Monday, July 26, 2010

Samsung Galaxy S Phones' Secret to a Better Battery Life

Photo: Courtesy of

The more powerful our phones get, the more power hungry they seem to be.  What drives the power hunger is a faster CPU, more connectivity options, the demand of new wallpapers (which are amazing), and not to be outdone, the displays which are the number one source of power usage.  With more and more apps coming out to the Android Market, free movies and popular games being preloaded on phones as a marketing strategies, we tend to be on our devices longer.  

One of the primary factors that kill the battery life significantly is running a live wallpaper.  Running the live wallpaper consumes alot of energy since you are activating more pixels on your screen.  Also, there are higher demands on the CPU, the phone's brain to process the moving graphics.  Interactive wallpapers also mean more CPU usage.  Learning the following principles will be key in maximizing your battery life while enjoying the full glory of your new mobile device.

On an LCD, the main power draw is the backlight. The backlight is always on.  Period. You are basically just changing the filter by means of small liquid crystals in order to produce the different colors.  LCD displays do not emit their own light, therefore, they need a constant backlight to be on at all times.  A black pixel means: filter completely, which consumes battery power. The power needed to enable the filtering on an LCD is relatively low. With an LCD screen then, either the whole screen is on or it is off, regardless of the color.

Video: Courtesy of's YouTube Channel.

The Samsung Galaxy S series of phones (the Samsung Vibrant: T-Mobile, the Samsung Captivate: AT&T, the Samung Epic 4G: Sprint, and the Samsung Fascinate: Verizon) have one of the most technologically advanced displays in existence. They have a super-AMOLED screen.  "The Galaxy S's feather-light weight is due in part to the Super AMOLED technology, which the Samsung first introduced at Mobile World Congress on the Samsung Wave. Super AMOLED technology has touch sensors on the display itself as opposed to creating a separate layer (Samsung's old AMOLED displays had this extra layer) making it the thinnest display technology on the market. Super AMOLED is fantastic; you really have to see it in real life to experience it. Colors burst out of the display and animations appeared lively and smooth."-PC World reported.   The “LED” in OLED means that each pixel on the display screen emits its own light which means that when a pixel is called on to display the black color, it’s simply off, thus not consuming battery power.  You can think of AMOLED screens as an organized collection of very tiny LEDs.  Each LED draws power when it is on, but not when it is off.  Therefore, an AMOLED screen with pixels that are off (black) will not draw power.    So there is no question that AMOLED uses less power. Given that the screen is the biggest consumer of power on a phone, you can really do alot to minimize battery usage with an AMOLED display when you have the background set as solid black.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who Does YouTube's Viewership say the preferred carrier for Android Phones?

If  the new Samsung Galaxy S series Phonescoop coverage online is any indication of the interest in carriers, since most of the phones are very similar (except for the Samsung Epic 4g, given that it is the only one with a slide out keyboard), there are some surprises in terms of which carrier's phone is Vibrant enough to Facinate and Captivate the peoples' Instinct to buy their own network in Epic proportions. Hey, that was pretty good, except for the Captivate!  The four major US Carriers:  AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon [in alphabetical order; just thought I'd show my impartiality (wink)] will each carry a version of Samsung's Galaxy S.

Here's a screenshot of Phonescoop's channel:

CellPhonius chose Phonescoop's YouTube Channel because they uploaded the review on the same date, as the reviews were all done one after the other.

So, the carriers ranked:

#1 T-Mobile - Vibrant     39,951 Views
#2 Sprint-      Epic 4G   21,542 Views
#3 AT&T-       Captivate 15,167 Views
#4 Verizon-    Fascinate 11,083 Views

Whether the Galaxy S's variations are what is driving the potential consumers' to navigate to a particular carrier is not clear.  What is interesting, however, is to find the "unlikeliest" suspect near the top of the list while the iPhone's current network, which in the past was the most powerful network of all, is further down the list.

What do you think?  Is it the phone or the network that is attracting the most interest?

Android Fans: Samsung is Listening!

The Samsung Galaxy S family of phones are almost a better version of Android. Many innovations that Samsung engineered for the Galaxy S are results of listening to the consumers, reviewing forums, and acutally paying attention to the trending topics in Android troubleshooting and suggestion forums. You can thank many of the Top Android review sites, blogs, youtube channels dedicated to Android topics, and, let's just say, constructive criticism from the many media outlets paying close attention to this movement.

