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23
Oct
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ZTE officially launches the budget-minded ZTE V5 Max


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ZTE has officially launched the ZTE V5 Max which is part of its line of V5 series, budget-oriented smartphones. Although not a top-tier phone, we can see how the whole market is rising by taking a look at some of the specs for this new device. The ZTE V5 Max comes with a 5.5-inch display running at 1280 x 720 pixels being run by a Snapdragon 410 64-bit quad-core processor. Currently the device comes with Android 4.4 KitKat loaded, with ZTE’s Nubia UI running on top of it. With the 64-bit processor included, ZTE should be able to take advantage of Android Lollipop if they decide to go down that path.

Other specs include 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The device does come with a microSD slot that can handle a 32GB card for additional space. For cameras, the ZTE V5 Max gets a 13 MP rear-facing shooter and a 5 MP front-facing shooter. The smartphone will come with a 3,100mAh battery that is removable.

The ZTE V5 Max will be priced at RMB$999 ($163 USD) when it starts selling in China.

source: GSM Insider

Come comment on this article: ZTE officially launches the budget-minded ZTE V5 Max

23
Oct
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NHL 2K15 hits the Play Store


NHL 2K

Following its official announcement last month, NHL 2K15 is now available to download for $7.99 through the Play Store. This latest title in the extremely popular series of hockey games brings an ‘all new’ multiplayer experience, in addition to a ‘visually remastered career’ mode which enables you to create a custom player to take through the seasons.

There’s tons of one-off challenges hidden within the app, like Winter Classics and turn-based shootouts, as well as the introduction of a fantastic new free skate mode that encourages users to show off their skills on the rink, earn points and work their way to the top of the leaderboard.

The developers have promised that they will issue regular updates for the game throughout the year bringing any new team signings to the application as soon as they occur.

The full gallery together with a link of where you can grab NHL 2K can be seen below:

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NHL 2K 1
NHL 2K 2
NHL 2K 3
NHL 2K 4

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Play Store Download Link

 

Come comment on this article: NHL 2K15 hits the Play Store

23
Oct
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TOCCs Feather Buds: Noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones for under $25 [Deal of the Day]


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I can’t think of anything more trivially infuriating than my ear buds being ripped from my ears after getting snagged on a doorknob or crowded subway passenger’s arm. The Feather Buds from TOCCs are a perfect fit for folks looking to cut the cord from their wired earbuds without dropping beaucoup bucks for the Bluetooth upgrade.

These headphones are lightweight and tangle-free so you won’t be encumbered by heavy tech on your head nor will you have to worry about unwinding a tangled heap of cord. The Bluetooth transmission is rated for 30ft and we’ve heard feedback of roughly 5 hours active-use, 50 hour standby, battery life. Three sizes of comfort-gel earbuds are included to ensure a perfect fit. There’s also a built-in mic and remote to make calls and control your phone’s audio playback.

AndroidGuys readers can snag these awesome earbuds today for just $24.99 (free shipping) over at our deals page. I’ve had a good experience with the Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 but am certainly going to snag these TOCCs. At this price, grabbing a few pairs for holiday gifts might not be a bad idea.

Check this deal out, and many others at deals.androidguys.com!


 

The post TOCCs Feather Buds: Noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones for under $25 [Deal of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

23
Oct
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5 tips on preventing mobile phone loss and theft


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There are a great many articles out there that offer advice on how to recover a lost or stolen device. Unfortunately, many of them focus on what you can do after you’ve lost your device. Generally at that point, it’s too late, because you didn’t have the right apps or tracking systems set up, didn’t copy down important information, or just weren’t aware of the options in advance. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

This is doubly true of mobile phones, as their loss is more than just financial. It’s all of your personal data, images, and even email and SMS chats. Worse, those who keep banking information or other account passwords on their devices in plain text, like a note editor, can find their bank accounts compromised. This can create a domino effect that could take months to solve – especially if the credit reporting agencies get involved.

The credit reporting agencies will want to see a police report to freeze your credit file, so contact the police as soon as you know your phone has been stolen, file a report, and get copies of it (you’ll need them). Keep in mind that when you report your phone as stolen, the police will do their best to get it back, but there are some steps you should follow to recover your lost phone first. This should be done before you involve the police. Then, once you’re sure it’s actually been stolen, file your report. Finding out that you just left your mobile tucked down the couch, and then forgetting to notify the police, well… that can be messy.

So, how can you protect your phone from theft?

1) Use the phone operating system’s tracking application. Every OS has one, and while some are better than others, you should at least start with what your phone has out of the box.
Android: Visit the Android Device Manager. Sign in with your Google Account login, and set up your phone so you can later track or remotely wipe it if needed. A better option is Cerberus, discussed in Step Five of this guide, but you can have both, which offers added protection.

BlackBerry: Visit the BlackBerry Protect Site. Make sure your device is registered, and set up so you can wipe or track it if you need to. There are other third party apps you can use too.

iOS: Visit Apple’s Find My iPhone site. Read about the function, and then set it up so you can locate, or remotely wipe your device. Also, make sure it’s registered to iCloud. Any thieves won’t be able to access iCloud services with a stolen device – even if they wipe it.

Windows: Visit the Windows Find My Phone link. Read about how it works, and then set your phone up so it’s secure. If you feel this is not enough, there are other apps you can download to further secure your Windows Phone device.

2) Write down your phone’s model number, serial number, and the IMEI number (*60# from the dial pad for your IMEI). Then store them in a safe place. We recommend putting them in the box your phone came in, but you can put them anywhere safe. Just remember to keep them somewhere you can find them, should you ever need to.

3) Put your contact details in a location that’s easy to find. We recommend creating a contact that always displays first in your phone, which is your details, and one or two other obvious ones. Examples include things like ‘Lost Phone’ and ‘Reward if Found’. If you have a custom system that lets you set a passcode reminder, you can put in your details there, so that any good Samaritan who finds it will return the device to you. Novice phone thieves will also usually go for a guaranteed £100 reward from you rather than try to sell the phone. In cases like that, you might be able to get your device back more easily. Just don’t assume they’re a thief. Sometimes a decent person will find and return your device. While a hundred quid might hurt a little, it hurts a lot less than losing your device.

4) You can get a proximity alarm. There is a neat little product called the Hip Key, which is basically a key ring that causes your iPhone to make an alarm if you get too far away from the keyring. However, the device works both ways, because the key also beeps. It works by having you select an alarm range from 2-5 meters, all the way up to 30-35 meters, which will trigger if your phone moves out of that radius. As the alarm is 90bd, if you’re in a bar or out somewhere, and your phone is set to the 2-5 meter range, you’ll get an audible alarm the moment your phone is more than a few steps away from you. That way you can catch a phone thief before your phone is gone. As an added plus, you can use the device to find your phone at home or in the office too if you misplace it. Since the system works both ways, if you forget where your keys are, you can trigger the alarm from your phone and find them. There are other programs that do this too. Shop around, and you can find some interesting ways to protect your phone from loss.

5) Last, and quite possibly best – use Cerberus. This is the best application in the world for tracking and recovering a lost phone. You can flash it to the system memory, or ROM. What that means is that even if a thief performs a factory reset or wipes the device, you’ll still have access to Cerberus. In fact, once a phone is wiped, Cerberus remains there, but is invisible. That’s because you it resides in the phone’s boot memory, rather than having it stored in regular memory. You can then control it over the Internet, or through SMS commands if the phone thief disables your Internet connectivity. Because these command messages remain invisible, the thief won’t even know that you’re tracking them. You can take photos, video, or get GPS updates too, all of which are secretly uploaded by the app. In truth, there’s no better app to protect yourself from would be thieves than this one, and nothing more helpful to the police in recovering your stolen device.

Often, losing your phone is worse than losing a purse or wallet. Credit cards are easily blocked, and few of us carry around as much cash as a new phone would cost. Add in the lost time for police reports, headaches of setting up a new phone (and getting a SIM replaced), and you can lose out on a day or more of your free time in addition to the out of pocket costs. Protect yourself and your phone. You’ll be glad you did.

Image courtesy of Flickr


 

The post 5 tips on preventing mobile phone loss and theft appeared first on AndroidGuys.

23
Oct
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Alcohoot personal breathalyzer reviewed


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I’ve started to see more and more people using mobile breathalyzers when out for a night on the town.  When I got the chance to review the Alcohoot personal breathalyzer, I jumped at the chance.  Personal breathalyzers have been around for awhile, but they have really been more for entertainment than safety purposes.  I was eager to see how far the devices have come and to see if it is worth investing in an Alcohoot.

The Alcohoot is just a bit bigger than a Zippo lighter so it can fit in just about any pocket or purse.  It should work with any Android or iOS device, as long as you have a 3.5mm port and download the companion app.  This really makes the Alcohoot easy to carry on a night out.  Even if you don’t use the breathalyzer feature, the Alcohoot can help you find restaurants close to you or taxis to get you safely home.  For $99 there are a ton of features packed into the Alcohoot.  But, we’re all here for the breathalyzer so onto the testing.

My first test of the Alcohoot took place during a night at home with friends.  There were two reasons for this: the first was to use the controlled environment of my home to learn how to use the device properly.  The second reason was to gauge the accuracy of the Alcohoot.  I was able to get my hands on a police issue breathalyzer, an Intoxilyzer S-D5.  This gave me a really good idea how the Alcohoot compares to an expensive professional device.  After the first night of testing, I have to admit to being impressed by the Alcohoot.  Everyone found it easy to use and it was surprisingly accurate for a breathalyzer that fits in your pocket.

The second night of testing took my Alcohoot, friends and me to a local bar.  This allowed me to test the Alcohoot in a real world environment and confirm the accuracy found in the controlled environment of my home.  Everyone knows how dark and crowded bars can be so I was interested to see if that hurt the usability of the Alcohoot.  Overall, things went well.  Again, the Alcohoot was easy to use and gave consistent readings compared to the professional unit.  In fact, at one point I attracted a small crowd of people who wanted to try the device.  It even helped my friends and I find a place to eat, within walking distance, when we were done at the bar.

The Alcohoot was pretty accurate for such a small device, but more importantly it was consistent.  The Alcohoot almost always gave readings within a few points of the more expensive, professional unit.  For example, a friend blew a 0.023 on the police unit, then seconds later blew a 0.030 on the Alcohoot.  While the Alcohoot read higher, it always gave a consistently higher reading.  It never gave a higher reading than the professional unit, then a lower reading the next go around.  This consistency is one of the best parts of the Alcohoot.  While I would never recommend or condone using an Alcohoot to see if you’re able to drive, at least you can use it to monitor yourself.  The Alcohoot has a nifty feature called the SmartLine.  This is a limit you can impose on yourself when drinking.  If you don’t like the person you turn into when you drink too much, you can adjust the SmartLine to warn you when you get too close to your personally imposed limit.

Alcohoot-01

There are a couple negatives that I need to mention.  First, the way the Alcohoot plugs into the 3.5mm port can make using the device difficult to use.  If your phone has a 3.5mm port in an odd place or you use a bulky case it could render the Alcohoot useless.  It really seems like using Bluetooth to connect the Alcohoot and your phone would be a better option.  Secondly, the plastic mouth pieces that you blow into sit very loosely in the unit.  This lead to more than a couple lost mouth pieces in the dark bar.  You can order more, but that could get expensive if you spend a lot of time in bars (10 extra mouth pieces cost $7.99).

Although I had a positive experience with the Alcohoot, I feel I need to point out that these personal device are not perfect.  Even the police don’t rely on their handheld breathalyzers for perfect readings.  The Alcohoot should not be used to decide if you’re too drunk to drive.  IF YOU ARE, IN ANYWAY IMPAIRED, DO NOT DRIVE!!!  Try using the Alcohoot’s taxi feature and get a ride home from the bar.  However, if you are looking for a personal breathalyzer to monitor your drinking, the Alcohoot would be a great option.  It has a ton of useful features packed into a tiny, nicely designed package you can carry anywhere.

You can purchase the Alcohoot here

 


 

The post Alcohoot personal breathalyzer reviewed appeared first on AndroidGuys.

23
Oct
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Google plans to make a component store for its modular phone


Project Ara is surely one of the most exciting things Google is working on right now — at least from the ones we’re aware of. Better yet, given how young it is, chances are it will only keep getting better and more interesting. While speaking at a Purdue University event, Google’s Paul Eremenko, director of Project Ara, recently revealed that the company will be taking a cue from the Play store to create a similar shopping experience for its modular smartphone. What this means, essentially, is you’d be able to buy or sell different components from a single hub, just as is the case now with apps, music, books and more on Google Play — and it would also include reviews and recommendations. Eremenko didn’t mention any details related to the status of Project Ara, but you can check out the full talk after the break.

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Via: Android Central

Source: YouTube (Purdue Convocations)

23
Oct
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Let’s look at each game console’s lineup of exclusives for holiday 2014


Can you smell that? It’s the aroma of game lovers’ tears everywhere as they realize their bank accounts likely can’t sustain buying every title coming out in the annual deluge of fall video game releases. That’s to say nothing of the amount of time you’d need to play absolutely everything that’s come out since September. Or even on November 18th alone! But what is each console offering exclusively this holiday? That’s a bit more manageable, and we compare them below.

With a few exceptions, nearly everything made by a third-party developer (i.e., one not working solely with Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony) is available on PC, so we’re going to leave those out of the conversation. Platform-exclusive goodies don’t count here either — adios, Far Cry 4!

Sony’s PlayStation 4

Sony made its bed at E3 this year and is now getting comfy under that (likely luxurious) comforter. During its near-two-hour-long media briefing, it mentioned first-party retail games exactly three times. And in that trio, only one title was an original game for the PS4 that was coming out this year. That was none other than the adorable 2D platformer, LittleBigPlanet 3. The other two? The Last of Us: Remastered and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. While LBP3 will likely be every bit as whimsical and charming as previous efforts, it isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind as a tentpole fall release that’ll move loads of consoles — especially not when it releases the same day as Far Cry 4 and the Grand Theft Auto 5 remaster: November 18th. Not that the PS4 needs much help with that anyway; last we knew, over 10 million of them have been sold so far.

Considering what we’ve been able to experience of it, it’s pretty apparent why the already-released racer Driveclub wasn’t given any time on the stage at E3 this past June. The game is pretty in spots, but an absolute bore to play, which is all the more disheartening given that the developer’s previous work was the over-the-top (and excellent) MotorStorm franchise. That’s to say nothing of how the game’s been hamstrung by connectivity woes that render its key feature, a socially driven online experience, utterly unusable.

PlayStation’s fall commercial featured third-party games exclusively.

No one really expects a system’s launch to have amazing games, but here we are almost a year later and the PlayStation 4 still doesn’t have a killer app. Even Sony itself seems to acknowledge this with TV spots that feature third-party games exclusively. Hell, the PlayStation Twitter account’s header image is for the trio of those titles in the commercial — not one of its internally developed games. At this point in its predecessor’s lifecycle there was the first Uncharted as well as Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction to look forward to; neither Driveclub nor LBP 3 look to stand up to that legacy. Looking ahead, Sony’s got The Order: 1886 (originally scheduled for a fall 2014 release) coming early next year, in addition to the hugely anticipated Bloodborne, the next game from the Dark Souls team. For now, though, the PS4 is a hard sell when it comes to games that you can’t get anywhere else.

Nintendo’s Wii U

Super Smash Bros. Those three words alone could be enough to carry Nintendo through this holiday season, but the gaming giant has a pair of other games to help lighten Mario and Co.’s load too. Not only is Smash absurdly anticipated — the 3DS version beyond whet our appetite — but it’s also releasing on two platforms and has its own set of Skylanders-esque figurines (dubbed amiibo). Nintendo’s had a relatively good year so far, and if Mario Kart 8 was any indication, we can expect the Wii U version of its mascot-laden fighting game to flex some serious muscle when it comes to moving a few consoles come November 21st and beyond.

Then we have the just-released Bayonetta 2 (like, this week), a game that’s likely to please the hardcore crowd with its frenetic pacing and old-school approach to action and combat. Granted, it earns every bit of its Mature rating, but series fans know what they’re getting into with this one. You’re a witch who fights angels and demons on the back of a fighter jet, among other places. Seriously. Who can’t get behind a premise like that?

Taking a step away from the violent side of things is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a spin-off from last year’s incredibly good Super Mario 3D Land. In Captain Toad, you’re navigating the adorable, mushroom-adorned Toad through a variety of puzzles in themed worlds that should be familiar to anyone who played 2013’s Mario release. Wait, you didn’t? For shame! At least you can make up for that this year.

Surprisingly, Nintendo’s first-party line-up is incredibly strong this season. The Japanese company’s reputation rests on its ability to make games that no one else can or seemingly wants to. Even without a proper Mario or Legend of Zelda release this holiday (we’re excepting Hyrule Warriors as a side game rather than series entry), Nintendo proved that it has what’s needed to compete against the likes of its relatively younger opponents with practiced ease.

Microsoft’s Xbox One

Perhaps more than any console maker, Microsoft has the most to prove this fall. Redmond came out on the losing end of a PR battle when it announced confusing (and somewhat consumer-hostile) policies for the Xbox One last year, not to mention it costing $100 more than its closest rival, the PS4. Phil Spencer and Co. responded in 2014 by doubling down on games, hoping to shed the image forged by a previous management regime. At the firm’s media event at E3 this year, it spent the entire time talking about games and a majority of that was devoted to platform exclusives and first-party titles. The company line that it was all about “games, games, games” wasn’t a hollow promise and this fall’s crop of Xbox One releases shows it.

Let’s start with Forza Horizon 2: It’s excellent. Unlike Driveclub, it’s a social-based racing game that worked as promised from the outset. Beyond that, though, it’s an absolute blast to play. From racing against a bullet train as The Clash’s “Train in Vain” blasts over your car’s stereo, to challenging a buddy’s ghost to a head-to-head race only to see it drive his Hemi ‘Cuda up a hillside in effort to gain the lead, there’s loads to see and do in the game. In fact, both Ben Gilbert and I have stopped playing Destiny to soak in as much of virtual Nice as possible. You should not miss Forza Horizon 2.

When it was first teased at E3 2013, no one quite knew what to make of Sunset Overdrive. It was a parkour-style open-world something from the folks at Insomniac Games (Ratchet and Clank and Resistance franchises for PlayStation), but that’s all anyone really knew. What a difference a year made, however. What we played of the punk-rock take on Crackdown and to a certain extent, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, though, at E3 this year made us believers. It’s unapologetically a video game; bright, stylized and flashy, with a highly saturated color palette that emphasizes cartoony fun over everything else. Hell, there’s a weapon that shoots ricocheting vinyl records at energy-drink-crazed mutants and an RPG that uses teddy bears as ammunition. It’s the best kind of ridiculous.

And how could anyone forget Halo: The Master Chief Collection? We broke the news that it was coming, and since then it’s been impossible to ignore. Microsoft is going all-out for this release and including every multiplayer map that’s ever been in a Halo game into the package, as well as fully remastered versions of classic Halo 2 arenas and a totally overhauled campaign for the sequel. What else? The other three numbered Halo releases running at 1080p and 60 FPS.

Perhaps even more than Nintendo, Microsoft was in panic mode this past year. Given the improvements that’ve been made to the Xbox One’s system software and the price drop that brings parity between it and the PS4, the Xbox One is the best environment to play games that you can’t get anywhere else this fall. If all goes well, maybe Redmond will take to touting sales numbers of its own soon enough.

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23
Oct
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Android Wear’s latest update adds GPS support and offline music playback


Android Wear, Google’s four-month-old wearables platform, is off to a good start. But like all nascent systems, there are still plenty of areas that need some TLC. It’s got a lot of features and developer support, but it’s practically useless if you want to use your smartwatch as a fitness tracker and leave your phone at home. Over the next few days, Google will push a new update to the LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live that will make your smart timepiece more useful when it’s not tethered to your handset.

The new update comes with two major features. The first is GPS support, which makes it possible for Wear apps to track distance, routes, elevation and speed without having a phone nearby. This is a welcome feature for runners, hikers and bicyclists who don’t like exercising or training with armband cases or handling extra baggage during their workouts. Sadly, this doesn’t do any good for existing Wear users whose devices don’t come with built-in GPS sensors; the first one to get this feature will be the Sony SmartWatch 3, which is now ready for pre-order on Verizon’s website and coming soon to the Play Store.

Fortunately, every Wear watch will receive the new update’s second main feature: Direct Bluetooth pairing. You can connect Bluetooth headphones directly to your watch, which means you’ll now be able to store music on your watch and listen to your playlists offline, even when your Android phone isn’t within range. Granted, every existing Wear smartwatch comes with a mere 4GB, so you won’t be able to store your vast library until new models with more storage are released, but it should at least get you through a few workouts before it’s time to switch out your tunes.

Lastly, Google hasn’t given any official word on how many Wear-enabled apps are in the Play Store, but it mentioned today that it’s somewhere in the “tens of thousands” — not too shabby in four months time, and it’s large enough to be a pain to search through all of them. But the company has organized this ever-growing list into eight collections to assist you in your quest for the perfect watch app: Health and Fitness, Travel, Social, Tools, Productivity, Communication, Featured and miscellaneous.

This update, which rolls out to existing Wear devices over the next few days, is admittedly small. However, it’s a solid indication that Google understands that its wearables need to be able to work independently and still be functional without having to be tethered to a smartphone all the time. And for potential buyers trying to find the perfect blend of fitness band and smartwatch, updates like this are absolutely essential to even consider it.

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Source: Android blog

23
Oct
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Verizon Sony Xperia Z3v is now available for $200 on contract



On October 9th Sony held a press event with Verizon to announce the Sony Xperia Z3v. The news was pretty important for Verizon, Sony and consumers because it was the first Sony phone to hit big red in many years. Sony’s only US carrier was T-Mobile and they were a little behind the times with the flagships. At the press event they announced the device would be making its grande entrance to biog red on October 23rd. That day is today and the device is now officially available.

Verizon Sony Xperia Z3vThe new waterproof flagship is set at $199.99 on a new two-year contract or $24.99 a month on Verizon Edge. If you want to empty your bank account you can snag it for $599.99 off contract. Verizon has the black one, pictured above, and a white one as color options. While there is a drop down on the storage box 32GB is the only option. Tech specs give the Xperia Z3v a 5.2-inch 1080p display, A quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor at 2.5GHz, 3GB of RAM, a 20.7 MP rear camera, 2.2 MP front camera, Android 4.4, a 3200 mAh battery rated for 26 hours of usage and PS4 remote play to continue your PS4 games on your phone else where in the house.


When you pick one of these bad boys up you are also offered the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet for $200 off. The Z2 Tablet is a 10.1 inch waterproof tab with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.3 GHz, 3GB of RAM, 8.1MP rear camera, 2.2MP front shooter, Android 4.4 and a 6000 mAh battery rated for 14 hours of usage.

If Verizon isn’t your cup of tea, T-Mobile will be launching the Xperia Z3 in 6 more days on October 29th.

Bounce over to VerizonWireless.com to take a closer look and check for local store availability.


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The post Verizon Sony Xperia Z3v is now available for $200 on contract appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

23
Oct
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Discarded Power Mac G5s ‘Upcycled’ Into Modern Office Furniture [Mac Blog]


Apple’s Power Mac G5 has a distinctive aluminum design that was disruptive when it launched in 2003. Inspired by this milestone in design, designer Klaus Geiger has “upcycled” this aging Apple hardware into furniture because the machines are “simply too good to be disposed of.” (via DesignBoom)

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As part of a project aptly titled “Benchmarc”, Geiger has carefully created a sitting bench using a carved wooden plank that forms a bridge between two Power Mac G5 units. The machining on the wood is aligns the curve perfectly with the shape of the Power Mac chassis.

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Beyond benches, Geiger also has crafted a movable conference table, file cabinets and more using discarded Power Mac machines. Additional concept renderings include an entire office full of furniture designed around old Power Mac G5 units.

Though interesting as a one-off furniture design project, this isn’t the first time Apple hardware has been recycled. Both the iMac and the Mac Pro have been converted into fish aquariums, while a Power Mac G3 became an unusual roadside mailbox.



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