Archives for posts with tag: Smartphone

By Deborah Burley

With energy bills soaring and the UK declared as the worst place to live in Europe according to our recent Quality of Life Index, things are looking a little dreary for us aren’t they?

At uSwitch we’re looking for ways of improving this situation and we believe it’s the small lifestylechanges that could make a huge difference. Because we’ve got a shop full of energy-efficient products, we thought it’d be a good idea to tell you about our top five products to reduce your energy bills. This way we can start feeling a little better about the country we call home.

After all, if we can spend less on living costs then it really is a rather lovely place to be.

Top five products to reduce your energy bills…

Four Enviroplugs (family pack) 

This is a great way of saving money if you’ve got a household full of mobile phone users. The Enviroplugs are adapters that plug into the wall socket and phone charger – once the phone is charged, the Enviroplug turns the power off. If, for example, you charge your phone overnight then you could cut this energy by 90%.

Radiator Booster 

This is a great energy-efficient product for the winter months – the Radiator Booster draws in and circulates wasted heat from the back of your radiator to keep  you warm and reduce those bills – no more feeling guilty for having heating on.

energyEGG standby saver 

We’re a big fan of the energyEGG. It not only looks great, but it’s also incredibly clever and could save you up to £37* a year by turning your appliances off for you when you’ve left the room.

EcoPulse TurboHead 

If you have a water meter then this shower head is for you – it pulses 30-40 (unnoticeable) times per second to reduce water bills and also delivers a fantastically powerful shower.

Solar Power Station 150W 

Why not collect your household energy from the sun and reduce your energy bills substantially? It’s a great to know that you’re also doing your bit to help the environment and it could generate up to 750 watt hours of electricity per day**. As well as this it’s easy to install without needing an electrician –  we can’t fault this solar panel.

*Based on average figures calculated by the Energy Saving Trust and DEFRA, using a household electricity consumption of 4015kWh per year at 13.95p/kWh.

**The Solar Power Station generates 150W of electricity an hour, equating to 750 watt hours based on an average of 5 hours of sunlight per day.


Image via Wikipedia

Last in our smartphone glossary by tech expert Ernest Doku, we take a look at the undeniably innovative world of the iPhone:


Proof that gadgets can be more than the sum of their parts, the iPhone may not have the fastest processor or the most camera megapixels but the combination of form, operating system and touchscreen user experience has seen it steal a march in terms of popularity and cultural significance, if not pure market share.

Since 2007, Apple’s iPhone has seen off all manner of competition, homages, even alleged ‘slavish copies’ of their original device.

From the app store to the home screen, the iPhone has been instrumental in projecting the perception and increasing the allure of smartphones to the average consumer.

Price and desirability are major factors keeping the iPhone firmly positioned as leader in the premium smartphone market… apparently categories that Google’s Android is making some real headway in.

Hopefully this series has gone some way to provide a little more context for these manufacturers, terms and buzzwords, and if nothing else, will help you to sound a little more tech-savvy the next time that the topic of mobiles and the rise of the smartphone comes up!

Wordmark of HTC. Trademarked by HTC.

Image via Wikipedia

Continuing our glossary of mobile phone terms, today we explore the HTC and Dual Core handsets.

by Ernest Doku


This Taiwanese company came from nowhere in 2007 see their shares more than triple in value, leapfrogging Nokia in terms of worth in 2011.

HTC’s dual-pronged approach of attacking the market with both entry-level and high-end smartphones powered by the Android platform (with a little of their own flourishes) has proved hugely successful, and their phones currently rule the roost when it comes to iPhone alternatives.

The initial 18-month head start that the manufacturer had with Google and Android has done them plenty of favours, but prepare to see competition hot up this year, with strong competition from Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson on the cards.

Dual Core

The latest buzzword in mobile circles, but no easier to demonstrate in terms of improvements over the last range of smartphones…

Dual Core handsets like the LG Optimus 2X and forthcoming Optimus 3D boast even more processing power than current smartphone, as well as better running of multiple programs concurrently (known as ‘multitasking’).

Rather than a single smartphone processor doing all of the heavy lifting, the workload is shared between two, making processes and tasks run much faster. Sounds like a bit much, but as smartphone features become more intensive, the hardware is needed to keep up with them.

This handy video may be able to explain:

See Also:

Blog: Ernest Doku asks ‘What is a mobile phone operating system?’

by Ernest Doku, communication and technology expert at

Shifting from technology buzzword to every day parlance in less than ten years, the concept of the ‘smartphone’ has massively changed both the mobile phone industry and how we interact with one another in our daily lives.

But aside from being small, slick and (in some cases) expensive, just what is a smartphone and what’s so great about them?

Well, we’ve attempted to put together a quick glossary to explain away some of the more complicated terms being bandied around…we’ll have you knowing the difference between Android and Apple operating systems in no time!

Despite there being no standard definition to describe exactly what makes a smartphone, the term is commonly used to refer to a mobile with more advanced features, functions and capabilities than an average handset.

Perhaps it is better to describe with an analogy, comparing a smartphone to what some have derisively termed ‘dumbphones’.

Scenario 1Let’s say that you’re driving down a major motorway attempting to reach a friend’s party, but hear a coughing and spluttering coming from the engine. Soon after, it dies completely and you are left stranded on the roadside.

No problem, you produce your emergency phone from the glove compartment, and call your insurance company using the number on your insurance card, or – if particularly resourceful – stored in your mobile.

You wait for forty-five or so minutes, they arrive, and you are whisked on your way to the nearest garage or your destination.

Not terribly inconvenienced by this vehicular mishap, but with a smartphone the situation pans out very differently…

Scenario 2 – You’re driving down a major motorway, attempting to reach a friend’s party, with your smartphone doubling as a TomTom, providing turn-by-turn navigation and traffic information thanks to Google Maps Navigation.

You hear a coughing and spluttering coming from the engine. Soon after, it dies completely and you are left stranded on the roadside.

Pulling out your phone from the dashboard charger, you are able to find your exact location – thanks to GPS and using the free AA app – and are able to let them know precisely where you are.

Having been connected to an agent and told they will be approximately 45 minutes, you can use a wealth of features on the smartphone whilst you wait.

You can listen to music stored on the device or over the web via software like Spotify, browse the internet and check e-mail, read a book thanks to the built in e-reader, watch a movie or TV show, or even play an involving game of SuDoku or Angry Birds, or any of the thousands of titles now available on the various app stores…so long as the battery holds out!

A smartphone certainly makes the wait (for assistance, a bus, or even the other half in a changing room) far more bearable, as well as demonstrating the versatile nature of these new devices that are practically personal computers in the pocket.

So whilst a smartphone itself may not be easy to define, the myriad of things that it can provide instant access to is simple to highlight.