Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kindle Fire HD Releases Sept 14th

Amazon unveiled its new line of Kindle Fire HD Tablets in late August 2012. These new Kindle tablets include 7-inch and 8.9-inch LCD IPS display devices running on modified Google's Android 4.0 operating system.

Since the launch of the first generation Kindle Fire, Amazon has captured a substantial Android tablet market share in just a few months. With the release of these new Kindle Fire HD tablets, Amazon hopes to capitalize on the momentum.

Consumers will have 7 different options depending on tablet screen size, memory storage, and Wi-Fi / 4G LTE connectivity. Listed below are the expected release dates for the new Amazon Kindle Fire tablets.

The new Amazon Kindle Fire tablets will be released in two phases. On September 14, 2012, Amazon releases the 7-inch Kindle Fire models which include the following Kindle tablets:
In the second phase, on November 20, 2012, Amazon is expected to release the following 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablets in time for the Holiday season:
As you can see from the above line-up, Amazon has taken quite the leap with the introduction of these Android tablets providing the consumer with a lot of choice.

For more details on the above tablets, visit Amazon Kindle Fire HD Tablet Review.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Top Samsung Android Smartphones

Samsung has been manufacturing Android smartphones for the past few years now and has been one of Apple's major competitors. Recently the two companies have battled over patent infringement, but Samsung continues to lead Apple in the smartphone arena.

One of the main reasons that Samsung has been able to dominate the Android market is because the company has been able to design smartphones that cater to a broad audience as opposed to just a single product like the iPhone.

I'm a fan of the Apple iPhone, however, I'm a bigger fan of Samsung smartphones and especially the customizable Google Android operating system which keeps getting better. I especially like the Samsung Galaxy series mobile phones that the company has been manufacturing since 2009. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone released in October 2011 was one of my favourites.

With the rapid advancements in technology and fierce competition, we continue to see newer smartphones with better features and a broader choice. Currently, my favourite Samsung Android smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy S3 which I believe is better than the iPhone 4S, of course, it's still a matter of choice.

One of the main reasons I prefer Samsung smartphones is because they have a larger screen and they run on Google's Android operating system. I use my smartphone more for consuming content and using apps, so a bigger screen makes sense. Some users may find the Samsung mobile phones a little too big, especially the new Samsung Galaxy Note. This unique mobile device, with a 5.5 inch display, is more of a hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet.

With the ever growing landscape of smartphones, it can be confusing when choosing the best mobile phone for your needs. If you're in the market for Android smartphones, you can check my reviews on the Top Android smartphones in 2012 which includes smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, and Sony.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Google Nexus 7 Tablet Comparison

Google launched their first tablet PC, Nexus 7, in late June 2012 thereby further increasing the competition in the world of tablet computing.

This new 7-inch tablet has some good features and runs on Google's latest Android mobile operating systems, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The Apple iPad continues the dominate the tablet computing landscape along with other popular tablets including Amazon's Kindle Fire.

So how does Google Nexus 7 compare to the competition. Well, let's take a quick peek.

When you compare Google Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle Fire, overall the Nexus 7 has much more to offer in terms of features including a comparable price point. First off, Nexus 7 runs on an improved version of the Android operating system. It has a quad-core processor compared to the dual-core in the Kindle Fire. The screen resolution is higher. It has higher RAM and comes in two memory storage models (i.e. 8 and 16 GB). Not to mention, the Nexus 7 has a front-facing camera for video chatting.

However, when you compare Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad, the former is not quite a match. The iPad has higher screen resolution with a larger display; comes in 3 memory storage models 16, 32, and 64 GB; has two cameras; has better battery life; and supports 3G / 4G  LTE connectivity. Though, the Nexus 7 does have a couple of features that outdo the iPad like a quad-core processor, much more customizable OS and costs much less.

Having said so, depending on what you're looking to do with a tablet, the Google Nexus 7 maybe the right choice for you. For more detailed information on the Nexus 7 and how to pre-order it, you can visit: Google Nexus Overview.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Firefox 13 Review

Firefox 6Firefox 13, the latest Rapid Release version of Mozilla's browser was released on June 5, 2012. Having upgraded to this latest version and running the Peacekeeper Browser Benchmark test, it's a much better version than the earlier Firefox 12.

In fact, the last Firefox 12 version was one of their worst, as far as I'm concerned. It crashed frequently, especially during the first few days, though it got better later. I reported all the crashes to Firefox with strong critiques and details that they required to fix that issue.

