Categories
Fun Gadgets

Bluetooth Gloves

bluetooth gloves

Life in the Netherlands involves biking. Biking involves getting cold hands in the winter. Getting cold hands in the winter means difficulty operating your mobile phone.

It is typical, you are riding down the cycle-path, it is raining, your hands are cold, you might be wearing gloves. The phone rings. You stumble to the side of the path, take your gloves off if you are wearing them because otherwise you can’t get into the pockets of your jeans, through the waterproof trousers and take out your phone. By this time at the last second the person decides that you are not going to answer and bang… missed call with a withheld number. What was it? You will never know.

And your hands are now even colder, the touch screen does not register and in a nervous moment you drop the phone trying to put it back into your pocket with wet hands. You get off the bike, put the stand down, go to retrieve your phone (the back has come off so you have to reset various things) and the bike falls over because of the weight in the panniers.

This every-day occurrence could become a thing of the past though, thanks to a fine invention. Bluetooth gloves. Yes ladies and gentlemen, gloves that use bluetooth to operate your phone. You just press the answer button on the glove, make the phone with your fingers as you do when you are pretending to make a call or playing with the kids, and speak. The sound comes out of the thumb, and the pinky has a microphone.

Available in black or grey, mens or women’s sizes, but unfortunately only with the phone fitted in the left hand, the gloves can even be worn while operating a touchscreen. They are dry cleanable and charge with a USB.

I know what is going on my list for Santa.

Categories
Media News Technology

The Future of Paper?

Much has been said and written about the future of paper publications with the arrival of downloadable  books, Kindles and a whole world of other hardware, but maybe a company from Cambridge (UK for a change now I am back in Europe) may be about to cause another revolution.

Many people are not drawn to reading books in digital, they like to thumb the pages etc, but a private company is putting what they describe as the ‘future of paper’ into mass production.

The company called Plastic Logic have designed what we could describe as the closest thing to paper that can show video.

An example of Plastic Logic’s invention

As the name suggests we are talking about a plastic paper-thin sheet that has the ability to display video, It can be used as a Wi-Fi fed screen, with the advantages of being flat, thin, flexible and bigger than your standard reader.

This video on the BBC website describes the product in greater detail, including the production process, and states that it should be in full production next year. The CEO of the company also explains the problems that this technology has faced during development as well as explaining why we might need a screen that we can roll up and carry around. He also describes how the computer and receiver part of the structure could be attached in the form of a handle.

All very interesting stuff, but I think the most important part of this application involves telephones. I have a so-called smart phone but I very rarely use it for internet work because the screen is too small. I cannot read an article on a screen that size. But if I had an A4 size screen rolled up in my bag that could show me the screen on a much larger scale (via Bluetooth) I would be happy to use it. And then I could leave my laptop at home.

Others see it as the future for glossy magazines, or the death of them, but the death of newspapers, radio, books, recorded music and commercial TV has been on the cards for a long time, and they are all still alive and kicking.

I look forward to this new product going into full production and appearing in the shops anyway, and the obvious question…. would you have a use for it?

Categories
Gadgets

Free gifts with selected mobile phone handsets

This is a sponsored post. To find out more about sponsored content on Technology Bloggers, please visit our Privacy Policy.

Mobile phones are growing more and more expensive. With top of the range smartphone handsets costing upwards of £400, it may be tempting to downgrade, to go for something simpler and cheaper.

You may convince yourself that there’s not much to miss out on – a cheaper handset will be perfectly functional, of course, and you can make calls and send texts – that’s all that phones are for, right? Well not any more. If you choose not to try out one of the brilliant, high tech smartphones out there nowadays, you are not only missing out on an opportunity to familiarise yourself with popular developing technology – you are also missing out on the generous offer of free gifts that come with the majority of expensive handsets.

Many mobile phone retailers are now offering incentives such as free gifts, to try to get you to try out their smartphone handsets. One example of this can be seen at Phones4u. At Phones4u to help incentivise consumers to purchase some of their top of the range smartphone handsets such as the HTC ChaCha, the Samsung Galaxy S II, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia, when you buy one, you will receive an amazing free gift!

A giftFor some time now mobile phones have come with free gifts, but this offer is now being taken to the next level, by including some of the most popular gadgets on the market. Some free gifts being given away now include the Kindle 3G, Amazon’s popular eReader; the PS Vita, Sony’s brand new handheld PlayStation console; and even the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a tablet PC that can rival the iPad. These are gifts that are being given away free when you take out certain contracts, and buy certain handsets from different mobile phone retailers.

