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.
In honor of the Memorial Day Weekend, if you're in the United States you will receive FREE SHIPPING on your ShopAndroid.com order. This special offer is valid all weekend long until Monday night (midnight PT).
We have tons of cases, batteries, chargers, Bluetooth accessories and more for popular Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, so be sure to browse around and take advantage of the savings on shipping.
Two cases with distinct styling and different levels of protection
We're here at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas, and although the show hasn't officially kicked off yet we had the opportunity to play with two of Otterbox's latest cases for the HTC One. At the middle and high tier of protection from Otterbox, the "Commuter" and "Defender" cases for the One are stylish but extremely functional options. The Commuter is the thinner of the two, with a two piece design that's primarily a rubber wrap-around case with a hard plastic shell that clips onto it. It doesn't add a considerable amount of bulk to the device but does add a serious amount of protection. If the Commuter isn't enough, the Defender will likely cover your device from anything you throw at it. A larger affair, the Defender has an integrated screen protector in the case, as well as extra shock protection. The end result is a case that is a touch thicker than the Commuter but considerably more rugged.
Both cases keep every function and button of the phone unobstructed -- as you would hope -- including the power button IR blaster and all microphone ports. Stick around after the break for a gallery of the two cases wrapped around an HTC One, with the thinner Commuter first then followed by the thicker and more durable Defender.
Otterbox is here in Vegas at CTIA 2013 with its Defender and Commuter series cases for the Samsung Galaxy S4
CTIA is always a hotbed for the latest and greatest accessories and this year's show is no different -- Otterbox was onsite tonight at the Showstoppers kickoff event in Las Vegas' Venetian Hotel with both its Defender and Commuter cases for the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Otterboxes probably aren't the most attractive cases you can buy for your shiny new S4, and they certainly aren't the sleekest, but they provide the ultra-protection you've come to expect from the company. Both the Commuter and Defender series come in a slew of color options and they're both available now for $34.95 and $49.95 respectively. A quick video, and some more shots can be found in the gallery after the break.
Available today from Samsung, $15 for pack of five tags
Samsung has announced the availability of its second-generation TecTiles tags, tiny writable NFC stickers that can be used to trigger various actions on a smartphone. For example, used with the TecTiles app, they can be programmed to check in on social networks, or toggle various settings on the device when it's within range.
TecTiles 2 are compatible with all NFC-enabled Samsung phones, and the company says they may work on other Android-based phones with NFC too, though it's making no promises. Unlike first-gen TecTiles, TecTiles 2 are fully compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S4. (Go figure.)
The tags are available today from Samsung's online store, priced at $15 for a pack of five, and they'll be starting to appear in brick-and-mortar stores from June. Hit the Google Play link above to grab the TecTiles app, or the source link below to buy the tags themselves.
We might have to wait a while for native Bluetooth 4.0 support to make it into the Android code base, but while OEMs are shipping phones with their own implementation of the wireless standard, app developers seem more than willing to hop onboard.
As such, the Fitbit app for Android has today been updated to take advantage of Bluetooth 4.0 syncing on the Samsung Galaxy S4, with all the improvements in efficiency that it brings. As Bluetooth 4.0 support isn't yet standardized in Android, Fitbit says custom development work is required for each new handset. Naturally, Samsung's big-selling flagship was an early priority.
Here's hoping support will follow for other BT 4.0 handsets like the HTC One. In the meantime, you can grab the latest version of Fitbit for Android over at the Google Play link above.
NVIDIA has a couple of kick-ass accessories to keep your Shield safe and looking unique
We know where and when you can finally get your hands on an NVIDIA Shield, but once you get it you'll probably be interested in some of the official accessories for the device. At the time of launch, NVIDIA is making both a carrying case and removable custom lids for the Shield available. The carrying case will retail for $39.99 and is a hard-sided zippered affair that will keep the Shield nice and protected while you're not using it. The back is designed to let you charge it while completely closed in the case -- a nice touch.
For the device itself, you can buy replaceable custom lids that adorn the back of the screen at $19.99. There will be several different colors and patterns available, with surely more to come. The stock lid is a brushed silver color, which matches the plastic insets on other parts of the device. Stick around after the break for a few more pictures of the case and a nice animation of how the custom lids are removed and replaced on the back of the Shield.
Update: And this contest is closed. Thanks, everybody! Stay tuned for Wednesday's giveaway.
Up next in our "Get crap off Phil's Desk" content is the Nexus 4 wireless charger. This is the one that's about the size of a tennis ball, only it's black and charges a smartphone. This one is new and still in the box and completely free of dust and dog hair. (If ya'll want, I'll throw in a second charging orb, only this one might have that dust and dog hair stuff I mentioned.)
To enter, just leave a comment on this post and we'll get this charger to a good home.
Latest app update allows workout tracking on Pebble
Good news for RunKeeper users also lucky enough to be in possession of a Pebble smartwatch -- the former has just been updated to take advantage of the latter. In its latest update, RunKeeper for Android has gained the ability to connect to Pebble, allowing users to track their workouts in real time.
The app still does all the heavy lifting, with the watch acting as a secondary display, so you'll still need to keep your smartphone on you during your workout. However, the ability to track your stats without reaching (possibly with sweaty hands) for your phone.
