• Devices

    by Published on 03-02-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    With the very notable exception of their Nexus phones (and possibly their Android Wear smartwatches) it seems to me that LG has always stood in the shadow of that other South Korean OEM, Samsung. It doesn't help that LG sells their devices exclusively through carriers, at least here in Canada.

    Anyway, here's the latest in LG's 'G' series, the G6. It improves upon the G5's dual-camera setup by giving both sensors the same 13 megapixel resolution. Its screen is a "FullVision" display—a QHD+ (2,880 x 1,440 resolution) panel at an unusual 18:9 aspect ratio. Despite the screen's imposing 5.7-inch size LG says the G6 can be held comfortably in one hand, thanks to its small bezels.

    Gone from this year's model is a removable battery, along with any trace of the G5's other modular "friends". Here are the specifications for the G6:

    BASIC SPECIFICATIONS
    OPERATING SYSTEM Android 7.0 (Nougat)
    PROCESSOR Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Processor with X12 LTE
    FREQUENCY GSM, HSPA, LTE
    BATTERY 3,300 mAh Non-Removable
    FAST CHARGING Quick Charge 3.0
    WATER, DUST RESISTANT IP68

    MEMORY
    INTERNAL 32 GB
    EXTERNAL up to 2 TB (memory cards sold separately)
    RAM 4 GB

    DISPLAY
    TYPE Quad HD+ FullVision Display
    SIZE 5.7"
    RESOLUTION 2880 x 1440 (QHD+)

    AUDIO/VIDEO
    REAR CAMERA 13MP Normal Angle 71˚ with f/1.8, OIS 2.0 and Laser Auto Focus
    13MP Wide Angle 125˚ with f/2.4
    FRONT CAMERA 5MP Wide Angle 100˚
    VIDEO CODEC H.263, H.264, MP4, VP8, VP9, VC1, DivX, XviD, MJPEG, THEORA, HEVC
    VIDEO CAPTURE AND PLAYBACK Ultra HD (3840 x 2160)
    AUDIO CODEC AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, FLAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, PCM, ADPCM, WMA, AC3/EC3, OPUS (MKV)
    AUDIO RECORD HD Audio Recorder 24bit / 192KHz FLAC Hi-Fi Record with high AOP Mic Up to 132dB
    AUDIO PLAYBACK 1.2W Speaker

    DATA CONNECTIVITY
    Bluetooth 4.2 BLE
    USB 2.0 Type C
    Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Dual Band)
    A-GPS, Glonass
    NFC

    Those sure are a lot of codecs...!

    Product Page: LGH873 (LG Canada)

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    by Published on 03-01-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    This image, from a New Atlas photo essay, is the one you need to see if you're considering an upgrade from the original Huawei Watch.

    Huawei is clearly drawing inspiration from Casio for its new sport watch—there's maybe a bit of Gear S3 in there as well but alas, the bezel doesn't move. As for the Classic, it looks to me like the old LG Watch R, just not as nice. Keep in mind, though, this is coming from your resident smartwatch snob, and since smartwatches are basically jewellery for men (and sometimes women) looks are ultimately subjective. So let's instead take a look at some cold, hard specs, straight from the source:

    Watch Case
    HUAWEI WATCH 2
    Plastic
    HUAWEI WATCH 2 Classic
    Plastic + Stainless Steel

    Watch strap
    HUAWEI WATCH 2
    Sport Strap
    Strap is replaceable with a width of 20 mm.
    HUAWEI WATCH 2 Classic
    Leather Strap
    Strap is replaceable with a width of 22 mm.

    Colour
    HUAWEI WATCH 2
    Dynamic Orange (4G) / Carbon Black / Concrete Grey (non-4G)
    HUAWEI WATCH 2 Classic
    Titanium Grey (non-4G)

    Display
    1.2-inch circular AMOLED display
    390 x 390 pixels with a PPI of 326
    Corning Gorilla Glass

    CPU
    Qualcomm MSM8909W, 1.1 GHz

    Operating System
    Android Wear 2.0

    Memory
    4 GB Flash + 768 MB RAM

    Working frequencies (4G Edition Only)
    LTE: B1, B3, B7, B8, B39, and B41 (2555–2655 MHz)
    UMTS: B1, B2, and B8
    TD-SCDMA: B34 and B39
    GSM: 900 and 1800

    Positioning System
    GPS + Glonass

    Speaker
    Supported

    Connectivity
    Bluetooth: 2.4 GHz Bluetooth 4.1 BLE + BR / EDR
    WiFi: 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n

    Sensors
    3-axis A + G sensor
    3-axis Gyroscope
    3-axis Compass
    Heart Rate Sensor (PPG)
    Barometer
    Capacitive Sensor
    Ambient Light Sensor

    NFC
    Supported

    Battery
    420 mAh (typical value)
    410 mAh (minimum value)

    Water and dust resistance rating
    IP68

    Yup, that's right, both the Watch 2 Sport and Watch 2 Classic will have a model supporting 4G directly, via either a SIM card or eSIM. And if you wanted something a bit more luxurious than the Classic edition, Wareable has details on a collaboration between Huawei and Porsche Design.

