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RED Hydrogen Smartphone Was Just Announced. Be Excited…

Holy Holophones Batfans, say hello to the RED Hydrogen Smartphone. As predicted here on Warptest, back in 2008 and 2012, someone has gone and shaken the foundations of the smartphone market with a Holophone.

That someone is none other than super high-end, digital cinema tech creator RED with what appears to be a stunningly designed, Android phone that can support 2D, 3D, mixed reality, AR, VR apps and display via a holographic display.

We are one step away from peak “Help me Obi-wan” with the RED Hydrogen Smartphone.

The RED Hydrogen Smartphone

The design ethos is pure RED in-keeping with the stylized 99% black with red emblem we have come to expect.

Red Hydrogen Smartphone

The phone appears to have a USB-C port, is intrepid enough to keep an earphone socket. The phone appears to have inset hex bolts and a ribbed grip and back that would inspire the love of everyone who ever held anything with a Picantinny mount aboard.

The pre-order price for the basic model is $1200 but this is a radical break away from the glasses dependent world of AR/VR/MR or Holographics we know. Also, RED are not known for their low price-tags.

The Warptest POV

For the RED Hydrogen Smartphone to succeed the design and feature set cannot compromise two things: –

Battery life

Cooling (one hopes those aren’t GPU cooling fins on the back of the phone)

If RED can deliver a Holographic phone that has decent battery life and doesn’t heat up like tarmac on summer day in Death Valley then this phone will shake up a number of markets.

All you have to do is read the spec for this device to see how RED are incorporating it into their existing ecosystem. Meanwhile, one assumes the mystery port with multiple gold contacts is the high-speed data bus referred to in the spec.

Data transfer is a big problem. Shoot a series of RAW photos or high-res videos and transfer them off your device? Good luck with that. Make yourself a coffee and read the news. If RED solves this, that is a huge win for them.

Not for nothing did I mention the Picantinny mount earlier. The spec mentions that the RED Hydrogen Smartphone is the basis for a modular system. No existing smartphone maker has managed to deliver a modular phone system that isn’t kludgy or compromising design against features.

RED have shown us a glimpse of the future. If you are serious about photography, videography or AR/VR/MR then you should be considering this phone for your arsenal.

One wonders if RED are developing a drone too, just to disrupt one extra market.



Since posting this article, much of the speculation around the Red Hydrogen One has been dispelled and major players in the tech blogging community have gone hands-on with the device prototype.

RED’s webpage for the device is sporting the final price for pre-orders based on handset material and let’s be honest, this is far and away a more exciting device to drop over $1000 on than the iPhoneX if you are not a full-blown adherent of IOS and are in the VR game.

I’m going to be keeping a close eye on this phone, and hopefully everyone in the headset / glasses market will be doing the same. Game on.

About.Me Intro App…

… takes your About.Me profile and allows you to share it from your smartphone.

For those who aren’t familiar with About.Me they are a startup that allows users to create an online page that aggregates your personal online identity in a safe manner.

De facto it is a virtual business card. In fact, About.Me have done several deals with Moo who make physical business cards to give users the choice to have actual cards based on their About.Me profile.

About.Me Intro App - AboutMe page

In addition the site has a social networking element allowing users to discover new contacts or those they already follow on other platforms, see and rate / comment on their profile pages and contact them should they need their services.

About.Me Intro App - About.Me Menu

As you can see from the dropdown menu (this is taken from the after login, landing page) a user has a variety of options ranging from the social features available for each profile displayed, managing their own profile, analytics and of course upgrading to a paid version with added features.

All Well And Good But…

… How does this help me outside of the app and or searchable discovery of my profile? If you notice the blue handshake icon in the bottom right of the screen capture the text is “Turn your About.Me page into a digital business card.

Enter smartphone app Intro: About.Me Intro App allows you to login to the app on your Windows Phone, iPhone or Android with the same About.Me credentials and presto you have your About.Me profile ready to share.

There you are at a Tweetup or other networking event, you left your business cards at home or perhaps the details are out of date. No problem, Intro allows you ask the people opposite you for their emails, phone number or About.Me page and once you’ve entered it into the app, you’ve shared your details. Simple as pie.

