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3 years ago

Eyes-on with the Polaroid iM1836 Android-powered camera

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Long-rumored and variously leaked, Polaroid's Android-powered iM1836 interchangeable-lens camera was on show public for the first time at CES 2013. Unfortunately, none of Polaroid's prototype iM1836 units were working, but we were able to get acquainted with the device's physical hardware, which coming form the beastly Galaxy Camera seems positively diminutive.

The iM1836 is constructed of glossy plastic, and the build quality isn't the best out there. But on the other hand, you're getting smartphone functionality on a camera at the $350 price point.

It's packing an 18.1 sensor, although because the demo units were nonfunctional, we were unable to test its photographic capabilities. Consulting the spec sheet, it appears the iM1836 will also include an HDMI type b port, "HD" video recording, panoramic pictures and ISO up to 3200 and a pop-up flash. Storage is provided through a microSD slot. The kit lens is a 10-30mm f/3.0-5.6 attachment, and Polaroid tells us an adapter will allow it to work with other micro four-thirds lenses.

On the Android side, Polaroid promises Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Various capacitive buttons along the side of the 3.5-inch tilting screen take care of software controls. And unfortunately, that's all we can say about the software. The lack of working demo units means there isn't much we can say about this device until we get finalized units in our hands. Nevertheless, it's the first Android-powered camera with interchangeable lenses, and that's an important milestone if nothing else.

More photos after the break.

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3 years ago

Mitts on with the almighty Android oven

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Forget Tegra 4 and its its 72 GPUs. Forget NVIDIA's Project Shield handheld gaming console. Hell, forget Sony's beautiful 4K televisions and its also-impressive new Xperia Z smarpthone. No, this is what everyone's buzzing about here at CES in beautiful Las Vegas, where dreams are made, fortunes are won and lost.

The Android oven.

Yes. It's an oven. That you cook food in. And it's running Android. Not for the heat, mind you. That's silly. It's a relatively normal (if stylish) convection oven, just like mom uses to make your banana bread. (I've had your mom's banana bread, and it's great.) Only, yeah. This one's got an Android brain inside it that, well, runs Android. It'll run Android apps, yeah, but the real purpose for all this is that it'll walk you through the cooking process, and send you alerts when it's time to baste the turkey. That's pretty much what connected devices have done for the past year, but this one's making all the noise this week here in Vegas. So there.

We've got some video after the break for you Android-oven-loving fans out there. Namaste.

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3 years ago

T-Mobile talks LTE, MLB, Voice HD, and more at CES keynote

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Tonight at their CES 2013 keynote, T-Mobile had a lot to say about their future, tossing out all sorts of announcements covering things from LTE to baseball. Nothing absolutely shocking, but it's nice to see even the smallest of the big four has plans for the future. 

They talked LTE a little bit, noting that they planned to have 100 Million folks covered by the middle of this year, 200 Million by the end of the year, and the rollout would start in Vegas in just a few weeks. Plan for the Galaxy S3 (Galaxy S III) to act as the first official LTE device, with more coming. In addition to enabling LTE, they are working on what they call HD Voice, which is an improved voice network providing much clearer calls than we're used to from mobile devices. The HTC One S and Samsung Galaxy S3 are two of the devices named that will take advantage of the new feature. Finally, they finished talking network updates and rollouts by announcing an expanded high speed 4G (of the HSPA variety) in Denver, Virginia Beach, Los Angeles, and San Diego. 

To take advantage of all this, T-Mobile is extending their unlimited, not-throttled 4G plan to include no contract post paid customers. This will start tomorrow (January 9). Tablets and laptops can now take advantage of what is being called 4G connect, where qualifying devices will receive 200MB of free service per month, for two full years. We've seen Google and Verizon offer something similar with the Chromebook program, and this will require a purchase from T-Mobile.

To wrap things up, the also announced that T-Mobile is now the official wireless partner of Major League Baseball. T-Mobile will provide an on-field communications service that rides on the back of their nationwide 4G service. They feel that this will modernize the traditional game of baseball.

It sounds like there are big things planned for T-Mobile customers, and we're excited to see things play out.

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3 years ago

Anymode's line of luxury Galaxy cases confirms Samsung's accessory dominance

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CES is always a breeding ground for some really spectacular smartphone accessories, and 2013 is no exception. What's truly unique about this tradeshow is how diverse it tends to be-- for a week, Las Vegas is home to some of the newest and best styles from all over the globe. Today, we caught a look at what Korean manufacturer Anymode is doing with its line of accessories.

Currently, Anymode is only available for import through their website-- don't expect to find any of these designs here in the States. What's noteworthy about these accessories is the way Samsung has managed to spur innovation around the world-- here's a perfect example of stunning detail designed exclusively for Galaxy devices (and the iPhone, but who cares). I've said it before and I'll say it again-- Samsung's success isn't due as much to its hardware as it is to its ecosystem. Aside from iOS products, the Galaxy line is by and large the Android devices with the most accessories to choose from, which is more of a deciding factor when purchasing a phone than most care to admit. Personally, I love my DNA much more than my Galaxy Note 2, but the DNA's lack of accessories, compared with the Note 2's plethora, is a major drag for this HTC customer.

