Netflix Isn’t Against Offline Viewing

Netflix is a huge company, with price increases to help cover the increased traffic that people use with the HD streaming experience. In a recent call though Netflix may look at helping you watch those movies on the go while avoiding the data usage costs that come with offline viewing.

CEO Reed Hastings responded to questions about the possibility of letting its subscribers watch shows offline by saying that they would “keep an open mind on all this”. Part of the reason Hastings gives for this open approach is the “uneven set of networks” that Netflix is noticing as they expand to new areas of the world.

With Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, stating last year that they wouldn’t add the feature thanks to the “complexity [it brings] to your life”, directly followed by “with Amazon Prime”. Amazon Prime lets you download and stream shows, and with a new pricing model offering monthly subscriptions, Netflix may be changing their tone to help fight off the competition in the media streaming market.

With services like Sky Go, Amazon Prime and even BBC’s iPlayer letting you watch content offline, Netflix is one of the few services that doesn’t offer offline viewing, something that can often put people on or off services when their internet cuts out mid-show.

New Study Shows Americans Are Using Their Mobile Internet More

Everything is changing, from the device in your pocket to your way we communicate with the whole world, we see something new come out every week. With Samsung hosting meetings for 5G connections, it’s only a matter of time before your phone is as good as any home line when it comes to the internet speed you get. A recent study shows that this may already be the case in America where the use of mobile internet may be replacing home lines.

The recent study by the US Census Bureau revealed that there are now a number of American households which have ditched the internet coming in on the home line in favour for the internet their mobile phones give them. The exact numbers show that the 82 percent of households used DSL, cable or fiber connections back in 2013, a number which now sits at just 75% while mobile internet usage has doubled from 10% to 20% in the same period.

What doe that mean? According to these figures, it means that one in five houses now relies on mobile internet. These figures may change how companies look at new projects and programs with the like of Facebook pushing for faster wireless internet speeds.

Congressman Wants Longstanding Mobile Security Flaw Investigated

When it comes to our technology, we like to think there might be a hint of privacy in their use. Signaling System 7 is a set of protocols used to help route data, messages, and even phone calls through mobile networks but the problem is that such a widely used system is actually flawed. This flaw led to Ted Lieu, a congressman for  the state of California, calling for an investigation into the longstanding mobile security flaw after it was demonstrated to him by a group of hackers based in Germany.

The mobile security flaw was demonstrated on 60 minutes by german security researcher Karsten Nohl, with it initially being revealed all the way back in 2014. Nohl managed to use the exploit after knowing nothing more than just the congressman’s phone number. With just their number Nohl stated that they could track people’s locations, read their texts and even what was said in their phone calls.

Lieu is coming hard at those who might have known about this issue, saying that any government employee that knew about the SS7 problem should be fired because “this affects so much of daily life to your personal phone”. With everyone using their mobile phones people don’t protect them, often being lulled into a false sense of security and risking their personal lives and data on a daily basis.

Play Counter-Strike 1.6 on Android!

When it comes to technology we are often told about how quickly it is advancing, both in power and the level that we adapt it to our lifestyles. One such popular activity would be the games we play, going from 8-bit dungeon explorers to giant adventure games across stars and planets in virtual reality, but one game that many will remember is the classic called Counter-Strike 1.6, something you can now play on your phone.

Counter-Strike 1.6 was originally a mod of the original Half-Life game, introducing many to competitive multiplayer gameplay for the first time while others enjoyed the mods that let you turn the battle into a paintball party or even the custom maps like the Simpsons neighbourhood. Alibek Omarov apparently didn’t just want to enjoy that same feeling on his phone but wanted the full experience, original game and all.

Featured on his GitHub account under the handle a1batross, the CS16Client lets you install and play the original game on your phone, servers and all. Got a free minute on the way to work? Why not stop a terrorist bomb threat or see if you’ve still got the skill to perform a 360 no scope.

While controls seem a little complicated and clunky, it shouldn’t be hard to connect one of the many controller adaptors that you can now get for your phone to turn your experience into a full-on classic gaming experience.

Apple Claims ‘Most Effective Security Organization in the World’

In a recent press conference with some of Apple’s engineers, the company stated that they had the ‘most effective security organization in the world’. It wasn’t just an idle statement either, with them revealing a number of the security features that are packed into their iPhone both on the hardware and software levels.

