Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best and worst of mobile technology in 2013

As 2013 is coming to an end, I’d like to talk about what I thought was the best and worst things about mobile technology that happened this past year.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Apple buys Catch Notes: Where good apps go to die

 Catch, one of the best note taking apps on Android and iOS issued warning a few months ago that they would be shutting down their service on 30 August 2013.  There was no mention why they shut down the service.  There were only notices from Catch telling users to export their data before it would be deleted and no longer accessible.  Well, now 3 months later its clear what happened.  Apple bought out Catch and forced them to close up shop.

I  guess this is what most good mobile applications hope for really.  Have a great idea, make it popular in iTunes and Google play, then hope someone buys you out.  It's happened to Vine (bought by Twitter), Instagram (bought by FaceBook), Waze (bought by Google) and many others.  It's both good and bad since an app that I used almost daily is now gone but they got their payday and hopefully Apple does something useful with the product. 

There's no telling if Apple bought Catch because it was becoming a competitor to Evernote or if it was purchased to enhance their own notes app, only time will tell.

 Source: 9to5Mac

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Free 20GB of SkyDrive for Windows Phone users

If you're a Windows Phone user, you should have received an email saying that you can get 20GB of free SkyDrive storage for 1 year.  All you have to do is click the green link in the email before 31 January 2014 and you'll be able to redeem the free 20GB for 1 year offer.

Microsoft is doing the most to gain customers and keep them happy.  Previously, if purchased a Surface device you got 200GB of SkyDrive storage with your purchase.

Microsoft already had the most free could storage out of the 3 biggest mobile platforms (Android - 15GB spread across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ photos, iOS - 5GB of iCloud, and Windows Phone - 7GB Skydrive for new users 25GB for long time users) but now there is even more of it.

If you were a long time Microsoft Hotmail, MSN, or Live user, and you purchased a Windows Phone, and a Surface device you should now have 245GB (25GB+20GB+200GB) of SkyDrive storage.

Getting this much storage from any cloud storage provider would cost users over $200/year.

Thanks Microsoft

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

[Updated] Acer C720P unboxing and first impressions

I purchased an Acer C720P so I could do a Chromebook review since I’ve never had one and loved the idea of a cheap laptop replacement.  Here is the unboxing video and first impressions of the device.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is coming to Windows Phone

In the last month or so, Windows Phone (WP8) has added a few notable apps that the other two major mobile OS's (Android and iOS) have had for a while now.  Instagram and Vine have both released apps on Windows Phone in the last two weeks that may or not sway users away from the numerous 3rd party apps (6tag, 6sec, and 6snap) that WP8 owners have been using for a while.  Honestly the 6tag/6sec apps are better featured than the real apps and I believe users will keeps using those until first party developers shut off the APIs and force users to switch.

Now for the announcement that shows that Windows Phone is growing and becoming a bigger player in the mobile world.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Quick pics with the Nokia 925

I just wanted to post a few quick pics with my Nokia Lumia 925 to show how great the camera was.  I have to say that I didn't expect to be this impressed.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear event

I happened to be in the Yongsan subway station today and stumbled onto a Samsung event showcasing the Note 3 and Gear watch.  I wish I was able to take more pics but I left the house with only 40% battery on my Nokia 925 and by the time I got back (6 hours later) and saw that they opened the gates, the phone was dead.

Anyway, here are my impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear watch.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2

Microsoft held their Surface announcement today and here are some of the key points to take away from the event.

Introducing the Surface 2 series

Take a virtual tour of Microsoft’s new Surface 2 family, heading to retail stores Oct. 22.
Introducing Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 and new accessories
September 23, 2013
Take a virtual tour of Microsoft’s new Surface 2 family, heading to retail stores Oct. 22.
Image: Web | Print

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Xbox Music hits the web

Microsoft has recently announced that their music streaming service called Xbox Music has hit the web and is available on all mobile platforms to include Android and iOS. I will review the music.xbox.com online streaming service that is available through the web in this blog post.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Battery life: The tale of two phones

My Korea farewell gave me an opportunity to compare my Samsung Galaxy S3, running Android 4.1.2  that I’ve been using for the last year and my new Nokia Lumia 925 running Windows Phone 8 with the Amber GDR2 update.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Apple announced the iPhone 5S & 5C

Today, Apple held their yearly event to announce the latest iPhone devices where they announced the 5S and 5C.

iPhone 5S

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tabamp Tablet speak amplifiers

Here is a video of the Tabamp.com speaker amplifiers for the iPad.  I modified them so they would fit better on my Microsoft Surface RT.

