Entries in Smartphone (13)


HTC Claims to Reinvent Smartphone with Latest Android Phone

HTC(NEW YORK) -- HTC is kicking off the start of Android phone season.  At an event in New York City on Tuesday, the Taiwan-based company announced its latest flagship Android phone -- the HTC One.

"We think it's time to shake things up in the smartphone space," Mike Woodward, president of HTC America, told ABC News in an interview.  "We have decided to come out and reinvent the smartphone."

Of course, HTC hasn't completely reinvented what the smartphone looks like -- it's still a large rectangle -- but according to Woodward, the One is a complete shift for the industry, built around how people use their phones now.

"We have re-architected the phone around how Generation Feed behaves," Woodward said.  Woodward and HTC say Generation Feed is those of us who look down at their phones constantly, staying up to date on news and friends.

HTC's Android phones have always been known for their top-of-the-line hardware parts and the One is no different.

The phone is made entirely of aluminum -- no small feat, according to Woodward, who said it took two years to make a good all-metal phone.  It also has a large 4.7-inch, 1080p screen, which is flanked vertically by two speaker strips.  

The phone is fast too, thanks to its quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM.

Where the One stands out from other Android phones on specs is with its camera.

"Generation Feed grew up with a camera in their pocket, but the pictures that they take are not always great and they're not always outside," Woodward said.

With that, HTC has ditched megapixels for an ultrapixel camera.

"An ultrapixel is twice the size of a megapixel -- it lets in 300 percent more light," Woodward says.  "We paired that with dual-axis stabilization.  This is different than letting a shutter open."

HTC says the new technology should allow you to take much better low-light shots without having to use flash, which often makes for flat, blown-out images.

HTC has paired that camera hardware with some new software features.  It has livened up its gallery and allows you to take three-second videos when you take a photo.  HTC calls this sort of video or photo a Zoe; the camera takes one second of video before you hit the shutter button and then two seconds right after, giving you photos that "come to life."  You can then share Zoes with anyone via a URL.

And while HTC backed off from tweaking Android too heavily in its previous phones, it has begun to think of Google's software entirely differently with the One.

The phone is based on the latest version of Android (Android 4.2 or Jelly Bean), but HTC says that the majority of Android users only use one home screen instead of the three provided by Google (80 percent of Android users use fewer than three home screens, says HTC).

"We found that widgets and home panels aren't that well understood, so we wanted to simplify that," Woodward said.

Called Blinkfeed, the home screen on the One is now a grid of news or a newsfeed of your social media accounts and news accounts.

"The idea is in a blink of an eye your phone is constantly refreshed and your phone is constantly alive.  That becomes your home screen," Woodward said.

The feed can be customized and if you don't like it, you can choose to put your Blinkfeed on another pane and use a regular Android home screen.

The One will be offered by 180 carriers in 80 countries over the next few months.  It will be available in the U.S. at T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T in March. 

HTC would not confirm the pricing, but said it would be competitive.  Most high-end Android phones and the iPhone 5 cost $199 with a two-year contract.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Christmas Gift Tips: How to Protect the Tech Gadgets You Got

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Now that you’ve gotten that really cool tech toy on the top of your list, it’s time to figure out how to get your new gadgets to work and to make sure they’re properly protected.

Phone or iPhone Protection

You want to protect your new phone. A case is great, but in my experience, the ones that really work are the thick edged cases that are a little bulky. If you’re thinking of a flimsy, rubbery case or no case at all, my one piece of advice is to put a screen protector on it. I’ve done a fair amount of drop tests and a screen protector can really help protect against screen cracking or shattering. Also, with gadget thefts on the rise, you want to install a tracking program like Find my iPhone for IOS Devices or Lookout for Android. Not only will those programs help you track a lost or stolen device, but they will let you remotely wipe all the data off of the gadget to protect you from identity theft if your gear gets stolen.

Should You Get Insurance?

You can opt for insurance, which is sold from the carriers, Apple or a third-party company like Squaretrade. Replacing an iPhone would cost more than $500, so if it’s for a teenager, I’d get the insurance. For an adult with no big risk factors (no outdoor job, history of dropping phones in toilets, or propensity to leave phone in taxi cabs), I’d probably skip the added expense.

Trade in Your Old Stuff: Value Is Now!

With more than 33 million new Smartphones expected to ship out this holiday season, there are bound to be lots of older phones going into a cabinet or drawer. Don’t do it! Those gadgets are a source of some easy money. Lookout, a mobile software company, did a survey and found 62 percent of respondents said they have at least one unused mobile phone in their household. Instead, use a service like Gazelle, CExchange or NextWorth, which will pay for your shipping and give you cash for that old laptop, phone or iPod. Act soon because the value of that gear will only diminish the longer you wait.

Getting Media on Your New Gadget

If you received a Kindle this Christmas, you have to sign in to Amazon to use the device. Anytime you buy a book, it charges your account.  But here’s a little secret: If you and your close family members want to share books, you can all use the same login. Then, you can buy a digital book once and it can be read on all Kindles tied to that account.  Also, take a look at your local library. Many have kindle and epub lending libraries so you can borrow digital books over the internet for free for the Kindle and even more so for e-Readers like the Kobo or Nook.

