Top Upcoming 2014 Smartphones

Consumers are excited to see the newest innovations for mobile devices from top companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, and LG who are ready to surprise the world. With the success of their previous mobile devices, it is clear why they continue to explore new ways to keep their products as technologically advanced as possible. For 2014, expect more state-of-the-art features in the next generation of smartphones, ranging from flexible screens to octa-core processors.

 

iPhone 6

 

Rumor has it that another version of iPhone is already on its way, even though the iPhone 5s and 5c were recently released. This version will be launched in September 2014 – or even earlier.  It will have 2 sizes: 5 inches and 4.7 inches. The 4.7-inch is said to have a higher resolution of 1136×40-pixel display while the 5-inch is rumored to have high-end features of 1920×1080 low-temperature silicon LCD display.  This version will be made up of metal casing instead of polycarbonate as used in 5c. It is also rumored that Apple’s new iPhone will support faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, and that Apple is planning “key software innovations” in iOS 8 that will be a big focus on the new iPhone.

 

As for updates on its camera feature, China Post reports that it has heard from Nomura Security, a Chinese firm, that Apple will still use the existing 8-megapixel iSight sensor present in the iPhone 5S but will make further tweaks to improve imaging quality. One such change is said to be the addition of optical image stabilization (OIS).

 

Galaxy S5

 

Samsung is looking to seriously upgrade their newest Galaxy phone as product differentiation continues to be a focal point.  The Galaxy S5 is set to launch this February or March and is rumored to have a full metal chassis instead of using polycarbonate. Moreover, it will run with a 64-bit processor, similar to what iPhone 5 has, and will have 4GB of RAM. It is assumed that this new Samsung phone may also come out in two versions, one in plastic and the other in premium metal. Other rumors circulating include a highly anticipated 16MP camera, a new LTPS LCD display, which would replace their popular AMOLED technology

 

Samsung may introduce design tweaks with the S5 TouchWiz, offering a more mature feel to its currently slightly cartoonish UI. This brand new UI could also run on a 5.25-inch QHD 2K resolution display that has recently entered production, stepping up the 5-inch Full 1080p HD screen of the S4. The QHD panel would offer a stunning resolution of 2560 x 1440p with a 560ppi image density for sublime image quality and make it king of the current smartphone displays.

 

HTC One 2 (M8)

 

The highly-rated HTC One is speculated to have a new version. The all-new HTC One 2 (M8) is expected to launch during the first quarter of this year. It is rumored to have a large 5-inch display, but some analysts believe it can go as large as 5.2 inches. It was initially speculated that the HTC One would have anocta-core processor and 3GB of RAM, but that never materialized – these features are said to be set for M8. Other features include Android 4.4 Kitkat OS, ultrapixel camera and fast Wi-Fi features. Bloomberg says there will be one huge new feature to make it stand out – the HTC M8 will come with a twin-sensor rear camera. It will be the first phone to feature a dual sensor camera. This would allow for better depth of field, better focus, and better image quality.

 

As for performance, the M8 is also expected to feature the Snapdragon 800 system chip, but in a more powerful than the currently used one variation – the MSM8974AB. That AB add-on is what signifies the upgrade and it results in higher clocks, faster memory bandwidth, and more capable graphics.

 

LG G Flex

 

LG will never be far behind in innovation. In fact, their LG G Flex is a revolutionary product. This device is scheduled to hit the European market this February. It promises an unrivalled battery life of 3500mAh and a fast 2.25 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. It will have 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage.  One of its most interesting features is that it can withstand a good amount of flattening, and has a scratch-resistant coating that “heals itself.” The G Flex has a curved screen that uses flexible P-OLED technology, the company says this improves video quality and boosts audio quality when held against the face, and also makes it more comfortable when the phone is slipped into a pocket.

 

These upcoming phones will surely intrigue many mobile phone enthusiasts. Check out their specifications and decide which smartphone and protection plan is best for your lifestyle.

