Posts tagged with: Pocketnow Power User
  • by |

    When Pocketnow began bringing you news, reviews, and editorials over a decade ago, the industry was pretty limited in its product offerings. PDAs and smartphones, and other gadgets you could fit in your pocket were our primary focus. Since then we've covered accessories and the wireless networks that empower them, and have branched out into wearables and even fitness devices. Over the years, the role smartphones play in our everyday lives has changed - significantly. In fact, studies have shown that we're using our phones less for their intended purposes than we are for the new and varied ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    It started out way back in the nineties - Internet without wires. No longer did people have to tie up their phone line while their modem dialed away, beeped, booped, squeaked, squawked, and hissed. Those lucky enough to have an always-on Internet connection could put their laptop anywhere they wanted it - finally free from the limitations and inconveniences of a wired Ethernet cable. Two standards emerged in the beginning: 802.11a in the 5GHz spectrum and 802.11b in the 2.4 GHz spectrum. Both had their pros and cons, but it was 2.4GHz that gained in popularity, partly because of its ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Bluetooth was invented and initially marketed with the intent to replace our wires with miniature radios. What's more, the technology was touted as a way to create a "personal area network" of your devices. Unlike a Local Area Network (or "LAN"), a PAN was supposed to connect all of the devices you'd normally use, all without wires getting in the way. This Bluetooth PAN was supposed to help you sync your PDA to your computer, let you beam data back and forth with others, print stuff, talk on the phone just like Uhura from Star Trek, and even surf the web using your fancy cellular phone's ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    "Now that microsd cards of 200GB are available, let's make sure our devices don't have slots for them." - Google Despite dropping sdcard slots from its Nexus lineup years ago, Google quietly included a feature in Android Marshmallow 6.0 that makes sdcards infinitely more useful. Most of the time, adding an sdcard simply means you have a bunch of extra room for pictures, videos, and (if you're dedicated enough) a bit more wiggle room into which you can install your apps. The benefits for apps haven't been quite as cool due to some limitations: not all apps support being installed to the ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    "'OK Google' is the magical key-phrase that unlocks all the wondrous potential of your Android-powered device - and drives you nuts when someone on a podcast says it and all your Android's wake up and wait for your instructions." Now that my new house is built, my daily commute is over an hour long - each way. That's okay with me. I love to drive, the scenery is beautiful, Waze helps alert me to upcoming hazards, and thanks to Audible I'm "reading" more now than I ever have before. When a phone call comes in, thanks to the Bluetooth hands-free functionality built-in to my Prius, all I have ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Back in 1994, Ericsson (who would later merge with Sony) "invented" Bluetooth. Back then out devices were connected by one of a few technologies: RS-232 "COM Ports", Parallel Ports, and SCSI. USB was still being worked on. Ericsson's vision was to replace the serial RS-232 cables with a new, wireless standard. Bluetooth was born. Bluetooth is a wireless communication standard using the 2.4GHz band (which competes with WiFi and other signals) and is sometimes referred to as 802.15.1. In addition to exchanging data over short distances (typically 30- to 300-feet, though the spec allows for ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    There used to be a time when, if you lost your phone, that was it - it was gone. You'd get in touch with your carrier and report it lost or stolen so any calls or texts wouldn't be added to your bill, but your options beyond that were pretty limited. A little later on, recovery options were added to help you find out where you phone was (just in case you lost in the couch or at the restaurant). If it was heading down the interstate at 70MPH, you could probably assume that it had been stolen - and you could remotely wipe it. While these tools can be very helpful, all a thief needs to do is ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Back in 1999 we got our first real taste of our wireless future: WiFi. The first variant was called 802.11a and operated in the 5GHz spectrum (later on, 3.7GHz support was added). Back then, 5GHz radios were more expensive than 2.4GHz equipment, and 802.11b quickly surpassed 802.11a in popularity. For years we happily surfed the web, streamed our music, and watched our videos over the 2.4GHz spectrum. But we weren't alone. Another technology started competing for the same wireless spectrum with our WiFi: Bluetooth. It promised to bring "personal area networks" to our mobile devices and ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Chrome is the web browser at the center of Google's empire - both on desktops as well as mobile devices. In addition to being just a standalone app (which may or may not be preloaded on your smartphone), the Chrome engine also drives the component that displays web content inside apps. As you might expect, a vulnerability in that engine could cause significant problems for the device running it. Such is the case with a particularly troublesome Android Google Chrome exploit. During the recent PacSec conference in Tokyo, Qihoo 360 developer Guang Gong showed off a vulnerability which takes ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who would turn down a phone with a bigger battery than a smaller one, all things being equal. Unfortunately, phones with bigger capacities generally mean thicker dimensions and heavier devices. Even a few dozen mAh can add significant costs to the bill of materials. The solutions to this conundrum come in four varieties: OS and SoC optimizations to reduce battery use, and wireless and quick charging schemes to help keep the battery full. Targeting the latter, and following up from a successful 2.0 release, Qualcomm's solution is Quick Charge 3.0. To ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Today's smartphones and tablets are significantly more useful than phones and laptops of yesteryear. Most of that centers around the availability of today's devices to access the Internet from virtually anywhere. These days we use our phones more to text and interact with web-based services than to make phone calls, and our tablets consume media (streaming audio and video), let us play web connected games, and keep us in touch with our friends via social networks. All of these are enabled by a ubiquitous, wireless connection to the Internet. However, not all wireless connections are the ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Now that IFA is in full-swing and much of the Pocketnow staff is in Berlin busy finding out what the latest and greatest new devices are going to be for the upcoming year, some of us aren't that optimistic that the new products will be "great". Sure, many of the devices on the show floor might "look" cool and enticing today, but that might just be the bright lights and the fancy booth decorations speaking. Some of those devices will turn out to be disappointing. That got us thinking: what's the most disappointing smartphone you've owned? Adam Lein Adam Lein was the first to chime in. Of ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    You've read the headlines and heard the rhetoric: 97% of mobile malware is on Android, Android malware threat rears its head again, Android malware spies on you even after phone is shut down, and more. Based on those headlines, you'd think that Android is a cesspool of filth and simply having a phone powered by the OS opens you to a host of problems - problems that might be solved by switching to another platform from another company. Unfortunately, the headlines are fantastical, and the "problem" with Android malware doesn't really exist - and never has. "But Joe, Google says it just cut ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    There was a time (not that long ago) when Power Users needed to root their Android-powered smartphones to do anything really powerful with them. Primary among those reason was to flash a custom ROM. These days stock Android includes many of the features and functionality that were previously the exclusive realm of custom ROMs. Sure, there are still ample reasons to flash a custom ROM, but for an increasing number of us Power Users, "stock plus root" is good enough. Here's why I went with a Nexus 6 root, but kept the stock ROM. Tethering I'm one of those people who doesn't tether a lot, ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    When we talk about root or "rooting" your smartphone or tablet, we're talking about bypassing the built-in securities and permissions that come prepackaged on your device so you can obtain "privileged control" or "root access". Our Apple-toting friends often call this "jailbreaking", which, in a manner of speaking, it is. OEMs lock our devices down "for our own good", to keep us from breaking them or allowing malicious software to get inside and do damage. A secondary objective is to make sure that we can't do anything that the OEM, carrier, or OS vendor don't want us to do - which makes ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Regardless of how large the batteries in our portable electronics are, or how efficiently their SoCs power them, we never seem to have "enough" power. Thankfully, Android lets you see what apps and processes are using your battery, so you can take corrective measures and (ideally) get the most out of the limited mAhs in your LiPo cell. Take a look at your own stats. Open Settings and tap on Battery. Depending on which version of Android you're running and how heavily your OEM has skinned your device, you'll probably see a chart with a list of apps and processes beneath it. The ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Whether you're using Android, iOS, or Windows phone, there's one thing that unites us all: phone chargers. This week, Natalie and Kristin want to know why some chargers charge phones faster than others. Kristin bought a brand new phone charger that charges her phone about twice as fast as Natalie's in-wall charger. What gives? To answer that, first we have to talk a little bit about electricity. We'll