If you are still getting lost every time you travel, you have seriously got to rethink your game plan. Not only are you wasting your valuable vacation time, but your also not making the most of the technological opportunities that are at your fingertips. Having a few handy apps on your smart phone or tablet can help you experience your travel more deeply, with restaurant and entertainment suggestions, language translation and so much more. There are a variety of apps and tech choices you can use to maximize how much you enjoy your vacation, but here are five you shouldn't leave home without.
Kayak or Expedia
Truthfully, it doesn’t hurt to have both of these apps on your phone. Kayak and Expedia are great for finding the best deals on flights, hotels and car rentals, all from the palm of your hand. You can also make quick changes, for those times that you decide you’ve had enough of a place or, better yet, if you want to extend your vacation time. Having either Kayak or Expedia on your phone will allow you to plan your itinerary, without having to use the computer in the hotel lobby to do so.
Before you head to the airport, be sure to download TripAdvisor. This app has tons of great options for cities all around the world. The best part is that you can download offline city guides, so that you can refer to them in case you don’t have phone service once you get somewhere new. Once you have left a destination, you can delete it off your phone and upload a new city. This makes for saving room on your phone much easier, as well as making the most of all a city has to offer.
You don’t have to be a seasoned travel to know how much it sucks to forget something that you need to use on a regular basis while on vacation. It’s even worse when it’s time to come home, and you realize that you left that item in the hotel safe. Luckily, Pack Pro is a great app for making lists that get you ready to pack. Not only can you make your own apps, but you can also select from premade helpful suggestions that other people have created. Even if you think you have packing down to a science, Packing Pro will assure that you never forget anything important ever again.
Traveling internationally is wonderful. Not knowing if you are getting a good deal on your money, well that’s not so awesome. Luckily, XE Currency has updated tables for what money is going for around the world. This means that you can use your smartphone, rather than the advice of the currency guy on the corner who says your money isn’t worth as much as you think it is.
Traveling internationally is wonderful. Wait, haven’t we said this already? Well as much as it sucks to not know if you are getting the most of your money, it’s equally troublesome to not understand the language that is going on around you in a foreign country. Luckily, Google Translate has a huge database of phrases and sayings that will help you decipher what a cab driver or local is telling you.
If you’ve opted to rent a car while on vacation, having Waze will help you get around more quickly. This GPS service is also a social network, where other Wazers upload the current conditions that they are driving in. It’s great for travel because you can communicate with other Wazers in the area and let them know you are traveling. You never know who you might meet or who might be helpful with suggestions while you are traveling.
Traveling is made easier with the help of technology and apps. And while there are plenty of options available on the app store, be sure to consider those listed here every time you pack your bags.
You can have it all, every byte and megabyte of your cellular data all conveniently wrapped into one plan without the worry of costly overages. But is an unlimited data plan really the best route for you. Before making a decision on whether or not to choose an unlimited data plan, there are several considerations you should review first.
Data a la Carte
Sometimes is better to pay for what you'll actually eat, rather than ordering the seemingly economical buffet. A la carte data plans allow you to pay for the data services you use and to scale your plan to a plate that suits your appetite. If the bulk of your data usage consists of text and picture messaging, you should consider data packages that cover messaging and possibly a bit of data for browsing the web. Your monthly phone bill details your data usage and can help you determine if you consume enough data to warrant an unlimited data plan.
If you sit on the opposite end of the data usage scale from the casual user, you'll have to take into account the fine print in your cell service provider's unlimited data plans. Your data usage could result in throttling, which is the suppression of your data speeds after you've reach a specified amount of data usage. If you intend to rely heavily on your unlimited data plan, you may be better served with another solution for wireless internet.
Undoubtedly, your cell phone includes a WiFi radio. Your phone's WiFi could serve you better than an unlimited data plan as you're able to offset some of your data usage by hopping onto the nearest WiFi connection. If you diligently take advantage of WiFi hotspots, you could find that a smaller data package serves you better than an unlimited plan. And because WiFi is generally free, you could save a considerable amount of money each month. WiFi connections also offer you faster speeds than cellular connections.
