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8 months ago

The ASUS PW100 wireless charging stand

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A quick look at an expensive but capable Qi ​charger

We love us some wireless charging here at Android Central. And so we quickly scooped up the ASUS PW100 after it was announced through a YouTube video

The short, short version? It's a pretty cool stand/charger, but it's expensive. And it only charges the Nexus 7 (2013) horizontally, not vertically. It does, however, work just fine with the Nexus 5, or Nexus 4, or other Qi-compatible devices you've got laying around. And you can charge through cases, which is always good.

But the damned thing costs $90.

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8 months ago

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ hands-on

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Same design with improved internals and display mark a significant improvement on the original

Lenovo announced a new and improved Yoga Tablet at Mobile World Congress and we got chance to take a very quick first look at it. At first glance the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ is the same tablet as the original. It has the same design, the same fold out kickstand, camera placement, front facing speakers, everything. But, arguably this is the tablet the original should have been.

The 1920x1200 resolution display is far better than the originals 1280x800 panel, which for a tablet we recommend for heavy media consumers improves the experience greatly. The internals have been bumped too, with a Snapdragon 400 inside now instead of the MediaTek CPU in the original and USB OTG support has also been added. We've got Android 4.3 on board, and an 8MP camera round back that sadly is still in the same awkward location as its predecessor.

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9 months ago

Barnes & Noble's revenue from Nook plummets by 50%, but they're planning a new one anyway

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Turning to the next page

Barnes & Noble is in a tough spot. Their book selling business, anchored by a nationwide chain of massive and expensive stores, isn't doing well in the face of digital competition. Their effort to jump into the digital realm themselves, first with the Nook e-reader and then Android-powered Nook tablets, did well for a while and has since floundered. In the last quarter, Barnes & Noble's Nook division (encompassing devices, digital content, and accessories) saw revenues of $157 million — down 50.4% from the year prior. Device sales made up two thirds of that revenue, and even with an increased userbase, Nook saw a drop of 26.5% in digital content sales. That's revenue, though. Losses in the Nook division topped $129 million, a 67.5% increase from last year.

That Barnes & Noble didn't release a single new Nook tablet over the past year might have something to do with that, though they admit that their plan was to sell through a glut of existing device inventory. And seeing these numbers, we'd have thought that the Nook tablet (and eventually Barnes & Noble) was done for this world. But it's not so, said Barnes & Noble CEO Michael P. Huseby:

"We remain committed to delivering world-class reading experiences to our customers through our reading centric e-Ink and color reading devices. Barnes & Noble is actively engaged in discussions with several world-class hardware partners related to device development as well as content packaging and distribution. As a result, we plan to launch a new NOOK color device in early fiscal 2015."

So Nook isn't dead, nor is Barnes & Noble, at least not yet. We generally liked the previous Nook tablets — they offered a decent bang for your buck — but it's hard to say how they'll be able to compete against today's budget offerings, both from Google and a more direct competitor like Amazon. Let us know in the comments if a new Nook tablet interests you.

Source: Barnes & Noble

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9 months ago

Samsung announces new hexa- and octa-core Exynos 5 processors

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Plus new camera sensors and radio chipsets

Mobile World Congress isn't just big smartphone announcements — like any big trade show there are announcements small and big, consumer and technical. This one trends more on the side of technical, and it's Samsung's latest application processors: the Exynos 5422 and Exynos 5260.

We'll start with the Exynos 5422, an octa-core chipset that, like previous Samsung octa-core processors, is really more like two quad core processors combined. The Exynos 5422 includes four powerful ARM Cortex-A15 cores that can be clocked up to a blazing 2.1GHz, and four ARM Cortex-A7 cores running at up to 1.5GHz for lighter loads. Samsung claims the Exynos 5422 can "deliver up to 34 percent higher performance than in previous Exynos Octa models." All this power means the processor can handle 4K displays with aplomb, though it's not likely we're going to see those any time soon, so that extra oomph can instead be directed at other tasks. The 28-nanometer process used to fabricate the Exynos 5422 is said to result in a 10% reduction in power consumption.

