Make your smartphone triple SIM

Use three SIM cards in one phone

In this video, our friend veryannoyingname demonstrates a $6 Triple SIM adaptor from ebay being used with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

With a Triple SIM adaptor, you can fit three SIM cards into your handset and switch between them using an app, which is automatically installed when you insert the adaptor. There’s no need to reboot your handsets or manually adjust the SIM cards. The app can even be configured to automatically switch between the SIM cards at specified times.

As is, the SIM cards will not operate simultaneously; you need to use them on an individual basis. The video mentions that you could use all three at the same time by using a Bluetooth accessory, although mobile data will not work if SIM cards are used simultaneously. If the SIM cards are used separately, mobile data should work fine on both 3G and 4G.

This is a handy accessory if you have more than one mobile tariff, to take advantage of free text and call bundles, for example. The adaptor demonstrated here is advertised as an iPhone 4G accessory, although it should be compatible with any handset that uses a microSIM. The adaptor connects to the microSIM slot and there are then two extra ports to insert normal sized SIM cards.

Free Evernote Premium (worth £35) with the Galaxy Note 3

Free Evernote Premium on the Note 3

One of the selling points of the Galaxy Note 3 that has not been heavily advertised is that it comes with a year’s worth of Evernote Premium, which would usually set you back around £35.

The Note 3 has been built with added integration for Evernote and any notes created within S Note can now be saved straight to the app. If you make use of the Note’s productivity features but do not use Evernote, you really must give it a try. It’s the kind of app that you need to use fully to benefit from, but it’s well worth it once you have taken the plunge.

How to get Premium

Our device did not receive the notification about the upgrade immediately; it came through about a week after we started using the handset. The notification did appear when we connected using 3G for the first time, although that could be coincidental.

It looks as though you may be able to force the update by going to ‘Explore Evernote’ at the bottom of the main menu within the app and then scrolling down to ‘Special Samsung Upgrade’ at the bottom of the next menu. This will then gift you 120 Evernote Points, which can be used to redeem a year’s Premium subscription. If you already have a premium subscription, the 12 free months will be added to the end of its expiry date.

Galaxy Note 3 evernote premium menu Galaxy Note 3 evernote premium Evernote Note 3

Evernote Premium adds some great features to Evernote, including:

  • More space for file uploads (1GB instead of 100MB on the free tier)
  • The ability to search within PDFs and office documents attached to notes
  • Sync notebooks for offline access
  • Add a PIN lock to the mobile app
  • PDF annotation in their companion app, Skitch
  • View related notes on Evernote desktop apps
  • Text to speech with companion reading app, Clearly
  • Unlimited scanning of business cards with companion app, Hello

Why can’t I turn PIN lock off on Android?

What to do if you are unable to turn off PIN, password or pattern unlock on Android

can't remove android pin

This is a post from our smartphone FAQ section. To see other questions please click here

In order to use certain features on your Android device, you will be required to set a PIN, pattern or password lock; these are the three most secure methods for locking the device. When one of these is required, the two other methods, slide or face unlock, will be greyed out and display the message ‘Disabled by administrator, encryption policy or credential storage’.

If you are unable to disable PIN, password or pattern unlock on your Android device, it is likely that you have the setting in place in order to use one of the following functions (see a more detailed description for each one after the list below):

  • Screen security. This is located under settings > security > screen security
  • Device Encryption. This is found under settings > security > encryption.
  • Setting a device administrator. This is found under settings > security > device administration
  • VPN. This is found under settings > more > VPN

The first three in the list above are fairly easy to spot as they are all located under the security section of the settings menu. However, it can be easy to forget that you have set a password in order to use a VPN, so if having checked it is not one of he first three requiring a PIN, be sure to check that you have removed any VPNs.

Changing Screen Security

Screen security is either set by you, or can be required by a device administrator (app). If it is the case that you have set a PIN, password or pattern, you can easily turn it off or choose another locking method by going to settings > security > screen security. If you are unable to remove the security setting and see the message ‘Disabled by administrator, encryption policy or credential storage’, it is likely because of one of the settings described below.

