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18
Feb

Asus Padfone Infinity Lite gets mentioned in Notice


Asus Padfone

In my humble opinion, ASUS is one of the more innovative manufacturers in the world. From the Transformer line that gave stellar battery life and doubled as a tablet and notebook, to the Padfone that wrapped up a phone into a tablet. The more recent Asus Padfone Infinity is quite the device. It consisted of a 5-inch smartphone with a 1080p display and a Qualcomm snapdragon 800 processor. Simply slide the phone the into the 10-inch tablet dock and you go to a 1920 x 1200 pixel full tablet display.

I am glad the Padfone line is constantly evolving. Now it would appear that Asus is nearing an announcement of a Padfone Infinity Lite. The mention of the Lite variety only appears in the notice with no specs or pricing. We assume a Lite version will be a smaller version of the Padfone Infinity. That is just speculation and thoughts though. Opting for the Lite name versus mini makes us wonder what they are planning. The Infinity branding is more along the lines of a flagship name. We could see the Lite version being a smaller form factor, smaller screen size accompanied by a smaller tablet size dock. Perhaps a 4.7-inch 720p device with a 7-inch 720p tablet.

Asus does have the Padfone E though, which is a 4.7-inch 720p screened phone that docks with a 10-inch 1280 x 800 pixel tablet. However, the internals only house the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400. We suppose Asus will probably make a showing of this Padfone Infinity Lite at Mobile World Congress. It would be fairly disappointing if it was just a rebranding name for the Padfone E for different markets.

All these lite, mini and compact names are getting a little bit annoying if you ask me.

Source: Lilliputing & Asus

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18
Feb

Patriot Stellar USB/microUSB 3.0 OTG Flash Drive [Review]


Patriot Stellar 6

What is it?

The Patriot Stellar is a USB thumb drive with a regular USB connection on one end and a microUSB on the other. There’s a small cap that pops off to expose the microUSB side to protect from dust, lint, etc. It comes in 16, 32, and 64GB sizes and is USB 3.0. It’s compact and has the same height and width of a USB port.

Patriot Stellar 1
Patriot Stellar 2

Mounting

I mounted the Patriot Stellar on several different Android devices around the office including an LG G2, an HTC One, and a Samsung Note 3; you’d just plug it in and any file explorer app was able to read, copy, move, delete, and rename its contents without a hitch. My Nexus 5 on the other hand (as well as other Nexus devices) requires a helper app to mount any OTG storage because it’s not supported natively, I’d recommend Stickmount by Chainfire (note that root permissions are required). If you’re not rooted, Total Commander in conjunction with its USB Stick Plugin will mount as Nexus OTG storage as well.

Patriot Stellar 4
Patriot Stellar 3

Testing

I pitted the Patriot Stellar against other external storage options, even my N5 itself. I used my N5 to create a nandroid backup in TWRP, each of which hovered around 4.7GB in size. Additionally, I tested each of the storage options’ read and write speeds with THIS free USB speed test on my work PC. (Note that the Patriot Stellar is USB 3.0 and the other storage options were USB 2.0, but I only have USB 2.0 ports on my machine, so the Stellar’s performance on a USB 3.0 would be even more Stellar.) For comparison, my N5 created a nandroid on its internal storage in 571 seconds:

  • Patriot Stellar 64 GB: nandroid created in 801 s, read = 34.3 MB/s, write = 20.9 MB/s
  • Meenova  w/ class 10, 64 GB micro SD: nandroid created in 961 s, read = 19.7 MB/s, write = 6.9 MB/s
  • USB OTG Cable with 64 GB flash drive: nandroid created in 1,020 s, read = 22.1 MB/s, write = 5.5 MB/s

As you can see regarding the tested external storage options, the Patriot Stellar won in all categories. Even compared to writing a nandroid directly to internal storage, it only took 40% longer, which is rather impressive.

