Thursday

Fashionistas and Techies Agree The Huawei P10 Rocked Mobile World Congress











I don’t normally write reviews. Not because I’m lazy, but because I am an extremely picky consumer of technology. Very few products I receive to review for my #techradio podcast send me over the moon and I don’t like to waste time on negative reviews.

I have to admit also, that I have a relationship with my phones. The phone I use every day needs to seamlessly fit my needs. I am also a loyal customer. I stuck with the same brand of Android phone for several iterations. They suited me just fine. But last year I was given a Huawei P9 phone to try out. I fell in love with the phone. It’s sleek, fast and sexy. The Huawei P series reflects a special style and elegance for those with discriminating taste.. It's a piece of technology that was easy to fall in love with.

Huawei invited me to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and asked me to write an honest review their newest flagship phone, the P10. (They must have known that I'd love the phone). So when I brought it to my hotel room, and first opened the package, I could feel I had a piece of elegant equipment in my hands. The back of the phone has a diamond cut pattern that makes the phone considerably more graspable and the front is smooth and sleek with no home button. The fingerprint sensor on the front (not the back) also works as a navigation button that handles the three tasks Android users used the buttons for in the past.

The screen is a stunning 5.1 inch, HD 1080 x 1920 display with 443 ppi and is covered in Gorilla Glass 5. It renders gorgeous colors. Its incredibly flexible by having dual sim support too.

Prior to going to the conference in Barcelona, I asked the Twitter community, and ran a poll, to find out which features were most important to them when purchasing a new smartphone. I was honestly surprised by the results.

The most important feature to the audience was memory and processor speed. Twitter comments revealed that people want a snappy intuitive interface that seamlessly responds with no lag time. Next was charging, fast charging. Leaving a phone plugged in on the bedside isn’t the preferred option anymore. People want to plug in and recharge while eating lunch. Camera was next, but many felt the cameras on their phones were just fine. I kept this in mind as I examined and tested out the Huawei P10.


Memory and processor speed


Here, the phone exceeded all expectations. If I thought the P9 was fast, the P10 almost seemed to have a lightning response. The phone ships with Huawei’s own HiSilicon Kirin 960, octa-core (4x 2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 4x 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53) processor with 4 GB of ram. According to Huawei, the graphics processing unit on this SoC (system on a chip) “boasts a 180 percent improvement in performance and a 40 percent increase in power efficiency.” This, combined with Smart Memory and the newly updated EMUI 5.1 skin, allows the phone to soar..

Smart Memory is Huawei’s new machine learning algorithm that learns how a user uses their phone. Once patterns have been established over time, the machine anticipates app usage and manages RAM based on the learned results. This enables apps to load faster and makes multitasking smoother and easier. The memory is dynamic and allocates to high priority apps first. It also has active run time RAM defragmentation. If you've ever had your computer hard drive get slower and slower, its because you needed to defrag your hard drive. The storage in your phone works similarly and this feature will allow your phone to remain fast and fresh as the first day you fired it up.

The EMUI (emotion user interface) is placed atop the latest operating system from Android, Nougat 7.0. The EMUI reinforces Huawei’s commitment to user-centric design philosophy, “Design with Empathy.”

Interesting features of the UI are a more intensive calendar, split screen view and the capability to run multiple installations of the same app at once. Multiple versions of an app are a real lifesaver if you need (or want) to switch simultaneously from one account to another.


Battery and charging


Standard on this phone is a hefty 3,200 mAh battery that outpaces the iPhone 7 (1960 mAH) and even the S7 (3000 mAH). It's the battery we've all been waiting for. The phone runs Huawei SuperCharge technology that recharges the phone in 30 minutes (your usage may vary, but not by much). Fully charged, the phone delivers about a day and a half use.

There’s a safety factor at work here too. SuperCharge technology is low voltage and low temperature. The fast charging solution offers real-time voltage, current and temperature monitoring to make charging not only fast but safe.

Considering that you can top-up your battery safely and quickly, there’s no more fear of a dreaded red battery notice at the top of your phone.

A magical camera


The Huawei P9 had the first dual lens Leica photo system that took amazing pictures and easily added professional style effects. I thought it impossible, but the P10 improves on its predecessor. The camera is flush with the back of the phone and both the front (8 megapixel) and the back (one 20 megapixel monochrome and a 12 megapixel color) cameras have new cutting edge features.

