• Devices

    by Published on 06-14-2017 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    A respected Brazilian tech blog has leaked this image of the OnePlus 5, along with a confirmation of specs and, crucially for OnePlus's frugal customers, the price. If you think that no company could have the audacity to produce such a derivative-looking phone, think again—Android Police revealed a partial view last week, and then OnePlus themselves went ahead and did the same.

    This week's Tecnoblog leak is significant because it appears to answer almost all of the remaining questions about the phone. Here's the spec sheet, with a little help from Google Translate and reddit:

    Screen
    5.5 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
    DCI-P3 Colors

    Processor
    Snapdragon 835

    RAM
    6 or 8 GB
    LPDDR4X

    Storage
    64 or 128 GB
    Dual-Band UFS 2.1

    Battery
    3,300 mAh
    Dash Charge

    Rear Cameras
    20 MP, f/2.6
    16 MP, f/1.7

    Other
    Bluetooth 5.0
    LTE Cat 12
    Fast Fingerprint Reader (0.2 seconds)

    Price
    $479 USD

    That starting price, if true, is a pretty big deal; an unlocked iPhone 7 with only 32 GB of storage is currently going for almost $300 USD more at Apple.com. It would also be a big win for prospective OnePlus buyers, as blogs were reporting a rumored price tag as high as $650 USD just a few weeks ago.

    And the homage to Apple shouldn't really surprise OnePlus fans, as co-founder Carl Pei is on record stating that the genesis of OnePlus was to bring an iPhone-like hardware experience to the Android platform. He certainly appears to have done that!

    Source: Tecnoblog (Portuguese) via r/Android

    ---------
    by Published on 06-13-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Two stories about this year's Pixel phones are topping the charts over on r/Android this morning. Details are obviously scant as the devices aren't due until later this year, but there already seems to be a consensus among those in the know that Google has three code names ready for production.

    Actually, make that two, because one of them has been cancelled.

    Android Police reports that "muskie", intended as the 2017 update to the Pixel XL, has been shelved. A leak to 9to5Google suggests that the device had insurmountable issues with battery life.

    The good news is that an even bigger phone, code named "taimen", will supposedly fill the XL slot left vacant by muskie. Plot twist: while the smaller Pixel phone, "walleye", is expected from HTC, evidence suggests that taimen will be manufactured by LG. Both OEMs have a long and storied history with Android; HTC made the very first Nexus One and LG made the Nexus 5, possibly the best Nexus phone ever.

    So hardcore Android fans needn't worry about the pedigree of their 2017 Pixel. Hopefully Google is worrying about adding dust and/or water resistance, and getting rid of the 2016 model's ungainly chin.

    Sources: 9to5Google, Android Police

    ---------
    by Published on 06-07-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    The International Data Corporation (IDC) has published some stats for wearable sales in the first quarter of this year, which I caught on Liliputing. The big story? Fitbit has been overtaken in sales and market share by both Apple and Xiaomi. This doesn't necessarily mean that Fitbit has fallen out of favour with its user base, but might indicate that the market for fitness trackers is at the saturation point.

    According to the numbers Apple and Samsung have both shown impressive year over year growth, at 64.1 and 90.8% respectively. Xiaomi's dominant market share certainly caught me by surprise, until I realized that their cheap and cheerful Mi Band 2 is available through Amazon Prime in Canada and the USA. Also of interest is the complete absence of any specific device running Android Wear. A breakdown of market share by wearable OS would have been instructive here.

    To put wearable shipments in perspective, IDC reports that Samsung shipped 79.2 million phones in the same quarter as Apple's 3.6 million smartwatches and Xiaomi's 3.6 million fitness trackers. In other words, the addressable market for these things is still pretty small.

    Links: IDC (1) (2), Liliputing, Mi Band 2 on Amazon (1) (2)

    ---------
    by Published on 06-01-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    While I was away The Verge ran a nice little feature on Anker, an accessory company that deserves a lot more attention than it gets. The company is probably best-known for their portable phone and tablet chargers. I still have fond memories of their Astro 3E; it was perfectly-sized for my Nexus 5 and easily gave that phone three times the battery capacity. I've no doubt that they made a killing in sales last summer when Pokémon GO was all the rage.