So, next time you go out shopping for a smartphone, remember, if you also want a Kindle, there may be some great offers whereby you can get both! One offered as a free gift when you purchase the other.

Keep your eyes pealed, to make sure that you get the best deal around!

Categories
Gadgets Reviews

SD10 Bluetooth Stereo Headset – Review

Previously I have reviewed the Pocket Boom, a cool little device which can turn virtually any device into a speaker. Recently the same people asked if I wanted to review a SoundWear SD10 Bluetooth Stereo Headset, so here I go!

Please note, like with the Pocket Boom Review, all the opinions in this article are mine, and are completely honest – I am not being paid to write this review.

The SoundWear SD10 Bluetooth Stereo Headset is a device which provides wireless headphones, which can synchronise with almost any Bluetooth device. This means that when you are out and about, you can take calls, and listen to music, without the limits of wires.

SoundWear SD10 Bluetooth Headset in packaging

Ergonomics

The headset very cleverly folds away quite neatly, which does mean that they can fit into your pocket without much of a problem, meaning they are portable, like you need them to be.


SoundWear SD10 Bluetooth Headset folded away
The headphones when they are folded up would fit in your pocket

So, are the headphones comfortable to wear? My answer would be it depends who you are. I have tried them on, and I have got other members of the team and some of my friends to try them on, and the responses you get are mixed. Some people have no trouble whatsoever, the headset fits snugly onto their head, and are very comfortable to ware. Other people have tried them on, and they do fit, they are just a bit more awkward. Maybe that’s something you might want to consider – especially as they are not retractable/adjustable.

Ease of Use

Like with the Pocket Boom, if you don’t read the instructions, you aren’t going anywhere very fast! Read what the small A5 (ish) sheet of paper tells you, and things become pretty simple.

With some phones you need to fiddle with some settings either with Bluetooth, or on audio tracks to get them to work properly with calls and music, but it does work!

Sound Quality

Obviously one of the most important things with all headphones is the sound quality. You can get the most amazing headset, but if it has poor sound quality, then there is little point to it.

So what about the quality of the audio stream produced by the SD10 Bluetooth headset? Well it is actually very good! The headphones fit very snugly around your ears, reducing any noise interference, and the audio quality is very respectable.

Obviously noise cancelling headphones, or recording studio ones would be better, but the quality is very respectable, especially as it is coming from a wireless stream. For the average music listener, I don’t think there is any need to worry about poor sound quality.

Instructions

The headphones do come with instructions, which are clear, and just require a small amount of common sense and logic to use. They are helpful, but could contain a little more info – possibly room for an FAQ’s section.

The SoundWear SD10 Bluetooth Headset packaging, instructions USB cable and headphones
The headset, along with packaging, instructions and USB lead

Power

From what I have seen of the headset, it seems to last a reasonable amount of time between charges. You don’t start listening to a tune, and then a call comes in, by which time the headset has given up and is needing a charge. The battery life seems to be pretty good, so no need to worry about that.

The issue I have with power is the way you charge the headset – via USB. You can only charge it via USB, and there is no alternative, no batteries you can replace etc. This can be a little inconvenient, especially as it doesn’t come with a USB plug adaptor, but I am sure it will work okay with the one I use for my iPod, or the one I use for my camera. Don’t take my word for that, I wouldn’t want to blow your headset – if you have one or are getting one!

Value for Money?

Here comes the killer question: is the SoundWear SD10 Bluetooth Stereo Headset value for money? I try to evaluate every product I review using value for money, so it is a good test. The headset retails at £24.99, which is reasonable, but I think it depends what you need it for. If you are going to be making calls wireless and listening to music, go for it. If you just want to listen to music (like me) then I am not so sure. There are different headphones more suited to music listeners, but this set does give you the added bonus of being able to make calls.

SoundWear SD10 Bluetooth HeadphonesInterested in buying a set, or just want to read a bit more? Check out the SoundWear SD10 Bluetooth Stereo Headset on Mobile Fun’s website.

As I said at the beginning of the article, this product has been sent to Technology Bloggers to review. Our thanks to Mobile Fun who provided us with the headset.

Categories
Internet

Eight tips to consider before building a mobile websites

With over 75 million Americans accessing the web through mobile phones, we can conclusively say that mobile web browsing has come to stay. comStore statistics recently reported that 50 million people in the United States have an Android, iPhone or a BlackBerry phone.

