This week, we’re looking into the potential of the new Microsoft Xbox One as an entertainment hub and digging into the latest tablet stats – can you guess who came out on top in 2013? Plus, we’re marking Fraud Prevention Month with a few reminders to help you stay safe online. Learn more in this week’s edition of the Weekend Reading.
Gaga for gaming
When I was a kid, my Super Nintendo rocked my world. That admittedly outdated technology followed me through Super Mario Kart marathons in university and all the way to my first few jobs in Toronto, where a friend and I would try to complete the Donkey Kong games (to 100 per cent, natch) in one sitting.
Now, of course, gaming consoles are about so much more than just playing games. The new Xbox One is an entertainment hub – in addition to games, you can tune in to movies, music, sports, TV and even training from Jillian Michaels. You can also stream your favourite shows with Rogers Anyplace TV. For more on the future of the Xbox One, check out our chat with Greg Barber, Vice President, Consumer Channels Group at Microsoft Canada.
What do you do with your console, beyond gaming?
Android takes tablet lead
Android hit a home run in 2013, surpassing Apple’s iOS to become the leading tablet operating system. Android tablet sales made up about 62 per cent of the global market share, according to research from Garner, as reported by CNET. That’s up from a 45.8 per cent share in 2012.
While Android was the top operating system for tablets, iPads were the top model. Sales for the Apple tablets grew to 70.4 million from 61.4 million. Samsung was the second most popular tablet manufacturer.
Tablet sales across the board soared in 2013, hitting 195.4 million. That’s a 68 per cent increase from 2012.
What kind of tablet do you own?
Protect yourself online
Just how secure is your password? The 10th annual Fraud Prevention Month is a good reminder to evaluate your online security. To mark the campaign, the Competition Bureau has released The Little Black Book of Scams as a free ebook. It outlines how scams work, how to recognize potentially fraudulent activities and how to report them.
How often do you change your passwords?
This week, we watched Samsung announce some serious upgrades to its Galaxy phone and tried to embrace the winter weather with Google’s latest maps of polar bear country. Plus, we’re getting ready for an award season marathon with some A-list talent. Learn more in this week’s edition of the weekend reading.
A phone for fitness
A fingerprint scanner, heart-rate monitor and lightning-quick autofocus are just a few of the headline-grabbing features of the new Samsung Galaxy S5.
Samsung announced its latest flagship phone Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, continuing, according to the Toronto Star, “Samsung’s strategy of building in ever more capabilities into its phone.” The Star touted the fitness features, bigger screen – a move from 5-inches to 5.1, better battery life and “what the company is claiming is the fastest-ever autofocus for a smartphone.” Techcrunch also highlighted the bigger screen – saying it’s “pushing into phablet territory” – and delves into the 4K video capabilities. Mobilesyrup, meanwhile, celebrated the announcement with an infographic outlining how the Galaxy S line has evolved, including the details on size, camera, weight, display and battery life.
Canadian specs have yet to be released, but new and existing customers can reserve their Samsung Galaxy S5 now on the Rogers Reservation System.
What’s your first impression of the Samsung Galaxy S5?
Snow squalls, the polar vortex – this whole winter thing is starting to wear a little thin. But Google is making it all a little more bearable with its latest trek through the tundra. For International Polar Bear Day on Thursday, Google Street View launched maps of Cape Churchill and Wapusk National Park in Northern Manitoba. As reported by the CBC, the initiative is intended to show polar bears in their natural habitat and highlight the effect of climate change on the Arctic.
The new footage was shot during the fall using Google’s Street View Trekker, a backpack with 15 mounted cameras, from onboard tundra buggies.
Of course, Google has mapped many locations over the years, including the Grand Canyon, the White House, and even Rogers retail locations!
What building or region would you like to see on Google Maps?
Win your awards pools
Before you place your bets on Sunday night’s winners and losers, make sure you brush up on the nominated flicks. Hollywood all-stars including George Clooney and Tom Hanks are waiting for you in the Awards Season collection on Rogers On Demand Channel 100. You can catch up on buzz-worthy movies like Gravity and Captain Philips or, if you’re feeling nostalgic for past hits, you can find previous critic favourites like American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire, Million Dollar Baby, and The Hurt Locker all in the same place. Check out Rogers.com/OnDemand for more info.
What movie gets your vote for the best of 2013?
Your iPhone always has your back. Think of it as a loyal companion that wants to better understand how it can help. Thanks to iOS 7 (learn how to upgrade to iOS 7 here), it deduces where you work, the places you frequent and where on the map you call home. It then uses this data – which is stored on your device and isn’t sent anywhere without your permission – to preemptively provide traffic updates and if need be, an alternate route. Super-helpful!
