Mobile Geeks http://www.mobilegeeks.com Covering the Latest Mobile Technology Sat, 16 Feb 2019 15:12:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 39846093 What the US government shutdown taught us about the future of mobility http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/what-the-us-government-shutdown-shows-us-about-the-future-of-mobility/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/what-the-us-government-shutdown-shows-us-about-the-future-of-mobility/#respond Fri, 15 Feb 2019 07:00:23 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=article&p=40236

The US is often seen as leading the way to the future of mobility. But during times of political turmoil, we see how the American conception of mobility is firmly stuck in the past, and rooted in the idea of mobility and transit as a private good. The recent US government shutdown, the longest in […]

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Most American policymakers — and voters — see transit as a social welfare program. VOX - The real reason American public transportation is such a disaster

The US is often seen as leading the way to the future of mobility. But during times of political turmoil, we see how the American conception of mobility is firmly stuck in the past, and rooted in the idea of mobility and transit as a private good. The recent US government shutdown, the longest in the country’s history, was rooted in US president Trump’s desire to build a wall to stop Mexicans from crossing the border. The fall out from the shutdown brought US public transit to a halt and underscored the gaps in who gets to be mobile in the US.

Cross border migration is an issue that many countries have tackled with a wall. We aren’t here to debate the merits of Trump’s xenophobic mission, we’re interested in the public transportation issues that it has brought to light. And while other countries have used walls (like Israel’s Gaza wall, which is more like a smart fence — effective but rooted in regional politics) to stop migration, the US has failed to implement sufficient public transit to support its residents.

Toronto Public Transit – TTC

European, Asian, and Canadian cities treat it as a vital public utility. In times of political turmoil, it becomes clear how much the US relies on the private sector to drive innovation. This fundamental difference explains why the first successful ride-sharing products were born in the US.

The Trump administration has not been supportive of public transit. The President’s first and second budget requests both called for eliminating critical programs that provide funding to transit—the competitive TIGER program, Capital Investment Grants (CIG) for building new transit and funding major improvements, and intercity passenger rail funding.

This move is likely playing to his voter base who are largely non-urban and perceive themselves as not effective by public transportation investments.

During the shutdown, the Federal Transit Administration was not able to pay the $250 million a week to local providers and state governments to support transit. At day 35, there was about $1B in backlogged payments.

Judging by the numbers, this amount of money should provide a much higher quality of service!

So if the US is spending 250 Million a week, why is it so bad?

Denver LRT

American buses, subways, and light rail lines consistently have lower ridership levels, fewer service hours, and longer waits between trains than those in virtually every comparably wealthy European and Asian country. While having much higher costs.

It seems I’m not the only one asking why things in the US are dismal for public transit. VOX has an article aptly called: “The real reason American public transportation is such a disaster

At first glance, it seems easy to accept America’s complaint that city and suburban planning was done in the 1950s when the car became the dominant mode of transportation. The US is also larger in geography than most Asian or European countries.

There is one problem with this mentality and that’s Canada, which is also a sprawling and built for cars. Canadian cities’ public transit systems, though, look very different.

“Canada just has more public transit,” says transit consultant Jarrett Walker to Vox. “Compare, say, Portland to Vancouver, or Salt Lake to Edmonton, or Des Moines to Winnipeg. Culturally and economically, they’re very similar cities, but in each case the Canadian city has two to five times as much transit service per capita, so there’s correspondingly more ridership per capita.”

Historically, many countries invested in public transpiration at the same time as they designed cities for cars. However, if you look at Los Angeles, you see a city that completely and proudly neglected public transportation until the gridlock simply overwhelmed. The city was left with no choice but accept the concept of mass transit.

What did we learn from the shutdown?

During the government shutdown Chariot, a ride-sharing service which provided customized transportation in vans announced it was shutting down.

When Chariot launched in 2014, it joined a wave of Uber-inspired “microtransit” tech companies hoping to disrupt transportation services by providing faster, more efficient options for riders sick of—and underserved by—traditional public transit.

This isn’t a sign that ride sharing is doomed to fail. What it shows is what happens when private ridesharing doesn’t attempt to integrate with public transportation. Right now there is a dramatic lack of integration between public transportation and ride sharing. Public and private systems need to work together to create a seamless experience. A lack of integration is what caused Chariot to fail even though San Francisco’s public transportation by global standard is tragic.

Uber is already looking at working with public transportation to improve their revenues. This blending of public and private services is key to a flexible and meaningful roll-out of mass transit.

But President Trump really, really wants his border wall and kept the government shutdown for a record 35 days. LaGuardia Airport was closed for a short period by the Federal Aviation Administration, due to a lack of air traffic controllers. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and ended the shutdown. It wasn’t the national parks were being destroyed or the threat that 38M Americans losing access to food stamps. It was when global mobility was impacted that the shutdown had to come to an end.

Ensuring that the US government views public transit as a public good, and not a welfare product, is an important shift. Mass transit should be seen as a way to increase the quality of life while bolstering the economy. It shouldn’t take a government shutdown to align around that simple fact.