Anymode's full line of cases and accessories for the Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy S 3 and the Galaxy Camera can be found in the gallery below-- we'll continue to gather eye candy as we stumble across it, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that some of these designs will soon hit American shelves. 

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z camera preview

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One of the Sony Xperia Z's most noteworthy features is its 13MP Exmor RS camera. The upgraded sensor and lens combo has been talked about since last summer, and Xperias Z and ZL will be the first mainstream Western phones to ship with this new camera assembly.

At CES in Las Vegas today, we took the opportunity to snap a few shots on the Xperia Z, in addition to testing its 1080p and HDR video recording capabilities. The show floor is a difficult environment for photography, but the Xperia Z seemed to hold up pretty well. Notably, the noise that affected earlier Xperia cameras in less-than-ideal lighting conditions seems to have been addressed in Sony's latest Exmor RS.

Later, we tried out the Xperia Z's 1080p recording and HDR video capabilities, capturing just under a minute of footage in the elaborate Sony CES booth. Both left a positive first impression. Regular video footage, which can be recorded at up to 1080p, is crisp and clear, and the built-in mic was sensitive enough to capture subtle background noises. In HDR mode, you lose some fine detail, and very dark areas can result in some noise becoming visible, but the overall effect is very impressive. Note the details in the light fittings above the booth that are visible in the HDR video, but not the regular one.

I's still early days, and the device we used to capture these photos and videos was far from final, so there's likely room for some improvement between now and launch day. But for a general idea of what to expect form Sony's latest smartphone camera, you can check out all our photo and video samples after the break.

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3 years ago

Synaptics Sensa concept tablet showcases problem (and solution) with shrinking bezels

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We're seeing plenty of manufacturers that are trying to remove as much space around the displays of their mobile devices as possible, but few are considering that this may actually introduce usability issues. Synaptics, a touchscreen solution provider for many popular handsets, was showing off a concept tablet called Sensa at CES 2013 to show how super-skinny bezels can introduce stray thumb inputs, as well as how they might be able to fix it with a rear sensor and touch rejection. 

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3 years ago

Fingerprints-on with Lenspen's latest Sidekick and Smartklear display cleaners

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Lenspen has been making screen and lens cleaners for some time now, with its technology being used by many major camera manufacturers, and now it has a new line of smartphone and tablet cleaners as well. The idea here is that instead of using a towel to clean the screen, you use a carbon-covered pad that's much more efficient at picking up oils. The carbon absorbs much more oil than any towel can, and these stow away nicely to boot because they're about the size of a flash drive.

The original Smartklear (the small red one) has been around for a bit, but now has a new shell to match the newest model, the tablet-sized Sidekick (here in blue.) These things work, and the idea is really cool if you end up cleaning smudges off your devices incessantly like we do. Beats the heck out of stuffing a microfiber cloth in your pocket all of the time. Stick around after the break for a quick look in a video and a few more pictures from the CES show floor.

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE hands on

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Just a day after Samsung announced that its flagship Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet will arrive on Verizon Wireless shelves in the coming weeks, the LTE-enabled unit reared its head at Samsung's massive CES booth here in Las Vegas. Other than the honking 4G LTE logo on the back (really, this makes the Note 2's  tattoo look modest), this device is identical to the tablet we've grown to love-- same 10.1-inch display, same S-Pen functionality, and same TouchWiz interface. This unit will ship with Jelly Bean out of the box, and Samsung reps say that while there is no hard release date, we should expect it "shortly." Be sure to hit the break for more shots.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia ZL hands-on

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It's no flagship, but there's plenty to like about the Xperia Z's little brother

In addition to devices we’ll be seeing in the West in coming months, CES gives us the opportunity to get some face time with devices that probably won’t see the light of day in the U.S. or Europe. One of these is the Xperia ZL, which Sony says will be making an appearance in selected markets during the first quarter of 2013.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z hands-on

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Sony's first high-end phone of 2013 brings to the table a 1080p display and a glass-backed chassis

Sony Mobile has spent much of the past couple of years struggling to reach parity with the leading Android manufacturers. Whether it was hardware or software, it seemed Sony offerings were always one step behind competing phones from HTC and Samsung. In 2011, the single-core Xperia Arc was pitted against the dual-core HTC Sensation and Galaxy S2. A year later, the story repeated itself with the Xperia S, which at launch ran a year-old Snapdragon S3 processor and a year-old version of Android. Despite some really interesting designs from Sony, the overall experience sometimes seemed lacking compared to the competition. Even the Xperia T, by all accounts a perfectly decent piece of hardware, missed out on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at launch last October.

