PC or Smartphone – Which Is Better When Using Social Media?

Social Media and SmartphoneOver the past 6 years there has been a monumental shift in the design of electronics and mobile devices, and one cannot walk down the high street now without seeing at least one tech junkie with a smartphone seemingly glued to their hands.  Unlike on a traditional mobile phone, smartphone users aren’t texting people or calling their friends, they are updating their Facebook profile and their Twitter handle. With WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, 3G and 4G now common connectivity features within smartphones, it makes no wonder given their portable size that in December of 2012 Business Wire reported that Social Media usage on smartphones takes up one-third of total online time spent.

As smartphones become a more pleasant experience and their features and apps continue to advance, so will the amount of time that consumers spend on them. Whilst the success of the smartphone is rather obvious, though, the humble PC has seen a decline in global sales and just today the IDC released a report which led to Microsoft‘s stock status being downgraded to sell, with the major reason being that Windows 8 which was designed to turn the tide and give laptops a fighting chance against mobile operating systems had failed to captivate the market.

With such bleak news for PC sales, and such good news for smartphones all round, it is easy to write-off the PC and continue to use your smartphone most of the time around the house. But is it actually better for the one thing that one-third of time spent on a smartphone consists of, social media? Let’s take a look.

Smartphones have had the upper hand in access to apps, but Windows 8 offers this too

No matter what smartphone you buy it will have access to an app ecosystem. Android has Google Play, iOS has the App Store, BlackBerry has BlackBerry World and Windows Phone has their App Marketplace. All of these stores play host to hundreds of thousands of high quality apps which allows consumers to access almost every single social media platform. Thanks to the nature of the touch screen display, apps are wonderfully interactive and offer a form of interaction that a PC can simply never match, or at least up until now. Last year Microsoft released Windows 8 and PC vendors have since released hybrid laptops and touch screen desktops. Together with the Windows 8 App Store, users of PC’s can now merge the best parts of a working desktop environment with the playful nature of an app filled one.

Even with the largest smartphone displays, a laptops display is much bigger

Smartphones may have the advantage in direct access to social media, but laptops and PC monitors are much bigger, and give users a better social media viewing experience. Even a small 11.6-inch Macbook Air offers a better social media experience than a 5.5-inch smartphone, so long as the end user finds the form factor of the laptop convenient at the time. In the same way that a larger display can work for the laptop, it can work against it too though. Laptops are not convenient devices to carry around and require a separate bag or to be physically held whereas smartphones can simply be slipped in to a pocket. Perhaps that’s why increasingly PC vendors are seeking to create hybrid devices such as the HP Envy x2 which doubles as both a tablet and laptop.

Overall

Overall it is incredibly hard to argue the case for the laptop when it comes to competing against the smartphone. For sure, smartphones and even tablet computers are not yet at the stage where they can be used for real-world work, however they are far more convenient to use when it comes to social media and even the most innovative laptops will never offer the level of interactivity that smartphones do. Even as Microsoft promotes Windows 8 and Intel pushes the Ultrabook, research shows that consumers are simply not interested in the latest folding box versus the latest sleek glass and aluminium smartphone.

Why Google’s Android Platform Is So Popular?

android-ics-logoThe mobile world is blooming. In fact, with the increase in demand for Smartphones, the world too has shrunk more smaller and now fits in your hand. Now, there are a variety of smartphones available in the market and they are powered by various Operating Systems. The war in Smartphone market is not only between the hardware manufacturers but also between the mobile phone operating system makers. Google Android, Microsoft, Symbian are the leading OS makers for the smartphone.

Even though there are too many competitors for the market, Google’s Android overtook every other company and now it has become the leading Operating System maker for the smartphone. It is really remarkable for a company to achieve this in a very short time. You will find it really interesting if you know what is behind the popularity of Android. This post is for the people who wish to know about Android right from the base.

What is Android?

