Archive for November, 2013

By November 3, 2013 Read More →

Android gaming round-up 03/11/13

imgresLets take a look at the latest games on the Android platform.

Trouserheart is a new hack n’ slash game has arrived onto Google Play from 10tons called Trouserheart. In this game you are not trying to save a princess who has been kidnapped, free a realm from a monster invasion or any other typical fantasy type of theme you find in a lot of hack n’ slash games. Instead you’ll be out to rescue a pair of pants that has been stolen from the king.

Trouserheart Features:

  • Meet peculiar enemies
  • Hoard treasures
  • Upgrade your sword, shield, and armor
  • Defeat 10 unique bosses
  • Gain more than dozen achievements
  • Explore exciting environments
  • Choose between two difficulty levels plus the perma death mode
Posted in: Apps & Games, Editorial
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By November 3, 2013 Read More →

What is in KitKat?

What exactly is in KitKatIt looks like the new 4.4 KitKat version is the most significant upgrade for Android in a quite some time. It includes a massive array of new features.

Here’s a quick breakdown of many of the features:

  • Now supports lower-end devices and can run on just 512MB of RAM.
  • It will now have a new launcher.
  • Translucent system UI styling.
  • Enhanced notification access.
  • Includes faster multi-tasking.
  • More advanced caller ID.
  • new white/gray color scheme and fonts.
  • There is a new sensor batching technology. This is meant to cut down on sensor power consumption by grouping and prioritizing requests. Google claims it is now 25% more accurate, and can ask back for clarification.
  • It will now have wireless printing functionality.
  • Includes support for IR Blasters natively. It is limited to sending functions only for now. It can’t learn or receive yet. This is probably just a feature that is in progress since it is mostly not very useful yet.
  • Native screen recording and can output in MP4 format.
  • Now supports Moto X-style “OK Google” voice commands. For now this only will work with the Nexus 5. Supposedly this feature is hardware dependent, although Google hasn’t shared what is required.
  • Bluetooth devices will now be able to control the system volume directly instead of having to adjust two different volumes.
  • There is a new lock screen which includes a camera shortcut. You can also rearrange your homescreen.
  • Built-in Chromecast support.
  • Chrome web view.
  • Full-screen wallpapers with preview.
  • HDR+ photography.
  • Location in Quick Settings.
  • Low-power audio playback.
  • Music and movie-seeking from lock screen.
  • The NFC payment system doesn’t require using the secure element anymore. It uses a software based emulation work around. Because of this, carriers can no longer use this as an excuse to not support Google’s NFC payment functions.

Even at that, there is more. Little tweeks and drops of oil to make things run better. Google have put together a pretty terrific package and from what I can gather, here is a list of a few device that will see 4.4 arriving:

HTC phones to get Android 4.4

  • HTC One – sometime in 90 days
  • HTC One mini – sometime in 90 days
  • HTC One max – sometime in 90 days
  • HTC One Google Play Edition – sometime in 15 days

Nexus Devices to get Android 4.4

  • Nexus 4 – “the coming weeks”
  • Nexus 7 – “the coming weeks”
  • Nexus 10 – “the coming weeks”

Samsung Devices to get Android 4.4

  • Galaxy S4 – “in due course” end of 2013 or early 2014
  • Galaxy Note 3 – “in due course” end of 2013 or early 2014

Sony Devices to get Android 4.4

  • Xperia Z
  • Xperia Z1

Others Devices to get Android 4.4

  • LG G2 – “soon”

Annoying, despite the promise that KitKat will run nicely on low end devices Google have dropped the Galaxy Nexus from the update schedule.

Posted in: News
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By November 3, 2013 Read More →

Retro Tech Addicts Pickups 03-11-13

Custom Screenshot for Pickups videoI’m back with a long overdue look at some of my recent pick ups from the days gone by.

This time there is a follow-up to a piece of kit I stumbled upon a month ago, the Amstrad NC200 is the big brother of the NC100 complete with new features and some top notice goodies included in the package.

