What are some apps you just can’t live without?

We started with phones that came with just 8GB of memory. From there we’ve moved on to 64GB, 128GB, and now even 256GB worth of memory on phones. No matter how large the capacity goes, you’ll still end up filling your phone with all sorts of apps and media. And why not, right?

After a point of time you realise it’s just noise. Noise that’s keeping you away from being slightly more productive. Noise that keeps you hooked to a glass based display when you should be paying more attention to other things in life. Can we cut down on this noise? Yes, to an extent. We can. We will. We should.

I decided to do a little experiment. I reset my iPhone and set it up as a new phone with stock apps. I told myself I won’t start installing apps until and unless I felt the absolute need for one. I’ll then install apps based on pure need, with each passing day.

15 minutes into the experiment and I ended up installing Tweetbot 4 first. WhatsApp was next since I was expecting a few messages already. I’ve been highly active on Snapchat lately so that was the obvious next choice. That was all for the first day.

The next morning I felt the urge to browse through my Instagram timeline. So I went down that black hole. Facebook was next. Then came the banking apps. YouTube for cartoons for the little one in the house. That was it. I’ve started using the default mail app instead of Spark for some reason, and it’s going pretty well.

The other obvious app I can’t live without has to be Amazon. For those who know me it’s like my oxygen. If there was one app, and only one app I could keep on my phone, it would be Amazon. Can’t imagine life without it now. For other stores (and price comparison) I can just browse the web on Safari.

So that’s my story. What are some of the apps you can’t live without?

A Victory For Values And Not Just Apple

apple vs samsung

The Apple-Samsung cat fight is finally over. The verdict is out and Apple has won its case. It didn’t take very long for the jury to come up with a decision that Apple was right. Now before I carry on, sounding like an Apply fanboy(which is debatable), I’ll make it clear that for the 5-10 minutes that I’ll be writing this post, I am on nobody’s side. And yes, did I mention this? Apple won!

Samsung will pay Apple a sum of $1.049 billion in damages. Apple had initially asked for $2.5 billion. Now that sounds like an amount someone would randomly charge you for hiring a taxi here in the Indian subcontinent. A billion less doesn’t hurt Apple, which has so much money already in their banks. But money isn’t what this whole hullabalooo was for. It was for ‘values’.

Tim Cook’s message to all Apple employees after the verdict was out said;

For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It’s about values. We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. And we do this to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy.

Apple has been hell bent on building original and highly innovative products right from the start. Heck, that’s what makes Apple, Apple. True innovation will always stand out no matter what product or service you offer to your customers. When Apple disrupted the smartphone industry in 2007 with the iPhone, not everyone was a big fan of their idea. But when people actually took the product into their own hands, it made all the sense in the world. This was the real phone they always wanted.

The Facebook Smartphone Experience

facebook smartphone

Some rumors die. Some come back to haunt us. This one has already died twice and is now back the third time. Only this time it looks more solid. Nick Bilton from The New York Times reported that Facebook could be making its own smartphone for real this time. Apparently Facebook has been hiring engineers who have previously worked on the iPhone and iPad at Apple. This would be Facebook’s third attempt (read noob attempt) at making a smartphone. As per the report, Facebook may launch its smartphone in the market as early as next year. That’s of course if they’re able to pull off something amazing.

Let’s take a look at what the Facebook smartphone could look like, both in therms of software and hardware:

Software

Facebook is a software company. For their smartphone to really stand out, they would need to focus on the software. Now if you take a look around – the iOS is already an industry leader in the smartphone market, Android has found love amongst several manufacturers, Microsoft is still working hard on making sure their next edition of Windows Phone OS is an absolute killer and RIM, well, they’re doing stuff too.

Facebook could gamble and work on its own OS from scratch. That, I think, would be a dick move. Reinventing the wheel isn’t going to win any battle of thrones err..smartphones I mean. The safest bet for Facebook could be to buy an existing smartphone operating system or go with Google’s open source mobile operating system – Android. Seems highly unlikely that Facebook will shake hands with those who must not be evil.

Seriously thinking, the Facebook operating system might be as simple as an app. Yes, it could be one big Facebook mobile application that further allows you to control and operate your smartphone.

facebook phone software

Just like Google pitched its Chrome OS as a browser – Facebook’s smartphone OS might just be based on a smartphone running an enhanced version of the Facebook mobile application.

Come to think of it and Facebook already has everything it needs. An app for messaging and chatting, an app for social networking (duh!), a Camera app and even another photos app worth billions, Instagram. All this along with the existing app store it launched recently, which can be further enhanced to support a smartphone experience. They just need to stich everything together and present it in a way that makes it appealing to users. Personally, I just hope the OS doesn’t suck like their native mobile applications.

The Facebook smartphone ecosystem could be driven by content partners as well as applications developers who have been successful at making apps for Facebook earlier. Facebook Credits might play a significant role in the smartphone experience. Imagine being able to buy apps at retail stores via Facebook Credits. I can’t help but feel sorry for myself when I think of it – my friends playing idiotic games on Facebook to earn some Credits so they could use them.

The social experience of a Facebook smartphone may be dull, ugly and even boring at times, much like the Facebook web experience as of now. But you’ll still find yourself addicted to it because of the very same reason – all your friends are on Facebook.

