Motorola has discounted the Moto X smartphone for U.S. customers yet again, this time as part of a back-to-school promotion. As of today, and for what we presume is a limited time, you can pick up the 16GB Moto X for $299, the 32GB for $324, and the 64GB for $374. To take advantage of… Read more »
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For a limited time Republic Wireless is throwing in a free Chromecast with the purchase of a Moto X smartphone. Starting from yesterday, July 22 and running while supplies last, anyone who picks up a white or black 16GB Moto X will get the Google HDMI media device at no cost. The Moto X retails for $299 through Republic Wireless and can be paired with a number of rate plans that start as low as $5 per month.
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At Google I/O they announced the upcoming Android L update. Inside L there were some cool new unlock abilities that would let your device bypass any pins or patterns, they called it Personal Unlocking. The device will use locations that you designate, Bluetooth devices that you connect that are authorized and even your unique voice print. There is another way to unlock your device that will by-pass those pesky pins and patterns, at least if you have a Moto X, and it is called a Digital Tattoo.
A partnership between Motorola and VivaLnk has produced a small, round RF module that can be adhered to your skin and is synced to your device. In turn, when your screen is on, you can tap it with the back of your phone and unlock the device. The little stick on is easy to stick to yourself and lasts for 5 days. It is also water-proof so you don’t have to worry about covering it up for showers, working out or swimming. The Digital Tattoos are available for purchase in a 10 pack for $9.99. Makes them just about a buck a piece.
While interesting, unique and innovative, I can’t say that I find it all that practical. Not when each one lasts about 5 days before it needs to be replaced. I certainly won’t be spending $10 every 45 days or so I can unlock my device from a sticker on my skin. I am sure there are some people out there though that might find it useful in the right situations in life, maybe while traveling or attending conferences or something where keeping your device secured is extremely important.
What are your thoughts on this little oddball piece of gadgetry?
VIVALINK website for more details and purchase.
The post Digital Tattoos to unlock your Moto X? Yeah, it is Real appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Hate unlocking your Android smartphone so much that even Face Unlock or Skip feels like too much of a hassle? Motorola just came to your rescue. The company has partnered with VivaLnk to launch the previously teased Digital Tattoo, an NFC-based skin tag that unlocks your phone (currently limited to the Moto X) with a quick tap. The tattoo can stay on your body for up to five days, and it should survive abuses like showers and sweat-laden runs. It’s a clever approach that might be appealing if you’re fed up with PIN codes and patterns, although the back-of-a-napkin math suggests that you’re paying a lot just to save a couple of seconds when checking your email. VivaLnk is asking $10 for packs of 10 tattoos, or enough to last 50 days — you’ll have to spend $80 to get through a whole year. It could be useful for those busy days when you’re constantly waking up your handset, but you might be better off rolling that money into a Moto 360 or your next big phone upgrade.
Source: Official Motorola Blog
Alleged Motorola’s Moto G 2 image and specifications leaked recently. Motorola is also expected to release a Moto X refresh this summer, dubbed Moto X+1. We have yet another Motorola rumor, but this time it has nothing to do with the Moto line.
Known leaker @evleaks shared a rather interesting sentence/leak with the world:
Upcoming Motorola devices: Abbagoochie and Valocia — both run on Snapdragon 801s (former is allegedly next handset in Droid Maxx line, with latter the next Droid Mini).
As he said, these 2 devices are expected to be Droid devices, not Moto devices. They will allegedly both run Snapdragon 801 chipsets, which is a great thing. He didn’t give us any additional information, but this could be a rather interesting if you’re living in the U.S. and are interested in the Droid line. These devices are of course expected to be a part of Verizon’s line of Droid devices.
Anyone out there still carry a “Droid”?
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The Motorola Moto G was one of the surprise standouts from the end of last year, and still stands as a monument to great value in the budget Android marketplace. We assumed that Motorola would want to ride that momentum in the budget market with a follow-up device, and sure enough, a photo of such a device has allegedly been leaked. This photo above is supposedly of this so-called Motorola Moto G2, and is accompanied by info that suggests the device will be even cheaper than the original Moto G.
And would you be getting lesser hardware for the cut in price? Absolutely not, says this leak. In fact, Motorola is apparently going to keep the brilliant 720p screen, bumping up the quadcore processor with Adreno 305 (which still sounds like a Snapdragon 400, but probably tweaked), and will allegedly also have a 8MP rear camera. Dual-SIM versions will again be available and the Moto G2 will go on sale towards the end of this year, if no early 2015. That pretty much fits in around the yearly anniversary of the Moto G, which will be a perfect time to replace the old with the new.
