Tag Archives: Smartphones

Getting Enough Snooze?



It’s hard to get enough sleep in today’s busy world. You get home from work, cook dinner, help with homework, get the children to bed, tidy up, put the laundry on, do some ironing and it’s midnight before you know it. Where did the evening go?

And if that’s not bad enough, some people are making it worse by taking their mobile phones into the bedroom, as revealed by a UK survey of 2,000 people from OnePoll. The survey found that:

  • 86% of millennials reported sleeplessness from staying up too late on their phones.
  • A quarter of 35-44 year-olds experience problems followed by 17% of 45-54 year-olds and 9% of the over-55s.
  • The bedroom (38%) is second only to the living room (47%) as the most common place for adults to be using their phones
  • Londoners (51%) are the most likely to be on their phones in bed, followed by the Welsh (43%) and those in the North East (42%)

At an obvious level, smartphones represent a distraction from the business of getting to sleep but there’s more to it than just too much Facebook. Studies suggest that the blue light produced by the displays of digital devices mimics daylight, and this reduces the body’s production of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes you sleepy.

Lisa Artis, head of The Sleep Council said: “While these results are not surprising, it is eye-opening to read that taking a phone to bed is causing sleepless nights for so many. We know that blue light inhibits sleep because the short wavelength stimulates sensors in the eyes to send signals to your brain’s internal clock, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. Blue light is beneficial in daylight hours as it boosts mood, reaction times and concentration but in the evening, the recommendation is to avoid screen time for an hour before bedtime to help increase melatonin levels.

The Sleep Council has some really good resources for getting a good night’s sleep – check out their “Seven Steps” in particular. I really need to get my bedroom tidied into a peaceful sanctuary.

If you can’t put the phone down, smartphone makers like OnePlus (who commissioned the survey) are increasingly offering both hardware and software tools to reduce the problem. The new E3 display panel on the OnePlus 7T cuts blue light by 42% and “Dark Mode” ensures low-light conditions are easier on the eyes. And if you really need to take a break from the phone, there’s “Zen Mode” which disables access to the phone. You can even set a prompt to start Zen Mode at, say 11pm for an hour, to ensure you’re not distracted when heading off to bed.

I’m feeling a little smug….even though I have a OnePlus 6T, I leave my phone downstairs when I go upstairs to bed. Still don’t get enough sleep, mind you…

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash.


Sennheiser Announces Urbanite Range and Momentum In-Ears



Sennheiser has been busy over the past few days announcing two new products, Urbanite headphones and Momentum In-Ear earbuds, both of which look outstanding.

Sennheiser Urbanite HeadphonesThe new Urbanite headphones are aimed at the fashion-conscious Gen Ys, with a high quality product that emphasises bass.

“Sennheiser Urbanite headphones are for the generation of Millennials who know more and demand more. They love their tunes heavy and love to look good, but are smart consumers who won’t compromise on quality. They want bass but want it done right,” says Tim Voelker, Director of Sales and Marketing. Ok, so Sennheiser are taking the fight to Beats. Good luck.

The Urbanite range has two models, the standard on-ear and an over-ear, the Urbanite XL, with larger earpads. There’s a wide choice of colours, including denim, with some colours exclusive to each model. To control music on the go, the Urbanites have an in-line remote with microphone, and there are versions for both Apple iOS and Android devices.

Priced at GB£149.99 and GB£199.99 for the standard and XL respectively, the Urbanite headphones are available now.

The Momentum In-Ear buds extend the Momentum range from over-the-ear, through on-the-ear to into the ear and if they’re anything like the Momentum On-Ears that I tested earlier in the year, they should be both amazingly well designed and sound fantastic.

Momentum In-Ears

Available in black and red and made in stainless steel with chrome detailing, the In-Ears use proprietary Sennheiser transducer technology which “carefully replicates the sound signature that characterises the Momentum range: a powerful bass response, detailed vocal projection and a great sound stage.”

The Momentum In-Ears have a three button in-line remote with integrated for both controlling the music and taking phone calls. The earphones will come in two versions, one for Apple iOS devices and one primarily for Android devices, though it should work with Windows too.

The Momentum In-Ears will be available in time for Christmas for €99 and US$99.95.


Atari 2600, Colecovision Comes to the Internet Archive



xenophobeThe Internet Archive is a database of websites, media and more to try and preserve the past. The archive houses a lot of content you might not be able to find otherwise. Now you can add arcade games to the list as the Internet Archive is bringing console gaming to your computer.

The archive has added 70’s and 80’s video games from Atari, Colecovision, and Magnavox Odyssey. It’s part of Archive.org’s Console Living Room. The games currently don’t have sound, but Archivist Jason Scott stated that will be added shortly.

Don’t throw away your MAME console just yet. The archived games are only home-console versions. So Pac Man and Donkey Kong will look and run like your Atari 2600 system version.