The conference itself was a highly technical affair, with the attending engineers going to great lengths to detail the security protocols they have in place. More than just being a podium for Apple to  grandstand, this conference was a show of clear defiance against the revived effort by the US government to unlock the iPhones of criminals with them restating the point that making the popular smartphone less secure for them would risk compromising the privacy and security of their customers.

Unlike Android and the numerous companies developing Android devices, Apple control all aspects of their phone’s development which allows them to bake security into every level of their device, from hardware to firmware to software. The features employed in order to make the device so secure include a number of both industry-standard and Apple-specific features, which, when employed together secure the device at all levels, making it impossible to even flash the device with a hacked version of iOS or similar super-low-level attacks. They also believe that the chance of a bug occurring at a low enough level to cause a major compromise is small.

Getting users to ensure their phones run the latest version of iOS is another important step to keep devices secure, as each new iteration of the mobile operating system includes new security improvements and bugfixes. Some of the ways that Apple have employed to increase the adoption rate of the newest versions of their software include shrinking the size of the operating system from 4.6GB in iOS 8 to just 1.3GB in iOS 9 and also offering “while you were sleeping” update options, both of which seem to be effectual, with iOS 9 having an adoption rate of 80% so far.

It is plain to see how important Apple believe that security and encryption are to our future by the effort they put into ensuring their devices are secure. Their struggle to convince governments that slackening of security and precedents to force companies to unlock devices would have long-term damage is likely far from over, but we can be assured that Apple (and many other tech firms) will continue to struggle against these demands and ensure a safer and more secure digital future.

Suspect iPhone 7 Leak Could Actually be True

Whenever Apple develops a new product, there’s usually various leaks and theories about the company’s future direction. This is especially when case when the latest iPhone is upon us and creates a media frenzy. Often, the leaked designs are innovative renders which are simply not possible to produce on a mass scale. Recently, a leaked image claimed to show the rear unibody of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 handset. The image was rightfully met with scepticism because the three dots near the bottom look like a Smart Connector. According to the reliable Japanese Apple blog MacOtakara, which was reported by MacRumors,  “the possibility is great” that both the image of the iPhone 7 Plus housing and the design sourced from Catcher are “the real thing.”

The images also suggest that there won’t be a huge difference in the device’s form factor compared to current offerings with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Previous rumours have hinted at Apple’s plans to remove the headphone jack and introduce dual stereo speakers. The source goes into detail about the possibility of two new sensors positioned at the top of the device. It’s uncertain what these will do but it could revolve around adjusting ambient lighting based on an environment’s temperature. Another consistently reported rumour is the introduction of dual cameras on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Clearly, it’s difficult to deduce if the leaked image is authentic, but MacOtakara has a reputable history when disclosing details about upcoming Apple products. As the release date dawns nearer, more rumours from multiple sources should appear. If the widespread report regarding the lack of a headphone jack is true, I’m really interested to see the reaction among consumers. Apple probably perceives this is a bold, revolutionary step to streamline the iPhone’s design. However, this surely is coming at the expense of basic functionality.

Developer Preview 2 of Android N Released By Google

Last month, Google made a developer preview version of the upcoming version of their popular mobile operating system, named Android N, available for public download. This release included a number of great new features including split screen functionality and more. Now, a second version of the Android N developer preview has been released for use, which should come as a welcome update for current users of the developer preview as it includes a number of major bug fixes as well as some new functionality too.

Some of the bugs that are addressed in this updated developer preview address issues such as connecting to hidden Wi-Fi networks, pauses during multi window function and over 50 issues that had been reported through the public issue tracker. This doesn’t mean that Android N is ready for everyday use, though, and Google stresses that this is still an unstable preview build meant to allow developers and testers a chance to try out and help improve Android.

On the new features front, this build includes new support for the Vulkan 3D graphics API, launcher shortcuts defined by apps and support for Emoji Unicode 9 support. The addition of Vulkan is aimed entirely at developers and will assist in the development of games and 3D graphics heavy applications while also allowing them to be well optimized for low resource use and battery drain. Launcher shortcuts could make commonly used features in apps even easier to access, giving developers the ability to allow launcher shortcuts to point to a specific point in the app, such as messaging a friend or setting a route to home in a navigation app. Emoji support speaks for itself, but Google is moving away from the generic emoji used in previous Android versions in favour of more human looking designs.

Overall, this update should be a must-have for those already using the previous Android N developer preview, but there aren’t enough new features added in order to give a good reason for more people to adopt it unless some of the existing bugs were their main hang-up. As with the existing preview, this version can be gotten through the Android Beta Program on supported Nexus devices or flash their device manually.