    What I didn't know about Anker was that it was founded by an ex-Google software engineer—Steven Yang—in only 2011. He started the company to sell replacement laptop batteries but quickly (and wisely) switched to mobile power banks. A key component of Anker's success has been using Amazon for fulfillment—customers can easily return any item they're not happy with. Honestly, though, of all the Anker products I've purchased I've not returned a single one.

    And my Anker gear isn't limited to mobile chargers; I've bought two audio products, both of which are surprisingly good. The Soundcore Sport outdoor speaker is perfect for catching up on podcasts in the bath (don't judge!), and I've just started using the Soundbuds Sport on my morning walks—these Bluetooth earbuds are maybe a bit light in the bass department, but they're super-comfortable, cheap and again, perfect for podcasts.

    For those not comfortable buying accessories online, sight unseen, Anker is working on bringing their brand to brick and mortar stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart. No complaints here; the more people that know about this excellent accessories company, the better!

    Links: Anker, The Verge

    ---------
    by Published on 05-31-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Andy Rubin finally unveiled his Essential Phone yesterday, with The Verge getting the scoop a little early. You're looking at what I think is the phone's standout feature, a screen that seems to wrap around the front camera and sensor assembly. It's visually striking and also smart—with notifications on the left and indicators on the right the centre of your typical Android status bar is usually empty anyway, so why not put the selfie cam there?

    The phone also features a titanium and ceramic housing, and proprietary connectors for first-party accessories that at present include a 360-degree camera and a docking station. Specs are as follows:

    Display
    5.71 inch Quad-HD
    2560 x 1312 pixels @ 504 ppi
    Corning Gorilla Glass 5

    Processor
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

    RAM / Storage
    4 GB / 128 GB

    Rear-Facing Camera
    13-megapixel, f/1.85
    Dual RBG + Mono

    Front-Facing Camera
    8-megapixel, f/2.2
    16:9 aspect ratio

    Battery
    3,040 mAh
    Fast charging via USB

    Colours
    Black Moon
    Ocean Depths
    Pure White
    Stellar Grey

    Now the bad news: There's no headphone jack and no mention of dust or water resistance. The phone will only ship within the U.S. and is priced at $699 USD. Also, for a phone from the father of Android there's been surprisingly few details about the software running it, only a promise from Rubin that there will be nothing on this device that the user doesn't want.

    Do you think this premium smartphone has a chance in an already-saturated Android market, or is it essentially a cash grab?

    Sources: Essential, The Verge

    ---------
    by Published on 05-23-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    This summer could prove to be a bit more exciting than usual for Android fans; the hype machine for the OnePlus 5 has already begun spooling up, and there's also this: a leak from a French Android blog showing off what appears to be a prototype Nokia 9.

    There's good reason to mention Nokia and OnePlus in the same breath; based on what we know so far, the two potential flagships are more evenly matched than you might initially think. Here's a rundown of reported specs from GSM Arena:

    Nokia 9
    Snapdragon 835 CPU, Adreno 540 GPU
    5.3 inch QHD IPS display @554 ppi
    64/128 GB of storage, 4/6 GB RAM
    Dual SIM + microSD support
    Android 7.1.1

    OnePlus 5
    Snapdragon 835 CPU, Adreno 540 GPU
    5.5 inch QHD AMOLED display @534 ppi
    64/128/256(?) GB of storage, 6/8 GB RAM
    Dual SIM support
    Android 7.1.1

    There are some things about both devices that we don't yet know. For starters, its unclear if the Nokia 9 will even be available in North America, and what bands it would support here if it eventually is. A release date for the Nokia is another unknown, whereas the OnePlus 5 is expected before the end of June.

    The biggest and perhaps most important unknown is price. The OnePlus 5 could retail for as low as $450 and as high as $650 USD, or about $600 to $900 CAD. GSM Arena speculates that the Nokia 9 could sell for as high as €700 EUR—that's almost $800 USD!

    I guess my dream of a Nokia/OnePlus price war isn't going to happen...