Amazon Basics Bluetooth Keyboard

Here is a video review of the Amazon Basics Bluetooth Keyboard for iOS and OSX.

Logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard Cover for iPad Mini

Here's a video review of the Logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard Cover for iPad Mini.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Are cross-platform apps important to you?

A while back I wrote a post detailing which tablet is the right one to buy.  6 months and the influx of Windows Tablets hasn't changed my view of what tablet is right for every consumer.  The choice comes down to #1 what OS have you spent the most money in?  And #2 what size tablet you need for your forecasted use.

If you've already spent money in on particular OS platform, are cross-platform apps important for you at all?  I think consumers should purchase all media in cross-platform apps rather than OS specific apps like iTunes, Windows Store, Google Play, or Amazon.

When I say cross-platform media apps, I mean apps like Zinio, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and Slacker.  You can get the same magazines, books, video, and music that you can from each of the three major mobile OS (iOS, Android, and Windows 8) specific apps, but should you purchase from cross-platform apps or not?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Microsoft is on the offensive [Updated]

A while back Microsoft and Nokia finally released a decent commercial featuring the Lumia 920.  The commercial implies that the 920 is a better phone and that Apple and Android users like to fight and argue about who's phone is better just to argue.  You can check it out here.

Now Microsoft has taken and direct shot at the iPad.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Microsoft has seriously stepped up its game

For about two years now Microsoft has been a player in the mobile phone market.  Not a big player, not even a serious competitor to Android or Apple but a decent 3rd option that has recently surpassed BlackBerry in the cell phone market.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What will be your next wearable tech device?

Wearable tech is the next space that companies want to venture into.  Nike released the Fuel band a while ago and since then many other companies have come out with their own devices that track your movement so that it can record your calories, steps, and activity.  Three major competitors in the wearable tech realm are Fitbit, which has 3 devices, the Jawbone UP, and the Pebble watch which has more functionality that the other three mentioned devices. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

[Update] Manufactures are trying to replicate what the Surface has already done

I've had my Microsoft Surface RT for about 4 months now and I have so say that it's my "go to" tablet these days.  It doesn't have as many games as the iPad or Nexus 7 or as polished of an OS but it does have something both of those devices don't.....a full internet experience.  Because of the fact that I can get to any website and get the full desktop experience, I have taken my Surface to work with me almost daily.  As most people know, the Surface comes with two keyboard options. the Touch and Type keyboards.  I purchased my Surface with the touch and ended up buying the Type soon after.   I prefer the Type if I anticipate I will have a lot of notes to take.  But if I know I will just be watching basketball or browsing random websites, I'll take the touch keyboard.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm finally a paid blogger

Two years and 86 blogs posts later, I can finally say that I've been paid to blog.  It's been almost two years since I posted my Dell Streak 7 video and review which I still get youtube comments to this day telling me how much I stutter and say "Uhm" but I can say that it's been a joy since day one.

Don't get confused because I haven't been paid by a media outlet to write for a well known website but I have done it all with my little MobileChaos.net website and a few random posts on SimpleMobileReview.com.  

I know some of my posts may have spelling and grammar errors but it's because I write all of my posts within the blogger website and I just write what I feel and post it.  Then if I have the time available, I will go back and re-read the posts and fix my errors.  I would love an environment where I have a deadline to write a post and I can submit it to an editor for review before posting.  Sadly, it's just me with the help of a few friends trying to tell the world what all the marketing and media hoopla really means when yet another company claims to have the "Latest and Greatest" device ever developed. 

