People buy cases mainly to protect their precious phones, but very few offer functional versatility, and you're often forced to give them up when you upgrade. Well, that may no longer be a problem thanks to a new minimalistic solution dubbed Snap. This attachment system starts off with a circular, low-profile female connector that's only 3mm thick and 25mm wide, and it can stick onto any device or case thanks to its strong, commercial-grade 3M adhesive. You can then secure different types of Snap accessories with a simple twist; and when detached, the slim socket barely gets in the way. %Gallery-slideshow189608%
AT&T is adding more data to its GoPhone prepaid smartphone plans without raising monthly fees in the process. If you're currently paying $60 a month for 2GB, your allotment will jump to 2.5 gigs, while those on the $40, 250MB plan will now get 500MB per month. More data is only part of the value proposition for GoPhone customers, though; the new 2.5GB plan will now offer the ability to use your phone as a WiFi hotspot.
18/04/2014 - FCC sets up the 'incentive auction' that will lead to better wireless internet for everyone
Last week at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show, FCC head Tom Wheeler pushed broadcasters to loosen their grip on spectrum that the agency plans to auction off to give wireless internet room to grow. Now, he's laid out a draft of the rules for the auction before it takes place next year. The upcoming incentive auction will be a three stage process that, once completed, should open up more wireless spectrum for high-speed services like WiFi. WiFi operates on "unlicensed spectrum" that's open for anyone to use, and similar networks or devices could take advantage of any new frequencies the FCC opens up, while reducing interference with existing networks. That's good and bad however, since they'd fill the space in between networks, it could be harder to build up something like WiFi.
So far not everyone has been happy with the possible rules for this redistribution. That includes the broadcasters themselves, whose participation will have to happen voluntarily, and the companies expected to bid for access, namely AT&T who has warned that it might skip the process based on the FCC's restrictions on how much spectrum it can buy. Now that the rules are here, everyone from your local TV broadcaster to wireless carriers to cash heavy dreamers like Google and Dish Network can look them over and voice their opinions before the commission votes on them May 15th.
Source: Tom Wheeler
Thanks in no small part to T-Mobile's free global data initiative, US carriers have begun to lighten the fee load when it comes time to roam. But you'll still pay an arm and a leg in many countries, and discounted plans from AT&T and Verizon, while more reasonable than they once were, require a monthly subscription that can be a hassle to add and remove. If you're expecting to use gobs of data abroad, KeepGo's disposable-SIM program is probably your best bet, but an intriguing alternative from KnowRoaming will keep leisure travelers and other casual users connected in 220 countries without the need to worry about coming home to an enormous bill. That solution, an incredibly thin card with passthrough leads and an adhesive back, simply sits atop your existing SIM, springing into action whenever you arrive in a foreign country. Join me as I travel to Europe and beyond to see how well this sticker works.
Want to get a better understanding of Google's 3D-sensing Project Tango smartphone beyond the usual promo videos? iFixit is more than happy to show you now that it has torn down the device for itself. The close-up identifies many of the depth mapping components in the experimental handset, including the infrared and fisheye cameras (both made by OmniVision), motion tracking (from InvenSense) and dual vision processors (from Movidius).
Android, iOS, Windows Phone. Each of these mobile platforms had to start somewhere, and it's never anywhere close to perfect on the first try. Tenaciously, each OS gets better with each new iteration until, at some point, it just all clicks together. Sure, they're all still works in progress, but there comes a time in which all of the gaping holes in features and functionality get plugged and concerns about the product's future are alleviated. Arguably, Windows Phone may finally have approached its coming-of-age with an update to version 8.1.
Windows Phone only had a few big pain points remaining, and 8.1 certainly appears ready to fill the holes. The platform now has a fancy notification center to complement the information displayed on Live Tiles; the keyboard has improved with new swipe gestures; the OS can now support even more hardware options; and last but not least, it now comes with a smart virtual assistant to take on Siri, Google Now and S-Voice. The 8.1 update cooked up a lot of great things, and I got the opportunity to take it for a spin for a few days ahead of the official developer preview's launch. It may not be perfect yet, but Windows Phone just grew up significantly. Here are some of the firmware's highlights.
It's a crapshoot: if you're descending into one of New York City's underground subway stations, you're probably going to drop a call. It's frustrating, but it'll be a little less likely soon. AT&T has expanded its contract with Transit Wireless to bring voice and data services to "as many as 242" additional NYC subway stations, though only about 40 are going to be ready this summer. Don't get too excited about the proposed total, either -- Transit Wireless is only in phase two of a seven phase rollout, and won't reach it's promised potential for several years. Still, the current deal will put AT&T in several key locations, including 11 stations in mid-town Manhattan and 29 in Queens. This will equip about 70 stations total with AT&T connectivity by the end of the summer. There's still a long way to go before the entire city is covered, but it's a good start.