    Source: New Atlas, Huawei Global, Wareable

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    by Published on 02-28-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Also making its début at Mobile World Congress is the 5th generation of the cheap and cheerful Moto G. This year that family has just two variants, the Moto G5 and G5 Plus. If you live in Canada, your only available option will be the G5, while the G5 Plus will be your only option in the USA.

    I'm reading some conflicting details about specs, so I did a selective copy/paste directly from Motorola's two North American sites:

    Moto G5 Plus

    Operating system
    Android 7.0, Nougat

    System architecture/processor
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
    Adreno 506 GPU

    Memory (RAM)
    2 GB/4 GB

    Storage (ROM)
    32 GB/64 GB internal, up to 128 GB microSD Card support

    Display
    5.2”
    Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080)
    424 ppi

    Rear camera
    12 MP with Dual Autofocus Pixels
    Color balancing dual LED flash
    4K Ultra HD video capture (30 fps)

    Front camera
    5 MP
    Wide-angle lens
    Display flash
    Beautification mode

    Battery
    All-day battery (3,000 mAh)
    TurboPower™ for up to 6 hours of power in 15 minutes of charging

    Networks
    4G LTE (Cat 6) B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 38, 41, 66
    CDMA/EVDO Rev A (XT1687) 850, 850+,1900 MHz
    UMTS/HSPA+ 850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz
    GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz

    SIM Card
    Nano-SIM

    Wi-Fi
    802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz)

    Bluetooth technology
    Bluetooth version 4.2

    Connectivity
    Micro USB, 3.5 mm headset jack

    Base color
    Lunar Gray or Fine Gold



    Moto G5

    Operating system
    Android 7.0 Nougat

    System architecture/Processor
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
    Adreno 505

    Memory (RAM)
    2 GB

    Storage (ROM)
    16 GB internal, up to 128 GB Micro SD Card support

    Display
    5.0”
    1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080)
    441 ppi

    Rear camera
    13 MP
    Phase detect auto-focus (PDAF)
    LED flash
    1080p HD video (30 fps)

    Front camera
    5 MP
    Wide-angle lens
    Display flash
    Beautification mode

    Battery
    All-day battery (2,800 mAh)

    Networks
    4G LTE (Cat 4) B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17, 28
    UMTS/HSPA+ 850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz
    GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

    SIM card
    Nano-SIM

    Wi-Fi
    802.11 a/b/g/n

    Bluetooth technology
    Bluetooth version 4.2 BR/EDR+BLE

    Connectivity
    Micro USB, 3.5 mm headset jack

    Colours
    Black

    You can read more about each phone on their respective product pages directly below.

    Sources: G5 Plus (Motorola USA), G5 (Motorola Canada)

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    by Published on 02-27-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    So this year's Mobile World Congress has kicked off in Barcelona, Spain, and it seems that Nokia is back in a big way. Now I could start off with their new and rather lackluster Android phones, but you and I both know what you're really here for: the re-imagining of the Finnish phone-maker's iconic 3310. Here it is—and yes, it plays Snake.

    Now the bad news: it's a 2G phone, and only supports Asian and European bands at that. Here are the full specs from its product page:

    PERFORMANCE
    Operating system: Nokia Series 30+

    DISPLAY
    Size and type: 2.4” QVGA

    CAMERA
    Primary camera: 2 MP
    Flash: LED flash

    STORAGE
    Internal memory: 16 MB
    MicroSD card slot: Support for up to 32 GB, memory card sold separately

    BATTERY
    Battery type: Removable 1,200 mAh battery

    NETWORK AND CONNECTIVITY
    Networks: GSM 900/1800 MHz
    Network speed: 2G

    DESIGN
    Colors: Warm Red (Glossy), Dark Blue (Matte), Yellow (Glossy), Grey (Matte)

    As for the Android offerings there is sadly no Nokia 8, at least not yet. Instead, it looks like the stellar record of leaker Evan Blass remains intact.



