All Articles Tagged "Smartphone"

Things You Didn’t Know Your Smartphone Could Do

May 25th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Smartphones are amazing gadgets. They are basically tiny computers that we carry around in our purses. But am I the only one who uses my own to mostly take selfies, browse social media and text? While smartphones are great for those things, they can do a lot more. And those things, which you may not have been aware of, can make our lives a lot easier.

From helping you remember where you parked, to assisting you in speaking and reading a foreign language while you’re on vacation, smartphones can do a lot. What’s even better? Most of these technological perks only require you to know how to use your camera or download a few apps.

Get ready to be surprised about how much easier shopping, working and getting organized can be. Do you have another secret use for your smartphone? Share it with us in the comment section so we can all take advantage.

So “Low Battery Anxiety” Is A Real Thing, And It’s Making Us Do The Absolute Most

May 20th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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It’s no secret that many people can’t seem to operate without their phones. I’ve known people who traveled almost all the way to work and turned right back around to go get the phone they left at home. But as it turns out, our attachments to our phones these days is so great, we literally get stressed all the way out when we realize that they’re on their way to zero percent.

Electronics company LG recently did a survey while promoting their latest smartphone, the LG G5, which features a removable battery that can be swapped out for a fresh one when it’s getting low. They surveyed thousands of Americans and found that nine out of 10 people, that’s 90 percent, end up in a state of panic when they see that they have a low phone battery. Specifically, when their phone alerts them that they’re below 20 percent. According to LG, the ways smartphone users said they try to deal with such struggles, as well as the consequences (which they deemed “symptoms” of low battery anxiety), include asking a stranger to bum their charger off of them (39 percent of people); grabbing a drink or buying some sort of item at a bar or restaurant just to use an outlet (22 percent of people); so-called “borrowing” of someone’s charger that they see available (35 percent of people); skipping the gym to go home to charge a dying phone (33 percent), and then arguing with a significant other over the fact that they missed a bevvy of text messages (23 percent of people).

As for Millennials, 42 percent said they would totally skip out on a workout to charge their phone. Sixty-one percent said they will turn off their smartphone to prolong the battery life while 50 percent said they would hold off on taking photos to keep their phone alive. Oh, and 62 percent of Millennials said they won’t mess with social media if it means they can get a few extra hours of battery life in.

Other interesting findings from the survey included that 71 percent of everyday smartphone users will not share their backup charger or battery with others due to a fear that it won’t be available when they need it. About 41 percent of smartphone users said they have three or more chargers. Sixty-percent admitted to using someone else’s phone to place a call or send a message when their phone hit zero. And 32 percent of users said that they will make a u-turn back home to charge a dying phone.

If you know any people like this, gift them (or yourself if you’re guilty) with a portable charger, tell them to turn down their brightness, explain to them that power save mode is their friend and remember, when the going gets really tough, you can’t beat airplane mode.


Responsibility 101: Rules For Your Child’s First Cell Phone

September 3rd, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
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When I was two years old I was only worried about sesame street and my dolls. My two-year old son knows how to use my phone better than me. He knows how to get to his apps, find cartoons on YouTube and I’ve even found an app or two that he actually installed from the google store.

Obviously we are in the age of technology but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be guidelines and rules when it comes to older children and their first cell phone. The pros are being able to stay connected to them, to have it for emergency use, and to help teach responsibility. Some of the cons could be inappropriate text messages, late night phone calls in their room, a horrifying cell phone bill that shows $100.00 in app purchases, or texting while driving.

Give An Age Appropriate Phone
If your 10-year-old walks home by themselves from school or takes the school bus home, it is probably a good idea for them to have a way to communicate with you. But, because of their age you may want to give them a basic phone with limited or no internet access. And there is a way to adjust settings so that they can only call you, a few others, and make emergency calls. Now, someone a little older like 13 or 14 could have a phone with more options if you think they are responsible enough.

Keep A Dialogue Going
When your kid gets their first phone it can be really exciting for them. Check in daily or once a week asking how they like it and why. Did they use any of the apps you downloaded together? Ask do their friends send them funny texts or has anyone ever sent them a mean text. A dialogue is a great way to bond and for you to measure their responsibility and maturity when it comes to cell phone use. The more responsible you see they can act, the more privileges they should be able to have over time and you should explain it that way.

Role Play
You may think this part is a little corny but it can really help your child figure out what to do in weird circumstances. You could ask your son “What if your friend sends you a text picture of his ex girlfriend who he is mad at, in her bra and asks you to send it to as many people as you can?” Find out what he would do first and then give your suggestion for appropriate behavior. Or ask your daughter what if someone tells you to text them pictures from the girls sleep over the other night. Ask them which ones are appropriate to send and then let them know your thoughts.