The Exynos 5260, on the other hand, is a hexa-core processor with two big 1.7GHz ARM Cortex-A15 cores paired with four 1.3GHz ARM Cortex-A7 cores. The 6-core model isn't quite as powerful as its 8-core brother, having both a lower clock speed and fewer cores, but Samsung still projects it to be able to handle displays all the way up to WQXGA (2560x1600). The Exynos 5260 is currently in production, while the Exynos 5422 is scheduled to start mass production in the first quarter of the year, so be looking for both in future Samsung products.

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9 months ago

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet first look

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A year on from its last tablet effort, Sony presents another compelling large form factor slate

Sony has so far resisted the move to smaller, cheaper tablets, instead focusing its efforts on 10.1-inch slates like the Xperia Tablet Z, and before that the Tablet S. Sony's offering tablet for 2013 was a solid 10.1-inch Android slate — a thin, light, waterproof device packing plenty of performance — but it never really saw mainstream success. This year the company presents a similar looking large form factor Android tablet, in the form of the Xperia Z2 Tablet. Same screen size, same resolution, only with upgraded internals, a refreshed design and an even slimmer chassis. It's an insanely thin Android 4.4 KitKat tablet with a multimedia focus and a boatload of bundled Sony content.

Check out our first look video and photos after the break.

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9 months ago

Lenovo announces Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ with 1920 x 1200 display, 18 hours battery life

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Dramatically improved screen and a spec bump sum up this mild refresh

Building on the success of its initial Yoga line of tablets, Lenovo has refreshed its Android offering with the announcement of the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+. Just like its predecessor, the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ offers three modes of operation for different uses — Hold, Tilt and Stand — depending on how you swivel it around. The new model offers some update specs, however.

You'll be greeted by a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 "20/20 Vision" display, a dramatic increase over the original. The display, while being extremely clear, also adjusts images and test on-screen to best fit the current lighting for an optimal viewing experience. The tablet also makes a bump to a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, adds USB OTG (On The Go) and optional keyboard accessory support. As for a camera, the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ moves to an 8MP rear-facing shooter.

On the software side the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ runs Android 4.3, sporting Lenovo's latest DOit suite of apps. SHAREit enables easy sharing of pictures, videos, music, documents and more with nearby devices even without an iternet connection. Security-focused SECUREit protects your data from viruses, spam and malware, as well as enables theft protection. Finally, SYNCit makes it simple to back up contacts, messages and other data to the cloud.

The Yoga 10 HD+ will go on sale in April from a variety of retailers and from its on website, with models starting at just $349.

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9 months ago

Android at Mobile World Congress 2014 — What to expect from this year's show

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Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2, LG G Pro 2 and new wearable devices

One of the largest mobile shows of the year is about to kick off on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. This weekend — and for much of next week — we’re at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where we’ll be covering some of the biggest mobile announcements of the year. Highlights are expected to include Samsung’s Galaxy S5, new Xperia devices from Sony, and Nokia’s first Android handset. And possibly new fare from HTC as well.

For the second year running the show itself is taking place at the futuristic Fira Gran Via, a new venue in Central Barcelona, and attending companies will also be holding press conferences all over the city. We’ll have six Mobile Nations editors on the ground — myself, Phil Nickinson, Andrew Martonik, Richard Devine, Kevin Michaluk and Daniel Rubino — so you’ll want to keep track of all our MWC coverage across Android Central, Windows Phone Central, CrackBerry, iMore and Smartwatch Fans.

MWC runs from Monday, Feb. 24, until Thursday, Feb. 27, with most of the big news happening on the 24th and 25th during the morning U.S. time. We'll have constant coverage through our massive Mobile World Congress hub page, which is where you'll find our latest news, articles, videos and behind-the-scenes stuff.

We’re in for a busy week at this year’s MWC, so let’s break down what we’re expecting from the major Android players ...

