Google Photo Sphere Camera Comes To iOS


More-goodies-found-in-the-Google-Camera-APK-including-Photo-Sphere-Live-WallpapersGoogle yesterday released Photo Sphere for iOS devices. Photo Spheres have been a staple of the Android camera since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and the release of the Photo Sphere Camera App for iOS is the first time that Google has extracted a feature of an App to specifically release it for a particular Mobile OS.

Google has previously extracted the Photos App from Google + only for Android and Hangouts on all supported Mobile Platforms, but making a feature of an App as a dedicated App only available on iOS is a first for any developer.

For those of you that don’t know, Photo Spheres are full 360 degree pictures that are very similar to the way that Google Maps Street View works, where you can look around the photo as if you were actually where the picture was taken.

The iOS Photo Sphere Camera App also allows you to tag your Photo Spheres and share them on Google Maps, Sharing your Photo Spheres with Google Maps then creates Street Views of the tagged Photo Spheres, whether Google blurred out the Licence Plates that are captured with the Photo Sphere Camera or not when shared is unknown at present (as I’ve not had the chance to take an outdoor Photo Sphere to check it out.

Most people complain about Devs separating out features of Apps into separate Apps,  but in the case of Google separating out the Photo Sphere Camera feature of Google Camera just to bring it to iOS while keeping it part of Google Camera on Android is a good idea.

Roland

Google+

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Powermat Wireless Charging Kit For iPhone 4/4S Review


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After using the Powermat Wireless charging kit for iPhone 4/4S for a week and a day, it’s changed the way that I use my iPhone 4S as I don’t have to remember to plug it in to charge it or un-plug it when I need to go out. All I have to do now is just place it in the charging dock to charge it and take it out of the charging dock when I use it or go out.

Other than the sheer convenience of not being tethered to the mains while charging and having to remember to un-plug it when I go out it seems to charge my phone a lot quicker than using a wired charger, which means I don’t have to worry about running out of power while out if I’ve put it on charge before going out and it not getting a decent charge. The audible sound when placing the phone in and removing the phone from the charger is handy when I’ve got my phone on silent as I know when it’s started charging.

The size of the charging dock means that it’s compact and doesn’t take up much space, as it’s only slightly larger than the phone, this means that it won’t take up much space on a desk, bed side table, Coffee table or any table at side of where you sit, unlike traditional iPhone docks that tend to have speakers e.t.c. built-in and tend to take up a lot of space. The built-in cable management on the plug means that you don’t have any cables to get tangled up, this is a really handy feature that comes into its own if you’ve got your charger on say a kitchen counter where the cable could easily get damaged if not wrapped up.

The Powermat Wireless charging system is really a good idea and it’s really a shame that the QI Wireless charging standard is more widely used as the QI charging mats need you to place your phone in exactly the right place to get it to charge, where as with the Powermat standard you just drop it into the dock and it works. There are QI style charging mats for the Powermat standard, but with the Powermat case you get stickers that you place on the mat to help you correctly place your phone.

Roland

Google+

Powermat Wireless Charging Kit For iPhone 4/4S Unboxing/First Impressions


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Unboxing

The Powermat Wireless Charging kit for iPhone 4/4S comes with the Powermat Wireless charging dock, Universal Power Supply, UK and EU Plug adaptors (the US version comes with a US only Power Supply) along with an iPhone 4/4S Wireless charging case with USB Pass through & a Micro USB to USB Charging cable and various bits of documentation.

See pictures below for the full unboxing pictures.

Powermat iPhone 4/4S Wireless Charging Kit all boxed up

Powermat iPhone 4/4S Wireless Charging Kit all boxed up

 

 

 

Powermat documentation

Powermat documentation

Power Supply

Power Supply

 

UK Plug adaptor

UK Plug adaptor

EU Plug adaptor

EU Plug adaptor

 

Other documentation

Other documentation

iPhone 4/4S Wireless Chargeing Case

iPhone 4/4S Wireless charging Case

 

Powermat Wireless Charging Dock

Powermat Wireless charging Dock

 

iPhone 4S in Wireless Charging Case

iPhone 4S in Wireless charging Case

 