The Good

  • It’s small, compact, and works as it should
  • Read/Write speed is insane
  • Three sizes available to fit your needs
  • Solid, durable, and quality construction
  • 2-year warranty
  • The price

The Bad

  • Since it’s small and detachable, it can be easily lost

Patriot Stellar 5

Final Thoughts

The Patriot Stellar is the BEST solution for those with mobile devices who need extra storage. I would argue that it’s even better than an internal SD card because a cable isn’t required to transfer files to a computer. I found the Stellar to be extremely helpful for loading new ROMs onto and saving nandroid backups to. I originally bought a Meenova microSD card reader for that same purpose, but the Stellar has replaced my Meenova. I’d recommend the Patriot Stellar to anyone with an Android device—especially those who do root and require extra space for ROMs and backups.

Patriot Stellar 7
Patriot Stellar 5
Patriot Stellar 4
Patriot Stellar 3
Patriot Stellar 2
Patriot Stellar 1
Patriot Stellar 6

If you’re interested in one of the Patriot Stellar’s many size options you have a couple of choices. You can head to the old standby, Amazon, and pick up a 16GB, 32Gb or 64GB Patriot Stellar via the links below.

The price points are pretty stellar for their sizes and what they do. As an extra special incentive to our reader though, we have a special promotion running for one month with Patriot on any one of these OTG drives. If you order through Newegg.com and use the prmo code OTG4FUN, you get an additional $5 off your purchase. The 16GB is already only $19.99, so you could grab that for just $15. That will be good from now through March 13th 2014, so you have some time.

18
Feb

Bloomberg: Samsung Galaxy S5 to feature a larger and sharper display


As we get closer to Unpacked 5 more rumors surface on the web giving out the specs of Samsung’s next Android flagship phone.

This time, an insider tipped Bloomberg that the handset will be sporting a 5.2-inch display with QHD resolution – 2560 x 1440 pixels– and a pixel density of 560ppi, which will essentially be quite dizzying if fit into a 5-inch display. The tipster also touted that the device will be unveiled along with the second generation of Samsung’s smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear.

Another source familiar with the company told the publication that the S5 might come in a more affordable price tag, since at least one wireless courier asked the group to do so.

Bloomberg also mentioned that the S5 will come with Iris technology on board. Though, that is highly unlikely since in order to implement such feature, the company will have to embed a second camera on the front – separate from the one you use for selfies— to get the job done. Then, duly to the fact that Iris requires a long range sensor, the handset will have a different structure in the inside and consequentially a new design. In addition, a third camera will size up the body of the Galaxy S5.

galaxys5-fingerprintscanner

Samsung will be announcing the device on Monday, 24th of February, 20:00 CET in Barcelona, which takes places in less than a week. Hopefully the company will shed more light onto the Iris versus fingerprint mystery as well.

We wonder what you guys think about the GS5; will it come with Iris or fingerprint technology? Sound off in the comments below.

Source: Bloomberg

18
Feb

HTC FootballFeed app updated ahead of UEFA Champions League


Ahead of tonights UEFA Championships League Knockout clash between Manchester City and Barcelona, UEFA partner HTC have updated their FootballFeed app for Android on Google Play.

The app launched last November allowing football fans with the HTC One to keep up-to-date with the European football scores in a Blinkfeed inspired layout.

The new version of HTC’s FootballFeed adds support for Estonian, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish to the support languages. There’s also a new live dashboard which will allow users to track ongoing games and check out the current scores, standings, and fixtures.

The upgraded application now features a Live Dashboard, which provides a snapshot view of data from all the games currently taking place on one, easy-to-view page – making it simple to see what’s going on at a glance. A new standings page has also been introduced especially for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League knockout stages, showing the remaining teams and fixtures, as well as up-to-date scores.

The post HTC FootballFeed app updated ahead of UEFA Champions League appeared first on AndroidGuys.

18
Feb

Get Started with Nova Launcher for Android


With all the launchers that are available in the Google Play Store, it can often be a daunting task trying to decipher the differences between them all, when really all you want to do is cover up that ugly TouchWiz skin. Here we take a look at one of the offerings called Nova Launcher and how to get it, install it, and configure it to get you up and running.

