Archive for 2014

By January 3, 2014 Read More →

Presenting a Bluetooth ZX Spectrum

bluetooth_zx_spectrum_at_a_glance_l13_v3_2Recently a new Kickstarter idea has raised an eye-brow over here are T&M. We love all things techy from today, tomorrow and yesterday. Even more when it combines today, tomorrow and yesterday. A clever start up is developing a Bluetooth version of the classic ZX Spectrum 48k, the icon black machine with rubber buttons we all know and most of us love.

“One Device … Two Functions”

  • Controller for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps
  • Bluetooth Keyboard in the form factor of a 48K ZX Spectrum

In the default ‘GAME Layer’ mode, the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum acts as a controller for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum running on iOS / Android (and later Windows) phones and tablets. In this mode it offers authentic, rubber-key play control over the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps. (1)

In the optional ‘QWERTY Layer’ mode, the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum acts as a Bluetooth keyboard, in the form factor of a 48K ZX Spectrum, for other apps and applications running on most phones and tablets as well as on PCs and Macs. In this mode it offers the opportunity to type a letter, send an email or play a game with the other apps and programs(2) you use every day, on your PC / Mac.

(1): The simultaneously released and separately sold Bluetooth ZX Spectrum apps (and ‘backwardly compatible’ apps, such as the ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection / HD apps) are the only apps which have been customized and optimized to operate with the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum. Each of the apps in this comprehensive catalogue of 100% original, officially licensed, paid-for Bluetooth ZX Spectrum games (and more) is available via a secure App Store environment and offers simple and swift PLUG’N’PLAY access to the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum.

(2): Compatibility with 3rd-party apps and programs is not guaranteed. Encourage you app or program supplier to offer compatibility with the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum by sharing this Technical Overview with them.

Both the default and the optional functionality of the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum will be available at the time of the device’s launch. Details of how the optional functionality may be enabled will be revealed at a later date – most likely as a further full project update of the Kickstarter appeal for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum and by the addition of a further device specification to the BluetoothZXSpectrum.com site.

This is something I think every household will require. If successful imagine where it might lead! Amstrads, Commodores, Vic 20s, Virtual Boys… forget that last one. With an end-user price of between £39.99 and £49.99 (plus delivery) this will be a nostalgic Christmas gift for any kid of the 80’s.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By January 3, 2014 Read More →

What to expect from Archos at CES 2014

archos-smartwatch,C-K-416468-22Earlier this week, we mentioned Archos was planning launch a smartwatch this year and show the wearable off next week during CES 2014. Keep with Archos’ cheap and cheerful approach the watch is likely to retail for $85 Stateside and looks to use some form of e-paper technology.

One of the bigger features of the smartwatches is an Activity Tracker that monitors daily footsteps, calories burned, and automatically displays time when the device is synchronized with a smartphone. The Activity Tracker will be equipped with a battery life of up to 7 days, and recharged via a hidden microUSB port.

Also scheduled to make an appearance is a new Helium 4G range of unlocked smartphones, the company’s first LTE smartphones powered by Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean”. Two phones featuring Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean” out of the box, and upgradable to Android 4.4.2 “KitKat” soon after.

Posted in: Gadgets, News, Phones
By January 3, 2014 Read More →

A battle for your HDMI socket?

belkin-miracast-3The surprise success of the Chromecast has added a whole new dimension to the tech industry. Instead of DVD players or using the Smart TV system built into the TV folks are opting for a little dongle that does lots of weird and wonderful things. In years gone past we have seen Roku, Apple, Google and Western Digital, to name a few, pushing out little boxes to bring services from the Internet and streaming solutions to your living room. Now, with the 8th incarnation of the game console both Microsoft and Sony are incorporating more than just gaming content into their living room hardware, at a price.

Google scored big recently with the cheap and cheerful Chromecast, a somewhat limited dongle that delivers an ever expanding list of services to your TV. From watching Youtube to playing back music and steaming movies from your computer (via Plex) Google managed to package together a beautiful little out-of-sight stick that costs peanuts and stretches the boundaries you normally expect from your TV, be it Smart or dumb.

Now, the folks at Belkin are launching a dongle that looks somewhat similar to the Chromecast but promises one thing, screen mirroring. Imagine wirelessly pushing the screen of your smartphone to the TV. You can? Well, yes Samsung, Airtight, Allcast and many others all offer this sort of service however they are more geared towards media and particular apps. Belkin boast you will be able to broadcast ANY app to the television.

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By January 2, 2014 Read More →

More on the HTC One successor

HTC-One-BackWe spoke about the rumoured HTC One replacement a while ago and now more details of the new flagship phone from HTC, codenamed the HTC M8, have been tweeted by the ever-accurate @evleaks. It would seem that the specs that we hoped for last year could well come to fruition…

Preliminary HTC M8 specs: Snapdragon MSM8974, 5″ 1080p display, 2GB RAM, UltraPixel rear / 2.1MP front cams, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, KK, Sense 6.0

As yet there’s no news on the final name of the new smartphone but we’re expecting to hear more about it at or just before MWC this year.

