Archive for November, 2013

By November 18, 2013 Read More →

How many are still using BBM for Android and iOS?

bbmiconAfter the initial surge of downloads of BBM, apparently hitting 10 million downloads within the first 24 hours after launch, how many are still using it almost 4 weeks later?

We’ve already seen the BBM app drop in the iTunes and Play Store charts and at the time of writing it’s well outside of the top 50. Was the initial surge something of curiosity or nostalgia among those users that used to have BlackBerry’s and have now migrated to other devices/platforms?

Many users that I know and support did indeed download and try BBM on their iPhone’s and Android smartphones but have since abandoned BBM again in favour of iMessage, Hangouts and WhatsApp, where they already have their contacts set up.

Looking at the latest download charts for the week, we can see that WhatsApp downloads, for example, are back to being ahead of BBM once again.

Personally, I was one of the 10 million to download BBM within the first 24 hours. I like the BBM interface and it works well but the fact remains that only a handful of my contacts (5) are using BBM vs a hundred or so on iMessage and Hangouts, for example. I’m sure I cant be the only person with this experience…

Not that I was expecting an answer, but I emailed BlackBerry to ask what the user retention of BBM has been. I have not yet received a response.

So what’s the consensus? Are you an iOS or Android user and are you using BBM?

By November 18, 2013 Read More →

YotaPhone incoming

yotaphone,4-K-409700-22A phone is coming from Russian company Yota Devices. Though its tech specs are not all that special, the YotaPhone is special in that it has a display on both the front and back of the device. The rear-facing panel is a 4.3-inch 360 x 640 EPD 16 grayscale e-ink display with a capacitive touch area underneath the display. On the front, you have a more traditional 4.3-inch 720 x 1280 capacitive multitouch LCD. The rear display functions as a notification screen and displays other information such as the time and date. It’s always on, even if your battery is dead.

YotaPhone is based on a dual-core 1.7 GHz CPU and 2 GB of RAM and features 32 GB of storage, support for WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS, a 13-megapixel camera in the back, a 1-megapixel camera in the front, and an 1800 mAh battery. It runs on Android Jelly Bean v4.2.2. No word on pricing just yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

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By November 18, 2013 Read More →

Android gaming update 18-11-13

king-of-fighters-97-android-game-1Here is a look at what’s new in the Play store this week for your gaming needs. Quite a diverse collection with a couple that might be destined to be classics.

King of Fighters ’97 is the second time the classic fighting franchise from the beloved NeoGeo has appeared on Android. has players picking their favorite team of characters including some hidden ones and battling it out with other teams. Depending on the team you finish the game with, you’ll get a different ending each time so there is plenty of replay value in just that fact alone. While the game does feature all of the original content from the original game, there are also a few new additions as well which SNK Playmore likes to do with all their mobile releases.

Features:

  • 35 playable characters: Play as SNK’s iconic fighters such as Kyo Kusanagi and Terry Bogard, and try to master the infamous “New Face Team” or the “KOF ’97 Special Team”! The NEO GEO version’s hidden characters are now available directly on the character select screen so you can easily crush your opponent using Orochi Iori or Orochi Leona! Experience for the first time in the series the “Affinity System”, and to select the members of your team according to their affinity, and enjoy their pre-match interactions!
  • 2 modes to improve the game’s depth: KOF ’97 uses 2 differents gameplay modes: EXTRA and ADVANCED! Master the system that fits you the best and burn your rivals down!
    ADVANCED MODE: Various jumps for different ways to bring the pain to your enemy! A must if you think offense is the best defense. You can stock your Power gauges to enter in MAX mode or to unleash deadly Desperation Moves. Depending on your characters’ affinity, get extra Power gauges even after losing a round!
    EXTRA MODE: Use the Evade move wisely as you are being rushed and send your opponent flying. Fill your Power gauge to automatically enter Power Max mode for a set amount of time. As you are close to exhaustion, your health bar will turn red and blink, then you will be able to unleash your Desperation Moves to your heart’s content, as long as you are the last one standing!
  • A NEOGEO Perfect Port with added features: You have the possibility to play the game as it was intended back in the days with 4 buttons, or you can enjoy the new control scheme using the 6 buttons settings and the simplified special move with the help of the SP button!
  • Fight against your friends through Bluetooth Multiplayer mode

