A lot of people have been saying, for rather a long time indeed, that mobile/tablet gaming will eventually take over from console gaming. It’s been growing in popularity for absolutely ages, and many people are predicting that we’ll one day see consoles fall by the wayside, as tablet and smartphones replace them in gamers’ hearts. There’s even been persistent rumours that the big names in the console arena (y’know, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) will make their own gaming tablets, although that’s obviously not happened yet.
Do you remember when I did a blog about the Asus FonePad, the 7-inch tablet that acts like a phone, and that looks kinda ridiculous when one holds it next to one’s head? Well now, there’s a new jumbo-sized phone on the way, one that really kinda stretches the definition of what’s meant by the word ‘phone’, except this time it’s made by Sony…
That, right there, is the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, and rarely have I ever seen a phone name that’s so stunningly accurate; that thing is huge! But does it look like it’ll be any good? Continue reading
Takara-Tomy are obsessed with robots. You might not know this, but while Transformers toys are made by Hasbro in the Western world, in Japan, they’re made by Takara-Tomy. Robots is kinda their thing, right? So, with that in mind, here’s the Automee-S, a miniature robot cleaner for your mobile phone’s screen (and yes, the video’s a bit dinky, innit)…
‘Tis a bit like a Roomba, isn’t it? AS you can see in the video, though, it’s been shrinkified, so that it’s small enough to be used on your tablets or your smartphones (like the iPhone 5, ‘cos that’s what the phone in the video looks like). But here’s the question: would you want to? Continue reading
Well then, folks, that’s it for another year. Christmas is well and truly over, and now it’s time to look forward to getting completely blotto on New Year’s Eve (except I don’t drink, so I won’t be), but the big question is: how did our favourite mobile gadgets do over the holiday period? We’re still waiting to see which phone won, in the epic battle between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Apple’s iPhone 5, but until that info comes out, let’s have a look at another type of mobile device.
Right then, you may very well know that Apple unveiled the iPad Mini yesterday, and as always (y’know, just as they did when the iPhone 5 was unveiled), Apple did their normal trick of comparing it to other products on the market, and saying, “Look! Ours is clearly so, so much better!”
Of course, one is then forced to ask a question: why have Apple decided to make the iPad Mini, when Steve Jobs once said, basically, that they weren’t interested in smaller tablets? Could it be that the current crop of 7 inch tablets have Apple scared? So, basically, we come to this question: we already know that Android’s tablet market share has increased massively in the last year, but will the iPad Mini be enough to halt their rise? Continue reading
Oh yes! Yes, yes, dear god, yes! All this time doing the blog, and I’m finally, finally able to mention my all-time favourite sci-fi TV show! Yep, I’m talking about the one in the pic, the sheer glory that was Babylon 5, a show I’ve never been able to talk about before because naturally, with it being set 250 years in the future, it didn’t have mobile phones in it.
So, then, this is not a famous phone post. Instead, it’s a “life imitates epic sci-fi art” post, because according to The Verge, Hitachi are working a new technique for storing data on crystals. Yes, they’ve invented actual, honest to god data crystals, just like they had in Babylon 5! But anyway, yes, how does that work, then? Continue reading
Y’know how it’s been said many, many times that, despite Android ruling the roost in the smartphone arena (with superstar superphones like the Samsung Galaxy S3), Apple has the tablet arena pretty much sewn up with the iPad? Yeah, not so much any more, apparently.
Y’see, the Pew Research Center has done some research (as you’d kind of expect from their name, right), about tablet ownership, and they’ve found that in the USA, the iPad now only accounts for 52% of the market, as opposed to last year, where it held 81% of the market.
That’s quite a drop, innit? So, right, how’d the iPad lose so much ground in just one year? Continue reading
The Note is a large device that falls midway between a smartphone and a tablet and is often referred to by many people as a “phablet”. Despite its size the Galaxy Note has proven to be extremely popular and the sequel has become one of the most anticipated devices of 2012.
Due to their size phablets only appeal to a small section of consumers, many of whom will already own the original Note. While the Note 2 will attract much more interest in the phablet category, is it worthwhile upgrading if you already own the original?
The Answer is a Resounding “Yes!”
The original Note looked like a larger Galaxy S2 while the sequel more closely resembles the Galaxy S3. They are roughly the same size, although the Note 2 is marginally bigger due to its larger screen.
