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Gadgets Reviews Series Smartphones

Concluding a series on the S4 Mini

This is the conclusion article in a series reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

Here we are at the end of another series. This was my most inconsistent series, which I should have ended in October, but here I am in January 2014 finishing it off!

In the first article I introduced my new purchase and started the series. I am still (very) glad I chose Android over Apple and a Samsung Galaxy over other rivals. I really like the (in the words of David) Disney layer Samsung add, having compared it to various other Android devices, not running the Samsung version of the OS.

D3O case for the S4 MiniWhilst I do like the S4 Mini, is hasn’t been an easy ride. Before I got my D3O case and Tech21 screen protector, I dropped my phone. The screen hit something and it bounced to the floor. This completely ruined the screen. I took it in for repair and £100 later I had my phone back.

Note to self: always get a really good case, as the cost of that is way less than the cost of a repair. Oh and try not to drop your phone.

A few weeks later my battery started playing up. It wouldn’t hold charge and depleted very quickly. I wasn’t sure if this was related to the earlier drop or not, but I took it back to the shop I bought it from and they said that as it was still within warranty (Samsung give a two year warranty) they would take a look and repair it for me. A few days later I got my phone back (again) and since then nothing has gone wrong.

I recently dropped it again (by accident) outside. It landed on the pavement and bounced to the ground. Luckily the D3O did its work and my phone is still perfectly fine.

Anker S4 Mini Screen ProtectorIn terms of screen protectors I would say the Anker one was much better than the Muvit alternative, however since that post I have purchased a Tech21 Impactology screen protector and I would rate this the best yet. It cost £20 which is five times the cost of the Anker one and I don’t think it is really that much better. Clarity, responsiveness and adhesion are pretty much the same, it’s only the level of protection that I think is probably a little better. Check out this video for more.

My final article reviewed the RoadWarrior car holder for my S4 Mini. Depending upon the car it can be awkward to place, and I am worried it might damage my phone (if I am not really careful when inserting/removing it) but the FM transmitter and spare USB port are great features that I value.

Overall I enjoy using my S4 Mini. It is a good little phone with great capabilities. The battery life could be improved and the OS could be made a little sleeker/easier to use in some places, but on the whole it is a very good handset to buy; it’s more affordable than it’s bigger brother – the S4 – whilst offering a similar experience, from a more conveniently sized device.

Four and a Half StarI think the S4 Mini is worthy of a 4.5 star rating. 🙂

Categories
Gadgets Reviews Series Smartphones

Using the Galaxy S4 Mini

This is the third article in a series reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

Last week I finished by saying:

“In the next post in the series I will be reviewing Tech21′s Impact Shield case for the S4 Mini. See you then. :-)”

I lied.

I haven’t had a chance to use the case as much as I would like, so have delayed the article a week, so I can write a better review.

In this post I am instead going to talk about my experience of using my S4 Mini on a day to day basis.

Organisation

One of the main features I have benefited from thanks to my ‘smarter’ phone is that it has improved my level of organisation. I was already a reasonably organised person before I got my phone, however having a calendar which comes pretty much everywhere with me and can create alarms and reminders, is pretty useful!

Because I always have my calendar with me, I am able to make decisions and plans more instantaneously, which can be advantageous. That said I am now heavily dependant on my phone and were I to be without it, I would struggle to keep track of my diary. Hopefully I would be able to retrieve my schedule from Samsung, as I do try and keep my contacts and calendar backed up with Samsung sync.

Battery

In June last year, (so 15 months ago now) Joe questioned (here on Technology Bloggers) if smartphone battery improvements were on the way. I can tell you now that they weren’t! Major improvements are yet to materialise. :-/

A BlackBerry Curve 8900 in its case
My BlackBerry Curve 8900.

I used to have a Blackberry Curve 8900 which would last around two to three weeks between charges. Despite using as many power saving features as I can, I am charging my phone pretty much every day. If I had mobile data, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and Near Field Communications on all the time, with full screen brightness, and was using my phone a lot, I reckon I could drain it (from full) in just a few hours. The camera is a big drain on the power, as are all other processor intensive activities. That said, considering its size, the camera is amazingly good.

