Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By October 15, 2013 Read More →

A Brief History Of Car Stereos: From Victrola to Wi-Fi Radios

victrolaHow much have you spent on your car’s stereo system? Today, car and music enthusiasts can drop more than a quarter of a million dollars on a serious music system like the Rogue Acoustics 1K. One hundred years ago, however, the most technologically advanced car radio cost only fifteen dollars. How has sound engineering for automobiles evolved over the decades?

In The Beginning

One of the first popularized radios, named the Victrola, would be the forerunner for all car audio equipment today. During the 1930s, a brother team installed a Victrola into a Studebaker, naming it the “Motorola”. This brand became so popular that it grew into a corporation of radios, stereos, televisions, and electronics that Google purchased in 2012 for just less than thirteen billion dollars. At first, these Motorolas could only pick up on AM transmissions; it would take another two decades before FM radios became available that would pick up on short-range, local radio station transmissions.

Music Players

Today, a user can open up an iTunes or Spotify account in their vehicle and gain easy access to libraries of tens of millions of songs. Only fifty years ago, however, radios held drivers in thrall to the music that DJs wanted to play. The first time any driver could make a choice in music came in the late 1960s, when 8-track tape players became available for installation in automobiles. Cassettes followed soon, then in the late 1980s the CD revolution allowed a user to switch between as many as 10 CDs in a single player without needing to re-wind each time.

Digital Vehicles

When people think of mp3 players, they think of iPods, and for good reason; according to MacTech, the iPod has a staggering 70% market share. The first mp3 players pre-dated the iPod by half a decade, however, and sports cars like the Mazda MX5 would be the first cars with mp3 compatibility. Today, mp3 players can be directly hooked into a stereo system, used to play music via a tape adapter, or streamed via Bluetooth to create a mobile wireless unit.

The Future Of Mobile Music

Anyone with a smart phone knows how practical it can be to use it as a driving aid. From GPS navigation to apps that find the cheapest gas prices, smart phone integration drives the development of today’s automobile interiors. As such, subscribers to online car services can do everything automobile-related from the inside of their vehicles, including paying for the car itself. Paying car bills today requires nothing more than a login, pulling up Mydrivetime.com, and entering a payment through their finance services. Music apps are no different from online bill management: login to Pandora and stream music directly to your speakers. Developers looking to create ever-more-advanced stereos believe “smart cars” point the way towards the future of automobile audio, with on-demand music and information caches that preclude streaming interruptions like tunnels.

 

Posted in: Editorial
By October 14, 2013 Read More →

HTC One Max photo gallery

Further to my HTC One Unboxing video and HTC One demo video, here’s a gallery of hi-res images of the HTC One Max for you to take a look at.

Several photos have the HTC One included to offer a size comparison.

There are a couple of things worth pointing out from the images below.

  • Firstly the power button on the One Max is set to the side instead of the top, as on the HTC One, but the infrared transmitter is still found on the top.
  • The back cover is removable and underneath you’ll find the SIM card and microSD card slots. There will be a dual-SIM version available in Asian markets.
  • The back cover is made from machined aluminium and includes the NFC antenna.
  • The Boomsound speakers and amplifier are the same as on the HTC One but the One Max has larger acoustic chambers which makes the sound louder
  • The fingerprint reader found on the back of the HTC One Max is a capacitive reader so requires that you swipe your finger across it.

HTC One Max photo gallery

Posted in: News, Phones
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By October 14, 2013 Read More →

HTC One Max Demo Video

HTC One Max Demo VideoHopefully you will already have seen my HTC One Max unboxing and hands-on video. That video ran a little long, at over 30 minutes, so I decided to record a separate HTC One Max Demo Video to show off a couple of the other features.

In the video below we have a look at RSS feeds in Blinkfeed, web browsing on that huge screen, Gallery and Video Highlights as well as some sample video playback.

One thing that you cant really appreciate in the video is how loud the Boomsound speakers are. The HTC One held the top-spot for loudspeaker volume and quality but once the HTC One Max came along that stole first place. The One Max may have the same speakers and amplifier but larger chambers make a bigger sound!

