Category Archives: Gadget

Think back to the mobile phone you owned before 2007

It probably looked something like this: A silver clamshell device with numeric keys on the bottom and a low-resolution screen on the top. It probably had a simple camera, a calendar, and was capable of running a few basic games, but you used it primarily for voice calls and texting. In the early 2000s you might have upgraded to a BlackBerry 6210 — a favorite among text-obsessed teens and corporate employees tied to their email inboxes.

But in 2007 the cellphone industry was sundered. In hindsight, there is only before and after the iPhone. “An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator,” Steve Jobs famously said on stage at Macworld in 2007 when unveiling the first iPhone. “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device.”

The original iPhone, which went on sale 10 years ago on June 29, laid the foundation for the modern smartphone, forever changing the way we access the world’s information. It introduced two very important concepts that would remain at the core of mobile computers for years to come: the touch screen and the App Store. “The iPhone wouldn’t be what it is, and the smartphone industry wouldn’t be what it is, if you didn’t have a combination between two of those,” says Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures who previously spent 21 years covering Apple and the tech industry at Piper Jaffray.

So-called smartphones existed before the iPhone, but many of them were unwieldy and expensive. IBM’s Simon, which launched in 1994 and is widely regarded as the world’s first smartphone, had a touch screen and even supported basic applications like email, an alarm clock, a to-do list and faxing. But it weighed more than a pound, cost around $1,000, and wasn’t very intuitive.

With a dynamic touch-friendly interface and a central repository for discovering new applications, the iPhone was unlike any other mobile device. But the influence of the App Store — which launched in July 2008 to support the iPhone 3G’s release a few months before Android’s own marketplace debuted — can’t be overstated. It’s the reason we can summon taxis without speaking a word, dispatch magically disappearing photos and transfer digital payments with the press of a button. The Ubers, Snapchats and Venmos of the world wouldn’t exist without smartphones, and the iPhone was and remains the category’s foundation.

Read more: The 50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time

Together, the iPhone and the App Store established the idea that an electronic device needn’t be functionally rigid: just a phone, or just a camera, or just a handheld gaming console. Today’s smartphones are computational Swiss army knives, capable of everything from turn-by-turn driving directions to housing all our work-related documents. But dubbing smartphones mere “pocket-sized computers” is too reductive, argues Munster. “[The iPhone] was more than a computer, because a computer wasn’t a camera, it wasn’t GPS, it wasn’t an MP3 player,” he says. “The illustration that it became a computer in your pocket really doesn’t sum it up.”

After the iPhone’s launch, smartphones quickly adopted slick, candy-bar shaped frames with touch screens. Google famously rebuilt its first Android phone from the ground up after Apple’s keynote. “Holy crap, I guess we’re not going to ship that phone,” said Android creator Andy Rubin after watching the presentation, according to journalist Fred Vogelstein in his book Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution.

The iPhone did more than change the way cellphones were designed, it both revitalized and redefined the category. It carved out the notion that technology could be a status symbol, and with each iteration somehow elevated its allure such that buyers were willing to pay boutique prices. The original iPhone started at $500, while competing phones like the T-Mobile G1 (the first phone to run on Android) cost $150 on a two-year contract. Even wildly popular phones like the Motorola Razr never attracted the attention or drew lines as famously long as those outside Apple Stores at each new iPhone launch. “It’s one of the reasons [Apple] did so well in China at first,” says Lauren Guenveur, consumer insight director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, a firm that studies technology market trends. “To own an iPhone was to own a status symbol.”

10 years ago, Apple changed the world with the iPhone. Now, it’s using the iPhone to kickstart its next big gambit, augmented reality, a technology that maps computer-generated graphics onto real world surroundings. During its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple unveiled ARKit, a suite of tools developers can use to create augmented reality apps for the iPhone.

“I think what [Apple] is doing with ARKit is as significant as the App Store,” says Munster, expressing a view shared by many, namely that the practical uses of augmented reality (as opposed to the immobilizing niche-ness of wraparound virtual reality) is where the next technological revolution lies. Pokémon Go, a crazy-popular game about snatching fantasy monsters from real world locations, illustrates augmented reality’s potential for merging play with fitness and social elements. And companies like Apple, Microsoft and Facebookbelieve it will fundamentally alter how we interact with computers.

