Archive for June, 2014

By June 23, 2014 Read More →

ZTE announce a couple of new phones on Virgin

image002ZTE and Virgin Media announced the release of the stylish ZTE Blade L2 and ultra-affordable ZTE Kis 3 in the UK. The ZTE Blade L2 is now available to purchase in store and online from both Virgin Media and Argos for £89.99* PAYG, with the ZTE Kis 3 available for just £49.99* PAYG.

The ZTE Blade L2 is the latest smartphone to come from the popular Blade series, featuring an elegant design, 5’’ touch screen and slim 8.9mm white exterior frame. Also on offer, is the ultra-affordable Kis 3, designed to be the perfect entry-level smartphone at a great price. 

 

ZTE Blade L2 specifications:

  • Operating system: Android 4.2
  • Size and weight: 142.5×72.2×8.95mm
  • Display: 5.0”FWVGA (480x854Pixel)
  • Camera: 5 megapixel camera with AF/ LED Flash, 0.3 megapixel front camera
  • Network: GSM/UMTS, GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz, WCDMA 900/2100 MHz
  • Battery: 2000 mAh
  • Processor: 1.3 GHz Quad-Core processor
  • Memory: 1GB RAM, 4GB ROM
  • Other: GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Dual SIM

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ZTE Kis 3 specifications:

  • Operating system: Android 4.4
  • Size and weight: 126×64.7×10.7mm
  • Display: 4.0”WVGA (480x800Pixel)
  • Camera: 3 megapixel camera
  • Network: GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz | WCDMA 900/2100 MHz
  • Battery: 1400 mAh
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Dual Core
  • Memory: 512MB LPDDR2/3 + 4GB eMMC | MicroSD (Up to 32GB)
  • Other: GPS with AGPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Dual SIM

 

ZTE and Virgin Media launch the Blade L2 and Kis 3 in the UK

20 June 2014, Brentford, UK – ZTE and Virgin Media today announced the release of the stylish ZTE Blade L2 and ultra-affordable ZTE Kis 3 in the UK. The ZTE Blade L2 is now available to purchase in store and online from both Virgin Media and Argos for £89.99* PAYG, with the ZTE Kis 3 available for just £49.99* PAYG.
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The ZTE Blade L2 is the latest smartphone to come from the popular Blade series, featuring an elegant design, 5’’ touch screen and slim 8.9mm white exterior frame. With a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 5MP camera which includes multiple settings from continuous shot, panorama and anti-flickering to a multi-angle view that can easily be turned into 3D animation, the ZTE Blade L2 has plenty to offer in both style and performance at an affordable price point.
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The ultra-affordable Kis 3, is designed to be the perfect entry-level smartphone. The ZTE Kis 3 features the latest Android 4.4 KitKat OS a powerful dual core 1.2GHz processor as well as 512MB RAM to provide smooth multi-tasking and app usage. The 10.7mm thin body and large bright 4” screen makes it easy and enjoyable to browse the latest news, watch videos and view photos.

Chris Edwards, Marketing and Business Development Director at ZTE said, “It is our mission to make smartphone technology accessible to everyone and the introduction of the Blade L2 and Kis 3 is no exception. The Blade & Kis series have been extremely popular with Virgin customers and it’s great that Virgin and Argos will be adding to its portfolio with two new ZTE smartphones.”

Jamie Heywood, director of mobile at Virgin Media added, “Both of these handsets pack a real punch for their price point. The Blade L2 offers elegance with a solid design while the Kis 3 will allow customers to get their hands on the latest Android handsets at a fraction of the price.”

The ZTE Blade L2 can be purchased in store and online from Virgin Media and Argos today for £89.99* PAYG including £10 top up. The ZTE Kis 3 can also be purchased from Virgin Media and Argos for just £49.99* PAYG, including £10 top up.

*includes a compulsory £10 top-up

Posted in: News, Phones
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By June 22, 2014 Read More →

The HTC Volantis nine-inch Nexus tablet

HTC-VolantisA new leak is revealing specs and early mock-ups of a new nine-inch tablet from HTC, codenamed “Volantis”. Android Police has revealed that pricing won’t be as harsh as it could, with a rumored cost of $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 32GB model. HTC and Google are said to be aiming for a Q4 2014 release to correspond with the launch of Android L, the next Android overhaul.

