Dec 29

Tikinotes_0001I recently did a little review of Swype, but a new app from Tiki’Labs is challenging Swype for the fastest touch texting app title for your new or refurbished cell phone. They’ve even put a video in which Tikinotes wins (by a very small margin).

Tikinotes seems to be focusing on the idea that the bigger the “button” on the touch screen, the quicker you can type. They have designed a two-touch system where the initial screen shows you six large boxes, four containing six letters and two containing a combination of letters and symbols. To type, you first tap the box containing the letter you need, which changes the six boxes of multiple letters to six boxes, each containing only one letter. You then tap the letter you need. It sounds tedious but if you watch their tutorial video, you’ll see that it actually looks pretty quick. Again, the idea is that you eventually memorize where the letters will appear and can type really quickly because the buttons are so big, so you don’t have to worry about hitting the wrong letter.

I’m still not entirely sold, but I think that if I try it out, I will be. I still swear I could text faster on the old two-letter-per-button layout of the Blackberry Pearl than I can on a full QWERTY because the buttons were just a little larger, so maybe Tikinotes is what I need. You can get the app at iTunes for, I belive, $1.99.

Dec 28

ford-logoRecent reports show that Ford will be offering a Wifi option in a select number of their 2010 models. These models will have Wifi built in and will have a USB port so that device’s can be plugged into the modem. This seems to be geared more towards using laptops in the car as opposed to your new or refurbished cell phone but if you’re disappointed with, say, your 3G coverage on your iPhone, having the option to plug into your car’s high speed Wifi will be pretty nice.

Ford hasn’t yet confirmed which models will offer Wifi, but they have assured consumers that the vehicle’s internal modem will automatically update itself to remain compatible with as many devices as possible as technology advances.

Although companies like Verizon are offering products like Mifi that give you hotspot access anywhere, Ford’s $29 per month service fee is definitely on the more affordable side of the spectrum.

Dec 16

google-phone-coryobrien-twitterIt seems that the rumors about Google releasing a new Android phone (like the Motorola Droid) are true. Word on the street is that Google gave a number of its employees a sample of their new Nexus One, a name will not likely be the official name when it is released.

The Nexus One is rumored to be the first cell phone to run on Anroid 2.1. It is also supposed to be a little shallower in depth than the iPhone and posses a larger touch screen. Most exciting to me, is that it seems fairly certain that the Nexus One will be sold directly from Google as an unlocked cell phone, so you will be able to use it on T-Mobile or AT&T.

If the rumors are true, and day-by-day it seems clearer that they are, the new Google Phone should be released in January. Whether or not it will be fabled “iPhone killer” remains uncertain, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if anyone has a shot at taking down Apple, it’s Google.

For more on the new Google Phone, visit Engadget or The New York Times.

Dec 15

goggles_landmarkGoogle never ceases to blow my mind with what we will soon be able to do from our new and refurbished cell phones. Google has recently released Google Goggles (currently available for only Android phones like the Motorola Droid), which allows you to use the camera on your cell phone to perform Google searches.

All you have to do is open Google Goggles, point at the building, book, business card, painting, etc., snap a picture, and the Google search results appear. It gets even better when you use it with local businesses. Just open Goggles, point your camera at the business and without even having to take the picture, Goggles will display the name of the business, which you can tap for more information like contact info and reviews. There is a nice little video on the Google Goggles page, where you can get more information about Goggles.

There has been some backlash about Goggles, however, as Google has been working to incorporate face recognition into Goggles. Face recognition means you could literally point your camera phone at someone walking by and if there is information about that person online, the search results for them would pop up. I admit, I’m not sure if this feature is scary or cool. Maybe scary cool.

Dec 11
Photo via The New York Times

Photo via The New York Times

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about text messages sent from people’s new and refurbished cell phones being used as evidence in court, especially in divorce cases. Text messages can now be used to prove infidelity, which can lead to the loss of some serious cash so if you’re a cheater, watch what and to whom you text.

If you are sending incriminating texts, there are some things you should know about how your phone works, especially if your carrier uses GSM and SIM cards. Apparently, when you delete a text message, it doesn’t actually delete the message from your SIM. Instead, it frees up the space used to store the message so until that space is actually replaced with new data, the text message can still be retrieved from your SIM.

In addition to your SIM card, text messages (even if deleted from your phone) are stored with your carrier for up to a few weeks. An article from The New York Times shows that AT&T stores text messages for seventy-two hours and Verizon stores messages for five to ten days.

Dec 11
Image via fastcompany.com

Image via fastcompany.com

Did you know that the energy it takes to produce a cell phone is greater than all of the energy the phone will use during the average cell phone’s lifetime? Just Barber, a green warrior in the fight against unnecessary consumption of planet’s resources, has come up with a new concept for cell phone design, providing another option, in addition to recycling your old phones and purchasing refurbished cell phones, for doing your part in saving our planet.

Barber’s idea is to create a durable cell phone made of materials that are 85% recyclable, which is designed to facilitate constant internal upgrades as technologies improve. Although well intentioned, I don’t really see how Barber’s plan is really making much progress, unfortunately. The majority of the problem with cell phones, in terms of waste, lies in the constant need to update the internals of a phone as technology increases, which leads to the toxic materials from which the internals are made being thrown away and thus polluting the earth. The plastic housing of a cell phone is easily replaceable with greener materials; it’s the speed at which phones are becoming outdated that is the source of the problem.4173723527_652f0a6373_o

Until we make a phone (or maybe Apple’s already made it) that can be constantly updated to keep with the break-neck speed of technological advancement, the best way to go green in the cellular world is purchase refurbished.



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