Headlines

7 months ago

Samsung shows off official Galaxy S5 wireless charging covers

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Update: We're tracking the best in Galaxy S5 wireless charging here.

While most of the world is still waiting for a chance to get their hands on a Samsung Galaxy S5 of their very own, that doesn't mean Samsung isn't ready to sell some accessories. Case in point — the wireless charging covers, which made an appearance today.

You'll have four different models to choose from, but the only colors shown so far are white and black. You have a "standard" back plate with a Qi charging module in black and white for $30, or an S-View Flip Cover model also in black or white.

All four covers include the gasket that is part of the S5's water-resistance feature, and are done up in the same dimpled finish as the stock cover. The chargers should work with any Qi-compatible charger, including Samsung's own model.

Source: Samsung (1) (2) (3) (4)

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7 months ago

Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV: Which one deserves a spot next to your TV?

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 Which one deserves a spot next to your TV?

With streaming boxes all costing about the same these days, the process of choosing one has become a little more difficult. Amazon added yet another option this week with the Fire TV. We've already given you a hands-on first look of the Fire TV and came away pretty impressed. If you're currently debating between an Amazon Fire TV and an Apple TV, we've put together a comparison over on iMore to help you decide. Hit the source link below to check out the comparison. Then let us know, what streaming service are you using? Does the Fire TV tempt you to switch?

Source: iMore

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7 months ago

Nest halts sales of Nest Protect smoke alarm over potential safety issue

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Nest has put a halt to sales of their connected Nest Protect smoke detector over concerns that the alarm could be unintentionally deactivated. Protect smoke alarms have a "Protect Wave" feature which allows users to deactivate the alarm when it's activated under not dangerous conditions (say, smoke from cooking) by waving at the alarm. The Nest Wave feature has been found in Nest's own testing to be possible to be deactivated under "a unique combination of circumstances".

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7 months ago

Amazon Fire TV and Fire Game Controller hands-on and first impressions

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Amazon Fire TV and Fire Game Controller

A compelling experience, and yet another great way for Amazon to have its content in front of as many people as possible.

For the past few weeks rumors have been building that Amazon was ready to make a big step into the living room with some sort of streaming media and gaming device. When the Fire TV was announced, it turned out to be far more than a simple "streaming stick" — this is better described as a latest-generation Kindle Fire, minus the screen and plus a remote and TV-friendly interface. It has a quad-core processor, a full-featured operating system and access to one of the largest media and app libraries in the world.

Thanks to Amazon Prime overnight shipping we have our hands on the Amazon Fire TV and the (optional) Fire Game Controller, and we're already putting it through its paces. Spoiler alert: our first impressions are pretty darn positive. Read along and see what you'll be getting with an Amazon Fire TV on day one — you may find it tough to keep your mouse away from the Amazon 1-Click order button.

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7 months ago

Amazon announces Fire TV, yet another streaming box

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Amazon Fire TV

Ships today for $99, gaming controller optional

If you haven't been able to decide yet between the myriad options for streaming boxes, Amazon has yet another new option for you: Fire TV. The new box, announced today, does TV and movies, music, and gaming. And not just from Amazon's own sources — most of the familiar third-party streaming sources that you know and love are included too. The Fire TV box is shipping today for $99.

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7 months ago

Zens keeps your phone charged wirelessly, but steals your car's precious coffee holder

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Zens has a new Qi wireless charger, and this one is for your car. The aptly-named "ZENS Qi Wireless Car Charger" is set to hit markets on April 15th for an eye-melting €69.99 (US$96.54). It's designed to split into your cup holder and has a slot on its top designed to accommodate smartphones with displays up to 5 inches. Blessedly, the vast majority of phones that support Qi charging (both Android and Windows Phone) fall into that range.

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7 months ago

Xiaomi's plug-in button looks suspiciously like Kickstarter project Pressy

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New accessory appears to be direct clone of crowdfunding success story

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has unveiled a new accessory this morning — a programmable plug-in button that fits into Android smartphones through the headphone jack. If that sounds familiar, it's because it appears to ape a successful Kickstarter project Pressy, which raised almost $700,000 (from a goal of $40,000) to bring to market a suspiciously similar accessory.

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7 months ago

Select Nexus 7, Nexus 5 and Chromebook 11 cases are on sale in Google Play

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Google has a slick 25-percent off sale on some Nexus (and a Chromebook) cases going on right now at Google Play.

We saw these go on sale back in January, but if you missed your chance to pick one up you have a second chance. Here's what's on sale:

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7 months ago

TYLT Energi 10K, 5K, 3K and 2K battery packs

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TYLT Energi (left to right) 10K, 5K, 3K, 2K

Four batteries to fit your needs, each with solid design and performance — just be ready to pay for them.

TYLT has made name for itself as a manufacturer that puts out high-quality mobile accessories that are both functional and completely unique in their design. You can usually spot a TYLT case or battery by its sharp lines, soft-touch materials and striking palette of amazingly bright and lively colors. Its lineup of Energi external batteries are no exception, bringing some sleek style along with great functionality and performance as well.

The Energi lineup of external batteries come in a variety of sizes and are simply named to (roughly) indicate their capacity. You have an Energi 10K that is 10,400mAh capacity, followed by a 5K (5,200mAh), 3K (3,000mAh) and 2K (2,000mAh). Each has its benefits and downsides as you go through the range, but you'll hardly be disappointed with any one you pick up — read along and see the merits of the whole range of TYLT Energi battery packs.

