One of the ways to gauge the popularity of a smartphone, and one that I’ve found quite interesting throughout the history of Android is the availability of quality compatible accessories. I started getting jealous of iPhone owners back in 2011 – I was hunting for a measly screen protector for my HTC Thunderbolt while they were rolling in thousands of cases, docks, speakers and lenses flooding the market. Times have changed and with Samsung’s meteoric rise over the past year, accessory makers have caught on to the fact that Galaxy owners love their add-ons just as much as iPhone owners do.
But that popularity and the booming market it creates brings with it the inherent rise of ridiculously unnecessary products -- enter the Rokdock by Rokform, a $100 paperweight that is the very definition of the frivolous, overpriced accessories a popular smartphone can spawn.
Element Case makes some mighty fine cases for smartphones, and they have just recently released two new designs for the Galaxy S4 that are sure to delight you. The ATOM and the ECLIPSE are super impact-resistant and feature a unique sound boosting technology, or SBS (Sound Boost System) that channels resonant amplified audio from the phone’s back speaker toward the front, perfect for music, movies and speakerphone. They are constructed from impact-resistant TPU that’s both lightweight and soft to the touch as well as an aerospace-grade carbon fiber back plate.
To celebrate the release of the ATOM and the ECLIPSE for the Galaxy S4, Element Case is giving Android Central readers a chance to win a free case! Head over to the links below and check out the cases, then come back here and leave a comment letting us know which one you prefer and why. Four lucky readers will win one of these awesome cases for their Galaxy S4. Good luck!
If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted below, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up to get your info. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!
Sony was one of the first to enter the Android wearable game, and today at Asia Mobile Expo in Shanghai it announced the SmartWatch 2.
Sporting a 1.6-inch face at a 220-by-176 resolution (that's about 176 pixels per inch), the SmartWatch 2 can serve as a standalone watch when not connected to a phone. But pair it to a phone and you've got a quick and easy way to glance at notifications, control your music player, take pictures, control presentations, interact with fitness apps — oh, and it can tell time, too. In addition to NFC capability for easier pairing, this latest version boasts a water-resistant design (splash-proof, really — you won't want to wear this thing in the water) and runs for three or four days with normal use, Sony says.
The SmartWatch 2 is compatible with any standard 24mm band, and Sony says it'll have its own custom bands available down the road. It'll be available worldwide in September.
Samsung's Galaxy S4 Mini shares a similar range of cases to its bigger brother
Not particularly glamorous, but essential to some. Alongside our first hands on with the new Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini at the Premiere 2013 event in London, the range of official cases was also on display. Like the Galaxy S4, the Mini has plenty of choice in color and style, and even has its own version of the 'S View' flip case. Click on past the break for a few more snaps.
We're live in London at the Samsung Premiere 2013 event where we've had a first look at the new Galaxy S4 Zoom. Part smartphone, part point-and-shoot camera, the S4 Zoom is unlike any smartphone we've come across to date. As is usually the norm with new Samsung devices, a range of accessories come to market with them, and the Zoom is no exception. There's actually a pretty decent looking flip case for the device, that covers the screen on one side, and acts as a sort of bumper around the exterior edges. It also comes with a matching lens cap so you can pocket your new Galaxy S4 Zoom without worrying (too much) about that honkin' great zoom lens on the back. More pictures can be found after the break.
Logitech released availability and pricing information for the Harmony Ultimate Hub as a stand alone product this evening, and the device is expected in August 2013 and will retail for $100. The Ultimate Hub is used in conjunction with an Android app to turn your Android or iOS device into a universal remote.
The Hub, which is designed to sit in and among your home entertainment equipment acts as a bridge, allowing commands sent over Wifi from your device to be output ar IR/RF commands to operate video and audio components, like the ones commonly found in living rooms all over the world. Those familiar with the current Harmony line of universal remotes know that programming can be entered to control just about any device.
In addition, Logitech has announced that they will not be selling off the Harmony line of products, saying a surge in momentum since unveiling the Harmony Ultimate makes retaining ownership in the best interest of their shareholders.