It’s too soon to say what those changes will look like, but one thing seems certain: A decade from now, when we think back to the smartphones we cherished in 2017, odds are they’ll little resemble the pocket-sized glass-and-aluminum slabs we carry in our pockets today. Everyone wants to make that next world-changing device — or in other words, the next iPhone.

Need to Stay Focused? Tune Out Distractions at Work Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the recommendations I discussed to help you control your attention and ignore distractions at work is a streaming music service called Focus@Will.

You may already have a go-to work playlist, but you might be surprised to learn that your favorite tunes are actually really distracting. They cause you to sing along (encouraging your brain to recall the words), facilitate memories,  and maybe even make you tap your feet—all activities that will prevent flow, your state of optimal performance where you’ll do your best work. Conversely, the music on Focus@Will is productivity boosting: each instrumental piece you’ll hear was chosen and remastered to help you concentrate more deeply.

The science behind Focus@Will is pretty fascinating. The service was developed in partnership with neuroscientists including Dr. Edward “Ned” Hallowell. If you’ve read my book or seen me speak, you know that I’m a big fan of Dr. Hallowell’s research on attention. He believes that the constant distractions from our computers and devices dilute our mental powers. (And I agree!) This service is a great tool in your attention management arsenal.

You can see how Focus@Will affects your concentration by signing up for a free trial. In addition to individual plans, they also offers business subscriptions. If you’re a leader, making Focus@Will available to your staff could be a great way to help them do more focused work.

While you’re listening, be sure to read the full article in Forbes for more productivity-enhancing ideas. Writer Vickie An did a great job of creating a useful and entertaining roundup on preventing distractions at work.

Why Project Management Tools Must Change

Personal productivity tools make managing your own workload easier. And project management tools help with wrangling group work. But there’s a big gap between th

Think about all the tasks on your plate for the next week or so. Some of those tasks belong only to you. They’re your responsibility, and you’re the one tracking their deadlines. Some probably belong to a personal project of yours, and some are just one-off tasks that need to get done. Also, some of your tasks are probably part of group projects. On these tasks, a company leader or project manager also monitors your progress, and your work impacts others.

Hopefully, you’re already using a good personal information manager to enhance your productivity. Because of the scope and complexity of knowledge work today, online PIMs like Outlook or the Apple suite (Calendar, Address Book, Reminders, Apple Mail) are good choices.

Beyond your personal productivity system, chances are you also have to use your company’s project management tools when you’re involved in group projects. Some popular examples of these tools are Microsoft Project, Asana, Basecamp and Trello.

Here’s where the problem comes in. If you have to check both your personal task manager and your company’s project management tool for everything you have to do, that’s inefficient. You might feel like you’re spending more time tracking your work than actually doing it. But, at the same time, leaders do need to manage group project deadlines, and it’s valuable for everyone to be able to see the current status of a project.

Imagining Better Project Management Tools

We need better solutions — and I’m surprised they don’t exist yet. Why, for example, didn’t Microsoft create better integration between Project and Outlook tasks?

Ideally, I’d like to see project management tools that seamlessly sync completed tasks between personal information management tools and project management tools. The project management tool sync tasks  to an individual employee’s personal task manager, while still allowing the rest of the group to see the task and its status. In the personal task manager, the employee could assign whatever alarms, categories, contexts and personal due dates to the task that suit her. When the task changes status, this status change is synced back to the project management tool. This would require syncing at the specific task level.

Another solution would be project management tools that do a good job handling both individual tasks and tasks related to group projects. The tools on the market I’ve seen that do both of these things are complicated and are not intuitive for people to pick up on their own. They are more enterprise-level and require both technical training and training on the workflow behind the tool. They also typically rely on the project to drive the work, which requires users to contort their tasks to fit a project: for example, some people create a “project” called “personal,” which isn’t really a project at all, but it’s the only way to manage personal tasks in a project management tool. Instead in my tool-utopia, when a task is entered, the user could assign whether or not that task is part of a project, and whether that project is a group project (with a status to be shared by the tool with others) or a personal project that no one else needs to see.

