Battery life is one of the main bugbears of anyone who has a mobile. Well, researchers at Samsung reckon they’ve found the new technology that will enable batteries to offer up to 1.5 and 1.8 times higher capacity than those doing the rounds now.
How? Well, they’ve come up with a brand new way of coating the battery cathodes, which means they can get more juice for your device.
The report explains to those people who understand this sort of thing: “Here we report direct graphene growth over silicon nanoparticles without silicon carbide formation. The graphene layers anchored onto the silicon surface accommodate the volume expansion of silicon via a sliding process between adjacent graphene layers. When paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the silicon carbide-free graphene coating allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy densities of 972 and 700 Wh l-1 at first and 200th cycle, respectively, 1.8 and 1.5 times higher than those of current commercial lithium-ion batteries.”
We fell asleep about half way through the second sentence of that. However, BATTERIES THAT LAST LONGER! WE’RE INTO THAT!
The best thing about this, is that Samsung think this is commercially viable, which means this isn’t one of those developments that stay in the lab, which means this should end up in the phones they release in the future.
When will we see this fancy new batteries? Well, Samsung are working things out, trying to improve the effectiveness of the battery.
Google art taking shots at Apple by launching a free version of its music streaming service Play Music. Of course, Google Play Music as a subscription service is already a thing, but the internet behemoth has decided to take on Apple’s music service (and of course, Spotify’s).
This free version is going to be made up of curated playlists, which have been designed for different times of the day, which sounds a bit rubbish. Initially, this service is only available in the States and will have adverts like Spotify’s freemium service.
With Apple set to launch their music service on 30th June, they’re no doubt going to be annoyed by this.
In a blog post, Google product manager Elias Roman said: “Even if you’re not already a Google Play Music subscriber, we’ve got you covered. Google Play Music now has a free, ad-supported version in the US, giving you a new way to find just the right music – and giving artists another way to earn revenue.”
“The new free, ad-supported version of Google Play Music is launching first in the US. It’s available on the web today, and is rolling out this week to Android and iOS.”
However, this won’t cover up the fact that a load of people are losing their baps about Google spying on everyone. Open-source developers noticed that Chromium (that’s the open-source version of Chrome) had been installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.
Now, this code has been put in, so that people can talk to their computers via OK Google thingummy, which is all well and good, but the kicker here, is that the listening technology was activated without anyone’s permission. That, obviously, isn’t cricket.
“Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room”, said Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party founder. “Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by… an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions”.
Google say that this isn’t activated “unless you opt in to hotwording”, but developers aren’t having that. Developer Ofer Zelig says: “While I was working I thought ‘I’m noticing that an LED goes on and off, on the corner of my eyesight [webcam]‘. And after a few times when it just seemed weird, I sat to watch for it and saw it happening. Every few seconds or so”.
So there you go – you can have free music, but Google might end up listening to you caterwauling along to it as well.
We’re about a month away from Microsoft doling out Windows 10, and for the most part, they’re giving it away for free, which seems awfully nice of them.
That said, there’s always a fair amount of trepidation when there’s a new Windows knocking about, because some releases have been so very, very abysmal. This new one is going to be used across all Microsoft devices, so they need to get it right. That includes the Xbox, and no-one wants to make gamers mad because some of them have a lot of time on their hands and a unique ability to take things personally.
The new OS will not be like previous releases, as this will be one that you get regular updates for, so you’ll always have the latest system, for no additional cost.
The Start Menu is back, and it’ll have something like the live tiles from Windows 8. There’ll also be a new browser called Microsoft Edge, which will be integrated with Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana (imagine if that old Windows animated paper clip if it could talk and flirt with Clean Bandit on the telly).
In an attempt to get this working well from the off, Microsoft developed this with the ’Insider’ programme, which basically gave Windows fanboys the chance to give the company feedback before it was unleashed on the general public.
The Windows Insider had a huge amount of numbers mucking around with Windows 10, to spot bugs and provide reports on which bits of the new operating system were frustrating or made no sense (something they’ve not done too well on in recent years). 4.4 million people signed-up to get the chance to play with Windows 10 over the last 9 months. Mercifully, it was a mixture of techie sorts as well as people ordinary folk who use computers in an every day way.
Those who helped the testing of Windows 10 used a feedback app to offer their thoughts, which Microsoft have decided to keep in the version that gets released next month, so you can tell them what does and doesn’t work.