About.Me Intro AppAbout.Me Intro App - sharing

Whilst a truly killer feature might be NFC sharing or something akin to the shuttered app, Bump the fact is that Intro does something very important. It takes away your reliance on tech and demands you at least introduce yourself and ask for the other person’s contact details.

The Warptest POV

Extroverts are going to have no problem using Intro and Introverts are not going to find this too stressful,

“Hello I’m …. Nice to meet you. Would you like my Digital business card?”

At the end of the day, this is an elegantly simple solution which allows you to attend conferences and other networking events without the need for swapping and dealing with business cards.

Another major selling point that I’ve been focusing on lately is that this app is fully cross-platform. Yes, it has a version for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. No one is excluded from networking on the About.Me platform. My hat is off to the company for investing wisely in this. Simply put, why concede part of your user base to your competition. That’s inbuilt admission of limited resources, lack of will or no drive on your part but About.Me seems to have the resources, will and drive to spare.

About.Me Intro App - App Stores Link

Click this link to get to the Intro App links to the respective App Stores and an introductory video

My recommendation, if you aren’t on About.Me then resolve that and sign up. If you attend even one potential networking event a year then install the About.Me Intro App on your smartphone and make your social and professional networking about as painless as it can get. Intro gets a strong Warptest recommendation.

The Sony Xperia Z4 Is Not Up To Bond’s Standards

With new Bond adventure SPECTRE arriving in early November, the master spy has been left ill equipped to communicate with M as both 007 and Q felt Sony simply didn’t have a phone up to the task.

trailer courtesy of James Bond official site

After covert communiques leaked on the subject after a clearly SPECTRE inspired hack of Sony the question remains, who will step up and deliver to Q-Branch a phone with a license to thrill?

Just as important which apps does Bond favor?

There’s a Mole leaking Top Secret information in our organisation …

We all followed the Sony email leak story as it broke in connection with movie The Interview. The movie’s spoof plotline of assassinating Korean leader Kim Jung Il achieved more controversy than James Bond could in Die Another Day when 007 combatted a world threat from a rogue North Korean Colonel.

Rumors that the hack and leak of the emails were retaliation from North Korea for the perceived insult were met with even more rumors of an inside job… a mole. Either way this was reminiscent of the sort of mess Bond would be sent to clean up were Sony a British government facility.

One of the stories that leaked along with a multitude of other emails was of reticence from the SPECTRE set in allowing product placement for any pricetag of the Sony Xperia Z4 as Bond’s personal smartphone.

Business Insider reported the story with a quote specifically about the Sony Xperia phones:

Craig and Spectre director Sam Mendes resisted because “James Bond only uses the ‘best.'”

Meanwhile, the phone was released not as the Sony Xperia Z4 but as the rebranded Z3+ which fairly represents the small and notably insignificant improvements between this flagship model and the earlier Z3.

That said, GSM Arena’s voters gave the device high scores for design, features and performance:

Sony Xperia Z4 - James Bond phone

Still given 007’s proclivity for destruction and a repeated failure to return equipment, one might expect his phone to at least have Gorilla Glass if not an armored body of some hi-tech material.

Will this be the phone in SPECTRE? Nothing has been confirmed yet.

The Warptest POV

Spies are trained like business strategists or product evangelists to seize an opportunity the moment it appears yet only Samsung made an overt attempt to woo SPECTRE into using one of their smartphones (according to the aforementioned Business Insider article).

Any smartphone company would have had a tough time negotiating a deal to get their phone into the Bond franchise but this was an attempt worth making. How many fans would have seriously considered James Bond’s phone a must-have? Rhetorical question.

So is there some reason we didn’t read leaked emails that Microsoft tried to put a new Windows 10 Lumia flagship phone in Daniel Craig’s hand? Wouldn’t Bond have benefited from Continuum, Cortana or other still uniquely Windows (10) Phone features?

Just think of the victory in declaring Cortana the new Bond Girl, a virtual competitor with Moneypenny.

I’m hoping that these negotiations are still happening at some Top Secret location where no mole can leak this until we see Q handing Bond a Walther PPK and a Lumia.

