Verizon’s LG G3 has a removable battery

verizon g3 battery

Verizon mistakenly listed their LG G3 as having a non-removable battery, but it looks like that’s not actually the case. Thanks to a picture on Twitter, we know the battery and back cover are completely removable. Since every other version of the G3 has a removable battery, this really shouldn’t be surprising, but it’s good to see Big Red not purposely butchering out any functionality from the device.

Are you planning on picking up a G3 on Verizon soon?

source: VZW Albert


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Bluetooth Tethering – Nicer to Your Battery When You Need to Share Your Internet

One of the beautiful things about Android is the ability to tether the device, that is, to share the Internet connection on your Android smartphone with other devices. WiFi tethering was introduced in Android 2.1 and Bluetooth tethering was introduced in Android 4.0.

Some carriers block the ability to tether between devices unless you pay for the service, or charge you extra. If you want to start tethering on your Android device, check with your carrier first. Neither I nor AndroidSocialMedia can be responsible for tethering charges from your carrier.

I use both WiFi and Bluetooth tethering between my Android smartphone and other devices. Some devices can only connect to the Internet using WiFi, such as the Kindle ebook reader or the Chromebook whereas other devices will connect via a Bluetooth tether (notably the 2012 and 2013 Nexus 7 tablets).

When I am able to, I’ll favour the Bluetooth tether over the WiFi tether. There are three reasons for this.

Firstly, once the Bluetooth tether has been enabled on the Internet-enabled device, I generally don’t need to touch it to tether. I write “generally” because this assumes I have left Bluetooth and mobile data turned on.

Secondly and this is the main reason, the Bluetooth tether uses significantly less power at the modem end.

The third reason is that you can share your WiFi connection over Bluetooth tethering. This is especially useful when you are staying in a hotel and they’ve given you one WiFi code but you have a couple of devices you want to connect up to the Internet.

There are a few disadvantages associated with using a Bluetooth tether. Firstly, it’s more awkward to connect from the device wishing to connect to the Internet. On an Android device, you typically need to go into the Bluetooth menu, then go into the device you are connecting to and enable the data connection, then tap “OK.” WiFi tethering just needs the WiFi radio enabled.

Secondly, it’s usually harder on the connecting devices’ battery compared with the WiFi tether, but this depends on the version of Bluetooth being used. On my 2012 Nexus 7 the tablet consumed around twice as much battery for a data intensive operation compared with over WiFi. Luckily, the tablet has a much bigger battery than the handset, which mitigates the issue somewhat.

Next, the available bandwidth over Bluetooth is much less. You may find your data transfer speed is slower compared with WiFi. And whilst you can connect multiple devices over Bluetooth, you generally can’t connect as many compared with WiFi.

Enable Bluetooth Tethering from the Tethering or Mobile Data Sharing menu

Enable Bluetooth Tethering from the Tethering or Mobile Data Sharing menu

And finally, not all applications recognise Bluetooth as a proper Internet connection and may not synchronize data as desired, even if the modem side of the connection is using a WiFi network.

Let’s take a quick look about how you set up your devices for Bluetooth tethering. First, you need to pair the two devices up. Then, visit the Tethering Settings on the modem side of the connection. You’re looking for a toggle for Bluetooth Tethering: by default, Android turns this off at every reboot.

Then, grab the device you want to connect to the Internet to over Bluetooth and go into the Bluetooth Settings. From here, go into the Settings for the modem Android smartphone. In here you’ll see a simple toggle for Internet Use.

When you toggle this, you’ll be tethering.

Tap the device and tick "Internet access."

Tap the device and tick “Internet access.”

GoPlug bags lets you charge mobile devices on the go

Charging one's devices while mobile is one of the major concerns of people in this age of smartphones, tablets and phablets. Powerbanks seemed like the ideal situation at first, but now, even those are not enough. An upcoming product in the market called GoPlug bags aim to be the solution to this problem of having power even when on the go.

