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Posts tagged “Smartphone

APPS to yearn for…


Flipboard – An amazingly convenient way to keep up with the latest news: just flip pages over and tap to read. This cool app pulls up news from major news services like NYTimes, Huffington Post, Forbes, National Geographic, CNET, LATimes, Wired, etc. A must have!
Download for iPhone, iPad
Download for Android

Polaris Office – I’d like to call this the Microsoft Office for mobile. With this app, you can create Word documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, text documents and view Adobe PDF documents on-the-go. Highly productive app, and it’s free for Android devices!
Download for iPhone, iPad
Download for Android

SMS Backup & Restore – Do you end up losing text messages from your old cell phone due to resetting the phone, changing the phone, or switching SIM cards? Well, now you don’t have to worry. This free app lets you “Backup” & “Restore” SMS messages on Android devices! You can backup your text messages and save them to an external memory card (microSD) on the phone, simply transfer them to your computer via USB/Bluetooth, or upload ithem to Dropbox or Google Drive. You can also backup messages from an older device and restore it to your newer one!
Download for Android

Swype – This is the most innovative touchscreen experience I have had yet. Swype is a text input app that uses the continuous finger motion across the touchscreen keyboard to predict text. Unlike text input methods on iOS, Blackberry, or conventional Android devices, this patented input method doesn’t require you to lift your finger while you type words! Even better, it learns & memorizes, and thus, predicts as you type custom words you had entered before. Check out Swype’s cool features here.
Download for Android

QR DroidQuick Response (QR) codes have become quite common these days for sharing web addresses, business cards, and shopping coupons. QR Droid helps you capture QR codes from the mobile device’s camera, read & decode codes from Images stored on your device, and even create codes for other things like a password for a WiFi network, a Calendar Event, the Geolocation from your GPS. For iPhone, iPad users, there’s a QR code app from AT&T.
Download for Android
Download AT&T Code Scanner for iPhone, iPad

Square Wallet – e-commerce is evolving in to m-commerce. This interesting mobile wallet app lets you store your credit/debit cards, rewards cards, etc. for making purchases. With this, you don’t have to carry your stuffy wallet. You can even look up a merchant on this app, whether it is a Starbucks coffee store or a Pizza store, and open a tab before you arrive for timely pickup of your order.
Download for iPhone, iPad
Download for Android

What’s-On-India: TV Guide (for INDIAN channels only) – Isn’t it taxing to sift through the newspaper everyday to look for the day’s TV programming? Plus, many times the programming is either wrong or is missing for some TV channels, because there isn’t enough space in the paper to print. Add to it, you aren’t always sitting in front of the TV. Well, this app is the perfect and accurate on-the-go TV guide I stumbled upon couple of years ago. You can also set email/SMS reminders, so you don’t miss out on your favorite TV shows!
Download for iPhone, iPad
Download for Android

DISCLAIMER: This post does not endorse the above products or brands. All views are personal.

Mobile Commerce (m-commerce) has finally arrived

Bravo! Mobile Commerce (m-commerce) has finally kicked off. People are moving towards shopping using Smartphones and Tablets. According to Statista, a leading Internet statistics company from Germany, mobile commerce sales have quadrupled from 2% to 8% over the past two years.

In March 2012, more than 40 million people in the US i.e. approximately 13% of about 300 million people in the country, visited Amazon using a tablet or smartphone. The above exhibit is a suggestive extrapolation of the current trend upto 2014.

The four biggest online retailers—Amazon, eBay, Netflix, and Wal-Mart—saw millions (double-digit) of Mobile web/app visitors.

Apparently, both smartphone and tablets equally took away the share of PC visits to online retailers.

Higher the household income, higher the percentage of tablet owners. Clearly, tablet owners are the affluent buyers.

The tablet is still a premium device and for people who have more disposable income, so the average value of an order placed from a tablet is the highest of all three devices. But, the PC continues to be the primary purchasing medium, resulting in the highest conversion rates. The smartphone acts rather as an exhibitor for online stores, and, thus, may or may not result in a purchase when compared with the ease of navigating websites on a PC or a tablet.

Gadgets & Accessories: Must-have and Good-to-have

If you believe in living your life to the maximum or making a personal statement, then these are some über-cool gadgets and accessories you should try to get your hands on.

