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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.

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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 →

Lenovo announces more multimode devices

WW_Image_Consumer_Lenovo_MIIX_2_Dynamic_shot_Option_1_High_resAt CES this afternoon, Lenovo have announced a number of new multimode and convertible devices to supplement their exiting range.

There will be new Miix, Yoga and Flex models added to the lineup which makes Lenovo the leader in Multimode and Convertible form computing.

Lenovo’s full press release follows but we hope to get our hands on these devices soon!

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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
By January 5, 2014 Read More →

Should Google Glass be banned for drivers?

Should Google Glass be bannedGoogle Glass isn’t even on sale here in the UK but the authorities are already looking to pre-emptively ban its use by drivers of motor vehicles. There have been similar motions from law enforcement in the US too.

According to Stuff Magazine, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport said:

“We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving.”

“It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road.”

It’s at this point I have a real issue with the ban. “It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road” – so does that mean that looking at my instrument cluster in my car should also be banned? Looking at my speedo requires me to look down, take my eyes off the road and to shift my focus. Then what about tuning the radio, or looking at the directions on SatNav? All of these things potentially shift my attention from the road ahead to something inside the car. So on the same basis should everything that the driver looks at inside the vehicle also face the same ban?

As a Google Glass user and convert I have to say that the ‘authorities’ have really got this wrong and that the technology-backward bureaucrats making these decisions clearly do not understand Glass nor have they, most likely, even tried it for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for road safety, but I firmly believe that tools such as Google Glass can improve road safety, not reduce it. Glass shows information in front of the user, and you don’t have to ‘take your eyes off the road’ to see it. Showing navigation directions, vehicle speed and other important, relevant to driving alerts in what is effectively a HUD is way better than having to look down at the inside of the vehicle, instrument cluster or elsewhere in the vehicle. If HUD systems are good enough for the military, and costing billions in development, then why not similar systems for in-car use.

There also seems to be a general lack of understanding when it comes to Google Glass. They are not ‘always on’ or ‘always recording’ and the display only turns on when the user wants it to. When there is an info update there’s an audible alert that then allows the user to turn on the display if appropriate or to simple ignore it.

Further consider the safety aspects of Google Glass, and other similar products when they come to market, when there is an incident on the road. If Glass was linked to the vehicle systems it would know if there had been a collision, if an airbag had deployed, the vehicle location via GPS etc. With its compass and G-sensors the direction and severity of the impact could be recorded and upon there being a collision the camera could be enabled and video could be captured for evidence at a later date.

So yes, I think the ban is all backwards. Should Google Glass be banned? NO! There is much that Google Glass does to improve safety rather than detract from it and I firmly believe that the authorities have this one totally wrong. Perhaps a proper study into the safety would be better rather than this whole technophobic approach to something new. If the authorities would like to properly investigate then I’m sure Google would lend them a couple of headsets to try out or you can contact me and I’ll let you try mine out!

Google: Please fight this!

 

So readers, what do you think? Are the authorities right to ban?

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By January 4, 2014 Read More →

The second Nexus 10 for CES 2014

imagesDigiTimes claim that a next-generation Google Nexus 10 tablet will be unveiled by Samsung at CES 2014 next week. They don’t have any indication of what the specs will be for the device, but we can assume it will come with Android 4.4 KitKat. Along with this rumour, they also suggest we will see the Exynos 6 announced by Samsung, plus a few other intriguing releases from Lenovo and Asus.

Samsung is expected to unveil its new Exynos 6 series processor at the show adopting a 64-bit ARM architecture and eight-core design.

Google is expected to launch the new Nexus 10 tablet at the show with Samsung remaining the manufacturer of the device. Many market watchers expect the device to adopt an AMOLED panel.

Asustek Computer is expected to showcase several new products featuring a dual-operating system (OS) design (Windows 8.1/Android), while LG will also announce its latest tablet products.

Seeing its first-generation Yoga series tablets achieve over one-million-unit sales in the first month after release, Lenovo is set to release its second-generation Yoga series tablets at the show to prolong its momentum.

 
Might be nonsense fuelled by speculation however we are only days away from finding out and if there is a possibility then it’s exciting!
Posted in: News, Tablets
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