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Top 10 iPhone 5s Protective Cases on the Market

Your iPhone represents a valuable investment that does more than just provide phone and internet services. For many, the iPhone 5 is the center of organizing their daily lives which means that protecting this device from damage is paramount for many people.

 

While the iPhone 5 is a sturdy device, it is also somewhat fragile as well. The iPhone can be dented, scratched and even broken by the bumps, scrapes and drops that can happen when travelling with the phone. It is fairly easy to crack the screen and even bust open the plastic covering.

 

This is why having a iPhone 5 protective case is vital towards keeping your phone operational. A simple, inexpensive protective case can absorb the bumps, scrapes and drops that can occur to this device, adding years to its life and keeping you from having to repair or replace it.

 

When it comes to protecting your iPhone 5, having a solid case is not enough. You need effective iPhone 5 insurance to ensure that your phone is covered whether it needs repair or replacement. You simply cannot afford to be without your iPhone, so get it fully protected with iPhone insurance.

 

What follows are the Top 10 iPhone 5s Protective Cases on the Market. By using one of these cases, you can help protect your investment and save you time and energy in getting it repaired or replaced.

 

10. Lifeproof fre Series

 

The Lifeproof iPhone 5 case provides excellent protection from the bumps and hits that iPhones tend to take over time. The case fits tight over the iPhone and is shock, water, scratch, dirt and even snow resistant. For those who actively use their iPhones in all types of weather, the Lifeproof is one of the best cases around.

 

9. Elago’s S5 Glide Case

 

A slim, slide-on case that protects your iPhone from numerous bumps and scrapes, the advantage of this particular version is that you can change out either the top or bottom piece to create a two-toned look while still providing excellent protection. Finally, this particular case is very inexpensive compared to many others on the list, making it the perfect choice for the budget-minded.

 

8. Speck CandyShell Grip Case

 

This is the perfect case for those who have butterfingers as it provides plenty of grip thanks to the rubberized textures on the back. A hard plastic case that resists dust, scratches and drops, this is the perfect case for those on the go who tend to drop their iPhones because they are slippery. There is no slip with the Speck CandyShell Grip Case.

 

7. Otterbox Defender

 

Certainly one of the best iPhone cases on the market today, this particular case is not the most fashionable, but it does feature extra-thick protection around the vulnerable corners of your iPhone in a sleek, black case. The extra protection around all the edges also pays off as well when bumped or scraped.  Dust, dirt, scratch, drop and impact resistant, the Otterbox Defender is arguably the toughest, most durable and impact-resistant case on this list.

 

6. CM4 iPhone Wallet Q Card Case

 

This not only protects your iPhone, but stores up to three credits cards and cash as well. The lay-flat design provides maximum protection for the screen which is the most vulnerable part of the iPhone 5. Dust, dirt, scratch and impact resistant, the soft-touch finish allows for easy gripping as you pull it from your pocket as well.

 

5. Spigen Slim Armor Case

 

While not offering as much protection as some other cases on this list, the Spigen Slim Armor Case does do one interesting thing. It makes it appear that you are not using a case at all. The thin design actually mimics the features of the iPhone so that it looks like you are not using a case. Plus, it comes in different colors and has a relatively low price as well.

 

4. Hitcase Pro Waterproof Case

 

This is a unique case that offers maximum, complete protection, yet allows you to use the camera function of the iPhone 5. In addition to being dust, dirt, scratch and impact resistant, this case is also waterproof up to 10 meters. The GoPro mount compatibility is just another outstanding feature of this remarkably durable case.

 

3. Carved

 

This is a uniquely designed case that gives the appearance of being made from real wood, but it isn’t. In fact, this unique case from Carved has an elegant intricate design that mimics the best of wooden cases, but retains the protective, sleek hard plastic that offers great protection. Cool, memorable, protective and affordable, the Carved case is certainly one of the most interesting available.