Samsung Hosting a Meeting to Standardize 5G Standards

We’ve all heard about 3G and 4G, the standards that define the technology that has helped shape mobile communications and mobile phones for the last generation. Samsung looks to get ahead with the next generation by hosting a meeting in hopes of standardizing standards for the next generation, 5G.

Hosting the 3GPP RAN (3rd Generation Partnership Project – Radio Access Network) group, Samsung Electronics hopes that the meeting taking place in Busan, Korea, will help encourage companies to “discuss ways to support the effective integration of new services such as IoT (Internet of Things) into 5G, and measures to ensure the compatibility of 5G technologies”.

5G is not a new technology, having been in development by Samsung since 2011, but with more and more companies looking to have the first standards ready for June 2018, we could soon see a network that could see speeds of 1.2 Gbps for moving vehicles and 7.5 gigabytes for anyone who stands still for a minute.

With companies looking at rolling out the technology for 2020, the meeting hopes to cover everything from energy and cost efficiency to security and availability, all key factors in releasing a successful piece of technology that people not only accept and pick up but support years down the road.

Telstra Tested Its Mobile Internet With Terabytes of Downloads

When it comes to the internet, people in Australia are often plagued with bad internet. When they debuted in the speed index almost a year ago now, Australia was placed 18 out of 29 countries. Then back in February mobile internet provider, Telstra offered a day of free internet to say sorry for an outage, resulting in terabytes of downloads and the internet within Australia being affected all over. Now to prove their network can handle it they offered another free data day, and this time, Telstra’s customers met the demand with terabytes of downloads.

When we say terabytes of downloads, we mean quite a few. 2686 terabytes were downloaded, equating to 3.4 million HD movies, and some people took advantage of the deal more than offers. Sydney resident John Szaszvari downloaded a staggering 994GB from his LG G4 Wi-Fi hotspot, reaching download speeds of up to 180Mbps. While downloading Szaszvari also made sure to upload and back up photos, files and videos to the cloud, a clever use of the free data day.

Chief Operations officer Kate McKenzie took notice of this and decided that it actually equates to 40 years worth of a typical users downloads. So what did he download? 24 seasons of the Simpsons, 14 seasons of MythBusters, a “lot of random other stuff” and finished it off with the COMPLETE Wikipedia database.

With Telstra having issues and offering free data days as their way of apologising for the lack of calls or online access but with the data days showing that their network can hold up to the demand (even with some slowing thanks to certain people managing to push the boundaries of downloads), I think their reputation is starting to recover.

FFC To Create “Nutrition Labels” For Your Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission do a lot of things, including monitoring and investigating companies which have less than kind business practices. In their latest attempt to help people they’ve taken their inspiration from something we see (and ignore for the most part) everyday, nutrition labels.

In their latest attempt to give consumers a fair few the new nutrition labels will be used to help customers understand both home internet service providers (ISP’s) and mobile carriers. While not mandatory carriers are being “urged” to use the labels which will give you an idea about the following properties:

  • Price
    • This includes all those hidden fees they often hide, such as line rental or limited discounts
  • Data Caps
    • Ever felt like you may be getting a slower service? You should be able to see if you’ve hit your data usage cap, if one even exists
  • Speed
    • This will be included alongside things like latent and packet loss, giving you an idea not just how fast your service would be but also how reliable it is to

ISP’s are free to come up with their own labels, but they must be made in an “accurate, understandable and easy-to-find manner”.

Examples of the Broadband and Mobile labels can be found below.

Hoping to avoid the surprise fee’s that account for more than 2,000 complaints received by the FCC, the new labels could help people decide on the company that’s right for them, rather than the advertisement that fools the most.

Inateck Headphones Roundup Review

Introduction


Picking the right headphones can be quite tricky, but with a great range of versatile and reasonably priced headphones in their range, it seems the Inateck has got you covered. Today we’ll be taking a look at three of their latest sets, all of which come targeted at a slightly different part of the market. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help guide you in which ones offer the best performance, features and value for money to suit your own needs.

Inateck produces a huge range of products, such as mobile accessories, USB hubs, hard drive docks, laptop bags and so much more. They’ve had great reviews in the past and their brand continues to grow in popularity, so I’m looking forward to testing out these headphones today. In the eTeknix office, we have their new Aries Dynamic Driver In-Ear Headphones (BH1101), the Taurus Wireless Sport Headset (BH1001) and the more affordable Wood In-ear Hi-Fi Headphone BH1105’s. They all have some a little unique about them too, so it’ll be interesting to see which  ones offer up the best options and performance overall given their respective price ranges and target audiences.