If you want in, have a look on your toolbar and you’ll see a little Windows logo – hit that and you’ll be able to bagsy your place in the queue to get Windows 10 for free.
Never you mind. You will be able to use the power of your mind instead! Very useful, unless you’re prone to LOSING YOUR MIND, MAAAAAN.
This idea was hatched in partnership with studio This Place and the BBC, and they’ve actually called it ‘Mind Control TV’, which is brilliant. It is being toyed with for use with an experimental version of iPlayer. So, if you missed last week’s Flog It!, or want to catch up with Saturday Kitchen, you just plop on the mind control machine and get your brain on the go.
And now, for a long word.
The electroencephalography (EEG) brainwave-frazzling headset requires you to focus your mind, while a sensor on your forehead and another clipped to the ear gets to work. You’ve got two options too – you can choose ”concentration” or “meditation” as their brain-control controls, and then you can make things happen with the power of your brains!
Obviously, using a remote or clicking some buttons is much faster, but this could be incredibly useful for viewers who have a disability.
And of course, this is just an extension of voice controls that you get on things like the Xbox One, and you can control the iPlayer with little more than barking at it. This “Mind Control TV” is next level though. This is something you could do while people are sleeping next to you or whatever. The prototypes have been successful too.
“It was much easier for some than it was for others,” Cyrus Saihan, head of business development for the BBC’s Digital division, said. “But they all managed to get it to work.”
“The idea that being able to simply think about something and then magically make it happen has fascinated people for many years,” Saihan wrote. “So when we learnt that new technologies were now available in the market that allowed you to control electronic devices by measuring the brain’s electrical activity, we wanted to experiment.”
Well, the latest news from the Nest Labs isn’t going to stop us from doing that, as they’ve announced the latest edition to their family of connected gizmos – the Nest Cam.
That’s right! If you want a robot home, you can now add a home-monitoring camera, complete with microphone, speaker, motion sensors and night-vision… one made by Google, and all their lovely privacy practices!
It’ll shoot video of your home in 1080p high-definition, with a wide-angle glass lens and three megapixel sensor, so it can capture all that scintillating footage of you sat on the sofa, scratching your can while watching dirty videos on your phone.
It’ll cost you £199 and you can upload 10-30 days worth of continuous video to the Nest Aware cloud service, which itself, will cost you around £10 or £30 a month, depending on your storage option. There’s also a new version of the Nest Protect device, which is a a fire, smoke and CO2 alarm.
Nest boss, Tony Fadell says: “At Nest, we always wanted to build more than a thermostat. Our vision was to create a thoughtful home, a home that takes care of itself and the people in it. Five years later, all the pieces are in place.”
‘A thoughtful home – a house that takes care of itself and the people in it’. This sounds like a strapline from dystopian nightmare film where we all get devoured. Don’t even pretend it doesn’t. We’ll all be killed by humdrum machines and there’s nothing we can do about it, as Nest will probably tell the Google automated cars to drive us off cliffs for being insubordinate.
Have you got a tablet? No, not the medicinal kind – the sort which you rest on the toilet and watch TV shows on while you have a bath. The kind that you bought, thinking it would transform your life, but you didn’t end up using very frequently.
Well, you might be wondering how fast yours is, compared to everyone else’s.
Thank goodness for Which!!! who have done some tests to find out which tablet is the fastest on the market. It seems the champion is Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3.
If you though Apple would win, then you might be surprised to learn that there was a another device that was quicker than the iPad Mini 3 – the Tesco Hudl 2. Seeing as the Hudl is considerably cheaper than the iPad, that’s good news indeed, for some.
“Our tablet speed test is a great indication of how fast tablets can run when downloading apps or using multiple functions at once,” said Which!!! editor Richard Headland. “Nowadays we expect everything in a swipe or a click of the button, so understanding how quickly a tablet is able to process information is important to buyers”.
Here are the quickest tablets on the market, in order:
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 128GB i5
2. Apple iPad Air 2
3. Google Nexus 9
4. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2014
5. Apple iPad Air 32GB wi-fi
6. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1
7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
8. Asus MEMO Pad 7 ME572C
9. Tesco Hudl 2
10. Apple iPad mini 3
You may have heard about the Skype Translator app, which helps you to talk to people in a foreign language/troll people abroad – well, it will soon be bundled in with the Skype for Windows desktop app. This will happen by the end of this summer, according to Microsoft.
The app launched last year in the standalone service, available exclusively on Windows 8.1 devices. It seems that it has been received well and tested strongly.
