A round-up of the very best smartphones of 2013

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As 2013 draws to an end, now is the time to look back on the last 12 months and take a closer look at the highlights of the year. For technology fans, this year has been a great one for the smartphone, which has developed even further than many would have believed possible.

Let’s take a look at the very best smartphones of 2013, before we start looking ahead to next year’s new releases.

1. LG G2. LG has outdone the competition with the G2, which boasts high-end features, great performance and exceptional style. The best and most surprising thing about the LG G2, however, is its very affordable price.

2. iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s offers everything from speed, a big screen, a lightweight design, amazing high-tech features and jaw-dropping photos and videos. There isn’t much more you could want, except perhaps a couple of hundred knocking off its sizeable price-tag.

3. Samsung Galaxy S4. It may be a bit pricy, but it is hard to beat the Galaxy S4 when it comes to exceptional performance and hardware. It’s an all-round amazing device, one which is not only available on 4G networks but also works with a pay as you go sim card.

4. HTC One X+. If you liked the HTC One, you’ll be blown away with the newer version, which boasts extended battery life and a newer version of Android.

5. Huawei Ascend P6. This device is often mentioned by technology fans as one of the most beautifully designed smartphones around. It offers value for money, has great cameras and a customisable interface, and could only really be improved with 4G access and NFC.

6. Nokia Lumia 720. Like the Nokia Lumia 625, the Lumia 720 is a fantastic mid-range smartphone which makes the very most of Windows Phone 8. If you want good, reliable performance and a well-balanced device, all for a reasonable price, the 720 is the phone to go for.

7. iPhone 5c. Although some have argued that there was no need for the 5c, as it is simply a brighter, funkier version of the hugely popular 5s, there’s no denying that this handset is a really great device (as is the 5s) with the added bonus of being more fun and much more colourful.

How To Promote Your Small Business Quickly And Cheaply With Technology

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If you want to make your business a success then you need to make sure that people know about it. You could be giving away pure gold, but if you didn’t find a way to make sure people knew about it, then you would find that you didn’t get many customers.

Thankfully self-promotion is easier these days than it has been in the past thanks to the wealth of useful technology that is available to everyone. By using printing, online advertising and social media, it’s possible for even the smallest company to be seen by thousands every day with no need to blow millions on a TV ad campaign.

So what are the quickest and most effective ways to use technology and get your name out there? Read on and you’ll discover how to make your business eminently discoverable with a low budget and a short timescale…

Printing

Every business has a printer these days, so the only investment you need to make to promote your business with print materials is in the ink. And for local companies this is a brilliant and easy strategy – all you need is to outsource the design of a great flier or poster and then to distribute these around your local area by hanging them in shop windows or even handing them out/posting them through letter boxes. This is a great method because it means your potential customers will actually be holding something physical – and that’s much harder to ignore than an e-mail.

PPC

One of the best ways to bring people quickly to your website is with a PPC ad campaign. Essentially this is any advertising campaign where you only pay out when someone clicks on one of your adverts. This in turn means that you don’t waste any money paying for ads that no one sees or responds to.

The most popular form of PPC is ‘AdWords’, which is the main program offered by Google. Using AdWords you can get your text ads to show up as ‘sponsored links’ alongside organic search results. This in turn means that you can pay to show alongside particular search terms, thus allowing you to ‘target’ particular users. Trying to promote a hotel in Sweden? Then you’d target terms like ‘hotel in Sweden’ and perhaps ‘things to do in Sweden’.

SEO

SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ and is the system that companies use to get their sites to rank naturally in Google and on other search engines. In other words, by using SEO you can get your site to show up when someone types ‘hotels in Sweden’ as one of the regular results, and of course the main aim here is to get to the top of the list for as many related terms as possible.

SEO is a fantastic tool that is very cost effective and that can bring you long-lasting results. However it is also a relatively slow process and can be complicated to learn at first.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing means essentially trying to promote your business through Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and other social networks. This is a strategy that more and more companies are using, and it’s a great way to spread your brand through a network and to gain a ‘personal’ touch as well.

As an added bonus, social media marketing is also tied closely to SEO. If you can get lots of people to naturally share and like your pages and groups, then Google will see this as a sign that your website is popular and it will help it to rank more highly again in the organic search results.

YouTube

Did you know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the net? And because you can create compelling videos that will grab people’s attention much more than a long article, it can also be more impactful and convincing than other forms of marketing. Create a viral video, or an entertaining channel, then link to your site in the description to bring lots of new traffic to your site.

