Headlines

2 years ago

Spark socket to turn your phone into a light switch and make bulbs app-friendly

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A fresh Kickstarter project is aiming to provide smartphone-friendly home lighting through a socket accessory.  The Wi-Fi-enabled Spark goes right into normal light sockets, then your light bulb goes into the Spark. Once that's done, users will be able to set flashing rules for notifications, fade-in for alarms, and otherwise remotely control your home lighting. 

Spark isn't alone in trying to bring home lighting to Android, though. Lifx recently wrapped up funding for their smart light bulb, which includes a wide range of color options and the same degree of programmability. Of course, when a Lifx Bulb burns out, you're out $70, while Spark seems like it will weather the test of time a little bit better, plus there are APIs available for developers to plug their apps into Spark. My only worry is that the added bulk in the socket might not be practical for all lamps. 

Spark is only a few days into its Kickstarter campaign and still has a ways to go to meet its $250,000 goal, though they've already sold out of the early bird special. You can still back them and preorder on for $59, though. Any takers? Would you rather Spark or Lifx? Are there other solid smart home lighting solutions out there?

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2 years ago

Android-powered Vuzix M100 aims to take on Google Glass

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Vuzix has announced the latest in their line of video-enabled eyewear, and it's going to be competing pretty directly with Google Glass. The M100 will run a tailored version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich, will pair up with devices over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to support augmented reality (among other) apps, and project a WQVGA display to the eye, which works out to (about 432 x 240).

The front camera will shoot video at 720p, saved to the 4 GB of internal flash memory. The whole package will be powered by a 1 GHz processor. Battery life leaves a little something to be desired; you'll be able to get 8 hours on it if you're just doing classic hands-free stuff, but with that, the camera, and the display activated, Vuzix is expecting an hour of usage. Launch is expected to be early next year, but how much will it cost? Well, the developer kit which will include a production M100 when it's available is going for $999, so that should give you a rough idea. 

Is there any room for another augmented eyewear player with Google involved? Vuzix has been doing this sort of thing for longer, but Google has the ecosystem and developer support. Either way, will these kind of accessories actually get people to start using augmented reality apps regularly? How much can we reasonably expect people to pay for digital eyewear? More info on the Vuzix M100 can be found at their product page

Via: SlashGear

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2 years ago

Nyko releases PlayPad game controllers

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Gamers get set, Nyko’s PlayPad and PlayPad Pro controllers are now on sale in North America.

Aimed at bringing console-style gaming to the increasingly powerful devices we have, the two PlayPad models hook up to Android devices via Bluetooth.

Additionally, Nyko provides an app called Playground that allows keyboard, mouse and touch event mapping. The controllers require Android 3.0 and up devices, although 4.0 is needed for the touch mapping.

The smaller PlayPad will come in black and white, with the larger, more ergonomic PlayPad Pro to come in black. The latter is a full-sized controller and swaps out its smaller sibling's dual analog sliders for analog sticks.

The controllers were co-developed with Nvidia, and are meant for Tegra 2 or 3 games.

LA-based Nyko has set the pricetag for the more basic PlayPad at $39.99, although its website has left the PlayPad Pro price blank for now.

More: Nyko

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2 years ago

Mophie Juice Pack now available for Samsung Galaxy S3, yours for $100

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Mophie, one of the most respected external battery pack suppliers for the iPhone, has finally released their version for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Costing $100, the 2300mAh battery pack and protective case combination promises to double the battery life of your Galaxy S3. It's a good chunk of cash to drop on such an accessory, but having seen one of the prototypes in the flesh at IFA, the quality is undeniable. If you're interested, head on over to the source link below. 

Source: Mophie

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2 years ago

Samsung launches Galaxy Note 2 Smart Dock, yours for $100

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If the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 doesn't already strike an imposing enough figure on your desk top, then you might want to take a look at this latest accessory release for the 5.5-inch behemoth. Unlike some previous accessory launches for Samsung devices -- remember the Galaxy Nexus debacle anyone? -- this is an actual product that is actually for sale right now.

