1044 posts • joined 23 Sep 2008
What makes a smartphone?
Strange start to the article...
"Time was, smartphones did little that was actually smart. They had front-facing cameras and maybe a touchscreen, but operating systems geared more for a stylus than fingers. It wasn’t until the iPhone landed in 2007 that things changed."
Why does being able to use a finger, rather than a stylus, make a phone smart? You could argue that the first iPhone achieved many, many firsts, but being the first smartphone was not one of them. Indeed, I would argue it wasn't a smartphone at all (althought it was undoubtadly a very smart phone). And I'm still not sure the iPhone, or any of the other current crop of phones, can really do anything your average Windows Mobile device from 2003 couldn't do. It does it all better and faster but it is still a touchscreen phone with built-in data onto which you can install software.
Maybe my point (if I made one) is kind of irrelevant but it just seemed strange to claim that being able to use a finger, rather than a stylus, was the thing that made smartphones smart - rather than, say, making them easier, more convenient, making the screen brighter and more readable etc. etc. etc.
And yes, I still miss my old stylus. I have a capacitive one but it just isn't the same and it doesn't slot conveniently into the back of my phone like in days of yore.
Pakuma Akara K1
I liked the sound of the K1 but clicking through to Amazon the reviews are abysmal. Most reviews seem to agree that it looks great, is practical, comfortable and will fall apart inside three months.
Might have to be the Swissgear for me then. Thanks Reg.
Keep in mind there is no SD and no HDMI on the Nexus. That might not bother you but it is worth considering. I'm leaning more towards a Kindle HD. Again, no SD but it has the USB port and HDMI and the 32GB is only £200 so I think I could cope. I just haven't seen what Amazon have done to Android yet!
"What video formats can these things handle? Pretty much everything? What are the decent open source media players for Android?"
Yep, anything you wish. I use MX Player which has handled anything I have thrown at it. VLC is available too (I think it is still in beta) and my cheapo chinese tablet came with something called "Gallery 2180p" which has also handled every video format including a streaming video feed from TVCatchup designed for the iPad which I THINK appears as an iTunes video playlist.
I don't give format or bit rate a moment's thought any more. As long as you choose an Android tablet with MicroSD or USB support (preferably both) then storage space isn't an issue either. I picked up a 32GB card for just over a tenner a few weeks ago and there is usually a 16GB memory stick with a few films on it floating around in the bottom of my bag somewhere.
I thouht most of this was pointless "solution searching for a problem" stuff but I do REALLY like the idea of your wireless keyboard and mouse charging themselves wirelessly from your AIO PC overnight. It doesn't happen very often (maybe every six months or so) but you can guarantee that when the batteries DO run out on your mouse and keyboard it will be at the least convenient time imaginable and, despite having had dozens of batteries lying around for months, you'll be damned if you can find any when you really need it.
Re: Good typing and mousing experiences
Not built in but the M009s (from Amazon, via Wendy Lou, for about £50) has a port adaptor that provides three full-sized USB ports and an ethernet port and I have had keyboard and mouse working on that. However, it is also a resistive screen and is very slow. Mine gets used just as a Kindle now, having been usurped by a 1.2GHz/Capacitive jobby.
"Since the original (well reborn) Razr only just got the ICS update OTA in the UK last week, I recommend you don't hold your breath on that one..."
I would agree with you 100% on past record BUT they are (in the US, at least) including a promise of $100 cash back if they fail to deliver Jelly Bean by a certain date. I'm not a Motorola fan but that sounds like a bloody good way of acknowledging past errors and buying back confidence.
Re: Crapping Hell!!!
I know it LOOKS like self-indulgent nonsense (and, frankly, what's wrong with that?) but keep in mind that today's high-end is tomorrow's main stream. Okay, I'm not saying any of this particular kit will ever become even remotely affordable but there are a few new technologies in there that I wasn't aware of but sound like the sort of thing many of us will be using in a few years.
