Best iPhone and Android apps to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions

Keeping those New Year’s resolutions could be tricky with all the distractions 2018 is set to bring, but what if you could use your phone to help you keep on track?

There are lots of apps on the market that can help you keep your head in the game and make it much more likely you'll reach your goal, whatever it is.

Below we've listed our top choices to help you stay on track with the new goals you're setting for yourself for 2018.

Todoist: the app to help you get organized

To sort your life out, you need to get a good to-do list app up and running on your phone. One of our favorites is Todoist, which you can have on either your Android or iPhone.

It's a great way to organize your lists so you can keep up with everything you need to do. Todoist looks great, allows you to organize yourself and you can also integrate it with an Amazon Echo so you can make notes whenever you want by just using your voice.

Bookout: the app to encourage you to read more

Lots of people want to read more every year, and if you want to keep track of the books you want to get into in 2018 this may be the best choice for you.

It's exclusive to iPhone, but Bookout allows you to make lists of titles you want to read as well as tick off the ones you've already got to. There are even further options that allow you to make notes or quotes from each book you're reading.

LastPass: the app to help you change all your passwords

It's one of the most boring tasks, but if you plan to update and keep track of all your passwords this year we'd recommend trying out LastPass.

It can generate secure passwords for all your accounts and keep them stored safely away behind encryption, so you'll never lose them and are less likely to get hacked.

You Need A Budget: the app to help you save money

The name of this app basically sums up what you can expect from it and it may even be what you've written down as your New Year's resolution for 2018.

This app will help you lay out all of your expenses at the same time and you'll be able to work out where you can save money and why you're spending so much every year. You will need to pay after a full month of using the service, but if you find it's saving you money it's likely worth your investment.

Strava: the best app to get out running with

Have you decided you want to get fit in the new year? If you plan to do that by running or cycling we'd recommend using Strava to get your feet moving.

It features challenges you can get started with or you can just start jogging and use it to track your stats as you're out and about. There are also leaderboards, so if you're motivated by competition then Strava could help even more.

Nike Training Club: the best app to kick start your fitness regime

If running isn't your thing, we recommend the Nike Training Club app to get yourself fit in 2018. It offers a bunch of free workouts - over 160 at the last count - and allows you to work out at home in a variety of ways.

You can choose how much equipment you have, how hard you want to go and how often you want to work out and then it'll create a schedule for you.

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Apple to fast track discount battery packs for slowed, older iPhones

Following the reveal that Apple has been slowing down older iPhones as their batteries aged, Tim Cook's company has now announced that it will be immediately offering discount replacement battery packs for those affected. 

Originally, Apple had believed that the discounted batteries would not be available until late January. But as the severity of the situation has risen, Apple appears to have been able to speed up the process.

The batteries would normally cost $79 when not under warranty, but are to be offered for $29 instead. The company has stressed that the replacements may initially be in short supply, however.

Conspiracy theorists

“We expected to need more time to be ready, but we are happy to offer our customers the lower pricing right away,” said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller.

It's been a damaging week for Apple in the eyes of its customers. While its reasoning for slowing down older devices (extending their lifespan) may be sound, the delayed lack of transparency around the situation has fuelled existing conspiracy theories that Apple reduces the performance of older devices simply to encourage customers to buy new replacements.

In an effort to address these concerns going forward, Apple will be releasing an iOS update that will let users more easily monitor the health of their device's batteries, and whether or not performance is being affected as a result.

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LG considering phones with extendable, flexible screens

LG has long experimented with flexible displays, with years of research starting to bear fruit in the company's super-light, super-bendy (and super-expensive) OLED TV displays. It now looks as though the company may be ready to begin trickling that tech down into some interesting portable devices.

A 2016 patent, uncovered by LetsGoDigital describes a device with a flexible, extendable display. Filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and published last week, it shows a device that can be pulled at the sides, extending the screen depending on the application. This appears to leave an exposed edge to the extended part of the screen, with a metal frame circling the display when back in its 'neutral' position.

The patent shows a number of different applications for the device, including an extended keyboard, and more screen real estate for when dealing with emails, versus the at-a-glance portability of its smaller portrait position.

Other mod cons

The device, as described in the patent, would include many of the features you'd expect to find in your average smartphone too, from a wireless module to a camera and mic, right down to a removable battery.

However, as ever, a patent is now sure-fire sign of a product in the works, but merely a company protecting its ideas from the competition.

But, as the smartphone market has matured, and flexible screen technologies improved, the potential for a real device like this has grown. It's increasingly difficult for phone buyers to get excited by yet another metal-and-glass slate phone. An idea like this brought to fruition could reap rewards for LG, whose smartphone business – while turning out solid devices – has never quite reached the heights it hoped for. 

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 is about to hit the production line

Good news for fans of finely crafted, exquisitely detailed smartphones - sources in South Korea say production is about to start on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, putting them on course for an official unveiling at the Mobile World Congress expo in Barcelona at the end of February.

