There are three main categories of iOS speaker docks: the ones meant to replace your home stereo, the portable versions that offer sound on the go and the bedroom models that are intended to be an iPhone or iPad-friendly replacement for an old school alarm clock. the Renew SleepClock falls under that alarm clock category, but it’s more than than a simple clock replacement. It’s a little pricier than many competitors, but it looks upscale and its audio capabilities are at the higher end for this class of device. What really sets it apart, though, is a built-in sleep monitor sensor and accompanying app designed to measure the amount and quality of sleep, then help you to manage your habits to see improved sleep results. This unique functionality has earned the product an Edison Award (Assistive Devices) for innovation.
First Impressions:The Renew SleepClock is an attractive looking speaker dock. It’s just wide enough and deep enough to safely accommodate an iPad, although an iPhone or iPod Touch will fit nicely on the base without looking undersized. the unit is tasteful matte black plastic, with black cloth covering the lower half and a discreet white LED display showing the day of the week and the time. it has an understated, elegant appearance. While it’s not meant to take the place of a stereo system, sound is certainly better than a typical clock radio’s. on the top is the iOS dock and a few buttons, with the largest (snooze) giving away the fact that this unit is meant to sit beside the bed. two things to note in terms of being a replacement for a standard clock radio: the unit is FM only so no AM radio and clock functionality is fully controlled via an iOS app. Hidden in the unit is a no-contact sleep sensor that measures movement and breathing rates.
The App:Key to making the most of the Renew SleepClock is the free iOS app, which was updated during the course of the review to incorporate additional functionality (now at version 1.4.1). in fact, the app is key to pretty much all functions, including setting the alarm clock, setting the time, choosing the wake-up source or sound and setting the wake-up volume. Besides these basic controls, the app tracks a full range of your sleep statistics including:
- What time you go to bed.
- How many hours you spend in bed each night.
- How long it takes you to fall asleep.
- How many interruptions to your sleep.
- What time you woke up.
- How long you actually slept during the night.
- Amount of sleep that was “deep sleep.”
- A sleep score.
Unlike a typical alarm clock, you don’t choose a specific time where the alarm sounds; instead, you choose a time window (you can set the duration of the window), with the outer limit being the time by which you must wake up. the Renew SleepClock detects when (and if) you are in a light sleep cycle dung that window and wakes you up then. the theory being that instead of a blaring alarm in a deep sleep, a gently increasing alarm during a time when you’re in light sleep will be less harsh. If no opportunity arises during the window, you get the full alarm at the end, which is basically standard alarm clock functionality. it then prompts you to indicate how you felt upon waking: tired, good or excellent.
Based on the wake-up window you’ve chosen (and presumably on accumulated sleep data), the clock will prompt you at night when the system decides it’s time for you to go to sleep. a journal capability allows you to indicate variables such as coffee or alcohol ingestion — useful when a day sticks out as an anomaly and you want to see what was different. One of the handier options (although we seldom used it) is the ability to fall asleep listening to music. the sensor monitors you and when it detects you are sleeping, slowly lowers the music volume.
Experience:My wife volunteered to take point on this one. She likes to have her iPhone and iPad with her at night and a charging dock means one less cable sprawled across the night table. Besides, while I tend to sleep like a rock, she was looking for ways to improve her sleep. Setting up the Renew SleepClock is simply a matter of plugging it in and docking your iOS device; you are prompted to download the free app and the clock will synchronize to the correct time. the basics — setting the alarm and choosing the wake-up options — are straightforward using the app and are largely a matter of filling in checkboxes. There’s no calibration of the sleep sensor required in order to start using the device. Also, there was no apparent issue with having two people in a bed.
Outside of the basics, the app interface wasn’t as intuitive as it could have been initially, but once she figured out the controls and navigation, she found it comfortable to use. on the nights where a high percentage of quality sleep was recorded (a high “sleep score”), she definitely felt better the following day. over several months of using it nightly, she felt that the Renew SleepClock was accurately tracking sleeping patterns. She pointed out, though, that it’s important to recognize the clock and app combination measure and record sleep data and aren’t a magic high-tech silver bullet for solving sleeping difficulties. While lack of sleep and patterns such as interruptions are identified and waking can be much less jarring, the system doesn’t actually offer a whole lot of advice (other than the prompts to go to sleep) on how to improve sleep. That requires reading up and trying out different strategies, then reviewing the data to see if they showed positive results.
Wired: makes for an attractive and decent sounding bedside speaker dock/alarm clock, the ability to monitor sleeping patterns without need for a wired accessory makes tracking sleeping patterns a snap, gentle waking during light sleep makes for a less stressful start to the day.
Tired: the dock connector can be a little fussy and if your iOS device isn’t snugly docked it can result in bursts of static through the night, a bit of a learning curve on the app and interpreting results, Android users need not apply.
Disclosure: Gear4 provided a Renew SleepDock for review purposes.
Flat-screen maker LG Display has started mass production of a new and thinner display, widely speculated to be for use in Apple Inc’s next iPhone, and the display’s production schedule remains in line with customers’ product release plans, LG’s chief executive said.
