With security breaches and frequent phone hacking scandals occurring in this digital age, it’s essential to know how to protect yourself from these types of fraudulent schemes. FreedomPop’s CEO Stephen Stokols provides five fool-proof tips to keep your smartphone safe below.
1. Use VPN (virtual private network) app to encrypt data.
Utilizing this defends all communication including text messages and voice calls from third- parties such as hackers, spies and eavesdroppers.
2. Use an online security app (e.g. Norton) to protect against hackers, spyware and viruses.
Just like computers, phones are vulnerable to viruses and malware. It’s critical to use these types of apps to help ward of harmful security hazards.
3. Use a dedicated privacy phone for confidential calls.
Consider an encrypted phone for confidential calls, such as FreedomPop’s Privacy Phone ($189) that runs on a specially engineered Samsung Galaxy SII, featuring 128-bit encryption used by banks and government agencies. Nicknamed the “Snowden phone,” this smartphone blocks phone contacts, call history and voice and text communication from hackers and has a feature to block unsolicited incoming calls and text messages.
4. If you want to ensure location is not tracked, make sure GPS and location settings are off. By enabling this feature, people can reduce the trace of their digital footprint and use the Internet anonymously wherever they are.
5. Be careful what permission you agree to when accepting Terms & Conditions for an app. Many sites want access to contacts, location and other sensitive info that can lead to potentially damaging setbacks. Malicious and fake websites aim to steal confidential information including passwords and other significant data that can do more harm than good.
Now that you’ve got these fool-proof tips to keep your smartphone safe, you’ll never worry about hackers or stolen data from your smartphone again.
Say Hello to the new (redesigned and refreshed) HTC One M8! Today, HTC launched the 2014 model of its flagship phone, called the HTC One M8 in NYC and around the world.
The new One has a similar design to last year’s model, but it also features a number of upgrades. The screen size increases to 5 inches from 4.7, and the new model has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor running Android 4.4 “KitKat” along with 2GB of RAM. Storage can be 16 or 32GB. The One still sports a metal exterior, but HTC refined the design so the edges are metal as well. As a result, the sides of the phone have softer curves.
“We didn’t want to do something incremental, We actually wanted to take a big leap forward. We wanted to make it super-awesome to hold in your hand.” – Scott Croyle, HTC’s senior vice president of design
A big upgrade is the new Duo Camera. On the back of the HTC One M8 are two cameras, one of which can capture depth information. That allows the user to perform some software tricks after taking a photo, including a refocus effect that can blur parts of the image in a manner similar to the Lytro camera.
The Duo Camera relies on HTC’s “UltraPIxel” concept, which eschews a high megapixel count for larger pixels on the sensor that can capture more light. The result is a 4.1-megapixel camera that takes excellent photos. The front-facing camera has been upgraded as well, to 5 megapixels.
The display resolution remains full HD (1,920 x 1,080), and the screen responds to gestures even when dormant. Sliding a finger up the screen will unlock the phone, and sliding to right will launch the phone into one of its trademark features: BlinkFeed.
BlinkFeed, which debuted on last year’s HTC One, combines several sources — from social networks to news sites to upcoming calendar events — into a single ever-scrolling feed on the home screen. With the M8, BlinkFeed is getting both more content, including feeds from Foursquare and Fitbit, but also an SDK so developers can design apps that can send data into the feed.
The new HTC One is on sale NOW in over 100+ countries and 230+ carriers, and it’s available in silver, gun metal and gold finishes. HTC is also selling a gray case for $49.99 with a perforated front that interacts with the screen, displaying basic information like the time and alerts even while closed. While not all carriers has the HTC One M8 available today, Verizon Wireless does! You can get your hands on the new HTC One M8 via your local Verizon Wireless store or VerizonWireless.com.
Stylish smartphone protection isn’t always easy to find. Sometimes the style outweighs the protection elements, and let’s face it, most of the time the really protective smartphone cases aren’t very stylish at all. Recently, I got the opportunity to try out the OtterBox Commuter series cases which offer just enough style and protection that any on the go woman (or man) could use.
The Commuter series cases are one of the best cases I’ve put my hands on. Not only are the cases protective, but once you entrust your smartphone within its grasp it’s feels downright indestructible!
