Tag Archives: Android

ZAGG Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard Case for Galaxy Note 8 now available

zagg bluetooth slim keyboard for Galaxy Note 8 somegadgetguyI liked the Note 8 when I got to play with it. Tablets have always been good solutions for media consumption, and they’re getting better at media creation. For writers using a Note 8, ZAGG might have just the accessory for you.

The Ultra-Slim case connects to your Note 8 with a new hinge system, turning your Note into a small Android clamshell. The case also offers full protection of the back plate of your tablet. Connecting over Bluetooth, ZAGG estimates the keyboard should last up to three months of regular use on  a single charge.

Also a nice touch, the keys are backlit, and that back lighting is customizable with seven different colors at your command. The combination of a proper keyboard and S-Pen should make the Note 8 a mini writing powerhouse.

Available today on ZAGG.com for $99.

Microsoft XBox Music coming to iOS and Android devices.

xbox music streaming online radio launch ios android browser somegadgetguyOnline music streaming radio is a really competitive arena at the moment. You’ve got Slacker, Pandora, Rdio, Spotify, Last.FM, even streaming  terrestrial radio. Recently Google entered this market with Play Music All Access, and we’re pretty confident Apple will eventually arrive with iTunes Radio. Not entirely sure what the hold up with them is, as they kind of created the online music scene, but I digress.

Microsoft certainly doesn’t want to be left out of this market and they’re jumping in now with XBox Music.

The service sounds fairly familiar if you’ve used any other online music streaming solution. Microsoft has a library of around 18 million songs, and you can listen to unlimited music either with ads or ad-free for $10 a month (or $100 a year). After the first six months with the ad supported service however, you will be capped at 10 hours of music per day.

XBox Music Pass allows you to sync your music across all of your gadgets, from your XBox, to phones, tablets, and computers. That might be the smart play here by Microsoft, their music streaming will also come in iOS and Android app flavors. They have to know a large chunk of their XBox live subscriber base probably have phones or tablets from their competitors, but still might consider using the Music app built into their game console.

There’s also  a music discovery service called Smart DJ which should function like Pandora, and an update to Windows 8 will allow users to catalog music they find on other sites like Pitchfork to listen to later in their library.

This is good timing on Microsoft’s part. Sure they’re late to this party, but as they’re trying to move forward with their phone and tablet solutions, filling out the media purchasing options for their ecosystem means customers will be more likely to shop in their stores. As we’re getting set for the release of the XBox One, Microsoft is making a compelling argument for their console to be the front end of the entire living room. Plus iOS and Android users wont be excluded.

And, I did mention they were beating Apple to the punch here right? I mean… That’s just weird…

XBox Music

Synthetic Benchmarks: HTC One Mini

htc one mini synthetic benchmarks somegadgetguy video reviewBenchmarks really can’t tell you how a phone will perform in real world situations, but they can show relative performance between devices. Android seems to be entering a phase of “efficiency”, with mid-range phones utilizing dual-core processors. Even the Moto X, which stands as a premier handset for Motorola, only uses two cores to get the job done.

Let’s take a look at how the HTC’s Mini performs in a number of synthetic benchmarks against its big brother One and an older handset running similar internals.

MyGlass updated to control Google Glass from Android phones and tablets.

myglass google glass app update somegadgetguyPretty straight forward folks. If you’re lucky enough to be rocking Glass, then you’ll want to update the MyGlass app. The update allows you to control Glass using your phone.

Apparently, controlling Glass through taps and head tilts isn’t always ideal, and now utilizing Glass’ screencast capabilities, you can spread out the Glass UI on an Android handset instead.

Plus there are “Bug Fixes”. So. You’ll probably want those too.

MyGlass on Google Play

Qualcomm Toq competes for your Smartwatch affection

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy mirasolWell Qualcomm. The one piece of advice I might give is to not announce your new smartwatch at the EXACT same time as a Samsung press event. That said, with Toq they are launching an interesting alternative to the other smartwatches we’ve seen so far.

First off the display uses Qualcomm’s Mirasol tech which reflects light around it to enhance view-ability.  Not using a traditional backlight should also reduce power consumption, a nice side effect for a gadget which should last all day and all night with you.

Unlike the Galaxy Gear, Toq will be compatible with every Android handset using 4.0.3 or higher through their Toq app in the Play store. The idea here is for sleek simplicity and at a glance functionality instead of Samsung’s approach which is almost a proper phone replacement. Toq will have simple controls for interacting with notifications and controlling apps like music playback. Plus you’ll have the ability to see caller ID to accept or reject in coming calls. No other buttons or controls. Qualcomm is keeping this set up simple.

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy bluetooth headsetsAs an optional accessory, Toq can pair with a set of truly wireless bluetooth headsets. No cable or band connecting right ear and left ear any more, these are truly wireless. They link up and are controlled through Toq for all your audio needs.

A wireless charging base comes with Toq which can also juice up the bluetooth headsets. Again, simple and clean presentation, Toq looks like any other watch in a nice stand or case even when charging. No “geeky” cables or flaps hiding USB ports. Hopefully his should mean decent water resistance.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this is one of Qualcomm’s first forays into the consumer space as its own brand. The techiest of folks might know which phones use Qualcomm internals, but few consumers probably have Qualcomm on their radar. This is a big step for a company which formerly operated in a somewhat “behind the scenes” fashion, and will likely be the beginning, the first product in a chain of future releases as they try to form relationships with consumers directly.

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy wireless charging

More info on the official Toq site, and intro video below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzTrqifCOhs&w=640&h=480]

IFA 2013: Asus shows off FonePad, MeMO Pads, and the Transformer Book T300

Asus MeMO Pad 10Asus brought an incredible line up of new gear out to Berlin for IFA, and we finally got a look at the hardware they’ve been teasing all week.

