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4 years ago

Zmart Remote lets you control pretty much anything with your phone


Viatek is launching a new hardware and software combination that can act as a universal remote for a wide variety of devices, using your phone as the controller. The basic premise of Zmart Remote is that you use a combination of an Android (or iOS) app and a hardware dongle that plugs into your phone's headphone jack to program and control most anything around your house. In the same way most high-end universal remotes work, Zmart Remote has a configuration utility that lets you control TVs, Blu-ray players, DVRs and many more by entering the proper codes and settings for each. For other devices that aren't usually controlled remotely -- like light switches, fans and coffee makers -- Viatek makes a Zmart Switch to interface with them directly.

Viatek says that its software can currently interface with some 200,000 products from 95-percent of consumer electronic brands in the category. The app is free, but doesn't do much unless you purchase the accessory dongle, which is $19.99. At the fraction of the price of a good universal remote, it could be worth a look.

More: Zmart Remote

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4 years ago

Chrome Beta channel now available for Android


Good news everyone! The Chrome Beta channel for Android kicks off today with version 25.0.1364.8. Like the Beta channel for the computer, it's a preview of features and fixes that has already passed the development channel and is running through the final testing before it makes its way into the final version. That means it's a great way to try out things that may be broken, but still allow the software to work as a whole. Today's release comes with the following bugs:

  • Performance is sluggish, noticeably on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S
  • Frequent freeze on devices with specific versions of Qualcomm GPU driver
  • Text autosizing may break formatting on some sites
  • 164632 - Editing bookmark feature is broken
  • 165244 - Text position handler jumps or disappears when moving
  • 163439 - Clicking on links in yahoo.com not navigating on Nexus 7
  • 166233 - Unable to submit comments on Facebook posts in desktop version of Facebook
  • 165244 - Text handler jumps or disappears when moving
  • 167351 - Youtube video controls are lost after returning from fullscreen video mode
  • 162486 - iframe scrolling broken

Scary, but you get used to it if you run the Beta channel on the desktop. On the plus side, Chrome 25 brings huge improvements in HTML5 support and JavaScript performance, so it's worth it to many.

To get on the Beta track, you'll need to directly click this link, as it's not publicised or available via search in Google Play. It installs along side your current version of Chrome for Android, so you always have a fail-safe. Grab it, and have fun!

Source: Google Chrome Releases

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4 years ago

Angry Birds Space updated with 'Pig Dipper' levels


Angry Birds Space gets a content update this afternoon. The Pig Dipper update brings 30 new aquatic-themed levels to the popular game, extending its life and keeping players hooked like only Rovio can. The new levels require a bit of a strategy change, as you're now fighting gravity and buoyancy at the same time. 

You can have a crack at the new levels by updating via the Google Play app on your phone or tablet, or if you haven't been sucked into this one yet and want to give it a try, use the link above to the free version. An ad-free version is also available for a buck, and you can get it here. Just watch out for the mermaid -- we hear she is tough.

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4 years ago

Highlights from the Mobile Nations 2013 CES Experience


It's hard to believe it has come and gone already, but the 2013 CES Experience is over. Right from the start, we had some great events and evenings planned for the crew… keep reading for some of the highlights...

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4 years ago

Ford announces OpenXC SDK; Android apps can now easily access sensor data


Inside any new car are a plethora of sensors and microprocessors, crunching away at data to control the various systems in the vehicle. Announced today at CES 2103,  Ford's new OpenXC platform will allow Android developers to have an easy way to gather that data and put it to work.

Billed as a combination of Arduino and Android, OpenXC uses tools people already know to help design after-market accessories and software. Right now there are parts and an SDK component that allow developers to plug into the OBD-II port and send signals via USB or Bluetooth that any Android device running software with the OpenXC library can read and understand. This is all done over a CAN bus to stay isolated from the vehicle electronics, so your $20,000 car won't be damaged, 

There has always been expensive and OEM solutions for folks who want to access vehicle data, but with today's news Ford is making it accessible to folks without a giant bucket of money to spend. It will be interesting to see what folks can come up with using Ford's new tools. See the full press release after the break, and hit the link below for more information.

