If you never thought you would live to see the day when BlackBerry gave up its grip on the most popular feature of its devices, BlackBerry Messenger, you might be surprised to learn that you can now download BBM for both Android and iPhone. Check out my guide to BBM, featuring tips on setting up and using this useful messaging service.
...on smartphones anyway! The latest estimates from market analyst emarketer.com show that Instagram, the photo and video sharing service owned by Facebook, now has in the region of 5 million more users in the US than Twitter. While it seems that Twitter retains a higher percentage of older users, the millennial and generation x demographic prefer Instagram. Which service do you use? Or do you think that they are different enough to both have a place on your phone?
The producer of the insanely popular Nintendo Wii game Animal Crossing has recently hinted that smartphones could play a part in the next game in the series. Whether this means that you will be able to play parts of the game on your Android phone, or if it means that Animal Crossing will have a full mobile version soon, we don't know at the moment. Fans of the games should certainly be seeing some exciting announcements soon.
With several big smartphone launches this month, there are sure to be many people getting themselves a new phone. But no matter if the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the HTC One M8 is the phone which is floating your boat, getting set up properly when you have the shiny new device in your hands is important. Have a look at my New Smartphone Checklist for some simple ways to make sure getting a new phone is straightforward.
If, like me, you are the sort of person who likes to have a new phone every year (or in my case, sometimes several new phones each year), then you will have probably sold a few old phones in the past. Protecting your phone during the time you use it not only makes it better to use, it also makes it easier to sell. So next time you get a new phone, have a think about what you can do to protect it, and you will discover that it is much easier to sell it at a good price when time to upgrade comes around.
A new addition to About Cell Phones: individual app guides. I have started off with a guide to getting the most out of Spotify Free for Android, and will be following up with guides to WhatsApp, Snapchat and many more. If there is an app you would like to understand better through a user guide, let me know and I will add it to the list.
Almost every smartphone user customizes their phone to some degree, even if that only means changing the home screen wallpaper and choosing a new ringtone. However, there are numerous ways to not only change how phone looks and sounds, but also how it behaves and how you interact with it. One of the easiest ways to add usability to a smartphone is to customize the contacts, adding as much information as possible and therefore giving other apps more information to work with.
After a considerable wait, it seems that Sony have now started rolling out the KitKat update for their flagship Z1 globally. While iPhone users smirk at the delayed update process of Android, it seems that the OS is still going strong, claiming the largest market share of any mobile operating system. Are you still waiting for the Android KitKat update? What do you think Google and Android smartphone manufacturers could do to improve the process?
If you can't wait to get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S5, and whilst I am waiting for my review phone to arrive, why not have a look at my run down of the new features Samsung's shiny new handset has been wowing audiences with at the Mobile World Congress this week.
The excellent Windows 8 mobile operating system gets a bit of an unfair deal on About Cellphones. It simply isn't as popular a subject as Android and other cellphone categories, and that means that I don't spend quite so much time writing guides, tips and articles about it. Well to try to readdress the balance, and help out those Windows Phone 8 users out there, here are some incredibly useful rebooting tips, showing what to do if your phone freezes, crashes or behaves erratically.
As younger and younger children are being allowed to use increasingly more sophisticated smartphones (I know a eight-year-old with a iPhone 5S), it makes sense for parents to understand how they can protect their children using the safety features built into many modern mobile operating systems. This is something which Windows Phone 8 does well with the My Family feature, allowing users to control which apps can be downloaded on their child's phone remotely. Almost all smartphones feature something like this, but how many parents have actually set these controls up?
According to a report in the UK online edition of The Telegraph newspaper, Smartphone users spent over three times as much on games as users of handheld consoles like the Nintendo DS and PS Vita in 2013. This can hardly be a surprise, as the number of smartphones in daily use far exceeds the number of all handheld consoles combined, surely? Do you have a DS or Vita, or even one of the older handheld consoles? Do you still game on it? Or is it gathering dust in favor of playing games on your phone?
As I write this, my Galaxy S4 is sadly still without the newest operating system, KitKat. Despite rumors that the update would be rolled out for the S4 in January 2014, with the S3 and other older devices expected to be updated in March '14, there seems to be little indication that Samsung will hit that date. Whilst it isn't a major problem for me to wait a little longer for the additions KitKat brings, I have to wonder if everyone is still waiting, or if some territories have already got their hands on 4.4. If you are a Galaxy S4 user who has already received the OTA update, let us know.
