As part of its "Here's to Creativity" program in the UK, HTC has teamed up with designer Justin Wolter to introduce a new (and very expensive) stereo acoustic amplifier for the HTC One. A follow-up to the monaural iPhone original, the Gramohorn II is a 3D-printed megaphone-for-your-phone, which boosts volume and bass from the HTC One's BoomSound speakers through resonance and amplification. The cradle captures the output from the One's already thunderous output through two gramophone-like chambers, amplifying output without the need for any electronics.
However the Gramohorn doesn't come cheap — you're looking at £999 (around $1600) for a plaster resin build, or £4999 ($8040) in "a selection of milled metals" for the custom-made dock.
Engadget reports that separate cradles can also be used to pair the Gramohorn II with an HTC One Mini or One Max, if that's your thing.
Oh, wireless charging, how I missed you. Having used the HTC One and Moto X for the past 8 months or so, I'd been resigned to plugging in my phone every night. Not a huge deal, of course, but it does become a bit of a pain if you're like me and tend to top off at your desk while you're working.
The Nexus 5 can charge wirelessly, of course. That is, you don't actually have to plug the phone to do so. There are any number of wireless charges out there — and if you have one that's Qi-compatiable, you should be good to go. But I've very much been enjoying the Zens Wireless Charger of late, as provided by our pals at ShopAndroid.com.
A slight premium over U.S. pricing, but it's in stock and ready to ship
While Google's Chromecast app for Android broke U.S. exclusivity, the dongle itself still remains M.I.A. At least, officially, anyway. There was a brief time when Amazon customers could get their hands on them, but if you're wanting one now, online retailer Zavvi is the place to go. It'll cost you £39.99, which is more than it costs in the States, but shipping is free and they're in stock and ready to go according to its product listing.
What it doesn't say is how many there are, so if you really want one, acting quickly is your best bet. Hit up the source link below to order, and if you're still undecided, check out our full Chromecast review for everything you need to know.
Here's our first look at the official Nexus 5 bumper case that's being sold by Google. Ours is in the currently unavailable "bright red" color, which to our aging eyes looks more like a DayGlo orange and should be appreciated by anyone who's ever had to do search-and-rescue on the high seas.
Anyhoo. We're not quite sure when a "case" became a "bumper case," because this guy covers everything save for the front of the phone. The case is more rigid than flexible, with the Nexus logo printed on the back. (We'll see how long that holds up.) Wireless charging still works with the case on the phone.
It's thin, but definitely makes the phone a wee bit larger. You've got cutouts for all the ports and nubs for all the buttons. The phone slips in easily enough, and it's not going anywhere once it's there. But it's also not hard to remove.
What is difficult, however, is stomaching a $34.99 price on this thing. That's not cheap, at all.
We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.
Sony’s third try at a smart watch hits almost all the bases
Sony is no stranger to the concept of smart wearables. We’ve seen the Sony Ericsson LiveView (which is best forgotten by everyone) and the original SmartWatch introduced at CES in early 2012, which was a little bit better but suffered from connectivity issues. Their latest version, aptly (yet unimaginatively) dubbed the SmartWatch 2 has a history to build on, and to try and not repeat.
Wearables are going to be a lucrative business for the right people. We all saw how the Pebble ripped through its Kickstarter goals, so the desire is out there. It will take a company that can get the form and the function just right to steal it all. Could Sony have done it with the SmartWatch 2? Sales say no, but we all know that best selling doesn’t mean best. Hit the break, have a read, and see what you decide.
Google expanding its accessory options, but they can't be ordered just yet
While the Nexus 5 and its associated accessories hit the Play Store today, Google quietly also updated the case offerings for the Nexus 7 and HP Chromebook 11. The Nexus 7 Sleeve, which was released back in August and works with either generation of the tablet, has picked up a neon yellow and subtle grey color. The sleeve will still set you back a hefty $29.99, but you're getting a well-made case for the money. We're still seeing "coming soon" for both new colors, unfortunately.
On the larger side of things, the newly-announced HP Chromebook 11 Sleeve is getting a new color — a red inside with white outside combination. It's the same $49.99 price as the other colors, and again is still "coming soon."
Stylish (and expensive) ways to protect your new Nexus 5
Along with the announcement of the Nexus 5 on Google Play, Google is rolling out an assortment of different cases for the phone. There's both a "bumper" case available for $34.99 (£24.99 in the U.K.) and "QuickCover" for $49.99 (£34.99). The bumper isn't much of a bumper at all, and actually covers the back of the phone as well. it is made of a "hard outer shell and soft rubber lining," and is offered in black, grey, red and yellow — while it seemed to actually be on sale for a moment, it is dropped to "coming soon" in all colors.
The QuickCover case is much the same, but has a flap that covers the screen as well. Both black and white varieties are "coming soon" at this point in the US, with the black version currently shipping in the U.K.
Bringing Android into the enterprise market in a new way
Android isn't just for the consumer smartphone market — Cisco is hoping to bring the power of this operating system and ecosystem to the world of enterprise desk phones as well. The DX650 is Cisco's latest offering to the business side of things, basically grafting a full-featured Android tablet running Jelly Bean onto what would otherwise be a basic office phone.
You get the basic set of phone features with a physical dial pad, speakerphone and receiver, but everything can also be handled through Cisco's custom phone, contacts and video conferencing apps that are loaded on the device. A front-facing webcam can connect you to folks in a more personal way, and live HDMI out also lets you link up to a larger display if you'd prefer to run more of a true video conference. If you don't have a traditional phone system, you can even link up the DX650 to a smartphone over Bluetooth and use the speaker and handset just like any other connected device.
Now we realize this sort of product may not be on many regular consumer's wish lists, but for those who have to use an office phone all day this may be a cool way to step things up to the high-tech world. Hit the break for a video walkthrough and more pictures of the Cisco DX650.
Yo dawg, I heard you liked Android so we put Android in your computer monitor
If you are looking for a 24-inch Jelly Bean tablet with last years internals, Viewsonic has just the thing for you. The VSD241, a concept which we first saw last January at CES with the VSD240, is what Viewsonic calls a "smart display." This means it can double as a monitor through its HDMI input, or act as a stand-alone Android tablet. And at 24-inches, I almost hate to use the word tablet.
In all fairness, it's not such a bad idea. Hook it up to your laptop for a second display, or if you need access to Android you can use the VSD241 stand alone. The internals, however, may not be up to the task of pushing modern Android apps out to 24-inches.
It's packed with a Tegra 3 inside, which Viewsonic says will deliver blazing performance, but there is no mention of how much memory will be on board, or the resolution. The VSD240 we saw at CES had a 1080p resolution, so we imagine this model will be the same.
It's good to see companies push the envelope. I think we all agree on that one, but I can't help but think this is one envelope best left un-pushed. What say you? Speak out in the comments and let us know if there's any interest in this one. The full press release is after the break.
Explorers who purchased Glass already can upgrade to the new hardware version for free
Google announced today that it will be expanding the availability of Glass, as well as refreshing the hardware based on Explorer feedback. While there aren't any specifics on a new design or exact features, Google is saying that the new version of Glass will have compatibility with future prescription and sunglass lenses, and include a mono earbud. Presumably other hardware changes will be made as well — Google has been listening to those with Glass and tweaking the design accordingly.
Any of those initial Explorers with Glass who purchased a pair before today will be able to swap them out for the new version for free as well, which is a nice gesture to those who jumped on the $1500 bandwagon early. Furthermore, Explorers now have the ability to invite three friends to become Explorers and pay for their own pair of Glass.