Tag Archives: tech

Tesco announces Hudl2

UK retail giant Tesco have just announced the successor to their immensely popular Hudl tablet – the Hudl2. The Hudl2 undercuts the likes of Samsung and Apple with a rather unbeatable price of £129.

The original Hudl was incredibly popular with people having to sell their own body parts to get hold of one.

The Hudle2 is better than its predecessor in every way and is larger, faster and more premium looking. The design philosophy hasn’t changed however with a similar look and feel.

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The new Hudle features a 8.3 inch full HD display which is not only bigger that its predecessor, but also features smaller bezels giving for a much premium feel.The device is powered by a 1.83GHZ Intel Atom Quad Core processor with 2GB RAM. The 16 GB internal memory is fully expandable via a Micro SD slot and the device also features a 5MP rear facing camera. According to Tesco the Hudl2 is three times faster than its predecessor so it should be able to handle all the latest games and apps.

The Hudl2 is available in eight different colours and should be available from October 9th.

The original Hudl sold 750,000 units in the first year and Tesco will hope that this latest model with help turn around struggling share prices and put to bed some negative press.

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Everything you need to know about Windows 10

So its official – the latest version of Microsoft’s popular operating system is official, and will be known as Windows 10. But what happened to Windows 9 I hear you say? Well nothing really, Microsoft just decided to leapfrog it. The new operating system offers a new design and a host of new features. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Windows 10.

Design

The new design and interface is where the majority of the changes can be seen. As windows 8 was criticised for being too different, Microsoft have rolled back the interface to something more reminiscent of Windows 7. Microsoft have done away with the annoying tile like meta-interface, and have replaced it with a more compromised traditional look. A big reason for this shift in design is attributed to an acknowledgement by Microsoft that not everybody loved the touch screen focus of Windows 7.
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Windows 10 then, is much more reminiscent of Windows 7, and Microsoft have even made the big decision to re-introduce the popular ’start’ menu. This is one area where users will notice a more balanced user interface, with the inclusion of resizable tilesTech-Preview_Start-menu-500x281 which can be customised with your favourite apps, people and websites. Microsoft acknowledge that many users are still using Windows 7 and as such want to make the transition to Windows 10 as seamless as possible.
If you prefer the full touch experience then don’t panic, the charm bar is still available for simple gesture controls and you still have the option of running the touch mode which will display tiles in the familiar Windows 8 style.

Continuum

Like Apple and Google, Microsoft wants want to lock you into their own eco-system with multi platform functionality. Windows 10 has been designed to run cross platform and will offer a bespoke interface depending on the hardware. There will also be just one Windows store running across all platforms.

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Continuum means that the operating system will detect the hardware set up and offer the best user experience. This means that the user interface for a mouse and keyboard setup will differ to that of a touchscreen tablet. This is good news for all-in-one devices as the operating system will be able to detect when the keyboard has been removed and adjust the interface appropriately.

Multi tasking

Multi tasking capabilities have also been greatly improved with new features aimed at the power user. Importantly, Microsoft have introduced a new ‘task view’ button which will give an overview of open virtual desktops and apps and gives a simple way of switching between them. This is something which has been available in OSX for ages so should come as good news for Windows diehards.
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Virtual desktops are a means of being able to increase productivity by having access to multiple desktops for with different setups. This is a feature which will be recognisable if you already use multiple monitors. If however you only have one display, then virtual desktops are available to give give you similar functionality.

Windows ‘snap assist’ has also been improved with a new user interface. This allows for apps to be snapped from multiple desktops and auto sized to fit either all or part of the display in a tiled format. This is a multi tasking feature which gives greater Tech-Preview_Three-program-snap-and-suggestions-500x281functionality by allowing multiple apps to be displayed besides each other in an expanded interface. A new improvement is the ability to now have up to 4 snapped apps running per desktop. Windows 10 also introduces a quirky little feature whereby it will recommend similar apps you may want to run besides them.

Windows Apps

Windows apps have also received an overhaul and are now capable of opening in the same format as desktop programs. These can be resized at will and moved around the desktop. This is a big improvement compared to Windows 7 apps which could only be opened in full screen mode. This is also good for cross platform functionality with the ability to adjust apps accordingly.

