While the headlines are always about Samsung, Google and Apple, there is a much bigger part of the pie that is currently being eyed at: China. Lenovo and Xiaomi are the two most recognizable brands in the region, but Lenovo is hungry for more.
The company is about to create an entire new smartphone brand for the Chinese market, something that will be much more official in April 2015. The new brand will focus on branded applications, consumer engagement, and selling devices online - making it easier for Chinese customers to get online, and after a few clicks, have a device shipped out to them. Lenovo will still sell Lenovo-branded smartphones through local carriers and retailers, but this new brand will compliment its main brand in the country.
ASUS has enjoyed the launch of multiple of its PadFone devices in other parts of the world, especially Taiwan, but now the PadFone X Mini is making it to the US. The ASUS PadFone X Mini sports a 4.5-inch display, but docks into a larger 7-inch tablet for a unique experience.
The device will be launching in the US for $199.99 with AT&T's GoPhone plan, off contact. The $200 price tag is pretty hot, considering you get both devices - the tablet, and smartphone - but remember, the tablet doesn't work without the smartphone inside of it. Intel is the one powering the device, with its Atom Z2560 dual-core processor. We also have 1GB of RAM, 8GB of flash storage, two cameras, and a microSD card slot. Software wise, we have Android 4.4 KitKat.
What makes the PadFone series of devices unique is the tablet side of the device, which doesn't just give you a bigger screen, but it provides a much longer life thanks to its additional battery. The phone on its own has around 16 hours of use, but the tablet brings over an additional 12.5 hours.
Google has announced the first device to be based on its new Android TV platform: Nexus Player. Google's new Nexus Player is a set-top streaming box that had the company working with ASUS on, and will be Google's first take on getting into your lounge room, properly.
The Nexus Player looks like a puck, and is around 4.7 inches in diameter, with a tiny remote that has just a few buttons on it. The remote will feature a microphone, so you can do voice searches through the Nexus Player, which is a nice touch. Inside of the Nexus Player is 8GB of internal flash storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi for streaming content, and there's also a game controller that is sold separately.
Google is selling the Nexus Player at $99, with its game controller to be made available for $39. The company will be selling the Nexus Player exclusively through its Play Store, with pre-orders starting on Friday.
Another highly rumored, and now finally here device, is the new Nexus 9. Google had some massive announcements today, including Android 5.0 Lollipop, the new Nexus 6 smartphone, the Nexus Player, and now the Nexus 9 tablet.
Google's new Nexus 9 tablet is made by HTC, and powered by NVIDIA's super-impressive Tegra K1 processor. It features an 8.9-inch QVGA, or 2048x1536 display, with a ratio of 4:3, which is an interesting turn, as we usually see 16:9 displays. HTC has provided its BoomSound speaker technology into the Nexus 9, which is joined by NVIDIA's 64-bit, Tegra K1 processor. We also have 2GB of RAM, and three different models to choose from.
Starting with the 16GB Nexus 9, priced at $399, moving up to the 32GB for $479 and if you want to walk around with an 8.9-inch tablet in your bag with LTE abilities, the 32GB LTE model will cost $599. Google will be launching the Nexus 9 in 29 countries over the next couple of weeks, and when talking about the new 4:3 form factor, Google said that the Nexus 9 is "small enough to easily carry around in one hand, yet big enough to work on".
After months of teasing, the Nexus 6 is now official. The Nexus 6 is the beginning of a new line of devices that is ready to showcase Android 5.0, which was also just announced. The biggest news here is that Google did indeed go for the large 6-inch screen size, but we're going to talk about that a little later.
The 6-inch display features a QHD resolution, so we have 2560x1440, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 processor, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with OIS, a 2-megapixel selfie-snapper, 3220mAh battery that should ensure all-day battery life (especially with that QHD panel), two-front facing speakers and it comes in two sizes: 32GB and 64GB. Two colors are on offer for the Nexus 6: blue, or white.
