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How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour

Monday, July 21st, 2014

TimGlass

Lunch with Tim Danton is normally a jolly affair, but today he has decided to wear his Google Glass headset. Things get off to a bad start before we’ve even left the building, as I explain that I need to go via a cashpoint. “OK Glass!” barks Tim abruptly. “Directions to a cashpoint.” There is an awkward pause: I don’t know whether he’s waiting for me to speak, or has been distracted by some terribly important message that I can’t see. His face falls slightly. “It’s giving me directions to an attachment,” he explains, apologetically.

(more…)

Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

20140629_152204Until recently, there wasn’t much point taking your smartphone to a summer festival. With tens of thousands of people converging in the middle of the countryside, it was impossible to get a signal, and your battery was likely to expire on the first day anyway.

But things are changing. Coverage has improved markedly in recent years, and event organisers are starting to embrace mobile technology with official festival apps and onsite charging facilities – a more popular attraction than many of the bands, judging by the size of the queues. (more…)

Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Dell CaterhamHere at Silverstone the preparations for the British Formula 1 Grand Prix are well under way. While the weekend will be full of headlines surrounding Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and the various other British hopefuls, it’s intriguing to see how important the background technology is; and in particular, how virtualisation is giving Caterham Racing a time-saving edge. (more…)

The insane economics of Sky Now TV

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Sky Now TV

A few months ago, after one price rise too many and a waning interest in top-flight football, I decided to cancel my subscription to Sky Sports.

I still get the urge to watch the odd game, and so this weekend – with my once-beloved West Ham giving title-chasing Liverpool a hoof for their money – I decided to investigate Sky Now TV, the broadcaster’s internet TV service. After ten minutes, I was left scratching my head at the sheer insanity of its pricing.

(more…)

Windows Phone 8.1 video: hands-on

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

We’ve been given a video preview of many of the new features available in Windows Phone 8.1.

Among the features you’ll see in the video are:

  • The new six-column design of the Start screen
  • The option to change the Start screen background
  • Action Centre: a new drop-down screen for notifications and shortcuts to settings
  • Shape Writing: the new swipeable keyboard design that means you don’t have to type every letter
  • The new Battery Saver, Storage Sense and Wi-Fi Sense apps, the latter of which allows you to let friends use your home Wi-Fi without giving them your password
  • Synchronisation with other Windows devices

Click here for more details of Windows Phone 8.1’s new Siri-like assistant, Cortana, and other new features

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

When Sony unleashed the first Tablet Z back at MWC 2013, it was the thinnest, lightest tablet around; now it’s the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet’s turn to take over. Sony’s new top-end Android tablet is lighter and slimmer than the original, and by a noticeable margin.

In fact, at 426g, the Wi-Fi version of the Z2 weighs a full 69g less than the Z, and itmeasures 0.5mm thinner, at 6.8mm from front to rear. Quite how Sony’s engineers have managed it, we’re not sure.

(more…)

Nokia XL review: first look

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Nokia XL

The Nokia X made all the headlines in the build-up to MWC, but it’s the largest of the company’s three new smartphones – the Nokia XL – that makes the most sense.

It runs the same mangled version of Android as the Nokia X, and features the same limited 4GB of storage expandable via the microSD slot, but for only €16 more, you get a bigger 5in screen and 256MB more RAM (at 768MB).

(more…)

Samsung Galaxy S5 review: first look

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung has launched its latest Galaxy S5 smartphone at the Barcelona MWC trade show, boasting a smart new design and a number of new features. Surprisingly, the firm has chosen not to boost the screen resolution of the phone, sticking with 1,080 x 1,920, and has only slightly increased the size of the display, from 5in to 5.1in.

Instead, Samsung is pinning its hopes on going “back to basics” with the new handset. “We’ve decided to … focus on the features and things that matter the most to our customers – namely the camera, ability to view and download data and content quickly, and their health and wellbeing,” said Simon Stanford, of Samsung UK.

(more…)

Turn an old smartphone into an in-car entertainment system

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Dashboard satnav

We’ve all got an old smartphone that’s keeping a box of matches and the instruction manual for the washing machine company in a kitchen drawer. Why not put the thing to good use and turn it into an in-car satnav and entertainment system?

You can use pretty much any last-generation smartphone for this project, either Android or iPhone, although there are a couple of specialist pieces of equipment you’ll need for the perfect set-up.

(more…)

Apple’s OSes set to surpass Windows

Friday, February 14th, 2014

If anyone doubts how substantially Apple and the mobile revolution (or whatever you want to call it) have changed technology, here’s a chart for you, nicked from analyst Benedict Evans:

BenedictChart

This shows sales of all Apple iOS and OS X devices — iPads, iPods, iPhones and Macs — versus sales of PCs running Windows (the orange line), and versus Windows PCs and Windows Phone handsets combined (the blue line).

(more…)

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