Until something changes, though, we’re stuck with the extra work of tracking our tasks both in our personal systems and in project management tools for the benefit of our teams. It’s a roadblock to greater efficiency that I hope will be overcome soon.

e two, and that’s a problem.

Microsoft’s Unveils New

Microsoft’s event from last has gotten the Internet talking about it. From laptops to tablets to smartphones and even a smartwatch, it was a bucketful of surprises for the tech enthusiasts. And while Microsoft continues to be one of the most valuable brands in the world it owes most of it to its software business, 84% of PCs worldwide use various versions of Windows OS.

Even with its Surface tablets bringing in business, the company is not yet known for its hardware capabilities like Apple and Google, but with this new range of devices it might be able to turn the tables around. Have a look.

Microsoft had acquired Nokia’s handset business back in September 2013, and an year down the line in September 2014 it decided to drop Nokia’s branding from its Lumia range of smartphones. Now another year has passed, and according to statistical data by IDC, Microsoft doesn’t even stand in the top 5 smartphone makers in the world, and its Lumia phones shipments have been declining.
In order to uplift its smartphone sales and shipments, the company has unveiled 3 new Lumia smartphones – 950, 950 XL and 550, all running Windows 10 OS.

Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL

Microsoft has unveiled its flagship phone Lumia 950 along with its bigger version Lumia 950 XL. The 5.2″ big Lumia 950 comes with a 1.8 GHz Hexa core Snapdragon 808 processor and 3 GB RAM. Powered by Windows 10 OS, it has 32GB in built memory with an expandable card slot. It comes with a 20MP rear camera and Full HD 5MP wide angle front camera. It will be launched in November for $549.

Lumia 950 XL comes with a 5.7″ display and a 2.0 GHz octa core Snapdragon 810 processorThe other features are pretty much same as 950. It will be released in November for $649.

Product Startup Exploride Seeks Crowdfunding to Turn Your Car into a Smart Car

With an aim of making driving safe and a pleasurable experience for everyone, Exploride a US-based startup founded by Sunil Vallath, is launching a new product that the company calls a heads-up display for any car. It allows users to access maps, music, calls, texts & more with its transparent display and hands free controls. With the help of gestures and voice recognition, it grants drivers the ability to take or decline calls, access music and maps, change volumes, hear texts, and even monitor vehicle diagnostics like speed, fuel, and more, all from one place.

The idea to design and launch such a product came to Sunil after he had a disturbing experience. Talking about it, he said, “My fiancee and I used to talk on the phone sometimes, while driving. On one such occasion, while talking on the phone, she got into a car accident. Luckily, she was unharmed. But the incident shook me up. It drove me to look for a solution where I could remain in touch with my loved ones while driving, without putting myself or them at risk of injury.”

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Its specifications include 6 inch transparent display, Smart GPS with inbuilt voice-activated maps, 2GB RAM, 8GB internal memory, Quadcore processor and IR sensor to detect gestures. The product also having SIM card slot, microphones for recognizing voice commands, dual mini speakers for music and interaction.

Here are features of the Exploride:

Exploride has launched an Indiegogo campaign with an aim to raise $100,000 funding, and it has been successful in securing $21,060 till now. People who are interested in the product can pre-order the unit for $239 which includes heads-up display, OBD II adapter for access vehicle diagnostics, charging set and access to the exclusive Exploride app.

By January 2016 the company aims to ship their product (if they are able to raise funds) after completing its hardware and software testing successfully. No doubt it will provide an wholesome experience of smart, safe and connected driving. To support their funding campaign

Blackberry is back, and this time with Android’s backing

The company has launched an Android based ‘Phablet’, after the failure of its operating software BB10. The device is named ‘Blackberry Priv’, where the word ‘Priv’ has been used for privacy.

The phone is trying to cash on its security feature through the introduction of its its own ‘Patented Picture Login’. This feature gives BB an all round security and a perfect blend of ease. For the first time this phablet will also support third party options from Google Play and various BB apps like BB Meeting, WatchDox etc.

