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Jun
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First look at the Blu VIVO IV


VIVO IV Feature

The VIVO IV from Blu Products arrived on my porch on Friday, the same day the device was announced with thee first look on their YouTube channel. At only 5.5 mm thick, the VIVO IV is truly pushing the boundaries of phone design. The device has a gorgeous 1080 x 1920 5 inch super AMOLED display, the same exact display found in the Samsung Galaxy S 4. This device is truly a design departure for Blu, with a CNC cut design and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on front and back the VIVO IV is by far the most premium feeling device from Blu Products as of yet.

With a 1.7 Ghz octa-core processor, this device should be the number one-pick your anyone with heavy multi-tasking needs.

VIVO IV Design

Aside from being only 5.5 mm thick, notable things about this device include the volume and power keys both on the left side, a reverse from the norm, the 3.5 mm headphone jack is on the bottom offset to the right, while the micro USB charging port is slightly left of center on the top. The 13 megapixel camera sensor protrudes about a half millimeter from the top left corner when looking at the rear of the VIVO IV and the lone speaker flanks the “16 GB” badge below the Blu symbol at the lower portion of the back Gorilla Glass panel.

The three capacative buttons only illuminate when you touch one, left to right they are; menu, home, and back. Like other popular devices the buttons are completely invisible when they aren’t illuminated and Blu has taken notes from custom ROMs and included an option in the display settings to turn off the button lights labeled “Close button lights.”

VIVO IV thin

VIVO IV Software

The VIVO IV runs Android version 4.2.2 and has the same UI as the Life Pure series with the “NAVI Launcher.” No app drawer and no widgets limit this stock launcher quite a bit, but they’re shooting for more of an iPhone-like user experience. The recent app menu, accessed by long-pressing the home button, is a horizontal layout, but as that style is a function of the launcher, it switches back to the stock Android style when you install third-party launchers.

The quick settings in the notification shade are editable and abundant. There is also a built-in option which will automatically populate the notification shade with the quick-settings if it is pulled when there are no notifications.

The lock-screen on the VIVO IV is also similar to that on the Life Pure series. Sliding right on the lock screen shows the only widget available with a quick camera, voice recorder, torch, and my personal favorite, the fake call button which will provide you a quick way out of an uncomfortable situation. The lock-screen must be pulled upwards to unlock and shows an aesthetically pleasing animation wherein your prior app follows the lock-screen up to take its place.

VIVO IV unboxed

Final Thoughts

The Blu VIVO IV is such an advanced feeling device, it is so wonderfully thin and sleek. What I like most about this device, is what it means for Blu. Having a device of this kind of quality come from this company is huge. I want to see more devices of this quality come from Blu as I think it would mean a huge jump in their business. We don’t have any official info on pricing as of yet, but that will be the deciding factor on whether this device is a success. I’m hoping for a sub $300 price tag. If so, I know a lot of people would line up to get one.

Website: Blu VIVO IV

The post First look at the Blu VIVO IV appeared first on AndroidGuys.

1
Jun
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Apple Giving $25 App Store Gift Certificates to WWDC Attendees


Apple’s 2014 WWDC kicks off tomorrow with a Keynote at 10am Pacific. Today, attendees are registering for the conference and receiving their usual WWDC badges and WWDC jackets, but Apple also included a $25 App Store gift card.

The gift card is in celebration of “25 years and coding”, as noted by @HarrisonW1998:

wwdc

Apple is offering a live video stream of the Keynote on Monday. We’ll have live text and photo updates here on MacRumors, as well as live Twitter updates at MacRumorsLive.



1
Jun
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IRL: Trading in Fujifilm’s X-E1 camera for the X-E2


IRL: Trading in Fujifilm's X-E1 camera for the X-E2

A quick look at my Engadget profile can confirm I’ve owned too many cameras over the years. For the most part, they’ve been unassuming tools that have helped me make a living. Fujifilm’s recent X-Trans cameras, however, have been something more — they’ve been conversation starters. From random passersby to billionaire CEOs, folks have often commented on the aesthetics and image quality of my previous X-100 and X-E1 models. Now that the X-E2 is here ($999 for the body), I expect that trend to continue.

