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Jun 22, 2015 - 11:29 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Sony is jumping on the Android M development bandwagon forthwith. They just announced that the Android M Developer Preview will be available on nearly all of their Xperia devices soon. They also shared plans to release a test build of Android M for Xperia products in the Sony Open Device program.
If you plan to try these out, keep in mind that these developer previews are not meant to be your permanent (daily driver) OS. The modem and camera are non-functional. Still, for any of our devs out there, this gives you the opportunity to test out your apps on Sony Xperia devices.
Jun 22, 2015 - 11:12 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like the folks at Elephone are wanting to be the first Android smartphone OEM to spam extra cores into their products. According to the latest intel, the company will be releasing their Elephone P9000 smartphone in October, and it will be the first device to utilize the Helio X20 MT6797 deca-core CPU.
For those who need to brush up on their Greek alphabet (or metric system), deca is the prefix for ten. Yep... that means they are creating a 10-core chip for a smartphone. While we will gladly let you guys debate the usefulness of this approach, we still wanted to share the intel. Here's the scoop on this device:
- 5.5-inch 1080p resolution display
- Helio X20 MT6797 deca-core CPU - a 20nm chip which uses pair of ARM Cortex-A72 cores for primary processing, four ARM Cortex-A53 cores are for medium load scenarios, and four optimized Cortex-A53s handle low-power states.
- ARM Mali-T880 series GPU clocked at 850MHz
- 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM (not the newer and faster LPDDR4)
- 20.7MP rear camera
- 8MP front cam
- 32GB of expandable storage
- 3100mAh battery
It's interesting that they would pair this ridiculous processor with a (relatively old fashioned) 1080P HD Display. The current fancy display trend is pushing toward the QHD 2K displays. The device will likely retail for $500, so perhaps this is their way of saving some on the manufacturing costs.
Still, it seems like if you are going to go hog-wild with the craziest processor you can push out, then you should do something similar with the display too. Either way, for smartphones these features don't seem like anything more than marketing fluff. What do you think?
Jun 18, 2015 - 10:30 AM - by dgstorm
Earlier in the week OnePlus revealed that their next-gen OnePlus Two would be using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. Because of the infamous overheating problems associated with this chipset, this understandably created trepidation amongst fans of the OnePlus line. According to OnePlus themselves, we have nothing to be worried about.
OnePlus shared that the variant of the Snapdragon 810 in their Two phone will be version v2.1. The important distinction is the ".1," and OnePlus elaborated that they worked hand-in-hand with Qualcomm to create an "improved" version of the CPU which supposedly doesn't have the overheating problems reported by other versions of the chip.
OnePlus didn't explain in detail what changes where made to the chip, but word on the street suggests one of the changes was simply a generous application of thermal gel and graphite to the chipset itself. On top of this, OnePlus optimized their OxygenOS to work dynamically with the chip to maximize heat dissipation without sacrificing on performance.
Jun 17, 2015 - 10:53 AM - by dgstorm
Fans of the JRPG classic Final Fantasy 7 might have a nostalgic fit when they find out this news. Final Fantasy 7 is being ported to mobile devices and will be coming to iOS and Android. The game will be out for iOS first later this summer.
It has not been shared how much longer it will take to come to Android, but we suspect it won't be too long. Square Enix (the game's developer) also did not share pricing details, but you can probably expect it to be in the $15 range.
It's also worth noting that you can actually plan the game on Android right now, but it requires an emulator and jumping through some hoops. This will be an official version that will work natively on your mobile device.
Jun 15, 2015 - 10:34 AM - by dgstorm
The new Shield Android TV gaming console from NVIDIA already has a slick new update. The software version 1.2 update brings with it a host of new capabilities to the already feature-packed device. Here's the changelog,
If you are anxious to get this update, just head to the settings menu of your Shield Android TV device to potentially get it more quickly.
- Share your pictures in 4K on Ultra HD TVs with the Photos & Videos app
- Delivers enhancements for SD card auto-move setting
- Optimizes streaming experience for Google Play Movies and Netflix
- SHIELD Accessories Upgrade for SHIELD Remote for snappier response
- Adds notifications for low battery on SHIELD Remote
- Delivers enhancements for NVIDIA GameStream (requires update to GeForce Experience v2.25 beta or later)
Jun 03, 2015 - 3:46 PM - by dgstorm
It looks like the LG G Watch R was discontinued in favor of its newer Urbane sibling. The G Watch R is already out of stock in most (if not all) online retailers and the Google Play Store. There is now a listing on the Google Play Store which says "This product is unavailable in your country." Furthermore, its support page only lists it for the Australian market, even though it used to include Japan and the United States.
