PadTab Tablet Wall Mount for iPads and Android Devices

 PadTab Tablet Wall Mount
With the PadTab Tablet Wall Mount, you can easily affix your iPad or Android tablet to any flat surface — no tools required!. [Image shared by Amazon]
The PadTab Tablet Wall Mount makes it easy to mount your favorite tablet anywhere in your home or office.

You Can Use Your PadTab Tablet Wall Mount to Meet a Variety of Needs

Apple iPad and Android-powered tablets have become a dominant force in the world today. These slim, lightweight electronic devices have created an easier way to bring the Internet into our homes and offices — and even when traveling between the two. With the advent of streaming media via high-speed Internet connections, we can now view video from YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, and others from anywhere we wish. Watching televisions shows, movies, and online videos has never been easier.

With the PadTab Tablet Wall Mount, you will have the ability to mount your favorite electronic device anywhere you wish. This means that if you are working in the kitchen, you aren’t limited to video streaming but also have the ability to retrieve and view your favorite recipes online while keeping your device free of extraneous kitchen debris.

How Does the PadTab Tablet Wall Mount Work?

The PadTab Tablet Wall Mount’s industrial strength 3M adhesive can be affixed to any hard shell case cover instead of the device itself. This should help alleviate the concerns that the adhesive could damage the case of your device. Once the tabs are affixed to the device, you can then stick your iPad or tablet directly to any wall, cabinet, door, refrigerator, or other clean surface. The easy on and off design makes it simple to place or remove your iPad or other tablet device with ease.

With the PadTab Tablet Wall Mount, you get two non-intrusive, clear, and paintable TabClips for hanging your device in two different locations.

Get your own PadTab Tablet Wall Mount from Amazon and live in the future today!

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013Have you been blissfully caught off guard by all of these new and fancy tech trends that are saturating the marketplace? Wonder which tech trends will stick around or which should be buried in the desert along with lost copies of Atari cartridges? Yeah, I hear you. Personally, I don’t have a whole lot of time to be perusing and checking out these new apps and gadgets all on my lonesome, so usually it’s on the suggestion of a friend or maybe a rogue reader with a keen eye that wants to get my opinion. So I took a look over some pretty big tech trends that have made a big impact on 2013 so far. Take a look and add your own! You know, be interactive!

Tech Trends: The Apps We Love and Hate

Snapchat: So some Stanford University students got together and pieced together an app that would allow the user to take brief snapshots from one second to 10 seconds and, then they allegedly fade off into the ether, never to be seen again. Currently, the demographic model is full of tweens, teens, and baby-adults below the age of 25, which puts Snapchat in a weird position. Anyone I know over the age of 25 who owns Snapchat is adorably questionable, at best, or they’re curious just like most of us are. What does it mean? What’s the reason? Users can take lurid pictures, embarrassing selfies, and revealing portraits and think that they will vaporize the second they will it, yet dozens of programs on the Google Play store say otherwise.

Just searching “Snapchat” shows that obviously an exploit exists, as well as reports that those images of yours don’t exactly leave. No, in fact they are saved for at least 30 days anyhow, so obviously some smart little jerks have figured out how to save your preciously stupid brain hiccups that made you take snaps of your junk and post them up for mere seconds. Can someone screenshot it? Sure they can. What does the company think of this? Obviously it finds it deplorable but — hey — you’re the one trusting an app with your naughty bits, so who is really at fault here?

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
As you can see, Snapchat makes up only one application on this list of tech trends, and every other search brings up its dubious little screenshot thieves.

Vine and Instagram Video: Founded in 2012 and then quickly acquired by Twitter, Vine’s a nifty little program that helps you make and produce six-second videos that are easily condensed and posted up on social media without the huff and puff of most social media outlets like Facebook and such. Instagram would release its own quickshot video section to its app that allows up to 15 seconds as well as your normal Instagram filters. The fascinating thing about this is what people are doing with these videos.

People like Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, used Vine to post the most popular reaction on Twitter to the Red Wedding episode of her show, acted out in mere seconds by herself. Folks are getting creative in thrilling ways and using Vine and Instagram to show it off, and it’s never been more interactive of a world as when you give the people a way to let you see through their eyes, one sepia filter at a time. Some tech trends are exciting in simple ways.

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones fame gives six seconds of fan reaction on Vine.

Candy Crush Saga: Who would’ve guessed that a candy-coated, brightly colored Bejeweled clone would so easily capture the hearts of people all around the world? But nobody can stop it. I had yet to have witnessed this confection that developers at King came up with in April of 2012 and less than a year later, it surpassed FarmVille in social media games. What was doing it? Was it how quick it is to pick up such a simple concept with adorable, harmless visuals? Possibly.

It might have something to do with the fact it isn’t a required time sink like most of those other “Ville” games happen to be. When you don’t need to constantly tend to crops, check on your city, or any other arguable waste of time, it opens you up to be able to enjoy something more at random. With only a set amount of turns, most levels don’t take long to complete. And while you are only allotted a certain amount of retries within a time period, it’s not such a bad thing to be told to back down and go do something else until you have more opportunities to bite into a level. Not too bad for a brand new title to bring in nearly $700,000 a day in revenue, is it? Quite a bit of money people are spending on those truffles, you know?

Real Racing 3: Is it possible we’re doing too much with our smart phones? Are they making us dumber? Are they making us think we have any business playing a racing game on our phones? Sure, I can understand tablets that are wide enough to handle and/or appreciate a game of this kind of high-definition, but I know people who are turning on their phones and syncing up to this game on an almost daily level.

Why are we doing this, hmm? Released in February of this year, Real Racing 3 absolutely wowed critics with its beauty and rightly so; the game has some incredible presentation, offers in-app purchases for vehicles and upgrades, and does what most free-to-play app games do but with the splendor and visuals of something you’d see on our current-generation gaming consoles. So it’s beautiful and it’s making money, but do we need it on our phones? On our tablets, sure, but our phones?

Playing this on my phone felt wrong and awkward, yet I was still compelled to play it just so I could see the visuals some more. Cars are crisp and beautiful, tracks are well laid-out, and this game could easily be something I’d purchase for $15 on the PlayStation Network and race against my friends. Instead? Phone. I’m stuck with it on a phone. Makes no sense.