To be fair, I found precious little to be wrong or lacking in the 16-megapixel X-E1. It was a compact mirrorless camera with fantastic image quality and eye-catching retro looks — so much so that it’s garnered a bit of a nickname as the “sexy one.” The few aspects I found wanting, like sluggish write times and fairly slow autofocus speeds, appear to have been handily fixed in this updated version. And really, the X-E2 is more of an update than a brand-new model; other than an improved LCD and some button rearranging, the exterior is nearly identical to the X-E1.

Most of the changes are on the inside, including an upgraded autofocus system that uses both contrast- and phase-detection AF (its predecessor used contrast AF only). The result is noticeably faster and more accurate autofocus, especially on lenses like the XF 35mm f/1.4, which tended to hunt for focus more often on the X-E1. While Fujifilm’s claims of having the “world’s fastest AF speed” are more marketing speak than anything else, the improvement in both speed and accuracy are certainly welcome. Write speeds are thankfully better as well.

Image quality remains a strong suit of the X-Trans sensor line and I have no reservations about taking photos at up to 6400 ISO. The lack of a low-pass filter, not to mention the strong lens lineup, allows for clean and sharp images throughout the native ISO range, though I would only use the optional, boosted 25,600 ISO option as a last resort.

As for the minor exterior changes, the 3-inch LCD has been bumped up to a 720 x 480 resolution (or roughly 1 million dots, as camera companies like to say). Exposure and focus lock can now be handled by separate buttons, a feature I loved on Nikon and Canon DSLRs. Unfortunately, the handy “Q” quick-settings button has been moved more toward the top-center of the body, which feels less convenient when you’re used to the X-E1′s placement.

Overall, the Fujifilm X-E2 fixes what few things I disliked about its predecessor, and for that, it’s a winner. Owners of the X-E1 will have to weigh the $999 body-only upgrade carefully to make sure those improvements are indeed worth the price. For those considering their first foray into the world of Fuji’s retro X-Trans gear, the X-E2 (or the companion X-T1) is the perfect place to start. It takes what made the X-E1 the “sexy one” and makes it, well, sexier. Which begs the question: Why isn’t it just called the “X-ER”?

Filed under: Cameras

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1
Jun
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Google wants you to (safely) search the web while driving


as seen on tv

While phones like the Moto X let you issue voice commands without touching the device, they’re still not ideal for driving; if you search for something on the web, you’ll still have to take your eyes off the road to see the results. That could change in the near future, Android Police claims. Google is reportedly testing a new Android feature, nicknamed KITT, that would help you focus on your driving even as you scour the internet. When you’re in a situation where you can’t pay much attention to your phone, an always-on voice command system would walk you through every step of performing common tasks, whether you’re searching the web or sending a text message. It would also read back more information than you get today — a weather result would speak back the entire Google search card, rather than just the basic forecast.

The apparent scoop also shows more of how previously rumored voice elements would work. For the most part, you’d need to stay plugged in (to a car’s 12-volt socket, for instance) to use touch-free commands; you’d also have to use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone when the handset is locked. However, you could wave your hand over the device to wake it up, and you’d only have to go to Google Now to get started. Provided the leak is accurate in the first place, there’s no certainty that Google will launch KITT at its I/O conference this month — or any time soon, for that matter. Still, it raises the possibility that you’ll get to use more of your phone’s features in the car without putting people at risk.

[Image credit: Robert Couse-Baker, Flickr]

Filed under: Cellphones, Transportation, Mobile, Google

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Source: Android Police

1
Jun
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Get the Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 16GB bundle for just $249


BT-slate-lg-01._V336576883_

If you are looking for a great deal on a Fire TV and a Kindle Fire HDX, a nice bundle may have just fallen onto your lap (well, onto your laptop). For a limited time, Amazon is offering the Amazon Fire TV and the Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 16GB as a bundle with a savings of 79 bucks!