The phone has been launched in the US and it has been confirmed by the authorities that the phone is now available on pre-order on Blackberry’s official website. The delivery process will begin from today and the price tag it carries is of $699.

The Blackberry Priv’s body is a combination of Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge’s shining back and a bold black look with stunning edges. This phone has pulled it off for Blackberry.

Specifications:

Body: With a weight of almost 192 grams this phone this phone has a qwerty keypad in a sliding function. Supports a nano sim.

Display: AMOLED Capacitive touchscreen of 5.4 inches with 540 ppi pixel density. Corning Gorilla Glass 4 with an edged screen gives an extra protection to the touch screen.

OS: Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop), Soon Android Marshmellow will be updated in the device

Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808 (you can also find this chipset in LG G4 and Nexus 5X). This chipset is made for stunning display and it supports the new ‘4k’ videos.

CPU: 64 bit Hexa-core Processor (Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 & quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53)

GPU: Adreno 418

RAM: 3GB

Storage: Supports external memory card, expandable up to 200GB with an internal memory of 32GB

Camera: A not-so-good 2 mp front camera with ‘No Selfie Mode’. The rear camera is a 18 MP Schneider-Kreuznach optics camera with optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash

3 Cool Gadgets That You Can Buy Right Away

1) Sphero BB8

People who have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, already know that they’re up for a treat. Technology has now made it possible to take the same magic people saw on screens to their homes. Those who haven’t seen Star Wars, don’t worry this app-enabled droid will melt you up. The droid learns from your interaction with it, it’s more of a mate you can carry anywhere. Give it voice commands or make it patrol around the house, it notifies you of any activity taking place inside the house.

Features

Listens & Responds: BB-8 recognises and reacts to your voice
Holographic Communication: Record and view virtual holographic videos with BB-8
Autonomous Behavior: BB-8 has a mind of its own – explore the Star Wars™ galaxy together
Adaptive Personality: Your BB-8’s unique attitude and actions evolve as you interact
Authentic Movement: Guide your BB-8 with a smartphone or tablet
AI Powered Product

Seller: Sphero
Shipping in India: Yes
Delivery Time: 1-3 Weeks
Price: $149.49

2) Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadcopter – Sand

This drone was featured at the CES 2016 which happened in LA, the company is one of the first ones to enter the drone industry and its AR Drone 2.0 brings lots of technology with it. This drone works with a WiFi using an app that’s available for iOS and Android powered devices. The device works outside as well as inside, also the device can be controlled by many devices like Nvidia Shield control, Epson Moverio display, Thalmic Myo armband, Zeiss Vision Cinemizer OLED glasses, and Microsoft surface 2.

Popular Read:  5 Tools for Augmented Reality App Development

Features

720p – 30FPS – H264 encoding base profile
Low latency streaming
Video storage on the fly with remote device or with USB flash drive
JPEG photo capture
As you fly, the HD video is recorded and sent directly to your device

Seller: Parrot
Shipping in India: Yes
Delivery Time: 3 business days
Price: $295 + Shipping

3) Skeye- The smallest drone in the world

If you’ve never experienced flying a drone, this is the right device for you. It’s a mini drone with a HD camera, also its 4 coreless motors gives you the versatility to perform expert takeoffs and vertical climbs. Just insert a MicroSD card and experience the bird’s eye view from your quadcopter. It comes with a camera with LED lights allowing the user to nightfly the drone.

Features

HD Camera
Throw To Fly
RTF (Ready to Fly) Technology
6-Axis Flight Control System with Adjustable Gyro Sensitivity
Stable & Easy to Fly
Aerobatic “Flip” Capability
LED Lights for Night Flights
2-Level Adjustable Controller Sensitivity: Beginner, Experienced

Seller: Trndlabs
Shipping in India: Yes
Delivery Time: 1 Week
Price: $99 (Free Shipping)

Why the Smartwatch Trend is Here to Stay

The growing trend of buying Smartwatches reveals the changing consumer behaviour. World’s technology giants like Apple, Garmin, Vivoactive, Samsung Gear etc. have introduced their own smartwatches to club with their smartphones or other compatible devices. As stated by the director of Android Wear, David Singleton, in the next 50 years of time everyone would learn to live a life with wearable technology and all of us would be living like this. The rising demand of smartwatches has immersed with the growing need of consumers. People demand a gadget which can keep them accountable, and fitness monitors are a bonus for most. This leads them to invest in wearable devices like Fitness bands and Smartwatches.

