Gaming on Tablets: Tablet Takeover

by on January 25, 2013

The world of tablet gaming is growing larger each and every year. Tablet devices are growing in ownership rates faster than computers did and faster than cell phones have. According to BusinessVibes.com, tablets have reached 40 million devices in less than two years. It took cell phones almost seven years to reach those numbers. The article also points out that 71 percent of adult tablet owners and 79 percent of teen tablet owners use their tablets for gaming at least one hour per month.

The gaming experience has been largely enhanced by PC gaming for several reasons. With the advancements in solid-state drives, gamers rarely have to see the loading message on PC screens while waiting for their favorite game to appear on the screen. Also, PC graphics are far smoother, faster and clearer than any other gaming experience as of late. The controllers for gaming that can be plugged into PCs also make for the best gaming experience available. All of these things hold true until recent developments that are shifting the tablet gaming experience to be just like a PC experience. Several companies are contributing to the changing future of tablet gaming including Apple, BlackBerry, Nvidia, Lenovo, ASUS and Sony, just to mention a few.

Nvidia is well-known for PC graphics cards which now power many of the top tablet devices in the market today, but the company’s Tegra tablet chips are letting Android tablet manufacturers really blur the line between portable and traditional PC gaming experience. The Tegra technology is a mobile processing system on a chip, which now has a remarkable four CPU cores. Now, gamers can leverage the power of the quad core CPU to bring console or PC class gaming to a tablet device. So, imagine yourself running a 3D game from your tablet device, a controller plugged in the tablet’s USB drive, and connected to a big-screen TV through the tablet’s HDMI output port. Now, it is possible to use a tablet device for a truly mobile console-class gaming experience. Then when you are done, pack up your tablet and take it with you to the next place you wish to set up shop.

Sony is looking to mix interesting new hardware designs with retro gaming experiences. Recently Sony unveiled the Sony Tablet P, which is a unique device that supports a folding design with dual screens that fold neatly in half like a wallet. Imagine folding your tablet in half when you are done browsing Facebook and using one half for a virtual controller and the other half for the onscreen gaming display. The onscreen virtual controller can be customized and adjusted to the user’s liking. If the virtual controller is still not realistic enough, Sony allows users to synch PlayStation controllers to the tablet device.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is another top contender in the tablet gaming market with its powerful computing capabilities. The main focus of Research in Motion’s latest product releases has been to strive for a truly mobile computing experience. The PlayBook is a 7-inch tablet that comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions. It comes equipped with a 1080p HDMI port on the bottom so gamers can hook their BlackBerry PlayBook right up to their big-screen television for a mobile gaming experience comparable to that of a PC. A feature on the PlayBook that some of RIM’s biggest competitors don’t have is the ability to support Adobe Flash. This means users will be able to play Flash video and Flash games on the Playbook, making it one of the strongest contenders in the tablet gaming market.

Many gamers of both tablets and PCs are predicting a tablet takeover in the next few years. A study by Gartner has forecasted the sales of tablets to increase exponentially in the next three years, exploding from 60 million in 2011 to nearly 370 million in 2016. With companies like Nvidia developing lightning fast processors and devices like the BlackBerry PlayBook providing high-quality graphics, look for tablets to take over the gaming industry in the next few years.

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The new version of Apple iphone is almost ready to make an impact on gadget markets. This new addition of Apple iPhone series is the most awaited device in all over the world. There are several rumors about the price of new Apple iPhone 5g. All around the world smartphone lovers want to know, when this new iPhone 5g with advanced features and processor will come in the market for sale and on what price. In fact the price for iPhone 5g is not yet announced, but the gadget lovers are looking for its expected cost.

The 3G internet accessibility was amazing in its previous version 4s, so users are expecting more qualities and functions in this new addition. Definitely theses expectations will give a rise in the cost of new Apple iPhone 5. Though Apple has not revealed the exact features of this most awaited device but all the websites have started marketing this new addition with bogus price. Apple’s previous product iPhone 4S has already made an excellent score in market and now people are very much interested to know about this new version. Even in India many websites has disclosed approximate price of new Apple iPhone 5. According to them this new device may come with price 40,000.00, of course they are not sure because the price may be somewhere around mentioned rate.

