iOS or Android: which offers more?

When the first iPad was released back in 2010 many commentators questioned whether they would succeed; given that they didn’t seem to fulfill an obvious gap in the market. Too large for a pocket, unable to take calls - buy an iPad the joke went and pay hundreds of dollars for a bigger, more useless version of the phone you already have.

Time has clearly shown those early naysayers wrong; as 229 million tablets were sold worldwide last year. Approximately 68 million, or 30%, of the total were Apple devices and while collated Android sales figures are not yet available for 2015 it is likely in the 140m - 150m range; confirming that these two operating systems maintain a virtual duopoly on the tablet market.

Which to plump for?

Assuming your choice is between an iOS and Android device, what are the main advantages of each system? The primary advantages of iOS are twofold - it is incredibly intuitive and, because the system is built for a very small range of devices, the 500,000 iPad specific apps will run extremely well; with few glitches or crashes. However for the trademark Apple style, you will have to pay somewhat over the odds.

Android tablets are sold by a variety of manufacturers, and utilise a wide variety of hardware. Samsung, Kobo, Asus and, of course, Google have all released successful tablet ranges running Android - but on a wide variety of screen sizes, processor types and other hardware options. Although this gives the consumer a relatively larger choice it comes with usability drawbacks - you may download an app for your Android tablet and find it requires hardware your model doesn’t have. You’ll also run into more bugs and crashes - but be compensated by a larger range of titles and the greater freedom given to developers in the Android framework.

As an example, Android users rave about Tasker which allows you to program your phone to perform actions when triggered; like turning on WiFi as you approach home, for example. No equivalent app exists for iOS because Apple are incredibly reluctant to give any developers the “under the hood” access these apps require.

Of course both systems share their basic functionality and have a large overlap in the range of compatible apps. Whichever system you buy you’ll be able to watch TV on Netflix, read emails or play video games on the move. Given the recent surge in popularity of “interactive gaming”; betting to you or I, most casinos and bookmakers ensure their full suite of games is available on all platforms.

Before making your choice try to think what you want to use your new tablet for. If you’re just looking to watch videos and music; Android will likely fulfill your needs at a lower price. If however you’re looking to do a bit more, organising emails, contacts and calendars for example, you’ll likely find iOS far more simple and intuitive.

Author - Dan Brook

Top 5 Techy Things to do Now the Winter Nights are Drawing in

We seem to have switched pretty swiftly from a long, hot summer to a cold, blowy autumn. And that means it’s not long until the clocks change and the nights get longer.

Even if you already have your autumn and winter TV viewing set up and have plenty of hobbies and pastimes to help the long winter nights fly by, it’s always good to get a few new ideas.

Check out our top five ways to use your smartphone, laptop or tablet to do something different, fun and, sometimes, even useful. Perfect ways to spend your long evenings in front of the fire. It almost makes us glad summer’s over!

Discover your artistic side
Even if you’ve never painted before, the chances are you will get hours of joy out of one of the many and varied art apps available for tablets. You can download something like Sketchbook Pro and then, just using your finger, learn to draw, paint in all sorts of different mediums, and unlock the artist inside. It’s a phenomenal use of technology and makes learning to draw and paint clean, easy and convenient.

Cook up a storm
Yep, cook. and yep, we do mean use your technology. You know there are so many websites, forums and apps out there for cooking, so why not spend some time really studying the ones that fit in with your taste in food and then spend some time in your kitchen. There’s a reason cooking shows have taken over the night time TV schedule - and that’s because cooking is creative, enjoyable, absorbing and skilfull. Find out whether it’s for you - and you get the amazing by-product of eating your experiments!

Visit a casino
Online casinos have become hugely popular over the last couple of years as technology and internet access has improved. You can now find some truly immersive and atmospheric sites offering casino games like roulette, poker, slots and bingo. And you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your sofa! Pour a glass of wine, sign up to and find out for yourself how much fun online casinos can be.

Get blogging
Many people enjoy writing and it’s a well known fact that everyone has one great novel inside them. But writing an actual book is not something most people have time for. Blogging is free, easy and a great way to stir up debates, get your opinion noticed or report on something that interests you specifically. Are you keen on movies? Blog about it? Like shopping? Write about it. In fact, there’s an audience for pretty much anything and everything and it’s as simple as signing up to a service like Blogger or Wordpress. We highly recommend it.

Watch what you want, when you want
Netflix or Lovefilm, or any other streaming app, is an amazing way to get access to the films and TV shows you enjoy, without worrying about timings or cost. For a very reasonable monthly fee you can have access to absolutely loads of US, UK and European shows - definitely worth it.

Netflix Gets Social With Facebook Integration

Netflix has announced integration with Facebook that will now make it possible to get social recommendations of what you should watch next.

At long last you can see what your Facebook friends are watching on Netflix, and, in turn, you can share with them what you have enjoyed from the streaming service. Once you’ve connected the accounts the information from your friends will be shown in social rows of recommendations and is restricted only to the items that they have rated four or five stars.

Netflix has done some very smart things with this integration to make sure you have as much control as possible. For instance, the information will only appear in Netflix and not on Facebook unless you specifically tell it to do so. Additionally this isn’t an all-or-nothing scenario as you can choose to hide your guilty pleasure programming from the process, and even go back and make sure to do the same with items you have watched and rated before this was integrated. Feel free to keep watching the complete run of Basketball Wives while only sharing your love of Fellini films.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Netflix 3.0 for iOS brings UI improvements

Netflix has been steadily improving its iOS app since it debuted back in 2010. The latest version hit the app store yesterday and includes a few tweaks that improve the overall experience of the app.

