EVERNOTE. The Evernote applications for iOS and Android allow you to manage your notes on the go.

App-y New Year

Mobile exploded in 2012. US consumers now spend 1.8 more times in mobiles apps than on the Web, according to Flurry, a mobile analytics company. Flurry said that between December 2011 and December 2012, “the average time spent inside mobile apps by a US consumer grew 35 percent, from 94 minutes to 127 minutes.”

Closer to home, the Philippines recorded a 326 percent increase in smartphone sales, the fastest growth in the Southeast Asian region, according to research company GfK. The Philippines is also the country “with the highest jump in smartphone market share within a year, from 9 to 24 percent,” GfK said in a press statement last September.

To mark the end of this year of mobile, let me riff on a Pinoy New Year’s Eve tradition by offering you my favorite apps in 12 task categories, in no particular order:

News apps Zite, Prismatic and News.me

NEWS APPS. (From left) Zite, Prismatic and News.me harness social networking connections to match news stories to users’ interests.

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TOPPING WISH LISTS. According to a survey by Nielsen, 48 percent of American children aged 6 to 12 want an iPad for Christmas. (Apple press center photo)

Did you get a smartphone, tablet as gift? Some tips on how to set it up

HAVE you been particularly nice or especially naughty this year and got a smartphone or tablet as Christmas gift? Lucky you; you’re in for hours of fun setting up your device tonight.

Here are some tips on setting up your smartphone or tablet.

The first thing you should do after unboxing your device is to keep track of all components and accessories and figure out which goes where. Copy serial numbers and other important device information and set aside such things as the warranty card and the card that comes with your SIM (which contains the PIN unblocking code.)

You should also take time to read the manual. (A confession: I don’t. I only consult the manual when I inevitably bump into problems.)

 

TOPPING WISH LISTS. According to a survey by Nielsen, 48 percent of American children aged 6 to 12 want an iPad for Christmas. (Apple press center photo)

TOPPING WISH LISTS. According to a survey by Nielsen, 48 percent of American children aged 6 to 12 want an iPad for Christmas. (Apple press center photo)

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BIG BATTERY. The flagship Cloudfone model, the Thrill 430x, comes with a battery that can power the unit for 3 days, officials said. (Photo by Marlen Limpag)

Cloudfone wants everyone to own a smartphone

THE ebullience of Chico Pasion and Francis Capati of Phoneco was palpable in Friday’s launch in Cebu of the company’s Cloudfone Android line.

“We will kill feature phones!” “We don’t need feature phones!” “We want people to throw away their phones and update to a new one!”

Pasion, national sales manager of Phoneco, said they want the low to mid-range market to move to Android instead of buying or keeping their feature phones, the industry term for phones that are more than just basic calling devices but lack the features of a smartphone.

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Innovation, disruption in media

Last Thursday, Newsweek announced it was ending its print publication on Dec. 31 and going all-digital starting next year.

The digital publication, which will be named Newsweek Global, “will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context,” Newsweek and The Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown said in the announcement posted at The Daily Beast.

“There’s no demand for a digital Newsweek,” Reuters blogging editor Felix Salmon wrote shortly after the announcement. “Newsweek is hitching its fortunes to a motley group of e-readers (Zinio!), all of which are based on pretty clunky old publishing technology, and none of which have any ability to take advantage of the social web.”

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Great-looking note-taking app for iPhone offered for free download

If you love old-school paper notebooks like Moleskine and use an iPhone, install Meernotes. The beautifully-designed app allows you to take down notes on your phone on an interface that mimics a paper notebook. It’s easy to use — you just tap on the screen and then type your notes.

Meernotes lets you take notes on your iPhone using an interface that mimics old-school paper notebooks. Click on photo to enlarge.

Meernotes lets you take notes on your iPhone using an interface that mimics old-school paper notebooks. Click on photo to enlarge.

Meernotes also allows you to insert photos into your notes by swiping up. You can then choose different frame designs for the photo.

The app allows you to keep several notebooks with various cover designs. Some of the designs, however, can only be used after you pay for upgrades.

Meernotes automatically synchronizes notes with your iCloud account. It also has Evernote export and Dropbox import/export capabilities.

Meernotes costs $.99 but is currently offered for free download.

1ST LTE OVERSEAS CALL FROM THE PHILIPPINES. Huawei Wireless Technology Head Li Zhi Chao calls a colleague at the Huawei head office in China to make the first overseas LTE call from the Philippines at the Smart office in Mabolo, Cebu City. (Photo provided by Smart Public Affairs)

Smart makes country’s first LTE voice call, SMS

Smart Communications, Inc. conducted the country’s first long-term evolution (LTE) voice calls and SMS in Cebu last Tuesday.