3D Commuter Series Western Flower
Protection: The Commuter series cases come with 2 layers of protection (actually it’s three). It includes an inner rubber case, a hard shell exterior AND an easy to install clear screen protector. Smartphone ports need protection from crumbs, dust and everything else too and OtterBox keeps the debris out with easy to maneuver port covers. After placing my iPhone 5s in this case, I literally felt like I could toss the phone across the room and it wouldn’t suffer a scratch, dent or one but of damage from impact. This case keeps your device so secure that it took longer to remove the protective case than it did to install it. (It was so secure that I was a little timid in maneuvering the removal for fear of damaging my device.) That’s real protection.
Style: The 3D Commuter series western flower case in sea foam, is a feminine break away from the typical glitter, rhinestone and pretty in pink cases. The two tone of aqua teal hues, coupled with the 3D floral design was a welcome standout to what’s considered as fashionable smartphone accessories.
Overall: As one of the most protective OtterBox Commuter cases that I’ve used, this case definitely gets an “A” for protection and “A” for style. What more could you want from a smartphone accessory that showcases your personal style while protecting your beloved device!
Commuter Series Wallet
Protection: The Commuter series cases come with 2 layers of protection (actually it’s three). It includes an inner rubber case, a hard shell exterior AND an easy to install clear screen protector. Smartphone ports need protection from crumbs, dust and everything else too and OtterBox keeps the debris out with easy to maneuver port covers.
Style: This case isn’t the most stylish, but it is protective and quite practical. The OtterBox Wallet secret card tray houses 3-4 cards. (I used mine to keep my ID, bank card and Metro Card in my hands at all times, since you can rarely catch me without my smartphone in hand.) It’s not as stylish as one would expect, which is why I added some flare with a mirrored protective screen cover. This practical smartphone case is now a wallet and a mirror. SCORE!
Overall: As one of the most protective OtterBox Commuter cases, this case wallet case is handy when going out without a bag or purse. It easily slides in and out of your pocket with ease. Now that I’ve added a mirrored protective case it’s a welcomed update from a one dimensional practical accessory into three and that makes me a pretty happy gal!
What do you look for in stylish and or practical smartphone accessories? Which one of these OtterBox Cases do you like best? Share your opinion below.
If you’re one of the “lucky ones” underneath the New York Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center, chances are that you’re using your smartphone to death. More than likely, your smartphone is your precious baby that you use to connect with others on and offline. You use your smartphone to share your fashionable experiences, chronicle style moments and more – but did you know that you may not be using your smartphone correctly? Check out five ways to optimize your iPhone use during NYFW below…
1. Stop Keeping Your iPhone Plugged in Overnight…
Letting your iPhone charge while you sleep at night might be convenient, but it’s not the best way to keep your iPhone damage free during this busy week. Leaving your iPhone plugged in after it’s already fully charged can damage your battery over time and it could start dying more quickly. Try charging it throughout the days you can unplug it once it’s fully charged.
2. Give Your iPhone a Time Out…
You really should be turning your phone off periodically, or your battery will die faster than it should. Leaving it on and idle stresses the battery, experts say. If you, like me – use your phone as an alarm clock, consider picking up a cheap desktop alarm and shut your phone off at night (you’ll save radiation exposure AND give your smartphone the break that it deserves.)
3. Stop Leaving the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Enabled All the Time…
When your iPhone has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled and isn’t using one or both, it’s just wasting energy. As you wander around, navigating throughout the city for your next show, you’re not likely going to need or want Wi-Fi or Bluetooth all the time. You’re better off leaving both off and just turning them on when you need them.
4. Filming shows in portrait mode…
Hey you! Did you know that you’re actually supposed to film videos horizontally – not vertically? You’ve seen those videos filmed in vertically mode – not cute. Film your awesome fashion week moments the correct way, so that your friends and family can enjoy them without the “black frame of death”.
5. Protect Your iPhone With A Passcode…
According to Apple, half of iPhone users do not lock their phones. If you don’t have a passcode on your iPhone and it’s stolen, your identity and personal information is completely open and available for the thief to grab. And while you’re at it – quit walking around with your iPhone in your hand. Around 40 percent of the robberies in major cities (including NYC) now involve mobile devices, so it’s actually pretty dangerous to walk around carelessly with your iPhone out.