Unlimited data plans may make perfect sense for you, but you should take a close look at your cellular habits to determine how much data you require. If you fall outside of the sweet spot, as a user who consume too little or too much data, an unlimited plan may turn into a burden. Find the best data plan for you by consulting past cell phone bills and fully scrutinizing the details of what a prospective unlimited plan has to offer.
The tech world was abuzz in early February when rumors of the new iPhone hit tech blogs, websites and social media around the globe. Despite being one of the best selling handsets of all time, the iPhone has certainly gotten some slack and criticism in recent years with their lack of innovation. And while they hoped that their release of the 5S and 5C models would change all that, even those releases left consumers wanting more. Well luckily for you, more is likely about to be on its way. Word on the street is that iPhone is getting ready to unveil the new iPhone 6. Here is a look at what the current rumors are to the next installment of the iPhone line.
Bigger Is Better
One of the biggest issues in previous years was the fact that other companies, such as Samsung and Windows, were releasing phones with huge screens. Sure, the big phone trends of the 90’s died out with the turn of the century and everything, including technology, began getting smaller. However, now that smart phones offer the option to watch video, surf the web and view photos all from your hand, the added real estate that other phones were greatly appreciated. Well it appears that Apple finally listened. The biggest rumor for the new phone is that there will be two versions, each with their own larger screen size. While iPhone models including and prior to the 5S were all 4 inches in size, the iPhone 6 is expected to be anywhere between 4.7 and 5.5 inches. This is quite comparable to the Samsung Galaxy, one of Apple’s biggest competitors.
As mentioned above, there are two different speculated sizes for the iPhone. And while Apple was less than successful with releasing a 5S and a 5C at the same, they could instead be looking to offer two phones that are both considered to be their top models, unlike the 5C which was a downgraded version. The potential of a 5.5 inch screen jumps into a territory referred to as “phablets,” which is a mix between a phone a tablet. Other devices have seen success with this and Apple hopes to follow suit.
If you haven’t used an Apple device with Retina display, you are missing out. However, things are about to get even better with the Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide technology that is expected to be in the iPhone 6. Furthermore, the screen is also expected to have Corning Gorilla Glass on the screen, which is more durable and damage resistant than any other screens currently on the market. Not only is the screen of the new iPhone going to be bigger, but it’s going to be stronger and more reliable as well.
With as many apps, documents, media and more that you can run on your iPhone, it’s only good if you can keep running it at insanely quick speeds. The iPhone 6 is expected to have an A8 chip that is expected to be as much as 31% quicker than the current A7 in the iPhone 5 models. That means that you can also expect the potential of an A8 chip to be able to handle the speeds and demands of an iOS8, which is also expected to roll out with the new phones.
Lastly, you can expect the new camera to be a substantial upgrade as well. With current iPhones offering 8-megapixels, we can hope for a camera that offers at least 10, which is standard on competitors phones as well. With a bigger screen size, it only makes sense that users would have a better camera to view their photos with.
We will likely have to wait until the summer to see what of these rumors are true, and which ones haven’t been announced yet, with the new iPhone 6. However, if what we’ve heard so far happens to be true, the iPhone 6 is likely to be one of the hottest tech releases in 2014.
The world of digital devices and technological applications is in a constant state of development. Innovations designed to render life with these technologies simpler and more stylish are constantly being implemented. If having the latest gadgets and devices is something you’re interested in, this post is right up your street. Smart phones have opened up new avenues of opportunity and give us many new ways to connect with our world, but they have, by and large, saturated the market. What’s newest and next? We’ll take a look at what the latest designs in smart watches have to offer consumers, and see how they measure up to the design and applications of smart phones.
Old Concepts with New Features
The concept of the wristwatch itself is a technological breakthrough that sets the precedent for today’s smart watches. Considering that the workings of the standard watch at the time, the pocket watch, needed to be made smaller, while keeping precision at the forefront, it’s easy to see the analogy. Upgrades to the concept that included advances in winding, battery manufacture, and digitization further reinforce that theme.
