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The Era of Smartphones – How The Last Decade Has Shaped Us

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Perhaps nothing can define the 2010’s more than the rise of smartphone technology. This might even mark the most significant progress in human history. Redefining our relationship with technology has become more personal, especially as we rely on these devices as more than just tools to complete our daily tasks. 

While the future can be hard to predict, let’s look at how technology has shaped this decade and figure out what’s next to come. 

The Age Of Start-Ups

Gone are the days of spice trades and lengthy voyage rides to manufacture and sell goods. 

The internet has brought a global market, where people can purchase, pay and connect from all across the globe. This technology had also encouraged a new business model, start-ups. While the likes of Steve Jobs and Jeff Benzos had developed their businesses in basements and cramped offices, the new global market has connected people at an international level. It has even allowed entrepreneurs with very limited resources to receive the funding they needed from people all across the globe,  something that would have been almost impossible in past decades. The answer? Thanks to the emerging tools and apps like Skype, Slack, Salesforce, and HubSpot, people can hold conference calls and even run data analyses for free. 

What’s even impressive is this decade has encouraged collaboration, where your tech support can be based in India, designers in Singapore, to head offices in Silicon Valley and clients reaching well- all across the globe. 

So even when you’re lounging on the beaches of Bali, or even sitting at the comfort of your own home, you can still pretty much carry your work anywhere- offering a new definition to workplace flexibility. 

A Growing Focus on Customer Experience 

With a more competitive global market, companies are spending many resources ensuring that their customers will have the top-notch experience. In fact, new industries have come out of it… even job positions like Chief Experience Officer (CXO). 

With the massive amount of customer information that these companies receive (and purchase), data analytics have also been important. Rather than storing massive amounts of information, companies are using it to track and analyze business strategies, even creating customized and targeted ads. 

What’s In Store For The Next Decade? 

Innovators and tech companies are betting their research and design in these key areas as the next disruptive tech: 

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality 

With Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, the device presents a new wave and concept for VR and AR tech, which goes beyond entertainment and might, in fact, revolutionize industries. This would save time and money for companies speed up the training process, and eventually change the way we view the workforce. 

AI Technology

From self-driving cars to voice tech, AI technology has changed the way we work and live. It had made menial tasks faster and more efficient. However, experts believe that this is just the beginning, and that the future will definitely bring in smarter and faster computers. 

Global Economy

With everything, just a tap away, hotel accommodations, transport, and shopping is now possible on a global scale- and this shared economy will continue to grow (hopefully with more sustainable solutions). 

5G Technology

As we become more reliant on our mobile phones, the rise of 5g technology will give small low powered devices more capacity, even building mobile-friendly cities to accommodate the number of smartphone users. 

With leaps and bounds of technological innovations,  this will be a decade that will surely be remembered, but we also can’t wait to see what the next one will bring. 

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Run Your Home The Smart Way: Apple HomeKit’s Best Products of 2020

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Today’s technology makes our lives so much easier. One of the things it can now help you with is run your home. Apple has created HomeKit to help you make your house a smart home. Apple developed HomeKit to connect to intelligent products to iPhones and iPads so that you can control all of them with just a tap or a voice command to Siri.

Just by downloading the free app, you can control almost anything in your home that’s a smart device. But what are the products you need in your home? Buying everything will be a waste of money. Some products are just not okay with your budget. We’ve narrowed it down for you. Here are Apple HomeKit’s best products for 2020.

4 Of The Best Apple HomeKit Products Of 2020

Ecobee3 Lite

There are a lot of options if you want a good quality smart thermostat. At just $169 to $190, you can get the Ecobee3 Lite. The temperature sensors and the ability to be controlled by Siri will be worth the money.

Comparing it to the newest Ecobee smart thermostat, the Ecobee3 Lite is not only cheaper but works just as well with Apple HomeKit. The only difference the Ecobee4 has, besides the $250 price, is the Alexa speaker built in it.

Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit

If you want smart white bulbs that are dimmable and yellowy, the Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit is for you. This smart bulb kit comes with two Hue White bulbs and the Hue Bridge. At just $70, you can get a smart LED set that has many cool and useful features. It also goes great with almost everything, including the Apple HomeKit.