Designed for business travellers, GoPlug lets you charge your phones, tablets, laptops and even cameras through the lithium-polymer battery pack that comes installed in each of their bags. Unlike a typical power bank which can give phones around 2 or 3 charges only, each bag lets you charge your phone up to 6 times, your tablet twice, and your laptop will be able to get two full charges on a single charge. The built-in cord that comes with the bag can also serve as an extension cord for those times when just one plug is not enough.

The GoPlug bags also come in different variants; a messenger bag (ERP $179), a backpack (ERP $179), a trolley (ERP $219), carry-on case (ERP $219), a camera backpack (ERP $259) and a camera carry-on case (ERP $319). All of the different bags are also fully functioning as luggage, aside from the built-in batteries that power them.

GoPlug bags is actually a start-up project looking for funding in crowdsourcing site Kickstarter. But it looks like there are more than enough people willing to support this project as they have already raised $144,049 as of this writing, and with 13 days to go until the campaign ends. They were only asking initially for $20,000 but the response shows that consumers are in need of this kind of product. The manufacturer is expecting the initial products to ship out to the donors as early as August this year.

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SOURCE: Kickstarter

2G, 3G, 4G and Your Battery

Back in March 2013, I penned an article discussing why sometimes switching to a slower network isn’t good for your Android device battery. The article illustrates that modern connected devices are designed to complete a task as quickly as possible so that they may return to lower power states.

4gmastSince March 2013, the UK cell operators have finally started rolling out their LTE networks and I’ve had the opportunity to both experience 4G LTE (long term evolution) for myself and talk to network engineers. And it turns out that the marketing spiel that 4G LTE is all about speed isn’t the whole story.

LTE is the first mobile data service designed around data. GPRS, EDGE, UMTS and HSPA technologies are all derived from circuit-switched networks, that is, designed to co-operate with voice connections. LTE dispenses with the need for voice (although voice over LTE is being re-engineered back into the service) and instead is focussed entirely on mobile data.

There are many advantages to having a network designed without a concession to voice and it’s true, most are based around speed. But it’s important to point out that the focus here is not just on data transfer speeds but also on the response of the network. LTE offers significantly reduced latency, that being, how quickly the network responds to your request.

My friendly network engineer told me that a HSPA 3G modem takes “a moment” to transition from being connected-but-idle to being connected in high speed (and high power) mode. For my devices on the networks I’ve used, this is usually somewhere from one to two seconds. A LTE modem takes a screen refresh to transition from connected-but-idle mode to full speed mode.

Because it takes a couple of seconds to switch up to the high speed, high power mode, this isn’t a great user experience. To help improve matters, the modem stays in the higher power mode for thirty seconds after network activity. This means that the modem is using more battery than it needs to for thirty seconds, but does mean if the user is browsing a website and follows a link inside this time, the device is much quicker to respond.

One of LTE’s major differences is that it’s significantly faster when switching modes. Because of this, as soon as network activity is complete the modem drops down to the idle state. This can save a significant amount of power. Essentially, the LTE modem wins the race to idle compared with HSPA on two accounts: one, it should perform the network activity quicker and two, it’s faster to drop to idle once activity is finished.

LTE isn’t, however, perfect. I’ve written above that voice calls are not carried over the 4G radio, which means the smartphone will drop to either a 2G or 3G radio in order to deal with a call. This can mean it takes a little longer to connect calls and can cause delays when switching up to LTE after finished a call. The technologies used by carriers to manage the handover vary from network to network, with some implementing much faster handovers compared with other carriers.
Screenshot_2014-06-08-20-20-08
If you’ve been sitting on the fence wondering if you should switch to a device with LTE or not, in my experience there’s very little difference in battery life. If anything, I’ve noticed a small improvement but difficult to quantify. What I have noticed, however, is how quickly one gets used to significantly quicker networking. It makes dropping to a 3G connection, even a fast one, difficult.

