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Two Countries, Two Vastly Different Phone Bills

Two Countries, Two Vastly Different Phone Bills
If your monthly cellphone bill seems high, that may be because American cellphone service is among the most costly in the world. A comparison of two similar plans, one in the United States and one in Britain, reveals a marked difference. Both plans …
Read more on New York Times

10 awesome things you didn't know your phone could do
You've had your smartphone for a while, but let's face it: You've never read the manual. You take great pride that you know how to use it, and then it happens: You see someone do something extraordinary with his or her phone that you did not know was …
Read more on Fox News

The Top 50 Part-Time Work From Home Jobs

Boulder, CO (PRWEB) August 12, 2014

For job seekers looking to work from home on a part-time basis, FlexJobs has identified the top 50 job categories that had the most open positions in the last year. The list was compiled by analyzing job listing data from September 2013 through July 2014 for jobs that offered part-time hours and the option to work from home. According to FlexJobs’ CEO Sara Sutton Fell, job seekers who are most interested in these types of flexible jobs include mothers, retirees, caregivers, military spouses, graduate students, people with disabilities, and any professionals interested finding better work-life balance.

The “back to school” season often generates an increase in stay at home moms (and dads) looking for part-time work once their children are in school for much of the day. In a FlexJobs survey last year of working parents, 33% of respondents said that having their children back in school was a reason for their job search. Additionally, 82% said that having a flexible job was “very important” to them as parents of school aged children.

For parents and other audiences looking for flexible work, here are the top 50 part-time work from home job categories over the past year:

1.    Computer & IT            

2.    Medical & Health        

3.    Customer Service        

4.    Education & Training    

5.    Web & Software Dev        

6.    Writing                    

7.    Inbound Call            

8.    Call Center                

9.    Teaching                

10.    Sales                    

11.    Bilingual                

12.    Online Content            

13.    K-12 Teaching        

14.    Project Management        

15.    College & University Teaching        

16.    News & Journalism        

17.    Manager                    

18.    Research                

19.    Insurance                

20.    Nursing                    

21.    Analyst                    

22.    Technical Support        

23.    Internet & Ecommerce    

24.    Medical Coding            

25.    Consulting                

26.    Accounting & Finance    

27.    Marketing                

28.    HR & Recruiting            

29.    Editing                    

30.    Administrative            

31.    Business Development    

32.    Account Management        

33.    Travel & Hospitality    

34.    Science                    

35.    Math & Economics        

36.    Data Entry                

37.    Client Services            

38.    IT Consulting                            

39.    Case Management            

40.    Translation                            

41.    Virtual Admin            

42.    Human Services            

43.    Sales Representative    

44.    Art & Creative                        

45.    Graphic Design            

46.    Pharmaceutical            

47.    Nonprofit & Philanthropy

48.    Web Design                

49.    Advertising & PR        

50.    Entertainment & Media    

“Of course these flexible job options appeal to any job seeker searching for better work-life balance,” Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs shared. “But it’s worth noting that these types of schedules and available positions are an eye-opener for any parent thinking about returning to the workforce now that schools across the country are back in session or about to start. Many people don’t realize they can work part-time from home in a legitimate, professional-level job during school hours.”

For moms in particular, part-time work-from-home jobs can be a step back into the workforce or a chance to find better balance if they’re already working. Pew Research found that 47 percent of all moms say their ideal situation would be to work part-time, and 44 percent of moms currently working full-time would rather work part-time.

For people at or near retirement, part-time work-from-home jobs may be necessity. The Federal Reserve just released statistics that show that almost 20 percent of people aged 55 to 64 years have zero dollars saved for retirement. And almost half of current retirees, and 72 percent of those near retirement, will need or want to work at least part-time, rather than retire completely according to a new study.

“There are several full-time jobs offering the option to telecommute as well,” added Fell. “But we thought it was especially timely to view the different part-time options now that school is back in session.”