Soundtracking: Bringing a “check in” approach to your music collection, Soundtracking is like setting a playlist for your day, not ahead of time but as your day happens around you! Listening to a song and it’s speaking to your current mood? Soundtrack it and the app will either listen to the sound around you if you’re listening out loud, grab it off of your phone, tablet, or Spotify, or you can search for the song you’re thinking of at that moment and let it out on Facebook and Twitter.

Maybe people will dig your vibe and follow your Soundtrack, opening up brand new audiences to music at the touch of a button. Honestly, of all the things listed here in this article, I think Soundtracking is a tech trend that has turned me on the most with its quick, reflexive interface, its smart lingo, and its no-frills desire to share music with everyone I know.

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
On, you can find some of the trending Soundtrackers today, sharing music from all over the world!

Tech Trends: Social Media and the New Niche Machines

While some of these tech trends are certainly not new, they’ve either faded into the background or blown up more recently and I’m thinking it has to do with the user experience. We’ve all changed, haven’t we? With more freedom comes far more responsibility, and when you let the world at large play with websites like Tumblr, Vine, and Instagram, we all become a little more in tune with the audience we built.

The lot of us have a song to sing aloud and when we know we have all these freedoms to say what we want when we’re doing it without the constraints of Facebook or MySpace (do people still use that?) to hide their pretty words and take away their creative process.

Tumblr: With a dashboard consisting of seven buttons sprawled out at the top of your page, you can get to ushering forth your message as quickly and evenly as possible. The tech trend of hashtags are like the private little Reddit pages that you keep all to yourself, pleasantly seeking what other users are creating, talking about and re-blogging from their minds or from the minds of others.

Microblogging has gone where bigger blogs couldn’t go, and that’s where Twitter sent them. When WordPress is too heavy and meant for those intensely dedicated to the words and audience at large, Tumblr just wanted to see what you had to say and without the pretense or complication. In June of this year, Yahoo! bought Tumblr and, as of August 8th, Tumblr hosts more than 100 million blogs. Not too shabby for the place that people too chatty for Twitter go in order to get their heavenly Internet sermons to the masses, be they photos, gifs, or rants about the upcoming season of BBC’s Sherlock.

Fitocracy: Combining the love of reaching levels and achieving goals in video games, Fitocracy is among tech trends that award users with achievements to boast for every fitness landmark they reach in goals set forth by fitness instructors, professional nutritionists, and more from all over the world. Completing quests always seemed like something out of World of Warcraft and those tech-savvy yet health-seeking individuals could do well to give Fitocracy a try and see if it fits, so to speak, with their trophy-requiring lives.

Does it work? Sure, dozens swear by it, and my feed is littered with wonderful achievements and fitness peaks that friends of mine worked hard to get and boast about with pride! See, getting some fun recognition doesn’t have to be reserved for video games only, but when you pump out some of those crunches before work in the morning, too!

Klout, Pinterest, and LinkedIn?: Are we still doing this Klout thing? Are people still “pinning,” and is anyone actually checking out their LinkedIn activity? To me, Klout always seemed like a place where people impregnated each others’ feeds with self-importance and over-inflated corporate sponsorship. Talk too much about some beverages and someone will consider you an “Influencer” so much so that, before you know it, bitches be offering you tea bags as a Klout Perk. Yeah, that happens. That happened to me. Some tech trends are kind of lame.

Pinterest?: It’s Tumblr for those without the attention span to push forward and send their own message so much as re-pin someone else’s neatly — it’s like scrapbooking on the Internet. It came and went and died a death when people realized the simplicity of other sites and how we could easily tell our stories outside of just repeated imagery on a corkboard.

As far as I know, not a single person has actually gained a job and/or done anything other than show off the people they know on LinkedIn. An ever-growing resume online, it becomes a quick study in Facebook for the workplace and nobody should be offering jobs to people based on some delightful little blurbs and resume-esque coding on a website. No, we need to see it as social media only and something that holds the same weight as Facebook because we can still, easily, control our message there.

Hell, I haven’t logged into my main LinkedIn page in years and if anyone were to look that up, they’d think I hadn’t worked at a new place since 2007. Is that true? Sure isn’t. However, when you look me up on Google, it’s one of the first pages you see. Now is that anything you should be regarding heavily when it comes to your professional career? No, because it’s still just another page on the search engine that can come and go with the fleeting fancy of the average human’s attention span (and fickle tech trends).

Tech Trends: So What’s Next?

It’s leaving a lot of possibility for the upcoming applications and social media mavens when you see just where we’re sitting now with tech trends, isn’t it? With rumors swirling about an Amazon branded gaming console akin to the recently crowd-funded OUYA, we could see integration with our current tech that brings not just gaming applications, but social media applications to a brand new front. It’s always been a cumbersome thing to take part in the Android world from the comfort of your television and such, but maybe that day is soon to pass.

The world is brimming with technology and its naturally forming tech trends, and the biggest and brightest are yet to come. Once we’re all wearing eyeglass smart phones and wearing small hard drives as watches, none of us are going to look back at 2013’s early half and think that the tech trends going on were anything other than a flash in the pan. We’re going places, kids. Look out.

What apps and websites have caught your attention this year and what are you hoping to stumble upon before 2014 rears its glorious head on us all? Sound off below and share your best guesses for future tech trends with the lot of us!

Header images thanks to Petr Kratchovil and Silviu Firulete — modified by the author. Application images sourced from respective sites listed.

Phablet: Can My Nexus 7 Be Used as One?

Jordan asks about turning a Nexus 7 tablet into a phablet:

Lately it seems as if my Droid Bionic’s screen is just too small for my needs. Although it was my first Android device and will always have a special place in my heart, it’s just not working its magic on me anymore. I recently received a 16 GB Google Nexus 7 and I absolutely love it. Could I use it as my only mobile device? I already do everything else on it like watch videos and movies and play games, but what I also want is for my tablet to act as my phone. The Nexus 7 is small enough to carry around in my pocket, but the problem I run into is trying to connect it to a mobile network. Any tips on how to turn my Nexus into a so-called phablet?