Google Glass XE18.1 update: photos, footie, batteries

The newest update to Google Glass to version X18.1 is bringing better functions to several important things for users: better photo editing and sharing options for the MyGlass app, battery notification and for football fans, World Cup updates for your favourite teams.

Taking photos, tweaking them and sharing them immediately on your favourite social networks is a very important function for mobile phone users. With this new update, the MyGlass app for Android lets you see on your phone immediately the photo you just took from your Google Glass. As you view it through the app, you can put on your filter of choice and then share it to either Instagram, Facebook, Twitter among other picture sharing apps out there. The device’s battery status is another crucial information that every Google Glass user should have. Your MyGlass app can now send you a mobile notification if your battery goes below 20%, a signal that maybe it’s time to start charging your glasses.

But if you’re a football (not the American kind, but the one the rest of the world calls football) fan and you’re eagerly counting the days until the World Cup starts (which, as of writing, is just two days away), the latest update to Google Now cards will be the most exciting news for you. Add your favourite team, whether it’s defending champion Spain or host Brazil, to your Google Now cards and you’ll get notifications on your Glass about their games, goals and maybe even what brand of football kicks they’re wearing.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 1.53.21 PM World Cup 2 medium (2) medium (1) png;base64f09d482497a82c3e World Cup 5 medium

The Google Now cards for Glass also has other updates, like a Parking Location card for those who always forget where they parked their vehicles and also a card to track packages that are being shipped or delivered to you. But of course you’re already too busy reading notifications about the World Cup to read this part right?

VIA: Glass Community

Extreme Power Saving Modes For Android

One of the software features of the 2014 flagship Android devices is a deeper level of power saving. Huawei and Samsung call it the Ultra Power Saving Mode for the Galaxy S5, HTC call it the Extreme Power Saving mode for the HTC One (M8) and Huawai call it the Super Power Saving Mode for their new Ascend P7.

In each case, these deep power saving modes disable much of your smartphone so as to extend battery life. You can only use a small number of applications on the handset, typically including calling, texting and email, but little else.

The backlight brightness is reduced and wireless technologies may be disabled. AutoSync and Background Data services are typically disabled.

I first dismissed the idea of using these deep power saving modes as something of a marketing ploy: users won’t opt for these modes because their expensive smartphone is converted into a dumb ‘phone. And then I started spending long periods of time with my ‘phone sat on the desk or in my bag not being used. I can’t use my ‘phone during my shift so I’m as well to try Extreme Power Saving Mode.

You can access Extreme Power Saving Mode from the HTC's drop down notification list or from Settings, Power.

You can access Extreme Power Saving Mode from the HTC’s drop down notification list or from Settings, Power.

You can call, text, check your email, calendar and use the calculator. That's it! Picture taken close to the end of day two of that charge.

You can call, text, check your email, calendar and use the calculator. That’s it!
Picture taken close to the end of day two of that charge.

It’s made a noticeable difference. Taking it off charge on a Tuesday morning and putting it on charge on a Thursday night, difference.

It is possible to manually adjust the settings of any Android devices in order to simulate these modes, through disabling data connections, AutoSync, Background Data and dimming the screen. But if you have a one tap option and you’re able to leave your device alone for long periods of time, it might be worth an experiment. And it’s easy to disable when I want to use the device.

Does your Android device have any power saving modes and if so, do you use them? Let us know in the comments below.

JUMPR: recharge your phone or jumpstart your car

There are plenty of external battery packs that allow you to recharge your phone while out and about. But one called JUMPR will take things a few steps further. To begin with, JUMPR sports an LED flashlight, but that will seem tame compared to what else it can do -- jumpstart your car.

The JUMPR battery is touted as being a "new twist on portable power" and it features a 6000 mAh battery that is "capable of jumping a completely dead car battery in minutes." JUMPR provides up to 12 volts of power at 300 Amps, which should be sufficient for "almost all" 4 or 6-cylinder engines.