 

2. Twelve South Book

This is certainly one of the most interesting iPhone cases on the market today. Created in the shape and feel of a small vintage book, this case adds to its considerable protection elements by making the iPhone 5 look like something else entirely which helps make it resistant to thieves as well. In addition to protecting your iPhone, this unique case can also double as a wallet with pockets for your credit cards, ID, receipts, cash and whatever else you need to carry. This is certainly one of the most remarkable cases you can buy.

 

1. Otterbox Commuter Series

 

One of the best iPhone cases on the market today, the OtterBox Commuter Series offers plenty of overall protection starting with the self-adhesive screen protection that resists scratches and scrapes while all the ports are covered to prevent dust, dirt and debris from entering. The OtterBox also offers two layers of protection to protect against drops, bumps and shocks as well. Elegantly designed to slide easily in and out of your pocket, the OtterBox Commuter Series is certainly one to take note.

 

These are the Top 10 iPhone 5s Protective Cases on the Market today. Each of them bring their own, unique attributes which makes each of them a great choice for protection, style and comfort in using your iPhone while on the go.

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Top 10 Most Dangerous Things People Do With Their Smartphones

Smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives.  We use them to purchase goods, send out e-mails, interact with others through social media, and make banking decisions on the fly.  Thieves, scammers, and phishers who previously targeted PCs have now turned their focus onto mobile devices as users are often careless with the security measures on their smartphones, leaving them vulnerable to malicious activity.  Fortunately, there are many ways users can protect themselves and their phones, such as downloading the latest phone security apps and getting cell phone insurance coverage.

 

The infographic below lists the top 10 most dangerous things people do with their smartphones.

 

dangerous things people do with their smartphone

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Gaming Systems: The Next Gen Console War

With the release of two new gaming systems in 2013, the next generation console war is beginning to heat up.  The Playstation 4 and Xbox One were both launched at the end of 2013 while the Wii U had a head start and launched in late 2012.  During last generation’s console war, Nintendo’s Wii prevailed with 100 million units sold worldwide.  The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 failed to match the Wii’s dominance and sold 80 million units each.  We’ll take a look at the recent launches of each console and determine the outcome of this new generation of gaming systems.

 

Sony Playstation 4 (PS4) – $399

PS4 warranty

Before its launch, industry experts and consumers alike had high expectations for the PS4 as its hardware contains the most powerful specs of the next generation of consoles.  The PS4 launched in North America and Europe during November 2013 with much success and fanfare.  The PS4 sold over a million units during its first day, making it one of the most successful launches ever.  Despite the successful launch, there were reports of defective consoles having overheating and connectivity issues.  As these problems continue to arise, some consumers are concerned that their consoles might be susceptible to failure a few years down the road which would render their PS4 warranty (1 year manufacturer warranty) useless.

 

Even with the news of defective consoles, consumer demand for the PS4 continued its launch-date fervor during the holiday season as Sony recently announced 4.2 million consoles were sold since November.  During CES 2014, Sony announced a new streaming gaming service called Playstation Now.  The Playstation Now allows users to play games from previous Playstation consoles on your smartphone, tablet, smart TV, PS4, and PS Vita.  Think of it as the Netflix of gaming.  With the news sending shockwaves across the web, industry experts and consumers have expressed their utmost enthusiasm about the future of the PS4.

 

Microsoft Xbox One, includes Kinect – $499

The Xbox One generated a lot of concerns during the months leading up to its release when news of heavy DRM (Digital Rights Management) restraints and requirements of constant internet connectivity were planned to be implemented in the console.  Microsoft suffered negative backlash as outraged industry experts and consumers believed the incessant DRM and online monitoring processes were unnecessary and invasive.  Microsoft responded by relenting its draconian DRM policies.

 

Many consumers had put the DRM fiasco behind them as the Xbox One console launched one week after the PS4 on Nov 22, 2013.  The number of units sold totaled over a million, which was comparable to the PS4 launch.  Sales continued to do well over the holiday season as the number of units sold reached 3.2 million to date.  In light of the Playstation Now news, Marc Whitten (Xbox Chief Product Officer) reiterated Microsoft’s dedication to the game-streaming functionality with Xbox Live to produce a truly interactive gaming and multimedia experience.

