Tag Archive: smartphones


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?

So Mobilegeddon has arrived and you are not ready.

What is a small business owner to do? First, call a web designer now. Not next week, now. DKemp Designs offers free 15 minute phone consultations to any business owner on all types of technology solutions. Next, make a list of business goals that can be met with technology and prioritize according to importance.

Customers should be able to:

Locate you
Call you
See hours
Know what type of business you offer

All on the home page of your mobile site. If any of these are missing, you need an immediate makeover.

If your business does not have a mobile ready website yet, here are some facts on future mobile usage from DR4WARD to get you going.

mobile data usage by 2020

 

Small Business ToolsTablet, smartphone, laptop, POS terminal, Windows, iOS, Linux. What to choose, what is a business owner to do? The array of technology tools for business grows and changes everyday. But the needs of your business have to be addressed with stability and profitability.

Go for Tried and True

As a small business owner you may be tempted to get the latest, shiniest, gizmo. But small businesses have less room to respond if the latest technology fails or is discontinued. Better to stay with tested and stable technology in both software and hardware.

The must haves

Every business needs to capture information, retrieve it and back it up. In addition, small businesses must accept a minimum of credit and debit cards. Checks are optional but a good idea. What items can meet these needs?

Website with Branded business Email
Smartphone
Desktop or laptop
External back up
Cloud service
Card processing

Balance the Budget

Website/email: Your website connects you to the world of customers. A professional, mobile ready site and branded email says you are a trusted resource. Face it, no one wants to contact “janedoe7987@anyoldemail.com”, they want to see “customerservice@yourbusinessname.com”.

Back up: When deciding where to cut corners, consider what equipment will be used most and what services are most critical. In an emergency or equipment failure, backups can be the difference between closing or operating as usual. Keep critical information backed up on an external drive and a cloud service. Zip files to conserve space.

Cloud service: Yes, you need a cloud service for sharing files, extra back up and convenience. Start small with Google Drive or Dropbox, then consider a paid service depending on your needs.

Smartphone: A tablet is nice to have and convenient, but your smartphone gets more use. This is not the place to pinch pennies. Get the best phone you can afford with a big and bright screen. In the age of app driven productivity, a large screen phone with maximum RAM can substitute for a tablet or even a laptop in a jam. Check this review for guidance.

Desktop or laptop? Desktop PCs are great, but if security is an issue, using laptops in the office allows you to take your information home. In the event of damage or vandalism, your business is secure. Laptops also allow you to work seamlessly from home, a big issue for entrepreneurs who typically work 12+ hour days.

Card Processing: Using a service such as Square allows you to take payments on your laptop or smartphone and send invoices. Fees are low and the smartphone card reader is free.

DKemp Designs is happy to offer your business a free 15 minute phone consultation on any area of tech needs.

Techsnoop 30 days with Note 4

The Story

After sadly having to replace the beloved HTC EVO LTE, Techsnoop choose the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. This is a story of the first 30 days with the Note 4.

The Usurper

So in Techsnoop’s 30 day shake down of real world use, the Note 4 was extremely satisfying. Although the phone is large, it is a comfortable fit in my hand. (side note, Techsnoop has hands on the large side for a female). If you need frequent one-handed operation, there are settings to make that easier. It is thin and light and beautiful to look at. And the basic functions are simple to master.

Let’s look at the number one concern; battery life. Yes, the big, bright screen does suck up energy. But a tweak of screen brightness and screen saver settings helps extend this time.  In this test Techsnoop ran 3 to 5 games continuously with 3 email accounts, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, messages and S-Health. These settings with calling and texting using Bluetooth meant twice a day charging. The included fast charger made this pretty painless.

Techsnoop 30 days with Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Credit: Phone Arena

Productivity

Social media apps including Hootsuite are easy to open and use and the recent apps button keeps everything at your fingertips for fast retrieval. Voice recorder, Office Suite, Splashtop, WordPress and Square apps all work seamlessly. These are the apps Techsnoop can’t live without. Cashing checks with the Note 4 couldn’t be easier and the 3D Anatomy app is great for learning and for looking up info if you are having pain or symptoms. The scroll, detail and zoom all work excellent.

Entertainment

Games play lighting fast and graphics are crisp. Angry Birds games were great to play with the extra screen space. The display skews cool and bright but settings can be adjusted. Techsnoop prefers the rich colors. Phone connected to my bluetooth headset smoothly and voice quality was great (till my bluetooth battery started dying). Same with music playing, sound great and quickly switched from music to voice when calls came in.

Reading with Nook, Kindle and Komik apps are all smooth and easy on the eyes. The Note 4 is light enough to not have arm strain while reading for long periods. Graphics on the comics are crisp and beautiful. Disclaimer: Techsnoop loves printed comics, they are great but storage becomes an issue quickly. So, compromise with a digital/print mix.

One benefit of the shakedown is learning that all of Techsnoop’s/DKemp Designs‘ sites are beautifully displayed on the mobile screen which is between the former HTC EVO LTE and the 7 inch tablet size previously tested.

