Author Archive: Gareth

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.

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By January 9, 2014 Read More →

Mobile Tech Addicts Podcast 217: CES Analysis

Podcast-Logo.jpgGareth and  Matt are here with another UK update on the mobile front. Unboxings galore and a look at some of the major announcements from CES 2014.

The first podcast of a new year sees CES in full swing so there’s plenty to talk about this week and plenty to catch up on following a long Christmas and new year break.

Gareth tells us all about his new Chromebook and Matt goes on a rant about Google Glass…

 

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By January 8, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo teased

Grand NeoSo Samsung has the Note III, the Grand 2 and the S4. Three pretty huge phones that cover almost all needs. Aside from the obvious gap that the Grand Neo is there to cover. The  Galaxy Grand Neo will come with a 5-inch TFT display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. Under the hood, there is a 1.2 GHz quad-core A7 chipset powering the smartphone along with 1 GB of RAM. A 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and the front facing VGA shooter completes the camera department, while the 8GB internal memory along with the microSD card slot takes care of storage.

The connectivity options of the Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo include Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+ (21Mbps down, 5.76Mbps up), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, micro USB, GPS and GLONASS support. However, there is no LTE or Wi-Fi ac radios built-in.

Screenshot 2014-01-08 07.06.47

So essentially the Grand Neo is a “budget” slab that bests the original Grand in some departments without being the full upgrade the Grand 2 is. 

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By January 8, 2014 Read More →

Android or Windows at the flick of a switch from Asus

Android or WindowsThe new Asus Transformer Book Duet seems to be the real deal that many have promised over the years in that it can go from Windows 8 to Android literally at the flip of a switch (actually push of a button). Press the OS switch button on the Duet’s keyboard dock or tap the app on the touchscreen and it takes approximately 4 seconds to make the jump. Thanks to the Duet’s Intel Core i7 processor the Duet is plenty speedy. A list of other features show this ASUS as quite the capable 2-in-1 device.

 

A little more detail from their press release reveals:

ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) delivers striking visuals on its 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS touchscreen display. This multi-touch display has a sensitivity and responsiveness that exceeds Microsoft’s requirements for Windows 8.1. For audio, it comes with ASUS SonicMaster technology for true-to-life sound through the tablet’s twin speakers.

In addition, Transformer Book Duet has a front-facing HD camera with a built-in digital mic for video chats. The tablet display has 128GB of SSD storage which can be supplemented by a 64GB Micro SD card, while the keyboard dock houses a 1TB hard disk drive. The dock is also home to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, and HDMI 1.4 output with 1080p support. In terms of connectivity, ASUS Transformer Book T300 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR.

It looks to be a pretty incredible 2-in-1, but my problem lies in the choices of Operating Systems. Before anyone gets ahead of me I’d like to say that I love both Android and Windows 8. I own a Nexus Tablet and have been using Android since ’09 with the OG Droid. I also own a Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook running Windows 8.1, so I’m very familiar with both OSs and appreciate them both equally. I also own a Lumia smartphone running Windows Phone and this is where my problem with the operating systems comes into play. As an Android user you will probably understand this issue I have with a Windows and Android duel boot machine. 

I’m pretty much “locked” into the Windows 8 ecosystem. I use the word “locked” loosely because I’m really not locked into the ecosystem, I choose to use all the services just as I did when I was on Android. I can go back to Android in a matter of minutes without any real disruption, but why would I want to or need to? I have no real need to boot into Android. As a matter of fact, my tablet rarely gets any use beyond using Hangouts, so I just don’t have the need for a dual boot of Android and Windows. Android/Ubuntu yes, Windows/Ubuntu yes, Android/Windows no.

This issue will be further exaggerated when it comes to a dual boot smartphone running both Android/Windows (if it ever happens). To fully enjoy either OS, you really have to jump right in and get wet. Having one foot in Android and one foot in Windows is castrating the experience. Either you’re in or your out and most people are all in. Whether it’s iOS, Android or Windows Phone, consumers are tied into one ecosystem. In theory it looks interesting, but in practice it falls way short. Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps there is a real market for Android and Windows running side by side with a press of a button or flick of a switch, but for me I’m just not seeing it right now. Android is quite capable of existing on it’s own just as Windows (Phone) is capable of doing all the lifting on it’s own.

