Is using technology addictive? One study, titled "The World Unplugged," asked 1,000 youngsters from ages 17 to 23 in 10 countries to give up the gadget and go a full day without one's phone, computer, TV, etc. Turned out it was "a horrible day," a Chilean said.
While wandering around midtown Manhattan last Thursday afternoon, I was attempting to keep track of the Yankees opening day game versus the Tigers via the MLB.com At Bat 2011 app on my iPhone. As you can imagine, data reception sucked; several times, the app told me it couldn't access the network. Thanks again, AT&T. I thought for a second about using my iPad by connecting to a local Wi-Fi network. But first I would have had to have identified a public network, then hope Safari could handle the interstitial sign-up pages (which it often can't). Even if I connected successfully, once I wandered out of that particular hotspot coverage area into another I'd have to go through the entire Wi-Fi hotspot location, identification and sign-up rigmarole. Feh. I pocketed my iPhone and just poked my head into the varying bars along my walking route to keep track of the action. Perhaps once the HSPA-Plus "4G" iPhone 5 likely coming later this summer might alleviate some of AT&T's data network problems. In a year, however, local Wi-Fi hotspots could be as easy to connect to as a cell network, thanks to an almost ignored announcement last month concerning a new set of Wi-Fi specifications.
Did you know that you've been using your touchscreen phone wrong this entire time? Yes, apparently you need Nu-Screen, a chapstick-like goo that you're supposed to rub on your screen. Mmhmm.
Sometimes less is more. In the Triple Flip smartphone concept's case — we'd happily take a dumb phone over this mishmosh. For the love of ponies, let's hope Nokia's partnership with Microsoft to make Windows Phone 7 smartphones doesn't end up anything like this.
Wanna take fancy 3D pictures without buying cameras and gadgets with dual-cameras? A fancy little attachment for your cellphone camera with twin apertures and mirrors might help your pics "pop" without investing in expensive new equipment.
A transparent photovoltaic film that lives on top of traditional displays could provide substantial amounts of power to mobile devices. By substantial, we mean that as long as you spend enough time outside, you might never have to charge your phone ever again.
Need a little bit of help standing up to a repressive foreign government? The U.S. State Department probably isn't going to give you an airdrop of heavy weapons, but they are thinking about providing an app for your cellphone to help inform (and protect) all your activist friends when you get hauled off for interrogation.
"Add oil, rice and bake in an oven on low heat" sounds like the start of a recipe, but it's actually one of the many semi-legitimate fixes for broken or damaged smartphones (or other similar gizmos). Surprisingly, the crazy fixes can even match the crazy stories of how people break or damage them. The following is a somewhat light-hearted list of fixes for smartphones that we have complied for your reading pleasure. Some have come from the technical support desks of the manufacturers and some have come from individuals who claim success. While we wish you success in your own fixes, we still have to say: try this at home and you do so at your own risk.
T-Mobile hasn't been bought by AT&T yet! That process will take at least a year to work through the system, so we've still got plenty of stuff coming from the soon-to-be-swallowed-up carrier. Today: the G2x, T-Mobile's first phone to work on their 42Mbps 4G network.
This week in Orlando the wireless industry's hoi polloi and hoity toady will gather for the twice-annual CTIA exhibition (why the entire consumer electronics industry manages to squeeze its business into a single CES but the cellphone people need two shows is one of those "why is Kim Kardashian famous" mysteries — but I digress). I could postulate on what the major handset makers will do, but we'll know for sure in a few scant days — and so will you. Or, do a Google search on "Mobile World Congress 2011 new phones" to get a glimmer of the goodies likely to be launched this week. Maybe I've been doing this too long, but I'm getting a bit cynical about significant further cellphone innovations. Over the next six months or so, well be seeing more dual core phones to follow the Motorola Atrix (perhaps some that also will serve as the core for a laptop accessory like Atrix), and a lot more LTE phones, and a few of both — perhaps the iPhone 5, for instance. But there'll likely be no revolutionary technology breakthroughs at CTIA, which begs the question: Have we reached the cellphone Peter Principal? Are all the great cellphone breakthroughs taken? Let's discuss.