The Note 2 offers more power than the original with a quad core 1.6GHz processor with 2GB RAM. It runs on the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean) and some models come with a hefty 64GB internal storage. The Super AMOLED screen has been increased from 5.3 inches to 5.5 inches, although oddly the resolution has been reduced ever so slightly. All in all it is fair to say the Galaxy Note 2 has had a massive boost in hardware power.
But this is not why you should upgrade to the Note 2. Yes, the Note 2 is one of the fastest and smoothest Android devices on the market by far; and yes, it easily outperforms most other devices in benchmark tests.
Having the same features running more smoothly is probably not worth spending several hundred pounds on, but what makes the Note 2 worthy of upgrading to is the excellent new features that accompany the Note’s S-Pen.
New S Pen
The S-Pen is now longer and much more ergonomic which, makes it much more enjoyable to use. It now has a rubber end which Samsung insists will make it feel more like using a normal pen or pencil.
The S-Pen can be used to draw gestures, or “Quick Commands” to perform functions more quickly. For example, you could create a gesture to load the email app or Facebook from anywhere on the Note’s interface without having to navigate back to the homescreen to tap an icon.
The S-Pen is at the heart of the Note 2 and it is this stylus that allows the phablet to enjoy a number of unique features and apps not found on other Android devices. Far from simply offering a redesigned stylus, Samsung has developed a number of revolutionary new features to accompany it.
Perhaps the most interesting of these is Easy Clip. Almost all smartphones and tablets now come with a copy and paste feature, although this is usually restricted to strings of text or phone numbers. Copying images displayed on the screen can be much more complicated.
While many phones allow you to take screen shots sometimes it is not the whole screen that you wish to capture but just a small portion of it. You could load the image in an editing app and try and crop out the section you want, but this can be very time consuming and you probably won’t find yourself doing it all that often.
Using the S-Pen you can draw around a section of the screen you wish to copy. This section of the screen, and only this section, will then be copied to the clipboard and you will be provided with a list of possible things to do with it. You can paste it into a paint app, send it via MMS or email, or upload it to a social network.
Image Visualizer allows you to easily add images to your memos using handwriting recognition. Rather than loading an image library and browsing through to find the desired image, all you need to do is write a word associated with that image to have it added to your notes. While the Note 2 comes with a preinstalled library of images you can also create your own libraries and choose associations between images and words.
Despite having a stylus, the Galaxy Note is not that different to any other touchscreen device as it still requires you to touch the screen to register a response.
Air View allows you to perform certain functions by holding the S-Pen slightly above the screen without touching it. For example, holding the S-Pen above your email inbox can provide you with a preview of each message without having to open them individually. Air View can also provide previews of images and be used to scroll through libraries and videos.
Perhaps what worries some people about purchasing a phone such as the Note 2, apart from its size, is that there is the added danger of misplacing the stylus which is so central to many of the Note’s features. While this was certainly a potential problem for the Note, the Note 2 will alert you whenever the S-Pen strays too far.
Worth the Upgrade? You Bet!
If Samsung had merely increased the processor speed and screen size there would probably not be much justification for existing Note users to upgrade to the Note 2. But along with a much more comfortable and easy to use stylus, which is far less likely to be misplaced, the Note 2 offers many new features that make it far easier and more enjoyable to perform the tasks that the original Note already excelled at.
Well, it’s been one of the worst kept secrets of the entire year, not least because a Samsung rep actually confirmed that this was going to happen, but the day has finally come. Yup, that’s right; the Samsung Galaxy Note II has been officially unveiled!
You may have noticed from that preamble that I’m a bit excited, but then that’s hardly surprising, since the first Samsung Galaxy Note was my second choice for a phone, after the HTC One X that I eventually ended up buying. I loved the look of it, and I especially loved the colossal screen on the damn thing.
The thing is, right, that the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note II is even bigger… Continue reading
Right then, there’s a persistent rumour that’s been going about (which Hexus reported on a few days ago), which says that the sequel to the Samsung Galaxy Note is going to have a flexible screen. That’s fair enough, if it’s true, and it’s interesting in its own right, but that’s not what this post is about.
Y’see, I read that rumour, and it got me thinking: how long can it be until we actually see a fully flexible smartphone? When, when you get right down to it, will we get bendy phones?
I know it sounds far-fetched, but in all honesty, I reckon we could, theoretically, see them quicker than ye might think. No, I’m not tripping, the tech really is out there, to make ’em… Continue reading