Phablet: Can My Nexus 7 Be Used as One?Thanks for your question, Jordan! There has been a great deal of discussion about this new device category, the phablet, which is essentially a hybrid of a smartphone and a tablet. According to many tech pundits, this year is expected to the Year of the Phablet, and the Consumer Electronics Show gave us the year’s first real taste of phablet fever.

The Nexus 7 as a Phablet

I believe the Nexus 7 has the potential to be used as a phablet. At 7 inches, it’s just small enough to be toted around, though many will still find it far too big to be carried around in a pocket. We were recently asked whether it was necessary to have separate data plans when you have both a smartphone and a tablet; in your case, you might consider yourself lucky, because you won’t have to be making that decision.

I recommend trying a variety of communication applications with your Nexus 7 in order to turn it into a phablet. Skype is perhaps the most well-known example of voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, applications, but there are countless others available for you to try. Using Google Hangouts on Google+ is another great way to communicate, especially when you want to communicate with more than one person at the same time using your phablet.

Inexpensive Data Plans Are Available for Phablets

If you don’t have a data plan yet, the Nexus 7 uses a micro SIM card, and you have a variety of wireless carriers from which to choose. You don’t always have to go with one of the self-professed Big Kahunas of the wireless world; you can have your Nexus’ SIM activated on a prepaid carrier such as SIMPLE Mobile quite inexpensively. SIMPLE Mobile runs on T-Mobile’s network, but may offer better personal support for about the same cost as going with T-Mobile itself.

Regardless of which carrier you go with, once you have a data plan in place, you can get a free mobile phone number through services like Pinger, which enable talking and texting over your data plan for free. Some folks prefer using a simple service like this to others like Skype and Google Hangouts, since they tend to require less data and are potentially more reliable. (Potentially, I say, but not necessarily.) If you don’t have a data plan, try a few of these services using your Wi-Fi connection to see which service you prefer.

More tablets are going to be used as phablets as consumers are trying to save money or those who prefer larger displays buy the devices. I’ve used most of the major devices and services available, but I’m sure there are a few out there I haven’t tried yet (or haven’t even heard of), so I’m looking forward to hearing from others about how they’re using their tablets as phablets. What services have you found to work well in converting your Nexus 7 or other tablet into a phablet?

Image from Amazon

How to Build Your Own Smartphone Battery Backup

How to Build Your Own Smartphone Battery BackupThis is an interesting project for those do-it-yourself people who like to tinker. It seems that all of us have become victims of buying everything already made and we no longer get our hands dirty to either built a PC, or in this case, to build a smartphone battery backup. Let me just say this: if you have never built yourself a desktop PC, you don’t know what you are missing. I have built hundreds of computers for myself, my family, and for clients, which has always left me with a feeling of satisfaction when the job was completed.

Similarly, building your own smartphone battery backup system is a project that you can do for yourself or share with another family member. I would classify the knowledge needed to complete this project as moderately easy, but your tech expertise will decide just how easy — or difficult — the project will be.

First, let’s start with some of the parts you will need to begin.

The battery is the heart of a smartphone battery backup system. One would think that a car battery could serve as a battery backup, but this is not the case; car batteries expel gases during the charging process, and no one wants that inside of their homes. One battery I’d recommend is one that is designed to be used in a marine environment, produces no deadly gases, and is leak proof. One such battery for use in a battery backup system is sold at Amazon and is called the Optima 8014-045-FFP YellowTop Group 34/78 Deep Cycle Battery. The battery sells for about $185.

A wall charger is needed that will keep the battery fully charged and is compatible with a marine type battery. Amazon has such a charger and it is priced at $25. Schumacher SC-600A SpeedCharge High Frequency Battery Charger.

To complete our project, we will also need a battery clip-on cigarette lighter adapter that connects to the battery. The Roadpro 12V Battery Clip-On and Cigarette Lighter Adapter at only $5 meets this need.

Finally, you will need to purchase a USB car charger like this one: Griffin Powerjolt Dual Universal USB Micro (priced at $5), plus a volt meter of some type to measure the power remaining in your battery; the Equus 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor meets this need at $15.

Once you have the parts all rounded up, just follow these directions to set up your charging system.

  • The first thing you have to do is connect the wall charger to the battery. Make sure you use the correct connections, which are marked on the battery pole. Red to plus and black to minus. Let the system charge for six to eight hours.
  • Once the battery is fully charged, it is now time to check to see if your phone can be charged. Attach the cigarette lighter adapter to the battery with the same connections (red to plus and black to minus) as above.
  • Plug in your USB cable to the phone adapter and you should see the charging indicator on your phone pop into action.

The amount of times you can charge your phone will depend on how much power your phone uses during normal operation. However, using this type of battery backup will provide more charging power than the simple backups that may charge a smartphone as few as three times.

How do you keep your smartphone working when the power is out?

Comments, as always, are welcome.


CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by IntelFreePress

Archos GamePad: a New Way to Game

Archos GamePad: a New Way to GamePhysical gaming pads that blend a screen with physical buttons may not be new, but the Archos GamePad is one of the first gaming pads that will be offering Android Jelly Bean 4.1. For those of you who are not familiar with the Jelly Bean operating system, it is Google’s latest release of its popular Android system that has proved itself to be the best version yet. The Archos GamePad will bring the power of Jelly Bean with a light and thin device that will also take advantage of Google Play, along with Google Mobile Services.

The Archos GamePad will offer a 1024 x 600 pixel screen along with 16 million colors to bring a bright and vibrant experience to the device. For those who have found touchscreen operation of a game cumbersome, the Archos GamePad offers 14 physical buttons and dual analog thumb-sticks. In addition, the GamePad also offers a revolutionary new gaming tool called mapping, which Archos claims is an exclusive to its product.

On the official website, the developers of the Archos GamePad state that their unique mapping tool will:

  • map any virtual-controlled game
  • provide an easy-to-use, drag and drop interface that will map a game in seconds
  • automatically load mapping profiles and start your games
  • include hundreds of profiles for the popular games

But hold on. Not only is the Archos GamePad a gamer’s delight, but it is also a full-fledged tablet computer. Users can enjoy Google Now to search and find anything on the Internet, surf the Web faster with the Google Chrome browser, and even check Google Gmail. In fact, this gaming device has access to all of Google’s most popular services including Google Maps, Google+, and even Google Drive with 5 GB of free storage for your stuff.