Having made this leap, how do smart watches figure into the current technology scene and why do they bode to take that scene by storm? Over the past few decades, first computers and then wireless Internet and cellular technologies have been rendered ever smaller. It even became a popular theme in cultural humor as devices became more compact even as their capability, speed, and reliability increased. If you’ve ever lost track of your phone or had difficulty with small buttons and displays, you know how smaller isn’t always better.
Advantages Smart Watches Offer
While early models of smart watches included features that could assist with assessing weather conditions and distance calculations, today’s models perform a host of other duties as well. While most are still expanding their platforms from game play and limited media features, including cellular connection, a few of the frontrunners also offer mobile Internet capabilities. That makes them comparable to smart phones in many ways, with the enhanced benefits of a wristwatch—portability and compact size.
Smart watches bode to address the balance between technological capabilities and compactness with accessibility and ease of use. While still in the nascent phases of development, the market promises further advances. Enthusiasts are excited about many models precisely because of their potential, even if it hasn’t yet been fully realized. The beauty of these devices is in their potential for upgrading.
In essence, they are crafted to accommodate future advances, with “room” for software upgrades and other technological breakthroughs. In addition to functioning as a tool for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes, with features such as altimeters, barometers, pedometers, and depth gauges, many of these watches can connect with the internet, make and receive calls, and display a full range of media capabilities. These watches potentially offer all the capabilities of the PDA and the smart phone in a compact format that straps to your wrist, making it that much easier to keep track of your device.
Any reader of popular or science fiction won’t be surprised at this development. While popular series were using ideas of two-way radio or communication watches as early as the 1940s, science fiction proffered the concept as early as the 1970s, with wristwatches we would recognize as capable of GPS and cellular phone networking. Smart watches are the next wave technology influenced by cultural imagination—much in the way that flip phones seemed to echo the original Star Trek communicators. They represent the intersection of ideas, technological advancement, and ingenuity.
Facebook Paper is a mobile app created by the industry giant, Facebook. With its release in early February 2014, the application intends to serve as a mobile-based equivalent of a newspaper or magazine. Below are highlighted a list of the app’s unique features:
Grid-structure layout and magazine-like navigation
Facebook Paper functions primarily as a newsreader, displaying breaking news and top stories from a variety of topics. Stories are posted for the general viewing of all Facebook users and fall under one of several categories, including Headlines, Score, Tech, etc.
Each category has a main screen that is divided into two sections. The top portion of the page contains large photos, which auto scroll as a preview to some of the stories within that particular category. Entire categories can be browsed through and changed manually by swiping horizontally over these large photos at the top of the page.
The bottom portion of the page is where Facebook Paper users can select stories, using a scrolling carousel with thumbnails of posts in each particular category. A simple tap on any thumbnail will cleverly “flip” open the post across the entire screen, while a downward swipe will take the user back towards the home screen. Facebook Paper uses horizontal swiping as a means to browse through full screen posts within a specific section, which replaces the standard scrolling navigation of the original Facebook. In fact, the navigation is so unique that the app thoughtfully includes vocal and visual prompts for new users.
Careful curation of content
The posts that appear as thumbnails under each topic are not chosen at random, and they are not limited to content from Facebook friends. Instead, posts are partially determined by editors, who work to choose a mix of stories, photos, and other items that are intended to grab and hold the interest of each reader. Individual Facebook activity and social signals, such as “shares” and “likes,” also factor into content curation.
While in the Facebook Paper app, a user can tilt his or her mobile device at any given moment to load and view high-resolution photos, play videos, and view more details of friends’ status updates. Tilting allows for an item to occupy the entire screen, displaying areas that normally might be cut off. This mechanism is an advancement from standard finger-scrolling, and it is just one of the many reasons why photos have been shown to be a top feature of the app.
Familiar “Facebook” section
Facebook Paper is not just a newsreader. There is, in fact, a standard section where users can view their friends’ posts on News Feed and add their own. The familiar icons for notifications, messages, and friend requests can be found at the top of the screen at all times. Also, from the home screen, users can swipe downward to find prompts for profile updating, posts, editing sections, and direct settings.