Unsurprisingly, with wearable devices set to become more widespread over the next year, RunKeeper says Pebble integration is "one of many integrations with hardware and fitness tracking devices in the coming months."
To grab the latest version of RunKeeper, hit the Google Play link above.
Track your exercise, set goals and monitor your sleep schedule with one device
Fitbit's latest health and fitness product, the Flex, is finally shipping following its debut at CES back in January of this year. The Flex makes an important improvement over previous products by including Bluetooth 4.0, which lets the device stay constantly connected to your smart phone without drastically draining its battery. The Bluetooth 4.0 functionality is compatible with "select" devices -- Fitbit calls out the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 -- but in reality should work with any modern phone that has the standard implemented. The Flex also implements NFC, so you can simply tap your phone to it to launch the Fitbit app and read your stats right away.
Just like previous Fitbits, the Flex tracks your activity throughout the day, including your steps, distance traveled, calories burned and now "active minutes" of moderate-intensity cardio as well. Because of its improved battery life, Fitbit notes it is also a great companion for tracking your sleep. The Flex is available directly from Fitbit for $99.95 in either black or "slate" (which is actually more of a turqoise color) at the second source link below.
It's time to start looking at Galaxy S4 cases, and we're kicking things off with the Incipio Frequency case, courtesy of the fine folks at ShopAndroid.com. The Frequency is billed as a "textured impact-resistant case," and indeed that's what you get.
Actually, that's only part of what you get. The Frequency is a three part system.
First you've got the case, which you see here. It's a matte TPU, with the lower half of the back done up in a sort of textured graph design. It's a opaque, which gives things yet another dimension. It's functional as well, giving you a little more grip down at the bottom. The case wraps around the front of the phone, keeping the display from touching when left face-down. It's easy enough to get on, but not so tough to get off that you'll hate yourself doing so later.
Premium portable from German manufacturer Loewe to go on sale in June priced at £269
Anyone familiar with high-end home entertainment equipment will no doubts be aware of Loewe. Their products come with a price, but are always targeted towards the higher end of the market. They have dabbled in mobile compatible devices before, recently with the iOS AirPlay enabled AirSpeaker. Now though, they have pulled the wraps off their debut portable, Bluetooth and NFC enabled speaker -- the Speaker 2go.
On sale in the UK from June, the Speaker 2go is priced at £269. Despite being a portable, it houses two full speakers, a woofer and a 'specially folded' bass reflex tube with a total of 40 Watts of music power. The on-board batteries provide enough juice for a claimed 8 hours use between charges.
Beyond music, the Speaker 2go also has an on-board microphone with echo cancellation, meaning that you can turn the Speaker 2go into an ad-hoc speakerphone system where you are.
The NFC capabilities mean that pairing your NFC enabled Android device to the Speaker 2go is a doddle, with the Bluetooth connection being enabled upon contact. 5 devices can be remembered for automatic connection, and the wireless range is up to 10 metres, handy for using it outside, perhaps.
Speaker 2go will come in 2 colors -- black and silver -- and for more click on past the break for the full press release.
Mophie's usual quality shines through with this HTC One battery case, but you've got to be prepared for a major increase in size
Let's get this out of the way: The Mophie Juice Pack takes the svelte HTC One and bulks it up. A lot. It's a big case full of battery -- 2,500 mAh, to be precise -- that takes an already lanky phone, makes it even taller and fills it out like a blogger at a buffet. You need to know this before hefting this the Juice Pack.
But those of use who have used the Juice Packs before know that this is the trade-off for having a combination case and battery, an amalgamation that was made popular by the iPhone and has become that much more important as more phone manufacturers seal the batteries inside.
Here's a quick look at the Samsung 9000 mAh external battery pack that came out this spring and is currently available from the fine folks at ShopAndroid.com. These sorts of Android accessories are pretty simple by design, and Samsung's done well here. You've got a blocky charger -- it's about the same size as a deck of cards, but thicker -- but with sloping edges, making it easier to hang onto, if for some reason you don't want to stash it in a pocket.
Functionally, there's not a whole lot to do here. It blissfully charges via microUSB (this wasn't always the case with older batteries) at 1.8 amps -- that's the rated output as well. There's a real on/off switch instead of a button, which we prefer over pushbuttons. Four LEDs indicate the battery's level while charging or discharging. The rate at which your phone will be juiced up depends on your phone's battery capacity, of course -- and some phones like the HTC One may charge slower on purpose. But we didn't notice anything untoward here. It just works.
Well renowned battery case makers latest creation protects your HTC One with an extra 2500mAh battery on board
If you're looking to protect that shiny new aluminum HTC One of yours, and want a little more juice to see you through the day, then Mophie is here to help. A well respected name in the mobile accessory world, Mophie has been producing their range of Juice Pack external battery cases for the iPhone for years now. More recently, we saw a Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3, and now we're treated to one for the new HTC One.
Available in black or silver -- although silver isn't showing as shipping until mid-May -- the Juice Pack comes with a 2500mAh battery on board which is enough for a full charge of the phones on board power plant. It adds a little in length to the phone, and some extra thickness, but doesn't seem to make it any wider and importantly doesn't impede either of those front facing speakers. And, it looks to cover pretty much all of that aluminum body. Extra battery life and protection combined doesn't come cheap though. The Juice Pack is on sale now for $99.95, and whichever way you look at it, that's a lot of money.
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