Would you consider a Motorola Moto G2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post The Motorola Moto G2 allegedly gets spotted, will bring even more value for even less Money appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Motorola did a great job with the Moto G smartphone. It was (and still is) an extremely capable device while being extremely affordable. That being said, Spanish website “Mellando no Android” just leaked images and specifications of an alleged Moto G refresh.
According to the website, the device will sport rather similar specifications to the first-gen Moto G (at least some of them, we don’t get a full specs list), with the exception of camera resolution. According to them the device will feature a Snapdragon 400 chip, 720p screen (320 ppi), Adreno 305 GPU and an 8MP camera. As far as the looks of the device go, this resembles an awful lot to Moto E, though it seems bigger of course. You may notice the front-firing speaker in the image above.
Take this rumor with a pinch of salt though, although the rumor is rather interesting. Do you think Motorola would do something like this?
Recently, I became the new owner of a Moto X; however, here was a giant hoop I had to get over first before I could claim it as my own. I received a beautiful 32GB white Moto X that was locked to AT&T’s network. This is all fine and dandy for a prospective AT&T customer – which I am not. Rather, I am a happy T-Mobile user and I plan to stay that way until I move to a location where T-Mobile’s service doesn’t fit my needs.
My first move was to contact Motorola. I knew it was a long shot, but if it worked, I could walk away with a functioning rootable phone. The AT&T variant of the Moto X has a long, complicated and dangerous method to achieve root. Unfortunately, that is a story for another article. The unlocked variant of the Moto X has a simple three step process to earn root. I contacted Motorola, advising I was sent the wrong phone. The conversation (understandably) didn’t end pretty for me and I might have known better. They refused to trade out the models for me, which I understand why, and kept redirecting me to AT&T telling me to get them to unlock it. I took a chance, called AT&T and told them my story hoping for a lenient representative who might help me out.
I called three times and waited on hold for about 40 minutes each time. Each of these calls, I told the representative that I had an AT&T Moto X from a friend and I wanted to use it on T-Mobile’s network. They would reply by reading off the screen a script that told me that they wouldn’t release the subsidy/unlock code unless I was a current or previous customer. After I told them that I was not and never had been an AT&T customer, they tried to redirect me to Motorola telling me that only Motorola can unlock my phone as I am not an AT&T customer. I knew that this was false and that Motorola couldn’t do anything about it, but I called Motorola anyways. As you can guess, that conversation was a flop and I didn’t get anything out of it.
Let’s try again…
I had one more trick up my sleeve. I called AT&T (from a different number this time) and told them that I was an AT&T customer. I gave them a family members’s credentials in a final desperate attempt to get this Moto X unlocked. This was met by information that the device was never used on their network so that it couldn’t be unlocked. I would have to activate it and use the device on AT&T’s network for a good while before they would release the subsidy code to me. In other words they want you to use the device with them until it is no longer worth keeping before letting me walk away with it.
Pay the piper
I gave up. Half a day was wasted and I had nothing to show for it. I ran to the XDA forums to find a solution. I found various unlock sites that would charge me anywhere from $12 to $32. I chose the cheapest service which also gave me the slowest estimated return time (1-2 weeks) but I was no longer in a hurry to get my device unlocked. Much to my surprise, I was emailed back 15 minutes later with two subsidy codes to unlock my phone! I popped in my T-Mobile SIM card and was rewarded with my first LTE phone.
I gave up an entire day of my life in a pitiful attempt to save myself $12. In essence this cost me two hours of work at minimum wage. Paying $12 up front would have also saved me 5+ hours of upsetting phone calls.
If you are on a GSM network and buy a phone that is locked to a different GSM network, it is easier to just shell out the $12 and save yourself the headache and the time. It is easier on you and it is easier on your lifespan.
My suggestion to you is to consider some of the paid options before getting to deeply involved in the process of unlocking. This is especially true if you’ve got some time to spare or are not in a big hurry.
Motorola has provided a bit of insight into the Android 4.4.4 KitKat software update and how it pertains to its line of smartphones.
This latest update includes all of the goodies of 4.4.3—such a new dialer, the ability to pause during video recording, and enhanced camera image quality—and includes enhanced security for OpenSSL.