For more information on the list of 50 top work-from-home job categories and job details, visit: http://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/top-50-part-time-work-from-home-jobs/

About FlexJobs

FlexJobs is the leading online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs. With job listings in over 50 career categories and opportunities ranging from entry-level to executive, freelance to full-time, FlexJobs offers job seekers a safe, easy, and efficient way to find professional and legitimate flexible job listings. Having helped over a half million people in their job searches, FlexJobs has been featured on CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Good Morning America, among hundreds of other trusted media and is a proud partner in the 1 Million for Work Flexibility initiative.







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Mach Speed Trio Stealth Lite 4GB Mobile Internet Tablet 4.3″ Black CHOP 3CT1z3

mobile Internet eBay auctions you should keep an eye on:


100% Free Wireless Internet -- FreedomPop iPod Sleeve Mobile 4G Hotspot

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CBS2′s Serene Branson Puts 'Taxi Magic' Mobile App To The Test

CBS2′s Serene Branson Puts 'Taxi Magic' Mobile App To The Test
EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA.com) — A mobile app for taxis, similar to the increasingly popular ride-sharing apps and being used by most Taxi companies in LA, was put to the test. “Taxi Magic” claims it has the same features as ride-sharing services, and local …
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SF cracks down on 'Monkey Parking' mobile app
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Pay-by-Cell Mobile App Launches in Arlington
If you're a frequent driver in Arlington County, you soon won't need to worry about saving up coins for parking — you'll be able to pay the meters with just a tap of your cell phone. The pay-by-cell mobile app, which you may recognize from parking …
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Listen to Amazon Prime Music on your mobile device
From there you'll need the Amazon Music mobile app for your device. On Android, this was previously known as Amazon MP3, while iOS users knew it as Amazon Cloud Player. If you already have either of these apps installed, hit your app store and grab the …
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Alibaba Acquires UCWeb, Maker Of China's Most Popular Mobile Browser
UCWeb will join UC Mobile, one of Alibaba's business unit as Alibaba preps for its U.S. IPO. Though Alibaba did not disclose how much the deal is worth, it did say that it is worth more than the $ 1.9 billion paid for 91 Wireless by Baidu last year …
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Should Sprint buy T-Mobile?
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T-Mobile Un-carrier 5.0: June Event Continues The Network's Mobile Industry

T-Mobile Un-carrier 5.0: June Event Continues The Network's Mobile Industry
T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) continues its shake up the wireless industry in the U.S. with its “Un-carrier” initiative, which soon moves into its fifth phase. Since early 2013 the Magenta network has been altering the way mobile consumers think about …
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Man arrested after two bodies found in Holiday mobile home
They found him 12 hours later, walking along Maybury Drive, about 2 miles from Rossi's mobile home. He was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder. He has an arrest record in Florida that dates to 1989 and includes convictions for battery, grand …
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Child Fingerprinting Event for Kingsport Hosted by Bill Lawson State Farm and TNCHIP


Kingsport, TN (PRWEB) May 08, 2014

This is Bill Lawson’s inaugural customer appreciation day and is dedicated to the families in the community. Bill Lawson State Farm Agency is working with the TNCHIP Program, an affiliate of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to provide fingerprinting services and DNA swabs for the children of the community at the event. Parents will be given a CD with their children’s digital fingerprints. This CD would be invaluable for the authorities in the event a child goes missing. In addition, volunteers will be on hand to swab the cheeks of children so that parents have DNA samples to keep on file at home, as well.

In addition, the Bill Lawson State Farm will be providing lunch, cornhole games and prizes making for a fun-filled event. Several local businesses will also join in the festivities including M.A.D. MOB, a local mobile car washing and detail company who will be on site offering car washes at a reduced price. Tropic Tanz, a local tanning salon will be giving away a gift basket as one of the prizes and The Bridge Home No Kill Animal Rescue will be on hand promoting pet adoption and offering information for spaying and neutering families’ pets at either a discounted price or for free.

“We think it is important to give back and are thrilled to be able to help the families in our community,” said owner, Bill Lawson. “We planned the event for the first Friday kids are out of school for the summer and in conjunction with the Take 25 Program, which asks parents to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety.”

The agency sells homeowners insurance, renter’s insurance, condo insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, commercial insurance, motorcycle insurance, RV insurance and umbrella policies. They also provide retirement planning and bank services, including mortgages and vehicle financing.