Posted in: Laptops, News
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By January 7, 2014 Read More →

Lenovo has been thinking about the ThinkPad 8

thinkpad-8-wifi,5-I-416214-22Alongside the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Lenovo yesterday announced a new ThinkPad tablet dubbed the ThinkPad 8. The ThinkPad 8 mixes things up a little by offering three unique configurations: Desktop, Tablet, and Tent. Tablet is obviously a portable mode while Desktop Mode requires an optional keyboard base. Tent Mode also requires an accessory, Lenovo’s Quickshot Cover. 

The ThinkPad 8 features an Intel’s Z3770 (Bay Trail) quad-core CPU clocked to 2.4 GHz and Intel HD Graphics, with 2 GB of RAM, up to 128 GB of SSD storage, and an 8.3-inch 1920 x 1200 FHD display with 10-point multi-touch. Then there are the usual bells and whistles: WiFi, optionally 4G/3G, rear- and front-facing cameras (8-megapixel and 2-megapixel, respectively). There’s also MicroUSB 3.0, MicroSD, MicroHDMI, and MicroSIM (for 3G models).

Posted in: Laptops, News, Tablets
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By January 7, 2014 Read More →

Three colourful new phones from Asus

ZenFone-4-FrontAsus have unveiled a new line of smartphones focusing on value and colours in three ZenFones in varying sizes. The ZenFone 4 has a 4-inch display, while the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 6 have 5- and 6-inch displays, respectively.

All three phones will run on Android 4.3 and are promised an update to Android 4.4 KitKat. For the ZenFone line, Asus is showing off a brand new custom UI called ZenUI. This comes with Asus’ own chat and messaging applications as well as other pre-installed software.

zenfone-4,T-J-417079-22

The ZenFone 4 is based on a 1.2 GHz Atom Z2520 processor with quad-thread hyper threading technology and 1 GB of RAM. It packs a 4-inch WVGA 800 x 480 TFT display. It also has a 5-megapixel camera, a puny 0.3-megapixel lens up front, and a 1170 mAh battery.

zenfone-5,T-K-417080-22

 

The ZenFone 5 has a 5-inch 1280 x 720 IPS display with a 2 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera, a 2-megapixel camera on the front, and a 2050 mAh battery.

zenfone-6,T-L-417081-22

 

The ZenFone 6 has a 6-inch HD 1280 x 720 IPS display, 2 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 CPU as the ZenFone 5, 1 GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera, a 2-megapixel camera on the front, and a 3230 mAh battery

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By January 7, 2014 Read More →

The Toshiba Chromebook confirmed

toshiba-chromebookWe saw fairly concrete rumours of it last month and now it has arrived. Toshiba’s new Chromebook features a 13.3-inch screen at a common 1366×768 resolution. Like other Chromebooks, the Toshiba device is powered by a Haswell Intel Celeron 2955U processor clocking in at 1.4GHz.

Toshiba Chromebook Specs

  • 13.3-inch screen (1366×768)
  • Intel Celeron 2955U @ 1.4GHz
  • Intel HD Graphics
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 16 GB SSD
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • SD Card Reader
  • HDMI Out

The Chromebook weights 3.3 pounds and Toshiba are expecting up to 9 hours of battery life out of their first Chromebook. The larger screen size will appeal to some, however the 2GBs of RAM and 16GB SSD make very similar to almost every other Chomebook released recently. The design is somewhat reminisent of Samsung’s Chromebook range but in the end, it’s plastic. 

The Toshiba Chromebook will retail for $279 in the US and will be available starting February 16. By which time we should have a cleared idea of what to expect from Samsung’s next Chromebook.