Lets face it, hollywood is trying to convince us "The Cloud" (via UV) is the place where all our films will be stored - because they can control it. However, the tech companies are telling us 4K is the new black. But the two don't work together unless you have a whopping great fibre connection and a VERY low contention ratio. That media server, where the presence of a physical disc is used as your DRM license to allow access to a digital copy, seems like a brilliant solution to me.
Hollywood are happy as you are still buying media from them. Sony et al are happy because a server is capable of pumping out bits at a rate that will feed their new 4K systems so that everyone can go and buy a new telly - again.
I was a huge fan of the film as a kid but remember being massively disappointed by the game (ZX Speccy 48k). It was hugely repetitive and not much fun. I probably only played it a handful of times before returning to Penetrator or Green Beret.
Re: Android 2.3?
" I came across an ATM that was stuck and was showing the desktop of the OS it is running"
"specialised devices can -and do- make use of an obsolete/old OS without any issues."
Ermmm, you kind of trampled all over your point with a poorly selected example there fella!
Re: Spend a little more.
And I would agree with you 100% if it weren't for the lack of MicroSD card suppport in the U. That just kills it for me. How can you really use it as a smartphone with only around 6GB? Most of the uses that define a smartphone require large amounts of storage.
Re: SanFrancisco is pretty good
"would have been a lot better if it wasn't stuffed with Orange crudwar.... none of which is removable"
Unlock it, stick ROM Manager on and then flash a new ROM. Takes all of 20 minutes and completely transforms the phone. There are LOADS of step-by-step guides including YouTube videos to hold your hand through the process. It really is as simple as installing a couple of bits of software and then following the on-screen instructions.
Re: Went on holiday
"Went on holiday...left my electronic junk at home... it is after all a holiday!"
Lucky you! I, however, don't consider it much of a "holiday" if my kids are fighting and arguing in the back of the car so a tablet with a few of their films on plus some drawing games is a bloody good way to ensure Mum and Dad get a bit of a holiday too!
Re: "Goldeneye was pretty much the foundation for first person shooters"
"Foundation" doesn't mean "first". And, in any case, Doom was certainly NOT the first FPS either. Although I do agree it is stretching things to say Goldeneye was THE foundation. One of several, particularly for the multiplayer components, but certainly not THE.
Re: What about...
Another +1 for MXPlayer. During the Olympics I would tell the default web browser to pretend to be an iPad, then go to TVCatchup and use their HTML5 video streaming. MXPlayer handled it perfectly (I believe it pretended to be an iTunes playlist).
And for me, another would be the Opera Web Browser. The new Chrome is okay but still crashes quite a bit for me and is lacking options. Opera (with Turbo cache switched on) is lightening fast and just seems to handle eveything without getting in the way
Re: Been in a Pub lately ?
"When was the last time anybody went in a pub and they had beermats on the table ?"
That's strange. Two of you have made that comment now but I can't remember ever being in a pub that DIDN'T have beer mats. Of course, I live in the middle of nowhere. Maybe you city folk just can't be trusted with Beer Mats, what with your funny ways an all.
Unbelievable bunch of stoneage arseholes
What is it with you lot? As soon as someone even DARES to suggest making a change to your cars you all become chest beating neanderthals! "What if the system suddenly steals my soul and blots out the sun forever?" Seriously? Listen to yourselves. You work in (or have links to) IT and yet dozens of you SERIOUSLY believed that NCAP were so fucking stupid they were going to insist every car had a system so stuperfyingly dangerous it would instantly kill you if a plastic bag blew across a motorway. Even AFTER it had been explained to you that the people that designed the system had GCSEs in not being utterly moronic and had given this thing more than 30s drunken thought the posts have continued to flood in with "But it will deliberately try to kill me if....".
I absolutely dispair sometimes.
Re: A snowballs chance in hell
> Specifically what deficiencies? I ask because I have a Lumia 710 and really like it.
Lack of SD Card support - the Lumia 710 only comes with 8GB, as do the majority of WinPho devices so far. That really leaves you with just over 7GB for apps and storage - just not enough for most users these days. Especially when 32GB cards cost under £15!
