Posts tagged mobile phone

Looking Ahead to 5G Mobile Service

Standardization of mobile Internet service is an important part of the development of the 5G mobile Internet framework. For example, the industry is focusing on goals such as significant improvements in speed during peak data times, as well as resolving latency issues. But these are not the only factors that mobile engineers need to think about.

The complication for 5G is the diversity of mobile needs. Every industry from transportation to health to automotive use mobile Internet. That’s why 5G has taken so long to develop. As the “Internet of Things” continues to expand, we need more cloud storage and more virtualization than ever before. These are the types of technology that provide adaptability. 5G engineers are challenged with bringing it all together, and integrating everything the Internet can do for us.

5G is about so much more than just making a video load faster on your iPhone. The whole architecture is new. In fact, 5G requires short-range frequencies which means more cell sites. But don’t think that pushes things too far into the future. At least eight companies are already testing out 5G services, including Verizon and AT&T.

What Does 5G Mean for the Future of Wi-Fi?

Don’t worry about Wi-Fi losing its significance. As both mediums of wireless Internet progress, they will continue to coexist. 5G is a vital stage in the evolution of wireless because the way we use the Internet has outgrown the limitations of the network that has been in place for the past decade. 5G needs to be a more scalable solution rather than the next patch that ekes a little more speed out of the old architecture.

In the meantime, you can expect the US to see how the 5G rollout goes in other countries, so some of the bugs will get worked out before we see it here. While that may delay the future of mobile for a brief time, we hope it translates into the exciting new service we have all been wishing for each time the infrastructure upgrades. Asia will be taking the reins, with South Korea hoping to have their 5G network in place in time for their hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Increasing the Range of Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth has become a universal means of doing everything, from speaking on a hands-free headset to transferring images from one device to another. The only thing that severely limits Bluetooth technology is range. Bluetooth is fixed to a 30-foot range for devices that want to connect to one another. If your home is large enough, you may not have been able to stream music from your phone to a Bluetooth speaker unless you had one in every room—until now.

Cassia Produces a Bluetooth “Booster”

One of the most exciting devices showcased at CES was a Bluetooth hub developed by Cassia. The specs on this device make the prospect of a Bluetooth-enabled home seem like an easy task. With a range of 1,000 feet, this device can Bluetooth-enable an entire building full of devices. Okay, so it maxes out at 22 devices, but that’s a lot for any Bluetooth tech on the market today.

How Does It Work?

From an Android or iOS device, you download an app that manages the hub. This allows one user to control which 22 devices are allowed to connect to the hub. Not only is the range of the hub 1,000 feet, but it can also make its way through up to three standard walls inside a home.

And if the user who controls the hub isn’t home, he or she can still manage it if the hub is on the home’s Wi-Fi. That’s right, this Bluetooth hub can be controlled via the Internet.

Aesthetically Pleasing and Technologically Advanced

You won’t mind having the hub on your shelf either. Whether you like modern minimalist style or have more of a classic décor, the hub has a timeless design. It is small and lightweight (less than 5 inches tall and about a pound and a half).  Other than the barely noticeable white-on-white Cassia logo, it resembles an LED pillar candle. Place it on a desk, bookshelf, or right on the floor.

At $99, this tech device is a steal. That should leave you with enough money to shop the hub’s accessories, which include a Bluetooth speaker and LED lighting.

Which Display Is Better: IPS or AMOLED?

Usually when this question is asked, a person wants to know whether the mobile digital display is better on a Samsung device or an Apple device. That is because Samsung has become well known for using AMOLED technology while Apple uses IPS. Let us consider the pros and cons of each type of mobile display.

IPS Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD)

Pros:

Sharpness is a major benefit of IPS screens. The clarity of an IPS screen results in truer colors. IPS displays also perform much better in bright light situations than AMOLED screens do.

Ultimately, IPS is more of a photographer’hs screen because you get a more accurate picture of what the image genuinely looks like. Unfortunately, it may suffer in quality when you try to read or watch a movie in a dimly lit situation.

Cons:

Backlighting can actually be a negative factor when you need darker blacks in your images. For example, if you are watching a movie like “Interstellar” where much of the action takes place in space, the dark colors can suffer a little. This also affects contrast when you are reading since a little light will always be filtered through the letters.

