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Why 2019 is the best year ever to buy a smartphone

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In late 2017, Apple released the iPhone X and while it was a joy to use it also raised the bar for smartphone prices, starting at $999. After seeing flagship sales stagnate over the past year and a half while companies like OnePlus push innovation forward at lower prices, 2019 is the year that smartphone buyers reap the benefits of pricing and technology.

It’s easy to find a great phone today. In fact, current flagship devices are so good you really don’t need to be replacing them every year.

While ZDNet’s Jason Perlow argued that 2019 is the worst smartphone year ever primarily due to price and minor updates, I argue it is the best smartphone year ever with more affordable flagships with stunning camera performance, reliable all-day long battery life, fast performance, and attractive designs that now mean buyers can keep their phones for two or more years without compromise. Chinese smartphone manufacturers continue to push innovation and smartphone technology forward, but that doesn’t mean others are standing by while the US government restricts sales of Chinese companies from the likes of Huawei and ZTE.

Jason stated:

“All in all, this has shaped up to be a pretty unexciting year for smartphones. They lack significant innovation compared to the previous year, and quite frankly they all look dull and even downright ugly with the big camera bulges.” 

I’m not sure which phones Jason has been looking at, but Samsung has lovely Prism and Aura color schemes on its S10 and Note 10 lines, Google provides a fun color with bright power buttons as an alternative to black and white colors, there are four color options for the iPhone XR in addition to black and white, and the OnePlus 7 Pro Almond and Nebula Blue colors are downright gorgeous. The rumored iPhone 11 appears ugly in pictures, but we’ll have to wait and see what it looks like in real life to pass judgement. You also cannot have amazing camera performance without space for sensors and other than the rumored iPhone 11 there’s nothing that obtrusive about current smartphone camera designs.

AFFORDABLE FLAGSHIPS

A month after Apple launched the XS and XS Max last fall, it rolled out the iPhone XR at $749. This is $250 less than the XS and $350 less than the XS Max, which is a significant amount. The Apple iPhone XR is the reasonably priced choice and it turns out it is a crowd favorite with colorful back options, the longest lasting new iPhone battery, and a big display to help you get work done.

Samsung launched the Galaxy S10 series in March with the Galaxy S10e currently priced in the $700 range ($750 was the launch price). The S10e is $150 less than the S10 and $250 less than the S10 Plus while still having nearly all the same specifications and functionality. The S10e fits well in small pockets and can even be plugged into an external monitor and power a PC-like experience with Samsung DeX.

Google went a long ways with carrier support with the new Google Pixel 3A launching on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular at launch. The 3A starts at just $399.99 and has nearly the same camera as the higher priced Pixel 3 with a mid-level processor that still satisfies the needs of most people. It’s an affordable option that is guaranteed to get updates for three years while offering all the functionality you could want in an Android smartphone.

TechRepublic and ZDNet smartphone experts discuss the features, specs, and pros and cons of Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Find out about battery life, ease of repair, and viability for business use. The introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone…Downloads provided by TechRepublic Premium

OnePlus launched the OnePlus 6T on T-Mobile and followed that up with the OnePlus 7 Proon the carrier as well. While it would be great to see broader US carrier support from OnePlus, lining up a US carrier is a big win that has resulted in solid sales for OnePlus.

In addition to carrier support, OnePlus was the first to roll out UFS 3.0 support for internal storage while also providing buyers with a beautiful display with 90 Hz refresh rate. Warp Charge 30 provides one of the fastest charging standards available on a phone, beat out only by Huawei’s Super Charge system. It was also one of the first to launch with 12GB of RAM. OnePlus is not sitting idly by and there are rumors that an incremental update, possibly the OnePlus 7T, will launch with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus.

Apple rolled out the iPhone X with a large center display notch in 2017 and over the next couple of years manufacturers tried out different ways to include sensors and a front-facing camera while maximizing the viewable display area. OnePlus pushed the innovation forward even a bit more with a retractable front-facing camera that makes using the OnePlus 7 Pro a sheer joy for work and media experiences.