The Logo of BlackberryWhat these huge numbers clearly mean is that your business can not afford not to provide a mobile website for a convenient browsing experience for your customers. Mobile websites are starting to become a ‘must have’ for any kind of business today.

The rate at which people are accessing the web today throughout the world from their mobile phones is becoming increasingly clear that any business that wants to remain in business must leverage the opportunity of mobile browsing. It is easy, cheap and quick to do it today; in fact, some web design companies render this service for free. But before you decide modifying your existing website to make it compatible for mobile handsets, put these things right:

1. Page Size

It is important to assign a simple style for all mobile websites, the page size also small. Remember that 20KB is the maximum page size for all mobile friendly pages. If you can use less than 10KB making everything nicely fitted for any kind of phone, considering that users are charged per KB of mobile data you will be doing your business good.

2. Coding

There is actually no special coding required for mobile websites. Using XML or XHTML for your mobile friendly site is much easier and faster. Using basic HTML and CSS is also good. Carefully craft with target key words the filenames, title tags, heading tags and description meta tags to fully maximize the optimizable content present.

3. Content

There is actually no special way to arrange content for mobile websites. The rule is simply-all mobile websites should be readable and easy to navigate, since your visitors are on the go and may not want to waste time on something difficult to read or surf. As for the content typography, it is preferable to use headings to control the font size.

4. Images

Most mobile phones take longer time to load images. Use graphics and images as little as possible only where necessary, this will aid easy navigation for your mobile website users. Jpeg, gif or png are best formats for mobile images because they are very much light–weight. Compressing your pictures to avoid zooming is something you must not forget.

5. Layout

Mobile browsing is quite time consuming, so ensure you put all the most important information you want your mobile website users to see on the top of the page your company logo should be included as well. Left and right navigation should be minimized because it is difficult navigating with a phone.

A better option is to arrange all your content in a single column. Tables should not be used, but if necessary no more than 2 columns, rows and column merging should be avoided.

6. Page links

Back buttons and links are features of all good mobile websites. Providing them will help visitors escape dead ends, though, not all phones are designed with back buttons.

7. Domain Choice

Ensure to use a mobi domain which clearly indicates a mobile friendly experience instead of .edu, .com, .org etc, which generally stand for desktop browsing.

8. Test Run

Your mobile website should be tested on multiple devices. This will help you know if your site will provide a good mobile experience for users.

Categories
Business Internet

Should You Create a Mobile Version of Your Website?

Chances are if you walk through your local town centre today, you’ll see somebody accessing the internet on their smart phone. It’s almost become a second nature.

Gone are the days of simple WAP access, people are now using their phones to browse their favourite websites and even shop online. In fact, it’s reported that netbook sales are down 40% so is this a sign that smartphones and tablets are overtaking PC’s as peoples preferred browsing method?

So should you create a mobile version of your website? In short, yes, and here’s some reasons why.

Mobile internet use is growing rapidly

According to some figures mobile internet access is now at 8.09% of all UK website traffic (up from 0.02% in 2009) so whether you like it or not, people are going to access your website from a mobile browser.

It’s not that difficult to create a mobile version

Of course it depends on how your website was built in the first place, but if it’s not archaic then usually incorporating what’s needed to make your website mobile friendly isn’t too difficult and doesn’t require starting from scratch.

Most websites don’t work well on mobiles

The fact is, the majority of websites don’t well on mobiles, in fact some of them are impossible to use, so it’s a great way to steal a competitive advantage and get in early ahead of others in your industry. That said, if you run WordPress or another blogging platform, there are plugins that can make your site ‘mobile friendly’.
Google's mobile website being used on an iPhone

Mobile users have different intent

When people use the internet on their phones, they usually have a different intent to a user sat at a PC. It’s usually on the move, and they don’t have much time, meaning they’re looking for something to solve a problem fast. If you do a quick search on mobile conversion rates for ecommerce you’ll find they’re very high. So if you design your site to cater for those needs you’re onto a winner.

It’s way more important than having an app

Since mobile apps became the latest novelty, many businesses have wasted good time and money on developing their own mobile application, of course these apps have their uses, but for the majority of businesses they are a waste of money and wallow at the bottom of the app store.

A mobile website doesn’t require separate development for Android, iPhone, Blackberry and doesn’t need promoting via an app store so is clearly a better choice for getting a return on investment.

