition from dial-up Internet to home broadband will recall a similar experience – but this goes to show that a little time and competition quickly lowers company prices and increases usage allowance to turn customers’ heads to their own product. Also, just like the transition from dial-up to broadband, this is the new future of the Internet and we will soon wonder however we managed without it…

Here Comes the Money:

These new 4G price tariffs just might make your eyes water, if you thought paying about £10 for 1GB for your iPad 3G network was a lot… There are “special offers” around to try and incentivise you – but they might only do so if you’re easily pleased:

EE

These guys were the first out there offering 4G and they also offer the best data-allowance options, but you are going to have to be prepared to pay more for it:

Their 24-month contract includes unlimited talk/text with 1GB data and is £32 – but you can have up to 20GB if you’re willing to pay £51 for it.

They all also come with free music streaming add-on with Deezer and free BT Openzone wifi usage. As with all EE tariffs, you also get the 2 for 1 EE Film cinema ticket offer (previously known as “Orange Wednesdays”).

EE also have a broadband-only SIM for tablets, eReaders and dongles on both Pay & Go and Pay Monthly plans from £15.99 for 3GB. This includes free use of BT Openzone wifi and Virgin Media’s Wifi on the Underground (wifi access on the London Underground network), as well as the EE Film 2 for 1 cinema ticket offer.

O2

Their lowest 4G monthly phone tariff is £22 on O2 Refresh for unlimited talk/text with 1GB of data – but if you’re looking to actually use 4G for what it was designed for, this goes up to £32 for up to 8GB of data usage (these introductory offers and data-allowances end 31 October, though), all on a 24-month contract.

4G Simplicity starts at £26 for unlimited talk/text with 1GB of data, up to 8GB of data for £36 (again, these introductory offers and data-allowances end 31 October).

These prices come with 1 year of free music streaming with O2 Tracks, free O2 Wifi use, and free online gameplay on O2 Games as well (data usage free when playing online multiplayer games on 4G device on a 4G tariff).

Vodafone

Their lowest plan SIM-only from £26 for 2GB of data with 6 months of free Sky Sports or Spotify, and a max of 8GB for £36 with 12 months of free Sky Sports or Spotify. Both have only 750MB of free wifi usage.

For a 24-month plan they offer unlimited talk/text with 2GB data “from” £31 per month (dependent on “free” handset choice), up to £38 if your handset choice happens to be the Galaxy S4. Their highest data offer is 8GB “from” £40, and can reach up to £57 if your handset choice is the Galaxy Note 2.

You also get 6 months of free Spotify or Sky Sports mobile use as a special offer, all on a 24 month contract.

Prepare to pay much more for 12 month contracts!

 

 

 

4G Logo

Announced 14th March 2013 in a spectacular Broadway-style production, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was unveiled in New York to a grand fanfare. Samsung went to a huge amount of trouble to bring in their new toy with a song and dance – but was the device as dramatic as the production… or was the production simply a distraction to big-up an over-puffed new device? 

At first glance you might not even realise it actually is a new phone – it looks almost identical to its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. Some commentators have even dubbed it the “Galaxy S3-Plus”, as it seems to have very little difference between the two products. Most have made comparisons to iPhone 5, especially when referring to it as more of a “tech-upgrade” to the S3 than a revolutionary overhaul – and you can hardly blame anyone for putting it up against something that came out a mere seven months ago, as iPhone 5 was.

 However, seven months is like a lifetime in tech-land. Out in April 2013 – the 26th to be exact, the S4 is racing away in the tech-stakes, ready to out-smart it’s smartest Smartphone rival.

 

A Galaxy Offering The World…

It’s long been said that it’s what on the inside that counts – and the Galaxy S4 has plenty on the inside to make it count. It is actually rather a tech-marvel. This latest edition of the Galaxy series sports an incredibly impressive octo-core processor (count ’em – that’s 8 Samsung-created ‘Exynos 5’ processors) running at 1.6GHz – that’s a lot of power for a little phone – and they are supported by 2GB of RAM… In other words, it’s almost completely surprising that it doesn’t do the washing up, drive the car, sort out the laundry, and all this whilst doing everything for you – as well as make your phone calls on it. It also means this little phone has equal specs – in some cases, better specs – than some average household PCs.