We first saw the Smart Dock -- albeit locked away in a glass case -- back at IFA 2012, in Berlin, the same event which saw the launch of the Note 2 itself. It promises to give you a makeshift desktop and media set up with a variety of useful connecting ports all rolled into one handy device. 

Packing a set of USB ports, a HDMI out connection and even a speaker line out port, the Note 2 Smart Dock is pretty well connected. It also comes with a pretty hefty price tag of $99.99. If the price doesn't put you off and you're thinking of picking one up, be sure to sound off in the comments below and let us know your thoughts. 

Source: Samsung

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2 years ago

No Tricks, Just Treats Halloween Sale - Save 15% on ALL Accessories at ShopAndroid.com!

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Boooo!!! Scared yet? No? Good. We're looking to help you make it a HAPPY HALLOWEEN this year by celebrating with savings across our Mobile Nations stores. Until Thursday, Nov. 1, at Midnight PST, you can save 15% on ALL Android Accessories at ShopAndroid.com using coupon code treat2012 at checkout. And if you have non-Android devices in the house (and we know some of you do), you can use the same coupon code at our ShopCrackBerryiMore and Windows Phone stores.

Don't forget, we have free shipping on US and Canada orders over $50, and great low cost international shipping options available as well. Don't be scared out of these savings ... click the link below to get started!

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2 years ago

Memoto camera to record life with two pictures every minute, shared through Android app

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It looks like the next big thing has hit Kickstarter, and it's called Memoto. This tiny little 5 megapixel camera clips to your clothes, automatically takes pictures, geotags them, and once plugged into your computer over microUSB, uploads to the cloud for storage (provided you have a subscription plan with Memoto). There isn't a single button on the camera because it automatically starts shooting as soon as you start wearing it.

The picture quality isn't particularly great, but Memoto is aiming for sheer volume. We're talking two per minute for two days straight on a single charge. Luckily, the Android and web app will help organize everything into batches of shots and splice the moments into time-lapse videos. Sharing can be open or private, with selective visibility. 

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2 years ago

Plantronics Blackwire 720 Bluetooth headset review

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Out and about, in the view of the public, nobody wants to be that guy with the Bluetooth headset. (At least you shouldn't.) In private, however, you can do whatever you want. Bluetooth (yes, it's a verb now) to your heart's content. We don't care.

Then there's the office. In a shared office environment, headsets trump handsets for many of us,  be it for traditional voice calls, or for Skype. But having to rip a set of cans off our head to answer a cell call is annoying. And that brings us to the Plantronics Blackwire series of Bluetooth headsets, which does double duty as a Bluetooth headset and a corded USB headset.

Piqued your interest? Read on for a few thoughts.

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2 years ago

Update: Droidax Powerpack for the Galaxy S3 fixes case design flaw

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Here's a quick update on the Droidax Power Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3 that we reviewed a couple months ago. In our original review, we noted that the case didn't seem to fit properly up top, and so the phone could potentially come loose -- possibly damaging the microUSB plug on the case, or the port on the phone itself. Either way, that was no bueno.

Droidax has sent us a redesigned top half of the case, and the update indeed keeps things a little more snug. The left-hand side of the phone can still pop out ever so slightly, but the right-hand side kept everything as it should be.

And so with that update, we're ready to recommend the Droidax Power Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3, if you're ready to spring $49 for the combination case/2300 mAh external battery. 

Check out our updated hands-on after the break.

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2 years ago

Jawbone Jambox review

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The Jawbone Jambox is a popular stand-alone Bluetooth speaker with sharp style, heavy bass, and relatively rich app environment. Audio from the jawbone Jambox is pretty solid, and especially heavy on the bass. I didn't have any issues with distortion, even at higher volumes, The lack of hardware playback controls, like pause and play, is a pretty serious downer. The Big Jambox has the full selection of hardware buttons, but costs an extra hundred bucks.

Need more? We got more. Read on!

