Five Things You Didn’t Know Your Android Phone Can Do

Five Things You Didn’t Know Your Android Phone Can Do

Android phones are great – aside from the usual messaging and calling, they can be your personal alarm clock, calender, music player, weather adviser, traffic guide and a lot more. However, your Android phone can do a lot more, and the only way to discover them is to tinker around with the settings. Here is a short list of things that your Android phone can do that you may or may not know about.

  • Switch to 3G – 4G connections are great, when you have them. Unfortunately, 4G connectivity is a hit-or-miss. Did you know that staying connected to 4G constantly can drain your battery’s life and send you over your monthly data limit? Under the mobile networks tab in your settings, you can change to a CDMA (3G) connection if 4G is unavailable or if you would like to conserve your battery.
  • Add custom words to your dictionary – If you have that one friend with an awkwardly spelled name, or if your job requires you to use a lot of high-sounding, complicated terms, writing messages and notes can be difficult. However, you can simply add weird terms and phrases on your dictionary so it is included in your phone’s auto complete bank. This way, all you have to do is type in the first few letters of the word before your phone gives you its auto-complete suggestion.
  • Display your user info – Losing your phone can be a stressful thing, but with newer Android models, the phone itself gives whoever finds it a way to contact you. Under the screen security settings in your settings menu, you can choose to display your user info on your lock screen. You can add your name, phone number, and email on the lock screen to make it easier for anybody to give the phone back to you. Realistically, this doesn’t really increase the chances of your phone getting returned, especially if the person who finds it is less than honourable.
  • Quick Responses – Auto responders are not limited to traditional desktop email services, as you can compose automatic responses on your mobile as well. If you tend to decline calls when you’re in a meeting, you can compose an automated response for it. So the next time you’re in a meeting and someone calls, you can simply slide your thumb upwards to access the auto-responder options and send the pre-written reply of your choice.
  • Take Screenshots – If you want to take a screenshot, you can do so by simultaneously pressing the volume down button and power key. Don’t release the buttons until you hear that trademark shutter sound. Yes, it’s more complicated compared to the iPhone, but it’s nice to know that it’s there.

As newer handsets are released in the market, the number of things you can do with your Android phone is increased exponentially. While reading the manual may be a bit boring, it’s better than being completely ignorant to the awesome things your phone can do. The list above is just the tip of the iceberg – your phone can do so much more, so go ahead and explore!


Why Having A Mobile Phone on Bad Credit Is Easier Than You Think

When your credit rating plummets, you lose a lot of financial freedom. Basically, you should be prepared to take a lot of rejections when it comes to loans, insurance and other financial matters. Fortunately for you, it turns out getting a mobile phone is not one of those things. In fact, getting a contract with bad credit is easy, if you know where to look.

You might be surprised to find out that practically all major mobile phone network providers in the UK have bad credit mobile phone contracts. Of course they don’t advertise it, but it’s good to know that they have it. Now you might be wondering, why would popular networks even consider people with bad credit as their clients? Well, it boils down to two points:

  • Fierce competition – It’s no secret that the mobile network industry is very cut-throat. If you don’t step up, someone else will take your place. And now, companies are realising that bad credit market is starting to get viable. Yes, this means there are a lot of people in the UK with bad credit. Think about it, you’re considered as a separate market now. So even though you might be high-risk clients, it’s still better than nothing. To most providers, the more clients, the better, regardless of their financial status.
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  • Handset turnover – Remember the phrase, “out with the old, in with the new”? Basically, this is what handset turnover is. It seems like every month, a new smartphone model is released and of course, mostly everyone wants the latest thing. As newer models enter the market, the older ones get pushed to the back of the showroom where they gather dust. So what do providers do with these older smartphones that are not as in-demand? Well, put them on bad credit mobile phone contracts. If you think it’s a bad thing, it’s not. Although they are called “older” mobiles, they are relatively new. In fact, most mobiles included in bad credit plans already have touch screens, mobile Internet and other newer features.

Mobile phone network providers aren’t ones to waste potential clients or outdated smartphones, so they lump them altogether in one good deal. As mentioned, the handsets aren’t very bad; they’re not the latest model, but they’re still relatively new – just not in-demand. So if you don’t really care about having the newest handset in the market, bad credit mobile phone plans are a great idea. Now, even bad credit won’t stand in the way of you owning an awesome smartphone.


Top Five Smartphones of 2015

Top Five Smartphones of 2015

With only two months left for the year 2015, I think it’s safe to start listing down the best smartphone releases in the market. The chances of getting a surprise release for the last two months is slim, and even if a new smartphone is released after this list is posted, the number of sales still wouldn’t come close to the numbers accumulated by the phones on the list. Oh well, there’s still next year.

So without further adieu, I give you the five top smartphones for this year, in no particular order, because otherwise we’ll have crazy fans running after our hides.

  • iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – The iPhone 6 and 6 plus are Apple’s contenders on our list. These beauties, aside from being aesthetically perfect as Apple gadgets usually are, featured utilitarian upgrades as well. From better battery efficiency and great performance, Apple has delivered as usual. The 4.7 inch iPhone 6 and 5.5 inch iPhone 6 plus can be obtained through a phone contract for around £38 a month and £43.50 a month respectively.
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge –The S6 and S6 Edge are Samsung’s answer to Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 plus. Both variations measure 5.1 inches and boast a curved screen for more sleekness. Touted by many experts as the “mobile phone of 2015”, the smartphone introduces amazing features like the QHD AMOLED screen and the latest camera technology. The Samsung Galaxy S6 will set you back £39.50 per month, and the S6 Edge £43.50 per month.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – A cross between a mobile phone and a tablet (or phablet), the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 reminds us why Samsung is the undisputed king of phablets. The 5.7 inch smartphone boasts a sleek QHD screen and comes with an accompanying stylus. You can get this phablet on contract for a mere £38 per month.
  • LG G4 – The latest addition to LG’s Android smartphone line consists of a clearer, more detailed screen and better camera features. This is also one of the more affordable flagship smartphones, costing only £35 a month on contract.
  • OnePlus 2 – Surprisingly, OnePlus has made it into the big league with their latest offering. The model’s release has resulted in quite a fuzz, especially since OnePlus was not considered as one of the top players in the smartphone industry. The success of the OnePlus 2 is giving its rivals a run for their money, and we look forward to seeing more of OnePlus next year. The smartphone can be bought outright for £239.

This list is based on market shares, sales, and a dash of personal opinion. Of course, some people will have their own favourite smartphones for their own reasons. From this list we can tell that the smartphone is moving along quite well, with better features and more functions. We look forward to all the possibilities that next year’s candidates will give us.


How Competitive is the Mobile Phone Industry?

How Competitive is the Mobile Phone Industry?

Recent announcements made by both Blackberry CEO John Chen and Sony boss Kazuo Hirai have reminded us all too well how competitive the mobile phone industry is. For those of you who did not tune in, both companies are reconsidering their options and might quit the smartphone market for good next year if profits don’t pick up.

This year saw Blackberry’s market share plummet to 1.2 percent over in the US, while Sony’s market share in the US barely reached one percent, and only 17.5 percent in their main market, Japan. Blackberry in particular, has experienced a huge decline since their golden days back in 2009. They ended the year with a whooping 42.6 percent of the market share. So, what happened? The iPhone happened.

It was not so much the iPhone as Blackberry’s inability to stay ahead of the competition. Sadly, I think the company felt too attached to their comfort zone and might have rested on their laurels too much. Since then, Blackberry has never bounced back, and now the main players in the industry are Microsoft, Google and Apple.

Amidst this sad news comes great news from Microsoft, as Windows 10 mobile rolls in with a large variety of handsets. Now I’m curious as to how Google and Apple will upend this. It’s like sibling rivalry, with one trying to overtake the other in terms of achievements.

Will we see Blackberry and Sony exit the market next year? Truthfully, I’m saddened by this development. Although new mobile phone operating systems like Ubuntu mobile are being introduced in the market, it’s nice to keep your options opened. The three main players in the mobile phone industry all have flaws that smaller companies can use to gain leverage.

For instance, Apple has always received a lot of flack for its strict software limitations. If you own an Apple device, you can only download things that are either created by Apple itself, or a partner company. If you want to use an application from a third-party company that doesn’t have Apple’s approval, good luck with that. Yes, you may try to jailbreak or root your phone, which puts you at a security risk.

Speaking of security risk, Google’s Android is not the most reputable right now in terms of security. The complete opposite of Apple, Google allows users to download whatever they want, and even tweak the source code itself to develop new apps. All this freedom is bound to bite them in the rear, which is exactly what happened. Hackers and other unscrupulous individuals are targeting Android users by installing malicious code inside seemingly legitimate applications. Google needs to develop a method which does not compromise freedom, but at least keeps user secured from untrusted app publishers.

Overall, the potential exit of two big players in the mobile phone industry sends a chilling message to the rest of the industry: If you can’t keep up with evolution, you’re going to get left behind. This does not only apply to the mobile phone industry, but other industries related to technology. Advancement, coupled with consumer demands makes for a very volatile and fast-paced contest. I guess this is a good thing, because as they say, in every competition, the consumers win each and every time.


How To Keep Your Mobile Phones Safe

How To Keep Your Mobile Phones Safe

As mobile phones become more and more important in our lives, the need to keep them safe and secure increases as well. Mobile phones are not only expensive, but we store valuable information on them, like contact numbers, addresses, passwords and even financial information. Losing our mobile phones or leaving them vulnerable to hacking can lead to identity theft, unauthorized use of your credit card and bank information, plus a plethora of other problems.