ARC Welder Is Google’s New Emulator…

… and it runs from Chrome on the Mac, Linux, Chromebook or PC. After Installing the Chrome App Launcher you are then going to need to install the ARC Welder (Android Runtime for Chrome; the only prerequisite is you have Chrome browser v41 or higher.

ARC Welder - Chrome App Launcher

ARC Welder - install app from play store

After that all you need to do is click on the App Launcher > click on the ARC Welder icon > select the APK of the app you wish to use and away you go.

ARC Welder - setup

The user can configure ARC Welder based on orientation, form factor and several other variables:

ARC Welder - configure

The Warptest POV

ARC Welder is a great testing tool for a first look at an app. It is limited to one APK (App) and is no substitute for either a true emulator or installing on a phone or tablet.

It was able to use the laptop webcam for some apps (e.g. Instagram) but not for some others. So let the buyer beware, you may experience bugs with your app.

For testers who have limited access to devices, are interested in UI testing or who write test cases without spec this is a great tool for getting a look at what may be an incomplete app.

One more use case is for when you want to demo your app easily to a big screen or projector, you can do it from ARC Welder.

I’m currently looking at ways to use this in concert with Automated Testing tools that run in Chrome.

Google managed to release this for just about every major OS that Chrome is available on. I’m sure other Devs and Testers out there would love a similar tool from Apple that runs in Safari on Mac or PC but I’m not holding my breath.

If you can think of other good use cases for ARC Welder I would love to know them.

iOS9 Is Here To Fix Your Woes…

The blogosphere once again went totally ga-ga last week over the news that Apple will be releasing iOS9 later in the year. One such example was Ars Technica.

iOS9 - Bing Search

Whilst most people initially assumed this would mean more whiz-bang features, the bloggers explained that iOS 9 is expected to be a version devoted to resolving major bugs and performance issues.

iOS8 has had several bug fix versions of its own, following the customary ship it and fix it later attitude that Apple is renowned for and repeatedly forgiven for by their product lovers.

Why Does iOS 8 Need Fixing?

Besides the just ship it mentality resulting in patch fixes the impact may be felt by end-users but the consequences to App Developers are more severe.

After investing limited funds in the necessary tools to develop one’s app and the app then being accepted by the App Store, the end user suffers from buggy apps and crashes which ultimately are due to the OS.

The problem is that the end user rarely associates an app crash with the OS and the app in question ends up with bad reviews on the app store or simply is deleted by the user from their phone.

ZDNet reported that iOS8 has 78% higher crash rates than iOS7: that is an astounding metric for a newer version of an Operating System (on either existing upgraded devices or new iPhone 6 / 6+).

Now imagine you’re that App Developer or Startup who knows that railing at Apple over this, is about as useful as shouting at the rain to stop.

iOS9 Frustrated

The Warptest POV

Recently, not a day goes by without dealing with App crashes in iOS8 without crash logs that are hard if not impossible to reproduce in iOS7. One hopes that iOS9 lives up to its fanfair and will in fact deal with many of the bugs that recur.

The appeal of iPhones and iPads is easy to grasp, you only have to use them to understand it and the mass adoption that followed it. That said, the rise and fall of giants like Nokia and Blackberry are a lesson to those who fail to evolve and improve, no matter how big.

My advice to Apple’s iOS9 team are to invest heavily in testing; not just in-the-lab testing but get your hands dirty, take the devices outside testing. Explore as many real world use cases and scenarios with iOS9 and make sure that the mistakes of iOS8 are not repeated.

iOS9 App Rejection

In a nutshell, iOS9 had better be good because iOS8 probably wouldn’t pass Apple’s own App Store standards were it an external submission.

What do you think?



iOS vs Android Isn’t Just About Devices…

The fight for market share plus the hearts and minds of users is often decided by a singular, killer feature.

According to the outstanding Hillel Fuld in a post on this subject, one such deciding factor is the absence of any decent Notification Center on Android.

Allegedly this is resolved with Android Lollipop that takes leaps and bounds to solve this, especially through the Lock Screen.

Android Competitive Edge - Lollipop 5.0

The Story So Far…

To get to your messages, calendar and so on took more effort on Android than the Lock Screen access that iOS provides.

