"Smart" phone & portable device features of 2012
Pogie awards celebrate the best ideas of the year: ingenious features that somehow made it past the lawyers, through the penny-pinching committees and into real-world tech gadgets — even if the products overall are turkeys. Here's a paraphrased summary of the winning ideas:
- Power Nap is a feature of OS X Mountain Lion that works on recent MacBook models. It lets the laptop keep backing itself up, downloading e-mail and syncing its online data (calendars, calendar notes, reminders, photos) & allows the network activity to chug away even when the lid is closed.
- In Windows Phone 8, Kid’s Corner is a sanitized version of the operating system that contains only apps, music and videos that you’ve handpicked in advance. With this feature web browsing, e-mail, phone calls and in-app purchases can be made off limits for kids and it can be activated with a quick left swipe from the Lock screen
- The Ciago iAlert and Cobra Tag are Bluetooth keychain fobs that communicate with your iPhone or Android phone. Once you’re 30 feet away from the phone, the keychain starts beeping, as though to say, “You’re leaving your $200 phone behind, you idiot!” These electronic leashes works the other way, too; the phone beeps if you leave your keys behind.
- Bluetooth 4.0, built into the latest iPhone and Android phones, is also called Bluetooth LE (low energy) for a reason. For the most part, it uses power only when it has data to exchange.
- Recent models of models like Atrix, Droid Razr have a feature that automatically turns your phone to Vibrate during the hours of any meeting on your calendar. If you have a Moto headset or car dock, your phone auto-detects when you’re driving. At that point, the phone sets the ringer to Loud, turns on GPS, announces incoming callers’ names by voice, and auto-responds to incoming text messages with an “I’m driving — call you later” response when it is in Driving Mode.
- In the Do Not Disturb mode in iOS6, your phone doesn’t ring, vibrate or light up. It’s just like Airplane Mode, except that you can designate certain people whose calls and texts are allowed to ring through. A special checkbox, Repeated Calls, handles urgent situations. If anyone tries to call more than once within three minutes, they’re obviously desperate to reach you. Do Not Disturb will permit those calls to ring.
Also see: There is an app for that?