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7 months ago

Withings Bluetooth-equipped Blood Pressure Monitor now available

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Wirelessly check on your systolic and diastolic

Android users looking to stay healthy might want to check out this wireless blood pressure monitor from Withings. This is a new version of a previous award-winning blood pressure monitor made by the company. Android support is probably the biggest change for you.

You’ll be able using the Withings Health Mate app from Google Play to connect to the wireless blood pressure monitor. That app for Android is also used to connect to various other Withings products like weight scales, baby monitors, activity trackers and more.

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7 months ago

Preorder your HTC One Dot View Case from ShopAndroid.com!

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HTC One Dot View Case

The HTC One Dot View case is now available for preorder at ShopAndroid.com. This is the same Dot View case showcased this week on Android Central. It protects your phone while allowing important notifications to shine through the front, and it does so in a way that no other case has done before. It'll be available in Warm Black, Imperial Blue, Baton Rouge, Atlantis and Orange Popsicle.

Be sure to sign up for ShopAndroid.com deal alerts to get the latest on new accessories for the HTC One M8.

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7 months ago

The SuperTooth Disco 4 speaker

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SuperTooth Disco 4

We've long been fans of the SuperTooth Bluetooth speaker here at Android Central — from the original (and some still say the best) SuperTooth Disco to the Disco 2 (you might remember this video from that one) to the iterative Disco 3. At CES this year, we got our first look at the Disco 4, which we now present for your approval.

The bottom line? This is a pretty damn good Bluetooth speaker in a small, portable form — and for just $49.

The basic specs are you've got an 8-Watt rechargable speaker. It's got one driver and one bass port (and, yeah, it's stereo). It's got Bluetooth 4.0, A2DP, NFC and can pair a maximum of eight devices at once, but only have one connected at a time. The design is that of a horn loudspeaker, with a handle on top. Disco 4 is, by design, a short-term, portable speaker. It stands 5 inches tall by 6 inches wide, and it's about 5 inches deep. The Disco 4 weighs just over a pound. It's a little large for a suitcase, perhaps, but it's still a pretty portable device.

Operation is blissfully simple. Round back there's a power button, Bluetooth LED, microUSB port and a 3.5mm jack. Charge it up — takes about 2 hours, SuperTooth says — hold down the power button to turn it on, and you're good to go. You can initiate the Bluetooth connection via NFC by placing your phone on top of the speaker, at he aft end of the handle. Or to pair manually, hold down the power button until the pairing light starts to flash. (The Disco 4 Bluetooth pairing code is 0000.)

Note that there are no volume buttons — that's all handled on your phone or tablet.

As for battery life, SuperTooth rates the Disco 4 at 2 to 3 hours at full volume, 12 to 15 hours at a more moderate level.

The most important part, of course, is sound. And while we wouldn't necessarily expect much from a small $49 speaker, the Disco 4 is surprisingly good. There's a decent amount of bass, and highs are crisp and clear. You might get a little bit of distortion at max volume, however, but that's not overly surprising. Again, it's a no-frills portable accessory — you're not going to be pairing it to a second D4 for use at home or an office. But for what it is, the sound is remarkably good.

The Disco 4 is available in black, white, gray, red and blue. You can pick one up for $49 directly from SuperTooth.

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7 months ago

In video: The HTC One M8 Dot View case

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You've already read about the HTC One M8 Dot View case — the innovative folio that shows information and protects your phone will maintaining an interesting level of functionality, all while still looking cool. Now watch the video.

As you'll see, though, there's still the matter of the front cover not sitting flush against the back of the phone, due to one being flat and the other decidedly curved. And that's a pretty major bone of contention for us.

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8 months ago

Amazon sets April 2nd event, likely a media streamer for your TV

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Today Amazon sent out an invitation for an event on April 2nd, and by all expectations we'd be surprised if we didn't see a TV media streamer announced. The invite — sent to TechCrunch and others — simply reads "Please join us for an update on our video business". It also displays a couch (a living room staple, if you were not aware) and popcorn (which, you know, people eat while watching things).

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8 months ago

Samsung introduces new Smart Bulbs controllable by Bluetooth

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Bulbs provide 10 years of efficient light before burning out

Never to be outdone in any consumer electronics category — especially by LG — Samsung is introducing a new range of LED "Smart Bulbs" for residential lighting. The new line consists of a standard lightbulb shape, a higher-performance lamp style (in two variants) and a more efficient tube form factor. The basic Smart Bulb (shown above) will provide up to 15,000 hours — equivalent of 10 years of normal use — of lighting, with the ability to dim down to just 10 percent brightness and tune from 2700K to 6500K for different ranges of whites.

For more advanced applications, there's also a PAR (Parabolic aluminized reflector) style light, which offers a swivel head and improved lighting suitable for professional lighting applications. There's also a "Classic Lamp" that's designed to fit larger light fixtures and provide a simple light that is reminiscent of incandescent lights. Finally there's the L-Tube style light, which is most likely to be used in commercial or garage applications, and comes in 600, 1200 and 1500mm sizes.

What sets these new Samsung Smart Bulbs apart from others is that they're controlled directly by your phone over Bluetooth rather than via Wifi with a router in the middle. By just installing an app on your phone or tablet you'll be able to control up to 64 Smart Bulbs at a time. While this cuts down on the usability when you're not in the room, it makes setup and control drastically simpler for a number of applications where a router just isn't available.

Samsung isn't spilling the beans on pricing or availability on these, but you can expect them to make their way out at prices higher than your average lightbulbs.

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