ETNews reports that as soon as the New Year celebrations are ended, the wheels are going to begin to turn in earnest as far as cranking out the Galaxy S9 phones goes. In other words, everything's right on course as Samsung looks to wow us with its 2018 offerings.

One of the upgrades that parts suppliers are hinting at this year is an upgraded, 'stacked' motherboard, similar to the one used in the iPhone X. As well as enabling the usual speed and efficiency improvements we've come to expect each year, the board also means there's more room inside the phone for a bigger battery.

Those rumors in full

With the S9 and S9 Plus reveal now probably less than two months away, we've heard plenty about what to expect from Samsung's next top-end handsets. Apparently the 3.5mm audio headphone jack has again made the cut, while the Snapdragon 845 will be powering the phones (in some countries at least).

We've also seen leaked renders of the Galaxy S9, which may even manage to embed a fingerprint reader under the front display, if the rumor mill is to be believed. As for that 18.5:9 Infinity Display, supply chain sources say the visible bezels are going to be shrunk even further for a screen-to-body ratio of around 90%.

All of which leaves us eagerly awaiting Mobile World Congress, which kicks off with a press day on February 25. Samsung has a history of launching flagships at the event, although the Galaxy S8 was an exception.

Via SlashGear

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Samsung and LG say they don’t slow down older phones, either

Following Apple’s admission that it deliberately slowed down older phones to allow the battery to continue to power the processor, the list of rival smartphone manufacturers announcing they don’t follow the same practice continues to grow.

Yesterday we saw statements from both Moto and HTC affirming that they don’t throttle their smartphones, and today Samsung and LG Electronics have both chimed in to report that they don’t either, reports PhoneArena.

LG kept it brief, saying, “Never have, never will! We care what our customers think.”

Samsung was more chatty, saying, “Product quality has been and will always be Samsung Mobile's top priority. We ensure extended battery life of Samsung mobile devices through multi-layer safety measures, which include software algorithms that govern the battery charging current and charging duration. We do not reduce CPU performance through software updates over the lifecycles of the phone.”

Revenge of the quick fix

Good to know, but these statements probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering that Apple’s practice grew out of a very specific response to the iPhone 6 last January after customers noticed that their devices were shutting down without warning. 

With iOS Patch 10.2.1, Apple announced that it had “improved” the issue, but wasn’t upfront about the nature of that improvement, leading to the current backlash. It was a “quick fix” that unfortunately apparently became standard practice.

Apple has since penned a letter of apology, and also announced that it will start offering battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and above throughout all of 2018 for just $29/£25. That’s a significant drop down from the usual price of $79/£79.

The tech giant has also stated that an iPhone’s batteries drain significantly after 500 charge cycles, and that it plans to introduce more tools to better keep track of your iPhone’s battery life in iOS in 2018.

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Leaked list may reveal all the 2018 smartphones with Snapdragon 845

Image credit: Qualcomm

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor is one of the most highly anticipated bits of tech for next year, and it’s possible that a leak from the Chinese social media site Weibo has just given us a peek at which 2018 flagship smartphones will support it.

Before jumping in, keep in mind that there’s no evidence that the list is real, and even if it is, it’s always possible some hardware changes will be made before the phones make it to shelves. Delays could also happen, throwing off the planned release dates listed. But with that in mind, let’s take a look. 

Image credit: Weibo

The list is notable for including both the names of the phones the processor will likely be in as well as their dates of release. First on the list are the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, which are expected to debut in February, followed by the LG G7 and G7 Plus.

March is quiet, but April could see a Snapdragon 845 in the Xiaomi Mi7. May will seemingly bring the HTC U12, and June will see the OnePlus 6, the ZTE Nubia Z18, and the Sony Xperia XZ Pro all drop at once.

The list gets a little dubious in August, as it claims the Nokia 10 will launch even though we’re still dealing with rumors about the Nokia 9.

In September, we’ll possibly see the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and the LG V40. October will apparently bring the Google Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, the ZTE Nubia Z18S, the Sony Xperia XZ2 and the HTC U12 Plus.

After the busy early autumn, the launches appear to slow down, with only a new Moto Z launching in November and the OnePlus 6T and a Samsung-made “W2019” dropping at some point in December.

Snap to it

All in all, it looks about what you’d expect to see from a list of flagship smartphones for next year, although it comes with a couple of mystery choices such as the Nokia 10 and the relatively unknown HTC U12 and LG V40.

In fact, as we reported yesterday, HTC may be largely getting out of the flagship smartphone business next year, even though the HTC U12 is supposedly still a thing. With those kinds of circumstances on the table, it’ll be interesting to see how accurate this list turns out to be in the months to come.

Via Gizchina

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Pulling back on the iPhone 7 throttle | #PNWeekly 285 (LIVE at 3p ET)

It's good for the iPhone because the battery might screw your life up, the company says. It's sorry, it says. We have our say on what Apple is saying about iPhone processor throttling.

The post Pulling back on the iPhone 7 throttle | #PNWeekly 285 (LIVE at 3p ET) appeared first on Pocketnow.

