It is no longer a rumour then

Well it has been the talk of the industry for long enough, in fact it could be one of the worst kept secrets in the entertainment industry for a long time and as we all know, the music boys don’t keep secrets very well do they?

You all know by now that it’s official that Apple have bought headphone maker Beats Electronics for $3bn (£1.8bn) in what is claimed to be Apples largest ever. So what are they getting for all that cash then? Well they are going to get Beat’s music streaming service as well as the audio equipment and apparently music producer Jimmy Lovine as well as the rapper Dr Dre!

Well it has left some consumers particularly underwhelmed by the purchase and many believe that they should have bought Spotify when they could. It seems that over ten million people are prepared to pay £10 per month to Spotify, to buy it now Apple will have to shell out a lot of money. To some observers it is a waste of money, Apple could have just gone to a high end manufacturer and had a top end Apple design produced; time will no doubt tell if it has been a good buy.

Apple still rules the tablet market, but Samsung is catching fast

New research by a technology market intelligence company has shown that Apple is still in the lead in the tablet market for Q1 2014, but is being caught up by Korean electronics giant Samsung. In just 1 year, Samsung has managed to close the gap by 20 percentage points and now accounts for 13% of the new tablet market; Apple still has a substantial lead with 16.4%.

The research also indicates that it could be even closer in Q2 of this year because Apple has no new tablets on the horizon whereas Samsung is expanding its availability of both the Galaxy Tab Pro and Note Pro tablets. The Korean company are also gearing up to release its new high end tablet, the Galaxy Tab S in mid-June.

The ABI research also looked into operating system distribution, which has Android leading the way with 56.3% of the market share. iOS has 39.6% of the market, with newcomers Windows 8 and Windows RT picking up 4.1%.

The study also found that cellular equipped tablets were becoming increasingly popular, with 22% of all tablets purchased in Q1 2014 having either 3G or 4G compatibility; this is the highest percentage since September 2011.

A travel app is the best holiday tip

With the rise in the use of smartphones, we are all using the apps that can be downloaded onto them for our everyday use; whether this is searching for a cheap flight or finding the latest weather near you. So we though with the holiday season fast approaching for most of us, downloading some travel apps can be really useful when we go for our sun and sangria.

One of that can be very useful when travelling abroad is XE currency converter, particularly if you are travelling across counties not in the Euro zone. This app will allow you to quickly and very easily see the local currency exchange rate, allow you to calculate your expenses and is available for all systems.

Most of us fly to somewhere when we take our holidays and this is why we suggest that Sky Scanner is a very useful app to have on your smartphone. With this app you can quickly compare flight times and prices to just about any destination and airline, already a very popular app downloaded by about 20 million!

Referring to airlines, for most of us the best option, particularly holiday destinations in Eurozone countries, budget airlines are the ones we choose. But here there can be a problem with luggage charges and for this reason downloading the Send My Bag app is could save you money. This company will collect your bag from the door and deliver it right to your destination, no hassle, no back muscles sore and possibly at less cost than the airline.

None of us want trouble when we are away and illness or an emergency is something that we don’t want to encounter. So having Travel Smart on your phone is a great idea, this will give you access to local hospitals, emergency numbers, it can also tell you what is available by way of foreign medicine and some health advice. This is a mjor company behind the app, Allianz Global Assistance. This can be downloaded to android and iPhone systems.

Mobile phone reviews

A mobile phone has become something we can no longer live without.  Being much more than just a device from which to make telephone calls, modern mobile phones offer texting capabilities, internet access, high quality photographic capability, and much more.

This growing list of facilities offered by mobile phones makes it that much more difficult to choose a new one.  Do I choose the best camera?  Fastest processor?  Is the brand of phone the deciding factor?  What about when the updated model is being launched?  It can be overwhelming.

Use mobile phone reviews to your advantage

There is so much information available on mobile phones and everyone you meet will give you a different opinion on which brand they think is best.  It can be difficult to discern which advice to take.  A good way to simplify the matter is to think about which features you use the most on your current mobile phone.

If, for instance, you love to take photos and videos of your family and friends, you may want to look at phones with a great camera.  Alternatively, if you use your phone primarily to make calls, focus instead on a mobile phone that offers good voice clarity and a service provider that offers a deal on cheap minutes.

Once you have your deciding factor in mind, spend some time reading both professional mobile phone reviews and user reviews.  This will give you a balanced view of the best and worst features of each phone, allowing you to make the most informed decision without being overwhelmed.

Which mobiles will dominate in 2014?

The year 2013 that has passed saw a few interesting developments in the mobile world, fingerprint scanners, and ever-better screens, but it was mainly dominated by the increasing interest in the touch tablets. However, it is the mobile ‘phone which will still be the focus of most people’s attention this year, so what can we expect?

HTC are looking at a new device which although it will have the same metal chassis as the One, it is expected to have a five inch screen and likely to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress.

Samsung are believed to be releasing the S5 in February or March and it is rumoured to have a 16 megapixel camera and a 2K screen.

Nokia, well we are not sure the rumours are rife of a model called the Normandy, but it is unlikely to see the light of day here, if it is released at all, depends very much on the Microsoft takeover.

Apple iPhone 6, when who knows, there is talk of a curved display and it is a long way from being launched, it is a chance to re-design the 5S, we may have a long wait.

This brings us to Sony and no doubt the Xperia Z1 has been a huge hit, but the new Z2 could be even better, talk is of a 5.2 inch display at 500 pixels per inch, and with a better camera than 20 megapixels that is currently on the Z1, that will be some ‘phone camera.