Aries Dynamic Driver Headphones

“Built in modern aluminum-housings and classic premium genuine wood, Inateck Aries BH1101 likes more like a work of art. 22 cored anti-oxidized cooper wire can better extend its service life. Furthermore, the PU Aluminum Foil cable makes it sturdy and tangle free.”

Wood In-ear Hi-Fi Headphone

“What is the most important thing to headphones? A well-rounded and clear sound! BH1105 is not only superbly balanced but also offers awesome bass, trebles and ear protection. The Zebra Wood pumps up your sound to an orchestral-like level. Bring a concert with you wherever you go.”

Taurus Wireless Sport Headphones

“Inateck Sport Bluetooth headset-BH1001 provides a comfortable, curved fit. Its magnetic design allows the two ear buds attract with each other, forming a circle that could hang on your neck to avoid falling down or losing when you finished exercising.”

The packaging on the headsets/headphones is pretty simple, with a minimal waste box and some stylish representations on the front.

Around the back, quite simple again and a few major specifications on the Aries and Taurus boxes.

FCC Says Netflix Throttling Itself Isn’t Against Net Neutrality

Recently the popular streaming service Netflix admitted that when it comes to mobile phones accessing their system, they reduced the video quality on most mobile networks to help avoid excessive data usage. This caused an uproar given Netflix’s stance on the topic was to support the concept of Net Neutrality (the idea being that all traffic on the internet is equal and, therefore, shouldn’t be prioritized or capped based on its content). It nows seems that the FCC have stated where they stand on the matter.

The FCC’s Chairman Tom Wheeler stated that the Federal Communications Commission had no intention of investigating the service for throttling its own streams. Critics of Netflix agree with the idea that the FCC’s ruling on net neutrality applies to internet service providers, those that provide the entirety of the internet to you rather than just a service within the internet. Even with this agreement, they want the company investigated, with Wheeler clarifying that they “do not regulate edge providers”. An edge provider in this case is what the FCC title online content providers, the ones that actually use the internet to provide a service rather than provide access to the internet itself.

This comes at a time when the FCC are openly investigating mobile providers for their internet usage systems, with companies like TalkTalk offering their Binge service, a service which allows you to stream unlimited amounts of content from select providers that have partnered up with TalkTalk.

Where do you stand? Should companies be allowed to reduce quality to ensure you get a smooth service without additional costs? Should they be allowed you provide you with “unlimited content” from select providers?

Visual Studio Will Now Include Xamarin

Microsoft recently brought out Xamarin, software based on letting people create programs using C# and .NET operating systems which can then be ported to both iOS and Android. This meant that using the Microsoft based languages you could develop software for a variety of phones. It’s now been revealed that if you are interested in using the software, all you will need is Visual Studio.

With this announcement you can enjoy Xamarin for free as part of Visual studio, and not just any Visual studio but every single version of the development software. With Visual studio offering a free community edition you could soon find the development tools available as part of the free suite of tools, with no restrictions either.

With the original releases of Xamarin featuring a restriction on the free version of the software, limiting just how large the software you created could be before requiring a paid license. Enterprise-orientated features of Xamarin will be restricted to Visual Studio Enterprise subscription users.

If you were looking at using it for OS X or iOS development you’ll need to have access to an OS X machine. In another step for Microsoft, the Xamarin SDK will be made open source and released on Github for all to see and use, including the Xamarin Forms library for creating quick and easy user interfaces.

Windows Phone Is Now ‘On Hold’

Microsoft has been keen on promoting their “one platform for all premise”. This meant that no matter what device you were using, be it your computer, a tablet or a phone, you would experience the same system. The concept of Windows Phone has recently been put in doubt, with major projects such as the porting of Android Apps to the platform being stopped and sales constantly decreasing. It would seem now that Windows Phones won’t be making any big steps anytime soon as the system is declared all but ‘on hold’.

Microsoft held their Build keynote on Wednesday, explaining all their big steps and their phones didn’t even get a mention. The reason it would seem is that, according to Windows chief Terry Myerson, it’s just not the right time for the “4-inch screen”. In his explanation, Myerson goes to say that “there will be a time for it to be our focus” and saying that while it is “a part of the family” the phones are not “the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year”.

