July 5, 2012

How People Really Use Their Android Smartphones

Posted in Just for fun, mobile news by Lisa Leitner

Recently Tawkon released some interesting data on how people really use their Android smartphones. Results show that if you are from the US and own a Samsung Galaxy S, chances are high that you talk a lot on your phone. If you are a Swede, you’re likely to record a pretty high accessory usage; meaning that you are a heavy bluetooth user. On the other hand, if you’re from Taiwan, you are your Android battery’s best friend, as you tend to set value on saving energy.


Android smartphone


Basically, the usage of Android smartphones depends strongly on your culture and location. Can you identify with the outcomes of this observation? Take a look at the infographic below.


How People Really Use Their Android Smartphones

How People Really Use Their Android Smartphones


June 21, 2012

5 Eco-friendly Ways to Charge Your Smartphone

Posted in Just for fun, mobile news by Lisa Leitner

We’ve all been there. The battery of your phone is low and there’s no wall outlet nearby. You desperately try to memorize some phone numbers and write one last text message, when eventually it goes dead. Thanks to some brilliant minds, we don’t have to despair of situations like this anymore. There are several eco-friendly ways to charge your smartphone.

5 eco-friendly chargers

5 eco-friendly chargers


1) SunnyBAG Solar Energy Charger

SunnyBAG charges your smartphone


First in line is SunnyBAG, a shoulder bag with waterproof solar panels on its outside. Obviously it uses sunlight as a source of energy, but it also charges its integrated power battery pack in all other weather conditions. Currently SunnyBAG’s battery pack has a capacity of 18.5 Wh and needs 2 – 3 hours to be fully charged on a sunny day. The battery features a USB output which can charge any type of mobile phone – anytime, anywhere and all eco-friendly.


2) Kinesis K3 Wind and Solar Charger

Kinesis K3 charges smartphones

Kinesis K3

The K3 captures power from wind and sun and stores it in its internal battery. At the moment, a 4,000 mAh battery is used to charge smartphones, mp3 players, cameras, etc via the built-in USB port. LED level indicators show you the current power status with the press of a button. The Kinesis K3 can stand up, lay down or hang and it’s said to work in almost any environment.


3) Smartphone Bicycle Charger Kit

Charger that collects energy by pedal power

Bicycle Charger

The Smartphone Bicycle Charger Kit collects green energy from cycling. It starts charging as soon as you reach a speed of 4 mph and uses solely pedal power to charge smartphones and other devices. The Smartphone Bicycle Charger Kit comes with a dynamo power generator, cell phone holderbicycle USB charger, and all necessary brackets and connectors. Using it supports your own health as well as our environment.


4) Orange Sound Charge T-Shirt

Orange Sound Charge T-Shirt

Sound Charge T-Shirt

This sound charge T-Shirt is perfect for you, if you like to hang out in loud environments (a noisy office or a bar) and set no great store by your look. Its film panel acts like a microphone which absorbs acoustic waves. The waves are then converted into electric charge which is stored in a reservoir battery. It is said that with sound levels of 80dB, the sound charge T-Shirt will generate around 6 W/h. All the electronics as well as the film panel are removable so you’re able to wash it in the machine.


5) Mushroom GreenZero Charger

Mushroom GreenZero Charger

Mushroom GreenZero

If you are lucky enough to have an outlet in sight, but still want your charger to be energy efficient, the Mushroom GreenZero Charger might be the ideal solution for you. While traditional chargers continue consuming energy also after the charge is complete, this little mushroom-shaped device shuts off as soon as your smartphone is fully charged or unplugged. This helps you save energy and also your battery’s life as it makes sure your smartphone doesn’t overcharge.


There are some great ways to charge your smartphone and at the same time reduce your ecological footprint. If you happen to have a talent for training bugs, you might like this eco-friendly way of charging your phone:

June 13, 2012

How Smartphones Change the Way We Live

Posted in Just for fun by Lisa Leitner

Do you know the feeling when you go out and realize you left your phone at home? Some might run scared others are completely lost – I think we can sum it up: it’s not very enjoyable. Smartphones have become a vital part of our lives and without them we feel like only half a person.

Smartphones change the way we communicate, gather information, behave, feel and use other technologies

Most of us use their smartphone every day, to surf the internet and social media platforms, check emails, manage calendars, listen to music, play games, watch videos, take photos, read the news, write text messages and also, every now and then we use them for their original purpose, to make phone calls. Now all these activities can be done using one single device. If you think back some 25 years ago, some of them were not even possible. Consequently, smartphones have changed the way we live quite drastically.


How Smartphones Change the Way We Consume Information and Communicate

The way we consume information has changed from talking to each other to reading the newspaper to watching television, to gathering info on the web using a computer and now a smartphone. Today we can access any kind of information 24/7, wherever we are. That’s both, convenient and overwhelming. Same is true for communication. Our smartphone offers us several ways of communication: calls, text messaging, instant messaging, email, social media, blogs, etc.