Apple can schemes the pricing of this new sibling, same as its older versions. In this way the later models will cost reasonable. The cost of this much anticipated product may be around USD 300.00 for bottom model and USD 500 to USD 800 for a top model through contract. Anyway, whatever the cost will be, it cannot stop Smartphone lovers to buy it, as consumers always want to experience a new thing and eaferly waits for the iPhone 5 release date.

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Verizon wireless promo code can be used to redeem discount on various Verizon wireless products. Every Verizon coupon code has its own requirement. It is important that you read the description so that you know what type of coupon code it is. By taking some time to read the description, you know what type of offer you can redeem when using the coupon code. You can redeem the promo code by accessing the coupon link. To do so, you need to click on the linked coupon once and go to the store to complete the transaction. After you are redirected, you will see that the prices have been reduced slightly. You can add the Verizon product you want to buy into the shopping cart and checkout.

Before you continue to the payment page, you can make a final review on the total of the order. If you don’t want to click the link, you have no choice but to enter the code manually into the text box. When typing in the code, you must make sure they are entered correctly. You must determine the expiry date of the Verizon promotion code before using it to redeem discount for your order.

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Know the Differences Between AT&T and Verizon Before Committing to the New iPhone – Over the past few years,  AT&T has gotten a bit of a bad reputation for their network, and Verizon’s reaped the benefits. It isn’t quite that simple, though. Here’s a quick rundown of the differences between Verizon and AT&T’s 3G networks.

While many of you may be aware of some, if not all, of the differences between Verizon’s CDMA technology and AT&T’s GSM/UTMS, they’re things that the average cell phone consumer may not know—especially if they’ve only ever used one network. So before you or all your less tech-savvy relatives rush to switch to Verizon after yesterday’s announcement, you may want to go over some of these points (courtesy of Mashable):

* GSM and UMTS technology is widely used worldwide. UMTS phones can be easily moved from one UMTS network to another, making them ideal for international use.
* [CDMA] can’t use a SIM card, making it far more difficult to switch handsets.
* Calls: In general, Verizon will drop less calls. It’s unclear what impact the iPhone will have on its network, but we don’t expect it to be as bad as AT&T was in its early years. Verizon’s network has proven itself to be more robust.
* Speed: In general, AT&T has the faster 3G network, and in some cases it’s a great deal faster than Verizon.
* Simultaneous voice and data: Only AT&T is capable of talking on the phone and surfing the web at the same time, but Verizon is working on a solution, saying the fix might be implemented by the end of this year.

It’s also worth noting that while some free verizon phones are known for having better coverage overall, AT&T may still have better coverage in specific areas. If you don’t travel a lot and AT&T has better coverage in your hometown, it may be worth it to stick with them instead.

A lot of this will change in the future, as CDMA works on a solution to the simultaneous voice and data problem, and as both networks start using the same LTE technology for 4G. But, if you’re thinking of switching to the Verizon iPhone now, these are some good things to keep in mind. Mashable goes into a bit more detail than that about how CDMA and GSM work, so if you’re interested in the nitty gritty details, definitely hit the link to read more.

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The Best Cellphone Carrier Perks Compared When choosing a cell carrier, price and coverage feel like they’re everything, but if both are comparable in your area, you may want to take a closer look at carrier perks. Here’s a look at everything else your carrier can do to make your plans worth that bill you’re paying.

Every carrier has different plans, prices, and rations for your service. Sometimes, though, upgrades, contract terms, and special plans and offers can be more of a deciding factor than your monthly bill. Here’s a look at what each carrier has to offer:

Rollover minutes: A service that is exclusively offered by AT&T, any minutes you don’t use during one month will be added to your total allotted minutes for the next month. So if you only use 500 of your 700 minutes in January, then in February you’ll have 200 additional minutes to use without going over.

