All posts tagged “smartphones”

Pay T-Mobile $5 per month to get deep discounts on smartphones

T-Mobile is announcing its latest “uncarrier” move today. You can now opt to pay $ 5 a month for exclusive access to discounts when upgrading to new devices. The service is called Score, and some of the deals are pretty appealing.

If you’re a Score member for 12 months, you’ll unlock deals on top-tier smartphones. The sample deals included in today’s press release include $ 150 off the full price of a Nexus 6 or Galaxy Note 4, as well as $ 100 off a Galaxy S 5. Not too shabby of a discount for $ 60 worth of payments over the course of a year.

More “uncarrier” moves

After just six months, you’ll be able to get some entry-level smartphones for free. The carrier mentions the Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2 as an example — it currently sells the…

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8 Free Apps To Monitor Your Kids’ Smartphones Activities On Android

These, days, there is no stopping a child from growing up without the influence of tech gadgets, online content, and the Internet in general. Being a parent is already a tough enough task, but shying away from the topic or completely shutting out technology from your children’s lives isn’t going to help.

What you can do however, is to have more control over what they are exposed to while on their gadgets, and this post will try to help you with that, particularly on Android.

Google Play Store may not have tougher restrictions than those found on Apple’s AppStore so if your kids own an Android device (or have access to your device at their liberty), you might want to set up some of these parental apps to help you monitor your kid’s online activities on the device. Some allow restrictions of online sites they can visit, the monitoring of their text or call usage, app downloads, location and how long they can spend on their devices.

If you are on iOS, check out this post on 5 ways to make your iOS devices more kid-friendly and child-safe, and if you are on Mac, we also have a list of 10 Parental Control Apps you can try out.

1. Kids Place – Parental Control

Kids Place is a comprehensive parental control app. Some of its handy attributes include a customized home screen showcasing approved apps only, the ability to prevent your child from downloading or buying new apps as well as a time feature to specify a schedule for using the smartphone.

On top of that, it’s also capable of blocking incoming calls and disabling all wireless signals. When you install and use the app for the first time, you have to first set a PIN for security purposes. [Get it here]

2. KuuKla Parental Control

KuuKla Parental Control App helps you tailor your Android device into one which is suitable for your child. It gives you the opportunity to select the applications that you want to appear for use on the home screen while disabling access to all other applications. It also allows you to define a schedule for using apps and the Internet on the smartphone.

Once you’ve download the app and registered your email address, a PIN code will be sent to the email address provided which can only be used by you to control the device. [Get it here]

3. Abeona – Parental Control & Device Monitor

The Abeona app actually comes with a complementary app called Device Monitor. Abeona – Parental Control allows parents to monitor the mobile apps usage of their child, view call logs and check whether the device of child is online or offline among other things.

The Device Monitor app must be installed on the child’s device in order for the parent to receive reports of device usage and location. The app is great for use on multiple devices, for instance if you need to get reports from multiple Android smartphones or tablets, all at once. [Get them here and here]

4. SecureTeen Parental Control

Worried about your teen being exposed to mature or adult content online? Try SecureTeen Parental Control which can filter out most if not all adult content. SecureTeen allows you to monitor your children’s online activities, applications they download and their location.

If you don’t like an app that’s installed on your child’s phone then SecureTeen allows you to shut it down, even if it’s still installed. SecureTeen can be managed remotely online by logging into the website. [Get it here]

5. Screen Time Parental Control

As the name indicates, Screen Time is a helpful app which lets you manage how much ‘screen time’ your kids get. The key features of Screen Time includes blocking different apps according to the time.

For example, you can block only games at bed time but still allow readings apps then choose to block all apps when it’s time for lights out. Screen Time also allows you to set a daily time limit on the apps you want to restrict access to. [Get it here]

6. Kids Zone Parental Controls

Kids Zone is another handy parental control app. The chore mode gives you the capability to set a time limit that determines when your child can use the smartphone.

Other notable features include relocking the device after rebooting, blocking phone calls as well as text messages and Internet access, blocking apps installation and in-app purchasing, and various other features. [Get it here]

7. Parental Control Board

The Parental Control Board app helps monitor, manage and track a child’s activities on a mobile phone. It can monitor a list of all installed apps on the phone and you can even restrict some of them such as YouTube or Google Play, if you need to. Get the precise location of your child at any time and control and see all call logs and SMS that goes through their phone.

One of the useful things that this app has is the ability for parents to setup black lists and white lists of phone numbers for incoming/outgoing calls and messages. [Get it here]

8. Norton Family Parental Control

This Norton Family Parental Control app allows you to see which websites are visited by your child. You can also restrict access to pornographic and inappropriate websites and can setup email alerts that notify you whenever your child attempts to do something that he/she shouldn’t.