 

Alone, these devices can hold their own in their respective markets. Being purchased together gives you 2 products that Amazon created to work seamlessly together.

 

Features that make this bundle a no-brainer include:

  • Fling media like TV shows, photos or movies from the Kindle Fire HDX to the Fire TV so that you can view them in all their glory on your HDTV. Use the Kindle Fire as a remote to control playback or do something else like view a document or play a game.
  • Use the Fire TV as a way to mirror your Kindle Fire onto your TV
  • With the X-Ray feature, research characters in the movie you’re watching or view trivia about the actors or movie.
  • The Fire TV is the only device in it’s category to feature console quality gameplay (controller sold separately).

 

All in all, this is the best deal I’ve seen for a bundle such as this.  Like I said, this is a limited time offer so act now and be enjoying yourself as soon as Tuesday.

Get the deal here – Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 16GB bundle

The post Get the Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 16GB bundle for just $249 appeared first on AndroidGuys.

1
Jun
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Microsoft and ESPN make vital World Cup info pretty to look at


With the 2014 FIFA World Cup just around the corner, Microsoft is now the latest brand to show how it plans to get in on the tournament’s hype. Through a partnership between its Internet Explorer team and ESPN, both parties have teamed up to launch ESPN FC World Cup Essentials. By combining 3D graphics and detailed information pages, this new site aims to do more than just keep you well informed — it wants to do so in a beautiful and very interactive way. World Cup Essentials, which is part of the recent redesign to ESPN FC, will let you easily browse news and scores coming out of Brazil, and narrow them down by team or specific match. To complement this, there are visuals that make the experience a little more enjoyable; swiping from country to country under “Teams” instantly brings up artwork for key players, among other things.

What’s more, you can peruse notable headlines and other interesting details from past World Cups, going all the way back to the very first one in Uruguay (1930). While Microsoft says the website is “perfect for touch on Internet Explorer 11,” ESPN FC World Cup Essentials works with pretty much any browser, both on desktop and mobile devices.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Internet, Software, HD, Microsoft

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Source: ESPN FC

1
Jun
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HP’s back-to-school lineup includes lots of convertibles (and Beats products, too)


This week is Computex, a huge computer show happening in Taiwan, which means lots of PC makers will be unveiling their back-to-school lineups, if they haven’t already. HP, for instance, just unveiled a boatload of PCs, including budget and mid-range laptops, a handful of convertibles, and even some Beats products — the first we’ve seen from HP since the Apple deal was announced. Rather than inundate you with specs, we’ve got a neat summary laid out below. We promise to make sense of it all — even if HP does have a penchant for similar-sounding product names.