Adding to my Gameboy  hardware collection I have picked up a couple of different generation Gameboys complete with a couple of games. And finally the jewel in the crown is another gem for the Atari Jaguar collection, a game that was not fully released at the time of the Jaguar’s demise, brace yourself!

By November 3, 2013 Read More →

Android 4.4 KitKat Easter Egg video

Android 4.4 KitKat Easter EggThere has been a long tradition of including hidden messages or features in software. These hidden messages, called Easter Eggs, have featured in each version of the popular Google Android OS and with the latest release of Android 4.4 KitKat the included Easter Egg is a pretty good one.

Accessed by entering the Settings menu and clicking repeatedly on the Android Version number we’re treated to a spinning ‘K’ and then a series of tiles with logos from each of the Android versions including KitKat.

So here’s a quick video of the Android 4.4 KitKat Easter Egg in action on the Nexus 5 for a little Sunday fun.

By November 2, 2013 Read More →

HP Chromebook 14 – A first look

HP-ChromebookRecently the market for Chromebooks has expanded massively with four new models arriving around the same time, the largest of these being the HP Chromebook 14.

Packing a number of extra features over the Chromebook 11, HP have crammed in a 14″ screen, an SD card reader and a new Intel processor with Haswell technology. On a spec sheet this is nowhere near the bleeding edge, and for a Chromebook the step up from the models that have gone before is minimal. This doesn’t seem to be the typical convention of a Chromebook.

Our HP Chromebook 14 review unit came to us without its original box so no unboxing video here this time. However, we do still take you on a tour around the hardware and show you a little of the setup and getting started elements of Chromebook.

By November 2, 2013 Read More →

Nexus 5 benchmark video

Nexus 5 benchmarkIn my Nexus 5 unboxing and hands on video yesterday, I ran a quick benchmark test on the Nexus 5 using Quadrant. As I mentioned in that video, the Nexus 5 benchmark scores seem to be a bit ‘off’ and I suspect that this is largely down to Quadrant not being updated for Android 4.4 KitKat yet, giving us some false values, although the graph seemed to be about right, the numbers were wrong.

So, further to several requests that I’ve had over the past few hours, here is the Nexus 5 running an AnTuTu benchmark. You’ll be able to see for yourself how it runs and what the final score is be watching the short video below.

The Nexus 5 is now coming along with me as my everyday phone and I’ll keep you posted on my experience with it. If you have any questions please submit them below.

By November 1, 2013 Read More →

LG Google Nexus 5 unboxing and hands-on video

LG Google Nexus 5 unboxing videoThe LG Google Nexus 5 was finally launched yesterday afternoon and went on sale here today in the UK. So far the sales have been strong and many stores have already sold out of the Nexus 5. In fact I had to try 4 different stores before I managed to find one that had stock and I got the last one they had!

So here is my Nexus 5 unboxing and hands-on video. I have to say, despite only having used it for a short time I am so far very impressed with the Nexus 5. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know how much I love my HTC One but it may be possible that the Nexus 5 could soon see itself as my everyday phone.

In the video below I’ll show you what accessories come with the Nexus 5 and have a good look around the hardware. We’ll then have a look at what’s installed and play with a couple of applications before running that customary benchmark. There’s a strange outcome there though but you’ll have to watch the video to find out!

The LG Nexus 5 has an amazing specification for the money and in terms of sheer value beats just about everything out there at the moment.

The video is a little long so I’ve cut out a few bits to be included in another video later on.

By November 1, 2013 Read More →

HTC One to get Android 4.4 KitKat within 90 days

htc_oneWith the launch of the Android 4.4 touting Nexus 5 yesterday it was just a matter of time before questions would be asked of the manufacturers of other phones as to if and when their phones would see an update to KitKat.

HTC seem to have been the first to go on the record to talk about their update plans and Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC America has been talking to the guys at Engadget. In an interview with Engadget, Mackenzie has confirmed that The Google Play version of the HTC One will see the 4.4 update within a staggering 15 days, followed by developer and unlocked versions getting the update in 30 days. All other remaining carrier variants will then have the KitKat update available within 90 days, possibly less.