Running on Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2), this handset makes the most of what this OS platform is capable of. It supports the new “Smart” technology that Samsung has built into this handset, and they certainly sound like very fun and handy extras to have. First there are the “Air Gestures” – you only need to hover your hand over the screen and the phone will react to what you’re doing. Hover your finger over emails to preview them with Air View,  answer calls with Air Call Accept, flip through music and pictures, or skip to the top of a list without ever having to touch your phone – great if you’ve got messy fingers from eating or cooking. Then there’s also Smart Scroll – tilt the device to scroll up and down; Smart Stay – tracking your eyes to tell what you’re looking at; and Smart Pause – will pause video you’re watching if you stop watching it.

The S4 is integrated with the new NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, so Google Wallet can be used to pay in stores, and music and pictures can be shared via Group Play. With just one little bump of the handset onto another NFC device – whether mobile phone or a specially-designed piece of hardware like a payment machine (it’s the same idea as how London’s Oyster Card system, or your “Connect” debit card, works) – the data, or payment, is transmitted easily and instantaneously from one device to the other. It also sports 4G LTE, so it’s ready to go when your chosen network starts using 4G services – and offers a decent data package for using it.

 

Screen Icon

With a 5-inch full-HD Super AMOLED screen (with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels), protected from scrapes by Gorilla Glass 3, the S4 is perfect for watching videos and movies, as well as looking at your pictures  – taken on its 13 MP camera. This is coupled with a  2MP front-facing camera – which is also used together with the main camera in the “Dual Camera” function. This is a clever, new idea that allows the photographer to appear in pictures, videos, video calls along with everyone else, by taking a picture/video recording of them with the front-facing camera at the same time as the main back camera records everyone else. It enables everyone to be in the video call, picture, or video recording at the same time, with no one left out.

With up to 64GB of on-board memory, all the movies, music, pictures and videos you’ll want to keep will be easy to store on the phone without a problem. There will be the usual lineup of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB edition handsets, but they can also be upgraded with micro SD memory cards for even more storage – so you can add up to an extra 64GB on top of the on-board memory (that the handset carries internally).

All this is encased in an almost identical handset to its S3 predecessor, available in “Black Forest” and “White Frost”. It is thinner and lighter, and slightly bigger, than the S3 though – and given what it carries in it, it’s quite impressive that Samsung manage to offer much more tech with less space.

 

Because I’m Worth It…?

This is no doubt why there have been reports of a flurry of trade-ins for the new shiny toy coming to the market. However, and interestingly, it has also been reported these are predominantly from Samsung users who are looking for the next upgrade, rather those who are looking to trade from other manufacturers.

If the specs indeed live up to their promise and the tech really is as amazing as it sounds, there’s no doubt it’ll be flying off the shelves no matter what the price tag on it will be – regardless of the fact it looks like the S3’s almost-twin brother.

It’s quite easy to imagine that all that processing power, the 13MP camera with Dual Camera ability, and all the “Smart” tech integrated into the system (and who wouldn’t be swayed by a phone who knows what you want almost as you think it, even if it is just by tracking your eyes and where you hover your hand?) will convince us that now even touching a device is “so eighteen-months-ago…” and make us even more demanding and lazy when it comes to usability – heaven forbid we have to actually manually scroll through things anymore when the phone should simply do it for you…

Is it worth it? I imagine there will be people out there in a few months time wondering how they ever managed to survive without it!

***

 – Here Comes The Science! –  

THE MAIN SPECS

  • Octo-core (8 Exynos 5 processors) running at 1.6GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5″ Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) Super AMOLED screen
  • Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS
  • 13MP camera / 2MP front facing, with Dual Camera function
  • 16GB/ 32GB/ 64GB Handsets (in Black Forest or White Frost)
  • Micro SD slot for extra memory
  • “Smart” tech – Smart Scroll, Smart Stay, Smart Pause, Air Gestures
  • NFC
  • Wifi (802.1)
  • Bluetooth (4.0)
  • 4G LTE (ready)

 

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S-IV

BlackBerry 10 – with its stunning handset incarnations of Z10 and Q10 – has inevitably stolen the show from all other BlackBerrys out on the market. But with the high-end, eye-watering RRP of £479.99, these ‘next-gen’ handsets are for those willing to invest in a different breed of BlackBerry than RIM has brought to us before.

So what of those left behind in their impressive wake?

The last two generations (i.e. BlackBerry 6 & 7) – particularly the Curve series – quite established itself as a solid mid-range choice of handset, building on the legacy of the BlackBerry 5. The 8520 and 9300 (or Curve 3G, as is was better known) began the precedent on BlackBerry 5, and then 9300 upgraded to BlackBerry 6. Then came the BlackBerry 7 as of summer 2011, and this incarnation has been just as popular, with the 9320 and 9360 handsets.