PCB factory fire could affect Galaxy S5 availability at launch

A huge fire has destroyed a factory in Anseong, South Korea which manufactures PCB’s for Samsung’s new flagship device the Galaxy S5, and experts now warn that the device may have limited availability when it releases worldwide on the 11th April.

The fire was detected at 7am on Sunday and quickly engulfed the whole factory, it took 279 firefighters and 81 fire trucks 6 hours to get the fire under control. It is estimated that the damage could be as much as $1 billion in equipment and components.

In a bid to quell rumours of limited availability of the Galaxy S5, Samsung released a statement saying that the factory in Anseong wasn’t the only factory it had hired to produce its Galaxy S5 PCBs and that supply would not be affected for the launch of the device.

Although the Samsung statement seems to suggest that availability will not be affected, it is still thought that there may be limited availability in some markets when the device launches.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is available for pre-order now on a range of tariffs and contracts from all major networks in the UK.

Where to get the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, right now!

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has created quite a stir since it was unveiled earlier this year. The 4.3 inch smartphone packs high-end features into a compact case including a quad-core 2.2GHz processor, 2GB RAM and a 20 megapixel camera. It’s available now (although the official release date is 7th Feb), so where can you get one from?

Straight from Sony

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is available SIM-free directly from the Sony Mobile website for £449. You can choose from four colours, white, black, lime and pink; delivery takes 3-5 days.

If you’re looking for a contract here are what the high street shops and websites are offering:

Carphone Warehouse

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is available on a range of networks including O2, Vodafone and EE. The smartphone is available from free on contracts starting at £27 per month on a two year contract; this gets you 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data.

White and lime colours are in stock, whereas those looking the black or pink version will have to pre-order.

A SIM-free version is also available at £449.95.

Phones 4U

Phones 4U only has Vodafone and EE networks to choose from; you’ll need to find £29 per month (two year contract) to nab the handset for free, but you will get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data for the outlay.

4G contracts are available, which will push your monthly bill up to £34, but you will get 6GB of data to play with as well as 600 minutes and unlimited texts.

Phones 4U does not stock a SIM-free version.

O2

If you’re in the market for the SIM-free version of the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact then you’ll want to try somewhere else for it. O2 has the SIM-free handset at £479.99, £30 more expensive than other retailers.

The network does however have a large range of 3G and 4G tariffs to choose from. For more information and the latest deals check out the O2 website.

Samsung Galaxy S5 home screen leaked

With rumours of the new Samsung Galaxy S5 to be announced in February at the Mobile World Conference in February, leaked images appear to show that the interface comprises a bright tiled effect showing all of your relevant information including sports scores, messages and information about such things as your upcoming flights and even your latest workout.

We don’t official know what specs the Samsung Galaxy S5 will have but possible specs include a 16 megapixel camera, with 3GB RAM and 4,000Mah battery. Two versions are expected, plastic as well as metal. If the rumoured specs are anything to go by it looks like it could dominate the smartphone market.

The new Galaxy is expected to have eye scanning that Samsung hope will give it the edge over the Apple fingerprint sensor found on the iPhone5. This is reinforced by something that Lee Young Hee, executive vice president at Samsung said when he mentioned that consumers were interested in iris recognition technology; he would not confirm whether the S5 will have this technology or not.

So it looks as though we will have to wait until February before we can get our hands on one and confirm just what is on the S5 and what is not!

Picture: evleaks

The iPhone is seven years old

It is hard to believe but it is almost seven years since the first iPhone was launched onto the market, in many ways it seems to have been around forever, in others it seems only yesterday that Steve Jobs proudly displayed it to the world.

The are some remarkable facts about, what was first regarded as a revolutionary phone, surpassed in many people’s eyes by others such as Samsung, but after that first dizzy weekend launch when it was sold to 146,000 eager users, the iPhone production figures run into hundreds of millions, the actual number is not in truth known, except perhaps to Apple, but though to be around 250million units!

There have now been seven generations of iPhone but the most notable improvement has been to the camera, which was considered to be the “Achilles Heel” of the first iPhone which was a 2MP fixed, but has been upgraded several times on the later models along with the Apple operating system IOS.

Of course the success iPhone as well as the iPad has resulted in a market which is now dominated by this form of smartphone technology, with touch screens and eye scanning security. Samsung was late coming in behind the iPhone but is now the market leader. However, there is no doubting that the iPhone can be a very wanted item, if only for their trade in value, it is believed the iPhone4 was the most traded in phone in 2013 apparently for money and to get a phone with a higher memory capacity.

Korean researchers develop flexible battery

We have bendy buses and many other items that are flexible and news is that researchers from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, in South Korea have developed a flexible battery that could be a step towards the development of flexible Smartphones. The team, say they have developed a “fluid-like” polymer electrolyte that is more flexible than a traditional battery.

A spokesman has said that unlike conventional batteries that use liquefied electrolytes, which could cause safety problems if bent or heated causing the positive and negative which may come in contact, which can cause an explosion. The new system is, according to the researchers, more stable than conventional batteries.

Recently Samsung has shown a prototype for a flexible smartphone, which it calls Youm which no doubt would have the new flexible battery fitted to it. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the prototype phone was shown being flexed and bent without any conspicuous colour distortion, with other pre-recorded demonstrations shown on film. Corning, the maker of Gorilla Glass, which is widely used across mobile phones, is also working on a flexible glass product called Willow.

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