    Sources: FrAndroid via Android Central, GSM Arena

    ---------
    by Published on 05-19-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. How-To,
    4. Apps



    I spend a lot of time here making the case for smartphones as true pocket computers, not just Internet and app-enabled appliances. I try to demonstrate how you can fully exploit the potential of an Android-powered device with an unlocked bootloader and root, and how you can use these tools to blocks ads, backup, restore or freeze apps, change your theme or even your file system.

    But I'll let you in on a little secret: a couple of weeks ago I bought a Kindle.

    I know, right? Hypocritical much? This single purpose device riddled with DRM is pretty much the polar opposite of a generative computing device. But the Kindle is technically a tablet and tablets are technically mobile, and that's the justification I'm using for what I actually want to talk about, the Kindle DRM—which can be easily, almost trivially, stripped out of your Amazon purchases using a desktop computer.

    To be clear, I did buy a Kindle and I think it's a fine ebook-reading device, but I would never had bought the thing without the means to liberate my legal Amazon ebook purchases from it.

    You'll need two bits of software to do the same, both of which are 100% free. The first is the Calibre ebook management app, which you can install on Linux, Mac and Windows systems. You'll also need a plugin called DeDRM, which you can read about on the author's blog and download from GitHub. Both the app and the plug are open source—that is, free as in freedom as well as free as in beer.

    Get your plugin installed by following the instructions on the author's site and you're nearly done. If you're on a PC or Mac you'll also need the desktop Kindle app (free as in beer only) as this will include Amazon's encryption key. On my Linux box I had the extra step of entering my Kindle's serial number.

    At this point you can open your legal Amazon purchases in Calibre, and export them to any file format of your choosing. Stripping DRM may technically be illegal depending on where you live, but it's certainly better than pirating books—this way Amazon, the publishers and authors all get their money, and you get full property rights to the ebooks that you've paid for. Of course I would prefer if Amazon sold DRM-free books in the first place, but as workarounds go this one's pretty easy.

    So that's why I bought a Kindle... and if none of this is mobile enough for you, what about my first purchase for it?

    Links: Calibre, DeDRM

    ---------
    by Published on 05-16-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Here's the just-announced HTC U11 in amazing silver, sapphire blue, brilliant black, solar red and ice white. Not all colour options will be available in all regions—in Canada, for example, you'll only be able to get one in silver, blue or black. Also, it'll set you back $999 CAD unlocked. Worth it? Read on and decide for yourself...

    Notable specs are as follows:

    Display
    5.5 inch Quad HD @534ppi
    "3D" Corning Gorilla Glass 5

    Processor
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

    RAM / Storage
    4 GB / 64 GB + microSD

    Rear / Front Cameras
    12 MP with OIS / 16 MP

    Battery
    3,000 mAh with fast charging

    OS / Software
    Android 7.1 with HTC Sense
    Google Assistant
    Amazon Alexa

    A new feature in this 2017 flagship is what HTC is calling "Edge Sense". From the press release:

    You affectionately squeeze the hand of the one you love. A baby intuitively squeezes her mother’s finger. A child squeezes his teddy bear to feel safe at night. Nothing feels as close, connected and personal as the sensation of touch or the warmth of an embrace...
    I'll cut to the chase: the U11 lets you launch two apps of your choice by squeezing—or long-squeezing (?)—its shiny frame. If I'm not mistaken the defaults are the camera and flashlight but again, the squeezable apps are fully customizable.

    What the U11 doesn't have is a headphone jack (boo), but at least a pair of noise-cancelling USB-C earbuds are included with it.

    The unlocked U11 seems to be in stock right now on HTC's Canadian site; our American friends can pre-order it on HTC.com, or wait for the Sprint version.

    Sources: Android Police, Mobile Syrup, XDA

    ---------
    by Published on 05-15-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Ah, you beat me to it! Adding in some additional details to draw folks here from the front page...