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Atmotube Pro Review: A wearable air quality monitor http://www.mobilegeeks.com/review/atmotube-pro-review-a-wearable-air-quality-monitor/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/review/atmotube-pro-review-a-wearable-air-quality-monitor/#respond Thu, 14 Feb 2019 21:49:42 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=review&p=40222

The Atmotube Pro tracks the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as Particulate Matter (PM) pollutants. You don’t need to live in a city with smog problems to need an air quality monitor. Furniture, cheap laminate flooring and carpet are just a few examples of things in your life that can be releasing harmful pollutants […]

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The Atmotube Pro tracks the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as Particulate Matter (PM) pollutants. You don’t need to live in a city with smog problems to need an air quality monitor. Furniture, cheap laminate flooring and carpet are just a few examples of things in your life that can be releasing harmful pollutants into the air you breath.

Design

The Atmotube Pro measures 3.4″ long by 2″ wide by 0.9″ thick and weighing 3.7 (with its carabiner attached). It can track VOCs, PM1 pollutants (having a diameter smaller than 1 micron), PM2.5 pollutants (fine particles), and PM10 pollutants (coarse dust particles), humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure, and altitude. Its case is made of polycarbonate plastic and aluminum, and it has a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 5.0) radio inside for connecting with your smartphone or tablet.

On the top of the Atmotube Pro, there is an aluminum carabiner hole. On the front, there is a small LED that will show different colors depending upon air quality. The LED will glow orange when charging and green when charged, but more importantly, it will glow blue to show good air quality, green to show moderate air quality, yellow to show polluted air quality, orange to show very polluted air quality, and red to show severely polluted air quality. You can activate the air quality LED by pressing the large round button under the LED. You’ll note that on the front and sides of the Atmotube Pro, there are holes present to receive air for quality testing.

How does the Atmotube Pro measure air quality?

Loaded with three sensors: a laser-based PM sensor, a MEMS tVOC sensor, and a combined digital sensor for humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure.

There is a tiny fan that pushes the air through several sensor-filled chambers to make the analysis. The data is stored on your smartphone in real time or if you aren’t connected it will store the last 5 days worth of data in the internal memory. There is no maintenance required for the sensors or fan. The noise level of the fan is about 20dB which is rustling leaves. The fan is ON only during the readings, so in 10 min mode, it will be ON for 1 minute and OFF for another 9 minutes.

Digging into how the sensors the sensors work, the PM sensor uses laser scattering and makes use of innovative contamination resistance technology. They claim it should last at least 8 years.

The tVOC sensor uses the conductivity-change of the gas-sensitive MOX semiconductor layers at gas exposure to do the analysis. It’s calibrated using a clean air and gases mix. Since gases act differently at different temperatures/humidity levels, they utilize our humidity & temperature sensor for compensation for tVOC measurements.

Atmotube Pro will provide more accurate results the longer it runs, but will be more accurate after 12 hours after you first power it on.

Battery Life

You’re able to change how often the Atmotube Pro checks the air quality:
Always On = 1 day
5min = 4 days
10min = 8 days
15min = 12 days

You can also contribute your information to the global air quality map, it’s anonymous data, but you can opt out in settings.

Price

The Atmotube Pro will retail for $189, but you can pre-order it now for $131 here. Shipping will happen in April 2019.

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Best Rugged Smartphones of 2019 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/review/best-rugged-smartphones-of-2019/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/review/best-rugged-smartphones-of-2019/#respond Thu, 14 Feb 2019 15:14:47 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=review&p=40184

Rugged Smartphones are a special breed, they’re able to withstand more punishment than a regular smartphone. We know that just because you need a tough phone doesn’t mean that you want to compromise on features. Mobile Geeks has pulled together the top rugged smartphones on the market to help you figure out which device is […]

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Rugged Smartphones are a special breed, they’re able to withstand more punishment than a regular smartphone. We know that just because you need a tough phone doesn’t mean that you want to compromise on features. Mobile Geeks has pulled together the top rugged smartphones on the market to help you figure out which device is right for you!

CAT S61

The high tech CAT S61 is the handyman’s dream for rugged smartphones on the list with useful tools that make it perfect for construction or inspection operations. The tough and rugged smartphone includes an integrated thermal imaging camera, laser-assisted distance measure, and indoor air quality monitor.

The CAT S61 is designed with a metal frame body with a Gorilla Glass 5 display cover and includes both an IP68 and IP69 rating; it can handle drops from six feet, resist particles, can go three meters underwater for an hour, and even withstand temperatures ranging from -13 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. Its highlights are its sensory tools like its thermal camera that can read 752 degrees Fahrenheit in complete darkness, use lasers to measure distances, and even alert you of air pollutants like solvents and paints. It comes with a two-year warranty.

Land Rover Explore

The Land Rover Explore is the ultimate rugged phone for the great outdoors. It’s super-tough, coming with IP68 rated water-resistance, a durable build, and the protection of Gorilla Glass 5 and a glass screen protector on the 5-inch display. The display runs a Full HD 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution with midrange specs, and Android 7.0 Nougat (though an Android 8.0 Oreo update is on the way).

The real charm of the Land Rover Explore is in the details. While it runs an already hefty 4,000mAh battery, the Explore comes with modular options including the Adventure Pack, an additional battery pack that adds another 3,600mAh and a Ceramic Patch GPS antenna. That additional antenna boosts the phone’s GPS capabilities, making sure you always know where you are, even in the most challenging areas. The extra GPS power draws even more power, but the additional battery is more than up to the task, and we saw the Land Rover Explore still last a day despite a constant GPS connection and near-constant screen use.

The ViewRanger app also includes additional tools for hiking and cycling, displaying a compass, barometric data, distance traveled, and other details depending on your activity. The Land Rover Explore is meant for people who love to range into the wilderness, and who want their phone to be a big part of their adventures. It’s tough, reliable, and supremely well-suited to life outdoors.