Facebook Paper does not intend to replicate every feature of the original service. For instance, as the app is mainly focused around News Feed and Timeline, engagements such as birthdays and events cannot be viewed. For some, Facebook Paper has completely replaced the original version of the social network, while others are still undecided. Either way, it has proven to be an eye-catching app that provides access to news posts that otherwise may go unseen.
Everybody knows that you are only as cool as the cell phone you keep in your pocket or purse. With new technology and phones coming out every month, keeping up with the latest trends can be difficult to do on your own. Look no further! The six highest ranked phones for this month are listed below.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Network: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile
Those who love the stylus feature of cell phones and PDAs from several years ago will enjoy the retro feel of the Note 3. Recent users have sung praises on the follow features of this phone:
While users note that the phone feels bulky, and the faux-leather exterior appears much cheaper than it looks, individuals who are searching for a supersized phone will enjoy the ample screen size of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
Network: AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile
The slick design of the HTC One leaves little to be desired for most cell phone junkies. Recent reviewers of the HTC One have noted the following positive features:
The prominent con for the HTC One is the sealed case design, meaning that users cannot replace their battery or expand their memory with an SD card. If you love to watch videos on your phone, the HTC One may be the right fit for you.
Google Nexus 5
Network: AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile
Cell phone shoppers on a budget will enjoy the accessibility of the Nexus 5. Although less expensive than most smartphones, this Google phone still packs plenty of power, with some of the features including:
One thing to point out is that the screen is dimmer than its competitors, which may bother those who extensively use their phones outside. When it comes to the overall design, budget-conscious shoppers will love the technology included in the Nexus 5.
Apple iPhone 5S
Network: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile
Apple lovers will appreciate the upgraded specs on the newest Apple iPhone 5S. After some testing, reviewers state that they enjoy the following features:
On the flip side, reviewers also note that the external design of the iPhone 5S is identical to its older brother, the iPhone 5. For those who want the latest in Apple technology, the iPhone 5S will not disappoint.
Nokia Lumia Icon
The five-inch screen on this Windows phone makes it a great choice for app lovers on the Verizon network. Users will love some of the following features:
Unfortunately, many tech experts agree that the slab design looks uninspiring, with the call quality only being mediocre. For those who love Windows' phones, the Nokia Lumia Icon may be a perfect fit.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Network: European Networks Only
Labeled by some as the greatest compact Android phone currently on the market, some of the key features on the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact include:
As an added bonus for the accident prone among you, the Xperia Z1 Compact is designed to be completely waterproof. Although this phone is not running the latest version of Android, and Sony currently has no plans of launching this phone in the United States, this compact phone is sure to impress users in Europe.
Technology is changing the world in so many ways, and how we create art isn't any different. The artist who spends hours locked away in a studio struggling to create something the world will fall in love with has become almost non-existent. Certainly, a few stragglers hold on, refusing to be pushed out of the stone ages. For everyone else, technology propels them forward. As the Android market expands, artists have new apps to create with. Here are some of the best drawing apps on the market today.
Fresco is a powerful but easy to use mobile painting app featuring multiple brushes, filters and layers. Whether you’re a novice or a professional, the app has something to offer. With Fresco, you can create, save and share your work. The autosave feature ensures work is never accidentally lost. Easily convert created work to PSD format and export without losing filters or layers. Create while you’re out and about and continue working when you get back to your desktop. A limited version of this app, Fresco Lite, is available for free.
This popular drawing app includes a dynamic set of features for anyone who wants to create outstanding work on a mobile device. Use Sketchbook Pro in full screen mode in both landscape and portrait modes. Features include a customizable brush set, large canvas support, layers, customizable interface and multi-touch support. Share your work on DeviantArt or save it to the built in gallery to continue working on later. This developer also offers a free app, which limits some features.
