Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why the Samsung Galaxy S4 Micro SD Card is Useless

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a great smartphone, but after a week I only have 3.5GB of storage left and dumbed down Micro SD card support on Android highlights the missing 32GB and 64GB Galaxy S4 models.
Currently the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4 is theonly model available for purchase from U.S. carriers, and several confirmed it will be the only model they offer. Some sources claim a Samsung Supply chain issue is behind the problem, but carriers are quick to point out that users can rely on a Micro SD card and the Cloud instead of the internal storage, but that’s not completely true.

There are limitations to what users can place on a Micro SD card and using the Cloud will push data usage up, which could force customers to spend $10 to $20 more a month.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Micro SD card is worthless for apps, purchased movies and most music.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Micro SD card is worthless for apps, purchased movies and most music.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the inclusion of a Micro SD card to store media and USB OTG support makes it possible to plug a USB drive into the Samsung Galaxy S4 when I need even more, but this doesn’t solve the problem of limited internal storage.
Google is focused on pushing consumers towards internal storage with changes in the ability to move apps to the SD card in Android 4.2 and in the design decisions of the Nexus 4, which only offers internal storage.
After using the Samsung Galaxy S4 for a week, and only downloading some of the apps I traditionally use, I am left with only 3.5GB of storage left on my 16GB Galaxy S4. That’s after a week of use, and forcing 1080P HD video and my photos onto an SD card.
Currently the biggest data hogs, after Samsung’s implementation of Android, are games, Google Play movie purchases and a few other apps. I’m afraid to download all the games I’ve purchased and to store any Google Play Music on the phone.
Why is this such a big deal with a 32GB Micro SD card waiting with 90% open?
Simple. Google won’t let me move any of this data to the Micro SD card.
Samsung Galaxy S4 data used after one week thanks to a few games and one HD movie.
Samsung Galaxy S4 data used after one week thanks to a few games and one HD movie.
Apps need to be on the Internal memory in order to work, likely because Google is worried users will purchase cheap, slow Micro SD cards that will impede performance. With many popular games clocking in at over 1GB in size, internal storage space disappears fast.
Google Play Movies and TV shows are also restricted to the internal memory. This is probably a concession to prevent piracy, which is especially annoying because there’s no apparent way to buy or rent content that I can store on the Micro SD card. If I were to pirate movies or break DRM to rip them to my computer I could store them on the Micro SD card.
When it comes time to listen to music, I’m not able to download the 1,645 songs I uploaded to Google Music without wasting internal storage. Some of them I can side-load from a computer onto my Micro SD card, if I want to give up the convenience of cloud sync. The same goes for music apps that allow offline playback, most of which will store songs on the internal memory.
With all of this in mind, the Micro SD card is basically good for photos and videos taken with the camera, as long as the photos aren’t taken in Burst Mode, which only supports saving to the internal storage.
There is the option to rely on the cloud for movies and music, but with a limited plan on AT&T this isn’t the best option for me or for many users. This also means more time spent picking and choosing apps and media when I will be offline on a plane or long trip. Apple offers the iPhone 5 with up to 64GB of storage and the HTC One comes with up to 64GB of internal storage.
Until Android improves on the ability to use built-in apps and services on the Micro SD card, it cannot be a replacement for 32GB or 64GB Android smartphones.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Meet the new Google maps (video)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Square shows off new hardware stand that turns iPad into a register

Mobile payment processor Square on Tuesday revealed a new hardware accessory for Apple's iPad: the Square Stand, which turns the popular tablet into a register capable of accepting credit card payments.

The Square Stand is specially designed to fit either the iPad 2 or iPad 3 and has a built-in credit card reader to allow for easy payment processing. Connecting the accessory to an iPad running Square's point-of-sale management apps allows for tracking of sales data and management of inventory and employees. 

The new accessory is a more iPad-specific hardware option from Square. The company's popular card swipers are already compatible with the iPad, but the Square Stand leverages the iPad's unique properties to make a more capable point of sale system. 

The Square Stand also connects to Square's Business in a Box connected register system, which can generate receipts and store cash as well. 

In introducing the device, Square said that 13 businesses with 30 locations will begin using the Stand on Wednesday. Square is also in discussions with Starbucks about putting the Stand into use in the coffee chain's locations. 

Square also revealed that it's processing more than $15 billion in payments on an annualized basis. The company's revenues from processing those payments — 2.75 percent for swiped transactions and 3.5 percent + 15 cents for manually-entered transactions — have encouraged investors to continually pump money into Square, with the firm raising $200 million in funding last fall.

