Google has announced a "Holiday Special." If you purchase a Nexus 7 in the United States or Canada through the Google Play Store you'll receive a $25 Google Play gift card and free shipping. Google says the offer is valid for a "Limited Time." This assumingly is by the end of December. Other than the Nexus 7 there is also a deal going on for the Google Chromecast, you can get $6 Google Play movie credit with its purchase.
Fine Print: "Good for one $25 Google Play credit (excluding devices and subscriptions). Offer expires on, and must be added to a Google Wallet account by March 31, 2014. Once added, credit must be used on Google Play by March 31, 2015."
Motorola has just released an unlocked version of its budget friendly Moto G smartphone to the US market. This version of the Moto G features no contract, no SIM lock, and an unlockable bootloader. This means that the phone will work on any network, and custom ROMs will be easy to upload to the device.
This unlocked version will compete with the locked GSM version already on sale at various carriers, and comes ahead of the CDMA version that is set to launch in January. The device features a 4.5-inch 720p display, a 5-megapixel camera, and Android 4.3. The devices processor is a dual-core SoC from Qualcomm, with 1GB of RAM to keep things running. The unlocked version is available on Motorola.com with the 8GB version retailing for just $179, and the 16GB model selling for just $20 more at $199.
I've been waiting for Rocki to hit Kickstarter, but now is the time to back this awesome looking device. You might not know what Rocki is, so let's give you the quick once over: it's a Wi-Fi Music Sound System, easy, isn't it?
You just plug your Rocki "Play" device into your sound system, which it then turns into a wireless sound system - awesome. It's like putting a Wi-Fi USB dongle on your PC, turning it into a wireless receiving device. This way, you can access the Rocki device from your smartphone or tablet, and send music to it, playing it through your sound system, in amazing quality.
It's on Kickstarter for $45, which lands you the Rocki exclusive beta, and the Play device with the beta app and firmware. For just $45, Rocki is going to change the way you consume music in your house, for $45, it's a no-brainer.
Amazon will be releasing their new Kindle Paperwhite early Q2 2014. The new Paperwhite e-reader will have a high resolution 300 PPI display as opposed to the current model that has a 212 PPI. The prototype of the new Paperwhite has a screen that sits flush with the edge of the device and not recessed in, like the current model. It weighs less and has a matte-like glass screen to replace the plastic.
Amazon is upscaling the software for a better high resolution look as well as making a custom font that will be better for reading. There is no official release date or pricing for the new Kindle Paperwhite, but it will be available sometime Q2 of 2014.
Designing your smartphone hardware to cheat the benchmark system seems to be the trendy thing to do, but some benchmarks are ensuring that this form of cheating is no-longer a viable method to boost the perceived performance of you device. Today Futuremark announced that it has delisted several phones from its results.
The phones were delisted from rankings because of accusation that they feature hardware-based loopholes that allow them to run faster when benchmarking apps are activated to run test. All in all a total of six smartphones were delisted, including the :HTC One, HTC One Mini, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Exynos 5 Octa, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 MSM8974, Samsung Galaxy Note III Exynos 5 Octa, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 MSM8974. While no mention of what each device did specifically to falsely boost scores, Futuremark did release a statement about the delistings.
Samsung has officially unveiled their new Galaxy Grand 2. Samsung's new large screen smartphone comes with a 5.25 inch HD display. The Galaxy Grand 2 runs on Android Jellybean 4.3. Other specs on the device are a quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, 1.5 GB RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, 2,600 mAH battery, a 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.9 megapixel front facing camera. The Galaxy Grand 2 comes with 8 GB of built-in storage and is expandable to 64 GB with its microSD slot. Samsung will also be releasing models with dual-SIM capabilities. Samsung has not commented about availability or pricing for the Galaxy Grand 2.
Samsung announcement: "This evolution of the Galaxy Grand series brings meaningful upgrades to its predecessor including an improved HD viewing experience, enhanced performance, and many other intuitive features."
While we are on the topic of the HTC One, we might as well introduce you to the all new gold variant of HTC's flagship. While not actually gold plated, this new color for the HTC One comes courtesy of HTC's anodizing process, and is just dyed gold the same way the blue and red versions are.
The Gold HTC one is purely a cosmetic release with all of the internal hardware staying exactly the same as its silver and black counterparts that were released at launch. In case anyone has forgotten, the HTC One features a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that is clocked in at 1.7GHz, 2GB of RAM, and a full 1080p display. An HTC UltraPixel camera is present as well as either 32GB or 64GB of on-board storage. Unfortunately, HTC has not disclosed which carriers and retailers will be stocking the device, or when it will be available.