What Does the Current Trend Say

If the facts and figures are to be believed, the smartwatch technology will witness a tremendous growth and will amount to 70% of the total wearable technology shipments by 2019. As per another data published by International Data Corporation (IDC), the shipment of wearable devices has seen a whopping increase of 67.2% since 2015, which is quite a big number.

Another study made by Garner Inc. points on the same lines and it says that smartwatches sales is on a rising trend currently. As per the same forecast, the total sales of wearable electronic devices would be about 274.6 million units globally by the end of 2016, which clearly indicates 18.4% increase in sales compared to 2015 when 232 million units were sold globally. As far as the revenue generation is concerned, wearable electronics will generate $28.7 billion in the year 2016 in which $11.5 billion would be fetched only by smartwatch business.

With big players like Apple and Samsung investing resources in research and development of hi-tech devices, the user base would increase by 48% in 2017 as compared to 2015, a big move indeed. The increased sales of smartphones would also indirectly boost the sales of smartwatches as both are connected!

Currently smartwatches segment is explored by only a small section of the society as it comes under premium gadget category. Soon, it will penetrate strongly in the urban market as the rates are competitive as many big and small companies are bringing in this gadget to Indian market. Chinese players are also doing their best by introducing feature packed smartwatches in affordable range and forming a habit of using it in Indian market.

Why Smartwatches?

Smartwatches are quiet useful because of their versatile features. They have different apps that can be very useful while working outdoors, travelling, workouts etc. Some carry a camera which stays on the strap of the watch to take pictures with ease. Smartwatches are now available for Android, Windows and iOS platforms, which are the most popular operating systems for smartphones.

Without having to pull out their phone often, users can answer calls, send messages, store pictures and navigate. The trend suggests that smartwatches will be the future as it is the only way when things can go really online and automation can be rooted to its best.

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Top Smartwatch Brands in 2016

There are a lot many smartwatch makers now, as mentioned above. The market still remains to be dominated by a few key players, here are the top 4 of them

Apple Watch

This smartwatch is offered by technology leader Apple. Its design has set a trend in the fashion industry. With the best quality and design, it is available in both 38 mm and 42 mm. It has intelligent interface and has battery capacity of one day. Apple Smartwatch has a compact design and is equipped with all the latest features.

Samsung Gear S2

Samsung smartwatch is leading the industry with its Rotating Bexel, Tizen Operating System, Amoled screen and stylish design. The screen of Samsung smartwatch has Amoled display and is sharp, vivacious and circular. It has a storage capacity of 4GB and has dual core 1.0Ghz processor. Its IP rating is IP68 and has Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.

Moto 360

Moto smartwatch has attractive design and it offers great performance. It has a modular feature and comes with different size options which makes it is very comfortable to wear. The storage capacity of this smartwatch is 4 GB and has Quad core 1.2GHz processor. Its battery can last for 1.5- 2 days and is compatible with Android and iOS.

Pebble Time

This smartwatch has excellent features and battery life. It can keep charged for up to 10 days. It also carries intuitive interface and color Ink display. The design of this smartwatch is sleek and is supported by more than 6000 apps. It has water-resistant feature and is comfortable to wear. This smartwatch is available in multiple color variants, Black, Grey, orange, White and Red. It shows notifications for calls, messages and emails. It can work with different types of fitness apps and also has e-Paper display which allows user to read comfortably in sunlight.

Makes Smart TV Push in Joint Venture With TCL

Tencent Holdings, China’s largest social media and gaming company, agreed on Wednesday to feature its video content on the smart TVs of China’s biggest television maker TCL to expand its content dominance from mobile phones to living rooms.

Under an agreement announced on Wednesday that followed Tencent’s capital injection into a TCL unit, Tencent will pre-load its entertainment content onto TCL’s Internet-connected, or smart TVs, which feature voice control and customised search recommendations.