 

Nintendo Wii U – $299wii u warranty

The Wii U was announced in 2011 following the success of its predecessor, known plainly as the Wii.  In reaction to the announcement, some consumers had their doubts as they expressed their skepticism about the new touch screen controller.  Some felt the innovation (or lack of) in the Wii U would not live up to the bar the original Wii had set.

 

In November 2012, the Wii U launched worldwide and received a tepid response.  After its first week of release, only 400,000 units were sold compared to 600,000 for the original Wii.  The sales trend did not improve during 2013 and left many analysts proclaiming the Wii U a dud considering the wild success of the original Wii.  After the 2013 holiday season, the number of units sold totaled 5.2 million.  Despite launching a year earlier, the Wii U had only sold 1 million more units than the PS4.

 

Many people believe the Wii U’s disappointing sales numbers were due to the lack of good games and third party support.  Popular game franchises like Super Smash Bros. and Zelda have planned release dates in 2014 and 2015.  Meanwhile, third party support has been abysmal as many game developers and publishers don’t believe the Wii U platform will be lucrative enough to justify making games for.  Another issue associated with the Wii U comes from a branding perspective.  Many casual gamers believe the Wii U is just an extension of the Wii as Nintendo has not branded the Wii U as a whole new console.  In effect, casual gamers think that they are paying $299 for a new touch screen controller instead of a new console.

 

2014 and Beyondgaming console warranty

With the 2013 season holiday season over, the PS4 has the advantage moving forward.  Sony’s focus on harnessing and utilizing the capabilities of the PS4’s hardware seems to resonate with consumers.  Given the fact that everything is moving towards cloud-based networks, the Playstation Now game streaming service will surely drive more unit sales in the future.  The Xbox One isn’t far behind.  Microsoft made some mistakes early with rigid DRM measures, but fans of their Xbox Live online platform seem to be enjoying the service more than ever as it has become a focal point in their gaming experience.  For Nintendo, the Wii U appears to be more of a fad than a resilient competitor as the lack of software support has disinterested consumers and misguided product differentiation has confused others.  If the Wii U doesn’t turn it around in 2014, it will be relegated to the console graveyard sooner than later.

 

For information on protection plans we offer for gaming consoles, please visit our gaming warranty page.

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How Identity Theft Affects Your Taxes

Cases of identity theft continue to rise, alarming more people during tax season. Fortunately, the IRS has expanded its capabilities to prevent fraudulent returns. This is their top priority as they are now more prepared to prevent cases of identity theft as soon as possible. They employ more than 3,000 people and train 35,000 employees to recognize identity theft as soon as it occurs.

 

Identity theft is a case of deception. This happens when someone uses your own personal identification to commit crimes. Your credit cards, Social Security Number and other identification can be stolen and used for different purposes without you being aware of it.

 

Identity theft actually causes you to pay more taxes. You would eventually notice the crime only after it was done. A good example of which is when you are expecting a refund but it gets delayed. The thieves may have used your information to file fraudulent refund claims. To protect you from identity theft, here are few practices you should do:

 

  1. Never give out any information especially when it is not necessary. If someone asks you to give your ITIN or SSN, be sure to know why it is needed.
  2. Keep all of your personal information in a safe place. When keeping it at home, be sure to keep it somewhere out of reach.
  3. Your computer can be a source of theft. Be sure to use antivirus programs that will protect you from malicious activity.
  4. Every year, check your credit report. It should be consistent with the previous records that you maintain.
  5. It’s a good idea to not carry your Social Security Card with you. Leave it in a safe, secure place.

 

If you received a notice from the IRS, be sure to respond as soon as you can. The IRS has trained professionals to determine if a certain account is suspected to have fraudulent claims. You should respond with your name and the number included in the notice. Also, an Identity Theft Affidavit should be filled-out along with your reply. This can be downloaded at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf.

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