Swipe patterns, passwords and fingerprint scanners are useful for keeping that mobile device locked down from the outside, but what happens once that code is cracked? Well, cybersecurity researchers at Georgia Tech have developed LatentGesture that continuously monitors gadgets for intruders based on taps and swipes. If the system detects any use patterns that vary from the observed user profiles, it locks the device down. "The system learns a person's 'touch signature,' then constantly compares it to how the current user is interacting with the device," said College of Computing assistant professor Polo Chou.
Source: GA Tech
04/04/2014 - Top Up, Top Up!, a tale from Sierra Leone
This blog is a true story about mobile top up in Africa, Sierra Leone to be precise.
The mobile top up is one of the technologies at IPsmarx that excites me the most. Having worked in international development before, it…
With Windows Phone 8.1 now free, we may start seeing more announcements like this: Verizon's just put the Samsung ATIV SE handset up for pre-order. As we saw in an earlier leak, it's essentially a high-spec Galaxy S4 with Windows 8 (not 8.1) instead of Android. Though that's been superceded by the Galaxy S5 on Android, the internals are still not too shabby, especially for a WP8 handset: a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU, LTE, 2GB of RAM, a 16-megapixel camera and a 2,600mAh battery. Naturally, Samsung's also thrown in its own goodies whether you want them or not -- though some, like the TV remote control app, actually look useful. Verizon says it'll ship them out by April 12th at the latest and, if you go for one at $200 on a two-year contract, you'll even get a second one free.
Via: The Verge
Project Ara has only exploded in prominence since Google unloaded Motorola earlier this year, and now we're getting yet another peek at the work in progress. The Phonebloks team just released a video showing off the progress Google and its partners have made on those modular smartphones, and things are coming along just as quick as you'd expect.
Filed under: Mobile
Last week, we discussed prepaid VoIP and the opportunities it offers for entrepreneurs looking to start a business. This week, we’d like to focus on International Mobile Top Up. International Mobile Top Up enables end users to purchase mobile airtime from mobile operators in other countries, which in turn allows people to send mobile minutes to friends and family overseas to use on their prepaid mobile phones. Although not technically a VoIP service, International Mobile Top Up nonetheless provides many uses and advantages for end users and, therefore, offers opportunities to entrepreneurs.
The post How to Start a VoIP Business: Opportunities in International Mobile Top Up appeared first on IPsmarx Official Blog.
Google Play Books and DC Entertainment are showing off their super friendship once again, but, this time, for readers who'd rather consume comics in bite-sized portions. As of today, you can grab single issues from the publisher directly from Mountain View's media market. To celebrate, there's even a sale on the likes of Aquaman and Adventure Comics for $0.99 an issue, while a handful of others including Batman and Green Arrow are under $3 apiece. As the senior vice president of DC's Vertigo label has told CNET, its Google customers were happy but kept asking for single issues. As a result, the outfit beefed up its back-end to accommodate the weekly storefront schedule, and now you should have new issues 52 times a year. See? Further proof that if you really want a company to do something, all you have to do is ask politely.
Samsung's ATIV SE hasn't been a terribly well-kept secret, but we've heard precious little about the Verizon-bound Windows Phone beyond its use of a 5-inch, 1080p display. However, tipsters have given The Verge hardware specs that will seem very familiar. If the leak is accurate, the ATIV SE will be a higher-end Galaxy S 4 variant with Microsoft's OS slapped on top -- you should see the same Snapdragon 800 processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. Those specs could still make it a potent device, but they hint that Samsung is once again recycling an Android design. If you don't mind the reused components, you'll be glad to hear that the ATIV SE could be coming very soon. The smartphone is reportedly launching on Verizon in April (minus Windows Phone 8.1), pitting it directly against Nokia's similarly-specified Lumia Icon.
[Image credit: @evleaks, Twitter]
Source: The Verge
There are actually two "Ones" that launched this week. The star attraction is undoubtedly the HTC One, but let's not forget the brand-new Snapdragon 801 running under its hood: a cutting-edge processor that will also power the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Samsung Galaxy S5, but which happens to have reached the market first in HTC's flagship phone. This chip represents a significant upgrade over the Snapdragon 600 in the old One, promising a hat trick of better all-round performance, more fluid gaming and longer battery life, and these are precisely the claims we're about to explore using a combo of benchmarking apps and real-world tests. At the same time, HTC has suddenly decided to come clean on the issue of benchmark cheating, which makes it a bit easier for us to trust what the numbers are telling us.
25/03/2014 - 10 Basic Terms in the Calling Card Industry
The calling card business has been around for many years. At IPsmarx we have worked with many entrepreneurs that entered the industry with barely a notion of the business but with a strong believe in the potential for profit. We helped them learn and succeed.
