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2 years ago

Q&A with Ubi - figuring out how Android fits into the home

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Ubi has recently reached their Kickstarter funding goal and are just about ready to begin putting their plug-in home computer into full production. This little Android-powered device sticks into a wall socket, connects to your home network over Wi-Fi, and is bristling with sensors. Combined with an Android app, you can get notifications relating to movement in the room, temperature, or issue commands directly to the device via voice. We wanted to follow up to talk about their challenges in making the project a success, the viability of Kickstarter as a funding model, and where Android fits in the larger scheme of home automation. 

Hi Leor, thanks for your time! The Ubi looks really promising. Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for it?

All three of us (Amin, Mahyar, and myself) are big tech enthusiasts and subscribe to the philosophy that technology is starting to gain pace at such a tremendous rate that it’ll completely change how we live our lives.  We were always throwing around ideas for different projects to work on, but around a year ago, we started to see some truly cool projects pop up on Kickstarter that inspired us.

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2 years ago

Seidio Active Extended case review - protection with a kick(stand)

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The Seidio Active Extended case is a more subdued version of its big brother, the Combo Extended case. You still have room for a larger battery in the back, but there’s one less layer of hard plastic to deal with. The big difference here is the metal kickstand with magnetic clip. This can make your Android device the perfect desktop clock, or a bedside companion for watching videos.

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2 years ago

Seidio Convert Extended Combo case review - bulk meets battery

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The Seidio Convert Extended Combo case is a mammoth of a case with plenty of room for an extended battery and comes with a custom-made clip holster. The construction is as rugged as you could reasonably hope for from a smartphone case: first there is a hard plastic core, then a silicon skin wrapping around it, then, of all things another hard case along the outside. The whole package also comes with a screen protector and a lockable holster, making it an exceptionally rugged package all around.

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2 years ago

Nikon announces the Android-powered Coolpix S800c

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Nikon today announced its first Android-powered camera, the previously rumored S800c. It's a 16-megapixel shooter with a 10x optical zoom and NIKKOR lens. And, yes, it runs Android. Android 2.3 Gingerbread, to be exact, and it's Wifi-enabled (802.11 b/g/n), of course. 

Answering the big question, though, is that, yes, it's got full access to Google Play. That means Instagram. That means HDR apps. That means Facebook. That means Google+. Anything you shoot with the S800c, you'll be able to share the same as with your phone. 

The UI, which is displayed on a 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen, appears to be a mix of traditional "stock" Android -- that's an icon-laden homescreen you see above, complete with Gingerbread launcher -- with what we presume will be a bevy of tweaks. Nikon's providing its own Picturetown app, just in case you need yet another place to upload your pics. The camera also has aGPS, so everything can be geotagged.

Other specs of note include:

  • 25mm to 250mm shooting
  • Vibration reduction (VR)
  • Built-in flash
  • 8 frames per second still shooting
  • 1080p video recording
  • 2GB on-board storage

Will it get you to put down your phone and pick up a "real" camera of relatively similar expense? Time will tell. We'll also have to see just how useful Nikon's UI ends up being. 

And we'll have to see what the hell folks are able to hack onto it.

Source: Nikon; full specs

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2 years ago

Here's the Samsung Galaxy S3 extended battery from Seidio

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​A Galaxy S3 extended battery at 3500 mAh is bound to be big - but is it too big?

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of the slickest, slimmest phones around. Of that there should be little disagreement, no? And the battery life, at 2100 mAh, isn't anything to sneeze at, either, given just how slim and sleek it is.

So what's the year's hottest phone going to look like with a 3500 mAh monster strapped to its back? Behold, Seidio's extended battery for the Galaxy S3.

So, yeah. It's got that big hump that we're used to from Seidio's monster-sized extended batteries. And it certainly looks like it'll completely change the feel of the device, as well. Oh, and there's no NFC yet, though that's coming in a future model.

Any takers?

More: Seidio 3500 mAh extended battery for the Galaxy S3

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2 years ago

Amzer skin case for the Nexus 7

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Continuing our search for the perfect case for the Nexus 7, we're taking a look at the Amzer skin case. Seven inches of glass and electronics sitting around naked is a nightmare for many folks, and this go around we're looking at pure protection. But protective cases don't have to lack in the looks department, so I grabbed one of these premium silicone cases in hot pink to give a thorough look. Read on to see how it fares.

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2 years ago

Krusell Hector Case review - a leather holster to go with your leather belt

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The Krusell Hector Case is a leather Swedish-made belt-mounted holster for just about any phone in the 4.5-inch screen range. It features a suede interior, hidden magnetic clasp, and strong, pronounced stitching. Obviously a leather and suede case isn’t going to be offering much in the way of impact protection, though there isn't much much to worry about as far as scratches go.