Android is the operating system, not only for Smartphones but also for Tablet computers. Android is based on Linux and it is being developed by Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 80+ leading hardware companies like Sony, Samsung and software companies led by Google. The Open Handset Alliance creates the standards for the mobile devices running on Android.

Versions

Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) – These are not only the desserts but also the various versions of Android. Ice Cream Sandwich is the latest version.

Android_chart

Of all these versions, Gingerbread is the most popular one. Gingerbread is used in more than 63% of Android phones.

Why Android is so Popular?

1. Android is for Free

Android, right from the day it was released, choose to be free and Google will keep Android for free in future also. This caught the attention of Hardware manufacturers all over the world to bring out a low cost smartphone that will be powered by a free Operating System -Android.

Android’s popularity is mainly due to being ‘Free’. Being Free enabled Google to join hands with many leading hardware manufacturers and bring out a really ‘smart’ smartphone.

2. Open Source

Android is Open Source too. Unlike the other mobile phone operating systems, which are protected by various laws, copyrights and what not, Google decided to keep Android open. Being Open enabled Google to allow a large pool of active programmers from all over the world to contribute their best and to enhance Android. With many intelligent brains working for the system, newer and newer ideas were generated and implemented.

3. You too can create your own app

If you are addicted to your Android smartphone or tablet and want to create your own application. You can even develop Android Applications without any coding skill. Google provides you a set of tools that you can use it for free and create your own android application.

Get the Software Development Kit for Android App Development. Letting the users to develop their own application gives the users the much needed flexibility and freedom to modify anything the manufacturers have given you and make it in the way you like.

4. Application Store

Google distributes all the applications for the Android powered phones through its Google Play (previously Android Market). It lets the users to test, use and share a variety of applications and recommend them to the other users. There are nearly 450,000 applications available in the store. Some of these applications are available for free and some for cost.

You can have a visit to Google Play.


Advantages over the other OS

The reasons I have told above tells you why Android is different from others. Indeed not only that are enough to be a top player in the market beating a heavy competition. Android have big advantages over the other Operating System makers.

Android targets Common Man

Android OS targets the common man who wish to get maximum features at a low price. Even now many people think iPhone is for rich. These common men who wish to have their own smartphones can own Android powered smartphone which comes under their budget.  Further, an iPhone without jailbreaking does not accept many SIM, whereas Android will support any SIM.

It is the biggest plus for Android. It has chosen its area of market to be targeted very well. Otherwise, Android would have been just another Google product.

Market Share

According to Gartner’s Report prepared on Q3, 2011 Android holds more than 50% of the smartphone market. The other manufacturers like  BlackBerry, Apple, Symbian and Windows are far behind Android. The chart explains it well.

Who else will join the league?

A popular (perhaps very popular) social network is planning to enter into the smartphone market in association with HTC. They are planning to use a heavily modified version of Android to power their phone. It is still a Rumor and not official yet.

Summing it up, Android has taken the user experience far above what many others have thought about it. It is still young and ever growing. You can get synchronized with it!

If you wish to discuss more about Android please post your queries and suggestions in the Comments Section below. Wish to hear from you on how the article is.

10 Easy Ways To Secure Your Smartphone

mobile-phone-security

One of the greatest threats to the security and privacy of the average individual is the now ubiquitous smart phone. Devices like the iPhone and the various available Android handsets have greatly improved our lives, making things like comparison shopping for free car insurance quotes online a snap. Unfortunately, they’ve also made it a trivial matter for hackers and malicious cyber-criminals to compromise your information. Here are ten easy ways to lock down your phone and protect yourself in the real world from day to day.

1. Know Your Apps

Some critics have made comparisons between the Android operating system and the Windows platform during its less secure days. While that analogy is a bit unfair, it’s true that Android has fewer safeguards against malware than the iOS platform. That having been said, iOS has seen a few bad apps make their way into the iTunes App Store. Before you download and install an application, do some research and read the reviews that other users have submitted to make sure you’re not getting a virus sandwich.