 

Moving On Up…
The BlackBerry 7 generation is a great step up for those still holding onto their 8520 or 9300 Curves. The higher-spec BlackBerry Curve 9360 is probably the most popular to upgrade to – even despite a slightly higher price. But it’s been out on the market a while now, and the BlackBerry 10 handsets are impressive… Therefore some may – rather pointedly – question whether the Curve 9360 is now an irrelevant BlackBerry.

The answer has to be undoubtedly a resounding No. Its definitely not irrelevant. This is still a popular and high-quality BlackBerry, sitting comfortably in that nice mid-range, with easy usability, a great and simple OS, capable tech, great specs, and a good price to recommend itself.

For anyone looking to upgrade from a previous Curve handset, or for those who prefer the Qwerty keyboard and is already a BlackBerry fan (and doesn’t want the hefty price tag of a Bold or Q10) this is assuredly a solid choice to make.

 

A Curve Above The Rest:
The 9360 sits on the BlackBerry 7 OS (Operating System). This has essentially taken inspiration from its previous incarnation of BlackBerry 6 and has made it better – it’s arguably what BlackBerry 6 should have been in the first place. There’s double the RAM and on-board memory from previous Curves to support it – 512MB of each, and an 800MHz processor to power it – basically meaning its got a lot more internal memory and is much faster at working than the last generation. And you can add higher-storage microSD memory cards – with up to 32GB to store all your pictures, apps, videos, and anything else that takes your fancy.

The BlackBerry 7 OS itself is clean, smooth, fast and sharp, with fluid interaction – it’s a simple, clearly-easy system for the hardware to run. Those familiar with the BlackBerry 6 platform is going to feel right at home and happy with this incarnation of the Curve – as it essentially has the same UI (User Interface – i.e. the way it’s laid out) – but everything runs smoother, apps work better, and using FaceBook and Twitter is no longer a waiting game of loading times.

It comes with all the BlackBerry staples – BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry World App Store, Docs To Go, BlackBerry Maps, push email, BlackBerry calendar, is pre-loaded Twitter and FaceBook apps, and of course there’s the new BlackBerry Browser – which now has HTML5 support (and there’s so much more, too). Their performance is greatly improved from the last generation Curves, and the difference is immediately apparent thanks to better RAM space and higher processor speed.

There is now even the option of online web calls over BlackBerry Messenger with BBM Voice. As long as you’re attached to a wifi connection you can call your BBM contacts over the Internet for free.

 

Sleek & Sophisticated
The BlackBerry 7 OS is very user-friendly and is shown off well on the clear and bright HVGA (480×360 pixels) screen of the 9360. The sleek and slim handset is a new stylish twist on the previous Curve design, and even the keyboard buttons are redesigned to look and feel better – and they’re just as responsive and easy to use. The camera packs 5MP with a 4x zoom and flash, and is coupled by VGA (0.3MP) video recording. There’s also NFC (Near Field Communication) on board this version of BlackBerry – so you can tap other NFC devices or tags to share data, contact details, and so on.

The music player is one that certainly impresses, offering sounds that are clear and brings out the bass and treble well through headphones. The tone is sharp and clean and it allows depth of sound that probably won’t have been heard on other music players. This is especially more notably welcome if you’re upgrading from the BlackBerry 5 8520 Curve.

New handsets are easy to set up (especially if you have a BlackBerry ID account already) and easy to use as soon as they come out of the box. All your BlackBerry apps and information can be transferred from a previous handset by linking it to BlackBerry Desktop on your PC/Mac (assuming you’ve backed-up the old handset onto the computer), or you can reinstall any – or all – your apps manually from BlackBerry World (with no extra cost for apps you paid for). Whether this is your first, second, or even third BlackBerry, this is a breeze to set up and use immediately – a dream phone of capable simplicity.

 

Because I’m Worth It:
No one in their right mind is going to put a Curve up against the Z10 or Q10, or even a Bold – but compare it to the last generation Curves and this will impress… And so will the price.

BlackBerrys are mainly made and bought to be pretty and functional. They’re fancy little personal assistants and this is definitely where they shine. But it also has all the things that other mobile phone entertainment units have – and the BlackBerry World app store has all the necessities, and this lovely handset has the capacity to use them well.