Device Encryption

Device encryption is activated or deactivated from settings > security > encryption. If you encrypt the device, a PIN/password/pattern is required each time you turn the device on. It makes your data more secure should you lose the device and takes around an hour to set up. If you are unable to remove the PIN code from your phone, check that you have not encrypted the handset. You can do this by looking under the encryption part of the settings menu.

Removing a device administrator

Some applications will require administrator access to your device in order to perform certain actions. When using an app that requires administrator access, it will usually prompt you from within the app to turn on administrator access. The majority of apps that do this will also show a message to inform you that you need to revoke administrator access before uninstalling the app, which is important.

Some apps only require administrator access to perform certain actions, so you do not necessarily need to grant administrator access to use the entire app, but only to use certain features. Sometimes the app will require that you set a secure lock method as part of its administrator access. One such example of this is adding an Exchange email account. You need to grant the app administrator access with certain permissions and set a secure lock method. This is usually so that the device can be accessed remotely if lost or stolen.

If you are unable to remove the PIN setting from your device, it may be because an administrator is requiring it. You can revoke administrator access by going to settings > security > device administration and then unticking the box next to the apps on the list. If it is an account, such as email, that is requiring the security setting, you will also need to remove this from your device in order to remove the PIN lock.

Adding or removing a VPN on Android

When setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your device, Android now requires that you have a secure lock method in place. Seeing as this is the case, it would make sense to have the VPN menu under security settings, but it isn’t at the moment. This makes it easy to forget that you have set up PIN security for it. If you have tried changing the three settings described above but your handset still requires a PIN number, you may have a VPN that needs removing. To do this navigate to settings > more > VPN, long press on any networks that have been added and then select remove.

Social Live Facebook streaming on Sony Xperia Z1 explained & tested

Stream video live to Facebook from your Sony Xperia Z1

One of the features Sony announced on the Z1 is Social Live which links the Z1’s camera with Facebook.

To date there hasn’t been too much information on how it works and what needs to be done, so we have put it to the test., including a video showing it working.

Screenshot_2013-09-18-09-18-41

What is Social Live on the Sony Xperia Z1?

Social Live is a feature of the Sony Xperia Z1 camera that can stream video live to your Facbook page providing you have an active internet connection and are logged into Facebook.

Others (depending on your settings) can then view it when they are logged into Facebook.

Screenshot_2013-09-18-09-18-34

[Read more...]

Wireless charging: pros and cons

The good and the bad of setting up wireless charging

s4 wireless chargingThe ability to use wireless charging is slowly making an appearance on more handsets, with Nokia and Samsung leading the way with their respective high end Lumia and Galaxy  devices. Some devices feature built in technology and others require additional accessories. With this post I’ll give a quick run down of some of the good and not so good aspects of wireless charging.

Pros

Convenience – Once you having a wireless pad plugged in and set up ready, all you need do to charge your device is set it down. No more searching for a USB cable or plugging it in.

Scalability – Wireless charging pads can be installed in several locations, around the home, on your work desk or even, in the case of coffee shops and fast food restaurants, built into tables and work surfaces. A bit of engineering and determination could install one in your own furniture!

Multiple devices – Some wireless pads have the provision to charge multiple devices. Newer wireless charging protocols may even include the ability to create a charging box, that could charge any compatible device  placed inside it.

Cons

Heat – One drawback of some Qi wireless charging solutions is excess heat. Aside from the possible uncomfortable feeling of picking up a warm phone, too much extra heat around the battery can impair the lifespan and maximum capacity.

Slow charging – Not every charging pad or solution is slow however some of the cheaper models may deliver a lower charge than the official mains adapter. This has no adverse affect on performance however it does mean that the overall charging time will be longer.

More than 1 standard – At the time of writing this is not a major issue as only one standard, Qi, has proliferated the industry. A second standard called Power 2.0 is on the march across the USA though. It is possible that phone manufacturers could start choosing between standards, splitting the compatibility of accessories/handsets down the middle.

 

 

Android 4.3 adds better support for Hebrew and Arabic

Android language support

One of the new features for Android 4.3 that caught our eye was better support for ‘Hebrew, Arabic, and other RTL (right-to-left)’ languages, although what these other RTL languages are is not disclosed on the Google website.

We wouldn’t usually post about an individual feature of an update, but we are often asked about support for these two languages and have many good customers that make use of them.