Lack of support for dual-core processors was limiting the development of games as the most comon graphics chipsets weren't available. I'm not a gamer myself but a large section of the smartphone market is being driven by mobile gaming and, again, the lack of storage isn't helping
Lack of screen resolution support. As the market (inexplicably) moves towards gigantuan screens, WP7's lack of support for higher res screens is killing it.
I agree that WP7 is nice but it does feel more like a fancy feature-phone OS rather than a full-on smartphone OS - in much the same way that iOS was until v3.
I'd want to see the screen in person (have been using a SanFran with a 800 X 600 OLED for the last 18+ Months) but this does sound like my new phone come November.
Call me a skin flint...
...but an Amazon Basics portable DVD Rewriter at £16 has done me just fine for the few occasions I have needed it in the last twelve months.
Has been mentioned before
To be fair to PCPro (and they don't get a lot right) they did notice this in their review at the start of last week;
"our only complaint is that colours lack punch, with a washed-out look that’s noticeable next to dearer tablet screens"
Re: 3 days on the trot
I believe, in this case, the test was only to complete 10,000 steps a day - which is kind of an averagely active day. You wouldn't necessarily need to "train" to acheive that. Just avoid sitting on your arse all day (okay, easier said than done, depending on your job).
And yes, whilst I always recommend other people only train every other day there are sports/endurance events that require training every day - albeit at a reduced intensity. I always marvel at the LA-to-NY footrace guys who average 42 miles a day for 70 days without a rest day. Overcoming boredom is a part of the challenge for ultra-distance events.
Re: Jesus f***ing H Christ
"What the hell is wrong with just getting out there and DOING EXERCISE?"
Actually, as well as being a grumpy, mean spirited little shit you are also just plain wrong. EVERYONE uses goal/reward based incentives for excercise from the very best elite althletes right down to your couch potatoe who has finally realised that shooting pain across the chest is probably a sign they should move a bit more. Do you think Bradley Wiggens just looks out of the window of a morning and thinks to himself "You know what, I fancy a bit of a bike ride today"? Of course not. He has training plans, mileage and wattage targets and, ultimately, his reward was a brightly coloured jumper but that is not a million miles removed from a flashing green light or a "Goal reached" message on an OLED display.
There is NO WAY I could do the training I do without targets to meet - both short and long term. And trying to suggest that people are in some way doing something wrong or naughty just because they want to incentivise themselves towards a healthier lifestyle is perverse in the extreme.
Do those rewards/incentives have to involve spending £140 on a fancy bangle? No. Is there anything wrong with spending £140 on a fancy bangle (if you can afford it)? Absolutely not.
No mention of whether or not, like Endomondo, for example, you can manually add activities that the bracelet would miss like swimming, cycling, gymn work etc. I suppose it is designed more to get the in-active off their posteriors though. If you already cycle/swim regularly then this probably isn't for you anyway
"Why does the reviewer think not using a MicroSim is any kind of advantage?"
Easy, you can swap SIMs between different phones. That was always the entire point of having a SIM in the first place. So you could switch phones, networks etc without having to ask anyone's permission. As a VERY simple example, whenever I travel, I buy a SIM pack from the country I am travelling in and stick it in my smartphone (much cheaper data, local calls etc). So that I can still receive calls and texts from home, my UK SIM goes in a 1p Samsung I got years ago.
Try sorting that out when one phone takes a standard SIM and the other a Micro SIM.
We have standards for a reason. Companies break standards for a reason!
Re: Portable music player?
> Has anyone at Sony paused to ask themselves who their target market for these is?
Actually, I know LOADS of people who have work smartphones (usually - but not always - Blackberries, the poor bastards) and they are so limited in storage that they can't use them as a personal music/media device. So, either they go out and buy their own smartphone - and why bother when work are prepared to let you use theirs for all your personal calls, texts and data? - or they get an MP3 player. My sister has been looking for AGES for an MP3 player that would be able to connect to some decent portable speakers without using a 3.5mm jack cable and that isn't made by the fruity firm (iTunes phobic, like all sensible people are). Nothing really stood out but this looks like it might do the trick if it docks with the speaker on the Sony website.