Any mobile-to-mobile: A newer service recently announced curiously close to announcement of the Verizon iPhone, any individual or family plan that includes unlimited text messaging can call any cell phone, regardless of carrier, without counting against your minutes. These two features combined make it very difficult for an AT&T subscriber to go over their minute allotment. (Note: Existing customers that qualify can add this feature for no cost here)

Sprint Premiere Gold: Sprint recently restructured their Premier member plans into two tiers. Customers who sustain six months of on time payments of $89.99 or more for individual plans, or $169.99 or more for shared plans qualify for handset upgrade discounts every 12 months, rather than every two years. If you’ve ever been burned by purchasing an Android handset that lost support after 9 months, and don’t want to pay $500 for a new device every year, this could help keep you on the bleeding edge of new hardware.

Any mobile-to-mobile: While AT&T only recently picked up this feature, Sprint began offering unlimited calling between mobile numbers regardless of carrier back in September of 2009. Like the AT&T feature, qualifying plans are only charged minutes when they call a landline. Sprint’s night and weekend minutes also begin at 7pm instead of 9 like most carriers, so unless you call a lot of landlines during the day, you can score effectively unlimited plans on the cheap(ish).

Contract-free smartphone plans: Prepaid plans are a dime a dozen from most major carriers, but if you’re looking to get a contract-free line of service, you’re out of luck on most major carriers; except T-Mobile. In fact, if you bring your own handset, they’ll even give you a discounted price for your troubles.

Data-only smartphone plans: What may just be the holy grail of smartphone plans, T-Mobile offers a $50/month data-only plan specifically for smartphones. If you’re the type that would rather set up a VoIP service (perhaps using Gingerbread’s VoIP powers), and use Google Voice for all your SMS needs, T-Mobile will let you kiss counting minutes and texts good-bye. The plan is even unlimited for now, but we’ll see how long that lasts.

Yearly contracts: While T-Mobile may have Verizon beat in the shortest contract-length competition with zero months, Verizon still outmatches Sprint and AT&T, offering the option of signing up for a single-year smartphone contract, as opposed to the standard two years. You won’t receive quite as deep of a discount on your handset subsidies, but you’ll have the option of clearing out if you decide next year that the new iPhone users are just crowding your network too much.

Reliability: Verizon is perhaps the stingiest with their extra bonuses for the various smartphone plans they have, but they can also afford to be. Verizon is very proud of their network and they won’t hesitate to remind you that having unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes or a yearly handset upgrade won’t do you any good if you’re stuck out on Highway 5, a hundred miles from the nearest town with no service.

Wrap-Up

While plan pricing may not have much differentiation between the carrier-in general, you get what you pay for in terms of coverage with each of the Big Four-all of the major U.S. carriers have fairly unique ways of distinguishing themselves from the pack and keeping you from giving your hard-earned cash to the others. Know any other features or plans that helped you choose the best carrier for you? Sound off in the comments.

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Run Out a Contract

by on July 25, 2011

Use a Cell Account “Freeze” to Cut Temporary Expenses (and Maybe Run Out a Contract)

Use a Cell Account “Freeze” to Cut Temporary Expenses (and Maybe Run Out a Contract)It’s easy to think of a cellphone bill as a never-ending obligation. Call and ask the right way, though, and you can get a temporary account suspension, or “freeze”—perfect for belt-tightening, or, potentially, finishing up certain contracts.

Jessica Dolcourt writes at CNET about wanting to jump into Google Voice, but not quite wanting to leave her carrier—which sounds a bit off, to be honest. But she discovered, with phone calls and persistence, that T-Mobile would let her suspend her account for three months, and that those months counted toward the completion of a contract. So if she was intent on picking up a new phone on a separate contract, that would be a nice way to start three months early.

But your mileage will vary, as Dolcourt found in asking other carriers about their suspension/freeze/vacation plans. Still, if you were looking to cut back a bit or ride out a period where you won’t use it much, knowing you can suspend your cell is good knowledge to have.

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Want to boost your signal? Just stick it in a glass.

So a few years ago one of the waitresses there discovered (how?) that if you put a phone in an empty glass it dramatically improves the reception. The Pasta e Basta restaurant is basically stuck in a concrete basement so reception has always been awful. But since they found out about this trick they at least have had enough reception to make and receive calls.

