Has Apple revolutionised the wearable tech industry?

September 12th, 2014

It’s been three days since Apple’s latest conference and Apple fans across the globe are still full of excitement and dreaming of the moment they get their hands on the iPhone 6 or the Apple Watch for the first time.

If you have read my recent blog posts you will know I am not the biggest supporter of wearable tech and smartwatches are not something that gets me out of bed in the morning.

However, I do believe Apple is ahead of the competition in the ‘wearable tech’ industry as the Apple Watch is far superior to any other smartwatch I have come across.

Available in two sizes, 38mm or 42mm, the Apple Watch is available in 18 different styles dependant on personal preference and predominant use. For example, if you purchase the Apple Watch with the sole purpose of tracking and monitoring your gym workouts you may choose the sports band. Alternatively if you plan to wear it to work or out in the evenings you are more likely to select a leather strap, a classic strap, a linked bracelet strap or even a Milanese loop strap.

And the customisation doesn’t stop there! The Apple Watch has six different face cases to choose from including Stainless Steel, Silver Aluminium, Space Black Stainless Steel, Space Grey Aluminium and even 18-Karat Yellow or Rose Gold editions.

Please tell me about another smartwatch that can give the user so many unique and customisable features? I guarantee you will struggle to find one.

For the Apple Watch to work users must sync their Watch to their iPhone (yes an iPhone is required). Once this is complete users will have the ability to see and reply to texts, check their mail and calendar, view photos, check the weather, answer incoming phone calls, pay for goods, use GPS tracking features and even control their music simply by using their Watch.

One of the many features I am particularly impressed with is the heart sensor located on the back of the Watch face. This is used for a more precise and accurate measurement of the users heart rate when they are working out. The sensor can give you a complete recording of your daily activity, as well as suggesting goals and rewarding you when you reach certain milestones.

The only question I find myself asking about the Apple Watch is its ability to control music. It’s suggesting you use your iPhone to listen to music as normal but you can use the watch the change tracks and volume. It also states you can leave your iPhone at home and just use the watch but if this is the case, where are you supposed to insert your headphones? Is it suggesting users will have to use Bluetooth headphones?

Any comments or answers regarding the issue above are welcomed as always.

Jamie Sansom is Marketing Assistant at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog

Apple in a nutshell

September 11th, 2014

With this weeks ‘big Apple announcement’ causing great pre-event anticipation and subsequent post-event delight in the Total office (Android fans aside), I look back to a pre-Beats, pre-pod and pre-internet date and review four developments I have found the most interesting during Apple’s nearly-40-year history.

With a reputation for innovation and cutting-edge trend appeal, it’s hard to believe that Apple started off producing hand-built systems in 1976, as ‘Apple Computer’. Both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were, in effect, college dropouts operating in a basement, but these ‘dropouts’ knew what the public wanted and knew how to build a computer. Co-founder and adult supervisor Ronald Wayne was also part of the company at this time.

Clearly their skills were far better utilised in the basement than could ever have been in college during this pre-tech era of opportunity. Their first computer, Apple I (pictured above, in casing), was hand-built by Wozniak, whilst Jobs elected the position of salesman, pitching the unique unit at $666 at the time. Wayne drew up the Apple I manual and also developed the first Apple logo.  With potentially more to lose than Jobs and Wozniak, Ronald Wayne left Apple for fear of his assets being seized, selling his share for $800 in 1976.

During the first year, around 175 Apple I systems were sold. A tough pitch considering the unit didn’t come with a case, a power switch and transformer, keyboard or video display.

A year later, the Apple II looked more like a computer as we know it. All yours for $1,300 complete with a 16-colour screen, a whopping 48K RAM and a floppy drive. It was ready to use straight out of the box and described as user-friendly. The ‘hobbyist’ could purchase it as board-only, for just under $800. It is easy to see Apple’s trademark design even in this early model with the casing built of plastic – the first of its kind – built to pull apart very easily to enable expansion.

1993 saw Apple branch into portable devices, with the release of the Newton Message Pad 100. Perhaps released a little too early for the general public, however rumour dictates that Apple’s Vice President at the time had made a bet with the press that, should the product not be released at MacWorld Boston, he would give up his wine cellar.

The personal organiser incorporated fax and email, along with task lists and appointments using the Newton Intelligence operating system, allowing the user to handwrite using a stylus (recognition, however, was a major problem), or use a keyboard. Despite improvements it didn’t really get the recognition it deserved at the time, however in hindsight and with the official product announcement incorporating “And wherever you go, the powerful, under-one-pound personal digital assistant goes too, tucked in your pocket or briefcase.”, Apple were clearly on to something.