With the news that not all Lumia phones would be receiving the update to Windows 10 as previously promised among the collection of “updates not delivered” for Windows phones, it’s hard not to see the signs that the mobile OS will change from its new on hold status to something you’ll see anytime soon.

Are you a Windows Mobile user? Were you thinking of getting a Windows Mobile at any time? Having previously used one, I enjoyed it until the lack of support and apps meant that the experience was all but as thrilling as first advertised. Leave us your thoughts in the comments below about what Microsoft needs to do to make their mobiles as catchy as their PC’s and laptops.

Samsung’s Smart Windshield Should Be More Than A Concept

In this day and age, we are integrating technology into everything, but one thing that seems to just get smarter and smarter is traveling. From automated shuttles to car charging roads, it seems clear that people want smart technology in their cars. The problem being is that a lot of people are being ignored, such as those that ride bikes. This is where the Smart Windshield by Samsung hopes to help bikers catch up a little.

The Smart windshield is just a concept at this moment in time, but with the technology already there and a market prime for the picking we don’t see why interest in this product isn’t higher than it should be to turn it into a real product.

While other ideas for “smart” bike technology have resulted in heads-up displays (HUDs) being placed within the Helmet, Samsung is looking to put it on the bike. Using a small projector that displays a minimal view of what’s needed, the display is projected onto a small sheet of plastic at the front of the bike. The end result is a screen that can tell you the time, give you the next step in your directions or even alert you who’s phoning and texting you so you can pull over and take the message. With an app and wifi system used to communicate between your phone and the bike, it follows a setup that’s available in most GPS systems and even some cars directly.

Do you ride a bike? Would you use this and if so would you be willing to buy certain screens or are helmets betters places to these kinds of displays? Personally, if a phone pops up in front of my face every time someone called me, I might get distracted and freak out a little, so anything you can opt in to looking at seems like a good idea to me.

Sony Looking To Make Mobile PlayStation Games

The days of needing to go visit and arcade to play video games have long since past, you don’t even need to be at home in front of your TV thanks to mobile gaming consoles like the 3Ds and PS Vita. The most common platform to play games on those is the very same thing you have in your pocket, your smartphone. With this in mind, it looks like Sony is looking to make mobile games in order to benefit from the new market.

Smartphones these days can be used for everything from Clash of Clans to being used in virtual reality systems like Google cardboard. In order to fill a gap in their market, Sony has created the ForwardWorks Corporation, which will begin working on April 1st, 2016.

In their release statement Sony state that:

“ForwardWorks will leverage the intellectual property of the numerous PlayStation dedicated software titles and its gaming characters as well as the knowledge and know-how of gaming development expertise which was acquired over the years with PlayStation business to provide gaming application optimized for smart devices including smartphones to users in Japan and Asia”

So you could soon be seeing Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and Killzone Helghast storming  your phone screen as you sit waiting for a bus or a friend at the cinema. Are you excited by this news? Do you play games on your phone and if so which franchise from Sony would you be excited to join the mobile games catalogue?

New Bill Being Proposed in California to Combat Burner Phones

Technology and the law are constantly racing, with each one taking steps to catch up with the other. From the arguments Apple and the FBI are having regarding privacy and encryption to something as simple as Segways being illegal in public, technology is creating new gadgets and systems and the law is creating laws to either change or catch up with the issue. An issue that has long plagued law and the courts is burner phones, but a new bill in California could change that.

Burner phones follow a simple concept, you pay for them and the credit you need to use them. Once they are finished with, you can either dispose or top up the phone. Due to the throwaway nature, they are used by people with stuff to hide, with it recently being revealed that the terrorists who attacked Paris used burner phones not encryption to avoid detection.

The new bill, dubbed the “Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act Of 2016″ would require anyone who sells prepaid devices to register and record the identity of those who purchased the phone. The specifics are the customer would be required to provide a credit card, social security number or driving license number, the same requirements people are required to provide for mobile contracts.

Rep. Jackie Speier of California is the one proposing the bill and states that the ” bill would close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery”.

Netflix Admits It’s Been Throttling Video for Mobile Streamers for Years

People have always been wary of companies when it comes to mobile data, with rumours T-Mobile was throttling connections for videos that weren’t signed up for their binge service. This seems to be common practise though with Netflix coming out and admitting that it’s been throttling connections for years.

Mobile data is a big topic these days, with more and more people using their phones to connect and browse the web while on the go. These matters only get bigger when people begin watching movies or streaming shows on the morning commute to work.

