Category Archives: mobile

It’s Time for Dual-Band Bluetooth Please!



170px-Bluetooth.svg[1]So this first week with my Google Glass has come with a lot of fun tasks like getting out and capturing the city through this new device. Yet, it also brought some annoyances – mainly the pairing of Glass to a mobile device. Whenever I got in my car, my Jabra hands-free unit kicked the Glass out and Glass never re-paired with it unless I manually re-paired.

Its not just Google Glass. I have a ZAGG folio on my iPad. I also have a Bluetooth headphones which I cannot use at the same time. I would like to use both – listen to music or podcasts and create an article or two. Instead, I pair the headset to my phone and the keyboard to my iPad.

As we continue down the mobile plug-free road, we’re going to be faced with the same problem as HDMI ports on a LCD TV have – too many devices fighting for limited connectors. Worst yet, we don’t want another device controlling our mobile Bluetooth connections in our pockets.

One way to solve would be to create a dual-band Bluetooth standard. This would be where the Bluetooth could pair 2 devices at the same time. Then you can have your headset and your keyboard work simultaneously.

Another option is a pass-through device. For example: device 1 could be a headset and device 2 (the passthrough) could be a keyboard. You would pair device 2 with device 1, then pair device 1 with the mobile. A little more complex and only effective if you have the passthrough device around.

Currently, Bluetooth version 4.0 has a data rate of 24 Mbit/s. A keyboard might not need that high of a data rate, whereas something like Google Glass might when pushing video. That is where data packeting can shine – giving 2 devices the ability to stay paired and the mobile device not overworked.

Of course, we also have to look at power consumption. Bluetooth low energy (BLE) protocol allows for Bluetooth to be in a nocturnal state. The device would have to also work dual-band so if device 1 is on and 2 is not, it can put half the device to sleep.

At any rate, these connection problems are only going to get worse as we rely on our mobile devices to become our primary computers. Current Bluetooth standards cannot meet that demand. With the growth of mobile devices starting to outpace computers (Gartner predicts 467,000 tablets sold vs. 271,000 PC’s in 2017), the list of companies wanting to connect to that device will grow. Soon enough, we may even need 4-band (or more) Bluetooth devices.


Rovio officially announces Angry Birds Star Wars II, makes you wait for it



Last week Rovio teased something big coming today and hinted it had to do with Angry Birds Star Wars. Most folks expected a release of new levels or, perhaps, even a new game. The latter turns out to be true, but there are complications — well, one. The Finnish game make only announced Star Wars II today.

“Today we’re extremely excited to announce the arrival of Angry Birds Star Wars II, launching on September 19 across app stores worldwide” reads the official post from Rovio.

For those who were less-than-happy with the Star Wars prequels, I am afraid this may be bad news — “the new game will tackle the prequels, introducing a wide roster of never-before-seen Angry Birds Star Wars characters”. The game will bring more than 30 new characters.

angry birds star wars ii

To add to the anticipated hype surrounding these new figures, there will also be a line of over 30 collectable TELEPODS figures from Hasbro. Placing these figures onto your phone or tablet camera will scan your character of choice directly into the game, allowing you to select new characters on the fly.

It is certainly an interesting concept — and an obvious marketing grab, but Rovio seems incapable of doing anything wrong these days and the figures will likely sell almost as quickly as the game gets downloaded.


Rovio unveils new Angry Birds levels



angry birds

Duck Mr. Piggy, there is a bird heading your way! Rovio pushes the envelope a bit further with its massive gaming franchise, rolling out new levels to its record-breaking original Angry Birds game.

The Red Bird gets his very own episode featuring new “Egg Defender” gameplay, combining Angry Birds and Bad Piggies in a frenzy of bird flinging and crazy pig contraptions. The update features 15 new levels of play in which Red defends the eggs against wave after wave of Bad Piggies advancing in their 72 crazy contraptions. In other words, this time you are fighting pigs that are moving.

To pull this off, Rovio has given the bird new powers to aid in your fight. According to the announcement, the “new powers from the Mighty Eagle himself, so he can attack with speed and pinpoint accuracy! Watch the trailer to see what’s happening to the eggs and how you can defend yourself against the pesky pigs”.

Rovio announces that “to celebrate Red Bird’s own episode, we’re also giving a 15% discount on Red Bird products in the Angry Birds Online Shop! Offer is valid until July 10, 2013”. The update is for both Android and iOS.


Welcome to the Wearable Device Revolution



With Google Glass rolling out to a select few, copycats making a glass alternative and the rumors of an iWatch coming from Apple, it’s safe to say we are now entering into the wearable device era. This is where we get rid of the bulky desktop, laptop and even iPads and have information coming to different parts of our bodies.

Google Glass

Google Glass expands our Eyes

I am slated to get my Glass in the next couple weeks. For those who have Glass, they experience a new way to take photos, get navigation and try some of the new apps coming out for this wearable devices. In hearing all the stories of Glass, I have not heard anyone say much bad stuff about the headgear – as in wishing they never bought glass. There have been concerns about the battery being close to the head and the fact it was grossly underpowered for the $1,500 price tag.

When Glass becomes a consumer product, that $1,500 price tag will most likely drop to 1/3 that. The design looks pretty bulky right now – expect it to be more streamlined in the consumer model.

Of course, this will make our way to actual glasses with the device attached. Maybe even a contact that will use kinetic power to run.

ruputer

iWatch Expands our Wrists

The rumors of Apple coming out with a bluetooth connect watch to let us glance at our wrists without pulling out the phone for text messages, phone numbers and more (like when your Clash of Clan’s canon has been upgraded or the shield is running out). The watch will probably work like a nano – with music storage and limited apps.

Its not the first watch – related technology out there. Back in the 90’s, the Ruputer was one of the first computer watches out there that could connect to a computer. More recent, items like the pebble watch have been out for a while. Companies like Sony, Fitbit and more are using your wrists to monitor your health – which will most likely be incorporated in the iWatch.

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What is Next in Wearable technology?

I remember listening to Dr. Michio Kaku a couple years back in what he expects to see in the next 50 years. Intelligent toilets and pills that can explore the body and send the details back to a doctor are some of the things he mentioned. But what else could we see?

Maybe a T-shirt that warms you up when cold or cools you down when hot? Last week we learned about the science of a 3D printed cast they are developing – being lighter and better in the healing process because air and water can get to the arm or leg with the web-like structure. What if sensors were put in that cast so your device can monitor not only if the cast breaks but if blood flow gets obstructed during the healing process? It could then transmit to your doctor the second it detected a problem.

Remember Marty Mcfly’s shoes from Back to the Future? Those are really around the corner – and we’ve already connected shoes to a mobile device. A pacemaker has wireless connectivity to collect data and report problems.

What other items can we come up with in the next 50 years as the Wearable device revolution gets into full swing? Comment below!


First Firefox OS smartphones hitting the market



firefox phoneFor a year now we have known that Mozilla was developing its own mobile operating system. There has even been a preview version you could run with the Firefox web browser and developer handsets available, though these sold out very quickly.

Now the launch is at hand, as the first handset will be going on sale through Telefonica in Spain. “Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands, today announced that the regional launches of Firefox OS smartphones will begin soon. Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica will release the first Firefox OS devices, the ALCATEL ONE TOUCH Fire and the ZTE Open, soon. Individual partners will announce specifics about launches in each market soon” says Mozilla.

Mozilla boasts that Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies. The handsets will have the basic — calls, messaging, email, camera. There are also things you wish a smartphone offered. Firefox OS also includes built-in social features with Facebook and Twitter, HERE Maps with offline capabilities and smart walking, driving and public transit directions, much-loved features like the Firefox Web browser, a new ability to discover one-time use and downloadable apps, Firefox Marketplace and much more.

Other markets will be coming soon, as Mozilla boasts of more than 20 hardware and operator partners around the world, the organization hopes to fill a niche market with low-priced smartphones.


Sonic fans rejoice — Sega drops the price



Mobile game fans have reason to be happy today, as nostalgic game maker Sega has good news for all of its Sonic the Hedgehog fans. The game has been around a number of years, having begun life on the console market. Now it has found a new home as a mobile game and new generations have discovered it, while Sega continue to update and add new episodes.