Create your masterpiece with Infinite Painter. Designed for the serious artist, this app is packed with useful features. Blend colors for a completely customized work of art. Create multiple layers and high definition images. Use the protractor to ensure straight lines and perfect circles. With Infinite Painter, you can import images from your camera, photo gallery, the Web or the developers other app, Infinite Design. Export completed projects to JPG format without losing resolution so you can share quality work with the world. Try the free version of the app to sample the features.
Adobe Photoshop Touch
If you like Adobe Photoshop on your desktop, this app is the next best thing. While it doesn’t offer everything the desktop version has, it’s still a powerful tool for designing anything you can imagine. Basic features include layers, filters and selection tools. Image quality up to 12 megapixels guarantees your images always look their best. Import images from Google image search, fill layers with images from your camera, or browse the library for inspiration and ideas. With 2GB of storage space on Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you can automatically sync your work between your mobile device and desktop. Access your projects anywhere with an Internet connection. Adobe Touch also supports sharing, so showing your work to others is easy.
Created by the same developer who made Infinite Painter, this app is another artist favorite. Take advantage of infinite canvas rotation and canvas zoom for intricate designs. Apply effects to the entire canvas and use multiple brushes, drawing tools and layers. Draw and manipulate vector graphics with multi-touch functionality. Your work is automatically saved as you draw. Export your work as JPG, PNG or SVG formats and save them to your gallery to work on later. Infinite Design offers a free version with some features limited.
These days there is a wide range of mobile phones to choose from, with more hitting the market every month. But not all phones are created equal. As technology becomes more complex, so too does your mobile phone experience. The following are the four most user friendly phones, with designs and features that make them so much simpler for you to use.
Apple iPhone 5
Undeniably the most popular smart phone device today. People will camp outside stores for the launch of the newest version of the iPhone, a phenomenon not limited to jus the U.S. Since its recent launch in late 2012, it has sold millions the whole world over.
Manufactured with LTE technology, the iPhone 5 can browse the internet at lightning fast speed, making it easy to download applications and do any other online activities. The phone has advanced features like the iSight camera, allowing for quality pictures even in low light. Its A6 dual core processor allows for faster speeds when using programs. Finally, it has an updated version of Siri, maps, and passbook.
Among the top performers of smart phones, the Z10 is the newest mobile device from Blackberry. Like other Blackberry devices, the Z10 is focused on business, but also comes with features that allow for personal use.
The Z10 is a small but powerful mobile device. It has a built-in 1.5 GHz processor, a powerful unit that is capable of amazing speed while performing everyday tasks. Backed with an internal storage space of 16GB and 2GB of RAM, it’s not just a phone, but a small computer. The screen is not the largest available, but with a 1280 x 768 resolution it’s definitely one of the best looking. The whole device only weighs 4.78 ounces, making it a tiny powerhouse.
Nokia Lumia 520
Running on an up-to-date Microsoft Windows 8 operating system, the Lumina 520 is a fan-favorite for Microsoft enthusiasts. It comes with several nice features, all bundled together at a reasonable price.
The Lumina 520 comes packaged with 8GB of internal memory and 520 MB of RAM. However, the memory can be upgraded to 64GB. This amount of storage rivals netbooks and some laptops, with enough storage to hold a large assortment of music, videos, and pictures. Its 1 GHz dual core processor and Adreno GPU 305 processor provide a superior gaming experience for those looking for on-the-go fun. It also features a 5MP HD camera, which is one of the better phone cameras available.
Sony Xperia E
Rounding out the list is the Xperia E by Sony Ericsson. A simple but effective phone, it comes equipped with a 1 GHz Qualcom processor. The out-of-the box internal memory capacity is quite small at 4G, but can be expanded all the way up to 32GB. Whatever the memory capacity, the 512 MB RAM speed makes sure applications and files run fast. The Xperia E also comes equipped with noise and voice cancellation. This allows for the best audio quality and a remarkable while listening to music.
The ever growing market of mobile devices is vast, and sometimes complicated. When choosing a phone, it’s important not to just look at its features, but also how friendly those features are to you, the user. This way, you can pick a phone that has all the features you want, in the way you want them.
