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By March 10, 2015 Read More →

Android 5.1 Lollipop arrives

android-5.1-lollipop-updateNot steal Apple’s thunder as they launch iOS 8.2 and the Apple Watch, Google have started rolling out Android Lollipop 5.1 and a new Android Wear ad campaign. What is new with Android Lollipop for 5.1? There is new support for HD voice calling, if you device supports it then you will notice a suitable upgrade to hearing someone’s salivary glands from far away. A new form of Device Protection to keep your phone or tablet secure. Lollipop now supports a dual-SIM setup and the Quick Settings have been tweaked for Bluetooth and WiFi. One authentication has been set up on your Google account locked devices will require authentication even after a reset, a great deterrent and there is no point in anyone stealing an Android device any more! 

Here is the Android Wear video release yesterday, just before another Smartwatch was spoken of…

 

Posted in: Gadgets, News, Phones, Wearables
By March 10, 2015 Read More →

Time to consider the Apple Watch

watch-dmWe have been awaiting the Apple Watch launch since September last year. There has been a great deal of speculation since the inception and it seems every hardware manufacturer is getting in on the game. 6 months have passed, has Apple surpassed everyone expectations?
 
Over the years a large number of smartwatches have come into play, some have reshaped the landscape for wearables, but more often then not they have fallen by the wayside, disappearing off shelves and forgotten about. Lets have a look at how things have been shaped over the years.
 
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The first major player in recent Smartwatch evolution was the Sony Smartwatch. This tiny wearable might have had more in common with the iPod Shuffle than what we accept as a smartwatch today. A plastic clip on the back attached the body of the device to a changable band. The watch ran a simple OS that allowed basic interation with your smartphone, via a Sony watch client. A more primitive version of Android Wear. As with almost all smartwatches this was cursed with a charging method from hell. I personally owned one of these and whilst I took pride in wearing it, I didn’t find any real use for it outside of switching music tracks … when it worked.
The Smartwatch 2 and 3 evolved the range into a competitor, however at a time when Samsung was leading a very limited market.
 
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The Samsung Galaxy Gear was a terrific example of trying to push as much onto your wrist is possible. This expensive device utilised voice commands and included a simple camera. Whilst quite large and initally clocking in a terrible battery life, the Gear became almost an early benchmark of how well things could work. Samsung took the time to develop a short lived ecosystem for the Gear and whilst developers were sparse most of the key players were there. A solid build help sell the limited numbers but the numbers were good enough for Samsung to entertain the product line. Battery life improved and the charge mechanism, still a little cumbersome, certainly wasn’t as off putting as Sony’s attempt.
Samsung followed the original Gear with the Gear 2, Gear Neo, Gear Fit and most recently the Gear S. four devices that attempted to cover all walks of life, combining features Samsung figured people were looking for from the original Gear. The Gear range took a dramatic turn to the Tizen operating system from Android however it is left unappealing to many as, like the Apple Watch, the range of only compatible with certain Android phones from Samsung.
 
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LG has a range of ever improving Android Wear devices. After their first Orange exclusive phone watch, the ill-fated G910, LG decided to adopt the Android Wear OS and produce some of the most popular watches on the market. The G Watch is a perfect example of an entry level wearable, combining features with simple design and versatility. The LG Watch R is the bigger brother and pushes more of a traditional shape and form. Both certainly have their merits and flaws. LG has recently announced a move to the excellent WebOS platform for the LG Watch Urbane, with the most impressive looking design yet.
 
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Motorola seem to have the higher end of the market covered. The recent launch of the Apple Watch has seen a large number of folk happily announcing their preference of the Moto 360, this looks to be Apple’s main competitor. I use competitor in the loosest of sense as there isn’t a iPhone user that will be able to use this with their phone out of the box. Perhaps the best way to look at this is that Moto 360 users and those on the fence about smartwatches will not be migrating to Apple solely for their wrist mounted wearable. The 360 is a beautiful example of elegance and reliability in a smartwatch and alongside the original LG G Watch are the two watches most would recommend to someone on that fence.
 
 
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With some omissions from Pebble and Asus this brings us up to Apple’s first attempt, otherwise we could be here all day. In the 6 months since Apple first announced they would be making a smartwatch they have been able to see how the market is shaping and carefully approach it with the most desirable and well executed device. Or have they?
 
Money is a big factor when adopting a new device and whilst some like to pay top dollar for an impressive wristwatch, you are paying for something that might have a life span of two years. I have a fancy Omega left to me by my father, I plan to leave it to my son in turn and I am fairly certain it will still be operating when that time comes. Certainly the Sport model of the Apple watch priced £299 and £339 will be the most popular however, I couldn’t imagine wearing it all the time and the better bet is the Steel £479 – £949 for daily use, however that pricing is just painful. The £8,000 edition can be customised up to £13,500, is this an investment? Can it be considered a heirloom? Will it work in three years time without mild cursing?
 
