Smart Phone Daily

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Welcome to Smart Phone Daily ! This blog will cover the technology, gadgets, events and cool toys that have affected me in some way. I will also give recommendations on the products that I have actually used.

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Kindle Fire HDX Software and Interface

It’s hard to say why Amazon waited for its third iteration to finally give Fire OS an official name. Perhaps it’s an acknowledgement that even casual users are savvy enough to pay attention to operating systems these days, or maybe the company feels that the software is finally mature enough to be spoken about in the same breath as iOS and Android. It’s perhaps slightly disingenuous to refer to Fire OS as an operating system, of course — scrape back enough layers and you’d find Jelly Bean underneath.

That said, this is much more than a TouchWiz-like skin. In fact, Amazon’s done so much to the Android base so as to render it unrecognizable. And while the software is, as ever, a reflection of the company’s laser-like focus on content delivery, a number of upgrades have helped the Fire continue to stand out in a seemingly endless parade of Android slates.

At first glance, Fire OS 3.0 (codenamed Mojito, in keeping with the sugary goodness of Jelly Bean) bears a striking resemblance to earlier versions. Understandably so. After all, if the goal here was to provide a user-friendly experience for casual users, a full refresh would be pretty counterproductive. The centerpiece is, as ever, the content carousel, a swipeable river that offers up movies, albums, apps, books and the like, in order of the last time you opened them. At the top is a toolbar featuring a search icon and links to specific content categories.

Users familiar with past iterations of Fire OS will notice a key difference on this home page. Peeking out just below the carousel are the tops of six icons. Swipe up and you’ll find a grid of apps. Yep, Amazon caved responded to user feedback, adding a more familiar mobile OS app layout directly to the front page. A swipe from off the right side of the screen while open to one of the media types, meanwhile, will bring up Quick Switch, a scrollable river of content that lets you quickly move between recently used media.

As ever, there’s no Play Store access here. Amazon’s unquestionably got enough to offer in the way of movies, music and (especially) books. But while the app store is certainly growing (and will no doubt continue to do so as long as the Fire comprises a third of the Android tablet market), it still pales in comparison to the selection you’ll find on Android and iOS. Still, the company is talking up support for HTML5 apps and the ease with which developers can port titles over from Android. Amazon does offer up a number of high-profile apps already though, which may prove more than sufficient for many casual users.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Design Review

The Galaxy S4 may resemble the S III, but that’s no bad thing as far as we’re concerned. The thin frame, curved edges and characteristic physical home button are all present and correct, and to us they look as good as they did on the S III. The Galaxy S4’s dimensions and weight are almost identical to its predecessor’s: 69.8mm wide by 136.6mm deep by 7.9mm thick and 130g versus 70.6mm by 136.6mm by 8.6mm and 133g. The S4 shaves off a tiny amount of width, thickness and weight, yet manages to cram in a slightly larger screen — 5 inches across the diagonal compared to 4.8in. for the S III. It just goes to show what a year of development can do in terms of cramming components into a chassis.

samsung-galaxy-s4-sidesThe Galaxy S4 (top) is slightly thinner than the S III at 7.9mm (0.31in.) versus 8.6mm (0.34in.). It’s also slightly slimmer at 69.8mm (2.75in.) versus 70.6mm (2.78in.). The two handsets weigh 130g (4.58oz) and 133g (4.69oz) repsectively. (Image: Samsung)

Button design is very similar to that of the S III too. The power button is on the right side of the chassis (see above), the headset jack is on the top, the volume rocker is on the left and power connector is in the correct ergonomic location on the bottom. There are slight differences between the two handsets, with the S4 sporting a longer volume button, but unless you put the S4 and S III side by side, as we did, you’ll be unlikely to spot them.

The Galaxy S4’s 5in. screen is one of its standout features. The combination of a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution (441ppi) and Super AMOLED technology makes it look absolutely stunning. It is bright, clear, sharp and superbly readable.

Other handsets with large, high-quality screens can be used comfortably even for text-heavy tasks like ebook reading, but the Galaxy S4 is peerless in this respect thanks to its overall size and clarity. It also goes without saying that the S4’s screen is ideal for video watching.

Another of our favourite smartphones of 2013, the Sony Xperia Z, also sports a 5in. 1,920-by-1,080-pixel screen, while the Editors’ Choice-winning 4.7in. HTC One squeezes this resolution into a 4.7in. display. Somehow the Galaxy S4 has the edge over them both.

Like the Galaxy S III, the S4 accepts a microSIM, which sits under the backplate along with the microSD storage expansion slot. The backplate is the part of the physical design that we find least acceptable: as on the Galaxy S III, it’s flimsy (extremely flimsy in fact), and its large size left us in fear of actually snapping it in two. That said, the backplate is rigid enough when clipped into place.

Samsung doesn’t hold with the rubberised backplates that some handset makers use, so there’s a smooth, slippery finish to the back of the device. Given the Galaxy S4’s size, people with smaller hands might have some concerns about gripping the device.

Save Your Money With Coupon Tip

I have to admit my “Coupon Queen” crown is slightly tarnished these days.  Why?  Because I hardly couponed this summer…<gasp!>.  I know that sounds scandalous but in all honesty, it’s exactly what I planned!  With three boys, a small farm, 4-H projects, family trips, visiting guests and everything a summer offers, I just knew coupon clipping would be next to impossible to do this summer.  (That’s the first of my coupon clipping tips — know your lifestyle and fit coupon clipping around it.You con’t have to let coupon clipping take over!)