Land Rover Explore Dual-SIM 64GB Factory Unlocked IP68 4G/LTE Smartphone (Black) – International Version

Price: $799.00

(0 customer reviews)

1 used & new available from $799.00

[Sponsored]

Ulefone Armor 6

The Armor 6 is a durable phone from Ulefone, mixing decent mid-range specs and long battery life with a tough outer shell, and is just the job for those who are known to break their phone as often as they break into a sweat.

For extreme sports fans, laborers and the downright clumsy, this tough phone has their backs with IP68 waterproofing, Gorilla Glass 5, and a metal- and plastic outer shell that is strangely alluring with its rugged looks.

Adopting the same full-display design as today’s flagships this trendy 19:9 smartphone, with its hulking 6.2 screen and modern comforts including wireless charging and a dual-lens camera, bridges the gap between a life on the edge and a life on the couch.

Ulefone keeps the OS relatively unchanged from vanilla Android except for a few custom icons and apps. There is also a toolbox app that includes features that may prove useful when using the Armor 6 outdoors like an altimeter, a compass, a magnifier, and a spirit level.

The Armor 6 has dual rear-facing cameras and a single front-facing sensor. The main rear-facing camera is a 16 MP Sony sensor with an f/1.8 aperture that supports phase detection autofocus (PDAF). The Armor 6 interpolates its 16 MP sensor to 21 MP and does the same with its 8 MP secondary rear-facing sensor, to create an effective 13 MP resolution instead.

The main rear-facing camera takes decent pictures in good light conditions with strong dynamics and a convincing level of detail. The colours are too saturated for our liking though, and objects generally look over sharpened.

 

The secondary lens supports the 16 MP camera in creating bokeh-effect photos which isn’t as good as flagship devices. We also found the low light photos to be very average and not in line with today’s flagship devices. However, for bright and sunny day’s it takes a great photo, as soon as the light starts to fade, so does the photo quality.

The Armor 6’s Helio P60 combines with 6 GB of RAM to ensure smooth performance with few delays in daily use. We noticed a couple of small jerks and stutters when multitasking, but it definitely was not a daily issue.

Ulefone has equipped the Armor 6 with a USB Type-C port that operates at the USB 2.0 standard. The device also supports USB On-The-Go (OTG) for connecting peripherals like keyboards or USB sticks via the Type-C port. The Armor 6 supports Miracast too.

When it comes to battery life we are looking at all day, with aggressive use and running benchmarks we often have 25-35% battery life, and a screen on time of 5:52min.

The Armor 6 supports dual nano-SIMs and wireless charging. There is an LED notification light too along with a fingerprint sensor, a UV sensor, and an FM radio.

If you’re looking for an outdoor smartphone that has good battery life the Ulefone Armor 6 is a good option.

Visit Ulefone here for more details or to purchase directly.

LG X VENTURE

It can be tough to find a rugged smartphone that doesn’t break the bank, but the LG X Venture is one of the few tough phones that you can pick up for a bargain price. It’s rugged, with an easy-to-grip textured back that won’t slip out of your hand unexpectedly. The lower price doesn’t affect the build quality — the phone feels extremely solid and comes with an IP68-rating for water and dust resistance, as well as military-grade (MIL-STD810G) shock resistance.

It’s not the most powerful phone on this list, but it’s packed with useful features, including the physical QuickButton on the side, and a toggleable Glove Mode. It’s a long-lasting phone that won’t break the bank.

LG Electronics X Venture Factory Unlocked Phone – 5.2Inch Screen – 32GB – Black (U.S. Warranty)

Price: $169.99

3.1 out of 5 stars (39 customer reviews)

30 used & new available from $89.00

This post was sponsored by Ulefone but all opinions are our own.

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Why the car industry should stop competing with smartphones http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/why-the-car-industry-should-stop-competing-with-smartphones/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/why-the-car-industry-should-stop-competing-with-smartphones/#respond Mon, 11 Feb 2019 07:00:36 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=article&p=39809

I’m overly critical of cars and their shocking lack of solid connectivity. Attending car event after car event I praise them for how far they’ve come in a short period of time making allowances for the safety standards that stop them from iterating as quickly as the smartphone industry. Regardless, I hold cars to the […]

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I’m overly critical of cars and their shocking lack of solid connectivity. Attending car event after car event I praise them for how far they’ve come in a short period of time making allowances for the safety standards that stop them from iterating as quickly as the smartphone industry.

Regardless, I hold cars to the same standards as a smartphone because that’s what the average consumer does. The bar for interaction and usefulness is the smartphone. To be fair, I understand that the smartphone has had over a decade of refinement. Multiple players problem-solving mobility with an aggressive pinch of copycat-ing in there when someone lands on an iterative innovation.

During the Mercedes Benz launch of the CLA in Las Vegas last week I caught myself arguing with an engineer on the showfloor, I might have needed a coffee as I yelled at him saying that the offline capabilities of MBUX were “Dog Shit”. Again, I’m being unfair, a car moves a lot faster than a phone so maintaining proper connectivity is harder, and when our phone is slow to connect in a car, we get why. When our car has trouble connecting it’s flat out unforgivable. A double standard yes, but true never the less.

This is the trump card that I hold in my back pocket whenever I’m discussing connectivity. It doesn’t matter how big the steps forward car makers have made they aren’t on the same level as the smartphone.