Facebook phone hardware

Hardware

This is the part where Facebook might run into a trouble. It has zero hardware experience and it just doesn’t have the juice to compete with major manufacturers, given its current situation. It has a lot of money in the bank, agreed, but will it spend all of it setting up a hardware unit? Or may be even buying one? Looks unpromising as a proposal.

Instead, Facebook could partner with a hardware company. Rumors had it that they had attempted one with HTC the last time around but it didn’t quite materialize. This time around things are much different.

Facebook is looking for alternate sources of revenue and mobile phone manufacturers are ready to do anything for more market share. Heck, RIM would strip naked for just a partnership.

So how would a Facebook phone look like? Well, pretty much how all smartphones look like – the iPhone. Ideally it could be a full touchscreen device. It could include a dedicated button like the home screen on most phones to launch the main menu along with other essential buttons such as a volume rockers and a power on/off button.

Camera optics can be easily outsourced. A decent 8MP camera would be great if it comes with almost zero shutter lag. Facebook doesn’t need to pull off a Nokia 404 here. Other hardware specifications could be – a dual core processor (pretty much a standard now) as I don’t think Facebook-ers need quad core madness, decent amount of RAM – considering Facebook’s current state I’d say a minimum of a gigabyte should be sufficient.

The display could be quite a challenge here. Facebook would attempt to keep it at par with Apple’s Retina Display on the iPhone. It’s a challenge because Facebook would also be looking at keeping the price of their phone slightly lower (pure gut feeling) as opposed to the iPhone. I’m not saying it’ll be a deal-maker but for many, this is one primary reason for buying an Android or a sub-standard smartphone – it is much cheaper and almost does the same things.

Conclusion

I’m no pundit, so before you post nasty comments below please keep this in mind. The Facebook smartphone may still be far far away from reality but it clearly shows how focused Mark is about more revenue streams. Facebook clearly doesn’t want to get left behind especially when Google is getting into hardware with their recent purchase of Motorola mobility.

The Facebook smartphone would ideally offer the same social experience it offers to all its users currently – simple and open. Also, privacy is something they’ll be looking out for!

Waterproof Smartphones Might Save The World!

waterproof smartphone

How many times have you dropped your smartphone in water and seen a 500 dollar note floating like a dead kitten? That’s just warranty saying, ‘goodbye and good luck now’. Seems like it’s all going to change soon. A company has already impressed the likes of Samsung and Apple at CES 2012 that makes your smartphones, wait for it, waterproof.

The technology, called HZO, applies a shield of water-repelling properties inside a phone or any electronic gadget for that matter. The end result? Drop the phone in a fish tank and it won’t hurt you! This isn’t something new either. Motorola has been selling phones that are waterproof, dustproof and at times even buyer-proof.

What would be really interesting to see is that Samsung or even Apple buying the whole idea. I really want to see this on the next iPhone. Who doesn’t want a superhero smartphone that won’t start crying when it’s wet?

Solving Information Overload Problem for Campus Students

information overload

If I could get a ride on a time machine today, I’d like to go back to college. With the amount of information I’ll be carrying back, I could beat the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to their game. I’d knock on RIM’s door and tell them to make a full touchscreen BlackBerry smartphone, I would personally write Facebook from scratch. Such fantasies sometimes take the most of me.

While going back and forth in time may not be possible, we do have an obvious vision or a projection of the future in our minds. If you look at it from my eyes, it looks too overcrowded. Tons of information keeps flowing in every single day and it’s getting harder and harder to control this fire hose of information overload. If it goes on this way it’ll convert each of our brains into monkey like maniacs. Our mind would keep jumping off here and there.
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6th Grade Student Is An iPhone App Developer

Thomas Suarez is a 6th grade student at a middle school in the South Bay. Tom been fascinated by computers and technology since before kindergarten. Recently, he’s been focused on the development of applications for the iPhone, and has established his own company, CarrotCorp. His most successful ap is one he terms “an anti-Justin-Bieber game” called “Bustin Jieber”. “It’s is a variation on the Whac-a-Mole theme,” he explains.

I feel like the most worthless person on earth right now.

Cheaper iPhones For Real?

iphone 4s cheaper

Seems like Apple is finally thinking about poor guys like me. Gizmodo Brazil seems to have unearthed photos from a Foxconn factory in Brazil. The phone in the photos looks like an iPhone 4 but with a different model number, N90A. This is rumored to be a slightly updated edition of the iPhone 4 but with an attractive price tag.

If this is true, I’d probably beg the folks in US to get me one. After all a cheaper iPhone does make sense.

When is the right time to buy a smartphone?

If you’re a little on the tech side of things, chances are that you’ve been asked this question time and again. You may have asked this question to yourself every time you found yourself in a situation when the smartphone you bought a day before, just got pawned quite badly with a new launch today. This is a universal effect and I call it – smartphone explosion.

It’s not that smartphones didn’t exist in the pre-iPhone era, it’s just that smartphones became so much more relevant with the launch of Apple’s revolutionary mobile product. After the iPhone was launched every company was forced to move their lazy ass. The end result was that they were shipping more and more smartphones and some good ones too.
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