Tag Archive: tablets


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.

This year big business taught us several lessons.  Did you miss them?  Techsnoop has rounded them up for you.

HTC

Think big, act bold.

HTC OneAfter learning the hard way not to develop timidly, HTC has jumped out with bold devices and marketing.  Using Robert Downey, Jr. in their “Here’s To Change” campaign is a great and unexpected  move for them.  The HTC One line up is proving popular and useful, reminiscent of the initial EVO launches.

But they still have a way to go.  Allowing Samsung to take their best features on smartphones and improve on them may prove a costly misstep.  Personally, Techsnoop is rooting for them as a long time HTC fan.

Take a base of popular features and innovate like HTC did with the 4 inch screen and 8MP camera into being standard features.

Samsung

Curate the best of tech and give it to your customers.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3Samsung took many hits for the perceived cheapness of their plastic casings and low quality cameras on their smartphones and tablets.  Apparently, they listen to their customers.

Somehow, without exactly copying, the best features and styling from other brands have been rolled into Samsung products and improved upon.  The Gear watch is a great example. Instead of attempting to make a standalone watch-phone, the natural use would be as an accessory to the mega-screen phones of today. Samsung beat everyone else to this.

Take notes, using the best of existing technology within your own brand is a savvy idea every business can use to leap ahead.

Apple

Don’t treat your customers like babies.

iPhone 5S-5CAfter years of implementing miniscule “upgrades” to the iPhone, Apple finally offered a “large” 4 inch screen on the iPhone 5C and 5S. The audience and tech world are completely underwhelmed. Apple is attempting to sell this iteration of the iPhone solely on looks. Yes it is pretty, but Techsnoop and the rest of the professional world are happy with 5 inch screens we can actually use.  In comparison to the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy 4, the iPhone 5 screens look cramped with too many icons and not enough breathing room.  If your fingertips are not tiny, how do you select apps?

Clearly Apple is targeting a giggling teen market.  What with colors no business man would be caught dead with and the tiny screen, this is not a business class phone.

So, if your emerging market is young hipsters, follow Apple’s example and treat your customers with condension.

Continuing the current trend of multi-use tech, Samsung has just announced the Ativ Q, a hybrid laptop and tablet that takes multi-tasking to a new level.

The Ativ Q is a 13 inch, Intel powered tablet with a swing out keyboard that doubles as a stand.  It runs Windows 8 (full version, not RT) and Android  Jellybean.  And if that’s not enough for you power users, it can run both OSs side by side.

Whew, that’s a lot of multi-tasking even for Techsnoop.  With 4GB of ram, it should be fairly speedy compared to other tablets.  It also comes with 2 USB ports and a nini-HDMI port for ultimate connecting.

The trade off, (there’s always a trade off in tech) is the thickness (13.9mm vs 8.2mm for the Tab 3) and weight (1.29kg compared to 550g for the Tab 3).  But, if you need something a little more robust than a normal tablet, this may be the Lablet for you.

Take a look at the video and let us know what you think of this fab new machine.

 

htcEVO4gLTELosing your technology gadgets just got a whole lot easier.

Polytron Technologies has made the invisible smartphone a reality and next will come screens, laptops and tablets.  While this technology was fun to watch in Ironman and The Avengers, in practical everyday use, invisible smartphones are going to be a problem.  Techsnoop already has enough problems finding the phone and laptop.  How many of you have to have another person call your phone to find it?  Now, compound this with the phone being invisible.  Whoa, do we really need this?  We’re going to need to lojack every device.

But, the tech is here, therefore it will be used at some point in production.   Maybe someone will develop a voice activated retrieval system.  Hmm… Techsnoop needs to get busy.

Let us know if you think see-through tech is a good idea.

Multi-ScreenIf you are an avid eBook reader like Techsnoop and use several sources, it can get very frustrating trying to find a particular book.