Re: hold on
Yeah. Quite easily. They will sound totally different. Whether or not you define that difference as "better" is down to you. Had you just forked out £300K on it, I'd bet a bollock you would though!
Re: <raises hand>
Amish Paradise is, indeed, a work of genius but I was always confused as to whether the original might have been a parody in itself. Certainly I find it difficult to believe it was meant to be 100% serious.
Re: Rule 2
"I've saved a laptop from orange juice....another from a pint of beer....a mobile from coca cola"
Remind me never to lend you ANYTHING!
You would definitely notice the £500-£1000 gap. You would see the difference from £1000-2000 if they were sat side by side but, once you had got used to either one I'm not sure most people would be able to say they were properly missing out. Of course, not all of the extra money has gone on the quality of the panel or picture processing tech. IF I was to spend £2K on a telly I would want it to look pretty damned fantastic (as I think this LG does). If I spent £500 on a telly I wouldn't be so bothered. I would be more interested in the picture quality/sound and does it have the features I need. "Does it look nice?" would come a long way down the list.
Re: I can honestly say I'm not a fanboi. The gear is just easier to use
I have NEVER bought this argument. I've been a Mac user since '84 and I find them just as much as a PITA to use as PCs - which I first encountered in '94. I've used smartphones since '99 and yet, when presented with an iDevice (you know how it is. You work in IT so as soon as someone gets a gadget you keep getting handed it and asked "How do you do X with it?") it takes me just as long to figure out how to do stuff as it does any other phone. Just the other day someone handed me his new iPad and asked me how to bookmark a page. After a few seconds I spotted a symbol that looked VERY vaguely like it might refer to bookmarks and tapped it. All it did was LIST them. The bookmark button doesn't let you ADD bookmarks? Turns out that is a different button whose icon bares no resemblance whatsoever to adding, bookmarks or anything else. Why would you prevent someone bookmarking a page from the bookmarks?
My Mum picked up my Wife's cheapy Android device and within seconds was delighted that she had managed to find and use a recipe search app and declared it was the easiest phone she'd ever used and wanted one. I bought her the exact same phone for her birthday 3 weeks ago and she STILL can't figure out how to send a Text message??
I simply don't buy that any of them are particularly easy to use. People, under certain circumstances, will be driven to trying things to find out how they work. On a different day, in a different mood, they'll be petrified and declare it is "too difficult" to use. Maybe dropping £500 on an iPhone just "inspires" more people to be brave than spending £50 on a Huawei from Tesco.
Re: Remote controls
"skipping past channels that do nothing but sell tawdry jewellery"
I just set up a "Favourites" list with the half a dozen channels we ever bother with. I can get to the favourites list with two key preses (GUIDE and BLUE) and then, at a glance, see what is on/coming for all the channels of any worth.
And the answer is usually bugger all.
Re: Am I the only one that writes helpsheets for family?
Not for family but, when we go on holiday, we tend to house-swap with random foreign-types (German's last year, Norwegians this). I have had to write a manual for the entire house - including our all-in-one remote - that can be understood by people for whom English is not their first language. It really does make you stop and think. Trying to describe how to switch the remote into one mode, turn the telly on, set the source, switch to the satelite box etc etc really is a challenge when trying to stick to fairly simple words. I end up using lots of pictures (stolen from the PDF manual) and then use MS Paint to draw circles around the relevant buttons.
Re: Telly upgrade
> what do these do that the last tellies didn't?
Lower power consumption, higher contrast ratios, better viewing angles and clearer in sunlight.
And no, I won't be upgrading either. I REALLY love my films and something like Hero on BlueRay does look absolutely stunning but, its just a telly. It should last at least ten years before I have to replace it and the current one is probably 3 years old. In fairness, the last one only lasted a couple of years but that's because my, then, two-year-old drove a tractor across it and broke the glass. But that's okay. I stopped crying a couple of months ago and now we even let him out of his room every once in a while.
