Categories
Gadgets

Innjoo – Service Par Excellence

Between June 1 and June 7,2015 Jumia had what it called its “Megathon”. Specific mobile phone models from selected manufacturers were sold at 50% off its retail value.

innjoo-one-gold_v8nhIt was an opportunity for me to pick up a phone for my workplace SIM. I decided on an Innjoo One – Gold that was being offered for N13,999.00 after applied discount.

I was not particularly thrilled with the specifications of the phone but who can refuse such a huge discount. I had noticed that, lately, most phones being churned out from Asia – particularly China – have very predicatble specifications; Google Android 4.4.2 KitKat (Don’t they know Lollipop’s been out for almost a year?!), 1GB/2GB RAM, Mediatek Processor (usually MT6592) with 16GB Internal Memory.I ranted about this extensively on twitter the night after i took delivery of the phone.

Shockingly, just a few minutes after my rant and as if with a mind of its own, the phone slid off the table and landed face down on the ceramic tiled floor. I was speechless for the whole of 2 minutes. This was nothing short of a “Harakiri” that the phone just pulled on me. I quietly packed up the phone and went to bed to grieve over the loss.

Next morning i called Innjoo service center and was informed that i would be parting with N8,500.00 to replace the shattered screen. Wow! Screen replacement is going to cost me more that half of what i paid for the whole phone!

Took a dash there during my lunch break, was given a tally number on arrival. However, i did not spend more than 10 minutes before i was attended to.

Apparently, the model is a recent release and the customer service lady expressed her doubt on the availability of a replacement screen.

“Can you give me a minute to speak with my supervisor?”, she asked.

Damn! I was already thinking in my mind how this was going to play out;

“Sorry we don’t have a replacement screen at the moment. Do you mind leaving the phone with us and come back for it in, say, 3 weeks?” I had made up my mind to smash the phone on their floor if she comes back with such a response.

She was back a few minutes later and started, “Sorry we don’t have a replacement screen at the moment…”. Damn! Knew it! But she continued,”Do you mind if we replace with a new one? You will only be paying the same N8,500.00″

New one?! Really! Wow!

“Sure, sure” I responded excitedly “I don’t mind”

5 minutes and N8,500.00 later, i was out of the service center with a brand new Innjoo One – Gold phone.

A very happy ending to a rather sad experience. Innjoo, you get my vote for good service delivery.

Categories
Controversies Gadgets Mobile Technology

Apple iOS – The Beginning Of The End?

That Apple copied, shamelessly, Android and about every other major mobile OSes in its iOS 7 is no longer news. But what beats me is why most online reviews fail to mention this shameful act but instead hail this “next-to-die-after-Blackberry” as the best thing to have happened to mankind.

Undoubtedly, iOS 7 is the biggest step this mobile OS has taken in years but in truth, it is only just about catching up with what Google’s Android has got going on for a couple of years.

appleNaturally, we would expect Google to respond – decisively – to the leverage Apple is having with its copycat innovation. One should not also forget that the so-called fingerprint technology that Apple has in its latest iPhone iteration, the iPhone 5s, is also a high tech photocopy of now Google’s Motorola Atrix phone innovation from back in 2011.

Ummh, these are indeed desperate times for Apple. Who would ever have thought that this once innovative company will stoop this low? All indicators seem to agree with what some analysts have predicted, the very steep decline of Apple’s fortunes by 2015.

Just my 2 cents here Apple, it may not be worth much. I believe the only lifeline left for you to remain relevant is to adopt Google’s Android business model – Open Source.

Any Geek worth his salt – that has seen the other greener side that is Android – would appreciate the very limiting ecosystem that iOS plays in. Obviously, the mobile OS is meant for those that love to be spoon-fed. Even my 3-year old hates to be spoon-fed! It beats me why “grown-ups” will allow Apple to do that?!!!

Those that hail the iOS 7 obviously have never experienced Android Custom ROMs. Custom ROMs are modified, usually enhanced mobile operating systems. I wholely recommended PAC-MAN , it is an android ROM on steriods. Trust me, try it and you will be hooked!

Well, like we say in Nigerian Pidgin English, let us continue to “siddon look” (Sit Down and Look) and see how it all plays out, eventually.

apple android

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

iOS 7 vs Android Jelly Bean 4.2

How does Apple’s iOS 7 compare to Google’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean? We take a look at both to check the lay of the land.

Interface

Android’s interface has utilised a similar look and feel since version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (and to an extent 3.0 Honeycomb) which was introduced by Mathias Duarte. This comprises a black notifications bar and black or grey menu backgrounds, but the rest of the interface elements are largely either translucent, white or cyan throughout and use Google’s unique Roboto font. Google’s app icons use a very simplified art style, similar to vector art with bold, flat colours and some selective highlights and shading in some places.

