Wearable tech, great games and intelligent cars – What’s the phone of the future?

Picture the scene: 1,800 exhibitors trying to grab the attention of 75,000 delegates and 3,500 journalists, all chilling around a huge 98,000 square metre, conference centre. This is the Mobile Conference in Barcelona, and it is the place to be every year for everything mobile, which spans between your standard smartphone to the newest trends in technology.

The technology may be miniscule, but the event is massive.

Aside from the big dogs such as Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg attending the event; it’s the best place to figure out what’s going to be big in the year to come in the world of mobile technology. Check out what to keep an eye out for in 2014.

Samsung dominates wearable tech

Samsung definitely lead the way at the event, announcing their official creation of the Samsung Gear Fit. Advertised by basket ball players rather than mobile geeks, the wearable device comes with the industry’s very first curved display that can be connected to the S5’s health management facilities, so you can track your heart rate and the amount of fat you’re burning – pretty cool right?

According to David Park from Samsung’s marketing team, “what elevates the Gear Fit into a whole new category, is that you can stay up to date with instant notifications on your Gear Fit as well. You can interact with your Galaxy device, such as rejecting a call, controlling the alarm and using quick message reply. And these things are impossible with other fitness bands.”

It wasn’t just Samsung’s wearable technology that impressed at the event. The Galaxy S5, the phone that the Gear Fit is intended to link up to, is equally exciting. The brand new phone has a number of updated features from the S4, including a larger screen, sharper camera and finger print screening – 007 or what?

Any grumbles about battery life need not be aired either, as this phone allows 10 hours of web browsing or 12 hours of video watching.

Did you say mobile gaming or mobile gambling?

A lot of the smartphone announcements and launches of new products went down this trend – attempting to make battery life longer or improving their graphics so you can spend more time enjoying the best entertainment on your mobile.

And it’s no wonder. The mobile gaming industry is bigger than it’s ever been, and the new technology that the world’s biggest mobile makers are producing is definitely reflecting that. The industry is even opening up doors for other sectors that usually wouldn’t appeal to the masses.

Look at mobile gambling for example. A recent study found that half of those who gamble on their mobile do it on their phones exclusively. The explosion of the industry alone proves how popular it has become in a matter of five years, and the huge player increase isn’t really surprising. The chance to gamble wherever you find yourself instead of trudging to your local casino is pretty tempting. Popular games such as blackjack and American roulette can be played in the UK, America, Europe – take your pick.

And though these games are classed as ‘gambling’, most smartphone owners don’t actually see it that way. The difference between a 1p bet on a slot and a freemium game where you have to pay to reach the next level makes little difference to a gaming fanatic. both games have stress relief aspects and adrenaline inducing qualities – what’s not to love?

The mobile of the future

Wearable technology is a big thing for 2014, and is set to shake up the way we think about our mobile phones, and how they can fit into our lives even better. The smartphone of the future is, as per, going to have awesome graphics so that we can view videos, play games and browse even easier than before. It will also store everything in cloud, as it’s safer and much simpler for a user who is going to browse a lot, and let’s face it, we all do.

But according to Steven Odell, cars are the phones of the future. His customers have come to expect the same connected experience that their phones provide them with, “This is more than customers connected to vehicles, it’s about cars connected to their surroundings,” said Odell. “We see real changes in how people will travel.”

So what will they do? Good question. Imagine cars that can ease traffic jams, sort out parking issues and even deal with accidents caused by human error.

If this is the smartphone of the future, we like it.

  

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Platinum Play high definition casino app reviewed

pair of aces in poker with poker chips

As you might have guessed from the title of this article, I am going to describe one of the few native online casino apps available for players with Apple mobile devices (iPhones and iPads). But first things first: let’s find out a bit more about the operator behind the app.

Platinum Play is an online casino operated by Fortune Lounge, an UK based company with its headquarters in Malta (for licensing purposes). It is one of the oldest and best known casino operators in the world: its first online casino was launched in 1999, and has been active ever since.

