Recommended Reading: January 2015
January 1st, 2015
Some recommended reads from around the internet and popular suggested articles from Ken’s Tech Tips.
Put your feet up and enjoy one of the mobile-related articles listed below. Learn about the latest mobile technology, about UK mobile networks and about technology in general.
- The top 10 bestselling smartphones of 2014 – giffgaff
Using smartphone sales data from 2014, the giffgaff blog looks back upon the top 10 bestselling handsets in 2014. It’s a list mainly dominated by Apple and Samsung but other manufacturers also make it onto the list.
- The UK’s cheapest Moto G deals – Ken’s Tech Tips
If you’re looking to start the year with a brand new smartphone that’s both affordable and powerful, the Android-based Moto G remains my handset of choice. It’s currently available from around £130 SIM-free and unlocked. This article compares the UK’s best value deals on a Moto G 5-inch or Moto G 4G.
- HDR Photography: An explanation of ‘High Dynamic Range’ photography – giffgaff
Recently, I’ve been having a lot of problems taking good quality outdoor photos with the camera on my smartphone. The problem is primarily due to the low-lying winter sun which casts a long shadow. It also gives extreme levels of contrast which are difficult to capture on the small sensor of a cameraphone. On a recent trip to Scotland, I found the only way of taking good-quality photos using a smartphone camera is to enable the ‘High Dynamic Range’ (HDR) feature in the camera. It gives slightly false-looking images but you’re at least able to pick out details in the final image. In this guest blog post I wrote for giffgaff in April, I explain the concept of HDR photography.
- What to expect from smartphone hardware in 2015 – Android Authority
A nice round-up (although fairly technical) about the things to come from smartphone hardware in 2015. Key developments include a next-generation processor from Qualcomm which will support faster download speeds with LTE-Advanced technology. There could also be more power-efficient components and a greater amount of storage on Android-based devices.
- Biometric Security: Fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, voice recognition and more – giffgaff
Since the iPhone 5s introduced a fingerprint scanner for extra security last year, mobile biometrics have grown in popularity. Biometric security is likely to ship on most high-end smartphones in 2015 with key technologies being fingerprint recognition, facial recognition and voice recognition. This guest post, written in March 2014, reviews the current state of mobile biometrics and compares the pros & cons of each biometric security method.
- Optical Image Stabilisation: Technology to reduce camera shake & to give clearer photos – giffgaff
The iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4 include a clever technology known as Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS for short). OIS gives you clearer and sharper photos especially when using the smartphone camera in low-light conditions (e.g. when indoors or on an overcast day). The technology automatically compensates for shaking of the human hand by moving the camera lens in the opposite direction. I’d expect OIS technology to make an appearance on many flagship smartphones in 2015. This guest post will show you how the technology works.
- Mobile internet: How many GB do you really need? – Ken’s Tech Tips
Smartphone tariffs have become increasingly data-centric. The question of “how much data do I need on my smartphone” is commonly asked by readers of this site. At the start of 2014, I carried out an in-depth analysis to work out how much data consumers really need. Part of this study involved analysing the download size of 5,000 of the world’s most popular websites. I’m hoping to repeat this analysis again in the future so we can continue to provide the most up-to-date information in our guide to mobile data. In the mean time, I hope last year’s article will still prove an interesting read.
- Pay As You Go networks: minimum call charges, per-minute and per-second billing – Ken’s Tech Tips
A key trend over the past few years has been Pay As You Go networks stealthily increasing prices through the back door. Mobile network operators can quietly increase the prices they charge by adding a minimum call charge or by switching from per-second billing to per-minute billing (i.e. by rounding up the length of your phone calls to a complete minute before charging your account). Last month, we published a comprehensive guide on how UK Pay As You Go networks are charging for their calls. We hope this article will bring some transparency to this rarely-discussed element of Pay As You Go pricing.
- Pay As You Go networks: Inactivity periods, account termination and credit expiry – Ken’s Tech Tips
Every year, a large number of people will buy a Pay As You Go SIM card so they’re able to use their phone in emergency situations. Unfortunately, a large number of people see their accounts being closed or their credit being taken as they didn’t use their phone for a certain amount of time. In this article from October, we shine a spotlight on Pay As You Go inactivity and highlight the policies you’ll need to adhere to in order to keep your Pay As You Go account active.
- Android 5.0 Lollipop review – Ars Technica
The next version of Android, version 5.0 Lollipop, has been called by many the “largest update in the history of Android”. Key features include a brand new look known as Material Design. There’s also improved notifications, faster performance, multi-user support and improved battery life. In this eight-page review, Ars Technica tells you everything you need to know about the latest version of Android.
- 2014: A Year in Search – Google Trends
Making use of their huge dataset on what people are searching for, Google Trends looks back upon some of the key events in 2014.
- Google Tracker: What’s coming from Google in 2015? – Ars Technica
Google is arguably the most exciting company in technology at the moment. In this Ars Technica round-up, they look at what Google is currently working on and make a couple of predictions about what we might see next. Key predictions for the next year include technology to automate your home, the next version of Android (Android M) and health care developments such as a smart contact lens.
- Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset: Review – The Verge
Last month, Samsung released their ‘Gear VR’ virtual reality headset. Available for £186 from retailers in the UK, it works with a Galaxy Note 4 smartphone to give you an immersive viewing experience when watching videos and when playing virtual reality games. A first-person version of the Temple Run video game is one of the first virtual reality apps available for the headset. In this article from The Verge, they review the Gear VR virtual reality headset.
My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.
Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.