"We just began mass production and we don’t expect any disruption in supplies," Han Sang-beom, chief executive of LG Display, a panel supplier for Apple products, told reporters late on Wednesday.
His comments were embargoed until early Thursday morning.
Apple is planning a major product launch on September 12, stoking speculation that the world’s most valuable technology company will announce the sale of its redesigned iPhone.
Apple is equipping the next iPhone with a larger screen after Samsung Electronics unveiled its latest Galaxy smartphone with a 4.8-inch touch-screen.
Sources have told Reuters that the panels for the new iPhone will be 4 inches corner to corner — 30 percent bigger than current iPhones.
The iPhone screens will also be thinner than previous versions with the use of so-called in-cell panels. The new technology embeds touch sensors into the liquid crystal display, eliminating the touch-screen layer found in current iPhones.
Japan’s Sharp Corp also said earlier this month it would start shipping screens destined for a new iPhone in August.
Gartner: Global Mobile Sales Down 2%, Smartphones Surge 43%, Apple Stalls As Fans Hold Out For New iPhone
Gartner is the latest of the big analyst houses to release its numbers for smartphone and overall mobile sales in Q2. the picture it paints is one of a market that has, effectively, one winner at the moment: Android — and more specifically Samsung — with growth for Apple’s iPhone “paused” as users hold out for the next iPhone and ride out the tough economy.
Worldwide, there were 419 million phones sold to end users, is down 2.3% compared to a year ago, Gartner says. just over one-third (36.7%) of all devices sold were smartphones, which continued to grow well even as the wider market (which includes feature phones) declined. Sales of smartphones were up by 42.7% to 154 million units, with Apple and Samsung together accounting for 83% of all smartphone sales.
Within the smartphone category, Android, led by Samsung, is reaping the most benefits from that growth at the moment. with nearly 99 million units sold, Android devices captured 64% of the smartphone market for the quarter (compared to 43.4% a year ago). Samsung’s Galaxy line of devices accounted for more than half of all Android sales, reaching 45.6 million devices sold.
And as a testament to the power of a good, new product launch, the new S3 sold 10 million units in its first two months of its release. “the Galaxy S3 was the best-selling Android product in the quarter and could have been higher but for product shortages,” Gartner notes.
Apple’s iOS-based iPhone devices, meanwhile, also saw growth, selling nearly 29 million units, but this was only in line with overall smartphone market expansion, so its share remained largely the same: it captured 18.8% of the smartphone market (versus 18.2% the year before). Gartner notes that sales of the iPhone fell by 12.6% compared to Q1.
Both Symbian and RIM saw big drops and are both hovering between 5% and 6% market share for sales last quarter, while Samsung’s bada and Microsoft saw modest, single-percentage gains to be level at 2.7% shares (equivalent to around 4 million devices).
Incidentally, do you remember when Nokia said it sold 4 million Lumia devices in Q2? that paints a particularly bad picture for how well the other OEMs are doing with WP7: between the rest of them they sold only about 87,000 devices, according to Gartner’s numbers. Ouch.
Apple’s Tim Cook told us in its Q2 earnings last month that the company was seeing lower iPhone sales in the quarter because of economic presssures, particularly in Europe, as well as a general lag due to people waiting for the new iPhone to hit the market (which by many reports it will do come September). Gartner essentially agrees with this assessment:
“the challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches and promotions available later in the year slowed demand across markets,” wrote Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement.
But he added that there is a converse to this, too, if the iPhone does in fact launch: “the anticipated Apple iPhone 5, along with Chinese manufacturers pushing 3G and preparing for major device launches in the second half of 2012, will drive the smartphone market upward,” he noted.
That growth, he says, will be primarily in smartphones. Lower-end devices will “continue to see pressure”, even if they continue to sell well in emerging markets.
Indeed, at the moment, it is feature phones that seem to be keeping Nokia alive in terms of phone sales (yes, the platform is burning, but it’s still standing up). while Nokia saw big declines in its smartphone stature — Symbian market share dropped by nearly 17 percentage points, and Windows Phone 7 saw only modest gains — the impact of that was only saw a small decline in overall world rankings, where Nokia now stands at just under 20% market share compared to 23% a year ago. it has feature phones to thank for that.
The picture is different for the world leader: buoyed by its strong sales in smartphones (over half of all devices sold by Samsung) and feature phones, Samsung is playing the game perfectly. it improved its market by nearly five percentage points to 21.6% marketshare, working out to over 90 million units sold. the distance between Samsung/Nokia and the rest of the pack is big at the moment. Apple comes in third but a ways behind with 29 million units. that shows how challenging the mobile market, which needs to operate at scale to be profitable, is at the moment for the majority of the industry.
Google’s Motorola is among the challenged ones. Yesterday the company set out a long-term plan to move away from feature phones to smartphones; it will be worth watching to see how that impacts the company’s standing in the wider rankings — perhaps very little since Motorla has been relying less on feature phone sales than companies like Nokia and Samsung. it took 2.2 percent share of sales in Q2, down 0.2 percentage points from last year.