After spending time testing on both iOS and Android devices I can agree that in a one-click vs multi-click slap down, the one-click will win every time. This basically meant a loss of the Android competitive advantage to iOS from the first look you get at your screen.

Thus far, none of the Android devices I have access to update to Android Lollipop so I can’t attest to whether Google’s solution delivers.

Since writing this I have had a chance to go hands-on with Android Lollipop and to attempt to help a couple of users with issues they encountered after the upgrade. I was hard pressed to find the settings for said lock screen and several other features and they seemed to lack any granularity. In a nutshell the user was unable to configure certain features to suit their needs.

The Warptest POV

If you don’t want to wait for Lollipop, fear your device may not get it any time soon or simply don’t want to upgrade there is hope.

The answer to Apple’s competitive edge over Android ironically comes from Microsoft.

Yes you don’t need to check your eyes, Microsoft is indeed a big producer of Apps in the Google Play Store:

Android Competitive Edge - Microsoft Apps

In this case Microsoft (specifically the Microsoft Garage) created Next Lock Screen which offers you a highly configurable Lock Screen including access front and center to messages, calendar, email and calls; all this and more.

After taking it for a test ride the only question I have is, “What the heck were you thinking Microsoft, NOT releasing this for Windows Phone too?

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Yes it’s that good. So Google, start thinking nice things about those clever folks at Redmond for giving you back the Android competitive advantage, especially for non-Lollipop users.

I’m giving Next Lock Screen a strong recommendation but don’t take my word for it, check it for yourself and decide.

Frankly, if you are an Android phone owner, I would be looking at all the apps Microsoft has to offer you. Yes, they’re that good.



Yo A New Mobile App Is Making Waves…

The app is elegant in its simplicity, you pick a person from the app and they receive a Yo.

The big news is that Yo apparently has received $1.2 million in investment for this and many of the newspapers, tech bloggers and public have unleashed a Snarknado online and in print against the app.

Yo - Snarknado

Why you no like this app?

This is just a small sample of the comments and reviews that Yo is getting online:

Yo - Comments

The app seems simple and has left people puzzled about the buzz behind a one-shot app; both about the absence of features and how they secured funding.

Perhaps the most favorable coverage comes from Techcrunch who seem to have a more open minded grasp of the potential behind Yo.

Many of the people I’ve been reading who have taken issue with Yo and its funding are serious Startup entrepreneurs who sweat blood and tears to secure investment for amazing products and seem quite fairly frustrated at an event that could have negative ramifications for future funding.

The Warptest POV

What does Yo really do? I pondered this over a double espresso this morning. Should I be taking this app at face value?

Yo screengrab from Google Play Store

Yo - screengrab

When all else fails I look at the psychology and at the people involved.

What does Yo really do? It provides a solution to the signal : noise ratio in our existing digital modes of communication. Just getting someone’s attention to begin one on one engagement via email, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc is a challenge of monumental proportion. Assuming that Yo is adopted by many more people then this might be the use case.

It’s worth considering that in a world where the buzzwords of Lean Startup and Agile Methodology are so popular, Yo has managed to out-Lean and out-Agile everyone else. With Facebook Messenger and Foursquare’s Swarm just two examples of the new trend of splitting features into standalone apps, has this app delivered a first iteration based on this model?

If you consider that and then look at the people, one of the investment players is allegedly the CEO of Mobli, a company whose product is a cross-device, social platform for photo and video sharing.

Is it going to somehow tie into Mobli and offer users the ability to send a Yo to a friend and then share or exchange photo or video from Mobli as another one of these “feature as a standalone apps”?

Only time will tell but whether you are an early adopter of Yo or not, I would be keeping a close eye on the app to see if it is a fad or an app with much greater potential.

Oh, and Yo if you are reading this where is the Windows Phone love? You certainly have the investment to make this happen now, right?


Since this post Yo moved rapidly to release the Windows Phone version of the app and apparently an API and a Hackathon.

21/07/2014: Earlier today I got a tweet from a good friend suggesting I add an update to this post regarding current events.