Overall it’s very clean, cohesive and minimalist, which I rather like.

I wouldn’t be the first to suggest that with iOS 7, Apple has taken some ‘inspiration’ from Android for the new look. Admittedly though, in some ways it has gone one better. The top bar is no longer black and is now transparent, rather like Google’s persistent search bar widget. It actually looks nicer than Google’s black bar in my view.

The app bar at the bottom is no longer a reflective ‘pane’ for the apps to sit on and is instead another translucent section and this is distinctly different from Android – which doesn’t have a bar and simply features a grey dividing line.

Apple has revamped folders in iOS 7 which can now be packed full of app shortcuts and scrolled through. However, I don’t find the implementation as compelling as Android’s system. In iOS 7, tapping on a folder zooms you in on it and takes you, effectively, to a whole new homescreen. For me, this isn’t what folders are about and I think Android’s system where the folder expands over part of the screen as a temporary overlay is much better.

Apple’s app icons have been tweaked in a similar fashion to Google’s with that ‘flatter’ aesthetic which was rumoured. They still have gradient colours but there’s less shadowing, less gloss and everything is generally much more simplified. Text is also flatter with no shadowing underneath.

While it’s fair to say that Android has its share of bright and clashing colours I think Apple has taken it to a whole new level and there’s something very retina-searing about iOS 7’s colour scheme which, to me, sits at odds with that theme of soft white text and translucent menu elements. This was calling out for a more nuanced palette, in my opinion.

Multitasking

Multitasking has been completely overhauled on iOS 7 but to say it takes a leaf out of Android’s book is an understatement. It’s pretty much a wholesale copycat affair, complete with a scrollable carousel of active app preview panels of the kind we’ve seen since Honeycomb 3.0 and, importantly, the same ‘swipe-to-close’ gesture Android has been using since version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

It scrolls side-to-side in ‘portrait’ orientation (similar to Windows Phone 8, in fact) and the swipe to close is upwards, as opposed to Android’s up-and-down carousel and swipe to the side to close, but for all intents and purposes it’s the same setup with a slightly different skin (ie: Apple’s new ‘everything is translucent’ approach).

I really love Android’s multitasking so I have mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, it’s great to see that I can get that same interaction style elsewhere, but on the other: this isn’t the only way multitasking could’ve been implemented, as BlackBerry 10 proved. In fact, BlackBerry 10 has largely convinced me there are better approaches than Android. There is more than one way to multitask well.

As a result, Apple’s straight-up burglary is pretty shameful on all fronts –it’s blatant copying and is both unimaginative and unoriginal where the firm had a chance to show its creativity.

Notifications

Both iOS 7’s and Android’s notifications centres drop down from the top bar with a swipe gesture.

With Android you have a black background which you can just about see app icons behind. The clock appears bigger than in the closed bar and shifts to the left-hand side while a toggle on the right corner lets you switch back and forth Quick Settings menu. Individual notifications appear in little boxes and can be swiped away to dismiss.

On iOS 7 you have a translucent background, the top bar remains as it is on the homescreen and there are three categories at the top for ‘Today’, ‘All’ and ‘Missed’. Notifications appear as a continuous stream only separated by a small icon and text showing what app they’re relevant to, such as ‘Calendar’, for example.

Quick Settings

Quick Settings on Android can be opened by swiping down from the notifications bar with a two-fingered gesture and presents you with a grid of square button toggles for things like brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – there’s also a shortcut to the full-fat Settings menu.

Google’s take on the Quick Settings menu, something pioneered by third-party manufacturer UIs and launcher apps on its platform, was a long time coming from when the concept first emerged and still hasn’t quite lived up to what the ‘Android community’ came up with first, in my view. It’s not so instantly accessible.

Conversely, Apple appears to have actually done a really good job here. The ‘Control Centre’, as it’s called, swipes up from the bottom and continues the translucent theme.

You’ve got a standard set of toggle shortcuts for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and the like, but more importantly an actual brightness slider, which is annoying absent from stock Android even now. There’s also a handy music player widget, er, thing, for any current track you’re listening to, a button for AirPlay and AirDrop and a set of shortcuts for calculator, flashlight and camera functions.

Core apps and services

iTunes Radio vs Google Play Music: All Access

One of Apple’s big announcements for WWDC was iTunes Radio, the much-rumoured music streaming service which expands on Apple’s existing iTunes setup to allow ‘featured stations’ of streamed content.

Google Play Music: All Access is pretty much exactly the same setup, as we wrote during Google’s announcement:

‘All Access has a wide-ranging catalogue of music using Google Play’s existing setup, but you can stream tracks instantly. It also features ‘expert curated’ genre lists showing iconic genre tracks and allowing you to discover new music.’