Do you know that an average of 300 phones are stolen in London per day? Worse still, do you know that people can harvest your personal information without your knowledge? Even if you keep your phone safe by your side, it is still vulnerable to hacking and identity theft. To keep your phones absolutely safe, here are some tips you can follow.

Keep your software updated

We all hate that annoying message that constantly reminds us to update our phone software. However, this is extremely necessary as the point of updates is to fix vulnerabilities in your mobile’s operating system. Each time hackers successfully find a loophole in your otherwise secure operating system, the manufacturers release a fix that counters it. If your software is not updated, its an open invitation to hackers to come and harvest your confidential information.

Lock screens and passwords

Lock screens are there for a reason – to keep prying eyes and restless hands away from your phone’s contents. Pattern unlocks are great, and they’re available on most models available nowadays. If you’re still using an older phone that doesn’t have a touch screen, you should definitely use a password. It might pose a slight inconvenience each time you use your phone, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Install an Antivirus

It’s common sense to install an antivirus on your computer, and the same concept should apply to your mobile phone. While mobile phone viruses are rarer compared to their desktop counterparts, they still exist and they’re as deadly too. If you’re using the Apple OS, you’re safer because Apple restricts the kind of apps you install on your mobile phone. Since the Android OS is open source, there’s a chance you might download something malicious. Consider getting McAfee or AVG for your phone to combat this.

Use security apps

Aside from using a security lock to use your phone, you can have an additional layer of security for certain files or apps on your phone. For example, you can download vault apps to secure your messages or picture gallery. You can set additional security parameters to specific folders too.

No Jailbreaking

Jailbreaking, or accessing your OS source code to unlock everything, is common among users, especially owners of Apple phones. Since Apple only allows you to download apps that are available on the Apple store, users jailbreak their phone so they can download whatever app they want. However, manufacturers set limits for a reason – there are a lot of apps out there from untrusted sources that may contain malicious code. Hackers use these apps to get into the mobile phones of users so they can harvest personal information.


The Basics of Mobile Phone Operating Systems

The Basics of Mobile Phone Operating Systems

Remember when life was so simple and mobile phones were just used to call and text people? Well, those days are gone. Nowadays, mobile phones can take the place of so many appliances and gadgets. They serve as your organizer, web browser, calculator, music player, video recorder, video game platform and a lot more.

However, if you’re still old school and you simply want a phone for calls and text, you might feel more than a bit confused when the salesperson starts talking about mobile phone operating systems. Operating what? Well, think of mobile phones as mini computers, because technically, that’s what they are now. In the same way that desktop computers and laptops have operating systems, the functions of a mobile phone have become so diverse that they now require an operating system to hold everything together.

An operating system is the managing software that oversees all applications and functions that run on your mobile phone. Even back then, our mobile phones already possessed an operating system, but nobody paid attention to it because phone functions were limited to calls, texts, phone book entries and jotting down important reminders. As more applications are being made for mobile phones, the harder it is to manage the resources, from allocating sufficient memory to store the apps, to having the necessary hardware required to deploy them.

Each operating system works in a similar fashion, but there are minor differences depending on which system your phone has. Some people are very particular about what operating system their phone has, and it greatly influences their decision when it comes to buying phones. Some operating systems are open sourced, meaning you can downloading anything you want on it, while other operating systems will have a set list of software that you can download on the phone.

There are three main players when it comes to mobile phone operating systems: Apple, Google and Microsoft.

  • Android – This is the mobile operating system designed by Google. Powered using the Linux kernel, the Android uses an open source operating model. Because of this, app developers can freely use the source code to develop new applications without being subjected to limitations. This freedom has made Android the top player among mobile operating systems.
  • Windows Phone – This operating system was developed by Microsoft around 2010 in a move to keep up with its competition, Android and iOS. Known for creating software that caters to desktop computers, Microsoft realised that its products were lagging behind because more and more users are going mobile. Eventually, Windows Phone replaced Microsoft’s old mobile platform model, with emphasis on easy navigation and interactivity.
  • iOS – Apple’s multi-tasking operating system, the iOS, is used to run all Apple products. It doesn’t matter if you’re using an iPad, iTouch or iPhone – it’s all run by the iOS. Since Apple also produces a lot of software, the company doesn’t allow the download and usage of third-party programs on their devices. This means that if you’re using an Apple device, you can only use software that’s been approved or designed by the company.

While this may sound like a bunch of technical nonsense, knowing the basics when it comes to operating systems can make a difference. Remember, find an operating system that complements your lifestyle. For example, if you love to download apps regardless of their manufacturer, better stick with a mobile OS that allows third-party software downloads.