The waiter gave me glass, I put my iPhone in, reluctantly, and lo and behold: I got 3 bars and no 3G but some GPRS. Not perfect but a huge improvement from the ‘No signal’ message I got earlier.

Of course, you probably can’t make a call with your phone stuck in a glass, but you could probably manage to send a text message or two, or receive voicemails and jump outside if they’re important. This is the first we’ve heard of this method, and a few people have noted that this does work, but we haven’t tested it ourselves.

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Four ways to boost your cell signal strength indoors for poor souls with weak cell phone signals

1. Use call forward system to forward cell calls to my land line.

2. Use a VOIP solution that would ring to both my cell number and land line number.

3. Use a wireless indoor antenna booster. This requires mounting an antenna outside the house and running cable to a smaller antenna in the room. Typical cost of this solution starts over $400.

4. Use a wired indoor antenna booster. This requires having a cable connect from the phone to an indoor antenna. These solutions range from about $40 to $100, depending on the size of the antenna.

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Three effective, but not particularly rude tips for limiting expectations when your phone starts ringing.

In no particular order:

1. A friend recently got a new phone & number on Verizon, and neglected to set up his electronic voicemail account for the first few weeks. When you call, after 4-5 rings it goes to voicemail but the message is simply “This user has not set up their voicemail yet. Goodbye.”

Now, this won’t work for everyone, but if you spend a minimal amount of time being interrupted by phone calls and you have a stable job and relationships and don’t need to get every single call that comes in, this no-voicemail thing is kind of awesome because it is one less inbox for this friend’s life. I know when I get that message I’ll either text, call back later, or just send an email. I’m envious and may not set up voicemail for future new phones I get.

2. In the spirit of Last Year’s Model, my home landline is connected to a 11 year-old cordless phone we have no reason to replace. It works for the hour or so total talk time we use it each week, but since the phone sits in the cradle charging constantly, the batteries tend to go bad after a few years. The batteries are currently dying so the phone has to stay on the charger all the time, and when you do get a call, you get about 10 minutes of talk time before the batteries are dead and the call drops.

Instead of replacing the rechargable battery pack, I’ve been enjoying this feature for a few months now. I know it’s kind of asshole-ish, but it’s really nice to be able to keep things short and sweet with everyone that calls my house. It’s really handy and I don’t spend hours on the phone chit-chatting because the phone simply can’t do it, and I have no guilt about cutting a call short. I can always have a long conversation on my cell phone if need be.

3. There are several web services out there to answer the question “Who owns that unlisted number that just hit my mobile phone?” but my favorite is WhoCalled.Us. It’s an awesome free service where people report details of who called them and what they wanted when they called, think of it as crowd-sourced telemarketer reporting. It’s handy because you can safely ignore most calls to your phone after looking up the numbers at this site.

If a weird unknown number comes into my iPhone, I ignore it and look up the number later. 9 times out of 10, it was a sales call from a bank, a timeshare company, or a bullshit work-at-home offer. I wish it was integrated in my phone, so I could just hit a button to do auto lookups from the missed calls page on my phone, or if an incoming call had known records at whocalled.us, it could display the top three rated comments on my screen before I hit accept or reject.

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Port Your Number to Google Voice

by on July 25, 2011

Google Voice is a great service, but changing your phone number can seem like pulling teeth. If you’ve been thinking about porting your existing number to Voice, here’s what you need to know to make it go as smoothly as possible.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the number porting process works, it goes like this: Google will terminate your current cellphone plan, make that your Google Voice number, and then you have to re-activate that line with a new number. Unfortunately, while that may seem simple, it’s a bit more complicated once you actually try to do it.

We’ve talked a bit about Google’s number porting service before, but the process itself has been shrouded in a bit of mystery. Not very many people have really come out and given their experience with Google’s number porting, and Google slaps a lot of caveats on the service. They warn heavily that you may be without service for a few days, and that you could be charged with early termination fees. I finally bit the bullet and went through the number porting process this week, so here’s what I’ve learned about the best way to get through it with minimal hassle (and without getting slammed with fees).

Note: Your mileage may vary with this process. I’m on Verizon, and each carrier is a little different. Furthermore, so is every customer service rep, and every store manager that you’re going to end up dealing with. So while you may not have the exact same experience as me, these guidelines should help you get through the process as pain-free as possible.