When I throw this comment in the face of someone who has worked hard improving an infotainment system, I’m always met with a defeated look and a nod of consent. But I’ve come to realize I’m wrong.

Car companies should not be competing with smartphones, instead, they should find better ways to integrate technology with them. The bar should no longer be that the car works as well as the phone, but that it’s as useful as the ecosystem the smartphone provides.

Car manufacturers are looking to maintain control over the space inside the car by offering you all the services you might need natively. I get it, they don’t want to lose control over selling you services, which is where the real money is in the future. If they give up control of this space to someone else, whatever company that is (hey Google, Alexa or Siri), they will be the gateway to the real monetization.

Look at the smartphone, sure speed, camera and battery life are important, but if you ask people why they are addicted to their handset it’s the apps. No one is addicted to the actual hardware, it’s merely a tool.

Car makers need to learn this lesson from the smartphone industry. Apple is king because it’s selling an ecosystem, Android handset makers don’t benefit from the ecosystem in the same way that Google does.

Creating an ecosystem this late in the game is tough, just ask Cortana how that’s going. But figure out how to play nice with the right ecosystem. Partner, make friends and leverage, this could be the key to winning hearts and eventually wallets.

After CES I have my eye on Alexa and her integration with BMW. Hey Mercedes, you’re winning me over, but I need you to be apart of more.

For now, luxury car makers rely on the car enthusiasts, those who love the handling, speed and build quality of the car. They are selling to their existing base. However, as a long time smartphone reviewer, I can draw parallels. The bulk of smartphone sales today come from nailing features like the camera which if we’re honest is merely a tool for the apps we’re addicted to.

If we look at the future of mobility it’s not about the car it’s about the service. If I ask you how to do you use Uber, you’ll first point to the app before you think about the car. Cars are just pieces of the puzzle, if you want to really look at how to win in the future, it’s not about competing with the smartphone, it’s about embracing it.

The first company that truly figures out how to embrace the ecosystem smartphones enable rather than compete with them will come out on top.

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Shure MV88+ Ups the Ante on Recording Audio with your phone http://www.mobilegeeks.com/review/shure-mv88-plus/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/review/shure-mv88-plus/#respond Fri, 08 Feb 2019 15:00:23 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=review&p=40077

Smartphone cameras are getting really good, they seem to almost go against the laws of physics with their stabilization. However, the microphones in our phones haven’t evolved at the same rate. If you’re a vlogger or podcaster who is or would like to be heavily reliant on your phone for filming and recording, this is […]

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Smartphone cameras are getting really good, they seem to almost go against the laws of physics with their stabilization. However, the microphones in our phones haven’t evolved at the same rate. If you’re a vlogger or podcaster who is or would like to be heavily reliant on your phone for filming and recording, this is a problem – a problem that Shure’s looking to fix with its MV88+ Video Kit.

Design

The Shure MV88+ mounts onto a phone clamp, which itself screws into the Manfrotto Pixi tripod via a 1/4-inch thread. You could screw it into any existing tripod which has this incredibly common, dare I say, standard thread.

The kit is modular so you can reconfigure it quickly based on what you’re recording. For example, you can have the microphone facing away from you to record some live music, then flip it to horizontal with the mic pointed upwards to use it as a handheld mic for an interview. Or classic vlogging style using the front facing camera with the mic towards you.

We also like that we can set it up to record both sides of the mic so if you’re interviewing someone your questions from behind the phone will also be crystal clear. We’ll get into how you can customize the audio recording down below when we dive into the Shure Motiv app.

As most phones are losing their headphone jacks, Shure has sensibly added a headphone jack to the microphone, so you can monitor your audio quality. It also comes with a windscreen cover to reduce wind noise (or heavy breathing).

How to get the most out of your Shure MV88+

Shure has two apps that you can use with your microphone, the ShurePlus MOTIV app, and the ShurePlus MOTIV Video.

The ShurePlus MOTIV is focused strictly on audio and the video app has an integrated video component to go along with the same level of granular control as the original. One of the major advantages to recording with the apps is that the saved audio is RAW and not compressed. When you use your smartphone’s native camera app there is no guarantee how they audio with be treated after it’s recorded.

ShurePlus MOTIV – Picking the right Mic Setup of the MV88+

Even if you’re not an audio expert you’ll be to easily figure out what the different configurations mean based on the photos that accompany them.

The four options are: raw mid-side (for capturing a mix of directional and ambient sound), mono bi-directional (good for interviews), mono cardioid (ideal for capturing ambient sound around you) and stereo, which also gives you the option of adjusting the width of its recording field.

Choosing the right polar pattern will ensure that you’ll get the best sound out of your microphone. The polar pattern determines where the microphone will pick up or reject so you can focus on the sounds that are most importation to you.

Steriod Width allows you to choose a wide are narrow pick up area, it’s ideal for recording a live performance.

Mono Cardiod is best when you want to face the mic and talk at it. It’s most sensitive to sound sources directly in front of the microphone. The reason it’s called Cardiod is that the sound area is heart shaped. If you’re recording a podcast and you want to reduce background noise, the is the mode to pick.

Raw Mid-Side records the front and the sides and allows for the most flexibility in post-production to isolate the sounds you want after the fact.

Mono Bi Directional records on it’s great for two person interviews since it will reject sound from the sides. Just make sure the R & L letters on the side of the mic are facing the towards the people that are talking and that the mic is evenly centered between the two people talking. Otherwise, one person will be louder since they’ll be closer to the mic.