When Google first announced Android 4.4 KitKat, it said that Google Play versions of Android smartphones would be getting the update to 4.4 earlier than other phones. Today Google announced that the Android 4.4 update has began rolling out to the Google Play Edition of the HTC One.
Much like the Android 4.4 update the Nexus 4 received, the Over-the-Air (OTA) update for the HTC One is very light weight, coming in at just 305MB. This means that those with data caps will not be majorly impacted if they chose to download the update over their data service and not Wi-Fi.
While the HTC One is arguably the second best Android phone ever made, users should see a major boost in performance with the device running Android 4.4 as it requires significantly less RAM to run the OS. KitKat will also bring a redesigned status bar, navigation icons, text messaging system, and contact list. Additionally, the new OS ushers in native printing, and NFC payment support.
The 8-core processor smartphone market is relatively small right now, but TCL is set to become a player in that market. The Chinese company has revealed its Idol X+ smartphone, which will be a collaboration between TCL and Chinese online retailer JD.com.
The Idol X+ will feature an 8-core processor which will be produced by MediaTek, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and 5-inch 1080p display. As for software, the Idol X+ will be powered by Android 4.2.1, and should hopefully arrive with an update once its released. As for the price, we should expect it to be priced at $350, which is not too bad at all.
When the world was first introduced to the modular smartphone concept, many industry analyst laughed and said that it would never happen, and that it was impossible. I was one of those people. Today Motorola has stepped up and partnered with 3D Systems to begin development and production of the Ara modular smartphone.
The deal is spread out over several years and 3D Systems will be tasked with developing a unique 3D Printing system that Motorola has dubbed "the factory of the future." The question is, how realistic will it be to 3D print anything other than the case or chassis of the phone? With today's 3D Printing technology, we are nowhere near printing a nano-scale circuit board, integrated circuits or even refined transistors capable of building other electronic components. This deal is a step in the right direction however and will lead to some interesting technology advances.
Motorola announces today that they will be making a couple of changes to their Developer Edition Program. The Developer Edition phones are for users that want to mess around with their operating systems and user interface. Users that would request a bootloader unlock code would get their warranties voided on their Developer Edition device by Motorola.
Motorola has changed that policy and will be reinstating warranties on Developer Edition devices that where purchased directly from Motorola in 2012 and 2013 and that requesting an unlock code will no longer void user warranties. Motorola will also be offering return-to-factory software images so you can format it to the way it came at purchase if needed. The recovery images are available on Motorola's website.
The HTC One Max is available today from Verizon Wireless. The HTC One Max is priced at $299.99 with a two year contract or $25 a month on Verizon's EDGE plan. Verizon bundles in a ISIS-ready SIM card so you can use contactless paying.
The HTC One Max comes equipped with a huge 5.9 inch 1080p display and a fingerprint scanner that can store up to three people's fingerprints. The device comes with Android 4.3 with HTC Sense 5.5 equipped. Some other specs for the HTC One Max are a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM, a 4MP "UltraPixel" rear camera, a 2.1MP front camera, a 3,300mAh battery, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.0. As for storage there is a 16GB and a 32GB model, and they both feature a microSD slot which allows expansion of up to 64GB. Sprint already has the HTC One Max and has it priced at $250 in-store or $150 online.
After using Android 4.4 KitKat on my Nexus 5 for the last few days, I'm loving the new mobile OS from Google. But when exactly will HTC's flagship One smartphone receive the update?
Well, it looks like the company will be rolling the tasty-sounding mobile OS out to its One smartphone before the end of January next year. We know this because HTC USA said on Twitter that the delay of Android 4.3 for Verizon Wireless customers "does not impact delivery of 4.4 by end of January - still on track."
A touchscreen display at a Verizon concept unveiling at the Mall of America accidently leaked the pricing of the HTC One Max. This was discovered by Nick Grey from HTC Source. It also looks like the Verizon version of the HTC One Max has "Verizon" stamped on the bottom as opposed to the HTC logo that is supposed to be there. An official release date is still yet to be announced from Verizon but it will be sometime in the holiday season. Although, it's rumored to be at Verizon stores on November 21st.
Sprint is already offering the HTC One Max for $250 in-store or $150 online, with the original HTC logo on the bottom. The HTC One Max will $299.99 with a two-year contract or if you go with Verizon's EDGE plan $24.99 a month. Nick Grey of HTC Source took a photo of the display that leaked the info.
Google said that its Nexus 4 smartphone would be upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKit within a few weeks of the next-gen mobile operating systems release, and today the company made good on its promise. This morning Google began rolling out Android 4.4 KitKat to Nexus 4 devices. It is unclear if just the Google Play edition of the Nexus 4 is getting the update or if all Nexus 4 phones are being updated.
Surprisingly, the Android 4.4 update is not very big at all and totals just 238MB. The update is being sent out over-the-air so all Nexus 4 owners are being advised to check their phone for available updates. The Android 4.4 update brings forth several new features, and updates apps such as Google Hangouts, Cloud Print, and Caller ID. Google has also changed up the way Android handles text messaging and now offers a way to integrate SMS and App messaging into one seamless interface.
Opera version 18 is optimized for use with larger Android tablets. Opera 18 now has tabs similar to the ones found on Chrome. The update is not just a scaled up version of the standard Opera.
Opera 18 lets you swipe through newspapers and magazines, and they have placed the menu and navigation buttons in a way that they are located where your fingers rest. It also has Opera's speed dial and off-road data saving. Opera 18 for Android is available now on the Google Play Store.
Opera's mobile browser chief Johan Schön: "The size of devices and mindset of users make the tablet very different from its smaller cousin, the smartphone, and we have to respect that. In Opera 18 for Android, we have spent hours and hours tweaking, and fiddling with the placement of, even the most minute detail, just to get that top tablet feel."
We pay a lot of money for our smartphones and there is nothing worse than getting a scratch on the screen or the phones case. When I got the first scratch on my HTC One it was almost like I had damaged my best friend. Fortunately, we now have Gorilla Glass 3 to help prevent scratches on our screens, but what about the rest of the phone?
That is where LG's new G Flex smartphone and its self healing surface some into play. In a recently released video LG demonstrates this technology by scrubbing the back of the G Flex with a wire brush, and at the same time scrubs a traditional plastic phone case with the same brush. As you would expect, the plastic case is scratched beyond repair, while LG's G Flex looks good as new after just a few minutes of sitting. Not much is explained on how this works, but I would be willing to assume that similar technology to what is used in self healing cutting mats has been implemented.
Today Logitech has officially launched its PowerShell game controller case designed for iPhones and iPod touch devices running iOS 7. We first heard about the device during Apples WWDC event earlier this year, and have seen several leaks of the device since.
The new PowerShell is designed to encapsulate your iOS device and offer up traditional gamepad controls including a D-pad, 4 face buttons and 2 shoulder buttons that function similar to those on a PlayStation or Xbox controller. Inside the case is a 1500mAh battery that will both charge and power you iPhone or iPod Touch during extended gameplay sessions.
It has been a while since we have seen a fresh tablet offering from Toshiba, but the wait is finally over. Today Toshiba announced a new 7-inch Android-based addition to its Excite line of tablets. The all new Excite 7 joins the ranks of the 10-inch Excite Pure, Pro, and Write tablets, and fills the small tablet void the line has been plagued with.
The new Excite 7 is a little disappointing however, with a display resolution of just 1024x600 and just 1GB of RAM. The tablet does feature Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean though, and up to 12-hours of battery life. Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and SRS-powered audio are present as well. The device's cameras leave much to be desired with the rear packing in a lackluster 3-megapixel sensor and the front being of the sub-half megapixel class. 8GB of onboard memory is present and it can be augmented via a microSD port. The Excite 7 is available now at retailers for $170.
Qualcomm is without a doubt the biggest and most well known name in mobile processing, and today the company unveiled a new processor that is even faster than its flagship Snapdragon 800 SoC. The all new Snapdragon 805 is not a minor upgrade as its name would suggest, but is rather a powerhouse that packs a new GPU and Ultra High-Definition capabilities.
The new Snapdragon 805 features "system level" support for video resolutions all the way up to 4K, and with its new Adreno 420 GPU, mobile gaming, and video performance will never be the same again. With this being the first flagship chip from Qualcomm that natively supports 4K resolutions, you can bet that we will be seeing it in everything from the Samsung Galaxy 5, Nexus 6, LG G3, and a vast range of other devices. Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 805 is 40-percent faster in processing and GPU power than the Snapdragon 800, so expect to see the mobile world shaken up yet again in 2014.
The 4.3 update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE is finally here. The update is available for download right now on the LTE version of the Note 2 with the GT-N7105 model number. The Galaxy Note 2 has been running Android 4.1.2 since its launch. They have skipped Android 4.2.2 and went directly to 4.3. So far the update seems to be working pretty smoothly, unlike the Galaxy SIII update that got pulled back. This update is a big change; it completely changes the user interface to the one found on the Galaxy S4 and the Note 3.
Samsung hasn't announced the official update's details but the people at Sammobile have listed the differences and improvements they have found.