Enjoy the video below and don’t forget to check out the HTC One Max photo gallery too. Oh and don’t forget to tell us what you think of the HTC One Max as well…

By October 14, 2013 Read More →

HTC One Max unboxing and hands-on video

HTC One Max fingerprintSo after those weeks of further speculation and rumour, the HTC One Max becomes official today.

Since the launch of the HTC One the ‘One’ brand has become one of the most recognised in HTC history and by adding the HTC One Max to the existing line-up HTC hope to provide consumers with even greater choice.

The HTC One Max brings with it the a new version of HTC Sense, this time we have 5.5 which builds upon version 5 found on the One and One Mini. Sense 5.5 adds new Blinkfeed features with the ability to now add RSS feeds and a variety of other services. There’s also the ability to read feeds off-line thanks to a caching mode.

The Gallery app has been updated with new ‘view by event’ and added Zoe capability, being able to share Zoe moments with non-HTC devices. There’s a GIF editor and new video highlight options.

In terms of hardware the most obvious thing is the 5.9 inch full-HD display which is glorious! As with the HTC One, there’s a Quad-Core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB RAM and either 16 or 32GB of storage. In a change from the HTC One, the Max has a microSD card slot under the removable back over and supports up to 64GB memory cards.

On the back you’ll find the same 4MP Ultrapixel camera as seen on other One models, which is a good thing.

Below the camera, and settling the speculation, you’ll find a square panel which is a capacitive fingerprint reader. The nice feature here is that you can enrol multiple fingers on the device and allows you to set a specific finger to launch straight into a specific application. Handy.

Powers is supplied by a sizeable 3300MAh battery which can be further supplemented by a 1100MAh battery in the dedicated HTC One Max cast that HTC have developed.

The HTC One Max will go on sale later this week and should be in Vodafone stores first. No word on the price as yet but expect the networks to be making announcements later today too.

There’s plenty to talk about with the HTC One Max so I’m starting off with the unboxing and hands-on video below. It’s pretty lengthy so be sure to make yourself comfortable. I also have another demo video coming up later where I’ll cover some of the other features and there’s a gallery of hi-res images for you to enjoy too.

Oh and there’s a benchmark of the HTC One Max in here too! 🙂

By October 14, 2013 Read More →

HTC One Max announced

HTC One max Glacial Silver 3VFollowing weeks of speculation (what’s new!?) HTC have today announced the HTC One Max. Building upon the successes of the HTC One and HTC One Mini, the One Max provides a larger form-factor as well as introducing to new and unique features as well as HTC Sense 5.5.

Here we have the official press release and full specification but also, don’t forget to check out our HTC One Max unboxing video, HTC One Max Demo Video and HTC One Max photo gallery.

THE HTC ONE® GETS SUPERSIZED WITH THE HTC ONE MAX

 

World’s best smartphone now in 5.9” with new and improved HTC Sense 5.5 ® experience

 

London, October 14, 2013 — HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced the HTC One max, a super-sized smartphone that brings the award-winning design, functionality and performance of the HTC One to fans of larger handsets. A new Fingerprint Scan feature takes convenience to a new level while acclaimed features including HTC BlinkFeed™, HTC Zoe™ and HTC BoomSound™, combined with the new HTC Sense 5.5, which are all enhanced to continue to deliver the best overall smartphone experience, now on a larger screen.

 

“The addition of the HTC One max means that we now have an HTC One phone for everyone. The family has been built on quality and game-changing innovations and the HTC One max is certainly no exception,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “The upgrade to HTC Sense 5.5 will provide our most amazing mobile experience yet, with the HTC One max delivering the size and power required to do everything you want, and more, without compromise.”

 

Big and powerful

The HTC One max’s 5.9” full HD1080p display is perfect for enjoying photos, videos and movies on the go. Smooth and efficient performance comes courtesy of a quad-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600 processor featuring a quad-core 1.7 GHz CPU enabling jaw-dropping performance, ultra vivid videos and booming sound. Whether you’re watching videos in stunning HD, playing games or checking out what’s hot online, the HTC One max sounds amazing, looks sharp and keeps working when you need it.

The 16GB or 32GB onboard memory can be expanded thanks to a microSD™ card slot, with a massive 50GB of additional free Google Drive online storage being offered exclusively to HTC One max owners.