I might be an Apple junkie, but I’ve never been fond of wireless speakers. To be honest, I never saw the point in them. they all seemed like one more thing to keep track of and, inevitably, keep charged. But that was before I was given the chance to try out the Braven 625s Bluetooth 3.0 speaker. now I can’t imagine listening to my music any other way. Between the ease of setting it up on my devices and the clarity of the sound coming from it, I am sold.
When I first got the speaker, I wasn’t that excited. since I have an Apple TV, I don’t usually use my iPod or iPhone for music while at home. instead, I stream it from my computer directly to my TV. The day the speaker arrived, I sett up on my iPhone just to experiment. Once assembled, I turned off my TV and started up my “Strength in Myself” playlist. Right off the bat, I knew something was different. when the music started playing, I was immediately surprised at the sound quality. Later, I received a phone call, and instead of talking on my iPhone, I let the call come over the speakers. I was able to hear the caller and have them hear me without any issues.
Even though it will never see the outdoors, this speaker was built for the adventurer. The outside is padded with a shock absorbing material and it has its own little USB flashlight that you can attach.
One of my favorite features is the battery light. when it blinks white the device is telling you that it’s at 100%; blue means it’s at 50% and Red means 10%. This is handy because some of my other wireless devices wait until they are almost dead to tell me they need charging. The different colored lights on the speaker will keep me from going without it when I really want to use it.
In addition to being a wireless speaker, the Braven 625s can also charge your devices off of its own battery. Amazingly, the battery itself can go for 16 hours before needing another charge (depending on if you are charging another device as well as playing music through the speakers). Be careful if you are listening to music via the 3.5mm jack and trying to charge a device, though. You can only use one at a time.
Overall, I am extremely happy with this speaker. I’m not sure how I feel about the $180 price tag, but then again, it does more than just play my music. so if you divide it by three (music speaker, hands free device, USB charger), then I guess that knocks it down to $60 per feature. considering that I have an iPhone case that cost $100 (to charge my iPhone while I’m using it), a $90 bluetooth headset and a $80 iHome, I guess $180 is not so bad after all.
What do you think? Do you have a wireless speaker you swear by? let us know in the comments.
In exchange for my time and efforts in reporting my opinion within this blog, I received a free review sample. Even though I receive this benefit, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.
Galatta – Indian Movie News App Releases Version Update and Goes Universal (26. Juli 2012, 05:46 Uhr)
CHENNAI, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
Presents Users with More HD Infotainment, Real-Time Breaking News, Timely Updates and has Been Optimized for the iPhone´s Retina Display, also Makes its Debut on the iPad
Galatta app, developed by Galatta Media Private Ltd. to provide the latest celebrity updates and real-time breaking news in the Indian movie world, has announced a version upgrade, featuring exclusive photo galleries and a vibrant video section. Measuring up to the hype it generated at the market, Galatta app´s version 1.3 comes just 2 months after the app´s worldwide launch this may.
Galatta app [http://itunes.apple.com/in/app/galatta/id523417478?mt=8 ] is the complete movie tracker that provides fans with the highest levels of infotainment on a stylish, rich and lustrous interface that ensures an overall incredible reading experience. the response for the application has been tremendous and the feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive. Galatta app was featured in the ´What´s Hot´ section of the US and Indian App Stores in the News category and ranked #22 in the News category at the App Store(India).
in its upgraded avatar, Galatta app has a lot more media to offer – new photo galleries and a separate section devoted to videos. Users can virtually step into the glam showbiz world by surfing through galleries of movie stills, parties, events and celebrity photos. with the addition of the latest HD movie trailers, it has now become easier for users to discover and decide what to watch. Galatta app has been optimized for iPhone Retina Display to provide sharper text, richer graphics and enhanced video content, letting users delve a lot deeper into movie content. other enhancements include its new push notification to keep up with the latest news and gossip in the movie world.
Galatta [http://www.galatta.com ] has also become a universal application, as it is now available for the iPad. “On its launch, the response Galatta app received was nothing short of spectacular. the expectations of the current media-savvy generation have propelled us to come up with a version update that provides users with a richer, smarter and a more streamlined experience. Our flagship product, now compatible on all iOS devices, is continually being overhauled with new features and functionality, to give our users what they have come to expect, ” said Venkatesh C.R., CEO of Galatta Media.
Galatta app [https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dci.galattacinema ] is also available in the Google Play store for Android phones and tablets. Windows Mobile and BlackBerry versions of the app will be available by the last week of July.
Download Link: http://itunes.apple.com/in/app/galatta/id523417478?mt=8
About Galatta Media Private Limited:
Galatta Media Private Ltd. is the creator and publisher of Galatta Cinema magazine, the largest circulating English Cinema Magazine in India for South Indian movies, and is also the force behind Galatta.com – a leading Indian video portal, the world over. For more details visit: http://www.galatta.com.
Primary Media Contact: Venkatesh C.R, firstname.lastname@example.org, 91-44-26200160
Galatta Media Private Limited