The fact that we can get any information anytime we want has quite an impact on our way of living. A recent study by Columbia University found that we are very likely to forget information which we know we can easily retrieve again. Also, when we are asked questions, we tend think about how we can find the answer on the internet rather than thinking about the actual question and answering it ourselves. Basically, we’re getting lazier, because we know that we can access all kinds of information anytime.


How Smartphones Change the Way We Behave and Feel

It starts early in the morning. The first thing we do is reaching for our smartphone to turn off the alarm clock. As the day goes by we use our smartphone on the way to work, during mealtimes, at work, on the way home, in the bathroom and in bed. The smartphone has made us more sociable, or is it the other way around?

We are constantly connected and expected to have a mobile phone with us at all times. Of course, that’s convenient, but being available 24/7 is tiring, it’s a blessing and a curse. “Sorry, I wasn’t at home” has worked as an excuse 20 years ago. Today it’s like you never leave the office.


How Smartphones Change the Way We Use Technology

Our society tends to use devices that make our lives easier and more convenient. Taking this fact into account the mobile industry developed one device that made several others obsolete. Sales dropped for landline phones, desktop computers, digital cameras, mp3 players, gps devices, etc. Not too long ago there was a time, when you needed to carry all those things with you.

The desktop computer used to be the most irreplaceable tech piece in our lives, but during the last months the smartphone has taken its place. We still like to use desktop computers to handle practical tasks, while we prefer our smartphone to handle emotional ones.


Our smartphone is our personal assistant that helps us mastering our everyday life. I wouldn’t wanna live without it anymore, would you? I’d love to read your opinion in the comments!


Finally, have a look at this infographic about how phones influence our family lives:

How smartphones change our family lives

Source: CTIA/Qualtrics

June 6, 2012

The Top 5 Android Keyboards

Posted in apps, Just for fun, messaging by afeiner

It happens to everyone. You are on the go and need to immediately send a text message. However, you have no computer or tablet next to you where you could use your beloved mysms web app. There’s only one solution, you need to text on your tiny Android keyboard.
This can be a challenge and we want to ease your pain. That’s why we show you our favorite Android keyboards – one for every typing style.

Our Top 5 Android Keyboards

Our Top 5 Android Keyboards


1) Standard ICS keyboard

Android ICS: Best Android Standard Keyboard So Far

If you are already using Ice Cream Sandwich you are one of the lucky. The newest Android version contains an improved keyboard. What’s changed? Try it and you’ll see. It’s a lot faster and typos occur fewer than ever. The keyboard now contains spellchecking a better autocorrect and text prediction.

 2) SwiftKey X

SwiftKey X: This Keyboard Knows What You Are Thinking

You are not the fastest typer, but neither do you want to learn a new typing technique. In this case text prediction might be your thing. There are many apps that support this feature (even your standard Android keyboard), but only a few have focused on it and made it their main advantage. Above all, we recommend Swiftkey. Typing is very similar to your standard keyboard, but Swiftkey also gives accurate corrections and predictions. Also, SwiftKey learns your writing style. The more you write, the more accurate suggestions you will get.


3) Swype

Swype: An Easy and Fast Way To Type

Wanna try something different? Swiping has been very popular for some time now and it’s an interesting technique to try. Instead of tapping each letter separately, these keyboards let you drag your fingers across the keyboard to type a word. Swype is probably the most well known swiping keyboard and there are a few reasons for that. It is fast, easy to learn and has a huge dictionary. You will need some time to get used to it, but once you know how it works you will be blown away by your speed. If not preinstalled on your phone, you can get it on Swype’s beta page.


4) 8pen

8pen - The Keyboard For Adventurers
Looking for an adventure? Then try 8pen. It’s a gesture-based keyboard and looks completely different to all the others that I’ve mentioned above. Letters and characters are arranged in 4 divisions around a central ring. To type a letter you start from the center and swipe to the character that you want. Then you draw a loop to the center. Getting started feels more like playing a game than typing, but it can be a bit challenging. However, if you’ve figured out how to use it, 8pen works surprisingly fast.


5) MessagEase

MessagEase - Different But Worth Trying


Open to another experiment? MessagEase is worth a try and quite different to the traditional typing style. The keyboard is organized in nine keys, each holding one of the most used letters and one (or more) secondary letter. The most used letters can be tapped as usual. To access the secondary letters tap the key and swipe to the side. Once used to it, you won’t be able to stop texting.


Are we missing your favorite keyboard app in our list? Just add your suggestions and thoughts in the comments!

May 25, 2012

Mobile Phones Now and Then – a Little History Lesson

Posted in Just for fun, mobile news by Lisa Leitner

The mobile phone has accompanied us for about 30 years now. Within the last decades it has evolved from a means of simple communication to a personal assistant who facilitates our everyday life. Today, we can’t imagine a world without our beloved cell phones, let alone mobile internet, apps, built-in cameras and mp3-players.