A thank you goes out to everyone who has taken the time to read any post on Mobile Chaos.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Samsung Galaxy IV (S4) has been announced

I'm watching the Samsung Galaxy IV (SGS4) launch event and I wanted to let my readers know what I think about about the new "it" phone.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My thoughts on Apple and Microsoft's future

I was thinking about the future of both Apple and Microsoft and wanted to put my thoughts in writing so I can revisit them in a year and see if I'm right.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Surface RT on the go

Today I decided to travel a bit with my Surface RT to see how useful it can be on the go doing stuff that I personally think the Surface RT is meant for.

My love for Android never wains

As some readers may know I have an affinity for technology.  I've owned more tablets than I can count on two hands and I have used almost every mobile Operating System (OS) available.  Most recently I have been using a Microsoft Surface RT and I have to say I do like it as a mobile content creation device.  I'm using it now with the Type Cover to write this post while watching the NBA Rising Stars game.  I can't say that I like it as a tablet for content consumption (video, news, apps) though.  Sure, it works and can get the job done as a tablet but the app support simply isn't there to make this a great tablet yet.  I can tell you that I haven't picked up my MacBook Air (MBA) since started using the RT but that isn't because the RT does anything better than the MBA.  I am simply forcing myself to use the RT in situations where I would have normally used the MBA so I can learn how to fit this device into my life.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro Sells Out: Two sides of the same argument

The Microsoft Surface Pro was release February 9th and the 128GB version sold out almost instantly.  Microsoft confirmed that the 128GB version is out of stock at Microsoft (both popup stores and online), BestBuy, and Staples but 64GB versions are still available along with all of the accessories that are available for the Surface.  I wouldn't suggest buying the 64GB version unless you purchase a 64GB MicroSDXC card and use cloud services like DropBox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, and Box to store most of your files.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blackberry 10 launch

I'm watching the live blog for BlackBerry 10 and here are a few notes that I've noticed so far:

RIM is no longer.  The company is now called BlackBerry which is what everyone knew them as anyway.

The phones look great.  They seem to have the core features down and notifications look great.  Swipe from the left to right and you get into the BlackBerry Hub and can actually react to the content in there.  You can accept meeting requests, reply to emails, tweets, Facebook requests, you can do it all from the Hub.  This is something that neither iOS or Android can do.

I'm still questioning when Thorston Hines is going to get into apps.  Apps is what runs the mobile market right now.  It's the main reason why iOS is still #1 and why Windows Phone is still lagging behind.  I need these guys to get past core, email, calendar, Facebook, Twitter, camera apps.  I really need apps.  Even if its not something really current like Vine, I would still like to see Instagram or something that's been "hot" in the last 6 months or so.

I'm not impressed by BBM video or screen share.  If it's proprietary which I'm sure it is, no one will use it.  People don't care about apps you can only use with 1 or 2 other people you know who still use a BlackBerry because its cheap or because their work makes them carry one.  Show me a video app that uses Skype, Google Talk or some cross platform app like Whatsapp.

Ok, so they announce that Skype and Whatsapp are going to be on BB10.  That's good to hear.  But if they don't integrate BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) with those popular social and cross platform apps, it doesn't mean anything.  If I can't Skype with a contact through BBM, it's a waste.  Why run two apps when they can be integrated into one?  Even if BBM video doesn't work directly with Skype, at least allow me to click on a person's name and launch Skype from within the BBM app.  Please don't make me leave BBM then launch Skype just to talk to a contact. 

I'm waiting to hear them announce Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, Amazon MP3 and Prime Video.   These are the streaming media apps they need.

If they plan on making an impact here in Asia, they will also need Kakao Talk, quick, fast and in a hurry.  Without Kakao, they will die here in Korea and most of Asia.

I also haven't heard them say anything about Google.  Google and Facebook run the internet in case you haven't noticed.  I haven't heard them mention navigation.  Without Google Maps or Navigation they might be dead in the water for that market.  Just look at Apple and all the drama they've had with their bad iOS Maps.  They should have mentioned getting to Google navigation strait from a contact or even a BBM contact or conversation. 