Fortune Lounge operates several online gambling facilities, including casinos, poker rooms, bingo halls and such. The list of its best known brands includes Royal Vegas, 7Sultans, Giggle Bingo and Poker Time.

Platinum Play is one of their top casino operations, with millions of users from all over the world. Also, it is one of the several online casinos operated by the company that is also available in the form of a native iOS app: the Platinum Play HD casino.
The Platinum Play HD app is available for free download through Apple’s app store. It offers its users access to several popular Microgaming online casino games, including some of their progressive jackpot slot machines like Major Millions, Mega Moolah or Cash Splash, along with all the classics – video poker, table games like roulette and blackjack, classic slots and others.

Mobile users can access their existing account with the same credentials used to log on to the desktop version of the online casino, and they have several mobile payment solutions at their disposal if they wish to top up their account: iBanq, Skrill 1-Tap and others.

New users that register through the Platinum Play HD casino app can benefit from a special bonus over their first two deposits (100 GBP) and a chance to play for the largest jackpot in the App Store. The app’s features include regular updates with new games, weekly and monthly promotions, automatic inclusion to the Platinum Play loyalty program and access to the casino’s exclusive VIP club (invitation only), as well as safe mobile banking solutions and a call centre that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days every year.

Online gamblers are not among the most spoiled gamers of the App Store, and the Platinum Play HD casino app is a welcome addition to the world of online mobile gambling – surely one of the many that will follow.

  

Canon EOS 70D

Canon EOS 70D picture

It’s pretty amazing how advanced DSLR cameras have become in recent years, and brands like Canon keep pushing the envelope. Canon recently introduced the all-new Canon EOS 70D which they are describing as a game-changer. It’s isn’t their most expensive camera of course, but for just under $1,000 (body only) it’s impressive how many advanced features you have available.

- 20.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion, ISO 100-12800 (expandable to H: 25600) for shooting from bright to dim light and high performance DIGIC 5+ Image Processor for exceptional image quality and processing speed.

This camera will deliver stunning images.

- Canon’s innovative Dual Pixel CMOS AF enables you to shoot video like a camcorder with smooth, fast, and accurate autofocus; lets you enjoy instant and precise autofocus even when shooting stills from a variety of angles with the freedom provided by the Vari-angle LCD. 19-point all cross-type AF system (including a high-precision f/2.8 dual cross-type AF center point) with a wide area arrayfor exceptional autofocus performance and greater compositional freedom when shooting with the viewfinder. Intelligent Viewfinder with superimposed LCD display provides approximately 98% field of view, and Multi-Aspect ratio in Live View broadens your choices in composition.

This camera is intended for users who want to shoot professional-quality video. Some customers who reviewed the camera complained that the autofocus didn’t work well with some lenses, so pros will want to do their research. But overall the video capabilities are impressive.

- Built-in wireless technology allows you to wirelessly transfer your images to social networking sites through CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, share your images with wireless-enabled Canon cameras, or upload virtually anywhere on your iOS® or Android(TM) smartphone* with the free download of the EOS Remote app.

This aspect probably got the most negative reviews. Some complained that the wireless didn’t work when shooting video. If this aspect is important to you you’ll need to do more research. If wi-fi isn’t important you may even want to consider the less expensive 60D which is still an excellent camera.

For most users, this camera will have more features than they will ever use. It’s great for hobbyists, semi-pros and many professionals as well. If you’ve been looking for a new DSLR and want to shoot a lot of video, then you have to check this one out. It’s also obviously a great gift idea if it’s in your budget range.

  

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

As gadgets and electronics become a bigger part of our lives with smartphones and tablets, gadget accessories are becoming more popular as well. We’ve assembled a few cool products that fit the bill, as well as other stocking stuffers you can consider for everyone on your holiday list.