  • Pavilion x360. Confusing product names? May we present Exhibit A: HP just announced a laptop called the Pavilion x360, even though it already sells something with the same name. The original x360 is a cheap, 11-inch machine with a screen that folds all the way back into tablet mode, à la Lenovo’s Yoga line. This new model has a similar design, except it rocks a larger 13.3-inch screen and is more powerful. Whereas the 11-inch version makes do with an Intel Bay Trail processor, the 13-incher starts with AMD A6/A8/A10 chips, going all the way up to Intel Core i3 and i5 CPUs. It also has up to 1TB of storage, not 500GB, with battery life rated between 6.25 and 8.25 hours, depending on whether you go with AMD or Intel (the 11-inch x360 tops out at 4.5 hours). Look for it in July, starting at $600.
  • Envy x360. It’s a similar story with the Envy x360, except it has a bigger 15.6-inch screen, and also belongs to HP’s mid-range Envy line, which means the design will be nicer than what you find in the Pavilion range. As a higher-end machine, it also offers higher-end specs, including a range of Core i3 to Core i7 processors and up to 1TB of storage, with the option of a hybrid hard drive for faster boot-ups. This one starts at $680.
  • Split x2. Also known as the Pavilion x2 outside the US, the Split x2 is a refresh of an earlier HP Split x2, which came out last year. Like the original, this is a 13.3-inch Windows tablet with a keyboard dock that packs a spare battery. Whereas the original was only offered with Core i3 and i5 processors, though, this new one will also be available with Bay Trail CPUs, allowing HP to sell it at a lower price ($600 and up). Another tradeoff: the new edition has a 500GB spinning hard drive in the tablet, whereas the old one had SSDs inside the slate and an optional HDD inside the dock. In that case, we don’t performance to be quite as fast.
  • HP All-in-One PC Beats. You’re going to have to pry the Beats-branded PCs out of HP’s cold, dead hands. The company has said it plans to release products with Beats through the end of 2015, presumably even after the Apple acquisition closes, and indeed, it appears the company is wasting no time. The Envy All-in-One Beats is, uh, exactly what it sounds like: a 23-inch all-in-one desktop whose very being centers around the Beats brand. (Which is to say, it’s very red, and comes armed with both four speakers and four subwoofers.) Design and audio quality aside, the system also has a hinge allowing it to tilt to a 60-degree angle. On the spec front, you’re looking at Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. Expect it to start at $999.
  • Envy notebooks. HP’s mid-range “Envy” laptops come in three sizes (14, 15.6 and 17.3 inches), each with a metal-accented design and an extra-wide trackpad with “touch zones” on the end to help with Windows 8 gestures. (N.B.: Most modern touchpads handle Windows 8 swipes just fine.) Across the board, these come with touch or non-touch screens, Core i5 and i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage, with hybrid hard drives offered on the 14- and 17-inch models. Expect the 14, 15- and 17-inch versions to start at $599, $749 and $699, respectively.
  • Pavilion notebooks. It’s all about the color, folks. HP’s budget notebooks (available in 14-, 15- and 17-inch sizes) have a polycarbonate shell with colors like silver, red, blue, white and purple. They also have Beats Audio, which isn’t exactly surprising to us, though HP is making a big deal out of the fact that it’s included even on lower-end notebooks. Speaking of, though this is technically HP’s lower-tier range, you’ll still have lots of flexibility when it comes to configurations; each starts with an AMD E2 chip, moving up to AMD’s A4/A6/A8/A10 APUs and culminating with Intel’s Core i3, i5 and i7 series. Other specs include up to 12GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage — again, not bad for a so-called low-end machine. Look for the 14- and 15-inch models to start at $429, while the 17-incher is slated to sell for $449.

Filed under: Desktops, Laptops, HP

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1
Jun
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HP hedges its bets, unveils a 14-inch laptop running Android


HP hedges its bets, unveils a 14-inch laptop running Android

If you thought this year’s Computex show would be dominated entirely by Windows machines, you’re in for a little twist. HP has just revealed the SlateBook, that 14-inch Android laptop we saw in a leaked video earlier this year. In addition, HP refreshed its 11-inch Chromebook with a slightly better batter, and dropped the price from $279 to $249. And that’s not even counting all the Windows systems the company just launched. Some might call this strategy “throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks”; HP would probably just say it’s hedging its bets. Either way, we’ve got the skinny — but we’ll leave it to you to decide which operating system makes the most sense.

The SlateBook isn’t the first Android clamshell we’ve seen. Normally, though, once we get this far up in screen size, we expect a machine to be running Windows or OS X. You know, a “real” desktop OS. Heck, we’ve even seen Android running on various all-in-ones. But Android on a laptop? Especially one this large? That’s a horse of a different color.

What’s interesting is that with these specs (an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, a 1080p touchscreen and a nine-hour battery), the 3.7-pound SlateBook is poised to compete against Chrome OS devices, including HP’s own Chromebook 14, which costs a hundred dollars less. In particular, it matches up well against Samsung’s new Chromebook 2, which also has a full HD screen and long battery life, and which costs the same as the SlateBook.

The difference, of course, comes down to which operating system functions better on a laptop. At first blush, it would seem Chrome OS is more mouse-and-keyboard friendly, but that Android has a much wider selection of apps, meaning you might be able to do more with it. The SlateBook will be available August 6th, starting at $399, at which point we’d love to get one in to review so that we can live with an Android laptop and see what it’s like. Until, then, though, it would appear this is your shopping dilemma, if you choose to go with either OS at all.