    Nokia 6

    PERFORMANCE
    Operating system: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
    RAM: Arte Black, 4 GB; all other colors, 3 GB

    DISPLAY
    Size and type: 5.5” IPS LCD
    Resolution: Full-HD (1920 x 1080, 16:9)

    CAMERA
    Primary camera: 16 MP PDAF, dual tone flash
    Front-facing camera: 8 MP AF

    STORAGE
    Internal memory: Arte Black, 64 GB; all other colors, 32 GB
    MicroSD card slot: Support for up to 128 GB

    BATTERY
    Battery type: Integrated 3,000 mAh battery

    NETWORK AND CONNECTIVITY
    LTE: Band 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40
    WCDMA: Band 1, 2, 5, 8
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
    Network speed: LTE Cat. 4, 150Mbps DL/50Mbps UL

    DESIGN
    Colors: Arte Black (limited edition), Matte Black, Tempered Blue, Silver, Copper



    Nokia 5

    PERFORMANCE
    Operating system: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
    RAM: 2 GB

    DISPLAY
    Size and type: 5.2” IPS LCD
    Resolution: HD (1280 x 720, 16:9)

    CAMERA
    Primary camera: 13 MP PDAF, dual tone flash
    Front-facing camera: 8 MP AF

    STORAGE
    Internal memory: 16 GB
    MicroSD card slot: Support for up to 128 GB

    BATTERY
    Battery type: Integrated 3,000 mAh battery

    NETWORK AND CONNECTIVITY
    LTE: Band 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40
    WCDMA: Band 1, 2, 5, 8
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
    Network speed: LTE Cat. 4, 150Mbps DL/50Mbps UL

    DESIGN
    Colors: Tempered Blue, Silver, Matte Black, Copper



    Nokia 3

    PERFORMANCE
    Operating system: Android 7.0 Nougat
    CPU: MTK 6737, Quad-core 1.3Ghz
    RAM: 2 GB

    DISPLAY
    Size and type: 5.0” IPS LCD
    Resolution: HD (1280 x 720, 16:9)

    CAMERA
    Primary camera: 8 MP AF, LED flash
    Front-facing camera: 8MP AF, display flash

    STORAGE
    Internal memory: 16 GB
    MicroSD slot: Support for up to 128 GB

    BATTERY
    Battery type: Integrated 2,650 mAh battery

    NETWORK AND CONNECTIVITY
    LTE: Band 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40
    WCDMA: Band 1, 2, 5, 8
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
    Network speed: LTE Cat. 4, 150Mbps DL/50Mbps UL

    DESIGN
    Colors: Tempered Blue, Silver, Matte Black, Copper

    For more on this slew of new Nokias, see the company's press release immediately below.

    Source: HMD Global Press Release
    by Published on 02-22-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    An easy way to make your average smartwatch fan angry is to mention the mere existence of the TAG Heuer Connected—this $1,500 USD luxury item is easily three times the price of your typical Android Wear watch. It's cheap for a TAG, though, and the option to upgrade to an exclusive Carrera mechanical edition after two years (for an additional $1,500 USD) seems to have worked for the company's addressable market; TAG has so far sold about 56,000 smartwatches, more than doubling their initial projected sales of 20,000 units.

    aBlogtoWatch reports that their follow-up is to be called the TAG Connected Modular, and according to Android Central it will be officially announced on March 14th.

    What makes it modular? Apparently the user will easily be able to swap straps and clasps, which is nothing especially new. But it's also possible that the head unit will have both mechanical and "smart" functionality built-in—perhaps, for example, an electronic smartwatch display on one side and a traditional watch movement on the other. That would be similar to the Halda Space Discovery, also reviewed by aBlogtoWatch.

    If this is indeed what TAG is planning, expect it to be priced accordingly. It might make the company's first generation Connected seem like a bargain.

    Sources: aBlogtoWatch, Android Central

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    by Published on 02-21-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Yesterday Gizmochina found a listing on a popular Hong Kong e-commerce site for a new flagship Android smartphone from Nokia, the Nokia 8. There's just one problem: the images for the listing—on jd.hk if you want to see for yourself—look like they were lifted from the concept video you see above.

    Whether or not the Nokia 8 is actually in the works is up for debate; Gizmochina has a fairly decent reputation, and a story on The Verge published last month tells of "more announcements" coming from Nokia at the Mobile World Congress, which starts next week. On the other hand, leaker Evan Blass says those announcements will actually be other downmarket phones to accompany the midrange Nokia 6.