If you keep these tips in mind while navigating through the fashion week chaos, your iPhone will thank you and last as long as you do! Did we miss anything? What are your favorite smartphone tips and tricks you use during New York Fashion Week? Share your ideas and tips below.
With a bounty of great smartphones released this year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed to find the best smartphone for that person on your gift list. That’s why we have narrowed down the best holiday smartphone gift picks for anyone on your gift list below.
The Apple iPhone 5S
The iPhone 5S comes with a 64 bit chip and fingerprint scanner. For those with the Apple OS eco system, they might enjoy the new champagne gold color option. BUY IT : Apple iPhone 5S
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
If you do a lot of work on your phone, you will be satisfied with the Note 3. The main accessory to the Note 3; the S Pen has more features than ever. Multi Window, a large display, wireless charging and long lasting battery life make this phone essential for productivity. The Galaxy Note 3 is available for all major US carriers starting at $299. BUY IT: Samsung Galaxy Note 3
If the Galaxy Note 3 is too large for you, an alternative is the Samsung Galaxy S 4. It has many of the great features the Galaxy Note 3 has to offer in a smaller size without the S Pen.
Motorola Moto X
Give the gift of customization with the Moto X. The first smartphone to be released by Motorola since it was bought by Google (besides the DROID series), the Moto X boasts simple yet innovative features that make your smartphone useful and efficient. It’s great for those who enjoy stock android with just a slight addition of Motorola features (Moto Assist, Active Display). It’s also a plus that the giftee can go on MotoMaker and design the Moto X and color coordinate its accessories. BUY IT: Motorola Moto X (Moto Maker)
Google Nexus 5
If you want the latest Android phone out, the Nexus 5 is the one. It comes with Android KitKat 4.4 (in case you didnt’ know that’s the latest version of Android). The smooth interface and affordable price (as low as $350 without contract) makes the Nexus 5 a win. You have two color options of all black and black and white. The Nexus 5 can be found on the Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T carriers. BUY IT: Google Nexus 5 smartphone (Android OS)
LG G Flex
What does the handsome Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and LG G Flex have in common? Apparently, they both share the same miraculous characteristics.
Not only is the LG G Flex making waves as the first curved smartphone, but also as the first “self-healing” phone too. In other words, if your phone gets scratched, the phone automatically smooths over the blemishes on its own within minutes.
LG says the G Flex uses “self-healing” technology that the Korean press release compares to Wolverine from X-Men: a special protective film on the back cover is designed to get rid of scratches on the phone within minutes. That’s the kind of feature that’ll be hard to judge without seeing the phone in person, but those outside South Korea will have a wait on their hands — although the G Flex is coming to all three major carriers in LG’s home nation next month, the company only teases an expansion into additional countries at some point in the undefined future.
LG G Flex
With an endless selection of apps at your fingertips, there is a functional app for every type of person in your life. From the fashionista to the on-the-go bro, apps fit all different personalities.
1. Navigation: Waze
Does traffic make you lose your cool? Do you absolutely loathe running late just because of unpredictable traffic? Keep calm and Waze on!
What It Is: The world’s fastest growing community based traffic and navigation app, dedicated to contributing to the ‘common good’ out there on the road; acquired by Google this past summer
Why It’s Unique: Reports are user-generated, allowing you to alert and join other drivers in your area in sharing real time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their commute
2. Banking: GoBank
If you’re a gal about town who loves banking on the go, this alternative bank app may be right up your alley…
What It Is: Award-winning new mobile bank [FDIC-insured] that enables accountholders to do all banking functions via their smartphone [send money instantly, pay bills, build a budget, withdraw cash from over 42,000 ATMs nationwide, etc.]
Why It Is Unique: No overdraft fees, pay-what-you-want monthly fee (users select fee within app from $0-9 which can be changed at any point in time), Fortune-Teller feature which compares incoming/outgoing expenditures to politely tell you whether you can afford a purchase.
