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By January 13, 2014 Read More →

Google Glass Glassware must-haves

Google Glass GlasswareMany of you will know that since I got my Google Glass about a month ago I have become a massive convert and huge supporter of it. In fact I wear my Glass almost all the time now, pretty much only taking it off when I go to bed or before meeting.

Those that I work with have also become accustomed to seeing that ‘thing’ attached to my head!

At the moment Google Glass can still be considered to be in Beta and, as it stands, the list of apps, known as Google Glass Glassware, is somewhat limited. However, many new developers have taken up the mantle and and the list of available third-party apps is now growing.

So I thought I would take a moment to mention a couple of the apps that I consider to be must-have and those that I use all the time.

 

Toolkit for Glass

This one is from my dear old friend Paul O’Brien. Toolkit for Glass offers several features that probably should have been a part of the base OS of Glass. Paul’s toolkit provides the following:

  • use ‘open camera’ to give you a camera viewfinder, take pics using the camera button. Enables you to properly frame a photo.
  • use ‘switch wifi’ to toggle wifi with voice confirmation. Turning off WiFi when you aren’t using it helps to extend the battery life.
  • use ‘switch bluetooth’ to toggle bluetooth with voice confirmation. Turning off Bluetooth when you aren’t using it helps to extend the battery life.
  • use ‘get status’ to receive a voice readout of battery, wifi and bluetooth status’
  • just for testing some stuff – use ‘magnify’ to open the camera where sweep forward will zoom in, sweep back will zoom out

Glasquare

This is an unofficial version of Foursquare specifically for Google Glass. Glasquare features include:

  • 3 voice commands: Check me in, Show best venues and Search venues for …
  • super-fast check-ins with a possibility to add photos and comments
  • 10 best venues around you/matching your search with details
  • directions towards a selected venue
  • read tips of the selected venue

SpeedHUD

google_glass_screenshot-300x168The use of Google Glass while driving continues to be controversial and there are still plans to ban it while driving.  However, there are a couple of apps out there that, in my opinion, would certainly improve driving safety and one app that I enjoy using is SpeedHUD which is believe demonstrates the very reason why a blanket ban is premature at best.  SpeedHUD shows your speed and compass direction.

 

Obviously there are many more Glassware apps out there but these are just the third-party one that I use all the time. Whether you are new to Google Glass or an veteran they are definitely worth a look!

 

 

By January 10, 2014 Read More →

Nokia Lumia Black Update Roll-out Begins

nokiaglancescreenThe Nokia Lumia Black software update will start to roll-out for Nokia Lumia WP8 owners around the world from today. The update brings new features, improvements in imaging, new apps and app updates from Microsoft and Nokia to make the Lumia smartphone experience even better.

The main features brought along with the update from Nokia include:

  • App Folder. This brand new feature makes your Lumia experience even more fluid by giving you an option to further personalize and organize your Start screen. With App folders you can group similar apps and settings into one folder, a tile, on your Start screen.
  • Nokia Glance screen 2.0. Helps you keep track of information in real time, making all your most important notifications including: phone, messages, email, outlook, calendar, or any apps that use notifications such as Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, or games;  always visible at a glance on your screen. It saves time and energy.
  • Bluetooth LE. Will now be enabled across the full Windows Phone 8 Lumia range for compatible gadgets like the Adidas MiCoach accessories. 
  • Nokia Refocus. The amazing Nokia Refocus comes to all Windows Phone 8 Lumia smartphones with 1GB of RAM and upwards.
  • Nokia Beamer. Sharing what’s on your phone is easier than ever with Nokia Beamer. You can now beam documents, presentations, anything you like, to any HTML5-enabled screen by simply scanning a QR code on the screen. It’s coming to all of the phones with 1GB RAM upwards.
  • Nokia Storyteller. The app arranges your photos for you, by date and by place, making it easier to tell the stories behind your pictures, and give extra context through the close integration of interactive maps.
  • Nokia Camera. Combines Nokia Pro Camera and Smart Camera to simplify the photo-taking experience, and ensure you get the perfect shot every time. The app has been available for Lumia PureView smartphones since last year, but it’s now coming to the rest of the WP8 Lumia range. The latest Nokia Camera update also brings raw DNG support for Lumia 1020 owners.
  • Latest generation of imaging algorithms. The Lumia Black update further improves the image quality, especially in Lumia 1020. Among others, the improvements include a new oversampling algorithm, making your images more natural looking with reduced noise, while ensuring your photos remain wonderfully sharp.