With companies like Netflix accounting for 35% of internet traffic, you can’t help but feel like they have a responsibility to help people out avoid the large charges that companies place on data use. Netflix admits that it has been throttling streams at 600 Kbps for mobile services, that is unless you are with Sprint and T-Mobile who Netflix state “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies”.

AT&T weren’t overly happy, releasing the following statement:

“We’re outraged to learn that Netflix is apparently throttling video for their AT&T customers without their knowledge or consent,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs.”

To be fair to the company, Netflix is looking at becoming more data efficient, including the re-encoding of re-encoding of its entire media library entire media library in order to help shave off those extra Kbps that will cost you. If you think this is something new, the company stated that it has been doing this for more than 5 years in order to “protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps”.

No matter what you think of the company, no one seems to have noticed it before (can’t have been that big a deal could it?) and they were doing it for the right reasons so I don’t see how Netflix has done anything wrong other than not inform people before regarding the process.

Gelid Zentree USB Charging Station Review

Introduction


As our lives increasingly revolve around portable and mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, wearables, and handheld gaming – so our homes become invaded by a tangle of accompanying cables. Thankfully, most devices – even with a proprietary connector on one end – are USB compatible, encouraging the rise of USB charging stations that can centralise the power needs of your many devices.

Unlike many other USB charging stations on the market, though, the Zentree from Gelid Solutions not only provides a single hub into which you can plug up to four devices, but also a series of nubs – the 3D Tree Array – covered by a removable green silicone rubber top, into which you can neatly stack your devices while they charge.

While the 3D Tree Array is the Zentree’s most visible identifier, the station’s real selling point is its Smart IC chip, which auto-negotiates the best power output for each device that is connected to it, and cuts off power to a device once its battery is full. Gelid boasts that the Zentree can charge four iPad Pros simultaneously in the same time it would take to charge one using the proprietary cable.

The Zentree has been specifically tested using Apple’s iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch, a wide range of Android smartphones and tablets, plus the Pebble smartwatch, various Bluetooth headsets, and portable power banks. The kit includes four USB-to-Micro-USB cables, but any USB cable can be plugged into the four ports.

“Zentree provides a carefully designed docking surface, 3D Tree Array, which supports multiple gadgets of different sizes: iPhones, iPads, androids, tablets, phablets, smartwatches or really any other USB device. The top is made of a soft silicone rubber, it protects your smartphones and tablets from scratches and slip-off. The Smart IC, a core part of Zentree Charger Unit, auto-negotiates the best output charging power for your gadgets and ensures truly safe multi-device charging.” – Gelid.

Specifications

  • 4 Ports
  • 4A per Port
  • 48W total Power Output
  • Active Mode Efficiency: >87%
  • Dimensions (l)x(w)x(h): 224mm x 159mm x 95mm
  • Idle Power Consumption: 0.04W
  • Weight: 590g
  • Smart IC for Safe and Efficient Charging
  • Smart IC Auto-negotiates Best Charging Current for Your Device
  • Smart IC Auto Cuts Off Power when Battery is Full
  • Supports iPhones, iPads, Androids, Tablets, Phablets or Really any other USB Device
  • Individual Surge-protection
  • 3-Dimensional Tree Array
  • Non-scratching
  • Anti-slip
  • Seamless Cable Management
  • Eco-friendly Materials

Tested Devices

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Poweradd Pilot X7 power bank

Packaging and Accessories

Our review sample of the Gelid Zentree arrived in a plain, unbranded box.

Upon opening the box – revealing the Zentree’s bright green 3D Tree Array poking out of the packaging – I must admit that I was a little daunted, having no idea what the product looked like before I began the review process.

The Zentree includes an IEC C8 power cable, four USB-to-Micro USB cables, and two hooks with adhesive pads on the back. I was happy to find that the USB cables are flat, which is great for preventing tangles.

AMD Open to Making Mobile GPUs

Looking back, AMD missed a big opportunity to get into the mobile phone and tablet market. According to Raja Koduri, SVP for RTG, AMD may be contemplating getting back into the mobile graphics market, provided the circumstances are right.

Originally a part of ATI, the mobile graphics division, Imageon was acquired by AMD along with the parent company. After running into severe financial hardship, AMD decided to sell the mobile division off to Qualcomm which renamed it Adreno, an anagram of Radeon. Combined with their custom ARM CPUs, Qualcomm has managed to become the largest mobile SoC vendor, putting Adreno into millions of devices. The only other major competitors are Imagination and Mali from ARM itself.