A new portable battery promises to carry enough juice to charge eight iPhones and keep your MacBook Air going for 12 hours, five years after you buy it. Unlike others that lose their capacity over time, BatteryBox uses a new energy management system called BatteryOS that monitors what's going on inside your Lithium-Ion battery and optimizes power in such a way that prevents degradation. It's an operation that ensures the battery can handle 96% of its original capacity after 3,000 charges and discharges, almost twice as long as without the system says BatteryBox. And it does it all for $139, about what you'd pay for a competitor. BatteryBox's 12,000mAh battery is the first implementation of the technology, but the company hopes to work with third-parties to get its system into things like electric vehicles. For now, we're just excited to see a portable charger that can keep us churning out posts from the outlet-free wasteland of CES through 2020.
A whole lot of Samsung is about to come to AT&T. Today, the carrier announced that pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S5 will begin tomorrow both online and in stores, with shipping to start in early April. Pricing is set at $200 with a two-year contract, though it's also available for a monthly fee with AT&T's Next plans. (U.S. Cellular customers, incidentally, will also be able to pre-order the GS 5 tomorrow for $200 on-contract.)
That's not all; tomorrow, AT&T will also put Samsung's trio of wearables up for pre-order. This includes the $299 Samsung Gear 2, the $199 Gear 2 Neo and the $199 Gear Fit. Shipping for those devices will also begin in early April.
An Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Xperia Z Ultra, Z1 and Z1 Compact is rolling out as of today, Sony's announced. In addition to what the newer OS version itself brings, Sony's folded in some tweaks of its own, like a reworked status bar and quick-settings menu, a couple of PS4-inspired UI elements, and updated forms of Sony's stock and media apps. While KitKat might be ready for this trio of devices, remember that availability depends on where you live and what carrier your handset may be bound to, so don't bet on a notification popping up this very afternoon. Sony confirmed back in November that the Xperia Z, ZL, ZR and Tablet Z, too, were eligible for a KitKat update, but they'll have to wait until at least "mid-Q2" for their snacks. In better news, the Xperia T2 Ultra, E1 and M2 have been added to that exclusive list, though we can't give you even vague timelines for when these updates might be available just yet.
Via: Android Central
Following up on the news that its UnCarrier rival will soon raise the cost of its unlimited data plan, AT&T is making some pricing changes of its own -- in the completely opposite direction. The base rate for the company's 2GB Mobile Share Value plan is currently $55 (that's the base price, excluding per-smartphone costs), but it just announced that beginning tomorrow customers will be able to grab the same plan for $40 per month instead.
07/03/2014 - Chevrolet adds Beats Music streaming to its in-car system as Beats opens its API to developers
Beats Music is already integrated with Apple's CarPlay system, which means you'll be able to stream music from Beats' catalog in any vehicle that happens to have Apple's setup installed. Now, new API support could mean we'll be able to pump out the jams from even more cars. The streaming music service made its API public today, a move that gives third-party developers access to its vast music collection. In particular, developers get access to the company's library of tunes, album art and track metadata (Beats previously shared its API privately with a few big names like Sonos and Bop.fm). So far, Chevrolet has announced it's adding Beats to its AppShop system -- and we're sure it won't be the last company to do so.
Source: Beats Music
Motorola's Touchless Control app just got an upgrade that'll make perpetually busy people happy. Now, the app can read notifications out loud when you ask "what's up?," which sounds especially useful for hectic morning commutes. If you're feeling extra dull and unfriendly, though, you can always tell it to "read notifications" instead. The new feature's fully available in English, Italian and Spanish, but it might be available in other languages in the future. Other than adding touchless access to notifications, the upgrade also enhances the app's ability to detect when you're done issuing commands.
Filed under: Mobile
Via: Android Central
27/02/2014 - Mobile World Congress 2014: Protect Your Devices Like a Pro - Panzer Glass and HZO Water Proofing
Google's got plenty of moonshots brewing in its Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP), but one of the most intriguing is its modular smartphone design, called Project Ara. Because Ara's a platform designed to lets users swap out hardware (processors, cameras, or sensors) on the phone, it presents unique opportunities for developers to build different kinds of modules and the software needed to make them all work. That's why ATAP's going to be doing three developers' conferences this year, with the first one set to happen April 15-16 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
Folks that want to attend, but are outside striking distance of the Bay Area need not fret, however, as there will be a live webcast and interactive Q&A sessions of the conference, too. This initial event will focus on building the modules themselves, as Google will be making an alpha version of its Module Developers' Kit available at the beginning of April. We don't know what the other two conferences will be about (though software development for Ara seems a good bet), but more info and the conference agenda can be found at projectara.com in the coming weeks.
Source: Google ATAP (Google+)