    You can't deny it, nine devices in one leaked photo is both impressive and efficient. Details are scant, but here's my transcription of what's in the slide, from top and bottom, and left to right:

    Moto Z Play – 5.5 inch FHD, supports Moto Mods
    Moto Z Force – shatterproof display, Moto Mods, Gigabit LTE
    Moto X – 5.2 inch FHD, 3D Glass (?) SmartCam (?)
    Moto gS – 5.2 inch FHD, full metal body
    Moto gS+ – 5.5 inch FHD, dual cameras
    Moto E – 5 inch HD (720p) display, 2.5D / FPS (?)
    Moto E Plus – 5.5 inch HD, 5,000 mAh battery
    Moto C – 5 inch FW (854 x 480 pixel) display
    Moto C Plus – 5 inch HD, 4,000 mAh battery

    There's some additional information out there about the Moto X; according to Blass it will actually be called the Moto X4, and Android Police has some additional specs:

    Snapdragon 660 processor
    64 GB storage / 4 GB RAM
    3xCA (3x carrier aggregation)
    IP68 dust and water resistance
    Turbo charging

    AP suspects that the "3D glass" is just a display with curved edges à la Samsung, but doesn't have any ideas about what the "SmartCam" could be.

    What do we think of the 2017 Motos?

    Sources: @evleaks on Twitter (1) (2), Android Police, Liliputing

    ---------
    by Published on 05-12-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    The Hacker News did up this fancy new graphic for what is ultimately an old problem. That problem? OnePlus doesn't use a secure channel to deliver OTA updates. Instead of HTTPS or TLS your stock OnePlus device will check for and receive software updates over plain old HTTP.

    The specific flaws are as follows:

    CVE-2016-10370
    Exactly what I wrote above, that OnePlus OTAs are not delivered in a secure manner. This flaw makes the next three attacks possible.

    CVE-2017-5948
    An additional fly in the ointment: Because all OTA updates from OnePlus are signed with the same key, it's possible to disguise a downgrade as an upgrade, making the target less secure.

    CVE-2017-8850
    Because of that shared key it's also possible to disguise a Hydrogen OS OTA as an Oxygen one, and vice versa.

    CVE-2017-8851
    Again with the shared key... it's also possible to remotely inject a OTA meant for a OnePlus X onto a OnePlus One, and vice versa.

    Keep in mind that for any of this to work the attacker would have to be on the same network as you, and you yourself would have to approve the incoming update on your device. But the fact remains that these vulnerabilities wouldn't exist at all if OnePlus used HTTP or TLS to check for and deliver updates.

    I'll add to this that the company should also be quicker to update the factory images on their site. I understand and can appreciate their practice of rolling out OTAs by region, but I see too many users on reddit and their forums installing updates from dodgy sources, like some random person's MEGA account.

    Sources: Aleph Security via The Hacker News

    ---------
    by Published on 05-11-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    I'm always fascinated by the mobile phone culture of other countries, be it the die-hard keitai users of Japan or the magic of M-Pesa mobile payments across great swaths of Africa. A couple of summers ago I linked to the XDA Atlas, providing some fantastic insight into that site's worldwide user base. This past week on r/Android a redditor from India posted about the peculiarities of using a smartphone in that country. I thought it would be interesting to share a few highlights, so here they are...

    First off, it would seem that most Indian smartphone users are on prepaid plans. That in itself isn't so unusual, until you consider that dual-SIM support is a must-have feature for them. The redditor explains why:

    Telenor's call rates are dirt cheap, but its data speed is bad. On the other hand, Airtel has good data speeds, but its call rate is way more than Telenor's. So many people use Telenor for calling and Airtel for data, getting the best of both without shelling out double the money.
    Dual-SIM phones will never be popular here in the west because carriers will never sell them—more specifically, they'll never undercut themselves by giving their customers the option of a second provider on the same device. That's definitely an advantage of a prepaid market, that users can easily obtain unlocked phones with dual-SIM support.

    The bad news with prepaid—for India, at least—is that SMS is much more expensive. According to the redditor users have largely abandoned it in favour of data-driven alternatives like WhatsApp and Nimbuzz. Remember Nimbuzz? That former XMPP aggregator is now its own proprietary service, the most popular one on the subcontinent, apparently.

    To find out which smartphones are popular in India and more, check out the reddit thread immediately below. Dual-SIMs ftw!