Click on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Bluetooth 3.0 Active Noise Cancelling Stereo Earphones with Mic

That’s a pretty long name for a set of headphones, but this item from Phiaton is loaded with features. What’s unique is that they combine both Bluetooth 3.0 and noise-cancellation in one half-in-ear headset. They also make it easy to plug in the audio cable to bypass wireless mode/battery operation when needed. Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity provides increased bandwidth, longer battery life and wider range, while making music sound more natural and thus improving the sound quality dramatically. The Noise Blocker Active Noise Cancellation technology blocks out up to 95% of ambient background noise, which is great for commuters and travelers. Finally, Phiaton’s Echo-Off technology eliminates most background noise while on a phone call. These earphones will be great for anyone on your list looking for quality and versatility.

Cobra CXT 545 28-Mile Range Walkie Talkie

Here’s the ultimate gift for kids of all ages and anyone who loves the outdoors and activities like camping, hiking, the beach, road trips etc. Walkie talkies are also great for safety purposes, as well in a wide variety of situations. The Cobra units performed very well for us and are loaded with features, including rubberized grips and belt clip, micro-USB charging, digital display, 22 channels combined with 121 privacy codes, water resistant, built-in LED flashlight, dedicated weather button and rechargeable NiMH batteries and a two-port charging dock. It’s amazing how advanced these units are compared to what we had years ago. You can’t help but have fun with walkie talkies, but they also have tons of practical uses as well.

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Gadgets

Adults like toys too, so if you’re on the lookout for a memorable gift for your spouse or just treating yourself to an early Christmas present, a cool gadget is always a great option. Of course, prices run the gamut in this arena, so you’ll need to be careful, but whether you’re shopping for the latest and greatest tablet or something to please that audiophile in your life, you can find something that fits almost any budget.

Click on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Seiki 4K TV

4K TV is very real. By that, I don’t mean that it simply exists, but rather that it is the heir apparent to HDTV as the next format of television which will become standard. However, you should be cautious. 4K is an improvement over HDTV like Blu-ray is an improvement over DVD. That is to say that it’s noticeably better looking, but not necessarily mind blowing. Not to mention, the technology is still in its infancy. That being said, if you want to get in on 4K now and don’t want to pay a price too ridiculous to do so, the absolute best way to go is Seiki’s 4K model, which routinely goes for around $1,000 for its 50-inch model and, for a limited time, around $500 for the 39-inch model on Amazon. It’s the cheapest 4K on the market to be sure, but having sampled it earlier this year at CES, I can say with some confidence that it is far from a bargain model in quality. Sooner or later, keeping up with the Jonses will mean buying a 4K TV. If you need that to be sooner, the Seiki is the way to go.

Sceptre LED HDTV

By now, most people have some sort of HDTV in their home, but if you still haven’t gotten around to upgrading and don’t have the money to splurge on a higher-end brand, Sceptre makes some pretty nice budget-friendly LED and LCD HDTVs that are worth checking out. The company’s newest 40-inch model features a FullHD crystal clear viewable area, 1920×1080 panel resolution and 3 HDMI ports for as cheap as $250 depending on where you look. And if you don’t need all the fancy add-ons (like Wi-Fi, entertainment apps and 3D capabilities) that some of the more expensive brands feature these days, that’s a really good deal for a TV that isn’t too far off in terms of quality. It also boasts a lightweight and slim design, which makes it perfect for mounting on a wall, and is Energy V6.0 compliant, with an estimated yearly energy cost of about $13. You really can’t ask for more from an HDTV that costs less than most tablets.

Apple iPad Air

Ah, the iPad. Since the very first iPad model was released, gift guides have featured one iPad model or another, and for very good reason. However, the iPad market has grown more crowded than it once was with many consumers wondering just what model is right for them amongst a sea of options. While it’s difficult to account for personal needs, if you’re looking for the best iPad period it’s hard to argue against the iPad Air. Its $499 price tag may be daunting, but for it you get a model that is in a league of its own among full-sized tablets. No other product in the field can possibly compare to the iPad Air’s enticing paper-thin design, crystal clear display or flex-worthy processing muscle. The debate on the best overall tablet period is not an easy one, but if price is not an issue, then it’s a conversation that begins and ends with the iPad Air.

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