By considering the mobile GPU market if the right customer comes by, AMD is opening yet another market for them to enter. Right now, Adreno is still largely based on the VLIW architecture that ATI and AMD left in 2011. GCN, on the other hand, is a more complex and advanced architecture with arguably better performance per watt. With the rise of GPU based compute being used in gaming, GCN may be a potent force in tablets.

Seeking more custom chip customers makes sense of AMD given that their consoles deals are helping keep the firm afloat as other sources of revenue are dropping. There is a large measure of risk however as Nvidia has demonstrated with their flagging Tegra lineup. By securing a customer first, AMD can pass on the risk and run a much safer course. Perhaps, the next PSP or DS will be running GCN.

Windows 10 Mobile Will Not Come to All Lumia Phones as Promised

With news that Windows 10 Mobile will be coming to the Lumia line of phones, people were eagerly awaiting the update after what could only be considered a lackluster of support and empty promises for windows 8 mobile. Sadly not everyone will be able to enjoy this as it has now been revealed that windows 10 mobile will not be coming to all the Lumia phones as it was previously promised.

What does this mean? If you are one of the unlucky ones you will end up with a phone that will permanently stuck on Windows Phone 8. If you own one of the following phones, you will be given the option to update to windows 10 sometime soon on your phone:

  • Lumia 1520
  • Lumia 930
  • Lumia 830
  • Lumia 730
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 640XL
  • Lumia 635 1GB
  • Lumia 636 1GB
  • Lumia 638 1GB
  • Lumia 540
  • Lumia 535
  • Lumia 532
  • Lumia 435
  • Lumia 430

While the age of some Lumia phones may seem like a good reason to stop supporting them, the pressure to get their mobile platform correct seems to be building with expectations that Windows 10’s united platform would help save a platform that many consider almost invisible on the modern market.

The real problem people have is the broken promises that seem to be spewing from Microsoft. Firstly there is a long list of phones running Windows Phone 7 which were never upgraded to 8, leaving them with a broken and unsupported mobile OS and doing the same to Windows Phone 8 users question if the mobile system is as dead as it’s been reported.

Ads Could Account For More Than 50% Of Your Mobile Data Usage

So you’ve got a free minute and decide to read some news on your phone, but you’ve got no wi-fi so load up your mobile data roaming. A few minutes later you close down your browser after reading two maybe three articles, but there is one thing you don’t know about all that data you just used. The scary fact being those ads could account for well over 50% of the mobile data you just used.

In what was described as a “small-scale” study, a group explored six “popular publishers”, with the intention of finding out just how much data you use on your phone when it comes to online advertisements.

The results are shocking, to say the least. When comparing visits to the site, both with and without an ad blocker, the group found that somewhere between 18% and 79% of the data downloaded for the pages accounted to ads. If that surprises you, maybe knowing that anywhere between 6% and 68% of that came from JavaScript providing interactive elements.

With mobile provider Three blocking adverts at a network level you can see why if pages are swarmed with ad’s that do nothing but eat up your data.

Do you use an adblocker? If so what made you first start using it and are there sites that you don’t block ads to? Do you have rules for when to block a site and when you want to give them their revenue from adverts. I, for example, block any site that decides to play video adverts. I didn’t come to watch them and I don’t want to search a page to click pause only to have it load a new one a few seconds later. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Man Accused of Blocking Cell Phones on Subway

We use our mobile phones for everything these days, from playing your latest game or reading your latest to talking about the last few days to your friends. Sometimes you just want to escape this, as a man from Chicago wanted when he started blocking cell phones on his daily subway trip.

Undercover officers arrested a 63-year-old man, who according to his lawyers just wanted to have a little quiet on his commute. The device he used to get that quiet was apparently imported from China, being used to block signals going to and from cell phones in his train car.

Dennis Nicholl’s lawyer stated that “he’s disturbed by people talking around him”. While this may be the case, people have been fined up to $48, 000 for using cell phone jammers, something that apparently Nicholl’s was doing for a while now.

The police were apparently told months ago and had even managed to obtain his photo, the end result being the undercover police. With a picture of Nicholl’s using the device on the subway, it was only a matter of time before they acted on the information. The charge Nicholl’s now faces is “unlawful interference with a public utility”, something he was also charged with back in 2009 for the same action.