Install Nova Launcher

Obviously, the first thing we want to do is to install Nova Launcher, which is a free download from the Google Play Store.

Upon opening the app you’ll notice Nova Launcher looks a lot like stock Android – and you’d be right! No more TouchWiz for you. Bundled with the Launcher is a whole load of settings that can customize your Nova Launcher experience to exactly how you like it.

From the settings menu, you can customise the number of home screens that are available, the number of columns and rows that are contained within each homescreen (so you can fit more/less on the screen), as well as the dock and folder appearance.

settings

Some of the settings are protected and are only available in Nova Launcher Prime, which is the paid version of the Launcher. However, most functionality is available from the free version.

In addition, you can download icon packs that have been designed to work with Nova Launcher to give a different system-wide look to your device. Just head over to our icon download section to check out some of the best ones.

Nova Launcher is a fantastic way of bringing the stock look of Android back to your device without having to worry about rooting or flashing custom roms.

Some of the features include:

  • Features include:
  • Colour Themes
  • Icon Themes
  • Customisable App Drawer
  • Folder icon backgrounds
  • Widgets in Dock
  • App Drawer Groups
  • Hide Apps
  • Scrollable Dock

Nova Launcher is available for free for your phone and tablet in the Google Play Store. 

UP NEXT

Look for a follow-up post in the coming days! We’ll dive a bit deeper into the Nova Launcher settings and customize the experience.

The post Get Started with Nova Launcher for Android appeared first on AndroidGuys.

18
Feb

Google Play edition devices might not be a big seller [Guest Blog]


The smartphone market has completely revolutionized the mobile phone phenomena. These days it is understood that throughout the year we are going to have regular updates, new models, new technology – the cycle goes on and on.

Android has been at the forefront of the drastic hyper activity that has engulfed the smartphone market. Whilst Android has been a treat for tech enthusiasts, there are some unmistakable drawbacks that Google needs to fix straightaway.

At a recent meeting with some industry experts, here’s what Richard Querrey from contractphoneswithfreegifts.com had to say:

I think Google Play Edition phones are a great idea, but the strategy to sell them is flawed, not enough people know these devices are available as you can only buy them in the Play Store. I’d hazard a guess that the average Joe on the street would never look there to buy a phone. The second issue is that they are all sold off contract, most customers here in the UK won’t want to part with such large sums of cash up front and they want a pay monthly plan. If they are going to make a go of it then they need to re-evaluate. But then again maybe they don’t care, the GPe editions are there just for the sake of it rather than to skyrocket.

A Common Problem

Many Android users say that they would love to have a phone that can swiftly switch from the stock Android to the manufacturer’s software. Although there are ways to do that, but we are yet to see a simple, fast and easy way. One requires technical know-how and has to deal with all the rooting hassle to achieve this.

Devices on Google Play

Google Play Edition Devices

Apparently, Google well aware of this demand released a “solution” at the start of 2013 – or so they thought. They released two extended devices HTC One GPe and Samsung Galaxy S4 Gpe in a category called “Google Play Editions Devices”. The hidden concept behind these phones was that they could boot into skinned or stocked software – Not the best solution in the world, but at least we finally had something.

Why Google Play Edition Devices may not sell

Here are some problems due to which Google Play Edition Devices might fall short of their expectations. Firstly, the Play Edition Devices are not selling that much from the Playstore. Google want all their sales to be unified and integrated from one system. But the problem is that practically speaking many uses don’t even know that Google Play web store sells these devices directly. So Google will have to take extra burden of typical “retail sales”. So in a nutshell, getting these devices from the shelf isn’t as cost effective as Google might’ve initially thought.

The other problem is the pricing. All the Google Play Edition Devices don’t have a sales contract. This means that they are sold at their full value. And as we all know that majority of consumers particularly in US and European region like to buy devices by signing contracts of discounts and partial payments. Full price upfront is definitely going to be a problem.

Maybe a revised policy can solve these issues. Let’s hope for the best.