Turning the limiter on helps to prevent audio clipping,

The compressor helps to maintain your audio quality while reducing loud sounds and reducing quite ones. So you could speak really quietly and it would boost it or scream loudly and it would either pull up the audio or pull it down.

There are 5 preset DSP (digital signal processing) modes within each polar pattern, from left to right we have speech, singing, flat, musical recording and live concert. You choose flat if you don’t want any digital signal processing on your audio.

ShurePlus MOTIV Video

Shure has come out with a video app to go along with its strong audio application. The advantage to using this app over your built-in camera app is that many apps don’t include such a large audio monitor. If you don’t have headphones in and are shooting your self, you’ll be able to have a good idea of what your levels are and what your audio quality might look like with the background noise. Of course, it’s not a replacement for plugging in and listening, but no vlogger is going to do this while running around town. So the ability to monitor while recording is invaluable. You can also head into the microphone settings from the video app and make adjustments to the polar pattern or DPS of the microphone to see how changes might affect your recording.

Shure MV88+ Video Kit with Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone

Price: $249.00

3.3 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)

15 used & new available from $249.00

Tips for recording with the Shure MV88+

When you go to record, you should set the mic gain so the loudest sound is in the middle of the gray area. You can adjust the gain even while you’re recording.

In the app you can also tweak things like gain levels and compression, so it gives you pretty granular control of the audio recording to make sure it suits your situation. The Manfrotto Pixi tripod means you can also place it on a table or do a handheld recording.

In fact, you don’t necessarily have to use the app to record audio or video. If you don’t set it up at all in the app it will shoot stereo width to get everything in front of the microphone. If you head into the app and select any of the other audio patterns the setting will remain saved directly on the microphone. This means that you’ll be able to use any other app, like say the native one on your phone or a third party app like MoviePro.

What’s the in the Box

The kit comes with a condenser microphone, which is paired with a Manfrotto Pixi tripod, a phone clamp, a roll-up carry case, and both USB-C and Lightning cables for connecting to an iOS or Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Shure says that other Android phones will be added to its compatibility list once it’s been confirmed that they support USB audio and have enough power. We tested it with our OnePlus 6T McLaren edition and had no problems, so the list isn’t complete by any stretch of the imagination.

Final Thoughts

At $249 the Shure MV88+ is a relatively affordable way to add extremely high-quality audio to your smartphone. It’s a great option to turn your phone into a mobile recording studio.

Being able to choose different audio settings along with the microphones ability to be mounted in many different configurations means the hardware is as versatile as the software.

Whether you’re recording live music, interviews, podcasts, or just ambient sound to match your travel videos the Shure MV88+ is your perfect on the go high-end audio companion.

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2 Years with a FitBit and I’m still Fat http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/2-years-with-a-fibit-and-im-still-fat/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/2-years-with-a-fibit-and-im-still-fat/#respond Thu, 07 Feb 2019 07:00:02 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=article&p=40116

Over the last 6 months the guys are Mobile Geeks have been getting fit. Casi got a Samsung Gear Fit, Umit a Nokia watch and Mark loves his Apple watch. Slowly and healthily they slowly dropped the pounds (maybe not as much as they would like, and each gaining a few back along the way) […]

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Over the last 6 months the guys are Mobile Geeks have been getting fit. Casi got a Samsung Gear Fit, Umit a Nokia watch and Mark loves his Apple watch. Slowly and healthily they slowly dropped the pounds (maybe not as much as they would like, and each gaining a few back along the way) however, I have remained the same or even a little heavier with my FitBit.

I’ve had various fitness trackers for years, I’ve found them useful to gauge my activity level. Or as a bad sleeper knowing when I need to prioritize napping to make sure my brain is working properly. Also, I work from home so if I don’t have meetings then it’s possible I take 300 steps in a day around my small Asian apartment. Being able to figure out going on with my body using data is the benefit of wearing a tracker.

But this awareness has not lead to my healthy weight or fitness level. So to be fair, I don’t think I’m fat, I think it’s a good headline. The truth is that I’m medically considered “overweight” and I know that at a high normal weight I feel better and perform better when dealing with life.

I’ve used a Xiaomi, MisFit and an array or random Kickstarter trackers. I found Fitbit to be the most interesting because of the community. My real world friends all over the globe were there.

Somehow I get the feeling I’m not alone…

I could keep in touch and do challenges! My competitive nature would kick in some weeks which made me love the sense of community FitBit brought me.

Let’s take a look at this community. Half of the people in my community were soccer moms. Sure I have other friends, but none of them were on Fitbit.

The way challenges work, the person with the most steps at the end of the week or weekend wins. Someone starts the challenge and you can add up to 10 people. It’s often the same group week after week.

After a few months, I asked my friend who started the challenge what, is one of the people in the group had no legs because their daily step count was shockingly low. My friend works for a division of the Red Cross that helps amputees the perfect prosthesis and jobs. I think you can see where I’m going with this…

When I looked inside FitBit to join a community that would be more in line with my fitness and motivational level, I wasn’t impressed. I found these groups to be a lot of inspirational quotes and not a lot of actual support in keeping me on track.

I noticed when I got serious competing in the FitBit challenges that I had to change the way I worked out. You compete on steps, but what if the activity that you do doesn’t give you any steps. Cycling, rowing, swimming all fitness things I love to do that I stopped doing to become a runner.