Get It to Work

Getting your new gadget to work or learning how to use it can be the major challenge. There are lots of services out there these days to help teach you about your new gear.

For an Apple gadget, they have their One to One service. It’s a one-year subscription that must be purchased within 14 days of buying a new Apple gadget. It’s $99 for the year and lessons are scheduled online and happen in the Apple stores.

Microsoft offers personal training for $49 an hour in their stores, and the Geek Squad offers memberships of $199 for the year or $169 for AARP members, which gives you tech support on a wide range of products on the phone, in store or online. You can also schedule 90-minute, in-home visits for $49 if you are already a member.

Another option is to find a local guru who will work with you one on one. Often, they have lots of flexibility, lower rates and can be real assets as you try to integrate tech into your life. You can also conscript grandchildren or a neighbor’s kids who are digital natives; they may not be the best teachers, but the price is right.

Keeping It Organized

I give this tip every year, but it’s a beauty. A Ziploc bag and a sharpie are your best friends when you get a new gadget. Put all the peripheral items you don’t think you’ll use, the warranty card and the manual in the bag, label it and then throw it in that drawer or cabinet where all that stuff goes. Trust me, you’ll need something from the bag sometime down the line and you’ll be glad it’s labeled.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Samsung Galaxy S III Heading to All Major US Carriers

Samsung(NEW YORK) -- As expected, Samsung’s premiere Android phone -- the Galaxy S III -- is headed to America. 

After its debut last month in London to much fanfare, Samsung revealed that the 4.8-inch phone will be coming to all five major U.S. carriers starting this month.  AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular will all carry the new phone.

Details on each carrier’s pricing haven’t been released, but according to Samsung’s statement some models will start at $199.

The 4.7-ounce Galaxy S III is a top-of-the-line device based on hardware specifications.  The phone, which comes in white and “pebble blue,” has a HD Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 2.0, an 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, and 2GB of RAM.  It has an 8-megapixel camera, removeable battery and 16GB or 32GB of storage.

To compliment the hardware, Samsung has added significant features on top of the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system, including unique eye tracking software that won’t put the screen to sleep if you are looking at it.  And the phone doesn’t only see you, it hears you too.  Called “S Voice,” the Galaxy S III has a feature similar to Apple’s Siri, which will let you use your voice to control the phone. 

Samsung has also added a number of camera features, including “burst shot,” which takes three images per second with zero shutter lag.

The Galaxy S III is likely to be the biggest rival to Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 5.  Apple hasn’t released details on its next iPhone, expected to hit the market this fall.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Facebook Working on Its Own Smartphone?

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facebook continues to beef up its mobile strategy -- just last week it launched a dedicated Facebook camera app and it has recently acquired mobile app companies, including Instagram and Glancee.  But according to The New York Times, the company is aiming bigger than apps that run on the iPhone or Android phones.

Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper says Facebook is preparing to release a smartphone by next year.

“The company has already hired more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one who worked on the iPad, ” Nick Bilton of the New York Times reported Sunday.

Previously, other technology sites have reported similar Facebook phone speculation.  In 2010, TechCrunch reported that Facebook was looking to create its own phone.  And late last year, AllThingsD reported that a phone codenamed “Buffy” was being tested. 

According to the Times, Facebook continues to work on the “Buffy” phone and has hired numerous hardware engineers, many of which are former Apple employees.  The paper's sources say Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want the social networking site to be just another app that runs on a phone.

Facebook would not comment directly on the report and instead referred the Times to a previous statement: “We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Motorola Droid Razr: New Smartphone Revives Old Name

Verizon(NEW YORK) -- In its day, the Motorola Razr was the cellphone to have.  From 2003 to 2007 it was by far the best-selling cellphone in America.

Then came Apple with its iPhone, and since then Motorola has struggled in the cellular business.  The original Razr was overrun by smartphones, which browse the Web, send texts and emails, tell you where you are and, in the case of the iPhone 4S with its Siri "virtual assistant," talk back to you.

Now, Motorola is back with a new Razr, trying to recapture the magic of the original.  The new phone is sleek and thin, much like its predecessor.  And it's a smartphone, running on the Android software powered by Google -- which, as you may recall, announced in August was buying Motorola Mobility.

Will it succeed?  Early reviews are positive.

"Yes, it's another Android phone," writes Kevin Kelleher of Fortune, "but it's one that incorporates the sleek design elements in the hardware that made Motorola's Razr line of clamshell phones the last iconic phone before the rise of the smartphone."

But plaudits don't necessarily sell phones, as Kelleher agrees.  "So it's just as easy to say Google will regret buying Motorola as it is to say it will look back on the deal as a shrewd move," he writes.

Others have their doubts.

"It's a solid Android device, but it's not going to be that blockbuster that the original Razr was," said Roger Entner of Recon Analytics.  "The huge difference the original had was its thinness.  It's just that everyone else has it now too."

The new Razr is expected to roll out around Nov. 10.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Savvy Shoppers Turn to Smartphones for Deals

George Frey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Call it the rise of the savvy shopper. With the approach of the holiday shopping season, consumers are using their smartphones to snag bargains.