For a free insurance quote or for more information about the event, please visit http://www.statefarm.com/agent/US/TN/Kingsport/Bill-Lawson-FRFHF317000 or call 423-239-9429.

About Bill Lawson – State Farm Agent

Bill Lawson State Farm offers auto, life and health insurances.

About NALA™

The NALA is a full service marketing agency for local business owners offering new online advertising and small business marketing tools, great business benefits, education and money-saving programs, as well as a charity program.

PR Contact: Tiffani Tendell

ttendell(at)thenala(dot)com

805.650.6121, ext. 361







2014 Global Mobile Broadband – Insights And Statistics For A Game Changing Industry: Worldwide Share, Investment Trends, Growth, Strategy and Forecast Research Report


(PRWEB) April 26, 2014

Mobile broadband – the key growth area for global telecoms industry

The ongoing improvements in infrastructure have driven the continuing uptake of mobility and broadband around the world and in 2014 mobile broadband is the fastest growth area overall for the global telecoms sector. But increased usage has caused data traffic jams on the 3G networks because this infrastructure cannot cope with the rapid increase in traffic over the last couple of years.

Browse Full Report With TOC: http://www.marketresearchreports.biz/analysis-details/global-mobile-broadband-insights-and-statistics-for-a-game-changing-industry.

The release of 4G/LTE mobile broadband will certainly ease the issue in the short term and anticipation of this growing demand has resulted in LTE becoming the fastest developing mobile technology to date.

The global mobile industry has been busy developing amazing applications and services for smart phones and devices over the past few years – but it is important to remember that if the infrastructure cannot handle the capacity then this market will quickly stall. The developed markets are already eating up new spectrum with a voracious appetite and it is expected that the current new spectrum allocations for LTE will start to run out in 3-5 years’ time – and at this stage there is no clear technical solution ahead for the industry. Many see heterogeneous infrastructure as the way forward– in other words, a conglomeration of technology all tied together – and while this will work; the overall quality and reliability of the network is bound to suffer.

The interest in the VoLTE market is expected to accelerate as LTE networks become more mass market. Cellular operators in the US have gone to great lengths to expand LTE availability across the country. As a result, the US will become a key market for VoLTE services in coming years, with operators and consumers alike benefiting from the scale of LTE and LTE-A network footprints. In South Korea in 2013, KT reported that it was also making significant progress in expanding the coverage of its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network.

To Download Full Report With TOC: http://www.marketresearchreports.biz/sample/sample/195372

The increasingly important WiFi market is slowly but surely seeing more sophisticated WiFi products emerge. This level of sophistication is occurring in enterprise and carrier markets and also finding its way into the hotspot market – where it will become the critical hub for the rapidly increasing home network market. It must be recognised that WiFi plays a key role in the telecoms environment of the future. The use of WiFi hotspots continues to rise due to increasing popularity from smart phone and mobile device users.

Examples of key insights:

LTE development continues apace and there is no doubt that LTE is going to take a prime position in broadband developments. With competitively priced services, innovative smartphones and an increasing range of very innovative apps this market is set to continue to boom. Japan, South Korea, USA and Scandinavia are just some of the leading markets in terms of LTE.

Voice-Over LTE (VoLTE) is an emerging service on LTE networks, particularly in the USA and South Korea.

Mobile VoIP is becoming a key area of focus, particularly in Europe and North America.

Smartphone users want faster, more ubiquitous and reliable connectivity, while operators are looking to squeeze every last bit of capacity out of their cellular networks. As a result, smarter WiFi is needed so that it can take on a more strategic role as part of the overall mobile network infrastructure. Ultimately users simply want the fastest and most reliable wireless connection they can get.

The boom in Wi-Fi is also resulting in a growing WiFi carrier equipment market.

In 2014 there are over 2 million apps available from Google Play and Apple app store combined.

The take up of 4G/LTE services has been surging in the leading markets of Asia.

