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4 years ago

Fitbit announces the Flex, Bluetooth syncing to the Android app coming soon

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Fitbit is one of the more popular choices in the personal fitness tracking space, and today at CES the latest device in the range has been introduced. The Fitbit Flex takes the form of a waterproof wristband. Like the existing devices in the range, it records information such as steps and total distance covered and sends this information to your personal website. The Flex will also keep track of your sleep, but with no buttons to enter sleep mode as on the other devices, you'll have to use either the mobile apps or the website. 

Speaking of the mobile apps, one massive drawback to the current iteration of the Fitbit Android application, is the lack of syncing. All that is set to change beginning from the end of January or early February. It will start to offer Bluetooth 4.0 syncing -- initially, only to the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2, with more devices "coming soon." 

Source: Fitbit

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4 years ago

Nuance and ZTE make multi-year deal to bring voice services to devices

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Voice app provider Nuance has signed a multi-year deal with handset manufacturer ZTE to integrate its services into upcoming devices in 2013. Announced at CES 2013, the well-known voice service provider will partner with ZTE to bring better voice control to its "Car Mode" app. The app can be operated completely with voice, not even requiring any viewing of the screen.

You can wake up Car Mode with a wake-up word, and manage everything via voice (input and output) from there. After waking, users can dial contacts and numbers, launch navigation apps, get the local weather and play music on the device. While enabled, the app will also audibly announce incoming caller names as well as read aloud incoming text messages.

This is all necessary technology to help people be as safe as possible when driving with their phones. The new Nuance-enabled Car Mode app will be pre-loaded on ZTE's entire 2013 line of phones, and will offer voice control and feedback in 25 languages.

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4 years ago

HTC posts ugly Q4 2012 profits of just $35 million

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HTC has posted their financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, and the results aren't very pretty. Normally, Q4 is a pretty good time to be an electronics manufacturer, but last year HTC only was able to pull in just NT$1 billion ( about $34.5 million) on NT$60 billion ( about $2.7 billion) in sales. The full, but brief, overview of the numbers is at the source link.

While most of us reading would be ecstatic to pocket $34,000,000.00, this number pales when compared to results from Samsung and Apple -- HTC's major competitors and known money making machines. The good news is that HTC understands they have a cash problem, and thinks they have an idea how to solve it -- marketing. The hiring of a new marketing chief and a refocus on the quality of their products is the plan for 2013. We hope it works well for HTC, as a market dominated by one player isn't good for anyone.

Source: HTC

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4 years ago

LG announces new 'Panorama Note' feature coming to Optimus Vu: II

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LG is set to show off a new "Panorama Note" feature for its stylus-toting Optimus Vu: II at CES 2013. The feature takes features of LG's current note apps that take advantage of the large 4:3 screen on the Vu, and combine it with some of the fundamentals of a panoramic photo. Basically you'll get a 3:1 scrolling note that you can move and edit, meaning you'll have more effective real estate for note taking. Like using a big pad of paper, and working on just one area at a time.

When using the app you'll be able to zoom all the way in -- up to 5.8x -- to view specific content, then back out again to see the entire scope of the note. LG will surely be showing off this feature at its CES booth here in Las Vegas, and we'll be hoping to get a hands-on look at it in the coming days.

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4 years ago

Lenovo and Bluestacks partner up, pre-loaded Android apps on Windows 8 PCs

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Lenovo and BlueStacks have come together in a partnership that will see the Android app player come pre-loaded on Lenovo's idea branded consumer PCs. At CES in Las Vegas, Bluestacks is showing off their latest version which is designed and optimized for Windows 8 Ultrabooks, laptops and tablets. The partnership with Lenovo follows similar tie ups with Asus and AMD.

The full press release can be found after the break. 

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4 years ago

ASUS gets into the Google TV game with the Qube

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ASUS today at CES in Las Vegas officially announced the ASUS Qube -- a Google TV device that's been strongly suggested for the past few weeks, both from the FCC as well as Google. ASUS is promising more info today, but so far all we've got is this single picture, the fact that it's a Google TV device and it has access to Android apps and movies and TV and whatnot, can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet app -- and has some sort of "rotating on-screen cube shape," which immediately makes us think of failed Windows Mobile UIs. (Chances are ASUS has done better here, but seeing is believing.)