Just a couple of days ago my 7-year-old nephew asked me: “What did you do with your iPhone before there was internet?” That’s when I decided to go back in time and tell a little history about the evolution of mobile phones. So read along, whether you are 7 and want to know where the iPhone comes from or you are 25+ and can still remember a time without apps and all the bells and whistles.

Evolution of mobile phones

Mobile phones now and then

1980s –the first generation of mobile phones

The early 1980s brought us the first generation of mobile phones. Believe it or not, back then the only purpose of the mobile phone was to make phone calls. This is how a cell phone looked some 30 years ago:


Motorola DynaTAC 8000X

Motorola DynaTAC 8000X

Here are some key facts of the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x:
Talk time: 1 hour
Standby time: 8 hours
Display: red LED
Memory: you were able to save 30 phone numbers
Weight: 790 g (28 oz)
Size: 250 mm long (10 in)
Input: 21 keys

Not very surprising, this phone was also called “The Brick”. Nowadays it may seem as if Motorola didn’t have any appreciation for design, however, the brick was considered revolutionary back then.

1990s –the rise of Nokia

In the 1990s mobile phones started to look very differently to their predecessors, following a trend to build tiny 100 – 200 g (3.5 – 7 oz) devices. There’s one handset many of you will remember from that time: the Nokia 3210.

Nokia 3210

Nokia 3210

Key facts of the Nokia 3210:
Talk time: 3 – 4.5 hours
Standby time: 55 – 260 hours
Display: backlit monochrome
Memory: 250 names in phonebook
Weight: 153 g (5.4 oz)
Size: 123.8 mm x 50.5 mm x 16.7 – 22.5 mm (4.9 in x 2 in x 0.6 – 0.9 in)
Input: 15 keys

Some changes are pretty obvious –size and weight shrunk enormously, it got a real display, fewer keys and battery lives improved. Also, mobile phones got some cutting-edge features, like an internal antenna, mobile games (Snake!) and SMS messaging. With its killer features the Nokia 3210 became one of the most popular mobile phones in history.

2000s – the smartphone revolution

The trend of making cell phones tinier and tinier lasted until the mid 2000s. Holding a teeny Sony Ericsson Z525a in 2006 I was making fun of huge phones, not knowing trend was about to teach me a lesson. A major event in the history of mobile phones lead to a fundamental change in size and look of devices: the launch of the first iPhone in 2007.


iPhone 2G

iPhone 2G

Key facts of the iPhone 2G:
Talk time: 8 hours
Standby time: 250 hours (that’s what Apple says)
Display: 3.5 in (88.9 mm) screen, 320 x 480 pixel resolution, multi-touch display, 18-bit LCD
Memory: 128 MB eDRAM
Storage capacity: 8 or 16 GB flash memory
Weight: 135 g (4.8 oz)
Size: 115 mm x 61 mm x 11.6 mm (4.5 in x 2.4 in x 0.5 in)
Input: 1 key, touchscreen
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth
Rear camera: 2 megapixel

The release of the iPhone 2G was the start of the smartphone revolution. Apart from making phone calls and sending text messages, smartphones seemed to have nothing in common with mobile phones from the 1990s. The mobile phone of the late 2000s was a mini-computer, with which you could surf the internet and make use of apps. Furthermore it replaced your camera, your calendar, your mp3-player and your remote control. Suddenly all the other handset manufacturers started to build smartphones and the devices got bigger and bigger.

Mobile phones today

Today it gets harder and harder to tell cell phones and tablet computers apart. The newest member of the smartphone family is the Samsung Galaxy S III, announced on May 3rd in London.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

Key facts of the Samsung Galaxy S III:
Talk time: 6 – 10 hours
Standby time: 24 – 50 hours (way more realistic than Apple’s 250 hours)
Display: 4.8 in (120 mm) screen, Super AMOLED, 1280×720 pixles, multi-touch, proximity sensor, scratch resistant glass
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Storage capacity: 16/32/64 GB flash memory
Weight: 133 g (4.7 oz)
Size: 136.6 mm x 70.6 mm x 8.6 mm (5.4 in x 2.8 in x 0.34 in)
Input: 1 key, touchscreen, voice recognition
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, 4G, NFC
Rear camera: 8 megapixel
Front camera: 1.9 megapixel

Obviously, over the years design and usability have become very important to the mobile industry. Technical improvements are impressive. Pictures you take with your new Samsung Galaxy S III are of a higher quality than those you took with your Canon Ixus a few years ago. Also, the performance of today’s mobile phones is stronger than those of computers we used a decade ago. The only real disadvantage that’s involved is the poor battery life. So there’s still room for improvement.


Anyway, it’s for sure that the evolution of mobile phones has turned out pretty great so far. Our smartphones are great assistants, who we can even talk to now. So all that’s left to say is: A world without a mobile phone is possible, but pointless 😉