 

The Lumia Black update also brings a series of enhancements from Microsoft to Nokia Lumia smartphones. These include safe driving mode – which cuts out unnecessary distractions when you’re on the road; customised ringtones for each contact. You can now also close apps within the in multitasking view and lock the screen rotation if you wish.

 

Timings: The Lumia Black update has begun rolling out today for Lumia 1020 and Lumia 925 smartphones, with other models in the range following in the coming weeks.

 

How to update: Nokia Lumia smartphones automatically check for updates every week, and will notify people when it finds one. Otherwise check by going to Settings -> Phone update – it downloads and installs straight from that screen.

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By January 10, 2014 Read More →

Acer C720 Chromebook Unboxing video

Acer-Chromebook-previewed-at-IDF-forward-angleThe Chromebook of the moment has got to be the Acer C720. Currently being released in a number of different configurations featuring various amounts of RAM and storage, touchscreens and now colours.

Acer seem to have hit upon a winning combination of value, power and quality. What new edge does the Acer C720 bring to the table, despite options? Well, not a lot to be entirely honest, in terms of specification it’s really on par with all the other Chomebooks out there at the moment. However, the C720 does offer great value for money and seems to be the solid choice.

As always, I’m starting off the review process by recoding an unboxing video, which you’ll be able to see below. Here I’ll be showing off the hardware as well as taking a look at the OS and UI once we’ve booted up. A process that takes seconds!

By January 9, 2014 Read More →

Google adds more to their Takeout menu

urlGoogle have expanded their Google Takeout service. Previously, most of us had used Takeout to export our feed archives from Google Reader before the big shutdown last year, a shutdown many still mourn to this day.  However, Google made switching to an inferior RSS client the relatively easy. It seems tha they have now expanded the service to all you to back up 18 of their services locally.

Screenshot 2014-01-08 07.19.56

 

A handy feature that might just help those with concerns about storing everything in the cloud and somehow feel their trusty 7 year old USB Hard Disk is a safer place than Google’s own multi-billion dollar facility. Doing a back up really shows a frequent user just how much information they put up there, privacy sceptics will be flipping out.

Posted in: Editorial, News
By January 9, 2014 Read More →

4K TV

4K TVTV lovers will be excited to hear that Amazon is filming all of its original drama in 4K UHD quality for LOVEFiLM. 4K UHD is a relatively new technology which provides viewers with exceptional clarity and definition, using four times as many pixels as FULL HD. The enhanced detail means that even with very large television screens the definition is not compromised.

Extremely high definition on a grand screen might sound like TV heaven, but up until now there hasn’t been much for 4K UHD televisions to watch. Some 4K televisions come loaded with material shot in 4K to showcase the technology, but more content filmed in 4K is needed. That’s why audio/visual enthusiasts and TV fans will welcome the news about Amazon and LOVEFiLM.

The director of Amazon Studios has said, “All of the pilots and series we produce next year will be shot in 4K. That includes our first ever drama series that we will green light next year. We think customers are going to love watching these series in the highest resolution ever available to consumers and we can’t wait to deliver it.”

Advances in encoding technology (which enables audio and visual material to be downloaded) means that 4K UHD television and movies can now be streamed quicker.

Next year Amazon will be producing five new television pilots which viewers will be asked to watch and give feedback on. Once piloted, they will get made into a series filmed in 4K UHD and be available to stream on LOVEFiLM. The pilots include Chris Carter, creator of the X-files, show ‘The After’, ‘Bosch’- a series based on the Harry Bosch book series- and ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ from critically acclaimed director Roman Coppola.

This development is great for online streaming customers, even if they are not yet on the 4K UHD bandwagon. 4K ultra high definition is set to be this year’s big audio/visual technology story and with not much content out there, Amazon have got a head start. 4K UHD will only become more popular and it’s good to know that when there is more content available.

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
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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…

 

Featuring Gareth and Matt

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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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