But Sony’s still hanging in there. It recently became the number two Android OEM in the UK. And though it’s yet to make much of a dent in the U.S. market, at least it’s got devices for sale on a major national carrier, which is more than can be said for some of the smaller Android players.

So that’s where we are in the lead-up to the Xperia Z announcement. Unveiled just three months after the Xperia T launched, the Z is a device that shows Sony isn’t resting on its laurels, at least when it comes to hardware. It’s right up there with the fastest, most beautiful smartphone hardware available, and frankly, that’s a first for Sony.

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3 years ago

Teaching kids with Big Bird, smartphones and augmented reality

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I'll admit it -- I've rolled my eyes and filled up my e-mail's trash can and the hundreds and hundreds of mentions of "augmented reality" -- that technology that uses your phone's camera and puts cool things on the screen, on top of real life. But maybe I've been looking at it all wrong. It's not all about goofy symbols and flashing signs for places to go and putting funny faces on people.

Qualcomm's showing off "Big Bird's Words" here at CES. The app uses the Qualcomm Vuforia system for an interesting way to help children expand their vocabulary. (We'll forget, for the moment, that you're letting your child play with an expensive smartphone here.) The idea is that the app puts a word on the screen, and your kid has to find that word somewhere in the house. Say, on that particular object. (There's no reason it couldn't also do the same with the object itself, we suppose, but this one's about the words.) Get it right, and Big Bird applauds you. Get it wrong and, well -- there are no losers here. C'mon, it's for kids!

The big deal here is that Vuforia has added word recognition to its stables. Big Bird is just one example, of course. Check out the demo video above, and imagine the possibilities.

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3 years ago

Sprint to introduce local FM Radio on selected smartphones later in the year

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FM radio may not be top of the shopping list when shopping for a new smartphone, but nevertheless it's a feature many want to have. Sprint is jumping into the FM radio space having today announced a preliminary agreement with the American radio industry. It will enable Sprint customers to listen to local FM radio content on a range of their new smartphones starting later this year. 

All this is made possible by what Sprint refers to as NextRadio, which it also says will offer a range of interactive listener features not currently available -- although what those are remains a mystery. The announcement marks the first time a U.S. carrier will offer FM radio across a whole range of its devices. Demonstrations of NextRadio are taking place this week at CES in Las Vegas. The full press release can be found after the break. 

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean rolling out to the HTC One X on Rogers

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HTC continues to roll out Jelly Bean to the One X across the globe, and right now folks on Rogers in Canada get their turn. You can check for the update in the settings menu (Settings > About phone > System software updates) and 635MB later you'll have Sense 4.1+ on an Android 4.1.1 base. 

As a One X user myself, I highly recommend you do this one. Google Now and project butter make this a great update to an already great phone.

Source: MobileSyrup. Thanks, Jonathan!

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3 years ago

Hisense unveils the 55 and 65 inch XT780 with integrated Google TV

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Hisense is one of those OEM's that you may not have heard much about, but is a more household name in some corners of the globe. They first dipped their toes into the Google TV world with the Pulse set-top box, first announced back at IFA 2012 in Berlin. Now they have returned with their next Google TV hardware, and it's a little different this time around. 

Unveiled at CES in Las Vegas, the XT780 has Google TV integrated within. No set-top box this time. The XT780 will be available in both 55 and 65 inch variants, and as far as TVs go, it's a pretty handsome looking thing. With Google TV comes the usual sort of pre-loaded apps like Pandora, Netflix, Chrome browser and the Google Play Store. There's no mention of what kind of horsepower this TV is packing to run Google TV, or pricing and availability information at this time. The full press release can be found after the break. 

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3 years ago

Viewsonic VSD240 Smart Display eyes-on

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Best known for making displays for computers, Viewsonic is showing off the new version of its "Smart Display" line, the VSD240, at CES 2013. You'll here Phil say it at the start of the video -- you really can't call this a tablet. Viewsonic is positioning this as a display that you can use for your computer or other device, but just have Android available for when you want it. It's a 24-inch 1920x1080 multitouch display, with a full array of ports on the back for connectivity -- from USB to HDMI. Viewsonic tells us that the final model will be available with a DVI pass-through as well, which will let you power another display out of it.

On the Android side, we're pretty much just looking at a "tablet" install of Jelly Bean 4.1, with not very many customizations that we could see. Pulling up the keyboard is quite comical, actually, as it's just the tablet one scaled up. We're looking at a 1.7GHz Tegra 3 chip powering this thing, and it seemed quite fast especially compared to the previous model. There's also 16GB of storage on-board, which is nice.

Viewsonic expects this to come to market under $500, which is pretty competitive for a large multitouch monitor even without a full install of Android on it. Stick around after the break to see a quick eyes- and hands-on with the Smart Display, as well as a quick shot of the port selection on the back.

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