With regard to charging I try and turn my phone off if I am doing a full charge, but usually just trickle charge. I have researched how to maintain the battery life and have found that modern smartphone batteries are designed to be charged little and often, and they don’t like being pushed to extremes (empty/full and also high/low temperature). Keeping your battery between 30% and 90% is the best area. My battery seems pretty healthy, so the trickle charge appears to be working. 🙂

Overheating

One thing I’m not impressed with is how my phone sometimes overheats, so much so, I have to remove it from its case and can’t hold it as the back gets really hot. Considering the storage space and processing power my 124.6 mm tall phone houses, I am frankly amazed that it doesn’t come with a huge fan attached to the back. My 67.98 cm³ (which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t!) phone houses two cameras, one of which is a brilliant 8MP, a HD screen, 1.5GB of RAM, and, among other things, a 1.7GHz processor!

It is no wonder when I put my phone under stress by using a lot of features at once (like for example SatNav functions, as these are quite processor intensive and uses mobile data, GPS and the screen) it starts to overheat. For the size it is, I can’t complain, however I think future phones should be slightly bigger to incorporate better cooling systems, in order to prevent internal component damage from overheating.

Apps

One of the main reasons I chose an Android phone is because of the huge range of applications available. Most of the apps for Android are free, which is a bonus! Some do take liberties however, and demand unreasonable privileges; like the Facebook one, hence I haven’t installed it, but Facebook were going to want to glean all they could from you, weren’t they.

I now have an app to wake me up at the best time in my sleep cycle, an app which can send an SOS message via the backlight, an app to scan barcodes, an app with the latest news, oh, and amongst others, Angry Birds (although I am trying not to use it as it is a real time zapper)!

I have often been known to say ‘there’s an app for that’ but that’s because it is true; almost anything you want to do, there is an app to help you!

Android

On the first article in this series, David from The Only Cog asked about what he called the ‘Disney layer’ that Samsung add to Android – i.e. their slight OS tweaks. He asked the following questions:

“Can it be turned off? How do you find it? What version of Android is it running?”

Google Android's LogoHere are my answers. I have looked into it, and as far as I can tell, Samsung’s altered version of Android is fixed, and you can’t downgrade to the standard OS. That said, I think the changes they make are just to make things look better and also to add a further level of control for users.

The second question therefore doesn’t apply. In response to the third, I am currently running Android 4.2.2 (which came pre-installed) although I think the S4 Mini will be among the first to get 4.3, (Android KitKat) probably just after its big brother the S4 receives the upgrade.

Slogan

Samsung’s slogan for the S4 Mini is “Minimalism Maximised”. I completely agree with what they are saying, the phone has the convenience of a small phone, but the power of a bigger one. I prefer “tiny but powerful”, maybe the S5 Mini will adopt that one. If so I want royalties Samsung! 😉

Next Week

As promised, next weeks article will be a review of Tech21’s D3O infused case. See you then.

Categories
Reviews Smartphones

The Samsung Galaxy S4

This coming Saturday, Samsung’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, goes on sale.

Smartphone Battles

2009-2012 smartphone market by provider
Global smartphone market share by provider.

Like with most mass market technology, there is a war going on in the smartphone industry. In 2012, according to market analyst firm ICD, Samsung controlled 30.3% of the global smartphone market, 59.5% up on the 19% of the market it controlled the year before.

There is no doubt that Samsung is currently the dominant force in the smartphone market. The firm seems to slowly be winning its battle with Apple, and looks set to take on Google next, with rumours that it soon plans to ditch Google’s Android operating system altogether.

Nokia are predicted to make a comeback (how successful I am unsure) thanks to Windows RT, and makers of BlackBerry, RIM, are also looking stronger in 2013 after the release of BlackBerry 10 earlier this year.

