All posts by umar

Five Apps You Need When You Travel

Planning the logistics of travel can sometimes be challenging, and let’s face it:  at least for most people, it’s not the most fun part of the trip. However, these days, there are tons of ways to simplify your planning using technology. If you’ve got a smartphone or tablet, you can find hundreds of travel-related apps to help you out. Apps for flights or accommodation are well known, but there are many more options than those. If you’re looking at a list of all the options, though, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed. Here are some of our favorite apps that maybe you haven’t thought of.

Pack Point

Pack Point

Packing is one of the worst parts of any trip. How many shirts should you bring… will you need a jacket… what about socks? The great thing about this packing list app is that you can input your destination and some of the details of the trip (business travel or vacation, length of trip, etc.) and the app will give you a list to follow. It may not work perfectly for all travel styles, but it should at least give you a rough guide to what you need and how many of each.

Trip Advisor

tripadvisor

Trip Advisor is a necessity for whatever kind of travel you’re doing. You can find reviews for accommodation, attractions, restaurants, and really everything that you might encounter while on the road. Tons of people use it, so it generally has the most up-to-date information available, which puts it head and shoulders above the rest of the review apps out there. Better yet:  they also offer offline city guides, so if you know where you’re going, you can get a whole set of information downloaded to your phone prior to your departure—and you won’t have to carry that heavy guidebook along with you!

Postagram

postagram_hand.1435864417

We’ve all heard of Instagram, but here’s a neat way to use Instagram when you’re traveling:  this postcard app will take your photos and put them on a postcard that you can send to your friends and family back home. It’s a bit more personal than those cheap postcards you can buy in souvenir shops, and you don’t have to worry about finding a post office or anything:  they’ll send it out for you! Now you have no excuse for not sending Mom a card…

Expensify

static1.squarespace.com

Even if you’re not traveling on a budget, it can be useful to know just how much you’re spending and on what. This expense-tracking app is a great choice since it’ll allow you to take pictures of your receipts for inclusion in your records. It’ll also allow you to forward your itinerary receipts for flights, car rentals, accommodation, etc. to one email address for automatic inclusion in your reports. Its reports are sleek and easy to view, so even if you don’t have a head for numbers, you should still get some valuable information from them.

A VPN Client

If you’re going to be using the Wi-Fi abroad, or anywhere really, you want to make sure you’ve got a secure connection and aren’t leaking all your personal information to hackers, who often make a point of targeting travelers. A VPN, or virtual private network, will give you that secure connection. Bonus:  it’ll also allow you to hide your true location, meaning you won’t be subject to geo-restrictions which can sometimes be a nuisance when you’re traveling. This means, no more error messages when you try to stream Netflix from abroad!

Although planning for a trip may always remain a necessary hassle, there’s no denying that it’s gotten a lot easier in recent years! If you’ve got an app-enabled device at your disposal, load up on apps prior to your departure and you’ll find that both planning and keeping track of your details will become exponentially easier. There are thousands and thousands of apps out there for you to choose from, so look around and see what you can find—but start with these five, which are useful for any traveler, regardless of travel style.

Top technology inventions that will revolutionize our lives in 2015

With a slew of new innovations in the tech world in 2015, the industry is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, year after year, we are presented with the most revolutionary inventions that completely change the way we live in today. In this post, we want to highlight the top technological inventions that will shape our lives this year – wearables, OLED screens, 64-bit smartphones, and smart cars among others.

Consumer-owned digital health devices
It’s no secret that wearables will be on the rise this year, especially when most of the electronic and tech conventions are showcasing endless launches from smartwatches and wearable manufacturers. Wearables are the newest form of digital health technology that assists consumers in tracking their health in real-time. Currently, the top mobile manufacturers are also competing in the smartwatch arena, where brands such as Google, Samsung, Apple, and Sony are leading the pack.