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By January 7, 2014 Read More →

Sony introduces Xperia Z1 Compact announced

Xperia Z1 Compact Yesterday Sony announced a new little brother to the huge Xperia Z1. Featuring their handy and now somewhat standard waterproof design in a range of four colours – white, black, pink and lime

Unlike some companies that launch mini versions of their phone Sony are not cutting the corners right off. The Compact includes their award-winning “G Lens”, 20.7 MP “Exmor RS for mobile” CMOS image sensor and “BIONZ for mobile” image processing engine. This compact version actually features a very agreeable 4.3” HD Display.

“With the addition of Xperia Z1 Compact our global range of premium products is now broader than ever and offers our customers a wider choice.” said Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO, Sony Mobile Communications. “Xperia Z1 is a no-compromise feature-packed smartphone with a beautiful yet durable design. With Xperia Z1 Compact, we bring all of these premium features and performance, into a smaller size to give you the ultimate compact smartphone.”

 

Xperia Z1 Compact - back

Here is the rest of the Xperia Z1 Compact press release:

The world’s best camera in a compact smartphone

Xperia Z1 Compact sets a new standard in premium smartphones. It featuresSony’s proven camera technologies to deliver the same level of performance and quality that you would find in a conventional compact digital camera – all in a beautifully crafted compact smartphone. The 20.7 megapixel camera phone is matched with 1/2.3-type CMOS image sensor Exmor RS for mobile, Sony’s award-winning G Lens and intelligent BIONZ™ for mobile image processing engineresulting in superb photo quality.

 

Thanks to this unique combination of technologies, you can capture beautifully sharp and bright images even in lowlight conditions when a flash won’t do. High shutter speeds and 3x clear image zoom prevent shots from being blurred while allowing you to capture from a distance, so that you never miss the moment. Superior Auto helps you shoot perfectly, with intelligent scene recognition technology to capture incredible images in an instant with no complicated settings. And because it’s both waterproof and dust-resistant, this durable and versatile smartphone fits neatly into your life, so you can use it anytime, anywhere.

 

Unique social camera apps to enhance your camera experience

The Xperia Z1 Compact comes pre-loaded with a suite of innovative XperiaCamera Apps to take your photography experience to a new level:

  • Timeshift burst: Captures an impressive 61 frames in just two seconds so you get the perfect shot first time, every time.
  • Info-eye™: An innovative visual search using your camera to provide information on landmarks, books and wine amongst others.
  • Social live: Broadcast your videos live via Facebook and get your friends’comments right on your screen for the ultimate interactive sharing experience.
  • AR effect: Have some creative fun with your pictures with SmartARTMaugmented reality animations

 

In addition to these great pre-installed social camera apps, there’s a whole range of extra apps for you to enjoy including Wikitude Places, Evernote, VI Sports and more.  Simply go into your camera viewfinder, turn on Superior Auto and then click on ‘+Apps’ to see all the latest apps to enhance your smartphone experience. 

 

Beautiful and durable design

Xperia Z1 Compact includes all of the features of the acclaimed Xperia Z1, but offered in perfectly palm-sized proportions. Featuring Sony’s stunning OmniBalance design, this dust-resistant and waterproof (IP55 & IP58) beauty is both sleek and durable from every angle. And with the dedicated camera button, you can even take photos or videos underwater. The Xperia Z1 Compact takes the style stakes a step further offering a choice of vibrant colour finishes including white, black, lime and pink to suit your individual taste.  A clever design refinement is the new Glove Modethat lets you use your Xperia Z1 Compact even while wearing gloves, making it even easier to use your phone, no matter what the weather.

 

World’s best battery performance in a premium compact smartphone5

Xperia Z1 Compact offers ultra-fast performance and breathtaking graphics, thanks to the latest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 processor with 2.2 GHz quad-core CPU and 4G LTE for amazing speed. The Xperia Z1 Compact also includes a 2300 mAh battery which provides outstanding, class-leading battery performance, despite its compact size.

 

Sony’s Battery STAMINA Mode helps you stay connected for longer, as itautomatically turns off functions to save power when you don’t need them and restarts them when you do. So now you can leave the charger at home and never have to worry running out of power when you need it most – the Z1 Compact takes everyday demands in its stride.

