LG Announces New Product Line

LG
January 31, 2017
Nicole Krawcke
KEYWORDS AHR expo / air conditioners / building automation system / mini split

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LAS VEGAS – LG Electronics hosted a press conference during the 2017 AHR Expo to reveal its expanded 2017 lineup of commercial and residential HVAC solutions with a new customizable control system, next-generation variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology, new heating capabilities, and design tools.

Kevin McNamara, senior vice president, Air Conditioning Technologies, LG Electronics USA highlighted several new products being featured at the AHR Expo, including the LG Multi V™ 5, LG Multi V S, LG RED° Heat Powerful Heating Technology optimized for cold climate performance, the Smart ThinQ® application, and the Lg MultiSITE Controls suite.

The expanded control solutions include the LG MultiSITE Remote Controller, LG MultiSITE Communications Manager and LG MultiSITE VM3 Building Management Solution empower operators to take control of their buildings in ways that were not previously possible.

“VRF has been abused in the U.S.,” McNamara said. “The reason it’s been abused is you these outside boxes and you know what’s inside in terms of compressors and so forth, but the important thing about VRF systems are algorithms and software. It’s all about software. This is a high technology piece of equipment. Not being able to integrate with that software and those algorithms has resulted in not fully benefiting from all the things VRF brings as far as efficiency and performance go. By trying to integrate with other manufacture control systems, we’re losing information and the technology has gotten a bad name because they say it doesn’t work. Now with our new platform, all of our stuff is plug and play.”

[“Source-Gadgets”]

The 3 Line Menu Icon: What is a Hamburger Menu?

What if I told you that websites and smartphones had hamburgers in them? You would probably think that I have totally lost it after coming off my meds. But it’s absolutely true, I kid you not.

When you open an app on your smartphone or some websites today, you could be looking at a hamburger — a hamburger menu icon, that is.

What Is The Hamburger Menu?

The hamburger menu (which doesn’t come with a side order of fries) is the three horizontal lines you see now at the top of many screens, either on the far left or the far right.

It’s an icon, actually.

By touching, tapping or clicking on the icon, it opens up a side menu with a selection of options or additional pages.

Some developers love the hamburger 3 line menu icon because it enables them to pack more features into their apps or navigation. The tiny icon takes up a minimal amount of screen real estate. It gives the app or site a clean minimalist look.

It is easy enough for the app user or website visitor to press the button to slide the menu in and out.

Or so you might think.

However, other developers and some users absolutely detest the hamburger menu icon or simply are puzzled by it. Why? Because it isn’t obvious to all users that the three lines actually are a menu icon, and it doesn’t tell users what is in there.

Who “Invented” The Hamburger Menu Icon?

The inventor behind the hamburger menu icon is a man named Norm Cox. He made the burger icon for Xerox Star, which was the world’s first graphical user interface. That was more than three decades ago.

Afterwards though, the icon did a disappearing act.

It’s only relatively recently that the 3 line menu icon started creeping back, with the advent of mobile devices.

For instance, in 2008 it showed up in the Twitter app, Tweetie. Then in 2009 it showed up in the Voice Memos app for the iPhone 3GS.

“I have to chuckle at all the attention that little “hamburger” symbol is getting lately,” Cox said in an interview with Small Business Trends.

“Up until about nine months ago, I hadn’t thought of the “drip in my design career bucket” for over 30 years!”

“Only a few symbols were considered,” Cox added. “One symbol was a downward pointing arrow in the shape of a triangle, representing the direction that the resulting menu would appear. We decided that this symbol tended to be interpreted too often as a pointer. We thought about using an asterisk (*) or a plus (+) symbol, but they seemed to be too abstract.”

Cox said the three line hamburger image turned out to be just right. “This symbol was visually simple, easily explained, and functionally memorable. Three lines were the perfect number,” Cox added.

What Websites or Apps Use This Infamous Hamburger Menu Icon?

Some of the prominent names that use the hamburger icon in their apps include Gmail, Facebook, Reeder, Twitter, and Starbucks.

And now websites and browsers have also adopted the 3 line menu icon. The Chrome and Firefox browsers are an example of this, using the menu at the top right corner. The hamburger menu hides all of the options, settings, and extensions. And the icon glows orange when something in the browser needs to be fixed or updated.

Time.com is an example of a major website that uses the hamburger menu — in this case in the upper left corner. When you click on the 3 line menu icon, a slide out showing additional content links appears.

time burger png

Some experts point out that the functions in the hamburger menu are barely used.

First of all, many people have yet to figure out that the 3 horizontal lines are actually a menu icon, and not simply an image.