Galaxy S4

Samsung are trying to steal even more of the market from its competitors with the Galaxy S4, so it has pulled out a few stops, maybe not all the stops, but quite a few, to make sure that the phone is a success.

So, the phone has loads of new features, to make it slightly better than its predecessor – the S3.

The S4 has a slightly bigger (5mm to be exact) screen, boasting a whole 5 inches of full HD display, which no doubt gives it amazing clarity. The new phone is also slightly thinner than the S3.

You can buy a Galaxy S4 in black and white, or as Samsung like to call them: black mist and white frost. I have never looked at a phone before (smart or not) and thought “that looks like frost” or mist, but maybe the S4 really does; or maybe it’s just marketing.

Touch and use even with gloves - Samsung Galaxy S4Samsung claim the latest edition of its Galaxy is usable even with gloves on, hopefully reducing the cases of zombie fingers – Jonny, you might be able to use it! 😉

The phone has various other new features, such as Samsung WatchON, which connects your phone to your TV, turning your phone into a remote control.

Another new feature is the multi-speaker capability – if you have more than one handy, you can sync them together to create a better quality of sound.

The S4 will also come with built in 4G compatibility, which the original S3 didn’t. If a fast internet connection is important to you when you are on the go, then the S4 is probably a better choice than the S3.

Eye-Tracking

Probably the most exciting new feature of the Galaxy S4 is the new eye-tracking technology. The phone uses its front camera to monitor the users eye movements, and uses can use this function for a host of different activities.

One of the features which uses the eye-tracking technology is video playback. If you are watching something, and then look away, the device automatically pauses the media for you. Furthermore, eye-tracking technology can be used to scroll up and down a page, without the need to even touch the screen.

Photos

There are two interesting developments in the photographic area of the phone, the first is that you can now add audio snippets to pictures, to enable you to catch even more of the moment. You can also merge video with picture, creating partially animated pictures – sort of like the photographs in the Harry Potter films.

The S4 can also use (and display) the front and rear camera simultaneously, which shows that its quad-core ARM processor is pretty quick!

Your Thoughts

So what are your thoughts on the S4? If you are getting one, do let us know!

Do you think that Samsung have done enough to fend off the competition from its closest rivals?

Personally I think the S4 looks like it is set to become the best smartphone on the market when it goes live at the end of the week.

Categories
Computers News

Android Operating System Moving into Appliances

The Android operating system may be best known as an OS for mobile phones, but Google’s operating system is branching out and getting into your kitchen.

Google Android's LogoNever mind your smartphone or tablet; what about your fridge, or your oven?

Soon, Google Inc. is hoping to be controlling devices in your home from televisions to rice cookers.

There’s already Android-enabled TVs, with the Android mini 4.0 that turns your television into a smart-TV. You can get hold of these from places like Appliances Direct. Just with the dongle, you can connect to the internet via your Xbox or Wii U, or even hook it up with your tablet or smart-phone. It’s easy now to watch YouTube or browse the internet in the comfort of your own front room and thanks to Wi-Fi there’s no fiddling about with cables and wires.

The main hook with smart-TV is the apps available on your television, including the capabilities to make Skype calls on the big screen.

So what exactly is in store for your kitchen?

Appliances like fridge freezers could be operated by Google in the near future. Take Samsung’s T9000 refrigerator, which will be available to purchase shortly. It’s kitted out in full for the modern home, with a 10 inch Wi-Fi touchscreen and the option to download such kitchen-friendly apps as recipe-maker Epicurous or note-taking Evernote.

And what about a rice cooker? Able to determine the type of rice and exactly what cooking instructions to follow, gear like this will be able to keep track of your shopping habits, keep tabs on your favourite brands for research purposes and suggest new brands to try.

Soon you can have a kitchen full of appliances sending information to each other. With the Andriod OS in tow, products like LG’s ThinQ refrigerator can connect to the LG SmartOven, telling it when to start preheating and to what level depending on your choice of dinner that evening.