It’s hard to believe that the first iPhone was only released in 2007 and is yet regarded as ‘vintage’. The ultra-stylish-at-the-time handset boasted a 2MP camera and the option of purchasing the 4GB, 8GB or 16GB versions. The ‘multi-touch interface’ (or ‘touchscreen’ as we now know and love it) allowed users to swipe and drag – although it wasn’t the first time this technology was deployed, the large touchscreen was unique and didn’t require a stylus and also featured an accelerometer.

Although none of these functions were unique to Apple, combining it in one highly stylised device created excitement. The original iPhone also brought about the ending of the physical keyboard era. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward to the iPod, iCloud, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, along with the Apple Watch it is clear that despite the highs and lows of the Apple brand, they certainly know how to survive the changes in the technology market; from fever-pitching product releases to firmly embracing the future of everything technology has to offer.

For the latest, why not take a look at Apple fan and Total’s Marketing Assistant Jamie Sansom’s exploration of the latest Apple releases here.

Catherine Howe is a Marketing Executive at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog.

Apple’s latest conference did not disappoint

September 10th, 2014

Yesterday was one of those special days. One of those days that only occurs a few times a year. One of those days where tech bloggers are on the edge of their seats and Apple fans were so overwhelmed with excitement they have spent the last 5 hours fixated on the Apple countdown clock just waiting for the live stream to appear and for Tim Cook to take centre stage. And yes, I was one of those people!

After months of speculation and rumours, Apple has finally announced two new iPhone models, an Apple Watch and its latest iOS8 operating software.

The iPhones were exactly as I expected. Two larger sized models, a 4.7 inch and also a 5.5 inch device in the form of a phablet. Both devices feature Apple’s new A8 chip making them the company’s most powerful iPhone’s yet.

The colours available are identical to the 5s range which include Space Grey, White or Gold and both sizes are available in 16GB, 64GB or 128GB. The 32GB option is no longer available.

So what are the main differences?

Apart from their size, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have had a whole new make-over. For instance the devices have more rounded edges in comparison to its predecessor (similar to the iPhone 3G if you can recall that long ago) and the lock button that is usually found on the top of the device is on the right hand side.

The new range of iPhone’s will be 4G enabled and they both display a higher pixel resolution than the 5s.

The only disappointment I have with the new devices is the camera. Apple has said they will feature the ‘new’ 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels. I would have liked a camera with greater megapixels however the 8MP camera I currently use is more than suitable for my photography requirements.

As soon as I discovered Apple had invited fashion bloggers along to its event the introduction of wearable technology was inevitable. Apple’s Watch is the first new product to be released since Tim Cook took the helm.

Make sure you stay tuned in the near future for my blog posts which will focus on Apple’s new smartwatch, its iOS8 operating software and a direct comparison of the iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Jamie Sansom is Marketing Assistant at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog

UK set for Amazon’s first ever smartphone

September 9th, 2014

The e-commerce giant is set to release its latest flagship device the Fire Phone into the UK market despite it not being so popular in the US.

The device has a 4.7 inch touch-screen display with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. Other features include:

  • A 13MP rear camera
  • A 2.1MP front facing camera
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB of storage (both options will be available)

The Fire phone will feature Amazon’s addition of the Android software which may put some consumers off as they will have access to the Amazon store but not the Google Play store.

Amazon has also integrated its Prime on-demand video service and music store into the device and of course, it’s incredibly easy to buy goods from Amazon.

Reports suggest it has an impressive battery life and the phone is free on selected tariffs.

Amazon is hopeful that its smartphones can challenge market leaders Samsung and Apple however I don’t think Apple will be too concerned with the competition, especially as its hours away from announcing the iPhone 6.

Jamie Sansom is Marketing Assistant at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog

Smart Accessories

September 8th, 2014

This week we look at all things attachable in the smart world, exploring the latest accessories to enhance your smartphone experience.


Q-Pic is a kitsch looking, rubber coated photo-shooter button, which can be tethered to your smartphone. Ideal for group photos (and eliminating the need for a timer), the button works up to 30m away from any device it is paired to. Of course, selfie lovers can also use it to capture themselves from a further distance, removing the ‘arms in’ look which currently features in many holiday photographs but it’s greater purpose is to capture a wider background of wherever you are too.

It is app-free, compatible with both Android and iOS, and the battery is replaceable so, providing you don’t lose it, should last up to 40,000 photographs. Currently available on pre-order only, priced at £19.99; we like.

We originally reported on the Olloclip last December following a version being designed for the iPhone 5s and funded via Kickstarter. Following the success of that, we are pleased to see that a 4-in1 Android version has now been catered for as well. Specifically designed for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5, Olloclip is a photographic lens, with fisheye lens capturing a 180 degree field of view along with a wide-angle lens that almost doubles it.