Filed under: Laptops, Mobile, Google, HP

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1
Jun
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Download booster and Kids mode reach T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3


samsung kids mode____

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile USA’s got its Android KitKat update back in March. This time around it’s getting an additional update carrying some of Samsung Galaxy S5′s features.

N900TUVUDNE6 is the software version of this update. Download booster and Kids mode are the features that are coming with this update. Download booster will allow you to use wi-fi and 3G/4G at the same time in order to give you higher internet speeds, it only works for large (30+MB) files and native apps though. Kids mode on the other hand will come in handy if you have small children messing around with the device, this mode completely changes the UI look when it’s on and of course limits certain functions to make the device kid-friendly.

samsung download booster___

The update is available as we speak. Did you wait for this update to go live?

SOURCE: PhoneArena

The post Download booster and Kids mode reach T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 appeared first on AndroidGuys.

1
Jun
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Inhabitat’s Week In Green: Google’s new car, ice walls and the future of bamboo


Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

It’s 2014 and even though we can 3D print entire buildings and create jewelry from Beijing’s smog, we’re still struggling to fix our transportation system and transition away from polluting fossil fuels. It’ll be a while before flying electric cars take to the skies, but there are concepts in the works that suggest we may not be crawling through toxic traffic forever. In a major breakthrough for its self-driving car project, Google recently unveiled a pod-like vehicle it built from scratch. Creating its own car instead of modifying an existing one enabled Google to pursue some interesting design choices such as, well, the lack of a steering wheel — for a start! In an effort to make current automobiles more efficient, some experts have suggested that bamboo could soon upstage carbon fiber as the material of the future. But as we all know, the greenest car is no car at all. Worried that it might not meet its pollution reduction targets in 2015, the Chinese government announced plans to take at least 5 million old cars off the road. For those that prefer their transportation with two wheels, IKEA is branching out into the transportation arena with a brand-new electric bicycle that will feature six different driving modes and a pedal-assisted range of up to 45 miles.

If you’re living off-grid (or perhaps just camping for the weekend), keeping food and beverages at the right temperature can be a complicated task. The eCool underground cooler uses the lower temperatures of subterranean soil to make cold beer emerge from the ground like magic. This kind of gadget could save the average person a ton on refrigeration costs, but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the energy Google uses. This infographic tallies up the search giant’s energy consumption — and shows how the company’s investment in renewable energy and offsets has given it a carbon footprint of zero. Those interested in generating their own energy at home will love LIAM, a mini windmill that can be installed on any roof and produce between 300 and 2,500 kilowatts of clean electricity per year.

Of course, rooftop turbines aren’t the only way to reduce consumption of fossil fuels. Students from the Rhode Island School of Design are developing a solar-powered house that uses a futuristic Sheerfill membrane to reduce energy consumption by 90 percent. But theirs isn’t the only building using a unique exterior to operate more efficiently. Delft-based design studio DP6 drew up plans for an energy-generating building with a skin that looks like water drops. Running a little low on sunlight? Italian physicist Paolo Di Trapani recently debuted a brilliant invention that uses efficient LEDs to bring artificial daylight into windowless rooms. Sometimes innovative architecture has nothing to do with the urban fabric. Antwerp’s Badboot boat uses a transparent, inflatable cabin to shelter a rooftop bar, and Japan is moving forward with plans to build a massive ice wall to stop radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

In green technology news, a startup called New Matter has developed a charming desktop 3D printer that costs as little as $149, and it’s surprisingly elegant too. Tiny mushroom mycelium are the foundation of this adorable lamp that can be tossed in the garden compost pile when you’re done with it. This Little Architect’s Toolset inspires the designers of tomorrow (with a portion of proceeds donated to Architecture for Humanity). On the wearable technology front, this expandable dress is the perfect way to keep creeps from crowding into your personal space on the subway. And some say that even things as tiny as fingernails will someday be embedded with sensors to track activity or health, modify behavior and even put on a light show.

Filed under: Misc

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