These are the specifications for the device:

  • Google-certified Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system
  • Quad-core Mali 400 MP GPU paired with a 1.6 GHz dual-core CPU
  • 8 GB of internal memory with a microSD slot or up to 64 GB of additional space
  • A mini-HDMI port for connecting the GamePad to a television
  • 700,000 apps and games with DRM support for downloading books, magazines, music, movies, and TV shows available through Google Play
  • Tailor-made apps for video and music that include metadata scraping, auto-subtitles, and format and codec support with 1080p video decoding

The Archos is in every way a full-fledged tablet computer, so buying this GamePad has a lot to offer. The device should become available here in the US sometime in early 2013.

Comments are welcome.

Source: Archos

New Devices for Children: Are These Tablets for Kids Just Toys?

New Devices for Children: Are These Tablets for Kids Just Toys?Our three-year-old granddaughter is a proficient user of the original Apple iPad. This is a credit to Apple and its design team at making the iPad extremely user-friendly. When I say that she is proficient, I mean she can play children’s games on the iPad without any issues. Her parents still need to sign into iTunes and download the games for her. But outside of this, the child uses the iPad like any adult would.

I recall when our 13-year-old grandson was that age (maybe a little older); we had purchased him a LeapPad. What we found was that this device was more of a toy — and an expensive toy it turned out to be. The cartridges cost about $20 and quickly added up. Do not get me wrong. The LeapPad was a great product for its time and I do not regret buying the device.

Today, we are facing competition from a slew of tablet computers and other devices that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. When we look at tablets such as the Kindle HD, Nexus 7, or Nook HD, it makes it hard to fathom why you would purchase anything other than a tablet computer for your child.

It’s a Small World, designed to function on the Apple iPad, is an example of how great applications have become. I saw this application from Disney and was totally amazed at the complexity of the artwork. In addition, there was a simplicity to the application that, with just a swipe of a finger, amazing things happened to intrigue a small child. What was further astonishing is that this superb application cost just $4 from the Apple iTunes store.

There is only one downside to purchasing any tablet computer for a little one, and that is cost. How many of you would spend between $200 to $500 to entertain a small child?

Leapfrog has an entrant into the gaming market that is affordable and loaded with new features. The product is called the LeapsterGS and is designed for kids from ages four to nine-years-old and costs only $55 on Amazon. The company states that this is a rugged device that can stand up to usage by youngsters and comes with a larger screen, built-in-camera, video recorder, and microphone. Children will also appreciate that they will be able to tilt and turn the device while playing their favorite game.

One of the writers here at LockerGnome made a comment when I proposed this article and stated:

Also consider the Tabeo. My friend just got it for her two-year-old, and she seems entranced by it.

The Tabeo is made by Toys”R”Us and is a 7″ tablet computer loaded with plenty of features. Priced at $150, it would seem that this product would also be another option to consider. But please read the reviews on the Toys”R”Us website and make an informed decision before you consider buying this device.

What about you? What would you suggest to buy for a small child this holiday season?

Commons are welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Srtatageme,com

Which Tablet Should You Buy as a Gift?

Which Tablet Should You Buy as a Gift?With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are already thinking about buying gadgets for our loved ones. One of the most popular products currently on the market is the tablet computer. This marvel of technology has been a huge hit and now the selection of tablet computers has increased just during the past few months. So which tablet will be the perfect gift and provide many happy hours of pleasure to the recipient?

I believe the first step is putting your own personal preferences aside and making a decision on which tablet would be the best for the recipient of the gift. Is this a person who needs a compatible device with Windows, or will an Android or iOS tablet work fine for them?

The Apple iPad has become the most popular tablet computer because it is so simple to use. Apple boasts 275,000 applications, which makes the Apple iPad one of the best tablets on the market. However, Google has introduced its new Nexus products with other Android-powered products also available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Microsoft has just hit the store shelves with its own tablet — the Microsoft Surface — loaded with Windows 8 RT. The choice of which operating system you select for the recipient of your gift will dictate the ecosystem into which they will be locked.

The next task for you is to decide which size tablet will be right for the recipient of your gift. Tablet sizes range from about 7″ all the way to about 10″ in size or slightly larger. It is my opinion that the 7″ tablets are great for those who consume content, like games such as Angry Birds or books. Larger tablets, those above 7″, are better suited for those who want to be more productive, and some are choosing to use the bigger tablets as laptop replacements.

You will also need to know if a child will be using the tablet and if parental controls will be needed. Tablets from Amazon, like the Kindle Fire HD, come with parental controls that even limit the amount of time a child can use the unit. With its Nook tablet, Barnes & Noble offers different profiles for family members that can be controlled by the parent. When gifting a child, keep the parents in mind, since they will be the ones who will actually be critical of or applauding your purchase decision for their little one.

Will a Wi-Fi model be enough, or is the person you are buying for in need of 4G? If 4G is needed, do you know which service the person is currently using? Can the person afford the expense of a 4G data plan? Are you planning to pay the monthly bill for 4G? Believe it or not, there are some people who don’t even have Wi-Fi and without it, tablets are no more than a brick. Will the person need a Wi-Fi router to take advantage of owning a tablet computer?

Finally, there is a price consideration that we all have to face. Pricing for the current crop of tablets range from a low of $199 to upwards of $1,000 or more. But there are tablets available for under $200 that you may wish to consider. I bought an inexpensive 7″ tablet computer called the AGPtek from Amazon in July of this year and was actually surprised at how fast this tablet was and it only cost $87. The tablet came with Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, and was preloaded with plenty of applications. This is an option to consider when trying to determine how much you are willing to spend on a tablet as a gift.

Even at $200, I love my Nexus 7 tablet computer and I can’t say enough about it. However, when a friend asked me which tablet he should buy for his wife, who I know personally, I knew she would want something larger than a 7″ tablet. I also knew they were Amazon Prime members and that they could take advantage of Amazon’s offering of free videos and free daily applications, so the 9″ Kindle Fire HD seemed just right for her. I had to put my personal preference aside and it was difficult not recommending the Nexus 10″.

