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Tag Archives: Cellphones

Getting Good Value Monthly Tariffs

The following article is sponsored. -Ed.

What are the best networks for a monthly mobile package?

With the recession, saving money and cutting costs has become a bigger incentive than ever for the average Briton. One area of our finances where we seem willing to spend large amounts is on our mobile phones and internet connection.

AOL Money revealed that millions of Britons overspend on their utilities and household bills, including gas, electricity, telephone and internet. With so many costs to balance, as well as the hard work and organisation which goes into changing habits to reduce the cost of our leisure and pleasure expenditure, finding the time and presence to focus on the most money-saving schemes for each utility in your life can prove overwhelming – are there enough hours in the day?!

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Protect Your Rights: ACLU Police Tape Application Puts Technology On Your Side

By David Ponce

Most times police are well intentioned and their interactions with the public will go down smoothly. But every now and then a bad apple pushes his power too far and tramples on your rights; sometimes massively so. In cases of police abuse, it can come down to their word versus yours and if there’s no reliable witness, there may be no way to make things right later on. The Police Tape application from the NJ office of the ACLU has developed an application that could tip the balance in your favour. If you see you’re about to be in a potentially abusive situation just start the application; it will promptly vanish from your screen as if nothing is happening when in fact it’s either recording audio or video, discreetly. But most importantly, should a tech savvy cop confiscate your phone and start looking through it to erase any possible incriminating files, the application simultaneously uploads what you’re recording to the ACLU’s servers, safely out of reach of any police action.

There’s also information on what rights you have, depending on where you are: your car, at home, on the street or while being arrested.

It’s available now on Android with an iOS version potentially due later this summer. It’s free.

[ Police Tape ] VIA [ BoingBoing ]

Sensor-packed Smartphone Should Help You Stay Alive

By David Ponce

We’re starting to enter an era where smartphones are moving beyond gaming and Internet browsing and are instead replacing (some would say displacing) technologies we used to travel great lengths and pay great prices to access. The LifeWatch V is an Android based smartphone that comes with an array of sensors that are able to tell you a number of things about the current status of your health:

The tests include one-lead ECG, body temperature, blood glucose, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, body fat percentage and stress levels as expressed by heart rate variability. Each medical test is presented as an application and, in addition, there are diet applications and programmable reminders for medications. All collected data is automatically and securely saved to a remote server and can be retrieved from the cloud for follow-up anytime, anywhere. Results and historical data can be shared with doctors, family or others on the user’s request through e-mail or text message.

Maybe the only downside in this story is that the LifeWatch V will be using Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), a very outdated OS by now. Although we suppose that if the tradeoff is access to a health monitor that is also able to perform as a decent smartphone, we’ll find a way to deal with the geeky gripes. Unfortunately, pricing and availability haven’t been announced.

[ Product Page ] AND [ Press Release ] VIA [ Medgadget ]

Dick Tracy Phone Watch For Kids Is Also Homing Beacon

By David Ponce

You want to be a good parent and like technology? Put the two together and make your own life easier. The above Mobile Phone Watch lets your kid make and receive calls, but also has a GPS module. Why? So you can know where they are at the press of a button. You can also set up a Bluetooth-based alert that will sound an alarm as soon as your kids wander off range. Also, you can set up a virtual “fence” that the kids are not supposed to exit; if they do, the watch will send you a text. Finally, there’s a panic mode button that will send the GPS coordinates to the parents along with an SOS message.

That’s a lot of functionality in a fairly cheap package: $80. The hard part will be to convince your kids to actually wear the thing.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ DVice ]

The Jitterbug Plus: Not All Phones Need To Be Smart

By David Ponce

Clearly aimed at a segment of society that eschews every little technological advance (like seniors), the Jitterbug Plus mobile device pictured above is made by Samsung and is as simple as they come. There’s no touch screen, no fancy applications, no small buttons or anything that might make life complicated for someone who sees phones as nothing more than a device with which to speak with another human being. The Jitterbug instead has an extremely simple and straightforward interface along with large backlit buttons (with two clearly labeled “Yes” and “No”) that should make it as easy as possible to operate. There’s even, perhaps surprisingly, a 1.3MP camera that will post to Facebook at the touch of a button, but no filters, editing, or anything too complex. “The Jitterbug Plus is available now in red or silver for $99 at retailers like Best Buy, Radio Shack and Fry’s, along with the company’s online store, however pricing is expected to jump to $119 shortly after launch.”

