Category Archives: Jan 2013

Happy Birthday “Gavin’s Gadgets” – One Year Old today

Gavin’s Gadgets celebrates it’s first birthday today.

In one year, I’ve written 1,700 articles and reviewed 23 phones/gadgets. Gavin’s Gadgets is viewed in 180 countries, and some that even I didn’t know existed. If you like podcasts, I also co-host a podcast with my friend Dave Rich from UKMobileTech. Details are on the about page, or search in iTunes or any podcast app for “Gav & Dave’s Tech Podcast”.

Don’t forget, you can catch up on the reviews using the reviews index page.

In addition weather for Princetown, Dartmoor is updated daily using my basic weather equipment.

And remember there are no adverts to distract you. All the views are my personal views and opinions.

So from me to you, thank you for visiting, following my blog, adding your comments and returning. And thank you to everyone that helped me along this journey. Here’s to another year!

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Apple vs Android Apps

Much has been written about the Apple iOS Apps vs the Android Apps available and which is better and which has more. This number of apps is only a guide. The quality, depth and breadth is more important.

I have spent a considerable amount of time looking into the different apps on the operating systems and included my own experiences too. I have purchased nearly 1,500 apps on iOS and 700 now on android, just as a reference. I have owned and used the latest of both operating systems from the iPhone 5 which I use currently and the Samsung S3, my last phone. Before the S3 I had the Note and prior to that the iPhone 4S. I have used both size and owned both size iPads and Nexus 7.

I am going to start this article with the conclusion and then explain why. So in conclusion the iOS app selection tops android. With the tablet configuration iOS wins hands down. With smartphones whilst the number of apps on both platforms is huge, it is the breadth and depth where IOS really has a larger edge over android. However, android does have a win over iOS in terms of game emulators. On iOS they do not exist really, but on android they are several superb options. Also on the android platform you can use play station or other game controllers to play some of these games. That’s more to do with the open aspect of android hardware and software. The other aspect where android apps have an edge over iOS apps is the ease of sharing data throughout the system, with better use of background multitasking. The other consideration is Google apps and services. Google is really trying to create a superb user experience.

Now, I know some of you are going to say my favourite apps are on both platforms. That may be the case, but it is often updated or available first on iOS. Another challenge is that whilst that app is not available on android, there is an android equivalent that is just as good. And that’s a fair challenge.

But look at the the categories available on both. Then think about apps for women, apps for men, for children, for specialist interests and so on. What you will find is that on iOS the offerings are far greater with more depth, quality and breadth. This isn’t a question of looking at the top 50 in both app stores, this is about going deeper into sub categories of sub categories. Previously when I did this comparison, I only looked at my apps and were the equivalent available on both operating systems. This time I went far deeper in to the types and quality of the app offerings. I must admit, I really thought iOS wouldn’t have a clear advantage but overall it really does and if I am being honest by a decent margin except for apps that are game emulators or share data.

What I do believe is that this gap will totally close and the offerings will be down to personal preference and the services the two operating systems offer.

No Internet – Panic stations

Last week from 6pm on Thursday to 6pm on Friday, that’s 24 hours, I was positioned in a rural village which had no wifi and no mobile Internet. In fact, this place had no communications of any kind.

So there I was with an iPhone 5, iPad Mini, Blackberry Curve and all the accessories under the sun, yet unable to say or send a word. So what do you do. Answer. There is nothing you can do.

At the end of the 24 hours, I noticed was the battery level on my iPhone 5 was extraordinarily amazing. Nearly 24 hours later it was down to 93%. Not surprising it wasn’t doing anything.

But during that time of being cutoff from the world it felt really odd. I was getting withdrawal symptoms. I couldn’t tweet, couldn’t read/receive emails, check this, do that, read the online news, no calls, no SMS, no nothing. The first few hours felt dreadful. I kept picking up my phones, turning them on and off to see if I could get a signal. Then I tried moving around the lock house. (It wasnt a lock house, but it felt like it). Still no signal. And then I conceded defeat.

The lock house where I was staying did have a small library, and a sign saying “please feel free to borrow the books”. Clearly this place knew that there was no signal, no way of talking to the outside world, so they had a plan. Visitors would have to read an actual book, with physical pages. Yep, that’s right, no kindle app, no kindle ereader just a real book.