Talk About Selfies And Pictures
Make sure that you discuss appropriate picture-taking. Explain that once a picture is sent over text, through email, or uploaded to Facebook that they can never ever get it back. They need to know that a picture they send to a friend down the street can end up on someones phone in India so they should be very careful with what they send.

#LiveUnlocked: Alcatel Phone & Watch Review And Giveaway

August 13th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Although I’m old-school when it comes to writing things down on paper, I’m crazy about having even more information on my phone. Appointments, contacts, images, apps, you name it, it’s in my phone.

So when Alcatel asked me to try out their new Idol 3 phone and wrist watch, I couldn’t wait to try them As an iPhone devotee, I wondered how it would compare.

Also: One lucky reader will also get to sample and KEEP the phone + watch. – Cool, right? (See details below)


The Idol 3 by Alcatel is fairly new and it has lots of features. The phone comes unlocked for just $249 so it’s much cheaper than some smartphones and can run on a lot of carriers. Big bonus!

The Alcatel phone is huge compared to my iPhone 5c, but it’s still light and thin. When using it, I kept hitting the wrong buttons for the power and volume, but I got the hang of it. The screen is bright and the pictures I’ve taken with it are so clear, see them above and below.

The best and most surprising feature is that the phone can be used in either direction. There’s a mic and speaker on both ends and the screen flips over correctly no matter how you hold it.


For me, the camera on phones is super important–I take pictures of my daughter and for work constantly– and the Idol has a really good one. There’s a 13MP on the back and an 8MP on the front (iPhone 5 has 8MP back & 1.2MP front). The resolution is great! The Idol 3 has great features, like faster, better resolution, more memory.


The watch is nice – simple and easy to control. I have a super small wrist and this is the small size! Comparing it to the Apple Watch, there’s only 16 basic functions on it so it’s not really like the Apple Watch. It’s super crisp, great for music and getting notifications, and works with any Android or iPhone.


If you’re looking for a solid Android phone that won’t break the bank, here it is.


One (unlocked) Alcatel Idol 3 high resolution + 1 Alcatel One Touch watch combo – total worth $400.

That means you can use the phone with most major phone carriers.

Leave a comment here with your email and why you’d love this phone! #LiveUnlocked

Friday, August 21 at 1:00 p.m. EST so be sure to leave your comment before then. Winner will be drawn at random and notified on August 21 by 5:00 p.m. EST

Go ‘Head & Play ‘Candy Crush’ At Work! Study Says Smartphone Usage Increases Productivity

July 9th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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If your boss catches you red-handed scrolling through Instagram, and she gives you can earful, you can actually tell her that you’re being a productive employee. Science says so!  Researchers find that dipping out of work for a short smartphone break actually boosts company morale, Daily Mail reports.

Swamped with paperwork in the office, it’s likely that your sweet tooth is begging you for a break — it’s time to play some Candy Crush Saga. But you needn’t feel guilty about “wasting” company time. According to Sooyoel Kim, a Kansas State University doctoral student, a little smartphone downtime is actually both beneficial to the company and the employees:

“By interacting with friend or family member through a smartphone, or by playing a short game, we found that employees can recover from some of their stress to refresh their minds and take a break,” Kim said.

Researchers developed and installed an app onto the smartphones of 72 employed participants. The app measured how much time the user spent on his or her device. Then the participants were required to record how they felt at the end of their workday. The result? Smartphone microbreaks create “happier, more productive” employees.

Scrolling through your news feed on Facebook or liking a few Instagram photos, Kim says, is equivalent to taking a coffee break or shooting the breeze with a co-worker in the hallway.

“Such breaks are important because they can help employees cope with the demands on the workplace,” said Kim. “These days, people struggle with a lot of different types of stressors, such a work demands, time scheduling, family issues or personal life issues.”

On average, people spent 22 minutes a day on their smartphones during eight-hour shifts — that’s just 4.5 percent of the workday.

Now, do I think we should issue a national decree to implement smartphone breaks into the workday? Heck no. You give people a hand and they take the whole arm. Workers would start setting up their XBox 360 systems near their desks.

Hypothetically, if I were a boss lady, I’d still uphold the “no smartphone” rule — most workers don’t abide by it anyway, but at least they’re astute enough to be subtle about it.

If I do spot a worker tapping away at their phones, I’d turn a blind eye. After all, a few LOLs, #WorkSucks, and “I hate mondays” on social media never hurt nobody, right? But if he or she crosses the line and starts blogging an essay, I can still point to my “no smartphone” policy and keep ’em in check.

What do you think? Should employers ditch the “no smartphone” rule?

Amazon Introduces Fire, A Smartphone With 3D Capabilities

June 18th, 2014 - By Rhonesha Byng
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Fire, the First Smartphone Designed by Amazon (Photo: Business Wire)

Fire, the First Smartphone Designed by Amazon (Photo: Business Wire)

Amazon is officially entering the smartphone business, adding to it’s growing list of devices including the Kindle Fire and Amazon Fire TV.

“Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand,” explained CEO Jeff Bezos in a release about the new smartphone.

Available exclusively on AT&T and optimized for videos, multimedia engagement, and integration with Amazon’s pre-existing apps and products, the Amazon phone has been rumored to be coming for the past three years. The hesitancy to enter the phone market is understandable as the only two companies currently profiting off the selling of phones are Apple and Samsung.

However, just like with the Kindle Fire, Amazon isn’t planning to judge the phone’s success based on sales alone. They’re targeting their fans and customers (like the 20 million Amazon Prime subscribers). New users even get a free year of Amazon Prime, while existing users get an extra year tacked on to their plan if they purchase the phone.

There are three features that make Amazon Fire unique. One is a feature called Firefly, which essentially works like an amped up Shazam that can recognize music, television shows, and even photos or posters. You can also scan business cards, get additional details about the show, the song, or whatever you choose and purchase an item. The phone can scan barcodes and create a shopping list. According to the CEO, Firefly will recognize up to 100 million items.

The other feature everyone is buzzing about is the phone’s 3D capabilities. Now if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, huh? Does that mean I can send my hologram through the camera?! Well, no, but it still seems like a pretty cool feature. They’re calling it Dynamic Perspective, which allows you to control your phone using head gestures, or even just your eyes. Images will be presented with greater depth so you can view items in a way that’s more natural to you. You can even play a game and take on the character’s viewpoint and the phone will pick up on your head movements and adjust the screen’s view accordingly. Open the map, and you’ll see towers and buildings appear to leap off the screen.

This third unique feature being offered is something that iPhone users will be jealous of. The Amazon Fire phone has unlimited photo storage. Some other key specs for the phone include a 4.7-inch HD screen, a 2.2 GHz processor, 2GB RAM, a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera, and a dedicated button to launch the camera app. It retails at $199 for a 32GB version with a two-year contract or $299 for the 64GB version.

It’s currently available for pre-order and ships July 25th. The Amazon Fire phone will be $199 with a two-year contract through AT&T.

So what do you think of Amazon’s new phone? Does it sound like something you would bother trying?  

Rhonesha Byng is the founder of Her Agenda, “an information and inspiration hub for millennial women.” You can follow her on twitter @NeshasAgenda.

Which Smartphone Is Best Suited To Your Needs?

April 3rd, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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hand zen htc oneThese days, the average smartphone can do it all. It is a photo-taker, portable search-engine, organizer, newsmaker/slash social-media updater, an actual device for making phone calls (which we sometimes forget), and perform even more valuable functions. Many people rely heavily on their smartphones for day-to-day tasks; and, for many, these portable devices are the only means of connection to the Internet.

While Internet use is virtually universal among younger, college-educated adults and those with high incomes regardless of race, the gap is far greater when age and race are factored in, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. Figures show smartphone usage is nearly equal among Blacks and whites — 56 percent of African Americans and 53 percent of whites are smartphone users. Furthermore, African Americans have high rates of social networking site usage, over-indexing on Twitter. When it comes to younger African Americans, some 40 percent of African-American Internet users, ages 18-to-29, report they use Twitter, as opposed to 28 percent of whites of the same age.

With smartphones serving as the entry way to the world of digital for communities of color, MadameNoire takes a look at which handsets are best for some of our daily needs:

Health: Samsung Galaxy S5

Health tech has taken off, allowing users to monitor their caloric intake, sleeping patterns and activity levels. The Samsung Galaxy S5 takes it to another level. Users can select the heart-rate monitor icon from within Samsung’s S Health 3.0 application, which comes pre-loaded in the Galaxy S5, and place their index finger on the center of the flash module to the right of the flash. Holding your finger in place for a couple of seconds, you’ll receive your heart-rate info, which can be used to plot exercise and training regimens (viewing it in hours, days or months). Technically, you can use the iPhone 5S in the same manner if you download an appropriate app.

We can do without the plastic exterior, but you can’t beat the 5.1-inch display or amazing 16-MP rear camera either, or that it’s water resistant. The device goes on sale on April 11.

Stay Up to Date: HTC One (M8)

We love to stay connected and the newly released HTC One (M8) will satisfy your there’s-an-app-for-that needs. It’s Blinkfeed newsfeed app, which allows you to display your favorite content (thanks in part to HTC’s top-tier content partners like The Associated Press, MTV, and ESPN) and social updates  on your home screen.

It comes with more storage (ahem, the 2,600 mAh and Snapdragon 801 processor), so you can store more information on your device. Whether it’s pictures from the family reunion or business files, you’ll have them at your fingertips.

For more on the HTC One (M8), click here for our review.