More: OpenXC

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4 years ago

Sprint prepares 2013 Inaugural site for the estimated 700k attendees


image of the US Capitol inaugural platform via Senate.gov

Sprint is beefing up things on the National Mall to prepare for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. When you inject an extra million or so people into an already congested city like Washington, DC, cell service tends to suffer. Cram seven or eight hundred thousand of those people onto the National Mall and it just won't work without massive planning and equipment.

That (the planning and equipment) is exactly was Sprint is in the process of doing right now on the Mall. They are deploying COWs (Cell sites On Wheels) in places like the Air and Space Museum (fitting, I think) and Installing in-building repeaters at the Capital Hilton, the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, and The Mayflower Renaissance to help carry the voice and data load. 

They've been at work since April of last year, and have boosted voice capacity by 25-percent and data capacity by 37-percent for the National Mall area already. This should go a long way towards making sure DC public safety officials can do their job, as well as making sure everyone can post pictures of the event online.

Things get a little crazy here in DC for the Presidential Inauguration. It' great to see Sprint has a bit of foresight and is doing what they can to make it as pleasant as possible. Hit the break to see their full press release.

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4 years ago

Archos 101 Titanium hands-on (updated with official announcement)


Archos brought a slew of tablets to its CES booth this year, and we managed to get our hands on the lot of them. Here's the 101 Titanium, a distant cousin of the 101XS that we reviewed earlier this year. This iteration is part of Archos' Elements line, and therefore receives some of the goodies associated with the brand, such as a much-improved build quality and finish. This thing is solid, much more so than the 101XS, though fails to match the ultra-premium look and feel of the 97 Titanium with its Retina-quality display. 

Archos was tight lipped on details about these tablets, but based on what else we've seen from Archos here at CES, we should go ahead and count on a minor boost in terms of both processing power and internal storage, just like what happened on the 97 Platinum and the FamilyPad2. Jelly Bean is onboard here, an improvement from the 101XS, and I was pretty pleased with the responsiveness and speed of the tablet. 

To my naked eye, the 10.1-inch display isn't any better than the 101XS, so we can go ahead and guess that this, too, packs a 1280 x 800 resolution. However, I didn't notice that blue, washed-out hue that bugged me so much about the 101XS, so that's more than welcome news.

Archos isn't spilling the beans on pricing or availability, but I'd gladly pay a bit more for this device than the 101XS based on how solid and well-built it appears. This is a premium tablet, and proves once again that the French manufacturer is playing for keeps.

A hands-on gallery and video follow the break.

UPDATE: This morning, Archos formally introduced the new additions to its Titanium line, including the 101 Titanium. Our suspicions were confirmed, as the 101 will feature a 1.6 GHz dual-core CPU, quad-core graphics, and an impoved IPS display. The full press release has been added after the break.

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4 years ago

Fitbit recruiting private beta testers for Android sync, Galaxy S3 and Note 2 owners only need apply


With the launch of their latest personal fitness product a few days ago, Fitbit also brought news that syncing with Android devices was finally on the horizon. As such, they're now recruiting for willing volunteers for a private beta test. Initially, only Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 owners need apply, and only users of the Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip.

They're also looking for people who will put the application seriously through its paces. Participants need to be able to donate 1-3 hours of time per week to update the developers with issues. Additionally, the key word is private, and all participants will be asked to sign an NDA that they won't share any information outside of the programme. If this sounds like your thing, hit the source link below and send in your application. The beta test will run between Jan. 13 and Jan. 25. 