Anyway, lest I digress, Firefox 13 comes with over 1,300 bug fixes, is much smoother, and faster overall. So what did Mozilla do to get Firefox 13 to run better than its previous version? Well, for starters they enabled smooth browsing by default.

The restored tabs that run in the background do not load by default, rather only the current open tab. Once you click on the other restored tabs, they start to load. This increases the start-up time and in the process less memory is used.

SPDY is also now enabled by default. SPDY is a networking protocol, similar to HTTP, which increases browser security and increases web page load time. This feature only affects those websites that use SPDY protocol like Google Search, Twitter, Gmail.

There are a couple of new features in Firefox 13. One of them is the New Tab and the other one is the redesigned Home Page. The New Tab now displays large icons of the most visited and most recent tabs. These icons can be customized by dragging them to different places on the page as well as pinning or deleting them. Web developers will see some improvements as well in Firefox 13.

The new redesigned Home Page now displays your default search engine as well as some menu options as icons like Downloads, Bookmarks, History, Add-ons, Sync, and Settings. If you haven't customized your Home Page, you can click "Home" icon. If not, you can type "about:home" in the browser URL bar to display the default Home Page.

Below are the results of the Peacekeeper Browser Benchmark test that I ran on Firefox 13 and Google Chrome 19. Overall, Firefox 13 did much better than Firefox 12 in all areas, however, Google Chrome still continues to outperform Firefox.

Below is an interesting Global Browser Usage chart which compares the top internet browsers year-over-year as at June 2012. As you can see, Firefox which was in second place has been overtaken by Google Chrome.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Smartphone Security, Safety, Privacy

Smartphone Security should be a top priority if you one of the millions of mobile phone users. With the advancements in mobile phone technology, nowadays, there is much can one can do using their mobile devices.

Stats show an ever-growing number of smartphone subscribers, including tweens and seniors. With this increase in subscriber-ship and versatility of smartphones today, we've seen increased activity of cyber crime.

Given that today's wireless technology allows us access to the internet, while on the go, people are doing much online including shopping and banking over the internet, using smartphones. No doubt, security on apps and web browsers is much better than it used to be, however, cyber criminals continue to find ways to penetrate and hack into smartphones getting access to sensitive and private data.

Although many of us understand the dangers lurking, we are not about to give up our smartphones. However, there are simple steps one can take to protect their smartphone and avoid becoming a victim of internet fraud and identity theft. Here are some Smartphone Security Tips:

  • One of the simplest things you can do is password-protect your mobile phone. It doesn't take much to do it and you don't require any special app either. It can save you a lot of hassle if you lose your phone or it's stolen.
  • Once you've setup your mobile device, make sure to backup the data. This can be achieved by syncing your mobile phone with any of your other devices like your tablet or laptop. Your smartphone may include a backup app as well. Alternatively, you can use one of the many security apps that have this backup feature.
  • Taking about security apps, it's a good idea to install one on your smartphone. Some people may think that they don't require to install one of these apps. However, if you use the internet to browse websites and use social networks like Facebook, it's imperative that you have a security app installed.  These apps will help protect your mobile phone from viruses, malware, and spyware.
  • Also, one of the cool features of many of these security apps is that they have remote tracking features which allow users to locate and track their lost or stolen mobile phone. You can even remotely delete your data on your mobile phone if you can't manage to physically find it.
  • Treat your smartphone like your credit card. Don't leave it unattended because it maybe stolen and your sensitive data will fall into the hands of unscrupulous individuals. This could lead to stolen identify or internet fraud.

These are just a few simple things that you can do to secure your mobile phone. You can find lots of more informative and practical advice on smartphone security at my Smartphone Security Squidoo web page which includes videos and information on many other aspects of mobile phone security, safety and privacy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a Google Android smartphone which provides a "pure Google" experience to its users. Released in late 2011, it is the 3rd generation Galaxy series Android device which runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

There have been some significant improvements over the earlier Google Nexus S Android phone. I've used Samsung's Nexus S mobile phone and though I like it overall, I much prefer the Galaxy Nexus.

Let's review some of the key improvements as we compare the Galaxy Nexus vs Nexus S:

  • First off, the Galaxy Nexus has a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor which along with the improved 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, provides a much faster and smoother Android experience.

  • Though, both the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus have Super AMOLED displays, the latter has a larger 4.65 inch screen with a much higher resolution.

  • In terms of memory storage, both these Android devices come with 16 GB storage with no memory expansion slot. However, the Galaxy Nexus has 1 GB of RAM compared to 512 MB compared to the Nexus S.