One of the key parts of the new Nexus 6, if not the biggest, would be that it arrives with stock Android 5.0 Lollipop. Lollipop introduces some nice new technologies and features, such as a battery saving feature that will extend a Lollipop-powered device's battery by up to 90 minutes. Also, thanks to Motorola building the new Nexus 6, the smartphone includes Motorola's Turbo Chargers, which will charge the phone up with six hours worth of use, in just 15 minutes.
When it comes to pricing, Google has stepped away from the Nexus line being a cheap alternative to all of the other premium handsets out there, offering it unlocked for $649. Google will be offering up the Nexus 6 on October 29, with store availability starting in the beginning of November.
The State of New York recently said bitcoin software developers aren't required to hold a "BitLicense" to work inside of the state. The BitLicense plan was introduced in New York in July, with a revised proposal expected before the end of the month - with bitcoin-related companies able to offer input and comments on the regulations.
"We are regulating financial intermediaries," said Benjamin Lawsky, New York state superintendent of financial services. "We are not regulating software development. To clarify, we do not intend to regulate software as software or software development. For example, a software developer who creates and provides wallet software to customers for their own use will not need a license."
Thousands of retailers currently accept bitcoin - with additional businesses expected to jump on the bandwagon in 2015 - but the cryptocurrency's volatility remains a significant concern. Governments and major banks have been hesitant to try to embrace bitcoin, and that likely won't change any time soon.
Yesterday, Warner Bros head honcho Kevin Tsujihara fully unveiled the full list of DC Comics properties that are coming to cinemas over the next six years - and its an ambitious plan indeed, elaborating on rumours from last month.
The plan starts with 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' and 'Suicide Squad' in 2016, 'Wonder Woman', 'Justice League Part One' in 2017, 'The Flash' and 'Aquaman' in 2018, 'Shazam' and 'Justice League Part Two' in 2019, and finally 'Cyborg' and a reboot of 'Green Lantern' in 2020.
Coupled with the huge expansion of Marvel films coming from Disney, 'Spider-Man' features from Sony and 'X-Men', 'Fantastic Four' and 'Deadpool' movies from Fox, it seems the next few years isn't going to have any shortage of superhero features. Perhaps TOO many.
A surprising 16 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds might suffer from Internet addiction, according to a survey conducted by the Digital Clarity marketing agency. Most of the 16 percent suffering addiction-related problems spend at least 15 hours per day using the Internet.
The Digital Clarity survey took a look at the following characteristics: how many hours were spent online, whether or not they became irritable if they weren't using the Internet, if they felt guilty spending so much time online, possible isolation due to online activity, and noting a sense of euphoria if using the Internet.
Researchers are most interested to see if dopamine in the brain is released the same way for Internet addicts as alcoholics or drug addicts. However, critics of trying to label Internet addiction believe the problem could be related to other psychological issues - and is becoming a more talked about debate in the mental health community.
Japanese company Tomy has announced the Robi jr. humanoid robot that is able to say 1,000 phrases and sing almost 50 songs, and will be released in early 2015. The robot will retail for $140 and should be released in retail stores and online. The robot is just eight inches in height and includes an integrated calendar along with voice recognition, providing owners with the ability to ask what time it is.
Tomy will also have Chinese-speaking versions of Robi jr. for customers in Hong Kong and Taiwan, available around the same time as the Japanese version. The company hopes to sell 50,000 Robi jr. units per year in Japan, and didn't release sales predictions for foreign markets.
Tomy has a wide variety of toys and technology-themed products geared towards children in Japan and across the world.
Google is planning to release Android 5.0, dubbed Lollipop, on Friday, featuring a new design and additional features. Lollipop will replace Android 4.4 (KitKat), which was released in October 2013, as the demand for a robust operating system increases along with impressively strong hardware that powers smartphones and tablets.
Lollipop will provide additional security features and improve battery life, along with new features that could make Android devices more friendly for bring your own device (BYOD) workplace use.
Android currently has almost 85 percent of the global smartphone market, the IDC research group says, appealing to consumers in emerging markets. Lollipop will be pushed out on new Google Nexus smartphones and tablets - then will spread to older Nexus devices - with other hardware manufacturers expected to release updates in the near future.