If, however, you simply don’t like the idea of your phone being location-aware, you can easily turn location tracking off in iOS 7. Here’s how:
1. Open the Settings app. Swipe down to Privacy and tap.
2. Tap the slider switch to turn Location Services off.
3. A message about Location Services appears. Tap Turn Off to acknowledge.
Find more quick tech tips at Connected Rogers.
Personally, I rely on location tracking to help me find the nearest coffee shop and to compensate for my terrible sense of direction. How do you take advantage of your device’s location tracking features?
LG blew us all away when it unveiled the world’s first curved smartphone back in October. And today, we’re happy to announce that the LG G Flex, running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, will be available in Canada this spring, exclusively from Rogers.
To celebrate this Canadian first, here are five innovative features that caught my eye:
- It’s shapely. The LG G Flex is designed to fit in the palm of your hand and follow the curve of your face with its six-inch curved screen. It doesn’t just look cool – the shape helps improve the voice quality by reducing the gap between the mic and your mouth. Plus, the curved screen is the perfect shape for glare-free movie viewing. To accommodate the design, it’s also the first device to feature a curved battery.
- It heals itself. If you’re hard on your device (like me!), check out the G Flex’s self-healing coating. The phone’s back cover can recover from day-to-day nicks and scratches, so it always looks brand new.
- What buffering? With a Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the LG G Flex is super-fast. This device can run on the 2600 and 2100 MHz spectrum, reaching top speeds on Rogers LTE network.
- Easy control. The LG G Flex has a rear key that makes changing the volume simple when you’re chatting on the phone. A quick tap, and no interruption required.
- Wake and snooze made simple. The “Knockon” feature means you can turn the display on and off automatically with a simple knocking gesture. No need to pick your device up or press the power key – the phone senses the movement and goes light or dark accordingly.
Available in Titan Silver, the phone also has a 13 MP camera, plus a 2.1 MP front-facing camera for great selfies, and runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2.
Want a curved phone of your own? Starting today, new and existing Rogers customers will be able to reserve the device online using the Rogers Reservation System. A refundable $40 deposit will be applied to a credit card or your Rogers account.
Stay tuned to this space and follow @RogersBuzz for updates on availability and pricing.
What do you think of this phone’s space-age shape?
This week, we’re celebrating our sweethearts with a Samsung contest, questioning whether tablets are headed for a boom or bust and finding ways to spread the love on social media. Read all about it in the latest Weekend Reading.
Spread the love
Chocolate, flowers and a heart-shaped card are so passé. In this world gone mad on social media, will your love really believe you’re true without at least a status update? Mashable suggests it’s time to think outside the box, offering nine ways to say ‘I love you’ on the Internet. Whether you coordinate profile photos, send off a flurry of RTs or create a Tumblr-worthy GIF, you can leverage social media to make the day special for your sweetheart.
How will you share the love this weekend?
A little over three years ago, the tech-savvy swarmed for tablets. Sales soared, competitors spurred improvements and app developers rushed to embrace the larger screens. Today, the devices are still popular, but sales are slowing. A guest article on Re/Code suggests our love affair with the tablet is over. Writer Zal Bilimoria says that people expected too much from the device – can it possibly be a constant companion while also replacing your laptop and your phone? Zal says no. In fact, he says, tablets have been hurt by the improvement in smartphones and their apps. With faster handsets, people don’t need a device to bridge their desk and pocket.
But, don’t count the tablet out just yet! Over on Gigaom, writer Kevin C. Tofel counters Zal’s post, offering up his four reasons the tablet market is far from dead. It’s worth reading both their arguments in full, but, for the sake of brevity, Kevin says that we can’t yet pass judgement on the tablet because a) we’re still early in the product life-cycle, b) mobile broadband improvements will put more tablets online c) the app market is still growing and d) phablets and tablets overlap. Essentially, Kevin says that tablets are evolving, and will grow to meet our needs, including, potentially even handling our phone calls one day.
What do you think? Are tablets headed for a boom or a bust?
We had an overwhelming response to this week’s Valentine’s Day poetry contest. Who knew so many RedBoard readers were poets, too? More than 700 poems were submitted, many of them very creative and fun to read. If you need some inspiration while filling out a card for your Valentine today, you might want to give our readers’ poems a glance to help you out. We’re still confirming the winner of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3s, but here’s one of our favourite submissions from Todd Greencorn:
Roses are red
Leaves grow on a tree
This Valentine’s day I will ask
Will you Marry me.