The smartwatch actually comes in two sizes measured by height: 38mm (1.5in) with a resolution of 272 x 340 and the 42mm (1.65in)  have a 312 x 390 display. When adding in the six different metal colours, stainless steel, silver aluminium, space black stainless steel, space grey aluminium, 18-carat yellow gold and 18-carat rose gold this takes the choice to 35 different models.
 
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One of the most popular remarks an Apple user would make to defend their use of a device over Android, Windows or some-such is that it just works. That’s what everyone wants. No lag when opening the camera, no errors about compatibility and no resets to get things going again. Apple has a better track record for success from users. However, they have taken the Apple Watch to the deep end and packed in so many features that I am certain many users will feel a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. Some features you will either never touch or only use to show off. An Android Wear device is, essentially, a second screen for your notification panel. The Apple Watch seems to want to become the focus of your attention and help you resist the urge to pull you phone to do something, no matter how complex.
 
I am sure that Android Wear will encompass many of the features Apple have demonstrated over time, for right now whilst in it’s infancy, the idea of cramming in as much as you can may not be the best approach. Smartphones were around before the iPhone made them popular, Windows Mobile and Palm devices were popular, however they did scare many away as they were complex, if a little unfriendly. Both Google and Apple took the smartphone and broke it down into simple to use, basic features and built on it. The Apple Watch feels like it might be a forth generation product.
 
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The Apple Watch has a huge features list and that is an attraction to a number of gadget gurus out there. This will appeal to many, including most of the readership of this site. The mass market might only end up using the device a little more than a way to avoid annoying telemarketing calls and PPI reclamation offers. The idea of the paying for goods and services is barely a blip on the radar when smartphones are concerned, doing this from your smartwatch is going to be completely alien to the mass majority. As a glimpse of the future this is a great idea however, paying for the technology now is a bit of a waste. You currently cannot purchase this from your local Apple shop using Apple pay here is the UK.
 
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The battery on the Apple Watch will last a day, 18 hours Apple claims. This really isn’t stellar compared to recent Android Wear devices, however there will be much room for improvement. With charger looks beautiful and easy to operate. I am glad Apple have taken the time to develop a neat solution with the magnetic inductive wireless charger. I don’t think many folks would have guessed an existing standard would be used here however this is Apple and they are a law unto themselves.
 
I do feel I have been overly negative of the Apple Watch when I am a big fan of wearable technology. There is a lot to love here, with changeable bands, water resistance etc… As I said before Android Wear is like a second screen for your notifications panel. That helps you decide it is is worth your while to dig your phone out of your pocket and that is what most people will use a smartwatch for. Paying the money Apple are asking will probably leave a bit of a bad taste in their mouths after a month or so.
 
Join the debate on Thursday night at 20:30 on the Mobile Tech Addicts Show. Gareth, Matt, Dan, Jay and Micael get together to see if Apple have knocked it out of the park or is this another Newton.
 
 
Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets, News, Wearables
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By March 10, 2015 Read More →

Zano is a versatile drone

pjdhUQCDones are here and they are getting more versatile by the week. They are becoming more affordable and a various sizes are available. The Zano is an ultra-portable, personal aerial photography and HD video capture platform and mall enough to fit in the palm of your hand. One of the biggest features is that the Zano boasts to be intelligent enough to fly all by itself! Zano connects directly to your smart device (iOS or Android) via onboard WiFi and enables you to instantly begin capturing and sharing moments.

A size of the drone is 2.5 x 2.5 in (6.5 x 6.5 cm), which is one of the smallest out there. A collection of sensors work seamlessly together to allow Zano to avoid obstacles, hold its position and know exactly where it is in conjunction with your smart device, at all times.

This means Zano operates on a virtual tether connected to your smart device. Tilting your phone or tablet left or right, forward or backward will control the Zano. Zano can also be adopt a “Free Flight” mode, using on-screen Joy Sticks. Screen slide bars control altitude and rotation. The device will hold its position unless instructed otherwise and this allows for maximum control and freedom without the fear of piloting Zano, if Zano senses it’s strayed too far from your smart device or is running low on battery, it will automatically return to your smart device.

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Additionally there is a “Follow Me” feature. When activated the Zano locks the drone at a certain distance from the user’s smart device to capture all the action. The Zano has an infrared sensor that is claimed to already be providing prototypes with adequate obstacle avoidance.