A couple of weeks ago as the rain of missiles out of Gaza intensified over the South of Israel and spread northwards to threaten and encompass almost 2/3rds of the country, a pair of talented developers, Ari Sprung and Kobi Snir built on Yo to provide smartphone users everywhere (and not just Israel) the chance to receive Red Alerts of missiles launched at their cities. This provided an early warning to allow the 15 to 90 seconds (depending on distance from the launch site) to get to a bomb shelter or other safe cover but also exposed the frequency and geography of the situation to those outside Israel who chose to use this.

The story was picked up by ABC.

On a personal note, my hat is off to the pair of developers for using their imagination and skill to leverage an app many dismissed as frivolous into a public safety application. Well played guys.

It seems that as the founders of Yo say, it is about the context. New use cases are about your context and imagination.

Nokia Launched Five Devices At MWC

By now this is yesterday already but the significance of these devices and some other news reaches out into the heart of the mobile landscape and shakes things up.

Those who discounted Nokia’s ability to affect the mobile industry due to irrelevance or Microsoft buying them might wish to rethink their position.

Nokia Did What?!??

Suggestions of a dual-SIM Lumia Windows Phone aside on Sunday, Nokia announced additions to each of their existing platforms and 3 new Android devices branded as the Nokia X series.

Nokia Family of Devices

With thanks to Nokia Press Releases

The common thread running through the announcement was that regardless of platform these internet enabled devices will support Microsoft services including: –

  • Bing Search on the basic Nokia 220
  • OneDrive on the Nokia Asha 230
  • Skype, OneDrive and on the Nokia X, X+ and XL Android devices

Clearly Nokia did something different with these Android devices: –

  • Nokia has proven that forked Android is possible with these phones built on Android Open Source Project; that’s right, no Google services.
  • Nokia ensured these phones have a similar Metro look to the Lumia line and are (by the skin of their teeth) priced below their Windows Phones (the X costs 89 Euro).
  • These phones will not even use Google Play for Apps, instead going to the Nokia Store.
  • Expect big-ticket apps like Facebook, Twitter, Swiftkey, Vine, Viber, Spotify and WeChat.
  • Microsoft services will be the default except where Nokia Apps exist. So forget about Bing Maps, you’ll be using Here Maps and Nokia Mix Radio.
  • Blackberry fans everywhere pay heed, BBM is coming to Nokia X and Windows Phone Lumia (later other Windows Phones).
Nokia X - Android

With thanks to Nokia Press Releases

The Warptest POV

The big question is how did Nokia pull this off with Microsoft? This is speculation but the conversation between Microsoft and Nokia may have gone something like this,

“You know we have been researching Android as a fallback option if negotiations fail…”

“We do and we want to know if you insist on pressing ahead with a Nokia Android phone even if the deal goes ahead?”

“Yes but we want to make this a forked Android. Android without all the Google services…”

“So Microsoft still gets its royalties and Google ends up out in the cold? No shuttering YouTube Apps or restricting CalDav?”

“Exactly, and we are prepared to go one better. Imagine all Nokia devices that have internet deferring to Microsoft services like Bing or except if we have a Nokia App.”

“You know this idea is really starting to grow on us. What would make this cost effective?”

“What if you were able to remove the more severe hardware restrictions on Windows Phone, sign more OEM partners and we would then have a way of producing cheaper hardware and dropping prices for the consumer?”

“You know Stephen, some days I think it’s a shame you ever left Microsoft.”

“Thanks Steve… It’s good to be back.”

Why a Vodka-Martini moment (in the title)? Recall in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig’s 007 is at the card table attempting to take Le Chiffre to the cleaners? He takes the time to order a very specific drink from the barman which is so enticing that it pulls in several other players who also order the same drink. This allows Bond to reassert his dominance at the card table subtly and also annoys Le Chiffre.

I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Let’s Look At Alphega…

Alphega is a mobile app created by Nubis Technologies, a cool company based in Australia.

Whilst the app was initially available only on Windows Phone I’m giving the Alphega team a big hat-tip for launching on the Google Play Store for Android just before the holidays.

Windows Store Alphega App

What Is Alphega?

Before I get ahead of myself, Alphega is an excellent combination of Augmented Reality, Geo-location and Social Networking that allows you to see Social interactions around you in real time through your Smartphone camera or overlaid on a map.