Most smart appliances are set to run by your instructions via text, too. Put your dinner in the oven when you set off for work and a quick text on your way home turns the oven on so you’re greeted with a cooked meal when you walk through the door.

With microwaves, washing machines, ovens, fridges and even coffee machines and getting smarter, how long will it be before your home is full intelligent stuff? The kitchen of the future is apparently closer than you’d think.

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Search Engines

Google in 2013

Google is of course a tech giant and a company everyone who’s touched a computer knows of. Google first introduced themselves with their simple search engine in 1998, they have very rapidly and significant progressed, by the year, into the giant they are today. From Google Maps to Google phones, tablets and OS systems, Google is now everywhere! Here’s what we can expect from Google in 2013.

Google-X Division

There is set to be a lot of development at Google in the next year and the first thing that warrants a mention is their futuristic Google-X Division. Google are working on two things that you’ve probably already heard about.

The first is Google Glasses, which are wearable computers which give you a heads up display of the word around you. In the first part of 2013, developers who have pre-ordered them will get their hands on them, and therefore be able to write their own software for them and more. The chances are that we won’t see Google Glasses on the market in 2013, but we’ll certainly come a lot closer to knowing fully what they’ll bring.

The Google-X Division is also working on self-driving cars. Google has received a lot of legislation passes that allows them to drive such cars on roads in various US States such as Nevada, and so you can expect to see a lot more developments in regards to this.

Android

Androids market share has soared in the last few years. It is the fastest growing operating system in the world and this poses some interesting questions on how it will develop and progress in 2013.

Historically developers have been building for iOS first, and thus historically the best apps available were for iDevices through iTunes. However as more and more people buy Android devices, the question is are developers going to start developing for Android first more commonly.

Hardware Division

Google only recently refreshed its line-up of Google Nexus products, which are of course Google branded tablets and smartphones that it develops with other manufacturers. There are however, questions at the moment of how much traction on the market these devices are going to get. Is the new 10-inch Google Nexus tablet going to be competitive enough to make you sell your iPad or at the very least choose it over an iPad?

Nonetheless, expect to see Google release new versions of their Nexus products this year and continue to try and compete with its many competitors in 2013.

Knowledge Graphs

A Google Knowledge Graph example
An example of a Google Knowledge Graph – Albert Einstein.

Google did two really interesting things last year with search. One is that they created the Knowledge Graph which is their effort to map out connections with all sorts of different things.

Now if you start to search for something, like for example, if you search for a famous actor, on the right of the screen you will see a box that’ll tell you about other actors that person may have worked with, films they featured in, as well as basic details such as their age and education.

For an example, see the Albert Einstein Knowledge Graph to the right. For Einstein, Google displays images of the scientist, a brief synopses of his life/works and family, as well as books relating to him, and also similar people you might want to read about – in this case for other scientists, like the physicists Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking.

Google wants to bring its Knowledge Graph to a lot more different parts of the search experience. You’ll thus you will soon start to see more and more of those type of connections when you are Googling.

Google Now

The other major development the search giant was working on in the search area was Google Now.

Google Now is a sort of predictive search. For example, when you take out your phone it might say you have to leave to make it to your appointment because there’s traffic right now, or you might want to go down an alternative road because a specific one is closed. This is only available on devices that run the latest version of Android right now, but Google are preparing to invest a lot more resources into developing this kind of new world of search where you don’t even have to type a query.

So, like in previous years, it seems there is a lot we can expect a lot from Google in 2013.

Categories
Apps Reviews Smartphones

There’s an app for that

On June the 26th 2007, smartphones didn’t exist. Mobile phones, and computers were two very different things. A day later (27/06/2007) Apple launched the iPhone.

You could argue that there were ‘smartphones’ pre-iPhone, but many in the technology industry view the iPhone as the tipping point and birth-date of the modern smartphone – no inverted commas.

With the launch of the iPhone, came the launch of apps. A few years later along came tablets – and what would a tablet be without apps?

