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3 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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3 years ago

Pac-Man wokka-wokkas its way onto Nook

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The upcoming Nook HD and Nook HD+ will be home to the classic arcade game Pac-Man thanks to a recent release on the Barnes & Noble app store. Of course, those already with the original Nook or the Nook Color will also be able to get in on the pellet-chomping, ghost-fleeing action. Original, normal, and easy difficulty modes are available, along with three different control schemes, depending on your preferences. 

Hit up the BN website to buy Pac-Man for $2.99, which is a notch cheaper than the version currently available on Google Play. Any Nook owners out there hurting for some retro games? Anyone remember playing the original arcade games?

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3 years ago

Apple takes on Nexus 7 with iPad Mini

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In San Francisco this afternoon Apple revealed a new 7.9-inch iPad Mini, based upon the internals of the iPad 2, to an audience of feverish fans. But from an Android perspective, what's most interesting is the stage time given to Google's $199 Nexus 7, which has already seen success in the small form factor tablet space. The Nexus 7 stayed on screen for several minutes while Apple's Phil Schiller took jabs at the device.

Showing the two tablets side-by-side, the Apple VP played up the iPad Mini's advantages in materials, screen size and tablet app ecosystem. However, Apple didn't venture anywhere near Google's tablet when it came to price -- the cheapest iPad Mini, a 16GB Wifi-only model, is to sell for $329.99 in the U.S.

Google is widely expected to expand its tablet portfolio next week, with a 32GB Nexus 7 and a new Samsung-built 10-incher, with a 2560x1600 display.

Apple also unveiled a fourth-generation retina iPad, along with new MacBook, Mac Mini and iMac computers.

For more on today's Apple developments, head on over to our sister site iMore.com.

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3 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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3 years ago

Motorola Droid Bionic Ice Cream Sandwich update now rolling out

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Long-suffering Motorola Droid Bionic owners, your Ice Cream Sandwich update has finally arrived. The Bionic, which has languished on Gingerbread since its release last fall, is today being bumped up to Android 4.0.4 via an over-the-air upgrade.

Reports from the Android Central forums indicate that the Bionic ICS update is now being sent out the masses, following a short soak test.

Unfortunately, it looks like the phone isn't on Motorola's Jelly Bean update roadmap, so Bionic owners will be running 4.0.4 for the foreseeable future. Regardless, ICS is a significant step up from Gingerbread, so Bionic owners will want to grab it right away.

If you're still rocking a bionic, hit the comments let us know how you're getting on with today's update.

Source: Android Central forums

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3 years ago

CoPilot Live switches to Google search, adds additional Android integration

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  The CoPilot Live GPS navigation app has been recently updated with a whole bunch of new features. High on the list is the replacement of Bing with Google search, and some deeper digging into the native Android experience, such as being able to launch directly into a navigation query from an address in an e-mail. The full changelog for CoPilot Live 9.3 reads: 
  • Free map update – the latest NAVTEQ street maps
  • Google search – CoPilot’s Local Search is now powered by Google
  • Android integration – allowing tasks such as navigating to an address in an email
  • New info display – including Current Road
  • Themes – four new free colour schemes are available*
  • Drive for a cause – a paid-for pink theme in support of Breast Cancer Awareness (all proceeds go to charity)*
  • Numerous user interface enhancements

The uber-expensive European versions have been updated, as well as the bare-bones free version, though the South Africa, New Zealand, and Australian versions are still a bit behind. We've got a full review of t CoPilot Live here, and will have a Q&A with the devs going up sometime this week. 

Anybody using CoPilot regularly? How does it fare compared to the core Google Maps experience? Is there any room for third-party GPS apps when Android provides a fairly robust one out of the box? 

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3 years ago

Xbox SmartGlass second screen experience coming to Android in early 2013

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Today Microsoft expanded SmartGlass for Windows Phone, which promises to easily share web, music, movie, and game content to (and from) your TV through an Xbox. Though Windows Phone is predictably getting first stab at the service, it looks like Android phones running 2.2 and up have been able to try out the SmartGlass app since the launch of the Xbox Live beta in August. A full release of SmartGlass for Android is due early next year, according to a recent statement from Microsoft. Whether or not Xbox Music is following the same timeline is anybody's guess. 

As is, the My Xbox app already offers a bit of interplay between Android devices and the big screen, though like beta SmartGlass app, there's no tablet-optimized counterpart yet. Presumably SmartGlass will simply just be an update to that existing app. SmartGlass promises to offer quite a few handy functions, including music playback control, voting on the outcome of live sports, actors on-screen during movies or TV shows, and context-sensitive information for tailored video games. Dance Central 3 and Forza Horizon are some of the games that have been demoed using SmartGlass, though we can expect quite a few more in the future. 

One of the more subtle features I'm looking forward to in SmartGlass is being able to use the native system keyboard on my mobile to type into Xbox. Moving around a big virtual keyboard with the d-pad on the big screen has been an age-old thorn in the side, and I'm way too much of a controller purist (or cheapskate) to buy one of those hardware keyboards. Hopefully it's usable throughout the Xbox experience and not just within the few content silos described by Microsoft. 