The large 3300mAh embedded battery means that this level of performance will last and last. Even the most intensive users will find the HTC One max is up to the challenge thanks to the optional HTC Power Flip Case, a stylish 1150mAh battery expansion for your HTC One max which offers both protection and extra juice when you need it most.

 

Maximum convenience at your fingertips

The average person checks their phone multiple times a day, so the HTC One max welcomes a new era of convenience and advanced functionality thanks to a built-in Fingerprint Scan feature. Located on the back of the device, the fingerprint scanner allows users to lock or unlock the screen and quickly launch up to three favourite applications by assigning an individual finger to each.

 

More content than ever before

The HTC One max’s Sense 5.5 upgrade comes with a more social, personalised HTC BlinkFeed that can be further refined by customisable topic categories and new integration with premium content providers including Instagram and Google+. Up to 120 articles can also be downloaded for offline viewing, making BlinkFeed even better for snacking on information wherever and whenever you are.

 

Ultimate imaging

Featuring HTC’s UltraPixel camera technology, HTC Zoe mode, that brings your photos to life, and a 2.1MP front-facing camera, the HTC One max will capture stunning photos and full HD 1080p videos whether you’re the photographer, the subject or both. Dual Capture means you can now snap memorable moments and your reaction to them in one extraordinary photo or video by simultaneously shooting with the front and rear cameras.

Improved imaging is also introduced through Video Highlights, which combines your photos and videos to create a mini movie complete with the soundtrack and visual theme of your choice. And with the HTC One max, your Video Highlights can now be any length you want.

 

 

Design at its Best

Available in Glacial Silver, the HTC One max shares the same premium design credentials as the rest of the HTC One family, providing an all round exceptional experience.

 

Global Availability
The HTC One max will begin rolling out across the globe from mid – end October.

By October 12, 2013 Read More →

iPhone 5s unboxing video

iPhone-5s-space-graySeveral weeks ago Apple launched the latest iPhones, the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. As always, the launched has been met with a very mixed response, from those loving the new phones to those seeing them as a pointless incremental and even a disappointing update.

We’ve spoken about the issues with iOS 7 a few times already and the expected iOS 7.0.3 has yet to surface as expected.

I’ve finally managed to get my hands on the iPhone 5s, my mistake was in ordering a gold 64GB version initially which is, apparently, the model seeing the highest demand. As a consequence my gold phone still isn’t here.

I realise that there are lots of iPhone unboxing videos out there but sticking with the tradition of the site and unboxing everything that comes through the door, this is ours:

By October 11, 2013 Read More →

Mowing your lawn in the 21st century

Well this is something a little different for a Friday afternoon and heading in to the weekend may well be something that many of us will thing about over next few days…

miimoThe ancient art of garden maintenance has been catapulted into the future, thanks to Honda – the Japanese manufacturer most commonly renowned for its turbocharged motorbikes, sleek autos and that fun ‘Hate Something, Change Something’ TV ad.

Honda’s range of garden products includes the nifty little Miimo, a lawn mower with a difference – think of it as a Henry Hoover for your turf, but with a far more futuristic feel. Every feature of this characterful robotic mower has been expertly designed and refined for a more intuitive, and therefore a more efficient, grass-cutting experience. It can follow random cutting patterns – ideal if yours is a garden with decorative ornaments or fiddly borders that a more cumbersome mower might struggle with. Quite miraculously, it also knows when it needs a top-up of machine food, and will make its own way back to the docking station when the time comes.

The Miimo operates a no-mess-no-fuss policy. It mulches as it mows, and spreads miniscule particles of grass across the lawn, which act as a fertilizer. Over time you’ll notice how effectively this reduces the number of bothersome weeds in your garden. A model helpmate, the Miimo is quiet as well as clean – it will work through the night without making irritating whining or buzzing sounds, so you and your neighbours can get your 40 winks without disturbance.

This one-of-a-kind mower has a thoroughly likeable appearance and mower-personality. It’s polite as anything, and will stop as soon as it touches a person or object, thanks to its touch-sensitive 360 degree floating cover. It’s also safety-conscious, and has three reversible cutting blades made of ductile heat-treated steel. In human terms, this means that if the Miimo ever happens to hit a solid object, these blades will rotate inwards rather than shatter.