We have also seen wide adoption of multiple camera lenses on the back of phones so that nearly any phone you purchase today can serve as your only camera with little compromise. This is one area that is sure to continue innovating as sensor makers push things forward too.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one area that demonstrates the power and capability of today’s mobile processors, but hasn’t yet realized its full potential. We see AI primarily being used today for helping us frame and capture better photos. However,  it’s an area ripe for further development as components improve and use cases evolve. Our phones today are smart enough to take care of regular tasks we perform daily. Samsung and Apple gave us a glimpse of what is to come with Siri Shortcuts and Samsung Bixby Quick Commands.

Although the first Galaxy Fold failed, Samsung is planning to release it again next month. Huawei also continues to work on its foldable phone which we should see in the next couple of months. Even though these first generation foldable phones are sure to be only for early adopters, it shows manufacturers are testing new technologies and methods to help us use our handheld computers in new ways.

I’m not sure what people expect their smartphones to do that isn’t being done now and as we look at prices and innovation in 2019 it’s pretty clear this was a fantastic year for smartphones with hints of greater things in 2020. We look forward to full 5G adoption, AI doing more for us without requiring direct user feedback, and so much more. With affordable options being offered by the major players we can also expect more for less in the years to come.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/why-2019-is-the-best-year-ever-to-buy-a-smartphone-affordable-flagships-galore/

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Android 10: 8 of the best features and how to use them

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Android 10 is rolling out to Google’s Pixel phones right now, with more devices to gain the latest version of Android in the near future. Google recently announced Android 10 as the official name, replacing Android Q and the dessert naming scheme Google has always used. Operating system updates like Android 10 add new features and capabilities and can be refreshing if you’re growing tired of your phone. Google released the first beta of Android Q in March, and we’ve been testing it all along. 

From a new Bubbles notification feature, full-on gesture navigation, improved privacy settings and a slick Live Caption feature — there’s a lot to like about Android 10. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights. 

android-q-bubbles
Android 10’s Bubbles feature should feel familiar to users of Facebook Chat Heads. Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Bubbles

Do you still use Facebook Messenger’s Chat Heads feature? If so, then you’re going to love Android 10’s new Bubbles feature. Bubbles work just like Chat Heads, with a circular notification floating above whatever is on your screen. Google wants developers to be mindful of what types of apps use Bubbles simply because a stream of notifications showing up on your screen, regardless of what you’re doing, would get real annoying real fast.

As you can see in the screenshots above, Bubbles is working with the Google Phone app. I triggered Bubbles by leaving an active call, after which a small circle showed up with the contact’s picture. While dragging the Bubble around, two options showed up at the bottom of the screen: Hide and End Call. Dragging the icon to either option caused that action. A single tap on the Bubble revealed a few more options, such as enabling the speaker or muting the call. 

android-q-better-notificaiton-management
Android 10 makes it a breeze to share Wi-Fi networks with a QR code. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Wi-Fi and QR codes

Sharing your Wi-Fi network password with friends or asking for theirs can be awkward. Android 10 has a new feature that lets you create a QR code for your Wi-Fi network or scan a QR code to join a Wi-Fi network, directly in the device’s Wi-Fi settings. To use this new feature, go to Wi-Fi settings and then select your home network, followed by the Share button with a small QR code just above it. 

undo-app-homescreen-removal
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Undo app removal

Ever accidentally remove an app from your home screen, and then realize you can’t remember which app was there? I have.

With Android 10, you have a few seconds after an app has been removed to undo the change. You’ll find the undo button along the bottom of the screen. Press it and bam, the app is back where it belongs.

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You have new options when it comes to approving location access in Android 10.Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Location control

Android is finally getting more granular control over how an app can use location information. Currently, you can give an app access to your location either all the time or not all. With Android 10, you will gain the option of letting an app access your location information only while you’re actively using the app. Not only is this a privacy matter, but it’s sure to help save on battery life.

android-q-privacy-setting
The new privacy settings in Android 10 are long overdue. Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Privacy settings

With Android 10, there’s now a dedicated Privacy section in the settings app. Opening it will reveal the various permissions apps can request for things like calendar, location, camera, contacts and microphone.

