Monday, 18 August 2014


Good afternoon, Synapse Circuit Readers. How are you? I hope that all is well with you! It seems as though summer is coming to an end here in the UK... It’s gone all cloudy and it rains quite heavily from time to time...

I have had some rather interesting feedback with regards to the “Apple Talk” article. Amongst the quite frankly silly idea that my writing and sharing of the article is pretty much “clickbait” and responses of that sort of nature (and from mature adults too – shock horror) there were a few good ones...

#Apple #Samsung #Google #SteveJobs #TimCook #iPhone6 #iPhone6Phablet #iPhone6L #GalaxyNote4 #GalaxyAlpha

If you are an Apple fan boy or girl to the point of being blinkered then you are not going to be able to see that Apple is not the innovator that it was once. Google have surpassed Apple in many ways and it is hard for Apple fans to take in... Let’s take the iPhone as an example to show that Apple is lagging behind Google...

You would have to have a big chunk of Apple in your eye to not see that premium Android handsets are way in advance of the iPhone save for the 64-bit processor which doesn’t seem to have had a great effect on the iPhone. Premium Android handsets have the following advantages:

1. They are usually constructed with durable materials. Drop an iPhone and an Android phone on a hard surface and if both handsets get away with the screen being intact you are almost guaranteed that the iPhone will have dents and scratches.

2. iPhone fans are excited – quite rightly so – to be able to have a larger screen! Now for the past 2 or 3 years the premium Android handset screen has surpassed the Apple retina standard whereby to go on about the “retina screen” in their adverts has become very redundant.

3. Most premium Android handsets come with a removable battery! Whoohoo! There is nothing worse than being on the go and being aware that your battery is about to go any minute... With the Samsung Galaxy S and Note handsets the battery can be switched out with ease! Look at what has happened to the sale of LG’s G3 when a removable battery was incorporated into that beautiful handset! The sales have skyrocketed for LG! Good for LG!

4. The Android operating system is awesome! Sadly for Tim Cook and co they try to – in every press launch – mock the different versions of Android i.e. Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. But the average user cannot tell the difference between them. Android just works! Okay, I will concede that there can be a lag on pre-Jelly Bean versions of Android but I am not going to pull my hair out just because it takes milliseconds for an app to be launched after launching it.

I’ve said it once and a thousand times: Android is doing remarkably well considering the 100s of iterations of screen sizes, hardware, etc. Android L, version 5 (due this fall) is said to address such attributes. Because the iPhone and iPad are closed off devices – meaning that there aren’t multiple manufacturers making numerous versions with different screen sizes – Apple are therefore able to steer a tighter ship with regards to performance of the devices. However, because Android has so many options it is able to go provide devices at different price points.

5. Price! It has been said by a few iPhone fan boys and girls that there is a lot of “cheap crap” when it comes to some of the budget Android handsets out there. But that is consumer choice! The sad thing is that it is the sales person or persons at mobile device retail outlets who knowingly give a false impression to budget conscious customers wishing to get on the smartphone bandwagon. I’ve done some mystery shopping for the purpose of finding out what retailers tell prospective customers about budget Android handsets:

A. “This is a very good phone; it’s quite fast and has good memory on it...”
That’s an out and out lie. The budget handsets at the time I was investigating proved to have a single core processor and 512MB of RAM. While such a handset is good to make calls it makes a terrible job of delivering processor intensive apps such as social networking apps.

B. “You can store apps directly to the microSD card...”
Another lie! Either that or the person doesn’t realize that many applications just do not function on the microSD card. Google should make it so that apps can run from the microSD card.

I wish mobile devices retail outlet staff would stop being misleading for the purpose of a sale.

Sticking with price... One can enjoy the most latest up-to-date premium Android handsets on a contract whereby the upfront costs are minimal or nonexistent. Again, the budget conscious can get last year’s Android premium model such as the Galaxy S4 or the S3 for a great, great price.

On the mid-range level it is possible for the consumer to purchase an Android handset outright!