3. Organize Your To-Do’s: Clear
How many times have you lost your old-fashioned paper list? Stay on top of all your to-do’s virtually with “Clear!” For the list-maker – Clear is the “clear” choice when getting things done!
What It Is: Clear is a productivity app that allows you to organize all your to-do’s into one comprehensive list.
Why It Is Unique: Clear takes advantage of the latest iOS features to make productivity even more fun and satisfying. It’s controlled almost entirely by gestures: Pairing down those to-dos is as easy as a swipe.
4. Crowdsourced Real-time Weather: Minutely
Rainboots in unexpected 80 degree weather? Not a good look for Miss Trendy. Take a fun approach to a serious weather problem with Minutely.
What It Is: Social-weather forecasting that allows users to change forecasts based on real-time weather conditions.
Why It Is Unique: We’ve all watched the weather before and dressed for rain when it ends up being a bright and sunny day. Minutely’s take on social weather ensures that you have up-to the minute information from users who are out and about in your area.
5. Family Photos: Groopic
Ever notice your photos are always missing the photographer? With groopic, even the photographer is in the photo!
What It Is: Groopic solves the impossible problem by seamlessly including the photographer friend in every group photo.
Why It Is Unique: With groopic, your pictures have every friend, every time – no more asking for help from the random stranger passing by!
It’s no secret that dimming the display on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet is going to prolong the battery life. But do you know just how much battery life you can squeeze out of an iPhone by dropping the brightness?
As an example, Wired.com used an iPhone as the subject smartphone to mathematically prove how much battery life you can save. From this, an iPhone 4 should last about 6.5 hours of continuous use on the lowest brightness setting and about 3.5 hours on the highest brightness setting. Adjusting the brightness at about half would give a fairly reasonable usage time of around 5 hours. (Note: this is with wifi and 3G off) So, really your phone wouldn’t even last that long. I think it is safe to say that you will still get more battery time from your phone at half brightness than at full.
How much of a difference in battery life you see also depends on your usage. If you’re a power user, lowering the brightness setting can get you a good two hours of extra battery life, but if you don’t use your phone that much you won’t really see a big difference. An even easier solution is to use darker wallpapers and themes. While we’ve known for a while that lowering the brightness on your devices extends the battery life, it’s nice to know just how much it can save you over time.
HTC is doing something new these days. Earlier this week, HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, unveiled the Change brand platform, a long-term strategy that celebrates HTC’s disruptive impact on the ever-changing mobile industry over its 17-year history.
The Change brand message that HTC inspires innovation by standing for “anything you want it to”. Featuring Robert Downey Jr. the new ads will explore imaginative HTC word associations and possible HTC acronyms including Humongous Tinfoil Catamaran and Hipster Troll Carwash. HTC wants you to know that it can be “anything you want it to” and the comical commercial below hopes to get consumers talking…
If you’re not talking about Robert Downey Jr., maybe the new HTC One in red will get you to talking. Sprint customers looking for a handset with panache may be happy to learn that the network is offering the “glamor red” version of the HTC One as a carrier exclusive. Launching tomorrow, August 16th, the device is available at $199 on a two-year deal or with an eligible upgrade.
With HTC’s new partnership with Robert Downey Jr, could an all out Iron Man edition be in the works? We’ll see…
iphone 5 electrocution
The family of a Chinese woman who died after being electrocuted while talking on her charging iPhone 5 says they want answers and an explanation from Apple.
Apple said Monday it would investigate claims that a Chinese woman was killed by an electric shock she received when answering a call while the device was charging.
The claim quickly drew attention after a woman in the western region of Xinjiang wrote about the death of her 23-year-old sister Ma Ailun on China’s popular microblog service Sina Weibo.
“We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter,” said Apple’s Beijing-based spokeswoman Carolyn Wu, offering condolences to the family.
The state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday that local police had confirmed Ma died of electrocution but “have yet to verify if her phone was involved”.
Ma’s sister warned others not to use their phones while they were charging and asked Apple to provide an explanation, saying on Weibo on Saturday: “What a shame, to pass away like this.”
Those lightening chargers should really come with a warning label nowadays. Does freak phone accidents like this make you worried about buying them for yourself? Sound off below.