    For what it's worth, here are Gizmochina's specs for the Nokia 8:

    5.7 inch Super AMOLED QHD display
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (or 821) chip
    24 MP rear camera with OIS, Super EIS / 12 MP front-facing sensor
    64 GB or 128 GB storage, microSD up to 256 GB
    Android 7.0 Nougat

    Even if the pictures are fake, this former Nokia fanboy wants to believe!

    Sources: Gizmochina via reddit

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    by Published on 02-16-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Welcome to the Internet, where it's pretty much impossible to keep your international product launch a secret.

    Last month someone in Romania tried to pawn off their prototype Moto G5 Plus; yesterday the retail versions of both the G5 Plus and lesser G5 made a brief appearance on Ktronix.com. The product renders and specs have since been taken down, but not before an eagle-eyed redditor took a bunch of screen shots for r/Android. Here are the specs for both devices:

    Moto G5 Plus
    5.2 inch full HD display @ 424 ppi
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
    2 GB RAM, 64 GB storage + microSD (up to 128 GB)
    3,000 mAh battery with TurboPower charging
    12 MP rear and 5 MP front-facing cameras
    802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
    4G LTE with dual-SIM support
    Fingerprint reader
    NFC

    Moto G5
    5 inch full HD display @ 441ppi
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor
    2 GB RAM, 32 GB storage + microSD (up to 128 GB)
    2,800 mAh removable (?) battery with rapid charging
    13 MP rear and 5MP front-facing cameras
    802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
    4G LTE with dual-SIM support
    Fingerprint reader

    There's no mention of price, but I'm willing to bet real money that the dual SIM support will mysteriously vanish from the models sold in North America. Because, you know, carriers.

    Sources: Android Police, Liliputing via r/Android

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    by Published on 02-15-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    I've embedded the video above only to demonstrate the ongoing innovation in mechanical watch design—albeit at the very high end of the market. It's pertinent to smartwatches because I believe there is an under-served audience of people who, like myself, really just want a nice-looking watch with full notification support.

    With this in mind I will now share my three favourite non-smartwatch blogs, in the hopes that you too might demand more in the looks department from the connected device on your wrist.

    aBlogtoWatch

    This is probably the most popular watch blog of them all. Most of the products reviewed are from the luxury brands but the author, Ariel Adams, takes the same critical eye to smartwatch design. I appreciate that.

    Every now and again they write up an especially informative feature on a brand or a specific type of watch. Their history of dive watches is a good example of this.

    WatchTime

    WatchTime is a good counter to aBlogtoWatch as it isn't so focused on high-end products. They have a good selection of buying guides for different markets, and do their own retrospectives as well. Check out their 10 milestone moments in the history of the wristwatch.

    G-Shock Central

    Chances are that even the most snobbish collector of chronographs has at least one Casio G-Shock in their collection, and there's no better source for G-Shock news than this blog. In subscribing to it I've learned (among other things) that Pro Trek wasn't just a brand name invented for the forthcoming Android Wear-powered WSD-F20.

    If you're a fan of this type of watch then you'll probably like their collection of the best G-Shock watches for 2017.

    If nothing else, these links will serve as a reminder that the wristwatch has at least a hundred years of design history behind it, so in my mind it's perfectly okay to demand more from smartwatch design as well.

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    by Published on 02-14-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    If leaker Evan Blass is correct—and he usually is—Nokia will not be competing in the Android flagship race this year. If anything, the company's new products are going in the other direction. Apparently the mid-range Nokia 6 that I wrote about last month will be HMD Global's high-end Android phone for 2017, joined by two lesser devices—plus one shameless throwback to the Finnish phone makers storied history.

    Joining the Snapdragon 430-powered Nokia 6 at MWC this year will be the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3. Here are the details that Blass wrote in VentureBeat:

    The Nokia 5, is rumored to maintain its larger sibling’s chipset, but reduce the display to 5.2 inches at 720p, halve the RAM to 2GB and decrease the main image sensor to 12 megapixels. That will translate into a €50 difference between the two models, with Nokia 6 retailing for €249 and Nokia 5 for €199.

    Nokia 3, the entry level Android, will initially go for €149.
    All three Android smartphones will potentially be upstaged by another Nokia announcement at MWC—an update to the iconic and nearly-indestructible 3310. At just €59—less than $65 USD—this nostalgia play is sure to grab lots of attention, but might also distract from Nokia's first efforts as a legitimate Android OEM.

