Friday, 28 February 2014

Did You 'Ear' Apple's Plans

First, Apple bought us the iPod, then the iPad, and more recently plans have been shared about the iWatch, but Apple have also outlined plans for an EarPod.

Just when you think you’ve seen or heard it all, the bigwigs at Apple dropped another technological bomb. The EarPod is a clever little fitness tracker system fitted inside a pair of sports earphones so you can track a number of statistics during a workout.

Apple confirmed the patent application was granted last week and has discussed how skin-sensing technology will be able to monitor heart rate, perspiration levels and even body temperature. This isn’t all though, the device could feature a volume control that is controlled by a tilt of the head. We’re also led to believe there will be accelerometers that will assist with the activity tracking, which will send data to an iOS device – cool huh?

The filing for this idea was actually submitted in 2008, so it has taken some time to get to this point, but we are still unsure of when we will actually be seeing the product available to buy. In fact, we can’t even be sure Apple has started producing it yet.

The iWatch is expected to be released sometime this year and there is a lot of speculation surrounding this product and whether it will feature some kind of fitness-focussed tracking. It could well be that this is not the case anymore given the news about the EarPod and the focus on that being a sole-fitness device but with the iWatch likely to be released first, this is not off the cards.

Either way, 2014 could be a brilliant year for Apple to jump on board the wellness trackers bandwagon, given the popularity of them and how useful they are already proving to be for people who own them already.

This could be a very busy year for Apple, and a year that could bring a great deal of excitement to budding technology enthusiasts … and gym fanatics too.

Friday, 21 February 2014

What To Expect From MWC 2014

It’s that time of the year again (well, it will be come Monday) and the Mobile World Congress is back.

MWC 2014 kicks off on the 4th February in Barcelona and is hosted by none other than Mark Zuckerberg, where we get a chance to see what smartphones are coming in the year ahead.

This annual mobile technology event, where virtually every mobile phone company will share their latest models for the following spring/summer contract renewal market, is likely to be jam packed with some interesting technology.

So what can we expect? Well, Samsung have been dropping subtle hints for some time now that they could be giving us a glimpse of the Galaxy S5. They have sent out invites in advance of the event covered with little number 5’s, we’re no rocket scientists but it’s pretty nailed on we’ll get to see that.

What we’re unsure of though is whether they will show us one variant or two.  Rumours are saying we could see one encompassing a metal frame with a high-resolution screen and the other a polycarbonate version that follows the traditional 1080p display.  Other rumours are dropping hints at Samsung bringing the Galaxy Gear sequel to the event too – exciting stuff!

Nokia are another company we are interested in seeing. After partnering with Microsoft and having a couple of successful months since releasing the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 2520 tablet, we could end up seeing a few more tricks from the sleeves of Nokia. One smartphone heavily tipped to feature is the Nokia Normandy and this is the big news to come out of Nokia according all of the people in the know.

The third company we are hoping to see is HTC. HTC used to be a banker during the MWC but it turned its back on the event in 2013, so we hope they will change this in 2014. We’re not entirely sure what they will unveil at the event but we just hope they turn up and bring some interesting gadgets.

So, some interesting technology is expected to come out of the Mobile World Congress 2014 and we can’t wait.

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Rise And Fall Of Flappy Bird

It’s simple, it’s frantically annoying to play and everyone has been talking about it; it’s Flappy Bird.

The most successful game of 2014 so far came, it conquered and now it’s gone again, because its creator couldn’t handle the popularity.

The short-lived success of Flappy Bird was clearly underestimated by Vietnamese creator, Dong Nguyen, after making him around £30,000 a day through advertising. During its short life span it managed to collect over 50 million downloads which all became a bit too much for Dong, who said via his Twitter page: “I can’t take it anymore!”

This deceptively difficult app that involved trying to manoeuvre a small pixelated bird through pipes using a retro style, one-button tap control exploded out of app stores similar to Temple Run, Candy Crush Saga and Doodle Jump thanks to social media spreading it around like wildfire. In fact, #FlappyBird was trending on Twitter with people sharing images of how far they managed to travel and there were hundreds of YouTuber’s venting their anger at how difficult it was to get past a certain level.

Although this app was taken down by its creator there have been some rumours about another version hitting the app stores, which we’re sure is music to many Flappy Bird-addicts’ ears. The original version is no longer available to download from any app store but if you really want to get your hands on a copy, there are hundreds of listings on eBay that are selling for thousands of pounds because they are fitted with the game.

With apps like this one being such a short-lived success and with similar success from Candy Crush, Temple Run and so on, it seems that apps are no longer built for longevity but purely for a quick craze. What does this mean for future gaming apps?

Who knows which app will explode onto our smartphones and tablets next but hopefully its life will last longer than a quick flap of Flappy Bird’s wings. Our bet is the next phenomenon will be something simple, easy to use and highly addictive, what about you?

Friday, 7 February 2014

Facebook turns 10!

The social network super-giant turned ten years old on Tuesday and celebrated the occasion by celebrating its user members.

Facebook introduce the Look Back feature which allows users to share a video, with friends, of their life during their time on the social network. This video compiles about 15 of your most popular images through the years as well as the statuses that gathered the most likes and important life events, to create a montage from the date you joined.

The small team behind this Look Back feature spent months crafting the videos for the ten year anniversary. This cool feature is just one of many things Facebook has bought its members over its ten year period and we will have a look at some of those features.

Here’s a list of some of the things Facebook has accomplished during its ten-year rein:

Started as a semi-private network for Harvard students only and has grown into a publicly-traded company.
It changed names from ‘The Facebook’ to just Facebook.
Allowed it’s users to share photos with friends and family.
Introduced ‘The Wall’ – a place for people to post updates and images to their own profile.
Added the ‘Like’ button which meant people could put a ‘thumbs-up’ symbol to things they enjoyed.
Made poking someone seem acceptable by adding a ‘poke’ function.
Bought Instagram.
Added the Look Back feature to celebrate its tenth birthday.

There is no denying Facebook has had an impressive life story and it seems quite apt that they decided to give its members a gift to celebrate the occasion. Facebook may have been going strong for ten years but it hasn’t been without its controversy.  Questions about just who exactly invented the social network have been expressed publicly and was even turned into a film.

A lot can happen over ten years and Facebook has arguably become the most popular social network available on the internet with over 800 million users signed up to its ranks. Although it is celebrating its tenth year anniversary this week, we can’t help but think it will be around for a lot longer.

Happy Birthday Facebook!