Although you can take monochrome pictures easily, the point of the mono lens is to help the camera focus in low light and it does a great job at this. I’m an infamously crappy photographer, but even I can get pro style images.

The innovative selfie “portrait mode” features 3D facial recognition and skin tone enhancement. The front camera has a f1.9 aperture as well as a new sensor with 2x brightness. In effect, these technologies will allow you to take your own professional style headshots with every click.

You’ll find all the features of the Leica partnership with elegant bokeh effects, dynamic illumination, laser focus, optical image stabilization and hybrid zoom. The cameras alone are almost worth getting the phone for!

Colors and accessories


You’re no longer held to black, white and silver. Huawei offers a virtual rainbow of case colors: Dazzling Blue and Dazzling Gold. Greenery, Rose Gold, Mystic Silver, Graphite Black and Prestige Gold come in a sandblast finish, and there’s also a high gloss Ceramic White.

Choices for accessories abound with an entire range of cases to suit any style or fashion. There’s even a leather Leica branded case for a very elegant touch.

The phone will not be sold through carriers in the United States, so how to get your hands on one will be a big question. Previous Huawei smartphones like the P9 and the Mate 9 were available on Amazon. We’ll just have to wait and see.

For now, I can assure you that once you use a Huawei P10, it will spoil you and your old phone will become a relic of the past.

FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I only work with and showcase products, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. I am not employed by Huawei. All thoughts and viewpoints are mine. This is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday

Why You'll Want these 7 Winning Innovations in Technology from CES 2017

According to the badge I received when I checked in at #CES2017, I've been attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for the past 19 years. I've seen many highly lauded "innovations" come and go. 3D TV is one that comes to mind. I watched 3D on my smart television exactly once.

So when I attend this conference, I look for the unusual, the technology that I think will help people in their everyday lives. My post from 2015 listed some interesting innovations that I believe are still valid. I skipped posting last year because there really wasn't much that moved me. This year, 2017 is different. A few of the products I saw, really stood out.

Huawei View Google Daydream VR Headset

When it comes to Virtual Reality, previously I could take it or leave it. I tried many headsets from the Oculus to the cardboard and never really felt it was worth investing in. Google's next mobile VR platform, Daydream, is far more robust than previous iterations. It is also considerably lighter. I also didn't feel quite as queasy when I tried the Huawei View (powered by Daydream) because of the improved frame rate and head tracking capabilities. To explore the VR environment in 3D with this headset, you use a remote-like controller as a pointer. You're able to point at and click on objects, navigate menus, and more. New phones (powered by Android 7.0 Nougat) need to a be high powered to provide this quality experience. At this time, only a few like the Huawei Mate 9 Pro meet the specs.

Mayfield Robotics Kuri Robot

We have a major fascination with robots. Previously the trend was to make robots look as human as possible, but in many applications, that just creeped people out. Now we want robots like the Jetson's Rosie; robots need to be cute and lovable. Kuri does a great job at that. She isn't going to wash dishes or vacuum the carpet, but Kuri can interact with you without talking. Kuri is designed with personality, awareness, and mobility, and adds a spark of life to your home. Through robot-magic, she can understand context and surroundings, recognize specific people, and respond to questions with facial expressions, head movements, and his unique lovable sounds. Like many adored robots in popular culture, her personality and ability to connect are the greatest attributes, check this video to see what kids think of Kuri. Think of her as an Alexa on wheels - with expressions.

Zera™ Food Recycler

This is a great "green" idea. Turn your kitchen waste into garden fertilizer. Zera™ Food Recycler is the third innovation created by WLabs of Whirlpool Corporation, the company’s innovation incubator. It turns "turns today’s food scraps into tomorrow’s fertilizer. " It can break down a week’s worth of the average family’s food waste within 24 hours (95% of a typical family’s food waste). The system ensures that food waste can be converted into a homemade fertilizer, as opposed to being disposed into a landfill. Size wise, it appears that I could put it into the space that my abandoned trash compactor currently occupies. Learn more on their website,.

Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi 

Winning PC Magazine "Best In Show," Linksys knocked it out of the park with their new addition to the mesh networking market. Velop is a high performing modular WiFi system built with Dynamic tri-band technology that works seamlessly to create a high-range mesh network. There's no need for traditional routers and range extenders anymore, this modular mesh system provides WiFi throughout your entire home without lag or buffering. It also interacts with Amazon's Alexa. The nodes work with all home types, and each one increases WiFi range by 2,000 sq. ft. so you can add more depending on the size of your home. Nodes work together as one mesh system by giving you a single WiFi name and password, and the freedom of not having to switch networks. Compact, and sleek in design, the Linksys nodes can be placed in open spaces without unsightly connected cables.  Velop is easy to set up using it's App and is backed by a  3-year limited warranty and tech support.

