“Nexus Killer” OnePlus One Smartphone unveiled at $299

oneplus-one-official-image-3This is shaping up to be an interesting entry in the Android ecosystem.

The OnePlus One smartphone aims to take down current flagship phones with cutting edge specs at a price point lower than Google’s Nexus. It took me a second to realize the name of the company was “One Plus” and the first phone is the “One”. We’ll have to see if HTC will weigh in on that branding…

“We are not a company looking to go global. We were born global, with employees hailing from all corners of the world.”
-OnePlus Mission Statement

The spec sheet is formidable for a $299 phone. A 5.5″ 1080p screen, protected by Gorilla Glass 3, will be powered by a Qualcomm 801 series chipset. The camera is a 13MP Sony sensor capable of 4K video recording. 16GB of built in storage (though there is no SD card slot), and 3GB of RAM for demanding services and games. A 3100mAh battery should provide almost two day run time. Triple microphone arrangement for stereo recording and noise reduction, and rear firing stereo speakers complete the hardware.

oneplus-one-official-image-9Jumping the price $50 will move you from 16GB of storage to 64GB. A welcome change in pricing as most manufacturers supply an extra 16GB with a $100 price increase.

The radios on board look like they’ll be fully compatible with AT&T’s network. Looking at the various bands included, you should see support for T-Mobile LTE, but it might not work well on their 3G network.

In all this looks like an ambitious device at any price. Moving this phone at roughly half the price of our current flagships certainly opens up some exciting potential.

One area the team might be saving some money is on software. The OnePlus One uses a build of CyanogenMod, a custom version of Android built by a team of developers off of the Android Open Source Project. It’s known for being an aggressively lean and fast flavor of Google’s OS. Since OnePlus isn’t developing their own custom build of Android, and it doesn’t seem that they’re applying skins or themes either, it’s one area the company has been able to pinch some pennies.

Starting April 25th, the first 100 OnePlus One phones will be available via a “Smash” promotion, where customers can secure a One for $1 if they smash their old phone. I find promos like that to be a bit crass, as I’d rather see people recycle, but you can be sure there will be a line of people ready to grab an inexpensive phone even cheaper.

You can see more of the OnePlus One in their teaser video, or scroll lower for the full PR.

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Nest Learning Thermostat now on Google Play


Just in time for Earth day!
For you energy conscious folks out there, Google is now selling the Nest on Google Play!
$249 gets you a thermostat replacement which will connect to your home WiFi and learn your patterns to hopefully help you cut back on your energy usage.

Google purchased Nest back in January for $3 billion. In diversifying their product offerings, Nest looks like one of the first lifestyle products sold directly to consumers on Play.

Nest on Google Play

You can now upload pics to Google+ using IE on Windows Phone 8.1

google plus photo upload windows phone 8_1This has been a long time coming.

Even as recently as a week ago I was kvetching about not being able to share pics from my Windows Phone to Google Plus while on a recent trip.

It looks like I can finally stop whinging about it, as the updates to Internet Explorer have finally included file management support for sites like G+. We no longer have to jump through hoops, or transfer our photos to other devices to participate!

If you’re rocking Windows Phone 8.1, and you’re on the Googles Plus give it a shot. The best camera phones on the market can now properly share on one of the best photo sharing services on the net.


AT&T Looking to Bring 1Gbps Fiber to 21 Major Metro Areas

How fast is 1 GBPS?Competition is good.

AT&T is looking to bring 1Gbps fiber internet connections to over 100 cities and municipalities. On the list are 21 major metropolitan areas including my current home city Los Angeles.

“Californians are inventing and adopting new technologies every day. With today’s announcement, we stand ready to work with local leaders to bring AT&T U-verse with GigaPower to our state.  This incredible technology will enable California entrepreneurs to innovate like never before and will give consumers the choice of an ultra-fast fiber network connection,” AT&T’s California President, Ken McNeely said.

Comcast has been upgrading connections to 100Mbps (one tenth the speed of gigabit fiber), Verizon has been stagnant with its FiOS offerings, but apparently the slow pressure building from Google Fiber was enough to move Big Blue to start offering up “GigaPower” to more consumers and businesses.

Whoever can run a line to my house first wins my business and some fresh baked brownies. You can read the full press release below.

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Hangouts 2.1 for Android Improves SMS, adds Homescreen Widget

google hangouts_resultGoogle has thrown a lot of muscle into improving the Hangouts experiences. It’s a one stop shop for group IM, video calling, and it can replace your phone’s stock app for text messaging.

Alongside some bug fixes and performance improvements, Hangouts 2.1 also brings a merged conversation interface for SMS and Hangout IM. This makes it easier to move conversations back and forth between SMS and IM-ing as it’s now all under the same view.

There’s also a new widget to throw on your homescreen to help you keep up to date on all your communication endeavors.

Full press release below, and the Hangouts update is rolling out now on Google Play! So Google, think you can turn some of that attention to Google Voice anytime soon?

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Alton Brown’s Lifehack for Organizing Annoying Mustard Containers

alton brown mustard bottle caddy lifehackI wish Good Eats was back on the air. Until that time, I’ll just have to make do with Alton Brown producing his own amazing videos on the Youtubes.

If you enjoy mustards like I do, then you also know the frustration of how poorly designed most mustard bottles are. Alton has an ingenious solution for those afflicted with this terrible malady…

Quadcopter Flown Through Fireworks Show Captures Incredible Footage

quadcopter fireworks videoSo first of all, it’s just kind of fantastic that the little copter wasn’t hit by one of the explosions.

VIMEO user Gasper C uploaded this video showing what it would look like if you could safely get up close and personal to an exploding fireworks show. Enjoy.

DJI PHANTOM FIREWORKS from Gasper C on Vimeo.

Netflix to raise prices on new subscribers, arrive on Cable DVR’s

netflix-logoQueue the tirades of angry internetizens threatening to cancel/never do business with Netflix ever again…

In their shareholder earnings call, Netflix detailed their first quarter 2014 numbers. Subscribers are up 2.2 million,  They’re seeing strong growth internationally, and overseas losses shrank by almost half, expecting profitability by end of year. Revenue was up around $200 million, but costs also rose in the light of the number of original programs to be produced and advertised. No fewer than eleven new series or new seasons of established season are in the pipeline.

A Netflix app will be coming to cable services which use TiVO DVR’s, with a hopeful nod at additional cable DVR’s in the future. Continue reading

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