MULTIMEDIA SPEAKERS: I’ve always disliked music systems, because they brag about peak audio output and constrain you to in-built players/radio. Purchasing a separate multimedia speaker set, which can be wired to almost about any audio source—laptop, mobile phone, television—provides a lot of flexibility. A 2.1 speaker set w/ two 2-way speakers for mid-range & treble and one dedicated sub-woofer for bass is a good choice. 40 watts RMS is a minimum you should buy if you really want to enjoy music/movies. I recommend the Altec Lansing MX6021 w/ 200 watts RMS. It has 68 watts RMS on the sub-woofer and 66 watts RMS on each of the 2-way channel speakers. Compared to the Logitech Z623, which is also 200 watts RMS, MX6021 has divided approx. 130 watts RMS equally between the sub-woofer and mid-range that will give you high-quality vocals w/ bass. (Must-have)

SMARTPHONE: Nowadays, everyone has an internet-enabled mobile phone w/ 3G or 4G capabilities. But, is that it? You’re not getting the most from your phone if it doesn’t have:

  • Syncing and saving contacts, calendars online
  • Tethering your phone over USB or as a Wireless Access Point (WAP) to connect your laptop to the mobile internet
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB-based charger
  • External memory storage capacity of 32 GB or more
  • Quad-band GSM (2G) and, at least, Dual-band 3G
  • Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) for accurate map locations
  • Mobile tracker for tracing after phone theft
  • FM radio

I personally use the Samsung Duos. It has dual SIM capability, so I don’t have to carry two separate handsets when I travel to other countries—all I do is plug in the new SIM in the phone’s 2nd slot. I’ve also become a fan of the open-source Android OS and the microSD card functionality, because I feel that Apple and other competitors are trying to handicap you w/ syncing software like iTunes and using DRM. “Drag and drop” of files over USB/Bluetooth/Wi-Fi and FOTA (Firmware Over The Air) upgrades are awesome features that give you a lot of “mobility.” (Must-have)

LED FLASHLIGHT: Every household has a flashlight, but not necessarily an LED one. LED flashlights are becoming the norm for automotive headlights and several other indsutry applications. They are very efficient compared to their predecessors and have a visible range of few miles! I recommend the T-series range of LED flashlights from Inova. These have a range of 100’s of meters and visibility of few miles. They have a rugged metallic body and were initially manufactured for use by the military. The best thing is that Inova provides a lifetime warranty wherein if your flashlight stops working, you can get it replaced anytime! (Must-have)

SUNGLASSES: Whether you drive a car or walk, it’s terribly hard to go out during the day without sunglasses. Very few pay attention to technicalities beyond aesthetic details. Today, almost all decent pairs of sunglasses have some sort of UV protection. But, only a select few have polarized lenses. Polarized lenses protect your eyes from harsh reflections from shiny and metallic surfaces. Though polycarbonate lenses have become popular, I still prefer glass lenses for their durability and relatively superior scratch-resistance. Only a few like Ray-Ban offer glass lenses. Ray-Ban’s Warrior are great wraparounds and they also have gradient tint in brown. (Good-to-have)

TOUCH-SCREEN WATCH: If you thought only mobile phones and computers can have touch screens, you thought wrong. Kenneth Cole New York came out with their slick collection of touch-screen watches few years back. All of the controls for 32 time zones, alarm, timer, backlight, etc. are a tap away! The coolest part is that they have an inverted black-and-white digital display. (Good-to-have)

CAR SUB-WOOFER & AMPLIFIER: Ever wondered that there’s juice missing in your car stereo’s music? Because, whether you’re an audiophile or not, you’ll realize that the car stereo, like a home theater system, needs a sub-woofer and an amplifier. To get that bass punch out of the stereo, a sub-woofer with at least 200 watts RMS is recommended. Pioneer, Sony, and JBL offer good starter sub-woofers, while MTX, Kicker, and Infinity offer premium range sub-woofers. Obviously, you can’t run a sub-woofer without an amplifier! A mono (single channel) amplifier will give that much-needed power boost to your sub. Again, the same manufacturers also provide the associated amplifiers. (Good-to-have)

UNIVERSAL POWER ADAPTER: Do you travel a lot? And give up on hunting for compatible power outlets? This is the gadget you’ve been yearning for, but haven’t had luck with or ran out of it after purchasing unreliable ones. The World Travel Pro+ adapter (aka World Travel Adapter 3 in some countries) from Skross of Switzerland is the perfect companion for powering any/all devices, literally, anywhere in the world! It has 3-pole inlet sockets and outlet pins for US/UK/Europe/Japan/Australia/China, you name it. And it can connect to 100-250V power outlets, powering devices up to 2200 watts. (Must-have)

USB PHONE CHARGER: The ReTrak USB 4-in-1 charger, I think, is probably one of the most innovative products around. Using this, you can charge up to two smartphones either through a wall outlet or a 12V car power outlet! The best part is that it supports global voltages of 100-240 V, and all of its pins either retract or have a cap, making it very suitable for travel. (Must-have)

Hope you found this post interesting and utilitarian! In my future posts, I’ll talk about must-have personal care products.