The user can select which social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Foursquare to track and observe and can define the radius around themselves to capture these tweets, posts etc. within the app.

Alphega define themselves as,

Alphega is the periscope to social networking: a socioscope!”

Which is both an accurate and well thought out description.

The Warptest POV

I’m impressed by the app and enjoy using it. It has allowed me to discover people around me and see social interaction in a new way.

Alphega Augmented

Alphega Geo-location

Screen captures courtesy of the Windows Phone Store Alphega page

Tonight I’ll be at a networking event and I intend to see how the app performs in that context. If this allows me to identify and follow new people at the event then this will make a great app into a killer app IMHO.

So far the app has performed well, has not presented any major bugs and delivers a great UX. Will Alphega be launched on iOS? No idea but if you are interested then tweet and ask them here @Alphega_

Alphega is definitely my best app of 2014 so far and I give it a strong recommend if you are on Windows Phone or Android. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Microsoft Ventures Invests In Zula…

Zula, the mobile productivity app. Zula is the combined brainchild of Jeff Pulver and Jacob Ner-David; a solution to the challenge of mobile team communication.

Zula - snapshot of landing page

Zula recently announced the launch of their Android App adding to their existing iOS App.

Can’t We Just Use Email Like Everyone Else?

Email as a team communication solution for productive work is as effective as using one of the existing IM Apps out there.

Even with filters, flags or rules (depending on which email system you are using) emails get lost in the herd. Following threads can be a challenge at the best of times and the ability to find a specific piece of information after the fact can reduce a grown man to tears.

Not using Zula - cartoon

Add to that the tendency of workers to often send attachments and not take full advantage of linking to shared documents / media in the cloud and email is just so pre-Y2K.

Throw Mobile into the Mix

Microsoft Ventures makes a strong point in their press release that Zula are meeting the challenges of mobile productivity with their App. In the past, in fact back in February 2012 I’d made some pointed suggestions about Skype here on Warptest in the hope that Microsoft was on my wavelength.

Things are still happening on that front (albeit slowly), meanwhile Microsoft announced in June 2012 the acquisition of Yammer tagged as the Enterprise Social Network.

Microsoft Yammer Infographic - not Zula

Image cropped from infographic courtesy of Microsoft News

One of the speculations for the $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer by Microsoft was as a foil to Google+. The expectation was that Google+ with Google Apps / Drive and hangouts would become the primary collaborative environment for companies using Google Apps.

Meanwhile Yammer is moving towards full integration with Office365, Sharepoint and Microsoft Dynamics but more importantly has mobile applications for Android, iOS and of course Windows Phone.

The Big Question

So why would Microsoft Ventures invest in Zula, which seems to be a clear competitor for Yammer?

Yammer - Not Zula

The Warptest POV

Putting aside the fact that Google seems asleep at the wheel with selling Google+ as the central hub for collaborative, real-time productivity, it’s important to keep in mind that: –

  1. Whilst Yammer has mobile apps for the platform is it really a mobile-centric or scalable solution? Developing a mobile App for a desktop solution is not the same as creating a mobile-centric solution and if you are going to invest in that then it pays to find the right people to invest in too.
  2. Yammer touts itself as Enterprise that’s all well and good but a solution for smaller companies, offshore and ad hoc projects make sense too. Zula is filling a niche that Yammer didn’t focus on.
  3. The backend: I’ve mentioned before that it’s my belief that Microsoft sees the value in making backend sales as an entry point into company purchasing. As Zula scales with greater numbers of users what will the backend be for its Android and iOS Apps?

IMHO well played Microsoft Ventures for not missing a product or team with huge potential and congratulations to Zula for getting that investment.

So the only question I have right now is,

When do we see the Windows Phone version of Zula? I know I would love to take it for a spin.

If you haven’t tried Zula yet and want to, the links to the two app stores are here.

Welcome to the Test Lab of Horror

This is where once a year at Warptest you can hear the rattle of chains, the howl of a wolf in the distance, the slow, sinister creak of floorboards in the dark and more…

Let your imagination run rampant at the phrase Test Lab of Horror. What could be horrific in a Test Lab?

No! No! Anything But That…

Last year it occurred to me, one dark and stormy night (of course) how interesting it would be to perform an experiment in the Test Lab and in the real world too.