Back of Wireless Charging Case

Back of Wireless charging Case

 

Bottom of Wireless Charging Case with Micro USB Port

Bottom of Wireless charging Case with Micro USB Port

 

Back of Wireless Charging Dock with Power Supply input

Back of Wireless Charging Dock with Power Supply input

Charging Dock plugged in & iPhone 4S Charging

Charging Dock plugged in & iPhone 4S charging

 

First impressions

The Powermat Wireless charging dock is a stylish and easy to use Wireless charger that is easier to use than the more common QI Wireless chargers, and the USB sync charge pass through on the case is a novel idea that saves having to take the case off to sync to iTunes or use a car charger (as long as the charger is a Micro USB one).

I’ll do a full review in a month or two once I’ve had time to fully test the device.

Roland

Google+

Huawei E5330 Mobile Wi-Fi Modem Router Unboxing & First Impressions


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Firstly I’d like to say sorry for the somewhat poorly taken pictures but I didn’t have much time to take the unboxing pictures.

 Unbagging

In the Currier Shipping bag there was the device its self and a Contract Sim Pack.

Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 Box

Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 Box

Three UK Contract Sim Pack

Three UK Contract Sim Pack

 

Unboxing

I got this Mobile WiFi Modem Router from Three UK, and to say that I got it from a Carrier the box doesn’t have any Carrier branding on it what so ever apart from a Three Security Seal Sticker sealing the box closed.

The Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 sitting at the top of the box once opened

The Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 sitting at the top of the box once opened

Documentation under the cardboard tray that holds the Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 unit

Documentation under the cardboard tray that holds the Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 unit

 

All the documentation that came in the box

All the documentation that came in the box

Accessories in bottom of the box

Accessories in bottom of the box

 

Battery for the Mobile WiFi Hotspot

Battery for the Mobile WiFi Hotspot

Inside of the Mobile WiFi Hotspot

Inside of the Mobile WiFi Hotspot

 

Sim Card inserted

Sim Card inserted

Battery inserted

Battery inserted

 

All put together & powered on

All put together & powered on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reason that there was a second Sim Pack in the Shipping bag I assume is because I’m a Three Customer already and that the second line for the mobile WiFi is on an existing subscriber discount as the Mobile number on the second Sim Pack matches up with the Mobile number for the Sim Pack on the invoice as well as for the Mobile number on a welcome letter that I received from Three this morning.

First impressions

The Mobile WiFi unit is small and can easily slip in your pocket & it even fits nicely into the front pocket of my Targus Chromebook bag.

Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 Speeds

Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 Speeds

3G Speeds from my iPhone 4S

3G Speeds from my iPhone 4S

 

The speed from the Huawei Mobile WiFi E5330 Modem Router is faster than the speed I get from my iPhone 4S at home, so I think the Mobile WiFi Hotspot will get used more than my iPhone WiFi Hotspot while I’m away from my fixed line Broadband connection, but since I’ve got 1GB of tethering a month on my Phone Account and the 1GB of Mobile Broadband a month on my new Account that gives me a combined 2GB a month of Mobile Broadband to get online while I’m away which is plenty for my Chromebook, Google Nexus 7, Son’s Android Tablet and the wife’s iPhone 4S when were in a 2G only area.

I’ll do a full review in a month or two once I’ve had time to fully test the device.

Roland

Google+

11 iOS 8 Features That Are Game Changes For Apples Mobile OS


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With this year being the year off for new hardware announcements at Apples WWDC event all eyes were on OS X 10.10 Yosemite and iOS 8. So here are the 8 new features announced for iOS 11.

  1. A new improved Messages.
  2. Improvements to Mail.
  3. Home Kit.
  4. Health Kit.
  5. Siri improvements.
  6. Photos improvements.
  7. Improvements to the iOS Keyboard.
  8. iCloud Drive.
  9. Widgets in Notification Centre.
  10. Actionable Notifications.
  11. 3rd-Party Keyboards.

Actionable Notifications

Actionable Notifications have been around since Android 4.0 or 4.1. Actionable Notifications allow you to reply to an SMS or iMessage directly from within Notification etc, and Actionable Notifications even works directly within Lock-screen Notifications as well as in Notification Centre.