In this post I want to explore some of those apps. Not the apps like Angry Birds, Rayman Jungle Run, Skype and Fruit Ninja though, they are what you expect from applications – games and communication. In this post I am going to explore some of the more innovative uses for apps.

Mirror

Ever desperately needed a mirror just when there are none in sight? Mirror by mmapps mobile, is a free app for Android which turns your phone into a usable mirror! The app even lets you zoom in and out and freeze the mirror, something that no mirror I have ever used does.

The app is available in many different languages, and similar apps are available for iDevices, however mmapps mobile don’t make an ‘i’ version.

Square Wallet

Square Wallet is an application which lets you fully embrace mobile payment. With Square Wallet, you can link your credit card to your phone, and then, in a surprisingly large number of retailers, pay for goods, using your phone! The app also lets you track transactions, so you can keep track of what you are buying.

Square Wallet is available for iDevices with iOS 5.0 or later, and Androids via Google Play.

Inflora Flower App

Interflora smartphone appTen years ago, who would have thought that you could be out and about, and on a device which fits in your hand, and order a bouquet of flowers? Probably not many people!

The flower delivery company Interflora has an app where you can do just that. Naturally its called Interflora, and can be download for free for iDevices – any iPod, iPhone or iPad with iOS 3.0 or later. Interflora is also available to download for Android devices. The app gives you access to a wide range of flowers, information (such as delivery details and a description) and prices; you can even order your gift using the app!

Zite Personalised Magazine

If you like to keep up to date with the latest news, and you like the news your way, then Zite is the perfect app for you.

Zite trawls through your Facebook and Twitter feeds to work out what you like to read. The application then created you your very own personalised magazine to read, and the more you use it, the cleverer it gets, and the more tailored your content become – to a point where it should only be displaying content you really want to read.

Zite is available for free for all iDevices with iOS 6.0 or later, although the developers state that is is specifically designed for the iPhone, as opposed to tablets. Zite is also available on Android.

Flow Powered

Flow Powered - NutellaAmazon have recently released an augmented reality app called Flow Power, which can identify millions of real life products (using your phones camera), and can then tell you more information about them.

The app ‘knows’ thousands of books, games and CDs, and is able to tell you about almost anything, if you scan the barcode.

Be it a novel, or a box of chocolates, the app can tell you how much it costs and what other people think of it – pretty clever huh?

Flow Powered is available for Android via Google Play and iOS 4.2 and more recent iDevices through iTunes.

It seems like there is an app for almost everything these days, be it an app to help you apply make-up, order flowers or tell you the price of a video game. There’s an app for that!

Smartphones really are smart.

Categories
Apps Reviews

AudiobooksNow Android App Review

AudiobooksNow is an Android app that makes buying and listening to audiobooks simple. Using just shy of 9 MB, it was a quick download and you can pay per book, billed through credit card, or pay only $5 a month to obtain access to discounted prices – but please utilize the 30 days trial before making any decision on buying books.  You can also browse the vast selection of books and even listen to samples to judge the quality of the audiobooks for free.

While the app started out somewhat slow with long loading times, the more I used it, the faster it got, until it began playing my book as soon as I tapped it.  Another feature I found interesting is that the application has the ability to run in the background, so you are able to listen to the book while texting, viewing pictures or looking something up online. By pressing the icon in your status bar, you can return to the app.

My Library in AudiobooksNow

AudiobooksNow provides a very easy way to change your password if you feel someone else knows it or you just like your account more protected. These things will ensure that your credit card credentials are kept safe. If you have any issues with anything in the app, you can visit the “Help/FAQ” section, where there are common questions and answers that hope to address your issue.

At present, this app has a selection of almost 8,800 books, a rapid expansion in comparison to an estimated 3,200 books earlier this year.  Let us expect to see it grow even more along with more users. In addition, most books are offered as both abridged and unabridged. Books can be searched by nearly any piece of information you have including Keyword, Rating, and Narrator.

