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Cell Phones

How Does The HTC 10 Stack Up?

In the highly competitive field of smartphones, it’s hard for most companies to go up against juggernauts Apple and SamsungHTC’s latest phone, the HTC 10, the latest member of the HTC One family, is the all-new, completely reinvented (yet vaguely familiar déjà vu of the M7) smartphone. The HTC 10 highlights are its: its impressive hardware, battery life, fast performance, hi-res audio and customization.

HTC has always been strong in design and it shows in the aluminum unibody design with chamfered edges running around its backside giving it an athletic silhouette - a modern interpretation of a classic smartphone design.  The HTC 10 boasts a slightly bigger 5.2-inch screen than its antecedants, and is pixel dense with a 2560 x1440p Quad- HD resolution and covers 99.9% of the sRGB colour gamut. HTC states that the display is 30 per cent brighter and 50 per cent more responsive than on last year's model. It’s protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and has a fast fingerprint sensor/ home button.

The HTC 10's rear camera is now a 12-megapixel "Ultrapixel 2" shooter with laser autofocus and dual tone flash, and a 5MP optically-stablised f/1.8 selfie camera in the front. As well the camera shoots 4K video and features the world’s first stereo 24-bit Hi-Res audio recording, capturing 256 times more detail than standard recordings.

The dual front speakers seen on previous versions have been scrapped, with the "BoomSound Hi-Fi" speaker system as a replacement, a combination of one front-facing tweeter in the earpiece and a bottom-facing woofer (for lower frequency sounds), each with its own amp.  The results in a powerful bass, better clarity and more volume.  There are two settings for the speakers – theatre mode and music mode.  With Hi-Res audio certification, 24-bit sound processing, built-in DAC, and a headset amplifier, it’s like stereo-heaven for any discerning audiophile.

According to HTC, which said that the phone is tough - having been subjected to 168 hours of extreme temperature tests ranging from -20C to 60C, plus over 10,000 drop, bend, scratch and corrosion tests.

The smartphone uses Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 820 processor and packs a strong 4 GB of RAM. The default storage space reads 32 GB or 64 GB, but microSD support can be boosted up to 2 TB, via a memory expansion card. HTC 10's massive 3,000 mAh battery is touted to last for almost two days on normal usage and the included 30 enabled Rapid charger will charge the device up to 50% in 30 minutes. The HTC 10 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow topped with HTC's Sense UI.

One of the exciting new software features of the HTC 10 is the customizable home screen - Freestyle Layouts.  Getting rid of the usual grid layout on most smartphones, Freestyle allow you to customize the home screen theme by assigning and app shortcuts to different stickers, as well as hide app labels altogether and create a sleek theme with shortcuts hidden in plain sight. In addition, the new App Lock functionality makes your phone more secure, allowing users to unlock any app they choose. 

The HTC 10 comes in both an unlocked GSM, for use on carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, and a CDMA version, for use on Verizon. It retails for $699.

Wither the Wearable Device - Back to The Future or Onward?

Can Apple do it? Though it sounds like a grand idea, the wearable wrist phone/device hasn’t been exactly burning up the cash registers… — oops, computer terminals — with sales of the Samsung smartwatch or other from Garmin and Misfit. It has been reported that sales have been tepid at best with the technology so far simply offering a smaller screen and limited options compared the smartphone or tablet.

With the Apple’s recent press event, CEO Tim Cook has announced the development of an iwatch. The hope is that Apple’s brilliance at rebranding and finessing ideas and devices will lead to something that justifies its wearability as a necessity not an annoyance.

Maybe it’s because millennials and the generation on have less experience wearing watches since the mechanical form are more of display of opulence rather than of practicality and the low price digital versions have been superseded by many other devices.

Okay so I am now dating myself forever by holding the image of a 1930s comic strip detective Dick Tracy with his arm up to his face talking into his wrist device. Tracy was a pretty crusty character and so was his creator Chester Gould yet this print creation envisioned a technology that is only now coming to fruition as Samsung and other companies jump into the space.

Years ago sci-fi author John Shirley envisioned a future rock band who wore their instruments — their bodies in effect played the music — and French film director Bertrand Tavernier released Death Watch, a near-future film starring Harvey Keitel as a man who has had his eyes replaced by micro cameras so he records and broadcast everything he sees and experience. The only downside — he really couldn’t sleep very well, to say the least.

That not withstanding, wearable devices step forward as one of those tech trends that will continue to evolve as we look to use our bodies as power sources, something to document and transform by collected data (temperature, blood pressure, salinity, speed, walking pace , etc.) and to be augmented with externally (google glasses) or directly through bionic devices that either replace or supplement limbs and organs.

The ultimate silicon/carbon interface is the development of nano-machines that are digest or injected into the body and provide life extension or physical enhancement that might create virtual super-people. Super soldiers, robo cops or terminators are neither far fetched or far off.

And not much further down the line on the horizon with be brain enhancing interfaces that will allow for virtual telepathy or levitation/telekinesis. With light bending fabrics even “invisibility” will be possible. There are even new technologies that allow for fabrics to be worn couple with micro cameras that screen images which create a real time camouflage.

What will a future CES or CE Week be like when these devices and tools fully come to market. That’s both a mind-blowing and scary thought. 

LG's G3 Compacts Form & Function

LG's latest G3 smartphone is all about simplification and this theme is reverberated in its slogan "Simple is the new smart” for an all-new smart interface; larger, clearer display; and a laser-precise camera demonstrating that power and precision really works.