    Source: r/Android

    ---------
    by Published on 05-10-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    This is Cito, the smartwatch prototype that moves on five axes—it rotates, rises up and down, lifts and falls on a hinge, moves left and right and even orbits around your wrist.

    Why on earth would you want such a thing? Well, imagine that you're wearing a long sleeve shirt, and as you lift your wrist your watch face pokes out just enough for you to see the time, then automatically retracts as you lower your arm. There are a few other use-cases as well. For fear of scratching their bezels I personally wear my smartwatches with loose-fitting bands, frequently twisting the watch face to the top or bottom of my wrist depending on what I'm doing. Cito promises to do that for me.

    You can see the prototype in action for yourself in this five-minute video:



    Cito was developed by researchers at Dartmouth College in the U.S. and the University of Waterloo in Canada, and will be shown off later today at the Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Human-Computer Interaction in Denver, Colorado.

    The idea is, if you'll pardon the pun, an interesting new twist on the traditional wristwatch; I think the team behind it should be commended for at least attempting to solve some practical issues with that form factor.

    Sources: EurekAlert! via SlashGear

    ---------
    by Published on 05-08-2017 07:31 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    The Verge is confident that the OnePlus 3 and 3T's successor will go on sale this summer. It's widely expected to be called the OnePlus 5, since the number 4 has unlucky connotations in Chinese culture. I've read elsewhere that the phone will be available before the end of Q2, which would make sense—the OnePlus 3 made its début on June 14th of last year.

    With just over a month to go, here's what we know about the device so far...



    This could very well be an actual OnePlus 5—not a final production unit but rather a testing mule, similar to what's commonly used in the car industry. It was caught (or deliberately planted) in Carl Pei's Instagram feed, and shared via Twitter over the weekend. Note the dual cameras on the device, which will probably be aligned as above...



    ... Rather than stacked on top of each other as in this render, found on an Oppomart.com listing and shared by GSM Arena. The specs on that listing are as follows:

    - 5.5 inch quad HD screen, 2560 x 1440 pixels display resolution
    - 2.45 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 quad-core processor
    - 6 GB LPDDR4 RAM, 64/128 GB USF 2.1 storage
    - 12 MP rear dual-camera, 8 MP front camera
    - Front fingerprint scanner supported
    - Oxygen OS base on Android N, Dash Charge 2.0
    - Estimated availability: ships from beginning of June, 2017

    But wait, there's more!



    According to TechnoBuffalo this is an "about" screen from the Hydrogen OS-powered Chinese variant of the phone, showing off a whopping 8 GB of RAM!

    If you're a OnePlus fan or in the market for a new and unlocked Android device, you might want to hold off on any phone purchases until next month...

    Sources: GSM Arena, TechnoBuffalo, The Verge, Twitter

    ---------
    by Published on 05-03-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Can you guess what site these renders were leaked to?

    Anyway, here's Fitbit's first proper smartwatch, the company's Apple Watch killer and first beneficiary of all that IP gained in the acquisition of Pebble late last year. Kinda underwhelming, ain't it?

    And it's not just you... Yahoo! Finance reports that even people at Fitbit aren't happy:

    “It was very retro-looking with the lines and stuff — definitely not sexy,” another source previously told Yahoo Finance [...] “Several employees who saw the design complained about it.”
    Nonetheless, what's known internally as Project Higgs is coming to market this fall, and for an expected price of $300 USD will offer a colour display, on-board GPS, heart rate monitoring, contactless payments and music integration with Pandora, all while providing four days of battery life between charges.

    What's not known is whether or not Higgs will be fully waterproof; apparently the design team has been having a lot of trouble with that. At least they managed to fix an ongoing issue with GPS, which was apparently not working reliably on a final prototype of the watch.



    Fitbit will also be bringing these wireless earbuds—codenamed Parkside—to market. Streaming music is to be a headline feature on Fitbit's smartwatch, but the company apparently had to make a deal with Pandora after negotiations with Spotify fell through.

    To sum up, Fitbit's first proper smartwatch has all the makings of a disaster. It's ugly, uncompetitive and full of compromises. Pebble users likely won't go anywhere near the thing; we'll have to wait and see what Fitbit fans make of it.

