Samsung has unveiled its much-anticipated new smartphone release—the Galaxy S4.
The handset, which is slated for a late-April release, has numerous new features Samsung put on display during an introductory press conference. Here’s a breakdown of some of the new features for one of the premier brands on the market.
We’ll focus less on the features one would expect from a new smartphone model (i.e. 4G capability) and stick to those which aren’t available on just any phone in the store.
- Camera – One of the most talked-about topics after Samsung’s press conference was the S4’s camera. The rear camera has an incredible 13 megapixels. By comparison, the iPhone 5’s lauded camera is 8 megapixels. Beyond the high quality of photos it can take, the S4 also allows users to take photos simultaneously with the rear and front cameras. This gives you the option of taking two pictures at the same time and super-imposing one over the other.
- Smart Pause – The front camera (the one on the same side as the phone’s screen) incorporates eye-tracking technology to figure out, for example, when you’re looking at your phone and when you aren’t. Say you’re watching a video, and you look away. Smart Pause will pause the video when you glance away and restart it when you look back at your phone.
- Smart Scroll – In the same spirit as Smart Pause, the new S4 will also have Smart Scroll. This gives the user the option of scrolling (such as when on the web) by tilting the handset.
- Group Play – This is a type of sharing feature that can have some neat uses. For instance, you can share your music with your friends who have Galaxies and turn each device into a different speaker, allowing you to create surround sound using smartphones. This is a feature that could be expanded even further once app makers incorporate it.
- Air Gesture – This feature allows you to execute commands on your phone by using gestures. You can set your gestures so that, say, waving your hand in front of the screen will exit an app or making a check mark with your finger will lock the screen.
There are many more new features on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Feel free to stop by a Cellular Sales location and ask a wireless expert to learn more.
Temple Run (Android | iOS)
One of the most popular smartphone games of all time, Temple Run utilizes all of the technology of your smartphone. As you run away from the Evil Demon Monkeys, you swipe the screen and tilt your phone to maneuver through the course. An easy and intuitive game to learn, Temple Run is truly enjoyable for everyone. It’s free on both Android and in the Apple App Store, so it’s a great app for new users to learn the gaming capabilities of their phone.
Facebook (Android | iOS)
In many ways, the mobile version of Facebook is sleeker and more efficient to use than the traditional version. There are also great features that just aren’t available on the computer, including taking pictures on your phone through the Facebook app and “Checking In” to your current location. Facebook also does a great job of updating the app regularly, which keeps minor problems from becoming major issues.
BBC News (Android | iOS)
Possibly the best news app available for smartphones, BBC News provides the award-winning content of the international news company, conveniently in your pocket. With this app, you get the latest national and regional news, from business to politics to science, arts and everything in-between. The layout of the app is simple and easy to use, and you’re also given the option to personalize the page, allowing you to see only the content which interests you. A great feature that sets it apart from other news apps is its access to BBC World Service Radio. This app truly can serve as your main source of news.
Pandora (Android | iOS)
The best free internet radio website is also available on your smartphone. Pandora is a personalized radio app that lets you listen to your favorite artists, genres and songs, while also finding music that you may like based on your preferences. When you first open the app, you’ll be prompted to create a “Station” by entering the name of your favorite artist or genre, and then Pandora will play songs based on what you enter. This app gives you access to music no matter where you are, but because of its significant data use, we recommend that you use Wi-Fi where you can.
Urbanspoon (Android | iOS)
One of the more popular apps of all-time, Urbanspoon, is the most convenient restaurant finder available for your smartphone. This app makes deciding where to eat a simple process. Enter preferences such as price range and food type, shake your phone and Urbanspoon will give you a random suggestion on where to eat. The app also gives you directions to and reviews of all of the restaurants it suggests, helping to make your planning process that much easier.
Runkeeper (Android| iOS)
One of the most popular fitness apps available, Runkeeper allows you to track your runs, walks, hikes and more from your smartphone using a built-in GPS and timer, among other great features. The app shows you your pace, heart rate, calories burned, and it keeps track of your stats from previous runs, helping you track your progress in multiple ways. One standout feature is that the app notifies you whenever you have completed a personal-best time for a particular distance, helping to keep you motivated.
Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal (Android | iOS)
Keeping track of your calorie intake is an incredibly important part of maintaining a healthy diet, and there’s no better smart phone app for it than Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal. The app features over 1.7 million different foods, all but guaranteeing that you can find your meal, and its calorie totals, on the list. It’s incredibly easy to input your meals, as the layout is user-friendly and allows you to save your favorite foods for quick access. You can also access your account via a computer, letting you backup all of your information.
Fooducate (Android | iOS)
Deciphering nutrition labels can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Fooducate is an app that lets you scan the barcode of an item at the grocery store and then gives you the most important nutritional information of the item, both good and bad. It has over 200,000 products in its database, and updates regularly. This app allows you to see past labeling tricks, such as distorted serving sizes, to see what nutritional value the products actually has. Just use your smart phone’s camera to scan the barcode and the app does the rest for you. Combined with Calorie Counter, it can be easy to keep control of your diet.
First Aid by American Red Cross (Android | iOS)
Have you found yourself in an emergency situation without the knowledge of how to deal with it? First Aid by American Red Cross provides you with all of the knowledge that you need to handle yourself in any emergency. Featuring the expert advice from the Red Cross, the app gives you access to step-by-step instructions for first aid, videos and animations of first aid techniques and even safety tips for severe weather. The app is very easy to navigate, and the information is presented in an simple-to-understand manner. There are even interactive quizzes to aid in your learning, keeping the user engaged in the content.
Tools evolve throughout the years. Here at Cellular Sales, we’d like to help you find the latest and greatest smartphone tools. In this installment, it’s apps for young professionals. Feel free to chime in with your own suggestions!
My Budget Book (Android | iOS)
No matter what your starting salary was, budgeting is an issue for every young professional. My Budget Book is an app that helps you keep track of all of your expenditures and earnings. The ability to set a monthly budget becomes simple with this app’s incredibly organized interface. You can categorize your earnings and expenses however you wish, making it easier to track what money goes where. If you would rather have a visual representation of your balance, My Budget Book allows you to create tables and graphs of your statistics. Your balance carries over from month to month, so there’s no need to re-input all of your information. Once you have your data organized to your liking, you can save it to an SD card and export it in HTML or CSV format.
Jump Desktop (Android | iOS)
As the business world becomes more competitive and faster paced, young professionals need to find every advantage they can. Jump Desktop is an app that allows users to remotely access their laptop or computer, allowing you to work on the go, regardless of the project. Want to access your work computer from home? With just one touch of your smartphone or tablet, Jump Desktop allows you to do just that. By gaining access to your desktop or laptop at all hours of the day and from any location, you can gain an advantage over your coworkers.
FlightTrack (Android | iOS)
The first time that many people have to rely on air travel with regularity is in the professional world. While flight times and gate changes can get confusing, FlightTrack allows you to keep up with real-time information about your flight. This app provides gates, delays and cancellations for over 16,000 airports world-wide. It syncs your phone’s calendar to its schedule, making it easy for you to pick the best flight time. This app takes any hassle out of scheduling or rescheduling your flight plans.
TimeClock ST (Android | iOS)
While it can be difficult keeping track of your billable hours while you’re on the go, TimeClock makes it easy to do right from your smartphone. This simple app allows you to track billable hours for all of your clients and generates invoices and spreadsheets. Not only can it track time for as many clients as you need, but you can also record individual rates for each one, saving you from having to do the math yourself. You can track time with a built-in clock or manually input time records. There’s no need to worry about making mistakes, as you can edit all of your time records. While your data is automatically saved on the app, you can also download the records as a PDF to print for a hard-copy version.
Cam Card (Android | iOS)
Networking is vital to any young career, but organizing the hundreds of business cards that you may collect can be nearly impossible. Cam Card takes care of that problem for you. With this app, all you have to do is take pictures of the business cards that you receive. The app then saves the card into a virtual rolodex and adds the information on the card into your address book. All of the information on the app can be saved into the Cloud, protecting you from any data-loss risk. Instead of keeping a pile of business cards lying around or manually saving the information from each one, let Cam Card organize all of them for you.