    Source: VentureBeat

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    by Published on 02-13-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Apps



    Last week Android Authority proclaimed that OnePlus was the new Nexus. Granted, they were only talking about one device (the OnePlus One) and only one custom ROM (Lineage OS). This XDA blog post uses a broader data set—traffic on its own forums—to further the claim. When combined, the OnePlus 3 and 3T together make up the most active community on XDA.

    So for any fellow OnePlus 3/3T modders reading this, here's a quick look at four of the most popular custom ROMs available for these devices.

    FreedomOS (Nougat)

    As its name would suggest, this ROM uses the AROMA Installer to let the user choose which Google apps they want on their device during installation. AdAway and a hosts file are also included by default, along with root access via SuperSU.

    XDA Threads: OnePlus 3 / OnePlus 3T

    Lineage OS (Nougat)

    Lineage OS is the new moniker for what was once CyanogenMod, the granddaddy of all custom ROMs. As such there are current available builds for the OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 3, OnePlus X, OnePlus 2 and OnePlus One.

    XDA Threads: OnePlus 3 / OnePlus 3T

    Resurrection Remix (Marshmallow / Nougat)

    Resurrection builds on the work of CM, Omni and Slim. The standout feature of this ROM would have to be the extensive configurations menu. Note that the Marshmallow-based ROM for the OP3 seems to have been discontinued; hopefully a Nougat-based ROM like the one for the 3T will be available soon.

    XDA Threads: OnePlus 3 / OnePlus 3T

    "Sultan's ROM" - Unified CM 13.0 with custom 3.18.20 kernel (Marshmallow)

    This, as you may know, is the ROM that I'm currently running on my own OnePlus 3, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Its main selling point is stellar battery life; added bonuses include not forcing encryption and supporting my favourite CyanogenMod Theme.

    XDA Threads: OnePlus 3 / OnePlus 3T

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    by Published on 02-09-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    I've been subscribed to TechAltar for a while now, and was pleased to see one of the videos from that YouTube channel grace the front pages of popular subreddits like r/Android, r/OnePlus and r/Pebble this week. The dude who appears on camera—I think his name is Martin?—clearly knows what he is talking about, and nowhere is this more apparent than in his latest production.

    His theory, in a nutshell, is that serving the tech enthusiast is not a sustainable business.

    He cites two notable examples: Oppo and Pebble. Perpetually a hit with the Kickstarter crowd, Pebble still struggled to find a wider customer base. Distribution through Best Buy and the like, more fashion-conscious designs like the Pebble Round, doubling down on fitness tracking with heart-rate sensors... none of this could ultimately save the company; its geek-cred became a fatal thorn in its side.

    Then there's Oppo, a company that Martin (?) actually worked for in Shenzhen, China for a time. It wasn't all that long ago that Oppo too was an enthusiast brand—as I recall, there was a version of their 2013 N1 that ran CyanogenMod out of the box. But there came a point where the company decided to pivot away from its tech-savvy fanbase and focus on more consumer-friendly products. The result? Oppo is now, according to The Economist, the number one OEM in the world's biggest smartphone market.

    So what's the early adopter to do? TechAltar's advice is to not get too attached to your favourite brand, and be ready to jump to the next thing once it comes along. Hopefully we will always have a next thing to jump to...!

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    by Published on 02-08-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    According to Evan Blass, today's the day that Android Wear 2.0 will be announced, an upgrade that will instantly elevate the lowly smartwatch from a niche device into a must-have accessory for everyone.

    Just kidding—about the second part, anyway. But the Android Wear upgrade is indeed due sometime today. There have been a bunch of developer previews available for select devices which I honestly haven't been following too closely. What I do know about the AW 2.0 upgrade is that it will support mobile payments from your wrist via Android Pay; Android Police has some screen shots from an already-updated Play Store listing to prove it.

    As someone still waiting for Android Pay to come to Canada, it's hard to get too excited about this feature.

    Another AW 2.0 feature will be apparently be Google's Assistant, available on at least two new watches that are also expected to be announced today—the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. User manuals for these two products have already leaked, and can be read in their entirety on Android Authority.