Mobile browsing is still very new

Even though lot’s of people are browsing the internet via mobiles, it’s still a relatively new concept, and one that realistically can only every grow upwards due to how technology is advancing. Historically early adopters are the ones that reap the reward, so why wait till everyone else is a step ahead of you?

What about you?

How many of you have optimised your site for mobiles or considered it? Do you think it’s more important for blogs to or ecommerce sites to opimise for mobile? Or is it equally important for both?

Categories
Technology

Pay As You Go Vs Contract

With a mobile phone (or as my American friends call it, cell phone) you have two main options when choosing how to pay for your minutes, internet and texts. Either pay as you go, or contract.

Pay As You Go

There are various different people offering pay as you go tariffs and deals. Some pay as you go providers are targeted towards those who use their phone more for calling, whilst others focus on those who text a lot. Shop around and you can find a deal that suits you.

Pay As You Go is probably best for those people who use their phone less often. If you spend less than £10 a month on your phone, Pay As You Go is probably the cheaper option for you.

Contract

If you love to use your phone, and it rarely leaves your side then you probably have it on a contract. This means that you get a certain amount of minutes, texts and MB per month. If you are lucky you may even get unlimited on some of them. For this, you pay a fixed monthly fee.

Different mobile phone network providers - Virgin Mobile, Orange, Tesco Mobile, T-Mobile, Vodafone, 3, Talk MobileSometimes you can get a really good deal and get your phone chucked into free! A recent example of this is iPhone 4S contracts, if you take out a contract with some iPhones, you get the phone at a reduced price, or even for free.

Like with pay as you go SIMs, it can often pay to research all the deals on offer, as there are different contracts for different people. If you don’t mind an older model, but can’t stop talking, then there are contracts with unlimited minutes, but no freebies when it comes to the phone itself. Likewise if you really love having the latest model, there are contracts where you can get new phones as they come out, for free!

The only problem with contracts is that the more you want, unfortunately, often the more you have to pay. Yes you can have unlimited monthly calls, texts and internet usage, along with the latest phone, however it can cost you the earth!

It depends who you are as to which you think is best. Both pay as you go and contract deals have their merits, shop around and you are sure to get yourself a good deal that is right for you 🙂

Categories
Apps Smartphones

7 Apps You Must Have on Your iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S in black and whiteApple has made computing very easy by integrating some of the special functions of computer on mobile phones. The iPhone is a smartphone series made by Apple. These products are becoming increasingly popular that everybody boasts of owning one.

There are several things that your iPhone can do for you, if you just have the right app for it. From multimedia applications to GPS tracking applications, there is barely anything you can’t find for your iPhone in terms of applications.

The new iPhone 4S released by Apple is a super smartphone. Just in a few days after the launch of the mobile phone, several million copies have been ordered online and ISPs like AT&T have made more sales than ever from it.

But this iPhone 4S might only look more interesting if you have some apps that can make your iPhone 4S livelier.

1. Plants vs. Zombies

There is thrill in playing game on an iPhone. But, I’ve not been as thrilled as I was when I first played Plants vs. Zombies on an iPhone 4S. I’ve always played the game on my laptop computer and it’s always fun.

The truth is that everyone hates zombies, which justifies the reason you want to kill them. Install this game on your iPhone 4s and unleash your fury on these virtual zombies. But you have to be cautious when you start seeing the Michael Jackson Thriller dancers coming after you.

2. iTunes Movie Trailer

iTunes Movie Trailer allows you to watch trailers of movies in HD. You don’t want to miss any new movie and want to remain up to date about latest films. This app has an interestingly slick interface. You can also see popular trailers from various categories.

3. Starbucks

Isn’t it fun? You can now get all the information about Starbucks from your iPhone, directly through this application. You don’t need to start looking up the internet for useful information on Starbucks again.

Among the features of this application are store locator, food and beverage information and it also makes it easy for you to send gifts from Starbucks to your friend.

It also has amazing features like mobile pay. You can load your virtual Starbucks card with funds and can also have your personal barcode scanned at the register.

4. iMovie

Edit your movies on iPhone 4S with iMovie. iMovie allows you to make good movies in minutes by allowing you to add pictures, clips and music to help you bring out masterpiece movies.

iMovie is the one of the best tools for video editing. You can customize your video to your taste and likening. I think this is one of the most interesting apps for multimedia Apple has made for the iPhone.

 5. iCloud

Back up your important files on the cloud with iCloud for iPhone. Once you have iCloud on your iPhone 4S, you don’t have to worry about losing your files. It has also helped me with my weight watchers discounts and edits coupon blog.

