Like CES, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona also now attracts its fair share of car makers. Ford was an early adopter a few years ago, and now others are joining the fray, too. I sat down with Dieter May, BMW’s senior vice president of Digital Services and Business Models (in an i3, of course).
For many years, there have been several debates about which smartphone OS is better — Android, or iOS. Even among the writers of Gadgets 360, there are strong opinions about why some choose one over the other. But, fact of the matter is that the two have been closing the gaps in the past few years, with Android becoming more fluid and beautiful, and iOS becoming more flexible and customisable.
Want to do something different with your pictures? Bored of the same old look and want to make your photos really stand out? Well, you could learn better photography, but if you aren't interested in making so much effort, apps that apply filters to your images are a quick way of getting eye-catching photos. The most famous app amongst these is of course Facebook-owned social network Instagram, but there have been plenty of others along the way as well.
Today, we're taking a look at eight apps that the Gadgets 360 team really loves - here are our five favourite free image filter apps, with Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch from the BBC's Sherlock) as the model.
A modern reality is that we have a lot of passwords to remember, and it's becoming a problem. Considering that every day we face a heavy data stream it’s not always easy either to create a hard-to-crack password or to remember it afterwards. However authentication is clearly important. People are trying to get rid of passwords altogether and fingertips are a good way out of the situation. Nevertheless online security market keeps growing. Companies are trying to use other parties of bodies than fingertips as unique “password” of a person. Faces and eyes seem to be on the top of the list of future passwords.
Finding the Qibla is not always easy, especially if you are traveling around the world. However praying facing directly to Mecca has never been that easy with modern smartphone apps. All you need is to install it on your gadget and avoid electromagnetic fields. Here you can find a selection of the best apps of this kind.
Android already commands over 80 percent of the mobile OS market share globally, and just under 60 percent in the US. But you wouldn’t know it here in Silicon Valley — almost everyone I know has an iPhone. As the consumer technology landscape evolves over the next five years however, there are a number of reasons to believe that Android, and the Google stack more broadly, could take an even greater share and become the platform of choice, even here.
We live under the eighth generation of video game consoles. With the exception of portable models, today at the world’s open market, as well as at the UAE market are exposed the Japanese Nintendo Wii U, Steam Machines released in 2016 and of course the most popular PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One. There are other ones, for instance OUYA based on Nvidia Tegra 3 with Android using open-source software but we will consider only the major.
Over the past years, one of the most interesting and discussed topics was definitely the Internet of Things, called by a lot of people “the next big thing”. But since you must be curious about what we’re actually referring to, it’s basically a network of physical objects , or devices, vehicles, building and many other items you can think of, embedded with electronics, software, a lot of sensors and, of course, connected to the internet, being able to collect and exchange data.
There are a few people in your address book whose calls you would like to avoid. One way to do so is to let the phone ring without answering; this could be an irritating experience if the person at the other end is persistent and calls again and again. The other way is the smart way! There is an option in Android smartphones to avoid such callers. Navigate to ‘Contacts’ in Address Book. From the ‘Edit’ menu select the option “Send straight to voicemail”. On selecting this option, all the calls from that caller will be forwarded directly your voicemail without ringing. You can also install call manager apps like Advanced Call Manager, Blacklist Plus or Call Blocker to block selected numbers or to create a profile to block numbers at times when you are busy.
There are some freely available apps which can be used to automate features in an Android phone. One such app is Llama, which uses ‘geo-fencing.’ It determines your location through the nearest mobile towers. Since it doesn’t use Wi-Fi, it doesn’t drain the battery. It can then setup pre-determined settings on the phone. As an example, if you are at home (which you have geo-fences) you would like to automatically connect to the home Wi-Fi network, turn the volume level down at night or keep the phone in standby mode to conserve power. You can provide Llama access to your phone’s calendar to automatically enable silent profiles during meetings or while you are at movie halls.
Say you are on a trip and you come across a monument which you can’t recall or recognize. One way to get details about the monument is to wait for some passersby or locals who might help you. The second and the smart way is to use your Android phone. A free app designed by Google called Google Goggles can be used to identify monuments and structures. Any user can take a picture and upload on Google Goggles. If the information about the place/monument is in the database, the same would be shared by this app. Google Goggles also works well for paintings, QR code, Barcodes or an image in print.
Google Maps is one of the most easily available free map services which help users in navigation. If you’re traveling somewhere with no network coverage, you can use a hidden feature in Google Maps. You just have to be a little proactive to use this service. Before starting the journey you have to type the phrase “Ok Maps” into the search window. Google Maps app will download that entire portion of the map. You can then use the downloaded offline available maps easily while navigating. In the new version of the Goggle Map the feature is directly available through an option “Save map to use offline.”
How cool is to look at your smartphone and the phone unlocks just by looking at you! Android has a feature to set up a facial recognition lock. To access this feature the user should be running Android 4.3 or later. In the ‘Security’ tab under ‘Settings,’ go to the ‘Screen Lock’ option. Select the ‘Face Unlock’ option to activate this feature. The phone will take your selfie, and the phone is ready to go with this lock. It is a good idea to click 3-4 pictures so as to cater to different lighting conditions. It is always good to set up a PIN-based or pattern-based lock for a backup.
We all want Home screen of our smartphones to be clutter-free to access the frequently used features. New apps which are downloaded from Play Store usually create an icon on the Home screen. If you have a kid who likes to download games, your Home Screen can become a mess full of icons. An android user can restrict any app from creating an icon on the Home Screen. This feature can be turned off from the Play Store settings. From the Menu button on the Play Store app select “Settings” and under “General” section unselect the option “Add icon to Home Screen.” This would restrict any new app from creating an icon on the Home Screen.
We all know that an Android smartphone can connect to a computer and it can be used as a flash drive. There is also an option to connect an external USB drive directly to an Android phone. This external USB drive can be used as a secondary storage.You will require a USB OTG cable to connect the USB drive to the micro USB port of the phone. Some Android phones directly support an external USB drive and you can mount the drive without any fuss. If your device doesn’t support the same you can download an app like USB OTG Helper or StickMount to mount the USB drive. Unfortunately this feature works only on rooted devices. You can use the additional storage in the USB drive to store movies, photos or songs.
At times you are busy with your work on a PC and would not want to check notifications on your phone. If you are expecting some important calls or SMS there is a way to get the notifications directlyto the PC. There are apps like PushBullet which can be used to connect your Android smartphone to your PC. All the notifications like SMS, WhatsApp, Hangout, Facebook and calls received on your smartphone will be pushed to the PC.
Android OS is built on Linux platform, so whatever functionalities are present in Linux can be available on Android too. Today’s Android phones have enough hardware resources to run a dedicated server. If you have an old working Android smartphone, you can turn it into a web server using some apps like Servers Ultimate, KSWEB and Bit Web. The downside of using a smartphone to run a server is its limited capacity and continued power requirement. Though a smartphone is not a practical device to run a full-pledged server, it is a good option to use it for a small project.
Google has announced the beginning of texting a new system, which allows users to login without using a password.
Instead of requiring a user to enter a password, the new system sends a push-notification on his smartphone, asking to confirm the request.