Posts Tagged ‘AT&T’

Our smartphones have come a long way when it comes to audio, but the problem is the thinner they become the less likely the audio quality will improve.

Take the iPhone for example, no one can argue that it is a superb phone and the audio output is pretty good, but it could be much better. Without a massive advancement in technology, this isn’t happening anytime soon.

Shure, the audio specialists, make some of the best earphones in the business, but even they think that plugging the Shure 535’s into the iPhone really doesn’t show off their potential. Try it, plug-in your best headphones into your iPhone and listen to a track, then listen to the same track with the same headphones on your computer with a dedicated sound card and you will very quickly hear the difference.

The only solution is a portable amp which magnifies the audio signal to amplify the sound. Otherwise without this, the louder you make the music the more distorted it will become. These portable amps need to be powered and are normally expensive and bulky and are aimed at the audiophile.

The guys over at UAMP want to change this with a Kickstarter campaign.

“We wanted to capture that premium sound you get from hi-end audio equipment and make it available on every device, without the complications, terrible interfaces, or exorbitant costs. Uamp provides the same hi-fi sound for a fraction of the price and size of standard amplifiers. The Uamp unit measures 43 x 43 x 9mm and weighs just 26 grams – we’ve crammed all the electronics of a hi-end amp into one tiny device. Its nano design means it can easily fit into the smallest of pockets, allowing you to carry it with you anywhere – walking, jogging and cycling, or travelling on the bus, train and plane. Combined with its ten hour battery life, Uamp is truly a portable device.”

The difference here is not only its size and ability to be recharged by USB, but also its price. With postage to the UK, this will cost you about £40 which for anyone who has spent £250+ on headphones it’s a small price to pay. UAMP have kept this simple and stylish, with little LED’s and a slick design. You simply plug-in your iPhone and then your headphones on the other side and away you go.

uamp2

With a 10 hour rechargeable battery and adjustable EQ levels, working with every device no matter the makers, this really is an amp for the budding audiophile. Priced at about £45 all in on this campaign, it really is worth a punt, especially if the manufacturer delivers as much as they promise.

uamp

UAMP

One of the main reasons the “tablet” has become such a success in the computing industry is that they are so easy for absolutely anyone to pick up and start using. As techies all over the world picked up either a Kindle or iPad way back when, we all started to realise that this could solve the issue of most of us being the older generation’s free IT support.

Think about it, I am sure your parents and grandparents have a laptop or computer and at some point have called on you for some assistance as they have been attacked by a virus or just stumbled upon an error message that “they didn’t do anything” to make happen.  Devices like the Kindle and iPad give older users all the capabilities of internet, book reading, videos, games and music all on in a very safe and easy environment. Once set up, they can pretty much just get on sending emails and surfing the web with a device that doesn’t needed to be booted up or maintained the same as a computer.

The Kindle HDX is the new offering in this arena. Debuting in 7 and 8.9″ configurations with higher resolutions of 323 ppi (1,920 x 1,200) and 339 ppi (2,560 x 1,600) and weighing in at a feather-weight 13 ounces and running the Fire OS, this really is a cool little device. The HDX has a micro USB connection with the 7″ variety having a front-facing camera and the 8.9-inch version having front and back facing which includes an 8mp one on the back that’ll shoot 1080p video with an LED flash and stabilisation.

Under the hood we still see a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor but double the RAM of the last version at 2GB. The battery promises to squeeze 11 hours, but if you go into reading mode apparently you get a mental 17 hours of battery time.

One of the most interesting things about this tablet is the support it now offers called Mayday, working 24/7 365 days a year working wonderfully for the less tech-savvy. A tech advisor appears on your screen to help you sort out your problem. The support advisor can see your display, but not you. He will walk you through the steps, drawing circles and pointing to where you have to click. The advisor can take full control if you wish which represents a huge step forward for this device.

Both versions are available now for pre-order, with the 7″ version starting at $229 when it starts shipping October 18th in the US. The 8.9-inch version won’t ship til November 7th and will cost you $379. Add $100 to either, and you’ll get 4G but UK pricing and availability has not yet been confirmed.

hdx

 

 

40 years ago today, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made one of the most important phone calls in the mobile phones history. Mr Cooper in New York, called Joel Engel of AT&T (a rival firm) and said “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cellphone, a real handheld portable cellphone. I’m ringing you just to see if my call sounds good at your end. ” This call not only symbolised a turning point in the technology’s history, but also marked the end of the race to produce the first portable phone, handing Motorola the win.

It was on a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x which measured 9in tall, and had over 30 circuit boards within it. Its average talk time was 35 mins but needed 10 hours to recharge the huge battery.  It’s hard to believe that current smart phones descended from this device. Nowadays we worry less about the quality of the phone call and more the quality of internet access, maps, games and apps which our phones are powered to command.

Portable phones were primarily aimed at business men who needed to make calls on the go, now most of us could not imagine a life without the trusty smart phone in our hand as the industry alone generates annual revenues of around £800bn globally.

The Tech Spy can’t wait to see what the next 40 years of technology in this field brings the humble mobile phone.

Happy Birthday!

Old Phone