 

Enjoy the best colour and sharpness 
Built with Sony’s latest BRAVIA® TV technologies optimized for mobile, the Xperia Z1 Compact incorporates a 4.3” TRILUMINOS™ HD Display for mobile, for a wider palette of rich, natural colours. Sony’s exclusive X-Reality™ for mobile is an intelligent super resolution technology that finds and reproduces any lacking pixels, so you’ll always be able to enjoy the clearest and sharpest videos.

 

Sony’s media applications

Xperia Z1 Compact offers seamless access to both online and offline entertainment with these integrated Sony’s media apps:

  • PlayMemories Online6 – a cloud-based image and video service that is integrated into the Album application. A new ‘All Sync’ feature enables users to instantly auto-upload all of their photos without storage limitation7.
  • “WALKMAN” and Movies applications provide access to more than 22 million songs on the “WALKMAN” app through Music Unlimited8 and more than 150K movies and TV series on the Movies app through Video Unlimited8 from Sony Entertainment Network.
  • TrackIDTM TV9 – enhances your TV-viewing experience as it lets you search, share and explore information from broadcasted TV shows such as cast & crew, biographies, filmography or show related Tweets.

Switching to Xperia has never been easier
Xperia™ Transfer Mobile makes it easier than ever to switch from your existing Android or iOS handset to Xperia. It’s the simple and easy way to seamlessly transfer your contacts, photos, bookmarks, apps, messages and much more from your old smartphone, swiftly and securely. And better still, no PC is required – simply transfer directly from phone-to-phone using NFC or the supplied cable10.

 

Unrivalled ecosystem of companion products and smart accessories

Sony offers the most comprehensive range of innovative companion products and accessories to give you new ways to use and enjoy your smartphone. With 132 NFC enabled one-touch connected products – including TVs, headphones, audio speakers, tablets, and more – it has never been easier to connect and enjoy your content across multiple devices.

 

Key smartphone accessories to enhance your Xperia Z1 Compact experience include:

  • QX100: High-performance ‘lens-style’ cameras designed for mounting on smartphones and operated through the smartphone screen.
  • SmartWatch 2: Use as a second screen for Xperia Z1 Compact. Read messages, handle calls, easily access notifications – all from your wrist. Trigger the Xperia Z1 Compact camera shutter.
  • DK32: Magnet charging cradle that offers a perfect viewing angle as you talk, watch and listen whilst charging your smartphone.
    • SBH-80: Stereo Bluetooth Headset in a unique neckband-style design crafted from premium materials and supporting NFC, HD Voice and aptX.

 

 

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By January 7, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy Tablet Series detailed

Samsung Galaxy TabletGood man @evleaks is at it again outing Samsung’s entire 2014 tablet line-up with pics and specs just in time for the announcement hopefully at CES. Here’s a breakdown below of the specs. It has been a while since Samsung released some devices, some have probably wondered if they are still interested in producing Android devices, in any case they are devoted to Android just as much as I am to sarcasm.

 

Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

  • 12.2-inch display (2560 x 1600)
  • Wi-Fi/3G Version = Exynos 5 Octa CPU (1.9GHz quad-core + 1.3GHz quad-core)
  • LTE Version = Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz quad-core CPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB/64GB storage
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 9500mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • S-Pen support

galaxy-tabpro-122

Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2

  • 12.2-inch display (2560 x 1600)
  • Wi-Fi/3G version = Exynos 5 Octa CPU (1.9GHz quad-core + 1.3GHz quad-core)
  • LTE version = Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz quad-core CPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB/64GB storage
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 9500mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

 

galaxy-tabpro-101

Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1

  • 10.1-inch display (2560 x 1600)
  • Wi-Fi/3G version = Exynos 5 Octa CPU (1.9GHz quad-core + 1.3GHz quad-core)
  • LTE version = Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz quad-core CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB/32GB
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 8220mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

 

galaxy-tabpro84

Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

  • 8.4-inch display (2560 x 1600)
  • Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz quad-core CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB/32GB
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 4800mAh
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
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By January 6, 2014 Read More →

The Android Automobile rolling out

android-auto-uiIt looks like the rumoured Google-Audi auto alliance is even larger than expected. Google officially announced the Open Automotive Alliance. They are teaming up with Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai to bring Android-powered “connected” cars of the future. Automobiles equipped with new Android-based User Interfaces will become available before the end of the year. 