    Source: Yahoo! Finance

    ---------
    by Published on 04-27-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    The last time I reported on Japan's hot handsets was from Osaka only five months ago, so there's not actually all that much new hardware on the market. But despite the glory days of Japanese keitai having long since passed, Japan still manages to offer their smartphone customers some attractive and unique hardware that you can't find anywhere else.

    Here's what caught my eye during my most recent trip...



    Onkyo Granbeat DP-CMX1

    Onkyo has made their first smartphone with audiophiles in mind, featuring discrete gold-plated headphone and line outputs, plus a dedicated audio board. You can see its Japanese product page here, and read a British magazine's report on it here.



    Fujitsu arrows NX F-01J

    The latest in Fujitsu's arrows line boasts audio tuning by Onkyo, along with a proprietary "solid shield" structure to resist screen cracks due to drops. Given that the appealing two-tone paint job of this little number will likely make you not want to use a case, dropping it is a legitimate concern. DoCoMo has an English-language for the NX-F01J right here.



    Honourable Mention: LG F-01G

    Gotta give some love to the mobile hotspot that kept the girlfriend and I connected while we were away. LG's latest boasts a maximum throughput of 262 Mbps on the DoCoMo LTE network. We didn't get anywhere near that, but what we did get was stellar battery life—4,880 mAh was more than enough to keep two phones perpetually connected through an entire day.

    You can see its product page here and its DoCoMo listing here. And if you like you can rent one for yourself right here.

    ---------
    by Published on 04-12-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    $192 USD? That's Pebble territory...!

    But it is indeed the launch price of the ZTE Quartz, an Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch with standalone 3G connectivity available exclusively from T-Mobile this Friday, April 14th—and in T-Mobile stores a week after that.

    As its price would suggest, there's no on-board heart rate sensor or NFC; here's what it does have:

    1.4 inch 400 x 400 round AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass 3
    1.1 GHz dual-core Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor
    4 GB storage
    500 mAh battery
    GPS
    Bluetooth 4.1
    802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
    Networks: GSM 850/1900, UMTS Bands II (1900), IV (1700/2100) V (850)
    Band: interchangeable 22 mm with quick release
    Built-in speaker
    IP67 water resistance

    3G support and the built-in speaker will enable the watch to make and receive phone calls on the T-Mobile network; what's not yet known is how much T-Mobile will charge for that additional service.

    Source: T-Mobile USA via XDA

    ---------
    by Published on 04-10-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    This past weekend the Android subreddit seemed more than a bit obsessed with comparing the latest from Samsung with the current iPhone. Three separate videos on the subject made it to their front page, so I thought I'd share them here for you to enjoy as well.



    Jonathan Morrison is first up with an in-depth comparison between the XL versions of each phone, including a soak test (they both survived). Despite the very obvious Apple Watch adorning his wrist he admits that the iPhone looks dated next to the Galaxy S8 Plus—in his own words: "The Samsung is the cooler phone".



    Krystal Key focuses on cameras (boo), pitting the regular S8 against the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus. Her findings? While Samsung's OIS loses to Apple, especially in video, with images it produces better results in HDR mode and low-light situations. It's almost as if Sammy's high-contrast output is tuned for an OLED display or something. Also, nice Apple Watch.



    I guess there's something to that "wall huggers" joke after all... Not being an Apple user myself, I just assumed that the iPhone had some sort of fast charging, but as the video above demonstrates, it clearly does not. The 7 Plus takes an hour longer to reach a full charge—2 hours and 46 minutes, to be exact, vs. 1 hour and 42 minutes for the SGS8 Plus.

    Now Apple fans could rightfully point out here that a more fair comparison would be between two 2017 phones—that is, the Galaxy S8 vs the iPhone 8, 7s or whatever it is that Apple has planned for Q3 of this year. I'm guessing that both YouTubers and reddit will be all-too-happy to revisit this comparison before Christmas.

    Sources: r/Android (1) (2) (3)

    ---------
    by Published on 04-07-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Simpler times, just over a year ago...