HTC Volantis Specification:

  • 8.9″ Display at 2048×1440 (281ppi)
  • NVIDIA Logan 64-bit processor (Tegra K1)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/32GB internal storage
  • 8MP OIS main camera, 3MP front facing camera
  • Aluminum zero-gap construction
  • Stereo front-facing speakers
  • 8.91″x5.98″x0.31″ body (that’s 22.63×15.19×0.79cm)
  • 418g (or 427g with LTE) (that’s 14.74/15.1 ounces)
Posted in: News, Rumours, Tablets
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By June 19, 2014 Read More →

The Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon-Fire-Phone-Music-LibraryAmazon on Wednesday finally took the wraps off of one of the worst kept secrets in the industry: the Fire Phone. The new handset is powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and it features a 4.7-inch 720p HD display that Amazon claims is bright enough to be visible in outdoor lighting. Also contains 2GB of RAM, dual stereo speakers, a 13-megapixel rear camera and front-facing camera for video chats.

The phone includes unlimited cloud-based photo storage, a handy addition given that the handset features six individual camera modules in total. Four of the camera modules are low-power units that track the user’s head in order to help facilitate 3D effects and motion gestures that make up the main features of Amazon’s software. For example, deep integration with Amazon’s various Prime services, including its video service and the newly unveiled Amazon Music offering. 

Another key feature is Firefly, this uses the camera to scan barcodes on products and pull them up in Amazon’s store. Firefly can also listen to music or TV shows using technology similar to Shazam to recognize them and pull them up in Amazon’s digital shop, right down to a specific episode of a TV show as demonstrated. There is a dedicated Firefly button that pulls the feature up in one second, according to Amazon.

Phone numbers and email addresses are recognized by Firefly as well. Once they are, they can be added to a new contact or used to initiate a call or email. A Mayday service, which provides a direct line of communication to Amazon’s customer support team via video chat. Reps can help users diagnose and resolve any issues, and they can also take control of the phone to help, if need be.

The Amazon Fire Phone will start at $199.99 on contract with 32GB of storage, and a 64GB version will be available for $299.99. Off contract, the phone will be priced in line with the iPhone, starting at $650. With any purchase option, the phone includes 12 months of Amazon Prime service for free.

As you have guessed there is little in the way of UK launch details, I’m sure Christmas will be a perfect time…

 

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Posted in: News, Phones
By June 19, 2014 Read More →

Apple and Samsung call it quits

urlAn anti-climactic end to a bitter battle, but is also a relief. Samsung and Apple have finally tired of the “Thermonuclear” patent war. Apparently, the two companies want to drop the fight because they still want access to each other’s business. Here’s a quote with more of the details,

Tired of spending money on legal disputes, both tech giants are looking for ways to end their years of legal wrangling. In addition, Apple apparently wants to continue to have access to Samsung as a component supplier.

Both Apple and Samsung are said to have dropped all cross-appeals filed with the ITC last year. The agency ruled in 2013 that Samsung had infringed on a pair of Apple’s patents relating to a touchscreen interface and headset plug detection. Since Sammy’s devices banned by the ITC are older models that are no longer manufactured, and newer devices are shipped with a workaround, the ITC suits are not as important to Apple as they once seemed to be.

Posted in: News
By June 19, 2014 Read More →

New news on Youtube is good and bad

unnamedThere are two YouTube related stories happening at the moment. First up, the YouTube arm of Google will be launching a paid music streaming service by the end of this summer. Supposedly, YouTube partnered with “hundreds of major and independent” music labels for the new service. YouTube reps supposedly said, 

“We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind – to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year,”

As you can expect, not all the music labels are too happy about this though as there is a darker side to this idea. Supposedly, Google plans to block the YouTube content of record labels who don’t get on board with Google’s new program. Here’s a quote with a few more details,

The news comes as some music trade groups have criticized YouTube’s plans to potentially block the content of certain labels from appearing on YouTube’s free, ad-supported Website unless they sign deals to participate in the new, subscription streaming music service. The deals that YouTube is offering are on “highly unfavorable, and non-negotiable terms,” according to a news release issued by the Worldwide Independent Music Industry Network last month. Reuters

It will be interesting to see how this pans out. It doesn’t seem very Googley of Google to be strong-arming the music industry just to get their way, but they have done it before. Of course, it’s also possible this report’s sources are inaccurate, so we will keep an eye out.

Speaking of keeping an eye out, the second big YouTube story of the day regards the use of YouTube live streaming on the Chromecast. Previously, being able to live stream content to your Chromecast only worked from your computer. Google has added some new functionality to the device though. Google updated the Chromecast so now you can push live events from YouTube straight to the TV screen via Chromecast on your mobile device. Handy!

Posted in: News
By June 18, 2014 Read More →

Atari Has A Comeback Strategy

160px-Atari_Official_2012_Logo.svg_-e1397609649369One of the world’s most recognized publishers and producers of video game entertainment, Atari, today unveiled its new corporate strategy as an interactive entertainment production company. Atari’s approach to succeed in the digital age of entertainment includes online video games, online casinos, exclusive video content, and a robust licensing business including hardware and apparel.
 
