Could a Realistic Smartphone/Tablet Hybrid be in the Works?

I remember foolishly thinking at the time of the iPad release that Apple had finally gone off the deep end in terms of design. I mean, as far as I could tell they were basically trying to push what appeared to me to be a big iPhone. Of course what I didn’t anticipate was its uses as a superior e-reader, gaming platform, business and education super tool, video player, practical laptop replacement, and…well let’s just say I didn’t give the iPad and the tablet market as a whole a fair chance at first.

Still, I believe that much like that awkward time period where people still carried their MP3 players, portable gaming devices, and their new smartphones before realizing the latter’s amazing all-in-one potential, that the tablet and current smartphone technologies are sill similar enough that one day another all-in-one device is bound to come along that provides the best of both worlds for a price none of us can reasonably afford.

I’m not alone in this way of thinking either. There is even a terrible, must be changed now word for these devices. Phablets (the only word in existence that is scientifically proven to make you roll your eyes upon hearing it). One popular example of a phablet (*roll*) is the Samsung Galaxy Note. While it’s hybrid design of both devices fits the bill, it’s bulky shape doesn’t really seem to fit easily anywhere else, and it ends up coming off as a bulbous smartphone, or an undersized, underpowered tablet, depending on if you’re a glass half empty or glass half full type.

Despite the lack of overtly successful phablets (*roll*) thus far, designers still aren’t giving up on the idea. One of particular note out there is Patrick Eriksson’s flexible OLED concept design.

The idea is so simple it could have been a popular cartoon in the 80’s created to sell toys. The device starts off in its native phone format, but thanks to an ingenious flippable hideaway screen, it can be transformed, if you will, into a tablet size device in an instant. There aren’t many further details about the device at this time, other than Patrick’s partnership with Sony on the model, who would be handling manufacturing and distribution duties should the concept see its way to completion. That’s something they are no doubt hoping for, as the company could use a big win in light of their financial troubles, and weak market share across many divisions

Sony has also released a similar device before in the Tablet P, but that model, along with the similar, Kyocera Echo, suffered from some serious design flaws that made them come off as gimmicky and unpractical. This new model, however, is the first of its kind I’ve ever seen that looks like it could compently complete the bridge that spans the current tech gap between smartphone and tablet. While time and public reaction will of course ultimately tell the tale, there is no doubt that from a strict concept standpoint, this new device does finally bring into the limelight the almost inevitable conclusion that tablets and smartphones will not always co-exist as separate, economically viable entities.

Only please, somebody needs to invent a better name for these devices. Phablets (*roll*) sounds like a fan group name for high school girls who were way into “The Beatles.”

Pictured: The original line of “Phablets”


What’s FaceTime really like?

Apple’s advertising for FaceTime is already being lauded as some of the best ad video the world has ever seen. It’s personal, evocative, and total bullshit. I think we all know that working with technology is rarely as smooth as those FaceTime ads make it out to be. For that reason, I bring you this video, courtesy of Funny or Die. This is what FaceTime is really like.


Alert! The iPhone can be hacked via SMS

iPhone SMS hackIf you are an iPhone user, or even if you know an iPhone user, you should be aware of a security hole where your iPhone can be hacked via SMS. This is serious stuff and you should share this knowledge with everyone you know. This hole could enable the hackers to take total control over your phone. Here are the details according to’s Gadget Lab:

Security researchers Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner will publicize the exploit Thursday at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference, according to Forbes. The researchers said the hack involves sending a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts that effectively hijack an iPhone. From thereon, a hacker could control all the functions on the iPhone, such as e-mailing, dialing contacts — and, most alarmingly, sending more text messages to hijack even more iPhones.

How can you know if you’re being SMS attacked? According to Miller, one giveaway is if you receive a text message containing a single square character. If that happens, he suggests you immediately turn off your iPhone.

“This is serious,” Miller told Forbes. “The only thing you can do to prevent it is turn off your phone. Someone could pretty quickly take over every iPhone in the world with this.”

So until you hear otherwise from Apple, do as it says and turn off your phone immediately if you get a strange square text message. I would suggest taking your phone into the Apple store before turning it back on. Hopefully Apple will release a new iPhone OS patch soon to take care of this issue.


AT&T Navigator Comes To The iPhone

AT&T Navigator.Being that TomTom showed off their turn by turn navigation system at WWDC, and being that AT&T has hardly mentioned their Navigator app in recent memory, it seems odd that AT&T would be the first to release a turn by turn navigation app.

They were, though, in a free app download today. Don’t let free fool you. The app will add a $10 charge to your AT&T bill.

The application was developed specifically for the iPhone 3GS but it will work with OS 3.0 on other iPhones. The app gives you turn-by-turn navigation, updates traffic information and will let you search by your location for the cheapest gas.

AT&T may have made a smart play here, giving them the early adopters. I’ll be interested to see whether other turn-by-turns run for a similar monthly fee.


iPhone 3GS Blows Through 1M Units Over Debut Weekend

iPhone 3GS.It’s getting hard to quantify success of Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone 3GS was the quietest launch of the product line so far, yet they managed to go through a million phones in the first weekend alone, and without too many hangups.

There were some, though, and affected users are likely less than happy. Several new customers saw delayed activation, which may still take some time. Apple hopes to assuage their pain with $30 iTunes gift cards.

Apple’s sales statement included words from Steve Jobs, who’s made headlines recently for his struggle with pancreatic cancer and a recent liver transplant. “Customers are voting, and the iPhone is winning,” Jobs said. “With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”

Jobs couldn’t be more right, though that could mean trouble for AT&T. Complaints about poor service due to network overload come in the thousands for the iPhone’s sole US carrier. The FCC also recently launched investigations into exclusivity contracts in the wireless market. There’s been no word from the Senate committee.