We’re huge fans of changing the home screen around a bit and creating a new user experience for our Android. So much so that we present our ongoing series of Get This Look posts. In a nutshell we show you a new layout, app, widget, or icon set for your Android handset and tell you which apps you’ll need to mimic the feel.
Some of these are a little easier to create than others and many of them can be tweaked to no end. The following details are but the ingredients to which you can create your own delicious Android dish; your results will vary. Which is awesome!
If nothing else, this is a great way to discover new apps, widgets, icons, and more!
Through Glass by Shamrock Studios
Why we love this look:
It adds more than a pinch of Google Glass designs cues to our Android experience and looks right at home regardless of the launcher. Stock Android? TouchWiz? Nova? Who cares, just download Zooper Pro and this app and you’ll have the frosted aesthetics that come with those #throughglass pictures you see everywhere.
Whether you’re looking for a new weather widget, search widget, clock, or more, this is a great bundle of templates. Bonus points awarded for putting actions on the widgets so we can launch into our apps. Oh, and for those who prefer a darker tint, check out the Through Black Glass option (pictured left).
You’ll be out the door for under $5 and these two apps can be used to create some gorgeous stuff!
Be sure to check out some of the other widgets and apps from Shamrock Studios; there’s plenty of sharp designs to suit your needs.
What you’ll need:
In past few weeks, we have heard a lot of rumors about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5. Like it will have an aluminium unibody, it will be launched in two versions and just few days ago, we heard that it will come with a PLS LCD display. But now we are hearing something else, that instead of the PLS LCD, the S5 will come with a QHD display with a resolution of 2560×1440, and it will be Samsung’s first ever smartphone with such display. However, Oppo Find 7 will be the first ever smartphone with a QHD display.
Also, the Galaxy S5 will feature a new security method known as the Iris technology – a scanner that scans user eyes as a security measure. Well, a 4GB RAM, ultra HD display, and a next-generation security technology on a smartphone? I will take that rumor with a grain of salt.
We are hearing a lot about the Galaxy S5, and the rumors will keep coming until unless the cat is out of the bag. So, what are your thoughts about the upcoming Samsung flagship? Will it be the best a Samsung smartphone can get?
Moto X with Bamboo will add an additional $100 to the cost of the phone
Motorola on Tuesday announced that the long-desired wooden back plate has arrived for the Moto X smartphone. Well, in at least one option, that is.
Available through Moto Maker immediately, the Moto X can be purchased with a Bamboo back plate. And not just a wood-colored cover – real bamboo. Indeed, there will be no two backs that look alike as the real wood design is unique every time out.
Here’s the bad news… it’s not a premium price of $50 for the wood. No, it’s a full $100 difference for this luxury. What’s more, the shipping times slip considerably when you add this option. Also, quantities will be limited and may impact delivery.
Moto X with Bamboo will not ship until after the holiday season (January). Moto Maker will provide a shipping date estimate when you order.
We’re still waiting for the other options of rosewood, teak, and ebony; no word on whether those are due soon.
As opposed to the rudimentary capabilities of the current king of wearables, Google Glass, a company called Meta is building a full-fledged augmented reality computing platform into a pair of aviator shades and a pocket computer. The platform aims to provide the kind of user experience heretofore seen only in Hollywood films — think Tony Stark using J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man. It’s been about four months since we last touched base with Meta, and at the time, we saw a prototype headset and got a demo of the company’s technology — it was a good start to be sure, but the UI was far from ready for consumer use. Since then, Meta’s been working hard to get its $667 Meta.01 developer kits ready for a promised March ship date, while also designing its first consumer set of specs set to ship in June: the $3,000 Meta Pro.
The Pro is the first pair of smart glasses that stuffs the technology needed to enable Stark-esqe computing into the form factor Meta’s founder, Meron Gribetz envisioned when he started the company — something akin to a pair of Ray Bans. And, not only do these new glasses sport more fashionable frames than the dev hardware, but Gribetz promises us that they’ll also have greater computing capabilities, too. So, when the company offered up the opportunity to learn more about the Pro and use a prototype headset in person at Meta’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, we jumped at the chance.
To see the new prototype, we drove out to Meta’s new headquarters in the tiny Portola Valley community located in the hills overlooking the western half of the Bay Area. Like any good startup, Meta’s employees eat, sleep and breathe work, and we can think of few places as picturesque in which to do so — it’s a mansion complex atop a mountain that provides stunning views of the Valley. Within the walls of that posh compound, the Meta team has been hard at work refining its core technologies, designing the Meta Pro, and manufacturing Meta.01′s for internal use.