New search

Microsoft have gone and improved the search functionality with a search bar now present within the task bar and start menu. This is reminiscent of Apple’s Spotlight feature and will display results from both your computer and the internet.

Availability and price

Windows 10 is slated as being available to consumers by the end of 2015. There are still a lot of tweaks and improvements to be made and the OS will be available to business users first. Prices are still unknown but there have been previous rumours that it may be a free upgrade!

If you just can’t wait however then Microsoft are offering a beta program via the ‘Windows Insider Program’. Microsoft have pointed out however that this will give users access to a preview version of Windows 10 which will by no means be a final package. Therefore make sure you know what your doing and expect to encounter plenty of bugs and rough edges.

Ebay and Paypal getting a divorce

It would seem that the marriage between Ebay and its Payment service Paypal is to coming to an end.

According to TechCrunch Paypal is to be spun off as a separate company and will no longer come under the Ebay umbrella.

The 12 year partnership will end amicably with Paypal becoming a public listed company with both companies getting new skippers.

Apparently this is a strategic move initiated by Ebay’s board of directors and is aimed at growing both companies within their respective markets.

This announcement should not come as a shock however with TechCrunch reporting that ‘this is a split that many, including activist investor Carl Icahn, have predicted or called for in the past’

The move is expected to go ahead later in 2015 and will see Paypal better placed to compete with other mobile payment services such as Apple Pay.

How to get the most money for your old smartphone

So, the latest and greatest smartphone is just on the horizon and you want it, you want it badly. Trouble is your only half way through you current phone contract and there is going to be a cost implication involved. And probably a large cost implication.

You have two choices: You either buy out of your contact early, or you buy your new device SIM-free and use it with your current contract or a pay as you go SIM. Depending on how long you have left on your contract will determine which option you go for.

Now I am a sucker for new tech, I really am. When I want something I just have to have it and ill do anything possible to get my hands on the latest smartphone. Yes it usual costs but if your clever about it you can minimise this cost a great deal. The trick is to use your current smartphone as equity towards your new one.

I have compiled this short guide to help you in getting the most money for your current smartphone, and as such avoid having to pay out too much towards your new one.

Apologies if your not from the UK. Although this article is based on UK prices etc, the concepts should still be relevant no matter where you live.

1. Think phone value.

You need to be smart right from the beginning and consider the future value of your phone. If like me you change your device IMG_0769more often than you change your pants (not literally of course) then this is important. If you sign a new phone contract today, think about how much your new device might be worth in a year. If you don’t know much about smartphones then do your research. Have a look at SIM free prices and consider the actual value of the phone. Remember some branded phones will depreciate in value quicker than others. For example Apple and Samsung branded devices hold their value very well.

2. Be careful if signing up to a contract.

Do not sign up to an expensive phone contract if all you are getting is a entry/mid level phone. Chances are it will only be worth a few hundred quid and if you want sell it in a years time it will have little worth. Also, think about how much you are paying a month and remember that if you do decide to buy out early you will need to pay your monthly fee times by the amount of months you have left. This can be expense so sometimes its a good idea to get a bit of equity in the device from the start.

3. Look after your phone.

This may sound obvious but look after you phone. Insure it, put a case on it and for the love of god don’t keep it in the same pocket that you keep you keys in! The future value of your phone depends massively on its condition. People looking for second hand phones on Ebay will be much more attracted to ones advertised as being ‘immaculate’ as opposed to devices listed as having ‘some light scratches’. Its not difficult to look after you device. Treat it like your own child and it will reward you later in life. Furthermore, make sure you keep the box, instructions and all accessories. This will effect the future price.

3. Know where to sell your device.

Chances are your network provider or local phone shop will give you bugger all for your old phone. To get the best price shop around. There are many different avenues for selling your smartphone. Lets explore these:

4. Ebay

Ebay is a very good means of selling your device. It takes a lot of stress out of the process and sorts most things for you. There is also some comeback if it all goes a bit Pete Tong (That means wrong my American friends). You will have to make sure you Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 20.21.57listing stands out so make sure you use loads of pictures showing off the condition of the device and pay attention to your excerpt. If your device is immaculate then make sure you get this in. Also don’t list it too high or you won’t get any attention. Think about your delivery costs too as anything too high will put people off. One downside of Ebay is the charges. Make sure you know how much you are going to be charged.