    Finally, from Android Central, here's a list of current watches set to receive the upgrade:

    Asus ZenWatch 2
    Asus ZenWatch 3
    Casio WSD-F10
    Casio PRO TREK Smart
    Fossil Q Founder
    Fossil Q Marshal
    Fossil Q Wander
    Huawei Watch
    Huawei Watch for ladies
    LG G Watch R
    LG Watch Urbane
    LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE
    Michael Kors Access Bradshaw Smartwatch
    Michael Kors Access Dylan Smartwatch
    Moto 360 (2015)
    Moto 360 for Women
    Moto 360 Sport
    New Balance RunIQ
    Nixon Mission
    Polar M600
    Tag Heuer Connected

    Oh, and one more thing... Fossil smartwatches are currently being offered at a 50% discount at Fossil.com, with an additional 25% off via the code MORELUV—an unverified tip from a helpful redditor on r/AndroidWear.

    I'll have more news from the announcement in this afternoon's round-up. See you then!

    Sources: Android Authority, Android Central, Android Police, @evleaks, reddit

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    by Published on 02-07-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    About a year ago Qualcomm announced its X16 LTE modem, capable of 1 Gbps downloads. And yesterday, some lucky people in Sydney, Australia got to try it out at an event jointly hosted by Qualcomm, Telstra, NETGEAR and Ericsson.

    Designed for but not yet available to smartphones, the launch device for the X16 is actually NETGEAR's Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router, shown above. You're probably most interested in the numbers, so here are the results from a sample speed test at the event:

    930.45 Mbps download
    127.54 Mbps upload
    20 ms latency

    To demonstrate the utility of Gigabit LTE, event organizers had 5 VR headsets streaming 360-degree 4K live video, simultaneously from the same NETGEAR router. The DayDream headsets did have Google Pixels mounted inside, and thus technically only 2K screens. But that's still pretty impressive, considering that no dropped frames were reported from any of the participants.

    I found the story on r/Android, where the first commenter had a rather sobering thought:

    Telcos making their networks faster instead of making data cheaper is going to be 2017's making phones thinner instead of making the battery last longer.
    Way to spoil the party, jerk...



    Source: Qualcomm via reddit

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    by Published on 02-01-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    The Fitbit Blaze—that garish, electric blue monstrosity that CEO James Park is wearing in this photo—could technically be called a smartwatch, but that's not what we're talking about here; what we're discussing instead is something new in the pipeline for 2017, bearing the fruits of Fitbit's recent (and rather aggressive) acquisitions.

    In a letter to investors detailing the company's disappointing Q4 2016 results, and perhaps to divert attention away from giving pink slips to over a hundred of their employees, Park had this to say about Fitbit's plans for the future:

    We believe the evolving wearables market continues to present growth opportunities for us that we will capitalize on by investing in our core product offerings, while expanding into the smartwatch category to diversify revenue and capture share of the over $10 billion global smartwatch market [...] We believe we are uniquely positioned to succeed in delivering what consumers are looking for in a smartwatch: stylish, well-designed devices that combine the right general purpose functionality with a focus on health and fitness. With the recent acquisition of assets from Pebble, Vector Watch and Coin, we are taking action to position the company for long-term success.
    I've already written about Fitbit's acquisitions of Pebble and Vector; according to Engadget Coin was a mobile payment startup that Fitbit gobbled up last May. More telling than the company-speak above was actually an offhand comment made at CES last month, where The Verge reported that the CEO wants a Fitbit app store "as soon as possible".

    As your resident smartwatch snob I cannot help but take exception with Park's claim that his company can deliver "stylish, well-designed devices". I won't deny that Fitbits are popular, but if that Blaze is any indication then Fitbit needs to seriously up their design chops.

    Sources: Engadget, Mashable, The Verge

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    by Published on 01-25-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Last week Wareable did something I wish I had thought of—they very cleverly went to the Google Play Store and made a list of companion apps for smartwatches, ranked by the number of installations. They deliberately left out Apple and Samsung (Apple's not on the Play Store anyway), and some other OEMs—LG, for example—are also missing from the list.

    Wareable's mandate was to shine a light on those smartwatch makers reluctant to divulge their sales figures. I found the results fairly enlightening; perhaps you will as well. For your reading pleasure I've reorganized the list a bit, and have also added Play Store links, for the sake of due diligence.

    7th Place - 500 to 1,000 installs

    Hugo Boss Smart Classic

    6th Place - 5,000 to 10,000 installs

    Casio WSD-F10
    Nixon The Mission

    6th Place - 5,000 to 10,000 installs

    Guess Connect
    Skagen Hagen Connected

    4th Place - 10,000 to 50,000 installs

    Michael Kors Access
    Vector Watch

    3rd Place - 50,000 to 100,000 installs

    Tag Heuer Connected

    2nd Place - 100,000 to 500,000 installs

    Asus ZenWatch
    Fossil Q

    1st Place - 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 installs

    Huawei Watch

    If nothing else, today I learned that the $1,500 USD Tag Heuer Connected is way more popular than I would have thought!

