Tag Archive: android


Galaxy Note 8 Concept

Galaxy Note 8 Concept

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is far and away the best phone Techsnoop has ever owned. But it is now getting a bit dated and tired. Unfortunately, Samsung released the Note 5 with out the expandable storage and the Note 7 was a fire hazard.

But the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are both huge hits and the ‘infinity’ display is a compromise between the edge display and usable screen real estate. So now we wait for these same specs to be bumped up for the flagship phone, the Note 8. Rumours of 6GB of RAM are enough to make a tech geek drool.

Smartphones are a central part of our lives now with the ability to locate and start your car, lock and unlock your home door and control smart home devices. In addition, apps like Samsung Health help you keep track of fitness and dietary goals to improve your health, eliminating the need for additional devices. And importantly for Techsnoop, there are great productivity apps for web design and business.

In his final post, Walt Mossberg states that technology will soon become ‘ambient’ or just a part of the everyday objects we use. The combination of artificial intelligence / machine learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics and drones, smart homes, self-driving cars, and digital health / wearables (Walt Mossberg, the Verge) will make the computer an invisible butler in accomplishing our tasks.

So it only makes sense that smartphones will continue to be an important link between other computing devices and our interface. Making a power house phone like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 a true value.

Are you waiting on the Note 8 or did you take the S8 plunge? Let us know in the comments.

Superphone Evolution

Samsung clawed themselves  to the top of the smartphone mountain and have reigned King of super-sized smartphones for a while now. Their sleek looks and crisp specs managed to woo Techsnoop from the beloved HTC Evo line-up. Led solidly by the Galaxy and Note super phones, Samsung forced everyone, including Apple to up their phone game. Now Samsung finds themselves in an uncomfortable position. They still have premium phones, but many competitors have managed to improve their specs and catch up. And, at a lower price.

Note Evolution

Credit: CNET

The Note 4 is a premium phone and needed only minor upgrades for the Note 5. A faster processor and possibly a slimmer profile would have been great. The improvements to the S-Pen are solid. Why in the name of all that is tech-savvy would Samsung take a step back and have a non-removable battery? The Note line is not for the messaging-selfie obsessed crowd. This is a phone for multi-tasking professionals and we don’t want non-removable batteries and non-expandable storage. Ask HTC, as they lost this market to the Note when they adopted these features.

Techsnoop has several non-negotiable requirements for a phone. One is excellent camera, another is expandable memory, and a third is removable battery. Samsung has dropped the last two on the Note 5 and ensured that this phone is not on the list of considerations for upgrade. Phone makers listen to your customers; we don’t want cloud storage at the expense of expandable storage. It is not an acceptable trade-off.

The Note 5 has a great screen, nice upgrade features and the latest Android OS along with the upgraded S-Pen. The specs are a modest upgrade from the Note 4 and makes the phone a good choice for some who are not super users. But with both built-in battery and non-expandable storage, the Note 5 doesn’t make Techsnoop’s contender list for upgrade. Perhaps Samsung will wake up with the Note 6.

What are your deal-breaker features on a smartphone?

A Geek Princess Tale

Once upon a time there was a happy girl geek with a smartphone and laptop. Soon, more powerful apps and high resolution graphics overloaded her outdated tech.

Our girl geek went out into the wilds of the web to see what she could find to update. Long she searched for the perfect multi-tasking gadget. It needed a beast of a camera, gigs of RAM and long battery power. And of course, it must be Android OS. But she couldn’t find this dream machine anywhere.

Samsung Note 4

Photo: CNET

Enter Samsung Note 4

Then along came the shining prince Samsung with the shiniest new gadget of all; the Note 4. Packing a large 5.7 inch Quad HD AMOLED screen, 16 mega pixel camera, 3GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage upgradable to 96GB (with 64GB SD card) and the ability to operate multiple apps at once with split-screen or hover windows, puts the Note 4 at the top of the mountain. And, whoa, the 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor is faster than her laptop (I sense another upgrade soon). The Note 4 will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat (the princesses’ favorite candy).

Our geek princess was torn, she loved her HTC, but lately it had been letting her down. Once the king of innovation with large screens and awesome cameras, the king had been dethroned. With a heavy heart, the geek princess made preparations to say goodbye to her EVO 4G LTE. Come October, the Note 4 romance will begin. Shall it be gold or pink?

To Be Continued…

Skynet is Destiny

Let’s face it, a Google/Apple showdown was destined to happen. With all the recent moves Google has with Glass, self-driving cars, Nexus, and fiber optic internet all powered by Android, Apple had to swing back. Well, the gloves are off and the fight is on.

Disclaimer: Techsnoop believes Apple makes good products. Just not superior, and they’re overpriced for value. Techsnoop’s main objection to Apple world is their invasiveness. If I buy a product, I own it. Don’t shackle me to your way of life. Rant over.

