Thursday, May 29, 2014

Apple's iWatch Rumored To Have Round Face, But Should You Even Care About Wearables Anymore?

I'm a firm believer in "Don't knock it until you try it". The way that technology continues to grow and progress is so alarming that it's almost scary. I feel there is a shift happening right now. Some of us are oblivious to it. Others may know exactly what I'm talking about. New technologies are popping up left and right it seems. The biggest "trend", as some may call it right now, has got to be the wearables. There are so many of them popping up that I'm sure many of us have seen them somewhere. Google Glass was one of the main wearables that caught the attention of many people. After the "smart glass", we saw a lot of the smartwatches coming into the spotlight. Just about every large consumer tech company is creating their own wearable. Samsung has advertised their Galaxy Gear well enough that everyone should know about. Then there is Apple.

Apple is, essentially, the top dog in terms of overall consumer popularity and usage. They know this as well. They're far from oblivious. I can't tell if they've made the conscious effort to hold off on releasing their own version of the smartwatch. I suppose it wouldn't be too farfetched to say that Apple's iWatch is just fashionably late, but then again, it may be a business strategy.

Apple has had time to look at the competition. They've been planning and observing. Because of this they've been able to see the crowd response. They've looked at how the customers are reacting to the design of these smartwatches. Most of the smartwatches out there (including the Galaxy Gear) have a square face. This is where Apple's tardiness may have benefited them. Again, their absence in the smartwatch field is up to interpretation from anyone and everyone, so I could be wrong with my assumptions. Having said that, I personally think that this was their plan. The newest rumor spreading over the internet isn't regarding the release date or price. The rumor is actually talking about the design. Instead of the ever-popular square face, Apple's new iWatch is rumored to have a round face design. This could be the entire reasoning behind the whole "year late to the party" thing. Design does play a big role in this type of technology, especially since it can be viewed as a fashion statement.

Even though Apple may be the company to pull the wearable out of the grave, I still feel that the wearable is on its way out. It's not become popular enough to warrant any real purchase. There are usually certain stipulations involving these gadgets. They normally have to be coupled with some other type of mobile device, i.e. your cell phone. The smartwatches out now aren't designed to stand alone. If Apple's design team is able to make something that can stand alone and doesn't need to be tethered to a phone, they may just cause the wearable market to thrive.

If Apple isn't able to keep the wearable market alive with their iWatch, then I feel it's safe to say that the wearable market is a dead end. They've had the time to analyze the reception of the new devices and are able to develop theirs with that reception in mind. Here's hoping that the iWatch can make the change, but if Apple can't do it, then it would be my suggestion to the rest of the consumer tech companies to throw in the towel.

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This Security App Will Email You Pictures Of Who Stole Your Phone

This past Wednesday, Lookout added some new features to their mobile security app. These are features that you won't find on most other mobile security apps. With Lookout, you can now protect yourself from malware and spyware, and with the newest version of the app you can even protect yourself against theft. Now, the app will send theft alerts just minutes after it detects suspicious activities.

That moment when you realize you haven't checked your phone in a bit and you decide to grab it from your pocket just to find out that it isn't there is one of the most terrifying experiences anyone can have. Especially if your phone is a really expensive one that would cost a lot to replace or if you have a lot of personal information on it. The goal for Lookout with their new features is to help put your mind a little more at ease in those dark times of fear and desperation.

The way it works is pretty awesome. You can set up a custom list of actions that will trigger alerts. For example, you could make it so that your phone triggers an alert when someone removes the SIM card, enables airplane mode, turns the phone off, or if someone enters the wrong passcode.

When one of these things happens, it triggers an alert. When an alert is triggered, your phone will immediately snap a picture with its front facing camera and will record the exact location of the device. Once the picture has been taken and the location has been recorded, it will send you an email with a picture of whoever has your phone and give you its location so that you can go track down your stuff and beat someone up for stealing your phone. Or, you know... just ask nicely to have it back or call the cops. The email it sends will also give you the resources you need to file a police report on the spot if you want.

The app itself is free for either Android or iOS. To get the theft alert feature you'll need a subscription that costs $3 a month or $30 a year. It seems like a very small price to pay for any business travelers out there who find themselves in different places and situations more often than most people. If you already have the app, you can use the theft alert feature for free until September.

Theft and violence have been growing problems that surround smartphones and smartphone users recently. It has become such an issue that some states are even passing new laws to combat those issues. In California manufacturers are even requiredto give customers a way to remotely disable their phones and wipe them clean in order to prevent as much damage as possible.

This isn't the 1950's, and crime seems to be affecting everyone these days. You might as well protect yourself with one of the coolest security apps out right now.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Skype's Video Calling Is Now Free For Everyone

The day has come where Skype's group video calling feature is free for everyone to take advantage of. Skype has had video calling since 2010, but in 2011 they made it a feature that you had to pay extra for in order to use.

Currently, group video calls aren't supported on mobile, but the company has said that they are working on making this available across all platforms. This probably means that group video calling will be coming to mobile in the near future at no cost.

Back in 2010 when Skype first came out with group video calls, it was the only service that could offer that type of feature on such a large scale. Around the time that Google+ and Google Hangouts came about, they changed the game by offering the same thing for free. Many people ditched Skype for Google Hangouts, especially when it came to professional group video calling for business related purposes. Why wouldn't they? Google really stuck it to Skype with that one.

However, it quickly became clear that Google Hangouts wasn't quite as reliable as the service that Skype was offering. Google was still the main choice just because it was free, and Google was the first to bring group video chats to its mobile apps, which was a huge convenience. The Google Hangouts service kept getting better, and last year they even started integrating all of the VolP, text, video and chat features into Google Hangouts which made it even more convenient and made Skype less relevant.

Since Skype has decided to make their group video calling feature free, this probably means that they realize they have fallen behind because of services like Google Hangouts. Google isn't the only one either; there is FaceTime, ooVoo, Tango, Line, Viber, Qik, and so many other services doing the same thing, that it is actually amazing that Skype hasn't fallen off the map completely yet.

It doesn't take much for a website or service to be forgotten about these days when something new and better comes out. Maybe making their group video calling feature free will be enough to save them, but they may have waited a little bit too long on this one. The one thing they have going for them is the fact that they are probably one of the most reliable video calling services, and they were the biggest name for a while. They still have the most recognized name in their field, so maybe bouncing back won't be that hard.

The main point here is this: the service is free now, so go ahead and take advantage of it.

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