    Source: Wareable

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    by Published on 01-24-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    I'm an Android user and, despite the fanboy graphic you see above, I come in peace.

    Yesterday I came across a list of 10 reasons why people buy iPhones instead of Android phones. As a student of smartphone history it piqued my interest; while it's an inescapable fact that Android is currently the world's most popular computer OS (and that includes Windows on desktop computers), it also seems to be true that in certain parts of the world—Japan, the U.S. and Canada are immediate places that come to mind—you still see more iPhones than Androids in people's hands.

    Why is that?

    There are undoubtedly many answers to this question; I've added my own to the list that I found, and I'm hoping that you'll do the same...

    1. They like iOS better than Android

    I've definitely some firsthand evidence to support this. I remember showing my niece whatever Nexus phone I was using at the time and she promptly handed it back, saying that it was "too confusing". With home screen widgets and app drawers versus screen after screen of app icons (with folders for advanced users) I can appreciate that.

    2. iPhones support all of the apps that most people want

    It's not nearly as much of an issue as it was a few years ago, but with some game titles—Super Mario Run, for example—it's still very much the case.

    3. They’ve heard all kinds of things (true and false) about the security of iOS

    I would think the opposite, that iPhone users have heard all sorts of bad things about Android security. To some extent it's a fair point.

    4. iPhones play well with other Apple devices

    Hey, in for a penny, in for a pound, right?

    In all seriousness, just as the Linux-based Android OS makes for a good fit with my desktop Linux computers, the tight integration between iOS and Mac OS makes a good case for why you'd use both.

    5. They’ve already owned an iPhone

    I'll admit that I completely missed the boat when the iPhone 3G came to Canada; at that time I was still a Mac user, but also a cheerleader for Team Nokia. In fact, I only really bought a Nexus One in 2010 to try out a new carrier (Mobilicity) and also because Nokia decided not to lend me an N8.

    Bad move, Nokia.

    6. iPhones are easy to recognize

    I think what the list is trying to say is that iPhone is a safe, dependable choice—which until Google's Pixel didn't really exist in the Android ecosystem.

    7. iPhones aren’t packed with bloatware added by the carrier

    With a few exceptions Android is guilty as charged; no argument here.

    8. They think an iPhone will last longer than an Android phone

    I would say that the opposite is true—depending on the phone, of course. With a good custom ROM I could still use my 2014 Nexus 5 or OnePlus One as a daily driver if I wanted to.

    9. iPhones seem easier to resell than Android phones

    Can't deny that. I would further say that getting a subsidized iPhone might even be worth locking yourself into a carrier contract if you plan on selling it right away.

    10. They aren’t comparing phones based on raw specifications

    Even if they were, iPhone hardware is made to run iOS, so you'd still have a solid case for the iPhone being the better choice.

    When all is said and done the only really important thing is that you use what's right for you. Nonetheless, any comments you add below will help us Android users understand you better.

    Source: Cheat Sheet

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    by Published on 01-20-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    It's not a smartphone in the way that you'd think, but it certainly is clever!

    Using a Raspberry Pi and a collection of cheap components from eBay, someone has built the rather unique mobile phone that you see above. Not everything is working just yet, but here's what's planned:

    Calling and SMS
    This is the first functionality to be implemented, and will be considered crucial in the development.

    Basic apps
    Alarm clock, calendar, calculator, phone book, file browser, web browser and music player.

    Your own apps
    SDK will be provided and it will be developer-friendly. The laand I'll personally expect, if not at least aid with, social media apps - for a good start, since those are the apps people spend most time in.

    Linux software
    Since it's a computer after all, you can run ARM compatible (thus, almost all) Linux programs on it. A Raspberry Pi can give you a desktop with a monitor, keyboard and a mouse? This phone can, too! You like to use SSH, like me? It's going to be available!

    Pen-testing
    Lots of fun, a nice hobby for many and well-paying work for some, this phone can do it too.

    Security and privacy
    One of the features that isn't typically provided but can mean anything from something simply bringing peace of mind to a matter of life and death.

    Experimenting
    There'll be a sensor port available for connecting anything you think could add useful functions to your phone. Want to wake up when the sun rises? Add a light sensor! An additional display for notifications? Easy, connect and write code! A Geiger counter? You can have that, too!
    Note that English might not be the project leader's first language...