You get a smart design, easy and fluid OS, the famous Qwerty keyboard and trackpad, a beautiful and sleek handset of excellent and robust quality, and everything shown off on a bright, clear and customisable screen – on top of everything else you except from RIM’s famous little handsets.

Even better, you can get it in one of four different colours – black, purple, pink and white… So the only real question about this phone is… Which colour is your favourite to get it in?

 

***

Here Comes The Science! –

THE MAIN SPECS

 

  • BlackBerry OS 7
  • 512 MB RAM / 512MB Internal Memory
  • Up to 32GB Micro SD memory card
  • 800MHz processor
  • 5MP camera/ Flash / 4x Zoom
  • VGA (approx 0.3MP) Video recording
  • 480×360 HVGA Display Screen
  • Up to 5-7 hours talk time
  • Qwerty keyboard & Optical Trackpad
  • Wifi 802.11
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • GPS & BlackBerry Maps

 

Full Specs at GSM Arena
http://www.gsmarena.com/blackberry_curve_9360-3722.php

BlackBerry UK – Official BlackBerry 9360 site
http://uk.blackberry.com/smartphones/blackberry-curve-9360.html

 

 

20130225-205230.jpg

 

I’ve noticed so many people commenting that iPhone 5 isn’t really any different from the other iPhones. OK, I can kind-of understand why… But it’s on a superficial level only.

Now, granted, it may not be a huge deviation from the iPhone 4S (although it is a much larger jump from the older iPhone handsets). It looks basically the same, except its been slightly elongated, and it feels about half the weight – another “criticism” I’ve heard (which I’ve been guilty of originally thinking myself) is that it feels so light it’s like a toy.

But still, it might just be worth your while taking another look at this little piece of loveliness.

 

Longer. Lighter. Faster: Better:

Longer, Shinier Screen:  This gives you 4 extra apps (or one extra line) on the screen of each page, but it also turns the iPhone into a “proper” widescreen handset, with a 16:9 ratio – just the same as your HD/3D flat screen at home. This means that you get to watch your TV shows and movies in the way they were meant to be seen – in Widescreen. Retina display and better colour definition, everything will look brighter and shinier than ever before – and it also has fingerprint-resistant coating, so there’s less smudging.

Different Feel: It’s lighter, but that’s not a bad thing – it’s actually quite a brilliant thing. This comes from a rather fabulous idea – to create the body out of perfectly-proportioned aluminium… That’s the same stuff that makes the MacBook Air and new MacBook Pro the lightest laptops around – so no wonder it feels as light as a feather. It also makes it rather difficult to damage – a great plus if you’re as klutzy as I am. And it makes it even easier to entertain yourself, which is definitely also a very good thing!

Faster Surfing: The iPhone 5 is 4G ready. 4G simply means “4th Generation” of mobile network, and will obviously still support 3G. 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) is basically mobile Internet joining the ranks of home broadband – up to around 100mbps. This is newly being rolled out in the UK, with EE (the Orange/T-Mobile merged company, Everyone Everywhere) being the first provider. Over the next 18 months/2 years this should become as standard as 3G is now, allowing us all to live online and rely on our mobile networks much more than we can now. With this handset Apple is ensuring they, and their customers, are fully prepared for when your choice of network is ready to offer the better 4G option with a data package to suit. As always with Apple, they ensure they are instigating and remain ahead of the future, not just playing catchup.

 

The Hardware:

I Have The Power: The piece-de-resistance of their new catalogue of Cool New Stuff is quite probably their new processor chip. The A6 (as its called) is up to twice as fast as the A5 that sits in the iPhone 4S and is probably the best thing to happen to the iPhone. This is the new engine of the machine that powers its brain (if you like) and therefore you can play games, go through websites, launch and use apps [etc] twice as fast. If your older iPhone doesn’t work as well with the new iOS 6 system and its newly-updated apps, its probably because they’re now built to be used by this processor. The chip itself is also smaller – on of the main reasons the iPhone 5 is thinner – and it requires less battery power to use.

Controversial Charging: The one major change emitting scowling-faces from previous Apple-owners is the new Lightning Adapter. But this change is a really good thing. It’s now a tiny, magnetised, harder-to-break charging wire, and there’s no “right way round” for it to go – you can stick it any way you care to. It might make it incompatible with your current iPod docks, but this docking-system is nearly a decade old and Apple are quite clearly telling us it’s time to move on. They’re now strongly dictating that the way-forward for mobile music is AirPlay – using wifi and Bluetooth to stream music from any device into your speaker system. If you want to stick to using your dock, it’s currently about £25 to buy an adapter for the dock to fit your new iPhone 5 onto it.