Well along comes Calibre an eBook reader, manager and converter.  The Calibre application can read nearly any format of eBook and even convert from one format to another.  This works for books, comics (yah!), news and magazines.  If any of your books is missing data or covers, you can edit the metadata to add this information.  But the best thing of all is not having to search through 3 or more applications for a book.  You can add them all to Calibre and browse in one window for your next great read.

Calibre works with all readers, PCs, phones and tablets.  Calibre has all the usual functions such as resizing text, but it also allows you to tag books for even more searchability.

And the most important, it is FREE.  But consider donating to the creator as this is too great to lose out on.

Happy Reading!

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.

If you like to be on top of the latest in technology, here is a round-up of the most useful items coming out soon.

Human-technology interfaces are undergoing upheaval.   The mouse is dying and the physical keyboard may be next.  Touch screen and gesture based technology is growing fast.  Now LuminAR has developed the light bulb as touch screen interface to be placed anywhere.  The projection creates an instant display that interacts with user gestures.  It can be used as a display or to scan and send documents.  The bulb will be able to be placed in any lamp as plug and play with your wireless network.

For on-the-go pet owners Pintofeed lets you feed your furry family from your smartphone.  There is a feeder that can be programmed manually or, with a downloadable app, can be remotely programmed to kick out a half-cup of food for Fido or Felicity.

 

More human-machine interface technology comes from the portable, virtual keyboard which can be used with any device;

 

Samsung is on fire with great tablets, smartphones and now the man-cave dream; an 85″ ultra HD TV with 8 million pixels.  Yes, 8 million.  If money is no object, treat your hubby to ultimate bragging rights this Christmas.

Parents everywhere will appreciate the Owlet baby monitor which straps onto baby’s foot and monitors heart rate and blood oxygen levels.  An alert is sent to your smartphone if there are changes.  Created to give parents extra response time in case baby stops breathing.  Not yet ready for production, it will bring huge peace of mind to parents everywhere.

Happy Holidays from Techsnoop.  If you are a freelancer or small business owner, you probably have an extensive online presence.  Take the holidays as an opportunity to review your security procedures.

Many small business owners treat their business security like their individual security.  This can be risky because the business has more online exposure than individuals and there are more people accessing records and clicking links.  If you sell online, my friends at Garage Sale Academy.com can give you great tips on selling safely.

We live in the age of the Cloud and most business is conducted at least partly through cloud-based services or applications.  These transactions generally happen smoothly with no issues.  But, one tiny mistake can cost you your business or online life.

According to Wired.com,

“Hackers are increasingly going after small businesses,” says Jeremy Grant, who runs the Department of Commerce’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Essentially, he’s the guy in charge of figuring out how to get us past the current password regime. “They have more money than individuals and less protection than large corporations.”

This puts small business owners in the hacker sweet-spot for targeting.

Staying Safe

First, passwords.  Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numeric and special (if allowed) characters in all passwords.  Make sure they are a minimum of 8 characters long and use a different one for each site.  Yes, it is a lot of work, but isn’t keeping your business worth it?

Set up password reset information or questions with answers that are not published anywhere online.  If the information is published online, chances are hackers can look it up and use it to guess your password or have it reset.

Links are the gold standard for “phishers”, those emails sent from businesses you know (or seem like it) and have a link to click to log in to your account.  Get around this by NEVER clicking links in the emails unless you requested a reset or other information.  Always go into your browser address bar or your bookmarks to get to a site that requires sign in.

Delete employees or partners who have left the company right away.  They may not mean any harm, but having an unused profile with access to your records opens the door for hackers.

Change passwords frequently.  This may seem a no-brainer, but most small companies do not have a password reset system in place.  Also, have common passwords blocked from your system.  In the year 2012 the word “password” is the most used password online.

Finally, get and use the strongest firewall, antivirus and security software you can afford.  This is not the place to skimp in your business.  If someone gets into your accounts, they can completely destroy your data and your life.

Have a safe and prosperous year.