To Read Complete Report With TOC: http://www.marketresearchreports.biz/analysis/195372

Table of Contents

1. Mobile Broadband Insights and Statistics

1.1 Global market summary

1.1.1 Global mobile broadband

1.2 Global mobile subscriptions

1.3 Global mobile capital expenditure (CAPEX)

1.3.1 Software-defined networks

1.3.2 Global mobile revenue

1.4 Global mobile broadband statistics

1.4.1 Mobile broadband connections and technology

2. Long Term Evolution (LTE) and VoLTE Insights and Statistics

2.1 LTE overview

2.1.1 Will LTE steal the broadband revolution?

2.1.2 Global LTE Subscriptions and deployments

2.1.3 Regional market share

2.2 VoLTE overview

2.2.1 Mobile VoIP more popular than VoLTE

2.3 First leading markets: USA and South Korea

2.3.1 VoLTE in South Korea

2.3.2 VoLTE in the USA

2.4 Further country case studies

3. Wi-Fi Insights and Statistics

3.1 WiFi starts playing a key role in telecoms

3.1.1 Who will dominate the WiFi market?

3.1.2 WiFi and the role of the telcos

3.2 WiFi business models

3.2.1 The benefits of WiFi

3.2.2 Advertising sponsored models

3.2.3 Obstacles

3.3 Venue Wifi

Latest Reports:

ICT Investment Trends In Switzerland

To Inquiry Before Buying Report: http://www.marketresearchreports.biz/analysis/195811

The ICT investment trends in Switzerland report published by Kable Global ICT Intelligence presents the findings from a survey of 46 Swiss enterprises regarding their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) investment trends. The report illustrates the core technologies enterprises are investing in, including the likes of security, content management, communications and collaboration, and cloud computing.

Key Findings

Kable’s survey of X Swiss enterprises highlights that X% of respondents are planning to increase their ICT budget in 2014, which is a staggering increase of X% compared to 2013.

Swiss enterprises are allocating the highest proportion of their hardware budgets to client computing technologies (X%) followed by storage devices (X%) in 2013.

Swiss enterprises are allocating the highest proportion of their software budgets to application lifecycle (X%) followed by enterprise applications (X%) and information management (X%) in 2013.

Synopsis

This report presents the findings from a survey of X Swiss enterprises regarding their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) investment trends. The survey investigates how Swiss enterprises currently allocate their ICT budgets across the core areas of enterprise ICT spend, namely hardware, software, IT services, communications and consulting.

To Download Full Report With TOC: http://www.marketresearchreports.biz/sample/sample/195811

The report illustrates the core technologies enterprises are investing in, including the likes of security, content management, communications and collaboration, and cloud computing. The survey also highlights the approach adopted by enterprises in Switzerland to purchase technology. Through Kable’s survey, the report aims to provide better insight to ICT vendors and services providers when pitching their solutions to enterprises in Switzerland.

In particular, it provides an in-depth analysis of the following:

Understand how ICT budgets are set to change in 2014 in terms of their overall size.

Appreciate how IT budgets are allocated across the core elements of IT spend, including hardware, software, services, communications, and consulting.

Learn how IT Euros are being spent in areas such as the data centre, applications, IT management, and network.

Gain an understanding regarding which ICT functions Swiss enterprises are interested in outsourcing.

Identify Swiss enterprises’ investment priorities based on their budget allocations across core technology categories such as mobility, communications and collaboration, green IT and virtualization, and cloud computing.

Learn about the drivers that are influencing Swiss enterprises’ investments in each technology category.

Establish how Swiss enterprises’ IT budgets are currently allocated across various segments within a technology category.

China Computer Software Industry Report, 2014 – 2017

To Read Complete Report With TOC: http://www.marketresearchreports.biz/analysis/195636

In 2013, China’s software industry characterized the followings:

1. Software industry still maintained rapid development and some business segments stood out in terms of growth rate.

In 2013, China’s software industry reported the revenue of RMB 3.1 trillion, jumping by 24.6% year on year, higher than global average of 5.7%. With respect to segments, software products, system integration & support services and data processing & operating services made up a large proportion of software business revenue, standing at 32.1%, 20.7% and 17.4% in 2013, respectively. In view of revenue growth rate, information technology consulting services and data processing & operating services kept growing fast in 2010-2013, with a CAGR of 39.2% and 35.3% separately. As the application of big data in all sectors accelerates, it is expected that data processing & operating services will take the lead in revenue growth.