Just over a week after the iPhone 6 came out, the iPhone 5S 16GB is selling for around £260 on Ebay in the UK. After you take into consideration the 10% seller fees you are going to get less that £234. You need to decide wether you can get more money via other avenues.

5. Recycle websites.

Recycle websites are great at giving you quick access to selling your phone and you should definitely consider checking them out. The easiest option however is to just log on to a comparison website such as Sellmymobile.com and they will give you the best price. You are still worth checking individual websites yourself as some may be excluded for the comparison website searches. Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 17.49.35

Again, a week after the iPhone 6 came, the best price I could find for the iPhone 5S 16GB was £255. This isn’t bad when you consider this is the actual price you will get and all you have to do is post the phone to them.

6. High Street stores.

You should never discount high street stores as they will often give a good price for your old gadgets. You should definitely pop into your local town/city and explore the local trade in shops. Popular trade in stores in the UK include CEX and Game.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 18.22.06Again for the 16GB iPhone 5s CEX would give me £258 and Game £260. Clearly this would be the preferable option based on the fact that that there are no hidden costs. These prices do however rely on the device being in perfect condition.

What is good news is that there are plenty of options for selling you smartphone when you decide that its time to get a new one. All you need to decide on is wether you want to sign up to a new contract, or wether you you can afford to buy a device SIM-free. Personally I opt for both options and try to purchase my devices outright whenever possible.

You will certainly save money in the long run if you buy your device outright but of course this often results in a much larger up front cost.  Remember, where there’s a will there’s a way. Think smart and think ahead. There is always a way of getting that shiny new smartphone!

Is the Blackberry Passport the ugliest phone ever?

I’m not quite sure what Blackberry were thinking with their curious new smartphone, the Passport. The device is a strange looking little thing with a screen aspect not commonly used in todays smartphones. Furthermore, the Passport may just be the ugliest smartphone I have ever laid my eyes on. I’m just clueless as to what Blackberry were thinking.

The new device is based around a decent sized 4.5 inch IPS display with a resolution of 1440 x 1440. This equates to a brilliantly sharp 453 pixels per inch (PPI). When you compare this to the 326 PPI of the iPhone 6 you can understand just how sharp this is. The display is really very good and is one of the smartphones best features.

Actually, talking about the other specifications, these are also rather good. The device features a speedy Snapdragon 801 Quad Core processor clocked at 2.26GHZ and even has 3GB of RAM. Furthermore, in the optics department we have a 13MP snapper which features optical image stabilisation.

What has to let the device down then is the peculiar design. As already mentioned the screen aspect is rather unconventional with a ratio of 1:1, and the device itself is pretty huge. It definitely falls into the phablet category with a width of 3.5 inches. In comparison, this is wider than even the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. From what we understand however the build quality is pretty good with a stainless steel rim running around the edges and a soft touch plastic battery cover on the back. Blackberry have also done away with their traditional 4 row keyboard and have opted for 3 rows. Its still full QWERTY but commentators are stating it feels rather squashed.

The Passport comes running Blackberry OS 10.3 with the Amazon App store pre-installed. Here lies a problem as you will not have access to the Google Play Store. Although the Amazon App store is now pretty comprehensive, you will still struggle to find some of your favourite games.

So whilst the Blackberry Passport has excellent specs and a great camera, the design is going to make it difficult to use. Can you imagine trying to squeeze this massive square into you pocket? It certainly isn’t going to be comfortable! Certainly not suitable for skinny jeans. The screen aspect is also going to make certain games and Apps feel awkward. That said, for business functionaltiy such as viewing and editing documents, it should be excellent. And it is indeed the business audience which Blackberry are targeting with this device.

With specs this good and a market leading display, I do wonder why Blackberry didn’t try to make a more universally appealing device. Although I appreciate that they have struggled to crack the domestic smartphone market and as such are clearly attempting to win back their traditional business customers.

So is the Blackberry Passport the ugliest smartphone on the planet? Possibly, although I imagine its rather like marmite – you either love it or you hate it!

Do I want one? Absolutely not…… actually I sort of love it.

Image from Trustedreviews.com