Google has updated to its Android and BlackBerry Google Voice app and is promising faster phone call connection times. According to Google, “Our mantra is faster = better.” Here is how the updated clients will expedite calls:

Until today, the Google Voice app had to make a request to the Google Voice server every time you wanted to make a call to send us the phone number you wanted to dial. Then the call would be connected via a Google Voice access number. With direct access numbers, we assign a unique phone number to every person you call. This means that we no longer need to use your data network to access the server each time you make a call, so calls will be placed much faster.
Full Press Release:
Faster dialing with Google Voice on Android and Blackberry devices
Thursday, July 22, 2010

At Google we are obsessed with speed. Our mantra is faster = better. This is true for our Google Voice mobile apps as well. When you want to make a call, your phone should connect you as quickly as possible, whether you’re calling via Google Voice or not.

Today we are launching an enhancement to the Google Voice mobile app on Android and Blackberry phones, which makes placing calls much faster. We call this feature “direct access numbers.” Here’s how it works:

Until today, the Google Voice app had to make a request to the Google Voice server every time you wanted to make a call to send us the phone number you wanted to dial. Then the call would be connected via a Google Voice access number. With direct access numbers, we assign a unique phone number to every person you call. This means that we no longer need to use your data network to access the server each time you make a call, so calls will be placed much faster.

The updated Android app is available from Android Market starting today. For Blackberry users, you can download the app by visiting http://m.google.com/voice from your mobile device. You will need a valid Google Voice account to use the app, and at this time, Google Voice is available in the US only.

Best Buy once again has beat everyone to the punch in offering a pre-order on the game changing HTC Evo on Sprint.  This newest addition to Android phones will sport the same snapdragon processor as the Nexus One and the HTC Droid Incredible but have a larger 4.1" screen, front facing camera, 4G WiMax Technology and support a WiFi hotspot.  We call this the first of the next generation Android and smartphones.  Look for this level of functionality to be standard on all cutting edge smartphones next year.

Skype is reportedly halting development for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform and is instead focusing its efforts on the Android, iPhone and Symbian OS. Speaking at an event in Australia, Dan Neary, the Asia Pacific Vice President for Skype, confirmed that the VoIP software giant is not currently developing a version of its popular software for the Windows Phone 7 platform. This revelation comes close on the heels of Skype’s removal of its Windows Mobile version due to the product’s less than stellar UI and poor user experience. Neary failed to provide a reason for Skype’s dismissal of Windows Phone 7 but the decision could stem from WP7’s lack of native code and its tight integration with XNA and Silverlight for development. It also doesn’t help that Windows Phone 7 is a new and untested platform. Regardless of the reason, heavy Skype users looking to jump to Windows Phone 7 may be wise to wait for Skype to change its mind or for some savvy third party developer to pick up the slack.

Finding the Right Broadband Service

Posted by Dan Ponjican | 10:26 AM | | 0 comments »

In the UK, the election is just around the corner and for the past few months the proposed Digital Economy Bill has been covered countlessly in news stories all over the country, informing people of what it will mean for them to have fully accessible, high-speed broadband, for both work and pleasure.

With all of the press bringing broadband to the forefront of everyday news, more and more people are feeling the pressure to switch to a new provider in order to get the best deal and the best value for money.

There are many ways to go about doing this, but as most us know, the best deals are online. By using a specialist broadband price comparison site you can compare hundreds of deals from all of the big providers, according to your needs (whether that is speed, monthly cost, download limit, etc).

One good broadband comparison site for this is Top10.com/broadband/, which not only provides deals from big name providers and compares them in an easy to digest way, but it also has up to date news and guides sections to further inform visitors on all things broadband related.

Compare broadband deals at Top10.com.

If you have been listening to the Skype buzz lately you have heard that Skype and Verizon Wireless have announced a new partnership. This new partnership allows Verizon to be the exclusive provider of Skype calls over their 3G wireless network. Up until this point, there hasn't been much out there in terms of support for this, but demand has been strong!

Windows Mobile OS platform phones have had a Skype Lite app that allowed Skype users to place Skype to Skype calls as well as land line calls over their Windows Mobile smartphones with data plans. iPhone users have been begging for this ability for quite a while but will they get it?




Skype just announced today that they will be discontinuing support for the Windows Mobile platform. We can only speculate but I would say an announcement for the iPhone is coming soon too. It sounds like big red has managed to secure a tighter relationship that we thought. This might mean that only VZW phones will have access to what could be a game changer... VOIP on our cell phones.

Can Windows 7 Phones Compete?