[ Press Release (PDF) ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Want Some Sensors? Here’s A Truckload

By David Ponce

Smartphones are great and stuff, but can they tell you how humid the air around you is? What about the air pressure? Or can they alert you to a possible carbon monoxide poisoning? Tell you if you’re legally drunk? No, they can’t, and that’s because they’re all missing the appropriate sensors. The Sensordrone aims to extend the capabilities of your smartphone by cramming a bunch of different ones into one small, keychain-sized device. Accessing any piece of data you’re after would then simply be a matter of running the appropriate application. Here’s a list of the sensors on board:

- Precision Electrochemical Gas Sensor – Calibrated for Carbon Monoxide (Also can be used for precision measurements of Alcohol, Hydrogen, and others)
– Gas Sensor for Oxidizing Gases – MOS type for Chlorine, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide, etc.
– Gas Sensor for Reducing Gases – (MOS type for methane, Propane, alcohols, other hydrocarbons, etc.)
– Temperature – Simple resistance temperature sensor type
– Humidity
– Pressure – can be used for Barometer, Altimeter, Blood Pressure, etc.
– Non-Contact Thermometer – Infrared sensor for scanning object temperature
– Proximity Capacitance – fluid level, intrusion detection, stud finder & more applications
– Red Color Intensity
– Green Color Intensity
– Blue Color Intensity
– Illumination – combine RGB & illumination for color matching

Yeah, we’re getting into Star Trek Tricorder territory here, and we’re pretty excited to say that the Kickstarter project for the Sensordrone has reached its funding goal. Pretty quickly too. You can get yours at $175, which is $25 less than the expected retail price, with shipping in October of this year.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Geek.com ]

NFC-Enabled Subway Straps Deliver Ads In Japan

By David Ponce

We’re not sure whether to love or hate this thing but it seems that since May 21st, train riders in Japan have the dubious privilege of being able to use their cellphones to access some advertising by simply placing it next to the handles they use to stay upright. Using Japan’s version of NFC, FeliCa, riders of the Tokyo Ginza and Marunouchi subway lines can easily access a URL for the system’s client, travel agency HIS. And in a bid to assuage privacy fears, no personal information is collected in the process; the data is transmitted in one direction, from the strap to the phone.

So, we dig that the Japanese are experimenting with NFC and novel ways of delivering data across short distances (especially given that QR codes don’t seem to be taking off), but we’re a little sad that it always seems to be related to an advertising campaign of some sort. There’s no word on whether this would ever come stateside.

VIA [UberGizmo ]

Credit-Card Sized Stylus Is Easy To Carry

By David Ponce

We often talk about styluses for touch based devices here, mostly the iPhone and its ilk; turns out there are situations where they’re desired, despite Steve Jobs’ reported hate of them. Now, most of these solutions always involve some kind of compromise when it comes to bulk and portability. Just think of the Ozaki iCoat Finger Case, or the MicroStylus, which tucked into your headphone jack. Nice try, but we really prefer the Cipher, pictured above. It’s a credit-card sized and shaped piece of plastic with a capacitive area. This turns it into a stylus which you can use with any touch-sensitive device. Just keep it in your wallet with all your cards.

We’re not sure when or if it’ll ever come out of the Quirky labs, but if it does, its projected price is $4.

[ Product Page ]

Star Micronics SM-T300 Printer Is Made Just For Your Smartphone

By David Ponce

There are times when you need something printed on a good ole piece of dead tree. It happens. And the Star Micronics SM-T300 is a small and rugged little printer that can get it done for you. It connects to your device (including the iPad, iPhone or Android device) via WiFi or Bluetooth and its battery lasts up to 11 hours between charges. Its ruggedness adheres to the IP54 international standard, meaning it’s dustproof and waterproof, and can be dropped without worry from as much as 1.5 meters high. From the looks of it the printing is the thermographic kind, which is a little like the receipts you get while shopping. Not exactly high quality stuff there, but when you need something on paper, it’ll work in a jiffy.

There’s no word on price or availability.

[ DigInfo ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]