If you tap on a track to play it you can turn it into a radio station – All Access will pull in a ‘never-ending’ playlist of related tracks and stream them to your device. You can swipe to peek at what track is coming next or access the playlist completely – if there’s anything on there you don’t like you can swipe it away or you can re-oder the playlist as you like.’

iTunes Radio does include a few extra perks, such as Siri integration, as Apple’s Eddie Cue outlined at the launch:

‘Let Siri make your listening experience even more fun. Ask Siri ‘Who plays that song?’ or ‘Play more like this’ and Siri will make it happen. Say something like ‘Play Jazz Radio’ or ask for any of your existing favourite stations and genres. Shape your stations by telling Siri what you like and don’t like, or tell Siri to pause, stop or skip. You can also have Siri add songs to your Wish List to download later.’

Both services are coming in later then entrenched competitors such as Spotify and both have massive collections of licensed music to offer.

As usual, it’s simply a case of selecting one ecosystem or another to become entrenched in, and such a decision should probably centre around other software and hardware considerations more than anything else.

Like the iPhone’s design? Go with iTunes Radio. Prefer the Android interface? Pick Google Play Music: All Access. It really makes little difference.

Each is also initially only available in the US, however, and we’ll have to wait a little while before either makes its way across the pond.

Apple Maps vs Google Maps

In terms of updates for Apple Maps we were once again shown all the ‘amazing’ 3D stuff again. As far as more useful stuff is concerned Apple demonstrated how you can now select a location, find points of interest, see reviews for said POIs and share the location via social networking, messaging or to your phone from a computer. So far, so playing catch-up to Google Maps.

Apple didn’t really demonstrate much in the way of improved location data and accuracy though. Sure, there weren’t any gaping voids in the big-screen demonstration, but then, there wouldn’t be. For now, we know from experience that Google Maps is excellent, the standard by which others are measured, because the company has invested a lot of time, money and effort over the years to literally re-map a massive chunk of the planet, on the ground and in the air. Until more extensive use tells us that Apple Maps has caught up in this regard, I’ll continue to trust Google Maps first.

On a related note, Apple did explain how it was working with car manufacturers to integrate both Apple Maps and Siri voice commands into in-car systems. Quite how far-reaching this will be in terms of participating manufacturers and supported car models isn’t clear.

At first I’d guess this will have a US focus, but in any case given Apple Maps’ recent history I’m not exactly champing at the bit to have it guiding me while driving and I’m sure plenty of Australians can say the same.

Lock screen

As this side-by-side screenshot shows, the two lock-screen interfaces are alarmingly similar, right down to the stock wallpaper. Android got here first, of course.

In terms of functionality both offer the same deal. Notifications appear on the screen, you can access the camera from the lockscreen and both feature swiping gestures to unlock (although of course you can replace these with passcodes and the like.) Both also allow you to access their respective quick settings and notifications screens from the lockscreens with the same gestures you’d use on the normal homescreen.

Conclusion

As I’ve hinted at earlier in the comparison, it’s difficult in many ways to see iOS 7 as anything other than Apple playing catch-up to Android, while snagging a few choice morsels from Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 along the way.

In many respects that’s fair enough, but these things are not revolutionary in the broader sense – massive bonuses for people already entrenched in iOS, of course, but Apple and its followers are in no position to be crowing about revolutionising the smartphone space. Though that won’t stop them from doing so anyway.

But this is all politics, what about if you’re sat there wondering which platform to invest in? And to be clear, when I say invest, I really do mean invest – if you’re going to be buying films, music, games and apps on either of these platforms then making a switch later with your collection intact is going to be difficult at best and in some cases impossible at worst.

Such profound wisdom on which is the better long-term bet would require some kind of crystal ball and the clairvoyance to see where both companies and their ecosystems are headed, so I’m afraid I can’t help you there. I left mine at home.

What I can say is that I prefer most of Android’s overall aesthetic, mainly as the colours are less offensive to my delicate eyeballs, however I do also prefer iOS 7’s translucent menu elements and in particular the Control Centre has utterly schooled Google on how it should be done. I’d also reiterate that I don’t trust Apple Maps any further than I can throw it, and I’m rubbish at throwing stuff.

Both platforms have massive, thriving ecosystems packed with app and multimedia content, both also now have streaming services built-in and both have slick, multitasking-friendly interfaces.

You could argue you get more choice in terms of hardware on Android, that’s very true and in many ways is a good thing, but on the flip-side Apple doesn’t get treated to lots of annoying UI overlays sullying the experience and there’s one clear choice of the ‘best’ handset when it comes to the platform.

In short: ‘you pays your money, you takes your choice,’ as they say.

