Sony Bluetooth speaker and new noise-cancelling earbuds bundled to sweeten the deal
Sony's newly announced Xperia Z2 isn't scheduled to go on sale for a little while yet, but one UK retailer is already offering a pretty sweet audio bundle with pre-orders. Clove Technology has put the Xperia Z2 up for pre-order at £550 inclusive of VAT, and for that you also get a Sony Bluetooth speaker and a pair of its new noise cancelling earbuds.
We managed to take a quick look – although no listen – at the earbuds during a Mobile World Congress briefing in Barcelona, and Sony seems pretty happy with them. Regardless, the bundle is worth a reported £120, so if you're looking at picking up an Xperia Z2 then it might be the way to go.
New Sony phones being bundled with another item aren't uncommon. Previous releases have seen the Smartwatch 2 thrown in as well, and as pre-orders open up elsewhere it'll be interesting to see what else we can pick up. Clove has all three colors in stock, and is slating April 7 as the current availability date. This will be subject to change, but gives us something to go on at this point.
Motorola's updates continue today, and next on the list is Active Display. One of our favorite features from the Moto X (and new Droid phones) will now honor the vibration settings. You can toggle them on and off in sound section of the settings menu.
Google Voice Search has been slowlyrolling out to the Google Chrome browser for some time now, and now the beta version is just listening for your command. The listening search box is present on Google.com and in new blank tabs, and just like with the Google Now Launcher it is always listening for the command "Ok Google". Say that and Google Voice Search springs to life, waiting for you to perform a search, set a timer, or whatever else it is you want to do through Google.
The latest beta version has the option enabled, though according to the Google Chrome Blog the feature "will be rolled out to English (U.S.) users on Windows, Mac and Linux over the next few days, with support for additional languages and Chrome OS coming soon."
All you need is the latest Chrome beta for your hands-free Googling, and you can download that right here
If you're rocking a Motorola phone that supports Motorola Assist — that's basically the Moto X, Moto G and the new Droid phones — you've got an update waiting for you today. It's basically bugfixes and improvements, but one you'll want to get.
Here's the deal:
If you have audio issues with Drive Mode while connected to a Bluetooth device, you'll get a little troubleshooting help.
And if you're in an "available" meeting status, meeting mode won't fire off. (Which makes sense.)
Fitness trackers have been improving steadily over the past few years, but if the latest gadget lives up to its lofty claims, they may have met their match in Moov. The newly-announced Moov fitness gadget aims to be more than just a fitness tracker, it wants to be your fitness coach. The problem with most fitness trackers is their passive nature. They simply sit on your wrist, collecting data, and leave it up to you to parse what it means.
Moov, on the other hand, takes that data, relays it to your phone for processing, and uses what it knows about you and your goals coach you on exercising better. It wants you to be stronger and it wants you to be safer. Moov worked with real athletes and trainers to design Moov's algorithms and ideal forms. By know how the pros do it, Moov can instruct you on how to run, box, swim, bike, and exercise like them. It can even adjust to your known injuries, coaching you to adjust your stride to avoid aggravating that knee injury from your intramural frisbee days. Moov is about precision, whereas other fitness trackers tend to be about generalization.
Toggled in quick settings, new feature gives quick access to five favorite apps
In all the commotion over finger scanners, water resistance and 16-megapixel cameras, one neat new multitasking feature on the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been easy to overlook. Nevertheless, the GS5's "Toolbox" feature could be particularly useful if you're hopping between the same few apps on a regular basis. Enabled in the quick settings area, Toolbox is a floating circle with three dots that sits on top of every thing else running on the phone. Tap it and it'll expand to show up to five favorite apps, configurable through Settings > Toolbox.
We've got a quick video walkthrough of Toolbox on the Galaxy S5 up top.
The vicious cycle of rumors, upgrades and lofty expectations.
We have a problem. By we, I mean all of us. The media, the carriers, the manufacturers, and the customers. That problem is expectations, how we pump them up, and how we react when they aren't met.
The rumor cycle leading up to recent device launches has been particularly vicious. I can't tell you how many times I saw "bigger" thrown out there in anticipation of the iPhone 5s launch — and again now that the iPhone 6 is on the horizon — or how insane the rumors were of a 2K display for the Samsung Galaxy S5 (I had a 1500-word editorial in the waiting just for the occasion).
We were spoiled by the first few generations of the modern smartphone. After years of iterative developments at the hands of Nokia, Palm, and BlackBerry, Apple shocked us all with a great leap forward in the iPhone. Google soon followed with Android and partners like HTC, LG, and Samsung.
Tizen OS means it's no longer a Galaxy, but Samsung's Gear 2 offers many improvements over the original
Samsung recently announced the first Tizen-powered wearable device, the Gear 2, moving away from the Android-based Galaxy Gear. But arguably the Gear 2's software is its least noticeable change — the UI is a dead ringer for Samsung's first wearable, and it functions just the same as that device. The larger changes come in the device's physical hardware, as you'll see in our quick comparison video. The Gear 2 is slimmer and lighter, with replaceable watch straps and a built-in heart rate monitor. And the movement of the camera, microphone and speakers onto the body of the watch allows the strap to be less bulky, too.
Check out the video above, and click past the break for a comparison of the Galaxy Gear and Gear 2's internal hardware.
Selective focus, Shot & More, 4K video and Studio Mode are just some of the GS5's new imaging features
Samsung introduces not only a new 16-megapixel sensor and a revamped flash to the Galaxy S5, but also a wealth of new software features to go with them. The revamped Samsung camera app mostly does away with the big carousel of shooting modes, arranging various features in a grid layout, accessible from the settings icon. Here's where you'll finds options like photo and video resolution — the GS5 shoots at up to 16MP in 16:9, 12MP in 4:3 and video at 4K — as well as the selective focus and HDR modes. The former takes a bunch of exposures, does a little math, and then lets you choose whether you want to focus on the foreground of background. (There's also a "pan focus" option that tries to keep everything sharp.) HDR has been revamped too, giving a live preview of what HDR images will look like. Capture speeds — generally, and in HDR mode in particular — are also noticeably improved.
Check past the break for more, including a new hands-on video of the Galaxy S5's camera and imaging features!
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