Archive for November 22nd, 2013

By November 22, 2013 Read More →

Nexus 5 Camera Fix

Nexus 5 Camera FixPossibly one of the most disappointing things about the otherwise-excellent Nexus 5, apart from the battery life, is the camera. Whilst it may be 8 megapixels and offer an optical image stabilizer,  the image quality still leaves much to be desired. This is a real shame when pitched against excellent cameras in the Xperia Z1, Nokia 1020 and the HTC One.

Many other reviewers are calling the Nexus 5 camera ‘terrible’ or ‘awful’ but personally I don’t think it’s quite as dire as others are making out but certainly think that it really lets the Nexus 5 down.

Nexus 5 Camera Fix

There is potentially good news for Nexus 5 owners. Thanks to one of the developers over on on the xda-developers forum, Jishnu Sir,has been working on a Nexus 5 Camera fix and has released a camera patch which is said to improve the camera quality in a number of key ways:

  • Sound Recording now in Stereo with the secondary Mic.
  • Faster Focusing for the camera.
  • Front Camera also records 720P [email protected] 20 Mb/s.
  • Front camera Audio [email protected] 192000 Kb/s.
  • AntiBanding default set to 50Hz
  • Focus Range Adjusted.
  • Enhanced Smooth Zoom.
  • Turned Edge Enhancement ON.

So that’s definitely good news. However, if you want to apply the Nexus 5 Camera Fix package you’ll have to have a Nexus 5 with an unlocked bootloader in order to install it. This will certainly deter many a Nexus 5 owner.

However, what it does point to, is that the Nexus 5 camera can be improved with a software patch and reveals that the camera hardware, optics, sensor etc. are actually quite good.

So there are now calls for an official update to be released for the Nexus 5 to address the issues about and, hopefully go even further with help from the manufacturers and development team.

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By November 22, 2013 Read More →

Carriers rejecting plan to add smartphone kill switch

PhoneFireBack in June, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an initiative called Secure Our Smartphones, with a coalition of consumer advocates, police, prosecutors including other officials in an effort to put pressure on smartphone makers to bring a halt to smartphone theft. One of the goals was the introduction of an industry-wide “kill switch” that would allow consumers to remotely render a stolen smartphone worthless.

Now five months later, the New York Times reports that wireless carriers State side are not keen with the idea. Gascón was reportedly working on a deal with Samsung Electronics to include anti-theft software with its phones in the United States, that would have undoubtedly rolled out worldwide soon after. Unfortunately, this software requires approval from the wireless carriers that service the phones: in this case, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint. All four rejected the idea a kill switch. Described as “unwilling Gascón reportedly viewed emails that took place between a Samsung executive and a software developer that revealed the four carriers’ reluctance to allow the software. The emails suggested that all four were more concerned about the profits made through insurance programs that are purchased to cover lost or stolen phones.

“Corporate profits cannot be allowed to guide decisions that have life-or-death consequences,” Gascón said. “This solution has the potential to safeguard Samsung customers, but these emails suggest the carriers rejected it so they can continue to make money hand over fist on insurance premiums.”

Instead of worrying about money the Carriers could have pointed out that there is room for abuse for such a step, say the kill switch is installed and a hacker gains control of the phone. They could disable the device and lock owners out. Or in the case of police evidence could be destroyed remotely from confiscated devices.

In the case of Apple’s Activation Lock, that’s not entirely true: the customer can disable the phone if it’s been lost, and then reactivate it with the correct username and password if found. For Android Device Manager, users can remotely lock their smartphone or tablet with a new password, or remotely reset the device to the original factory settings. The latter doesn’t stop thieves from selling the device on a secondary market, but at least the user data is mostly erased.

Gascón is reportedly evaluation what action can be taken against the carriers refusing to cooperate with the kill switch initiative.

“We have repeatedly requested that the carriers take steps to protect their customers. We are now evaluating what course of action will be necessary to force them to prioritize the safety of their customers over additional money in their pockets,” he said.

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By November 22, 2013 Read More →

Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 cheap goodness

nvidia-tegra-note-7If you were looking to pick up one of the best values in an Android tablet in time for Christmas, then you probably want to check out the Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 is the first (and currently only) Tegra 4 powered Android tablet available. At a price of just £179.99 over at PC World and Currys, the power and features of this little tablet might surprise you.

Here’s a recap of the Advent Vega Tegra Note 7:

  • NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 SoC, (This is the same ultra-fast processor and GPU combo found in the NVIDIA Shield)
  • 7-Inch IPS 720p Display
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB of storage
  • MicroSD card slot
  • 5MP rear camera
  • 1.3MP front-facing cam
  • Android 4.2.2 at launch
  • An integrated stylus
  • Dual front-facing speakers
  • MicroHDMI port

While the amount of RAM is a bit low, and the display isn’t true HD like many of the newer tabs, the graphics prowess of the Tegra 4 could rival some desktop PCs. This tab is obviously built with gamers in mind, but at this price point it should attract more than just gamers.

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By November 22, 2013 Read More →

The Toshiba Excite 7 announced

Toshiba Excite 7The Toshiba Excite 7 was officially announced yesterday. It boasts a quad-core processor, a microSD slot and more for only $169.99 (105). Here’s a breakdown of specs and features:

Toshiba Excite 7 specs:

  • 7-inch 1024 x 600 Display
  • Quad-core processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 0.3MP front facing camera
  • 3MP rear camera
  • Android 4.2.2 runs the show
  • Enhanced stereo speakers
  • 12 hours of general use / 7.5 hours of video playback
  • microSD support

The specs are rather mediocre, although the microSD slot and Quad-Core CPU is appreciated. At this price point there are certainly better options however with the name Toshiba you know you will be getting a good quality device.

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