Actionable Notifications cut the one or two steps needed to reply to a Message or Email from swiping and entering your PIN, swiping or using Touch ID to unlock your phone to reply to a Message to just replying directly from the Lock-screen.

Improvements to Mail

A big improvement to Mail is coming with iOS 8 with the introduction of being able to still have access to your Inbox while composing a Message, meaning that you can copy something from one Message to the one you’re composing without having to save your Message as a draft.

With a swipe down on the Message that you’re composing you can minimize it giving you access to your Inbox, then a tap on the minimized Message brings it back up for you to continue working on.

iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive is the same principle as Continuity by allowing you to start work on you Mac, then continue to work on it on your iPad and finish using your iPhone. The principle of iCloud Drive is the same as Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive by allowing you to work in the Cloud as well as store your documents in the Cloud, but with iOS relying heavily on iCloud for Photo Stream, Bookmark sync and OTA Backups it’s a bit of a Cash Cow for Apple as you’ll need to buy more Storage as the 5GB that comes free with your iCloud/Apple Account will soon fill up.

Improvements to Messages

Apple has added a feature to Messages that allows you to send voice Messages over iMessage, whether this also works over MMS as well I don’t know. This feature is similar to what Messaging apps like Hangouts use and will see iPhone, iPod & iPad users ditch Hangouts for voice Messaging between themselves and other iOS Device users.

Photos improvements

The improvements to Photos in iOS are more reliance on iCloud and improved editing functions. As with iCloud Drive Apple have realized that iCloud is a Cash Cow for them with the mere 5GB of free space as standard, but it’s also nice to see a Mobile OS developer that relies on Cloud Backup though.

Widgets in Notification Centre

In what’s the biggest change to Notification Centre since the tabbed view that was introduced in iOS 7 Apple have added Widgets to the Notification Centre’s Today view meaning that other app developers can add information such as Sports Scores to the Today view along with the Weather, Stocks & Calendar that Apple provide as standard. With this change to the Notification Centre Apple have removed the Missed Notification tab from Notification Centre, the Missed Notification tab is one feature of iOS 7 that I don’t understand the point of as it’s mainly just a repeat of the Notifications tab half of the time anyway.

 

Improvements to the iOS Keyboard

In iOS 8 Apple have improved on the spelling suggestions to include word prediction that learns from the way that you type to suggest your next word like what the 3rd-party Keyboard SwiftKey does.

It would be nice to have the flick to use the suggestion feature that’s in Blackberry OS 10 as well as the gesture typing feature that’s available on Android Keyboards.

 3rd-party Keyboard support

In what’s a big feature change in iOS Apple are allowing the use of 3rd-party Keyboards in iOS 8. At present there are still some apps that have not updated to use the new flat Keyboard style introduced in iOS 7, now having the ability to use a 3rd-party Keyboard is going to add to what’s currently a mess of inconsistent Keyboard use unless Apple have mandated that 3rd-party Keyboard developers use the flat style for their Keyboard style there is going to be a mess of Keyboards with ugly skins that aren’t in keeping with the iOS UI.

When iOS 8 is released I’ll stick to just using the standard iOS Keyboard that I’ve got used to using since I got my iPhone 4S. I used to use 3rd-party Keyboards when I was using Android as I was always customizing the look of the Android UI, but with iOS I don’t see the need to de able to use a 3rd-Party Keyboard unless one comes out to allow handwriting recognition then there really isn’t much of a need to change what’s been the only Keyboard since iOS 1.

Siri improvements

The only major improvement to Siri that’s of any use is the Hey Siri Hot word, but since that’s only active when you’re Docked or plugged into the wall it’s not really much use as it’d be a handy feature to use while on the go especially with the new Health Kit app.

Health Kit & Home Kit

I’ve not got a lot to say about Health Kit & Home Kit until I’ve actually seen them in person, but it seems like a way for Apple to get in on the Health app craze, and Home Kit really seems like a bit of a waste in the UK where there isn’t much in the way of Home Tech Kit that could be of use to the average Brit as things like Nest and Hue Lighting is quite expensive.