Among the smartwatches today, the Samsung Gear S presents an innovative feature that we expect to see in the next wave of wearables. Said device, which we featured previously on our site, has the capability to be a standalone gadget that doesn’t require the need to be paired with a smartphone in order to perform mobile functions.

Aside from smartwatches, wearables also come in the form of fashion accessories, such as Google Glass with augmented reality, and clothes with health tracking sensors like the Ralph Lauren’s Smart Polo Shirt that many websites have covered in 2015. These devices are being tested to see if they will be able to assist field-based or remote workers, through ‘bring your own wearable’ (BYOW).

OLED curved screens
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays on televisions and mobile devices are the current craze in the tech world. In 2013, Samsung revealed the world’s first’ curved OLED TV, which provides panoramic wide view and high definition visuals. According to the company’s representatives, the 55-inch televisions offer a similar “IMAX feel” to watching. LG also announced their own curved 77-inch OLED TV early this year at the CES 2015.

Samsung expanded their OLED screens through to their smartphones, with the release of their new flagship device – the Galaxy S6 Edge. The handset has a 5.1-inch Quad HD Dual Curved display, which extends icons to the side panels of the device. Experts predicted that other gadgets will potentially adopt this technology very soon because of how well it has been received on the market.

PC-like 64-Bit Smartphones
Apart from adopting curved displays in their aesthetics, another feature that many smartphone producers are including on their latest handsets is the 64-bit chipset that is said to process mobile requests as fast as personal computers. The first to fully introduce the technology was Apple when they released their iPhone 5S. Recently, the company has ensured that their latest flagship smartphones, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, are also running the same power. Based on the data showed by O2, Apple upgraded the A7 chip of the iPhone 5S to an A8 chip on the iPhone 6 to provide faster processing with 50% more energy efficiency.

The rest of the mobile manufacturers, such as Samsung and LG, have also released their own set of smartphones with 64-bit chip to compete with Apple’s offering.

Smarter cars of the future
There will be a rise in the number of smart cars this year that have the ability to self-drive, lock and unlock via a mobile app, and those that can be located via a smartwatch’s GPS tracking. During CES 2015, we witnessed a number of automobile manufacturers and their high-tech cars that present the future of smart vehicles. Some of the top brands that joined the conference were Ford, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes.

However, top tech companies also revealed their own vehicles, with NVIDIA’s auto-pilot car computer that’s powered by the NVIDIA Tegra K1 chipset being one that garner much praise. There are also reports regarding Google’s upcoming driverless car, which will be called the Google Chauffeur. Last year, the search giant presented a prototype of a car without a steering wheel or pedals. It is reported that further testing on the car will commence in the San Francisco Bay Area later this year.

It’s inevitable that there is still a host of new tech inventions yet to be unveiled by some of the leading frontrunners mentioned in this article. And hopefully we’ll get a glimpse of these in some of the major conventions scheduled for 2015.

What other life-changing inventions do you expect to see in 2015?

@WrittenbyJenni

Review – Samsung Gear S Smartwatch

A latest trend in tech these days is smartwatches. Most of us wear a wristwatch anyway. So if the wristwatch you wear gave you more information than only current time and date, it would only mean more productivity and less dependency on your smartphone for every little thing. At least that’s the concept behind it and it seems to be working well with consumers as these smartwatches are selling like hot cakes and more and more vendors are entering this space.

So today I am going to review for you the latest smartwatch by Samsung, the Gear S.

Watch the video below for a quick overview of the features.

So, the Samsung smartwatch can be configured to forward any notifications you receive on your smartphone to the smartwatch. That way you will not have to reach for your phone to check messages etc. Of course you to have prioritize which notifications you want to receive on the smartwatch. I have 200+ apps on my smartphone, and if all of the notifications show up on my smartwatch then it’s counter productive. So I can configure only the most essential notifications to be forwarded to the watch.

The smartwatch can also act as fully functional phone, to make and receive phone calls.