2. Over 75% of revenue of software industry came from the Eastern region, while the revenue from the Northeastern and Western regions grew relatively fast.

In 2013, revenue of software business from the Eastern region accounted for 75.0% of the total, down 3.5 percentage points over 2009. During 2009-2013, the software industry witnessed relatively rapid growth in Northeastern and Western regions, with their CAGR reaching 43.2% and 42.6%, respectively, and revenue proportion trending up. In 2013, revenue from these two regions constituted 10.3% and 10.5% of the total, respectively.

To Download Full Report With TOC:

http://www.marketresearchreports.biz/sample/sample/195636

3. Domestic and foreign companies accelerated their presence in cloud computing-related businesses.

In 2013, global giants Oracle and SAP stepped up their efforts to promote cloud computing-related businesses, while IBM, Microsoft and Amazon launched their cloud computing businesses in China. At the same time, Chinese IT giants Huawei, Lenovo and Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Qihoo 360 all entered cloud market. Moreover, traditional software vendors also quickened their transformation to cloud service provider. For example, Yonyou positioned itself as a provider of software, cloud service and value-added services.

4. Technological innovations like SMAC will change business model of companies, thus creating new growth engines for software industry.

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Nokia CC-1020 Cyan Blue N9 Soft Cover

November 28, 2012

My N9 is slowly approaching the first full year of daily usage with me and I noticed that, since the N9 almost completely disappeared from the store shelves, their colorful soft covers have dropped their price, probably because at this point the stores want to get rid of the remaining stock.

You can still find them for sale in online retailers like Expansys for around €16 but I found one last cyan blue soft cover for sale in a local Nokia store for €13,90 and I couldn’t resist bring it home with me.

Inside the box, besides the soft cover, there’s just a short manual with pictures explaining how to put the cover on.

The pictures don’t make justice to how great the cover looks, probably because I used my iPad 2 camera to take them.

One can only notice that the phone is black because of the black microUSB door at the top and the black speaker at the bottom, otherwise the phone is completely covered in blue except, of course, the touchscreen.

The Nokia N9 soft covers don’t make the phone much thicker and allow the user to change the phone looks providing an extra protection against drops and wear.

Nokia N9 paid apps: GT Racing

November 7, 2012

As a car enthusiast I felt compelled, after playing the pre-installed Need For Speed Shift, to buy the other big racing title available for the N9 at the Ovi Store: GT Racing Motor Academy HD

Above you can watch a short video review about the game.

It cost me €3 and I must confess that until now, this is the only app I’m sort of having a weird case of “buyers remorse”. The graphics are good enough, there’s plenty of options, cars and game modes but the handling is, at least in comparison with the EA game, not very good and I’m not really enjoying it as I was expecting, so, if you’re not sure about if you should buy it or not, maybe you should save the money or wait until it’s cheaper before buying.

Nokia Country Variants

November 6, 2012

The PR1.3 firmware update for MeeGo Harmattan was originally launched this year in July 2nd.

Nokia published the following changelog:

  • Over 1000 quality improvements
  • Mail for Exchange (MfE) now supports client certificates
  • Localization improvements and support for new error codes with the Facebok app
  • Twitter API changes that reflect the back end infrastructure of Twitter
  • AccuWeather widget weather update fixed
  • VoIP calls now work via Skype/Gtalk when in flight mode and connected to WLAN
  • Changing the “week starts on” date within the calendar error now fixed
  • Network and connectivity improvements
  • Usability and performance improvements

Today, and despite the update having been announced officially on my country’s Nokia N9 support webpage as you can see above, more than four months since the PR1.3 original release, my Nokia N9 is yet to receive it, as you can also see in the screenshot below.

Since I bought the phone unlocked and paid full price at the retailer’s shop, I wondered why I had to wait this absurd amount of time to get this PR update that patches a huge amount of bugs.

Usually, there are two different situations regarding smartphone software updates:

  • You buy the phone to your operator, which usually means it’s carrier-locked, full of the operator’s additional software that most people don’t care about and the phone depends on the operator schedule to receive the firmware updates! The good thing about this is that the phone is usually subsidized by the operator and the customer ends up paying less for the same phone.
  • You buy your phone unlocked at some shop, not attached to some contract or anything, and you get the user experience the phone manufacturer intended when designing the phone.