So there you have it. You have plenty of choices out in tablet land to make and plenty of different options to consider. No matter which tablet you select, I am sure that, with the information that I have provided, you will be able to make an informed decision.

Comments are welcome.

Source: Laptop

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Saad Irfan

Nanofoam-based Aluminum Stand That Will Rule Them All

Nanofoam-based Aluminum Stand That Will Rule Them AllWhen it comes to stands for the iPad, Nexus, or Kindle products, there are a multitude of choices for a consumer to make. But few of the stands exhibit the quality build and polish that do any of these fine tablets justice. I am sure that we can all agree that the popularity of the iPad, Nexus, and Kindle has to do with the high quality of these devices. So when using a high-end tablet, it would only make sense that a high-end stand would complement the use of any of these fine devices.

A company called Slope has gone live on Kickstarter with a unique stand that provides a quality build with some very innovative ideas. The form and function of the device is the brainchild of Erik Kittlaus, who just happens to be the brother of Siri’s founder and CEO Dag Kittlaus. What Slope is offering is something that is very cool and actually floats a tablet at any angle. This is accomplished without the use of adhesives or clamps.

The stand is made from high-quality aluminum, which is formed via CNC machining, hand-buffed, glass bead-blasted, hard-anodized, and sealed. Nanofoam is affixed to the bottom of the unit and on the backside. The nanofoam is manufactured with thousands of tiny air pockets along the surface. This allows the Slope to adhere to most surfaces and also hold onto your tablet tightly. How tight does this nanofoam grip? Check out the above picture of a slope holding an Apple iPad to the passenger window of a vehicle. The video below demonstrates further:

After two years of research and development, the company appears to have married both form and function into one simple-to-use device. The stand will compliment any iPad, the Nexus 7 and 10, and any among the Kindle family of devices. So no matter which tablet you prefer or use, the Slope stand will be able to handle it.

What do you think? Can you see a Slope in your life?

Comments are welcome.

Source: Courtesy Slope
Source: Kickstarter

Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Handheld Device

Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Handheld DeviceThere’s a handheld device out there that can specifically cater to your needs. All you need to do to find it is to be aware of your needs and wants and look hard enough. Even if you do buy the best or the cheapest device on the market, you might not be getting what you need as price is not an indicator when addressing such needs.

So before you go off to the electronics store and start looking at machines in a display case, the first step to buying your device starts here. The Internet has a wealth of information about mobile phones and tablets that may interest you, as you can find a myriad of reviews for each and every device on the market.

To help you narrow down your search, here are some questions that you should ask yourself even before you begin searching:

  • Do I want a phone, a tablet, or both?
  • Do I want a telephone solution or a tiny computer?
  • What kind of interface do I prefer? Touchscreen, numeric keypad, or QWERTY?
  • What brand am I leaning towards? Do I have any particular loyalty to a specific brand I use or do I want to try something completely new?
  • How much am I willing to spend, roughly?
  • How soon do I need this device?

These questions are a great way to start your quest to find your handheld device. To help you even further, here are some tips:

  • Look at specs online and videos of user experience. Video reviews can show you just what kind of experience you can expect when you buy the device and how it looks in comparison to a human hand. There are a lot of third-party websites that do independent, specs-based reviews on every gadget out there. Make sure you go through more than one to see if the information matches up.
  • An Apple device is always more expensive because of the brand, how it looks, and the user experience. This is not to say that an iPhone or an iPad isn’t a great gadget, but you can always expect it to be more expensive than devices that can roughly do the same thing but with a different operating system. There are apps that are exclusive on one particular OS, while some apps like RingCentral, MS OneNote, and Temple Run still have versions for both iOS and Android.
  • An Android device is always very customizable, but a little complicated. The Android version the device uses can be different from a lot of other devices and compatibility with anything is always a big issue. If you’re ready to go through the open source travails of an Android device, then you can get great rewards.

Aside from these questions to ask before you buy a handheld device, do you have any that you stand by before making similarly large purchases? Please feel free to leave a comment and share!

Image: Veronica Veronese With Her iPad, after Rossetti by Mike Licht,

iPad or Galaxy Tab?

iPad or Galaxy Tab?The iPad and the Galaxy Tab are the two most popular tablets available today that give the best range of functionality and design. Most of the time, you’re simply choosing between the two — not based on the operating systems, but the devices themselves.

To help you decide whether you want to give your money to Samsung or Apple, here is a small comparison based on a few categories:

Major Functions

Both the Galaxy Tab and iPad models are full-fledged tablet computers, letting you perform computing functions in a handheld package. Both use touchscreen controls and can use word processing, spreadsheet, and photo editing applications. What sets the Galaxy Tab apart from any iPad is that it’s still a phone. That’s right: you can make and receive calls on your Galaxy Tab, albeit in a cumbersome way. Text messaging is a breeze, but the clunky phone feature can be remedied by a headset with mic.


Samsung’s AMOLED display and the iPad’s Retina technology all have one-ups against each other. The Retina display is more dense and sharper than the AMOLED, but when it comes to viewing your screen in sunlight or glare, Samsung’s AMOLED wins. The best way to decide is by screen size and just how you like it when you stare at it. Both the Galaxy Tab family and the iPad have large and small screen versions.


Again, this is another question of iOS versus Android. Granted, most apps Like RingCentral phone services, MS OneNote, and Temple Run can run on both platforms, but you have to check and make sure that there aren’t any apps you want that will work on only one operating system. Keep in mind that some apps on Apple are locked for certain countries while the Google Play Store lets you buy apps without restrictions. But to look at these criteria through sheer numbers, the Apple App Store still has more mobile apps than the Google Play Store.

Ease of Use

Hands down, Apple still reigns in the category of user-friendliness. Toddlers can intuitively learn how to use an iPad while an Android device takes time to learn. Based on the version of Android installed, some functions may or may not be present as well. Apple usually sticks to one optimum OS version that you can count on if your device can support it.