Stay tuned to this post for the unboxing video which is being edited by IRM.

The Dirty Specs

Galaxy Note 4 Specs Techsnoop 30 days

DKemp Designs Why Go Mobile
Are you hung over from Black Friday or did you celebrate Cyber Weekend and avoid the crowds? As a business owner Thanksgiving can make or break you for the year. Customers remember a great shopping experience even more than the deals.  Great mobile shopping strategy begins the year before you want results.

Still need a reason to convert to a mobile-optimized website?

  • Tablet users spend 50% more than desktop shoppers.
  • Mobile ads perform 4-5 times better than desktop ads.

*http://21-vital-mobile-marketing-facts

  • Over 40% of shoppers purchased from their smartphones on Black Friday 2013.
  • 78% of local mobile searches result in a purchase.
  • Over half of all internet shopping is on a mobile device.

*https://surprising-mobile-ecommerce-facts/

What are you waiting for?

Face it, no one wants to be outside in long cold lines. Why not shop in your cozy pajamas while eating leftovers? If your business doesn’t ship, let customers buy online and pick up in 48 hours. This allows you and the customer to shop more relaxed than in a 2 to 4 hour sub-awake rush.

As one of the growing crowd of shoppers who refuse to join the crush of camped-out zombies, Techsnoop only shops online during the Friday-Monday holiday kick off. An informal poll cites ridiculous hours for the employees, over saturation of useless items, rudeness of crowds and shopping apathy as reasons many are opting out of the in person experience.

DKemp Designs black friday 2014
Get ready for the next holiday by calling a local web design company to assist you with a mobile presence. It is even more important for 2015 due to the Google Penguin search rules. Have a fun and mobile holiday season!

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…

July is ending and the rush to prepare for back-to-school has begun. Technology tools are high on the list of essentials for K-12 and college students. Among the tools available are apps for smartphones and tablets. Android users have a huge amount of apps available to choose from. Luckily, many are free or have free trials. And to help, Techsnoop has rounded up some great premium paid apps you can get for FREE.

Today and tomorrow (July 31 and August 1) Amazon is offering a group of productivity apps for free, including Essential Anatomy 3, a great app offering a wealth of health and anatomy information in a beautiful 3D format.

back to school by Techsnoop

Also available is the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, a $30.00 value, FREE! It includes voice search and response so you can find a word even if you can’t spell it properly. What a great gift for bloggers.

Language Coach and MathsApp Graphing Calculator are great back to school apps that save parents money twice. The app is free and you don’t need to purchase an expensive calculator, just have your student use the app on their smartphone. It also frees up the all-important backpack space for snacks.

And last but not least, the super app for the people who have to keep track of all the school and extra curricular activities; Keep Track Pro. With the ability to create categories, tasks and set alarms, you now will appear to have Superpowers! Never miss a practice or event again.

Let Techsnoop know in the comments if any of these apps have simplified your life. Techsnoop will have a cappuccino now and relax, it’s on the schedule.

DKemp Designs Be Mobile

(Originally published on LinkedIn by Dorthea Kemp)

If you are a small business owner, congratulations!

You are part of what keeps America growing in this fast changing economy. You anchor communities, give local teens jobs and provide competition. We all thank you.

The good news is, small = agile and able to respond quickly to market shifts and customer demands. Close relationships with customers translates to stronger referral business. The not so good news is one or two missteps can end your enterprise. So, what can small business owners do to bolster themselves for the long term?

Mobile Investment.

The amount of consumers using mobile to research and compare businesses before ever making a purchase is over 50%. Further;

72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week*.
95% of smartphone users have searched for local information.**
60% of mobile shoppers use their smartphones while in a store, and another 50%
while on their way to a store.**

Small businesses have to leverage every available tool to compete against the mega-corporations endless marketing machines. Mobile technology is the pebble that levels goliaths.

Mobile access is the single most important step in small business success today.

Having a properly strategized mobile presence allows business owners to collect information, create and execute marketing campaigns and stay in close touch with their customer base. Repeat customers in the local area are small business bread and butter.

A mobile presence allows small business to cultivate the close caring relationships customers like and respond with low inventory and overhead to customer demands. A strong mobile presence includes a responsive site, landing pages, social integration, SEO optimization under the newest rules and listing on the major search engines. This is a strong combination to cultivate your market area.

Mobile Works.

One customer had been in a community for 10 years. Yet when we published their website, walk in traffic increased by 15% in only 60 days. The most frequent comment was “I never knew you were so close, I was driving out to other cities for your service when I could have walked”. So a mobile web presence instantly boosts your market without any other efforts.

But, don’t stop with publishing your site. Just as one customer can find you, allow others to locate you by using current SEO, social media and other low-cost efforts to ensure your site is found in the area you cover.

*http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-2013-mobile-growth-statistics/
**http://www.mobify.com/blog/13-stats-to-convince-your-boss-to-invest-in-mobile-in-2013/

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.