FaceTime And WhatsApp – Communicate For Free With Your iPhone 4S

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The Apple iPhone 4S allows you to send and receive messages and carry out phone calls using a number of different formats. This is achieved via both the standard formats as well as those provided by apps downloaded from the AppStore. In this article I will look at some of the communication apps available, so you can take advantage of the benefits they bring.

FaceTime

The FaceTime app makes its first appearance on the iPhone 4S, working alongside the handset’s built in front facing camera. You can only use the app if the person you are speaking to has a device with FaceTime (iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad 2 etc) and a front facing camera. If they have, then you can carry out video calls over a Wi-Fi network, so you can not only hear them but also see them in real time. This app is especially useful if you are contacting someone oversees, as you can avoid the notoriously high call charges associated with calling foreign number on a telephone. Because it is free, this app comes highly recommended.

WhatsApp

This is an app which allows you to send and receive SMS and MMS messages for free. Most iPhone 4S tariffs have an allowance of free messages included, but if you go over this allowance, an app like WhatsApp can be very useful. Because the app uses a 3G or Wi-Fi connection, messages incur no charges (although data charges may apply when using 3G in certain situations. To be sure, use Wi-Fi whenever possible). This app costs £0.69 from the AppStore and I think this is very good value as you can use it to send an unlimited number of text messages and media messages. You can only send messages using this app if your intended recipient also has WhatsApp installed on their phone. WhatsApp is also available for other operating systems like Android, so can also be used on phones like the Samsung Galaxy S2, for example.

As you can see, there are more options for communication on the iPhone 4S than the standard phone and message features. If you use apps like those outlined above wisely, you can significantly reduce your monthly phone bill. These kinds of apps are great for those who have lower allowances on their tariff or who use a Pay As You Go plan. There are many more such apps on the AppStore which allow you to communicate for free using an iPhone 4S; be sure to check out my other articles for details on some of these.

 

Introduction to Android Phones

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Android phones, also referred to as Droid phones, are mobile phones, working on an Android operating system, developed by Google. Over the years, this operating system gained popularity among manufacturers and developers as they could easily customize it to suit their respective requirements. Customizing a phone enable the providers to offer a wide range of user interfaces while using the same OS. Most of these phones, even those offered by companies using an alternate operating system, tend to have the same features which go to include the management of personal data, browsing the net, video streaming, plus a number of free as well as paid applications and software.

Technical Specifications

Android phones make use of the Android operating system, middleware and key applications. The program, written in C language, is based on a Linux kernel. The applications that a phone using an Android OS offers are basically written in Java language.

Many consider Android phones as revolutionary due to the open source configuration. Any developer, whether an amateur or a professional, can write programs for this OS, adding to the ongoing Android development by tendering the same to the Play Store from Google, a closed source application available for the users of Android phones. Consumers are then free to make use of various applications by downloading the same on their personal phone by accessing the library containing these applications.

Multitasking

The users of Android phones may simultaneously run a number of applications, allowing them to perform different tasks at the same time, thus offering them more flexibility of operation, compared to the competing systems. However, the hardware used in the handset plays a significant role. Certain handsets have multi-core processors, making it more convenient for users to run many operations simultaneously.

Non-Proprietary Issues

Many similar devices making use of alternate operating systems have very firm proprietary rules. For example, if you wanted to write an application for iPhone, you are not allowed to make a program which is closely similar to an application already owned and offered by Apple. All applications need Apple’s approval before they get displayed at the Apple App Store. But the users of Android phones have no such restrictions. All applications in this case are developed, courtesy of Open Handset Alliance, an association that supports the development and subsequent use of openly sourced software.

Another distinctive feature of the Android system is the fact that it’s not attached to any manufacturer of hardware in particular. As a manufacturer, you are free to create your own edition of the Android operating system for your phone. It enables a number of companies to use this operating system as a base, and create different versions for their specific needs, thus helping the consumer to make a selection from a wider range of options.

Different editions of Android have been exploited for producing different editions of phones. All significant improvements in this software can be identified through a code, usually based on the name of some desert. Though it is possible to update the older versions and replace those with newer editions of the operating system, this is not possible always due to the changes incorporated in the hardware of phones.

 

How to Select the Best Android Tablet

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In the age of smart phones and tablets, Android powered devices have successfully managed to carve a unique identity for them. All the Android powered devices are famous for their user- friendly interface as well as the cheap apps and games available with them. Though these apps were already a part of many smart phones that came before Android, these were expensive enough that not everyone was able to afford them. With the introduction of Android powered smart phones and tablets in the market, this entire range of high end games as well as apps became more accessible to the common masses.

Android tablets have an advantage over other tablets available in the market. These tablets are powered with one of the most powerful and portable operating systems available today i.e. Android itself. These are highly customizable as well. The reliability as well as powerful features provided by Android is the reason why some of the automobile manufacturers in the world are also interested in it, so that they can find something useful and engaging for their customers.