Second, the hamburger icon makes information in the hidden menu “out of sight, out of mind.” Unless they actually click on or touch the 3 line menu icon, they don’t see the choices there.

Indeed, in Time.com’s case, the word “menu” had to be added underneath the icon to make it more obvious what the symbol is.

Depending Less On The Hamburger Menu

Various developers have voiced their displeasure at the hamburger icon and its shortcomings.

Some refuse to use the icon, despite its trendiness.

But the most high-profile company which has made a change is Facebook. To be absolutely clear, Facebook has never publicly stated that it wants to totally get rid of it. But Facebook is bringing out some of the mobile features that were previously hidden behind the hamburger icon.

They are now displayed in a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, called a tab bar.

The bottom tab bar takes up a bit more real estate on the screen, but it makes certain functions more obvious.

We spoke with Mrinal Desai who is the CEO and Co-Founder of Addappt. He was also behind Crossloop, a crowdsourced remote tech app, which was eventually sold to AVG Anti-Virus.

“The hamburger menu is not really for settings,” said Desai, talking to Small Business Trends. “It is almost like a ‘more’ or one can even think of it as an alternative to the ‘tab bar’. It is rare to see both but we at Addappt explored that with a prototype but eventually chose to go the ‘tab bar’ route.”

“These decisions often depend on the goal of the app. The hamburger icon tends to relegate functions whereas the tab bar makes them more obvious,” added Desai.

The Hamburger Icon Creator Gets The Final Word

So should you use a hamburger menu icon in your own website, mobile theme or app?

The original developer of the icon should get the last word, we think.

“The symbol’s longevity (since the 1980s) is a testament to its simplicity, utility, learnability and memorability,” said Cox, when asked about the calls to kill the hamburger icon.

“To seek to ‘kill’ or ‘abolish’ a UI tool or widget based on poor usage or implementation is both a bit shortsighted and over-reactive.”

Hamburger, Red Icon Photos via Shutterstock

More in: Things You Didn’t Know, What Is

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

What Does Google’s Pixel Phone Line Offer Small Business Users?

What Does Google's Pixel Phone Line Offer Small Business Users?

Smartphones are key communication tools in the personal and work life of the connected world we now live in. And with every new phone entering the marketplace, more features are added that increase our reliance on these devices. The long-awaited new Pixel and Pixel XL phones from Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) come with some premium hardware and applications that will undoubtedly increase this reliance for Android users looking for a premium device.

For small business owners full-featured premium smartphones are not always an option, mainly because of the price. The new phones from Google are made to compete with flagship phones from Apple, Samsung and others, and they are priced accordingly. While the Pixel phones may price many customers out, businesses and otherwise, the features in the phones make a strong case for the price tag.

Here are some of the specs for both phones, which are very similar, giving you the option of having a powerful smartphone in a large and small form factor.

A Look at Google’s Pixel Phone Line

Features the Pixel and Pixel XL Share

The approach Google has taken for these phones should be commended, because the guts of the Pixel are almost identical. The Pixel and Pixel XL have the same following specs:

  • Rear Camera: 12.3-megapixel, large 1.55?m pixels, phase detection autofocus + laser detection autofocus, f/2.0 aperture,
  • Front Camera: 8-megapixel, 1.4µm pixels, f/2.4 aperture, fixed focus,
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Quad Core 2x 2.15GHz / 2x 1.6GHz,
  • RAM and Storage: 4GB RAM, 32GB or 128GB storage,
  • Ports and Slots: USB Type-C, USB 3.0, 3.5mm headset jack, Single Nano SIM,
  • Connectivity: GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC,
  • Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging,
  • Aerospace-grade aluminum unibody, and
  • Built for VR: You can get the new Daydream View VR headset for free if you pre-order.

What Does Google's Pixel Phone Line Offer Small Business Users? They're Built for VR

The phones also share the same sensors, which includes a fingerprint sensor, Android 7.1 Nougat, and skins with new colors the company calls Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue.

The differences are very few, and it is mostly based on the size of the phones.

Pixel XL

  • Screen Size: 5.5 inches QHD AMOLED at 534ppi with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and 2,560×1,440 pixels,
  • Battery: nonremovable 3,450mAh battery with talk time of up to 32 hours on 3g/WCDMA and Internet use time of up to 14 hours on LTE and Wi-Fi. It also has an impressive video playback of up to 14 hours, and
  • Form Factor: 6.0 x 2.9 x 0.2 ~ 0.34 inches or 154.7 x 75.7 x 7.3 ~ 8.5 mm.

