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3 years ago

Chameleon Launcher for phones finally shown off on video

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Chameleon Launcher garnered quite a bit of attention when it first launched for tablets. Its widget centric UI may not be for everyone, but it's different, and makes great use of tablet screen real estate. There has been talk of a phone version coming to market, and the developers, Teknision, have recruited for private alpha testers of the product. But, how well will it work on a phone? 

Some of the curiosity is laid to rest, as on the official developer blog the first video footage of Chameleon for phones is shown off. It looks pretty interesting, and might surprise some as to how well it transitions to the smaller screen. They show it running on the Galaxy Note 2 and the Nexus 4, and highlight features such as the scrollable app tray, and folders. 

To get to the phones, you need to skip ahead in the video to 1:52. Before that though, Teknision shows off some new features surrounding folders on the tablet version. 

As we mentioned, Chameleon for phones is in a private alpha testing stage at present, but Teknision hopes to release a public beta to their Kickstarter supporters of the app soon. Additionally, the developers are present at CES 2013 in Las Vegas this week, showing off the product in person.

Source: Teknision

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3 years ago

Lenovo K900 hands-on

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Lenovo introduced its latest flagship smartphone tonight here at CES in Las Vegas, and it looks like it will live up to the hype: the K900 manages to pack a 5.5-inch, 1080P IPS display atop a strikingly-slim 6.9mm body weighing in at a mere 162 grams. The K900 is powered by Intel's brand new Clover Trail+  2GHz Atom processor along with 2GB of RAM -- coupled with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, this is set to become one of the most powerful smartphones on the market today.

The goodies don't end there -- the K900’s 13 MP camera should be atop any shutterbug's wishlist, boasting a Sony Exmor BSI sensor and a F1.8 lens for remarkable low-light performance. The front-facer isn't too shabby, either, sporting a super-wide angle lens.

The first thing you’ll notice about the K900 is its industrial design, with exposed screws, sharp corners, and both a gun metal black and two-tone silver finish -- this is more of a tool than a toy. It’s a huge device, no doubt, but it feels great in the hand, more akin to the Droid DNA than the Note 2 thanks to its more tall, less wide shape. And at 400 PPI, the display practically jumps off of the phone and slaps you in the face. Simply stunning.

Here’s the bad news: unfortunately, Lenovo has no plans to bring the K900 to North America, making this limited-market device the best smartphone American’s can’t buy. The K900 will head to China, India, Russia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam in the coming months for an undisclosed price. Our hands-on video and gallery are after the break.

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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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