Unfortunately Nokia, besides having unlocked generic phones (the so-called NDT versions) and the carrier-branded ones decided to create an additional third category:

  • The Country Variants: these are unlocked phones the consumer paid full price for and that may or may not come with some region-specific software pre-installed.

Although Nokia is apparently the only responsible for the approval of their software updates, they usually take much more time to release the updates compared to the generic NDT versions!

In fact, it’s common to see some carrier-locked devices, like Vodafone branded phones, get the PR updates before some Country Variants unlocked phones receive it!

With the N9, it’s even more strange the fact that some third-world countries (probably with residual sales) receive more support and faster firmware updates than some European countries like Portugal.

At this point one might argue: the easy solution is just to buy the NDT version instead of the Country Variant one!

The problem is that Nokia, in countries like Portugal, never released the NDT version of the phone, so you have one of two options:

  • Buy the carrier-locked phone and depend on the operator update schedule
  • Buy the Country Variant phone and wait forever to get the update when and if Nokia decides to release it

Either way you’ll end up waiting, unless you know what you’re doing and flash the phone with some Global firmware variant, voiding the warranty in the meantime.

Nokia should sort this out: avoid having several software variants for hundreds of different product codes for each phone model. At least unlocked devices sold on the same region should all get the same firmware updates at the same time.

Companies like Apple are able to deploy at the same time for everybody new OS versions for several different devices (iPads, iPhone, iPod Touch) of different generations, both carrier-locked and unlocked.

I really didn’t want to void my N9 warranty but for me the waiting is over: I’m going the Navifirm way and flash it with a generic global PR1.3 firmware! Damn You Nokia!

LG Optimus L3 E400 SunSpider and Quadrant benchmark

October 14, 2012

The Optimus L3 E400 is one of LG’s cheapest Android smartphones. Despite having been launched this year, the phone still runs the almost two years old 2.3 Gingerbread version of the Android mobile OS and LG apparently is not very interested in updating it to more current Android versions such as 4.0 ICS or 4.1 Jelly Bean.

As a low-cost offering, LG didn’t put in the L3 the latest and greatest hardware specs but bearing in mind this phone competes around the €100 price-point it can’t be expected to have much better specs than the ones it already has.

As usual, I’ve run the SunSpider javascript benchmark in the Android stock browser.

 

As expected, the result is nothing to be proud about at 4434.1 ms, worse than competitors like the previously tested Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman. Chrome would probably be faster, but unfortunately it isn’t available for the 2.3 Gingerbread version of Android which means the small LG can’t run it.

The Quadrant benchmark overall result is also average (1092 points). Considering the really low resolution of the screen at just 240×320 (~125 pixels per inch) I was expecting the Adreno 200 GPU to achieve better results.

In the end, performance isn’t just the selling point for this LG as other features (such as price, size or battery life) might have greater impact in the buying decision process.

 

Nokia BH-110 Bluetooth headset

September 29, 2012

I recently shopped around for a cheap Bluetooth headset and I found Vodafone sells the Nokia BH-110 for just €10 in exchange for some points of the customer loyalty program.

I’ve recorded a short unboxing video you can see below.

Besides having a neat price, the Nokia BH-110 is very easy to use, with a single button operation:

  • Short press lets the user accept or reject an incoming call
  • Long press (about 2 seconds) activates the phone’s voice dialing feature (if it has one!)
  • Very long press turns the device on or off and, of course, serves for pairing purposes

The microphone is very sensitive, which means that in silent places whispering a conversation is loud enough and in crowded places there’s no need to yell to make the message go through.

The earphone is just loud enough but the sound quality is not that impressive, but if you bear in mind the really low price point this model is sold at, it shouldn’t disappoint most customers.

The BH-110 packs inside a long-lasting battery that offers half a dozen hours of conversations and there’s also a small LED on top of the headset that blinks green or red to let the user know if it’s turning on or off, if there’s an incoming call, etc.

When you hear the low-battery warning, you can keep talking for around half an hour, give or take.