On Monday, Tencent agreed to invest CNY 450 million ($66.18 million or roughly Rs. 428 crores) in TCL subsidiary Shenzhen Thunderbird Network Technology, making Tencent the second-largest shareholder with a 16.67 percent stake in the subsidiary behind TCL’s FFALCON brand Internet TVs.

This is Tencent’s second investment in smart TVs in a month. On June 6, it invested CNY 300 million for a 7.71 per cent stake in Coocaa, a smart TV subsidiary of TCL competitor Skyworth Digital Holdings.

TCL shipped 20 million LCD TV sets in 2016, half of them smart TVs. That makes it the world’s third-largest liquid crystal display TV maker behind Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, according to IHS Technology.

Tencent would work with TCL on extending its advantage in delivering online content to delivering so-called over-the-top services, said Zhao Gang, general manager of the living room products department at Tencent Video.

Zhao was referring to content services, such as movies and video, provided by internet companies beyond the media transmitted by traditional telecommunications companies like cable operators. Streaming content provided by Netflix and through Apple’s Apple TV devices are examples of over-the-top services.

Zhao was also emphatic that the TCL investment did not mean Tencent was moving into manufacturing hardware.

“We would never touch hardware production. We want to be a supporter and enabler of our partner,” said Zhao.

Tencent’s Tencent Video unit is China’s largest online video streaming website, according to the company. It has a library of entertainment and live sports content with copyright, and also makes its own productions.

Tencent Video and TCL hope the tie up will increase their membership bases and raise their revenue from user spending on content, said Tony Guo, chief executive of FFALCON Technology.

Energizer Launches Cases, Chargers, Cables, and Other Mobile Accessories in India

Avenir Telecom, a licensee of Energizer brand for smartphones and accessories, on Wednesday at an event in New Delhi announced its foray into the Indian market with the launch of a slew of Energizer accessories. The range of products includes tempered glasses, USB cables, charging solutions, Apple-certified products, and USB hub stations, among others. Energizer products will go on sale in India starting July 17 on both offline and online channels including Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, and Tata Cliq. The French company has partnered Paras Group for distribution, and the latter will be responsible for offline sales through its retail outlets spread across 15 major cities.

The company says the Energizer products launched are targeted at consumers “fed up of duplicate accessories” and are on a lookout of better substitutes. Energizer products come in three categories – classic, hi-tech, and ultimate for the products like mobile cases & covers, USB chargers, travel adapters, multi-plug chargers, car kits, and USB connectors with 1.2-metre long cables. Besides, the company also provides accessories for corporate uses such as the multi-connector power station that can charge up to six devices at a time.

As we said, the entire product range will be available for purchase on both offline and online platforms with international warranty up to two years. However, the pricing of the individual products has not been disclosed by the company with just a price segment of Rs. 399 to Rs. 2,999.

In addition, Energizer shockproof and waterproof mobile cases, which will protect iPhone high-end Samsung Galaxy models from accidental fall, dust, and water, with their IP68 rating. The company claims that the waterproof case can allow the smartphone usage underwater up to one hour and to a maximum depth of 30 metres, whereas the shockproof case will provide protection to your smartphone against accidental fall up to three metres. The company told Gadgets 360 that it will launch similar mobile cases for other smartphones including the mid-range and low-range ones in future.

The company said it is also working on stretchable USB cables and lifetime cables under the Energizer brand that will come with 5 years of international warranty, which will be a first in the battery solutions market across the globe, the company claims. Talking about the Energizer’s charging connector cables, the company is also touting a ‘power sharing cable’ that can charge any phone (both iPhone and Android) from another OTG-supported phone. The company also revealed that it will launch a Bluetooth-controlled surge protector in the second phase in India.

Speaking at the launch, Business Development Director, South Asia & South East Asia at Avenir Telecom, Manish Prasad commented “For years, Energizer has brought consumer focused products that power the essential devices which help people stay connected throughout the time providing a complete solution to fulfil daily lifestyle needs.” He further added, “Energizer is going to continue the same legacy in India providing their customers with superior quality products, eventually increasing penetration rate in Indian market for the technology sector.”