    When Fitbit acquired Pebble late last year the latter made a promise to its users that services connected to their cheap and cheerful smartwatches would continue to run until at least the end of 2017. The bad news is that there are signs Pebble may be breaking that promise. The good news? A firmware update that will keep Pebbles running even after Pebble's servers power down.

    This week Pebble posted the following to their developer blog:

    Today’s updates to the Pebble apps for iOS and Android liberate them from past dependency on cloud services. Freeing the ecosystem from these dependencies means Pebble smartwatches can operate normally, even if online servers are not accessible for any reason.

    For example, if a Pebble authentication server can’t be reached, the mobile apps will let Pebble devices keep working. The login process can be skipped, apps can be side-loaded, and the latest watch firmware (including language packs) can be installed.
    It's not entirely clear how (or if) some critical functions will continue to work—voice-to-text, messaging and weather still rely on Pebble servers.

    Wareable reports that for iOS users the update is available immediately; Android users will have to either join Pebble's beta program or wait for the official update to appear on the Play Store.

    Sources: Pebble Developers via 9to5 Google, Wareable

    ---------
    by Published on 03-30-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    (A free SGS8 wallpaper for you, courtesy of Walloid...)

    This may surprise you, but I personally don't see Samsung as a smartphone enthusiast brand. Here in Canada you can only buy their latest models locked to a carrier, and Samsung continues to build in additional region-blocking restrictions on grey market unlocked devices. Rooting a Galaxy or Note seems unnecessarily difficult, and if you don't, it's been proven that their flagship devices slow down over time.

    That being said, I cannot deny that for the vast majority of the world Samsung is Android, thus making any new flagship release a very big deal. I do think that the South Korean conglomerate serves the enthusiast community by setting the bar for displays and cameras, and maybe design. On these three fronts the S8 and S8+ don't disappoint, and both phones make good on 2017's promise to kill the bezel.

    Here are some additional thoughts on notable new features in the S8/S8+, in the hopes of kick-starting a wider discussion about the latest from Samsung.

    Bixby

    Here's the world's biggest Android OEM flexing its marketshare muscle—how else could you possibly justify a proprietary in-house AI alternative to Google Assistant? Though Samsung may reap some short-term benefits from scraping up data from early adopters, I expect this feature to be abandoned in a year or two. What currently passes for "artificial intelligence" in smartphones is still pretty hard to pull off well.

    Bluetooth

    Here's something I bet you didn't know—the S8 and S8+ are the first smartphones with Bluetooth v5 support. It will obviously come to other phones as well, but for the Samsungs it means you can stream Bluetooth audio to two different sources at the same time, even adjust the volume independently for each. That's a pretty neat trick!

    DeX

    This is an idea we've seen before, with Convergence from Ubuntu and Continuum from Microsoft. As seems to be the case with each of those, I predict that nobody will ever actually use DeX—but it will help push Samsung sales even further by being a killer in-store display.

    What do you think of the new S8 and S8+?

    Links: Android Police, Howard Forums (1) (2), XDA (1) (2)

    ---------
    by Published on 03-29-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    A bold proclamation that I made at the start of 2017 is still holding up almost three months later; traditional watchmakers are announcing more and more of the best-looking smartwatches, putting similar efforts by the likes of Huawei and LG to shame. Yes, I'm deliberately conflating "best-looking" with "best" here—if you're fretting about how much RAM your smartwatch has, you're doing it wrong.

    Look instead to the new Android Wear models announced at the Baselworld trade show in Switzerland this past week. Movado, Diesel, Montblanc... all great-looking watches with first-party customizable faces and—surprise!—the added utility of notifications on your wrist. It's as much jewellery as it is tech, and that's not at all a bad thing.

    It might not be enough to win back folks who've given up on wearing a wristwatch altogether, nor entice those who've never worn one in the first place. On the other hand (pun intended), not every watch-wearer cares about monitoring their heart rate or even tracking their steps—there are plenty of Fitbits for that. For the serious watch fan in the market for a good-looking timepiece with notification support, 2017 looks to be a very good year. Just do yourself a favour and set the fashion bar a little higher than your local Best Buy.

    Source: XDA

    ---------
    Page 2 of 63 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 52 ... LastLast