dig into that, get into some Ohm's Law, and talk about rectifiers and inverters on this episode of the Pocketnow Power User. AC/DC The power inside our walls is AC (alternating current). The ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    We all have the ability to send text messages to one another, but today the manner in which we do so varies greatly. What methods are available, and what are the benefits of going back to "the oldest in the book"? SMS in its current form was born back in 1985 with the GSM series of standards. Essentially, the SMS standard enabled GSM customers to send messages of up to 160 characters to each other via the wireless network. On this episode of the Pocketnow Power User we'll find out if SMS is still relevant. Why 160 characters? GSM was designed for voice communications, and routing those ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    On the Pocketnow Power User so far this season we've talked mainly about hardware. What is the hardware abstraction layer, and why should you care? The Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) bridges the gap between hardware and software. Be warned, this topic is very, very geeky! To begin with, the HAL isn't a concept that's unique only to smartphones and tablets. It's been around for a quite a while, but it's implemented differently depending on the environment that you're talking about. Hardware abstraction on an MS-DOS system is very different from that on a Mac, and from a technical ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    In our last episode we talked about the glass that covers our smartphone screens. Today we're diving into the types of displays under that glass, the pros and cons of both types, and which you'll want in your next smartphone or tablet. Touch Screens Screens recognize touch by one of two technologies: resistive or capacitive. Resistive touch screens all but require a stylus or similar device be used to register accurate touches. These are the types of screens that we had back in the Palm, Newton, and Windows Mobile days. They're not terribly expensive to manufacture, but they aren't that ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones - but what about people with glass smartphones? Pocketnow Power User is a series of videos and articles aimed at the "average Joe", explaining core concepts that might seem confusing, even daunting. On this episode of the Pocketnow Power User, we're going to talk about the glass that covers your smartphone, tablet, or wearable. Almost all of our smartphones, tablets, and wearables have a screen. Some are very small, like on your smartwatch or Google Glass, others are very large, like on your iPad or Surface. Still more are somewhere in ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    Root and SuperUser access ("su") are two terms that are often used interchangeably. Essentially, if you have Root access, you can modify and replace system files. With this access level a user can run an app that will automatically sync the clock on their smartphone or tablet with the Atomic Clock, tweak the color settings of their display, or make a complete backup of their device. Users can replace radio firmware, or even swap out an entire ROM with something that's been customized by the community. It's just as easy for a malicious user to utilize Root as a vector for attack - running ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    32-bit versus 64-bit: What's the difference? What are the advantages to both? On this episode of Pocketnow Power User we're going to talk about which you're going to want on your next smartphone or tablet. What are bits? When we're talking 32-bit versus 64-bit we have to first talk about "bits". Computers -- even smartphones and tablets -- run on a binary system, one and zero, on and off. Simple, right? As an interesting aside, a byte is 8-bits. Half a byte is 4-bits and is called a nibble. What does 32-bit mean? In this context, a 32-bit system refers to how much "stuff" the system can ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    We live in a day and age where electronic devices are an integral part of our everyday lives. What's inside them that makes them do everything that we need them to do? On this episode of Pocketnow Power User we're going to talk about another very important component: RAM -- Random Access Memory -- and how much is really "enough". All about RAM When talking about the memory that goes into our smartphones, tablets, wearables, and even our routers, desktop computers, laptops, and other pieces of hardware that power our digital lives, there are essentially two kinds of memory to talk about. ...

    Share
    Read On
  • by |

    We live in a day and age where electronic devices are an integral part of our daily routine. What's inside them that gives them the power to do so many amazing things? On today's episode of Pocketnow Power User we're going to talk about the brain that powers your device: the CPU. The Central Processing Unit, or CPU for short, has been around for quite some time, but has changed significantly over the years. Traditionally the CPU has been the "traffic-cop", the component that handles and routes all the commands flowing through the system to the place where they need to go. It's backed up by ...

    Share
    Read On
Mobile Version