What Samsung lacks in finesse, it makes up for in customization. You can control every aspect of your Galaxy Tab from the font size and color to the way your app icons look. For people who want complete control over their tablet experience, a Galaxy Tab is better than any iPad. Don’t be fooled with how Apple claims its iOS is beautiful and irresistible. It is, but if you want to make a tablet look like your own, Android is the way to go.

I’m sure there will be dissenting voices in the crowd. Go ahead. Leave a comment and we’ll talk this through!

Image of iPad and Galaxy Tab compared in size to an iPhone by liewcf

Jelly Bean 4.2 To Offer “Bouncer” Malware Protection

Jelly Bean 4.2 To Offer As president, Ronald Reagan always had a welcoming jar of jelly beans on his desktop and there was never any doubt that the President enjoyed the nostalgia that these candies brought to his mind. This type of desktop offering is already available to those of us who use Google’s popular Jelly Bean operating system. However, as mentioned in a recent article by Eddie Ringle, Google is in the process of updating its current Jelly Bean operating system from version 4.1.2 to version 4.2. The major addition to this new version will be the inclusion of Bouncer, a software solution aimed at protecting the Android-based operating system.

Why? This is a logical question for you to ask, since hackers only used to target Windows platforms. In the good ol’ days, it was only Windows users who had to struggle with keeping their systems bug free. In order to accomplish this almost impossible feat, we paid overzealous security firms a small fortune for protection. Of course, choosing from a vast array of outlandish claims as to why its protection was always the best made our job that much more difficult. However, until recently, we in the Apple community and those using Android products had been basically immune from attack. This changed with the introduction of the Apple iPad and other tablets. In fact, it seems that the introduction of these products actually enticed the hacking community to expand its hacking abilities to include both Apple and Android products.

In response to these new challenges by hackers, the Google Nexus 10 comes with the new security-laced operating system preinstalled. Unfortunately, however, this new protection is not going to be available for Google’s Nexus 7 until some unknown date in the future.

How will this new version work? The most important feature of the new Jelly Bean 4.2 operating system is that the software will scan all third-party software in order to determine if the application is safe, and without bugs. In other words, it is designed to work like Lookout, and other current protections, but takes its protection one step higher. It is this higher level of protection that makes Google’s operating system unique. To make this claim, Google has devised a method in which it compares the software you wish to download to its database of known good applications and from there determines if that application has been tampered with.

In addition, Jelly Bean 4.2 has also incorporated a built-in SMS confirmation feature. This added feature alerts the user that an unauthorized message is waiting to be sent. The user can then determine whether the message is legitimate and if they wish for it to be sent out.

I believe that these two features are proactive and that Google should be commended for taking the necessary steps to try and protect its devices from hackers. However, I am not naive enough to believe that this system will be hacker proof because, as with any protection, hackers will eventually find a way around the security measures. I hope that the majority of us will be protected and find that Google’s new Jelly Bean 4.2 will help us to remain bug free.

Comments are welcome.

Source: Tech Source

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by samsungtomorrow

Tablets: Not Just for Consumers

Tablets: Not Just for ConsumersNo one needs to tell you that tablets, with an estimated 117 million to be sold in 2012, have become the most popular device in the history of the computing industry. However, it appears that this may be just a blip in what will occur in the future as sales are expected to continue their growth spurt in 2013. These sales should also help boost declining sales for dependent e-book giants Barnes & Noble and Amazon. For these and other tablet software manufacturers, 2013 is being predicted as the year that the enterprise embraces the tablet computer.

However, to date, the tablet has been viewed as a consumer toy — one that the user can easily maneuver while traveling or sitting in front of the TV. Now, however, we await Microsoft’s introduction of its latest iteration of Windows, which many believe will be specifically targeted for use on a tablet computing system. Could this mean that Microsoft has engineered a tablet OS specifically targeting the enterprise market? Did Microsoft design Windows 8 to keep its enterprise customers from jumping ship to Apple or another competitor? If so, why is the enterprise market considered a more coveted prize than the consumer market?

The answer is fairly simple and is something that most computer geeks already understand. The big money is made in supplying the hardware, software, and expertise (in its many facets), needed for any 21st century business to function efficiently. More important, the money machine revolves around the licensing and agreements that Microsoft has incorporated since its early days of software development. With these licenses in hand, businesses have extensively come to rely on Microsoft as the go-to company for its have-to-have products such as the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office.

With this being said, one could easily make the assumption that many enterprise customers will follow wherever Microsoft leads them, because they feel comfortable in using Microsoft products. This confidence regarding these products ranges downhill to a business’ employees and IT departments that understand the software and know its limitations and advantages. However, while this sounds great, there are some issues that enterprises will encounter when they upgrade to Windows 8 or buy new tablets with RT pre-installed.

First, many enterprises have legacy applications that may not function properly on the new Windows operating system. In addition, Windows RT is not designed to run full-featured software, such as Microsoft Office, which could also pose a problem for adaptation by some companies. However, these issues are generally addressed and can be corrected through revisions or upgrades that are usually offered over the course of a few months after a new software is released. This being said, Microsoft is extremely hopeful that any issues regarding its new operating system can be quickly resolved and that Windows 8 will take the enterprise by storm.

However, even with all the hype, I am not sure if fragmenting the operating system between a full-blown Windows 8 version and a slimmed version of Windows 8 known at RT is going to be received with open arms. One major reason for my cynicism is that I don’t know how many companies that have upgraded to Windows 7 may be reluctant to upgrade again. In addition, there is always the possibility that enterprises could accept the BYOD (bring your own device) approach. This approach would allow employees to bring their own personal devices to the work environment, which would mean that the company has the potential to save itself the cost associated with buying new hardware and software.

So now you’ve gotten my take on tablets and the assumption, by Microsoft, that its new Windows 8 software will be the answer to the tablet crossover between consumer and business use. What do you think? Will the enterprise readily switch over to Windows 8 or Windows RT, or is it going to take a wait and see approach?

Share your thoughts with us.

Comments welcome.

Source: IDC Press Release

Source: Connected World

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by bigdigo

What is a Phablet? Will You Want One?

“Phablet” is a word that you will be seeing more often as a new breed of hybrid smartphones makes its way to the marketplace. The term has been coined to describe a device that fills the gap between a cellphone and a tablet computer, taking the first two letters of the word phone, ph, and adding them to the last five letters of tablet to form the word phablet.