So, if you remember back this spring, I talked about stocking up and preparing for a summer of very little couponing (which also means very little shopping which then means very little expense!).  Guess what?  We never ran out of toilet paper, toothpaste or any other household item.  Since I was devout in stocking up on the items I knew our family needed to get through the summer, we were able to live off the stockpile and never spend a dime this summer on those items.

That’s what I love about couponing…the flexibility and its adaptable nature!  But now that fall is arriving, it’s about time to get back onto the throne of Coupon Royalty and start replenishing our shelves.

This week I pulled out my trusty Coupon Binder to get it back into working condition.  I’ve been trying to re-organize my binder so it is more efficient and user-friendly.  One topic that always surfaces when I talk to people about couponing is how they clip their coupons.  There are two schools of thought out there and I haven’t decided which one works best for me.  Maybe it’s a blend of the two.

The first method of coupon clipping is to clip every coupon every Sunday and file them in your binder according to their category.   Doing it this way requires some time upfront to go through your inserts, cut the coupons and then file them. If you like to find coupon codes online you can visit iSaving.net.

This is the method I used when I first began couponing.  It works well to have the coupons already categorized and ready to pull out. The theory behind clipping every coupon is the fact sometimes you may need to buy an item in order to get something else for free.  Okay, I understand the theory but I don’t employ it, so I only clip the coupons I know I will use.

The second method of coupon clipping is to file the entire Sunday coupon insert and then just clip a coupon when you need it.  At first, this seemed like the lazy man’s approach to couponing but I’m starting to appreciate the ease of this method.  The only problem I have is: knowing which coupon is in which insert.

This requires me to constantly be connected to the various online couponing blogs which tell you that information.  But it makes for quite the scene at the grocery store when I come across an unexpected sale and I’m searching through 4 weeks of inserts looking for that coupon.  Plus, it does make for an ultra thick binder!  This method saves some time upfront since you’re not clipping all the coupons on Sunday but you still need to file the inserts according to their date.

As I’m preparing for my upcoming “couponing season,” I’m going to try and find a happy medium between the two techniques of coupon clipping.  I like having some pre-clipped coupons for the items I know I will purchase (toilet paper, toothpaste, paper towels, etc) so I will still dedicate some time on Sundays to clip those coupons and put them in their slick, little plastic sheet pockets.  Then I will file the other inserts according to their date in my folder as well.

I’m also going to try a sticky note on the front of the insert to write down the various coupons in that particular insert.  I think this will help save time and the hassle.  For example, if I need a coupon for Windex, then I won’t have to search every insert for it.   I am fairly confident that this blend of the two techniques will offer me the efficiency, organization and ease which I need to be successful in couponing.  I’m also confident I’ll have to do some tweaking of this system as time goes on to make it fit my needs just right.

Coupon clipping is personal.  Everyone does it just a little differently and not every method works perfectly for everyone.  It’s really about finding a technique that is easy and useful for you. If couponing becomes cumbersome, you just won’t do it and we all know that’s not a good thing!  Find your own groove for clipping and storing coupon and remain open to tweaking as you progress in your couponing adventures.

Samsung Galaxy S3 named best smartphone ahead of S4 release

Samsung Galaxy S3 has claimed the top prize at the Global Mobile Awards held at MWC 2013, receiving the Best Smartphone gong from the GSM Association ahead of a Samsung Galaxy S4 release date.

The South Korean company was also named the Device Manufacturer of the Year at the MWC 2013 ceremony, after becoming the global market leader for smartphones and mobile phones. Receiving the award for the second year running, the prize recognises the technological innovation achieved by Samsung. 

Presented with the Best Smartphone award for the flagship Samsung Galaxy S3, the gong recognises the device’s “world beating smartphone experience with uncompromised performance” says the GSM Association. The award was also in response to overwhelming customer demand, as Samsung has already sold over 40 million units of the handset worldwide. 

“2012 was a defining year for Samsung that saw us set new records in the mobile industry,” said JK Shin, Samsung’s Head of IT and Mobile Communications. “The judges have recognised Samsung’s innovation across multiple categories. At Samsung we are committed to changing the way customers around the world experience mobile technology, in all categories and markets.”

Samsung Galaxy S4 rumours


Samsung award recognition comes just weeks before an anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4 launch at the Samsung Unpacked event now confirmed for March 14, just two weeks after MWC 2013 finishes.

According to pictures leaked online, the Samsung Galaxy S4 release date has been teased as April 22, a suitable launch timetable to keep the next Samsung flagship ahead of other Android rivals like the Sony Xperia Z and LG Optimus G Pro. 

The Samsung Galaxy S4 could potentially play host to a 2GHz Exynos quad-core processor, as rumours of eight-core innards have mostly now been dismissed, supported by 2GB of RAM and the option of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB internal storage options.

Expected to launch with Samsung’s newest TouchWiz 6.0 UI coupled with the latest Google OS, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, as seen in the Google Nexus 4, the Samsung Galaxy S4 could also feature a stunning 5-inch Super AMOLED Full HD display. 

Also tipped to appear are 4G LTE connectivity, an energetic 3100mAh battery and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. 

Do you think the Samsung Galaxy S3 deserved to win the Best Smartphone prize for 2012? Was the Samsung Galaxy S3 or iPhone 5 was better. Will you be excited to see what the next Samsung flagship handset can offer? Let us know via the Trusted Reviews Facebook and Twitter pages or the comment boxes below.