Tuesday, July 27, 2010

AT&T's Much Needed Android Smartphone: The Captivate

samsung captivateAT&T has finally come out with a much-needed Android smartphone. As one of the four major cell phone providers in America, AT&T was the only network truly lacking in the Android smartphone area. They no longer have this problem though thanks to the new Samsung Captivate. The Captivate is part of the Galaxy S series by Samsung and is by far AT&T's most dominant and feature-rich Android device. It has some really exciting features and is a great alternative to the iPhone 4.

The appearance of the Captivate is really nothing special, but the design is clean, simple and it gets the job done. The device is fairly large at 4.18 x 2.5 inches, but it is quite thin. It is only 0.39 inches deep and easily slips into your pocket. The Captivate is a very well constructed phone and feels very solid in your hand, but at the same time, it also feels sleek and modern.

The front of the smartphone is mostly taken up by the extraordinary 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen. This screen supports 16 million colors and a WVGA resolution of 480 x 800. The Captivate’s touch screen is one of the best-looking touch screens to be seen on a smartphone. It is truly brilliant. The coloring is incredibly vibrant and has a great sharpness that makes texts incredibly easy to read. Samsung’s decision to use the Super AMOLED screen presents several advantages. It has wider viewing angles, improved responsiveness, and also consumes less power. The scrolling experience on the Captivate is very smooth and supports the pinch-to-zoom feature. The display also possesses a six-axis accelerometer, which is quite useful for gaming. It is even quick to change the screen orientation whenever the phone is rotated.

The Captivate has four buttons on the front of the phone located below the screen: menu, home, back, and search. All four buttons are touch-sensitive. On the left side there is a volume adjustment button, and on the right is the power/lock button. Conveniently located on the top of the phone is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro-USB port, and as usual, the camera is found on the back of the device.

As mentioned earlier, the Captivate is part of Samsung’s Galaxy S series and therefore runs Android 2.1 with Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 interface. Samsung has worked really hard to re-vamp this program. They have enhanced the functionality and given it a more polished look. They also added new widgets including one called Feeds & Updates and another called Buddies Now. The Feeds & Update widget streams updates from Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. It has the capability to display content from one, two, or all three of the social-networking sites at once. The Buddies Now widget allows you to immediately call or text the contacts from your Facebook, Twitter, or MySpaces pages or comment on any of their updates. There are also a number of other Samsung and Android widgets and other shortcuts available.

The Samsung Captivate also comes equipped with a variety of features including: speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, and a full range of wireless options for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, and GPS. It also gives you access to AT&T's Wi-Fi hot spots and a hot-spot locator app. The Captivate is also compatible with Gmail, POP3 and IMAP, Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

This magical little device also provides quite a nice list of available apps including a Write and Go app. The Write and Go app lets you compose a message on a notepad then send it to yourself whether it be by way of SMS, an e-mail, or a status update. Other apps include: Mini Diary app, Mobile Banking, Where, Yellow Pages Mobile, instant-messaging clients for Google Talk, AIM, Windows Live, Yahoo, a calculator, a voice recorder, and a memo pad. There are also several AT&T-specific services, such as AT&T Music and Video, AT&T Radio, AT&T FamilyMap, and AT&T Navigator. There are even more apps that you can obtain through the Android Market.

The camera on the Captivate is 5-megapixels and has an HD video camera. You have the ability to adjust the white balance and even add effects. The camera also offers lots of editing options like ISO settings, antishake, and blink and smile detection. One odd thing about the Captivate’s camera is that it is strangely missing a flash. This causes outdoor and night photos to be fairly poor, and the night setting doesn’t do much to help the situation. Despite the camera being a disappointment, the HD video camera is still very impressive.

The Captivate comes with a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a talk time rate of 5 hours and 50 minutes and up to 12.5 days of standby time. The battery should be able to easily get you though a whole day of checking e-mail, playing music, and browsing the Web. It’s well equipped with Samsung's 1GHz Hummingbird Cortex A8 processor. Every once and awhile there may be a very brief delay when exiting out of an app, but as a whole, the smartphone is extremely quick.

The Samsung Captivate is currently available from AT&T as of July 18 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. This is really a good buy with all the features it has to offer!

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pocket Manager for iPad and iPhone

Last week, the company Intersog LLC, an "international software construction company that is located in Chicago, Illinois," announced an updated release of Pocket Manager: Accounting for Management for the iPad and iPhone. Pocket Manager is considered a Top 50 grossing business app and that shouldn't change with all the neat new features!

The original iPhone version of the app has lots of updates, including an in-app search feature and social networking options that allow you to post messages on Facebook and Twitter. It will also allow you to email course text to friends and co-workers. You can get the app at the iTunes App store.

The app itself is actually a course that is divided into three sections: the course, flash cards, and tests. It contains 11 chapters that cover many aspects of financial management. You can save your place at any time during the course and pick up where you left off at any time. There is also a glossary that helps you with definitions to words you may not understand. Once you complete the text, you can use flash cards which help you prepare for the tests, which follow each chapter. Regardless of whether you get an answer wrong or right, detailed explanations accompany each test answer and each test can be retaken.

Check out these related stories:
1. Rent an iPad
2. Chicago Computer Rentals

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Plantronics Bluetooth on Sale

plantronics bluetooth on saleNewegg.com has the Plantronics In-The-Ear Bluetooth Headset (Discovery 925) for only $34.99 now. This Bluetooth is listed normally for $129.99, so this is an amazing limited time offer.

The Discovery 925 is one of the sleekest, most stylish Bluetooth headsets that I have ever seen. It's designed in the form of a long narrow triangle that is hollow in the middle and features a diamond-shaped earpiece that comes in black, pink, and gold. The piece is extremely light, only weighing 0.3 ounces. The device features two buttons. One button on the outside of the piece turns the device on and off, triggers voice dialing, kicks the headset into pairing mode, or dials and releases calls. The other button on the bottom of the Bluetooth cycles through the volume levels.

You can use the earpiece up to 30 feet away from your mobile device, but it begins to crackle a bit when you get 15 feet away or further. The microphone is very good. It allows for improved voice quality and noise reduction. Wind is a bit of an issue if you are using the piece outside, but it isn’t horrible.

The Discovery 925 has about 4 hours of battery life, but if you choose to store the device in it’s charging case which houses an additional battery, you can have about another 5 hours of talk time.

The Discovery 925 is not the best Bluetooth headset available right now, but for the greatly discounted price of $34.99, I would definitely say that it is worth it. If you’re looking for a cheap, quality Bluetooth headset, then the Plantronics Discovery 925 is the best bet for you.

If you aren't sure what you should be looking for in a Bluetooth, check out our guide to choosing a Bluetooth.

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Motorola Droid X Finally Available

Droid XFinally after all the talk and the hype, the Motorola Droid X is available from Verizon. The X is considered by many to be the best phone currently offered through Verizon. It has a lightening fast processor, Wi-Fi hotspot mode, great reception and noise cancellation, and Bluetooth voice dialing.

The Droid X is going for $199.99 with a two year Verizon contract and a $100 mail-in rebate. Any current Verizon customer who's contract is up in 2010 is also eligible for the $199.99 price after rebate.

The Droid X is set to be one of the best smartphones of the summer. Now if Droid just doesn’t fit your needs or you just want to check out some of the other great smartphones available, the HTC EVO 4G or a variety of different Android phones are great choices as well.

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

10 Best Free iPhone Apps 2010

10 best free iphone apps 2010 As Apple continues to crank out the latest version of their iPhone, new apps continue to emerge day after day. Apple’s App Store can provide you with pretty much anything you could want or imagine, and tons of people seem willing to shell out millions of dollars to purchase these apps. The iTunes App Store carries over 225,000 apps for an average price of $2.80 per app. Fortunately, for those who don’t wish to spend lots of money on apps, there are plenty of free apps that everyone can appreciate.

Here are a few of the free apps…or what I would consider the top 10 free iPhone apps available right now:

10. ESPN ScoreCenter 1.5.3
ESPN INC., www.espn.go.com
This is absolutely perfect for anyone that’s a sports fan. ESPN ScoreCenter allows you to track all of your favorite sports teams on one single page and can provide instant notification when a game starts or a team scores.

9. Facebook 3.1.4
Facebook, www.facebook.com
If you’re a Facebook fanatic, then your definitely going to need this app. The home screen of this Facebook app is a 3 x 3 grid that gives you access to basically everything on Facebook. A nice feature that is included is the ability to call or text any friend through this app who has their number posted on their page.

8. Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List 2.1
Condé Nast, www.epicurious.com
Epicurious is an extremely useful site where you can plan meals and find recipes. This iPhone app allows you to not only find recipes but also turn your favorite recipes into a shopping list that you can check off. You can also turn your favorite recipes into a paginated cookbook form.

7. eBay Mobile 1.7.0
eBay Inc., www.ebay.com `
eBay Mobile allows you to manage all of the eBay auction items that you might be keeping your eye on easily from your phone. You’ll be able to bid on and hopefully win your items right on your iPhone. The app allows you to search, bid, update information, check your bids, and more.

6. Dragon Dictation
Nuance Communications, Inc., www.nuance.com
Dragon Dictation allows you to easily dictate an e-mail or text. All that you have to do start up the app, tap the red button, and dictate for up to a minute at a time. It's great to use on the go.

5. Dropbox 1.2.2
Evenflow, Inc., www.dropbox.com
Dropbox is an app that allows you to “drop” files, pictures, videos, spreadsheets, and documents into a personal file space that can then be accessed from any computer. This app can be used not only on your iPhone but also on the iPod Touch or the iPad.

4. CNBC Real-Time 1.3
NBC Universal Inc., www.cnbc.com
This is a great business site that gives business alerts and even features a detailed stock portfolio tracker. If you follow the stock market closely, this app is for you.

3. AT&T myWireless 1.3.2
AT&T Services Inc., www.att.com
The myWireless app from AT&T is extremely helpful. It will tell you when you’re coming close to your monthly data limit, how many minutes you have used for the month, or when your next bill is going to be due. This app helps protect you from getting any unpleasant, unexpected AT&T charges.

2. Bing 1.2
Microsoft Corp., www.bing.com
Bing is your perfect search engine for the iPhone. It also offers photo search, voice search, and local shopping searches. This app even allows you to scan products bar codes in order to look up prices in the store.

1. Apple iBook 1.1
Apple Inc., www.apple.com
The Apple iBook app doesn’t just work as a fantastic e-book reader, but it is also a great PDF reader. You can arrange all of your virtual books and PDFs on the virtual bookshelf. Apple has some older books available from their online store for free, which is nice. You can even sync all of your bookmarks and notations with your iPod Touch and your iPad.

If you're looking to try out the iPad, check out the best place to rent an iPad.

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Apps for Your Health

Apps for Your Health There's an app for everything these days and your health is no different. According to the LA Times, there are currently over 6,000 health apps available to smartphone-owning consumers.
Most of the apps are inexpensive or even free, and they offer anything from first aid instructions to tips on exercising.

According to the times, doctors are concerned that people will begin using apps in place of actual medical care, because let's face it, when you're running a business or working 10-12 hour days, that doesn't leave a lot of time for much else. But how do you know which apps are reliable? How do you know which ones will give you good information? One way is to discuss the app with your doctor. Another way is to look at reviews from other consumers. But ultimately, there is no exact way to know.

As far as apps go, the LA Times reports that 80% of the apps are iPhone-only. Android has around 500 and BlackBerry has even less. However, as the smartphone app business continues to grow, more apps are expected to be created. If you have a Droid and want an app that's on the iPhone, check and see if there is something that compares to it, or maybe even email the company that created the app and ask if they have plans to make one in the future.

Finally, the LA Times suggests a number of apps that they tested and like and if you're looking to improve your health with a little help from your phone, you might want to start with a few of these. They include:

The American Heart Association's Pocket First Aid & CPR App - For just $3.99, iPhone and Android users can have first aid at their fingertips. Not only was the app reviewed by several physicians, but the app is produced by a reputable group - the AHA.

LoseIt! Calorie Tracker - If you're an iPhone user trying to lose a few pounds, this free app is for you. Simply type in what you're eating and it'll tell you how many calories are in it. It even comes with exercise tips.

Medic ID - This app for Android is just $1.50 and it allows you to key in your medical history, insurance information, and emergency contacts for medical professionals to access in the event of an emergency.

iTriage - Another free app for iPhone users, iTriage helps you find your closes doctor, hospital or pharmacy, as well as give you real-time updates on wait time at your local emergency rooms.

HEARTifacts - Created by students at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, this app allows you to locate the closest automatic external defibrillator in the event of cardiac arrests.

For more information on these apps and more, check out the LA Times.
Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Sniper Stand Makes Smartphone Entertainment Hands-Free

sniper standThese days, smartphones offer users endless entertainment options. We can view photos, videos, and even full movies and TV shows. The issue is that it can get really annoying to hold your smartphone in your hand the whole time. Well now you no longer have to worry about that. The new Sniper Stand is exactly what you need if you utilize your phone for entertainment purposes.

The Sniper Stand is simply a small plastic disk that has two slits that intersect at a right angle. It has an adhesive on the back that is extremely strong while still being removable. All you have to do is stick the Sniper Stand on the back of your phone, stick a credit card in the slits of the stand, and your smartphone is ready to stand hands-free and cater to your entertainment needs.

Now the Sniper Stand is not yet in production, but there are a limited number of sample prototypes. They are available in black from the Sniper Stand Web site for $9.99 including shipping.

If you’re looking for a new and up-to-date smartphone, check out the Motorola Droid X or the HTC EVO 4G.

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Brando's New Power Pack for iPhone

brando's iphone power packYou may ask what is special about this specific portable battery pack, since there are plenty of different battery packs that can be used with your iPhone. Well, the new iPhone power pack from Brando is unique. It uses EL film to allow you to see the battery’s status at all times. It shows you whether or not the battery pack is charged or not and how much charge it has left. With this battery pack, you will never have to wonder about if you remembered to recharge the battery or not.

The front of the battery pack is completely covered with the special EL film that shows the status of the battery pack’s life at all times. When you use the battery pack to recharge your iPhone, the battery pack pulses like an on-screen charging indicator to let you know that your phone is connected and recharging.

The iPhone power pack is a very convenient accessory to own. It features a 100 mAh capacity. This will charge your iPhone 3G for up to 3 hours of talk time and the iPhone 2 with up to 7 hours of talk time. 100 mAh can also add 18 hours of audio playback or 5 and a half hours of Web surfing time. The pack itself is slim and easy to carry around, so with it you will never have to worry about your iPhone running out of power while you’re out and about.

The power pack from Brando is compatible with the iPhone 4G, iPhone 3G/3GS, and the iPhone 2. It is available from Brando’s online website for $52.00.

Check out some of the iPhone's other accessories like a solar powered iPhone charger or a bluetooth headset.

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

First LG Phone for T-Mobile

lg sentioOn June 30TH, LG introduced their first ever T-mobile phone, the LG Sentio. For being LG’s first phone with T-mobile, you would most likely expect something fabulous and show stopping but don’t exactly hold your breath. The Sentio is nothing more then an average, middle of the road type of phone. It does however have a nice smooth and sleek design, and its multimedia features work fairly well. Perhaps the most attractive part of the phone is that it is very affordable.

The Sentio has an incredible slim and stylish design and is quite compact. It is 4.2 inches long and 2.1 inches thick. It is one of the thinnest phones yet to hit the market at only 1.5 inches thick, and its one of the lightest as well weighing in at 3.3 ounces. Although the Sentio is not covered in steel or glass like most other high-end touchscreen phones, it is wrapped in a lovely soft slate gray plastic that grips well. Its smooth corners and edges add to the overall feel of the phone.

The front of the phone features a beautiful 3.0-inch touch-screen display. The Sentio has a resistive screen so it's not quite as responsive as the regular touchscreen that is used on more advanced touchscreen phones such as the iPhone. You have to push a little harder on the screen then you should have to in order to get results from the Sentio. One nice feature the phone possesses is its vibration feedback capability. Vibration Feedback is when there is a slight vibration each time you touch the screen, this allows you to feel the responsiveness. You are given the ability to adjust the type and intensity of the vibration.

You can customize the Sentio's home screen with widgets or application shortcuts. By merely tapping on the arrow on the right side of the screen, you can drag and drop widgets from the slide-out menu to the home screen. You can make any function of the phone into a widget shortcut icon. At the bottom row of the home screen are four additional shortcuts to the phone dialer, the contacts list, the Web browser, and the main menu.

In order to dial a number to make a phone call, you must use a virtual number keypad who’s icon is located at the bottom of the home screen. When you touch the icon your usual phone keypad will appear. The keys are large, and the number input area is quite roomy as well. As far as texting goes, you can stick with T9 predictive text on the nine-key keypad, or you can rotate the phone ninety degrees to the right to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard is spacious enough and is fairly easy to use. On the downside, the text input area is quite small making it somewhat hard to read your whole message as you type.

Underneath the 3-inch touch screen are three real non-touch screen buttons: Send, Back, and the End/Power key. All three keys have a nice appearance and are easy to press. Located on the left side of the phone are the volume button, the task menu key, and the headset/charger jack. Along the right side of the phone is the camera key, and the Sentio’s 3.0-megapixel lens is placed on the back. The camera is okay, but it certainly isn’t above average or anything. A screen lock key is located on the top of the phone and placed conveniently behind the battery cover is a microSD card slot.

The LG Sentio's phone book has the ability to hold 1,000 contacts with room in each entry for five numbers, three e-mail addresses, three instant-messenger IDs, a Web address, a company name, three street addresses, a birthday, an anniversary date, and a memo. Its standard features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a notepad, a world clock, a tasks list, a calculator, a stopwatch, a unit converter, and a tip calculator. You also get voice command, instant messenger, e-mail, a HTML Web browser, Bluetooth, and GPS with Telenav Navigator support. For social networking fans, LG includes Social Buzz, an app for managing your various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, on the Sentio.

Overall the Sentio has good call quality, posses the support for 7.2Mbps 3G networks, and has a rated battery life of 6 hours talk time and 13 days standby time. For the most part the Sentio is a fairly decent phone for its price of $69.99 with new two-year contract with T-Mobile.

Looking for help with travel and technology? Then call a Tech Travel Agent at 800-736-8772. Or see this link for a Laptop Rental on your next trip.
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