There are also a few downsides. The “browse” option was somewhat limited, which I felt crippled the app, having you choose very specific topics, narrowing your selection down to about ten or less before you are able to even see any books. This is app is also unavailable in many parts of the world. I don’t know whether this has something to do with the copyright policy or the developer has deliberately chosen to exclude many countries.

AudiobooksNow needs Android 2.2 and up and it seems like this app has crossed a few thousand downloads in Google Play.

Categories
Gadgets News Smartphones

What is the future for RIM?

The BlackBerry 7 smartphoneBlackBerry phones are thought to be among the safest in the world. Almost all politicians use them. But nevertheless, RIM has reported a very big drop in sales and revenues (about 40%) in comparison with the previous year, and this tendency has been observed for several years already. Besides, the release of new Blackberry 10 has been delayed up to the beginning of 2013, the sales of Blackberry 7 isn’t at the levels wanted, the company has to cut up to five thousand job places. The chain of total misfortunes has followed RIM for the past time. So, many specialists say that Blackberry is dying. Is it so? What can RIM do to improve its prospects?

Today RIM has several possible solutions, but all of them require total change in company’s work and specialization. And here they are:

  1. Licensing RIM software to other companies. One of the possible ways for RIM to get out of the crisis is to let other companies to use its Blackberry operation system. It may lead to the increase of the popularity of the OS (just like it was with Android) when people will get a chance to choose among different hardware solutions.
  2. Sale or license of the patents. It may be a good variant to let other corporations to use the patents, but it won’t make any contribution to innovative development of RIM what can lead to the further drop of the positions. It may happen just because money isn’t the most important thing in mobile development today; it is more for innovations in this sphere. Who is smarter gets more profit.
  3. Focus on hardware development. It is quite opposite solution to the first one mentioned. As a variant RIM can start developing good hardware with installing some other operating systems, like Android or Windows Mobile (the latter would be more reasonable as the number of manufacturers that develop phones for Windows Mobile isn’t very big now and the niche isn’t taken yet).
  4. Selling of RIM. Of course, it is the worst variant of all, but if there are no changes in the situation, the owners will have to do it. However, it would mean the end of Blackberry as a trend.

No matter what decision is taken, the era of great changes for everyone who is somehow connected to RIM is coming. Let’s hope that these changes will be for good and we will see Blackberry phones in top 5 of best-selling phones in the world accompanied by iOS, Android and Windows Mobile phones.

Categories
Series Technology

Day to day use of my Remote Heating Control system

This is the fifth in a series of articles in which I am exploring Remote Heating Control – a technology of the future. Learn more about this series by reading the introductory article, called stepping into the future of smarter living.

Well Autumn really has begun, it’s now mid-October and the days are starting to get shorter. Trees are starting to drop their now golden brown leaves and there is a chill in the air that hasn’t been there since last winter.

Now that it is Autumn it is getting much colder, and this means that my heating is now really important to me. It’s that time of year when I want to stay warm, but at the same time am conscious to save energy.

Controlling My Heating Via Smartphone

I have recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S III, a smartphone powered by Google’s Android operating system. This means that I am now able to test out the Remote Heating Control app. British Gas have made an app for both Androids and iDevices, as I have an Android powered Samsung, I will be talking about the Android app.

The application is available for download from Apple’s App Store and from Google play, and is called myHome – after the online portal that you log into to control your heating.

The app is free to download, however (as you would expect) you need to have Remote Heating Control technology in your home for it to be of any use. You need internet access to be able to use the app, as it has to connect to the myHome portal in order to fetch real time data and store any changes you make; however that shouldn’t really be an issue though, as most smartphones now come Wi-Fi enabled and have optional 3G/4G. A smartphone isn’t really that smart without the internet!

Installing The myHome App

I was pleasantly surprised by how fast I was able to install and log into the app. I clicked on the Google play icon on my handset, I then searched for ‘myhome’ and third on the list was the app I wanted. I clicked on the app and pressed install and within seconds it had installed. I then ran the app, and it brought up a login screen, very similar to the one that can be seen if you log in to myHome on your PC.