The drone is 55 g (1.94 oz) in weight and the battery can either be charged via Micro USB while inside the drone, or externally through a special adapter. Photos are snapped at 5 megapixels, while video is captured at 720p. The company says this is limited by Wi-Fi bandwidth and the Zano is technically capable of 1080p at 60 fps, leaving the door open to higher resolution video by way of future software updates.

You can pre-order a Zano drone at their official website for £169.95

 

Posted in: Cameras, Gadgets, News, Phones
By March 9, 2015 Read More →

LG to develop a Super Flagship later this year

LG_Logo.svgIt seems logical that the LG G4 will continue LG’s flagship series with an impressive array of goodies designed to tempt you away from the iPhone, HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6, to name a few. However, Korean Press is reporting that LG executives state LG are planning to launch a smartphone in the second half of this year that is essentially a “Super Flagship.”

“We are planning to release a product that stands above the G series,” said Cho Jun-ho, who heads LG’s mobile business in a surprise move at the Mobile World Congress that runs in Barcelona, Spain, through Thursday. “It will be launched during the second half of this year.”

The obvious thought is that this might well be a Samsung Galaxy Note, iPhone 6+ rival that will push the boundaries in 6 months time, once the LG G4 is taken for granted. Churning out a flagship phone once a year must not be good business any more, with technology pushing forward every month. It is hard to say if Apple and Samsung really consider their flagship devices as flagship devices when they do technically have bigger brothers, however those bigger brothers never sell as well.

One can only hope that things stay the way they are as we are seeing a level of comfortable stability with each company keeping their flagship at the centre of attention and something we can get excited about, swaps rumours of and hope that we eventually find that perfect device. Switching flagship devices will likely leave consumers with a bad taste this their mouth, feeling abandoned after 6 months when a new baby comes. Apple have a very carefully thought out a release process to avoid alienating their consumer base. Samsung are known to dazzle each year with a massive update, packing everything in and consumers enjoy the spectacle. If LG were to push the envelope a couple of times a year, would the wonder of the flagship wane quickly? Or would be help keep things moving forward?

Posted in: Editorial, News, Phones
By March 8, 2015 Read More →

Sennheiser Urbanite XL Unboxing

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A quick unboxing and initial impressions of the Urbanites XL from Sennheiser. These wired headphones with in-line microphone are compatible with Apple iPod, Iphone and iPad. Limited compatibility with Android devices however there is a version available especially for the Galaxy range.

URBANITE XL headphones are for those that love their tunes heavy and love to look good, but who always respect great sound. The URBANITE XL range is ideal for staying connected on the move, with integrated in-line remote controls and microphones for taking calls and controlling music on Galaxy smartphones and tablets, with a dedicated version for Samsung Galaxy devices. This is the sound your ears have been waiting for… Sennheiser URBANITE XL. Let your ears be loved.

Features
  • Take your club sound with you – massive bass and clear treble
  • Tough companion – extra rugged for robust urban living
  • Stay connected – control your music and calls
  • Fits your lifestyle – fold them up and go
  • URBANITE XL is wrapped in comfort – XL ear-pads simply feel better
  • Available in your choice of colours – black, denim, sand, nation and olive
  • Compatibility – available with detachable cable with 3-button remote control and integrated microphone for Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets
  • Easy to store and bring along – the foldable design makes it easy to collapse and store in the supplied soft pouch
  • Bold design – Robust quality of premium stainless steel hinge and aluminium slider

By March 8, 2015 Read More →

The Galaxy S6 has a removable non-removable battery

Screenshot 2015-03-08 11.40.14There has been a little bit of criticism of Samsung and their decision to drop the removable battery from the Galaxy S6 and enclose the device. However, following instructions provided by Samsung themselves users can have a go at replacing the battery down the line if they require it. Whilst it is certainly far from being as simple as swapping the battery on previous Galaxy S devices and most other Samsung phones over the years, there is still technically a removable under the cover and the directions are not exactly rocket science. Attempting this on your own is doing so at your own risk, it will possibly invalidate the warranty. If you are not a qualified Samsung engineer you should probably not try this, or perhaps you should enrol to become a Samsung engineer and then attempt it. In the Galaxy S6 manual linked above see page page 138.

Posted in: News, Phones
By March 6, 2015 Read More →

Could Huawei make the next Nexus?

Screenshot 2015-03-05 17.59.40There a number of  rumours about the next Nexus device and they should always be taken with a pinch of salt. For example last week it was suggesting that the next Nexus could come from a manufacturer like Huawei. After make a lot of noise with the incredibly beautiful Huawei Watch smartwatch rumours began to surface that Google might have them in their sights as the next Nexus maker. 