 

This article was first published on knowyourmobile.com by Paul Briden on 11 June, 2013

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

BlackBerry to offer BBM for iPhone and Android

The idea was first mooted about 2 years ago about the possibility of Blackberry making its Messenger (BBM) real-time messaging service available on Apple’s iPhone and iPad and Google’s Android platforms.There was a post on Diary of a Geek from March 2011 suggesting this. This fact has however been confirmed by Blackberry and the service is billed to be rolled out by summer 2013.

From all indications, this implementation has been 2 years late in coming. Within this period, the only edge that Blackberry could have laid claim to, the messaging app, may have been eroded by the likes of Whatsapp and Wechat. With WhatsApp claiming more than 200 million active users, and WeChat around 190 million, BBM may just be a little late to the party with its paltry 60 million monthly active users with, perhaps, a big chunk from Nigeria and other developing countries.

You can read more about this from Blackberry’s official blog.

bbm

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Top Apps On Offer On Google Play For Only N40!

As Google play witnesses the 25 billionth download on its Google Play app store, top apps are being offered to all and sundry for only 25 cents (N40)! You will recall a similar discount offer that took place only last December 2011 when Google Play witnessed the 10 billionth download, and it offered apps for just 10 cents.

The apps would be available for this price for only 5 days, so hurry!!!

Though unconfirmed as of the time of filing this report, Apple has witnessed at least 30 billion downloads from its App store but has not being known to offer such discounts at any time.

Google Play is very much accessible from Nigeria using Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards from all the major banks.

Below is an official statement from the Google Android team;

Whether you’re looking for directions, checking email or sharing a picture with friends, apps are now an indispensable part of life. And if you’re using Android, it all starts with Google Play, home to 675,000 apps and games. That’s a lot of choice. We’ve now crossed 25 billion downloads from Google Play, and to celebrate we’re offering some great discounts for the next five days.

Every day you’ll be able to choose from a collection of apps from some of the world’s top developers including Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Rovio, runtastic, Full Fat and more. And all for just 25 cents. We’ll also be offering some special collections like 25 movies you must own, 25 banned books, 25 albums that changed the world and our 25 top selling magazines, all at special prices. Visit Google Play a little later today to check them out.

Twenty-five billion is more than twice the distance, in miles, that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has travelled since its launch 35 years ago. It’s the amount of time, in minutes, that have passed since some of our earliest ancestors began to set foot in Europe. And now, thanks to all of you, it’s a Google Play milestone. We look forward to the next 25 billion.

Expectedly, yours truly has snatched up a number of these apps already. “Awuff no dey run belle !”

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

The Future Of Apple Without Steve Jobs

The Passing away of former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, on October 5, 2011 came as a shock to many. He passed away too young and undoubtedly with plenty of innovative ideas. Like they say, “The Good Die Young”. Jobs’ imprint and influence on Apple will remain for years. However, his management team can no longer count on his presence, opinion and impeccable taste.

How will that affect Apple?

The near term is not a concern. Apple will remain one of the most valued companies in the world thanks to strong sales of Macs, iPhones and iPads. The company appears to have incredible momentum over the next few product cycles, thanks largely to Jobs’ technological vision and marketing brilliance.

Then what?

The technology sector is arguably the most competitive industry in the world. Steve Jobs’ genius was creating products no one even knew they wanted before Apple built them. He did not invent the personal computer, the digital music player, smartphones and or tablets; but his creations so fundamentally changed the market, he might as well have. No one knows better than Apple how one product enhancement or advancement can change consumer demand in inconceivable ways.

Can Apple continue to innovate without Jobs?

The iPhone enjoys 27% market share in the smartphone category, according to the latest comscore stats. That’s second only to Google’s Android with 44% market share. Rest assured, Google is looking to increase their piece of the pie with the acquisition of Motorola Mobility. And while the iPhone 4S will likely fly off the shelves, it did disappoint some hoping to see an iPhone 5.

In the tablet category, the iPad dominates. It controls 73% of the market and expects to have at least 50% share through 2014, says industry research firm Gartner. The competition has so far been weak but Amazon’s new Kindle Fire may change that. Even if it’s not a game changer, competitors will continue to try.

This is not to say Apple will fail without Steve Jobs. They are still in good hands. Apple certainly has talented engineers, product managers and executives. CEO Tim Cook has been steering the ship for the last several years as Jobs battled his health issues. The company has excelled during this time. Another integral piece of the puzzle, Jonathan Ive remains. Ive is the lead designer behind just about every great product Apple developed in the last decade and half.

In the end, the only thing we know is: things will be different. And, as Steve Jobs proved, different has the potential to be much better.

This is the end of Apple. The excudroids that take over will mindlessly ape the behavior and statements of Jobs while lacking any of his vision or drive. They will coast on his reputation a la Hewlett Packard until they drive the company into the ground again, a la HP. Jobs was Apple just as Tito was Yugoslavia. Does anyone think Cuba won’t change once Fidel checks out? The followers of any great person can only have shallow understand of the leaders vision.