When friends ask me for tips on buying techie products, one piece of advice constantly comes up: Don’t be an early adopter of first-generation gadgets. Why? Because bugs need to be ironed out first, and brands never show all their cards on the first attempt. This way of thinking is about to change, however, and it begins with Google and ends with Pixel.
Google’s pair of Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones haven’t reached the consumer market yet, but they’re already being showered with glowing reviews.
Well-respected tech journalist Walt Mossberg calls it the “best Android phone” he’s ever tested; Wired is “totally in love with the Pixel”; and Gizmodo says the Pixel makes a strong case if you must buy an Android, even though they’re calling it “dumb and ugly.”
Reviews have been so good, in fact, that Alphabet (Google’s parent company) has experienced its highest stock prices since 2004, according to a report by Bloomberg. The cherry on top: Both phones are currently out of stock because of the overwhelming demand.
[irp posts=”5053″ name=”Google Pixel got the ‘little brother, big brother’ tandem right”]
Sentiments from other outlets have been largely the same, with the only complaints being the sky-high prices, lack of waterproofing, and bland physical design. Do the cons sound a little familiar? Those have been shots taken against Apple’s iPhones for the longest time (only the second con changed recently), making the Pixel a perfect rival in both strengths and weaknesses.
Still, as happy as we are for Google and consumers wanting more choices, the Pixel strategy is alienating Android’s most important supporters: third-party manufacturers.
By releasing a high-end pair of smartphones that’s truly its own, Google is now a direct competitor to the companies it has been working so closely with since Android’s conception, sending a harsh signal to hardware partners that there’s an even better way to handle its operating system, way beyond what Nexus has ever done.
The Pixel strategy is alienating Android’s most important supporters: third-party manufacturers.
Despite having the Pixels manufactured by HTC, the search giant has the software and hardware process under its control from start to finish. This is distinctly different from the way the Nexus series was handled, wherein the likes of Huawei and LG had their own say for the design, and were only required to lay out a fresh layer of Android inside.
Samsung is clearly the most affected brand. Now that the Galaxy Note 7 is out of commission, you’d have to look all the way back to February to find Samsung’s current, yet somewhat stale, Galaxy S7 flagship line. The development surely doesn’t bode well for the Korean company, who has been largely responsible for boosting Google’s mobile operating system to an 87 percent market share last quarter, thanks to a 22 percent smartphone market share of its own.
LG has also been caught in the crossfire. Its phablet flagship, the yet-to-be-shipped V20, has been heavily marketed as being the first smartphone to have Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, only for it to be outshone by the 7.1 version the Pixel smartphones will come with at around the same time. We wonder if Google knew about this in advance, or if they sent a really nice fruit basket to LG’s headquarters.
The only major player to benefit from Google’s new-found success is HTC. Even though its own self-branded smartphones continue to slump sales-wise, the Taiwan-based company actually saw a 41 percent revenue jump last month. Once the Pixels begin shipping, HTC’s fortunes will surely turn around, in spite of the lack of branding.
The only major player to benefit from Google’s new-found success is HTC.
As for how Chinese brands Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and the like feel about this, well, they’re too busy raking in mountains of cash from dominating the entry-level and midrange markets — two segments Apple and Google don’t really care about at the moment.
The situation is similar to the topic we touched on when we talked about Project Ara’s demise a month ago. Android partners already feared Google had shot them in the foot by buying Motorola to produce its own phones. When the Mountain View company changed its mind and sold the well-known handset manufacturer to Lenovo and began work on its modular phones, brands such as LG and Samsung looked into alternatives to the Android OS.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), Project Ara didn’t push through, so third-party brands had less competition to worry about — but then Pixel came in, and here we are. Oh, Google!
[irp posts=”4335″ name=”Project Ara’s story is all about wasted potential”]
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro Unboxing and Review: Death of the Flagship Killer
Is this too pricey for a Xiaomi?
Supposed to have launched globally last February, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro is rolling out across the globe in spurts, first in China and then in Europe later this month. Is it still the flagship smartphone you can get for less?
In our Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro Unboxing and Review we talk about Xiaomi’s new strategy. And answer some of your questions including – can it compete with other Android faves like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Huawei P40 Pro.
18 things you didn’t know your iPhone could do
Use your iPhone to the fullest
Every smartphone user wants to take full advantage of their device. It’s one way of getting the most value for your money. This holds particularly true for an iPhone since it doesn’t come cheap.
If you are an iPhone user, there’s always something you can look forward to. iOS is being refined each year to add new features to your iPhone.