Still, there were a lot of games I played a lot in my younger days which never went past those gaming systems. These games on the archive fell into disarray, which puts the game into a grey area – legally. Tablets and smartphones can run these emulated games, which can bring new life into what we played as kids.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just have to find that one game I played on the Coleco as a kid but don’t remember the name…

 


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.


Sony Connects Up At CES



Sony LogoSony‘s CES focus this year is on electronics, content and network services combining to deliver high quality entertainment anytime and anywhere. Supported by a slew of product announcements, new connected devices range from TVs, Blu-ray players and A/V receivers through to tablets, smartphones and PCs and on to camcorders and mobile music players. Sony is combining these with online services for music, video and game delivery, creating a great user experience (as they say). TVs, PCs, smartphones and tablets are key to this experience as the four main devices used for entertainment.

Sony is committed to designing technologies for every aspect of consumer entertainment – in or out of the home, on the go, in the air, at work, at play, or wherever life takes you,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “When these products are combined with Sony Entertainment Network (SEN), which offers innovative services like Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, as well as PlayStation Network, the user experience is truly unmatched and only made possible by a company like Sony.”

The Bravia TV line has been expanded in all three areas; entry level BX, step-up EX and flagship HX. Brightness and contrast levels have been increased and picture quality improved with Sony’s X-Reality and Motionflow video technologies. In particular the latter helps to reduce blur caused by rapid camera movements which is often a problem with LCD screens. Sony is sticking with the Google TV platform with a new network player and Blu-ray player featuring Google TV. Certain Bravia models will link seamlessly to these devices to provide Google TV features directly on the TV.

Sony Xperia ion smartphoneSony’s Vaio range of computers will continue to be updated with more entertainment feature and new designs that fit with consumers’ needs and increasing mobility. At CES, Sony will be demonstrating new technologies and prototypes for a range of technologies including glasses-free 3D.

In the smartphone space, the Xperia brand has done reasonably well, but increasing the smartphone share in North America is now one of Sony’s highest priorities. Sony Ericsson will be subsumed into Sony Mobile Communications and all new phones will carry Sony branding. The latest addition to the Xperia line-up is the Xperia ion, Sony’s first LTE smartphone coming with an HD 720p display and aluminium body. Also new is the Xperia S which comes with 3D image capture.

Sony Bloggie LiveOn the imaging front, no less than 13 new Handycam camcorders are being unveiled. A new image stabilisation system called Balanced Optical Steady Shot has been developed that controls the complete optical path from lens to sensor as a single floating unit. This reduces handshake blur by up to 13 times compared to the previous models. There’s a new camcorder model with a built-in video projector that has improved brightness and enhanced audio. The trusty Bloggie range now has a “Live” model which will live stream HD video over a Wi-Fi connection and there’s an unboxing over at sister channel TPN.tv. Of course, Sony has a bunch of new Cybershot digital still cameras.

Z Series Audio MP3 PlayerFinally, it wouldn’t be CES if Sony didn’t announce a Walkman or two. The new Z series of MP3 players comes with an application interface and connectivity to both Sony’s Music Unlimited and the Android Market. Content can be played from Z series devices either wirelessly using DLNA or via HDMI to Bravia TVs. To further improve the audio experience, no less than eleven new Balanced Armature earbud-style headphones are now available as well.

That’s it – a quick overview of the products on show at CES by Sony and they all look like fun.


Laptop, Netbook, Smart Phone, Tablet – An Interactive Graphic



A new interactive infographic posted today gives a quick overview of the features of four different devices – a laptop, netbook, smartphone, and tablet.  If you are shopping for one of these devices this holiday season, and wondering which you should get, then the infographic linked below will give you a good starting point.  To get a general overview of what features are included with each type of device you can just hover your mouse over a device and the features it includes will be highlighted.  Hover over a feature and see which device it requires.

The infographic was posted by Chris Byrd, Corp Comm Social Media Team to the Dell blog.  Dell, of course, has a horse in this race – they make devices in all four categories.  However the graphic isn’t brand specific, but just gives an overview of features.  This by no means will tell you exactly what to buy, but it’s a cool, fun way to get you started in your shopping research.

Laptops, Netbooks, Phones & Tablets Interactive ComparisonLaptop, Netbook, Tablet, & Smartphone Comparison Interactive by Dell


Stats on 60 Seconds of Mobile Use in October 2011



Did you ever wonder what everyone around you is doing with their constantly-out smartphones?  Well, Mobclix did some research about what cell phone users are clicking and came up with a snapshot of what goes on in a single minute of usage.  Some of the results may surprise you – like 4,111 ads were clicked on.  Some may not – like that Angry Birds is simply in a category of usage all by itself.  You won’t believe how many people are looking for song lyrics or slicing fruit in Fruit Ninja.

All of this data was put together into one cool infographic.  It’s posted below, so have a look and see what you think.  Does it reflect what you expected?  Do you find anything really surprising?  What would an infographic of your usage reflect?

mobile in 60 seconds

Source: Mobclix