Samsung has just announced a new set of digital audio equipment, most importantly to us smartphone nerds being a new Bluetooth speaker for pairing with phones and tablets. This newest speaker, model DA-F60, supports both NFC pairing and the apt-X audio codec. This is a not-so-common yet interesting use of NFC, which lets users tap a tablet or phone to the speaker to initiate the bluetooth pairing connection meaning there's no messing around with a manual Bluetooth setup -- pretty neat.
Apt-X, if you're not familiar, is a relatively new audio codec available in some devices that improves the dynamic range and quality of streaming bluetooth audio. The list of supported devices is small but growing -- including the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2, the HTC One (X, S, V) line and Motorola RAZR (original, HD, Maxx, i, M) line.
We should see a bit more of the new speaker (and Samsung's other offerings) at CES this week, and hopefully have some time to play around with these new ones. No pricing or availability is out just yet, but we should expect those shortly as well.
Kickstarter has spawned some pretty interesting products over the past 12 months, one of which is the Pebble smartwatch. It's some time now since Pebble first hit Kickstarter with a $100,000 goal that eventually became $10million. Having originally been slated to ship in September, this was missed, with seemingly no end to the wait in sight.
Press invites have started to roll out to a Pebble event on Jan. 9 at CES in Las Vegas, where we're promised that the company CEO, Eric Migicovsky, will not only unveil the much anticipated product, but will also offer a full walkthrough of the finished article.
The Pebble smartwatch is an intriguing device. Featuring an electronic paper display allowing for great viewing outdoors, the watch will pair to your Android device via a downloadable application. The app will allow you to choose a watch face to match your tastes, and will also push notifications to the watch for email, phone calls, Facebook notifications, calendar events, Twitter, weather and alarms. Additionally Pebble will have the ability to receive text messages from your phone. The watch itself will also be able to run specially designed applications, opening up a whole world of possibilities.
The event goes down at 09:00 PST on Jan. 9, and Android Central will be on the ground to bring you all the news. The event will also be live-streamed over on the Pebble website.
After an eternity of waiting and speculation, it seems the elusive ASUS Nexus 7 dock may be about to hit the United States and Europe this month.
In the Netherlands, AndroidWorld.nl has word from ASUS Benelux that the dock will arrive in mid-January. Prices are speculated to be around €29.99. On the U.S. side B&H Photo, which opened preorders of the Nexus 7 dock back in December, is now showing an expected availability date of Jan. 10.
Originally rumored shortly after the tablet's Google I/O debut, the ASUS-made dock connects through the Nexus 7's pogo pins and allows it to connect to other devices through microUSB and headphone jack.
Before the holidays, an OEM extended battery kit surfaced for the Samsung Galaxy S3, initially going on pre-order at a British retailer. While that same retailer is still taking pre-orders for the item without an expected shipping date, Amazon Germany has gone one better.
According to the item's listing on Amazon.de, the Samsung Extended Battery Kit will become available on January 5. Pricing is relatively consistent with earlier reports, coming in at €39.90, slightly cheaper even than the expected RRP of £40 (€48) in the UK. There is no word yet on if/when we can expect to see wider availability of this.
Additionally, click on past the break for a quick video -- in Slovenian, and you'll want to spin on to about 1:05 -- which demonstrates the extended battery and replacement battery door. The best news? It doesn't seem to add much additional thickness to the phone.
Samsung is running a promotion on its official Facebook page that lets Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy SIII (S3) users get their hands on a free flip cover and set of 6 TecTiles for registering their device. All you have to do is head to the Samsung Facebook page, click the "Holiday Offers" button and then follow through to register your device. While quantities last, you can get some free swag for giving Samsung a little information about yourself. You'll need an active Facebook account and authorize the Samsung "app" for your page, but that's about it.
Registering your phone with the manufacturer may already be something you want to do, so might as well get something free for it, right? Head to the source links below to get your own.
A deal between Google and the Arris Group (a cable and broadband equipment supplier) has been reached, making the Motorola Home division now an Arris property. The deal checks in a $2.35 billion in cash and stock for Google, and the boards of both companies have approved.
The Home division of Motorola generated 3.4 billion dollars in the last four quarters, and its acquisition should be pretty lucrative for Arris. The $2.05 billion and $300 million in stock also makes Google a 15.7-percent owner of the Arris Group. This sounds like a good business move for all involved, but with the market closed we're unsure how this move will affect the stock prices.
Business is business, but many of us were looking forward to seeing what the purchase of Motorola could do for projects like Google at Home or Google TV. Hopefully, we'll still see those projects improved even without Google owning a consumer set-top box division. The full Press release is after the break.
The holidays are the one time a year where you have a chance to bring your family and friends the best in the gadget world, things that you just know they'd never get for themselves. Let's be honest though, it's also a good excuse to get a few things for yourself while the deals are good in December.
So what things do I have on my list to give (and keep) this holiday season? Read on past the break and see.