 

Because I’m  Worth It:

Buying an Apple product is buying into a lifestyle – and it’s a futuristic one. Apple works hard to create the future norms, not trail helplessly after them. The iPhone 5 showed us what the next step for phones was to be, setting the president that all other phone manufacturers had to raise the bar to match. It re-designed the iPhone experience in small, but effective, ways – allowing it to be a better phone and entertainment system.

In getting any iPhone you’re brought into a great tech world to play in. With iPhone 5 you’re getting a better version of that experience and, thanks to its A6 chip, you get to do everything even faster and more efficiently. Apple seem to be simply perfecting their handset design even further, to make the Apple experience an even more enjoyable one.

It’s a cool gadget, on the most popular multi-media mobile platform (iOS), with all the mod-cons and cool tech you need – and the awesome apps and games to go with it. It might do everything iPhone 4S does… But it does them so much better. It also has so more to offer. This is definitely a phone for the future, and it’ll set you up all ready for when that future turns up… Which is round about now!

With Apple, you get what you pay for, and they are most definitely worth it.

***

 – Here Comes The Science! –  

THE KEY SPECS

  • iOS 6 system
  • A6 Single-Core Processor
  • 4G ready
  • 8MP camera with Flash and 1080p (HD) video recording
  • Up to 8 hours of talk time and/or internet time on 3G
  • 720p iSight front-facing camera (with the lens now made from Sapphire crystal – so that’s one tough cookie to scratch)
  • Retina HD Display with 16:9 Ratio
  • Wifi 802.11 (dual band wifi, capable of running on up to 150mbps of wifi signal – good news if you’re in a fibre-optic area of broadband)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (faster and better than the previous kind)
  • GPS

 

 

iPhone 5

iPhone 5

Apple - Think Different

Apple – Think Different

Research In Motion is Moving Again… 

This is the week that RIM brought the new BlackBerry 10 to the world, with its debut on January 30th 2013. For them it is possibly the defining moment of their company… For us, it’s a cool new gadget to play with!

 

Two new handsets (one touchscreen, one with keyboard), one new Operating System, 70,000+ apps and counting… BlackBerry is looking like a viable contender in the market once more. Hoorah!

 

The best thing RIM could do was return the BlackBerry phone to its former exclusive standing, instead of making them £120 toys for children. This was probably why they went rather quickly sliding downhill – without much of a tech standing anymore in the market their phones have been seen as nothing but kids’ toys – just as other cheap, pink handsets are seen. Frankly, when you can only seem to get plastic pink penguins and Hannah Montana accessories for the most recent set of BB Curves, you know it’s a lost cause and you’re never going to be taken seriously!

The starting price for the Z10 (touchscreen) handset is a rather eye-watering £479.99 (in the UK on Pay-&-Go). Many handsets often have a high starting price and fall… But this is standing shoulder-shoulder with the other expensive phones out there, and I can’t see why its price should fall. Their tech seems highly up to standard and the OS (Operating System) is probably much better than Android (… no, I’m not a fan…). Give it some time and I think RIMs reputation will be saved with this.

The new Z10 has already had public endorsements on Twitter from the likes of Sir Alan Sugar, Piers Morgan and Stephen Fry, amongst others – so finally, they seem to be doing something right!

 

Apps:

Once its downfall, BlackBerry now seems to have finally dipped its toes firmly into the App market – and with some conviction, which is a bit of a relief for us BlackBerry fans,  I would have imagined.

The @BlackBerryDev, @BlackBerry, @UK_BlackBerry Twitter updates along the journey of its production, through the BlackBerry Jams, and up to the Big Reveal has been exciting to watch, and I’ve been so excited with what’s come out of it. Through the “BlackBerry Jams” (I do love that name!), they have been encouraging devs (software/game developers) to create and/or port (transfer) their apps and games to the new BB10 OS platform, and it seems to have resulted in a rather cool range of launch-products for their shiny new handsets – the Z10 & Q10. All they need to do now is to make BlackBerry World an app store that devs will want to produce apps and games for, so BlackBerry fans have some great stuff to play with too!