Source: Fitbit

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4 years ago

Corning Gorilla Glass 3 - a CES first look


When it comes to chemically-hardened glass, we smartphone types are definitely fans. When it comes to making our glass-fronted smartphones more durable, Corning has always been at the forefront, and their latest revelation in the form of Gorilla Glass 3 will prove to be even more of a protective force between our LCDs and the harsh world we live in.

We dropped in on Corning to check out its new Gorilla Glass 3, and in its demonstrations it lived up to the pre-show announcement hype. Gorilla Glass 3 is tougher in all forms when compared to its competition and even its predecessor in the form of Gorilla Glass 2. It can withstand greater impact force, is harder to scratch, and can stand up to forces that are capable of denting equally-thick steel. It's tough stuff, folks.

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4 years ago

Samsung unveils the Galaxy S2 Plus, minor spec bump over the original


Samsung has today introduced another new Android smartphone to add to its portfolio, and you'd be right in thinking it looks an awful lot like the Galaxy S2. That's because it does, and this new device is the Galaxy S2 Plus. The most notable improvement is the software. 

Running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Samsung's latest Touchwiz Nature UX, the rest of the specs are either a minor bump from the Galaxy S2 or pretty much the same. The Plus houses a 4.3 inch WVGA Super-AMOLED Plus display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8MP and 2MP rear and front facing cameras respectively. On board storage is just 8GB, but is expandable by microSD card which Samsung says is supported upto 64GB.

Otherwise, that's about all she wrote. Looking through the specs there appears to be an NFC version and a non NFC version, and the camera has a pretty nice sounding zero lag shutter speed. No word as yet on price or availability, and you'll find the full press release after the break.

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4 years ago

See all the bendy displays and octacores you can handle in Samsung's second CES 2013 keynote


There is no dearth of news about Samsung's announcements today, but we know plenty of you guys will want to see it for yourselves. Samsung knows it, too, and has posted the full one-hour+ speech on Youtube for easy viewing. Join Dr. Woo for 60 minutes and get all the bendy screen and 8-core CPU talk you can handle. 

Via; Samsung

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4 years ago

Archos 97 Platinum and 80 Platinum hands on



One of the things I was most excited to see at this year's CES was Archos' 97 Titanium, the 9.7-inch Android tablet introduced by Archos late last year. Its stunning Retina-quality 2048 x 1536 display is one of the best on any Android tablet, and its nearly-identical-to-the-iPad design will almost certainly grab the eyes of consumers and lawyers alike. Much to my surprise, what I found was a new line of Archos tablets, the Platinum series, one step above the still-fresh Titanium. ​On hand here in Las Vegas were both the 97 Platinum and its smaller sibling the 80 Platinum. 

These devices are nearly identical to the 97 Titanium HD and the 80 Carbon respectively aside from a minor boost in specs-- both processors have been bumped to a quad-core 1.2 GHz chip, up from their previous dual-core brains ( a trend we saw on most of what Archos brought to CES this year). Aside from that, other specs remain the same, including the front and rear 2 MP cameras, the nearly-vanilla Jelly Bean experience and the ultra-premium design.

The true stars here, though, are the displays, especially the 97's (above)-- it's easily the best display I've ever seen on an Android tablet, and can rival the iPad in terms of both pixel density and saturation. The 80's 8-inch 1024 x 768 panel (left) falls short of Retina territory but looks fantastic nonetheless, and feels splendid in the hand.

Buzzing through the UI was fast and breezy, and seeing a company opt for a pure Android experience never gets old. We weren't able to run any benchmarks on the devices in our short time with them, but we expect to see quality results and performance-- after a string of disappointments, Archos is finally in it to win it. 

As you'll see in the shots below, the comparisons to the iPad are not exaggerated-- these devices look and feel strikingly similar to Apple's tablet, so stay tuned for the inevitable uproar and legal action when Archos brings the line to the states in March. Expect a $329 pricetag on the 97 Platinum, and a $199 pricetag on the 80. Photos of the 97 as well as the 80 (easily differentiated by the screen's orientation-- the 97 is horizontal, the 80 vertical), along with comparisons and a video, follow the break.