According to Mashable, Apple feels they can meet your needs with seamless cross-device integration. Phone, tablet, laptop, TV are all powered and connected with the same familiar interface. Leave off email or movie on your phone and pick it up on your laptop or TV.

Android vs Apple

Innovation Fail

Hello? Where is the innovation in this? Google has seamlessly integrated across devices already. Ever heard of Google Docs, Google Voice, Calendar and Maps? (Have you picked up a Samsung phone lately?) All of these apps are connected through the Android system and are just as easily accessed from your Windows laptop, tablet, or PC. Oh yeah, and that little Google owned platform called YouTube.

Once again Apple has taken someone else’s great idea, tweaked it a bit and yelled INNOVATION! Thinking that if they yell loud enough and slap enough slick Apple logos on it, no one will notice they copied (stole) from some one else.

The upside is that Google will certainly fight back with a tightened up Android universe and some goodies to boot.

Taking a look at some of Apple’s “innovations”, check iCloud Drive with 5GB of free storage with larger amounts available for monthly or annual fees. This sounds remarkably similar to Google Drive, yet Google offers 15GB free. But, hey, you can now auto back up your photos in iCloud. A feature that Android has had for four years.

Does Techsnoop think some of the Apple software tweaks are good? Absolutely. And, frankly, Apple fans deserve the overdue upgrades. But Techsnoop needs an ice pack for the headache that comes in when Apple claims innovation when all they did is take a bunch of great ideas from other companies and scoop them into the Apple universe. But, if you are an Apple Fangeek, you’re in for some awesome treats that Android users have  enjoyed for five or more years. Congratulations.

Let Techsnoop know if you are a Droid or Fangeek.

Happy April Fool’s Day

Samsung April Fools PrankThe tech pranks are flying fast and furious. First up, Samsung with the epic Fingers, the wearable smartphone using curved display glass, 4GB RAM, and 16 megapixel camera. Techsnoop’s favorite feature is solar charging by raising your hand to the sun. (“Wave your hands in the air…”). This feature leaves you permanently acting like you’re at a concert.

Style Options

Because Samsung knows there are different needs for smartphone users, they offer the Fingers, Fingers Tough and Fingers Class variants to meet every style need.

HTC Terminator Gluuv

HTC also offers up a wearable version of the smartphone for today’s festivities called the Gluuv. The Gluuv offers the holo-call technology everyone wants integrating with the new One M8 and brings visions of fighting futuristic robots. This massive accessory has an 87.2 megapixel camera that can be activated by a fist bump. Another gesture control is the “thumbs up” feature. When you thumb up a spot you’re in, you give it a “Like” on Facebook.

The Gluuv also utilizes their exciting Boom-Bass sound technology with an actual boom box. Yep, it’s the 80’s again. There are no variants available as HTC states it is still “in beta”. The intro tag line is “Hello day after today. Imagine the power of complete smartphone creative freedom. Now imagine that freedom in the shape of a glove.”

HTC April Fools Prank

Now, if enough consumers like these features and the concept of wearable smartphones, the joke may be on HTC and Samsung. The race will be on to make this product work in the real world. Would you want a wearable phone that responds to your hand movements? Let Techsnoop know in the comments.

Multi-ScreenWhen it comes to technology, the budget can quickly get out of hand.  Between buying the tech itself and content and subscriptions to make it useful, a trickle of money can soon grow into a river.

Techsnoop is here to help with tips on what to buy and not buy.  As a card-carrying geek, Techsnoop has trouble deciding what to buy and what to skip in the gadget world.  But one thing is a deal-breaker for tech Techsnoop buys.  Freedom.

This means that software, content and apps are the choice of Techsnoop, not the manufacturer.  Techsnoop is a control freak and cannot be held hostage to specific sites or fixed prices for content and tools.  For example, the HTC EVO 4G LTE smartphone allows you to install apps from Google Play, Amazon app store and even copy books from a computer to the phone all while offering superior phone service.

To Stream or Not to Stream

For streaming, decide what content you view most frequently, then review the offerings of each service.  Don’t buy separate streaming boxes unless you ditch your cable box.  The cable box and wireless router allow you to stream directly from each site so no extra device is needed.  Generally Netflix offers movies and older TV episodes, Hulu focuses on newer TV.  Each comes with a trial period to test out the offerings.  Due to the full Star Trek content and new Disney deal, Techsnoop is a Netflix junkie.

Mobile devices on the Android platform have many free options.  For instance, Amazon offers one free app a day on the App Store and many free books from new and established authors.  Visit the App Store each day to get the free app.  Google Play also offers free books, apps, music and more.  Sign up to receive email notifications of specials.

Multi-Tasking Monster

Whenever possible, purchase items that are multi-functional.  Don’t walk around with a Bat-belt or people will take pictures of you and post them on social media.