So I grabbed a pint of bitter in the bar, (it wasn’t all bad) and settled down and started to read. And you know what, it was really enjoyable, more enjoyable than my kindle app or kindle ereader. And as the hours passed and the 24 hours nearly came to an end it felt really good. I had detoxed myself of technology for a day.

And then I got in my car, and left the lock house and a mile later my phones started bleeping and going stir crazy. I had 800 unread tweets, 800 RSS feed items to read, 400 emails and more.

So ask yourself, is it really worth being connected. Just think of all the crap your mind has to put up with every day. Take the challenge. Turn the world off for a day. Relax and read a book.

PS. The lock house was actually a lovely old hotel with creaky floorboards and dusted in white snow.

Au Info Bar – made by HTC but for KDDI in Japan

KDDI’s au Infobar is co-developed by HTC. It features a Qualcomm’s 1.5GHz quad-core APQ8064 , 1GB of RAM, 4.7-inch 720p display, 16GB of storage, microSD slot, 2,100mAh battery, LTE radio (800/1500) and Android 4.1. The phone also supports both CDMA2000 800/2100 and WCDMA 850/1900/2100, making it a global phone. It has a 8-megapixel main imager (with F2.0 lens) and 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera that take advantage of HTC’s ImageSense chip for speedy burst shots. Likewise, you’ll find Beats Audio built into the system. As per typical Japanese mobile phone, the usual NFC (with Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet), 1seg TV tuner and infrared are also packed inside the 9.7mm-thick, 147g-heavy waterproof (IPX5 and IPX7) and dustproof (IP5X) body.

But look at the home screen design and the above spec. Why can’t HTC have already released something like this? Dust proof and waterproof too, like the new Sony Xperia Z.

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Create HTML email signature on your iPhone or iPad

Have you tried setting up a signature on your iPhone or iPad and wondered why you just can’t have your link active to your blog or photos.

It’s really simple to do. On your desktop PC or mac create a HTML email signature and then send yourself an email.

On your iPad or iPhone, open the email whereby the HTML links will be active. Now simply press on screen and select the text. Then hit copy. Now hit the home button. Open the settings app, mail and signatures. In the signature box paste text. Now you will have setup your signature with HTML email.

Phone Calls and Data

As phones become more Internet based and media devices, with larger and larger screens, are the days of phone calls coming to an end.

Unlikely since there are still many reasons to call over other mediums. But the usage is rapidly dropping. I myself have a mobile contract that focuses on data. I have an all you can eat data allowance, along with calls and texts. But as the years have moved on, the actual calls is diminishing.

As more and more people switch away from their dumb phones and move to a phone that uses the Internet, are we moving to an era when the mobile networks will freeze under the weight of data as opposed to phone calls. I think we will see a slow down of data speeds in the UK, and also a rise in data costs. The volume of traffic requirements is just growing faster than the system can cope.

So here’s some irony. The network overloads and freezes your data. Back then to making a good old fashioned phone call.

Nokia Music+

Nokia has announced Nokia Music+, an upgrade to its free Mix Radio for $3.99 monthly in the United States and €3.99 internationally. Music+ features unlimited skips, access to higher quality streams, lyrics, and a desktop web app. Unlimited downloads are also an exclusive for paying subscribers. Nokia says this lets you save a massive supply of offline music. Music+ will be available soon.

Now hopefully this will be another service to tempt people towards the windows phone and it might work if you are not too demanding on the app front.

Jail breaking – is it Game Over?

The iPhone 5 running iOS 6 has been released now for several months. And no jail break has been officially released. Private jail breaks exist supposedly, but there seems a reluctance to release anything officially.

Obviously Apple has made this harder with each new iOS release and with the newer hardware, but are we reaching a point that as the deficiencies in iOS get plugged with each new update, that the need to jail break is less and less. Maybe this in turn makes it less a need for time to be spent jail breaking. Or have the youngsters who did all the jail breaking grown up and moved on to android.

Update. It seems that since writing this article, a jail break is in the wings when Apple releases iOS 6.1.