Take a look at the Miimo on the Honda website. Alongside a bunch of useful stats and specs that will answer any questions you have before you decide to buy one, there’s also a fantastic feature that lets you drag an image of the Miimo around for a 360 degree view. Making the Miimo twirl will make your day.

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets
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By October 11, 2013 Read More →

Britain’s Cheapest Mobile Tariff

Cheapest Mobile TariffLooking for a good deal on your mobile contract? Who isn’t! But today there’s another option for us here in the UK as TalkTalk have just launched the Britain’s Cheapest Mobile Tariff, for just £3.50 per month.

You may think a cheap tariff like that will be very limited, and lead to expensive extras, but this new plan comes with and inclusive 100 minutes, 250 texts and 100MB of data!

Full details follow:

Posted in: Phones
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By October 11, 2013 Read More →

Apple readying iPad 5 & iPad mini 2 launch

Apple-iPad-5Apple are set to hold their new iPad event on October 22nd, according to various sources on the interwebs. Later than the October 17th date that had previously been touted, the event date now looks to be more definite.

It’s likely that the event will see various announcements, certainly we anticipate the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2, but then there’s the matter of OS X Mavericks that went Gold just recently too.

Furthermore, Apple have been teasing us with images and video of their new Mac Pro, so could we see this new beast released at the same time? Certainly the hopes are that each of these new products will be available pre-Christmas.

As we near the launch date several new high-quality images of the iPad 5 have surfaced. These clearly show the reduced bezel size on the new iPad which is now similar to the iPad mini in that respect. Furthermore, it seems increasingly likely that both the iPad 5 and the iPad mini 2 will have the fingerprint unlock technology from the iPhone 5s and a suggestion that the iPad 5 will have an A7X chip, slightly different from the A7 chip existing in the iPhone 5s.

 

Via: Slashgear

Posted in: News, Tablets
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By October 9, 2013 Read More →

Preparing for GTA V on PC – Laptop Review

msi-gs70-stealth-03If you missed the release of the biggest game of the year, you must not have heard all the media-hype from under the rock you were obviously living. Selling a huge 1.57 million copies in its first day of release, you cannot escape the buzz surrounding Grand Theft Auto 5. It is already the 24th bestselling game ever, despite only being released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The games developer, Rockstar, has remained tight-lipped over whether or not they will release a PC version, leaving many fans in limbo. However, the previous editions of the game have all been released on a PC platform so there may be hope. This, teamed with a growing online petition along with some seemingly leaked screenshots of the game, mean fans are remaining confident that the announcement will be imminent.

In order to make the most of the game – once they finally get their hands on it, lots of gamers are investing in new laptops so they can fully enjoy the graphics and sounds. With this in mind, we’ve decided to take a look at one of the best gaming laptops on the market, the MSI GS70 Stealth gaming laptop.

Available from eBuyer, this laptop boasts a range of features that can majorly enhance your gaming experience. To start, the laptop is perfect for gaming on the move. Weighing just 2.66kg and with a thickness of just 0.86 inches, this is the world’s thinnest and lightest gaming laptop, perfect for any on the move action.

When it comes to graphics and sound, this laptop is unmatched by its competitors. Comprising two speakers and a subwoofer, you can hear every footstep, gun shot and siren as you play. In addition, the laptop features a unique MSI Audio Boost that enhances sound performance by 30% more.  When on the move, sound quality remains the same exceptional level, thanks to the gold flash headphone jack. Graphics-wise, the 17.3” fully HD screen will be the perfect arena for GTA V, displaying crystal clear images.

Even the keyboard is designed to optimise gaming. The keys are specially organised for faster and better action and the keyboard itself is backlit, and with over 1000 personal colour combinations, you can really set the gaming mood – totally immersing yourself in the action.

Packed full of USB ports, a card reader and even an HDMI port, this laptop is the ideal choice for gamers looking for an exceptional gaming experience. Grand Theft Auto 5 will never look so good!

Posted in: Apps & Games, Laptops
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