Search engines changed how we discover information about the world around us forever — not to mention how we shop. Amazon’s new Firefly technology embedded in the new Fire Phone, exclusively on AT&T, is primed to flip the script once again. At its core, Firefly is designed to help users easily identify everything from web addresses and phone numbers to over 100 million products including various forms of media like movies, TV episodes and songs.
Ask and you shall receive
The mobile interface of the future, today
Sci-fi movies have teased us with the power and convenience of 3D interfaces for years. But Amazon’s newly launched Fire Phone, available exclusively at AT&T, proves that the wait for an advanced smartphone interface that harnesses the full potential of 3D is finally over. So-called Dynamic Perspective is powered by four front-facing infrared cameras that constantly track the position of the user’s head in relation to the phone’s screen — even in the dark. The result is a persistent 3D viewing experience that doesn’t require special glasses or a fancy 3D display.
Is the Sixth Time the Charm?
The iPhone 6 and6 Plus are being dubbed “the biggest advancement in iPhone history”, and it appears that Apple’s referring to a lot more than the actual size of the units. Aside from growing up, what’s there to know about the new iPhone duo? And, more importantly, are they worth the upgrade?
Paying Their Dues
It's About Time
Back in August, we argued that smartwatches simply weren’t worth the investment (yet, anyway) for most people. The question, of course, was whether or not Apple’s entry into the space would break away from that mold in any significant manner. Now that the company’s annual September event has concluded and an Apple Watch has been released, Darren Murph examines the answer.
Playing Muddy Waters from the Mud
All-weather bluetooth speakers make sure that you have listening options in any climate, on the edge of any pool or in your pack on any adventure. No plug, no jacks, no need to check the weather report. Just durable music wherever you need it. These are the eight best.
Doesn't sound fun, does it?
Throttling is a term that has snuck up on laypeople all of a sudden, particularly applying to how mobile data is delivered. Rather than just cutting users off altogether once a certain usage level is reached, carriers far and wide are instead putting a chokehold on the speed at which data is delivered. In other words, those who consume too much lightning-fast LTE data may find their emails loading much slower until the next billing cycle. That’s better than no data at all, but it’s a very poor user experience that you’d be wise to avoid.
My watch is smarter than your honor student
In a sense, producers of wearables are trying to convince you that they’re something you can’t possibly live without…. something like your smartphone. Chances are, however, you can. Darren Murph examines the current state of the smartwatch.
How to use your sweet, sweet freedom
President Obama just signed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act into law, giving you the right to “unlock” your smartphone and use it with a different carrier once your current plan ends. Here are the ins and outs of the new law, and how to use them to your benefit.
You don’t need us to tell you that smartphones are becoming exceedingly central to our lives; just look at the massive market for phone accessories. Whether you’re a fitness buff, a photographer or an avid traveler, there’s tons of gear for your phone that matches your lifestyle. We’ve picked our favorites for both the Android and iOS ecosystems.
How to Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to your career's benefit
Whether you’re on the hunt for a new career, thinking about striking out on your own, or simply polishing up your online resume, it’s vital to understand which social networks matter in the world of employment. It’s to your benefit to understand how networking happens in an interconnected world, where your next job is apt to come from, and how you should position yourself across a litany of different networks. Here are tips from an expert on how to use them to your benefit.
Everything you need to know about using your phone on an airplane
Phones on flights are confusing at the present moment — especially after Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) to “implement enhanced security measures at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States” last week. In a nutshell, the new edict means that travelers taking off from abroad en route to the United States may be asked to power their carry-on phones on for inspection.
Fighting Free of Modern-day Tech Duncedom
I recently started reading Seneca’s Letters to a Stoic and was surprised by the content of his first letter: “Nothing, to my way of thinking, is better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.” This has some real clout. And it also started me worrying. Because I’m certainly not the owner of a well-ordered mind; and lately, I haven’t been stopping and passing any time whatsoever in my own company. Why? At least partly because I can’t stop scrolling through junk on my cell phone.
Third time's the charm
Is it our technological destiny to want both a tablet and a laptop forever, or can advances in hardware and software, combined with intelligent design, actually unify our professional and personal lives within one screen? Microsoft made its stance on the matter abundantly clear with the launch of the original Surface in the summer of 2012.
Two years later, the third iteration of the Surface is a marvel of engineering honed by experience and proving more than ever that Microsoft’s vision for the future of computing is as real as it gets. Here’s a rundown of the key innovations that make new Surface Pro 3 both a powerful Intel Core laptop and an easy-to-use tablet.
How a 15 Second Wait Will Change the Smartphone
A phone from a company that sells granola bars and laundry detergent may have cracked the next major innovation in usability and customer service. Here’s how.
Third-Party Extensibility Thrives in iOS 8
Make no mistake: what we’re witnessing right now is the beginning of a new Apple. The company that showed itself during the WWDC 2014 keynote is dramatically different from the Apple of years past, a company that had maintained a legendary wall around its wares, demanding that users either do things their way or go elsewhere. And if I had to guess, I’d wager that most of you reading this stand to benefit yesterday’s shift.
Because Fido's Ready for the Future, Too
The so-called “quantified self” represents one of the next great technological revolutions for man; shouldn’t his best friend get in on the action too? Whistle certainly thinks so. Their eponymous activity tracker was the first of its kind for dogs, serving as the canine equivalent of fitness trackers flooding the tech scene today; it was specifically designed to help owners monitor their pets’ activity levels as well as keep track of other critical info related to medication and meals via Bluetooth and wi-fi. Now with the freshly launched WhistleGPS, the company has added a new and arguably more import feature — keeping tabs on your Pet’s location.