  • The Samsung Galaxy Nexus supports 1080p HD quality video and has a slightly better resolution front-facing camera. Also, the camera app, in the Galaxy Nexus, has the zoom feature.

  • As far as battery life, the Galaxy Nexus has a longer-lasting battery. However, the battery life will depend on usage, especially when using it on a 4G wireless network and the higher resolution screen of the Galaxy Nexus.

As you can see, overall, the Galaxy Nexus is a far superior device compared to the Nexus S. Below is a comparison chart of the specification of the Galaxy Nexus vs Nexus S:

If you'd like see how the Galaxy Nexus stacks up with Apple's iPhone 4S, including a video overview, visit: Galaxy Nexus vs iPhone 4S.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Firefox 12 Review

Firefox 8Mozilla released Firefox 12, its newest web browser upgrade on April 24, 2012. In keeping with their Rapid Release upgrades, since March 2011, this is the tenth Firefox rapid release version. We will continue to see new Firefox updates every six weeks or so.

During these rapid release updates, Firefox has changed tremendously. In some of the updates, we saw many new features, cosmetic changes, faster performance, and many new tools for Web Developers. Also, during these updates, thousands of bug fixes and security vulnerabilities have been implemented, making Firefox a better browser, in most cases.

Firefox got a cleaner and uncluttered look, tab groups, faster speed, and some cool features for Web Developers like HTML5, WebGL, and Web Console with Firefox 4. In subsequent updates, we saw the introduction of the "Do Not Track" feature which enabled users to opt out of tracking behavioural type advertising. In Firefox 5, there were improvements in CSS animation, improved canvas, memory and JavaScript.

In Firefox 7, Telemetry was introduced which allowed anonymous and accurate opt-in tool. This update also made significant improvements in the way Firefox managed memory, for a speedy browser experience. In Firefox 8 and 9, we continued seeing bug fixes, security and stability improvements, including the introduction of Type Interface (TI) to improve JavaScript performance.

In Firefox 10, some improvements were made in terms of minimizing the issues due to add-ons incompatibility, as well as the introduction of Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release). There were several enhancements for Web Developers like anti-aliasing for WebGL, support for CSS 3D Transforms, and full screen API support.

In Firefox 11, a feature for importing of bookmarks, history, and cookies from Google Chrome was introduced. As well as users were able to synch add-ons across all devices. We also saw the introduction of Page Inspector 3D View allowing developers to get a 3-dimentional view of web pages.

And finally, in Firefox 12, over 1,800 bug fixes were implemented. Though there were no new features, other than the simplification of one step in the upgrade process, there were several improvements for developers in areas like Page Inspector, Web Console, Scratchpad, Style Editor.

I've used all of the above mentioned Firefox Rapid Release versions. Overall, I've found positive improvements in terms of performance and speed. I ran browser benchmark tests on many of these Firefox upgrades and saw improvements. However, Firefox has been losing ground to Google Chrome which is better in terms of overall performance based on my experience and results from the browser benchmark tests. Also, since upgrading to this latest version, I've experienced several Firefox crashes which I've seldom experienced before. I've reported this to Mozilla, so hopefully they can resolve this issue.

You can check my detailed Firefox Reviews on each of the above Rapid Release updates. This last Firefox 12 update is not the best one that I've seen. Based on the Peacekeeper Benchmark test results (see below), it fell short when compared to the performance of Firefox 11 and lacks compared to the performance of Google Chrome.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Video Communication Online

The use of Video Communication online has increased tremendously in the past few years. As per stats, people prefer watching videos rather than reading long text messages and print.

This rise in the popularity of using video to communicate with one another has brought about many useful video communication platforms.

Whether you want to video chat with friends and family, or send video email; create YouTube video tutorials or music videos to showcase your pictures, there are many cool video applications available to use.

Many of these online video communication platforms are free to use. Over the past few years, I've used many of these video communication platforms, some of which are:

  • iWowWe for video email and video conferencing;
  • Skype for video chatting and instant messaging;
  • Animoto for creating music videos and greetings;
  • CamStudio for uploading video tutorial on YouTube;
  • Window Movie Maker for creating and editing videos.

The above video applications can be used, both, for personal as well as business purposes. I've written a review of each of the above mentioned video platforms on this Squidoo web page. It includes video overviews of each of the above applications.

I've enjoyed using these videos communication platforms. Video is here to stay, so learn how to use these video tools to effectively communicate online.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Top Tablets in 2012

Tablets have continued to increase in popularity in 2012. Since Apple first unveiled its iPad tablet in early 2010, there has been an increased appetite, from consumers, for tablet devices. Apple followed up with an improved version, the iPad 2 in March 2011 and subsequently the New iPad in March 2012.