JUMPR-Necessary_Tool

The battery weighs in at 7 ounces, and sports measurements of 139 x 75 x 15mm. As you'll see from the images here in the post -- it is pretty close to the size of a smartphone. JUMPR charges using microUSB or a 12V car adapter and both cables are included with purchase. Also included are a set of proprietary jumper cables to jumpstart your case should the need arise.

Pre-orders are available at the moment, and the battery is expected to begin shipping on May 1st. The price is $89.99, however those who jump in during the pre-order period will be able to save $20.

SOURCE: JUMPR

JUMPR-Flashlight

HTC One Six Months On

As an introduction to this article, I recommend you have a read of my original HTC One review, which I wrote back in April 2013. That summer, I was able to persuade my powers-that-be that I really needed the HTC One as a business handset. And since then, HTC have continued to work on the device with three software updates although as I write, I have only received two of them.

As I write, HTC have just announced that they will keep their North American flagship device updated with the major Android versions for two years. Whilst this statement opens up as many questions as it answers, the HTC One is HTC’s 2013 flagship device.

When I review a device, I aim to have it in service for at least a fortnight. Quite often, my initial impressions formed in the first few hours linger on but sometimes my mind changes during the review period. In the case of the HTC One, during the time I used the device, I was enjoying and appreciating it more.

Screenshot_2014-02-17-15-37-14My business use HTC One is running Android 4.3 and Sense 5.5 having been through 4.2.2 and originally on 4.1.2 and Sense 5. There are some differences between the earlier and the later software, such as power management shortcuts and some improvements to BlinkFeed. HTC have worked some magic on the One’s battery too, which I’ll discuss presently.

The missing update will put the One to Android 4.4 Kit Kat.

To write about BlinkFeed, although I like the application I have disabled it on my device. This is because my One is a work tool and the improvements to BlinkFeed means that the application works with Google+, my main social network. It’s too distracting! However, HTC realised that not all users wanted BlinkFeed on their device and have introduced the ability to disable it. It only ever made a small impact on battery life.

To access the power management gadgets, you need to use the second notification screen. This is either accessed from the normal notification screen, with a button to tap, or by dragging two fingers down rather than one from the top. These are easily edited, which means I can put the functions on here that I need rather than all the stuff on here that I don’t need.

There have been some small improvements to the camera of the HTC One such that it’s one of the best smartphone cameras for sale. Still. It might not have as many MPixels as the competition but the ability to take twenty pictures in a row plus how consistent the results means that if I plan to take a picture of something, it’s my One I reach for.

BoomSound is just as brilliant as ever. It does make the handset a little taller than the competition but it’s worth it the moment you show off media or take a conference call on speakerphone.

HTC Sense Voice is the marketing name for HTC’s clever noise cancelling technology and I need to write that it’s excellent in a noisy environment. It trades punches with the Nexus 4, coming out ahead in a noisy environment but slightly less clear in a normal or quiet environment. This was the main reason why I asked my business manager for the One.

And finally, battery life. I’ve referenced the HTC One’s battery from the latter half of 2013. Running the blend of Android 4.3 and Sense 5.5, the HTC One is capable of two working days. It is usually complaining at the end of the second day but it’s still going. I am not a heavy user of the device but I don’t have WiFi access in my store and I make and receive plenty of calls and text messages.

That I can tell, the main reason for this battery longevity is HTC’s Power Saver mode. This underclocks the processor (and I believe disables two processor cores, or at least changes how aggressively the Snapdragon 600 uses all four), dims the screen slightly, stops vibration feedback and shuts down the data connection(s) when the device is asleep, much like Green Power. Sometimes, the device is marginally less responsive with the Power Saver mode on, but it’s very hard to tell.

Despite the device shutting down the network thanks to Power Saver mode, it has a magical way of having my notifications ready and waiting for me when I next go to use the device, rather than making me wait for it.