Biofinity Energys™ Contact Lenses

This new product from Coopervision falls into a techie sweetspot. I have long been aware of the dangers of staring at screens. Extended use of digital devices can cause a multitude of eye issues brought on by eye fatigue. As many as 90% of people who use computers complain of dry eyes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, headaches and more. I currently have pairs of Gunnar computer glasses next to every digital landing place in my home and office to save my vision. Protecting my eyes has really paid off. For those who wear contact lenses, these are the first contact lenses specifically designed for digital device users. Learn more about digital eye fatigue here, and Biofinity Energys™ here.

Huawei Mate 9 Smartphone

I admit I'm an Android fan. I also use iOS so that I can keep up with the iPhone innovations. Although I have used phones from several manufacturers, my phones have been from Samsung for the past 10 years. I really haven't seen any innovation from them. I am tired of waning batteries, long waits for updates, cameras that really aren't as good as we're led to believe and being locked into a single provider. Without going into a deep review (come back to this blog later this week for a comprehensive Mate 9 review from Diana Adams), I can tell you that this is the best phone I've used to date and will be my daily driver going forward. With specs like 20MP camera, 5.9'' screen, machine learning algorithm and 64GB base model, it's a shoe-in. The 4,000 mAh battery give you a full day's charge in about 20 minutes. The second generation Leica camera hearkens back to the quality of my old FE2 camera. The phone ships comes with Android 7.0 Nougat and Huawei's updated EMUI 5.0; Al, and a February update will bring Amazon Alexa into the OS. The Huawei Mate 9 comes unlocked for $599 and works with most U.S. carriers.

FoldiMate Laundry Folding Robot


The most tedious household task is folding clothes. The FoldiMate Family™ (not for sale yet) simply folds your laundry.  It works like this: take dry items, hang each one on the clip and within a few minutes, your laundry is neatly folded, treated and even de-wrinkled.

According to the company, it takes 3 to 5 minutes per laundry load to clip each item onto FoldiMate’s Easy Clipping™ technology, making folding simple and quick. If you have a big family (and hate folding laundry), I recommend you go over to their website and get more information on how to get this magic machine.

It's impossible to mention everything I saw at a trade show that attracted 175,000 attendees, but these technologies really caught my eye. I'm looking forward to hearing more about how these products are accepted into out everyday lives going forward. Listen to my Computer & Technology #techradio podcast, archived on IHeartRadio, Stitcher, iTunes, Tunein and on the website for updates.

Chinese Technology Company, Huawei, Wants to Build a Better Connected World









If  you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I have a passion for technology. I’ve had a tech podcast for almost 10 years and I know that by adopting proven advances, we can all grow our businesses by applying the new innovations.

I was approached by a company from China, Huawei Technologies, to attend their Cloud Conference in Shanghai; Huawei Connect 2106. Shanghai? Isn’t that in the People’s Republic of China? I’m a fairly adventurous traveler, but that’s behind the “great firewall.” My curiosity about this company and country drew me to accept the trip and do some serious research.

Admittedly, Chinese culture was never high on my reading list. I couldn’t go to China without doing some reading. Much of my attitudes about the Chinese and their technology changed when I read a book, The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends That Will Disrupt the World by Shaun Rein (a good read for those who want to learn more about the changes in China).

It seems that in the past twenty years Chinese consumers have experienced a cultural shift. The people no longer yearn to own copies of world class brands, they want quality goods and they’d prefer them to be made in China. There is an ongoing shift in strategy from imitation to producing real innovation.

Today all businesses operate in a global environment, so I think it’s time to let go of our fears of the unknown. In every country there are government regulations, tax breaks, subsidies, low-interest loans, and government contracts. Even diplomats help out when it comes to global commerce. Without being political, I think it’s also safe to say that most governments also have their fingers where they don’t belong when it comes to business. Suffice it to say that I feel that transparency and mutual cooperation in trade and technology would go a long way.

Around 2010, our media (and government) went to great lengths to discredit Huawei over security concerns. Ken Hu, (now one of three rotating CEOs of Huawei), wrote an open letter to the United States, taking a stand against what he believed was an unfair perception of the company. You can read it here.

