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Android Apple Highlights Mobile

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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Highlights Mobile

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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Mobile

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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free software Mobile

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.

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Mobile

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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Highlights Mobile

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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Highlights Internet Journalism Mobile

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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Highlights LifeHacks Mobile

My phone’s a slave driver

It was a gentle buzz at first, “You free? Time to finish TechNotes column.” I just glanced at the reminder on the phone while in a meeting last week in a coffee shop. The reminder was repeated on the tablet. I chose “snooze” in both devices and told the app, Astrid, to remind me again in three hours.

Then the reminders came in torrents and with more pressing urgency, “It’s time (urgent task here)” and “No more snoozing! (another urgent task here)” as my phone and tablet laid out a long list of things I was supposed to do and tasks that were nearing deadline. The klaxon of notifications (my alert tone is the sound of a modem initiating and completing a connection) provided me with the push to end the meeting on schedule.

From being a device to call people and later to send messages, the phone has increasingly become our main computer.

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Mobile

Tracking a stolen iPad

A THIEF spoiled the first Sinulog of Smart social media senior supervisor Abbie Real.

Real was in Cebu Friday to attend the launching of an electronic guidebook on Cebu and the data tagging of the province’s heritage and tourism sites using QR code.

When Smart staff members were preparing for the photo at the Heritage of Cebu Monument, someone called out for a fourth device to display the e-book. We already had an iPhone, Kindle and iPad. Abbie said she brought her iPad with her and offered its use. She later said she couldn’t find it.

After we did a short demonstration on how people could download information on heritage and tourism structures through the scanning of QR codes in special markers, Abbie realized her iPad was stolen.

She used the Find My iPhone app that is integrated into the device and found that it was on its way to Barangay Camputhaw.

The final location of the device indicated by the system is accurate to a few meters and you could easily pick the house out in Purok 8, Barangay Camputhaw. The suspected location is indicated by a radius that covers about two houses.

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Highlights Mobile

Location, location, location

Beware of geeks bearing gifts.

A man in New York City has reportedly caught his wife cheating using the Find My Friends app of the iPhone 4S he gave her.

Find My Friends uses global positioning system (GPS) to let people share their locations with friends. The locations of people are indicated by a tooltip on a satellite map. And since the app uses GPS, the locations are accurate up to several meters.

According to a post in a Mac website message board, a New York City man bought his wife a new iPhone 4S and installed Find My Friends without informing her. He said he had suspicions his wife was meeting a man who lived uptown. His suspicion was confirmed by Find My Friends, who showed her there. He then texted her to ask where she was and she answered that she was with friends in a completely different location.

He said he would be using the data he gathered to divorce his wife. “Thankfully, she’s the rich one,” he said.

There is no definite confirmation of the incident but the post shows the extent of location data gathered by consumer devices like smartphones.

FINDING PEOPLE. The Find My Friends app for the iPhone allows people to share location data with friends.
FINDING PEOPLE. The Find My Friends app for the iPhone allows people to share location data with friends.