King of Fighters ’97 is available from Google Play for £2.49

Posted in: Apps & Games
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By November 17, 2013 Read More →

ASUS to release its first Chromebooks in early 2014

Asus chromeboxIn a conference call to investors, Asustek CEO Jerry Shen announced that two new Chromebook products will ship worldwide towards the end of Q1 (spanning January through March) next year. Rumours and industry reports have long hinted that the Taiwanese PC maker would expand into more computing areas, such as Chromebooks and smartphones, as a way to offset a sharp decline in its traditional Windows-based PC business.

According to The Taipei Times, the company’s first set of Chromebooks will consist of a 11.6″ model priced at US$199 and a larger 13.3″ version set to retail for US$249. Recently developers have unearthed mysterious Tegra 4 and Baytrail-powered device references buried deep within the Chromium code. Could these be linked?

There was no mention of the Asus Chromebox that had some interest earlier this year. Perhaps, if Asus manage some success with their Chromebook we will see more happening.

Posted in: Laptops, News
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By November 17, 2013 Read More →

Touchscreen Chromebook from Acer

Touchscreen Chromebook from AcerEarly speculation was that a touchscreen version of the company’s Chromebook C720 range was on the way. Recently, Amazon France listed the anticipated device in their listings. Before it gets pulled, those qui pouvait parler un peu français can see some specs here.

This is the first entry-level Chromebook to feature a touchscreen, with Google’s developer-orientated premium-grade Chromebook Pixel having the honour of being the first and only Chromebook to feature touch capabilities to date.

Two major differences from both the $199 C720-2848 and fractionally more expensive C720 are listed:

Touchscreen Chromebook from Acer specification

  • 11.6″ Touchscreen (1366 x 768)
  • 32GB SSD
  • Intel Celeron Haswell CPU @ 1.4Ghz
  • 8.5 Hour Battery Life
  • 0.75″ thick case weighing 2.76Ibs
  • Wifi, HDMI Out, USB 3.0 and 2.0 Ports
  • 100GB of Free Google Drive Storage

Amazon France have the laptop priced at €299 (roughly £250 or $400).

Posted in: Laptops, News
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By November 17, 2013 Read More →

Bluenio Nio Tag review

Photo 16-11-2013 04 24 35 pmThe Nio Tag from Bluenio is a Bluetooth Low Energy device that pairs with an iPhone (4S, 5 or 5 S) or iPad (Mini, 3, 4, Air or Retina Mini) to create what the company calls a wireless chain to protect your smartphone or tablet.

What’s in the box?

  • 1 x Bluenio Nio Tag
  • 1 x Micro USB adapter
  • 3 x Lanyards to attach to the Nio Tag

The Nio Tag can be used in one of two ways, either to carry the tag itself in your pocket to alert you  if your phone get left behind or taken or the tag can be placed on any item of clothing, luggage or any other item that you don’t want to leave behind or have taken. The company’s website even suggests that this could be your child or pet.

The pairing process is quick and easy and all takes place through the requires app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. An Android version is also supposed to be available but it is not showing on Google Play for me. This may be because the number of Android devices with Bluetooth Low Energy is still very limited and Android 4.3 as a minimum is also required.

The distance that the tag and smartphone can be separated by before the alarm will sound can be configured within the app or if you really want to make sure that nothing goes missing it can be set to a movement alarm so that any movement of either device will trigger trigger the alarm.

