App Review: Trivia Buff for Windows 8 and Android phones.

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Whether you are going to the DMV to register your new car or waiting patiently for your flight, you have a multitude of options to occupy your time on your cell phone while waiting. You could read some news, grind away at a game, or you could expand your knowledge of a subject through fun trivia bits. The Trivia Buff app from Dapper Panda may just be the cure for you!

The Trivia Buff app let’s you search for favorite topics. Just out of curiosity I searched for BMX as I used to race BMX bikes here on the east coast and I found out that Slash from GNR used to race BMX back in the day! How cool is that! With the Trivia Buff app you can start training your brain to collect all the info necessary to crush the next trivia night at your local pub.

The app pulls info from a variety of sources (though you will see a lot of wikis), so it’s only really limited by your own curiosity.

The Trivia Buff app is a no frills, straight forward app for your Windows 8 phone. There are no dark or light theme options. You can opt to buy the ad free version for a mere $0.99 to help support the fine folks over at Dapper Panda.  The options of the Trivia Buff app are few but very useful. You can change the font size, you can choose to show or not show the logo on the live tile and speaking of the live tile, you have 3 sizes, small, medium and large, and the last option is that you have a choice of browsers to use.

You really cannot go wrong with this app especially if you love to learn!
Trivia Buff is available for both Windows 8 phones and Android:

Trivia Buff Windows 8 phone

Trivia Buff for Android Continue reading “App Review: Trivia Buff for Windows 8 and Android phones.”

AT&T scores exclusive on Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

GALAXY-S4-zoom_backNo sooner do I finish up a monster camera smartphone comparison video, than this photo beast gets announced for the United States. Typical.

The S4 Zoom is an interesting beast. One part mid-range phone one part zoom point and shoot. While companies like Nokia went with huge megapixels and cropping to simulate zoom, Samsung just bolted a mechanical zoom lens onto the back of a smartphone. Learning from their experiences in building the Galaxy Camera, now you can have a similar experience which is a touch more pocket-able.

The phone side is decent enough, a qHD 4.3″ AMOLED screen is a bit low res these days, but should help performance stay snappy when paired with the dual core processor on board. There’s 8GB of storage built in and you can add more via MicroSD. All in all somewhat ho-hum for an Android phone these days.

Where Zoom gets interesting is in the camera hardware. A 16MP BSI CMOS point & shoot style sensor is paired up with a 10X hardware zoom, which is controlled via a manual ring. There’s even a proper Xenon flash on board for low light and indoor shots. Sammy makes some decent camera gear, so this pairing looks like it could be formidable. Slamming Android into a proper camera experience is a fun way to shoot, edit, and share photos while you’re out and about. Adding support for LTE on AT&T’s network is just icing.

This adds to AT&T’s increasingly interesting device portfolio, and Big Blue now stands as having one of the widest selection of Android and Windows Phones around.

The Galaxy S4 Zoom is available starting November 8 for $199 on a two year contract. The Zoom will also be eligible for AT&T’s current promo where you can snag yourself a free Galaxy Tab when signing up for a new plan. More info at: www.att.com/galaxys4zoom

Full PR and a video hands on after the jump.

Continue reading “AT&T scores exclusive on Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom”

Google FOR REAL Announces Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat

Nexus 5This has been exhausting.  Trolling leaks and rumors, but it’s finally here and it’s finally real. Though I still don’t understand Google’s plan here, rolling out a device and a new OS without any kind of proper Keynote or event.

The Nexus 5 is now officially up on Google Play for your smartphone purchasing enjoyment. Pretty much all the rumors about this thing were true, which kinda takes some of the fun out of talking about smartphones.

nexus 5 - 2The $349 sports a 5″ 1080p screen, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a Qualcomm 800 series quad core processor, an 8MP rear camera with OIS, wireless charging, and should play nice on T-Mobile or Sprint’s networks. Add $50 and you can double the storage.

So continues the price disruption of the Nexus line. $349 for an unlocked premier handset rocking bleeding edge internals is entirely unheard of. This is not an “On contract” price. It’s $349 out the door. You own it.