One last thing I have to mention is the fact that when receiving a call, you hear through the earpiece the good old Nokia tune: nice touch!

iOS 6 rant: YouTube and Maps

September 20, 2012

Previously I wrote a blog post about how Apple improved the browser performance on my iPad 2 with the new iOS 6.

Now that I’ve been using iOS 6 for almost a day I noticed two big drawbacks: YouTube and Maps!

Since the beginning of times Apple bundled with iOS a YouTube app. While it wasn’t the most advanced or feature complete YouTube app around (the Android version is arguably better), the app did the job well enough to be one of the most used apps by those who like to watch videos on the web.

Apparently the license to bundle the YouTube app with iOS ended and Apple didn’t care about renewing it or making sure Google had an iPad optimized YouTube app on the AppStore before getting rid of the current one.

There is an official YouTube app for free on the AppStore but it’s made for the iPhone and not for the iPad.

Meanwhile you’re supposed to use Safari to browse in the YouTube mobile website and it’s also possible to add the website bookmark directly to the home screen but it’s not the same as having a proper app! There’s also some third party YouTube apps available at the AppStore but then again the question remains: why take away a feature from iOS without offering a better replacement?

Unfortunately YouTube is just one of the problems with iOS 6 on the iPad: the new Maps app is also worse than the previous Google powered Maps app!

Above you can see the Google Maps app that was bundled with previous versions of iOS.

The maps data quality was pretty good and there was a feature that was much nicer to use on the iPad touchscreen than with the mouse of a desktop computer: Google’s StreetView!

The new Maps app from Apple is supposed to introduce a lot of new features:

  • Apple designed vector based maps
  • Turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions
  • Real-time traffic information
  • Flyover for photo-realistic, interactive 3D views of major metro areas
  • Local search results with Yelp photos, ratings, reviews, and available deals
  • Siri integration for requesting directions and finding places along a route

The thing is:

  • Features like Siri integration or turn-by-turn navigation aren’t available in my WiFi iPad 2
  • Real-time traffic information doesn’t work in my country
  • The 3D maps feature isn’t available in Europe
  • Local search in my country is really much poorer compared to Google’s database of POI

And of course, with the new app I lost the Google StreetView feature shown in the picture above!

Below you can see Apple Maps at the exact same place of the previous screenshots.

Besides losing some Google-related features there’s one thing that puzzles me: Apple bought last year C3 Technologies from Nokia. This company is the one behind Apple Flyover / 3D Maps and was the one that made possible Nokia Maps 3D feature that’s still available at the Nokia Maps website.

If you try last year’s Nokia flagship, the N9, you can check the exact same place I’ve shown before with the Nokia Maps app and, as you can see below, there’s a 3D model of the stadium.

So my question is: why does Apple only have 3D maps in the USA? C3 Technologies had Europe 3D data when it was part of Nokia so it’s kind of weird not to have this feature enabled at least in the main European capitals.

There’s also one question left in my mind: what about StreetView? If Apple doesn’t want to borrow that feature from Google perhaps they should start recording street level footage of the main cities to compete with Google!

Nokia chose that path and the result is Nokia City Scene. Below there’s the Eiffel Tower:

If you compare with Apple Maps you can clearly see the difference.

I hope Apple sort this out soon rather than late because currently in Europe they are lagging behind the competition in location-related apps and services.

iOS 6 SunSpider benchmark

September 19, 2012

Apple released new hardware such as the new iPhone 5 and the new iPod Touch, but for current customers there’s also some goodies: the new version of iOS is now available for the older generations of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

One thing that always impresses me is the download of the update itself: despite millions of people all around the world receiving their iOS update at the same time, my fiber optics connection bandwidth was maxed out downloading the update in a couple of minutes from the Apple servers.

After installing the iOS 6 update on my iPad 2, I ran the SunSpider javascript benchmark in order to look for performance improvements over the previous version of iOS.

As you can see above, Safari completed the benchmark in just 1417.2 ms which, compared to the iOS 5.1 result at around 1800 ms is a huge improvement over the previous iOS version: now that’s just amazing!

iOS 6 might not bring many new features compared to the previous versions, but Apple seems to be unstoppable perfecting the current ones: the browser javascript performance has improved over and over in each version and that is what keep Apple users happy with their devices.