PLDT-Smart Technology head Rolando Peña described the development as historic and said it was a “major step forward for Smart and the Philippine mobile industry.”

LTE is a telecommunication standard for high-speed data transfer. Being a standard for data transfer, operators need to engineer it to be able to do voice calls, which are currently handled differently.

1ST LTE OVERSEAS CALL FROM THE PHILIPPINES. Huawei Wireless Technology Head Li Zhi Chao calls a colleague at the Huawei head office in China to make the first overseas LTE call from the Philippines at the Smart office in Mabolo, Cebu City. (Photo provided by Smart Public Affairs)

1ST LTE OVERSEAS CALL FROM THE PHILIPPINES. Huawei Wireless Technology Head Li Zhi Chao calls a colleague at the Huawei head office in China to make the first overseas LTE call from the Philippines at the Smart office in Mabolo, Cebu City. (Photo provided by Smart Public Affairs)

The calls and sending of SMS were made a month after Smart launched commercial availability of its LTE services.

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Inbox zero

IT took two long weekends but I finally got to inbox zero and that state of bliss you find yourself in after having processed all pending e-mails and seeing an empty inbox.

Like many people, I felt that I’ve lost control of my e-mail. My inbox was full of messages that needed to be replied to or dealt with. Instead of immediately acting on an e-mail by sending a short reply, I’d put off sending a response until I had the time to send a fuller e-mail. My e-mail even served as a digital filing cabinet for documents, contact details and event invitations. And that was how the messages piled up.

It was Sisyphean. I’d clear a few messages only to get so much more and by the end of each day, my inbox kept growing.

Heading to the two long weekends last month, I decided to revisit the Inbox Zero philosophy of dealing with e-mails. It was started by writer Merlin Mann of 43Folders, a blog “about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.” Mann, in turn, said he got inspiration from the getting things done philosophy espoused by David Allen.

The best resource on the topic is a video of Mann during a Google Tech Talk last July 23, 2007. That video can be accessed at the Inbox Zero website.

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jimenez-lte

Smart LTE now dual-frequency

SMART Communications, Inc. has made its LTE service dual-frequency by deploying its 1800 megahertz (MHz) band during the Asian Carriers’ Conference (ACC).

Smart LTE now runs on the 2100 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, said PLDT and Smart Network and IP Systems head Rolando Peña. He said Smart is the first telecommunications company in the country to deploy the service in multiple frequencies. The deployment is also consistent with the company’s operation–it offered 3G in multi-frequencies, he said.

Peña said the deployment improves the quality of the service and user experience as well as offers people choice.

“Why do we need to do that? LTE today has no standard frequency to operate in…we are giving the customers the choice. Anyway, we have the equipment, we have the capability, we have the system and we have the frequency asset. Why don’t we use it?” Peña said during an interview at the sidelines of the ACC.

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Going mobile

In the recent Olympics, smartphones and tablets took a more central role in providing people more information about the games, Google said in a report.

Google said there were times when more searches were “performed on tablets and smartphones than on computers.”

The search giant said they’ve been seeing “large spikes in global mobile search volume” in major sporting events and the trend continued with Olympics.

And one key usage of smartphones and tablets spotted by Google is to serve as second screen to get information on what they were seeing on another screen – the television.

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Lapu-Lapu mayor offers State Of The City Address e-book for download via phone scanning

STATE OF CITY SPEECH AS EBOOK. Scan the code to download Mayor Paz Radaza's State Of The City Address. CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE.

STATE OF CITY SPEECH AS EBOOK. Scan the code to download Mayor Paz Radaza’s State Of The City Address. CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza will be giving her State Of The City Address in Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City this morning. What’s different about her speech today — from her previous ones and from the speeches local government executives have been giving and will be giving this month — is its digital twist — the speech can be downloaded as an e-book via phone scanning at the venue.

Radaza’s team at City Hall asked InnoPub Media, the journalism start-up I co-founded with my wife, Marlen, to set up a system that will allow the City Government to offer the mayor’s speech as a downloadable report.

InnoPub created the e-book (which you can download directly here) and set up a download system via QR or quick response code scanning.

Lapu-Lapu City will also launch today it’s own version of “A Guide To Cebu 2012,” the electronic guidebook on Cebu published by InnoPub Media with the strong support of Smart Communications, Inc. and partners like Ayala Center Cebu, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, The Islands Group, Department of Tourism, Cebu City Government, among other partners.

The downloadable e-books are just the start of digital initiatives in Lapu-Lapu City. More initiatives done in partnership with InnoPub Media will be announced in the coming days.