In 2012 the anxiety over cyber backdoors culminated in a Federal Investigation on security issues posed by Huawei and another Chinese company, ZTE. In the end nothing was proved, but more warnings about what “could” happen. It also managed to put a stop to a deal between Huawei and an American telecom.

It seems that none of this is easy, and trust is most difficult. There are economic and political forces afoot way above my pay grade. So all I could do is try to understand our cultural differences and goals. What follows is some of what I learned.

Who is Huawei?


We tend to think we “know” our industry? Here is a multi-national, private company founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei and five friends in a garage that I never really heard of. From what I read of its founding, I picture Mr. Zhengfei and his cohorts assembling telecom units the way we used to build computers at home to sell. Fast forward to 2015, they reported $60.8 billion in annual revenue worldwide; which represents an increase of 37% year over year. Pretty astounding.

The company was started on a small budget and is now number 129 on the Fortune Global 500 list. Today they are a worldwide leader (170 countries) in information and communications technology; they’ve built about half the world’s LTE networks.

The company is divided, as many US companies (like IBM) are, into three units. These internally are called BGs – or Business Groups – who represent different markets: Carrier, Enterprise and Consumer (where they’re now popularizing and building their brand). They each operate independently. Consumer products like smartphones, mobile broadband and home devices are a growing market.

After leading the world in telecom infrastructure, the Cloud and Consumer markets are the next step.


Huawei is the world’s third largest manufacturer of smartphones. They shipped 108 million units in 2015, and as of Q2 this year 60.5 million. The top three smartphone manufacturers’ market share globally is Samsung 22.4%, Apple 11.8% and Huawei at 9.4%. In an executive briefing with Huawei Technologies Chief strategy marketing officer, William Xu, referred to catching the bronze medal and modestly remarked that the gap between number one and number two was so big. If you check out this interactive chart from Statista showing quarterly market changes since 2009, you’ll see that Huawei seems to be closing fast on the competition.   

The way I see it, their foray into the United States consumer market with smartphones is a smart strategy. Phones seem a lot less intimidating then telecommunications systems and will give them a chance to build their brand. The world (especially Americans) want phones that are not tethered to carriers and they offer many. I reviewed their flagship P9 phone (with dual Leica cameras) on my #techradio podcast and find it to be one of the best phones I have used to date. Huawei just released their Honor series and have sold 1.5 million units in the first two months since release on July 19, 2016.

William Xu honestly laid down the basics of what people want in a smartphone today. “It is about the camera and the battery life. At Huawei we launched our smartphone with dual cameras which can take really high-quality pictures, especially at night. For that specific model we did not choose a very big battery life. We sacrificed something customer cares very much about. In the past, in the previous models, Mate 7 and Mate 8, the battery life are very big so that there's no need to carry a portable charger.'
"Today, in our technology innovation, we try to focus on the areas the customer cares the most.” ~ William Xu
Huawei got to where they are by spending a bundle on research and development. According to their 2015 annual report, they invested 15% of revenue $9.2 billion, clearly outspending Apple’s 8.1 billion investments. This enabled them to become the world leader in patent applications. Internationally, Patents are filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This does not grant a patent, but is the opening step to filing patents within the various member countries. Huawei filed the most technology applications in the year 2015, a staggering 3,898 applications; with Qualcomm in second position with 2,442.

Company Culture


When it comes to culture, there are many differences and as many similarities. Huawei has a rotating CEO program where three key executives spend an allotted time each year running the company; making changes to the business direction based on the current environments.

During the conference and in person, Huawei executives continually repeated their devotion to customer-centric culture; it was a recurring theme that I could not ignore. Although the phrase has become commonly used these days; they don’t just talk about it, they deliver it. In the aforementioned briefing with William Xu, he said “Customer centricity is firmly rooted in the mindset of our employees, and the management and executives.” Further, “We want to shake hands with the world and build an ecosystem. “

This is a long standing refrain within the company. Previously in 2011, CEO Ken Hu stressed this mantra: "To succeed in emerging markets today, companies need to focus on the concept of 'glocalization' – combining their globalization efforts with local insights and considerations. This means having keen insight into each market's unique social and economic environment by truly understanding its customers' core needs. Only then will companies be able to create the innovative business models necessary to win over customers."