6. The Android handset comes in a range of different sizes to suit. If you want a handset with a larger screen for under £250 you’ve got it! Sure, you might have to compromise on a few details such as processor, RAM and screen resolution but it just goes to show how much of a marketing ploy “retina” was before the iPhone and other devices featured a high resolution screen. I have handsets with varying resolutions that I use just fine. But I do agree that a high screen resolution does make a difference but I would be prepared to compromise a little if the screen was good enough and large enough that I wouldn’t notice the pixels that much.

7. External storage. I don’t know about you but as soon as you start taking pictures and HD quality video your phone is filled up before you know it. But slip in a microSD card and you’re laughing. What? You’re not laughing? Oh... Of course you can use cloud based storage but Android has Google Drive, Dropbox and access to other cloud based storage.

8. Cameras of a very high resolution and quality. In tests that I have done between the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5S the Galaxy S5 wins by quite a good margin.

9. The concept of the “phablet”... Once upon a time the Android “phablet” was considered being between 5.5 to 6 inches. Not anymore. Android handsets have become delightfully larger yet still compact that above 6 inches can be considered as a phablet. This means that the 7 inch Android tablet is now in phablet territory and therefore Android tablet manufacturers have built in an onboard mobile broadband in the form of 3G and 4G. Now that is a powerful and liberating thing!

You have to bear in mind that a couple of years ago applications for the tablet was pretty thin but today there are more and more tablet oriented applications that are worth having!

What has been said by some iPhone and iPad fan boys and girls is that when they went for a Google Nexus 7 tablet they felt that they the apps were “just bigger versions of the phone app...” Duh! Well, kinda duh! Lol! The reason for “duh” is because that some apps are developed to cover the small to larger screen. And “kinda duh” is because the 7” tablet has now become a phablet whereby the 7” screen is not much bigger than a standard 5” or 5.5” handset so 7” is not that much of a leap (in screen size)! It may be a different story with an 8” or 10” tablet.

10. Design! Android users can pick from the wonderful designs from many manufacturers. Again, the LG G3 stands out a great deal. As for the iPhone design...’s the same one only a little elongated!

For a long while there were rumours of the Apple iWatch and it has yet to surface. Samsung and Google have beaten Apple to the punch where wearable technology is concerned. The offerings look interesting and Apple has the advantage of being able to usurp Google and Samsung with its own take on the smartwatch. However, Apple hasn’t got, as far as I know, an equivalent of Project Glass. You can say what you want about Project Glass but at least the technology exists and it could work given a chance. Sometimes such a technological breakthrough can be difficult to absorb in the first instance. Now that Project Glass is available on sale on the UK Play Store it is out there for those who can afford it. It makes me laugh that there are bans in place such as the cinema or movie theatre if you prefer. I couldn’t tell you when was the last time I went to the movies because many movies are just about entertaining at best. I can’t imagine myself smuggling in my Project Glass glasses (now there’s a mouthful) to record a crap movie for the purpose of preventing prospective movies goers from purchasing a ticket and / or the official DVD (when released).

Project Glass can be an alternative to the handset and some medical institutions / practitioners are using it to record medical procedures for teaching purposes. Project Glass is very interesting.

Will Apple come up with an alternative to Project Glass?

And carrying on with the eyes, Google have invented an electronic contact lens that is able to detect diabetes. I think that is a great invention. Perhaps the electronic contact lens can detect even more preventable diseases.

Apple have nothing to show - as of yet - where such wearable technology is concerned.

Google have been leading up to Android TV for a while and has faced stiff competition from not only Apple but other players on the computer television front too. I thought Chromecast was a major development in that little dongle that you plug into your HDMI enabled monitor / TV and stream content on the screen using the Android (and iPhone) handset(s). But to bring Chromecast in at £30 is pretty remarkable!

Let’s face it... British UK cable channels are really not very good at all! Take the Channel 4 additional channel E4 as an example whereby it is pure repeats on that channel and when a season of, let’s say, The Big Bang Theory comes to an end that season then goes on Channel 4 and creates an endless repeat cycle. I am fortunate in that I am not a sports fan whereby I have got to see the latest game, etc. But these days one can watch many terrestrial TV channels via the smartphone and Samsung has made it possible to also stream what’s on the mobile screen to the TV screen!

Then there is Amazon and the Kindle range of tablets that uses a version of Android to deliver entertainment to its users. Amazon Kindle can only be made possible by Android.

But the upcoming Android TV can further change the way we view television and films.

And if you are watching a video, TV program or movie doesn’t it look great on an Android handset or tablet compared to the postage stamp of an iPhone screen? You know it does! Ha ha!

I am not going to write too much on tablets as I have already written about tablets and phablets but in case you missed those articles:

The iPad and its mini variations have gone into a sales decline. The reasons for this is because the iPad is surplus to requirements if you already own a Mac or PC and have purchased a bunch of relatively expensive software for the tasks of desktop publishing, video editing, music composition, graphics and so on. It is cheaper for the PC person to go out and buy a decent laptop and use real software as opposed to apps on the iPad. Sure, it may not be a tablet but, to me, the tablet seems rather redundant for PC and Mac owners with the astronomical Surface Pro tablet (Microsoft) and the iPad respectively.

An Android tablet can be cost effective to enjoy for specifics:

Gaming – a review of the Archos GamePad 2 is coming very soon!

Entertainment – music and video

Social Networking / Web Surfing

Music Composition

Video Editing

Office Productivity – Microsoft Office alternatives

Photo Editing / Manipulation

The above represents what one typically would like to do with or on a tablet.

Expenditure on the iPad may be considered as overkill for most people. And as stated before, if you have a decent laptop in the form of a delightful Macbook or a decent PC then you’d just get on with bring productive, game playing or enjoying entertainment on those devices. Very often the laptop is considered to be secondary to the desktop which is often more of a powerful computing beast. So, the tablet may be overkill – especially if it has no built in broadband connection i.e. 3G / 4G. If you had to send a document off you’d rely on Wi-Fi from establishments such as shopping malls, cafes and so on and they may not be safe when taking documents and files of a personal nature into consideration. You’d rather enjoy your own Wi-Fi or stay at home and be productive. The point I am making is that you can just be as productive with a laptop on the way to wherever and connecting with Wi-Fi once you’ve reached your destination. Yes, you can use your phone has a Wi-Fi hotspot but it may cost you extra and if you wanted to take out a contract on any broadband enabled tablet that will cost you in addition to your phone!

Enter the cost effective Android mobile broadband enabled tablet that is good enough to do many of the tasks above. Many people find it necessary to have an additional handset either through pay as you go (PAYG) or via another contract that could be a very cost effective SIM only deal or on such an affordable contract 3G or 4G enabled 7” or 8” inch tablet. But it is possible to purchase such a 7” 4G enabled tablet for around £200! All one would need at that point is a SIM only deal! Hurrah! And if you are not self-conscious regarding making and receiving calls on your 7” 3G / 4G enabled tablet you have a secondary phone! Rejoice! The 3G enabled 7” tablet or phablet is even cheaper! The lowest price I have seen on such a 3G 7” tablet is £80! Of course a lot depends upon the processor and RAM for such intensive tasks as gaming! As mentioned before, the NVIDIA Shield gaming 8” tablet could be what you need!

The one possible downside is that the inexpensive all-round tablet can suffer – if you can call it that – from a low resolution screen but that shouldn’t stop anyone from doing a document in the equivalent of Word for Windows. A low resolution screen shouldn’t stop you from editing video with material that you have transferred from your lap or desktop that could have originated from a dedicated camcorder or smartphone to the tablet. I can see myself editing a video knowing that I may have to spend a considerable amount of time travelling be it on a bus, train, boat or plane!

