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14
Feb

Asus Entering the Chromebook Space According to Leaked Info


The Chromebook concept and idea is starting to catch some steam. The lightweight OS paired with fairly lightweight netbook style hardware is a big deal for a number of people who don’t need the clunkiness of Windows when on the go, but still need something that can access everything they need. I know my daughters middle school is very big on Chromebooks and have a couple hundred Acer Chromebooks throughout the campus for school work. It is pretty easy to do write ups, make presentations and more in Drive and simply share it to the teacher.

Currently in the Chromebook world we have a number of various manufacturers, HP, Acer, Samsung and even more recently Toshiba. Seems that more and more manufacturers are seeing the benefits and the growth of Chromebooks and each has their own little twist and take on how it should look, feel and run. Heck, we even know that Lenovo will be launching a Chromebook at some point in time. Up until this more recent leak, Asus hasn’t put anything out. They, of course, have the Nexus 7 along with the more recently announced Chromebox (more of a Chrome OS Set top box for your TV). With the history they have had, and the success they have had, with the various Transformers and PadFone devices, it would only seem natural that one of Google own partners would be creating a Chromebook at some point.

Asus Chromebook C200 C300The recently leaked ‘Asus NB Strategy’ image seen above seems to point to a C200 and C300 Chromebook offering. As always, it is just rumor and speculation built around an apparent leaked image of a future plan. It doesn’t mean a whole lot until Asus announces such a set of devices. However, if Asus is indeed working on a pair of Chromebooks there are a few things I would be interested in having them do. The first be to make it a hybrid style Chromebook. For instance, the Acer C720p was a touch screen. The Chrome OS supports touchscreens. Why not make a Chromebook in the style of the Transformer line with a detachable keyboard. Make it a full tablet style Chrome OS tablet/laptop.

What would you guys like to see Asus accomplish in Chromebook that the current gen models have seeming failed to do for you. Do you want a fully detachable keyboard, ultra long battery life and slot for your Nexus to dock in the back?

Via 9to5Google

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14
Feb

Is this a Galaxy S5 Render?


galaxy-s5-render

The Galaxy S5 should be showing its pretty face at the end of the month during Samsung’s Unpacked event. Now it seems the very image you see above is floating around the internet with claims that it might be a render of the Galaxy S5. Of course there is no evidence we have that it actually is, and that it  probably is just another clever Photoshop job.

What makes me not think this is the Galaxy S5, is the fact that its shape looks like the Nexus 5. If you were to just show the profiles of the two phones, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. We will let the Photoshop detectives out there take a look at this to determine if its fake or not, but let us know your thoughts about it.

Source: Move Player
Via: Phandroid

14
Feb

In-App Purchases Show Themselves on Web Based Play Store, Finally


It has taken some time for Google to get with the times and start helping people discover if the “free” app, or even paid app, they are about to get has in-app purchases or not. I know it was rather frustrating at times for me when I would install something that looked great to find out that progression would require money spent through the app.

Angry Birds Star Wars IIGoogle made in-app purchases found in apps pretty easy to identify when browsing and installing through the Play Store on your device, but until now it wasn’t something showcased on the web version of the Play Store. Now, as you can see above, there is a nice little bit of bold text that clearly and easily identifies apps that offer such a thing.

Here is where I find myself in conflicting arguments with myself over the obviousness of displaying that a game or app has in-app purchases. Take the Angry Birds Star Wars II for example. Yes, it has in-app purchases. However, the game is completely playable without spending a penny. Here is the issue that I know fight with in my twisted brain, will more people skip great games because of the in-app purchase branding and move on to a different app, or will the general populous be smart enough to read the description and the comments to find out if the in-app purchase are too extreme and make the game unplayable?

What do you guys think? Are you more apt to skip a game, no matter how many stars and how many downloads if you see that it “Offers in-app purchases”?

Via AndroidAuthority

14
Feb

T-Mobile ‘Jump’ Plan to Require Customers to Pay 50% of Device Cost Before Upgrading [iOS Blog]


T-Mobile is planning to implement some changes to its “Jump” early upgrade program, according to TmoNews. The company has plans to nix the six month waiting period and eliminate limits on how often customers can upgrade their devices, but there’s a caveat – under the new terms, customers must pay off 50% of their existing device costs before being allowed to upgrade. As with the existing program, device trade-in is also required.

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Previously, customers could upgrade their phone twice per year after a six month waiting period, without a specific number of payments made on a device. T-Mobile would then cover the cost of the remaining payments, whereas now, the company will only cover 50% of the cost as outlined by a T-Mobile representative.

Whenever you’re ready to upgrade, trade in your device and T-Mobile will pay your remaining device payments up to 50% of the device cost. There is no more waiting period or limit to the number of times you can upgrade per year.

For the entry-level 16GB iPhone 5s, a T-Mobile customer must pay either $648 or $27 a month with a $0 downpayment. Under the existing program, a customer could initially upgrade to a new phone after six months of payments, or $162. A subsequent, second yearly update could be even cheaper for the customer depending on the gap between updates.

Under the plan’s new terms, customers will only be able to upgrade their phones after paying half of the cost of the iPhone 5s, or $324, the equivalent of 12 payments. To upgrade more frequently than once a year, customers will need to shell out additional cash to reach 50% of the device cost.

T-Mobile is allowing current Jump customers to be grandfathered in to the existing plan, which means they will be able to upgrade before paying off half of the device costs.

Along with implementing some changes to the way Jump works, T-Mobile is also adding tablets to the plan.

The changes to Jump will go into effect on February 23.

    



14
Feb

GoPro’s IPO isn’t about selling cameras, it’s about creating a media empire


It was 2001, more than a decade before GoPro would announce its intentions to go public, and its CEO Nick Woodman was facing a very expensive failure. In just two years, he’d lost nearly $4 million of investors’ money, building a social gaming startup that never took off. Unfortunately for him, he’d arrived at that particular party a little too early, and by his own admission Funbug (as it was called) was “before its time.” With fingers burnt, Woodman decided to get away for a little surfing, and to figure out what he was going to do next. The answer would come during preparations for that trip. He came up with the idea for a waterproof stills camera that he could use to take close-ups of himself and his friends right in the middle of the action. The years that followed would see that humble idea spawn something of an empire.

Nearly 10 years later, and GoPro is still growing. Not only has it recently expanded into Europe, with new offices in Germany, but it also plans to make an initial public offering. So far, the company has been coy about sharing its sales figures, but Woodman has given us some hints. He told 60 Minutes that annual revenues in 2012 had reached more than $500 million; a number he claims doubled each year, and a trend he expected to continue. The question being: Can it continue by selling cameras (and accessories) alone? GoPro’s choice to follow in Twitter’s footsteps and take advantage of the JOBS Act means actual sales numbers will remain a secret for a little while longer, as it shows its books to the Securities and Exchange Commission in private. One thing we can divine, however, is that GoPro didn’t officially reach a billion dollars in revenue as predicted in 2013, as companies with revenue above that amount can’t take advantage of the JOBS Act.

For the uninitiated, Woodman (and his team) makes action cameras. The GoPro is that small silver box you often see attached to a snowboarder’s helmets, a dirt biker’s handlebars and, these days, almost anything you can imagine (even BASE-jumping fashionistas, as above). It’s even become a popular tool in the broadcast industry. GoPro’s first camera was a far cry from the current flagship product though. It was a 35mm camera that used real film. The devices that came after made the switch to digital media and incorporated video functionality. GoPros are designed to withstand all weather conditions, take knocks and blows, survive the most extreme environments (through a protective housing) and (as technology has developed) deliver increasingly high-quality video footage in a very small device. A successful formula for Woodman that hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Where there is success, competition is sure to follow, and GoPro isn’t short of competitors. There are a great many alternatives if you are looking for an action camera; everything from major players like Sony, innovative independents like Drift, older hands like Polaroid and, of course, myriad cheap imitations. What makes the GoPro success so interesting is just how dominant it is in the market despite all that competition. In fact, its brand dominance is so strong that if it hasn’t become synonymous with “action camera” already (like Kleenex or Xerox have with their respective industries), it can’t be far off.

In an interview late last year, we asked Woodman about why his firm is so far out ahead of the pack, and his answer was self-assured: “It would seem that we built a better product, that we built a better value proposition for our customers. The value proposition that we’re trying to deliver to our customers is to remove all of the pain points in capturing and sharing immersive and engaging personal content that other people actually want to watch.”

Whether it’s that simple or not, he’s also wise enough to acknowledge that GoPro has been somewhat fortuitous in the marketing department.

“It’s a snowball of consumer’s enthusiasm, and word of mouth via their viral videos,” Woodman said. “Millions of people around the world capture and share really interesting life experiences, and the result is really interesting content; that becomes a difficult thing for anybody to compete with.” As Woodman points out, the brand has had a far-reaching impact with its Facebook page and other social media channels — including those of individual GoPro owners. These not only continually promote the brand, but also help keep it in the collective consciousness like a steadily burning fire of free publicity.

A popular product, good revenue and an enthusiastic customer base don’t mean there won’t be anything on the negative pile when the traders get their calculators out this summer. Current success is one thing, but for a company to be truly investable, it needs to have a long-term future. GoPro has a massive following now, but how many of those will buy a new camera every year? Will there even be a new camera every year? Technology has a habit of catching up with itself once the initial rapid developments are made (think about how smartphones evolved between 2007 and 2010, compared to 2011 and 2013). Given that most of the competition has access to the same Ambarella chipsets (the engine room in the camera), GoPro needs to keep laser-like focus on maintaining its strong brand loyalty, and smart use of the most engaging content.

Put another way, as much as GoPro sells cameras and an ever-growing portfolio of accessories, it also sells a lifestyle. Or as Woodman explains, “It’s not awesome just because it’s brilliant hardware, or a brilliant device. It’s awesome because of what it has enabled this person to do, and how it has made them feel. Then they think about how they did this, and think, ‘God I love my GoPro.’” This part of the business — the lifestyle aspiration, further fueled by user content — is the next well to tap. As it becomes a challenge to differentiate at a hardware level, GoPro has an option not available to its competition: become a platform as well as a product.

As anyone who’s flown Virgin America recently knows, GoPro has already entered the content game with the launch of its in-flight TV channel. We learned at CES that the channel is already set to expand, thanks to a deal with Microsoft that will bring it to Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners around summer — just in time for that IPO. It’s not hard to imagine that GoPro is already exploring other distribution routes. Woodman himself knows only too well that the content opportunities are nearly endless, potentially free and ripe to be put to use. “People have so much of their footage stored on SD cards that they never share,” he said. “We could make the argument that less than 5 or 10 percent of GoPro content is actually shared.”

At the moment, GoPro curates everything on its channel — but it’s clearly aware of the large, untapped store of media out there. Not to mention the apparently tireless appetite for it (reportedly at least one video per minute is uploaded to YouTube from one of Woodman’s cameras). Red Bull, a brand that rubs shoulders with GoPro in terms of audience, has been in the media game for a long time with magazines, events, cross-platform video and more. It’s been so lucrative for the drink-maker that it’s actually developed a whole separate business — Red Bull Media House — to focus on it. Woodman’s advantage? There’s not much of a market to buy an energy drink through your browser, TV or app.

The big question today, however, is: Will all of Woodman’s hard work (and that of his team, shown above accepting an Emmy) pay off when it floats on the market this summer? You can never predict with complete accuracy, but there are certainly many things in its favor. First, and most importantly, the company is already making money, something that puts it way ahead of Twitter, which announced its IPO in September last year. Second, GoPro makes a real-world product. Facebook, that other social powerhouse, and its intangible product famously had something of a stuttered start when it went public. Lastly, it’s got all the hallmarks of a burgeoning media company, which is no panacea, but it’s certainly an area that sets the stage for ongoing expansion. If, somehow, it doesn’t work out, though, we hear there might finally be some money to be made in social gaming.

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14
Feb

Wearable tech deals of the week: 2.14.14


If you’ve been considering a wearable purchase, but are unsure about parting with the requisite funds, today’s gaggle of discounted tech may finally urge you to commit. There are activity trackers and the Galaxy Gear that’s currently marked at 50 percent off waiting on the other side of the break. With a price drop that like, you’ll want to decide quickly as the offer won’t last long.

Just window-shopping? No worries. Join us and add the gadgets you’re shopping for to your Want list; every time there’s a price cut in the future, you’ll get an email alert!

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Price: $150
Regular Price: $300
Engadget Score: 65
Buy: Best Buy

New model on the way? That could very well be the case. Best Buy has slashed the price of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear by 50 percent as its Deal of the Day, but only in select colors. While the smartwatch didn’t get much love from us during our review because it lacked compelling software and device compatibility, a $150 price drop definitely helps its case. If you’re compelled to save cash rather than wait for the latest and greatest, you may want to take another look.

Fitbit Flex

Price: $90
Regular Price: $100
Engadget Score: 87
Buy: Amazon

We’ve been smitten with the Fitbit Flex since it was unveiled last spring due to its simple design and affordable price tag that puts it at the less expensive end of the fitness-tracking spectrum. Now, the wearable gets a modest $10 discount, making it a bit more attractive. See how the Flex stacks up against Fitbit’s more recent release — the Force — using our Compare tool right here.

Jawbone Up (2012)

Price: $99
Regular Price: $129
Engadget Global Score: 78
Buy: BuyDig

Jawbone was out to redeem itself from the fiasco that surrounded the arrival of the original Up band, and it made major strides with the reworked 2012 model. One of our major gripes with the activity tracker was its $130 price, which is now seeing a $30 discount (a 90-day low). Of course, it doesn’t feature the wireless syncing from the newer Up24, but Jawbone has been diligent to update its companion app that plays nice with the older model.