A final function of the tag is a small button on the side next to the power switch which will activate the alarm on the connected smartphone so that you can locate it. This can be quite useful in a number if scenarios for example, you may have young child who likes to hide things.

The packaging of the tag says that it will last for 3 months on a full charge and my own experience of Bluetooth LE devices shows that they have very little effect on the battery life of the smartphone that they are connected to.

The App has a number of in app purchases that are available priced at £0.69 each that may be useful to some but the Bluenio Nio Tag works quite well straight out of the box

The Nio Tag is available from www.bluenio.com and is priced at £34.99 for the white as reviewed here and a black version is available for pre-order for the same price.

Posted in: Gadgets, Phones, Reviews
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By November 16, 2013 Read More →

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review and unboxing

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 reviewLenovo have several Android tablets on the market at the moment and we recently looked at the IdeaTab A3000.

A couple of weeks ago Lenovo announced two new Android tablets to join their lineup, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10. The two tablets are identical aside from the size with 8 and 10-inch displays respectively. Ours will be a Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review.

These new Yoga tablets are a little different to the normal slab-style device that everyone else is bringing out at the moment and clearly some thought has gone in to the design. The most striking thing about them is the large bulge on the bottom of an otherwise slim form tablet. That bulge houses a large 9000mAh battery and also neatly hides a kick-stand that allows the tablet to either stand virtually upright or, if you lay it down, angle the screen towards the user at a convenient desk-viewing angle.

Both the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 have a premium aluminium construction that makes then feel far more sturdy than many of the all-plastic alternatives out there and Lenovo have managed to achieve this without the tablet looking or feeling too industrial.

Check out the unboxing video below to see the design and that unique stand in a little more detail.

Her’s just a short Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review for now. I wanted to get my initial impressions up alongside the video before I go in to a lot more detail later.

Lenovo say that the Yoga 10 is capable of up to 18 hours of web browsing on just one charge. While I’m not about to sit here and browse the web for 18 hours straight, I can tell you that the battery life seems to be really very good. Out of the box the Yoga had around 40% charge and I’ve been using it all day for the video and putting the review together and it’s still going strong.

Another good thing with the Yoga 10 is that there’s a pair of speakers for stereo audio playback. The speakers are sensibly placed to face forward when you are in landscape mode, ideal for watching video. The speakers may not be that large and certainly there’s not much low-end but in terms of sheer volume it does rather well. There’s also Dolby Digital Plus built in to help the audio along a bit.

Screen-wise the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 is OK. It’s not going to win any prizes but there are worse screens out there. 1280 x 800 pixels isn’t exactly watch you’d call dense these days but that said it’s a bright IPS display that’s pretty clear.

My final word for now is going to be on performance. Once again the 1.2GHz quad-core A7 chip isn’t exactly going to break any speed records but as you may be able to gather from the benchmark in the video, the Yoga 10 doesn’t disgrace itself either. In real-world use it’s fairly responsive and for the tasks I’d be performing regularly, such as web browsing, Hangouts and the like it does just fine and in terms of the few games I play on Android, it runs those without a hitch.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review image gallery

 Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review specification:

  • 2G Network: GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 900 / 2100
  • Micro-SIM
  • Dimensions: 261 x 180 x 8.1 mm (10.28 x 7.09 x 0.32 in)
  • Weight: 605 g (Wi-Fi) / 610 g (3G) (1.34 lb)
  • Built-in 3-stage kickstand
  • Display: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 1280 x 800 pixels, 10.1 inches (~149 ppi pixel density)
  • Sound Alert types Vibration, Polyphonic, MP3 ringtones
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Dolby Digital Plus sound enhancement
  • Memory Card slot microSD, up to 64 GB
  • Internal 16/32 GB
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth  v4.0
  • microUSB v2.0, USB On-the-go
  • Primary Camera: 5 MP, 2592х1936 pixels
  • Secondary Camera: 1.6 MP
  • OS: Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
  • Accelerometer
  • Compass
  • GPS with A-GPS support
  • Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 9000 mAh battery
By November 16, 2013 Read More →