Android has lacked a clear-cut way to view what apps have access to what data on your device. The new section makes it easy to discover and revoke permissions for specific apps. Take a few minutes to learn exactly what can be done in the new Android 10 Privacy settings page. Trust us, it’s worth it. 

notification-controls
Android 10’s new notification settings will help you limit the dings and beeps coming from your phone. Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Better notification controls

When you long-press an alert, you’re now given two different options: Alerting and Silent. Selecting Alerting will allow the app to make sound with each new alert. Silent will not make a sound or cause your phone to vibrate. You can further tailor how notifications behave by going into Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications.

This is a small but important feature because you no longer have to dig into the Settings app to figure out how to customize an app’s alerts. You simply long-press, pick an option and you’re done

Live Caption

As a way to make Android more accessible, Google developed Live Caption. The feature will live-caption any video that’s being played, without a data connection. To activate Live Caption, play a video and then press a volume button. The volume slider that shows up will have a caption button at the bottom — tap it. You can then move around the caption by dragging it around the screen. 

You can install Android 10 if you have a Pixel phone, then be sure to familiarize yourself with gesture navigations and dig into the new privacy settings. 

Source: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/android-10-8-of-the-best-features-and-how-to-use-them/

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iPhone 11? Phone XI? Exactly What Will Apple Name Its 2019 Phones?

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Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 10, Apple will introduce its latest iPhones, plus a new Apple Watch and perhaps more stuff.

Apple invite
The invite to tomorrow’s Apple keynote.APPLE

But while we think we know what we’re getting, we still don’t know for sure what the new iPhones are going to be called.

Regular Forbes readers will know that this guessing game is something I do each year. And my track record in 2018 and 2017 is quite remarkable. Well, what I mean is, as you’ll have seen if you clicked on those links, I’m usually wrong.

In 2017 I did think iPhone X was a good name but plumped for another name in the end. Last year, I was completely wrong.

So, at least I’m consistent, right?

Let’s see if I can score a hat trick with a look at the contenders…Today In: Innovation

iPhone 11

Could this be the name? I’m hoping so, mostly because I honestly can’t wait for Tim Cook to say, at last, “these iPhones go to 11”. Though whether a Spinal Tap reference really will make the keynote is another matter.

Well, there’s something straightforward about this, and since we’re all already talking about the iPhone 11, it would make a lot of sense to go with this name. I think it’s pretty likely. But, never forget, Apple doesn’t like to be predictable.

Also, there are three iPhones in the 2018 range, likely to be mimicked this time around. So, which iPhone would be the iPhone 11? When the iPhone X launched, it was the flagship, so does that mean the iPhone 11 will be the replacement for the iPhone XS? I don’t think so.

XR
The current range of iPhone XR colors.APPLE

The entry-level iPhone XR, arguably the most successful phone Apple released last year, is now very much a member of the family. Just as XR indicates an ‘X’-type phone, so this year I think the XR replacement will have 11 in its name.

In fact, as it’s the popular and most affordable iPhone, perhaps it should have the iPhone 11 name all to itself.

What does that mean for the replacements for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max?

iPhone
iPhone XS Max – a new Max is about to be announced, we think.APPLE

Max makes a return

The one thing I’m sure of is that the word Max will be in the name of the largest iPhone, the presumed 6.5in screener to replace the iPhone XS Max. Before the XS Max, that sized phone was called a Plus size by Apple. To remind you that the display went edge to edge, Apple called it Max. As the next phone will have the same all-screen effect, I am sure Max will be in the mix.

How about Pro?

Pro came up as a possible name choice in 2017 for what turned out to be iPhone X. If the XR replacement is just called iPhone 11, then what do you call the XS replacement? One rumor doing the rounds in iPhone 11 Pro, or just iPhone Pro.