A blog post on the hardware maker’s website tells us that the update has commenced for the Moto G in Brazil and India while the Moto E is getting the same treatment in Brazil, France, Canada, and Asia Pacific. As for the United States, the Droid Ultra is the only one thus far to see 4.4.4.
Looking ahead, Motorola will be holding a Google+ Ask Me Anything event on July 17 where product manager Mark Rose will field your questions over 30 minutes.
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Speck Design’s clientele has ranged from Apple to Samsonite to Fisher-Price in its history, and now it can add Google to the list of high-profile companies. But Google — or its Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) division, to be more specific — is no ordinary client. The group is modeled after DARPA, which divides its agency into teams, with each one given a limited time to solve a pressing issue. Nearly a year and half ago, ATAP reached out to Speck, led by industrial designers Jason Stone and Vincent Pascual, with one such task: Build a tablet like no other.
The project is known as Tango. Its goal is to create technology that lets you use mobile devices to piece together three-dimensional maps, thanks to a clever array of cameras, depth sensors and fancy algorithms. As if that isn’t enough of a challenge, Tango’s team only has two full years to make this tech a reality. Those two years will be up in less than five months.
Several early models designed by Speck to get an idea of how the tablet would look and feel.
ATAP focuses on cutting-edge projects that push technology forward at a rapid pace, and Tango is a prime example of this. Through a combination of hardware and software, the project aims to give mobile devices a sense of scale and an understanding of space and motion. You could potentially create a three-dimensional mockup of your office building or home just by walking through every room with a Tango-equipped smartphone or tablet. If the project is successful, it means you may someday use an app to hunt down hard-to-find products at the grocery store, the same way you’d locate a house using GPS. You could play Plants vs. Zombies or Portal with your living room as the backdrop, or envision how that IKEA couch would fit in front of your entertainment center. It opens up a lot of new options that, until now, haven’t been technically feasible.
Two years isn’t much time to develop bleeding-edge tech from the ground up, let alone two pieces of hardware (a smartphone and tablet) and an entire software platform; heck, even the original iPhone took over three years to blossom from a sparkle in Steve Jobs’ eye to a final product release. But what’s more impressive is the fact that Speck cranked out a tablet in 16 months. That’s similar to a standard development cycle for a regular device. But the Tango slate is nowhere near normal, and it’s not just different in its curvaceous appearance. For starters, it’s a high-end Android tablet with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage and an NVIDIA K1 chip (the first in the US and second in the world) that features desktop GPU architecture. It also has a unique design that consists of an array of cameras and sensors near the top and a couple of subtle grips on the sides. It packs 3D-mapping features previously reserved for professional equipment worth thousands of dollars, and it even looks good enough to pass as a consumer device.
Two years isn’t much time when you’re working on a first-of-its-kind product.
In case it sounds like an easy process, Stone insists it’s the complete opposite. Tango and its partners worked at a breakneck pace. The project vision was evolved daily, and the team worked with several different companies simultaneously on various aspects of the product’s development. Working on multiple things at the same time isn’t uncommon, but the vast number of parties that were involved is; Tango recruited engineers, researchers, universities and manufacturers to help mold what would eventually become the hardware and software we see today.
“It’s like they were starting to form a vision on how this thing should actually work while we were doing the industrial design in parallel,” Stone says.
Speck was hired in March 2013 to come up with a “shotgun blast” of ideas and conceptual designs, but Stone and Pascual soon realized they were in for a far bigger challenge than they’d expected. Oftentimes clients will have specific design languages or standards for their brands, but because ATAP operates as a separate entity from the rest of Google, there were no established guidelines or rules to help Speck narrow down design options.
“They didn’t tell us a lot about what they were doing [with Tango] at first,” Stone says. “They didn’t really explain about the applications or tech at that point.”
Equipped with little more than a high-level understanding of the project, Stone and Pascual crafted dozens of rough, handmade prototypes. “We’d cut out a block and lay some dimensional paper down to make sure it’s the right screen and body size,” Stone says. “We’d make around three before picking one to take to Google.” Some of the more interesting models included a flagpole-shaped option and a tablet with a transparent frame around the edge.
One of Speck’s first handmade design prototypes.
While Speck’s clients are typically armed with a strict budget, Google had no cost restraints. Price simply didn’t factor into Tango early on; to Google’s Johnny Lee and Ryan Hickman, it was essential to use the best components, such as cameras, sensors, chipsets and speakers. That became a huge challenge for the designers because blank checks mean even more options.