Re: …hook up two of these over a 500Mb/s powerline backbone
You'd be better off with a Wireless range extender. My parents live in a 200 year-old converted chapel with 1m thick stone walls. The WiFi has always been horrific. I got a TP-Link WiFi range extender off amazon for just over £20. It took a little bit of fiddling to set up (TP-Link use a different IP range to almost every other router manufacturer so you have to change it in the setup software) but, once up and running, it provided 4-5 bars of coverage throught the house. And you can add more if you need.
The wife was so impressed SHE actually asked me to buy one for our house to give her a better wireless signal in one part of the house that has always suffered. I'd actually already ordered one so Amazon looked really good when it turned up the morning after she had suggested it that evening!
Re: You would be wrong
Why would you "Pre" order? If it's available, you buy. If it is not available yet, you order.
Pre means "before" so Pre-order is what you do before you order. What is that? Thinking about ordering?
Re: Please someone tell me the point in this?
Okay. I'm a race-walker. I spend many hours out on the roads using my phone and Endomondo to track my training. You might not have noticed but in the UK in rains a fair bit. My phone sits in the pocket on my bottle belt. If I want to check on my progress I have to reach around, unzip the pocket, take the phone out, turn it on and unlock it. That's assuming I CAN unlock it. If it is REALLY pissing down the water buggers up the capacitive screen and I'm stuffed. With one of these, I just glance at my watch.
Granted, I could get a GPS watch like the Forerunner 310 CX - but that costs about £240 and I would STILL need to take a phone with me for emergencies etc.
I can also read texts to see if they are important without getting the phone out etc. etc.
Re: No rush to DDR4
"The need to populate ALL DIMM slots is a serious negative for DDR4."
See, I thought the same thing to start with. I remembered the bad old days when, if upgrading your PC RAM, you had to buy matching pairs which often worked out VERY expensive. If you had a mother board with two pairs of slots and one pair had 2 X 512MB DIMMS to give 1GB of RAM you couldn't just buy another 512MB DIMM. You had to buy two thereby doubling the cost.
But, with the PC becoming more and more of a consumer product I'm not sure that matters any more. Yes, there will still be the enthusiast market for whom it will be an added expense. But then, when speccing a high-end gaming rig or video editing machine you expect expense.
The vast majority of people now buy laptops, tablets or all-in-one PCs which either can't be upgraded or just won't be. And I can't remember the last time we added RAM to a PC at work. It used to be a regular occurance but, with Windows 7 (and 8) having the same memory requirements as Vista, RAM hasn't really been an issue for the last several years.
or goodsync for a windows desktop. Been using it for years to sync;
Desktop1 -> NAS <- Desktop 2
It keeps both machines in sync AND a copy of everything on the NAS.
Not sure I see the point of this FolderSync though. Isn't that exactly what the apps themselves do? I only use SugarSync out of those listed but I just tell that to keep an eye on a few folders on my device and keep them synched with my account and/or my PC. Do the others not do that too or am I just missing something?
Re: Can an Rpi
"An old Xbox1 can do this, for about a tenner, if youn install XMBC and a few plugins"
Apart from HDMI and 11n Wi-fi
I always stick the windows toolbar up the right-hand edge of the screen on any machine with a widescreen display. It gives you more verticle pixels to play with AND has the advantage of being able to show several running apps on the Bar without the titles becoming unreadable. I've been doing this for 6 or 7 years now but am still surprised how few people follow suit - even though it appears to be blazingly obvious. It takes a couple of days to get used to.
I've also taken to setting my vertically oriented toolbar to auto-hide and very wide - but that probably IS just me being a little weird.
Re: Personally i'm happy
"Not that much hassle actually. You can write to the TV licensing agency"
Really? This must have changed fairly recently. When I got my first flat (12 years ago) I didn't even bother getting a telly (couldn't afford one) but got regular red letters from the TV Licensing authority accusing me of being a criminal. It didn't matter how many times I told them I don't have a telly they kept sending letters - minimum two a month. I eventually sent a cease-and-decist notice and got told (paraphrasing) "Tough shit asshole. We're a government department and we'll send you whatever threatening letters we damn well like as often as we like".
And like the commentard above, I also pay twice as much for a TV License I don't use as I do for my Netflix subscription. Thieving bastards!