For photography fans seeking a hands-on review with examples of photography, this one via Engadget is worth a read.

Next up is the Apexel 60X Mini Microscope. Our Technical Manager, Paul Lees, was only too keen to show us his latest tech-accessory. Bought as an emergency light and scope for joint soldering, the Apexel microscope comes complete with pouch, adaptive back to clip on and the microscope itself. The glass also contains a light, including UV.

When it was demonstrated, we couldn’t believe how clear the microscope was, showing every tiny follicle of paper and skin. And even more astounding was the fact it is priced at under £5! Available for several Samsung and iPhones.

MOTA SmartRing pushes the ‘accessories’ theme somewhat, but we’ve included it simply because this blogger likes it. Whereas Ringly notifies it’s wearer via vibrations and flashing lights, the MOTA displays icons and text. If you receive a text message, the envelope icon appears, simply touch it and you get your text message. It charges wirelessly on a charging plate and is shock and water resistant.

The MOTA isn’t yet available to buy as it is still a live Indiegogo campaign, and is seeking $150,000 in funding to get it off the starting blocks – but the $60 pledge will secure you a ring if you want to be ahead of the smart-wearables game.

Catherine Howe is a Marketing Executive at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog.

Is the Moto 360 the most stylish smartwatch available?

September 5th, 2014

Earlier on this week I touched upon Samsung’s latest smartwatch the Galaxy S.

I’m still trying to get my head around the whole concept of ‘smartwatches’.

Not only am I not convinced by their designs, I’m not sure I would get much use from a smart enabled watch. It would probably spend more time in my bedside draw than actually on my wrist.

However, my opinion could be about to change as I recently stumbled across Motorola’s circular faced smartwatch, the Moto 360.

Motorola has described its Moto 360 as ‘stylish’ and I for one completely agree with that statement. Its 1.5 inch LCD touchscreen, enclosed by a circular metal band, sits on a black leather strap designed for complete comfort.

The waterproof smartwatch features Google’s new Android Wear operating system and also has a built-in heart rate monitor and pedometer step counter.

Lasting 24 hours on one full charge, the Moto 360 can display app interfaces as well as a range of clock face designs.

Rick Osterloh, President at Motorola has spoke out about the Moto 360 saying it’s a clear improvement on competitors’ earlier models.

Is Mr Osterloh correct? Is the Moto 360 the most stylish smartwatch on the market?

Let us know your thoughts?

Jamie Sansom is Marketing Assistant at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog

What’s so cool about the Kickstarter Coolest?

September 4th, 2014

At Total, we’re naturally attracted to pretty much anything techy, from the unique innovations created by the likes of Apple or via independents using the crowdfunding route. Of course, more interest is generated when something surprising becomes a major success (no, we’re not going to discuss Flappy Birds again!).

So, taking one particular success into consideration – what is the story behind Coolest?

The Coolest Cooler is the gift that just keeps giving. Think back to sunny days in the 80’s where you would head to the beach with an oversized cool bag and maybe even a ‘ghetto blaster’. This however, has even more bells and whistles, and it’s far cooler.  This boxy orange delight combines a cool and ice box for food and drink, with an ice-crushing blender, a Bluetooth speaker for your smart device, chargers for your various electronics, tie-down gear so that you can attach equipment to it enabling you to drag everything along on its wheels, plus it contains plate and cutlery storage (cutting board included), a light, and of course, a bottle opener. And it’s waterproof.

So, nifty gadgets, but why has this little orange box appeared in so many newsfeeds of late? Ryan Grepper, Coolest developer, was originally seeking $50,000 to get his cooler box into development. By the time the pledging ended, the scheme had raised over $13 million in funding making the Coolest Cooler the most successful Kickstarter scheme to date.

Those who pledged $165 or more will receive their own Coolest Cooler once shipping begins in early 2015. Although shipping could add $100 to the total price, this hasn’t dissuaded those intent on having one with the $165 package completely sold out at the end. Due to this commitment by backers, Coolest Cooler has become a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign.

This blogger really wants one and has already signed up to receive an alert when it goes on sale.

Other runaway success stories:

Pebble’ was seeking $100,000 in funding enabling the developers of the customisable Android and iOS compatible e-paper watch to fund production tooling, component orders and Bluetooth certification.

They needn’t have worried; the project raised over $10 million and, although currently sold out, is now available to buy in the UK.

OUYA’, an Android based gaming system, was seeking $950,000 in pledges. With the cube and handset, all the user needs is a TV and internet connection to be able game – or even develop their own game.