And there are great music making apps for Android that will allow me to compose on the smartphone but would look better still on a 7” phablet or 8” and above tablet. As I do not have a laptop and I do not feel the inclination to get one I want a tablet with a built in broadband to work injunction with my PC set-up at home.

What I like about the 7” Android phablet or tablet is that it is compact; it can fit in the inside pocket of my jacket quite easily. And because it is made of high grade techno plastic material I don’t have to worry about a pocket rivet or zip scratching the body. The glass screens are quite durable too and if need be I can get protective case that doesn’t add much bulk.

So, in many respects Jobs was right to decry the 7” tablet because it exposes the over expensive premium iPad illusion. And what does Cook do as soon as Jobs was out of the picture? That’s right, put out a 7.9” iPad – the mini! Game over! So, why put out a 7.9” iPad mini if the original iPad is selling well? Because it wasn’t selling well! Why kill the cash cow? What purpose does that serve? To reach the budget conscious with a smaller iPad! As stated before Apple’s idea of premium prestige made sure the iPad mini wasn’t competitive in price thus leaving the market free for Android to exploit.

And when the iPad and mini variants weren’t able to compete they tried to claw back revenue through litigation and trying to force competitive slates from being sold in the States and abroad. Who can forget when Apple was made to - by a UK court - publish an apology and retraction on the UK Apple website that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet did not copy the iPad? Apple being what they are couldn’t publish the retraction without being sarcastic and was made to republish the retraction. Bad, bad PR. Ha ha ha! Shameful!

Could the iPad make a comeback if made from a high grade but inexpensive plastic and onboard 4G as default? I reckon if Apple could have £150 off the cost the iPad will sell.

You would have to be found living under a rock if you didn’t (a) never heard of Gmail and (b) do not have a Gmail account or two! I think Gmail is such an amazing invention in that it fits right into the Google plan of things... Who would have thought that having a Gmail account would connect you up to the Android operating system that leads to the Play Store, G + and other perks that comes with the most popular operating system in the world to date? It is ingenious! Was this the plan all along? But what I appreciate about Gmail is that I am not hemmed in like I would be if I were under Apple.

Gmail is a Godsend to small businesses with an online presence i.e. a website that wishes to avoid extortionate email plans from web hosting providers. It is so easy to open up a Gmail account and start communicating with others. And the beauty is that one can have Gmail on iOS and Windows!

Google, through Gmail alone, has changed the way small businesses and people in general send and receive electronic mail! Although there are some great email apps for POP / IMAP accounts but there aren’t as reliable as the Gmail app. Messages come through 95% of the time in real time via 3G and flawless under 4G and home broadband connection through Wi-Fi. POP / IMAP email apps do not always detect incoming mail automatically and so therefore you have to check manually if you can remember! It is just easier to use Gmail.

G Plus like all the social networking facilities have the usual flaws i.e. trolls and individuals who think that they the judge, jury and executioner of such social networks and forums. See my articles on AntiSocial Networking if you haven’t read them already!

Recently Google has allowed people to assume whatever name they wish to use on G+; I always said that G Plus, Facebook and others were wrong to assume that by using an alternative name to denote an allegiance to a particular culture / subculture. Such people using a name that they have chosen for themselves are more likely to behave in an honest way within a social network. My actual name has presented a problem for Google and I had to prove my identity! Lol!

I like Facebook because I get to meet and see genuine people; it is very social. It is fairly easy to make friends / new connections with individuals, groups and pages.

Twitter has proven to be difficult to interface with people and it takes ages to establish a rapport with people.

In comparison I think G Plus / G+ is like a hybridization of the Facebook Group / Pages with its Communities. But because the G+ interface is more Twitter than Facebook I find it hard to get to strike up a rapport with individuals. As mentioned in the opening of this article, when promoting my articles I get accused of foolishness:-

“Click bait”! What’s gonna happen when you click on the link to my article? The way some people carry on you’d be forgiven for thinking that I was uploading the digital equivalent to the Ebola virus! Gosh!