If you don’t mind spending a bit of money, you can get the premium version which lets you view logs of text messages, monitor the apps downloaded by your child and even block some of those apps amongst various other features. [Get it here]





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Google reveals the first ultra-cheap Android One smartphones

Google has unveiled the first smartphones to run on its Android One platform, a standard designed to help push affordable smartphones in the developing world. The initiative kicks off in India, where Micromax, Spice, and Karbonn are all selling phones said to have 4.5-inch screens, 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel main and 2-megapixel front cameras, 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processors, dual-SIM slots, microSD expandable storage, and FM radios.

Android One devices will ship with support for more languages, including Hindi, and feature more local publications in Google Play Newsstand. Google is also making a special version of YouTube available which will allow users to download videos and re-watch them multiple times without incurring excessive…

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Link About It: This Week’s Picks : Remembering Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, the USPS’ long-overdue rebrand, smartphones charged by sound and more in our weekly look at the web

Link About It: This Week's Picks


1. Robin Williams: 1951-2014 This week the world tragically lost one of popular culture’s most beloved icons, actor and comedian Robin Williams. An outpour of articles have emerged, offering insights on his inimitable legacy and recent mental health, as well as a few…

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Cool Hunting

LG’s G3 sets the new benchmark for overpowered smartphones

If it were a laptop, its Quad HD resolution would be impressive. If it were a camera, its laser autofocus would be an advantage. But the LG G3 is a smartphone, and as such, it’s the most advanced one we’ve seen yet. If you are the sort of person who values top-end specs above all else, LG is ready for you.

Like the G2 before it, the G3’s front is almost all screen. Thanks to thin bezels on all sides, almost 77 percent of the device’s footprint is occupied by its 5.5-inch IPS display. With a…

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Infographic: cameras and smartphones in a photography face-off

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First Ubuntu smartphones launching this year

Ubuntu smartphones are finally coming to market. Canonical has announced that Meizu and bq will both begin selling Ubuntu smartphones before the end of the year. The phones will be made available globally, though given the manufacturers on board, they’ll likely be targeted toward emerging markets, where Ubuntu will have an easier time standing out beside iOS and Android. There are no details yet on what the phones will be like, but we could learn more next week at Mobile World Congress.

It’s been a long road to this point for Canonical. A mobile version of Ubuntu was first announced nearly two years ago, and its actual launch date has seemingly been up in the air since then. The OS became available to developers about a year ago, and…

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HP smartphones come back big with 6- and 7-inch ‘voice tablets’

HP has announced plans to launch a pair of small tablets that can make calls in its first move towards making a smartphone since canning webOS. The HP Slate6 VoiceTab and HP Slate7 VoiceTab are a pair of Android tablets with 3G onboard designed for users who want to “consolidate their phones and tablets” into a single device.

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Smartphones & You: Who Is (Really) In Control?

Smartphones are evolving at a rate that is beyond belief, coming out in the form of curved displays and self-healing capabilities, to changing the way we make payments and diagnosing illnesses. There are now more than 1 billion smartphone users in the world and the numbers are still rising. Smartphones have improved our lives with a variety of apps, for use in fitness and health, in keeping us connected, and giving us access to the latest news and info available online.

Smartphone Master Comic
(Image Source: Manu Cornet)

However, there’s a negative influence that smartphones have introduced into our lives. It has taken over our lives so much that we cannot put it down long enough to appreciate the world around us anymore.

It puts us in an instant gratification mode. If there is an alert, or a notification, it is the first thing we tend to, then on to the next social network feed, the next email, the next tweet etc. We have our eyes stuck to the screen, our heads crouched down while on the bus, in class, at work, and even during meals.

Smartphone Master Comic
(Image Source: Manu Cornet)

We are no longer in control. Instead, we have a tech addiction that puts smartphones in control of us. Let’s take a look at how smartphones have interrupted our lives in more ways than one.

We Can’t Live Without It

"Wallet, check. House keys, check. Smartphone, check." Checking that these 3 things are in my pocket before leaving home or the coffee shop has been a routine of mine for a long time. I assume it is the same for many other users (which would explain the plentiful doormat designs and wall stickers that remind you of this).


(Image Source: apartmenttherapy)

And although missing any one of the above will make anyone’s heart skip a beat, every time we sit down to a meal, we’d almost always take out only the smartphone for a quick check, message, tap or tweet. We may tell ourselves and everyone else that we need the smartphone with us for emergencies, but the truth is, having a meal without it has become the exception instead of the norm.