Plus they also released this nifty video:

So there you have it folks. Was there any better day to unveil a phone running an OS called KitKat than on Halloween?  The wait was exasperating, I honestly didn’t know if we’d survive it, but we did.

More details on the Google Plus Devices Page.

Full PR after the jump:

Continue reading “Google FOR REAL Announces Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat”

Lenovo’s New Yoga Tablet Offers 18 Hour Run Time and Built in Kickstand

01 lenovo yoga tablet stand modeOver the last year Lenovo weathered the changing PC market better than any other manufacturer. Following Windows 8, the industry as a whole saw sales drop around 15%. Lenovo stayed pretty flat during that time, which is unprecedented performance during the release of something as unfamiliar as Windows 8. Products like the Yoga Laptop which swiveled into various usage scenarios. It’s no surprise they’re now the number one manufacturer of PC’s worldwide.

During that same time however, Lenovo shipped more tablets and phones than they did PC’s. They’re not as widely known here states-side for their mobile gear, but they’re looking to change that and crack this market like they did laptops and desktops. Unveiled last night, Lenovo took the wraps off the Yoga Tablet, and they think they’ve found A Better Way to use a mobile slate.

02 lenovo yoga tablet stand modeThe Android 4.2 tablets comes in two flavors based on screen size, a Yoga Tablet 8 and a Yoga Tablet 10. Both feature the same resolution 1280 x 800, and both will come in 16GB and 32GB models with the ability to add more storage via MicroSD. A fairly modest 1.2GHz quad-core was chosen, probably to keep cost lower, and should play well with the lower resolution screens to keep performance snappy and battery life high. Front and rear cameras are on board, with the latter utilizing a 5MP sensor.

02 lenovo yoga tablet cylinder batteryThe Yoga tablet design hinges on the cylindrical battery bulge running lengthwise down the tablet’s screen. This allows Lenovo to include a physically larger battery than most other tablets. It also allows for a swivel kickstand to be hidden into the back plate of the Yoga. The design is refreshing, as it gives you something to hold on to. Going from holding to propping it up, you can dial in specific angles, or turn it around for “Tilt Mode” where the tablet is easiest to enter in text, and it starts to look a lot like Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

03 lenovo yoga tilt modeBest of all, it’s that bulge which allows the tablet to run for up to 18 hours. Of all the hardware specs people might care about, performance and screen resolution, none of them mean much if your tablet is out of juice. “All day and then some” run time will be a welcome spec for many consumers. A nice side benefit, you can use the Yoga to charge your phone, simply great consideration for how tablets are becoming our preferred companion devices.

Lenovo saw fit to add in front facing stereo speakers, always a nice touch for audio junkies like myself. I’ll be curious to see how they perform when I get my hands on one later. The cylinder houses the power button one end and the headphone jack on the other.

With some many manufacturers targeting “premier” experiences, it might strike some as odd that Lenovo is building their Yoga line around some fairly mid-range specs. The aggressive prices points make a lot of sense in this space however, and Yoga Tablet 8 will start at $249. Impressively, Yoga Tablet 10 will only creep up to $299.

Lenovo’s design aesthetic here strays farther away from the traditional slate than any other slab I’ve seen recently, and that might be enough to improve Lenovo’s mindshare here in the USA. You can catch Lenovo’s Yoga keynote after the jump.

04 lenovo yoga hold mode

Continue reading “Lenovo’s New Yoga Tablet Offers 18 Hour Run Time and Built in Kickstand”

NVIDIA Announces GTX780 Ti Graphics Card – Updates SHIELD Handheld Console

NVIDIA GTX780TiSome pretty fun news out of Big Green today.

NVIDIA is taking the wraps off the GTX780 Ti graphics card, which will be available starting November 7th retailing for $699. This is exciting, as early leaked benchmarks are showcasing performance which should rival their GTX TITAN, a card which retails for $1000+. Releasing the Ti variant of the 780 means we’ll see price drops on the OG 780 and the 770, now starting at $499 and $329 respectively.

NVIDIA is also running a game promo starting today. If you purchase a GTX 780 Ti/780/770 between now and November 26th you’ll also get free copies of Batman: Arkham Origins, Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, plus you’ll get $100 off a SHIELD purchase if you’ve been eyeing their mobile Android gaming console (normally retailing for $300). People looking to grab a GTX 760 or 660 will get Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, plus $50 off a SHIELD purchase.

Speaking of SHIELD, a huge update is rolling out for NVIDIA’s mighty little handheld. Alongside updating the OS to Android 4.3, SHIELD will also receive a new Console Mode. Plugging the unit into a TV, you can pair up a bluetooth controller and kick back on the couch to play your games. Not a bad feature considering you can use SHIELD as an access point to stream games from your PC to your TV.

NVIDIA released this new video showing SHIELD in action.

More info on NVIDIA’s GTX 780 Ti and the new gaming bundles.

Polaroid’s iM1836 Android Powered, Lens-Swapping Camera Now Available at Amazon and Walmart

polaroid iM1836 android micro43 camera amazonIt’s fascinating watching companies try to evolve. For traditional film photography businesses like Kodak, it meant leaving the consumer space and moving into corporate imaging. Polaroid however is taking another stab at consumers. The quick-to-print darling built their rep on delivering pics the moment they were taken. In an age of Instagram however, that novelty fades a bit.

Announced back at CES this year, the iM1836 follows in the footsteps of Samsung’s Galaxy Camera, but offers up a few fun twists. The 18MP image sensor is Micro 4/3rds which puts it on par with most entry and mid-level SLR’s, and allows for an interchangeable lens system. The “fun” and immediacy of this new outing comes from a camera body powered by Android, making it a full-fledged multimedia device. Think iPod Touch+incredible optics.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on board for connectivity, so that insta-share experience is maintained. Apps on the camera and your phone allow for instant social media participation over WiFi or your phone’s data connection.

That the iM1836 manages to hit a $299 price point is pretty remarkable, as that’s very close to high-end point and shoot camera territory for an SLR grade image sensor bolted onto an Android media player. The camera isn’t shipping yet, but Amazon can hold you a place in line. Delivery should drop just in time for the holidays.

(via Polaroid)

PSA: Plants vs Zombies 2 is now Available for Android on Google Play

WP_20131023_15_13_07_ProIt’s About Time? More like “TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH!

But I digress…

Now those of us on Galaxies, Ones, and Droids get to jump into the next chapter of Zombie yard defense. New graphics, new plants, new powers, and new zombies to defeat! Crazy Dave is back to sell you weird stuff, and a whole world of zombie slaying is open to you as you travel to various zombie outbreaks throughout history.

Get planting folks. It’s free to play, with upgrades to buy, and this week you can get the Mighty Jalapeño for 65% off.

Plants vs Zombies 2 on Google Play

Will Elon Musk Bring Android Apps to the Tesla Model S Dashboard Touchscreen?

model-s-interior1_960x640At a reception in Germany, Elon Musk spoke to a crowd about Tesla’s investment in the German market. Germany is very forward on renewable energy, alternative fuels, and they seem like a natural fit for the Tesla vibe. Especially considering that Germany was the second place market for the Tesla Roadster (behind the USA).

While answering questions about their corporate plans, Musk was asked about developing apps for the huge touchscreen built into the dash of the Tesla Sedan. The Model S currently uses a build of Linux, so porting Android apps over, or running them in an emulator, should be fairly easy to do, and he does specifically mention updating the car’s browser to chrome.

Elon actually takes the stage at 14:47 in this video, and you can skip to 37:20 to hear him answer the question about apps and Android.

I still have some ergonomic and safety reservations about an automobile control surface comprised mostly of a smooth featureless touchscreen, but at least I might not have to learn a new and unfamiliar  UI when I’m finally able to get my hands on a Tesla of my very own… Some day… It could happen… Sigh…