Now the game maker has announced a sale on all version, including the latest ones, through the Google Play store. Prices have been dropped to $0.99 for a limited time.

sonic

Games Included:

No word on exactly how long this deal will last, but if you are a fan of the game, or would like to try it out for the first time, then now is the time to strike.


Rovio rolls out Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage game for iOS



Vikings have suddenly become big business for the first time in several hundred years, thanks to the TV series that just completed its season one run with high ratings and critical acclaim. Now Rovio, famous for the Angry Birds franchise, capitalizes on the the popularity with its latest game.

Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage is launching on iOS devices. The game comes from UK-based studio Nitrome, and is the first game published under the brand new Rovio Stars initiative, which will bring you new games.

“In Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage an icy wind has swept away a band of vikings to leave them stranded in a perilous landscape of trolls, traps and a lot of ice. Your mission as a lone icebreaker apprentice is to save your fellow vikings by cutting through tangles of ice, ropes, traps, troll snot and yes, even chickens! Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage offers 95 levels crammed full of puzzles, side quests, epic final bosses and offbeat humour”

For now, the posted download link does not yet display the game, but it should be rolling out today and can be found in the iTunes Store, though there is no mention of pricing in the announcement.


Fake Bad Piggies Malware Hits Google Play, Android Phones



Bad-PiggiesIf you are a fan of the Angry Birds series, then you know about Bad Piggies – a sequel to the popular bird game. Security company F-Secure detected there was a faux app in the Play store that looked and felt like the Bad Piggies by Rovio. However, this app had a slight alteration to the name (Bad Pigs) and a different developer name.

Since the detection, Google Play has removed this malware version from their store. Unfortunately  10,000 downloads have occurred since May 25, 2013. The app asks the user for permission to do more than just push notification and simple data collection.

If any app asks for more information – including full access to your location and personal information, you should remove the app and report it. Usually trojanized apps are popular games, since they see more downloads.

Bad Piggies is a free app that sees between 10,000 – 50,000 app downloads on Google Play. It is available on Android and iOS apps, along with Mac and PC.

If you are one of the duped app users, simply delete the app through Android App Manager.


Google goes its own Waze



waze logoAfter much rumor and speculation Google seems to have won the bidding war with Facebook (if there really was one) and pulled the trigger on a purchase of beloved mapping program Waze.

If you have never used Waze then you are missing out. The service takes what Google Maps already offers and adds a bit of social to it. There is real-time traffic data, users alerts on other problems (including speed traps) and much more.”To help you outsmart traffic, today we’re excited to announce we’ve closed the acquisition of Waze. This fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers is working together to find the best routes from home to work, every day”, announces Google.

The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now, but Google plans to slowly integrate the service into its Google Maps.

Perhaps the result will be the most comprehensive service yet. It certainly has all of the markings of such. The power and money of Google could take this a long way.


Do you own a cell phone?



Okay, perhaps that is the wrong question to ask to a crowd of tech enthusiasts, as likely you all own a smartphone and the only division lies between iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. However a new repot from Pew Research finds that those non-techies we all know also have a mobile phone of some type — my parents have one, though perhaps they should actually charge it and carry with them when they go out!

report just released announces that 91 percent of people now own a cell phone of some sort. “Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has found that cell phone ownership among adults has exceeded 90%”. The research begins with a November 2004 study that showed 65 percent adoption.

pew cell phone adoption

The results come from a survey conducted between April 17 and May 19 of 2,252 adults. The new report also tells us that the cell phone is the most rapidly adopted technology of all time.

Exceptions include “people ages 65 and older; those who did not attend college; those living in households earning less than $30,000; and those in rural areas. In this survey, it is even the case that women are statistically significantly less likely to own cell phones than men—though this pattern has not been evident in all of our previous surveys”.

The research company proceeded to break it down to 93 percent of men and 88 percent of women, with further demographics by age group.

With computer sales down and the rise of smartphones and tablets, it is really no surprise that this number continues to rise. However, smartphones and tablets are more of a disposable device, where computers can be easily upgraded. THis perhaps makes the numbers a bit skewed.