Apple’s iWatch is not the only product on the wearable tech market. There is also the Microsoft Band. But neither of these is the most advanced wearable technology available.
That honor goes to LifeBEAM Gear. Originally developed for the aerospace industry, LifeBEAM was developed to accurately measure human performance biometrics in extreme conditions.
Astronauts and fighter pilots wear LifeBEAM helmets so that ground crews can monitor their vital signs while flying. Special Forces uses it on deployments. Now the public can benefit from this technology, modified to be affordable for athletes or to monitor health issues.
The data is transmitted to smartphone apps, watches, computers or ANT+ equipped devices via the low-energy Bluetooth chip embedded in the back of the wearable product.
The LifeBEAM Gear is just being rolled out. The first product to hit the market was a bicycle helmet. The sensors are at the front and the transmitter at the rear. Popular in the biking community, early reviews indicate the technology is very accurate.
Caps and visors are also available with more products to come. LifeBEAM has signed contracts with top fitness apparel brands to add sensors to clothing as well as more tech. Sensors have already been developed that measure at the temple, forehead, inner ear, wrist, arm, and foot.
Samsung Partners with LifeBEAM
Samsung has aligned with LifeBEAM to give the Apple iWatch and Microsoft Band a run for their money. While these watches are primarily fashion accessories, the Apple iWatch does have a practical purpose. Wearers can use it to purchase products using Apple Pay. But neither of these appears to be positioned to compete with LifeBEAM.
Samsung is using LifeBEAM to power devices using the Samsung Simband platform. Samsung’s idea is to have health related apps developers incorporate the use of sensors to measure skin temperature, heart rate, skin conductivity (how much a user sweats), blood flow, and other data.
Products using this type of technology can go beyond wearables and health monitoring. Samsung demonstrated a tennis racket made by Balobat at a developer’s conference. Using the sensors in the Simband platform, the racket measures a player’s movements. These measurements are then used to improve the player’s game.
Gadgets in your clothing or sports equipment could make you a better golfer or increase your score in any number of sports. Medical professionals could use wearable tech to diagnose intermittent health conditions. Read more about the Samsung partnership here.
Interested in seeing how it works in a live demonstration? Check out this video:
Smart phones are everywhere with new models coming out every week. In Q1 2014 according to MarketingLand (citing U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report) 66% of emails were opened on smartphones or tablets. If you are sending email messages, they absolutely must be mobile responsive.
What is Mobile Responsive?
While it would seem simple, it actually isn’t. Web pages and email needs to be easy to read on devices of all different sizes. Images must resize themselves. Videos need to play with the phone or device held both vertically or horizontally.
If 66% of emails are opened on mobile devices, what happens to those that display poorly? While marketers would hope the recipient would simply wait and read it on their desktop or laptop, many say they simply delete messages that don’t look good on mobile. Unless you want to continue to risk having your important email messages deleted, now is the time to get serious about mobile responsiveness.
Typical Non-Mobile Responsive Problems
What is likely to be happening when non-mobile responsive emails are views on mobile devices?
Templates are typically too wide, leading to unreadable microscopic text
Mobile users must continually pinch, scroll, and zoom
Call to action buttons are too small to be touched instead of clicked
Many won’t bother, leading to poor email marketing results.
Tips for Mobile Responsive Messaging
Even if you’re using mobile responsive templates, creating the optimum mobile responsive messaging requires some changes. This slideshare provides some great tips:
Why should emails be adapted for mobile (slide 2)
Mobile open rates have grown 300% since 2010 (slide 9)
Example comparing good vs bad mobile rendering (slide 12)
Simplify your emails (slide 19)
iPhone subject lines cut off at 35 characters, so front load your keywords (slide 20)
Reserve the top for your call to actions (CTAs)
Move social media links and buttons further down
Go easy on images; alt-text are vital (slide 21)
Use Capitals in titles
Good mobile rendering examples (slide 22)
Be sure to include or offer a plain text version because older phones including many older smart phones do not recognize mobile responsive coding.