OS X 10.10 users only feature

There is a new feature in iOS 8 that’s really only of use to users of Mac OS X and in particular 10.10 Yosemite called Hand Off which is also known as Continuity where you can start writing an SMS, iMessage or Email on your iOS device and continue on your Mac, or even answer Phone Calls on your Mac, whether this also works between iPhone & iPad/iPod I don’t know, but it seems like a way to merge iOS and OS X without actually combining them into one OS.

Conclusion

iOS 8 will be available in the Fall/Autumn for iPhone 4S-5S, iPod fifth generation & iPad 2-iPad Mini with Retina Display.

Roland

Google+

Apple Buys Beats Electronics


beats_by_dr_dre_logo

Apple yesterday confirmed that it is buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion (£1.8 billion approx), Beats Electronics are the company that teamed up with HTC for a line of beats Audio Android Phones. When HTC dropped the beats Audio line last year in favour of their newly developed Boom Sound that first appeared in the HTC One M7, Beats then developed the Subscription based streaming music service beats music which is currently only available in North America at present like Apples own iTunes Radio.

beatsapple

What will the Apple purchase of Beats Electronics mean for beats by dr. dre?

What will the Apple purchase of Beats Electronics mean for the beats by dr. dre Headphone line? The beats by dr. dre line, as the Headphones come at a Premium Price. A pair of Apple Ear Pods cost $41.89 (£25.00), but once the Apple takeover of Beats is complete and the now as standard Ear Pods get phased out in favour of  beats will Apple

A) Reduce Beats Headsets to around the same price as the current Ear Pods.

B) Have Beats Headsets at the current price of Beats Headphones.

C) Increase Beats Headphones while pricing Beats Headsets at the same price as Beats Headphones.

Personally I can see Apple pricing Beats Headphones at a higher price than what they’re currently priced and ether price the Headset versions for use with FaceTime Audio & Video calls on iPods, iPads & iPhones & normal voice calls on iPhones at around $84 (£50) mark, since the old Headset that was used since the original iPod all the way up to and including the iPhone 4S used to be around the $25 (£15) mark until they got discontinued with the introduction of the Ear Pods that were released with the iPhone 5.

I’ve got a HTC beats by dr. dre Headset that I bought on eBay for around $84 (£50) in 2012 as well as several pairs of pre Ear Pod Apple Headphones from a first gen iPod Shuffle, a first gen iPod Nano & a second or third gen iPod Touch as well as a pre Ear Pod Headset from my iPhone 4S and an Ear Pod Headset that I got off eBay for around $25 (£15) and I prefer the quality of the HTC beats by dr. dre Headset over the Apple Ear Pods or the Apple Headset, but the Apple Ear Pods are better than the Apple Headset.

If Apple can make a beats by dr.dre Headset with the Apple  mic remote that’s comparable to my HTC beats by dr. dre Headset for around the same price as the current Ear Pods then I’d get a pair even if I have to wait until they’re available on eBay.

The Beats Acquisition could boost Apple into the premium Headset market as their current Ear Pod Headset even though it’s better than the old Headset it still feels cheap with it coming from a company that’s known for making quality Premium devices.

Have your say about what the future holds for Beats Audio & the beats by dr. dre brand now that Apple have bought them in the comments bellow.

Roland

Google+

Sunrise Calendar For Android Beta Review


Sunrise-Calendar-Icon

 

After using Sunrise Calendar for Android Beta to me it seem lacking compared to other Calendars on Android.

Sunrise Calendar has a lot of cool features like I mentioned in my combined review, but only having two different Calendar views seems like the developers are trying to create a one size fits all Calender for all the supported Mobile OS’s especially since Android Cell Phones come in more varied Screen Sizes than iPhone’s meaning that  they could have created a totally different version that for Android that caters tor the varied Screen Sizes that Android devices come in instead of doing what seems like port the iOS version over to Android.

Although I prefer the stock Android Calendar to the Sunrise Calendar for Android Beta I’ll keep it installed on my Google Nexus 7 & maybe do a follow-up post if anything changes during the Beta or do a follow-up post when it comes out of Beta.

but for now there are plenty of better Calendars available on Android that beat Sunrise on features, even if they don’t have the cool features that’s part of Sunrise Calendar.

Roland

Google+