Posted by Dan Ponjican | 4:21 PM | | 0 comments »

You can say that it has been the decade of smart phones. The past 3 years have been absolutely revolutionary in terms of smart phone technology and capability. Today we have heavy competitors that deliver amazing functionality and performance from Apple (iPhone), Palm, Nokia (Symbian), RIM (Blackberry) and the newest to the field that is pushing the envelope even further... Google (Android OS). Notice one missing? You guessed it, the company that arguably started the smart phone business is hardly a serious competitor anymore... Microsoft with their Windows Mobile platform.

Microsoft’s newest available release of Windows Mobile (now called Windows Phone) is 6.5 and still looks, feels and operates like Windows XP crammed into the lightweight hardware of smart phones. Performance aside (which is terrible), the user interface is not designed properly for what most smart phones users like to user as the primary interface… touch. Windows Mobile 6.5 phones were really designed to be used with a stylus.

Well Microsoft isn’t a company known to roll over and play dead. Enter Windows 7 Series phones. Microsoft announced this OS build and hardware just a few weeks ago. I must say, it looks great! I am impressed. Here’s the problem, it is too late. It would have been too late if Steve Balmer was handing out released, ready for production handsets to press member at the mobile conference in Spain but no. The official release date for this device and OS is holidays 2010. Any “cutting edge” features included in this new Windows Mobile release would easily be swallowed up by the rabid pace of development and version/build release of Android and even Apples iPhone OS.



It looks like Bluetooth stereo headsets are finally joining the mainstream. Plantronics came out the $150 Pulsar 590, a combo unit that works as both a phone headset and a stereo headset for audio players. The Pulsar includes a telescoping mic, which can be minimized when you're just using it for music. Another thing we like: the universal Bluetooth adaptor is an optional add-on, which means if you've already paid for Bluetooth devices, you don't have to pay again for a dongle you don't need.

Available with a universal Bluetooth audio adapter, the Pulsar 590 provides immediate wireless compatibility for any device with a headphone jack, such as laptops, home stereos, MP3 players, including Apple iPods, and multimedia devices, such as Sony PSP.

The Pulsar 590 uses multipoint technology to function as both a stereo headset for high fidelity listening, as well as a communications headset for use with mobile phones and other voice-enabled devices. The headset includes a telescopic voice tube with an omni-directional microphone for clear voice communications.

With 10m (33 feet) range, it enables users to listen to music or have conversations away from their laptop, music device or mobile phone. The Pulsar 590 provides up to 12 hours of talk time and 10 hours of listen time.

The device has a familiar headband wearing style with pivoting ear cushions that provide all-day wearing comfort. The portable, lightweight headset features a foldable design for compact charging and travel storage and ships with a full range of accessories, including a desktop charging stand, AC charger, USB charging cable, in-flight cable and travel case. The in-flight cable allows the headset to be used with the Bluetooth radio disabled, a requirement for most airline travel.

The headset can be purchased with the universal Bluetooth adapter for devices that don't have Bluetooth stereo capabilities.

Computers, media and mobile phone devices compatible with the new Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile, or A2DP, don't require the universal adapter to experience stereo sound.

plantronics headsets

Woman Loses 112 Pounds by Using Wii Fit

Posted by Dan Ponjican | 4:18 PM | | 0 comments »

When Wii Fit first launched, a lot of people rushed out to buy it thinking that it would solve all their fitness problems. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, the Nintendo Wii peripheral didn't change a thing.

However, one woman in the UK has proved that if you combine your Wii Fit work-outs with a balanced and healthy diet, the device can be just as beneficial as real yoga classes and regular trips to the gym.



The News of the World reports that Lara Roberts, a wife and mother of two, managed to drop eight stone or 112 pounds by eating healthy and using Wii Fit every morning. The 38-year-old woman said she was becoming increasinlgy depressed about her weight but only kicked her 4,000 calories-per-day diet when a friend commented that she never seemed to stop eating.

In early 2008, Lara purchased Wii Fit because she wanted to get healthy but couldn't face going to a gym or jogging in the street. Waking at 5 a.m. every morning, she worked out with her Wii Fit and swapped her junk food diet for healthier food.

Just over a year on she has dropped from 252 pounds to 140 pounds.

After over a year of exclusivity with Sprint's network, it looks like the next generation Palm Pre termed the Palm Pre Plus will be making its way to the big red. During the Palm press conference today, CEO Jon Rubinstein announced that Verizon Wireless would be getting a new and improved version of the company's highly-successful Pre smartphone.

Dubbed the Pre Plus, this new handset features double the internal memory of the original Pre (16 GB compared to 8 GB). The Pre Plus also does away with the home/navigation button on the front of the original Pre, and includes a touchstone-compatible cover right out of the box.