You can use it to watch videos and pictures, though I am not sure how good the experience would be considering the limitation of screen size of the smartwatch, and the increasing screen size of the smartphones. I would probably stick to my smartphone for videos and pictures.

And lastly, there are tons of apps developed for smartwatches such as GPS navigation apps and fitness tracking apps, which takes the hassle of always looking at the smartphone screen away from the user, and takes advantage of the smartwatch always on your wrist.

So the question is, do you really need a smartwatch right now?

Well, in my opinion, smartwatch technology is still in its infancy. It’s going through rapid evolution and new features are coming with every iteration. So unless you like to try out new things, it’s better to wait until a more mature and polished product is released. Although the current features are useful, they are not something you cannot live without. And it will not significantly improve your life. They are more like added conveniences. So again, it’s worth waiting for 3rd or 4th generation smartwatch by Samsung or any other manufacturer. Rather than buying something right now and watching it getting obsolete within an year.

Your thoughts are most welcome in the comments section.

Review – Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Galaxy Note 4 is the latest generation of Samsung’s smart phone with a huge screen, a crossover between a smartphone and tablet, also known as phablet.

General Overview and Comments

The Note 4 has a screen size of whopping 5.7 inches. This huge screen size on a smartphone adds a lot of value when doing every day tasks, at the same time enhancing the experience of browsing the web, or watching videos. I used the device for a month and it was a pleasure to use it every day. You can’t deny the advantages of a big screen with a high resolution. The screen real estate is always a good thing.

On the flip side, handling such a big phone can be challenging to some. I keep my phone in my pocket, so I realized that while the phone fits in most side and back pockets, I couldn’t ignore the extra bulk in my clothes resulted due to the size of the device. I hardly got used to it after one month of using it. And if I am walking with the phone in my hand, it is very easy to drop it accidentally if my hand touches my body or something else. A carrying case is a must for this phone to avoid damages due to drops and bumps.

Taking Notes with S-Pen

The phone comes with a stylus called as S-Pen. This gives additional power to the user to use the phone as a note taking device. You can use the S-Pen as a traditional writing instrument, such as a fountain pen, pencil, ball point pen, or a calligraphy pen. You can completely configure how you want the S-Pen to behave while taking handwritten notes. This is great for people who like to write with hand instead of typing on a keyboard. For me it felt a bit unusual to write on glass, but I guess frequent use would make that feeling go away.

You can also use the S-Pen to draw sketches, or create other forms of artwork. My wife loved it as she is into arts and was impressed by the capabilities of the phone to just take out the S-Pen and compose something while on the move. No need to look for paper.

Capture Information using S-Pen

Another great feature of S-Pen is that you can use it to clip any piece of information from any app, and then convert it to different formats for further processing. Please watch the above video for this feature in action. This can come in really handy when you want to bring different pieces of data from different sources together at one place. Or you can annotate any screen and share with someone for further action.

Final Thoughts

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is an awesome device. It gives you a lot of power to do things efficiently. Not only in terms of screen size, but also due to the additional features offered by the S-Pen. Currently no other devices offers the same features as Galaxy Note 4 by Samsung.

In my opinion though, the real power of this device is the S-Pen. There are several phablets in the market but none of them come with a stylus. So if you are thinking about purchasing Note 4 then you should really try to incorporate the S-Pen in your daily usage and get the most out of it. Only then you will be using the phone to its true potential. Without the S-Pen this is just another big screen phone. So if you don’t care about the stylus then you are better off getting another phablet that doesn’t cost as much.

First Looks – Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

I was invited by Samsung to take first look at their newly launched Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. You can watch the video of S6 Edge above. I have covered the Edge screen feature of the phone. The curved screen on both sides is stunningly beautiful and the full metal body is winner.

My only disappointment is that the edge screen features can only be viewed on one side of the screen. It would have been cooler if both edges could be configured with different types of notifications. But that’s just me.

Enjoy the video and hopefully I will do a detailed review of the phone soon.