Netflix 3.0 includes a new iPad-only feature that'll display the title of the TV episode or movie that you are watching when you tap on the screen. Users will also notice that Netflix revamped the layout for the play/pause/back buttons, making them easier to use. Lastly, Netflix brought back the zoom icon so you can easily jump to fullscreen mode.

You can grab the Netflix app from the iOS App Store for free. It requires a monthly Netflix subscription, which starts at US$7.99 per month.

[Source: TUAW]

Netflix vs Lovefilm: Television Content

For many people, the choice to go with an online streaming and DVD rental service is made for many different reasons. One of the most commonly cited ones is the extensive selection of content. These online services are able to provide more variety given their smaller overhead costs than your traditional brick and mortar rental store. Two of the most popular services today include LOVEFiLM vs Netflix.
Both services offer customers access to television series. However, they do go about it in a different manner. While both services have a wide selection of TV programmes it seems that Netflix offers more variety with its streaming service. LoveFilm does offer some streaming television shows, but many of its popular titles are found as DVD rentals. There are also some differences in that if you’re looking for a specific show you may find it streaming on LoveFilm but not on Netflix. However, even if the show isn’t streaming on LoveFilm it can usually still be obtained through the mail service.
When perusing through the television programme content for both services customers will notice they both offer many different vintage shows that are fairly old. Many people enjoy watching these older shows whether for their nostalgic value or simply to watch for the first time. Both services also offer many of the current popular television programmes as part of their offerings. However, many of these shows do not go back far enough for the satisfaction of some customers. For instance, with Netflix the popular show, Top Gear, only is available as far back as 2009.
Both services also offer stand-up comedy. The major difference is that Netflix’s comes through streaming video. LoveFilm’s selection is greatest on DVD which can be obtained easily through the mail. There is a Netflix free trial as well as one for LoveFilm that are a great way to try out the service without any obligation."

Netflix 1080p streams no longer called X-High, company credits improved encodes

While Netflix Watch Instantly movie streams are mostly useful for casual viewing, if you're interested in the actual quality of the video provided you may have noticed a few changes recently. Chronicled in a thread on AVS Forum and reported to us by several tipsters, more than a few users have noticed their streams on 1080p-capable hardware (PlayStation 3, WDTV Live) no longer rock the "X-High" notification (on PS3, hit select to view more information bout your streaming details) that had previously let them know they were getting the highest quality possible. We checked with Netflix, and according to the company, it's rolling out better encoding that improves picture quality despite using a lower bitrate. That means 1080p works even for people with slower connections, and increases detail on "textures, shadows, skies, and particularly faces." As a result, what was previously called "X-High HD" is now being labeled a tier lower.

[Source: Engadget]

Netflix Ireland, UK score deals to carry previous seasons of key Warner-distributed shows

Hot on the heels of a deal for Canada, Netflix and Warner Bros. have spread their newfound affection for each other to a multi-year, exclusive agreement for Ireland and the UK. Both island nations are getting streaming access to past seasons of four Warner-distributed TV shows, with availability staggered over the next several months. The Vampire Diaries is first out of the gate, with three seasons coming to Netflix on December 1st; five seasons of Gossip Girl follow on March 1st, while less definite schedules have all of Chuck and four seasons of Fringeappearing sometime in 2013. The arrangement isn't quite as ideal as it would be if episodes appeared as they aired, but it's a welcome expansion for a young regional service that's still locked in a battle for supremacy.

[Source: Engadget]

Netflix finally comes to Linux! (Sort of...)

Netflix's reluctance to support playback on Linux computers is infamous notorious ridiculous well documented. Well, while the company isn't ready to officially start streaming to your Ubuntu box, youcan gain access to its vast library with a specially patched version of Wine. For those of you that don't know, Wine is a compatibility layer that allows Windows apps to run under Linux. Fire up the Windows version of Firefox with this version of the software, install Microsoft's Silverlight and voilà -- Netflix on Linux. Unfortunately, that makes the whole ordeal sound a lot simpler than it is. For the moment you'll need to download Wine from its Git repository, then download and apply five different patches. Then you'll have to download and install Firefox 14.0.1 and Silverlight 4, neither of which are the current (read: easy to find) versions. So far the hack is only confirmed to work on the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 12.10, but we imagine getting it up and running on other distros shouldn't be too difficult. The work around should get easier once the crafty devs get a PPA up and running that will streamline installation. If you're the impatient type you can hit up the source link to get complete instructions.

[Source: Engadget]

Netflix updates Android app with 'WiFi only' playback to keep mobile data usage in check

The smartest solutions to problems are often the simplest of all. In that spirit, Netflix is introducing a feature to its Android app that'll keep unknowing viewers from chewing up their mobile data plan. New to the settings menu, users will discover an option that restricts video playback to WiFi networks. Netflix has left the setting to user discretion, however, meaning that it must be manually enabled. Once the switch is flipped, you'll retain the ability to search and browse Netflix over a mobile connection, but you'll need to scramble for a WiFi connection when it's time to watch Walter White cook up his latest batch. If you're unsure of where your usage sits, the WiFi restriction is probably worth imposing -- unless you're with Sprint or T-Mobile, that is.

[Source: Engadget]

Netflix nabs a million UK subscribers, promises to 'invest heavily' to outbid Sky

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has threatened a bidding war with UK Broadcaster BSkyB for premium movie rights, and he could have the war chest to back it up -- the company also hit the million subscriber mark in the UK only seven months after launching there. Netflix UK boasted that it even got there faster than Twitter or Facebook did globally, and chalked up the success to most British households having at least one household streaming device. Meanwhile, Hastings said the US company intends to pry premium Hollywood movie rights away from BSkyB, promising to be "really aggressive in our bidding." The streaming service will have to overcome more than money, however -- the UK's Competition Commission granted BSkyB a rights extension to protect it from the very likes of Netflix.

[Source: Engadget]