In 2011, Apple's competitors jumped on the  tablet PC bandwagon and unveiled their tablets. Some of the top tablets include the Samsung Galaxy, Amazon Kindle Fire, Blackberry Playbook, Motorola Xoom, Toshiba  Thrive, and many others.

If you are in the market to buy a tablet and wondering which one is right for you, check my Tablet PC Comparison Guide. You will find relevant and useful information, specs comparison charts, videos and reviews on the top tablet PCs in the market. You will also find a guide on how to choose the best tablet based on your needs.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Firefox 10 Review

UpgradeMozilla released its latest version of their web browser, Firefox 10.0.2 on February 16, 2012. Keeping with their Rapid Releases, it is Mozilla's 8th upgrade since March 2011.

Though there were over 1,400 bug fixes implemented in this new Firefox release, there are no significant changes especially in terms of new features. Most of the changes in Firefox 10 are to do with web development: WebGL, CSS Style Inspector, CSS 3D Transforms, API support and the like.

One of the major issues that Firefox users face with Rapid Release updates is the incompatible add-ons. Firefox is making the Extended Support Release (ESR) for companies. These releases will be maintained for a year or so which gives companies some time to work around add-ons.

This time when I upgraded to Firefox 10, I had no problems with my add-ons, most of which were compatible. However, my Hotmail still seems sluggish and I think it has to do with conflicting add-ons. If I run Firefox in Safe Mode, Hotmail seems to run just fine.

Check my Firefox Review, for a more detailed look at what's new including platform improvements, bug fixes, and Firefox release notes. Based on the PeaceKeeper browser benchmark test (see below) results comparing Firefox and Google Chrome, the latter still outperforms overall. I still find Google Chrome much speedier and less prone to hangups. See which internet browser is leading in terms of World Wide Usage.

Peacekeeper Benchmark Comparison (Firefox 10 vs Google Chrome 16)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Top Ultrabooks in 2012

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in January 2012 saw many top computer manufacturers unveil their ultrabooks. Some of the ultrabook models are already available and many more in the pipeline to be released later in 2012. If CES is any indication for setting trends, ultrabooks are set to trend in 2012.

For those of you who are new to this term, ultrabooks are lightweight, slim, and portable laptops with fast processing speeds. They are great for people who like the portability of tablets, yet want the power of a laptop. Intel will be launching one of its biggest marketing campaign later in 2012 to promote ultrabooks.

Companies like Toshiba, HP, Lenovo, Dell, Asus, Acer, Samsung, and Sony have already joined, what seems like a competitive race to get a piece of the pie. I believe this competition is healthy and great for the consumer given that it will provide a range of choices depending on specifications, quality, and pricing.

Some of the ultrabook models that have already been released are the Toshiba Protege, Asus Zenbook, Lenovo IdeaPad, Dell XPS, HP Folio, to name a few. I've reviewed many of the top ultrabooks in the market as well as some of the upcoming one which you can check out at Intel Ultrabooks 2012.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Firefox 9 Review

Firefox 8Firefox has been a popular internet browser for several years and Mozilla has been striving to enhance the web browser these past few years. In early 2011, Mozilla started releasing Rapid Release updates of their browser starting with Firefox 3.6.

Since then we've seen several Firefox updates with the current stable release, Firefox 9.0.1. I've beta tested a few of the rapid release updates and am currently using the latest version of Firefox. Personally, Firefox has been my favourite internet browser, but the past couple of upgrades have not been their best.

Overall, I've enjoyed the enhancements, new features, security and safety upgrades, however, since upgrading to Firefox 8 and Firefox 9, my internet browser seems to have become sluggish running some websites. I've tested the same websites on other browsers like Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, and they seem to run fine.

Especially, my Hotmail got really sluggish with the upgrade to Firefox 8. The problem seemed to have gotten better with the Firefox 9 upgrade, but it's still not up to par. Running Firefox in Safe Mode seems to better the performance of the browser, but then I can't use any of the add-ons.

Check my Firefox 9.0 Review, for a more detailed look at what's new including platform improvements, bug fixes, and Firefox release notes. Also, I ran a PeaceKeeper browser benchmark test (see below) on Firefox and Google Chrome, the latter still outperforms overall. I find Google Chrome much speedier and less prone to hangups.

See which internet browser is leading in terms of World Wide Usage.