Decades ago, Atari set the bar for console gaming entertainment, known by many as the gaming pioneer who brought popular titles like Pong® and Asteroids® to households across the globe. For success in a digital era, the world-renowned company is expanding its business and brands to mobile and online gaming platforms as well as completely new entertainment markets.
 
“Atari is more than a game publishing company; it’s an iconic brand that has established a passionate and timeless culture,” said Fred Chesnais, Chief Executive Officer, Atari, Inc. “Known across multiple generations around the world, Atari will continue to embrace all audiences. What the company has accomplished over the years is no small feat, but there is more to come. We’re looking forward to delivering on our new strategy and engaging with our audience in new ways across multiple channels as the next era of Atari unfolds. We are leading a rebuilding exercise in a highly volatile industry, so at the same time we are also aware of the challenges that lay ahead.”
 
As an interactive entertainment production company, Atari is extending its classic gaming brands to various platforms including mobile (iOS and Android), PC, online and other digital mediums. Beyond re-launching its nostalgic gaming titles, the company will aim at capitalizing on other rapidly growing markets and reaching out to new audiences – including LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube with exclusive video content. Atari will also continue its hardware licensing line of business, particularly for gamified hardware and wearable devices, with the goal of operating the most promising ventures at a later stage.
 
Within its new approach, Atari has made significant strides in 2014 alone. In the gaming arena, Atari has re-introduced the beloved franchise RollerCoaster Tycoon® with RollerCoaster Tycoon® 4 Mobile™ (currently in the Top 25 of the App Store in the United States and in the Top 10 in many countries) which will be followed by an Android version and a multiplayer game for PC in winter 2014. The company also launched Haunted House® on mobile devices, and released a new multiplayer online battle arena and crafting game, Minimum. The company has plans to deliver other popular classics, such as Asteroids®, on mobile and digital platforms in coming months. In the online casino industry, Atari recently announced a real-money gambling partnership with Pariplay and social casino (virtual currency) partnership with FlowPlay. Atari will make additional announcements across the LGBT, YouTube/TV and hardware licensing industries in the coming quarters.

By June 17, 2014 Read More →

Top tips for great travel gadgets and software

P1010247The summer is upon us and it’s time to start planning those family adventures, solo expeditions to find one’s self or a party in the tropics. Many hope to get away from it all and that includes the gadgets and gizmos they feel control their lives. Whatever your itinerary tech is also there to help, facilitate and entertain you on your journey.

The load out: 

We all must suffer the burden of not being able to take it all with us so we need our carry on to keep as much to hand as possible. These days mobile phones are packing an awful lot of neat features to reduce clutter.

Many will rely on their iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One (M8) to take the burden of many tasks and rightfully so. We are now entering a time when the inbuilt features rival many of the products we have come to rely on in the past. 

A Camera – The LG G3, HTC One (m8) and iPhone 5S all pack superior shooters for most environments. Our pal and site editor Matt recently relied exclusively on the HTC One to document a trip to Disneyland. However, we are gadget lovers at heart and something like the Sony AX100X 4K Camcorder with 1.0 Type Exmor R CMOS Sensor would really pop when capturing those moments of your kids bungee jumping or some totty on the beach.

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A Computer – Internet cafes are a thing of the past, shoddy hotel wifi is now all the rage. Your phone will likely be dead after a full day and you are going to want something to send evidence of your escapades back for your Gran to see. For a little editing of photos and videos the Lenovo X1 Carbon is a stunning lightweight and versatile laptop with some top end specs at a modest price. For the lower end price the Acer Chromebook C720 will do everything you need in the cloud and still allow space for a bottle of tequila from duty free in your backpack on the way home.

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A Map – You must know where you are are, have been and are going. Again your phone, combined with Google Maps or mapping software of choice is indispensable. When planning a trip, some really nice online tools are at your hands, such as the GoEuro search travel search engine for example. It compares modes of transport and their various prices and times for the desired route of the user. Another great online resource is airbnb, in terms of booking a place to stay you want.

Emanuele-Pizzolorusso-Recyclable-Tyvek-Crumpled-City-Maps-1-537x358

Power – Your phone is only as useful as it’s battery life and you are likely going to need some form of backup after using GPS to find the sights, the camera to capture the sights, the wifi to share the sights and the screen to watch Captain America on the long sticky bus ride back to the hotel from the sights. The Anker Astro 3E 10000mAh portable charger is the ideal solution and a backpack must have. Cheap, light and quick to charge even the more demanding hardware. Perfect to resurrect a dead phone with your eticket stored in your inbox.

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A neat little trick, you probably already know is how to charge them all, a simple 4 Gang, with an adapter. I have seen folks in the past buying three adapters or families squabbling over the single adapter they packed.

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Travel can be stressful and unexpected, it’s doesn’t have to be and hopefully this year technology will help you enjoy it a little more.