There is no official word on pricing just yet, but I would guess that the Pre Plus wil be about $200 with a two year contract.

Today's web content is filled with rich, dynamic material from RSS feeds, to Flash content to embedded video.  Embedded video is one of the fastest growing segments on the internet.  There are few better ways to enhance your web content than with high-quality embedded video on your pages.

Traditionally, video content was reserved for entertainment niche sites.  Business intranet pages and blogs rarely utilized this powerful tool to communicate their message.  High costs of dedicated hardware and high bandwidth requirements made video content a long shot call for IT managers.  These "show stopping" issues of yester-year are long gone with innovative services like that of offered by Viddler's video hosting for businessVideo for small business with Viddler offers a solution for business web content managers to include rich, high quality video content without the high costs of dedicated video hosting systems.

Industry experts like those at CNet Tech News report that small business sites with embedded video content utilized to communicate their message report over 80% higher conversion rates on web pages. Today with high speed, high bandwidth internet access so readily available (take a look at the fresh wave of Android "super phones" just released) it just plain makes sense to start using embedded video to compliment your web content.

Google Phone, Nexus One Launched

Posted by Dan Ponjican | 3:16 PM | | 0 comments »

From their Mountain View headquarters search giant Google launched their firepower on the cell phone and more specifically the smart phone industry with what they termed a "super phone". The new device is called the Nexus One and is manufactured by the Taiwanese cell phone giant HTC in close collaboration with Google engineers. With the latest build of the increasingly popular Android operating system 2.1, this device packs some serious power. Nexus One features the much touted Qualcom cpu called the "snapdragon" which screams along at 1.0GHz.

The phone is available today directly from Google as an unlocked device for $529.00 or with TMobile with a 2 year contract for $179.00. Google also announced that Verizon Wireless in the United States and Vodafone have agreed to join Google’s mobile phone. He said the Nexus One would be available in the spring on Verizon.

Google also announced that it would sell Nexus One directly in an online store beginning Tuesday. Consumers will be able to buy it unlocked or with a two-year calling plan from TMobile. The company said it hoped to add other devices and carriers to the direct-to-consumer program.



Size and weight

Height 119mm
Width 59.8mm
Depth 11.5mm
Weight 130 grams w/battery 100g w/o battery

Display

3.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen WVGA AMOLED touchscreen
800 x 480 pixels
100,000:1 typical contrast ratio
1ms typical response rate

Camera & Flash

5 megapixels
Autofocus from 6cm to infinity
2X digital zoom
LED flash
User can include location of photos from phone’s AGPS receiver
Video captured at 720x480 pixels at 20 frames per second or higher, depending on lighting conditions

Cellular & Wireless

UMTS Band 1/4/8 (2100/AWS/900)
HSDPA 7.2Mbps
HSUPA 2Mbps
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
A2DP stereo Bluetooth

Power and battery

Removable 1400 mAH battery
Charges at 480mA from USB, at 980mA from supplied charger
Talk time Up to 10 hours on 2G Up to 7 hours on 3G
Standby time Up to 290 hours on 2G Up to 250 hours on 3G
Internet use Up to 5 hours on 3G Up to 6.5 hours on Wi-Fi
Video playback Up to 7 hours
Audio playback Up to 20 hours

Processor

Qualcomm QSD 8250 1 GHz

Operating system

Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 (Eclair)

Capacity

512MB Flash
512MB RAM
4GB Micro SD Card (Expandable to 32 GB)

Location

Assisted global positioning system (AGPS) receiver
Cell tower and Wi-Fi positioning
Digital compass
Accelerometer

SMS Texting Without a Phone

Posted by Dan Ponjican | 9:09 AM | | 0 comments »

"Last month my teenage daughter managed to text over 5,000 times!" Ever hear that one before?  Talk to any parent of a teenage kid or a husband of a chatty wife and you've all heard the story.  Some people SMS text a LOT!  It is quickly becoming the primary method of instant communication in the current generation.  At the very least it is becoming a integral part of the way the youth generation uses cellular technology.  Well at least it used to be only cellular technology.

Enter web texting.  We are seeing more and more solutions to allow users to SMS text over the internet using a standard web browser.  Case in point, Text4FreeOnline Free SMS Text Message 2Way. Text4FreeOnline.com provides free real time 2 way SMS messaging. Send SMS and MMS pictures from your phone for free. See Text Responses in real time, just like a chat application. No Phone, No SMS Credits, No Problem.

We think this is a clever idea and a great program.  This could really save many users some money.  Especially the users who sit in front of a computer and use their phones to SMS text.