British Gas myHome
British Gas’s myHome log in screen

After I logged in I was presented with a very similar screen to the one I see when I am online. I was able to control the temperature of my heating right this moment. As you can see, I was at work at the time, so the temperature in the house wasn’t set very high, however it had been on earlier in the morning, so the house was still relatively warm.

A screenshot of the myHome dashboard
A screenshot I took of the myHome dashboard once I had logged in to the Android app.

The heating status was set to Auto, as it was following the schedule. It was really easy to change the temperature, which I did by moving the sliding on the right up and down with my finger.

If you click on the thermometer at the top you get a temperature summary – showing you the temperature in your house and outside.

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t edit my heating schedule via my Samsung, however I suppose the settings could get a little fiddly on the smaller screen.

If I want to change the schedule, the easiest way is online. That said, it is really easy to change the immediate temperature via smartphone. I am happy with the app, it loads very fast and is well designed. The layout is clean, and easy to use.

Other Features Of The myHome Portal

In previous article I have discussed some of the main features of the myHome online portal, such as being able to see your heating status and the temperature, and being able to set up a schedule for your heating, however there are some other features which are of use.

Under the ACCOUNT heading you are able to change details like your name and email, along with your PIN (the code you have to text when you want to change your heating via SMS) and alerts. I have the system set to alert me via email in the case of a failure of any of the technology and also it will contact me with any warnings that may be relevant, like to let me know the battery on my smart linked thermostat is running low.

As I mentioned in a previous article, it isn’t ideal that my thermostat now needs a battery, that said, it has been running for around 3 months now, and still has 5/5 bars of battery, and if it does start to run low, I will be told in advance of the batteries dying.

If you click on the DEVICES heading, you will be taken to a page displaying all the devices that are currently in your system. On this page I can see my wireless hub and smart linked thermostat. Both are reading status ‘All ok‘ and have full battery and signal strength. My wireless hub is plugged into the mains, to the battery should always read full on that, as the power is mains supply.

Finally, if you click on the HELP heading, you are taken to a screen where there are various guides to help you use the software. If you ever get stuck you can either call British Gas, send them an email, or consult one of their PDF help guides. There is also a link to the app download pages on this page.

British Gas myHome Help and Advice page screenshot
A screenshot of the Help and Advice page in the myHome online portal.

That’s about it for this week.

In two weeks time I will publish the sixth and final article in the series. It will summarise and conclude what I have learnt and shared with you over the last five articles, and I will also give my verdict as to whether the system met my expectations, and whether it is really a technology of the future. See you on the 2nd of November!

Categories
Apps Reviews

Improve your device speed with Super Speed for Android

If you are an Android user, sometimes you may be frustrated with the low performance of the device. Especially when you are loaded with lots of apps and media files in your Android mobile, the chance for reduced efficiency goes high. Super Speed is an Android app that helps you right on this situation!

As many other apps in the store, Super Speed may not have the best of screens and features visually visible outside. The app shines where your device is in trouble with loaded cache memory and slow performance. It almost works on the background and keeps your device as a real “smart”phone.

SuperSpeed android app

The first tap on the app takes you to the one and only screen where two buttons are shown to activate the app working and deactivate it. If you activate Super Speed, you will be notified with a simple pop-up message followed by the confirmation. As said, you may not see any further graphics or performance charts from the app, but it should be working behind making your Android device faster!

Once you activate the app, you can simply tap on your home screen to add the Super Speed widget. I am sure there will not be any differences on your devices for the initial few hours, but the app started showing some good results after few hours. The only let down is there are no measuring arrangements on how the device improvements are working!

SuperSpeed app options

There should be some screens that show the memory usage, processor speed and active applications, etc. Some of the competitors of Super Speed clearly showing these features, only the improvements in the speed or memory won’t work in big time! This is a downside for the app, but the effectiveness in the output is highly appreciable!

Super Speed is a paid app available on the Google Play Store for $0.99. It runs on Android mobiles and Tablets with OS version 2.1 and up.