Click Networks - IT Support Glasgow

Click Networks - IT Support Glasgow
Click Networks - IT Support Glasgow

Thursday, 21 March 2013

What is NFC? (Near Field Communication)

NFC is getting a great deal of attention as it becomes included in more smartphones, laptops, and other devices. It’s being hyped as ‘The Next Big Thing’ that will change how we use our mobile devices: everything from shopping to interacting with your home and unlocking your car.   So is this new development a “flash in the pan”, or do you foresee real world uses for such a technology?

Well, what is NFC?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication and, as the name implies, it’s a set of close-range wireless communication standards. NFC equipped smartphones and other devices can exchange information with each other with a simple tap or a wave; simply hold your NFC enabled device in the proximity of an NFC enabled media, such as a sticker, or poster.  There are many uses for such a technology ranging from the basic launching of a browser on your target device to sending an email, or to more complex actions such as controlling the lights in your house, unlocking a door or starting a car engine. Essentially, anything that can be automated electronically can be interacted with via NFC.

Which Devices Have NFC?
Many smartphones, tablets and new laptops now have NFC chips. NFC World  has an extensive list of all the phones around the world that are NFC-equipped.  Google Nexus variants have NFC, as do several BlackBerries, HTC phones, and others.

What Exactly Can I Do With NFC
NFC is most commonly associated with the “mobile wallet”—the idea that your smartphone will replace your cash and credit cards. In one tap or wave of your phone, you can pay for your shopping or redeem offers or coupons.
Beyond mobile payments however, there is a world of uses for NFC, including:
  • Providing interactive tickets or entry passes to your event.  This can be in the form of a standard ticket, or embedded into wristbands, worn by the attendee.
  • Downloading information. Advertisers and marketers can use NFC chips in posters and other promotional materials so all you have to do to get more information is tap or wave your phone (quicker than scanning QR codes, and certainly easier on the eye).
  • Ease of company travel. NFC technology can enable ‘car mode’ when your employees get into a vehicle, launching satellite navigation and disabling mobile phone capabilities, thereby increasing productivity and promoting safe driving within your organisation.
  • Provide offers, or promotions to customers via an NFC enabled key ring or badge. Free product offers or promotional codes can be programmed onto the media, which can then be redeemed in store using an NFC enabled device to scan the media.
Right now, NFC hasn’t hit the mainstream in terms of usage, but it’s the potential that’s making it pretty interesting technology.

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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 set to beat the iPhone

Samsung is to release its Galaxy S4 smartphone at an event in New York this week, a move that could see it beat Apple's iPhone 5 in terms of both sales and technology.

The once dazzling Apple brand has been tarnished in recent months by a series of gaffes and poor strategic decisions.

The Maps fiasco of September 2012 directly contradicted CEO Tim Cook's statement last month: "The only thing we'll never do is make a crappy product."

The brand has been perceived as a bully for its handling of the patent trials against Samsung, and it has been similarly insensitive in handling recent shareholder rows over the lack of dividends and its huge cash stockpile.

Richard Holway, chairman of analyst firm TechMarketView, pointed out that consumers are also less positive about Apple than they used to be.

"The Apple iPhone used to be ‘cool'. Now the ‘cool' smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy. Indeed there is more anticipation about the imminent release of the S4 than about any new Apple product. Today I heard the iPhone described as ‘Grandad's phone'. Insults don't come more hurtful than that!" he wrote on his blog.

The S4 is rumoured to include technology to enable users to pause video and scroll the screen simply by moving their eyes, using motion-tracking technology in the user-facing camera. These rumours are corroborated by the fact that Samsung registered 'Eye Scroll' and 'Eye Pause' as Trademarks in Europe earlier this year.

Whereas the iPhone 5 has an 8 magapixel rear-facing and 1.5 megapixel front-facing cameras, the Galaxy S4 cameras are 13 megapixel and 2 megapixel respectively.

And pictures taken by these cameras will be viewable at a higher resolution on Samsung's device - the S4's screen has 440 pixels per inch compared to the iPhone 5's 326.

There is more grunt powering the S4 too, with its eight core Exynos 5 processor running at 1.8GHz, compared to the iPhone 5's dual-core 1.3GHz A6 processor.

Both phones will compete not just for market position, but also for raw materials such as rare earth metals, and components for the latest generation touch screens, which are swallowed up by demand as soon as they are manufactured.

Some industry insiders say that many suppliers may start switching allegiance from Apple to Samsung, and give them more resource.

However, the situation could be further complicated if Apple brings forward the release of its latest smartphone, the iPhone 5S. If Apple is able to provide something genuinely innovative rather than a minor iteration on an existing design, it could reignite consumer demand and cement its position at the top of the tree.

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