It seems that not even the restroom is safe from the cell phone invasion, according to a survey carried out by Sony Mobile and Telefónica's UK. When asked, an astonishing 75% of respondents admitted to using their cell phone whilst using the lavatory, either checking sms messages, social network updates or simply playing a game. Even more astonishing is the fact that 15% of the male respondents admitted to regularly sitting down to urinate so that they had hands free to check their phone! I can't wait to see the Task Manager app which helps with that problem!
Following months of speculation from smartphone news websites, it seems that the rumored new Samsung Windows Phone 8 device might soon become a reality. Several sources are claiming to have seen leaked details of the Samsung SM-W750V device in special interest groups online. Read More...
If you are a HTC One X owner eagerly awaiting the release of the Android KitKat update for your phone, then you are surely going to be disappointed at the news that HTC has confirmed that the popular device will not be receiving any Android updates past 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean). Quite why this is, I really don't know. The HTC One X is a powerful and capable device, and surely good enough, with enough storage space to handle anything KitKat will be adding to the party. Maybe it is time to trade your HTC One X in for a HTC One or HTC One Max?
There has been plenty of news about the eagerly awaited new Galaxy S5 device over the last week or so. It looks almost certain to be released in March, and will come in two different versions. There will be a standard plastic version, as well as a more expensive metal version for those who crave something a little bit more classy. We can expect a 5.25in 2,560x1,440 AMOLED display, an updated camera (rumored to be 13MP) and a choice or two different CPU's (depending on where you live). At this time it looks like the choices will be a Exynos 6 or a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU. As far as software additions, there seems to be little news, although we expect improvements to existing features such as S Voice and Optical Reader.
Not lucky enough to get a new phone for Christmas? Well how about breathing new life into your old phone with a home screen replacement app, or Launcher? These clever bits of software can turn even the most boring UI into a 3D masterpiece or even make your Android phone look like it is running Windows Phone 8 or iOS 7. If you have never heard of Android launchers before, check out GO LaucherEX on the Google Play Store to see one of the best examples.
If you, like me, were lucky enough to get a new phone for Christmas, or if you picked one up in the sales, it is quite possible that you are thinking about selling your old phone. Before you do, it is important to make sure that you have completely removed any trace of yourself from it, from removing the SIM to formatting the SD card. Our pre-sale checklist should help ensure that your private data doesn't get passed on along with the phone when you sell.
Whilst apps like Angry Birds, Candy Crush and WhatsApp get all the media attention, it is easy to forget that there are thousands of apps available which are just as important. Maybe not important for their entertainment value, but certainly important to the smooth running of your Android smartphone. Take a look at our list of useful utility apps for some great examples of just this type of software.
HTC One and HTC One Maxx and Mini owners wondering when their devices will see a Sense variant of the new Android operating system shouldn't have to wait much longer than February 2014. The HTC One will be the first of the family to receive the update, with the larger and smaller versions of the device following shortly afterwards. The delay is due to the custom UI found on the HTC One and other Android devices, with features like BlinkFeed needing to be worked around the update. Even as an ardent Android fan, I can't help but be a bit envious of the smooth roll out of operating system updates that Apple users enjoy.
Requests for "Best of" app review articles continue to hit my mail box, and one of the most commonly requested seems to be for SMS or messaging apps. This is one category which is very well represented by some incredibly well-rounded apps, so I spent some time trying out dozens of the most popular to come up with my list of the three best SMS replacement apps available right now. If you are still using the stock text messaging app on your phone, get ready to be amazed at what you can do with a free replacement!
Ready to take the leap from feature phone to smartphone, but worried that you will be baffled by the very thing that is supposed to make your life easier? Well don't worry! There are scores of guides, tips and reviews aimed squarely at the beginner on About Cell Phones, all designed to make using your smartphone easier and more rewarding. And if you don't see a guide you need, or have a question which hasn't been answered, you can let me know here and I will do my best to help out. A great place to start is the Android Smartphone FAQ.
It constantly amazes me that many smartphone uses seem to know how to do incredible things on their devices, yet neglect things like backing up or virus protection. These things take minutes to do, and could save you hours or even days of frustration should anything go wrong with your phone. Come on you smartphone owners, isn't it time for a little housekeeping?
Think of any of the big-selling, flagship smartphones which have launched this year and many of them, including the Galaxy s4, Galaxy S3 and HTC One, have been quickly followed by mini versions. There is obviously a market for smaller devices, despite the trend to make phones with bigger and bigger screens. Sadly, the mini versions of most phones are so far removed from the original that they bear little more in common than the name. Check out my review of the HTC One Mini to see if there is a glimmer of hope for these shrunken down versions.