Posted in: News, Phones
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By January 2, 2014 Read More →

LG G2 unboxing and hands on video

LG G2 unboxingA few months ago LG released the LG G2 and shortly after the LG Google Nexus 5 also went on sale. It seems that the Nexus 5 all but stole the headlines from the LG G2 which, underneath, is virtually the same as its Google-branded stable mate.

The LG G2 has also been massively popular though and particularly when the Nexus 5 was in short supply, saw strong sales figures to the later part of 2013.

It’s taken a while for us to get our hands on one to review but finally we have one here and I’m putting it up against the Nexus 5 that I’ve loved using ever since I getting that a few months ago now.

As mentioned above, the G2 and the Nexus 5 have very similar specs. The same CPU and Memory, 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 and 2GB RAM respectively. The G2 has a 13MP camera versus the 8MP shooter on the Nexus 5 and the G2 also has a slightly larger 5.2″ HD IPS screen.

Perhaps the most notable difference is with the OS and user interface, though, with the LG G2 sat on Android 4.2.2 with the omipresent LG overlay whereas the Nexus 5 has Android 4.4 KitKat and a very thin skinning.

In the video below you can see the LG G2 unboxed and in a little more detail and some comparisons to the Nexus 5. And for those of you that are all about the numbers, there’s a benchmark test too..

 

By January 1, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Chromebook to be given a polish

ss-cb-promolanding-1Chromebooks are the next big thing by the looks of it and some hardware manufacturers are committed to making it work. We all have been asking, what next for Samsung ARM Chromebook. And today, there is a rumour from businesskorea.co.kr.

Business Korea reports that Samsung is preparing the upgraded ARM Chromebook for 2014. Well, they just have the year, not a quarter or a month, which is unfortunate. But they have put together some specs, which is convincing, but obvious.

  • Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor
  • Price $250 – $300
  • 16GB or 32GB SSD
  • 12″ or less screen
  • 2560×1600 resolution
  • 3GB RAM
  • Slightly over 1 Kg on weight
  • 7 hours battery life
  • Possibly, USB 3.0 port

Chomebooks make a lot of sense to me and I am liking the progressive hardware stride. New models are not yet knocking the ball out of the park however they are packing just enough over the previous generation to make you consider an upgrade,very much like Smartphones, without the lengthy contracts or hefty price tags.

Posted in: Laptops, News
By January 1, 2014 Read More →

Archos connecting you and your home

ARCHOS Connected HomeWe have always liked Archos and their attempt to marry value for money, higher specifications and a dash of innovation. Over the years they have managed mixed results but that has never stopped them from trying to reach the cutting edge and this year is no different. Coming up next week at CES are a bunch of new solutions to your gadget needs.

 

ARCHOS Connected Home

Archos-Connected-Home
Accessing the ecosystem from anywhere in the world and from any iOS or Android platform, users can retrieve data or command actions using the ARCHOS Smart Home App or the custom- designed Smart Home Tablet – a unique gateway that combines Android with multiple connected objects. ARCHOS’ proprietary app and 7” home gateway give users the ability to customise actions based on different scenarios or triggers such as turning on the light and recording video as soon as a motion
sensor is activated.

Archos approach to this new solution is based on key principles such as sleek design and small accessories (the cam is the size of a pin pong ball), use of Bluetooth Low Energy for long lasting battery life, easy set-up of each connected objects and easy pairing with the Home Gateway and user’s phones or tablets. ARCHOS’ ecosystem of Connected Home Objects, including a mini cam, motion ball, movement tag, weather tag and smart plug, adhere to the tenet that innovative solutions should be easy to use, unobtrusive and efficient.
ARCHOS will also unveil a Weather Station during CES 2014. The ARCHOS Weather Station provides both indoor and outdoor information including CO2 levels, humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure and environmental noise levels. Similar to the Smart Home App, a proprietary Weather Station app will showcase home and national weather information while recording, tracking and graphing all data for historic comparison and analysis.

ARCHOS Connected Self

ARCHOS-Activity-Tracker
The ARCHOS Connected Self App will serve as the backbone application for all connected self devices and will provide key metrics for quick health assessment, display graphs to track activity over time and enable up to 8 different users to set goals to increase motivation. ARCHOS’ selection of Connected Self products on display during CES 2014 include:
ARCHOS Connected Scale – this elegant scale recognises 4 difference users, measures body shape based on mass and height, tracks body fat mass to help users lose weight intelligently and is equipped with onboard memory to prevent data loss between synchronisations.
ARCHOS Activity Tracker – this stylish activity tracker monitors daily footsteps, calories burned and automatically displays time when synchronised with a smartphone. Recharges using USB connector and is equipped with a battery life of up to 7 days.
ARCHOS Blood Pressure Monitor – Easy and quick to use blood pressure monitor equipped with memory for over 40 different measurements also displays heart beat information. Comes with irregular heart beat detector and can filter data by time period (morning, day, night).

ARCHOS’ entire selection of connected objects will be on display during CES 2014 at Central Hall Booth 9844. ARCHOS will also be unveiling a selection of smartwatches starting at under £50. ARCHOS smartwatches embrace simplicity and function, feature a pebble-like design and will be compatible with both iOS and Android devices

Posted in: Gadgets, News, Tablets