Step One: Call Your Carrier’s Customer Service

Whatever you do, don’t cancel your plan yourself before your number’s been ported. Google will do it all for you. They handle the majority of the process beautifully, but before you get all excited and port your number, you’ll want to call your carrier and make sure you don’t incur any early termination fees.

I wasn’t sure how Verizon was going to handle this, which is why I called them before I did anything. The customer service rep (who, for what it’s worth, didn’t know a ton about Google Voice), assured me that as long as I sign up for a new number on that line, Verizon won’t hit me with an early termination fee, since it’s clear I’m not “ditching” them completely and that I intend to fulfill my contract.

Of course, the store reps I later talked to said something very different after I ported my number, which is why I recommend calling them before you do anything. If your carrier has, somewhere on record, that you called customer service and they promised to waive the fee, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle later on.

Step Two: Port Your Number Through Google

How to Port Your Number to Google Voice Without Paying an Arm and a Leg is the easiest part. Head to Google Voice’s Settings and click on the “Change / Port” link under the Phones tab. They’ll give you a bunch of warnings, but once you finish agreeing to all the terms (and paying Google their $20—which is all you should have to pay throughout the process) your porting should be underway. After that, it’s just a waiting game. I still had full cell service until my number finished porting, which I didn’t expect. When it’s done, you’ll get an email notification and then it’s time to head down to the Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile/whatever store and complete the most difficult part of the process—opening a new line.
Step Three: Get Your New Cell Phone Number

This was the most complicated part, but it still wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. It was more of a hassle for Verizon than it was for me; I just had to stand around and wait for them to figure out how to give me a new number on the same line (apparently, it’s more difficult than it sounds).

Once my number was ported, I went straight to the Verizon store to get a new number for my cellphone. I explained my request to the guy at the counter, and he looked at me a little confused at first. I found it a little more helpful to ignore the Google Voice talk completely and just explain that I had, essentially, ported my old Verizon number to another carrier, but still wanted to keep that line on Verizon, just with a new number. I mentioned Google Voice, but didn’t explain the service in detail since, in the end, it is no different than if you’d just ported to another carrier.

The first roadblock we ran into was that the line was still disconnected, since Google had just finished the port and it hadn’t yet “finished” in Verizon’s system, or something like that. Essentially, they said it would take one or two days before I could use that line again—so they put me on an individual month-to-month plan for the next day or two, then switched me back to my normal family plan under the new number once that line reopened. It all seemed very strange to me, but in the end, the manager was extremely helpful, and said he’d waive any fees I incurred from that $30 month-to-month plan I was on in the interim (which was probably only 5 or 6 bucks—but again, helpful).

I thought I was in the clear, and then one of the guys mentioned that because I’d cancelled my contract, I would be getting an early termination fee. I explained that I talked to a customer service rep the day before, and sure enough, they saw the notes on the account and immediately waived the fee. They re-activated my phone with the new number, and I was on my way, still having paid only $20 and a half hour of my time for the entire process.

The Bottom Line

Everyone you talk to is going to be a bit different, so don’t worry if someone tells you that waiving those fees isn’t possible. If your first customer service rep is a pain, call again later and talk to someone else. You’re not doing anything sinister, here, so eventually someone’s bound to understand that you aren’t trying to buck the system and help you out. And, the more notes you can get in their computers ahead of time, the quicker the process is going to be once you actually get to the store.

The more polite you are, and the less you get frustrated with the store employees (who, granted, can and very well may seem dumbfounded at your requests), the more likely you are to get through the process without any hassle or extra fees. Remember that Google Voice is still a young (and strange) service, and very few people you talk to are going to even know what it is, let alone understand how it works (Frankly, the less you talk about it, the better). Overall, I found the process went smoother than I thought it would, and found it much easier than trying to get my friends to start using a new number. Surprisingly, everyone I dealt with at the Verizon store was more cooperative than half of my friends were the first time I tried to switch to Google Voice. If you’re serious about using Google Voice full time, I highly recommend checking out the number porting service.

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