Author bio: Nuur Hasan is a Project Development team leader at Gloria9 Technologies. He is an Android phone geek. His other interests include sports, politics and blogging.

The post Google Play edition devices might not be a big seller [Guest Blog] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

18
Feb

Cyber Security for the Internet of Things


cyber_secEvery day, most people utilize Internet-connected devices like smartphones and mobile tablets. They may also use smart devices in their homes including Internet-connected televisions, thermostats and home security systems. In fact, connected devices can be as small as a mobile glucose monitor and as large as an Internet-connected automobile. Over the past few years, even home appliances like refrigerators have started to develop Internet functionality. For example, a homeowner can control the temperature inside of an Internet-connected smart refrigerator from any location by using a mobile app.

As a connected ecosystem, experts refer to these devices as the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Although the IoT offer many benefits, it also presents new and worrisome security risks. Between Dec. 23, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, the security firm Proofpoint discovered that attackers had used over 100,000 connected devices, from multi-media centers to TVs, from routers to refrigerators, to send around 750,000 malicious e-mails. Many security experts had theorized that IoT devices could be hacked, but Proofpoint’s analysis proved that the worst could actually happen. For this reason, security firms, device manufacturers, business owners and homeowners need to make sure that their current comprehensive cyber security and threat detection solutions providers have plans to protect their connected devices.

What Are Smart Appliances?

Electricity costs more at peak usage times of day. For example, running a dryer at 1 p.m. costs more than running a dryer at 9 p.m. because fewer people use electricity at night. With the smart grid, a utility company could control a connected appliance. For example, the utility company could delay a refrigerator’s defrost cycle until an off-peak time so that the electricity costs less. Alternatively, if a homeowner wanted to run a dryer during peak hours, a smart dryer could reduce the amount of wattage that its heating coils used to conserve power.

Smart appliances would also have the ability to learn. For instance, a break room refrigerator could track the typical times of day that an employee opens the door. After finding a pattern, the refrigerator could adjust its cooling periods to maximize energy efficiency. An oven could sense when a roast is done and could send a text message to the cook. By communicating with each other, home appliances could optimize their performance to minimize electricity costs. The possibilities for convenience and energy savings are tremendous, but smart appliances also provide a new front in cyber warfare.

Why Security Is a Problem

Smart devices are connected to the Internet. In many cases, they’re either set up incorrectly, or they utilize default passwords that attackers can easily find on public networks. In 2009, the global population was using about 2.5 billion connected devices. By 2020, Gartner predicts that the world’s population will use as many as 30 billion smart devices.

After compromising a device, attackers can set up the device to act as a botnet. A botnet is a zombie computer controlled by a hacker that can attack other computers. For example, a zombie device can bombard a website with traffic requests. Alternatively, botnets can, as they did in the Proofpoint case, send out hundreds of thousands of spam e-mails. When combined with huge numbers of zombie machines, botnets can disable major websites and critical infrastructure, like the electrical grid. Experts worry that attackers will move beyond laptops and desktop computers and focus their efforts on compromising connected devices.

Protecting the Internet of Things

Smart devices aren’t going anywhere. Just a few weeks ago, Google shelled out $3.2 billion to buy Nest, an obscure company that makes smart thermostats and smoke alarms. With big companies eyeing the IoT for big profits, security needs to make big strides to catch up with convenience.

IoT security solutions include limiting the communication ranges of smart devices. For example, smart devices within a building could communicate with each other, but they couldn’t communicate with the Internet at large. Some manufacturers encrypt the data that travels from a smart device to a smartphone app, and some stakeholders are developing software that will control access to smart devices according to job authority or other factors.

At the very least, a home or business with smart appliances needs a network security solution. Without cyber security, no one may notice the smart coffeemaker doing double duty as both an automated barista and a botnet.

18
Feb

Apple’s Unwillingness to Share User Info Said to Hinder iAd Sales


iadApple’s unwillingness to share large amounts of consumer data is hurting its iAd business, according to Madison Avenue media buyers that spoke with AdAge. The company is said to be “downright stingy” with the information it shares, too slow at developing ad products, and “too reticent to foster relationships.”