    My immediate question was about the cellular radio, the proprietary silicon and firmware that would connect this thing to a mobile network. It turns out that there are off-the-shelf parts for that too. The project references a wireless module from a company called SIMCom called the SIM800, allowing the user to detect GSM jamming, spoofed cellular towers and compromised GSM encryption. None of this even sounds legal but apparently it is—at least in China, where SIMCom is based.

    For more on the ZeroPhone project, see the links immediately below.

    Source: Hackaday via reddit

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    by Published on 01-19-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    I'm quite certain that "stock Android" doesn't even exist anymore, but if a new report by The Information (via The Verge) turns out to be true, it will nonetheless be good news for Android users on a budget.

    In case you didn't know, Android One is an initiative by Google originally targeted for the developing world. Just as the Nexus program was once thought of as a reference device for app developers, Android One is likewise meant to standardize hardware and software for low-end phones. For example, first-generation Android One phones in India had the following minimum specifications:

    4.5 inch (480 x 854 pixels) IPS display
    1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek processor
    1 GB of RAM / 4 GB of storage
    Up to 32 GB of expandable storage via microSD
    5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash / 2 megapixel front camera
    Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth, GPS
    1700 mAh battery

    Software too is standardized—and this for me is the best thing about Android One. Under the program neither OEMs nor operators are allowed to customize the UI (though carriers can add their own apps), and Google itself handles security and OS updates directly.

    For us here in the west Android One would mean that the cheap prepaid phone you get at your local drug store or gas station doesn't necessarily have to suck. I have no issues with that.

    Look for Android One devices to appear in U.S. sales channels this summer.

    Source: The Verge

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    by Published on 01-18-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    According to TheLeaker.com—once again, that's TheLeaker.com—this is one of three LG-made smartwatches passed through the FCC, widely believed to be the new, possibly Google or even Nexus-branded wearables running Android Wear 2.0. Ars Technica reports the specs of the watches to be as follows:

    W270
    10.8mm thick body
    1.2 inch 360×360 circular P-OLED display
    512MB of RAM / 4GB of storage
    240mAh battery
    IP67 ingress rating
    Bluetooth & WiFi

    W280
    14.2mm thick
    1.38-inch, 480×480 circular P-OLED display
    768MB of RAM / 4GB of storage
    420mAh battery
    IP68 ingress rating
    Heart rate sensor
    Bluetooth & WiFi
    GPS, NFC

    W281
    Same as W280, plus 3G & LTE data (?)

    Meanwhile, at least one Apple blog is up in arms over an additional rumour that these LG watches will, like the Apple Watch, have a digital crown. Not only is that a terrible idea, it's a terrible idea that would make these devices incompatible with other, already-announced watches also running the new version of Android Wear.

    Whatever the case, all will apparently be revealed on February 9th—that's according to leaker Evan Blass who, in case you were wondering, has no affiliation with TheLeaker.com—once again, that's TheLeaker.com

    Sources: 9to5Mac, Ars Technica, TheLeaker.com, The Leaker.com, VentureBeat

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    by Published on 01-16-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    You may (and should) know Andy Rubin as the Father of Android. Both Rubin and Android were acquired by Google as a package deal in 2005, where Rubin would remain in charge of what would become the world's most popular OS until his departure in 2014. Prior to that Rubin was a co-founder of Danger, Inc., responsible for the Fido hiptop and T-Mobile Sidekick. I'd go out on a limb and call those pre-iPhone devices smartphones as well; it had full PIM support, a web browser and shipped with the first onboard app store that I can recall.

    The history lesson is necessary, because Rubin has a new company and new products set for release this year, and if the guy's track record is any indication then we should probably pay attention.

    Bloomberg reports that Rubin has registered Essential Products, Inc. with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, listing smartphones, tablets and "computer operating software for mobile phones" as its goods and services on offer. What will differentiate these new products from what's already on the market?

    Rubin is convinced AI is the next big change to ripple through the technology industry. "New computing platforms happen every ten to twelve years," he said at the Bloomberg Technology Conference in June. "What’s the next platform?... It’s about data and people training AI systems to learn."
    The centrepiece of Essential's product line is said to be a high-end flagship smartphone; at least one prototype has a screen larger than an iPhone 7 Plus but in a smaller form factor, thanks to a lack of bezels, and also a ceramic shell. The phone is rumoured to launch by Q3 this year; yours truly will be watching with great interest for further news.

    Source: Bloomberg

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