App to teach children responsible mobile device usage

Help is at hand for parents who need help in teaching their young children the dos and don’ts of using smartphones and other mobile devices. They can now turn to Tittle for Parents, an app that lets parents protect their children on mobile devices and teach about safe and appropriate use.

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Royal Holdings launches 3D image scanner for smartphones

Security checks have become the norm in airports, malls and many public places. While screening devices are often bulky, a more portable alternative is now available following the launch of SWORD, a mobile 3D image scanner that can be used with smartphones.

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Huawei and Xiaomi lead smartphone growth in Q1

The Huawei P20 Pro helped spur Huawei's growth in Q1.
The Huawei P20 Pro helped spur Huawei’s growth in Q1.

China smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi grew strongest as the market recovered in Q1, according to Gartner.

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India smartphone market posts strongest Q1 shipment

The popular Redmi 5A has helped Xiaomi retain its pole position in India.
The popular Redmi 5A has helped Xiaomi retain its pole position in India.

The India smartphone market shipped 30 million units in Q1, the strongest Q1 performance ever and an 11-percent growth year on year, according to IDC.

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Xiaomi bucks trend as China smartphone market dips in Q1

In a quarter when the China smartphone market experienced it biggest ever decline, Xiaomi bucked the trend and grew 37 percent to 12 million units, according to Canalys.

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Xiaomi tops India smartphone market in Q1

Xiaomi shipped 3.5 million Redmi Note 5A smartphones in Q1.
Xiaomi shipped 3.5 million Redmi Note 5A smartphones in Q1.

Building on a momentum of 155 percent annual shipment growth in India last year, Xiaomi started Q1 at the top with a whopping nine million plus units to snag 31 percent market share, according to Canalys.

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Doogee unleashes 4 innovative smartphones

Shenzhen-based Doogee is not one for the humdrum. While most other smartphones sport mostly similar technologies, this maker has decided to go for the different feel with four new phones — the transparent Doogee TT, flip camera Mix 3, slide phone Mix 4, and flexible screen phone.

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Something old, something new

The telecommunications industry, specifically mobile communications, is converging in Barcelona this week. Even before Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off today, two companies have fired the first salvo with something old, something new.

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5 things to do when your social media platform is down

When WhatsApp was down for a few hours last Friday (November 3), Facebook timelines were filled with panic posts by people unable to communicate on WhatsApp. Snapchat is reported to be down at the point of writing and again, there is frenzy over the outage. Continue reading “5 things to do when your social media platform is down”

Sweet quarter for Apple in China

iPhone 8
The iPhone 8 helped spur Apple’s growth in Q3.

The launch of the iPhone 8 and drop of prices of older models have helped Apple turn in a sterling quarter in China, with shipment rising 40 percent to 11 million units this Q3.

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Enter the gaming smartphone

Razer Phone
Play Final Fantasy XV on the new smartphone.

Finally, a smartphone that’s made for gamers. Razer has launched in London the latest high-end smartphone with a focus on mobile gaming.

But what makes this phone different from others in the market? And how does it enhance the mobile gaming experience?

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Smartphone makers in a rush?

Google Pixel 2 XLIn 2016, Samsung had battery overheating issues with its Note 7. Recently, Apple is constantly pushing out iOS 11 fixes to improve battery life for the iPhone 8. And now, Google is working on a solution to address the screen burn-in issues of the Pixel 2.

What’s happening? Are smartphone makers in such a rush to launch new phones that they are cutting short quality tests? Admittedly, this is the probably the hottest segment of the consumer technology market and every player is trying its best to outdo each other.

According to IDC, the worldwide smartphone market will reach a total of 1.53 billion units shipped in 2017, up 4.2 percent from the 1.47 billion units shipped in 2016. That’s a lot of phones and perhaps the reason why makers are hurrying to snare a share.

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Google sets up online Singapore store

Hurray, Google has finally set up an online store for Singapore! Amid the flurry of announcements made yesterday, this is probably the most significant for those in Singapore. After all, what’s the point of reading and hearing about all the launches in recent years without being able to buy the products anywhere in the country.

The bad news, however, is that only three products were listed on the Google Wifi, Google Chromecast and the newly-launched Google Pixel 2 XL.

Google’s latest smartphone sports front-facing stereo speakers, and front and rear cameras capable of producing amazing shots using fused image stabilisation of optical and digital zoom. Though the headphone jack is gone, Google has introduced Pixel Buds that can translate up to 40 languages on the fly. Continue reading “Google sets up online Singapore store”

Google snares HTC hardware talents

Google is flexing its muscles in the hardware business with the acquisition of a team of hardware talents from HTC.

The move marks another milestone in a decade-long relationship between the two companies.

“These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property,” blogged Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google.

 

New Apple iPhone is real X — for eXpensive!

Even though the X in the newly announced iPhone X is supposed to be pronounced as “10”, it can be interpreted as eXpensive. At S$1,648 for the 64GB version and S$1,888 for the 256GB iteration, the new iPhone X is a costly device, bringing it right into the price range of notebook computers.

Apple seems to be pushing the price ceiling on how much consumers are willing to pay for a high-end smartphone. It may even cause some die-hard fans to consider if it’s really worthwhile upgrading to this new rendition. The iPhone X comes with a six-core A11 Bionic processor, GPU, a bezelless super retina display, wireless charging, dual 12-megapixel rear cameras with optical image stabilisation, and Face ID. Most of these are already available in other high-end smartphones without such a hefty price tag.

Face ID, which lets users unlock and pay with the device, is probably the most unique value proposition but is this enough to justify the high price?

Guess the answer will be known when the iPhone X becomes available in Singapore on November 3.

New Android devices boost Australia smartphone market in Q2

New Android mobile phone launches spurred growth in Australia, leading to year-on-year growth of 18.4 percent to 2.16 million units, exceeding expectations in Q2, according to IDC.

Smartphones accounted for nearly all of the shipped phones — totalling 2.06 million.

Android returned to being the most popular smartphone OS in Australia. Recently, iOS had overtaken Android as the most popular smartphone OS in Q4 2016 as it held over 54 percent of the market compared to 47 percent for Android.

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The 8s are coming

This is the year of the 8s. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is expected to be revealed on August 23 in New York City, according to invitations sent to the media. Samsung will be hoping that this new iteration can wipe away the disappointment of the ill-fated Note 7.

Apple is also likely to announce the iPhone 8 in the next couple of months while Nokia is reportedly readying the launch of its new flagship Nokia 8 shortly,

30 months on the Edge

By Edward Lim

It’s official. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is my longest lasting phone. After 30 months, I’ve finally moved on to another smartphone — the Google Pixel (I’ll share more about this in another post).

Why have I decided to keep the Edge for so long? Well, there are several reasons:

  1. My daughter bought it for me in December 2014.
  2. My phone was working perfectly fine. Slower yes but fine.
  3. There was no compelling reason to upgrade to any phone throughout this period, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 issue notwithstanding.

Just like I shared “5 reasons why I like the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge” three months after I had it, let me share my 30 months’ experience with what I think is a wonderful device.

  1. It makes a marvellous talking point. Even when newer smartphones with curved edges came out, people were still asking me about the Edge and its unique one-sided curve. Talk about longevity!
  2. It has replaceable battery, something some of the competing top-of-the-line range lack.
  3. Simple adding of storage when needed. Despite been a fairly heavy user, particularly of photos, I never found storage space a problem. When I needed more space, I just swapped to a higher capacity micro SD card.

The downside of prolonged usage is the same as other  devices. The Note Edge did slow down considerably with each software upgrade. The most noticeable was the activation of the camera function. It takes a while to load, resulting in many missed photo opportunities.

Other challenges with owning a Note Edge is the lack of good screen protectors. I paid for a supposedly good one but the protector just couldn’t stick well onto the curved portion. There is also the lack of choices of phone covers/cases.

Overall, I was very pleased with the smartphone. It’s been a great companion throughout the past 30 months. Best of all, it survived numerous trips around the world without a single scratch on the screen — and without a screen protector in place!

 

Device market to dip in 2017

Global demand for devices — PCs, tablets and smartphones — are expected to dip slightly this year, with Gartner projecting shipment exceeding 2.3 billion units, a decline of 0.3 percent from 2016.

However, the market is forecast to return to growth in 2018 with a 1.6 percent increase in shipment.

“Overall, the shipment growth of the device market is steady for the first time in many years. PC shipments are slightly lower while phone shipments are slightly higher — leading to a slight downward revision in shipments from the previous forecast, “said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director of Gartner.

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China vendors corner India smartphone market

China-based vendors strengthened their grip in the India smartphone market, snaring 51.4 percent share of the smartphone shipment in Q1, according to IDC. They grew 16.9 percent sequentially and an impressive 142.6 percent over the same period last year.

In contrast, share of homegrown vendors dropped to 13.5 percent in the Q1 from 40.5 percent in the same quarter last year.

Overall, 27 million smartphones were shipped in Q1, a  14.8 percent growth over the same period last year. Unlike last year, shipment grew sequentially in the first quarter of 2017 by 4.7 percent recovering from demonetisation impact in Q4.

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Huawei smartphone strides ahead in China

Huawei has taken top spot again in China’s smartphone market, edging past Oppo after two quarters of trailing in second place. According to Canalys, the Chinese smartphone giant, which launched the P10 and P10 Plus during MWC, shipped close to 21 million units to secure an 18 percent market share in Q1.

Despite strong annual growth of 55 percent, Oppo fell to second place with shipments of just under 20 million units. Third-placed Vivo had the lowest annual growth of the top three, capturing a 15 percent share with its shipment of 17 million units.

“China’s smartphone market continues to grow, with shipments increasing by over nine percent year on year this quarter. But there is a clear indication that the market is consolidating. The top three vendors are pulling away at the head of the market, accounting for more than 50 percent of shipments for the first time this quarter,” said Lucio Chen, Research Analyst of Canalys.

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