HP withdraws HP Chromebook 11 amid safety concerns

hp_chromebook_11The online stores of Amazon, Best Buy, Google and HP are no longer listing the HP Chromebook 11 as available for sale. The former pair have also removed all information about the device from their websites. In addition to halting online sales, Best Buy has also gone a step further by issuing a Memo to its retail store managers instructing them to “stop selling” the device “effective immediately”. The issue appears to be  that the charger overheats. Customers are being advise they  “should not use the original charger provided…”

HP  and Google are recommending HP Chromebook 11 owners to not use the charger provided with their devices. Luckily for those who have already purchased on they can use the micro-USB for charging, owners should at least have plenty of phone chargers around to keep their Chromebooks chugging along safely.

Posted in: Laptops
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By November 16, 2013 Read More →

3 Ways to Make Your Flat Screen TV a Smart TV – on a Budget

Smart TVThe jump from flat-screen TV to Smart TV doesn’t have to be a big one – and you don’t have to bust your budget to get it done.

Mine’s a modest 22-inch Samsung, but I’ve managed to transform it into a smart TV. I had to. So underwhelmed with regular television – and so enamored with everything else to see on a big screen (movies, video clips, the Internet) – I was determined to make my lounge-chair time even better.

My TV wasn’t going to get into Harvard before I began to tinker, let’s just say that.

Here’s what I tried to plug into it to boost the IQ of my big screen.

 

1.     Personal Computer Free, if you have the PC already

That PC you still have around? Put it to work with your TV. My Samsung has a VGA entry port that can connect to my TV. I had to buy the right cord for the job. My PC is still pretty fast, so I’m able to watch movies and let the kids play video games when it’s connected to the TV.

The power bill’s a bit of a problem, though.

How smart?: This would work better with a Macbook Air or some such device out of my price range.

 

2.     Google Chromecast $35

Chromecast dongle

A dumb TV is a smart TV just waiting to happen. Chromecast, a dongle that lets you stream media, can also show anything open in a Google Chrome browser. Google’s app-to-TV dongle supports six apps overall, including Google Play Movies &TV; Google Play Music; Hulu Plus; Netflix; Pandora; and YouTube.

 With Google’s support, Chromecast has the potential for more apps and features by name alone.

How smart?: The price is about a third of that of similar products such as Apple TV, Plair or Roku. I’d say that’s pretty smart.

 

3.     Xbox $250 (Xbox 360 console with Kinect)

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All you need is the SmartGlass app (if you have the Xbox and an Android, iOS or Windows smartphone.) Your enabled device becomes a second screen, allowing you to watch movies and browse the web.

Get relevant immersive details while you watch a game, movie or TV show. You’ll need an Xbox Live membership to download a lot of apps, such as HBOGO and Netflix.

How smart?: The app’s amazing – and can provide real-time strategy while you play online games.

 

In our case, we had the PC and Xbox, which wiped out the need for a trip to the store. The Xbox by far provided the best option for everyone involved, but Google Chromecast holds the best potential. Both Chromecast and Xbox worked best when we upgraded to fiber-optic Internet.

Dropping $1,000 on a smart TV is just not very smart.

By November 15, 2013 Read More →

Samsung thinks size matters

12-point-2-inch-gnote-tab-fccWe have mentioned this device before, however a new 12.2-Inch Samsung Galaxy Note tablet is likely coming this holiday season. A new FCC filing confirms the existence of the device. This one is a 3G capable model with 850/1900MHz frequencies and a Samsung SM-P901 model name. 

So far, the rumored specs of this device suggest a robust and powerful feature-set:

  • 2560 x 1600 pixel display
  • Quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 8MP camera on the back
  • 2MP cam in front
  • 32GB of storage
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

A top notch tablet also useful for beating off intruders or jungle animals.

Posted in: News, Tablets
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