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/print-printer-printing-device-159336/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/social-network-facebook-network-76532/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/dress-shop-dresses-clothes-inside-97261/

The contributor of today’s article is Carol Parker. Carol is a freelance blogger currently writing for Excel Toners, leading suppliers of toners and cartridges. Carol is an ardent reader of novels and likes to blog about variety of things that interest her.

Struggle To Use Android Phones? The Note 3 Might Just Be The Surprising Solution For You!

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There’s no denying that smartphones are designed for abled-bodied people and that they’re targeted at people who are ‘average’ in as many ways as possible. Most greatly favour right handed operation for instance, and using a keyboard on a small touchscreen display is something that clearly hasn’t been designed with accessibility in mind.

Although this is the case however, phones are getting better at accommodating a greater range of users. Technologies that were maybe designed initially to add features for consumers who would want a phone that can ‘do everything’ have actually proven to have a number of other uses that make the technology more accessible for people who are just happy to be able to navigate and load apps. No phone at the moment is quite as packed with features as the Galaxy Note 3, so that might just be the most practical and accessible phone on the market – surprising given its huge size!

If you’re sceptical, then read on to see some of the ways that Galaxy Note 3s make life easier for their users and help connect you with the content you want…

The Screen:

The first feature of the new Note phone that makes it more accessible is the huge screen. This is the aspect that most people are somewhat dubious about – can such a large screen really be convenient for everyday use? Fortunately a number of smart options (such as the ability to shrink the screen for one handed use in response to a gesture command) and a one-handed keyboard make this less of a problem than you’d think. And that then means that you’re free to take advantage of just how convenient a large screen like that can be: no more squinting at text or accidentally hitting the wrong link!

The Pen:

Touchscreen input is unfortunately rather fiddly at the best of times, but the Note 3’s stylus manages to combat that problem by allowing you to write directly onto the device. This is handy for taking notes, but what makes it even cleverer is the fact that there’s such good handwriting recognition on-board and ready to turn your hand writing into text messages, contact details and more. Don’t like touchscreen keyboards? Then don’t use them!

Air Gesture:

Air gesture is a smart feature that really shows just how far phone technology has come in recent years. Basically switching this mode to ‘on’ means that you’ll be able to scroll through photos and perform a range of other tasks by simply moving your hand in front of the sensor. For someone who has wet hands because they’re washing up, or who wants to use their phone propped up in bed, this is very useful indeed.

Smart Scroll: But why use your hands at all when all it takes to control a phone these days is for you to direct your gaze? By using Smart Scroll you can set your phone up to register when you look up or down, and to scroll the content on the page accordingly. You can this way read a whole eBook without ever needing to touch the device.

Voice Command:

Better yet are the various voice command features built into the Note 3, which let you launch apps right from your lockscreen by simply saying the name of the app you want to run. You can also answer calls this way and more, meaning that you can stay in touch with family and friends, browse the web and more simply by talking to your phone.

Google Now:

Google Now takes this further by allowing you to check the weather, to carry out searches and to get directions all using a smart voice command. This option is available on all new Android phones and is ideal for quickly finding the information you need, giving Siri a run for its money.

These are just a few of the settings that make the Note 3 so versatile and effective. There’s tons to play around with here, so even if you normally struggle to find your way around an Android you may just find a combination of settings that works for you. Let’s hope that more phones follow this example…

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/iphone-smartphone-touch-screen-106351/
  •  License: Image author owned 

This article has been authored by John Pellet. John is a freelance blogger currently working for Freedom Lift Systems, leading manufacturer of residential wheelchair lifts. John loves to spend time by the seaside and plays beach volleyball with his friends. Click here www.freedomliftsystems.com/ to know more about his firm.

CompTIA Mobile App Security+ for Android Geeks—Shaping the mobile security networks

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Why CompTIA Mobile App Security+?
The market of the mobile devices is extending increasingly as the demand for new and high tech devices is constantly arising from the customers. The latest and most in-demand technology of the mobile phones is the Android technology, which has captured the attention of the market. The security concerns are also increasing related to the Android phones and to address this concern, the CompTIA has introduced one of its most useful certification, i.e. CompTIA Mobile App Security+ certification. This certification validates the practical ability and proficiency of the IT professionals in developing sound and secure apps for the Android devices. Some of the top organizations and companies prefer the certified professionals in mobile app security for developing some of the best and securest mobile apps for their devices utilizing the android technology.

Getting the CompTIA Mobile App Security+ Certification
In order to get this useful and valuable certification, the candidates have to attempt an exam, i.e. ADR-001 which is the android edition exam and it includes all the related topics that are being used in the practical situations for developing the new security apps for the Android devices. The pre-requisites for this exam are the sound knowledge on the Java programming, Android SDK, SQL coding, mobile application development, security essentials and aspects and the implementing encryption. Once the IT professionals have successfully passed the exam, then they can welcome some of the very promising and secure job roles in their career.

