LAS VEGAS--Admit it, sometimes you miss the days before smartphones came onto the scene.
Although there is no doubt that their features have improved our lives a thousand-fold, the days of simple clam shell or candy bar phones were altogether pleasant. Call it rose-tinted nostalgia, but these phones of yesteryear--sometime before touch screens, GPS, and apps, but definitely after the bag phone era--were simple and tough.
And even though there are a lot of people who are able to use smartphones, they aren't for everybody--especially when it comes to those on opposite ends of the age spectrum. These include … Read more
LAS VEGAS--It's not all about the big players at CES. Take FastCap founder Paul Akers, the creator iPole and iPole Mini, who I ran into at a small booth in the back of the North Hall of the convention center.
The iPole Mini (shown above) is telescoping stainless steel pole that you mount your iPhone on (or any other product that has a threaded mount for a tripods). The pole itself, which extends out to about three feet, costs $24.95 and if you want to shoot with your iPhone 4 or 4S, you'll need to buy the $… Read more
LAS VEGAS--The irony never fails to smack us in the face. Every year, the flood of conference-goers at the Consumer Electronics Show and other technology events strain the cellular networks to their limits--and beyond--leaving thousands of people hopelessly disconnected to the outside world.
Every year, the carriers vow to prepare for the massive confab, bringing in portable cellular towers, adding antennas and signal repeaters, and adding capacity especially for the show. But every year, the same kind of network hiccups occur, leaving us to wonder why the carriers, who pay so much to represent themselves here, never seem to learn.
CNET's Brian Bennett was standing at a T-Mobile press event, T-Mobile phone in hand, unsuccessfully trying to tweet about meeting the carrier's TV mouthpiece, actress/model Carly Foulkes. He couldn't get enough signal in the event room within the Venetian hotel.
Anecdotes like that are pervasive around CES and similar shows, which suggests that carriers never do enough to supply enough network juice to go around. Ask them, however--like we did--and they'll tell you that they do anticipate the influx of data-hungry users, but that congestion is so bad we rarely see it.
"At tech-heavy conferences like CES, we do notice an uptick in traffic," a Sprint representative told CNET. "Last year we saw a 20 percent increase in traffic at CES, so that's what we prepared for this year."
Of all the carriers, AT&T seems to have been the most proactive, at least from the details they shared when we asked each carrier what steps they take to supply reliable coverage for shows like CES. AT&T replied that they boosted 4G LTE in the around the Las Vegas Convention Center. The extra power is courtesy of a device called a COW, or cell tower on wheels, that's parked near the conference complex. AT&T said it is also offering Wi-Fi for CES attendees, to lighten its data load.… Read more
LAS VEGAS--We've all been there: halfway through the work day, the battery indicator on your smartphone switches to red, and you find yourself nervously looking for a power outlet.
Samsung Electronics hopes to alleviate the battery issue a bit--at least for most customers. The company has set a goal that smartphones coming out this year can last all day under average to moderately heavy use, according to Kevin Packingham, vice president of product innovation at Samsung.
"When you wake up to when you go to bed, we don't want you feeling anxiety about your battery life," … Read more
According to Android Developer Blog, the guide will be a place where developers can "learn about principles, building blocks, and patterns for creating world-class Android user interfaces." In … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Who says CES is becoming irrelevant? Certainly not the wireless carriers.
At a time when some companies are scaling back or skipping CES altogether, the telecoms have actually stepped up their presence. AT&T bulked up its product line with the announcement of a slew of 4G LTE products. Verizon Wireless expanded the size of its booth this year and had a notable presence on a keynote panel. Meanwhile, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile both hosted parties at the conference.
The fact that the carriers have been upping their presence at CES illustrates the importance of having a voice … Read more