GSM phones, Global System for Mobile, are used the world over and GSM networks broadcast coverage over more than 90 percent of earth's population, according to the GSM Association's official website. GSM phones are perfect for world travelers or individuals who don't care to be held don't by a mobile phone contract. So what exactly is an unlocked GSM phone? What are it's benefits and are there any drawbacks to using them?
Breaking the Bond and Moving On
When your GSM cell phone is locked, it's removable Subscriber Identity Module card is tied to your cell phone's serial number. The phone and SIM card are locked together -- the SIM won't work in a new phone and the phone won't accept a new SIM card. Unlocking breaks breaks the pairing of the SIM card and phone, a feat of which Code Division Multiple Access Phone are incapable without software modifications.
Free to Do What I Want, Any Old Time
With your SIM card free from the grasp of a carrier-specified cell phone, you can plug the liberated chip into any unlocked GSM phone and use your current cell phone number. Unlocking your GSM cell phone is perfect for individuals who like to upgrade their phone at their own pace -- unlocked phones can also be resold, helping to fund the purchase of a new one.
Unlocked phones are invaluable for travelers. Instead of racking up roaming rates with your current SIM card when you're abroad, you can substitute a locally purchased SIM card to enjoy reasonable calling rates while you're away -- and you don't have to pickup a low-quality phone to sub in for your current phone.
Is there a Downside to Unlocked Phones?
There really isn't a reason not to acquire unlocked phones, though you'll miss out on some of the carrots dangled by cell service providers. Carrier-locked phones are heavily discounted, sometimes even free, as cell service providers attempt to woo you into a new cell phone contract. While you'll find great sales on unlocked cell phones, locked phones will almost always appear cheaper up front due to contract subsidies.
Unlocked phones give you ultimate flexibility and portability -- you can take your number to whatever phone you want and you can take your phone anywhere in the world. Don't let cell service providers dictate what phone you use and how long you use it. Unlocked phones can be found at cut-rate prices at online retailers and they're worth your full consideration.
Search for "photo editing" in the iPhone’s App Store and you'll be inundated hundreds, if not thousands, of apps, many of which are free to install. With so many choices at your fingertips, the task of finding a photo app to suit your needs can be overwhelming. A lot of the apps you'll find offer the same basic features, which is fine if you're just looking for a program to crop, resize or rotate pictures. If you're interested in sharing your photos with friends or family, however, or want to give a professional sheen to your images, not just any app will do.
Instagram: 150 Million Users and Counting
If you want to share your photos with your Facebook, Twitter or other social media account, Instagram is right up your proverbial alley. Once you've installed the free app from the App Store and set up a new account, you can start importing pictures from your device. The best thing about Instagram is its effects: you can rotate or brighten an image, for example, or apply one of 19 different filters to add a vintage or retro effect. After editing your photo, you can add a caption to the image and choose the social networking accounts you want to upload the photo to.
VSCO CAM: For the Professionals
VSCO CAM is ideal for fledgling photographers who want to produce highly stylized or professional-looking photos without using expensive or complicated software. As in Instagram, you can select from a number of different filters in VSCO CAM, but the app allows you to adjust the strength, or opacity, of the filters you apply. You can also modify a photo's exposure, contrast, warmth, saturation and sharpness, among many other effects. Best of all, the app is completely free.
FaceTune: Hide Your Imperfections
Instagram and VSCO CAM are great for general use, but if you're looking to transform your portrait photos into beautiful head shots, FaceTune is the answer. The app, available for $2.99 at the App Store, can remove wrinkles and blemishes, whiten teeth, remove red eye, hide gray hairs and even reshape or contour the face. Of course, moderation is the key when using the different tools in FaceTune, as editing a photo too much can make the subject look unnatural.
Instagram, VSCO CAM and FaceTune are by no means the only worthwhile apps you can download on your phone. For example, PicLab HD, available for $1.99, overlays photos with typography and film effects, while Frametastic organizes multiple photos into a single frame, similar to a scrapbook. If you're familiar with Adobe Photoshop, you can download a lightweight, mobile version of the app, called Adobe Express.