Greater Photos: Nokia Lumia 1020

There so much talk of the iPhone 5S or the latest Galaxy devices that other brands get squashed. But don’t sleep on this Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is equipped with a great camera phone, boasting strong manual controls, a selection of photo Lens apps and a 21-MP sensor. Yes, you’ll get sharper photos and greater creative control. AT&T dropped the price of the Lumia 1020 from $299 to $199 on contract.

Cool Videos: iPhone 5S

It’s not a never-before-seen feature (you can definitely capture these on the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S5 or phones with the SloPro app), but we’ll give it to them for now because there’s been some great videos captures with the device. Take a look for yourself.

Which is your favorite smartphone? We want to know how you use it and why it’s better than the rest?

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

Mozilla Firefox OS Smartphones Sell Out Shortly After Going On Sale (To Developers)

April 25th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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The Mozilla Firefox OS smartphones are a hit — with industry insiders. You know Mozilla for its Firefox Web browser, but now the nonprofit organization has entered the smartphone business. Just Tuesday, Mozilla debuted to developers two smartphones running its Firefox OS mobile operating system and it sold out in just a few hours. You can learn more about it in the video here.

Firefox OS is a new platform which will launch this year in Latin America and Europe. “The operating system is based on HTML5 and is intended to give users an alternative to ‘vendor-controlled ecosystems,'” Mozilla said in a blog.

Mozilla partnered with Spanish start-up Geeksphone to build and sell two smartphone devices, called, the Keon and the Peak. The two went on sale Tuesday but sold out almost immediately, reports The Los Angeles Times.

“In the first few hours of the Geeksphone store opening, demand has been overwhelming, surpassing initial expectations causing our store to be taken temporarily offline,” a Geeksphone spokesperson said in a statement.

The Keon is an orange smartphone with a 3.5-inch screen that runs on a Qualcomm 1-GHz processor and has similar specifications to what actual Firefox OS phones will have when they officially launch. It costs 91 Euros, or about $118. The more high-end  Peak costs 149 Euros, or about $194, and  features a 4.3-inch screen and runs on a Qualcomm dual-core 1.2-GHz processor. It also comes in white for those who aren’t thinking about Halloween all year round.

Sound enticing?

AT&T Will Have The Galaxy S 4 On April 30, T-Mobile And Sprint, A Few Days Sooner

April 17th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

This Android phone is finally coming to the States.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, Cricket, and C Spire have announced that they will have the Samsung Galaxy S 4 this month. AT&T is already taking pre-orders, according to Mashable, with a ship date scheduled for April 30.

Sprint and T-Mobile will be offering the phone for $150 and will have the phone a little bit earlier, the 27th and the 24th, respectively. Best Buy, Costco, Radio Shack, and other retailers will have the phone soon as well.

Mashable calls it “one of the most powerful smartphones around.” I’m actually in the market for a new phone (replacing a BlackBerry), so this is something to consider. Any advice or suggestions out there?


The Facebook Phone Is A Hit: Upcoming HTC One Pulls In Great Reviews

April 11th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Mark Zuckerberg introducing Facebook Home last week. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Mark Zuckerberg introducing Facebook Home last week. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

It’s not even on the market yet but the so-called Facebook phone, or HTC One is already a hit. An Android phone, Mashable calls it a “winner.”

“HTC has focused on a few standout features — including an interactive home screen, a retooled camera and a novel way to share experiences — to turn the One into a device that, well, stands out. None of those features is perfect, but at least the company is really trying to differentiate and not just “skin” things,” writes Mashable.

According to the site the phone has a great design some desirable features, including its high’end design.

“The screen is a beautiful LCD with full HD resolution, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. That puts its pixel density way north of ‘retina’ at 468 pixels per inch (ppi) — not that it makes much difference to your eyes. The screen makes photos and videos look amazing, although I wouldn’t expect anything less from a phone that calls itself a flagship,” reviews Mashable.

With the One, HTC is introducing a new feature called Zoe. After you take photos or a few videos of any event, the phone automatically creates a short video compilation of them, sort of a slideshow. HTC is launching the HTC One on April 19. As we recently reported, the HTC One along with other new smartphone models is currently taking pre-sales orders.

The HTC First, which comes equipped with Facebook Home, will be available tomorrow. According to The LA Times, Facebook Home is an interface for some smartphones running the Android operating system. Instead of a main home screen, the phone has a “Cover Feed,” which displays the latest Facebook status updates and photos uploaded by users’ friends. Another plus for Facebook lovers, Facebook Home also comes with “Chat Heads,” a feature that lets users chat with friends while using another app.

Another attractive feature of the HTC First is the cost; it’s half the price of most flagship smartphones. The Times says the lower price is because it doesn’t have the best hardware specs. For example, its camera takes lower resolution pictures than other smartphones. But for those addicted to Facebook, the appeal will be the quick link to all of the information and apps on that social network.

Are you planning on buying one of these phones?