Some features are big changes you might notice quickly. However, there are also other features that you might not know until you come across it. Some of these features are really helpful, while others are just for fun. Here are the 18 things you didn’t know that your iPhone could do:
1. Search for photos in your Photos album by what’s in the photo
If you always get tired of sorting through photos of your favorite pet, then worry no more. The Photos app automatically detects places, faces, and objects in your pictures. Plus, it can automatically group them for you. You can know more about it
2. Add a dictionary to iOS so it appears in spotlight search
Do you know that iOS comes with a built-in dictionary? Every iPhone has one, and it supports multiple languages too. Adding a dictionary is as simple as going to Settings > General > Dictionary, then tapping the dictionary you need. Now, you can easily find a word’s definition by swiping down from the home screen and entering the word.
3. Turn a whole webpage or email into a shareable PDF
You can easily create a PDF of a webpage or an email in iOS. Take a screenshot of a document, tap the thumbnail that appears, and tap “Full Page” on the right.
4. Use your iPhone as a tape measure
Through the power of augmented reality, you can turn your iPhone into a measuring device. To do this, simply head to the Measure app and follow any setup instructions. After setting up the app, you can now use your iPhone to measure any objects. This should come in handy when you don’t have any measuring tool lying around and you need to measure on the go. To know more about this functionality, visit this website.
5. Change your WiFi connections in Control Center
You don’t need to go into Settings to change your WiFi connection! You can change it on the fly through the Control Center. To access it, swipe down from the right-hand corner of your iPhone. If you have an iPhone 8 or older model, then swiping up from the screen will reveal the control center. Long-press on the panel that includes airplane mode, cellular data, WiFi and Bluetooth icon. Long-press again on the WiFi icon to show all the connections within your iPhone’s range.
6. Change your Bluetooth connection in Control Center
You can also change your iPhone’s Bluetooth connection right from the Control Center. After accessing the Control Center, long-press on the Bluetooth icon to show all the available devices within range. This feature is a godsent especially when you love to connect to other multiple peripherals like wireless speakers and earbuds.
7. Swipe left to quickly open the Camera
There’s a way to quickly access the camera without unlocking your iPhone and searching for the Camera app. Swiping left from the lock screen will take you straight to the camera.
8. Quickly delete a digit if you make a mistake in the Calculator app
There must be a moment when you accidentally delete a large number because you thought that hitting the “C” button would only delete a single digit. With this tip, those moments will soon be a thing of the past. By swiping to the left or to the right over the numbers, you can now delete a single digit without ever hitting that “C” button by mistake again.
9. Turn your keyboard into a trackpad
There’s a handy feature in the default iOS keyboard that turns it into a trackpad. To take advantage of this feature, you must long press on the space bar until the keys disappear. You can now drag your fingers on the keyboard to change the position of the cursor.
10. Swipe with three fingers to undo or redo
Having an undo or redo function is really handy especially on long typing sessions. To undo on an iPhone, swipe left with three fingers. Alternatively, swipe right to redo. Older iPhone models implement a shake-to-undo function, which is a great exercise for the wrist.
11. Double-tap the space bar to end a sentence with a period
Another handy editing feature built into the default iOS keyboard is double-tapping to insert a period. After finishing a sentence, just double-tap on the space bar to insert a period and save time.
12. Play games with friends in iMessage
The iMessage app comes with a plethora of features to level up the conversation. One great feature is the ability to play games with your friends right from the app itself. Simply head over to iMessage, select a conversation and tap the App Store icon located on the bottom. Find a game that you want and start playing with your friends.
13. Express yourself with new Memoji stickers
Memoji stickers are a fun way to express your virtual self in a conversation. The latest iOS version — iOS 13.4 — introduces nine new Memoji stickers. Now, you have more ways to express yourself to your friends and family. You can roll your eyes in disgust, scream in fear, or even make it appear that you’re behind a computer to remind your nagging friends that you’re busy working at home. Here is the full list of new Memoji stickers:
- Screaming in fear
- Party horn
- Rolling eyes
- Face with steam
- Folded hands
- Gesturing no
- Person with a tipping hand
- Smiling face with three hearts
- Person behind a computer
You can find out more about using Memoji on iPhone and iPad here.
14. Quickly reply to friends in iMessage
Got no time to reply to your friends? There’s a quick reply function within iMessages. To take advantage of this function, you simply have to touch and hold a conversation from the messages list, then tap on one of the automatic replies.
15. Filter messages from people you didn’t know
Spams are an annoying part of life, whether as an email or as a text message. Luckily, the Messages app comes with a built-in filtering system for blocking contacts who like to send spam. The filtering system can also be automatically set to block unknown numbers. Just head over to Settings > Messages and turn on “Filter Unknown Senders” to take advantage of this feature.