Windows 10 Mobile Update Might Finally Arrive This Month

Whether Windows 8 mobile users have waited patiently for the update to Windows 10 or not is something the upgrade numbers will show, but up until now they haven’t had any other choice than wait. At least, if they wanted to keep their current Lumia phones powered by the older operating system. At first the update was promised to arrive in December last year, then it was January before being pushed to February, only to be postponed again.

The newest reports indicate that those were the last delays and that Windows 8 users will get the ability to upgrade to Windows 10 this month, after the monthly service update is completed for the Lumia 950 models. I should, however, point out again, that this isn’t officially confirmed information, at least not yet.

Microsoft plans to roll-out the update as an opt-in upgrade, allowing the users the choice to upgrade or not. At least at first. Once it has been verified that there aren’t any critical bugs or trouble with the upgrade, it will be pushed to compatible phones automatically.

With smartphones being as vital a component in people’s live these days, it is good to see that Microsoft takes its time to polish the operating system and make sure that everyone will get a great experience out of it instead of trying to stick to deadlines and then release a buggy product. It’s not something they can afford to do and the won’t.

It is an update that is well worth waiting for as I can say first hand that Windows 10 is an awesome mobile operating system. It takes a little time to get used to, as any change, but after a day, you won’t be missing any previous system. That is at least if you use your phone for communication where you’ll find all the popular instant messengers and similar things, but you might not find your favourite game on there yet.

China’s Not Happy About US Sanctions On ZTE

ZTE is a well-known manufacturer of telecom equipment, and while they have seen success in the past they are more than worried about the future with the US looking to impose sanctions on the company. As you can imagine, China’s not happy about this turn of events and are looking to hopefully stop this action before it goes too far.

Hong Lei, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, stated that “China is opposed to the US citing domestic laws to place sanctions on Chinese enterprises”. The restrictions were only announced yesterday and were made on the back of allegations that the company planned have sold US-made equipment to Iran in 2012. This is in violation of the US export restrictions with Iran, but this move may have an impact on other companies just as much.

Intel, Qualcomm and Microsoft all supply parts and equipment to ZTE, something which will now require paperwork which will “generally be denied”. ZTE are obviously worried that, since they cooperated with the US since the trading with Iran first surfaced in 2012, they are going to be hit badly by the restrictions, ultimately causing “significant supply problems to ZTE”. The company has already taken a hit with the trading of company shares being halted.

Google Cardboard Can Now Be Brought In the Google Store

Google cardboard is a simple, low-tech, virtual reality system. The concept is simple, why buy technology you already have? By using your smartphone, you don’t have to go out and buy expensive hardware a second time around, meaning that the only thing left to do was keep the phone near to your eyes. Google cardboard does just that and now you can even get it through the Google store.

In a unique twist, Google has so far only sold the Cardboard through third parties, meaning that in order to grab the device (does it even count as a device if it’s just cardboard?) you had to find someone else online selling it. This has now changed with Google launching an entire VR section on their website, including the Cardboard for a low price. Costing only $15 for a single unit, or if you wanted to double up it would only cost you $25. At this moment in time, the Cardboard has sold out meaning that you may have to wait a little before enjoying the benefits of low-cost virtual reality.

With virtual reality and even augmented reality solutions being released this year, experiencing the world of VR before you pay out hundreds of pounds may be a good idea. So far the Cardboard has made a large impact, with Doctors even using it to save lives. What do you think? Is it worth buying to mount a phone to your head or is it the start of your journey with VR technology?

Blackberry to Launch Cyber-Security Consulting Service

BlackBerry used to be a major name in the mobile phone industry. They used to be one of the go to companies if you were a business looking for smartphones but with recent reports that BlackBerry is looking to exit the smartphone industry and reports of layoffs looking to confirm this it has come as a surprise that the company has now made a move in a new direction, cybersecurity consulting.

BlackBerry’s were known as secure phones, offering business security and peace of mind when it came to their employees communications and John Chen, the executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry saying in a statement that:

“We recognize that security vulnerabilities are a top risk concern for public and private sector organizations alike. The creation of our Professional Cybersecurity Services practice and acquisition of Encription reinforces our commitment to providing customers the industry’s most secure mobility solutions and helping them to assess and mitigate risks”

To start the process, which will go by the name of Professional Cybersecurity Services (PCS), the U.K. based cyber security consulting firm Encryption Limited is currently being acquired by the company.

With cyber security being raised by everyone from the agencies and companies like FBI and Apple to children tracking software uKnowKids, the market is screaming out for security specialists and with their history in the industry, this could be the move that puts BlackBerry back into the public eye.