What is a Phablet?

There are unofficial dimensions that set the size of a phablet as being somewhere between 4.6″ to about 5.5″ which, as of today, is the largest in its category. I am sure that if a company came out with anything under 7″ in size, which is where current tablets currently start, it would also be considered a phablet. In addition to the word phablet, some have come up with the term “Super Smartphone” to also describe the new devices.

Why a Phablet AKA Super Smartphone?

What is a Phablet? Will You Want One?For all of us who have used phones in the 3″ to 3.5″ range, we have become aware of how difficult it can be to navigate such a small screen. I have a 4″ smartphone that still seems on the small side and it becomes even more evident how small it is when I use my Nexus 7. In addition, smartphones with touchscreens and virtual keyboards limit the amount of viewing area when typing an email or text message. Trying to surf the Internet is also problematic since tapping the screen just to read any text on the screen is almost mandatory — even for those blessed with 20/20 sight.

Had we been satisfied with just a phone-calling device, than a small screen would have been just fine. But today, our phones have become mini-computers that can do just about everything their bigger brethren can do. The progression in size, to me, makes perfect sense. In fact, I will take this upgrade in size one step further. Why not have our 7″ tablets do double duty and include the ability to makes calls?

What Companies Will Be Offering Phablets?

Currently, we’re seeing these brands and models being listed as phablets:

  • LG Optimus Vu
  • HTC One X and One XL on AT&T
  • HTC EVO 4G on the Sprint network
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Galaxy S III

There are more phablets on the way and we should see more offerings in the coming months as companies gear up for the new phablet series of smartphones.

How Popular Will the Phablets Be?

According to the folks at ABI Research, phablets will sell 208 million units by 2016. Shipments will increase 10 times between 2011 and 2012 as phablets become more popular and accepted by consumers. The one phone that is going to be released by LG also takes on not only the height of the screen but also the width that its phablet will have. Pictured below is the new, soon-to-be-released LG Optimu Vu.

What is a Phablet? Will You Want One?

LG Optimus Vu Phablet

Specifications for the LG Optimus Vu are:

  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU (quad core would be better)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera likely to come with 1080p HD video capture
  • 5″ IPS LCD display, with 1024 x 768 resolution
  • By the time the phone is introduced, ICS most likely will be the OS
  • 32 GB built-in storage (no word on microSD slot)
  • Height or length is 5.5″ with a width of 3.5″

Is a Phablet in Your Future?

The only down side I can see is the size of these new devices. It might be a little difficult to slip a phablet into your pocket. But even with this limitation, I can see a phablet as a useful device that could take the place of a smaller smartphone and a 7″ or larger tablet. It will be interesting to see if the sales meet the predictions in the coming years.

What do you think? Would you buy a phablet?

Source: ABI Research

Source: Android and Me

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by John Biehler

Google Nexus 7: How Accurate Are Defect Reports?

Google Nexus 7: How Accurate Are Defect Reports?Are the reported defects surrounding Google’s new Nexus 7 true, or just something being rehashed for lack of something better to write about? This is the question I posed to Chris last Sunday afternoon when I suggested writing this article. My premise was that, if a search is made on the Internet referencing the topic, one finds a slew of reports concerning the same seven issues. Suspiciously, however, many of the reports/reviews that have been written appear to be just a rehashing of information that can be found on the Internet and don’t support the claim that an author has any personal experience with the product. With this in mind, what are the complaints on which these reviewers are agreeing?

The seven main issues being reported are:

  • It appears that there is a screen separation accompanied by a creaking noise when one pushes on the screen.
  • There is a backlight bleeding issue that one doesn’t usually see on tablets costing more than $100.
  • There are charging problems due to an apparently faulty micro USB charging port.
  • There are touch screen detection issues that usually occur when the user is involved in extreme game play requiring multiple screen gestures.
  • There appear to be areas of the screen that are unclear due to dead screen pixels.
  • The screen flickers — a problem that is being blamed on the light auto sensor.
  • The microphone is DOA.

When I spoke to Chris on Sunday about this article, he informed me that his Nexus 7 unit was experiencing the screen flickering issue. He had not decided as of this writing whether to return the unit or not.

In reference to the first issue of screen separation, the xda-developers forum has provided a fix. However, the fix requires the user to pry off the back of their brand new Google Nexus 7 and tighten all of the screws. This is something I can’t wait to do to my newly purchased unit, especially since two problems immediately jump to mind. What happens if:

  • I accidentally break something inside the case while applying this fix; would I void the warranty?
  • The fix doesn’t work or if the problem recurs?

The unit I purchased displayed this issue and I chose to return the unit rather than take a chance at voiding my warranty. I am now patiently waiting for a replacement.

Due to my own experience, I was interested in an unscientific poll that the xda-developers forum put out asking its readers if they were experiencing screen separation. To date, the poll has received 355 responses with the following results:

  • No: 209 (58.87%)
  • Yes: 146 (41.13%

However, like with all polls and/or reports, the problems with the Google Nexus 7 may be exaggerated. It could also be that other competitors are allowing their sales representatives to write articles in an attempt to discourage consumers from buying the product. These writers, as well as those who just enjoy throwing a monkey wrench into the buying process, are known throughout the Internet as trolls. These trolls intentionally write either glowing reviews about a product for financial gain or they can write inaccurate or negative reviews about a service or product to the same effect. With this in mind, a purchaser who is really scouting for the perfect product must first determine the truthfulness of the reports.

So, in order to follow my own advice, I asked my fellow Gnomies if they had experienced any problems with the Nexus 7. Here are a few of their responses:

Williams R. Reynolds Young: No problems here. Not being a huge tablet fan, I wouldn’t say that I am in love with the device, but I love the form, factor, and price — it’s a no-brainer!

Chris Pirillo: Mine was flickering — the company has offered to replace it. Unsure if I wanna go that far.

After reading his comment, I made mention that he could try to go into the settings area and turn off the Automatic Brightness, to which I received this response:

David Di Franco, Jr.: I did this right away. It makes a huge difference.