What are some other great apps for young professionals that you can’t live without?
The research firm says that of all the people who purchased smartphones in the second quarter, 54.6 percent opted for an Android-based model, while 36.3 percent decided to pick up an iPhone, instead. But Apple is doing a lot better than a certain Canadian company.
Read more: FoxNews.com
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is developing a smartphone that would vie with Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and handheld devices that run Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. (2038), the Chinese mobile- phone maker, is working with Amazon on the device, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Amazon is seeking to complement the smartphone strategy by acquiring patents that cover wireless technology and would help it defend against allegations of infringement, other people with knowledge of the matter said.
In a brilliant move last week, Verizon Wireless acquired $3.6 billion in spectrum licenses from the cable consortium SpectrumCo (See “Verizon to buy cable spectrum, pressuring rivals“,Reuters, December 2). Spectrum is the frequency in radio and telecommunications where information travels in a wave along an assigned frequency range. Spectrum licenses are vital resources for thriving in the wireless industry.
With this most recent purchase, Verizon outfoxed the competition and positioned the company to better serve customers and potentially expand services to customers, including the option to introduce its full portfolio of cable, phone and wireless services in areas of the country where it doesn’t currently offer broadband.
This is great news for Verizon customers since more spectrum means more capacity.
With 110MHz of spectrum nationwide, the Verizon 4G LTE can continue building out to meet the every growing demand of customers for blazing speed. This move reinforces a long term commitment to supporting and developing its vast network, so that Verizon customers can enjoy the fastest network with the broadest coverage in more and more places. At the same time, Verizon can offer customers more services and content via the companies in SpectrumCo (Comcast, Time Warner, and Bright House Networks).
Verizon Wireless is once again the most reliable carrier throughout the U.S., according to a study out yesterday from J.D. Power and Associates.
Based on a customer survey, J.D. Power’s “U.S. 2011 Wireless Network Quality Performance Study–Volume 2″ ranked Verizon as the top carrier in the Northeast for the 14th time in a row. Compared with other carriers, Verizon saw the least number of customers complaining of dropped calls, transmission failures, initial connection issues, and delayed text messages.
Read on at CNET here.
Google just spent 12.5 billion on the future of mobile computing. On Monday (August 15), they agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility, the maker of DROID phones and many other devices. While this move has a variety of implications in the industry, the big question is “How does this move impact consumers?”
This is a potentially positive move for the consumer market, but at the present moment, this impact will not be immediately obvious. As Avi Greengart of Current Analysis has suggested, “Short-term, this won’t impact the customer at all” (Mercury News). Over the long term though, this could open a variety of likely possibilities for consumers:
Google has taken a direct step against the dominance of Apple in the mobile computing field. By purchasing Motorola, they can play a stronger role in developing an Android ecosystem similar to the Apple ecosystem with the difference being that Google remains committed to the open platform of Android. In Google’s own words, “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies” (Google Blog).
All this adds up to increased competition on a more even playing field. For the long haul, this can mean better prices, better user experiences, and better products overall.
Improved User Experience
By playing a direct role in both the software and hardware development, Google can help overall user experience with the Android platform. Industry analyst Will Stofega writes, “Google’s ownership of the manufacturer will mean a smoother experience, fewer glitches with new releases, and a more seamless integration between hardware and software” (Mercury News)
Google has a history of pressing change in the mobile computing world. As New York Times editor Evelyn Rusli writes, “Google has shaken up the mobile industry by pushing cellphone carriers to open up their networks, and by licensing its Android system at no charge, increasing competition” (New York Times). This latest move may increase innovation in mobile computing as well as in television viewing. The combination of smartphones and tablets with Google TV set top boxes could open new avenues for searching and managing video content.
What about the future of Android hardware partners like HTC, LG and Sony Ericcson?
Google reaffirms its commitment to an open platform that continues to support multiple developers. “This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences” (Google Blog).