For more info on the launch of SmartGlass and a few other new services, check out the Microsoft blog post or hit up the video demo below. Gamers, would you consider a switch to Windows Phone knowing that it would play more nicely with your Xbox than an Android device? Will the Android version of SmartGlass be perpetually worse than that on Windows Phone?

Via: Pocket-Lint

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3 years ago

AT&T's Galaxy Note 2 available Nov. 9 for $299, preorders start Oct. 25

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AT&T this morning announced that its version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will be available Nov. 9 for $299 on contract. Preorders start Oct. 25.

More: Read our Galaxy Note 2 review

Specs for AT&T's version remain in line with other carriers', as well as the global version, with gorgeous 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display and a quad-core Exynos processor running at 1.6 GHz. It's got Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, and and Samsung's excellent 8-megapixel camera. Plus, it runs on AT&T's 4G LTE network, so long as you're in an area that has it.

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

US Cellular gets the Alcatel One Touch Shockwave

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US Cellular this morning announced it'll carry the Alcatel One Touch Shockwave, a 3.5-inch Android smartphone. It's running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has a 3.2 megapixel camera and sports a shock-resistant casing, Dragontrail tempered glass and is water resistant.

The Shockwave is available today for $49.99. 

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3 years ago

Mobile Nations 19: Passport

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The editors of the greatest sites in mobile tech comes together to unveil the new Mobile Nations Passport, plus catch up on all the impending events from Apple, Google, Microsoft -- and even BlackBerry.

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3 years ago

USPTO invalidates Apple rubber-band scrolling patent used in Samsung trial

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Good news for Samsung this morning, as a preliminary U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ruling has declared Apple's "rubber band" scrolling patents invalid. According to reports from TNW and FOSS Patents, the ruling isn't yet set in stone, but it means that, for the moment, 20 patent violation claims against Samsung relating to patent no. 7,469,381 no longer stand. Crucially, FOSS Patents says, this includes one claim involved in Apple's recent courtroom victory against the Korean manufacturer.

The USPTO is reported to have found evidence of prior art in some cases, and in others the inventions were deemed to have been obvious.

The "rubber band" scrolling feature can be found throughout Apple's range of iOS and OSX devices, as well as older Samsung smartphones. However, Samsung has long since pulled the feature from its Android-based phones.

As with everything relating to the on-going litigation between Samsung and Apple, and the wider patent wars, this is not yet finalized. Nevertheless, if things proceed in this direction, it could be helpful to Samsung's appeal in the high-profile California case.

Source: TNW, FOSS Patents

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3 years ago

'My Xperia' trademark filing points to possible Sony cloud service

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A trademark filing by Sony Mobile suggests the company may look to launch its own mobile-centric cloud service in the future. Sony has applied to trademark the term "MyXperia" at the European OHIM (Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market), and the listing is available online for all to see. 

The trademark application lists a number of mobile-based services for MyXperia, including “upload, storage, retrieval, download, transmission and delivery of digital content and media." That's a fairly vague definition, but it points to a possible proprietary Sony cloud service for exchanging photos, music and other data between Xperia phones and other devices.

Previously, Sony Mobile has relied on a partnership with Box.net to bring cloud storage to Xperia smartphone buyers.

The company also owns MyXperia.com, though currently that hosts nothing more than a nondescript login page.

With more and more mobile device manufacturers -- including Android giant Samsung -- getting into the cloud storage game, we wouldn't be too surprised to see MyXperia making an appearance on upcoming 2013 Xperia phones. Precisely what form it'll take, though, will remain to be seen.

Source: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Give an artist the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and he makes magic with the S Pen

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The artist is Gérémy Arène. His tools are the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with the S Pen, and the Sketchbook Mobile app. The result is amazing. 

I tried to say it before when we first saw the Galaxy Note 10.1. These are more than Android phones or tablets. The S Pen and Wacom digitizer makes them a real appliance. Gérémy says it better in this 10-minute video than I ever could.

Source: PhonAndroid (French); via +Cory Teague

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3 years ago

New Samsung Chromebook now available in the Google Play Store

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Update: Looks like the $249 price was right. The Chromebook seems to have sold out, and is now listed as "coming soon".

Google's new Chromebook, made by Samsung, is available in the Google Play Store starting today for just $249. The latest iteration, which is now based on an ARM processor rather than Intel, comes packed with an 11.6-inch 1366x768 screen, Exynos 5 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The sparse internal storage is supplemented by 2 years of 100GB free Google Drive storage, which is a nice feature.

The idea of a Chromebook may be appealing to many of the Google-centric users among us, so what do you think? Can you live with just Google Chrome as your entire operating system? For $249, you may consider it.

Source: Google Play Store

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3 years ago

Wireless charging technology, Rooting the Sprint Optimus G [From the Forums]

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Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, check out some of the threads below to get started.

We've got nearly 1 million members helping members and nearly 2 million posts in our Android Forums. Are you one of them? Join today!

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