Interested? Then read on to learn more or visit the site.
Buy Now: $129 ($49 for pre-orders)
A Comprehensive Guide to Ignoring Friends and Family
Consoles don’t provide much in the way of portability (anyone else ever own this masterpiece of engineering?), and grown men carrying Gameboys often attract the wrong kind of attention, but mobile games offer interactive experiences on the devices that most of us carry every day. They allow us a bit of serenity when we need it most — in the airport, on the subway, at a questionable mid-life Bris. Here, we’ve provided a list of 50 of the best games made for iOS. Play at the risk of your relationship.
Why choose when you can have both?
Sick of juggling multiple device? You’re not alone. So called 2-in-1s can offer the best-of-both-worlds solution, combining the productivity of a laptop with the fun and convenience of a tablet. Check out our video for a rundown of this growing new gadget category and start plotting your new streamlined future today.
The fitness tracker that refuses to fit in
What makes a good wearable? Comparing a laundry list of features is one way to start the conversation. The Misfit Shine proves, however, that there’s still something to be said for keeping it simple.
Since 2010, several iOS games have tried to match Infinity Blade’s incredible combination of artistry and narrative, our favorites being The Room and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. On April 3rd, 2014, a new challenger stepped into the arena: Monument Valley, an M.C. Escher-inspired puzzle game made by indie developers ustwogames.
No excuses, just good shots
Today’s affordable tools, cameras, classes and copious creative outlets have brought making a film (one of the best story-telling devices) nearly to the everyman. Still, all those advances can’t change a basic fact: sometimes making a movie means going to where the story is rather than waiting for it to come to you. But paying to check 10 Pelican cases of equipment will essentially eat your entire production budget, not to mention it’s tough to sneak into a location if you have a fleet of boxes and bags. This kit can be carried by one or two people in traditional suitcases — which means you get your shots, no matter where those shots may be.
Integrated Tech, Around the Clock
The smart watch has been a future fiction muse for decades. Dick Tracy used his to keep in touch with The Chief; George Jetson undoubtedly strapped one on before heading to work and leaving Rosie to take care of the kids and his
shopping-obsessed fashionable wife. But here’s what all the clever creators behind those characters were missing: wrist-based tech that wasn’t just for business. Whether it’s tucked under the cuff of a sport coat or a sweatshirt, the Qualcomm Toq excels at conveniently (and discretely) connecting users to their digital livelihoods.
It's all in the wrist
Checking our phones has become an awkward social tic, one that the Smart Watch segment addresses with sleek wrist-mounted media mediators. Digital communications magnate Qualcomm seems like the company that would provide smartphone horologists-cum-futurists with the groundbreaking technology to outdo competitors. Instead, Qualcomm has gotten into the ring with their own Toq, which leverages the company’s innovations to create the most clever smart watch on the market.
No Phone Booth Needed
They say it makes Jack a dull boy, the whole single-sided approach to life. We’ll go one further, though, and say that even being able to switch from fun to serious or from any identity to another, for that matter, isn’t all that impressive. Sure, Batman saves lives, fights crime and delivers justice, and sure,…
As a tech-minded individual, you appreciate a solid hands-on experience with any device before you purchase it. You storm your local electronics haunt and play with display models for hours on end before making a decision. But you’re still here reading because you want the deets up front from a reliable (thank you) source. With this in mind, we must first explain that no matter how many of the glorious specifications, design and interface highlights and general accolades we spout over the next page, we simply won’t be able to scratch the surface (huzzah!) of the technological nerdery that makes up Microsoft’s Surface 2 ($449) and Surface Pro 2 ($899) tablets. But are we ever gonna try.
Talk about shopping in advance
Oddly enough, the proliferation of electronic gadgetry, computer stuff and other digital goodies has made buying for the discerning sparkhead (we just coined that — please enjoy and proliferate at will) tougher. With this list, we aim to make the shopping a little simpler by covering suggestions for readers, photogs, movie buffs and gamers. Take a gander and start clicking; your techie giftee will thank you, probably with an email or holographic video message or something.
We've only just begun
There was a time when the only personality you could impart into your phone was through a polyphonic ringtone of the James Bond theme and a “Carbon fiber look” faceplate. Today things are a little bit different. Customization has been elevated to the next level by devices like the Motorola Moto X, which offers customized exteriors in materials like bamboo, wood and a ton of colored plastics. The HTC One Max (among others) has a fingerprint sensor to identify a user solely by his or her touch; the Moto X learns your voice; and LG’s G2 has an OS that can be customized in nearly every element. If you still think customization means a new background, you should head to Best Buy and get to know your new phone (and vice-versa). And it’s not just customization that’s gone off the mobile charts. We’ve rounded up five of the most exciting technologies that manufacturers are rolling into their phones today.
Masters in Mobile
We know what you’re thinking. Making three picks for the best smartphone of 2013 instead of crowning one ultimate winner is a total cop out. But our job here was clear: highlight innovations that benefit us all as users of smartphones. If there’s one defining comment to draw from our award winners below, it’s that a deliberate collaboration between hardware and software is critical to creating an excellent mobile device. Each of our Best Smartphone picks — the Nokia Lumia 1020, the Motorola Moto X and the iPhone 5s — pushes the boundaries of consumer technology and attempts to redefine the mobile experience in its own way.