However, there is now more. Another more recent rumour comes from Gizmochina, who are reporting that this rumour was recently confirmed by Kevin Yang, the director of China research at iSuppli, a technology value chain research and advisory service. Huawei, a Chinese company would make an interesting partner for Google for a new device. An increase in Chinese appeal would be a massive victory for Google. Huawei and Xiami are selling in massive numbers in China and there is much speculation that Xiami might repeat their success in the U.S. and Europe if marketed carefully. Getting in bed with Google and adopting their Western approach could be Earth rattling. 

Posted in: News, Phones
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By March 5, 2015 Read More →

Archos set to fuse things together

ARCHOS-101-Magnus_w_600Archos are at Mobile World Congress this year showing off a something a little different, as usual. Archos are introduced a new proprietary technology called “Fusion Storage.” Essentially, this combines the storage of an added microSD card with the tablet’s built-in internal storage. In this case, the technology is being used on their new Magnus range of tablets as well as some other upcoming smartphones and tablets. Select models will also become Fusion Storage capable by way of over-the-air software updates.

“Once activated, Archos Fusion Storage automatically migrates data from the microSD card and optimizes memory balance, resulting in an increase in install space for apps and games, as well as more storage for media and large files,” the press release states.

Archos revealed more details on the Magnus tablet line-up, which features the first tablet to sport 256 GB of internal storage. This new series includes the Archos 101 Magnus, the Archos 94 Magnus and the Archos 101 Magnus Plus. Prices are only available in dollars at the moment and whilst they are currently based on Android 4.4 KitKat the cost is only $179, $349 and $349, respectively. There is no word on a Lollipop update for the tablets, I’m sure this would require some tinkering in order to work around the fusion technology.

The Archos 94 Magnus has the largest internal capacity of 256 GB, and that’s not including the microSD card slot supporting up to 128 GB of storage. This model runs on a Rockchip RK3288 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz, a Mali T764 GPU, a 9.4-inch IPS screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution and 1.5 GB of memory. Other hardware details include a 5MP camera on the front and a VGA camera on the back, a 6400 mAh battery, and more.

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The Archos 101 Magnus Plus run on the Rockchip RK3288 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz, a Mali T764 GPU, and a 10.1-inch IPS screen with a spiffy 1920 x 1200 resolution. Other hardware specifications include 2 GB of RAM, 128 GB of internal storage, a 5MP camera on the back and a 2MP camera on the front, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, a microSD card slot supporting 128 GB of storage and a 7000 mAh battery.

The specifications also show that the Archos 101 Magnus Plus tablet measures just 0.39 inches, whereas the Archos 94 Magnus measures 0.39 inches and the Archos 101 Magnus measures 0.47 inches. Archos are hoping the 101 Magnus Plus and Archos 101 Magnus can hit the market in April 2015. The Archos 94 Magnus will be available next month as well, but the tablet will only be sold on the Archos website.

Posted in: News, Tablets
By March 4, 2015 Read More →

The Mobile Tech Addicts Show 230 : MWC 2015

Podcast-Logo_thumb.jpgGareth, Phil and Matt get together for one last chat about Mobile World Congress 2015 before some big changes are employed.

Featuring Gareth, Phil and Matt

Direct Download

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Email us: Podcast@tracyandmatt.co.uk  Tel: 0208 123 3757

 

 

Show notes

Phones

HTC One M9

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Microsoft Lumia 640

Blackphone 2

BlackBerry Leap

Alcatel Hero 2 + Idol 3

 

Tablets

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

Archos Fusion Storage on Tablets

Wearables

Huawei Watch

Pebble Time Steel

HTC Grip

HTC Vive Headset

LG Watch Urbane LTE

Acer Liquid Leap

Other Shi… stuff

Wireless Charging in Ikea Furniture

 

Email us: Podcast@tracyandmatt.co.uk  Tel: 0208 123 3757

Gareth Myles – @garethmyles

Matt and Tracy Davis –   @tracyandmatt        

Phil Lain – @low405

By March 4, 2015 Read More →

Alcatel Idol 3 turns things on it’s head

image001Alcatel have announced a new Idol model this year in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. This new ultra-slim smartphone comes in two sizes, 4.7″ and 5.5″ Android slabs. Touting dual hi-fi speakers and a 13 megapixel rear camera developed to do battle with low level light settings. The 4.7″ screen sits atop a quad-core CPU whilst the 5.5″ harbours an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor. Both rock 4G LTE connectivity alongside Lollipop. The interesting feature here is the orientation of the screen, the phone will right itself no matter what way round you are looking at the screen. 

Screenshot 2015-03-01 13.55.40

Posted in: News, Phones
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