When most competing products usually have a decrease in performance after major software updates (e.g.: Sony Ericsson Android ICS update), Apple just keeps improving the older products performance in each software update until every last bit of performance is extracted from the hardware!

My thoughts about the new iPhone 5

September 12, 2012

Apple just announced the new iPhone!

While it is, as expected, a great device, I believe it lacks some new killer feature:

  • When the original iPhone was launched, everybody was amazed with the touchscreen-only design, with a capacitive multitouch display and a smooth OS
  • The iPhone 3G came with the AppStore, and everybody was impressed with how much useful and cool apps one can run on a phone
  • Then the iPhone 3GS brought an entire new CPU with much faster speed and important missing features like copy and paste or MMS support
  • The iPhone 4 was all about the display: the high resolution Retina was awesome!
  • The iPhone 4S, much like the 3GS, just improved over the previous version but nevertheless brought Siri, the first really useful voice assistant

Now we have the iPhone 5: it’s better than the previous iPhone but appears to not have one single new feature that I haven’t seen before on competitor’s phones!

I was hoping for a “one more thing” moment where they would present something like:

  • NFC
  • Wireless charging
  • A new touchscreen that can be operated with mittens or gloves

But all of this was presented last week by Nokia, not Apple! And it used to be Apple to come up with some truly amazing new tricks!

Panorama photos or being able to take a snap while recording a movie is not innovation: it’s just something that the competition has been doing for quite a while (e.g.: Galaxy S3)…

In the end, and despite all the above, the iPhone 5 will be a huge success! People will line up at the stores and buy the iPhone, no matter the price, no matter the innovative features it doesn’t have. And buyers will be happy with it because it happens to be a great phone, it’s just not a revolutionary one!

Chrome vs stock Android Browser

September 7, 2012

Since I’ve recently installed Android ICS on the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman, I’ve been able to install the Google Chrome mobile web browser that’s available in the Google Play store.

Chrome brought the fast V8 javascript engine to the Android platform, so it’s supposed to be much faster handling benchmarks like the SunSpider test.

As I wrote in the previous blog post, the Android ICS stock browser did it in 3099.8 ms, which was an improvement over the Gingerbread stock browser.

I’ve now run the same benchmark in Chrome.

As you can see above the test was completed in 2886.9 ms. Although there’s a definite improvement over the stock browser, the 200 ms advantage is not as big as I thought it would be.

I believe Chrome will eventually replace the current browser and become the default one in future versions of Android.

Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman performance with Android ICS

August 30, 2012

Sony Ericsson promised that all the 2011 Xperia line along with the Live with Walkman model would get updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

They took their time and the carriers also took an extra time before releasing the firmware to the carrier-locked devices. Recently I was finally able to go through the ICS update process with the Live with Walkman I’ve posted a short hands-on a while ago.

The update process is pretty straight forward as long as you know how to use a computer, since Sony Ericsson (now only Sony without the Ericsson part) demands the user to connect the phone to the PC Companion Windows software or to the Bridge for Mac app in order to get Android 4.0. Apparently the update it too big to be handled as a simple OTA (over the air) update!

Sony also warns on their website that Android 4.0 is heavier than the older 2.x versions and that might have a negative impact on how the smartphone performs.

I’ve installed the official Android 4.0.4 update and ran the Quadrant benchmark to check if the update had any impact on the performance figures.

The score is, as the manufacturer warned, lower than before: 1381 is indeed not as good as the score Android Gingerbread achieved, around eighteen hundred points.

I’ve run the test twice to see if there was any improvement in the second run but, as you can see below, it just got a little bit worst, achieving 1362 points: disappointing!

I also ran the SunSpider web-browser javascript benchmark and fortunately, unlike the Quadrand score, the results improved as you can see below.

Now the test is completed in 3099.8 ms which is better than the old result (3342.7 ms)!

Overall, and despite the bugs and the performance hit, I do recommend updating because newer apps require Android 4.0 ICS to run, like Google’s own Chrome web browser!


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