16. Never forget where your car is parked with Maps
As you grow older, you tend to be more forgetful. The last thing that you would want to forget is the location of your car in a parking spot. Thankfully, Maps is here to save the day. Your iPhone will actually remember where you last parked your car if you turn it on in the settings. Turn on Location Services for Maps, then toggle Significant Locations, and finally, turn on “Show Parked Locations”. The next time you connect your iPhone to your car’s dashboard, Maps will remember your car’s location after you disconnect.
17. Video call for up to 32 people with Facetime
If you really are cautious about Zoom for its privacy and security loophole, then one good alternative is Apple’s own Facetime. After all, the company promises built-in privacy and security features to the app. The only downside though is that your friends must have an Apple device to take advantage of Facetime. However, if your friends and family use an Apple device, you can create a group Facetime call by simply tapping the name of the contact or a group and hitting the call button.
18. Share folder with friends using iCloud Drive Folder Sharing
Up until iOS 13.4, iPhone users have no way of directly sharing folders through iCloud. However, since the recent update, you can now quickly share files and folders to your friends through iCloud. To do this, go to the Files app and select any folder that you want to share. From the share sheet, you can add people and specify how you want to send the invitation link for sharing. You can read more about the feature here.
Now that you know these, try them out on your iPhone and take advantage of everything iOS has to offer. A new iOS version is also expected this June, along with a new low-cost iPhone. So, this is your time to master these things before delving into a new iOS version for new features.
How to optimize your remote work setup
Tips from Lenovo!
By now, most employees around the world are working from home due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The necessity of remote work is changing employers’ and employees’ perception of work done in the comfort of one’s home. The surge in its popularity over LinkedIn seems to support this. Plus, new data from Lenovo concludes that 77% of employees feel companies will be more open to remote work after the outbreak.
This new data stems from research conducted in five countries last March. The research also shows that 87% of employees are ready to work from home when required.
The changing perception meant that companies will have to adjust their guidelines regarding remote work. It also meant that companies have to discard the perception that work from home is no work at all. To that end, Lenovo’s Vice President for Global Commercial Marketing David Rabin shares four tips on how to optimize remote work for an efficient and effective workflow.
1. Stay flexible and connected through technology
One benefit of advancements in technology is making remote work a possibility. However, to take advantage, employees need to use the right technology that will optimize their workflow. A helpful piece of technology for a work-from-home setup is a reliable laptop that can be used anytime, anywhere. Along with a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet can come in handy for enabling on-the-go communication and collaboration.
2. Leverage productivity and collaboration tools
Employees working from home can be tempted by numerous distractions. That’s why it’s important to leverage productivity tools to conquer the daily workload. One important tool is a monitor that acts as a second display for content. Having an extra monitor is helpful in increasing productivity as it gives more screen area to work with. Employees who use an extra monitor at work should imitate this setup at home for maximum efficiency. Investing in a good monitor with at least Full HD resolution is a great way to go.
It is also important to utilize the right apps for productivity and collaboration. There are a lot of these apps in Apple App Store or Google Play Store that finding the right one is a matter of personal preference.
For real-time collaboration, popular apps include Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams that employers and employees can take advantage of to keep everyone updated about their work. Plus, the presence of these apps meant that employees can get together for a lighthearted, virtual get-together.
3. Encourage flexible work schedules
Employers should permit some flexibility. Being at home means employees now have to juggle between household tasks and their work. Having a flexible work schedule is one solution to this dilemma. Plus, it will encourage them to be more productive since they don’t have to worry about signing at a particular time. A flexible schedule with a balance between work and personal time will result in a much healthier workforce too.
For employees, having a flexible working schedule will give them the power to draw boundaries and set aside distractions. Working from home is a challenge since there are numerous distractions that can consume precious time. Especially during these times when numerous ebooks, films, and episodes are now available for free, proper discipline is required to avoid falling into procrastination and to stay focused at work.
4. Communicate often as this might be a new norm
Communication is always the key. To stay connected, employees must utilize tools that enable instant communication and collaboration. Employers, on one hand, are encouraged to do so too. There are numerous apps available that facilitate communication between employees and employers. Skype, Slack, or even Facebook Messenger are useful for staying in the loop.
Working from home is an opportunity that presents numerous benefits for everyone involved. As perceptions change around remote work, more companies may be willing to let their employees work in the comfort of their own home. However, working at home also presents some companies that might affect productivity. These tips would come in handy as employees look to optimize their workflow.
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