Job roles after attaining the CompTIA Mobile App Security+ certification
As it has been already mentioned above that the CompTIA Mobile App Security+ certification is highly in-demand by the top organizations and companies. After getting this important certification, the professionals can efficiently fill the following job roles:

 Mobile Application developer and can develop many useful mobile applications for the Android devices.
 Software developer job role is another secure and promising job role that is suited to the professionals after getting this certification. They can take job in big companies and offer their software development services to them.
 Application development manager basically manages the mobile security and other applications. By getting this certification, the professionals are open to take the job of application development manager and can earn high.
 Network security developer is one of the most promising job roles in the sector of mobile app development. The professionals by using their practical knowledge and abilities develop some of the securest android device apps.

Facts about the CompTIA Mobile App Security+ certification

The CompTIA Mobile App Security+ Certification is attained by passing ADR-001 exam which is administered by the Pearson VUE testing center. The exam is offered only in the English language and targets the individuals who want to take up career in the android mobile security apps development. The exam has 100 questions and a pass mark of 730 on a scale of 100-900 should be attained for passing the exam.

How To Get Rid Of TouchWiz Without Rooting Your Phone

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Samsung phones are by all accounts great devices that also happen to be highly popular. While Samsung’s margins might not quite be as high as Apples, they nevertheless have the edge in terms of pure market share which is no doubt down to their devices’ high specifications, varied displays and accessible starting prices.

But unfortunately their phones still aren’t quite perfect and one of their biggest detracting points is the somewhat ‘cheap’ feeling that they tend to have. This is in part due to the plastic that is used in the main builds, but it also comes down to some of the UI decisions – such as the implementation of their somewhat ‘big and clumsy’ TouchWiz interface that sits on top of stock Android. A lot of users really dislike the look, so what can you do about it?

Your Options

One option of course is to route your phone, which will allow you to completely change the firmware you have running on your device. While this might seem like a tempting option however, it does come with a few drawbacks – such as increased security risks, voiding of your warranty, and incompatibility with some apps (certain banking apps for instance won’t run on a rooted phone for the aforementioned security reasons).

Luckily though, Android is the king of customisation and as such there are a number of other options you have when it comes to changing the look and feel of your S4 or Note 3.

The Launcher

One of the first things to look at if you want to change the look and feel of your phone is your ‘Launcher’. Essentially the launcher is the app that your device returns to whenever you turn your phone off and on, or whenever you press the home key. This is the main interface from which you launch all other apps, and as such it is of course a great place to start if you want to change the experience of using your phone. Some of these are very ‘vanilla’ and will provide you with a stripped back Android experience, while others offer 3D effects and animations that are great for showing off. Whatever you choose, this basically gives you the option to pick the launcher you like the most which means you aren’t stuck with Samsung’s dubious tastes…

The Lock Screen

Another aspect to look into is the lock screen, which is the page your phone shows when you turn it on and have to unlock it. Again there are many different apps on the Play Store that will serve as replacements for your existing lock screen, or simply allow you to add widgets and other features to customise it a little. The best lock screen customisations will be those designed to work with the look of your chosen launcher and customisations, so think about an overall theme for your phone when coming up with a design.

App Drawer

The app drawer is the part of the launcher where you sift through apps to find the one you want. It’s another important aspect of the experience, so try some smarter alternatives like QuadDrawer and see which one you enjoy the most.

Bloatware

Perhaps the biggest crime of all with regards to the way Samsung phones arrive though is the sheer amount of ‘bloatware’ that they come preloaded with. Bloatware describes software that the user never asked for that comes preinstalled on the device. This then takes up space, slows down the phone and means you have more apps to sift through when you want to find a new one.

Unfortunately it’s not possible to uninstall these apps either, but what you can at least do is to stop them from running. To do that, open ‘settings’ on your device, then hit ‘apps’ and ‘more’. Find the applications manager and choose the ‘all’ tab. Now just find the app you want to stop and select ‘disable’. That won’t uninstall it, but it will stop it from running in the background which means your phone won’t be slowed down unnecessarily.

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Image author owned 
  •  License: Image author owned 
  •  License: Image author owned 

Nancy Baker, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger, currently writing for, CellphoneUnlocker.com, leaders in Samsung unlock codes. She is an avid technophile who loves attending gadget expos. You can follow Nancy on Twitter @Nancy_Baker_.

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