Re: Tempted - why have a smartphone
Okay, just a quick list of the stuff I use on a daily/weekly basis;
Endomondo - I do a lot of race-walking and Endomondo tracks all my training and logs performance data
Music - I DON'T have a separate music player so this is it with a 16GB memory card and senheisser headphones
Radio - It is also my Radio AND I listen to podcasts
eMail - I hardly go near my home PC for email now. We are restricted at work as to what we can access so my smartphone gives me access to personal email
News - I use Google Reader to keep up with the local and national news and a few race-walking blogs I follow
Facebook - Not essential but handy for road-closure news if nothing else.
Football - I have an app that keeps me upto date on any England/Spurs matches including goal alerts, final scores etc
Lists - I use springpad to keep lists of all sorts of stuff. If I buy something on-line, springpad has a button to clip the invoice and archive it. It means I carry around receipts of almost everything in my pocket. My wife can update a shopping list which notifies me when things have been added so that I can pick them up from town in my lunch. Reminders, memos, todos. I use it a lot.
Tickets - most tickets are virtual now - either a reference in an email or some kind of code. They are all on my phone. Can't remember the last time I used a physical ticket for anything. The closest might be going to the cinema where you show them your code on the phone, they print a ticket and you walk 5 yards to hand it to the bloke on the door????
Reminders/Calendar - My main use is as a virtual filofax. My phone is constantly pinging to remind me to do this, get that, collect so and so. My wife and I share one calendar on-line that syncs to both phones so that we can see what times are free, who is picking up the kids etc. My wife works shifts in a pub so keeping up with when she is/isn't working is a nightmare.
Tesco - When I use the last of something I add it to the Tesco "Big Shop" list for weekly delivery. You can just use the camera to scan the barcode.
Fuelly - I keep track of the MPG of both our cars
Sunrise/sunset and Tides - I have tables of both on my phone, very handy for walking training or for walks along the beach with the family - not much use taking them for a walk along the beach if it is under water.
Mapping - I have full OS maps on my phone and use them frequently along with the built-in GPS
Weather - VERY important when you are out walking in the hills for hours on end
Other stuff that just comes in handy once in a while;
SatNav, Calculator, Unit converter, IMDB, Internet (usually sports scores), eBay, amazon, TV listings and VERY occasionally phone calls or texts.
I've been using a smartphone since 1999 (Ericsson R380 World) and would be utterly lost without it.
Do you want....a certain ICS upgrade or a microSD card slot?
Am I REALLY being too greedy in wanting both?
I remember playing this game a LOT as a kid but didn't have any of the machines listed? Still, it was fantastic fun.
We just marked that out on the wall in the office that has the large whiteboard on it. It is bigger than the whiteboard - by quite a decent margin. Infact, it is so big, I wouldn't need to decorate the living room wall ever again - because I wouldn't be able to SEE the living room wall.
Re: fiver goes a long way
"If the SIM goes dark after 6 months that's worth knowing"
That certainly applies to T-Mobile UK. Not tried any of the others as T-Mobile have always had good coverage and excellent Data Rates on PAYG for the areas I visit. "3" are looking more and more tempting cost-wise but they have too many coverage holes.
Same network, different country
I'm on Sure - Cable and Wireless and, not only can I roam to other countries within the same network but numbers in those countries are included within my "Free" minutes; along with Ireland, for some reason. Quite handy, though, as the wife's family are from Dublin.
Re: fiver goes a long way
> Silly question - why throw the SIM away?
Not a silly question. They get locked after Six months of inactivity. It is probably horribly lazy of me but I've found it to be far more hassle trying to get the damn things re-activated - which I want to do before I get back to the UK and so have to ring an international number - than to just buy a new one. If I know I will be back in the UK soon I will keep it but that is rare.
Re: Shouldnt it be cheaper....
"IF Huawei could do the San Francisco at 100 (OLED screen mind you)"
ZTE did the San Fran but your point still stands. Samsung also do the Europa (i5500), a cracking little smartphone that can be had, SIM Free, for £60. I would have said £180-200 for this. Particularly with the Nexus available for £280 and the Nexus S for only £30 more.
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