The idea goes beyond just using Android to power the Operating system side of things. Supposedly, they are working on using Android to make customizable dashboards and more. In fact, NVIDIA just announced they are partnering up with this initiative also to bring chipsets designed specifically for automobiles. Here’s the full press release for more info,

Quote:
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.; INGOLSTADT, Germany; DETROIT, Mich.; TOKYO, Japan; SEOUL, South Korea., January 6, 2014 – Extending the success of the Android ecosystem, which has seen over one billion devices activated to date, a coalition of auto and technology companies announced today a new industry alliance aimed at bringing the Android platform to a device that’s always been mobile: the car.

Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and NVIDIA have joined together to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a global alliance of technology and auto industry leaders committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014. The OAA is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone.

The OAA is aimed at accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale, key tenets that have already made Android a familiar part of millions of people’s lives. This open development model and common platform will allow automakers to more easily bring cutting-edge technology to their drivers, and create new opportunities for developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe and scalable way.

“The worlds of consumer and automotive technologies have never been more closely aligned, and this alliance will only pave the way for faster innovation,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at AUDI AG. “Working toward a common ecosystems benefits driver safety above all.”

“Partnering with Google and the OAA on an ecosystem that spans across vehicles and handheld mobile devices furthers our mission to bring vehicles into our owners digital lives and their digital lives into their vehicles,” said Mary Chan, President of General Motors’ Global Connected Consumer unit. “We see huge opportunities for the Android platform paired with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”

“Millions of people are already familiar with Android and use it everyday,” said Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps at Google. “The expansion of the Android platform into automotive will allow our industry partners to more easily integrate mobile technology into cars and offer drivers a familiar, seamless experience so they can focus on the road.”

“We are very pleased to join this alliance with Google as a founding member because Honda is committed to providing the very best connected-car experience to our customers,” said Yoshiharu Yamamoto, president, CEO and director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. “The Honda team is looking forward to collaborating with Google and all OAA members to help advance the safety, value and ease of use of connected-car technologies.”

“Through the OAA, our customers using Android devices will soon be able to enjoy the continuous user experience in their Hyundai and Kia vehicles.” said Dr. Woong-Chul Yang, Vice Chairman of R&D, Hyundai Motor Group. “By introducing the latest IT technologies safely and securely throughout our full range of vehicles, we continually strive to provide the highest levels of convenience and enhance the in-vehicle experience.”

“The car is the ultimate mobile computer. With onboard supercomputing chips, futuristic cars of our dreams will no longer be science fiction,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer, NVIDIA. “The OAA will enable the car industry to bring these amazing cars to market faster.”

OAA members share a vision for the connected car, and bringing these open standards of innovation to the market will help extend people’s mobile experience seamlessly to another platform they already know and love. Timing from each automaker will vary, but you can expect to see the first cars with Android integration by the end of this year. The OAA invites other automotive technology companies to join in this endeavor.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By January 6, 2014 Read More →

An all metal Huawei Ascend W3

Huawei-Ascend-W22Huawei is rumoured to be launching their aluminium Windows Phone at CES this week. The Huawei Ascend W3 due to be the successor of Huawei Ascend W2, a mid-range Windows Phone smartphone. The specifications of Ascend W3 are to be in keeping with a budget device and may come with a slightly bigger and better display (rumoured to be 720×1280 pixels).

Huawei have been working on upping the build quality of the Ascend W3. It is believed the W3 will sport a thin all aluminium build, is expected to follow a design language close to the Huawei Ascend P6 and run GDR3 version of Windows Phone 8 OS.

Posted in: News, Phones
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