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9 months ago

NVIDIA announces Tegra Note 7 with LTE connectivity

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Both Tegra Note 7 models updated to Android 4.4 with Gamepad Mapper functionality

Those looking for a portable 7-inch tablet with mobile data access now have another option — the Tegra Note 7 LTE. While it may not be the hottest-selling tablet out there, the Tegra Note 7 offers a pretty solid set of specs — Tegra 4 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a quality stylus setup all for $199. This new version with HSPA+ and LTE capabilities will set you back just $299, and as an added bonus it's shipping with Android 4.4.2 — which brings new Gamepad Mapper functionality — as well.

Providing the connectivity is a new NVIDIA i500 LTE modem, which is just 40 percent the size of the average modem but is four times as powerful as its predecessor. That pairs up with the Tegra 4 perfectly, of course, to provide speed and efficiency when connecting to mobile networks.

The Tegra Note 7 LTE will be available in a variety of regions in the second quarter of 2014: North America, U.K., Western Europe, Ukraine, Japan, Korea, India, Brazil and China. The original Wifi-only Tegra Note 7 is also expanding to Western Europe, Brazil and Ukraine to match the new model's availability.

There will be three different models, depending on where you purchase the Tegra Note 7 LTE, with the following radio bands:

  • LTE-US: LTE: 700/850/1700/1900/2600 (Bands 2,4,5,17,7); HSPA+: 850/1900/2100 (Bands 1,2,5); EDGE
  • LTE-EU: LTE: 800/1800/2600 (Bands 3,7,20); HSPA+: 850/900/1900/2100 (Bands 1,2,5,8); EDGE
  • 3G (non-LTE markets): HSPA+: 850, 900, 1900, 2100 (Bands 1,2,5,8); EDGE+Voice

Source: NVIDIA

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9 months ago

Huawei MediaPad X1 and Ascend G6 leak ahead of MWC

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7-inch tablet and mid-range phone revealed

Thanks to its bizarre MWC teaser trailer, we know Huawei wants to make a splash at Mobile World Congress next week. And now we have a good idea what two of its new products will look like, as the Huawei MediaPad X1 and Ascend G6 have leaked out online ahead of their expected arrival in Barcelona. The MediaPad X1 is Huawei's latest 7-inch Android tablet, with previous leaks suggesting a the presence of a 1.6GHz quad-core CPU, a 1920x1200 display resolution, 6,000mAh battery, optional LTE connectivity and a price tag around $200. Images leaked today on Weibo show a white chassis with relatively trim bezels and an S View-like cover for the device.

Meanwhile Twitter leaker @evleaks has gotten hold of renders of the Huawei Ascend G6 — pictured after the break — the company's latest mid-range smartphone, which sports an Ascend P6-like look. Specs for the slim, multicolored handset are said to include a quad-core 1.3GHz CPU from Mediatek, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facer.

We're still waiting for a good look at Huawei's new high-end handset, the Ascend P7, said in the company's teaser video to include all-day battery life, a high-quality front-facing camera, and support for next-gen LTE networks. No doubt we'll learn more at the Huawei MWC press conference this Sunday.

Source: Engadget

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9 months ago

Archos announces new phones, tablets for Mobile World Congress

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Archos today announced four new devices ahead of Mobile World Congress — a tablet and three phones. Here's what we're looking at:

  • Archos 80 Helium 4G: An 8-inch Android 4.3 tablet powered by a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8926 processor and sporting 4G LTE data. It'll have full access to Google Play and costs $249.
  • Archos 50c Oxygen: Thus guy is a 5-inch phone (at 720p) running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It's got an 8MP camera and is powered by an eight-core Mediatex processor at 1.7 GHz. It costs $199.
  • Archos 64 Xenon: As the name implies, this Xenon is 6.4 inches at 720p, powered by a Mediatek quad-core processor at 1.3 GHz. It's running Android 4.2 Jelly bean, has 4GB of storage and costs $199.
  • Archos 40b Titanium: And finally we've got a 4-inch (480p) phone running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a half-gigabyte of RAM, 5MP camera and 4GB of storage. It costs$119.