Viewing angles are not as good on an LCD display too. This can be a negative when you are trying to show a video to a bunch of your friends. It can be a positive when you are trying to send a private text in a crowded room.

NOTE: Apple is not the only brand that favors IPS. LG and HTC make Android devices with IPS displays as well.

AMOLED Displays

Pros:

Theoretically, AMOLED displays are better for battery life (although battery life comparison on iPhones and Galaxy phones would make a stark opposing argument). AMOLED screens also produce darker blacks because every pixel can be turned on and off rather than having the whole screen backlit. Super AMOLED screens provide the brightest colors.

Cons:

AMOLED screens do not always render the truest colors because they have a tendency to oversaturate everything. That may be a negative factor when you take a picture and post it on a social media site thinking it is perfect only to discover that it was dull and undersaturated. Burn in is another issue, although not a very common one.

The Verdict

Both IPS and AMOLED have their strong and weak points. Which one is better for you will likely depend on how you use your mobile device the most. In the end, there will likely be other factors that will determine which phone or other mobile digital display device you decide to get since the battle between IPS and AMOLED is too close to call.

New Tablet, Phone, iOS, and More, Coming from Apple

Some of the highlights of the apple news event for 2015 are updated iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus and the much anticipated iPad Pro with its stylus. Fans wait all year for such news. Let’s consider some of the highlights from this year’s big event.

The New iPad

iPad sales have been down six quarters in a row. The iPad Pro is Apple’s solution. It definitely competes with the Surface Pro, and it can challenge most laptops on the market.

It is far bigger than the iPad Air, and the design is intentional (we’ll get to that with the new iOS 9). The display has more pixels than most laptops, and the processor is more powerful too.

Perhaps the biggest news, however, is that Apple has finally developed a Smart Keyboard with a revolutionary Smart Connector system for exchanging power and data. No more searching for a decent third party keyboard… or a stylus! The Apple Pencil has also arrived to fine tune the digital art side of the iPad.

In short, the iPad Pro is a revolution in the tablet market. The price tag starts at $799 for the 32GB model.

The New iOS

You won’t have to wait until November to upgrade to iOS 9. In fact, the upgrade is supposed to be available on September 25th. What new features can Apple users look forward to?

One of the most exciting will only be available for the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro. That is the ability to run two apps side by side (hence the need for tablet that is as tall as the Air is wide). Any tablet newer than the iPad Mini 2 can run two apps side by side, but only one will be active at a time.

One more great new addition is the picture-in-picture feature for FaceTime. Now you can continue to use your tablet, even on a video call. When you press the home key, your call goes into the corner box, allowing you to continue using your apps.

And So Much More

Other releases include the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus. There’s also a new color being added to the lineup, Rose Gold. Apple TV and the Apple Watch are both getting makeovers as well. Let’s just say Apple continues to show why they are at the forefront of mobile technology.

 

Why Be On Guard When Using Public Wi-Fi

Whether your favorite hotspot is at McDonalds, Starbucks, or your local library, there are some things that you should know about before you hop on public Wi-Fi and surf the web like it’s business as usual. If you are going to log into an account, use a credit card, or shop while on a public network, here are a few things you should think about concerning Wi-Fi security.

  1. Hackers Love Public Wi-Fi

Why take the chance of hacking a secure network when you can sit in the corner with your coffee and laptop and steal tons of passwords, credit card numbers, and bank accounts from an open network? Hackers are opportunists. Never assume you’re on a public network alone, even if you don’t see anyone. Someone could just as easily be in the parking lot in a car.

  1. Check Your Credentials

Does the Internet at your favorite coffee shop require a password? Either way, you will want to know the SSID. Make sure you are logging onto the right network. A sly scam that hackers pull off regularly is creating an SSID that seems legit. For example, “Free Airport WiFi.” You connect, thinking that the airport has gotten generous. Now you are on the hacker’s Wi-Fi network, and every keystroke you make is being logged.

  1. Use a VPN

If you need to shop, bank, or do anything with your credit cards on a public Wi-Fi network, we strongly recommend using a VPN, or virtual private network. Most have a monthly or annual fee.  A VPN allows you to encrypt your data while you are using public Wi-Fi. Remember, most hackers are opportunists. Few will try to deal with your extra line of defense while there are easier targets around. Plus, a VPN gives you plenty of other benefits too.

