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Huh? Mini phone attaches to the phone you already have

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One company thinks you need a small phone that hitches a ride on your larger phone — and the idea actually might not be as crazy as it sounds.

Do you find yourself reaching for your smartphone mostly to look stuff up on Google, watch videos, snap pictures and play games? If so, it seems you might have lost sight of the original purpose of the device — it’s a phone! If this sounds like you, Taiwanese company WiMe has one solution: a tiny phone that attaches to your main phone via a protective case. It’s called (logically enough) Talkase.

That’s right, it’s a phone that rides on your, um, phone.

Why on Earth would someone want or need this? That’s certainly the question I asked when I got an email about the gadget. But after watching the below video about the device, which is currently part ofa Kickstarter campaign seeking to raise $60,000, things became a little more clear (although who knows what the guy is carrying around about 35 seconds in).

First, a bit about the Talkase. It’s a super-small cell phone that looks like a pocket calculator (and can also act as one) and snaps into a range of cases made for the iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus. You can connect the little phone to your bigger phone via Bluetooth and it will automatically send and receive calls through the main phone. Or, you can insert a micro-SIM card into the small phone and it will act as a fully functional GSM phone all on its own. While the cases are only for iPhones, the mini phone itself can tether to any Bluetooth-enabled phone and work just as well.

So back to that question: A phone for your phone? Really?

Well, it kind of does seem like overkill, but as an owner of a Galaxy Note 3 myself, I do find that the limits of my dexterity are tested every time I try to get my ringing phone out of my front pocket while driving (or getting buzzed in a boring meeting). If I had the Talkase, I could have my mini phone conveniently slipped into my shirt pocket to more easily answer calls. It’s only 5.5 mm thick (about .2 inches) and it’s about the length and width of a credit card, so it’s super easy to carry around.

Another benefit of the tiny phone is that after it’s juiced up using its own little charger, it can hold that charge for quite awhile — the makers claim it’ll run for 100 hours of standby and 2.5 hours of talk time. So if you’re going to be away from power outlets for a while and only need a phone with you — and not the portable computer most of our phones have become — you’d be all set with this little guy once you swapped in your SIM card from your main phone. The same holds true in the event your main phone runs out of power and you need to make a call.

Finally, the last reason to grab one of these might simply be the cost. Right now you can get the phone and the case for just $25 (about £15.50, AU$28) — and that’ll go up to $49 (about £30, AU$55) through stepped increments as the campaign goes on. And that certainly seems worth it for the fact alone that once you start wielding this thing in public, you’re bound to be asked, “Excuse me, is that a phone attached to your phone?”

Olloclip Debuts New 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

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Popular photography accessory maker Olloclip today unveiled an all new 4-in-1 photo lens designed for the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus. The 4-in-1 Photo Lens has been completely revamped for Apple’s iPhone 6 devices and has gained several new features.

For the first time, the Olloclip lens is designed to work with both the front and rear-facing cameras, letting users take both traditional photos and selfies with the four lenses. Like previous Olloclip accessories, the newest version includes fisheye, wide-angle, 10x and 15x macro lenses.

Both the fisheye and the wide-angle lenses provide a wider field of view for iPhone photos, while the two macro lenses are designed for ultra close-up photos.

A single 4-in-1 Photo Lens is able to fit both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and its new customizable pendant design allows it to be clipped to a backpack, lanyard, key ring, and more for easy access.

For enhanced portability, this new photo lens is now wearable through an included customizable pendant (package includes three colored pendants) and can be clipped to a backpack, lanyard, key ring or just about anything. Easily accessible, your olloclip is always ready when that incredible photographic moment arises.

Olloclip’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus lens will be available beginning in late November, but it can be preordered today from the company’s website for $79.99.

iPhone sales grow 16.3% to 39.3M in Q4 2014, but iPad sales decline by 12.8%

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iPhone sales grow 16.3% to 39.3M in Q4 2014, but iPad sales decline by 12.8%

 

As part of the company’s latest quarterly earnings announcement, Apple today revealed that it sold 39.3 million iPhones and 12.3 million iPads during its fiscal fourth quarter of 2014. These are mixed results, which has become typical for the company lately.

In Q4 2013, Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones and 14.1 million iPads. This means the company’s iPhone sales were up 16.3 percent year-over-year while its iPad sales were down 12.8 percent year-over-year.

Q4 2014 industry estimates for iPhone sales ranged between 37.47 million and 38.72 million while estimates for iPads ranged between 12.70 million and 13.35 million. Apple thus easily beat estimates for iPhones but failed to do the same for iPads.

More specifically, Apple managed to outperform both the institutional consensus and the independent one when it comes to its hottest gadget, but its tablets fell below both. Given that the company’s iPhone business is much more important than its iPad one, this is still good news for Cupertino overall and explains why the company’s stock is up in after-hours trading.