Update 2. iOS 6.1 was released yesterday and the untethered jail break is due to be released this weekend.

Twitter to launch Advertising API

There is strong speculating that 2013 will be the year that Twitter will earn $1 billion in advertising revenues. Not only that but Twitter is finally gearing up to launch its advertising API some time in Q1. Aimed at large advertisers and their agencies, it will give them the ability to launch scaled-up campaigns across the social network, and it also opens the door to more sophisticated targeting and analytics tools in the process.

I worry about this, since twitter is a free service meaning they have to make money at the expense of our data. Is Twitter moving towards Facebook where issues around ownership of data and photos becomes a problem.

I guess the only way we will find out is later on, if twitter changes its terms of service.

Behind the Apple Share Price

Apple’s share price tumbled on news of its last quarters financials. 800,000 Apple shares worth $300 million were executed in 17 second intervals, just before the announcement. Coincidence. Inside information.

Many financial bloggers have offered an alternative explanation for Apple’s decline, suggesting the company has run out of growth prospects, highlighting flat quarterly earnings, as reported in comparison to the quarterly income statements from last year.

However, Apple’s earnings for the winter quarter of 2012, included an extra, 14th week. This extra week is added to Apple’s fourth calendar quarter (Apple’s fiscal Q1) every five or six years. That means Apple’s revenue was $4.2 billion in the recent December quarter versus $3.3 billion in the prior-year period. On an equal week basis, revenue in the quarter rose 26.7%. So much for a decline.

Lets not forget Apple’s sizable $132 billion cash pile, the $2.5 billion distribution to shareholders and $2 billion allocated to the company’s stock buyback plan. As part of being a well managed company, Apple defers revenue for Mac and iOS devices, totalling $7.274, it has sold in order to provide free software updates over the course of those products. This aspect adds great value to the longevity of a hardware purchase. This revenue is counted as net sales over the next 8 fiscal quarters.

Apple also declares US tax expenses on its cash holdings in advance, even though it doesn’t have to pay those taxes until it chooses to bring those earnings into the US. In the December quarter, Apple deferred $1.179 billion in income tax expense, resulting in a total of $14.712 billion in tax expenses that Apple has preallocated, but not actually paid. This means should Apple bring the money back into the USA, there will be no further tax expense.

Due to the above, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Apple’s share price stabilise after 2 quarters. By then we should also have seen the release of new products from Apple and its competitors. And hopefully we will see something special.

Huawei Ascend P2 – super slim

UnwiredView reports that the Ascend P2 is expected to offer a 1.8GHz quad-core Huawei HiSilicon K3V2 processor, a 4.5-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel camera. It’s also said to feature a large 3,000 mAh battery, which will be packed into a “wafer thin” form factor.

This phone sure looks good but my only concern with the thin design is that battery life could be awful. It’s about time smartphones were given a battery that can last 2 days of heavy use.

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11 million of You Photograph your Food!

Come on, own up, have you taken a snap of your plate of food, then uploaded it to a social website or Flickr?

Search for food on Flickr and it returns 11 million entries. Seriously !

However, restaurants are fighting back in some areas, as they do not want the mood destroyed by camera happy people. You see if it the photo was discreet, flash off then perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad. But nowadays people bring tripods, or table pods and create a scene.

To combat this, some restaurants are quickly asking the patrons into the kitchens whereby they can photograph their food without disturbing the other guests.

I think we really need to sort the root cause of the problem out and stop photographing your food, but then why should we. My ice cream looks magically.

RIM might sell Hardware Division

In the news is the story that RIM might sell its hardware side. To be honest I didn’t find this a surprise. The company is going through some tough times and if the transformation to BB10 isn’t a success all options would naturally have to be considered.

So if the hardware division is sold, is this a bad move. I don’t think so as there are other companies that can manufacture state of the art hardware. Not add the BB10 software and you could be left with something special.

However, what is really important is the services Blackberry can provide as an Eco system and as a wider picture. It has worked out that apps are important, and has offered cash incentives for developers to submit apps. The numbers of apps being submitted are substantial. It will be interesting to see on the day of the announcement, just how many apps are available, the quality and range.

Personally I would like Blackberry to survive as we need more competition. Lets see what happens at the end of this month.