“Sometimes those restraints around cost can help you make decisions easier and faster,” Stone says. “You’re like, ‘Well, we can’t do this so we’ll have to do that.’”
Speck wasn’t the only company working with Tango on potential designs at first. ATAP, eager to leverage its connection with Motorola and somehow utilize its supply chain and other resources, asked Moto’s User Experience Design (UXD) group to experiment with some conceptual designs. Tango even reached out to Google’s Nexus team, which wanted to focus on making affordable devices like the Nexus 5 instead.
Speck designed several mockups detailing how Tango could be used.
Soon, Speck received more responsibility. The company was asked to put its Photoshop skills to work by drawing up visualization mockups — screenshots depicting various use cases for Tango. These mockups helped ATAP sell its vision of Tango to potential hardware partners and Google. Thanks to the project’s time constraints, immediate partner buy-in was crucial to its success. Thus, this job was given the same priority as the designer’s other tasks; it had to be done as soon as possible.
Pascual said the team came up with hundreds of use cases. For instance, virtually trying a new carpet in your house; seeing how a new pair of glasses would look before a visit to the optometrist; rendering a 3D map of what’s under your car’s hood; or calculating a route through a crowded museum.
While overwhelming, the exercise gave Speck a greater understanding of Tango’s grand vision for the user experience. Thanks to the designers’ newfound knowledge, they concluded that the slate would be more effective in landscape; users wouldn’t hold the device in portrait mode while mapping out their house or office building.
Determining the tablet’s orientation helped narrow down the design options, but Speck still had to figure out how the baseline — the term for the array of Kinect-like cameras and sensors that measures all three dimensions — would factor in. Should the user hold the device directly in front of their face? Or does it make more sense to hold the screen parallel to the ground, with the cameras pointing forward? Stone and Pascual needed to find the optimal angle, so they began working on user tests.
There was just one major problem with testing a device like this: Neither company had performed these kinds of tests before.
There was just one major problem with testing a device like this: This was new territory and there wasn’t an existing model to replicate. The designers had to formulate the tests themselves, so they worked with ATAP to determine what needed to be tested and how. Since the tablet’s industrial design wasn’t finished at the time, Speck fashioned a special prototype using plywood, a built-in digital protractor (to quickly adjust camera angles between tests) and a sample camera array.
The process of building and conducting the tests, as well as quantifying the results, began in August and lasted roughly a month. Testers numbered fewer than 100 and came from within Motorola and Google. They were given a series of five tasks, each performed at two different camera angles, chosen at random. Tests consisted of simple activities like taking photos of a few objects, snapping an image over a short wall and navigating the office by following arrows that appeared in the viewfinder. After each run, testers would rate their experience on a scale of one to five.
Stone and Pascual discovered the camera angle mattered — a lot. Testers had difficulty holding the device directly in front of their faces while avoiding obstacles. As Pascual points out, “It’s tough to navigate around the house without knocking stuff off the table or couch.” Holding it close to the user’s waist didn’t work either, because testers constantly moved their heads (and eyeballs) up and down. So it had to be somewhere in between. The solution that testers liked best: Tilt the camera so users could hold the tablet at a slight angle while walking.
Speck designers putting the final computerized touches on the Tango tablet.
After some tweaking for economics, Stone and Pascual’s next adventure was a trip to visit Tango’s supplier in Asia to iron out some finite details. They had to make a lot of trade-offs at this stage: making sure the antennas were positioned correctly, getting buttons and components locked down to precise locations, color studies to determine the best shades to use for the final product and a few other details involving fit and finish. Now, Speck’s primary task is to help support ATAP anytime the group needs them to resolve issues.
“It always feels like it’s going to be a clean handoff,” Stone says, “but it’s never as clean as you’d expect.”
With five months remaining before the project ends, Tango is now making the final preparations before shipping the tablet out to a large (though unspecified) number of developers. And although ATAP will move on to other projects, Tango will live on through the technology it created, along with a set of standards that manufacturers can use to offer a consistent experience to users. LG, for instance, has already committed to releasing one such device next year.
If Project Tango was an audition, Speck Design did well enough to make the cut. ATAP has several other unannounced projects in the works, and Stone quietly mentions that his company’s involved in at least one or two of them. “We’re working with Google on another project that’s too early to be discussed publicly,” he says, but given ATAP’s time constraints, we’ll likely hear about it sooner than we expect.
[Image credits: ATAP]