Update: Thanks to @PDTechHD who has sent us this picture of the Samsung Galaxy S3 extended battery in its retail packaging!
If the 2100mAh battery that comes stock with the Samsung Galaxy S3 still isn't quite enough for you, you'll be pleased to hear that Samsung appears set to launch an extended battery pack for the device. The extended battery hits 3000mAh, and has appeared for pre-order at British retailer, MobileFun.
There are no images, or release date offered at this time, but the price for the battery is currently set at £39.99. Included is a replacement battery door -- in white or blue only it seems at the moment -- and the new battery will still come complete with NFC as with the standard one.
The new battery will no doubts increase the overall thickness of the device, but many will take that for such a large battery. It isn't overly priced either for an OEM accessory, but for now we'll have to watch and wait to see when they appear.
Audio docks are pretty common over in the iOS camp, with a wide array of OEM's getting behind Apple's devices to create such accessories. Over here in Androidland, things aren't quite so plentiful. Samsung seems set to make a change to that if the leaked images we see here ring true.
The leak was obtained by the guys over at Sammobile -- usually known for their firmware leaks -- and they claim it could be seen in the wild at either CES, next month in Las Vegas, or at Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona in February. They look pretty good, but with a speaker of course, that's only half the story. The images were accompanied by a set of leaked specs:
USB Audio Class
Universal dock station
Bluetooth version 3.0
Power: 6W (3W x 2)
Power volume button
3.5mm Audio Plug-in
The beauty of course, is that any Android device with a bottom mounted microUSB charging port will be able to take advantage of the charging facilities.
Nights are drawing in, the temperature is heading below zero, and my wallet is empty. It's the festive season alright, which means giving killer gifts to the nearest and dearest. Me, as long as I get Back to the Future on the TV and the annual Boxing Day soccer football match, I'm happy.
But, you want to give those you a love a great gift, right? Makes sense, so click on for some suggestions from across the pond. Pre-warning -- none are as good as Jerry's Glazed Ham.
Metago, the folks behind the uber-popular Android app Astro File Manager, has reached out for us to pass along a bit of news. They are busy with Astro version 4.0, and realize that a lot folks just aren't ready to make the change. For those folks, version 3 can be directly downloaded from Metago's website.
Truth be told, I think the version 4 update is pretty awesome, and love the direction the app is headed. The new included gallery, the cloud connections with SkyDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox are awesome, and swiping three-pane interface works really well.
Fortunately, Metago realizes not everyone feels that way. If you need your old version back, grab it at the link below.
It seems Nexus 10 owners may be about to get a new, more convenient, more magnetic way to charge their tablets. Android Central forums poster jstevenkim has posted an image of what he says is a Pogo charger for the Samsung-made 10-inch tablet. Unlike a traditional microUSB getup, this pogo charger would be held in contact with the tablet's pogo pins magnetically, similar to an Apple MagSafe connector.
The poster claims he works for "the original and direct supplier of the pogo cable to S[amsung] in Korea," and that this charger will become available soon via Amazon and eBay, priced around $19.99-24.99. We'd take this with a pinch of salt -- the image provided certainly looks like it'd fit the Nexus 10, but there's no way of verifying how official it really is.
Of course, we're still waiting on the official pogo dock for the Nexus 10 -- not to mention its little brother, the Nexus 7. In the meantime this accessory may open up a novel way of charging the 10-inch Nexus, if microUSB is cramping your style.
Hit the Android Central Nexus 10 forum at the source link for more discussion and speculation.
It's a basic MP3 player that happens to be able to sync music from a Samsung phone that's sold millions - got a problem with that?
What the hell are we doing basically reviewing an iPod Shuffle in Galaxy S3 clothing? I mean, c'mon. It's nearly 2013. We can launch rockets from our phone. Play back a lifetime's worth of music that's never once hit a local hard drive. Why, then, are we holding this little blue pebble of a device in the palm of our hand called the Samsung Muse?
Because we can.
When Samsung showed the Muse (at the time it was called the S Pebble) at its Galaxy S3 event in London in May, we didn't pay it all that much attention. We've seen MP3 players before. This one at least brings something different to the table in that it will connect to your Galaxy S3 (among other devices) and sync music directly from the phone. Yeah. Kinda sounds like a pain in the ass to us, too. In actuality, though, what we're holding is a simple MP3 player that looks good, sounds decent and does a little something extra.
Even if you've been lucky enough to pick up an LG Nexus 4 in the U.S., you may have had difficulty getting hold of the official bumper case to protect your new shiny. The bumper has been unavailable through the U.S. Play Store for a while, but today it's popped back in stock with a 3-5 business day shipping time and a $19.99 price tag.
The official LG-made accessory protects the sides of the Nexus 4 by covering them, and the glass back by raising it slightly, preventing scratches. We've given the bumper a once-over in our recent hands-on feature, so head on over there for more details.
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