Pixel

  • Screen Size: 5.0 inches, FHD AMOLED at 441ppi with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and 1,920×1,080 pixels,
  • Battery: nonremovable 2,770mAh battery with up to 26 hours talk time on 3g/WCDMA and LTE and Wi-Fi Internet use time of up to 13 hours, and up to 13 hours of video playback, and
  • Form Factor: 5.6 x 2.7 x 0.2 ~ 0.3 inches or 143.8 x 69.5 x 7.3 ~ 8.5 mm.

Differences

While you can find these features on many phones, there are some ways in which the Pixel phones differentiate themselves. They are the first phones to have built-in Google Assistant and a live 24×7 customer care support with integrated Screen Share. And you get unlimited cloud storage, a feature most, if not all, phone manufacturers charge for.

What Will Pixel Phones Offer Small Business Owners?

Unlimited storage is a great option, because virtually every small business with an online presence can use it to store video, audio, and data they capture on their phone without any worries.

Google Assistant uses the latest technology in AI to deliver a more intuitive experience to get answers, manage everyday tasks, be entertained, find photos faster, keep tabs on travel and much more. The AI also integrates Now on Tap, which will give you contextual information based on what is on your screen.

If you happen to own an iPhone, a new fast switch feature lets you quickly migrate to Pixel in three simple steps and a long battery life that will come in handy for any small business owner.

What Does Google's Pixel Phone Line Offer Small Business Users? Migrating from an iPhone

Last but definitely not least is the 24/7 customer care support with integrated Screen Share. As any small business owner knows, customer service will make or break your business, and this feature is a winner. Being able to access care support with integrated Screen Share means you will never be at a loss of what to do when something goes wrong.

According to the company, no matter where you are, day or night a Google expert is just a tap away. All you have to do is open the Settings app on your device and tap the Support tab and simply accept the “View screen share request” sent by the agent.

What Does Google's Pixel Phone Line Offer Small Business Users? 24/7 Support

Price and Availability

The smartphone segment is heavily populated, and the trend seems to be going to medium priced phones with high end features, which is currently being dominated by Chinese manufacturers like ZTE and its Axon7, Huawei and others.

This doesn’t seem to have factored in for Google, because the Pixel line is not cheap, as a matter of fact they are expensive. The Pixel with the 32GB storage starts at $649 and the 128GB model will cost you a wallet crunching $749. If you want the XL, you will have to pay $769 and $869 respectively for the 32GB and 128GB models.

You can pre-order the phones now, and they will be arriving at retail and online stores by October 20. 

Conclusion

The Pixel phones will not win the most innovative design, specs or app awards, but the sum of all its different parts would seem to suggest a useful phone for the small business owner — that is if you want to part with what it will cost to get it.

Images: Google

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Entrepreneurial Firefighter Creates Line of Safety Gear

firefighter safety gear

Being a firefighter is a difficult job. But without actually experiencing it, most people never even realize just how easy it can be to get disoriented in the dark, heavy smoke.

That’s what prompted volunteer firefighter Zach Green to start his company, MN8 FoxFire. The company makes heat-resistant safety bands that glow in the dark to help firefighters see and stay oriented in the dark and heavy smoke.

Green originally learned about photoluminescent technology while watching a special report about the World Trade Center. It was used in the stairwells to help people find their way out. So he thought it might have practical applications for firefighters as well.

He used that same type of technology to develop silicone stretchable bands that fit around firefighter helmets and glow in the dark. He spent about six months creating the bands and pitching them to fire stations around Cincinnati. He told CNN:

“I made $5,000 basically selling the bands myself.”

That’s how he knew he was on to something. So he officially launched his new company. In his first two years in business, Green maxed out his credit cards and refinanced his house. But he also raised $1.5 million in venture capital.

Now, the heat resistant safety bands are used by more than 60,000 firefighters around the country and even overseas. And the company even creates other glow-in-the-dark products like exit signs, radio straps, artwork, and more. Green also plans to expand his product line to include safety items for stadiums, buildings, and schools.

It’s a pretty simple but incredibly necessary idea. The impact that a simple glow-in-the-dark band could have on firefighter safety is huge. And while it may seem obvious now, it took a long time for this type of safety practice to be implemented.

Since Green worked as a volunteer firefighter, he knew the safety risks firsthand. So he had the proper motivation, along with the practical knowledge about what type of product might be able to help in such a situation. Someone with no firefighting experience may have created a bulky or impractical solution without knowing how it could impact the actual firefighters wearing it.

That’s why entrepreneurs come from so many different fields and backgrounds. People tend to come up with solutions that fit problems in their own lives and experiences. So this volunteer firefighter came up with a solution that could have a huge impact on the safety and performance of firefighters around the world.

Image: MN8 FoxFire

[“source-smallbiztrends”]