Let us know if she says yes, Todd!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
From the drama of Lena Dunham’s Girls to the zombie hijinks of The Walking Dead, you can watch all your favourites – new and old – from your desktop with our newly refreshed Rogers Anyplace TV website. Even better news? You can start watching right now – Rogers Anyplace TV gives you access to all the great shows you already enjoy with your digital TV subscription.
Here’s how to start watching:
First, you need to register:
- Go to RogersAnyplaceTV.com
- Click “Register” in the top right corner
- Sign in with your My Rogers account
- OR complete the necessary fields and verify you’re a Rogers customer by doing one of the following:
- Enter your postal code if you’re currently using Rogers internet
- Send a verification code to your Rogers wireless phone
- Enter your Rogers account number
Then you can start watching!
If you have a specific show in mind:
- Type the show name in the search bar on the type right of your screen
- As you type more letters, your results will narrow down to a match
- Click your desired title from the drop down menu
To browse what’s available:
- Click the “On Demand” button on the top navigation bar
- Click “TV Shows” in the sub-navigation bar
- Click the “A-Z” button to sort the shows in alphabetical order and find your show
Or, to see what’s on your favourite channels:
- Click the “On Demand” button on the top navigation bar
- Click “Channels” in the sub-navigation bar
- Click the “A-Z” button to sort the channels in alphabetical order
- Click on your desired channel and find your show
What TV shows will you be watching this winter?
Connected Rogers teaches you how to transform your tablet into a remote control.
Use the built-in IR blaster to run digital devices including your home-theatre equipment. And if you’re a Rogers Digital TV customer, you can also use your Note 8.0 to view the Interactive Program Guide. Here’s how to get started:
1. Open up the Smart Remote app and follow the simple setup process.
2. Tell Smart Remote the make and model of your various theatre components, and it’ll make the connections.
3. Then, take control of all your gear with the onscreen buttons. That’s it. Sit back and enjoy.
Check out more great tech tips at Connected Rogers.
I’ve used a tablet for mapping, photo-sharing, emailing, social networking and to catch the latest TV shows – but never as a remote! What innovative uses have you found for your tablet?
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Do you, like Mindy Kaling, worry that everyone is hanging out without you? According to new research, that fear may be the motivation to check your cellphone alerts up to 100 times a day. Plus, smartphone shipments hit a major milestone, Twitter updates its app to include photo sharing and we teach you how to use carrier billing. Learn all about it in this week’s edition of the weekend reading.
FOMO on screen
Fear of missing out (FOMO) means we’re checking our phones nearly 100 times a day, according to research from Mobile Posse and Phoenix Marketing International. The October research found that U.S. smartphone users spend more time (26 per cent of the total) checking alerts on their home and lock screens than with any other mobile activity. More than half of those surveyed said the notifications were the first thing they checked when they picked up their phone – fuelling the researcher’s belief that this was due to their alternative phrase for FOMO, which they called “Fear of missing something” (FOMS). Thirty per cent of smartphone users also looked at their phone immediately after getting an alert – and on average they were signed up for notifications from at least eight categories, including missed calls, text, email, social, news, weather, games and more.
How often do you check your phone’s alerts?
We’re always sharing stats that mobile use is on the rise in Canada, but last year smartphone shipments hit a new record: for the first time one billion smartphones were shipped in a single year. According to IDC, that’s an increase of 38.4 per cent from the 725.3 million devices shipped in 2012. “Only two years ago, we had half a billion units, so it’s a testament to how popular smartphones are and how competitive the market is right now,” Ramon T. Llamas, of IDC, told Mashable. He does expect growth to slow down eventually, predicting that a plateau is likely in the next five or six years.
Did you purchase a new cellphone in 2013? Which model?
Apps made easy
The average smartphone or tablet in Canada is loaded with 25 apps – but I suspect RedBoard readers are carrying even more games, productivity and educational tools in the palm of their hand! To help Android-toting Rogers customers keep up with the latest downloads, all in one convenient bill, we recently started offering carrier billing at the Google Play store. That means instead of charging your app downloads to your credit card bill, you can add them to your monthly Rogers statement, making it easier to track your wireless spending. Check out the step-by-step how to here.
How many apps have you downloaded to your devices?
Tweak your tweets
Twitter continues to roll out new updates to its mobile apps, and the latest change adds a photo editor. Now, users of the microblogging platform on Android can crop and rotate the images that accompany their tweets. Plus, Twitter now prompts you to @mention the friends in the photo. According to Engadget, the changes will soon roll out for iOS users too.
Do you share photos on Twitter? Will you edit your shots before hitting send?