Successfully funded over two years ago, nearly $9 million was pledged by over 63,000 backers and the OUYA is available to buy for under $100.

Neil Young’s campaign ‘Pono remains the third highest funded campaign in Kickstarters history. As previously reported, Pono wants to bring ‘quality of sound’ back to digital music – opening it up to formats other than CD or MP3, likening MP3 format to the ‘bottom of the ocean’ in sound clarity.

With an original goal of $800,000, Pono received over $6.2million in pledges, thanks to nearly 20,000 backers.

Keep up to date with our crowdfunding interests via our Blog, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

Catherine Howe is a Marketing Executive at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog.

SCiO: Where is it now?

September 3rd, 2014

Back in May my colleague and fellow blogger Catherine wrote about a recent start up project called SCiO, the world’s first affordable molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand. So, where is it now?

The start-up had a pledge goal of $200,000 and after acquiring more than 12,500 backers, SCiO managed to raise an astonishing $2,762,571 allowing the company to take the next step.

SCiO, the non-touch optical sensor, has the ability to read the chemical make-up of materials, from food and plants, to medication and plastic.

SCiO has the functionality to:

  • Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food: salad dressings, sauces, fruits, cheeses, and much more.
  • See how ripe an avocado is, through the peel!
  • Find out the quality of your cooking oil.
  • Know the well being of your plants.
  • Analyse soil or hydroponic solutions.
  • Authenticate medications or supplements.

Once an item has been scanned, the information is sent to an app which you will need to access using your smartphone.

The company are currently focusing on the mass-production of the device, which is priced from $249.

If you’re interested, you can pre-order your own SCiO by clicking here. Shipping is expected to begin in March 2015.

If you would like to discover more about SCiO here.

Jamie Sansom is Marketing Assistant at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog

Nokia maps available on selected Samsung tech

September 2nd, 2014

It has recently been reported that the two tech giants, Nokia and Samsung, have agreed a deal to include Nokia’s ‘Here’ maps on Samsung handsets and also the Galaxy S smartwatch, free of charge.

‘Here’, previously referred to as ‘Nokia maps’, currently provides map data for search engine Bing as well as other established sites, Yahoo and Amazon.

Covering 190 countries, ‘Here’ provides tourist information, public transport details and turn-by-turn navigation. All of which is accessible simply by glancing at your wrist.

Analysts are saying the move from Samsung is so the company can differentiate itself from Google, a company which Samsung relies on so heavily.

I have thought about smartwatches for some time now and I still don’t see the obsession with them. However, this could all change if Apple decides to announce its own smartwatch at its conference next Tuesday!

Do smartwatches appeal to you or do you have a smartwatch of your own?

Let us know.

Jamie Sansom is Marketing Assistant at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog

Where Are They Now: GOkey and Ringly

September 1st, 2014

Every now and then we check in to see how the crowdfunding projects we have reported on have done. In today’s blog, we revisit two crowdfunding projects as diverse as they are unique, and ask ‘where are they now?’.


When we first reported on GOkey, we commented that it was one of the most extraordinary overachievers we had spotted to date. The $40,000 goal had been exceeded by over $850,000 at that point. It finally closed raising $1,032,803 in total!

GOkey is a USB-stick-sized unit which contains an OTG (on-the-go) battery to keep your smartphone alive for an additional two hours in emergencies and a USB cable so you can charge/sync as needed. It’s also a locator which can help you find your keys or your phone. It is also storage – incorporating up to 32GB of (password protected) flash memory depending on which one you buy. As if that isn’t enough, it is a mobile phone remote (think camera, music, incoming calls). And all of that is conveniently compacted into one key ring, which you can plug directly into your phone or power outlet and, of course carry around with you as you would your keys.

The GOkey is now in manufacturing stage in Asia (estimated shipment date is January 2015) with the team keeping in regular touch with backers via Indiegogo. If you missed the crowdfunding campaign but would like to pre-order a GOkey, you can now do so via their own website.

Another project we previously reported on was Ringly. Thanks to a small group of investors Ringly exceeded its original goal of $60,000 within eight hours! Naturally, the project succeeded with Ringly devices already on sale from $149.

Ringly allows its wearer to see whether a message or call has been received on a smartphone buried deep in a cluttered handbag, via the ring vibrating or flashing. Ringly is supported by the accompanying Android or iOS app.

And following a strong marketing drive, Ringly has since enjoyed acclaim across social media channels, as well as being featured in Glamour and Elle magazines amongst others. Alongside the 18K gold versions, last week saw the release on a silver coloured rhodium plated version, which we are now coveting.

Have you supported a crowdfunding campaign and, if so, what was your experience?

Catherine Howe is a Marketing Executive at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog.