• Devices

    by Published on 10-05-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    Interested in one of the new Pixel phones? Make sure you know what you're getting into; in eliminating the 3.5mm audio jack Google has chosen to ape one of the iPhone's worst features, while providing only minimal protection from water damage. And, like Apple, they've once again taken the high road on pricing, asking $1,289 CAD for their most expensive model. But this is the same story as last year, and in late 2017 appears to be the cost of entry to join the fight in the war on smartphone bezels.

    The big differentiator in hardware for Google is again, like last year, going forward with a single rear-facing camera vs. Apple's dual-lens setup. The Pixel 2's camera tech does look promising, and I wouldn't fault anyone making a purchase for that feature alone. As for the fabled "pure Android experience" I'm pretty sure Google gave up on that when they introduced their Now Launcher back in 2013. The exclusive-to-Pixel Google Lens visual search only continues that trend—though it may be available more widely at a later date.

    Here's what I found weird about yesterday's event... Granted, I was unable to watch it live and had to settle instead for The Verge's 19-minute supercut after the fact. I was nonetheless surprised at how little overall time was spent on the phones. Your home, it seems, is the new frontier that Amazon, Apple and Google are all simultaneously trying to conquer. I'm personally not so thrilled at the prospect of having an always-listening device in the place where I sleep and sh**, but that's just me.

    As for the other gear, I think the Clips camera is an intriguing alternative to GoPro. But I don't have particularly high hopes for the automatic translation feature of the Pixel Buds. Raw technology is no match for the subtle nuance of language.

    What are your thoughts on yesterday's event?

    Links: The Verge (1) (2) (3)

    by Published on 10-04-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    The watches themselves are nice, but it's time to face facts: having a touchscreen on my wrist is just plain awful. I can't imagine that an Apple Watch is much better, but I've almost no firsthand experience with that platform. As for Android Wear specifically, here's how I've come to my conclusion...

    My Pebble is far from perfect. With its low resolution screen, massive bezels and lack of designer watch faces I frequently get smartwatch envy. Making matters worse is that my Pebble been mistaken for an Apple Watch more than once—for an Android fanboy this is entirely unacceptable. Plus, watches are supposed to be round, right? Android Wear is clearly the better choice. I frequently make plans to re-pair one of the three Android watches in my possession, only to back out at the last minute, deciding that it's not worth the hassle.

    This past Monday I didn't back out: I re-paired my Nixon Mission and installed the necessary apps to enjoy my morning walk. While I'm out I listen to podcasts, and have to skip through ads more often than I'd like. Here's the first place where Android Wear fails. Once you swipe to the appropriate screen there are software buttons to skip ahead or back, but on a touch screen they just don't work reliably. On a Pebble you can accomplish this without even looking at the watch—provided that you've assigned its built-in music player to a shortcut key. The steps are (1) long-press your shortcut key, (2) press the down button to skip ahead 30 seconds, (3) continue enjoying your podcast.

    Notifications on Android Wear are fine unless, like me, you depend on the native reminders built into Google Calendar and Inbox. Dismissing a notification on an Android watch will also remove it from your Android phone. The problem is, dismissing a Google reminder will also mark it as completed. This means that when a reminder pops up on my Android Wear watch I'm basically unable to use it until the reminder goes away on its own. That's some pretty terrible UX right there...

    Finally, I don't think it's too much to ask for a $500-plus smartwatch to be always on. The standby screen on my Nixon Mission doesn't really count, as it shows none of the complications selected for my chosen watch face. And even the standby screen sometimes goes dark as well, leaving me with nothing else to look at other than the smudge-fest you see above. This is also problem with Watch OS; as I see more and more Apple Watches on peoples' wrists I can't help but notice their dormant displays, and can't help thinking to myself: "What exactly are you people paying for?"

    Again, my Pebble is far from perfect. But as a smartwatch, even a timepiece it's so much better than Android Wear. In fact, I've yet to see anything out there that's as intuitive and downright enjoyable to use.

    by Published on 09-29-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    So my grey market LG G6 is already back on its way to Amazon, but before I packed it up I took it with me on an early morning walk through downtown Toronto's Graffiti Alley. As luck would have it I also had with me a OnePlus 5.

    The big difference between the two is that the LG's second camera has a fixed focus wide angle lens, while the OnePlus has a telephoto one. For anyone trying to decide which secondary focal length would be more useful, I'm hoping that this quick visual guide will help.

    Reference photo of the first subject, taken with the OnePlus 5. Neither LG nor OnePlus seem especially interested in publishing focal length equivalents on their respective spec pages, but other sources cite this primary shooter at the equivalent of 28mm.

    The OnePlus 5's telephoto lens, apparently a 36mm equivalent.

    And the LG G6's wide angle lens. No focal length is available; LG will only say that it has a 125-degree angle of view.

    Our second subject and a new addition to Graffiti Alley, taken with the G6. Focal length is similar to OnePlus, at an equivalent of 29mm.

    Back to the 5's telephoto lens, with a really aggressive depth of field software effect—notice how the hair on the right side is out of focus, despite the subject being shot straight on...

    And the G6's wide angle lens. No, that Amazon box doesn't belong to me.

    Our third and final subject, captured with the primary lens on the OnePlus 5.

    OnePlus 5 telephoto lens.

    And the wide angle lens on the G6, with bonus photographer cameo!

    Though this wasn't meant to be a test of image quality per se, feel free to compare these samples with other graffiti walks I've done with other phones. The photos confirm my personal preference for a second, wide angle lens over a telephoto one. I think the fisheye effect is much more striking than fake software bokeh. What do you think?

    by Published on 09-28-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Big fan of Amazon Prime over here... The free shipping is fantastic, but what seals the deal for yours truly time and time again is the almost-unbelievably generous return policy on every order. I've sent back memory cards that I've used, cameras that I've taken on trips abroad, even shoes that I've worn outside. And now, it seems, that I'm about to return this LG G6.

    Because I'm a Prime Member I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into this purchase—in fact, I bought the phone from my phone while wandering around a mall in Vancouver, a pit stop on the way home from Sri Lanka. I was still considering a smartphone purchase for 2017 and this particular G6 seemed to be compatible with Lineage OS, a good sign that it was a modding-friendly device. I dig the "scared robot" look on the back and, more importantly, prefer the idea of a wide-angle second camera over a telephoto one.

    The phone arrived in Toronto shortly after I did. It was only then I started paying attention to its specific model number: H870DS, a phone intended for sale in Hong Kong. This revelation brought with it some good news:

    This specific phone supports dual SIMs;
    There's 64 GB of storage, an extra 32 GB over North American models;
    It'll work in Asia (obviously), but there's also Band 7 LTE for my carrier here.

    ... And unfortunately, a few deal-breakers as well:

    There's no option for an app drawer on LG's Hong Kong ROM;
    I can't actually unlock the bootloader, let alone install Lineage OS.

    I took some photos with it earlier this week, but there's not much more I can do with the phone beyond that; no unlockable bootloader, no deal. Kind of a shame, really, as there's a lot to like about the G6.

    Has anyone else played the grey market smartphone lottery on Amazon? Feel free to share your experience below...

    Link: LG G6 Dual SIM on Amazon Canada

    by Published on 09-27-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    Forgive the sass, but when iVerge is critical of an Apple product there must be something seriously wrong with it. And that appears to be the case with the LTE edition of the Apple Watch Series 3.

    The issues stem entirely from that garish red dot on the LTE's version of the digital crown—or rather, the technology that comes with it. If you didn't know, the red dot is basically a status symbol telling the world that your watch has a cellular radio. What a time to be alive... Anyway, Lauren Goode ran extensive tests on two LTE-enabled units; both fell well short of Apple's claims.

    Here's what happened with the first watch:

    I went for a walk with the phone on airplane mode, and tried to send text messages and use Siri to initiate phone calls through the Watch. Those didn’t work. I tried asking Siri basic questions. That didn’t work. Siri also wasn’t “talking back” to me, something that’s supposed to be a new feature on the Series 3 Watch.
    So Apple sent her another one. Here's how that went:

    On more than one occasion, I detached myself from the phone, traveled blocks away from my home or office, and watched the Watch struggle to connect to LTE. It would appear to pick up a single bar of some random Wi-Fi signal, and hang on that, rather than switching to LTE.
    Apparently the watch has a preference for WiFi networks over LTE signals, probably because using LTE drains the battery much quicker than you'd expect. Apple's promises for untethered battery life are based on 30-minute workouts, so if you head out for a two-hour run you may be surprised to find that you have to charge your watch soon after you get back.

    Keep in mind also that these headaches come at an extra cost; $399 USD vs. $329 for a non-LTE watch plus $10 extra per month from your carrier for cellular connectivity on your wrist. And at launch, this particular Apple Watch doesn't even support music streaming through the network, which you'd kind of expect for a no-compromises fitness product.

    It definitely seems like the non-LTE Apple Watch is the better buy. As an added bonus, it doesn't come with the stupid red dot...

    Source: The Verge

    by Published on 09-25-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Having won the war on smartphone bezels (kinda) the world's biggest phone maker is ready to move on to the next big thing: the bendable display. According to The Indian Express, the first consumer device with this technology has already been certified in South Korea; it's to be called the Galaxy X and will presumably be some sort of anniversary device for the brand.

    Never mind that the original Galaxy was released in 2009, or that battery life is probably going to be terrible for that paper-thin display in the photo directly above. I think the idea is actually to make something that the user can fold and unfold like a newspaper, as demonstrated in this concept video:

    Perhaps the battery will be spread out over the entire back of the sheet? No idea, really... We'll have to wait and see what Samsung is able to deliver next year. Best not to expect a headphone jack in this one, I think.

    Source: Indian Express

    by Published on 09-22-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    Way back in December of 2013 I bought a Google-branded inductive charger for my Nexus 4. The technology immediately won me over; there was no fast-charging technology to speak of at the time, and thus no drawbacks to dropping my phone on a charging mat beside my desktop computer. Having my phone always juiced up and ready to go was pretty great.

    Around this time IKEA started selling a floor lamp with an inductive charging pad built-in, and at least one coffee shop near me had wireless charging embedded in its counters. As even the mighty Samsung got behind the nascent Qi charging standard, a future with less wires looked increasingly possible. People were even talking about inductive bowls that you could dump all of your electronics in to charge as you walked through the threshold of your home.

    And then fast charging happened. Wireless charging never really went away, of course, but for me it became harder and harder to justify a slow wireless charge over a wired one that could get my phone battery to 100% in about an hour.

    Cut to the present day, where the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X all support the Qi inductive charging standard. Again, inductive charging never went away, but with Apple supporting it I'd expect to see a lot more inductive chargers in coffee shops across North America. And soon.

    The new iPhones also support fast charging, but only through additional accessories—namely, a USB-C to Lightning cable and separate 29 watt brick. I honestly think that wireless charging is going to end up being the bigger deal, whether you're an iPhone user or not. I'd even go so far as to predict that next year will see a renewed interest in Qi-compatible Android phones.

    In the meantime, here's a question for iOS enthusiasts: which are you more excited about, wireless charging or fast wired charging?

    Links: IKEA, The Verge, Wikipedia

    by Published on 09-20-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    October 4th will apparently be the date for the official unveiling of Google's second-generation Pixels, but thanks to Droid Life we've got an early look at colour options for both models—and their price tags, too!

    Pixel 2

    The Pixel 2 will be available with either 64 or 128 GB of storage, and will retail for $649 and $749 USD respectively. Google will offer financing plans for each—either $27.04 or $31.21 USD per month over 24 months.

    Colours are as follows:

    "Kinda Blue"

    "Just Black"

    "Clearly White"

    Pixel 2 XL

    Also sold with either 64 or 128 GB of storage, the larger Pixel 2 XL will set you back either $849 or $949 USD. Financing options are $35.38 and $39.54 USD per month for 24 months. There will be just two colour options for this one:



    I myself am not a Pixel guy; you can blame Google's entirely unnecessary vendor partition for that. But with timely software updates and what's likely to be one of the better Android cameras it's easy to see the Pixel's appeal.

    Anyone here planning a Pixel 2 purchase?

    Source: Droid Life (1) (2)

    by Published on 08-31-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Headphone jack present and accounted for!

    LG just pulled back the curtain on its other 2017 flagship at IFA in Berlin. Android Police is already calling it the most refined phone that the company has ever built. Gone is the gimmicky second screen from the V20, but LG's unique dual-camera setup—standard and wide angle lenses instead of standard and telephoto—remains. This is also LG's first phone in a while with an OLED screen.

    Make no mistake here: with the V30, LG has its crosshairs on the Galaxy S8. And by first accounts they appear to have done a pretty good job. Here's a quick rundown of notable specs:

    Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
    Display: 6 inch P-OLED QHD, 18:9 aspect ratio
    RAM / Storage: 4 GB / 64 or 128 GB + microSD
    Battery: 3,300 mAh
    Rear Cameras: 16 MP OIS / 13 MP wide angle EIS
    Front Camera: 5 MP
    Other: IP68 water and dust resistance, wireless charging
    Colours: Aurora Black, Cloud Silver, Moroccan Blue, Lavender Violet
    OS: Android 7.1.2

    No word yet on pricing or availability, but I'll see if I can find a video hands-on and post it to the news round-up this afternoon...

    Source: Android Police (1) (2)

    by Published on 08-29-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Apps

    As a Pebbler I'm supposed to hate Fitbit with a passion, despite the fact that they've mostly made good on their promise to keep Pebble servers up and running through the end of 2017. But I'm also a big fan of mobile tap-and-pay solutions, especially if they actually work in Canada. And it turns out that Fitbit's new Ionic smartwatch, made official yesterday, supports NFC-based payments from your wrist.

    What's a hard done by smartwatch enthusiast to do?

    This feature is almost certainly a result of Fitbit acquiring Coin last May, and by all reports will work exactly like you see in the photo above. Fitbit will only say that AMEX, MasterCard and VISA cards are supported; I dug around a little bit and found an unverified list of launch partners:

    Banco Santander
    Bank of America
    Capital One
    KBC Bank Ireland
    Royal Bank of Canada
    US Bank

    For some perspective on this, Apple Pay already enables wrist-based payments with an Apple Watch, and any Android Wear device with NFC should have the same functionality. The biggest hurdle for Fitbit Pay will inevitably be the ugliness of its first proper smartwatch—it's every bit as hideous as the leak we saw earlier this month.

    Source: Mobile Syrup, TechRadar, The Verge

    by Published on 08-28-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    Last October I wrote about the egregious outright price of the Pixel XL in Canada—over $1,100 CAD for the 128 GB model. Midway through 2017 it seems that $1,000 USD is fast becoming the norm for a stretched display over a flagship phone. And if you happen to live in Australia and are a fan of the Galaxy Note series Samsung is expecting you to pony up $1,500 AUD for the latest version of that device.

    It's not just an Android problem, either... Apple is expected to début its 10th anniversary iPhone with a price tag in excess of $1,000 USD and, according to at least one survey, prospective buyers seem fine with that.

    I suppose an argument can be made that smartphone OEMs are merely passing on the R&D costs that make this product cycle's record-breaking screen-to-body ratios possible. But consider also that these same phones are in some ways downgrades from what came before. The Galaxy Note 8 has a smaller battery than the Note 7 (presumably so that it won't explode), Andy Rubin's high-priced Essential Phone has no waterproofing and neither it, the iPhone 8 or this year's Pixel series from Google will have a headphone jack.

    With these compromises in mind I have to ask: Are we actually getting a reasonable value from this year's near-bezel-less flagships?

    Links: 9to5Mac, reddit

    by Published on 08-25-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    Irony is, the bezels on this image are YUGE!

    Nevertheless, we should be grateful for a thoughtful redditor's recent contribution to r/Android, comparing the differences between 2017's "bezel-less" smartphones so far. There are some notable omissions... Xiaomi's Mi Mix kicked off this craze last year but was never intended for the North American market, so that's fine. But the Essential Phone should definitely be here. It's also odd that the as-yet unreleased iPhone 8 is present, but the similarly-leaked Pixel 2 XL is not.

    I think that the general idea here was to compare the bezels on specific phones and their forebears, specifically the Galaxy Note 8 vs. Note 7 and iPhone 8 vs. the 7 Plus. It also seems like the author is trying to decide between an LG V30 and G6. And for some reason the OnePlus 3 has been added to the comparison of bottom bezels and phone widths.

    To find out what other redditors are saying see the link directly below.

    Source: reddit

    by Published on 08-23-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    Yesterday just before dinner I attended a TELUS-sponsored event showcasing Andy Rubin's Essential Phone. That Canadian carrier scored exclusive rights to sell the PH-1 in this country, and from their own listing seem to be offering it on payment plans only—$290 CAD down and $95/month or $490 down and $85/month for the duration of a two-year contract.

    I always find these carrier events just a little unsavoury, as the money that bankrolls their open bars and extravagant settings comes directly from subscribers' pockets. However, this one was at least a bit more informative than most, with employees from Essential on-hand to talk about various aspects of the phone. There were three manned stations—Camera, Design and Engineering; I visited each and listened to a short presentation, then tracked down an actual phone and took some photos. Which were of course out of focus.

    Anyway, here's what I learned about the Essential Phone...

    The Feel

    There's no questioning it, The PH-1 is a substantial device to hold in your hand, and definitely feels worthy of its $700 USD price tag. I also got to hold some of its individual components separately. The titanium frame is strong but impressively light, but when you add the ceramic back there's definitely some heft.

    As for the 360° camera accessory, the magnets that hold it to the phone are strong enough that you won't have to worry about it coming unstuck.

    The Cutout

    I didn't realize this, but the cutout at the top of the display for the selfie cam also holds the proximity and other sensors that you'd expect along the top of a typical smartphone. That's no small feat, and Essential did a better job with this than LG, Samsung or even what's coming from Apple.

    The Chin

    Of course I had to ask to design guy about this... Why does the Essential Phone's screen not extend all the way to the bottom edge of the phone? It turns out that, even without a headphone jack, some space was still needed for the LCD display driver and speaker assembly.

    The Bootloader

    On at least one of the phones I handled the bootloader was unlocked, and I was able to confirm with its owner that the bootloader on all Essential Phones is indeed unlockable. For Android modders that's great news.

    When it comes to carrier locks things are less clear. Phones ordered from Essential.com are SIM-unlocked but whether the TELUS version is any different is unknown. It's kind of academic, anyway, as it looks like the only way you'll be able to buy the phone in Canada is on TELUS through one of their payment plans and a two-year commitment.

    Expect to hear more about the Essential Phone if and when TELUS give us a loaner for review.

    Links: Essential, TELUS

    by Published on 08-22-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Google has so far released two Pixel-branded Chromebooks—the original in 2013 and a refresh in 2015, pictured directly above. According to Android Police, there will be a new Chromebook Pixel announced alongside the new Pixel phones later this year. Perhaps this one will be available for purchase in Canada? Please...?

    This third iteration of Google's own high-end notebook may or may not be an evolution of Project Bison, an Andromedia-powered notebook/tablet convertible with the following specs:

    12.3 inch screen
    8 or 16 GB of RAM
    32 or 128 GB of storage
    Optional Wacom stylus (sold separately)

    The existence of Project Bison was leaked to Android Police last fall; since then a new name has started popping up in the commits on Google's Chromium code review—this device, referred to as Eve, also seems to be a convertible with a Wacom digitizer. It could be the continuation of Project Bison, or something entirely new.

    For what it's worth, Bison was thought to retail for $799 USD. That's significantly cheaper than the first two Chromebook Pixels, and more in line with 2015's Pixel C tablet.

    Sources: Android Police, Chrome Unboxed

    by Published on 08-18-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    ASUS revealed its 4th generation ZenFone lineup yesterday. There's a lot to cover so let's get right to it...

    ZenFone 4
    Processor: Snapdragon 630 or 660
    RAM: 4 or 6 GB
    Storage: 64 GB + microSD (or dual SIM)
    Display: 5.5 inch FHD LCD
    Front Camera: 8 MP
    Rear Cameras: 12 MP OIS + 8 MP wide-angle
    Battery: 3,300 mAh
    Price: $399 USD

    ZenFone 4 Pro
    Processor: Snapdragon 835
    RAM: 6 GB
    Storage: 64 or 128 GB + microSD (or dual SIM)
    Display: 5.5 inch FHD AMOLED
    Front Camera: 8 MP
    Rear Cameras: 16 MP with 2x optical zoom + 12 MP
    Battery: 3,600 mAh
    Price: $599 USD

    ZenFone 4 Selfie
    Processor: Snapdragon 430
    RAM: 4 GB
    Storage: 64 GB + microSD (or dual SIM)
    Display: 5.5 inch 720p LCD
    Front Cameras: 20 MP + 8 MP wide-angle
    Rear Camera: 16 MP
    Battery: 3,000 mAh
    Price: $279 USD

    ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
    Processor: Snapdragon 625
    RAM: 3 or 4 GB
    Storage: 64 GB + microSD (or dual SIM)
    Display: 5.5 inch FHD AMOLED
    Front Cameras: 24 MP + 12 MP wide-angle
    Rear Camera: 8 MP
    Battery: 3,000 mAh
    Price: $399 USD

    Sources: Liliputing, Mobile Syrup

    by Published on 08-17-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    This is the gimmick that Nokia is using to pitch their new flagship model 8, which was finally made official late yesterday. From the camera app you can access both the front and rear-facing camera feeds simultaneously in a 50/50 split window, like you see you above. "Bothies" can be photos, recorded video or even live video streamed to Facebook and/or YouTube.

    If nothing else, it's an apt demonstration that the camera modules on either side of the phone are identical—though there's an additional monochrome sensor on the back. Die-hard Nokia fans will probably be most interested in the ZEISS logo on the rear camera assembly.

    Here are details on the camera and other specs:

    CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
    Operating system: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    RAM: 4 GB

    Internal memory: 64 GB
    MicroSD card slot: Up to 256 GB

    Size and type: 5.3” IPS QHD
    Resolution: 2560 x 1440
    Material: Corning Gorilla Glass 5, 2.5D Glass

    Camera and flash
    Primary camera: 13 MP (Colour + OIS) + 13 MP (Mono), dual tone flash
    Front-facing camera: 13 MP PDAF, display flash

    LTE Cat. 9, 3CA, 450Mbps DL/50Mbps UL
    802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (MIMO)

    Connectivity: Type C, USB 3.1 (5Gbps)
    SIM slot: 1 nano-SIM slot + 1 nano-SIM or 1 MicroSD card slot

    3.5mm headphone jack
    3 mics

    3090 mAh

    Splashproof (IP54)

    Size: 151.5mm x 73.7mm x 7.9mm
    Colors: Polished Blue, Tempered Blue, Steel, Polished Copper

    The Nokia 8 will be available for purchase on September 6th with a price tag of €599 EUR, or about $700 USD. Here's the bad news: Nokia has no immediate plans to bring their flagship to North America. Could be good news for grey market importers, though...!

    Links: Nokia

    by Published on 08-16-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Hot on the heels of yesterday's story about Snap, Inc.'s Spectacles comes this brand-new streaming camera called Front Row. It's available right now from Amazon.com (and ships to Canada) but will set you back $400 USD.

    Instead of putting a camera on your face you wear this device around your neck—with the included lanyard or a necklace of your own—or by clipping it to a piece of clothing. Apparently the idea for the product came from the CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, who was at an NBA game and wanted to livestream his view without holding up his phone.

    Fair enough, but why is this thing so big...?

    Because on the other side of this Android-powered camera system there's a full touchscreen. And also a selfie cam. The Front Row, it seems, is like an un-ruggedized GoPro made specifically for livestreaming. Interesting idea; not sure if it's worth the high price tag, though.

    Notable specs:

    Height: 59.8 mm / 2.354"
    Width: 70.3 mm / 2.768"
    Thickness: 12.1 mm / 0.476"
    Weight: 55 g / 1.94 oz

    Resolution: 640 x 572 @ 327 ppi
    Type: 1.96 inch LTPS Round
    Management: Touchscreen UI

    Main Camera
    Megapixels: (8 MP) / f2.2
    FOV: 148° ±3°
    Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080) - up to 2.7k
    Maximum Frame Rate: 30 fps
    Optical Image Stabilization: Yes

    Reverse Camera
    Megapixels: (5 MP) / f2.0
    FOV: 85°
    Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080) - up to 2k
    Max. Frame Rate: 30 fps

    Standby: 50 hrs
    Recording: 1 hr 50 min - 2 hr
    Live Streaming: 1 hr 45 min - 1 hr 55 min
    Charging: Fast Charging via USB C

    Memory & Storage
    RAM: 2 GB
    Storage: 32 GB

    Bluetooth: 4.1 LE
    Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n/ac

    System Architecture
    Front Row OS: Android
    Processor: Quad Core

    Links: Amazon, Android Police, Front Row, Wareable

    by Published on 08-15-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    A story published in yesterday's news round-up is worthy of a little more scrutiny... according to TechCrunch, sales of Snap, Inc.'s camera-equipped Spectacles are falling hard, and fast.

    In their first full sales quarter fewer than 64,000 Spectacles were sold. If that doesn't sound like much here's the really bad news: Q2 was even worse, with sales of only 41,500 units—a drop of roughly 35%. Snap recently started selling Spectacles through Amazon.com and Harrod's in the UK, but I don't foresee either of these entities reversing the company's fortunes anytime soon. Amazon, if anything, will just enable easier returns.

    One reason for the failure of this product has to be the obvious privacy issue; I just don't think our society is ready for people wearing cameras on their faces. It's reminiscent of my feelings about Google Glass—I was really excited about it's AR potential until I encountered someone wearing it in New York City; with the realization that I was probably being recorded I suddenly wasn't so interested anymore.

    There's also the fashion angle, or in the case of Spectacles the lack thereof. Imagine if, like Android Wear, Snap put aside their single, in-house design and instead partnered with established eyewear brands like Ray-Ban or Oakley. This way, Snap users could use the technology with their own sunglass style. As an added bonus, there would be a sales channel for Snap already in place.

    Or maybe Spectacles are just a bad idea altogether. What do you think?

    Source: TechCrunch

    by Published on 08-14-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
    Article Preview

    One of the major criticisms of the OnePlus 5 (after the price) was the discovery and subsequent confirmation of its inverted display. OnePlus has never explained why they chose to mount the display panel upside-down in the phone's chassis; I suspect that it was a deliberate engineering choice to make that chassis stronger. Unfortunately for the user, however, this results in a screen that refreshes in an odd way. It's most noticeable when scrolling through long lists like entries in an app drawer or a Twitter feed, and has come to be known as the jelly effect.

    It was XDA who proved that the OP5's display was upside-down, and now they're reporting that Motorola's new Z2 Force has the same issue. ...
    by Published on 08-11-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    If you say so...

    Wareable scored a nice little scoop with some exclusive renders of Project Higgs—aka the Fitbit smartwatch—which they insist is the final design for the product. I use the term "design" loosely here, because I think this thing is as ugly as hell, only slightly less hideous than Fitbit's existing Blaze.

    Note that the Fitbit logo takes up a full fifth of the front face.

    The back of the watch has a deliberate protrusion to better lock on to your heart rate. Wareable is speculating that the blue light at the bottom is a pulse oximeter for measuring blood oxygen levels. Whatever the case, it looks super-uncomfortable.

    The strap looks like it has a proprietary connection but can at least be swapped out. That's a good thing, as Fitbit's straps have a tendency to break. A lot.

    There will apparently be three available colour combinations, none of which will do anything for its looks. You'll only ever want to wear this for a night out if that night out is at the gym.

    Mind you, this derision and disdain is coming from a self-professed smartwatch design snob; what do you think of Fitbit's smartwatch?

    Source: Wareable

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