Take for instance Tim, a good friend of mine, who owns one of Verizon's Motorola Droid devices. The first thing that he complained about is having to push that impossibly tiny little button at the top right side on the top side of the phone. (Didn't Motorola think that men would be highly attracted to this high tech toy too?)  The phone even gets dangerously close to taking a page from Apple's book, which is a nice card to play in this very competitive market, by placing four icons (applications, the most used) that are docked at the bottom of the screen. Sound familiar? Users can then change which applications remain docked at the bottom of the screen. They'll bask in the joy of watching all of the other applications fly by as they toggle through the different screns, all seven of them. Steve is probably red as an apple to see these features, but the customers are not complaining, especially those who bypassed the "Antennagate" fiasco by waiting patiently and gobbling up the newest pastry inspired Google-powered artwork produced, this time by Samsung.

One of the most noticeable improvements on Android's current lineup to-date is the set of toggle buttons where you can control the power settings, such as screen brightness, blue booth, WiFi, and  data syncing, found in a fantastic location; tucked in the notorious notification curtain-style menu at the top of the screen.

There is one move by Samsung (and T-Mobile), that is a bit annoying to many. While showcasing the phone's capabilities on the showroom floor is a wise marketing strategy, some consumers do not appreciate the media preinstalled by Samsung, AVATAR and THE SIMS 3. It would be a non-issue, but it is so hard to uninstall these two masterpieces that it takes a very experienced user to do it. Perhaps a better thing to have done (Paying attention Motorola and HTC?) would have been to have a selection of movies, downloadable for free, in their full HD glory, perhaps being co-sponsored by Netflix, Blockbuster, or RedBox.  Most Samsung Vibrant T-Mobile customers will actually use it to flaunt their new superphones.

While many charge that the phone is very much like the iPhone 3Gs, for good reason, it is surprisingly thin, very thin and light weight. One thing is for sure.  Today's superphones, especially the ones optimized by Samsung to show their version of the best Android OS user interface, offer an array of options that even our cute Nokias and our cool Motorola V3 phones could never touch! Thanks, Samsung or should I say, Nanu Nanu! Wait, how about...Komapsumnida! (Thanks in Korean)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Is the new Samsung Galaxy S missing its cape?

Straight from everybody's favorite tube, YouTube comes a video that can cause serious injury to your jaw, from when it drops to the ground!  Check this out and tell us what you think of this amazing phone's display.

No matter what phone you want to get, whether a Droid, Samsung, HTC, or SonyEricsson, they all have an impressive lineup of features.  Which is your favorite Android phone?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Google Voice, Causing Text Message Overages?

You are a very smart person for finding the Google Voice Application and utilizing it as, not only a fascinating communication management tool, but also as a way to ease your budget.  Many, however, are finding themselves holding pretty hefty charges for text message overages because they do not understand how Google Voice works.  So here is how to avoid those unnecessary charges while enjoying the multiple benefits of signing up for a Google Voice account and using it the way it was intended to be used.

Sending text messages using Google Voice can be setup to avoid text messaging charges on your bill.  This is because the text messages go out via data link to Google Voice. This explains why you cannot send text messages using Google Voice when no data connection is available.  However, you can send text messages through the Google Voice Application when you are on your provider's EDGE, 3G, or WiFi networks.

The Problem:

Some have a Google Voice Number, and they associate multiple phones with their Google Voice Account. They do this on Android phones with the Google Voice application installed and other phones that may not have the Google Voice application installed on them. This means that, for the phones that have not installed the Google Voice App, text message charges will appear on their bill even if they are subscribed to Google voice.  This is because the text messages are no longer being transmitted through their data network, instead they are transmitted directly through the carrier's SMS channel.  The carriers charge a premium for that service.

Receiving text messages, even through their Google Voice Number will show up as an incoming text message because Google Voice will send you incoming text messages through your carrier's SMS channel.  The good news is that you can set things up to avoid the charges!

The Solution:

Follow these simple instructions:

Access your Google Voice Account online. Go to the account settings and leave the "Forward phone to your cell phone" checked.  Then, go into the "Voice Mail & SMS Tab" to uncheck "Send SMS to This Number"

Now, on the same menu, check the "SMS Forward" and enter your e-mail address there. (Use the e-mail account that you set up on your Android phone.)