This is not a bad idea, but there’s one sticking point for me: the Lightning connector. While it’s true the first iPad Pro had a Lightning socket, the move to USB-C on the more recent models indicated the importance of the versatile, universally used connector, and now the whole iPad Pro range has USB-C.

I don’t think any iPhone will have a USB-C connector this year.

Of course, Apple can say that one of the reasons the iPad Pro has USB-C is to make it easier to connect the tablet to external devices such as monitors, and that won’t be the purpose with the iPhone, so Lightning is fine, thank you very much.

If it is Pro, then what?

Then there’s the question of whether it should be iPhone Pro or iPhone 11 Pro. Once that’s decided, where do you put the Max? iPhone Pro Max or iPhone 11 Pro both sound like a health supplement, so maybe it could be iPhone 11 Max Pro.

But that’s quite a mouthful.

How about iPhone XI?

Although Apple has favored roman numerals, I don’t think they’ll be used this year. After all, almost everyone talks about the iPhone X, sounding the X as a letter not as ten.

Although Apple is proud of the iPhone X, I think it will move on to regular numbers this time around. Not least so everyone says it right.

What’s the answer then?

I’m betting on iPhone 11 for the XR replacement. Then iPhone 11 with a suffix for the XS successor and the same including the word Max for the largest model. On balance, I think the most likely names for these two are iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max or, just possibly, iPhone 11 Max Pro.

But you never can tell with Apple. Only hours until we know.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2019/09/09/phone-11-phone-xi-exactly-what-will-apple-name-its-2019-phones/?ss=consumertech#2eb9a7ec2c7e

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Employees who are treated rudely get their revenge with the silent treatment, research shows

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Employees who are treated rudely at work get their revenge by withholding important information from colleagues and managers, new research shows.

The British Academy of Management’s annual conference in Birmingham heard today [Thursday 5 September] that employees who experience workplace incivility are more likely to engage in “deviant behaviors” directed toward both colleagues and the organization.

Researchers asked almost 300 employees in US firms to rate how rude colleagues had been to them, and how much they kept silent in order to get even or to harm their employers.

Three academics at the Universite de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour in France conducted online surveys with 297 employees working in various industries in the United States, a representative sample of the workforce.

Professor Jean Pierre Neveu, Dr. Ghulam Murtaza and Rahman Khan asked the employees to rate on a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (every day) how often a colleague or boss had been rude to them during the previous two months. They also asked them to rate from 1 to 5 how much they had remained silent about an important matter when they should have spoken up, in order to get even with a colleague or hurt their employer.

The researchers found that the average score for the rudeness experienced was 2.12, and that for every 1 unit increase, the likelihood that workers would remain silent increased by about a third. An employee who experience rudeness every day would be around twice as likely to remain silent as the average.

Employee silence, an increasingly recognized phenomenon, can be costly for organizations. Examples include staff failing to speak up when workplace plans and procedures are riddled with inaccuracies or faulty thinking.

“Experiencing incivility at work leads to deviant silence in which an individual withholds useful information to harm someone,” Mr Khan told the conference.

Staying silent was “a response to experiencing incivility because the individual thinks that it’s fair to retaliate against the perpetrator,” he said.

“Employees intentionally remain silent about important issues because they perceive their work environment is not conducive for it, which can posit serious harm to the organizations.

“Experiencing workplace incivility may not only be harmful to a victim’s mental health but can also motivate him or her to make unethical choices. In turn, such deviant behaviors can hurt an organization’s culture as well as its financial condition.”

Mr Khan said that staying silent could backfire and created a vicious cycle. “Deviant behavior like hiding valuable information can lead colleagues or superiors to make wrong decisions and may cause negative emotions in them thus further leading to subsequent mistreatment targeted towards the perpetrator as they want to pay him back.”

Source: https://phys.org/news/2019-09-employees-rudely-revenge-silent-treatment.html

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