In fact, we’d sooner leave behind our wallets than our smartphones because we are too busy checking our phones wherever we go (if this happens to you often, we suggest the 2-in-1 phone and wallet combos or minimalist wallets).

Married To Smartphones

Even more extreme are those who check the smartphone before bed, and also first thing in the morning when they open their eyes. The fear of something happening online while they were sleeping compels them to check every 5 minutes, even though experience would tell them that nothing big ever happens.

Sleep Text
(Image Source: Huffington Post)

On a side note, do try to charge your phones far away from where you sleep. You never know when it will explode right next to you.

We Lose Focus Of What’s Important

While smartphones can be helpful in a variety of things e.g. taking notes in class or documenting our life experiences through pictures, we almost always choose to be less productive with our devices. We distract ourselves with games, videos, music and social media feeds. Social notifications like a new comment, a new Like on your photos, or a chat prompt, make us lose sight of what is right in front of us, urging us to instead reply or act upon the notification.

It is all fun and games until someone crashes a car.

Life-Threatening Smartphone Use

Personal safety takes a back seat (pun intended) when it comes to smartphone usage while driving. It’s now common to see public service announcements or news reports of accidents caused by smartphone use while behind the wheel.

In Japan, there’s even a campaign to spread awareness of ‘smartphone walking‘ accidents – involving smartphones, very distracted users and train platform accidents (deadly combo).

Driving Texting
(Image Source: Automotive.com)

And we’re not referring to taking an important call with the help of earphones and bluetooth. We’re referring to texting, tweeting, Facebook-ing, upvoting and taking selfies, while the car is still moving. Not having your full attention on what is on the road in front of you is a recipe for an accident, some say almost as bad as drunk driving.

Behavioural Changes

The increased use of smartphones has probably reduced human interaction, affecting more than just verbal communication. It has caused us to unwittingly sever ties with our loved ones. Conversations and fights are taken to Facebook instead of being tended to face-to-face and in a calm environment. Meals are taken in complete silence, apart from sounds of keyboard tapping and social alerts.

Phone Addiction
(Image Source: Telegraph)

Dissatisfaction of a service or product is taken to a blog or review site. We have been reduced to becoming complaint-generators, instead of problem solvers, which is ironic, considering how much longer we are "communicating with one another" online. In July 2012, 121 billion minutes (230,060 years) were spent on social media sites in the U.S. alone!

Disconnecting From Work

Completely removing ourselves from work is also getting difficult these days. It’s common for workgroups to have group chats in messaging apps to talk about work 24 hours a day. Discussions through emails give the impression that the work discussed should be completed just as fast. Everyone demands answers almost as immediately as their email reaches your inbox.

Notifications

In a perverted twist of social convenience through smartphone apps and constant connectivity, this has come full circle to haunt us. We can no longer keep up with what our digitally-powered jobs‘ need of us.

What We Can Do About It

But all is not lost. The most sensible way to overcome all these problems is to simply put the device away when there is no need for it. You can turn off notifications from unnecessary apps that don’t require you to take immediate action. Another way is to set special notifications that tell you how important that message is, and whether a response is required immediately, or if it could wait. You can also try the Do Not Disturb mode (on the iPhone).

When charging your device, do it far away from where you rest or sleep. Allow yourself to be disconnected from the Internet or run a complete tech detox during the weekends or when work has caught up with you.

Get Your Friends In On It

Here is a game you may have heard about: have everyone you are meeting up with for drinks, put their phone in the middle of the table and not touch it till it’s time to leave. Whoever does so first, pays for the next round of drinks.

It is a simple game to get everyone to communicate with each other instead of their phones, and that meet-up can actually (finally) get you to reconnect with friends and family, for real.

Phone Stack
(Image Source: New York Times)

Conclusion

At the end of the day, we need to be the masters of our smartphones, and not depend on it so much to make sense of this world (online and off). There is more to life than a retweet, selfie or a Like. And if you happen to find it boring to live life without your smartphone, perhaps this is a wake-up call to reclaim a life that is independent of tech and geared towards true happiness.


    




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Nexus smartphones can reportedly be forced to reboot through SMS attack

The latest Nexus smartphones can be forced to restart, freeze, or lose network connection because of an issue with the way they handle a certain type of SMS message, reports PC World. Security researcher Bogdan Alecu reportedly discovered that the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4, and the Nexus 5 all contain a vulnerability that can allow attackers to interrupt use of the phone. By sending a Nexus phone around 30 flash SMS messages — a message type that’s immediately displayed on the screen and requires action — an attacker can cause the phone to malfunction, frequently restarting or losing its data connection when the messages aren’t promptly dismissed.

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