 

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets
By June 16, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and 8.4 unveiled

Logitech_Type-S_CarbonBlack_FrontSamsung recently announced their newest high end Android tablets: the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and 8.4. Both of these devices offer the exact same specs, with the only difference being the size of their displays (and price of course). The major claim to fame of these devices is the high-tech displays which are a QHD Super AMOLED design. 

Here’s the full spec-sheet:

  • 2560x1600p Super AMOLED display
  • Samsung Exynos 5420 SoC (WiFi model), or Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC (LTE model)
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16/32GB internal storage with micro SD card expansion slot (up to 128GB)
  • 8MP rear and 2.1MP front facing cameras
  • 7,900mAh battery
  • Samsung’s Magazine UX software
  • Fingerprint scanner (supports up to 8 different users)
  • 6.6mm thin, 465g (10.5) or 294g (8.4)

Other notable features include “Kid mode,” “SideSync 3.0,” and a partnership with Marvel. Here’s a quote with the details,

Quote:
One the software side of things, Samsung mentioned the tabs will feature a child-friendly “Kid mode” and connectivity with your Galaxy S5 that allows you to receive calls directly from the Tab S via a feature they’re calling “SideSync 3.0.” Samsung also announced partnerships with Netflix to bring full HD 1080p video streaming to the Tab S, along with Condé Nast for Vogue, GQ, Glamour, content, as well as National Geographic.

Marvel — who will include the Tab S in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie — also announced that they’d be giving away a free 3 month subscription to Marvel Unlimited, along with Google Play with their free 90-day trial to Google Play Music All Access and free copy of Gravity for Play Movies & TV.

Despite the high-end nature of these tablets, they are not quite as expensive as one might assume. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 WiFi model will be coming in July for $500, while the the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 will be only $400. Pre-orders begin June 13th. On top of this, Samsung announced accessories like the “Book Cover,” and the Logitech Type-S Bluetooth keyboard for $99 (shown in the picture above with the tablet).

Posted in: News, Tablets
By June 14, 2014 Read More →

HTC Desire 816 hands-on

htc-desire-816-en-slide-02Earlier this year, at MWC, HTC made a fairly queit announcement about two new devices that they were launching. They were the HTC Desire 816 and the HTC Desire 610.

Here we are taking a look at the Desire 816, this new smartphone offers a larger screen, that’s reaching phablet proportions, decent performance and features at at mid-range price.

With a design that certainly demonstrates that it’s from the same stable as the ever popular HTC One, the Desire 816 has top and bottom stereo speakers with built in amplifier, 13MP camera and 5MP front-facing selfie camera.

Check out the video below to see more of what the HTC Desire 816 has to offer:

 

 

 

HTC Desire 816 specification:

  • Nano SIM/Optional Dual SIM
  • Dimensions: 156.6 x 78.7 x 8 mm (6.17 x 3.10 x 0.31 in)
  • Weight: 165 g (5.82 oz)
  • Display: Super LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 720 x 1280 pixels, 5.5 inches (~267 ppi pixel density)
  • HTC Sense UI v6
  • 3.5mm jack
  • microSD, up to 128 GB
  • Internal Memory: 8 GB, 1.5 GB RAM
  • HSDPA, 42 Mbps, HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP
  • NFC
  • microUSB v2.0
  • Primary Camera: 13 MP, 4160 x 3120 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, 1080p
  • Secondary Camera: 5 MP, 1080p
  • Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Qualcomm MSM8928 Snapdragon 400
  • Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7
  • Adreno 305
  • Accelerometer, proximity, compass
  • FM radio
  • GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS
  • Battery:Non-removable Li-Po 2600 mAh battery

 A photo lover’s dream. 13 megapixel main camera and a 5 megapixel front-facing camera ensure high-resolution pics from either side. Capture moving HD images with built-in editing and sharing tools, and combine results for multiple-angle views. Incredible design, massive 5.5” HD display, dual front-facing stereo speakers, customised real-time info feeds and a quad- core processor all make this one of the best value smartphones ever.

By June 12, 2014 Read More →

Angry Birds EPIC arrive on Android & iOS Today

Angry-Birds-Epic-Main-Teaser-Image-640x349If you are a fan of the flavor/style elements of the Angry Birds series, then you might perk up at the above teaser video and this news. Previously we shared teasers regarding Rovio’s next game in the Angry Birds universe. This time around the game takes the same characters and world, but the gameplay changes completely. Instead of a physics based action-puzzler, Angry Birds EPIC is a turn based RPG. 

Of course, the game still revolves around the feud between the birds and the pigs, but this time it happens in a medieval fantasy world complete with swords and sorcery. For fans of this gaming genre and the Angry Birds theme, this is a welcome and refreshing change up for the series. It looks like game will be hitting Android and iOS devices on June 12th.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News