LG has apparently responded to an inquiry and indicated that the product is being wound down, and existing stock is being sold with no new production scheduled. Sound off if you are one of the folks out there in the world who own this device, and let us know what you think of it.
Source: Google Play Store
Jun 03, 2015 - 10:50 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Huawei is making another big move into the US market. Their next big push is the P8 Lite, and its main "claim to fame" is that it is a reasonably powerful device for a very cheap unlocked and off contract price of only $249.99.
Here's a breakdown of the specs you get for that price:
- 5-inch HD (720p) display
- 2GB RAM
- 1.5GHz Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor
- 13MP rear camera
- 5MP front camera
- 2200mAh battery
- LTE connectivity on AT&T and T-Mobile
- 16GB storage
- A micro SD slot (up to 32GB)
- Android 4.4.4 KitKat
While that list of specs obviously doesn't qualify as a flagship, it's still a fairly reasonable hardware array for such an affordable price. The fact that it comes with KitKat could be a positive or a negative depending on your point of view.
Here are a few links where you can grab the Hauwei P8 Lite at US online retailers:
It will be interesting to see what Huawei's next device to hit US shores will be.
Jun 01, 2015 - 3:25 PM - by dgstorm
TAG Heuer just revealed some new info on their upcoming Android Wear device. First, the device will be named the Carrera Wearable 01. TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver also shared that the device is going to be based on their regular Carrera Heuer 01 luxury watch design. Here's a quote from Biver,
According to previous intel on the device, the Carrera Wearable 01 will become available later this year for approximately $1,400 USD, and could have a 40-hour battery life.
There is no other choice for Tag Heuer than to have all its DNA, all its watchmaking emotion and flair into the connected watch. Somehow, one should not see from a certain distance the difference between a Carrera Heuer 01 and a Carrera Wearable 01.
Jun 01, 2015 - 3:05 PM - by dgstorm
Asus made some new announcements today at the Computex show. One of their biggest was a series of new tablets. We have the Quad HD ZenPad S in 7-inch, 8-inch, and 10.1-inch models. Here's the full press release for all the details,
... [Read More]
Computex, Taipei, Taiwan (1st June, 2015) — ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih went on stage at Computex today during the Zensation press event to unveil a stunning range of new products designed to bring harmony and simplicity to people’s personal and professional lives. Inspired by the power and beauty of nature, the Zensation theme showcases the ASUS design philosophy of incorporating diverse elements to produce balanced creations that provide incredible experiences and accessible beauty to users.
Mr. Shih first introduced a range of consumer products aimed at delivering ultimate mobility, entertainment, and productivity experiences. These include ZenFone Selfie, a full-featured smartphone designed with advanced camera technology for capturing the best possible selfies; ZenPad 8.0, an 8-inch tablet with refined styling, incredible entertainment capabilities, and the world’s first tablet to offer customizable functionality; ZenPad S 8.0, the world’s first tablet with 4GB of RAM that delivers extreme performance with ultimate style; and Zen AiO Series, premium all-in-one PCs that provide a perfect balance of beauty and performance for an extraordinary home computing experience. Finally, for creative professionals, such as digital artists and photographers, Mr. Shih introduced ASUS ProArt PA329Q, a 32-inch 4K/UHD (ultra-high-definition) monitor that delivers breathtaking levels of detail.
“I am thrilled to be at Computex to unveil our newest Zen-inspired innovations,” said Mr. Shih. “These exciting new creations strike a compelling balance of power and beauty, and perfectly embody our In Search of Incredible vision of creating seamless and connected digital lives for everyone.”
Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Client Computing Group, Kirk Skaugen, joined Mr. Shih onstage in celebration of the new products and the ongoing partnership between the two companies. “We believe everything that computes and communicates will work best on Intel architecture,” said Kirk Skaugen. “The new ASUS products featuring the latest Intel technology bring great performance, exciting new innovation and experiences to consumers.”
ZenPad is a series of premium tablets that combine refined styling with incredible entertainment and productivity capabilities to redefine the tablet experience and bring true luxury to consumers. Available in three sizes — the 7-inch ZenPad 7.0 (Z370C/CG/CL), the 8-inch ZenPad 8.0 (Z380C/KL) and ZenPad S 8.0 (Z580C/CA) with optional Z Stylus, and the 10-inch ZenPad 10.1 (Z300C/CG/CL) with an optional keyboard — and offering models with Wi-Fi, LTE/3G connectivity and phone functionality, there’s a ZenPad to suit any kind of user.
ZenPad is crafted to provide exceptional entertainment experiences. It has an expansive HD IPS display featuring the exclusive ASUS VisualMaster suite of visual enhancement technologies — including ASUS Tru2Life and TruVivid — that brings advanced image-processing found on high-end TVs to a tablet for the first time and provides comprehensive visual optimization.
Jun 01, 2015 - 10:04 AM - by dgstorm
The OnePlus big announcement for this week turned out not to be the OnePlus Two. Instead, they are having a series of flash sales on the OnePlus One throughout the week. These flash sales each take $50 off the regular price for the phone. That means the the 16GB Silk White model will cost $249, while the 64GB Sandstone Black model will be $299.
These flash sales start at different times for the next 10 days and run until a certain threshold of stock has run out that day. Here's the schedule:
- June 1 — 12:00 GMT (8 am EST) - (Stock is likely already exhausted for today)
- June 2 — 2:00 GMT (10 pm EST -1 day)
- June 3 — 12:00 GMT (8 am EST)
- June 4 — 2:00 GMT (10 pm EST -1 day)
- June 5 — 12:00 GMT (8 am EST)
- June 6 — 2:00 GMT (10 pm EST -1 day)
- June 7 — 12:00 GMT (8 am EST)
This sale is only available for the global version of the device, which does NOT include India and Southeast Asia.
May 28, 2015 - 4:41 PM - by dgstorm
Of course, it wouldn't be Google I/O without info on the newest Android OS. This time around Android M is on the pedestal as the folks at Google showed off its fresh new innovations. Here's a breakdown highlight of its most stand-out changes in a quote from BGR,
What do you guys think of Android M's biggest changes?
Google Now on Tap:
Google Now has always been a fantastic feature that gives you important contextual information before you even think to ask for it. Google taking it to the next level with Google Now on Tap, a new update that will offer you even more contextual information than ever before.
How good is Now on Tap? If you’re playing a song by Rihanna and you ask “What’s her full name?”, Google will be able to tell you that it’s “Robyn Rihanna Fenty.” Or if you’re driving a rental car, Google might let you know about nearby gas stations when you’re close to the end of your trip so you don’t drop it off with an empty tank.
Granular app permissions:
Have you ever gone to download a cheap Flappy Bird knockoff and been horrified that it wants access to your contacts list, camera and microphone? Well Google’s aiming to put a stop to shady app permissions requests with a new system that will let you grant permissions for apps individually instead of giving them to you as an all-or-nothing proposition in the Google Play Store.
So let’s say you’re playing your Flappy Bird knockoff and the app wants access to your microphone to enable a certain feature you’re trying to use. Now it will ask you for permission to do so and you can deny its request while still being able to play the game as you were before.
Support for fingerprint scanning
: Many Android phones already have fingerprint scanners installed but now Google is adding universal support for fingerprint scanning across its entire platform. This likely means we should expect fingerprint scanners to be features in all major flagship Android phones going forward, which should certainly help Google push our next exciting feature…
Yes, Google tried the digital wallet once before with Google Wallet but that never really caught on. Now with the addition of fingerprint scanner support in Android M, Google is giving it another shot with Android Pay. Google says that 700,000 retail locations will support Android Pay when it releases this fall, although whether mobile payments will really ever catch on is still an open question.
Finally, this feature is designed to combat the ever-present problem of battery drain on Android devices. Doze will use your device’s sensors to tell when you haven’t been using it for a while and it will shut off all your phone’s background activity until you pick it up again. At the very least this should significantly increase the standby battery life of your device even if it doesn’t do much to improve your device’s battery consumption during actual use.
May 28, 2015 - 4:19 PM - by dgstorm
The image above is the new Google & GoPro Array camera for creating VR content.
Google I/O 2015 just held its first day Keynote earlier today. Even though we shared a couple of the releases which kicked off from the event, we thought it would be worthwhile to give you a one stop shop to check out most of the main highlights from the event.
The following is a round-up of the biggest new innovations revealed at Google I/O 2015's KeyNote:
- Expeditions - new virtual reality tool - much cheaper (yet still effective) cardboard version of VR than the competition from Oculus Rift and Microsoft's HoloLens - this is basically the evolution of the cardboard concept they shared previously.
- Google Photos - a brand new app to help users manage their digital images - smart enough to automatically organize your photos - offers easier control of photo collections and albums - automatically backs up all your pictures from multiple devices - offers a slew of new and easy to use sharing functions - support for storing unlimited photos (up to 16-megapixel) and videos (up to 1080p) in the cloud - all free to the user.
- Google Maps improvements - even without an active Internet connection, Google Maps will let you search inside Google Maps - this includes access to reviews and open hours for businesses - turn-by-turn voice navigation will become available offline.
- "Secret VR Weapon" - Google and GoPro teamed-up to create a special Array camera which can capture 360-degree footage, and records video with 16 cameras to create a more immersive VR experience that can be uploaded to a VR version of YouTube.
What do you guys think? Can Google deliver on these exciting ideas?
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