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14
Feb

T-Mobile lets customers JUMP! to new devices as often as they want


Forget waiting to upgrade your phone (or tablet), T-Mobile says do it today

T-Mobile, in yet another mind-boggling awesome deal, has decided customers don’t need to wait to upgrade their devices. Forget that waiting period and twice a year stuff; if you want a new smartphone or tablet, you got it.

The carrier has confirmed with FierceWireless that it will reconfigure its “JUMP!” upgrade program effective February 23. No longer tied to handsets, the program will also include tablets. Under the old program customers were expected to wait six months or were limited to twice per year.

Whenever you’re ready to upgrade, trade in your device and T-Mobile will pay your remaining device payments up to 50% of the device cost. There is no more waiting period or limit to the number of times you can upgrade per year. – T-Mobile

What’s the fine print? Customers will need to have paid down 50 percent (or more) of the device cost before it’s eligible to trade in. T-Mobile will take your old product back and pay off the difference; you select the new one.

Reportedly, customers under the current JUMP! program will stay put until the next upgrade.

FierceWireless

The post T-Mobile lets customers JUMP! to new devices as often as they want appeared first on AndroidGuys.

14
Feb

Google offering Valentine’s Day deals on apps, games, e-books, music, movies and magazines


Looking to score some sweet savings on books, music, apps, and other Google Play stuff? Those benevolent Google Play Cupids are at it again, offering up some savings on pretty much every type of content available.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with sweet store-wide deals on apps, games, e-books, music, movies and magazines. Power up a Jelly Splash heart, get relationship tips or lose yourself in a good romance novel. If free stuff puts you in the mood, then you’ll love sending your sweetie an e-card or relaxing at home with the soulful sounds of Marvin Gaye. No matter your plans, now is the perfect time to fulfill your heart’s desires with lovely gifts from the Play Store. Won’t you be our Valentine?

In addition to a handful of freebies you’ll find plenty of discounted stuff; there’s at least two dozen titles spread out as of right now. Bejewled Blitz, Anita Baker, Ariana Grande? We’re in love. Oh, that’s probably the point.

Google Play Store

The post Google offering Valentine’s Day deals on apps, games, e-books, music, movies and magazines appeared first on AndroidGuys.

14
Feb

Aio Wireless offering ZTE Prelude smartphone for $9.99 this weekend


Prepaid carrier Aio Wireless is feeling the love this Valentine’s Day having announced a three-day promo. For this weekend only, customers can pick up a brand new Android device for less than a Hamilton. Yes, the ZTE Prelude smartphone can be yours for only $9.99. With rate plans that start as low as $40 it’s hard to resist this sort of deal, especially for those who’ve never owned an Android. No, it isn’t the most powerful device, but, seriously? TEN BUCKS!

  • Basic Plan: $40 ($35 after Auto Pay credit), unlimited voice/text/data, including 500MB of high speed
  • Smart Plan: $50 ($45 after Auto Pay credit), unlimited voice/text/data, including 2.5 GB of high speed data
  • Pro Plan: $60 ($55 after Auto Pay credit), unlimited voice/text/data, including 5 GB of high speed data

In addition to these devices, Aio also recently released the ZTE Sonata 4G for $79.99, Nokia 520 for $99.99 and the Motorola Moto G for $149.99.

The post Aio Wireless offering ZTE Prelude smartphone for $9.99 this weekend appeared first on AndroidGuys.

14
Feb

Win a free pair of Audiofly™ AF45 headphones! [Valentine’s Giveaway]


Love is in the air, do you feel it? Thanks to Audiofly, we’re here to hook you up with a giveaway aimed squarely at your love of audio. Why? Because it’s Valentine’s Day and we heart you.

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Overview

The Audiofly AF45′s are “born out of obsession, deliver clear, honest tones. Well defined mids groove with a punchy bass and blend with stunning highs that chime like a church bell”. These guys feature a built in microphone and 11mm Dynamic Driver with a 1.2m cable length. The Condura fabric cable keeps your headphones protected and you never have to worry about them getting tangled!

Giveaway Details

All we require is that you have a love for audio and live in the United States (where the giveaway product will be shipped to.) Please comment below with why you love audio. Please use the site comments (not Google+ comments) with a correct registered email address. This way we can contact you and get these headphones out as soon as possible. Shipping will go from Audiofly’s Fulfillment Center to you. Contest ends 2/15/2014 at 2:00AM EST. Terms and conditions subject to change.

Learn more about the Audiofly AF45′s. You can also follow @audiofly_ on Twitter.

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The post Win a free pair of Audiofly™ AF45 headphones! [Valentine’s Giveaway] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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