According to one executive, Apple doesn’t have official sales targets for its iAd business, nor does the company operate a large sales team as advertising is viewed as more of an “afterthought.”

Perhaps the biggest issue hindering their ad growth is that advertising is an afterthought, a blip on the balance sheet. It’s still viewed by some as immaterial and potentially detrimental to the cash cows — an ad is an impediment if it distracts a consumer from the “buy” button or mucks up a beautiful mobile app.

First introduced in 2010, Apple’s iAd has never enjoyed much success. The service was initially designed to help developers earn money on the iOS platform, but it failed to attract developer interest and thus never garnered a significant amount of revenue.

With the launch of iTunes Radio, Apple revamped its iAd program, refocusing on the new music service. Apple’s iAd team is now in charge of securing deals with major advertisers to support iTunes Radio, which is a much better money-earning opportunity for the company.

Still, advertising firms that work with Apple find it highly frustrating the company won’t share information on consumer preference with advertising partners, preventing more targeted ad campaigns. Apple has a huge amount of customer data, including addresses, geographic preferences and app and music purchases, but because Apple does not use cookie-based tracking and ad targeting, advertisers must rely on Apple to deliver ads to a desired audience.

The lack of data both companies deliver is frustrating for marketers because these notoriously opaque giants sit atop incredible troves of information about what consumers actually buy and like, as well as who they are and where they live. One person familiar with the situation exec said Apple’s refusal to share data makes it the best-looking girl at the party, forced to wear a bag over her head.

Though companies would like for Apple to share additional information, the company has still managed to score major advertising partners that are willing to take whatever they can get. When iTunes Radio debuted, it included advertisements from Macy’s, McDonald’s, Nissan, and Procter & Gamble.

Apple earned $258 million in U.S. mobile-ad revenue in 2013, an amount dwarfed by the advertising revenue taken in by companies like Google and Facebook. In 2013, Google generated $3.98 billion in mobile ad revenue, while Facebook garnered $1.53 billion, but the company will likely see growth in ad revenue as iTunes Radio gains popularity despite its unwillingness to cooperate fully with advertisers.

    



18
Feb

Do you really need a 4K smartphone screen?


See those two screens up there? Pretty soon the smartphone will have the same resolution as the much bigger panel (a 27-inch Dell U2711 monitor with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels). While the snappiest CPUs, more RAM, better cameras and other frills are a must for the latest handsets, the current marketing pièce de résistance is a higher-resolution screen. In four years, we’ve passed from a norm of 800 x 480 to 960 x 540 and up to 720p, 1080p and soon — likely on Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S5 — 2,560 x 1,440 Quad HD (QHD). That works out to a borderline-insane 500-plus pixels per inch (depending on screen size) and manufacturers aren’t stopping there. But is more resolution worth the extra expense if you can’t even see the difference? Well, it’s complicated.

Are higher pixel counts worth the manufacturing cost and effort?

The first smartphone with Quad HD, the 6-inch Vivo Xplay 3S (pictured above), has already been announced. Others that could have that pixel count, like Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and the Oppo Find 7 are rumored to be launching at Mobile World Congress next week. As a reality check, that’s the maximum supported by most 27-inch and larger pro monitors, apart from several recently announced 4K models. While such screens pack a pixel density of about 110 ppi, the Vivo Xplay 3S handset clocks in at a whopping 490 ppi, more than four times as much. Most people (according to Apple) hold their phones about 10 inches from their eyes, but sit only a touch more than twice that distance from their monitor — around 24 inches on average.

Are higher pixel counts worth the manufacturing cost and effort? In justifying the Retina display on the original iPhone 4, Apple famously said that the human eye could only resolve about 300 ppi from 10 inches. That seems to have merit considering that most glossy magazines are (effectively) printed at 300 ppi, and no one complains about the resolution of magazines. Others have said that it’s possible to distinguish pixels up to about 480 ppi or even more, but that requires closer viewing distances and perfect, youthful eyesight. Most of us fall somewhere between those extremes, depending on our age and the state of our orbs.