With Android 4.3 Hebrew and Arabic is supported on the home screen, in settings and can be used in the Phone (dial pad) app and with People and Keep apps.

We should point out that at present the update will only apply to devices that are updated to Android 4.3, but now that it has been built into the stock offering we should start to see it included with manufacturer skins in the near future.

On a similar note, Android has also been translated for Africaans, Amharic (አማርኛ), Hindi (हिंदी), Swahili (Kiswahili), and Zulu (IsiZulu), which are all available in 4.3 Jelly Bean.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra TRILUMINOS display with X-Reality explained

With the recent announcement of the Xperia Z Ultra from Sony came some new terminology in the smartphone world: “TRILUMINOS” and “X-Reality”. But what do these actually mean? And how do they benefit us? This post aims to decipher the technicalities behind the terminologies.

TRILUMINOS Display

The Xperia Z Ultra is equipped with the very latest screen technology development from Sony’s BRAVIA TV engineers. The 6.4” high-resolution TRILUMINOS display comes with a 1920 x 1080 display, resulting in very crisp images free of jagged edges. The display has a pixel density of 342 pixels per inch which, in comparison to the Samsung Note 2’s PPI of 267, is market leading. TRILUMINOS display from Sony presents rich, deep and authentic colours with subtle tones. Hard to reproduce colours including reds, blues and greens appearing bold and sharp. The new display technology from Sony appears to be innovative and unique, it ultimately delivers a wider colour gamut resulting in a heightened experience with a greater sense of depth. When compared to a standard LCD display the TRILUMINOS display certainly takes the honours with a wider range of colours to choose from, see picture below:

Triluminos display comparison

X-Reality for mobile

This is the latest development of Sony’s picture engines, X-Reality enables you to see everything on the Xperia Z Ultra’s screen the way it should be seen. Everything is analysed and selectively processed by the X-Reality technology to produce clear, clean and lifelike pictures, this is not before the unique noise reduction feature works its magic, however. Some components of an image the X-Reality technology analyses include; texture, outline, colour, contrast and noise reduction, all to create the best possible viewing experience for you with your Xperia Z Ultra.

X-Reality example

Pixel reproduction: The resolution technology from Sony analyses each individual pixel in an image and reproduces ones that it believes are lacking with an aim to give you the sharpest images around.

Texture and outline improvement: X-Reality aims to enhance elements of an image by rendering the texture and sharpening the outlines of images, resulting in a crisp and clear picture.

Colour and contrast enhancement: The Intelligent Image Enhancer reproduces the vividness of the image in its original colour. Pictures are selectively optimised by enhancing the contrast, making images look more detailed and true to life.

Noise reduction: Intelligent Noise Reduction decreases noise which can sometimes occur in high-motion scenes or footage shot in low-light conditions. As a result, images become clearer and smoother.

 

OptiContrast

In an attempt to dispose of that all frustrating screen glare Sony have eliminated a layer of air in the construction of the screen on the Ultra, this brings the touch panel closer to the display. Labelled “OptiContrast”, the panel aims to reduce reflection and enable a clearer view of the screen, even in bright sunlight. This also creates a seamlessly black surface when the phone is turned off. With the removal of the layer Sony have integrated the sensor on the lens, this has increased the responsiveness of the screen, therefore your touch is more effective with the Xperia Z Ultra and the experience more intuitive.

OptiContrast

(1) Lens
(2) Removed air layer
(3) Sensor layer
(4) Display

 

With all these exciting features coming to the Xperia Z Ultra from Sony we can’t wait to get our hands on one to show you them working in the flesh! Keep an eye on our blog for updates on this one.

Caring for your smartphone battery

Smartphone battery life has always been a bit of a hot topic – as new devices are released with ever improving specifications and thinner bodies, squeezing as much life out of the battery when it is being drained by ultra bright, high resolution displays, resource hungry applications and powerful processors is more important than ever.

Eric Limer at Gizmodo has put together a detailed post on the best way to care for the battery in your new smartphone, dispelling some commonly held beliefs along the way. The information may not be new to the most tech savvy among us but is a good read for those looking for some tips. Read on for an overview of the most important points he raises.

Do I need to ‘teach’ my battery?