2. Password Protection

Using a simple finger swipe to unlock a smart phone is the most common method for gaining access to a device. If your device isn’t password protected, all you have to do is lose it in a public place for all of your data to be lost to would-be thieves. At the very least, enable the password to unlock function that’s built into your phone. A simple PIN or password will go a long way in protecting you from identity theft and data loss.

3. Use The Security You Have

Just about every smart phone on the market today features advanced security features above and beyond simple password-enabled screen lockers. Things like biometric fingerprint scanners now come standard on many phones, and such measures ensure that your phone is that much harder to access if it should fall into the wrong hands. When you get a new phone, acquaint yourself with all of the stock security features that ship with it and use them regularly.

4. Permissions, Permissions, Permissions

Those familiar with Unix-like operating systems like Linux and Mac OS X will no doubt be highly aware of permissions and how they can affect the security of your mobile device. More specifically, you should look at every application you download and review what data and resources they have need to have access to for them to operate properly. Anything that requires root access to your phone should be avoided. Anytime you’re asked for personal information or a password, that’s typically a bad sign.

5. Go Easy With The GPS

Location-aware applications like Foursquare and Gowalla allow users to “check in” when they’re at specific places to facilitate sharing. While GPS-based applications can significantly enhance your life, it’s also a double-edged sword that can threaten your security. If people can see where you are, they can make assumptions about where you aren’t. Thieves can easily use social platforms like Facebook and information from GPS-based apps to plan home invasions and robberies.

6. Watch Those Financial Transactions

Probably the last thing you should do when you’re out in public is use unfamiliar computers to do your banking online. Keyloggers and malware can easily steal your credentials if you’re not careful. Second to that in terms of security threats is banking online with your smart phone on public Wi-Fi. You can reduce the danger somewhat with VPNs, although it’s best to leave your online financial transactions to your home computer where you can guarantee a safe connection.

7. Stay Up To Date

As with any operating system, the installation of iOS, Blackberry OS, or Android running on your smart phone is constantly being poked at and tested by hackers trying to exploit vulnerabilities. Modern computer security is all about patching vulnerabilities the second they’re recognized, and as such it’s essentially a game of catch up between security experts and cyber-criminals. When a security update is available for your phone’s operating system, you should install it ASAP.

8. Secure Wi-Fi

You should probably turn off the auto-connect feature for Wi-Fi access on your smart phone. Public Wi-Fi hotspots such as those found at libraries and coffee shops are a security minefield for notebook PCs and mobile devices. Everything from ARP spoofing to the use of Firesheep can allow miscreants and ne’er-do-wells to hijack your communications without you even realizing it. If you need to use public Wi-Fi, utilize a VPN or a proxy to connect to the web over an encrypted SSL connection. Using Wi-Fi through your home gateway is of course typically safe if you can’t get a 3G or 4G signal.

9. Monitor Applications Proactively

You can learn a lot about security threats to your mobile operating system by looking at resource usage. If you notice your battery losing power more quickly than it used to all of a sudden, it’s often a sign that you have a malware program installed that you don’t know about. If your phone is sluggish or unresponsive, look at CPU and memory usage for each application that’s currently running to see if anything stands out. If one program is hogging all of your phone’s resources, you may want to ditch it.

10. Mobile Security Apps

Your smart phone is essentially a small hand-held computer, with all the benefits and drawbacks that come with the territory. Much like Windows in the 90’s or now for that matter, it’s going to be a magnet for viruses. That’s why a dedicated anti-virus application is a must. Commonly used services include F-Secure Mobile Security, Lookout Security & Antivirus, and McAfee WaveSecure. As long as you have something that’s working around the clock to ward off threats, you’re far better off than a user without any security software whatsoever.

Parting Shot

While the world of mobile devices can greatly enhance your productivity and the convenience of your communications, it can also be a nightmare in terms of security. If you follow the above tips and take a moment to shore up your defenses, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of a security breach. This information isn’t meant to scare you but rather to alert you to the potential dangers of smart phones from a safety standpoint. Just be careful when you’re out and about and you should be fine.