It also makes it possible for you to have multiple backups for your special files. You can use you Mac, iPad and iPhone to backup the same file at a time, all secure and safe.

6. Angry Birds

Angry bird is a very popular puzzle game. Take revenge for the birds by attacking the green pigs busy stealing their eggs. The birds are who you fight for, and they are your weapons, too.

Angry birds looks perfect on iPhone 4S for the advanced player and is also challenging and along the line interesting for the new players.

7. Skype

You love to make video calls, who doesn’t? Skype is arguably the best video calling application you’ll have around. Make video calls directly from your iPhone 4S with Skype installed on it. Calling from Skype is also cheap.

You probably have tried it on your previous iPhone series? Well, it’s going to be more fun with iPhone 4S since the new iPhone model has a better and higher camera power.

Try out these apps on your iPhone 4S and come share your experience with us. You’ve tried them already? That’s great. Please share what you think about them with us.

Categories
How To Guides Internet

How to be a smart online buyer

When you decide you want to buy something off the internet, how do you go about doing so? I’m not talking about getting your shopping delivered to your door, I am talking about buying something like maybe a laptop, digital camera or a new mobile phone.

Many people just look for the make and model they want and they go straight in for the buy. Do you? If so, you may want to read on, as you could save yourself a lot of money!

Say I wanted to buy a laptop, one of the first things I would do would be to go to a money saving site like Money Saving Expert in order to establish whether there are currently any great offers on laptops that other people on the web have noticed.

If you are still looking for the best type of laptop for you, try review and comparison sites like Test Freaks. These can help you decide what laptop to buy, as they can give you reviews that people who have bought laptops have written. They often also present data in a very easy way, often giving the product a score, based on its price, spec (and therefore value for money) and what peoples reviews are like – i.e. positive or negative.

Test Freaks LogoIf/once you have your heart set on a particular laptop, then your next step is to look for discount codes for that sit/product. Sites like My Voucher Codes can often save you 5-10% on your goods, simply because they know the latest discounts for your product. 5-10% might not sound that much, but if you are buying a £350 laptop (lets say $500) 10% is £35/$50 which is enough to buy you a really good travel case as well as a decent wireless laser mouse and a USB hub.

The final bit of advice I would give you is to take your time. When spending a large amount of money over the internet check reviews of the site you are buying off, to see if it is reputable, check that the item is exactly what you want and make sure you get the best price!

Often online sites have deals which change all the time, meaning that tomorrow that perfect laptop may now be 25% cheaper, as it was only higher priced so that they could bring it down and slap a ‘25% off!’ label on it.


Good luck making any online purchases 🙂

Anyone got any other advice/experiences to share?

Categories
Gadgets News

Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich

Google has revealed a fair amount about the new version of Android, known as Ice Cream Sandwich. The Sandwich moniker is used since Google see the new OS as “one OS everywhere”, or a single version of Android running across all their phones and tablets. Will this unifying system be as tasty as it sounds?

In terms of release date, it looks as though some Android devices shipped before Christmas will run this OS, with some sources suggesting it could arrive as early as October. The new version is rumoured to be known as Android 2.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a little mystifying since it brings together Android 2.3 and Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Wouldn’t Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich make more logical sense?


Google Android's LogoThe Ice Cream interface will bring together all the fancy features from 3.0 Honeycomb, which was designed purely for tablets and larger screen devices. This includes an updated app launcher, holographic user interface, interactive new home-screen widgets and a multi-tasking panel. Leaked shots give a positive impression of the homepage look and feel, which has a great feeling of depth and Minority Report-style futurism. This ties in with Google’s statement that the new OS is their “most ambitious release to date”.

But the Ice Cream Sandwich is about more than the UI, and will bring all the previously tablet-only Android 3.1 features to mobile phones. In real terms, this suggests compatible Android tablets and smart phones will be able to act as hubs and inputs for connecting mice, keyboards and game controllers.

There is also a 3D “headtracking” feature utilising the front-mounted camera. This determines who is speaking and focuses on them during a video call. This detection technology is apparently a key feature in the OS, and it will be interesting to see how developers can further enhance this novelty.

Google intends to make the Ice Cream OS fully open source in an attempt to make things more consistent between devices. When it becomes fully established it will doubtless prove an exciting time for Android affiliates and early adopters. In terms of reputation, Android provides the leading mobile phones; find out more on these models on the Phones4U website.