These results also further confirm solid sales of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. “Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement.

Those considering buying iPads, however, were likely waiting to see what Apple would announce during its October event. With the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 now available, this current quarter will be crucial not only to see how the new iPhones fare during the holiday shopping season, but also to gauge just how badly the company’s tablet is still desired.

The fact Apple continues to sell more iPhones than last year is impressive, especially given the increased competition from the likes of Google, Samsung, and the growing number of tech companies looking for a slice of the smartphone pie. The iPad is having a harder time; its numbers have now been on a decline for the past three consecutive quarters.

Will Lenovo’s Yoga Pro 3 Kill Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3?

 

The Yoga Pro 3 is equipped with Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC  ) fanless Core M processor, a 3,200 x 1,800 QHD display which flips back 360 degrees, and lasts nine hours on a single charge. Depending on the configuration, the device will cost between $1,350 to $1,550 when it arrives in late October, undercutting Microsoft’s comparable Surface Pro 3 models by several hundred dollars. Considering how popular Lenovo’s previous Yoga models have been, could this game-changing laplet finish off the struggling Surface Pro 3?

The business of laplets
Windows laptop markers launched laplets, which flooded the market in 2012, to address the rising demand for tablets. Some companies introduced laptops with removable screens which turned into tablets, which others added slide-out keyboards and rotating screens. Microsoft’s approach was to turn the keyboard — which added the most weight to the device — into a detachable magnetic cover for the Surface tablet.

Lenovo’s design for the Yoga series, which debuted in late 2012, was much simpler by comparison. The Yoga’s screen could be folded back halfway and propped up in a “tent” mode, or all the way to become a tablet. That low-cost design — which only required a modification of the hinge — caught on, and imitators like Asus‘ Transformer Book Flip and Toshiba‘s Satellite Radius soon followed.

In August, NPD Group reported that Lenovo’s Yoga devices had become the best-selling convertible PCs in terms of unit sales and revenue in the U.S.

While Microsoft should be worried about Lenovo
Lenovo’s Yoga devices cost between $569 to $1,549. By comparison, Microsoft’s Surface devices cost between $449 and $1,949. To understand how badly Lenovo could hurt Microsoft, we should first compare the top-tier configurations of the Yoga Pro 3 and the Surface Pro 3.

CPU RAM Storage Weight Battery Price
Lenovo Yoga Pro 3

(13.3 inch)

Intel Core M 8GB 512GB SSD 2.6 lbs. 9 hours $1,549
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

(12 inch)

Intel i7 4GB 512GB SSD 1.8 lbs. 9 hours $1,949

(w/o Type Cover)

Winner Yoga Yoga Tie Surface Tie Yoga

Source: Company and industry websites

Considering that the top-tier Surface Pro 3 would cost well over $2,000 with the Touch Cover ($120) or Type Cover ($130) included, customers in the market for a premium laplet will more likely buy the Yoga Pro 3 for $500 less.

This could disrupt Microsoft’s plans to win over enterprise users with its docking stations ($200), which convert the Surface into a full desktop with ethernet and multi-monitor support. Microsoft is currently selling a bundle which includes the Surface Pro 3, a Type Cover, and the docking station for $150 off the combined list price. The Yoga Pro 2 also lacks ethernet and multimonitor support, but that can be addressed via external USB adapters.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 in a docking station. Source: Microsoft

The death of the Surface could be a blessing in disguise
Lenovo’s dominance of the convertibles market, while bad for Surface sales, would indirectly help Microsoft by helping it gain software market share. The Yoga Pro 3 runs on Windows 8.1, which will be upgraded to Windows 10 next year (possibly for free).

Therefore, there’s no reason for Microsoft to keep supporting the Surface, which has incurred losses topping $1.7 billion since October 2012. The Surface, like the Xbox One and Windows Phones, weigh down Microsoft’s bottom line because hardware is a much lower margin business than software.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) learned that the hard way with Motorola Mobility, which it bought for $12.5 billion but sold for $2.9 billion to Lenovo. That’s why it now relies on hardware partners — like LG, Asus, Samsung, and HTC — to release itsNexus-branded products instead.

That’s exactly what Microsoft should do today. Rather than gun for Apple‘s tiny 6% share of the PC market while competing against its Wintel allies, it should simply kill off the Surface and let popular allies like Lenovo pump out the hardware while focusing on its “One Windows” strategy for Windows 10. If Microsoft still feels attached to the Surface brand and form factor, it should just do what Google did with the Nexus and license it out to hardware partners instead.

The Foolish takeaway
Microsoft investors should actually hope that Lenovo’s Yoga Pro 3 kills the Surface Pro 3. Unlike the video game or smartphone industries, where Microsoft needs to maintain a hardware presence to remain relevant, companies like Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Acer can spread Windows across PCs, laptops, and convertible devices by themselves.