And that's it for now. More on the Qube as we get it. We've got the whole of the announcement after the break.

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4 years ago

Pantech Discover unveiled for AT&T, arrives Jan. 11 for $49.99

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The AT&T developer summit at CES is going down today in Las Vegas, but we've already seen the first new smartphone heading for the carrier. The Pantech Discover -- which strikes a passing resemblance to the old Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc -- is a 4G LTE device that will be released on Jan. 11 for $49.99 on a new 2-year contract. 

On the face of things the Discover looks like a pretty decent device for the price. It packs a 4.8 inch 1280x720 display,a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 4G LTE, a 12.1 MP rear camera with 1080p video recording, NFC is also built in, along with "3D surround sound" speakers. Storage is reasonable at 16GB and the whole thing is powered by a 2100mAh battery. The full press release and press pictures can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

Live from the AT&T Developer Summit

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Good morning from the Palms, people! We're here on the ground at the 2013 AT&T Developer Summit. What's in store? Dunno. Faster LTE? More devices? Only one way to find out. Hit the liveblog after the break!

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4 years ago

Day 1 of the Mobile Nations 2013 CES Experience a HUGE Success!

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Thought I'd pen a quick roundup for you all this evening (or is it morning!?). Yesterday was a LONG but VERY enjoyable day here on the 2013 CES Experience. Long travels for many, a shorter distance for others… but we've all made it and we're all having a great time! The day started for most of us by hopping on a plane (or 2 or 3), to make it to Vegas in time for a casual meet and greet with NVIDIA and Mobile Nations. As a special surprise, NVIDIA opened a box and handed each of the 'experience' participants a brand new Nexus 7... to keep! How cool is that!? After the excitement of a new tablet in-hand calmed down, we all took part in the NVIDIA press conference that took place at the RAIN Nightclub in the Palms Hotel and Casino. Front row seats were enjoyed by all, and the announcements (namely the Tegra 4 processor and Project Shield) blew the group away.

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4 years ago

Live from LG's CES 2013 press conference

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We're up bright and early in Las Vegas for LG's CES 2013 press conference. In amongst all manner of consumer electronics -- from refrigerators, to televisions, to cleaning robots -- LG's teased some new Android-powered goodies. An recent video has teased what looks like an Optimus G-class device, so we're likely in for some new Android-powered phones this morning.

Naturally, we're covering the whole event live. You can catch our liveblog after the break. The action kicks off at 8am PST (11am EST).

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4 years ago

Unlocked HTC Butterfly available from MobiCity for $849

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The unlocked, international version of the HTC Butterfly is available from online retailer MobiCity for only $849. We first heard about this device as the HTC J Butterfly bound for Japan. Then, we saw that it was heading to China and a version, known as the Droid DNA, was coming to the United States.

If you've been salivating over the 5-inch, 1080p device, but didn't want to go to Big Red, you're in luck, as you can get the unlocked version, albeit at a price.

The unlocked version has the following network bands: GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, 3G 850, 3G 2100.

This is the only place you'll be able to get this version at for now, as MobiCity has an exclusive. You'll be able to get it in red (as pictured above) and white. They claim that it will begin shipping on January 18th, so only a days away.

Source: MobiCity

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4 years ago

Acer announces new 7-inch Iconia B1-A71 tablet, aimed at first-time users and children

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Acer today announced a new 7-inch tablet offering, the Iconia B1-A71. They have said this tablet is suited for first-time tablet users and children, so not ideal for the power-user base.

The Iconia B1-A71 boasts:

  • Jelly Bean
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • 7-inch display (1024 x 600)
  • 8GB of internal storage
  • WiFI 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • microSD support up to 32GB
  • Front-facing 0.3 MP camera

No specific prices yet, but Acer did say it will be priced below $150, so very aggressive.

Source: Acer

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4 years ago

PowerA introduces new game controller for the MOGA Mobile Gaming System

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PowerA unveiled a new controller this morning for the MOGA gaming system. The new controller, the MOGA Pro, brings a more console-like experience to mobile gaming.