New rules to improve mobile service

Rural mobile users could find it easier to get connected in future, thanks to government reforms that have just come into force.

The changes to the Electronic Communications Code (EEC) were announced in October and will have profound effects on the way that mobile communications infrastructure will be deployed. The new rules will help counter the criticism of the country’s mobile infrastructure that was sent to Ofcom by the National Infrastructure Commission.

Under the new regulations, telecoms operators will pay reduced rents for installation of equipment to landowners. The charges will be more in line with the charged made to utilities providers.

In addition, it will now be easier for operators to share their infrastructure with other providers, helping to increase coverage and reduce costs. Further changes will include a simplified disputes procedure.

Digital revolution

The minister for digital Matt Hancock said: "The laws that we've brought into force today strike another blow to diminish the digital divide. Improving mobile and broadband services for people struggling with poor connections is a top priority for us - we want everyone to benefit from the digital revolution. Removing these outdated restrictions will help promote investment and give mobile operators more freedom to improve their networks in hard-to-reach places."


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Vote for your top flagship smartphone of 2017!

We've had our say, now it's our readers' chance to pick a winner. Which flagship gets the tip-top mark for 2017? Cast your ballot and find out on New Year's Day!

The post Vote for your top flagship smartphone of 2017! appeared first on Pocketnow.

Apple apologizes for slowing iPhones, cuts down battery replacement cost

Apple today released a message to its customers in line with the ongoing 'iPhone slow down' controversy. The message comes with an apology for forcing older iPhones to slow down in order to preserve their battery lives.

In the post, Apple attempts to explain its actions and make up for the issues faced by its customers. The company said it would never intentionally shorten the life of an Apple product. 

To mollify its customers, Apple announced a discount on battery replacements for those using an iPhone 6 or later. In the US, new replacement cost has been brought down to $29, which represents an impressive discount over the $80 Apple usually charges.

Apple's revised battery replacement cost in India

For Indian customers, Apple is offering over 50 percent discount on battery replacements in the country. The company has confirmed that battery replacement in India will now cost Rs. 2000 plus taxes, whereas it used to be Rs. 6000 and above. This revised price is for batteries on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus.

However, the offer will only be applicable from January through to December 2018. According to Apple, it will also introduce new elements to iOS 11 that provides more battery related information to users. As part of that effort, Apple also introduced a lengthy new support document covering “iPhone Battery and Performance.”

Power failure

Many iPhone owners have believed that Apple has been intentionally slowing down their devices for years, usually with the assumption that Apple was trying to force people into buying newer phones.

The truth, according to Apple's letter, is that as iPhones age, their batteries don’t remain strong enough to properly power the processor. So, Apple slows them down a bit so as to keep the device functional. The battery is unable to deliver the current required to run the processor at peak speeds, and may lead to a device shut down.

As we mentioned in our previous coverage, Apple already essentially announced that it was doing this with the release of iOS 10.2.1, which was meant to stop some iPhone 6 units from unexpectedly shutting down. 

All that the patch notes said at the time, though, was that 10.2.1 "improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone." And that improvement worked, and it worked quickly.

Unfortunately, the true nature of that fix wasn’t revealed by Apple itself; instead, it came from independent researchers such as Geekbench's John Poole who showed how Apple was significantly throttling the iPhone 6 and other phones, leading to accusations of betrayal of trust, lawsuits, and general anger.

Hopefully cheaper battery replacements turn out to be a big step in restoring that trust, but considering that there was already a cynical belief that Apple was mishandling its customers in place, the aftershocks might be felt for a while yet.

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The Moto G5S Plus with 4GB RAM is priced at Rs. 14,999 now

Motorola today announced a permanent price cut on the Moto G5S Plus, the company's budget dual camera smartphone. With this price cut, the Moto G5S Plus is now available for Rs. 14,999, down from its launch price of Rs. 15,999.

The Rs. 1000 price cut puts the smartphone in contention with the Xiaomi Mi A1, Honor 7X and more. This price cut also reduces the price difference between the Moto G5S Plus and Moto G5S from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 1,000.

The Moto G5S Plus is available exclusively on Amazon India and Moto Hub stores, in Lunar Grey and Blush Gold colour options. Let’s take a look at the specifications of the device.

Moto G5S Plus Specifications

The Moto G5S Plus runs on Android 7.1 Nougat and is expected to get an upgrade for Android 8.0 Oreo soon. The device comes with a 5.5-inch full HD IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.

It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and the Adreno 506 GPU. It comes with 4GB RAM and 64 GB storage, which can be expanded to 256GB via a microSD card.

Coming to the camera department, the Moto G5S Plus features two 13MP cameras with f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash. On the front, the device sports an 8MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash.

The Moto G5S Plus is powered by a 3,000mAh battery and comes with Fast Charge. In terms of connectivity, it supports 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and microUSB 2.0. The fingerprint sensor in mounted on the front, along with the home button.

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