Something that would strike terror in the very core of my test subjects. So I decided to see what would happen if we took Smartphone users out of their comfort zones.

Majorly out of their comfort zones.

Let’s call our test lab subjects Tom, Dick, Harry and Sue.

Tom is an inveterate iPhone user, Dick an Android Phone user, Harry is a devout Blackberry user and Sue is devoted to her Windows Phone.

Imagine getting the test subjects to agree to go one day, unaided, uninstructed with an unfamiliar Smartphone… all the while hooked up to a diagnostic monitor to record brainwaves, heartbeat, pulse, blood pressure and breathing.

Imagine we now set the test subjects various tasks to complete throughout the day as a competition with these unfamiliar Smartphones.

What do you think the diagnostic monitors would show?

  1. Make and receive calls. At first with nothing else happening on the phone.
  2. Listen to music / Watch a video from the web.
  3. Receive a call or access voicemail from a missed call whilst listening to music or watching video.
  4. Save a new Contact and see if it is possible to link that information to other accounts (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn for the same contact)
  5. Add the user’s accounts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or their email.
  6. Tom would have to open a new Gmail account, Dick an account … and so on.
  7. Each would then have to access their new cloud storage connected to the new email.
  8. Sync the phone.
  9. Find the app store for the phone and add new apps.
  10. Find directions to travel to a specified location following the map/GPS application.
  11. Post content to social networks and include the fact to their friends that they were trying out said Smartphone.
  12. Update the OS on the phone.

The Warptest POV

The anxiety that using an unfamiliar Smartphone can cause, no matter how intuitive, is no small matter. Especially when the person in question is strongly attached or invested in a specific platform or OS. The true fanboi’s would almost certainly reject any better UX out of hand (probably as vociferously as this):

I suspect that some users are able to work through their initial fear and inability to cope with the unfamiliar.

At the end of the day some of us are so dependent on our Smartphones, even as productivity devices that we might suck it up and experiment enough to find the solution ourselves.

The question you are probably asking yourself, is how would you cope in our Test Lab?

No fanboi’s were harmed or traumatized in the experiments that led to this post (honest).

Android Is Repeatedly In The News…

…Not just for Apple vs. Samsung patent lawsuits (don’t get me started) but instead more and more often due to the prevalence of malware in Apps.

Android Malware Results on Bing

Not just random apps but those you download from Google Play.

Android Apps on Google Play

I Just Assumed…

Most run of the mill users simply assume that if an App is on Google Play it must be safe to download onto their phone. Given that our smartphones are rapidly morphing into our wallets and our digital identities then why doesn’t Android come with out-of-the box protection?

Android SecurityAndroidAndroid Security

I’m not even going to ask why Google Play doesn’t malware check apps as part of the upload process or blacklist known malware apps and their creators?

What are you doing to protect your smartphone, your online identity, data and your contacts?

Help Is Ironically One Click Away…

…Ironically your salvation can be found in the very place that may have caused this trouble in the first place. Google Play hosts the download for Panda Mobile Security Beta.

Panda Mobile Security Beta For Android

Panda Security is a great company with robust solutions for home and business and I have been renewing my PC licenses yearly since about 2001. Panda were also the forerunners in cloud antivirus (another freebie). In addition to all this they have an incredible team working via twitter for their company @Panda_Security and support @PandaTechSup accounts.

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The Warptest POV

Their Android Security solution is free and a beta right now so I asked the Missus to install it and take it for a spin on her Samsung Galaxy S2.

The application installed seamlessly and the UX is strong and easy to follow. On first scan it found several questionable apps which after searching for the warning it gave us, motivated us to remove them.

Panda has delivered a strong contender in the Android field of security apps, suitable for phones and tablets. I am hoping that once this leaves beta it will come bundled as part of the pay package we buy.

Panda pay heed, you give me 4 licenses for desktop security, how about modifying that to allow me to choose 4 licenses based on the devices I have. With the migration away from desktops and towards smartphones / Phablets / Tablets this is forward thinking, sound business.

I’m giving Panda Mobile Security a strong recommend as one of my favorite Android Apps.

Its 2013, is your Android device protected?