How to Create Responsive Email Designs
Coding for mobile responsiveness is complicated, so why not take the easy way out? The latest versions from leading email solution providers such as GetResponse include responsive email design built-in. To get a feel for how it works, watch this short video:
Create your own templates from scratch
Drag and drop elements
Preview changes live
Easily paste and edit text
View changes as you go
Automatically adjusts to mobile
Looks great on any device
First truly responsive email design
Remember that your emails should lead your subscribers to a site which is also mobile responsive. Be sure to test any ‘mobile responsive themes‘ you consider, because many are not fully mobile responsive – even though they claim to be. When testing, ensure that headers resize and videos can be played when the device is rotated in any direction.
Just as emails can be created using mobile responsive templates, you can also create mobile responsive landing pages – sometimes using the same solution. Mobile growth is only going to keep skyrocketing, so putting off going mobile responsive is just a very bad idea.
Sony kept specs for their new flagship smartphone under wraps until yesterday at CES 2013. Previously some images had been leaked and rumors indicated the phone would be an Xperia C650x Odin.
What Sony actually announced at CES 2013 was the Sony Xperia Z and ZL. Whether this is the same phone or a different model has not yet been determined.
Only now can we share with you the complete details on this new phone Sony hopes will be their giant killer flagship product. The camera on this phone is getting rave reviews – but the most unique feature is being fully touted visually.
Xperia Z ~ The First Water-resistant Smartphone
The coolest thing about the new Xperia Z is that it is water-resistant – but given the way it is being demonstrated by reviewers, buyers will think it is waterproof. There are videos of this phone being totally underwater in a fishbowl (for 10 minutes the video claims) and this video from CES 2013 of Sony’s Dunking Test:
Hopefully Xperia Z buyers will realize that the phone is only water resistant if the plugs are all closed and in good condition!
Being water-resistant is a very useful feature for any smartphone. Who hasn’t accidentally splashed liquid on a phone or even had one fall out of their pocket into the toilet? Note that the phone is WATER resistant.
While it will stand up to other liquids better than most phones IF the plugs are closed, remember that anything sweetened or carbonated could be a very different story. You can often dump water out of a computer keyboard, let it dry, and it will still function. Sweeteners will stop your PC keyboard from working and substances like Coca-Cola are even worse because they will lift land patterns right off circuit boards!
In a pinch you can use cola to clean your battery cables – so don’t let water-resistance cause you to take unnecessary risks with even a water-resistant smartphone.
SONY XPERIA ODIN
Trendingphones tipped us to their post about the Sony Xperia Odin being the top search on their site, so we know that Sony has been able to generate interest and curiosity about this new phone.
GearBurn writer Robin-Leigh Chetty provided more details about Sony Odin models, but not enough to know whether the Z is the rumored Odin or another phone with the Odin still under wraps.
Keyboard manufacturers have quietly changed their keyboards and they do not make it easy to notice BEFORE you order it online or buy it and get it home.
Before you buy a new keyboard, here’s what you need to know:
Many are NOT traditional desktop size or layout any more. The default has changed to a laptop layout with flatter keys in a different place. The keys may also be smaller than you’re used to and the keyboard may be flimsy and have a totally different feel.
Here are the choices you have to make to choose the right keyboard:
Wireless, USB (flat connection), PS/2 (round, purple connector) or ADP jack (Apple) ~ Not sure what these are? See the images on this page.
Layout: QWERTY (what most of us use), AZERTY, QWERTZ, HCESAR or one-handed?
Standard (traditional desktop), laptop (flatter, smaller with the insert, home, end, delete, page up and page down keys in a different location than PCs originally used),
Standard, illuminated, lighted or backlit ?
Special keyboards; ergonomic, multi-media, gaming, “Internet”, membrane, glass, larger keys or larger print type
USB or PS/2 TYPE CONNECTIONS?
Not a computer geek? One thing you’ll want to know is the difference between commonly used cables. Originally, mice and keyboards used what are known as PS/2 connectors. The keyboard connection is purple and the mouse is green. See the image below:
Newer keyboards and mice and many other peripheral devices usually attach using USB connections. (See the image below.) A USB cable has a flat end and newer computers have many USB ports on them – sometimes on both the front and the back. There are also storage devices that plug into USB ports as do wireless keyboards and mice.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand all of the above. Unless you or the person you’re buying for have special needs, here are some tips to help you:
PC KEYBOARD BUYING TIPS:
If the person using it primarily uses a laptop they might want one of the new laptop layout keyboards so the keys are in the same place and the keyboard feels the same.