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2 years ago

PowerSkin Battery Case for the Samsung Galaxy S3

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Ah, the combination case and external battery. It's the white whale of Android smartphones. Unlike our iPhone-carrying friends, who have the likes of Mophie to serve their needs, we've been left searching for the perfect way to protect and charge our phones. 

For the Samsung Galaxy S3, we've already taken a look at the Droidax Power Pack. While it has a respectable 2300 mAh battery tucked into that shell, a design flaw made it tough to recommend.

Now we've got the PowerSkin Battery Case for the Galaxy S3. Will this one make the grade? Read on to find out.

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2 years ago

Motorola killing webtop, laptop docks

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Motorola has confirmed that it will no longer be pursuing its webtop program in the future. Famously announced to much fanfare with the Motorola Atrix, the laptop dock is going away. Starting with its latest release of devices -- the Photon Q, Droid RAZR HD, etc. -- webtop will no longer be preloaded and laptop dock devices will no longer be for sale. In an official statement, Motorola laid out the news:

"Motorola's Webtop app helps users extend their smartphone experience to larger screens. While consumers around the world have adopted Webtop and the concept spurred a lot of innovation in the industry, the adoption has not been strong enough to justify continued resources being allocated to developing Webtop on future devices. We have also seen development of the Android operating system focus on the inclusion of more desktoplike features. Beginning with Photon Q and Droid Razr M/Droid Razr HD/Droid Razr Maxx HD, we will no longer be including Webtop on our products moving forward."

This probably doesn't come as a surprise to many of us who have either completely forgotten that webtop existed (we wouldn't blame you) or saw with the high prices and anemic sales that the future wasn't bright for the product. Most importantly, this really symbolizes the end of an era for Motorola. Webtop may have been one of the biggest things left that symbolized the Motorola of the past. As if Google and Motorola's statements prior to its latest device launches weren't clear enough, it seems as though we're looking at a "new Motorola" going forward.

Source: CNET

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2 years ago

Supertooth Disco 2 review: Our favorite speaker is sleeker, sexier, but a little softer

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I am not what I'd consider to be an audiophile. I don't look down on folks who don't listen to vinyl records (kids, ask your parents), and I don't use $500 headphones. I do, however, throw away earbuds that come with phones (with perhaps one recent exception), and it'll be a cold day in hell before I use an unpowered speaker.

That brings us to the object of today's affection -- the Supertooth Disco 2 Bluetooth speaker. We've long been fans of the original Disco. And we got our first look at the Disco 2 at CES in January. For sure, it's easier on the eyes. But how is it on the ears? Will it get us to give up the ghost of the original?

Only one way to find out.

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2 years ago

Lockitron announces new NFC, Bluetooth, and SMS-friendly door unlocker

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Lockitron has recently announced their latest and greatest smart deadbolt access system, complete with remote door unlocking, per-user access control, access via SMS or NFC, and a knock sensor. There's a dedicated Android app to handle everything, while the door unit itself connects over your home's Wi-Fi network. This model is an iteration on the considerably clunkier, more expensive model launched last year. 

While RFID access control has been available in business situations for a long time, Lockitron is clearly way more viable for home situations. With Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility, Lockitron can unlock automatically as you approach the door, which is great for when your hands are full with groceries. 

Lockitron has already blown way past their funding goal, but you can still preorder one for an early-bird special of $149. The first batch should be shipping in March 2013. What do you guys think? Totally awesome, or are there way too many potential security issues with a system like this? 

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2 years ago

Sony SmartWatch review

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The Sony SmartWatch is a small clip-on device that connects to your phone over Bluetooth and provides quick access to a variety of notifications, including incoming calls, Facebook messages, upcoming calendar items, and lots more. Some of the more interactive apps include a music handler, a remote phone ringer, and a Google Maps app . Once you’ve installed the Smart Connect app on your device, other Smartwatch compatible apps can be installed and pushed out to the accessory. The selection of quality SmartWatch apps are slim, but there aren’t a lot of alternatives for wearable smartphone accessories out there.

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