The two bedrock technologies that set Meta apart from others in the augmented reality computing space are its surface tracking and hand tracking algorithms. These algorithms are based upon the pioneering work of Steve Mann, Meta’s chief scientist, and are essential to enabling quality holographic computing constructs that Meta wants to build. Before, the company’s surface tracking tech relied upon seeing the edges of the plane it was tracking in order to turn it into a virtual display. Now, the tech can identify and track wall and table surfaces even if the cameras in Meta’s glasses cannot see the bounds of those surfaces. The breakthrough was accomplished thanks to the incorporation of info provided by the 9-axis inertial measurement unit in the glasses. This capability is what will enable Meta users to eventually fling different computing windows onto walls and have them stick there — letting them virtually place a window, look elsewhere, and come back to find the window where they left it.
Meta’s made serious progress on its hand-tracking algorithms, too. Building off of SoftKinetic’s technology, Meta glasses now can identify user hands in any orientation and begin tracking them with almost zero wait time. The company tells us that reducing the latency is essential to providing the natural user experience it desires. It allows users to simply don the glasses and start interacting with Meta’s digital constructs without them needing to calibrate the system first.
Of course, those tracking technologies are only as good as the hardware that implements them, and the Meta Pro is the culmination of all of Meta’s work. The Pro frames were designed by Martin Hasek, an industrial designer who previously worked for Nike. And, while the renders aren’t entirely accurate — the headset will have a cabled connection to a wearable computer — they showcase Meta’s retro design aesthetic. We got to see where the hardware is currently, and while we weren’t permitted to take photos of the device (which Meta tells us cost $30,000 to build), you can see a press shot of it above. It’s a little bit bulkier than it appears in the picture, but we imagine that further engineering between now and June (when it’s supposed to ship) will tidy things up and get the final hardware closer to the renders. The prototype was connected to a laptop, so we didn’t get to see what the Pro’s waist-mounted computer will look like, either.
As for using the Pro prototype, we were impressed. We got to try a trio of programs: one that enables you to create a digital rocket engine nozzle by shaping its profile using your fingers and two others that let you interact with a virtual iPhone and buttons to turn on and off a real-world lamp. Neither program was particularly amazing in its function, but what was impressive was the user experience. Augmented reality computing is in its early days, and while the technology is rapidly improving, our previous experiences with it have been less than stellar. The UIs were rudimentary and unpolished, usually consisting of simple buttons and geometric objects, or were ports of existing touchscreen applications with limited functions. It was also difficult to gauge how far out we needed to reach to interact with digital constructs. Plus, the experiences were plagued by inconsistent hand tracking — meaning that those systems would fail to recognize gestures or let us interact with constructs even when our hands were positioned correctly. Meta’s new, limited demos gave us no such difficulties, and the programs are much more polished graphically.
You may be wondering why, exactly, the Meta Pro ($3,000) costs almost five times as much as the Meta.01 dev units ($667). Well, while both sets will be able to run Meta’s software, their hardware is not created equal. The company’s still determining the final hardware that’ll ship inside the Meta.01, but we do know that it’ll come with displays borrowed from Epson’s Moverio headset. Meanwhile, the Pro will ship with transparent displays used by military aircraft. These displays provide the wearer with much improved viewability in brightly-lit areas and a wider 40-degree field of view (compared to the Moverio’s 23-degree FOV). Meta tells us that until recently, these ultra thin, 720p displays cost over $10,000 apiece. Clearly, the price has come down, but putting such high-quality displays in the Pro accounts for a good chunk of its higher price. Additionally, the Meta.01 can only track surfaces within a range of about one meter due to its singular depth sensor, while Pro will pack dual RGB cameras that will eliminate that range limitation.
Should you choose to order up a pair of Pros, you’ll also get a pretty powerful wearable computer to run them — an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 128Gb of storage, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 powered by a 32WHr battery. Of course, you won’t get them until next summer, so our gallery of photos will have to tide you over until then.
Filed under: Wearables
Motorola promised us Moto X’s made of wood many moons ago, and the day has finally arrived. Folks who like their electronics built of more… sustainable materials can head on over to the Moto Maker website and snag an X phone constructed of bamboo. The catch? (There’s always a catch.) To indulge your wooden inclinations, it’ll cost an extra $100 dollars over the standard personalized Moto X, and there’s currently a two-week wait to get one. So, you won’t be able to put it under the tree, but if you head on over to the source, you may just have it in hand to start 2014.
Via: Droid Life
Source: Moto Maker
Taking a page from the “you always want what you can’t have” playbook, UK carrier EE will be showcasing LG’s G Flex smartphone in some of its stores starting this Friday, December 20th. Don’t expect to walk out with the curved handset; EE’s just teasing the flexible device ahead of its European launch in early 2014. Curious Brits in London, Manchester and several other cities can get some hands-on time with the G Flex, which sports a 6-inch, flexible display with a “self-healing finish.” For the full list of participating stores, head past the break.
· London – Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford E20 1EH
· London – Westfield Shopping Centre, White City W12 7GG
· London – 155/157 Oxford Street, W1D 2JH
· Kent – Bluewater Shopping Centre, DA9 9ST
· Nottingham – 16 Clumber Street, NG1 3GA· Manchester – The Trafford Centre, M17 8AP
· Brighton – 209-210 Western Road, BN1 2BA
· Cambridge – 40-41 Lions Yard, CB2 3NA
· Merry Hill – The Merryhill Centre, DY5 1QX
· Sheffield – Meadowhall Centre, S9 1EN
Here’s an interesting, if somewhat unusual, approach to helping customers: European mobile service provider O2 is rolling out a “Tweetserve” program to provide assistance to users on Twitter. Once you’ve followed @O2 and tweeted “#TweetServe” at the company, you’ll be followed back and receive a direct message with a verification code. Send that PIN to O2 via SMS, and you’re now able to DM the company with nine preset hashtags, including #charges, #minutes and #offers as well as #android, #windows or #ios (for info on software updates).
The #charges and #minutes commands, which show your current bill and remaining minutes, respectively, look to be the most helpful. If you have a more complicated query about your account — such as a billing dispute — we imagine Tweetserve isn’t going to replace a phone call to customer service. The program appears to be available to users in the UK for the time being; click the source link for more info.
MyGlass for iOS isn’t the only big news to come out of Google’s Glass camp today. Turns out, the company’s issuing a major update, dubbed XE 12, for the intelligent eyewear that not only makes the complete Glass-to-iOS bridge possible, but also bundles in a few other bells, whistles and, yes, winks.
Let’s start there, shall we? Before today, the only way to take a photo with a wink was by way of a third-party app. But now, Google’s baked that functionality directly into the Explorer Edition of Glass, making those sly creepster shots even easier. Glassware’s also getting a major boost with the addition of Hangouts, for those of you that want to send SMS, chats or even video calls from your head, and YouTube for simple Glass video uploads. Apart from that significant feature boost, the Glassware for Google Play Music now offers explorers the ability to navigate by playlists or, if they’re All Access subscribers, radio stations.
XE 12 brings some much needed security along with it, too, giving Explorers the option to set a screen lock that turns on when you take Glass off or deactivate it. And because shooting off messages with the obnoxious “Sent Through Glass” was a little too… obnoxious, Google’s cut that outgoing signature from SMS, though it’ll still be present on all outgoing emails. Know what else is getting the axe? Guest Mode. According to Google, the feature was just too much of a strain for its devs to maintain, so if you want to impress with Glass, just hand’em over freely or take Google’s advice and create a demo account.
And finally, because Google likes to be cute, you can now ask Glass for helpful caloric counts or even “How far to Brooklyn?” (the answer: No Sleep Til Brooklyn) — because everyone, even Google, loves the Beastie Boys.
Samsung has hired Tim Gudgel, a senior Apple Retail Store designer and five-year veteran of the company, reports The Information. Gudgel, who has worked for Apple since March of 2008 according to his LinkedIn page, previously worked for Novartis, and as an architect at Gehry Partners. Earlier this year, Samsung hired another former Apple Retail executive who had previously been hired away by Microsoft for its retail efforts.
Earlier this year, Samsung and Best Buy announced that the electronics maker would open 1,400 store-within-a-store concepts at Best Buy locations across the country. Apple has a number of similar dedicated “Apple Shops” inside Best Buy locations.
The Information suggests that the hire is part of a continued retail push by Samsung. The New York Times looked at the efforts of technology companies like Samsung, Microsoft and Google as they attempt to build up their own retail efforts.
Forget the floating Google showrooms. When it comes to retail, Samsung Electronics is contemplating a bigger plunge.
The South Korean company’s U.S. telecom unit recently hired a senior Apple store designer, Tim Gudgel, as it ponders a deeper investment in U.S. retail, according to two people close to the company. Mr. Gudgel specializes in store design and planning.
For comparison, Apple has more than 400 retail stores worldwide, with more than 250 located inside the United States. Microsoft currently operates 81 stores, including 31 temporary locations, though the company has not found significant success with its retail efforts.
Samsung’s hardware products are significantly more popular than the Windows-based devices that Microsoft sells at its stores, and the company could see more foot traffic and sales as a result. Currently, the vast majority of Samsung’s U.S. smartphone sales occur at the thousands of cellular carrier stores across the U.S.
Mailbox was today updated to version 1.7, adding support for additional email services like Yahoo, iCloud, me.com, and mac.com. Previously, the Mailbox app only supported Gmail.
Today we’re thrilled to announce we’ve added Mailbox support for Yahoo, iCloud, me.com, and mac.com email accounts. This is a big step for us — we get more requests for Yahoo and iCloud support than for any other feature.
Mailbox remains 100% free, and adding a Yahoo or iCloud email account is just as easy as adding a Gmail account.
Email management app Mailbox was originally introduced in February of 2013 by Orchestra, the developers behind the Orchestra to-do app. Mailbox debuted with novel features like simple touch gestures for email organization and “Snooze” functionality, allowing users to put emails out of sight until a later date.