Sunday, May 24, 2015

Android Wear Updates and New Devices

Hey everybody.  Recently, the arrival of the Apple Watch has seemed to grab most of the attention of the smart watch industry.  However, there seems to be a general belief, not only that the world is not ready for smart watches, but that smart watches are not ready for the people.  What do I mean by this?  Many critics of smart watches have stated that wearables are useless, that all they do is provide a way to avoid pulling one's smartphone out of the pocket.  In addition, others say that, with their limited battery life, and low processing power, they are practically obsolete.  I am willing to argue that this is not true. One example that I can use is the tablet.  When it originally came out, most people viewed it as a useless device.  The laptop can do all things that a tablet can, and so can a smartphone.  But when looking at tablets, we can see that they are purchased for one reason.  And that reason is convenience.  The tablet allows for high portability of one's devices, without lugging around a heavy laptop.  People do only basic tasks on their tablets, compared to what is done on their computers.  I feel that smart watches have that same potential, with regard to phones.

I am sorry for going off on a tangent.  However, I do genuinely believe that one day smart watches will be commonly used.  Anyways, I will now talk about my original point, being the arrival of two new Android Wear devices.  The first of which, the Huawei watch, I enjoy a lot.  It looks very similar to the Motorola 360, with a thin, circular screen.  I love the design of the watch.  The bands are fashionable, the casing comes in multiple sleek color options, and it has layers of sapphire crystal to provide a futuristic look.  The main downside to the watch is its high price point, speculated to be around $400.  The other new arrival is the LG watch Urbane.  The first thing I noticed about this watch, is that it looks just like any normal watch.  If worn with a suit, I would consider it to be a traditional "fancy" watch, rather than one powered by Android Wear.  Another thing that I noticed was that LG seemed to stress the battery life, saying that it would last all day, if not longer.  Thus far, many have questioned the battery life of wearables, considering that the factor is large con of the entire wearable market.  The Urbane is priced around $350.

While it may not seem as if large improvement is being made in these Android wearables, that is because I have decided to save the best new change for last.  A new feature of Android Wear allows for WiFi connectivity.  With this update, these watches have become much more independent than previously, and now one can take only their wearable with them to do certain tasks (without their phone), such as errands or exercise, knowing that they have the capability to make calls or text when needed.  Finally, we have come just one small step closer to a technologically sane life.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Best Basic Phone With Wifi

Hello all.  If you have read my blog in the past, you will know that I have devoted lots of time looking for a specific phone.  As a previous user of AT&T, I realized that there were no options to buy a plan that would allow the purchase of a smartphone with no data.  However, I attempted to find a loophole.  I wondered if there were any non-smartphones "out there" with WiFi, so that I could still browse my Facebook and email accounts as long as I was on wifi, without paying for a data plan.  After my search, I came across a phone from the company Blu.  I paid only $35, and inserted my sim card.  While I did have what I wanted, (WiFi capability) the phone was lacking in its many features, and while I was not unhappy with the experience, I know that I received what I paid for.

The main problems with the Blu phone were its lack of app use.  In checking any of my various accounts, I would have to go to the browser and login, providing me with an unfriendly user interface and a bad picture.  Another problem was that, with the phone's physical keyboard, I would "butt dial" certain contacts multiple times a day.  Finally, it lacked a decent camera, something that I feel is a necessity.

These problems I considered largely before presenting to you the following phone.  I am talking about the Nokia Asha 503.  The Asha 503 is technically considered a feature, or basic phone, regardless of its many "smart" features, mainly WiFi.  It has a five megapixel camera, which trumps that of my old phone (only 1.3).  The phone itself is not new, but was released not long ago (Late 2013), and has many software update options, the most recent arriving this past April.  The main thing that I like about this phone is the app integration.  Unlike my other phone, this one has all of the social media apps, like Facebook and twitter, and provides notifications as well.  All photos have the option of being emailed, texted, or posted straight to any account registered with the device.  While the app store itself is not nearly as vast as that of iOS or Android, it contains some of the high profile apps and games that we still use today.  In a review that I watched, I noticed that certain apps, such as Pac Man, Plants Vs. Zombies, and older versions of Fifa were present.

The phone itself is tiny.  It has a slightly smaller screen than that of the first generation iPhone.  Buyer beware.  It is an all touchscreen phone.  If you don't feel comfortable typing on a small screen, this phone might not be the one for you.  The Nokia Asha 503 also has an intriguing design.  It is covered by a colorful back (color options are available), with a clear plastic casing surrounding that.  As for navigation, the phone relies on many swipes, as it has only one main button on the front, being the "back" button.  Other than the design, nothing special stood out to me to make this phone that much better or worse than a slightly aged Android smartphone.  In terms of price, the Asha 503 is sold on for approximately $100, GSM unlocked.  Remember, this means that once you get the Asha, the only thing necessary is to insert your Sim Card. It is not necessary to consult one's carrier.  Another thing to keep in mind is that this phone is primarily meant for those who are stuck under AT&T, and do not want to purchase a data plan.  If you are still unsure about your thoughts on the Nokia Asha 503, or want to learn more about it, either contact me, or feel free to look up a review and images of the device.  Make sure to follow my blog, The Road to a Technologically Sane Life!