The Square Stand is currently available for preorder. It will sell for $299.

Apple patent lets users control a device with taps, thumps and scratches

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday issued Apple a patent for an audio-based input system in which various noises made on a laptop's chassis are translated into actions, basically turning the computer into one large input device. 
Acoustic Input

Source: USPTO

Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,441,790 for an "Electronic device housing as acoustic input device" describes a system in which user input, such as taps, scratches or other noises, are picked up by acoustic transducers or microphones integrated into a device's chassis. These sounds are then processed, with corresponding actions resulting from comparison with predefined waveform data.

In one embodiment, the audio transducer or transducers "sense" a sound wave generated by user's interaction with an electronic device. When coupled with a microprocessor, the sound can be distinguished and interpreted to output the appropriate signal. 

From the patent description:
The interpretation maybe based on the type of input, nature of the input, the location of the contact on the housing, the amplitude of input, as well as other various other factors. For example, a scratch may be interpreted differently from a tap, and so forth. Additionally, a tap on the housing near an output or input device may actuate the device whereas a tap on another surface of the housing may be interpreted as a keystroke.

A sound "vocabulary" is employed to distinguish patterns and locations of noise input. For example, three taps near a camera can turn said device on, while another tap can snap a picture. Other forms of interaction, such as scratching or moving a finger along the device surface, can also be interpreted.
Acoustic Input

As computers tend to have moving parts like a hard drive or cooling fans, the patent calls for acoustic isolation in the form of either physical barriers constructed around the noisy components. Another embodiment calls for a software-based solution that ignores the sound signature of a certain part, for example a DVD drive. Noise interference can also be dealt with by subtracting signal data from an external transducer, much as the iPhone cancels sound with its secondary microphone. 

Apple notes that the invention can be used as a replacement for a physical keyboard, with the sound of tapping on a computer housing being enough to generate the appropriate onscreen information. For example, micro perforations backlit by LEDs or a solid surface can be used instead of a QWERTY keyboard. The system can also be configured for use as a trackpad. 

When applied to a mobile phone, the patent can be used as a simple input gesture, such as stopping an call from ringing. One of the more interesting examples described is when a user drags their finger up or down on the back of a device, thereby increasing or decreasing volume output. Yet another embodiment allows a user to tap a device housing near a specific component like a camera or speaker to activate it.
Acoustic Input

Multiple acoustic transducers in a device housing (106).

It is unknown if Apple will deploy such technology in a future device, as the advent of capacitive touch technology is simpler and more precise for many operations outlined in the patent. For other purposes, like tapping anywhere on an iPhone to answer a call, the property could come in handy.

Apple's acoustic input patent was first filed for in 2009 and credits Aleksandar Pance, Nicholas Vincent King, Duncan Kerr and Brett Bilbrey as its inventors.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Google Drive triples free storage to 15GB

(Credit: Google)
Google's capacity to store your files will jump by a factor of three, the company said Monday, rising from 5GB to 15GB shared across Google+, Drive, and Gmail.
Google made the announcement just before Google I/O developers conference begins this week. The changes will "roll out over the next couple of weeks," Google said in a blog post.

The new amount of storage space will give people who use Google services the most generous storage capacity of any player in the free online-storage game. A quick look at competitors shows that Dropbox currently starts free subscribers at 2GB, Microsoft SkyDrive users get 7GB, and Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud Storage, and SugarSync offer 5GB for free. The announcement follows a Google Drive update from last week that allows you to save files from the Web directly to Drive.

Nevermind "do no evil," Google -- as we all know -- is in the business of making money. If Google is offering you more storage, then there is something that extra storage helps you do that will help Google make more money.
There's no doubt that the 15GB is a game-changer in the free storage market. The question is, why did Google do it?
What that is, Google is not saying -- yet.

It's possible that at I/O, Google will reveal that Drive or Google+ will incorporate a more multimedia approach. Or perhaps it's simply nothing more than a shot across the bow of Dropbox: you now get 15GB because Google can give you 15GB.
Either way, it makes Gmail, Google+, and Google Drive that much more appealing to serious Google services users.

Update, 10:47 a.m. PTClarified that the new storage capacity is shared by Gmail, Google+, and Google Drive.


Lifeproof 5, Black

Lifeproof 5, Black

Lifeproof 5, Black

Enjoy the freedom to go everywhere and do everything with your iPhone 5. 

Waterproof (up to 2m), dirtproof, snowproof and shockproof protection lets you make the most of each and every day!