If you don’t know about the feature, it lets you chat to people who speak a different language to you, be it through voice or text. As for the spoken element, Skype only supports English, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin at the moment, but that will invariably grow in the coming months.
In text form, 50 languages are supported.
This is all an attempt to get more people using the service, and the more words are put into the system, the more it can accurately translate. So if you’ve got a thick Geordie accent or talk like you have a mouth full of marbles, start using it so the system becomes more sophisticated and useful for everyone.
This is according to blabber mouth Sony Music CEO Doug Morris, so blorted the secret to guests at the Midem Music Industry Festival. He said, yesterday, that Apple’s announcement of the Beats-based service is “happening tomorrow”.
Of course, there’s no chat about prices or what features it’ll have, but Apple have a lot of money to throw around, so this should be of some concern to Spotify and Tidal. And of course, with so many people feeling some kind of brand-loyalty to Apple, there’s millions of people who might want to jump ship from another service, to theirs.
However, one thing that could make or break Apple’s music service, is whether or not it is open to everyone. One of Spotify’s successes is that it wasn’t restricted to one platform, meaning the Android users and Apple users could share playlists with one another. And artists won’t want to sign any exclusivity deals if it means they’re cutting out loads of listeners.
Imagine a band in the ’90s saying that their new album would only be playable through Sony stereos and no other – that’d be madness. Either way, Apple aren’t daft, so they’ll have something up their sleeves to get their fans excited – users of torrents, you can carry on ignoring absolutely everything relating to the above.
The main problem seems to be having to remember all the different passwords we’ve got for things (shout out to those who have the same password for everything, especially if it is the word ‘password’), with a quarter saying that they forget their password at least once a day. Think that’s bad? 5% confessed to forgetting it all the time!
In addition to that, 1 in 6 said that their password problems cause disruption in the office, because they’re forever screaming and yelling at their devices. Some people manage to cry and slam doors about it all too, according to the report.
“We’ve all heard of road rage and air rage, but now there’s a new one on the block – password rage,” says Barry Scott, Centrify CTO EMEA at Centrify. “As if we don’t have enough frustrations in our lives, passwords are an added irritant, but also an essential part of what we need in order to access online accounts and applications both at work and in our personal lives.”
Out of those surveyed, 42% create at least one new online account profile every week and 14% say they’ll have over 100 passwords to deal with in the next five years.
One thing you could try is to have the password from the photo above, obviously. Don’t forget to send us all your confidential details and URLs too.
Google’s latest future-thing concerns something called Project Soli, which wants to do away with your phone/tablet’s touchscreen.
It uses radar to detect where your fingers are, and they call them ‘micromotions’. Basically, you waft your fingers around in the air and all manner of magic happens.
In one instance, in a video you can see below, a chap called Ivan Poupyrev manages to change the hours on a clock, by turning his fingers around an imaginary dial LIKE SOMETHING FROM A SCIENCE FICTION FILM! He does other things as well, like kicking a virtual football by flicking toward the screen.
If you can imagine Kinect technology and holograms coming together, you’re in the right ballpark.
Amazingly, Google only took 10 months of work to get all this down to a chip the size of a finger nail. That means it can be easily put into a smartphone, smartwatch, headset or whatever. There’s a lot of possibilities for this, once Google work out how to get the costs down on it, you have to assume.
Anyway, here’s that video.
As predicted, Google have announced that they’re giving everyone a new way of paying for things, called Android Pay. Like all the other apps, it allows you to pay for things by wafting your phone at a machine and will be introduced down the shops in due time.
All the tech and financial big guns are getting in on the action, despite the fact most people have never even seen someone complete a payment with a phone’s near-field technology, let alone used it themselves. Most people are still cooing at contactless payments on their cards like they’re in a science fiction film, set in Japan 4729AD.
Anyway, undeterred, Android Pay is getting cosy with over 700,000 shops in That America and then they’ll be rolling it out across the world. There’s no mention of a UK release date, so it looks like Android are doing the same as Apple and getting out in the States to iron out all the bugs first.
If you’re uninitiated in all this, basically, to use Android Pay, you’d unlock your phone as you normally would, and then, you hold your device over the machine in the shop, they wirelessly talk to each other, some of your data gets gobbled up and, hey presto, you’ve made a payment. You’ll be glad to know that retailers won’t store your account number, which is something.
In addition to this, Android Pay will work with other apps, so you can hit the payment button while looking at things in, say, Groupon.