I like running, but it’s not my favorite. I do it because of the steps. If you were able to have Fitbit competitions over calories burned then maybe I might a more diverse collection of activities might have kept my interest. I joined a kickboxing class, guess what it didn’t do? Add to my step count but my whole body hurt and felt great!

Did my FitBit care? No! It didn’t validate my exercise choice!

I turn to my tracker for validation on my fitness journey. Removing competition from the equation personal benchmarks aren’t as easy to monitor because the all mighty step remains the benchmark for activity.

The hard truth is that fitness trackers don’t work miracles, they are simply tools to help you benchmark your progress. I can look to lay blame on my FitBit but when the people around me show me how technology has helped them achieve their goals my gaze turns back to FitBit and how I’m still fat.

I haven’t even looked at the food tracking and how every person is different in the number of calories they should consume to lose weight. Guidelines are one thing, but 2019 is the year of personalized healthcare and generic solution hopefully will start to seem outdated.

Sure, I get that looking to the next technology as holding the key while blaming my FitBit shifts the responsibility away from my self. I did call this article “2 Years with a FitBit and I’m still Fat”, clearly I have issues, but I want this article to start a pattern of accountability and I want to find the right technology for me.

Buying a phone today isn’t about picking the best one, it’s about picking the phone that’s right for your needs. Technology has evolved to the point where it isn’t about the tech working, it’s about how it integrates with our individual lifestyle.

For now, I’ve removed my tracker and am just using Google Fit to track my work out activities. Jaime Rivera from PockerNow and I are motivating each other to get 100 heart points a workout and I’m enjoying varying my workouts to get there. Running is still a big part of it, but it’s definitely not the whole picture anymore.

In the month I’ve been tracker free, I do miss the gamification of tracking sleep and the notification that come with period tracking. The hope was not being aware of how bad a sleeper I am would help with my sleep anxiety about not getting enough sleep. However, I think that the shame of being such a bad sleeper by seeing how little sleep I’m getting in black and while means I’m not prioritizing sleep over everything else. To address sleep, I think I’m going to have to start specifically looking at sleep tech. One device doesn’t fit all, and you need to get the right device that fits with your problem or goal. Expecting a fitness tracker to fix that now seems unrealistic.

Fitness trackers paired with proper motivation can lead to success. The rest of the team has proven this. However, I am someone who looks to blame the technology instead of looking inward at personal shortcomings.

I’ve decided to start to document my fitness journey, the Geeks are getting fit and I need to be a part of it.

If you’d like to follow or join our journey check out or use the #GeeksGetFit hashtag.

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Is the Future of Mobility a loss leader? Daimler’s Q4 results could tell this story http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/daimler-future-of-mobility-q4-results/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/daimler-future-of-mobility-q4-results/#respond Wed, 06 Feb 2019 17:20:24 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=article&p=40108

Yesterday Daimler released its Q4 results, showing a 22% decline in operating profits. Parts of the decline can be accounted for by global trade wars (that have disadvantaged the company in core markets like the US) and the ever-rising costs of developing electric and self-driving cars. But is the story that straightforward? The company’s Twitter […]

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Yesterday Daimler released its Q4 results, showing a 22% decline in operating profits. Parts of the decline can be accounted for by global trade wars (that have disadvantaged the company in core markets like the US) and the ever-rising costs of developing electric and self-driving cars. But is the story that straightforward?

The company’s Twitter page boldly says the company invented the car, motorcycle, and truck and is now defining the future of mobility. That future will be fueled by different core needs for Daimler’s target markets as young urbanites move away from car ownership. Luxury taxes, rising trade costs, and gas prices could be enough to drive consumers toward electric and self-driving vehicles — but will enough consumers want cars to bridge the profit gap?

Even with raging trade wars, car sales were up 4%. The number cut can likely be attributed to changes in demand that weakened pricing. For those who bought, this might be considered a pricing win.

The company does, however, urgently need to revenue to support climbing R&D costs in advance of launching an electric sports vehicle. We’ll be watching the launch of that product to see how and where Daimler has succeeded or struggled with bringing electric car innovation to market.

In 2019, the first all-electric SUV from Mercedes-Benz is to be launched: the EQC. By the year 2022, the product portfolio is to include more than 130 electrified variants. This isn’t just pure electric but plug-in hybrids and models with 48-volt technology.

Even with all the spending, it’s very possible the consumers won’t be the core market for either electric or self-driving vehicles. The application of self-driving technology to commercial trucking and ride-sharing (robo-taxis) will be significant and could shift the company’s revenue growth toward more commercial applications. Regardless of who rolls it out first, Daimler has been moving in the right direction with car-sharing for quite some time.

Mercedes-Benz remains the top-selling consumer luxury brand. Daimler should have ample time to overcome the current trade instabilities and for consumers to shift more demand toward both electric and self-driving cars.

To keep things in perspective, a 22% decline in operating profits is huge. However, Daimler sold more cars than ever and made good money doing it. They then put 7 Billion Euro into eCars and batteries.

Even though investing in the future feels like a loss leader the Daimler may have learned from the tech sector:

Big shifts take time, and in the turbulent global trade context, we hope Daimler gets back some of that 22% in future quarters. For consumers, we’re watching for business model innovations (outside of punitive tradewars) that make car ownership more desirable and sustainable – both environmentally and financially.