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2 years ago

BlackBerry Music Gateway review

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Here's a little gem that's been hiding in the back of ShopAndroid.com. Ignore, for the moment, that the BlackBerry Music Gateway is, well, from BlackBerry. And that it's got a BlackBerry logo on it. Instead, let's focus on what it does: It's an extremely simple way to wirelessly stream music from your phone to any device that accepts a 3.5mm headphone jack.

That's streaming music in your car. To your entertainment center. To computer speakers. Anything, really. And it does so with a little trick up its sleeve that makes getting started as easy as possible -- and a price that doesn't break the bank.

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2 years ago

Seidio Desktop Cradle review - simple stylish syncing

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The Seidio Desktop Cradle offers a simple, stylish way to charge and sync your phone. The flexible USB connector allows the phone to lean free-form against the backrest, while the heavy based with grip pads keeps it from moving around too much. 

The pivoting USB plug is the big seller for this cradle. It offers just enough flexibility to accommodate a device, even if it has a case on. The resting viewing angle without a case is well under 45 degrees, so your device stays mostly upright with just enough of an angle to stay viewable. 

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2 years ago

DODOcase Hardcover for the Nexus 7

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Behold! The DODOcase Hardcover for the Google Nexus 7 Android tablet. We're in search of the perfect case for the Nexus 7, a task that's as daunting as it is fun. This latest offering brings us a folio-style hardcover case that has some simple but appreciated flair.

But will style trump substance here? And will our Nexus 7 remain in the Dodo, or will it travel on in search of a new protected life? Only one way to find out. Read on for our complete thoughts on the DODOcase Hardcover for the Nexus 7.

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2 years ago

Incipio Silicrylic case review - hybrid protection with style

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The Incipio Silicrylic case is built out of a silicone skin, hard plastic outer casing and screen protector to keep the display from suffering any dings. All of the hardware buttons, inputs, microphones, and cameras remain full accessible in the the Silicrylic case, while those more concerned about looks will be happy about the wide variety of colors available.

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2 years ago

Ubi plug-mounted Android device gives your phone eyes and ears in the home

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A Kickstarter project out of Toronto called Ubi recently reached its funding goal for a tiny Android-powered computer that plugs directly into a power socket. It's riddled with sensors and hooks up to the local Wi-Fi network so it can push out notifications to your phone about the room's conditions - lights, temperature, sound, movement... Even humidity. It's got a full-sized USB and headphone jack and RF and Bluetooth capabilities for added connectivity. There's an LED light on the back plus speakers so the Ubi can do some communicating of its own, plus a decent amount of horsepower under the hood to keep things running (800 MHz processor, 1 GB of RAM). The unit itself will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is going to have its own app ecosystem with a handful launching with the device.

  • Voice-enabled Internet search
  • Speakerphone
  • Indicator light (light changing based on events, e.g. weather, stock, email)
  • Home speaker system with sound piping
  • Virtual assistant (audio calendar, feed reader, podcast etc)
  • Voice memos
  • Alarm clock
  • Intercom system
  • Baby monitor
  • Noise pollution monitor
  • Controlling the climate of your home perfectly (through web enabled thermostats like Nest) 

It's a pretty sweet little device by the looks of things. In some ways, I prefer Belkin's Wemo, since it has the ability to power on or off home appliances within a wide range of criteria, but maybe these two home accessories could work in tandem (especially if Ubi has support for IFTT). The main use case here is going to be making voice-activated web searches without even having to pick up your phone, but no doubt developers are going to find all sorts of other fun things to do with the Ubi. 

The funding campaign is ongoing, so if you want your own unit, you'll need to pitch in $189. They should be hitting retail in early 2013 for $199. Who's biting?

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2 years ago

Contest Winners: Qmadix Xpression Cover cases for the Samsung Galaxy S3

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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 after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up during the week. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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2 years ago

Not holding our breath for the Vizio Co-Star Google TV to ship today

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A few folks have pinged us this morning, reminding us that today was the original estimated shipping day for the Vizio Co-Star Google TV. We're pretty sure it's not happening today, though, as our order is clearly still in a "Processing" status, and the product page is back to "Coming soon." Don't give Vizio too hard a time, though -- we've always treated that "estimated" shipping date as a pretty loose ballpark. But we are just excited as the rest of you at the prospect of a $99 Google TV box. Let's just hope it fares a little better than Sony's software-hamstrung set

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2 years ago

Incipio SILICRYLIC Case for Galaxy S3 review

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Protecting your Galaxy S3 should be a no brainer. Choosing what kind of case in which to put your new, shiny phone can be confusing. 

 

The Incipio SILICRYLIC case gets its name from providing two separate layers of protection for your Samsung Galaxy S III (S3.) The inner layer is made of silicone and the outer layer is a shell made of acrylic.

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