“Consumers in general have become much more sophisticated,” says Ray Florio, who follows consumer marketing for Accenture Consulting.

“Your best price is no further than your smartphone. You can go into any store, scan a bar code and you’ll get the best price located right near you or online."

Many shoppers know about pricing strategies, says Florio.

“They understand how retailers operate now they’ve been conditioned to hunt for discounts and that behavior has taken control.”

That means less impulse buying by shoppers in a tight economy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Blackberry Outage Spreads to U.S.

Research In Motion Limited(WATERLOO, Ontario) -- Does your BlackBerry work today? Research In Motion, whose BlackBerry service has had reported outages in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia already this week, acknowledged problems Wednesday with its North American services as well.

On Wednesday morning there were widespread complaints of outages in the U.S. The Canadian-based company confirmed that the problems here are similar to what it had seen in other parts of the world.

“BlackBerry subscribers in the Americas may be experiencing intermittent service delays this morning,” RIM said in a statement. “We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience. We will provide a further update as soon as more information is available.”

BlackBerry has had transmission problems on other continents for three days now. It said a critical part of its communication system was down, and a backup system wasn’t working either.

“Message delays were caused by a core switch failure in RIM’s infrastructure,” the company said on Twitter late Tuesday. “Now being resolved. Sorry for inconvenience.”

Among the snarky replies: “Dear Blackberry, I think it’s nice that you’re honoring Steve Jobs’ death with a 3 day silence.”

The timing could't have been worse for the company. It still has the dominant smartphone operating system worldwide, but has slipped to No. 3 in the U.S. and is quickly losing market share to Google’s Android and to Apple's iPhone, according to the market research firm ComScore statistics.

In the U.S., Android had 44 percent of the U.S. market as of August, up 5 points since the beginning of May. Apple rose 1 percent to the No. 2 position, with 27 percent. RIM dropped 5 percent, to 25 percent.

For investors, RIM stock has dropped from $70.54 per share in February to under $24 this morning. There’s a shareholder group, led by the firm Jaguar Financial, calling for a change in management.

All of which gains steam when this joke is being retweeted on Twitter:

“What did one BlackBerry user say to the other BlackBerry user?


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Claims Sex Toy Sales Will Soon Match SmartPhone Sales

Apple, Inc.(LONDON) -- A new British survey states that over the next ten years, sales of sex toys will actually match smartphone sales, with over 400 million sold annually worldwide.

A “Women, Sex and Shopping” report by the UK’s Hewson Group says the sex toy industry is poised to explode due to a continuing increase in mainstream acceptance of sex, brought about mainly by celebrities discussing their sex lives.  Researchers involved in the study expect the global sex toy market to grow from $9 billion a year to $65 billion by 2020.

The report, which was published in the Daily Mail, states women are controlling their own sexuality in a way never before seen and “sex toys and the pleasure goods market will become an expression of this emancipation.”

Additional findings from the UK study:

    * 40 percent of British women view online porn.
    * 35-40 percent of British women between the ages of 18 and 65 use a sex toy.
    * More than 60 percent of women surveyed find the idea of buying a sex toy to be “exciting.”

The survey involved more than 700 women, including customers at five female-owned sex shops in the UK.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Samsung Unveils Smartphone with Exclusive 'Angry Birds' Version

PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Samsung is getting set to release, what the company is describing as, one of the nation’s thinnest 4G smartphones.

It’s called the Samsung Infuse 4G and is scheduled to hit store shelves on May 15. However, it will only be available to AT&T customers. The phone is also said to contain an exclusive version of the popular Angry Birds video game, as the phone’s version of the game will be the only place for gamers to access a special hidden "Golden Egg" level of the game. 

Samsung says with a measurement of 8.99 mm, it is the company’s thinnest smartphone, and the thinnest 4G smartphone available in the U.S. The phone boasts an eight-megapixel camera in the back and a 1.3-megapixel camera in the front, and runs on the Android operating system. And for phone users who need a better view of what they’re doing, the Infuse features a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED screen, the largest touch screen of any of Samsung’s smartphone devices and the largest among the AT&T smartphone lineup.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tax Tip: File Returns, Check Refunds on Your Smart Phone

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New for people filing their taxes this year: a host of smartphone applications, including apps that allow you to submit your returns and check up on your refunds.

"If you're an iPhone user or have an Android phone, you can actually file your taxes from your phone," says Mary Beth Franklin of Kiplingers Personal Finance magazine.  She says Turbo Tax has an app called Snap Tax that can do just that.

"You take your W2 form that you receive from your employer that lists your annual earnings and your deductions; you take a picture of it with the camera on your phone; you answer a few questions and boom you file your taxes," Franklin says.

Filers interested in using Snap Tax can download it for $14.95.

But some apps are free, including one from the Internal Revenue Service called IRS2Go.  The IRS app can be found at the agency's website,  It works with both iPhones and Android phones and features news from the IRS and more.

"[Users] can download this phone app and one of the features of IRS2Go app is checking on the status of your refund as well," says Jodie Reynolds of the IRS.

Some tax prep firms also have their own free apps.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio