Cut the cord part 4

I posted around Christmas 2016 that I was cutting the cord and getting ride of my cable with Telus. In January I ordered the Leelbox M9S Android TV Box from Amazon and could not be happier with it.

The device itself was an easy setup with the HDMI Cable and space left on my console from my Telus TV box to slot the Leelbox into. The remote they sent with the device was horrible so I downloaded apps for my iPhone to allow me to control the box via my iPhone. I do not recommend ever using this remote.

There has been a learning curve for sure but I love to learn especially new tech stuff and this has been a great experience. It has also been an adjustment since I now am not able to turn on my TV with ease and get the channels I want.

There are however benefits. I’m paying Telus 73$ plus tax for High Speed Internet 25 and that’s it. No extra charges for TV or channels I do not use. I’ve adapted to missing news and sports by using Twitter and Facebook. I listen to live sports such as hockey and football using the radio on the internet.

I am missing the opportunity to get live sports, which is the main reason why I watch TV. I did try the Sportsnet monthly subscription for January and February. You do get a 7 day trial for free. My main reason was to get Canuck games. I found it intermittent and it would often stall while I was streaming games. I suspect my internet speed may not be high enough but with the 24.99 monthly cost I did not think it was worth it.

During the Stanley Cup Playoffs I was able to get regular hockey programming using a number of apps for the Leelbox specifically Kodi. Kodi allows you to stream live TV and sports among other things. I used an app called ProSport for Kodi and was able to find good NHL streams for most of the games. I did have to search for a bit within the NHL category to get consistently good streams. My next project is to get good CFL streams for the CFL season.

I’ve also discovered a number of other good programs using the Video Add ons within Kodi. One is called Exodus which has good quality HD Movies. Often there will be rips of movies straight from the theatre but quality is poor. I wait until a title is released digitally or on Blu Ray and DVD and you’ll get near perfect copies on Exodus. I also rent as many Blu Ray titles as I can from my local library.

I’m also a Netflix subscriber and have been over the past 5 years. Netflix has always provide me with good movies and programs. I don’t VPN into the U.S. Netflix to get more movies and titles.

All in all cutting the cable cord has been a good move for me. While there have been some challenges getting the programs I want, I have been able to adapt and am glad to be saving money on cable TV programs.

 

ZTE Unveils ZTE Gigabit Phone with Download Speeds Reaching up to 1Gbps

ZTE Gigabit Phone

ZTE Gigabit PhoneZTE, a leading global mobile device maker is returning to Barcelona for the 13th time, unveil the Gigabit Phone, the world’s first smartphone with download speeds reaching up to 1Gbps. Thanks to ZTE’s independently developed Pre5G Giga+ MBB solution and smart devices, onsite visitors saw a successful test of download speeds reaching up to 1Gbps on the Gigabit Phone, an indicator of ZTE’s technology strength in the upcoming “5uper Generation”.

Achieving 1Gbps Through an Advanced System & Terminal Device

The ZTE Gigabit Phone, powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 mobile platform with an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, uses a combination of carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO antenna technology, and 256-QAM modulation to achieve LTE download speeds that are up to 10x faster than first generation LTE devices.

Thanks to ZTE’s technology strength in 5G and Pre5G Giga+ MBB solutions, the ZTE Gigabit Phone is three times as powerful at improving data processing capability in the current network. It is the cornerstone of ZTE introducing 5G to 4G networks and providing worldwide carriers with Pre 5G solutions.

In the future, with download speeds up to 1Gbps as a standard and ZTE’s technology strength in 5G systems and networks, the mobile experience on smart devices will be enhanced to an unimaginable level.

Up to 1Gbps Download Speeds Changes Human Life Forever

The Gigabit phone will challenge world limits and transform the ultimate pursuit of human senses. The unimaginable speed of up to 1Gbps will improve users’ lifestyles by allowing for 360° panoramic VR video, instant cloud storage, entertainment upgrades and fast cache of ultra Hi-Fi music and movies, and instant APP, which removes the need for download or installation of applications.

The introduction of ZTE’s Gigabit-class mobile phone marks an important cornerstone for the 5G mobile era. This phone is not only revolutionizing communication, but also revolutionizing human connectivity with a new standard of speed, bringing a qualitative leap to a new world of mobile experience.

“We are thrilled to introduce the world’s first smartphone with download speeds up to 1Gbps. With the new device, the way people stay connected will be changed forever.” said a ZTE spokesperson.  “Focusing on 5G technologies will be one of the key priorities of ZTE’s global development. ZTE will be very glad to leverage its technology strength and experience in 5G to cooperate with government and business partners to discuss and facilitate the upcoming 5G era.”

About ZTE Mobile Devices

ZTE Mobile Devices is a division of ZTE Corporation, a global telecommunications equipment, networks and mobile devices company headquartered in Shenzhen, China. ZTE is a publicly traded company listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

ZTE has partnered with 231 major carriers, including the world’s top 50 carriers around the globe. ZTE has ranked No.3 for six consecutive years in terms of the number of PCT international patents applied for since 2011.

As one of the world’s leading smart devices makers, ZTE has been engaged in the research, development and manufacturing of mobile phones since 1998, with 19 years of history. ZTE is doing business in more than 160 countries and regions globally. For more information, please visit: www.ztedevice.com/

About ZTE CANADA

ZTE Canada Inc. (www.ztedevices.ca), headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, a global provider of mobile devices, telecommunication systems and enterprise solutions. Operating since March 2005, ZTE Canada is dedicated to making cost-efficient, quality communication technology accessible to all. In North America, ZTE is the fourth-largest supplier of smartphones and handset vendors and is the second largest vendor in the pre-paid market. ZTE is one of the top rated high tech enterprises in the world, developing and producing 2G, 3G and 4G handsets and mobile devices in over 150 countries. Founded in 1985, ZTE Corporation is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges and is China’s largest listed telecom equipment company.

LG G6 OFFERS ULTIMATE USER CONVENIENCE AND ENHANCED PRODUCTIVITY WITH FULLVISION DISPLAY

LG Electronics (LG) will feature its new mobile UX 6.0 in its upcoming G6 smartphone specifically lg-k10smallcustomized to maximize the advantages of the device’s expansive FullVision® display. LG G6 will feature a QHD+ FullVision display with an 18:9 screen aspect ratio that almost entirely fills the front of the smartphone. The dimensions of the phone are ergonomically designed to ensure maximum comfort and compatibility with existing and upcoming digital content.

The new UX maximizes the benefits of the FullVision display, providing the user with our ultimate user experience and convenience, including the following features:

  • Differentiated experience for watching video clips, webpage browsing, texting, and gaming
  • Camera UX that maximizes the 18:9 format display
  • Smartly designed GUI (Graphical User Interface) that enables the opening of two square windows side by side, delivering a better multitasking experience

A Differentiated Experience

The FullVision display in the LG G6 allows users to view information when surfing the web, reading e-books, and provides an immersive experience when watching videos or playing games.

The LG G6 is expected to kick off an era of premium smartphones with 18:9 screen aspect ratios, which is why such a variety of films, apps, and games tailored to the 18:9 aspect ratio is sharply rising. The smartphone includes a feature that allows users to view existing 16:9 ratio content easily in 18:9 format.

Camera UX

LG UX 6.0 provides a Square Camera feature which divides the 18:9 display into two squares. The larger screen enables users to take and check photos simultaneously. Users can shoot images in 1:1 format – a popular format on social media apps such as Instagram – and review them in the adjacent window. There is also new shooting mode called Food Mode that delivers high colour quality and saturation ideal for capturing images of food. Users can also create GIF files by combining anywhere from 2 and 100 pictures in a loop.

Advanced Multi-tasking

The 18:9 display on the LG G6 is ideal for multi-tasking. A user can open a call reception window next to a contact window or open the photo gallery at the same time as the music player. Multiple square photographs can be combined and viewed as a Collage Wallpaper on the lock screen. Users can also type a memo on one side of the screen while surfing the web on the other. While in the calendar app, a user can turn the G6 horizontally to display the calendar in the left window and a detailed schedule will appear on the right.

“The LG G6 with FullVision was designed to optimally display the newest content being filmed today in 18:9 and give the best solution for viewing both old and new cinematic content,” said Juno Cho, president, and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Users will appreciate the many ways in which the LG G6 smartphone’s 18:9 aspect ratio can be used.”

About LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company

LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company is a global leader and trend setter in the mobile and wearable industry with breakthrough technologies and innovative designs. By continually developing highly competitive core technologies in the areas of display, battery, camera optics and LTE technology, LG creates handsets and wearables that fit the lifestyles of a range of people all over the world. LG is seeking to give a playful mobile experience that extends beyond the scope of traditional smartphones. For more information, please visit www.LG.com.

About LG Electronics Canada

The LG brand was established in 1995. The company is a global leader in electronics, information and communications products, with more than 117 operations around the world, and annual worldwide revenues of more than US $49 billion. LG Canada is comprised of five business units – Mobile Communications, Home Appliance, Home Entertainment, Business Solutions and Commercial Air Conditioning. The company has offices in Toronto and Vancouver. LG Canada is focused on delivering award-winning products known for blending style and technology. These innovative products include cell phones, flat screen TVs, laptop computers and home appliances. For more information, please visit http://www.LG.com.

Last year we posted a review and attended an event on the LG G5. Read it here

Whatever happened to Google Glass?

google glass broadcasting

In 2012 Google Glass launched and like everyone else in the tech world we were glued to social media networks and online mentions of the technology. Wearable tech has always been a thing but Glass seemed to make it so real that everyone was going to have one.

The wearable tech scene and industry probably warrants an entire blog in itself and in our quest to cover all things gadget we hunted high and low trying to test out a pair or have someone lend us one for a while.

It didn’t turn out that way and while we bought into the hype like everyone else it was quickly scuttled by Google and just like that the party was over.

Google Glasses
Credit: Google

This New York Times article from 2015 outlines Glass’ rise and abrupt cancellation. It did however make history and probably inspired many companies I think, ahem Apple, to see what they could do in the wearable tech space. The Apple Watch springs to mind and while I have not used one seems to be doing fairly well for Apple and consumers.

It’s interesting to note that with tech hype and that kind of huge marketing generated by such products seem also built into its DNA. There is good reason for that but as many of us found using the actual product was quite different.

I had the chance to try it once and I thought it was so so. I mean how could it live up to what I had seen online or as a huge consumer of science fiction movies and novels imagined that it might be. It didn’t. In fact it made me more weary of wearable tech and less likely to buy any such products for at least five years.

There is also a danger here for wearable tech users and producers here too in that marketing and hype don’t always match expectations when using a product. We are a long way away from wearable tech that will be small lightweight and as powerful as we think it should be. Many scientists, developers and engineers will also tell us that the future is bright with this kind of technology nicely placed in our back pockets. The reality however is somewhat different.

ZTE Canada launches Axon 7 Mini

Axon 7 Mini

Axon 7 MiniThis week ZTE, the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in North America, announced that the Axon 7 Mini, will be available January 27, 2017 on Virgin Mobile. The Axon 7 Mini is the more svelte version of the flagship Axon 7 smartphone and winner of the IDG 2016 IFA Product Technical Innovation award for “Breakthrough Smartphone Audio Innovation.” The Axon 7 Mini at Virgin Mobile will retail for $49 on a gold two-year term or $399 with no term.
“At ZTE, we know consumers want the best value possible when considering their next smartphone purchase. We have proven our affordable premium strategy in North America so far and the Axon 7 Mini solidifies this,” said Denson Xu, CEO of ZTE Canada. “By listening to our consumers we’ve managed to build a beautifully designed smartphone that delivers the best audio experience of any device in Canada, all at an affordable price.”

From its ground breaking audio experience served up from its dedicated audio chipset for Hi-Fi playback and recording, dual front-facing speakers, Qualcomm Snadragon octa-core processor, to its vibrant 16 megapixel camera and an beautiful AMOLED capacitive touch screen, the Axon 7 Mini delivers incredible value that packs many of the same premium features consumers love in the Axon 7 with a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Premium Features, Mini Price

  • A 5.2 inch AMOLED display with soft key navigation allows you to beautifully render all your favourite content, yet is small enough to fit in your back pocket
  • Dual front-facing speakers, dedicated sound and playback technology, and Dolby Atmos® provide an immersive HiFi audio experience that is ground-breaking and unlike any other
  • A 16-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera capture high-quality images during the day and at night
  • All-metal body and standout design deliver premium feel, but at a lower price than competitors
  • Comes with one of the industry’s best warranty and protection plans in the Axon Passport Program, which features a 2-year warranty, unlimited out of warranty repairs, upgrade assistance, replacement assistance and more

For full list of phone specifications and features visit ztedevices.ca.

About ZTE CANADA

ZTE Canada Inc., headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, a global provider of mobile devices, telecommunication systems and enterprise solutions. Operating since March 2005, ZTE Canada is dedicated to making cost-efficient, quality communication technology accessible to all. In North America, ZTE is the fourth-largest supplier of smartphones and handset vendors and is the second largest vendor in the pre-paid market. ZTE is one of the top rated high tech enterprises in the world, developing and producing 2G, 3G and 4G handsets and mobile devices in over 150 countries. Founded in 1985, ZTE Corporation is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges and is China’s largest listed telecom equipment company.

Visit ZTE Canada at http://www.ztedevices.ca/ on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ZteCanada and on Twitter https://twitter.com/zte_canada.

 

ZTE Project CSX Phone – Hands Free Eye Tracking Device

projectcsx

Hawkeye – A Crowdsourced, Unlocked Phone

Known as Project CSX, which stands for Crowd Source X, the idea, design and name comes directly from consumers.  The name, Hawkeye, was chosen by consumers who can expect to be engaged in the next phases of this exciting project to select materials, colors and help contribute software for the phone.  As a manufacturer with a long history of building quality mobile products, ZTE has taken the initiative to give consumers the reigns and decide what to build for 2017.  After a voting round which included consumers representing 176 countries around the world, the consensus was to develop a hands free experience for a mobile phone. Additional information about the project at: http://csx.zteusa.com.

Scrolling based on eye movement
Scrolling based on eye movement

Hands Free Experience

The key features, submitted by a team of four creative designers who won the Project CSX competition, allow an experience that does not require the use of hands to navigate through common smartphone applications:

  • Scrolling based on Eye-Tracking – by recognizing movement of the eyes, pages can scroll automatically up-down or left-right based on movement.  Voice commands can be used to navigate between pages.
  • Stick to Walls and Surfaces with Self-Adhesive Case – with an optional case, the phone can be mounted to a vertical surface, freeing up the need to hold the phone.

These unique features give consumers the opportunity to continue use of their phone and applications in times when one or both hands are otherwise occupied.

Adhesive case backing allows mounting to most surfaces
Adhesive case backing allows mounting to most surfaces

Hawkeye Phone Specifications

Although the highlight features are eye tracking for scrolling and the adhesive case, as voted upon by thousands of consumers, ZTE recognizes that a great phone needs to be innovative and competitive in other areas too.  And it should be unlocked, to give you the ability to choose the wireless carrier of your choice.

Specifications

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 (Octa-core 2.0GHz)
  • OS: Android Nougat (OTA update support)
  • Display: 5.5″ FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Camera (Rear): Dual Lens 13MP + 12MP with optical zoom
  • Camera (Front): 8MP
  • Memory: 3GB RAM / 32GB ROM (expandable with additional 256GB)
  • SIM: Dual SIM slot (additional slot may be used with MicroSD for storage)
  • Battery: 3000 mAh
  • WIFI 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz • BT4.2 / HFP1.6
  • Other Features: Fingerprint sensor, Hi-Fi audio, NFC, USB Type C, Quick Charge 2.0

Network Bands*

  • GSM: 850/1900/900/1800
  • UMTS/HSPA: 850/1900/AWS/2100LTE: B2/B4/B5/B7/B12/B13/B66 CAT6

* LTE bands are still being considered. The bands listed in the specifications are locked and additional bands being considered based on consumer feedback.

Phone Design (prototype)
Phone Design (prototype)

Availability

The phone is currently in development and is expected to ship in September 2017. Subject to change.  Updates will be posted to Kickstarter.  The Kickstarter Reward includes a phone, an adhesive case and free shipping.**

** Ships to anywhere in the world with the exception of countries restricted by US export laws (currently Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria but subject to change).

How Will it Work?

This section provides technical details about the prototype and how the new key features will work:

Eye Tracking – The eye tracking feature will detect motion using a high resolution, front-facing camera on the phone.  Iris motion is detected using camera hardware, then translated into software commands that represent standard gesture motions in Android for swipe (e.g. up, down, left and right swipe motions).  The software interprets eye motion and replaces these gesture commands in any application that supports these standard Android commands.

Adhesive Backing – The ability to stick the phone against most vertical surfaces, resisting the forces of gravity, is based on an adhesive material that works against most surfaces.  Since consumers may not always want the adhesive feature of the phone at all times – for example when the phone is in a purse – it is being made available as an optional case for the phone. This way, the phone can be placed into the case and stuck against a surface when desired, or the case is removed when the consumer does not want this feature.

About ZTE USA

ZTE USA (www.zteusa.com), headquartered in Richardson, Texas, is a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, a global provider of mobile devices, telecommunication systems, and enterprise solutions. Operating since 1998, ZTE USA is dedicated to making cost-efficient, quality communication technology accessible to all. ZTE is ranked by independent industry analysts as the fourth-largest supplier of mobile devices in the U.S. overall, and second-largest supplier of prepaid devices.

 This post was sent to us in preview of a meeting we will be attending on Thursday January 26 in Vancouver. We will post further details about this project after the event.

Tablet sales to fall for third successive year as PC market stabilizes

Microsoft Surface 3

The iPad was once expected to render the PC practically extinct, with households and offices forecast to ditch their computers for portable touchscreens.

But sales of tablet computers are now set to fall sharply for their third consecutive year after
researchers said demand had peaked and that the technology had proved less popular than smartphones or home computers.

Image courtesy of Ambro FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Deloitte forecasts that sales of tablet computers will drop to under 165m this year, down 10pc on last year and almost a third below 2014. Meanwhile, researchers at IDC believe the PC market will stabilise this year at 251.4m, a drop of just 1.7pc. plan to buy one in the next 12 months.

Sales of tablets rose rapidly just as those of PCs started to decline after Apple’s first iPad was released seven years ago, leading some pundits to suggest the world was entering a “Post-PC” era.

But sales flatlined and then fell as users switched to smartphones with bigger screens as well as holding on to older tablets for longer than expected.

Deloitte said that while iPads have proved popular among less computer-savvy users, younger consumers had opted for laptops.

With smartphones becoming larger and more powerful, and our research showing that millennials typically prefer laptops to tablets, it seems that the tablet may be getting harder to swallow for consumers,” said Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte.

“There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”

Apple has seen iPad sales fall to their lowest level since 2011, although it is attempting to reboot the market with a range of devices aimed at professionals. The company is rumoured to be launching new iPads in the spring.

This article originally appeared in the Telegraph on January 11, 2017. It was written by James Titcomb.

Cutting the Cord Part Two Looking at streaming boxes

Roku 3Last week I did what I wanted to do and cut my Optik TV with TELUS. TELUS tried to offer a big discount to stay on with The Essentials package at 15 for 6 months versus 38.00$. I said no and eliminated 56.00 dollars from my monthly bill because I had two themes packs as well. One for Sports at 9.00 and another for Entertainment at 9.00.

I currently own an Apple TV and a Roku for streaming things such as Netflix and other content to my TV. Since I bought my HD TV before the SMART TV’s came out, I have had to use these to stream content that I want.

I’ve setup a Sportsnet Now account as I mentioned I’ll miss my live sports. It’s a 24.99 for all sports really except NFL games. The first 7 days are free. It offers me all local Canucks games which I want too. I’m planning to stream through my Apple devices including my computer and iPad. I also have Netflix as well to compensate at 9.00.

In my quest to cut my cable TV I’ve also been looking at the Android TV Box.

Amazon has a long list of streaming boxes including one called the Leelbox which is $56.99. This one does not come loaded with the Kodi needed to run a box. A quick Google search led me to the Kodi site where you can download the one you need. If you are not confident with downloading the Kodi, I suggest having the box come pre loaded as my friend did.

The Leelbox itself is a smart streaming media player with Android 5.1,  support for 4K Ultimate HD and video hardware decoding. The Leelbox also has the Google Play Store and other apps. The Roku has access to the Goolge Play Store which is why I hesitate purchase another box without investigating my Roku first. Stay tuned.

I also found the NinkBox TX8 on Amazon as well. This one is $118.99 and has Android 6.0 and a preloaded Kodi 16.1.  It has a metal shell with an external antenna as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This box has HDMI and AV out ports, Smart TV capabilities, and web browsing. It also allows for quick updating to ensure that bug fixes for Android and KODI can be downloaded.

That’s some good information that should get you started on the Android TV Box and other options for cutting the cord. I’ll still be researching other options for cutting cable TV so stay tuned.

Cutting the cord Part 1

Christmas is the time to load up on gadgets and tech and I am no different but this time I’m doing something I never thought I would do. I’m cutting my cable.

I currently have TV and Internet with Telus coming it at 109 per month. While I don’t dislike Telus or its service I just don’t watch TV enough to keep it running. Other than live sports such as Canucks games, I watch Netflix and other programs that can be downloaded and watched after the fact.

I found a recent CBC article tells us about ways you can save money on TV, Phone, and Internet legitimately. It’s a great read and one that inspired me to consider giving up my TV service.

I’ve already gotten rid of my home phone because I have a cell phone plan that allows me to do so. It’s a generational thing too I think because I’ve become used to the mobile phone and actually enjoy the silence of not receiving home phone calls. Many of them laterally came from solicitors and telemarketers anyways.

A friend suggested an Android TV Box as the way to go. He eliminated his cable package, saved around 80 dollars a month and bumped up his internet speed one notch to compensate. I’ll have watch my monthly download cap which is 200GB on Internet 15 from Telus. I’m going with Internet 25 at around 80 per month with 350GB download. Telus offers unlimited internet for an extra 15 per month.

A Google search also showed me there are a lot of resources out there that can be used to help you find ways to watch TV without using cable. Tom’s Guide seems to be one of them. Great advice here. I’ll put up another post later in the week and report on my findings as well as tell you about my purchase of my Android TV Box.

Google’s Pixel Phone puts a new twist on the smartphone game

pixelmain

pixelsmallThe iPhone 7 launch and the Note 7 battery issue has put the smartphone wars at an interesting point.

Samsung is sure to reel from loss of the Note7 for a while and with the Pixel phone from Google just launched, Android lovers may have found themselves a great new phone to get.

With its camera that rivals the iPhone 7 Plus, the Pixel is elegantly designed and Google’s Assistant has a an approach to answering your voice much like Siri does.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are the two models.  Assembled by HTC, the phones were designed, engineered and branded by Google. Telus has them listed at 200 on a 90 dollar a month plan and 400$ on an 80 dollar a month plan on their website. Be sure and check with your wireless carrier.

The camera is a 12.3 megapixel on the back and the front-facing camera is excellent, too. It has a wide enough lens to fit a lot of content in each frame. The camera can shoot 4K video as well.

The camera is really key here as that is often a major selling point for more users when buying or upgrading their phone. LG tried some innovative camera ideas with its G5 and modular components. For a great comparison of the 7Plus Camera and the Pixel, check out this article from CNET.

The Pixel is deeply integrated with Google’s search services as well as the Google Assistant. Assistant uses machine learning and Google’s vast search database to answer all kinds of questions. This is a very cool feature of the phone. I have never loved Siri and the thought of access to Google’s search database is a feature a lot of phones could use.

The Pixel like all premium smartphones these days has a fingerprint reader for added user security and Android Pay. It works quickly and as a bonus you can use it to slide down notifications on the screen.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are nearly identical, but the latter has a bigger, sharper display and a bumped-up battery. Other than that, they’re pretty much the same. Full marks to Google for putting the Pixel together. It will be interesting to see how it sells as we approach Black Friday and Christmas.

Power up #backtoschool with power solutions from #Logiix

Logiix

LogiixBack to school is a busy time and if you are on the go a lot you’ll invariably need to charge your smartphone. Logiix has a great selection of charging solutions including a couple we have been using for a while.

Piston Power Multi 3000

Retailing at 54.99, this portable pack has connectors for Apple (lightning) and Android (Micro USB). I use a Galaxy S7 and an iPhone so it works well for me. It’s a handy charger because it is so small and lightweight you hardly know you are carrying it.

It will charge your smartphone 1.5 times. I was able to coax a little more charge out of it because my iPhone was not at 0% when I decided to charge. I find these take about an hour or so to charge a phone so be aware that it is not an instant charge.

Piston Power Slim 360

A little bulkier than the Multi 3000, The Piston Power Slim 360 is another great charger from Logiix. It will cost you 49.99 to buy but will charge a phone 3 times vs 1.5. The Lightning and Micro USB chargers are not built in so you will have to carry one of those cable types with you when you need to charge. Not a huge deal.

The Slim 360 is the better of the two charges in my option. I felt more confident with it if i dropped it or had to lug it around. Perhaps it was the sturdy metal construction and the appearance it gives of looking like a small external drive.

Look out for malware on Android platforms

Android Malware

Having worked for Telus Mobility for a while now, I recently found out about this issue from a number of customers who are Android users. It often inspires panic and worry in people when it pops up on their phone.

The message can look like the following

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.20.46 PMRather than panic, we suggest doing a quick search on Google from another device to see what you can find out. Look at a number of Android forums like we did. Often you will find that these are SPAM pop up ads which encourage people to download a useless app which will cause further damage to their phone.

These ads also may say something like we detect that my Samsung Galaxy s5 active is 28.1% damaged because of four viruses from recent adult sites.

The pop up will also go on to say something like if you do not remove the virus now, it will cause severe damage to your phone.

Now of course we know that this isn’t’ true. If you get that while browsing *any* website, then it is probably a simple pop-up ad. This can also be another crafty way to scam you. We are becoming so entrenched with our digital lives that perhaps a pyramid scam does not work as well as it used to.

The pop up may go on to tell you that your phones SIM card will be damaged and your contacts photos, data and applications will become corrupt. Don’t believe it.

The alerts themselves can be viruses too. Clean the phone using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and any good anti-virus (one at a time, and they can take over 24 hours for the first run of each). I used Malwarebytes on my S7 and luckily it did not find anything.

The key here is to trust your instincts and be vigilant about these types of pop ups. Protect your phone with a malware program and don’t be sucked in by their claims. Check tech blogs regularly and source out your friends who have knowledge about this stuff. Good luck!