The highly-anticipated HTC One smart phone goes on-sale this Friday at AT&T outlets. Crafted with a zero-gap aluminum unibody that reportedly requires over 200 minutes to manufacture, HTC's new flagship phone is powered by a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor and sports a brilliant 4.7-inch, full HD (1080p) Gorilla Glass-protected display with 468 ppi (pixels-per-inch) resolution.
Besides surpassing the sharpness of the iPhone 5's celebrated Retina display, the HTC One features impressive innovations that will knock the socks off even the most jaded smart phone aficionado. These include HTC BlinkFeed, HTC Zoe, HTC BoomSound, HTC Sense TV and HTC Sense Voice,
HTC BlinkFeed, for example, transforms the home screen into a live stream of personally relevant information, such as social updates, entertainment and lifestyle updates, news and photos. The service taps into more than 1,400 media sources to access over 10,000 articles per day from some of the world's most innovative media companies.
To deliver superb still images and video, particularly at low-light levels, the phone's UltraPixel camera combines a f/2.0 aperture lens with a sensor that gathers 300 percent more light than the typical high-end smart phone camera.
Other photo features include multi-axis optical image stabilization for the rear camera and effects such as enhanced 360' panorama, time sequencing and object removal. In addition, an ultra-wide angle front-facing camera supports 1080p HD video.
HTC BoomSound adds front-facing stereo speakers with a dedicated amplifier. HDR recording uses advanced dual microphones and audio processing, and Beats Audio integration provides rich, authentic sound whether you're listening to your favorite music, watching a video, or playing a game.
HTC Sense TV lets you use your smart phone as an interactive TV guide and remote control, using the unit's built-in IR blaster. Phone calls sound great thanks to HTC Sense Voice, which boosts the call volume and quality in noisy environments.
AT&T's version of the phone even includes DriveMode, an app that helps curb texting and driving. The app can be set-up to automatically send a customizable reply to incoming messages once a vehicle starts moving 25 mph, letting people know that you are driving and unable to respond.
The new HTC One is available in black and silver. The 32 GB model sells for $199.99 at AT&T stores with a two-year commitment. For more information, visit ATT.com.
The new phone will also be sold by T-Mobile and Sprint, but AT&T is the only carrier who will be offering a variant with 64 GB of memory, which will sell for $299.99 with a two-year commitment.
Inner Balance: your iOS device can teach you to meditate
"Whether we're aware of it or not, answering emails and tending to technology can create stress sufficient to adversely affect what's vital to our happiness." So posits Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., president and CEO of HeartMath LLC.
If you're not familiar with HeartMath, the Boulder Creek, Ca.-based company is the developer of an app for iOS devices, called Inner Balance, and the purveyor of the Inner Balance Sensor for iOS, the latest thing in stress reduction.
HeartMath claims to have been involved in personal wellness for more than 20 years and asserts that heavy use of technology, such as personal computers and mobile devices, has been linked to imbalances leading to increased stress, sleep disorders, and depressive symptoms.
The company designs devices to counteract these influences and restore well-being. Their arsenal includes the aforementioned iPhone/iPad/iPod app/sensor combo and emWave 2, a self-contained, handheld device with a similar mission.
The Inner Balance app begins by letting you select how you're feeling. From there, a graphic breathing pacer helps you achieve and maintain your "heart rhythm coherence level," which the company claims is directly associated with a deeper sense of inner balance and happiness.
The first time I heard this, it reminded me of the nonsensical wedding vows exchanged by ex-hippies Martha (Sally Kellerman) and Bill (Sam Chow, Jr.) before the Reverend Spike (Tom Smothers) in the movie Serial (1980). "You-ness. We-ness. Yours-ness. Mine-ness."
"HRV (heart rate variability) coherence?" Really? What about "thermo homologation" or "asymptote alignment?" if you're going to blow smoke, make it billow.
The app is free, but the Inner Balance Sensor for iOS costs nearly $100! If you own a new iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you'll also need a adapter for the Lightning connector -- another 20 bucks. The sensor only supports the older-style 30-pin connector.
To be honest, I felt like I was testing something advertised after midnight on TV ("Order now, and we'll send you a second sensor for free -- you pay only shipping and handling!")
Nevertheless, I gave it a try, and you know what? It's okay. I assume similar benefits could be obtained by practicing meditation, but after a few Inner Balance few sessions, I felt better, calmer, and more focused. Go figure.
If you're looking for a unique Mother's Day gift for a mom who already owns an iPod, iPhone, or iPad, this could be it. The Inner Balance Sensor for iOS sells for $99. For more information, visit HeartMath.com.