I just the past week or so HTC have released Android 4.3 and Sense 5.5 to HTC One devices and I’m already enjoying this update. No definitive news on when the HTC One Mini and HTC One Max will receive further updates and be taken to 4.4 but it certainly seems that HTC are going to take a more aggressive stance to updates going forward and I for one find this very reassuring.

At the moment there’s nothing official from HTC as to when the Global updates will be made available, but I would expect to see these also on an accelerated time-scale.

Posted in: News, Phones
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By November 1, 2013 Read More →

How Fiber Optics are Reinventing the Internet and Communications Industry

Fiber optic cableFiber optic Internet was the biggest news on the market just a few years ago. Today, news about wireless Internet has overshadowed that of fiber optics, though people may not realize fiber technology continues to progress by leaps and bounds. What new types of technology have made fiber optics a better way to get connected?

Military-Grade Sensors

Optical fiber can transmit light over distances, but any light coming through the fiber becomes filtered by the glass surrounding it. New fiber optic designs take away this limitation by channeling light through air rather than the glass, resulting in much more sensitive projections. This type of light control has not gone unnoticed by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, who has launched a program to provide fiber optic light-intensive cables for sensors and navigational tools. Light can take three separate paths in these cables, for better bandwidth over distances, while achieving a higher speed than standard fiber cable.

Aircraft Control

The announcement that TeraXion and CMC electronics are partnering to create new fiber optic transceivers may have a major impact in the Internet industry. These two leaders in the communications business look to take fiber optic to a new level by combining high volume components for high-reliability avionics equipment. These two companies hope to shorten their development cycle and develop better performing products for civil and commercial aviation communication, helping to pilot aircraft through dangerous weather and conditions.

Cleanliness Is Next To…

One of the largest breakthroughs in the fiber optic market hasn’t involved the technology’s speed or reliability at all. Instead, a new breakthrough allows for superior cleaning of existing fibers. Linden Photonics announced a new cleaning material, Lindex, that allows for eliminating contamination like grease and dust that clogs up systems. Photonics has claimed that Lindex may be as revolutionary for cleaning electronics as the invention of the Q-Tip, capable of picking up dust 50 times better than a Q-Tip.

Oceanfront Views

Though millions of miles of cable stretch back and forth across the world’s oceans, only a few companies have developed more water-friendly fiber cables. One of them, South Bay Cable Corporation, has managed to produce fiber optic cables that can do everything in a wet environment, including surviving up to ten thousand pounds of pressure. This will allow for more efficient coast-to-coast communication, as well as on ship-to-ship broadcasts where no other signal can be found.

Developing Markets

Though the monthly fees of wireless Internet scale above that of fiber optics, the difficulty in setting up fiber optic networks comes in the cost of laying the actual infrastructure. Corning Inc. released a study suggesting it may take $50 to $100 billion in costs to bring fiber optic Internet to every American. Americans hoping to get access to faster speeds should check the FiOS availability in their region to determine which provider works best for them. Since fiber optics represent the fastest and most reliable Internet connection, anyone subscribing to standard cable or Wi-Fi will find themselves paying more for less when fiber optics are available in their market.

Posted in: Editorial
By November 1, 2013 Read More →

Next-gen Google Glass teased

Google-Glass-next-gen-previewGoogle decided to show off the next-gen version of their Google Glass hardware. They previewed the image to the right on the Google Glass Google+ page. As you can see they would rather “show” than “tell.” The only real difference which is immediately noticeable is that it now has a mono earbud. We aren’t sure if this means they had to give up on the skull-vibrating setup in the previous version, of if this is just an additional option.

Google also claimed they have improved the hardware, without getting into specifics. This post also serves as a reminder to Google Glass Explorers that they will be able to “trade-up” later in the year when this next-gen version is released. The only other detail that we can share is the new Google Glass will support prescription frames. Also, if you are already Google Glass Explorer, later this year you will be able to invite up to three friends to get a Google Glass.

Posted in: Gadgets, News
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