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3 years ago

Hands on with NVIDIA's 'Project Shield'

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We get our first look at NVIDIA's Tegra 4 processor, and the future of Android gaming 

It's hard not to get excited about NVIDIA's "Project Shield," the Android-based hand-held gaming system it unveiled this week at CES in Los Vegas. For one, it's really the biggest piece of news thus far. And for another -- it's just friggin' cool. NVIDIA has taken the traditional gaming-style controller, packed its brand-new Tegra 4 system inside of it, added a 5-inch, clamshell 720p display (NVIDIA's calling it "retinal") and added some truly astonishing gameplay. Consider:

  • It's running a relatively stock user interface. The nerds love that.
  • It runs any Android app. If it works on a phone or tablet now, it should work on Project Shield.
  • There's one-touch access to NVIDIA's "Tegra Zone," a curated section of Android applications tweaked specifically for NVIDIA's processors.
  • Steam. If you play a game on Steam, you can play it here, too.
  • PC gaming. NVIDIA's been showing off this tech for some time now, and it's really dialed in here. Your gaming rig does the heavy lifting, beaming the video to Project Shield, which also serves as the controller.

It's not without some hurdles in the way of success (what is), but, yeah. We're excited.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE coming to Verizon 'this month'

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We're live at the Samsung CES 2013 press conference, and while there's been a whole lot of TV's and refrigerators, there was a small piece of Android goodness slipped in there for good measure. Following on from UK Carrier, EE, Samsung has today announced that the Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE will be launched on Verizon "this month." 

No pricing was announced, but this is sure to be good news for anyone with a hankering to pair up Samsung's S-Pen based tablet, with some 4G LTE data speeds. The press conference has just ended, and that's all she wrote on the Android front. 

The full press release can be found after the break.

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3 years ago

Live from Samsung's CES press event!

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We're live this afternoon from Samsung's official CES 2013 press conference. Expect a slew of non-smartphone news -- TVs, washers and dryers, etc., but chances are mobile won't be completely ignored. Samsung does sell a few phones and tablets, after all.

The whole thing kicks off at 2 p.m. Pacific time (that's 5 p.m. on the East Coast). Join us after the break!

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3 years ago

Huawei makes Ascend Mate and Ascend D2 official

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At the Huawei press event in Vegas today, the Ascend Mate and Ascend D2 have been made official. We've seen and heard enough rumors to know they were coming, but our first real look at the phones leaves us pretty impressed. 

The Mate, billed as the Largest Screen Smartphone (at 6.1-inches nobody can argue that) is being touted as the ultimate all in one device, with a big screen that is still portable, and will replace a laptop, phone, and camera with one convergent device.

The Ascend D2 (no Quad on this one) is the Most Powerful Smartphone, and has a 5-inch 443 ppi display. A 13MP camera and giant 3000mAh battery that gives two day battery life round it out as a real super phone for 2013.  We're on site and will certainly have a closer look at these. Both press releases are after the break. Stay tuned!

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3 years ago

Intel announces new 'Lexington' platform aimed at emerging markets

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The Intel CES 2013 press conference is in full swing, and they came out of the box swinging by jumping straight into their new smartphone news. Intel debuted the Medfield platform at last year's CES, along with a reference device, and this year is no different. There's a new platform, and a new reference device, but a different aim. 

The new Atom Z2420, codenamed Lexington, is aimed at the emerging markets such as India with a view to hitting the value markets. Intel says that Lexington is a no-compromise platform, and runs an optimized version of Android in just the same way as the 2012 Medfield devices. The reference device certainly reflects the "value" proposition, containing a 3.5 inch HVGA 430x320 display, but still contains a HSPA+ 21mbps modem. 

In line with desirable features in the targeted markets, Intel has included support for FM radio and dual-SIM devices. MicroSD card support is included, as is wireless display. It supports 1.3MP and 5MP front and rear cameras respectively, and like the Medfield platform, this includes a fast shot "burst mode." Video recording at 1080p and 30fps will be supported by the rear camera. 

Initial partners for the Lexington platform include Lava, SafariCom and Acer, with details coming on the devices from each later on in Q1. 

Value wasn't all she wrote though. While Lexington is the main focus, Intel did drop a hint at what's on the horizon for their more high end offerings. Following from last year's Medfield will be the new Clover Trail+ for smartphones. The Clover Trail+ will be Intel's first dual-core processor for Android devices, based on the Atom Z2580. Intel's performance and battery life on a single-core chip is impressive, so we're looking forward to seeing how the platform advances in 2013. 

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3 years ago

Monday Brief: Mobile Nations @ CES 2013!

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3 years ago

Live from Huawei's CES 2013 press conference

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We're live at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, and next on today's Android-packed schedule is the Huawei press conference. The Chinese manufacturer is expected to announce new Android and Windows Phone devices, including a successor to the Ascend D1 Quad, the Ascend D2, and a ridiculous 6.1-inch phone, the Ascend Mate. On the Windows side, we're expecting Huawei's first Windows Phone 8 device, the Ascend W1.

The presentation kicks off at 1pm PT (4pm ET), and we'll be covering the event live. Check past the break for our liveblog of Huawei at CES!

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the Pantech Discover on AT&T

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There's a good chance if you're reading this that the Pantech Discover is not for you. And that's cool. It's for your mom. Or your granddad. It's a first-timer device, with a first-timer price of $49 on contract with AT&T. And you know what? Pantech's done a pretty good job with it. 

Think of this as a large smartphone for someone who doesn't want, well, a Galaxy S3 or HTC One X on AT&T. But that doesn't mean it's not stylish. Start with a large, 4.8-inch 720p display. Nothing wrong with that. And Pantech blissfully diverges from the typical black-slap design, bringing some graceful curves to the textured back of the phone, with speakers tucked on either side. Haven't seen Samsung do that, have ya? (And those speakers sound pretty good, even in a crowded room.)

But the more interesting part of the Pantech Discover is the work that's gone into the custom user interface. It's built on Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, and there actually are two UIs. Samsung's done this already, of course, but Pantech takes simple to a whole new level. Multiple home screens are pared down to one. The main home screen is nearly idiot-proof. Gone is the app drawer. Even the settings menu is hidden from where you'd normally expect it. And it's still pretty full of features, all things considered. It's got NFC, and AT&T's improved DriveMode is built-in, to help cut down on texting and driving. 

This one's worth a quick look in the store if you've got a first-timer looking for a phone and who doesn't want to spend a lot of dough doing it. 

We've got more pics and video of the Pantech Discover after the break.

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3 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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3 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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3 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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3 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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3 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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3 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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3 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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