If Google sticks to its commitment, this merger has the potential to be a great boon for the whole mobile computing industry. By purchasing Motorola, they’ve secured patent protection in the short term, but in the long term, they’ve taken a direct step toward advancing the future of the Android operating system. In their own words, they are “always looking for new ways to supercharge the Android ecosystem.” As a result of this merger, we hope to see all consumer reap great reward in the years.
- Doug Floyd
Google is dabbling in social media again with Google+. Their first attempts, Orkut and Google Buzz, were mostly failures. Earlier this week Google began leading the users of various Google products to Google+’s website. The landing page for Google+ offers tours of the services which include:
PC Magazine conducted 140,000 tests in 21 cities all across the United States with a total of 16 handsets. And their conclusion was…
Verizon’s 4G LTE network dominates other mobile web options, and also beats out many home Internet connections. PC Magazine conducted the investigation by sending six people across the country, driving over 6,000 miles, in a Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta loaned to PC Magazine by Ford. PC Magazine did some modifications that included a Duracell Digital Inverter 400 to power the eight phones that each vehicle carried as well as custom software designed by Sensorly, a network testing firm. The phones used in these test were:
AT&T claims 4G but then announces 4G LTE roll out this summer.
AT&T’s CEO, Ralph de la Vega, admits that their network will be inferior for years to come. At the D9 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California Vega said that it will be two to three years until their LTE coverage is “indistinguishable” from Verizon’s. Ok, if they aren’t even starting to rollout 4G LTE until this summer, what have they been talking about in their commercials?
It turns out that, along with T-Mobile, AT&T has just been rebranding their network 4G. That is, they have just been renaming their networks 4G with out actually having 4G service. For now AT&T is trying to pass their subpar HSPA+ off as 4G until they can move over to LTE this summer. Nice try…
Responding to Cell Phone Radiation
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a statement on the “possible” threat of cell phones on May 31, 2011. Suddenly Facebook, Twitter, newspapers and news television blazed with headlines about the threat of cell phone use.
How should a cell phone user respond to this report?
First, it is essential to remember that the statement does say that cell phone use causes cancer. Inflamed headlines can cause inflamed emotions, and suddenly the cautious wording of the report is exaggerated across the web. The statement acknowledges that much of the research is inconclusive.
Secondly, this statement is based on a review of current research. Much of the current research on cell phone use is contradictory. Thus the FCC states on their website: “There is no scientific evidence that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other problems, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss.” The FDA posts on their website, “The majority of studies published have failed to show an association between exposure to radio frequency from a cell phone and health problems.”
Research in the area of cell phone use, computer use, and other modern conveniences that emit radio frequency is ongoing and still inconclusive. In fact, the IARC panel which issued the statement acknowledges the inconclusive results. Dr. Jonathan M. Samet, led this panel and is quoted in New York Times as saying, “We found some threads of evidence about how cancer might occur but have to acknowledge gaps and uncertainties.”
Dr. Meir Stampfer, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School told the Times that the evidence does not support concern and compares this with exposure to the sun or “any number of normal everyday activities.” And Donald Berry, a professor of biostatistics at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, responded to the Associated Press by saying, “This is not something I worry about and it will not in any way change how I use my cellphone.”
Finally Dr. Christopher West, Director of the IARC, concludes, “Clearly it will not be the last word on the topic and in fact one of the interesting outcomes of the monograph is that it identifies where there are gaps in the knowledge on a certain research area. I think it’s a value of this process therefore it’s suggest interesting areas of future research that will improve the evidence base which we have in order to make decisions about the usage of mobile phone in the future.”
So how should a cell phone user respond? Cell phone users should feel safe to continue using their devices normally. If the exposure causes concern, users can simply choose to use a headset or speakerphone when possible.
J.D. Power and Associates rank Verizon Wireless highest in satisfaction for small to medium sized business customers. The ranking comes from their 2011 U.S. Business Wireless Satisfaction Study. The categories ranked included performance, reliability, sales representatives/account executives, billings, offerings, and promotions. Verizon’s cutting edge 4G network and the nation’s most reliable 3G network played a part in J.D. Power and Associates’ results. Not to mention the amazing lineup of smartphones, to include Android and Blackberry, tablets, Hotspots and USB modems.