After making these changes, any text message sent to your Google Voice Number will be posted as an e-mail message.  Read the "email" and your reply to that "email" will be forwarded out to the original sender as an SMS by Google Voice. Therefore, no charge will appear on your account for either receiving or sending text messages.

The Google Voice Application is a great tool.  Use it wisely, save money, and enjoy its benefits.

Another Android Phone - Can You Keep Up?

With an average of one brand new Android "Super Phone" per month being launched, people are wondering whether to stick to their devices and wait until the "ultimate" device is made or to buy the latest and greatest.  It is obviously the never-ending race to always stay ahead.  It can get frustrating, tiring, and darn right expensive!  So what tis the smart consumer to do?  Well, there is no black and white answer.  A consumer must be willing to make a choice based on the current marketplace.  For instance, those who bought the Nexus One, THE official Google Phone, are quite happy with their handsets' performance.

Even developers and cell phone gurus have been, for the most part, keeping their Nexus One phones.  The bottom line is that, unless your livelihood depends on the having, reviewing, or selling the latest and greatest device on the market, the stress is quite unnecessary.
Up until the end of 2008, the Motorola Razr was still a pretty hot phone.  Not so anymore!  It is soooo yesterday!  To show you how absurdly quick phones are phasing out as of late consider a report by Chris Davies, from Android Community, who reported the following: 
"Verizon’s DROID X has only just gone on sale – and is already sold out, with new deliveries not expected until July 23rd – but the carrier is already looking to phase out its predecessor.  According to a leaked screenshot, 

Droid Forums received from the carrier’s systems, both the Motorola DROID A855 and the DEVOUR A555 are being classed end-of-life, with “limited or no remaining shipments from the vendor”.   It’s unclear how much time that gives would-be DROID (or indeed DEVOUR) owners to pick up their handset of choice, so we’d advise ringing ahead to check your local Verizon store has them in stock.  Both are currently available for order via the carrier’s website." -Droid Forums and Android Community

CellPhonius recommendation:

Make an informed decision on the very best phone for your preferred use and keep it for at least the length of your contract. If text messaging is your thing, get a messaging phone.  If you're into social networking, then one of the latest and greatest may offer you the best choices.  The Evo 4G featuring QIK, the Samsung Vibrant featuring the Amazon Kindle app, MobiTV service, and The Sims 3 game, the iPhone 4 featuring great media rich apps with the best market place known to date.

Either way, savor the technology rich masterpieces that are being created online before you buy and ask as many questions as you can about the device, the carrier, as well as the service plans available to satisfy your needs and budget.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Did Apple's Response Help or Hurt Apple?

Apple put out a news release as a formal response to the reception problems of the newest generation of its cell phone: the iPhone 4.

The release reads, in part: "...gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones...We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same— the iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped." -Apple

Who is Apple trying to fool? Consumers are smarter than that! I do not see Blackberry users lined up at AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint complaining of reception problems. No Droid users are piling up at Verizon saying, "I have got to hang my Droid by a string and put it on speaker to get good reception." The fact is that there was a serious design flaw that Apple's Quality Control failed to address and follow through.

As far as the statement, "the iPhone 4's wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped", it does not hold up. If you watched the iPhone 4 launch, there was no problem with the reception of the iPhone 3GS. It was sitting right next to the iPhone 4.  The iPhone 3GS and all of the phones and gadgets the audience were using didn't seem to have a problem, including many with Sprint's new Evo 4G.

Apple needs to own up to the problem, apologize, and make things right for their loyal customers without excuses or trying to "bring other manufacturers" into a problem that is unique, in its scale, only to the iPhone 4. That is the only solution that, though late, would be acceptable. Whether or not Apple's response helped is up to the jury and ultimate judge: the consumers. We consumers will vote with our cash to decide whether Apple gets a free pass or whether the game changes on Apple. I trust Apple with get its act together, but meanwhile time will tell what the outcome will be for Apple and the iPhone 4. I just hope that the next generation iPad doesn't follow the design of the iPhone 4, as with the current iPad being designed to look like a large iPhone 3GS.