The other reason why battery life is so good is how well the device can manage synchronization thanks to what HTC calls “Smart Sync.” Smart Sync does exactly what you might expect and intelligently synchronizes your account as and when you need it. It cooperates with Power Saver mode in that it can wake up the data connection in order to synchronize, but it bases how frequently to pick up your messages on how often you use certain services on the device.

Screenshot_2014-02-17-16-01-17By way of an example, I work five days in seven but usually get Sunday off. I have set my work email peak times to be 0845 to 1800 every day and between these times, the device uses Smart Sync. Out of these hours the handset does not connect to my work email account. My other day off changes but I almost always work Saturday and Monday. My One figured this out quicker than most of my colleagues! It checks for mail most often on Saturday and Monday, it very rarely performs a sync on a Sunday and the other days, if I start to use the device, it checks my email more often. This is clever stuff indeed.
When I sat down to write my update on the HTC One review, I’ve been using the Moto X as a review model and thoroughly enjoying the Motorola experience. The One and the Moto X are quite different devices but in my ideal world, perhaps some of their standout features could be combined. Motorola’s Active Notifications paired up with HTC’s Smart Sync could be something truly impressive…

Samsung may have another bloated battery issue

samsung_galaxy_note_battery_swelling_pic_01

In recent years, we have seen Samsung continue along a path of producing larger and larger devices, whether it is the normal smartphone market where they have established a 5-inch screen as the standard for a top tier device or the large smartphone market whether their Galaxy Note line pushes to blur the lines between smartphones and tablet devices. However, one area where Samsung may not be too happy to know they are growing bigger is in the batteries of the devices they sell, especially when that growth occurs after the device is in the hands of the consumer. Last month Samsung had to acknowledge a problem with batteries swelling in their Galaxy S 4 devices, costing them some coin after they started offering free replacements. Today news of another swollen battery issue has surfaced, but this time it involves an older device.

South Korean TV station KBS1 has aired a report detailing problems some owners of the original Galaxy Note device, released in 2011, are having with their batteries. The batteries are growing larger and take on some rather odd dimensions causing them to no longer fit in the device. Thus far the impacted devices appear to be those from Samsung’s home market, South Korea. Owners of the devices have thus far had no luck in getting replacements out of Samsung like owners of the Galaxy S 4 were able to do when their batteries started to super size themselves. That may be because Samsung seems to think the swelling is just a normal part of a battery’s life and is just an indication the battery has reached the end of its life. However, this does not seem to be a problem for other manufacturers.

Are you worried your smartphone’s battery may suffer from bloat?

samsung_galaxy_note_battery_swelling_pic_02 samsung_galaxy_note_battery_swelling_pic_03

source: Unwired View


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Self-healing rechargeable batteries will lessen battery replacements

Lithium ion batteries used in mobile devices might have gotten more powerful, or, in some cases, less flat, but there’s no escaping the fact that, sooner or later, they will lose their life and need to be replaced. But thanks to researchers from Standford University and Tsinghua University in Beijing, that time might come later rather than sooner.

Figure 1

The principle behind this new battery technology is in making sure lithiated silicon materials inside the batteries are able to hold electrons for a longer period of time. Silicon has been used in batteries to allow it to hold more electrons compared to oxides. However, silicon swells up when holding electrons and then shrink back down when discharged. Over time, this causes the silicon materials to crack and break apart, affecting their ability to hold on to electrons.

The key, then, according to Chao Wang from Stanford and Hui Wu of Tsinghua University, is in delaying that last stage by keeping the silicon materials together longer. The researchers used a type of “self-healing” coating that instantly repairs the cracks and pulls back the materials together. Thus, the materials are able to store electrons much longer than conventional batteries that use polymer binders, and thereby prolonging a battery’s life.

That said, this self-healing property doesn’t actually prevent the silicon materials from breaking up in the first place, which will eventually lead to the battery’s death, but in a much longer time. Still, the researchers are hoping to be able to produce batteries that can last up to 500 charge cycles before being replaced.

VIA: Gizmodo