Unfortunately, however, while David was pleased with this improvement, he found another issue that didn’t have such an easy solution.

David Di Franco, Jr.: The left side of my bezel sometimes makes a slight clicking noise. You can feel it moving a bit. However, it’s nothing too bad — just slightly disappointing.

As you can imagine, after reading all of the complaints, my immediate reaction was that I regretted buying the Google Nexus 7 so soon after its release. Perhaps I should have waited a few months until Google and ASUS got the bugs worked out of this new system. However, I have purchased products before, like the Amazon Kindle Fire, that were new to the market and had some bugs that resulted in consumer complaints. For example, the Fire has been labeled as clunky, heavy, and poorly designed, without Bluetooth, a USB port, or a volume switch. Some users also complained that they had trouble getting onto the Internet via Wi-Fi, and still others took issue with the Kindle’s picture quality.

However, Amazon had been producing various Kindle products prior to the release of the Kindle Fire; as a result, the company had the know-how and experience to quickly repair some of these issues via updates. One cannot help but recall the famous Antennagate in which the Apple iPhone 4 was problematic when it came to connecting to various carriers. For this issue, Apple provided all owners with a free bumper case to fix the problems.

With that being said, we all know that no company is infallible. Remember, ASUS (the manufacturer of the Nexus 7) as well as Google have a lot riding on the success of this new tablet. Knowing this, one would have thought that most, if not all, of the design flaws would have been worked out. I hope, for Google’s sake, that the problems being reported don’t turn into an epidemic of complaints resulting in the Nexus 7 becoming a pariah in the tablet computer market. If this happens, and if Amazon does come out with the rumored five or six new Kindle Fire 2s, or if an Apple iPad mini becomes a reality, Google can forget about tablets and give up any hope of competing in the tablet market.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

PS Yesterday afternoon, a replacement Google Nexus 7 arrived. I will be checking it out during the next week and will do a follow-up report on whether I discover any issues or not.

Source: PC Magazine

Source: xda-developers forum

Source: xda-developers poll

How Good is an $89.99 7″ Android 4.0 Tablet Computer?

How Good is an $89.99 7-inch Android 4.0 Tablet Computer?Let me explain how I came about to even thinking about buying or even using an $89.99 tablet computer — something about which I never before gave any thought. Like many of you who are reading this, I buy mainly brand name products such as from Apple, Google, or Amazon to satisfy my tablet needs. In our home we already use an Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire, and a Google Nexus 7 should be arriving soon. So what attracted me to a cheapie, no-name tablet computer?

I found myself surfing around eBay when I accidentally stumbled upon a no-name, no-brand 7″ tablet computer for only $69.89. But what was strange about this device was that it came with the following:

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 7″ touchscreen
  • 512 MB memory with 4 GB flash storage.
  • 1.5 GHz processor and 800 x 480 screen resolution
  • Micro SD and USB
  • HDMI

I know, I know; the specifications are fairly weak and I seriously doubt that this would be a blazing experience. I also didn’t want to order from the eBay website since the device needed to be shipped directly from Hong Kong. Because of this, I thought that returning the device might be problematic and I looked elsewhere to order one of the devices. I found a similar device (priced at $89.99) on Amazon, which was also being offered with an optional keyboard and case. The total cost was $98.84. I also added a SanDisk 16 GB MicroSD for added storage at only $7.67, bringing the total cost for the unit to a low of only $105.32.

What Did I Get for the Price?

What I got for the price was a surprisingly snappy 7″ Android-powered tablet. The first thing I noticed was how much lighter and more comfortable the unit was compared to my Amazon Kindle Fire. I estimated that the no-name tablet weighed in at about four to six ounces lighter, which, when holding in your hand for extended periods, is quite noticeable.

I was immediately able to set up a Wi-Fi connection and activated my Google account. Email started to flow to my Gmail application and I was able to sync to my account without issue. I then downloaded those Android apps that I use including Dolphin HD browser, Easy Installer, ES File Explorer, App2SD, Box, Lookout, Facebook, and several games, which all installed without a problem.

How Good is an $89.99 7

I next connected the keyboard/case to the unit and the keyboard worked perfect. When the keyboard is connected, the device automatically shuts down the built-in keyboard. Typing on the pint-sized keyboard was actually easy and everything on the keyboard worked perfectly. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised because I did have reservations about how well a $10 keyboard would function. Also, the no-name 7″ tablet fit perfectly into the case and did not slide; it fit tightly, holding the tablet securely in place. The case, which also houses the keyboard, is imitation leather, but has a nice, quality fit and appears to be well-made. There is a stand on the back of the case to hold up the tablet while typing and a magnetic case latch.

Some of the Other Features I Like

  • The on and off button is located on the top right side of the unit and is easily accessible.
  • Next to the on and off switch is a rocker arm for setting the speaker volume up and down. (Hello, Amazon. This is one of the biggest complaints about the Kindle Fire.)
  • The keyboard/case combo included a micro USB to standard USB connection cord.
  • The device also came with a micro USB connector to standard USB connection cord to connect the tablet computer to a PC.
  • The microSD slot worked perfectly and immediately recognized the added storage when I inserted the SanDisk microSD card once inserted into the device.
  • The tablet also came with a micro HDMI connector.

What I Don’t Like About the Tablet

  • Picture quality and resolution, at 800 x 480, is rather poor when compared to an Amazon Kindle Fire, Google Nexus 7, or any of the Apple iPad models.
  • The rear of the tablet is made of cheap, shiny plastic and is a fingerprint magnet.
  • The unit did not come with a micro HDMI connector.


I believe that this would be a great tablet computer for anyone looking for an inexpensive device, knowing the tablet’s limitations. The tablet responds very well to commands and I found Ice Cream Sandwich very easy to use. For surfing the Internet, checking email, and playing games, this tablet will meet your needs.

While we are all making goo-goo eyes for the new Google Nexus 7, what is surprising is that the none of the bigger names — Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, Apple iPad — include a microSD slot for added storage.

Amazon 7″ Android tablet at $88.09

Amazon keyboard at $9.54

SanDisk 16 GB MicroSD at $7.69

Comments, as always, are welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Mesq

Source: eBay