For a desktop computer user or someone who does data input or types for a living, avoid the new smaller laptop layouts and choose a standard size and layout with curved key tops.
Serious bloggers who spend a lot of time online and especially those who are over 40 might love a lighted, large print keyboard like the AZIO 3 color LED Bold x2 Large Print keyboard I’m typing this on.
If maximum productivity interests you and are willing to learn a new layout, consider testing a one-handed keyboard
Some swear by ergonomic and split keyboards, but most who try them don’t like them or end up sticking with them. More might use them if the cost of trying them out weren’t so high.
You can’t really know how you will like a keyboard until you use it. I had a friend pick up a replacement keyboard and that is when I found out that the default style had changed.
YOU MAY NOT LIKE THESE KEYBOARDS
The new Logitech Wireless Combo MK360 is very different than a traditional Logitech. Even though it was obvious the layout was different, the size was smaller, the keys were flat and even the mouse was downsized, I thought I would eventually get used to it. I didn’t.
These smaller, flatter keyboards are harder to stay centered on so you make more typos. The little nub that tells you you’re on the right keys is less obvious so when you move the mouse and back you end up on the wrong key.
The smaller keys and mouse make my hand cramp – and I have really small hands. So I really doubt that men or anyone who types a lot would prefer this smaller size.
It is likely that many major brands will be defaulting to a laptop type keyboard, so if you use a desktop or type for a living you’ll want to be more selective. If you primarily use a laptop, you may want to scoop up this deal:
YOU MAY LIKE THIS
I almost didn’t order the AZIO keyboard because some of the reviewers did not like the difference in how the keyboard feels. It has a lighter, bouncier touch than the keyboards I usually prefer.
The keyboard having choices of three colors of lighting (blue, red, or purple) makes it easier on my eyes. Personally I prefer the blue, but reviewers have other preferences.
For me as a power user, there is no perfect keyboard because what
I most want is a lighted keyboard with curved keys, larger type,
and action like the original IBM and DELL keyboards had.
The only way you’ll know for sure is to try one – and they are fairly inexpensive, so if being able to type without other lighting on and read keys in less than optimum conditions appeals to you, I encourage you to take one for a spin.
My eyes and hands appreciate the one I have. The image below shows the three colors and the larger keys with big letters. Perfect for someone who needs reading glasses, but doesn’t wear them when typing. Click the image below for product reviews and more details.
WHERE TO BUY COMPUTER KEYBOARDS
If you’re buying online, you may have to look at many images to try to figure out which keyboards have flat versus curved keys and which layout they use (standard or laptop). You can also read the reviews to help you decide. See my tips in Deals or Duds: How to Save Big and Avoid Getting Burnt.
While big box stores and Amazon are good places to read reviews and see all the choices, I encourage you to support your small local computer repair shop or independent online ecommerce store.
Amazon and corporate brands are cheaper because they squeeze their suppliers and retailers and keep the profits for themselves. This creates economic decline and eventually we end up with only businesses that are barely surviving or have already failed and jobs that do not pay a living wage.
Spend a little more and have the satisfaction of knowing you made the world a better place. You’ll also get better service and have someone to get assistance from when you have a computer problem.
Almost as many negative comments as positive have been recorded on social networks – which are quite likely reducing desire to buy the new iPhone. These graphs show there is not a great outpouring of positive comments on social media about the iPhone 5.
Further analysis would be necessary to find out exactly which of the issues are causing the most negative comments. See the video reviews below for what those issues are.
iPhone Video Reviews
C/Net Video iPhone 5 Review Pros:
Larger screen (longer)
4G speeds which can be twice many people’s home wifi
iPhone5 Review Cons:
Some networks can’t do voice and data at the same time
iPhone 4 cables won’t fit
Engadget iPhone 5 Video Review
Extra row for apps at the bottom
1136×640 display size
Thinner, lighter, taller than 4S
Two tone colors
8 mega pixel camera
Social Media Sentiment
Murray Newlands talks about why he feels fans are so disappointed in this short video:
Having watched those iPhone Video reviews what do you think?
Is that the iPhone you’ve been waiting for or will having to buy new cables, or not being able to use voice and data at the same time on Sprint or Verizon or not liking the new Mapping app put you off buying?
Tell us whether you’ve bought one, want one – or decided it isn’t for you in the comments.