In short, we’re not saying that public Wi-Fi is bad in any way. You just need to use caution due to unsavory individuals who take advantage of the lax Wi-Fi security free public networks employ.

IT Suggestions for SMBs

Your business may be small, but it still relies on technology fairly heavily. What can you do to make your IT run smoothly (especially since you probably don’t have the resources for an entire department)? Here are some IT suggestions for small businesses that can help you to maintain security and stability.

Update That Software

Whether it is your operating system, your web development software or Java, be sure that your software is kept up to date. These updates fix known security issues and are your first line of defense in warding off a virus.

Malware Avoidance Techniques

Let’s face it. Most people unwittingly put malware on their own machines. Hackers just leave malware lying around where we will download it unsuspectingly. With that in mind NEVER:

  • Click on an ad that does not seem reputable or that offers unrealistic promises
  • Follow a link in an email, even from contacts, without knowing where it goes
  • Click “okay” to download something you did not specifically request

Create a Web Presence

Small businesses need a website and some social media content. You may also choose to have a blog. Instead of hiring out for SEO work, you may be able to take care of things yourself. A freelance writer can be your best friend if you are not a wordsmith yourself. Don’t forget to check your social media sites regularly and respond appropriately. Avoid controversial topics.

Have a Backup

Nowadays we often backup our data on the cloud, but you may also want a second computer in case of emergency. The next time you upgrade your machine, save the old one. If your current computer goes bad on you and your data is backed up in the cloud, you can pick up right where you left off (albeit on an old device). This will give you time to get your computer fixed.

Have a Service Tech On-Call

In the meantime, having a tech that you trust can allow you to get things up and running at full speed again quickly. Be sure to keep your favorite repair shop in your phone contacts. These IT suggestions for small businesses should keep things a little smoother, especially if you use a lot of technologies.

Sync Your PC With Your Windows Phone

Device connectivity has been one of the major advances in wireless and cloud technology. Now you can access the same data, in real-time, from your desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. The question is: How do you do it? Some companies make it easier than others. Google uses their Drive service. Apple provides a Cloud ID. Let’s take a few moments to see how Microsoft allows you to sync your PC with your Windows devices.

Microsoft’s version of Drive/Cloud is called OneDrive. It is a free download on all of your devices, and you get 15GB of storage space without having to purchase an Office 365 account. A personal Office 365 subscription boosts that storage by another 20GB (it costs about $70 a year to get the subscription from Microsoft, but you will find a product key for half that on Amazon). A business Office 365 account adds 50GB of data and allow up to 300 users to have access. For most people, the free service will be more than enough space.

You can also connect your Windows phone to your laptop while on the go in order to have Internet access anywhere. Be aware that you will be using your phone’s data plan, and online computing is more data intensive than mobile online activity, so be sure you have enough data to avoid overages. On your phone, you will need to access the system settings. The Internet Sharing feature will allow you to turn your phone into a hotspot. Make sure to password protect the Internet connection if you do not want everyone else around you to be burning through your data. From there, your laptop will see your phone as an available network. Just log in and surf away.

OneDrive is unfortunately much better for documents and presentations than it is for audio and video files. Microsoft still makes Zune software to manage your multimedia across devices. In fact, if the software is on both your phone and your computer, you do not even need your USB cord. There should be an option to sync your PC or other devices wirelessly.

Kill Switch Legislation

Kill Switch Legislation: Billions for Consumers or Companies?

The wireless industry makes a metaphorical killing each year in a couple of areas related to smartphone theft. They make money by selling insurance plans to consumers who are concerned about having their cellphones stolen. They also profit by selling replacement phones to those who actually have had their smartphone stolen. A simple technological fix, but one that probably will not become ubiquitous without kill switch legislation, is to add a kill switch to cell phones. This feature has the potential of taking profits away from cell phone companies, but giving billions back to consumers.

This figure is not a typo. Research from a recent study has shown that adding a kill switch to cellular devices could pump billions of dollars back into the pockets of consumers, on an annual basis. For example, in just one year, from 2012 to 2013, the number of stolen smartphones grew from 1.6 million to 3.1 million units. What does this mean in costs to consumers, including inconvenience and lost productivity?

