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It feels odd to use "CES" and "low-key" in the same sentence because the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is anything but. Those who have been following mobile trends and news know that the show has gotten quieter for all things smartphones. With Mobile World Congress and CTIA coming in the following months, the big mobile news tends to come a bit later. But that doesn't mean there's a lack of products and news, however. I've picked out a few mobile trends that nonprofits, charities, and libraries should keep an eye on in 2014. For more on CES news, check out my colleague Jim Lynch's NPTech News column for this month.
This column, by the way, will be a monthly feature on mobile technology for nonprofits and charities. After reporting on the mobile industry for PCWorld and TechHive.com and working for TechSoup, I've developed a keen eye for the mobile trends that matter for nonprofits and the technologies that will make an impact in the world.
While I don't quite understand the appeal of large-display smartphones and tablets, they must be popular since manufacturers keep coming out with them. Samsung introduced its king-sized Galaxy Note PRO with a whopping 12.2-inch display. The Galaxy Note Pro seems to make good use of the laptop-sized display with enhanced multitasking and remote PC access. A company called HiSense announced a 6.8-inch phone with a quadcore processor. Engadget noted that it seemed like the phone's other specs were overlooked in favor of the oversized display.
NVIDIA introduced its Tegra K1 processor for mobile phones, which consists of two different chipsets. One of those two chipsets will have 64-bit support and two 2.5Ghz CPU cores. This means a better image processing for cameras, 4K video support, and enhanced graphics.
With mobile devices becoming more and more like computers, should the PC industry be worried? Some exhibiters at CES have taken the "if you can't beat them, join them" mentality. The Lenovo Horizon 2 tabletop PC can be paired with Android smartphones or tablets so you can more easily share between content between the two.
There were also a variety of PCs at CES that ship with both Android and Windows 8, such as the ASUS Transformer Book Duet TD300. You can dual-boot the two operating systems and switch between them by pressing a button. You can also run Android apps alongside your Windows 8 apps – pretty nifty.
For those of us who work in tandem with our smartphones, PCs with hybrid operating systems is an exciting development. As more nonprofit offices support Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, the need for hybrid systems will increase.
With the revelation of the NSA spying on U.S. citizens, tech privacy became a hot topic – and a major concern – in 2013. This concern was reflected in a few mobile apps showing in Las Vegas. A new version of Marco Polo (for Android and iPhone) lets you privately share your location with a specified list of friends. The app won't broadcast your location on other social networks (like Facebook). You can only follow people you're already friends with on social networks.
SnoopWall (Android only, but iOS and Windows coming soon) lets you control app permissions within a single dashboard. You can opt out of location sharing, address book data, and so on.
AVG PrivacyFix (Android, iPhone, and Browsers) keeps your online data secure by scanning for privacy issues based on your Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn settings. According to AVG, the app will also show you which companies are tracking your online activities and will warn you when companies change their privacy policies or have security breaches.
Speaking of privacy apps, the ephemeral messaging app Snapchat was also in the news last week – except it wasn't announcing a new feature or product. Users of the app were treated to some porn spam messages in their feed. This comes on the heels of a hack that leaked usernames and obfuscated phone numbers from the app.
MakerLab Industries, the manufacturer of the most popular consumer 3D printers, announced a slew of new 3D printers as well as some soon-to-be-released mobile apps. The Makerbot Mobile app lets you monitor and control your printer remotely and sends alerts when your projects are finished. Both of these apps are ideal for librarians or instructors who might not always be in the same place as their printers.
Printshop is an app to help novice 3D modelers get a start on building their creations. Why is this app a big deal? It might help 3D printing become more accessible. Regardless of technical experience, people can design 3D creations and print them out.
What mobile trends are you most looking forward to? What aspects of mobile would you like to see covered in future in this column?
Images: Photos 1 and 2: samsungtomorrow; Photo 3: Asus USA press; Photo 4: MakerLab Industries press
Ginny Mies is a Content Curator at TechSoup Global.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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