August Smart Lock Pro

Security is always crucial in every home. You can now ditch you’re worrying when you’re out of the house. The August Smart Lock Pro is the best smart lock when it comes to HomeKit connections.

It doesn’t even end with HomeKit. This smart lock is compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, Nest, and optional Z-Wave support.

You can get the lock, the open/close door sensor, and the necessary plug-in WiFi hub for $169.

Logitech Circle 2

Another way to ensure security in your homes is with cameras. The Logitech Circle 2 can be set up inside or outside your home. With night vision, two-way audio, and motion sensors, it can catch even the smallest movement.

It does come wired so that it will need an outlet. This can prove to be a good thing. You won’t need to worry about when batteries will die. It will always be on as long as it’s plugged in. After you set the cameras up, you can view the feed right on your Home app.

All this costs $180. If you do want to up your camera game, Logitech does have an assortment of mounting accessories. You can also extend backlog of clips from the free 24 hours to 14 or 31 days for only $4 or $10 monthly.

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Navigating The Soon-To-Release Honda E

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As part of Honda’s vision to have electric or hybrid versions of its core European models by 2022 and to have two-thirds of its vehicles electrified by 2030, the Honda E will be eyeing its urban markets with a synonymous price point to the Renault Zoe and 40 kWh Leaf. This stylish, higher-tech EV rivals other EVs with its infotainment options housed in an original Civic-inspired body, however only running with a smaller 35.5 kWh battery, which Honda defends is apt enough for urban driving while keeping the car’s weight, efficiency, and sportiness.

Honda personalized its Urban-inspired concept with more rounded head and tail lights and a higher-riding seating. It kept intact the pop-out door handles and cameras-as-mirrors in smoothing out the E’s aerodynamics.

The Honda E’s charging port is located atop the hood, covered, which you can pop with a remote or your own phone. Its trunk is spacious enough for a few grocery bags or for short weekend getaways. Its bold interior is adorned with furniture fabrics and faux wood accents, and comes with an HDMI input jack to plug in your Chromecast dongles.

“Our interior designer wanted to create a space that’s like a living room, with a sofa and TV,” Takahiro Shinya, head of dynamic performance for the Honda E, noted. “That’s to ensure that this car is not only comfortable for when you’re driving, but also when you’re charging. We wanted it to let people use it almost as a private room.”

The Honda E will be unveiled in the UK in two models: the E and the E Advance. Both come with 232-foot-pounds of torque, weigh 3,086 pounds, and are rear-wheel drive vehicles, with the base E model packing a 134-horsepower electric motor and the Advance with 152 horsepower. Comparing the E to Renault’s rival Zoe, the E weighs less yet has more torque than Zoe’s 180-foot-pounds.

The E’s dashboard has two 6-inch side screens for the mirrors, an 8.8-inch driver info display, and two 12.3-inch touch-screens at the center for the driver and the shotgun passenger.

Putting the wheels in motion

On a 60-mile trip on varying Valencia landscapes, both wet and dry, the Honda E showed exceptional performance even after quite an overwhelming glance at its infotainment systems in the beginning. The infotainment ergonomics of the Honda E allows you toggle physical buttons located on the steering wheel and dash if you choose to operate old-school instead of depending on touch displays. A classic volume knob can also be found in the middle of the console.

Entertainment wise, the E’s navigation app supports both Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay while still giving you access to various apps like Honda’s Aha radio.  Additionally, quite reminiscent of Sony’s Vision-S concept car at CES 2020, the Honda E’s screen-swapping feature between the driver and the passenger incorporates more convenience.

While the features are already impressive, the drive goes on accelerations that fit city scooting and highway driving. The E has an independent suspension with MacPherson struts on each wheel and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution that allows it to corner with minimal body lean. Also, its 14.1-feet radius gives it a very tight turning circle that can outturn the Fiat 500 and most small cars.

The E’s braking energy recovery system also lets you have maximum control. The center console’s button enables the single pedal control that brings the car to a complete stop when you lift off the gas. The side paddles then help you control the level of energy recovery, from minimal to aggressive braking.

The side cameras give a clearer view while also reducing blind spots. The problem, however, is if the electronics malfunction, you’re left with a blank, unusable screen – far worse than a broken mirror. The rearview mirror, on the other hand, is backed by a physical, regular mirror other than its rear-mounted camera.

The Honda E’s intelligent driving system is powered by Honda’s sensing tech that uses radar and high resolution wide-angle cameras, that in the event of a far lean to an edge, the road departure mitigation system lets the steering wheel nudge the vehicle back into place. Akin to the Civic and other recent Honda models, the automatic braking also minimizes collisions with pedestrians and cars with its adaptive cruise control, road sign detection, lane keep assist, automatic high beams and more. Being the high-tech car that it is, the E also has a Parking Pilot that lets you select a desired vacancy and automatically parks into parallel, diagonal, lined, or parking garage spaces. If it goes amiss, the brake can stop and resume the process.

On the tradeoff, the Honda E only has the WLTP electric range at 137 miles on a single charge, down to a 20 percent battery life after the 60-mile cross-country trip. It, however, supports up to 100 kW chargers, with such juicing the E from zero to 80 percent in 30 minutes, and more common fast chargers, such as a 50 kW, taking merely a couple minutes longer.

The Verdict

Although the Honda E sadly falls short in terms of range and battery size as compared to its Renault Zoe competitor with a 50 kWh battery (and a 242-mile WLPT range), Shinya believes that urban buyers won’t find the range as a huge factor that matters for commutes.

The Honda E will sell at a base price of £26,160 ($34,200) with the E Advance starting at £28,660 ($37,500), including the £3,500 government rebate. It arguably is more expensive than the Renault Zoe at £25,670 or around $33,600 (including a £3,500 rebate) but cheaper than the 40 kWh Leaf at £26,345 ($34,400).

Shinya defended when talking about the E’s design, “We needed to provide buyers with a vehicle that, at a glance, is something different,” he said. “We don’t want you to feel like you just have a different motor, but that you have bought something which is completely new, completely ‘next-generation’.”

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Roku Streaming Stick Plus: Getting The Best Value For Your Money

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Roku is a leader when it comes to producing streaming devices. In 2019, it sent out 8 models for its lineup. Some of those included are the latest versions of the Roku Express as well as the Roku Ultra. Nevertheless, with all these new models, the best one is actually among the oldest, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. 

With this model, you can stream the HDR and 4K videos from Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon, and Netflix among the many. It has awesome features that include such as a voice remote. With it, you can run the streaming system of the Roku Streaming Stick Plus as well as control the television. 

This streaming stick from Roku has all the features that you need but without the fluff. With the $50 permanent price drop, you’ll love this tick even more. Now, it’s actually better than when it came out a couple of years ago. 

The closest competition of the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4k. It has the same price of $50. With Amazon’s model, you can get Dolby Vision HDR support as well as better voice support because of Alexa. 

Also, if you compare the menus between Roku and Amazon’s sticks, the latter is more modern-looking. However, the disadvantage of it is that it also looks more cluttered and in a way, confusing. It has a way of directing you toward the movies and TV shows of Amazon. 

Since the Roku Streaming Stick Plus’ release a couple of years ago, no other product was able to match the performance, affordability, and simplicity that it offers. The stick has a design that allows it to be hidden behind the TV. All you need to do is to plug it directly into one of the HDMI ports. 

It has an Advanced Wireless Receiver cable which you can plug into the Roku stick using a Mini USB connection. Yes, that’s right, a Mini and not a Micro. In turn, the Receiver plugs into your TV’s USB port for power. You can also plug the Receiver into the AC adapter which Roku provides. 

Roku continually provides more apps compared to the competition. It also has some other extras that you won’t find in other streaming sticks. It has a My Feed and you can listen privately using a headphone through the Roku app. But the best feature is the Roku Channel. 

In it, you can find on-demand TV shows and movies. The channel also includes a Kids section, live news feeds, as well as service subscriptions like in HBO for example. You’ll love the fact that it’s free and it is available on Samsung TVs, mobile apps, and Roku players. 

The quality that you’ll get from the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is so worth it for its price. Most of the problems that users encounter with streaming where the videos are terrible or there’s a long loading time are usually because of poor internet connection. So, do check your connection to make sure that you’ll get the best experience from the Roku Stick. 

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