App of the week – Send My Bag

The summer holidays will soon be upon us and with it come the hassle of carting you luggage to and from your holiday destination. Our mobile app of the week is from Send My Bag.com, a specialist luggage courier that pick up your luggage from your home and delivers it to your hotel so you can travel light and avoid any additional excess baggage fees.

The Send My Bag app is available for both iOS and Android devices and allows users to get an instant quote to send their luggage anywhere in the world, track their luggage and view their account details. The app also allows you to call or message Send My Bag with one click of the screen.

With prices starting from just £25 for up to 30kg to send your bag to Europe, Send My Bag is fast becoming a great service for those who want to take bulky equipment and heavy luggage away with them and is a lot cheaper than the airline will charge.

So, if you hate lugging your baggage around with you or don’t want to wait at the baggage carousels then give Send My Bag a look, it can save you both time and money on your summer holiday.

Send My Bag

Apple chooses Innolux to produce a third of iPhone 6 displays

Rumours coming out of Taiwan suggest that Apple has chosen digital display company Innolux to produce a third of the overall displays for their latest device the iPhone 6. Samsung and Sharp were also in the running for the contract, but Cupertino’s executives ultimately chose the Tai based company Innolux.

Apple is expecting huge demand for its latest iteration of the iPhone and is distributing production of its displays between three companies. Joining Innolux will be Japan Display Corporation and LG Display, which will all be required to produce a third of the displays.

With both Samsung and Sharp vying for the contract, it is thought that Apple decided on Innolux because it viewed Samsung as to much of a direct competitor, and dismissed ~Sharp as their choice after the first batch of sample screen experienced problems.

Innolux is one of the top digital panel manufacturers in the world and makes a full range of panels including TV screens, desktop and laptop displays and touchscreens for a variety of mobile devices.

Even though Samsung was not given the contract for the new iPhone 6, it still produces screens for the iPad; the Korean electronics giant reportedly made more than half of the iPad 4 displays in Q1 of this year.

Not much is known about Apple’s new device, but it is rumoured to have a bigger screen, a new form factor for the home button and a new sleeker shape.

iPhone 6

Picture: Martin Hajek

Galaxy S5 mini may be called the Galaxy S5 Dx

Sorry to disappoint you, no it is not yet with us and for all we know it may not be for some time, but the rumour mill is working overtime and an alleged leak from an Indian exporter, if they are to be believed with tell us what to expect from the Korean mobile manufacturer.

We understand that the Galaxy S5 mini will not be quite a mini, as it is thought to have a display which is nearly four and a half inches, 4.47 to be precise. It is rumoured to have 720p HD resolution and claims a RAM of 1.5GB with storage of some 16GB.

According to the source, it will be both dust and waterproof, have an 8 megapixel camera in common with other Samsungs, and able to withstand being accidentally dropped and proof against spillages!

Perhaps a more reliable other leak claims to have got hold of pictures from the Samsung site, showing the ‘phone in a variety of colours including orange, silver, white yellow and of course blue. This source has been identified as @evleaks, which quickly took a snap shot of the screen that could also mean that the Galaxy S5 mini may well be called the Galaxy S5 Dx when it’s released.

Naturally we cannot verify all this but as it has been leaked around we anticipate it may be correct and the release date for the 5S mini should not be too far away.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Dx

Mobile phone applications

With the advancement of modern technology came the so-called smartphone. Our phones have become small personal computers in the palm of our hands. With a smartphone, we can surf the web, download emails, make calls, send texts, and use GPS mapping and much more. In addition, the creation of applications means that we can now personalise our smartphones, making them a powerful tool designed specifically to meet our individual needs.

A brief history of mobile applications

The very first applications were already available on standard mobile phones. These were in the form of a calendar, calculator, alarm clock and the like. With the development of smartphones, which run off an operating system, the opportunity to create a wider variety of applications arose. Today there are literally hundreds of thousands of applications available. Anything and everything you can think of, from games to banking apps to a simple dictionary.

Applications for different smartphones

Apple’s app store gave rise to the popularity of mobile applications across all smart devices. Today it is possible to get most applications across any of the major operating systems, including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and others. The app experience does differ across devices, with Apple making all applications available in one store, while Blackberry apps are scattered across the internet.

Regardless of which smartphone you use, you are sure to be able to find applications that suit your needs. New applications are being released on a daily basis, so if the application you need does not exist yet, it probably will soon.

phone apps

A guide to mobile phone networks

The United Kingdom has some of the most sophisticated mobile networks in the world.  The rapid advances made in technology over the past few decades has not only improved handset capabilities, but has led to greater developments for networks as well, meaning nationwide coverage in 2G and 3G, innovative service offerings and attractive pricing structures for customers.

Several mobile networks are active in the UK, of which the five major ones are Orange, O2, T-Mobile, 3 Mobile and Vodafone.  Although there are also other networks, they are generally owned by one of the five mentioned above.  Each network has a wide variety of offerings for their customers.  Since you are sure to find a package that suits your pocket, we have listed some of the fringe benefits offered by each network below.

  • Orange network

Orange Wednesdays – this long-running incentive for Orange customers offers two-for-one cinema tickets and pizza from Pizza Express on a Wednesday.

  • O2 network

O2 Priority – O2 customers can get tickets to events across the UK up to 48 hours before the tickets are released to the general public.

  • T-Mobile network

T-Mobile Night In – customers receive discounts on DVD and game rentals at Blockbusters.

  • 3 Mobile network

The One plan – this is considered one of the best for smartphone users, with its all-you-can-eat data plan.

  • Vodafone

Freebee Rewardz – Pay As You Go customers get points each time they top up.  These can be saved up or used for an instant reward.

Although these benefits are fun, remember that your choice of network should be based on what type of phone you have and how you want to use it.  Spend some time researching the various packages offered by the networks and you will find the right mix of pricing and service for you.

Mobile phone networks

Google Chromecast launches here in the UK

It has been much talked about and it is now here in the UK and at a mere £30 you can turn your standard TV into a smart TV. The Chromecast is a simple dongle that you plug into the HDMI port of your TV and then using WiFi it is possible to use a range of Android and iOS apps to use video and Audio on your TV.

Using your smartphone, tablet or laptop, set up a simple app, and then you can send your favourite online shows form BBC iPlayer, Netflix, you music and YouTube to your big screen. The device will work with Android tablets, smartphones, iPhone and iPad and you use these devices as a remote for your TV.

For our market here in the UK, probably the most useful of the apps is likely to be BBC iPlayer, but both the Google Play Movies as well as Netflix is supported. For podcasts the device will allow you to listen using the TV speakers or surround sound if you have it, making podcasting more realistic and not unlike radio.

The dongle has already been launched in America in July last year and has already sold over a million, at a price of £30 it is expected to be a big hit here in the UK.

Google Chromecast

Amazon to produce mobile games

We are not too sure how this will affect established games producers, but news is that Amazon are intending to develop their own brand of games console this year and if it follows the other ventures such as kindle the book reading device, together with selling and publishing for the device, it could be a serious threat to the likes of Nintendo.

It has already acquired one gaming company the Californian based Double Helix, and has felt the water with the game Air Patriots. There is evidence that Amazon is actively recruiting heavy weights within industry in both Seattle as well as Silicone Valley in a concerted effort to turn the small Amazon Games Studios into a major operator.

It is highly unlikely that competitors are going to take this lying down, with names such as Sony and Microsoft, together with Nintendo who have between them invested huge sums of money amounting to many billions of dollars to their successful consoles, systems and games. However it is known that the company which Amazon has acquired already makes games for some of the companies, most notable of which was probably Killer Instinct that is acknowledged as a huge success for the Xbox from Microsoft. Will the new venture be aimed at the mobile market, as already customers of existing games companies are shifting their habits to the mobile phone away from consoles?

amazon logo

Alcatel One Touch Hero review

Alcatel has found a new lease of life with their Android devices and has been improving its offering over the past few years. Their latest device, the Alcatel One Touch Hero looks like a promising offering and could well be a cheaper alternative to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, so what do you get?

The Alcatel One Touch Hero features a 6 inch full HD screen, a 13 megapixel camera and comes complete with its own capacitive stylus. Powered by a quad-core 1.5Ghz Cortex-A7 processor and 2GB RAM the One Touch Hero isn’t a slouch, but is significantly slower than Samsung’s offer.

That isn’t such a big deal when you realise that the Alcatel One Touch Hero will be significantly less than the Galaxy Note 3 and boasts a range of the same features. Standard features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, microSD card slot and 16GB of internal storage. There is also an option of a dual-SIM version for those who use the same device for business and pleasure.

The One Touch Hero runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) out of the box but can be upgraded to the latest version. Whether the Alcatel One Touch Hero will make a dent in the Phablet market remains to be seen; there is still a question mark over the build quality of Alcatel’s devices, but the low price point is bound to appeal to most users.

Do you walk into walls checking Facebook

It can pass away a few minutes of time when watching people on mobiles when in a shopping centre or at an airport, perhaps checking their emails, messages or on Facebook. How many do you see walk into a wall or pillar, then recover themselves and immediately apologise to the offending wall or pillar!

We feel sure that you may have done the same yourself, we have here, but nothing compares with the poor unfortunate soul who walked off a pier in Australia when checking her Facebook page. The woman a Taiwanese tourist in Melbourne fell from St Kilda’s pier into Port Phillip Bay, and was picked up by a police speedboat after they had been alerted by a witness to the event.

The woman, who could not swim and was floating on her back naturally apologised, we believe to the police and not the pier or water, still had her mobile phone in her hand, she said “I was checking my Facebook page on the ‘phone and I’ve fallen in.”

In a typically Aussie humorous way the police said in a statement afterwards “there was no need for a lost property report because the woman kept hold of her mobile phone throughout the entire ordeal”.

Do you take your phone on holiday?

Well if you do take your mobile with you  on your trip to one of the Mediterranean countries or to North America, you will be amongst the 90% that do, not put off in any way by the often very high charges imposed on us. This is from the results on a survey of around 2,162 people and those that did leave their mobiles at home two thirds said that it was a very difficult decision. A small percentage said the decision was because of the high charges although some admitted to “forgetting” to pack it.

From some earlier surveys that have taken place on the subject, it would appear that even when on holiday 90% admitted that they spent up to four hours a day on their Smartphones which begs the question, how did we live without our mobiles before? Much of the use of the mobile seems to be centred on sending pictures home to envious friends and work colleagues; a favourite appears to be self-portraits of them arriving at their destination.

For the holiday maker who wants to get away from it all, there is apparently a resort somewhere in the Caribbean which is 100% wire-free, no reception for mobiles either, that is a place to get away from the mobile, if you must!