What I heard and what I saw in my few days with Huawei, made me believe that they have a solid understanding of what it takes to succeed in today's technology market.

To this end, Microsoft and Huawei recently joined to publish an ICT (information and communications technology) Cybersecurity Buyer’s guide through the East West Institute. It's readily available and you can read it here. To quote the guide, five main principles are set out:
  • Maintain an open market that fosters innovation and competition and creates a level playing field for ICT providers. 
  • Create procurement practices that utilize fact-driven, risk informed, and transparent requirements based on international standards and approaches. 
  • Avoid requirements or behavior that undermine trust in ICT (e.g., by installing back doors). 
  • Evaluate the practices of ICT providers in terms of creating product and service integrity. 
  • Create and use tools and approaches to address risk and assign high value to cybersecurity investments.
This entire experience got me thinking. It’s time for us all to think globally – as well as locally. Enterprise-level security governance is the first step. Let’s just hope that this is the beginning of new inroads to collaboration and understanding between all the tech giants.

FTC disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. I only work with and showcase products, events and/or companies from which I believe my readers will benefit. I have not received payment from Huawei, but did accept a trip to their conference. All thoughts and viewpoints are mine. This is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday

10 Strategies That Guarantee You More Profit on eBay and eCommerce Sales

 
I'm very proud that the ninth edition of eBay For Dummies has published. This fully revised edition is based on the previous editions and my 20 years buying and selling on eBay. My store is open every day that I am in town and I ship items to buyers every week.

Selling on eBay can be a way to make a part time or full time living. For me, eBay sales enabled my daughter and I to run a business together and to subsidize the many things we needed when she was growing up. I even paid for her college tuition with eBay sales. She graduated debt free.

Here are a few tips - although this short post can't begin to get into the depth of the full book - it will give you a taste of what you'll find (there's even a chapter on how to source low cost items for selling)!
  1. Research first: When listing a new item, research it online (not just on eBay) and be sure that you know its current value and the going price. If it’s a collectible, find out as much as you can about the item’s importance, history, and condition. (The book gives you places to look).
  2. Figure out shipping: Before listing an item for sale, weigh your item and estimate the shipping cost. If it’s not cost effective to offer Free Shipping, accurately represent shipping costs in your listing whether you use a flat rate or the shipping calculator for heavier packages.
  3. Get a discount on your USPS shipping: Print your postage electronically and get the Commercial Base price. This way you can charge your postage to your credit card in order to keep a separate record (for taxes) of your shipping costs. Click here for these features and get a 60 day trial of Endicia Internet Postage.
  4. Answer eBay messages quickly: Questions from prospective bidders and buyers should be answered within 24 hours, and when running auctions, check your messages hourly the day before the close. (Doing so can pay off in higher last-minute bidding.) Good customer service goes a long way in promoting and building your eBay business.
  5. Do people want your item: Double-check to see how many other sellers are selling your item (and for how much). Also, check "sold listings" to see how much people are actually paying). eBay is a supply-and-demand marketplace. When too many people are selling the same item, the price may go down. If you decide not to sell right now, save a search on eBay for the item so you will be notified when new items that match yours are listed on the site.
  6. Follow the rules: Verify that your item isn’t counterfeit, prohibited or considered questionable by eBay. If you’re in doubt, read eBay’s guidelines and check your local laws.
  7. Add lots of pictures: eBay lets you post 12 photos for free, so add multiple pictures to make your listing more attractive and search friendly. Shoot closeups; show every possible angle.
  8. Write a title that sells: Be sure that your title highlights the item’s keywords — adjectives get you nowhere.
  9. Descriptions make a difference: When writing your description, be direct, informative, and concise. This shows potential buyers that you’re honest and easy to work with. Also be sure to fill in as many item specifics as you can, including EAN, UPC, MPN, Brand, and/or ISBN to assure better placement in search.
  10. The eBay mobile app is feature full: Stick to the basics and when on your smartphone, use the app to price items when you’re out and about.To see all the features of the app, tap the “hamburger button” (three parallel horizontal lines) on the top-left corner to reveal an easy-to-navigate menu (shown above), which gives you many options. If you list via the app, be sure to double check how your item looks on a computer later and make any necessary changes to make it more attractive.
I know the book will give you what you need to know to start making profits online. You can find it by clicking the link below. You'll find reviews on Amazon, or check out this post from Margie Clayman: eBay for Dummies: Teaching Through Stories