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4 years ago

Archos GamePad hands on


Fresh off the heels of NVIDIA's huge Project Shield announcement, Archos is proving that it was here first, debuting its GamePad for the first time stateside nearly five months after its announcement. The Archos GamePad adds hardware controls, including traditional gaming buttons and joysticks, to a 7-inch Android tablet. Though the GamePad isn't the highest-spec'd device in the world with a conservative 1024 x 600 IPS resolution and 1 GB of RAM, it does boast a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, quad-core graphics, and a recent addition of Jelly Bean to ensure smooth and lag-free gameplay.

And that's exactly what I saw-- the demo I played was plenty fast and fluid, and the hardware buttons, which can be custom-tailored to specific games, added a whole new level of enjoyment to the game. I'm no gamer by any means, so for me, the buttons make gaming much more accessible than it is on a traditional Android device. In the same breath, I might have overlooked some quirks in the game due to ignorance, so hardcore gamers should definitely take the GamePad for a spin before diving in. 

Archos tells us to expect the GamePad stateside in the coming weeks sporting a pricetag of around $170. We'll prep our thumbs for some more in-depth gaming then-- for now, enjoy the hands-on photos and video after the break.

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4 years ago

Pebble smartwatch officially shipping from Jan. 23 to Kickstarter backers


The Pebble smartwatch is one of the all time Kickstarter success stories. It smashed its $100,000 target, and went on to break the $10million mark by the time all was said and done. Since the closure of the Kickstarter campaign, there have been delays, leaving many wondering when, or even if, the device they'd thrown some of their hard earned at may appear.  The good news is, the waiting is almost at an end. The Pebble is complete, they are being manufactured, and the official word is that they will begin shipping to Kickstarter backers from Jan. 23. 

The Pebble smartwatch is an interesting product. Connecting to your Android smartphone, it allows any number of notifications and interactions from your wrist, leaving your phone in your pocket. Coupled with a backlit electronic paper display, visible even in bright sunlight, and a battery life of around 7 days, the Pebble could well take off where other Smartwatches haven't. 

Since the early prototypes, a couple of extra hardware features have been squeezed in. There's now a magnetometer inside to offer compass like functionality, and an ambient light sensor. Re-charging the Pebble is taken care of via magnetic contacts. 

One notable absentee from the launch of the Pebble though is Runkeeper support. The simple message is that it just isn't ready, and they're working with Runkeeper to make it happen. The estimate so far we're given is March. 

Better yet, Pebble says they will be shipping out the smartwatches to people in the order they entered the Kickstarter campaign. So, if you're backer number 1, you'll be first in line when it comes to shipping. Manufacturing has reached around 15,000 units per week, so the initial batch of Kickstarter orders will take 6-8 weeks to complete. After that, they'll move onto website pre-orders. 

The CEO of Pebble has completed a full demo of the smartwatch in a briefing session at CES, which is embedded for you to check out after the break. Be warned though, the colors are off, and everyone looks somewhat like a smurf. 

Source: Pebble

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4 years ago

Facebook Pages Manager now available in the U.S. and UK


The Facebook Pages Manager application for Android launched initially last week. Sort of. While the app was no doubts in the Google Play Store, it wasn't actually available in a number of countries around the world, including the U.S. and the UK. As of today, the app is showing an update in the Play Store, but still remains on Version 1.0, but is now available in the U.S Play Store and in the UK too. 

Facebook Pages Manager does exactly what it says on the box. In much the same way the Facebook application enables users to manage their personal profiles, Pages Manager does the same for page admins. Looking through the Play Store comments though, there does seem to be an issue with the notifications -- reports suggest that you simply can't just turn them off permanently. In any case, if this is something you've been waiting on, grab yourselves a copy from the Play Store link above. 

Thanks droid4g32!

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