“Spam”! I don’t understand that... It’s a clear link to an article and you can decide if it is relevant or not. You do not have to click on the Google Ads if you don’t find them relevant. I digress a little but the point I am making is important for independent writers / bloggers wishing to find an audience and the G+ communities really do a good job of channelling my work to intelligent readers and I am slowly but surely building a rapport with people but it is much faster than with Twitter!

What G Plus could do with is a interface overhaul so that it resembles Facebook a little more; other than that I think G+ could around for ages to come. Since its founder, Vic Gundotra departed from Google there have been rumours going round that Google will shut down G+ at some point. I surely hope not; the interface just needs a little tweaking and Google will have a real winner on its hands.

But Apple, as far as I know, does not have its own social networking platform. Others have criticized and mocked G+ yet it has very strong Apple based communities. How’s that for irony?

Whether you want to admit it or not as an Apple fanatic Google has overtaken – at least for now – the mantle of true innovation / innovators. Do not misunderstand me; I appreciate what Apple has done by the way of the introduction of design ethos to the world of computing. I so appreciate the way in which Jobs turned the fortune of Apple around with the iMac. Personally, I thought the iMac was an ugly looking computer but it sure stopped people from thinking of the computers as off-white / cream-ish coloured boxes that you have to attach things to in order to make it work. I’ll tell you something funny... Swallow whatever you have in your mouth as I do not want to be responsible for messing up your screen... A friend of mine told me how her son put his computer together and I thought she meant build the thing from putting the motherboard into the case and so on. What she was referring to was the connection of the monitor, keyboard, mouse and monitor. I had to get up and go to the WC to laugh!

Anyway, I thought it was a masterstroke for Jobs and Ives to redesign the computer. I was actually considering purchasing a Mac computer. Another thing that I loved about the Mac computer is the default software package iWork. Kudos! It made me want to get one of those mini Macs just to exploit some of the iWork software. I forget what the web design program was but what put me off was that I had to get a closed off Mac account in order to make the most of the web functions so I opted for a PC instead and a couple of great web design software: Serif PagePlus and Xara Web Designer. Even then I noticed how Apple can lock you into its ecosystem. I didn’t like that.

I have also noticed that Apple / Jobs are good a reinventing concepts from others. Check the Synapse Circuit interactive PDF issue on how Apple reinvents. Essentially, the iPhone and its operating system, iOS, are like the Symbian as utilized by Nokia – particularly with the N95 handset - and other manufacturers. And the iPad is an idea from different sources including Microsoft’s desire to create a fully blown computer in a tablet form that proved to be too expensive (and still is) and so the project was dashed! It doesn’t take a genius to realize that instead of trying for a computer in a tablet form a new computing platform can be spawned from developing applications for the larger non-cellular iPad? Or does it? Microsoft didn’t see iOS and subsequently Android coming. It’s only natural that Android would want to populate its devices with applications too! Just like there was Facebook for Symbian devices and – if I am correct – Samsung’s Bada so it must follow that there would be a Facebook app for Android and so on and so forth. Again, it was such a pity that Apple / Jobs wanted to go “Thermonuclear” just because Android stole the iPhone and iPad thunder!

It looks as though Google are again revolutionizing computing with Android L and Chrome OS. As you know Android L supports 64-bit architecture and also supports x86 processors by AMD & Intel. In addition to the forthcoming Android 5 (L) there is already a version of Android for the x86 processor via, you can install it on your old PC lying around – probably! But it the official Android 5 release hints at the possibility of it being ported over to the PC! Wow! Are you envisioning software that one can run on the PC running Android? Fancy that... ...being able to run Android on just about any PC configuration! Would the power scale up from the ARM processor to old Pentiums (is that possible? I must check on that...) up to the latest processors from AMD and Intel to enable fast editing of full HD to 4K video and so on?