Disclosure:
Sascha Pallenberg, Co-Founded Mobile Geeks, and now works for Daimler. This story was reported using publicly available documentation and Sascha was not contacted for info or comment.

Source Reuters UK

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When will IoT really arrive? http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/when-will-iot-really-arrive/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/when-will-iot-really-arrive/#respond Thu, 31 Jan 2019 07:00:15 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=article&p=39990

The Internet of Things is basically the next internet, it’s going to connect all the things in the real world. So us having an Alexa, Fitbit and a nest is a far cry from connecting the planet. To understand why I don’t think IoT is grown, let’s take look at where I think we are […]

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The Internet of Things is basically the next internet, it’s going to connect all the things in the real world. So us having an Alexa, Fitbit and a nest is a far cry from connecting the planet.

To understand why I don’t think IoT is grown, let’s take look at where I think we are on its life cycle.

Gartner identifies five levels of IoT maturity to assess how far businesses have come in their journey, and indeed how far they have yet to go.

The five stages are:

  • Initiating
  • Exploratory
  • Defined
  • Integrated
  • Optimising

Today, most companies looking to create that valuable connected world are somewhere between 1 and 3. Most organisations have just started to connect their business to one central system. The goal is that processes are no longer siloed or working independently. Businesses are focused on learning what the environment is really like so that can work in a more data-driven landscape.

Stage 4 or Integration is where we will start to see a real impact in IoT maturity.
Organizations will start to integrate their IoT projects into the company’s overall strategy. This will be the turning point that ensure that IoT grows up.

What Mature IoT means for the Average Consumer

A connected future is more than knowing when you’re running low on milk, the most apparent change will be self-driving cars. 5G and IoT will enable a world where cars can talk to each other and drive themselves.

Whole cities will be filled with sensor-embedded devices, from stoplights to street signs. This will affect traffic flow, waste and pollution management, and even crime prevention. A connected future means being within arm’s reach of a connected device, a thought that thrills some and unnerves others.

Either way, it’s going to happen, likely sooner than most think.

Source: IoT Now

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Should we stop calling things innovative? http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/should-we-stop-calling-things-innovative/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/should-we-stop-calling-things-innovative/#respond Wed, 30 Jan 2019 07:00:50 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=article&p=39973

It seems like you can’t open up a magazine, newspaper or website without something being innovative. In meetings or press events it’s like companies are a crusade to identify as trendsetting and innovation has brought clarity to their aspirations. I’ll own up to it, I’m just as guilty as the next guy focusing our reviews […]

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It seems like you can’t open up a magazine, newspaper or website without something being innovative. In meetings or press events it’s like companies are a crusade to identify as trendsetting and innovation has brought clarity to their aspirations. I’ll own up to it, I’m just as guilty as the next guy focusing our reviews on innovations we find in new product releases. However, technical innovation is just part of the story and we’ve lost sight of what the word really means.

Technical innovation is a different beast than Innovation.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Innovation lately, Huawei released the Mate 20 Pro and the article I wrote was about how the Smartphone market was stagnating and how it was a good thing. The following week I hopped on a week to Seoul to check out the Samsung R&D labs, we stopped into the Samsung Museum of Innovation. That’s where the inspiration for this weeks focus on Innovation came from.

Innovation used to mean creating light, which turned night into day. NIGHT INTO DAY!

Technical innovation is putting a fingerprint scanner behind a display. It’s cool, but it’s not redefining a category. But I guess that’s why the word disruptive has also caught on like wildfire.

We took the time to look at the history of the word Innovation, it’s an interesting read if you want to understand it’s evolution and the reason behind we’ve started to tossing the word innovation like beads at mardi gras.

Innovation has come to mean a newness derived from research and development. Which is why we and futurism or thought leadership conference has become buzzword bingo. “Next-Gen”, “Agile”, “Future Ready” “Rightsizing” now just throw Millennial around a few times and everyone should understand you’re creating the future.

Or not.

Big ideas that change everything aren’t around every corner. Most of the time those who seek to innovate match their competitors risk by releasing an undifferentiated product. You can argue it’s death by “Me Too” or you can see the incremental improvements the industry makes by imitation and following the same trends as more valuable than defining the cutting edge.

Marginal gains and micro innovations across all areas of business rather than the lust for one, the big idea is how we need to see our ecosystem today.

Those who choose the tortoise instead of the hare call themselves “Incrementalists”.

After all, Elon Musk didn’t invent the electric car.

However, like the technical innovations that are destroying the conversations about smartphones, incremental innovation won’t let you leapfrog the competition.

History has shown that there are only a dozen or so innovations that really changed society.

The use of the word innovation is out of control, it’s losing its meaning. It’s the most overused work in American and if we look to the dictionary it’s easy to see why.

Webster’s defines innovation as “the introduction of something new.” It’s hard to dispute that’s accurate. But it doesn’t seem particularly useful.

Turning night into day, was technically new. The scale and impact of that innovation vs adding a notch to a smartphone are on a slightly different scale.

When Should we call something Innovative?

I’m not against the word innovation, I just think we need to start using it properly. I’m going to see the world as a glass half full and hope that every marketing agency that has access to the internet is reading this. (share.. hint, hint).

If we’re going to call something innovative we like Joe Dwyer’s definition:

“Innovation is the process of creating value by applying novel solutions to meaningful problems.”

On Digintent he has a test:

Is it novel? The notion of novelty is baked right into the word “innovation.” If it’s not new, it’s probably more optimization than innovation.