Previously, the Hub was only available as part of a more expensive package with a bundled smart remote. Now, users who would just rather use their phone can save a little money. The full press release is after the break.
In honor of Father's Day this Sunday, all weekend long we're celebrating dads everywhere with a sale in our Shop Android store. That's right... until midnight PT on Monday, you can save 15% on ALL Android cases and accessories. To take advantage of the savings, all you need to do is use coupon code DAD13 at checkout. It's as simple as that. Enjoy the savings, and happy father's day!!
Nyko recently announced their first batch of NVIDIA Shield accessories, and we got a chance to play around with them at E3. First up is a soft shell with form-fitted interior for some solid baseline protection. There's a zipper all around the outside to keep it snug, and a lanyard to make sure you don't lose your grip on it. That one should be going for about $19.99.
A quick heads-up for those that missed it the first time around -- the official Samsung Galaxy S4 wireless charging kit is now back in stock at ShopAndroid.com. The kit, which is based on the Qi wireless charging standard, includes the official charging pad and charging back for Samsung's latest smartphone. After selling out last week, it's once again available to buy from ShopAndroid for $89.95, which is 10 percent off the list price.
The Moga Power Bluetooth controller was unveiled last week, and here at E3 2013 we got some time to try out their latest prototype. It isn't working just yet, but it was still a nice chance to highlight some of the major feature changes. The main addition is a full-sized USB port which allows your mobile device to sup from the Moga Power's local battery.
We hooked up with the folks from BTI recently in Las Vegas to take a quick look at their GoStick II portable battery. This is one of those "need-it-right-this-second" solutions that'll give you an extra charge in a pinch via microUSB. The GoStick II has a 2,600 mAh capacity, so you'll only get about one extra go with this thing.
The GoStick II is nicely designed. It's about as big as a roll of quarters and finished with a soft-touch coating. The rounded triangle design fits nicely in your hand, which is a plus when you're using the included LED flashlight (long a favorite feature for me when it comes to portable batteries.) The five-stage charge indicator is easily visible but not harsh, and it lights up after you hit the button for 1 second. A 3-second hold lights up the LED flashlight.
The 5V/1.0A input and 5V/1.2A output are on the butt of the GoStick II.
The pack includes everything you need to charge your Galaxy S4 without getting tangled up in wires -- a white wireless charging-enabled back cover and an inductive charging pad. The kit is based around the Qi wireless charging standard, meaning the pad can be used to charge other Qi-capable devices like the Nexus 4, too.
Official accessory brings Qi wireless charging to the Galaxy S4, at the cost of a little extra girth
Wireless charging is one of those features that seems like an unimportant luxury until you've used it for yourself. The ability to place your phone down on a magical pad and have it charge through the ether can change the way you use your device. Suddenly, you're free from wires and don't having to worry about constant plugging and unplugging. It's an added convenience if you're sat working at a desk all day, or even if you want to charge your phone on a nightstand without getting tangled in wires.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn't include wireless charging capabilities out of the box, but the official S Charger kit brings Qi-standard inductive charging to the device, in the form of a replacement back cover and charging plate. In exchange for a little extra thickness on the phone, this lets you take advantage of wireless charging on your S4. And it's available now from ShopAndroid.com priced $89.95, 10 percent off the list price.
So let's take a closer look -- we've got video, photos and more words after the break!
One of our favorite features of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is that it's essentially the same size as its predecessor, and so a number of accessories released for the Galaxy S3 work with the newer version as well.
That brings us to what you see here -- the Samsung Multimedia Desktop Dock. It's a pretty basic deal -- plop your Galaxy S4 into it and it'll automatically switch to Desktop mode. Plug in with a microUSB cable and you'll charge the phone at the same time. And use the optional 3.5mm line out to play music while the phone's docked.
This thing's pretty portable as well, with the dock section flipping down into itself for easy travel. And perhaps most important, you can get it fairly cheap since technically it's "last year's" dock.
We've got a handful of pics after the break. Give 'em a gander.
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