 

Already available to download now from BlackBerry World are a wide range of apps:

Games: Angry Birds Star Wars, Pocket Ninjas, Babel Rising 3D, The Bard’s Tale

Social Networking: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flixter, Foursquare

Media: The Evening Standard, The Weather Network, OK Magazine, BBC News, BBC Sport, Tune In Radio, BBC iPlayer…

And that’s just the tip of the very large iceberg. You get the idea… There’s now much more than quite a few to choose from – but I won’t be listing all 70,000!

 

 

Multi-Media:

As well as these apps, there is now not only a dedicated Music Store in BlackBerry World, but also a Video Store (click here to check it out). You can now download your favourite albums, films and TV shows to your new BlackBerry from their app store and watch them on the go.

Anything from Friends to BBC’s Sherlock, and An Affair To Remember to Prometheus is on here, and the movies are available to rent or buy. There’s a really decent selection – they have some really great films and shows from all through the decades, up to the most recent releases. Given this is what they’re just starting with, it should be a hopeful indication of what’s still to come, and BlackBerry can show it’s got the ability to stand head-to-head against iTunes and GooglePlay in terms of choice and pricing in the near-future.

 

 

Because I’m Worth It… 

Now RIM has the BlackBerry 10 OS Platform and two shiny new handsets with rather cool tech – and the apps/music/movies to go with them – RIM can now be taken a little more seriously as a tech company, once again.

For the last few years, they’ve been little more than a children’s toy manufacturer, if their Curve handsets are anything to go by. But this fun, smart and functional – if expensive – BB10 platform should definitely be the spark that changes all that for them. They’re playing with the big-guns now, and they’re putting a lot of effort in to prove they can hold their own.

The new design of handset and OS seems smart, sleek and sophisticated, and hopefully won’t – ever – come in baby pink and violet. The app store at launch already looks very impressive, with added bonus of music and video store integration – and the promise of what’s yet to come is also hot in the air… This is only the beginning, and it’s already looking pretty damned good.

Hopefully, RIM has now realised it needs to be taken seriously to be an active contender for a more grown-up market looking for something different in style and class, not in gimmickry and “exclusive colours”. Hopefully they will be more focused, like Apple is – putting more value on the quality and tech of what’s under the hood, rather than how many colours it can be manufactured in.

I’m really looking forward to getting mine. Just one question… Q10 or Z10 – how do you prefer your BlackBerry…??

***

– Here Comes The Science! – 

THE SPECS – Z10:

http://uk.blackberry.com/smartphones/blackberry-z10/specifications.html

The Z10 (touchscreen model) is weighing in at a cool 16GB with a micro SD slot for up to 64GB extra (that’s a possible grand total of 80GB of space, though 2GB of that is for the OS), has a 4.2” HD, 15:6 display (widescreen), and is powered by a Dual-Core 1.5 GHz processor (which means it’s fast and great at running apps, internet sites, etc).

It also comes pre-loaded with a whole bunch of apps – including the obvious ones such as FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Docs To Go, FourSquare, Adobe Reader and Dropbox.

As well as these, it has the usual suspects of BB handset necessities, such as Contacts, Texts, BlackBerry Browser, BlackBerry World, Compass, File Manager, Calculator, Clock, Print To Go, BlackBerry Maps, and BBM – amongst others*. There is also the new BlackBerry Hub**.

 

Then there are the features that new tech should have:

NFC (Near Feld Communication – you can bump your phones together to transfer data, or use your phone to pay for things), Bluetooth 4.0, Wifi (802.11 at 2.4/5 GHz), Quadband (LTE and EDGE), GPS, and USB 2.0, as well as the always-present Auto-Correct features with Personalised Learning Engine – for more of those Damn You Autocorrect! moments… (FYI – These specifics are, in the main, the latest versions of the things you probably already use – wifi, Bluetooth, etc – and0 it just means they’re better than the older versions!)

 

It also has the following specs – amongst others:

  • BB10 OS (… obviously!)
  • 4G Compatible
  • 10 hours of talk time on 3G
  • 8MP camera with Flash (with a whole bunch of other gizmos to go with it – see full specs)
  • “Time Shift Mode” for pinpointing and adjusting individual elements of photographs taken
  • Full-HD video recorder
  • A front-facing 2MP camera
  • 720 HD video recording (on the front-facing camera)
  • Micro HDMI connection (to plug it into your HDTV)

 

**BlackBerry Hub: 

http://uk.blackberry.com/smartphones/blackberry-z10.html?CPID=KNC-kw227440_p8&HBX_PK=rim|3b27763f-7b06-7469-632a-00003cffc4e8

 

BB Z10 Handset

BB Z10 Handset

BB Q10 Handset