In the United States alone, people spend nearly $6 billion per year insuring their cell phones. They spend more than $1 billion paying for the replacement of stolen phones (which, by the way, isn’t covered by basic cellphone insurance). If kill switches were built into cell phones, consumers could retain that $1 billion plus in replacement costs. They could also realize over $2 billion per year in savings by switching to the less expensive insurance plans that don’t cover theft or loss.

If legislation makes the kill switch a requirement, theft would certainly decrease because the phones would no longer have a resale value. Obviously, cellphone providers would be the biggest losers—if such a mandate were to go into effect. Thus, you can expect them to fight any such notion as long as they can. Consumers, on the other hand, want their billions back.

Smartphone theft has become one of the most common crimes in the United States. Many devices are stolen when a person leaves them in a public place, such as at a restaurant or gym. For now, there are services that can disable your device if it is stolen. However, since thieves know most people don’t pay for extra services like this, their existence doesn’t act as much of a deterrent. By requiring a kill switch on smartphones, thus rendering a stolen phone virtually valueless, kill switch legislation would provide one.

iPhone 6 Plus is Big

iPhone 6 Plus is Big: Tech Company’s First Foray Into Phablets

Samsung has been the master of the ‘phone that’s so big it’s almost a tablet’ genre, until now that is. The iPhone 6 Plus is big; bigger than any phone that Apple has ever built and nearly as big as the Galaxy Note 4. Let’s see how the two devices stack up side by side.

Let’s set size aside for a moment, since the two devices are rather similar in both dimensions and weight. We’ll start with the backing of the device. The iPhone 6 Plus has Apple’s classic aluminum backing making it the far prettier of the two. By comparison, the Galaxy Note 4 is backed with fake leather. Of course, the faux leather may be the more comfortable to hold, but either way, you’ll have a protective case on your device, right? As for color options, the iPhone offers silver and gray while Samsung offers black, white, and pink. If you want a gold colored device, you can select either.

While the device sizes are comparable, Samsung still gives you 7% more screen size. Leave it to Apple to always have a slightly smaller screen than the competition. Samsung also has the advantage in pixels with 515 ppi versus 401 on the iPhone. Don’t forget that Samsung uses super AMOLED displays for darker blacks and better contrast.

Samsung also has the advantage with some of the extras the device offers. Power-saving features add life to the battery, which is great because Samsung usually loses out to Apple in battery life in most smartphone and tablet categories. The device also charges quickly. Reports say you should be able to take your Note from 0 to full in around an hour. The cameras are also a selling point. The Note has a 16 MP camera and a 3.7 MP front-facing camera, which is great for HD video chat and selfies. Plus, the Note comes with a micro SD slot.

Don’t count Apple out just yet. The iPhone 6 Plus is big, but that is not the end of the story. There are a lot of nice Apple features like Apple Pay, and there will be more internal hard drive options. Samsung, however, definitely has more experience in phone-tablet crossover devices

Gigabit Wireless

Gigabit Wireless – Is This the Wireless of the Future?

Wireless networks are constantly requiring the ability to handle more and more data. Two papers about gigabit wireless, both addressing this problem, were recently given at a convention for wireless communications. One of the papers suggested that the millimeter-wave band could be the answer to the problem. This paper noted that the millimeter-wave band, or MMW, could increase the wireless abilities of smart phones and tablets, at least in theory. The researchers were interested in technologies that make the data capacity larger for wireless networks. They found that polarimetric filtering creates a greater density of links between data. The research suggested that each link using the MMW could reach more than 6Gbps and that there could be more than one link at a time in a room. This is much better performance than current technology allows.

One of the students working on the project created a video to illustrate what this may be able to accomplish. Every year, the demand for data doubles, and it does not seem likely that this demand will decline any time soon. This is forcing service providers to make their networks denser. Moreover, 3G and 4G networks are reaching their limits, another factor that is causing developers to consider MMW for 5G networks.

The other research talked about beamforming, or spatial filtering, being a possible problem solver for connections between 4G and 5G stations and networks. It also spoke positively of connections that go directly to the user. This would include focusing the waveforms directly onto the tablets and phones. Until now, the connection to the core network has limited the data the cell network can handle. The research proposed an algorithm to lengthen the data rate while, at the same time, reducing possible interference. The researchers had some success in doing this, and the future of this technology is bright.

These papers reflect the ongoing efforts to allow gigabit wireless the ability to handle the increasing need for data.

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