So it will be available in Canada in early February and in the US in March.  Not bad but I'm sure people wanted to hear that it would be available globally in a week or so.   

Now they have Alicia Keys as a global spokesperson.  Not a bad choice because it's a top 5 person in the Media/Social world right now.  They better put Alicia Keys into every single commercial they make.  Alicia Keys can help this brand a lot.  But if they don't capitalize on her fame, it will be yet another fail.  Oh and Alicia came out with some weird hairdo that looks like she's rocking a 80's box.  Not a good look ma.  And Alicia, stop reading strait from the cue cards please.

Well the announcement is over.  My thoughts are that I am 75% impressed and intrigued.  Do I think BlackBerry has a chance?  Yes.  They have about the same chance that Windows did when they released Win7.  Windows still haven't proven they are in it for the long haul with Windows 8 but they are hanging in there as a viable 3rd contender.  BlackBerry will play hell trying to get back the millions of users they lost because they refused to change while riding their high back in the 2007-2008 time frame.  I can say that BlackBerry 10 phones look great and have a lot of core apps that will keep them relevant for a while.  But the key to their success will be getting the new "hot" apps to develop for BB10 soon after releasing iOS and Android apps.  Getting apps like Instagram 9 months after iOS and Android get it will not get the job done.  Honestly I don't see how BlackBerry will be able to attract these developers.  Android already has problems getting apps 30-60 days after iOS users do but they can still manage because their user base is so big.  Blackberry will not have a chance when consumers enter retail stores and already have their sights set on the latest iPhone or Galaxy device and the sales person tells them that most popular apps aren't available on BB10 and how they can wait a few months and see.  BlackBerry will have to bring buckets of cash to the table to entice develops to bring BB10 apps to the table shortly after they release iOS and Android counterparts.

Endstate:  I give RIM BlackBerry about a 60% chance of success.  And by success, I mean getting 5% of the consumer market.  Alicia Keys and buzz around new, cool looking devices will get them most of the way there.  But without app support, it will be one of those "Good but not good enough" type of scenarios.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Analyze your Facebook data with Wolfram Alpha

Use Wolfram Alpha to analyze your Facebook data and learn a lot about yourself and your friends. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Your free apps might still cost you real money in the end

I found an interesting article today that details trends that I've been noticing with mobile apps lately.  If you own an iOS device go to your newstand and then click store.  This will take you to the magazine part of the App Store where it looks like there are a lot of free magazines to be had.  After you install one of the magazines it will show up in your newstand app and look like you have a free magazine.  Sadly, once you click on the magazine, it opens up and you realize that you don't have a magazine but rather you the ability buy magazines. 

This trend of giving you something that looks like it's free only to charge you for more content later is becoming the standard for mobile apps regardless if they are content consumptions apps, productivity apps or even games.  Since most people tend to install games on their devices to satisfy their "waiting room boredom" I'll explain how these apps generate money from their free game.  Most "free" games will only allow you to get so far in the game before it becomes impossibly hard to continue without purchasing "help."  Help comes from an in-app purchase that will give you the ability to get past that annoying level that you failed 20 times already by giving you free "re-do" or supercharge you player somehow.  .  If it's a level based game like Angry Birds, you will see that you can only access a few levels before you have to make an in-app purchase to get the rest of the levels.  If the game doesn't require in-app purchased help to do well in the game it probably will have annoying ads that can't be avoided.  Usually the ads are disguised to look like real buttons you should be pressing or just so big that you inadvertently press them during game play.  The game developer purposely made the apps this way to generate ad clicks which put money in their pocket.  Granted, your ad click only gets the developer a few tenths of a penny but when the app is installed on hundreds of thousands of devices, those clicks can add up quickly.  Also if you do purchase in-app content its usually priced at $0.99 to $2.99 which may be a little bit of money but when it's a game like Angry Birds and it's installed on millions of devices, getting a small fraction of people to buy content adds up quick.

So if you have your paypal or credit card linked to your account and allow your kids to play games on your phone or tablet, watch out because they may purchase lots of content trying to beat the game and you'll be shocked when you get the bill for a "free" game.

Source:  BGR