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9 months ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 + 10.1 up for pre-order in the UK, shipping March 4

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Free 32GB microSD card with pre-orders from Samsung's online store

Samsung launched its monstrous Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet in the U.K. a couple of weeks back, and now it's time for the Tab Pro series to arrive in the country. Samsung's online store is now taking pre-orders for the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 and 10.1, priced at £349 and £449 respectively for the Wifi-only versions. And to sweeten the deal the manufacturer is throwing in a free 32GB microSD card for everyone who pre-orders.

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9 months ago

Samsung's Magazine Home is a fresh take on the tablet interface

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With the addition of the tablet-centric Magazine Home, TouchWiz takes one step closer to a total revamp

With the introduction of its Galaxy PRO line of tablets , Samsung has quietly taken a small step in overhauling its TouchWiz UI with the addition of Magazine Home, a vibrant and engaging user interface designed to aggregate content onto your homescreen. It's the first time that TouchWiz feels comfortable on a larger display, and it's a first look at the direction in which Samsung is taking its custom UI — away from bulky features and closer toward clean and accessible user-friendly content.

We spent the weekend exploring the strengths and weaknesses of this new interface approach, and while there's still a lot more to dive into, here's a few initial impressions.

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9 months ago

New Samsung ads skewer iPhone and iPad

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Samsung has something of a mixed track record when it comes to commercials — ranging from the cool and nostalgic to the surreal and just kinda creepy — but the company shows strong form with its latest TV spots for the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. Poking fun at arch-rival Apple's iPhone and iPad, Samsung actually does a decent job of showcasing both devices' strengths over the iOS-based competition — "two things on screen at once, versus up to one thing on screen at once."

Check out the Tab Pro spot above — a riff on this iPad "pencil" ad, by the way — and head past the break for the second ad, featuring LeBron James on a Galaxy Note 3.

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9 months ago

Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 tipped for MWC [update: now with image]

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Rumored specs include Snapdragon 800, 10.1-inch 1920x1200 display, waterproof design

A full year after the last one, we could soon see the launch of a new Android-powered Sony tablet. Serial leaker @evleaks says the device will pack a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 10.1-inch 1920x1200 "Triluminos" display. Other notables are said to include 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD, 8MP and 2MP cameras, and a 6,000mAh battery. Like its predecessor, the Xperia Tablet Z, the new slate will apparently be super-thin, measuring just 6.6mm (down from the original's 6.9mm) and boast waterproof credentials; on the software side Android 4.4 KitKat is reported.

That's mostly standard high-end Android tablet fare, but the decision to remain at 1920x1200 resolution may raise eyebrows when rivals like Samsung are pushing to the dizzying heights of 2560x1600.

Though it's not explicitly mentioned, it's likely the Xperia Tablet Z2 could debut at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. MWC was the venue for last year's Tablet Z unveiling, and this year we're also expecting to find out what's next from Sony in the smartphone space.

Update: @evleaks has now shared what is claimed to be a promotional render of the new tablet showing the KitKat UI and a something reminiscent of the original Tablet Z. You'll find it after the break.

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9 months ago

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO first impressions

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The latest entries into the Galaxy tablet lineup deserve the PRO moniker

When the Galaxy TabPRO and Galaxy NotePRO line of tablets was first introduced in Las Vegas last month, it was met with a subdued reception: Samsung, after all, seems to announce tablets in brand new sizes and spec configurations on an increasingly-regular basis, leading critics and consumers alike to dismiss yet another set of Galaxy tablets with an incremental bump in specs. But a closer look at the new PRO line revealed something exciting — this wasn’t just one of Samsung’s run-of-the-mill refreshes, but rather an exciting overhaul of both its Tab and Note lineups. With a fresh new UI, the best spec sheet in the business, and a few new sizes added for good measure, the PRO line just might include some of Samsung’s best tablets to date.

Our Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 and Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 arrived on Saturday, and we spent the snowy weekend curled up getting to know what it takes to be a PRO. We’ll be spending much more quality time with the tablets in the coming weeks, but ahead of our full in-depth review, here are a few of our initial takeaways.

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