Specifically speaking of Android tablets, it is a known fact that a whole new range of tablets have exploded in the digital market. Apart from this, the new range of applications and games that accompany these tablets are also commendable. However, all these choices can put people in a huge dilemma. To make it easier for everyone to easily and wisely invest in an Android tablet, below are some factors which should be kept in mind before investing in an Android powered tablet. In order to make a wise decision, scroll down and take a look at some of the points to be kept in mind before buying an Android tablet.

1. Purpose/ Usage of tablet

Interestingly, a wide range of tablets are available under the Android platform. These range from utility tablets for grownups to the user friendly and educative tablets for kids. The Kid’s Safe Tablet is especially designed for kids so as to assist them in various educative programs involved in their curriculum. It can be used for the purpose of playing games and solving puzzles as well. Also, there are the usual bigger and smarter tablets meant for grownups. These tablets are as efficient as a full- fledged laptop.

The perks of choosing separate tablets for you and your kids is that it will certainly reduce the wear and tear which kids often leave on their parent’s tablets. So, the first step is to determine the purpose for which you are planning to invest in an Android tablet.

2. Size of the tablet

After determining the purpose of investing in an Android tablet, the next step is to decide the size of the tablet. Luckily, Android powered tablets are available in a variety of sizes. One of the most interesting as well as advantageous fact about a tablet is that it is compact in size. The sleek design and smart built of a tablet is what makes them easy to carry and look after. While it is impossible to carry a PC around and since laptops are huge in size, tablets are what come to everyone’s rescue.

The 7 inch tablets from Android are way cheaper than many other tablets available in the market. But if you are interested in playing games and using apps on your tablet, those 10 inch tablets are simply perfect for you. While smaller tablets are easy to carry around, bigger ones have their share of advantages as well. For instance, watching movies and playing games is something that can be conveniently achieved on a big tablet. Since Android tablets can be highly customised, bigger tablets make the whole experience more enjoyable and mesmerising for the users. So, the second factor to be kept in mind while choosing the right Android powered tablet is the size of the tablet.

3. The right Android operating system

Like iOS, various versions of the Android operating system are also available. All these versions of Android have their own set of features. Starting from the very first version of Android i.e. Android 1.5 (Cup Cake), there are 8 more versions available. The most recently launched version of Android is the Android 4.4 (Kit Kat). It is entirely the buyer’s decision that which version of Android he/ she wants in his/ her tablet. Accordingly, their tablet will be performing all the functions which are offered within the scope of that particular version of Android.

Moreover, there are certain applications as well as games which are unique to each version and they may/ may not be upgradable to the higher ones. Hence, every buyer should be cautious while buying a tablet with Android 2.3 or below. The reason behind this is that these versions do not support Flash. It is advised to choose the appropriate version of Android wisely. This can be done based on the user’s preferences as well as the reasons behind buying a tablet.

4. The right manufacturer

Looking at the popularity and fan following of Android tablets in the market, there are few very potentially powerful tablet manufacturers in the digital world today. The dilemma arises because each of these tablets is worth putting your hands on. Manufacturers like Sony, Google, Samsung, etc have emerged as equally powerful suppliers of Android powered tablets in the world.

However, it may not be that difficult to choose between these tablets. The reason behind this is that each of these manufacturers has some additional features and may function differently as well. Hence, the only way to zero in on any Android tablet is by being sure about the features and specifications that you expect to be there in your tablet.

5. What’s your budget?

The cost of an Android tablet depends on the version of the Android operating system installed as well as the features offered by it. The various factors which contribute in the final price of a tablet include the operating system, features, built, design, utility as well as the size. While smaller tablets are definitely cheaper than the bigger ones, it solely depends on the user’s requirements and budget.

6. Does your tablet connect to the Android market?

Sadly, not every Android powered tablet can be connected to the online Android market. This is because Google does not have much control on Android. Once a new version of Android is released to the masses, there is nothing that Google can do. But Google certainly has the control over the entire Android market. Hence, older versions of Android such as Android 2.2 and below will never connect to the Android market. No doubt some apps will be available to you, but the majority of utility apps and games will be far out of your reach.

You must be wondering about the significance of buying an Android tablet if you cannot have access to all the apps and games in the Android market. Hence, this is another important factor to be kept in mind while buying any Android powered tablet.

7. Tablets may/ may not require a data plan

All Android tablets can be either sold with Wi-Fi connectivity or with 3G/ 4G wireless data access. Often it is seen that these tablets are sold at a discount price because of their collaboration with any cellular service provider. Before investing in any Android tablet, check if you are covered under the 2 years of payment over the price for which you are buying your tablet. Also, check the amount of data that you will be provided under this plan. It is always advised to go for a plan which is expandable in future.

8. Say no to Modified Androids

Similar to the modifications brought in Android user interfaces in different devices by their manufacturers, modifications can be brought in Android tablets as well. Often manufacturers state that it is a wonderful thing, but it also has some disadvantages.

The disadvantage is that these modified versions often act differently from their real versions. This may pose a difficult situation for people using the modified version of Android. Hence, you should always go for the real and original version of Android.

Investing in the right Android tablet is surely a difficult decision to make. But once you invest in the right tablet, there will be no looking back for you.