And then there is the Chromebook computer with Chrome OS and there are some models that utilize Intel i3 and i5 processors. The Chromebook, like Android handsets, are manufactured by leading players in the computer industry:


These Chromebooks are weaving its way into the mainstream i.e. students, schools and families as they are so inexpensive. And nowadays it is possible to watch and edit videos, create documents in a similar and compatible vein of Microsoft Office products (Word, Xcel and PowerPoint) and other productivity apps that one can use offline. I must say that there are great productivity apps for the Chrome OS and recently Google have announced more integration with Android! Oh, many apps are also available for Android too so there is a crossplatform pollination going on. It could very well be that Chromebook laptops may take the place of the Windows laptop. As for Windows Surface... Hmmmm... Let’s face it, Windows RT is a waste of time and computing giant, Dell, has announced that it will not be releasing anymore hardware with Windows RT. It is just pointless! Perhaps Microsoft should adopt Android or Chrome OS on its future computers and ditch Windows for mobile devices too!

In any event Google are certainly offering very great alternatives to often very expensive laptops such as the Macbook. Still, there is some mileage in both the PC and Mac. The prices of the PC keep coming down – even high end game stations are starting at a lower price point. Will Apple follow suit and make more affordable computers and mobile devices? I have noticed that there isn’t a buzz / rumour on the possibility of the iPhone 6C. Hmmmm...

It is said that both Apple’s and Google’s goal is to “make money”. Sure, but it appears to me that Apple wants to sell us the idea of elitism whereas Google wants to make the world a better place through technology and therefore the innovations go deeper into our lives. Fit me up with one of those contact lenses so that I can find out if I drink too much sugar and avoid diabetes. Put another lens in my eye to give me the highest resolution screen so that I can enjoy movies, etc. Yeah, fuse those lenses to my corneas. While you are at it, Google, I’d like a discreet exoskeleton too! Yes, I have been watching Elysium and the tech just makes me think of you (Google). But please cut out the pseudo-Fascist robots – we can do without that nonsense! Thank you!

Yes, it has been revealed by several sources that the iPhone has sold 150 million units in 2013 but is this just the 5S alone or the combination of 5C? Oh well... On that basis there is speculation that Apple has produced 100 to 200 million iPhone 6 units and it is unclear if this is for the 4.7 inch or 5.5 inch version.

Above: The Mi4 from Xiaomi that poses yet another threat to the iPhone 6.

In any event I’ve not budged from my position which is to state that I estimate the production is a lot less due to the emerging markets in China to the point whereby the mighty Samsung has been toppled from being the number one selling handset manufacturer. It appears to be that Xiaomi and Lenovo / Motorola have risen to meet market demand in their territory and as a result this will most likely have an adverse effect on the iPhone 6 market there.

Then there is Samsung’s killer device to be announced on the September 3, 2014... Yes, the Galaxy Note 4! As always there are the usual rumours and a mix of desired features that gets thrown up in “leaks” and whatnot. I have avoided writing on speculations on the Galaxy Note 4 for the simple reason that I want to be surprised! Ha ha! I can tell you what I would like to see and that would be a new out there design based around a YOUM flexible screen, a 20MP camera with optical stabilization and a 64-bit processor but somehow I don’t think all of that is going to happen. But I digress... It is os easy to go off on tangents when considering the possibilities!

I do believe that the Galaxy Note 4 poses a huge threat this time around to the iPhone 6 and if the rumours prove to be accurate that Apple is going to announce it on September 9, 2014 it is because Apple has seen the Galaxy Note go from strength to strength! Many iPhone users didn’t opt for 5S or 5C and went for a Galaxy Note 3 instead! And many iPhone users have told me that they intend on getting the Galaxy Note 4 over the iPhone 6! It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest! The Galaxy Note form factor from screen to the S Pen, split screen multitasking and productivity software is just amazing! I think initially it was meant for business but so many people have gone for the Galaxy Note that is possibly overshadowing the Galaxy S! Well, that’s cannibalism. Or is it?

That’s something to think about!

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