If you need a tablet mostly for reading, email and low powered game apps, consider a large screen smartphone and great bluetooth headphones.  A good set of headphones coupled with voice service allows you to make and receive calls hands-free as well as listen to music while reading or checking email.  Spending an extra $50 to $100 on a phone can save you the whole “which tablet” question.  Check out some great deals and options here.

For more high-end computing, try one of the newer tablets.  Some are heavier than a regular tablet, but lighter than a laptop.  The Microsoft Surface Pro comes with full Windows 8 and has lots of power for updating and collaborating on the go.  Samsung has just released a slew of new tablets that justify a look over.  From serious gaming to business applications, the new tablets may have you leaving your laptop at home.

CNET’s video on the top 5 money sucking tech should help you decide which services to keep and which to ditch.  Let us know in the comments what you tossed overboard.

 

 

 

AkashTabletChristmas has come and gone and many children did not get the hoped-for iPad.  Well parents, looking forward to birthdays and graduations to middle school, you may have a more affordable choice.

DataWind has developed a second generation low-cost tablet to be sold for $40.00.  Primarily directed at developing nations for educational purposes, this could be a game changer in the tablet landscape.  If it can be reasonably sold even with minimal specs for $40.00, other affordable tablets could appear here in the US.

In India the government has committed to paying half the cost of the tablet so families can outfit children for only $21.00.  However in countries like the U.S. it will cost about $64.00.  Don’t complain.  Compared with $400 to $900 for a high-end name brand tablet, that’s chump change.  Or the cost of about 18 medium lattes.  Hmm… priorities, priorities.

With specs like a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of memory (with a micro SD slot expandable to 32GB ) and a 7-inch capacitive display with  800×480 pixel resolution it makes a great choice for parents to get for younger children.  If it is damaged, it is cheap enough to replace without raising your blood pressure.

Let’s all wish the Aakash from Datawind well.  It’s in our own best interests.

Angry Birds/Star Wars

(Credit; Rovio)

Yes, Star Wars fans, it has come to this.  Angry Birds is so popular it is now eligible to become a Star Wars spoofer.

Techsnoop for one is happy.  Star Wars is a favorite franchise and the Angry Birds games have become a favorite also.  The blending can only mean good, clean family smack-down fun.

In the world of mobile gaming, Rovio has hit another home run.  This game will use the physics of Angry Birds Space to provide the mindless mayhem the franchise is famous for.

According to TechCrunch, the birds play Jedi and the pigs play the evil Empire to no real surprise.  In addition, there will be board games, plush characters and costumes.

The actual game does not come out until November 8, but the toys and costumes will debut today at Toys R’ Us.

Techsnoop had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the HTC EVO 4G LTE recently.  The reviews don’t do this phone justice.

It can be argued that the original EVO kicked off the serious smartphone wars.  This phone was worthy competition that put Android on the playing field as a great OS.  Yahoo lists this as one of the best smartphones to buy and it truly is.

Weight; the new EVO is incredibly thin and light, but has a larger screen than the original.  This alone makes it worth changing if, like me, you still have the older model.  It is also very thin, but still feels like it will hold up over time.  Some of the recent thin smartphones seem like they will break if you hold them too tight.

Screen; the screen resolution is so crisp, you feel like you can walk into the picture.  The HTC Sense UI is intuitive and easy to use.  Navigation is speedy and multi-tasking is the whole point of this interface.

Camera; the 8MP camera on the original EVO spoiled me for all others.  The new EVO does not disappoint here.  An 8MP camera that takes HD video and allows rapid fire photo taking while in video mode is a game-changer.  This model also has built in photo filters that allow you to change angles without adding a lens.

Overall, all the things you loved about the original EVO are here on steroids.  Take a look from the Sprint launch event.  And of course, all this comes in an unlimited data package available only from Sprint.

Freelancers need all the help they can get to be as productive as possible.  Tablets are a great tool to keep track of ideas on the fly or impromptu meetings with potential clients.  Here are a couple of items to maximize your tablet investment.

Adobe Photoshop Touch, available for Android and iPad is a great way to mock up ideas with teams or clients on the go, without breaking out the lumbering laptop.  At only $9.99, its also affordable for even budget freelancers.

Highlights include;

  • Available for iPad 2 or later and Android.
  • Work with core Photoshop tools designed for tablets.
  • Use your tablet camera to fill area on a layer.
  • Select part of image to extract by scribbling.
  • Perform Google searches and share images on Facebook right in the app.
  • Sync files to Adobe Creative Cloud and open in Photoshop.

Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro app is for creating original images on the fly and makes your tablet into a digital sketch book.  Best of all, it comes in a free version (without the full set of features).  Check out the video;

Happy Designing!  DKemp Designs