MeMO Pad was on display, their line of affordable tablets, in both eight and ten inch form factors. Both Android tablets use 1280×800 resolution screens, 1.6GHz quad-core processors, and come with 1GB of RAM. Interestingly enough the MeMO Pad 8 has a higher resolution rear camera at 5MP than the MeMO Pad 10 which only has a 2MP shooter. However, you should be mocked if you’re using tablet cameras out in public.

ASUS-Fonepad-7_02FonePad 7 is getting a refresh for 2013.  Still sporting a 7″ 1280×800 screen, this BigPhone/LilTablet hybrid aims to take a shot at devices like the Galaxy Mega. On board is a 1.6GHz Intel Atom with Hyper-Threading and 1GB of RAM. You can choose between 8GB/16GB/32GB for storage, and it will have MicroSD card support good for another 64GB. Asus touted their front facing stereo speakers, similar to those found on the HTC One, so hopefully this will rock as a speaker phone too. Asus hasn’t been known for great tablet audio in the past, so this will be a welcome improvement.

transformer book t300 (2)Moving up the food chain, Asus finally took the wraps off of the Transformer Book T300. Similar in design to their line of Android Transformers, the T300 is a full Windows 8 computer powered by an Intel Haswell Core processor with a 13.3″ screen rocking a full HD (1080p) screen. Optional SSD choices can push storage up to 256GB, and you can pick between an i3, i5, or i7 for your CPU. USB3 and Micro-HDMI are included, and all those proper computing guts are stuffed into a slate 11.5mm thin. Of course, the thing we love about Asus Transformers is the incredible keyboard dock functionality. Popping T300 onto the dock gives you a real Ultrabook experience, plus the dock houses an additional battery. Asus claims the combo should be good for 8 hours of run time. Plus the dock has magnets. Magnets are cool.

 

IFA 2013: Sony Xperia Z1 Android phone with 20.7MP camera and 5″ HD screen

xperia-Z1-hero-black-somegadgetguy smartphone androidSony has its work cut out for itself in scratching out a niche in the Android ecosystem. They’ve been releasing quality hardware, and their fan base, while small, is passionate. With the announcement of the Z1, they’re hoping to give the Galaxies and Ones a run for their (customer’s) money.

The Xperia Z1 sports a five inch 1080p “Triluminous” LCD utilizing the same color tech found in Sony’s TV lineup. Under the hood you’ll find a Qualcomm 800 quad-core CPU paired up with 2GB of RAM which should handily outperform the GS4 and HTC One. 16GB of onboard storage is lean these days, but you do have access to an SD card slot to expand. A non-removeable 3000mAh battery should perform decently, but we haven’t seen many real world battery tests of the Qualcomm 800, so the increased battery capacity might get eaten by the more powerful internals.

The camera is a huge 20.7MP job with a 27mm wide angle lens (good for group shots and landscapes) and a fast f2.0 sperture for low light sensitivity. The image sensor is the same size as those found in most point and shoot cameras. Hopefully that combo works out, as there’s no mention of image stabilization on board, and 20 blurry megapixels are no fun.  If you pull the shot off however, Sony is including software to aid in sharing to your family and friends and favorite social networks.

xperia-Z1-gallery-03-1240x840-7d3dbfe4986436b7f56e2252c3114236Also of note, while not a rugged device, it will feature enhanced water resistance like that found on the original Xperia Z. So you folks who drop your phone in fluids (I don’t want to know what you drop your phone in, please don’t tell me) will have a little extra piece of mind that your handset might actually survive a two year contract.

the Z1 will ship with Android 4.2.2 alongside Sony’s custom skin and widgets, and availability is set for “later this month” No word yet on pricing and availability, but it will come in black, white, and purple, so that’s cool.

All the rest of the details on the Sony site.

IFA 2013: Sony delivers on Cyber-Shot QX10 and QX100 bolt on Camera Lenses – UPDATED

sony qx10 white camera accessory android ios cyber-shot somegadgetguySo many different tactics to improving mobile photography. Galaxy Cameras and Nokia Lumias wow us with their photo and video quality, but often come at the expense of additional bulk. Sometimes you just want to keep your phone as slim as possible, but want the option of a good camera when you need it. That’s literally Sony’s new approach for their pair of camera attachments the QX10 and QX100.

The QX10 is a 1/2.3″ point and shoot style 18.9MP CMOS image sensor with a 10X optical zoom. Lens aperture is a little on the slow side at f3.3, but Steady Shot image stabilization is included to help with low light sensitivity and motion blur.  The QX10 is available for pre-order for $249.99.

sony qx100 camera accessory android ios cyber-shot somegadgetguyThe QX100 is a step up, and includes a 1″ 20MP CMOS sensor. That’s roughly one third the size of an APS-C SLR sensor, which is HUGE for a phone accessory. You lose out on some zoom range, only a 3.6X zoom, but you make up for it with a light absorbing f1.8 max aperture and Steady Shot. This thing should be a low light monster. Pre-order price is $499.99.

Both attachments feature NFC+WiFi pairing, a really novel solution for combining this type of hardware to compatible phones. Currently Sony’s site only shows the Xperia Z as a compatible handset, yet the footnotes claim they’re “Compatible with virtually all iOS and Android smartphones. Smartphone case or protective cover may prevent attachment”.

This is an interesting approach to product engagement. The more open it is, the more likely consumers will play with Sony gear, and hopefully we’ll see more mindshare for Sony phones moving forward.

Full spec sheets for QX100 and QX10.

UPDATE

That was fast folks! The QX10 and QX100 are both already available for pre-order on Amazon. Get shooting folks!