Features include:

  • Full size console-style grips
  • Precision dual-analog sticks
  • Four action buttons
  • Directional pad
  • Two shoulder buttons
  • Two shoulder triggers
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • USB charging cord
  • Tablet stand

As mobile gaming gets increasingly better, the more we're going to see innovations like the MOGA gaming system. The controller that comes with it now, while functional, does not present enough of a console-like feel. The MOGA Pro does, so it will be interesting to see how it is welcomed by serious gamers. The new controller will come out this spring and the price has yet to be announced.

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4 years ago

Alcatel hits CES with three new One Touch Android smartphones

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Alcatel perhaps isn't the first brand you think of when choosing a new Android device, but as the CES madness kicks into gear, they have announced three new devices out in Las Vegas. Say hello to the Idol, the Idol Ultra, and the 5 inch Scribe HD.

The Idol comes right out of the gate swinging, claiming to be the lightest smartphone in its category at just 110 grams. Spec wise we're looking at a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 4.7 inch IPS display, an 8MP rear camera coupled to a 2MP front shooter and running Jelly Bean. No specification on whether or not it's 4.1 or 4.2, but the important thing is that it's Jelly Bean. And if the press shot here is anything to go by, it looks pretty stock.

Moving on to the Idol Ultra, and we're greeted with another bold statement -- the Idol Ultra is the thinnest smartphone in the world. It's crazy thin at just 6.45mm, and like the Idol packs a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, an 8MP rear camera with a 2MP front facer, Jelly Bean and a 4.7 inch display. The display on the Idol Ultra however is a HD AMOLED display instead of the IPS found on the Idol. 

And then we get to the Scribe HD. The Scribe HD is a 5 inch smartphone, and is the first to pack the MediaTek MT6589 quad-core chipset. There's no mention of it being a 1080p device, just "HD," but it's still pretty big. Again, like the other two devices, the Scribe HD runs Jelly Bean, and has an 8MP rear camera, with a 720p capable front facing camera. We're also told that the Scribe HD supports "4G speeds" but doesn't make any specific mention of LTE. 

There's a whole lot more to come from CES, and we're only just getting started. Stick around for everything Las Vegas has to throw at us. 

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4 years ago

Nuance unveils Swype Living Language -- brings crowd sourcing for the keyboard

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Nuance, the folks behind Dragon voice recognition, and of course the Swype keyboard, has announced a new version of Swype beta, complete with a new feature you'll want to check out. They are calling it Living Language, and it takes auto correction and word prediction to a new level with crowd sourced data.

First, let's talk about a few other important, but not quite as flashy, updates to Swype. The correction engine has gotten an upgrade, and the new Smart Editor now analyzes your entire sentence, flagging any errors for correction or suggesting the best substitution based on the context of what you're saying, not just the word order. And now, it can do it in 12 new languages, including Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Malay, Romanian, Slovak, Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian. I'm not a keyboard engineer, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I have a feeling building a keyboard that is as complex as Swype for completely different character sets is no small feat. These features and upgrades won't get the glory a new way to personalize the auto correction and prediction experience will, but they are pretty damn important. Especially if it was your native language that was missing.

Those features tie in nicely with the new Living Language feature. How it works is that you can connect to Swype online through a service they're calling Swype Connect, and share your usage data to help improve prediction and auto correction. You can also elect to let Living Language auto update with new crowd sourced words. Languages are funny, and often times you need to learn by listening and talking -- Swype does, too. Yes, people will question how much privacy this gives up (and we imagine it's a good bit) but the service is opt-in both ways. You don't have to contribute or receive updates unless you ask to.

So how's it work? Well, I'm glad you asked. I'm been fiddling with it, and I think you'll like it. The Swyping works as well as it ever did, or possibly better -- I'm not the biggest Swyper out there -- and the prediction and auto correction seems to work as advertised. While I've not had a long time to let it learn from me, I can see a bit of improvement in just a few short days. It's certainly something you will want to try yourself, and you should. My takeaway from using it is that you don't necessarily need to use the swipe, err Swype feature to love this keyboard. I'm going to continue using it for a bit and see how it matches up to the competition.

It's becoming clear that there's two "killer" features a good Android keyboard must have -- Swyping, and a great prediction engine. Swype's new beta offers both. There's a lot of big competition in this space, and Swype is an excellent choice. Hit the break for a handful of screenshots and the press release. You can download Swype by visiting http://beta.swype.com.

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