You might be sacrificing a lot of your smartphone’s other capabilities in exchange for pixels that are (arguably) imperceptible.

If you’re willing to allow that 480 ppi or so is the maximum resolution the best of us can see, then guess what? We’re already there, pretty much. LG’s Nexus 5 (above) for example, has 1,920 x 1,080 pixels jammed into its relatively petite 4.95-inch screen. That works out to 445 ppi, far in excess of Apple’s first Retina display and, for this editor, completely artifact-free at eight to 10 inches, even on fine fonts. You could make the case that Vivo’s much larger 6-inch phone is deserving of its 490-ppi Quad HD screen. But then again, six inches is pushing into tablet territory, and you’d probably hold such a phone farther from your eyes — Apple figures on 15 inches for an 8-inch iPad mini with Retina, for example. From that distance your eyes will resolve less (again, assuming you can even see that close), negating the need for more pixels.

At about 3.7 megapixels, a Quad HD screen has nearly twice the resolution of a 1080p model (2.1 megapixels). Those extra pixels aren’t going to push themselves around, meaning you’ll need beefier graphics if you want to keep the whole “butter” thing going. Of course, Samsung’s upcoming flagship will likely be powered by a state-of-the-art Snapdragon 805 or Exynos 6 CPU if the rumors pan out. However, with the extra resolution, you may not get a corresponding performance boost. On top of that, unless the Korean company’s pulled off some coup, battery life may be the same or worse than the current Galaxy S4. All that means you might be sacrificing a lot of your smartphone’s other capabilities in exchange for pixels that are (arguably) imperceptible.

Despite our reservations, pixel progress marches on.

Despite our reservations, pixel progress marches on. Japan Display announced 5.4- and 6.2-inch Quad HD panels; LG has at least a 5.5-inch screen incoming (above); and Qualcomm showed off a 5.1-inch 2,560 x 1,440 model. Along with Vivo’s 6-inch display, that covers a wide gamut of screen sizes, most of which are bound to show up in new models this year. And if the rumors are true about Samsung’s Galaxy S5, it’ll be QHD with a 5.2-inch screen size — that’s 560 ppi, if you’re keeping score at home.

It seems that’s not enough, because Samsung has already said that it’ll have 3,840 x 2,160 (4K) screens out by 2015 with 700 to 800 ppi, depending on screen size. Even the most ardent pixel-lovers would have to agree that’s crazy, passing the limits of human acuity and matching 110-inch 4K home theater panels pixel-for-pixel. Naturally, we want our tech dripping from the bleeding edge and we love us some 4K. But after Quad HD becomes the gold standard later this year, manufacturers should focus on more important things like battery life, user experience and design. Don’t hold your breath, though, because smartphone marketers love bigger numbers — even if, like the emperor’s clothes, you can’t actually see the extra pixels.

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18
Feb

Toy Fair has a little something for everyone; here’s how it looks on the inside


To say the least, there’s always something peculiar to be found at Toy Fair. Put simply, this place is guaranteed fun. It’s like being five years young and stepping into a Toys R Us for the first time ever — except there’s much, much more stuff here. Toy Fair 2014, hosted at the Javits Center in New York City, definitely lived up to the hype. There were more toys to see and play with than you can imagine, some of which are available now, while others are due to hit the market later this year.

Naturally, we took a stroll through the show floor and found a few neat things: TOMY’s new motion-controlled Battroborg Warriors, MOSS has a kit to help make your robot-building dreams come true and a shoulder-strapped Pikachu that shoots foam discs. Oh, and how could we forget Barbie’s pooping canine — yes, folks, that’s a thing. Of course, this is only a small taste of everything Toy Fair has to offer, but the photos and videos after the break should sum up what the experience is like.

Terrence O’Brien and Daniel Orren contributed their magic to this post.

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