This weekend, Android smartphones took centre stage at the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona for two good reasons.

They are affordable and did not have to compete with the most popular Samsung brand whose upcoming pricey and loaded S8, is expected to launch later in March.

The average consumer cares about price, battery performance, nice screen and picture quality. These phones, don’t use the fastest processors and typically shave off one or two MB of RAM and feature one notch down Full HD screen resolution at best. More are using metal body instead of plastic. If you want a phone that won’t break the bank, here’s what will be arriving at a phone store near you starting next month.

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USB CHARGE CABLES BUILT TO LAST – AND SHOW OFF

Not much thought is given on the quality of USB charging cables. Until they stop working. It’s smart to have spares around from previous phones. Most are made cheaply and designed to last for a few years of daily use. Generally, a more expensive phone will come with a better-quality USB cable.

NOMAD USB charging cables walk the walk. From left, Universal, Charge, Lightning

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SONOS WANTS TO BRING MUSIC BACK…ALOUD

Sonos, maker of HiFi WiFi speakers for home and work has a message for you:

Music out loud together makes life better!  It goes beyond personal headphones.  When played aloud at home, music can connect family and friends in primal ways that go back thousands of years.

To drive that point, Sonos launched its Wake Up The Silent Home campaign with a moody ad during last night’s Grammy’s. A recent Sonos sponsored global field study was loud and clear on these key insights:

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MOTO Z PLAY IS SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF SMARTPHONES

Shooting your child’s big-time school play or soccer game with your smartphone? It’s challenging. Camera phones zoom but with extreme photo quality loss.

Enter Lenovo’s Moto Z Play, a Swiss Army phone with useful accessory features unlike any other.

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AFFORDABLE PHONES KEEP ON GETTING BETTER

The new ZTE Axon 7 Mini, $0 on a gold two-year term or $399 with no term from Virgin Mobile, thinks it’s a top tier phone with a low sticker price.

It follows a smart industry trend of quality affordable phones like the Alcatel Idol 4S, Samsung Galaxy A5, Moto G4 Plus and Nexus 5X with features and performance that won’t break the bank.

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SAMSUNG WEARABLE DEVICES NOW ON iPHONES

 

Samsung wearable envy for iPhone users? Tired of your square Apple Watch? No more.

Now iPhone users can discover Samsung’s best smartwatches and health trackers by downloading the Samsung Gear S app for the Gear S2 and Gear S3 or the Samsung Gear Fit app for the Gear Fit2 on compatible iOS devices from the Apple App Store.

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50th ANNIVERSARY OF CES HAS MUCH TO CELEBRATE

The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is over! With information overload beyond comprehension for most folks, and more than 3,800 exhibiting company booths to explore, the 50th anniversary tech Mecca show came to an end on Sunday.

Giant brands like Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony backed by a crew of several hundred each, in multi million dollar “booths” large enough to fill a dozen homes each, impressed. In contrast, one-person booths with a single table, among the 600 startup displays the CES Eureka Park Marketplace hoped for the break of a lifetime.

Robots at CES were entertaining but robotic vacuum cleaners from LG and Samsung were smarter

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BIG BRANDS OUTDO EACH OTHER IN SMARTNESS AT CES

CES in Las Vegas used to be just for geeks. Not anymore. Now it’s about solving the many pain points in our lives, even analog ones. Interestingly, many are rather simple products for home chores introduced by big brand companies who seem to revel at taking a break from rocket science technology. Let’s check some out.

  • The LG Hom-Bot Network Water Mop is a combination robotic vacuum and mopping machine, connected to your phone, that remembers your home floor layout.  But if you happen to be in its path, it will ask you to kindly move out of the way. LG is introducing several new versions of current home products with network capability for tracking and voice control.
Vacuum Wars Korean Style – LG Hom-Bot Water Mop  left, vs Samsung POWERbot VR7000
  • Samsung’s low profile POWERbot VR7000 Robot Vacuum ensures generates up to 20 watts of suction power while covering areas that hand-operated vacuum cleaners miss, like under beds. It has an 11-inch wide self cleaning brush and is designed to pick up dust against the wall and floor corners. Its smartphone controllable and works with Amazon Echo for folks who want to shout orders to a complying smart vacuum.

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THE NEW TV’S AT CES 2017

On Wednesday in Las Vegas, press day at the Mandalay Bay had multinational companies bragging about their newest technologies in big ticket items like TV’s, home appliances and the latest innovations.

This, on the eve of the four-day CES technology show, covering more than 2.5 million sq ft of show space.

But it’s the big screen TV that lead the news lines today. Not surprising to most folks.  To me, TV’s have been a big disappointment for a long time. Why? Because until a few years ago the quality of TV’s  had a long way to go to match the original visual quality of Spielberg, Lucas and Tarantino movies.

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