Making batteries ‘learn’ their true capacity through conditioning is something that has been held as gospel for a very long time. Eric rightly points out that this a myth, at least in the case of lithium-ion batteries present in most new smartphones. Older nickel based batteries did benefit from this approach but for new devices you can forget about it.

Trying to stay above 50% as much as possible is the best way to approach Li-ion batteries, with top-ups where you can during the day to avoid getting into the lower regions of their capacity.

Regularly running from 100% down to 0 is actually harmful, although recommended maybe just once a month to keep the calibration of the cell.

Keeping at 100% all the time can also do some damage, try removing your charger before you get right to a full tank. Most chargers will avoid damaging the battery too much by cutting off for a while when they are at full capacity but keeping it plugged in at full charge for extended periods of time is definitely not recommended.

Can’t stand the heat

Lithium batteries don’t like getting hot. In fact it’s about the worst thing for their longevity. Whilst it might be hard to keep the temperature down during intensive processes (my Nexus 4 tends to burn up during heavy gaming), avoiding long spells of this is crucial if you want to ensure extended life from the battery.

Also as useful as the technology is, wireless charging is out the door if you are concerned about conserving battery capacity. Current inductive methods create a lot of excess heat, which anyone who has used a wireless pad with a compatible device will know.

 

All batteries degrade over time

It’s impossible to stop the battery losing some of it’s original power over time. The number is about 6% per year at 0 degrees Celsius and increases with temperature. Now unless you live in the Arctic circle (or anywhere in the UK in Summer…), it’s unlikely you’ll be at freezing point all year round. Degradation comes in at 20% and 35% per annum for 25 and 40 degrees respectively so those intense gaming sessions will take a serious toll if that’s your bag. Leaving your phone in particularly hot places (greenhouses, cars parked in the sun) is best avoided also.

Zero is a bad number

Leaving a lithium battery on  completely zero charge for any length of time is quite a bad idea. Now I don’t mean the kind of zero where your phone shuts off and won’t power up – if this happens there is probably actually a little bit of charge left, but the phone / battery combination has fail-safes not to power up on this amount. This is because completely empty lithium batteries are actually quite unstable and could break (read explode) if charged.

You’ll very likely never 100 % discharge a lithium battery unless you leave it alone for a very long time – if you pull an old device out of the cupboard after 12 months it might not turn on even after being plugged in for a while. This is because the battery may have reached this point and the manufacturer has included another fail-safe to render the battery useless rather than risk it blowing up when plugged in. However once your phone has powered down, it’s definitely not recommended to leave it in that state for too long.

The best thing to do if putting a phone in storage for any length of time  (say you’re going on holiday and don’t want to take you main device) is to leave it turned off with a decent amount of juice left in it. This will avoid the dreaded zero charge dead battery and stop you damaging the maximum capacity.

 

Sony Xperia Z update rolling out (Android 4.2.2)

Sony Xperia Z Android 4.2.2 updateThe Sony Xperia Z Android 4.2.2 Jelly Update has begun rolling out.

To check for the update, you can either use PC companion or go to settings > about phone > system updates on your handset.

The Xperia Z launched with Android 4.1.2 so the update won’t bring huge changes, but it should bring a few performance enhancements and new features.

The most noticeable difference between Android 4.1.2 and Android 4.2.2 is the ability to add lock screen widgets which will be a welcome addition to the Xperia Z experience.

At the moment we await confirmation as to whether or not the update has begun rolling out to UK devices. However we can as usual we can expect the SIM-free/international version of the Xperia Z to receive the update before carrier models once it is available here in the UK.

Let us know in the comments if you have received the update for your device.

Via Pocket-Lint

Give the Xperia Z a dedicated camera key

We all love a dedicated camera key on a smartphone, but unfortunately many devices lack one as manufacturers choose aesthetics over ergonomics. 

Fortunately there are workarounds if your device does not have one, such as using voice commands and remapping buttons. 

This latest one is specific to the Sony Xperia Z and comes via XDA. It maps the volume down key as the dedicated camera button and pinch to zoom can then be used to zoom in and out. The volume down key can also be used to trigger fast capture mode when the Xperia Z is in standby. 

You can see the feature in action below, or head over to XDA for instructions on how to install it in your own device. It does involve flashing custom software so make sure you are comfortable with this before proceeding. 

Via Geeky Gadgets

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