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Posts Tagged ‘ smartphones ’

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…)

Huawei Ascend P2 review: first look

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Huawei Ascend P2

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is looking to make a big splash at MWC this year, and by the looks of things, its new P2 smartphone has all the makings of a real contender.

It’s the successor to the Huawei Ascend P1, launched last year, a phone we liked a lot for its combination of light weight, ultra-slim dimensions and low price. The P2, adheres to a similar blueprint.

This phone has a broad, 4.7in, 1,280 x 720p resolution display,  a 1.5GHz, quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM. It measures 8.4mm at its thinnest point and is extremely light at 122g. Given that the phone has a huge 2,420mAh battery inside, that’s a notable achievement.


Greatest Hits of CES 2013: PC Pro’s pick of the best products

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

PC Pro CES 2013 Greatest HitsThe world’s largest consumer electronics show is now into its final throes, which means we can reveal the shortlist for our pick of the show’s innovations: PC Pro’s Greatest Hits of CES 2013.

Now we need your help to decide the winner for the Best Innovation. Read the descriptions below and then cast your vote using the link at the bottom of the blog — but be quick, because voting closes at 6pm (UK time) on Thursday 10 January. [Edit: the vote is now closed]

In addition to the winner of this category, on Friday we’ll also be announcing our pick of the tablets, phones and laptops that have been unveiled at CES 2013. (more…)

Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Data Sense: hands-on video

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Microsoft managed to hold some key features back for the launch of Windows Phone 8, among the most intriguing of which is Data Sense.

It offers users an overview of mobile data use, showing which apps have been using most data, and allowing users to set a data limit so the app can sound the alarm when you’re about to breach the cap. And the app has a Live Tile you can pin to the phone’s homescreen, displaying a running total of data consumed over the past month.


Windows Phone 8 Kid’s Corner: hands-on video

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Microsoft might not have announced anything groundbreaking at its grand unveiling of Windows Phone 8, but that’s not to say we were completely underwhelmed. Indeed, for anyone who has children, the official confirmation of the new Kid’s Corner feature will come as a breath of fresh air.

And while the demo involving Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore’s own children appearing on stage was undeniably cheesy, it will have struck a chord with smartphone-owning parents across the world. It certainly did with me, for whom the wheedling question “can I play a game on your phone, daddy?” has become a tiresomely regular refrain of late.

You can see a short demo of the feature in the short video at the top of this blog post, but the idea is really good. Set up involves ticking a few boxes in the Kid’s Corner settings, applying a lock so your kids don’t unlock the main phone and send your boss a text by accident, or purchase a small fortune’s worth of apps and music.

Then all your little devils need to do to get to their protected area is swipe a finger from right to left on the lock screen, and up pops a bright, kiddy-friendly interface, complete with live-tile-equipped home screen, but with only access to the apps you specified earlier.

There’s just one potential pitfall: it’s all lovely and safe and cuddly, but giving the kids their own “phone within a phone”, as Belfiore put it, seems likely to give even them an over-inflated sense of ownership over your pride and joy, making it more difficult than ever to prise their sticky fingers from it when you need it most.

Mobile data survey: tell us your results

Thursday, October 18th, 2012


Last week I wrote about a feature we’re going to be running soon, in which we try to work out what mobile data allowance the average person needs on their contract. I asked you to download and run a traffic monitoring app on your phone for seven days (even if you didn’t, you can still help).


How much mobile data do you use?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

MobilesWhen signing up for a new phone contract, the amount of data allowed each month is often a stumbling block. Is 250MB enough for me or would I be safer with 500MB? What kind of user hits those 1GB allowances? How much data do my favourite apps even use?


Intel wants to “own” mobile – but at what cost?

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Otellini mobile

Despite its financial might and peerless silicon engineering experience, Intel’s attempts to break into the mobile market are best characterised as a hamster rolling a boulder up a very steep hill. With the latest generation of Atom processors found inside the new Orange San Diego smartphone, Intel may just have reached the top of that hill.

We’ll reserve definitive judgement until we get out review unit, but hands-on demonstrations suggest that Intel has at last produced a smartphone processor that should have ARM shareholders reaching for their heart pills. It may not be much (if any) faster than ARM-based equivalents, it may not be quite as forgiving on the battery, but Intel is at the very least competitive — and unnervingly bullish.

“This [mobile] is a space we intend to own,” Mike Bell, general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group,  said at a small press briefing in London yesterday. “There is no reason why we can’t be a very major player in this space.”


Mobile phones: 15 years and a world apart

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Motorola_MR20_Mobile_PhoneFifteen years ago – almost to the day – I got my first mobile phone, a Motorola mr20. It was a chunky thing, with a two-line black-on-green LCD display and a battery that lasted for up to 12 hours (so long as you didn’t use it to make calls or try out any of its three different ringtones). It could receive text messages, but not send them: for that you needed the upmarket mr30 model.

Today, a decade and a half later, I’ve taken delivery of a Samsung Galaxy S II. If ever you wanted an illustration of the phenomenal pace at which technology advances, here it is. In what seems like an alarmingly short time, we’ve progressed from that rudimentary brick to a slim, slate-style affair with a vibrant full-colour touchscreen, a feature list as long as your arm, 16GB of internal storage and, well, slightly better battery life.

Consider that voice calls are now just a small part of a smartphone’s job and you could question whether the two phones are even really the same sort of device. (more…)

Will smartphones kill off compact cameras?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

iPhone 4S photo

The renowned American portrait photographer, Annie Leibovitz, recently whipped out her iPhone 4S on a US chat show and proclaimed that the device was “the compact camera of choice”. Is this the Steve Jobs distortion field at work from beyond the grave or has the iPhone really cracked point and shoot?

To be fair, Leibovitz’s comments were more about extolling the multitude of virtues that the iPhone 4S brings and less about its camera. “It’s so accessible and easy… It’s a pencil, it’s a pen, it’s a notebook,” she claimed, suggesting that the value of the device lay not only in its ability to take very passable pictures, but also that the use, manipulation, uploading and storage of those photos was now a very compelling package.

High praise indeed! But what would it mean for the compact camera market? Are people happy with passable camera phone images or do they still want the little extra that the purpose-built compact camera brings?







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