If you don’t like reading words, here’s a video with the usual musical hipster drivel, telling you all about it. Beware – there’s a lot of irritating people in this.
Tesco are still playing catch-up after all that accounting trouble (and some) and of course, have seen their market share being eaten away by Lidl and Aldi.
One of the things they’re weighing-up, in a bid to win everyone over, is mobile coupons, which they’ll send to customers as they walk past their stores. Tesco have buddied-up with mobile marketing firm Weve, and they want to target commuters and tourists as they wander by the new concept shop in Villiers Street in Central London.
Tesco used Weve to spot a number of 40,000 shoppers who’d either walked past the store six times over a fortnight, or who had walked in-and-out of Embankment tube station – they then sent coupons to them to get money off in the shop.
Those who accepted the offer redeem the coupon by scanning it with their shopping at a self-service till.
It seems like the trial was popular enough for Tesco and Weve to consider rolling this out across the country, but there’s likely to be a second trial somewhere before anything is made concrete.
A spokeswoman told Marketing: “We’re always looking for ways to make it easier and simpler for our customers to shop with us. That’s why we trialled texting local customers with some money off coupons to introduce them to our new food to go store at Villiers Street. We’re really looking forward to hearing their feedback.”
This is a bit of positive news which comes in the wake of the retailer facing a “substantial” shareholder damages claim which was set up by American law firm Scott & Scott to look at legal action in the UK and Europe and, in a statement, said that it intends to “pursue claims vigorously on behalf of affected shareholders.”
A lot of investors want compensating for Tesco’s mess.
According to research, there’s around 2.8 million of you out there who have downloaded Minecraft applications on their Android smartphones and tablets, which are malicious.
There’s been a host of dodgy apps doing the rounds in the last year, and 33 of them have been spotted in the Google Play store. These apps tend to offer cheats and tips to players, but of course, they’re doing something else that is no good for you at all. Once you download these apps, you end up getting a warning which says your device has been infected with a “dangerous virus”.
These are some of the malicious apps.
If the apps fool you, you’re then asked to sign-up with a premium-rate SMS subscription which tells you that it’ll rid your gadgets of nasties.
It won’t, of course. What it will do is charge you for texts, coming in at £3.40 per week, which is around £177 per year if you don’t sort it out. The bogus virus warning page looks like this.
One of the things that gives away these apps are the myriad of negative reviews and comments they’ve received. If you’re ever downloading any app, it is always worth looking at the score they’ve been given and checking out the reviews on Google Play, right before you hit the download button.
A number of the apps have been removed from Google Play, but that’s not to say they got them all. Obviously, snide developers are probably making more and tying them in the with hugely popular Minecraft game.
Like we said, to stop this happening, always look at the ratings and reviews on any app and get some security software for your Android phone. You can see some of the best anti-virus Android software here.
Seeing as Google Play is a bit of a mess and there’s a lack of curating going on, on their part, it is hard to find the best apps for you.
One of the reasons there’s such a dizzying amount of apps around is that anyone can submit their apps to Google’s Play market, and that includes scammers and those who want to brick your phone and all that. Apps can also be downloaded from all over the place, not just Google’s store.
With Android being more open than other operating systems, this is often a good thing – but as ever, there’s always someone who wants to spoil it for everyone.
So with that, let us look at what we think are the best Android antivirus apps around. Search for these in the Google Play Store, read the reviews from other users and see what is best for you.
THE BEST ANDROID ANTIVIRUS AND SECURITY APPS
Avast Mobile Security & Anti-Virus (click)
One of the most highly rated anti-virus apps is the Avast Mobile Security & Anti-Virus, which provides you with a load of background tools to thwart any bleakness you may stumble across. The app is free, too! This is probably the best you can get.
Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe (click)
Another good freebie, the Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe has a big array of useful tools and fares well with other users. This is arguably as good as the Avast app.
Kaspersky Internet Security for Android (click)
Yet another good free app, Kaspersky Internet Security is a solid app that offers protection for your Android devices. Well worth checking out.
Ikarus Mobile Security (click)
This app will cost you £7 inc VAT, and is a lightweight security app that should give you what you need to protect your Android device. That said, we feel it isn’t quite as good as the aforementioned freebies.
Norton Mobile Security 2014 (click)
A popular and famous name, the Norton Mobile Security 2014 app has a lot of helpful tools to manage and secure your phone and again, it is a free download.