Does it solve a meaningful problem? If not, maybe it’s art instead of innovation. That’s not to say art isn’t valuable, but it’s generally not designed to solve a problem. To us, innovation is.

Does it create value? If not, maybe it’s an invention rather than innovation. Inventions can lead to value creation, but usually not until someone applies them through innovation.

Media can work harder to use the word correctly, or at least less liberally, and organizations would likely benefit from understanding what innovation really is.

Mobile Geeks has been part of the problem, we love calling things Innovative to catch headlines. We’ve been classifying incremental improvements as innovations.

From this article on, I’ll do my best to only call things innovative when they truly are!

Special Thanks to Samsung who sponsored my travel to the Innovation Museum & Seoul, they were the inspirations behind this weeks focus on Innovation. All thoughts and ideas are my own.

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Are Innovation Labs Useful? http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/are-innovation-labs-useful/ http://www.mobilegeeks.com/article/are-innovation-labs-useful/#respond Tue, 29 Jan 2019 07:00:58 +0000 http://www.mobilegeeks.com/?post_type=article&p=39967

Anyone who has worked in a startup knows that corporate innovation labs are the dream. Lots of funding and the same no rules, think outside the box attitude that startups pride themselves on. Same fun minus the funding problems. But innovating like a startup might not be the right approach. Let’s ask the big question, […]

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Anyone who has worked in a startup knows that corporate innovation labs are the dream. Lots of funding and the same no rules, think outside the box attitude that startups pride themselves on. Same fun minus the funding problems. But innovating like a startup might not be the right approach. Let’s ask the big question, are innovation labs useful?

Over the last few months, Mobile Geeks has been asking questions about Innovation. What does it mean? Its history and most of all how we think that everyone is using the word wrong. A trip to Samsung’s Innovation museum helped me come to that realization. So when my 2019 calendar started to see invitations to Innovation Labs, and my mixed feelings on accepting the invitations has led to this article.

Are you sure you want to innovate like a startup?

Your average startup will succeed 0.2% of the time while at corporation who moves slowly but doesn’t have a strategy of throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks, will succeed 12.5% of the time according to the Harvard Business Review.

Innovation labs, corporate accelerators and incubators, or however you call it, are places where corporate intrapreneurs get together – sometimes with additional partners, such as startups or external entrepreneurs – to explore interesting areas unbound by corporate bureaucracy and restrictions. At least that’s the idea.

Innovation labs are meant to spark innovation that can be re-integrated into the company’s business, once its value proposition has been validated. They are extremely popular. Almost every large company has some kind of innovation lab these days, or is trying to create one.

Unfortunately, innovation labs often turn out to be a lot more like innovation theater. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of colourful smoke and people wearing strange glasses. It’s a very enjoyable experience, yes. But apart from some ear-shattering explosions, nothing is really created in the end.

That’s my impression of them so far, anyway.

So as we enter 2019 and what appears to be its overwhelming love of Innovation labs and companies wanting to show them off to the press. I’m going to define a series of questions that will help to identify if an innovation lab is useful or if it’s an image campaign designed to make companies seem cooler than they are.

1. Are there tangible results?

Most innovation labs measure their success based on the number of new ideas they’ve created, number of presentations held at innovation conferences or media mentions they’ve gotten for their thoughts on innovation.

Success is often not measured in the creation of tangible products.

In the world I live in, ideas are free, it’s your ability to execute on them that counts.

2. Where is the Strategic Alignment?

A startup that is given total freedom to innovate but does not consider the ecosystem in which it’s launching will fail. For corporate startups to be successful they should be in line with the company’s core business and strategic priorities. Companies don’t buy startups that don’t complement what they’re already doing.

Thinking that rules and limitation are bad for innovation and that total freedom is needed for real innovation isn’t the best way forward. Defining the area you need to innovate in will ensure a better outcome.

Autonomy in alignment, this requires clear vision on how the start up with impact the company. There is a great medium article on this, with a photo that I think sums things up.

3. How long will the right people work for you?

Innovation labs are full of hot go-getters who are often recruited with the promise of big funding and a startup environment. Maybe this is my jaded perception but Innovation labs seem to be full of people who couldn’t cut as an entrepreneur, or have no experience bringing a successful product to market.

They do have a lot of experience playing entrepreneur, including table soccer, working with a laptop on a sofa, wearing sneakers and hoodies and whatever other innovation clichés you can imagine. They’ll be good a giving presentation about their experience BUT they won’t have created anything that has delivered tangible results.

4. Has the Innovation Lab Identified the problem they’re looking to solve?

Specific purpose innovation labs have a higher chance of being interesting in my eyes. They will have identified a specific problem they are looking to solve. If this lab is purpose driven, they might want to think of renaming it. I might have less of a problem with a “Future of Mobility Lab” than an Innovation Lab.

A big question that I want to ask is: Are the projects insight driven based innovations?

This means looking into how much ecosystem understanding and context are the corporations providing to the Innovation labs?

Having access to the insights and learning of companies is a huge advantage, some labs seem to be insulated from the parent company for fear of tainting the pureness of the innovation process.

Corporations need to stop setting up siloed innovation departments or innovation labs that are just for show.

Too many companies try to check the “innovation box” or – even worse – to make the company appear more innovative in shiny corporate brochures by establishing structures that are unsuited to create true innovation.

It could very well be that Everyone Using the word innovation wrong is at the heart of the problem!

What do you think? Am I being too harsh?

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