With a 5.5-inch Quad HD display with 538ppi, the G3 has four times the resolution of HD and almost two times higher resolution than a Full HD display
camera. G3's Laser Auto Focus lens can shoot stunningly sharp images in a fraction of the time required by conventional phone cameras. Polished metallic skin on the rear cover that is lightweight, fingerprint-resistant and most of all, aesthetically pleasing.

According to LG, the G3 is the first Quad HD smartphone in the US with 78% more resolution than the Samsung Galaxy S5.  The Quad HD has about four times the number of pixels as a 720p HD display. Compare this to Apple’s iPhones, which tout a “Retina” display, having only a resolution of about 326 pixels per inch.

The improved user interface yields a much more fluid, more intuitive, and therefore easier, way to navigate through the handset. Less clutter, a flat tile look and more muted tones creates a mature look. Each core app, such as contacts and messaging, has its own color scheme. The circular motif of the graphic assets in the new UI reinforces the shape and concept of LG’s logo.To create a more relaxed and ergonomically-correct grip, the G3 features a floating arc design (i.e., a curved back) which creates an illusion (in the hand) of holding a thinner, narrower device despite a wider display.

The LG’s new UX (user experience) will be available on its low and mid-range devices.  Key highlights include:

  • Smart Keyboard - adjustable board where you change its height to your preference, as well an intuitive one where it learns your tap habits so it’ll automatically fix common typos or have faster input with customized individual keys set for commonly used symbols.
  • Smart Notice – a personal assistant offering suggestions or information based on user behavior or location.
  • Smart Security - Knock Code is a clever system where one can simply tap the right quadrants of the screen with the screen turned off and it works the same as an unlock code or pattern. Content Lock keeps personal files safe and hidden from view while sharing the LG G3 with others. Kill Switch gives LG G3 owners the ability to disable and wipe out personal information their phones remotely in the event of theft or loss.
  • The G3 is one of the first smartphones to introduce a laser-based autofocus system for its camera – a system more commonly found in high-end DSLR cameras – which is supposed to focus much faster than a typical smartphone and perform better in lowlight situations. The G3 features a 13MP and a front 2.1MP 'selfie' camera.  The latter has wider angle lens and features clever gesture recognition to activate the G3 self-portrait timer and a white-balance feature to correct skin tone imperfections.


The all-new LG G3 will arrive in the U.S. later this summer with T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile specialty stores. The stylish and fingerprint-resistant metallic skin with matte finish that keeps the LG G3 is available in: Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold, Moon Violet and Burgundy Red.

To learn more, go to:

The Samsung Galaxy S III - the Swiss Army Knife of Cellphones

Just a few years we boasted as to how small our phones were. Remember the Motorola’s Pebble cellphone?

Well, now it’s all about how big the screen is, what applications we have, and of course, how fast our data service is.  The Samsung-Galaxy-S-IIISamsung Galaxy S III (S3) has all that and more. 

We’re now entering an era of hybrid cellphones/ tablets. The S3 is like the Swiss Army Knife of cellphones.

The S3 offers one of the most sophisticated, powerful and interactive smartphones to date. At 5.4 inches tall and 2.8 inches wide, and the massive 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display (with a 1,280x720-pixel resolution), the S3 is larger than the average cellphone, however the handset's slim and sleek 0.34-inch width, contoured sides, and glossy coating make it a comfortable handhold. At an amazing 4.7 ounces (wow!), its physical body belies its weight. With its 1.5GHz dual-core cpu and 4G service, tasks are done at lightening speed. 

With so much capability, one would think that you’d be constantly recharging (the bane of many owners of Android-system smartphones), however the S3 carries an impressive battery life. It can last a full 24 hours with minor usage and about 12 hours with heavy usage 

And here's the basic specs:

  • Dimensions: 5.4" x 2.8" x 0.34"
  • Weight: 4.7 ounces
  • Screen Size: 4.8 inch
  • Screen Resolution: 720 x 1280 pixels
  • OS: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz Dual-Core
  • Camera: 8 Mega Pixel with 1080p video recording capability
  • Network: 3G (HSPDA/CDMA) / 4G (LTE/HSPA+)
  • Memory: 2GB RAM, expandable MicroSD card slot

Besides standardized features like Google apps, Bluetooth, and WiFi, the S3’s has S Beam.

The Samsung-only S Beam combines NFC (near field communications) and Wi-Fi Direct to "beam" / share larger-file photos, videos, and documents in mere minutes.  However, this capability is only between S3 phones. S Beam is an addition to Android Beam's capability of sharing URLs, maps, and contact information.  

Then there’s S Voice -- Samsung’s answer to Apple's Siri. Adding onto Android's built-in Voice Actions, S Voice is an improvement on Vlingo both on the listening and interpretation front, and sources answers from databases like Wolfram Alpha. 

It also includes  sharing software. Multimedia sharing is one of the S3’s main focus, with four main ways to share content.  AllShare Play (sharing among Samsung TVs, tablets, and phones), GroupCast, Buddy Photo Share, and ShareShot. 

While offering top-of-the-line performance and innovative features, the S3 is priced at a competitive 199.99 price tag for the 16GB version (with contract) and is available in the U.S. on five carriers:

  • Verizon
  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • U.S. Cellular

An aggressive distribution strategy indeed.  It’s no wonder that the S3 has been in such high demand in pre-orders already.  Available in “Pebble Blue” or “White” in 16GB or 32GB. 

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