Archive for March, 2012

Operating system updates you should know about

Major carriers serving Wisconsin have come out with several big announcements regarding the operating systems for mobile devices. Here are a few updates that might affect your mobile. It’s good to be on top of these announcements as you don’t want to buy a new phone today with a two-year contract and be stuck with an old operating system.:

Verzion

Verizon released a pretty detailed list on which of its Android devices will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich and what mobiles will be out of luck. The reason for this is because Verizon has to go back and forth with the manufacturer to get these updates through as the devices have special Verizon-features (or apps).

AT&T

AT&T’s Android-running HTC Vivid now has Ice Cream Sandwich. The good news for Android users angered some Windows OS fans who are still waiting to for the “8701 update.” This update is supposed to fix a disappearing keyboard issue some users have been experiencing. However, AT&T has already come out stating they will have the next Window’s update in the future.

US Cellular

With the rollout of the 4G LTE in Wisconsin and several LTE devices, US Cellular hasn’t mentioned any impending OS updates. Not that I blame them. I’m sure once things settle down with the 4G LTE push we will hear about some updates.

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Smartphones hits big milestone

Smartphones have crossed a significant threshold in the US marketplace. According to Nielsen’s latest analysis, half of U.S. mobile users own a smartphone, illustrating the smartphone revolution is here to stay.

While I’m not surprised smartphones have crossed this benchmark, the rapid growth of smartphone use is pretty interesting. In February 2011, smartphones were used by 36 percent of mobile users. If the growth pattern continues, 70 percent of mobile users will use smartphones by next year.

Aside from overall smartphone use, Nielsen also broke down popularity by brand. In their findings, 48 percent of smartphone users own Android powered devices, 32 percent own an iPhone and 12 percent own a Blackberry. While I’m confident Android and iPhones use will continue to grow, I’m interested to see how Blackberry use fares over the next year. Unfortunately, my guess is not well. I’m also eager to see how Windows running smartphones perform with the release of Windows 8 this fall.

Are you surprised by the rapid growth of smartphone use in the US? What’s in store for us next year

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The Samsung Note’s biggest fan

While there are plenty of videos around of animals using tablets, a new clip of a gadget loving elephant takes the cake. Peter the elephant, with a little extra help, tests out a slew of applications using Samsung Note from AT&T. While I questioned the size of a Note in my review (see here), it looks like Peter approves. From playing the xylophone, drawing with the S-Pen and taking photographs, the ‘phablet’ seems to be the perfect fit for an elephant.

The video only has around 300 views so far, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it goes viral. Peter the gadget loving elephant is just too charming for the internet world to ignore.

Check out the videos of Peter for yourself here.

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New LTE Windows Phones Coming in April

AT&T announced today it will launch two new 4G LTE mobiles on April 8. The Nokia Lumina 900 and the HTC Titan II will be the first 4G LTE Windows smartphones on the market.

Available for preorder starting March 30, the Lumina could be a good performer for Nokia. Waning popularity combine with a few recent mobile flops, means Nokia really needs the Lumina to be a hit with American consumers. With its $100 price tag, I’m sure the Lumina will receive plenty of attention.

After reviewing its predecessor last fall, I’m eager to see what the HTC Titan II has in store. The mega screen smartphone will probably come with even more bells and whistles than the original. I’m hoping the Titan II is less bulky, but with a 4.7-inch screen it seems unlikely. The Titan II will available for $199 with a two-year contract.

As someone who is a fan on the Windows platform, I’m looking forward to testing out these phones soon.

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Americans watching more online movies than DVDs

Movie buffs will cross an important threshold in 2012. For the first time, audiences will be watching more movies via online streaming than through hard copy formats such as DVD or Blu-Ray. With that, those in the entertainment business will have to adapt to consumers in how they produce and market films.

The statistic comes was release from research firm IHS iSuppli this week. According to their findings, online streaming transactions will hit 3.4 billion compared to 2.4 billion for hard copies.  This is a pretty big leap from 2011 when only 1.4 billion hits online and 2.6 billion physical copy views.

With streaming services including Neflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime pulling viewers away from purchasing DVDs or Blu-Rays, I won’t be surprised the trend continues to grow. Aside from the convenience, purchasing a monthly online subscription is more economical anyways.   

Do you think 2012 will be the final nail in the coffin for purchasing DVDs or Blue Rays?

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Hate missing phone calls? Nokia has a solution

Whether you hate obnoxious ringtones or rarely have your cell phone on you when it’s set to vibrate, Nokia has a solution that will prevent you from missing another phone call. There’s one catch. You’ll have to get a tattoo first. Yes, a tattoo.

Nokia recently filed for a patent protection for a concept that would use magnetic ink to communicate with specific electromagnetic field outputs from a mobile phone. With any incoming phone call, message or alert the mobile device would send a signal to tattoo and in turn “activate” the skin. Essentially, your tattoo would vibrate.

I hate missing important phone calls as much as the next person, but there comes a point where you have to draw the line. For me, it’s injecting metallic ink into my skin. However, there are some people that would be willing to go that far. I’m also not sold on the idea of my skin buzzing at 3am from my late emails, phone calls or text messages. For those who receive a large amount of messages through mobile devices … who wants their skin constantly vibrating? What if you have more than one mobile device? Do you have to get more than one tattoo?

Though I don’t see the idea becoming a reality anytime soon, it just goes to show the great lengths mobile carries will go to ensure consumers are connected (literally) to their devices.

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Twitter celebrates sixth birthday

Six years ago, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey “tweeted” for the first time. Who knew the lackluster message “just setting up my twtr” would revolutionize how individuals, celebrities, brands and social movements communicate? Better yet, six years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed that ‘#’ or ‘@’ would become an important component of my lexicon.

To celebrate Twitter’s birthday I will be enjoying Wisconsin’s summertime March weather and reminiscing several of my favorite celebrity tweets from the past six years. Check out a few of my favorite celebrity tweets:

@olivawilde In a thousand years archeologists will dig up tanning beds and think we fried people as punishment.

@stevemartintogo Found small Chinese person inside my iPhone. Apple needs to address working conditions.

@azizansari Confirmed: Going up to women in a bar & saying “You guys wanna hear a dope story about kidney stones?” makes them hate you.

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