NVIDIA has inadvertently confirmed the upcoming availability of the long-rumored HTC Volantis tablet. Known also as the Nexus 9, the tablet has been the subject of many a blog post over the last few months.
According to legal documents which have since been removed, the HTC Nexus 9 is expected to debut in Q3 of 2014. Given that this is likely to mean the fiscal calendar and not the one you and I stare at on the wall, this doesn’t mean we’ll get the tablet in the next few weeks. With that said, we can look forward to seeing a Tegra K1-powered experience.
The stars are aligning for a fall release of new Nexus products with a public introduction of Android L. In addition to the Nexus 9 tablet we are also on the lookout for a Nexus 6 or Nexus X smartphone from Motorola.
Sometimes you need to just drown out the sound of the world. Enter the Audio Technica QuietPoint headphones with 90% background noise-reduction. Living in a big city, I can’t wait to put these through their paces. While Audio Technica also offers an over-the-ear option, these in-ear buds are rated 4/5 stars with over 800 positive reviews and a price point of only $38.55 (Prime eligible). What are you favorite noise-cancelling headphones?
The post Accessory of the Day: Active noise-cancelling headphones $38.55 appeared first on AndroidGuys.
You can never be too safe when it comes to your online accounts. Luckily Google has a way to make it nearly impossible for anyone to log into your account even if they have your login credentials. 2-step verification is a truly great way to keep intruders out of the picture and if you’d like to find out how to set it up… read on.
Visit this link where you’ll find all the required information about the 2-step verification and why it might be a good idea for you to set it up for your Google account.
- You’ll see a “Get Started” icon in the upper right corner, click it.
- Enter your credentials and sign in to your Google account
- You’ll see some more information and a blue “Start setup” icon on the right, click it.
- Enter your mobile phone number and choose how would you like Google to send you codes (more on this later), via SMS or by a voice call and confirm
- You’ll get a 6-digit code on your phone, enter it and click “verify”
- Next step will ask you if you trust the computer you’re doing this from, if you confirm that Google won’t ask you to enter the 6 digit code again, same thing goes for all your devices if you choose it to be so.
- The last step gives you a short description what you just did and ask you to confirm the changes one last time.
- That’s it, you’ll need to sign in again to your Google account (this goes for every device you’re using your Google account with)
Google will now require a 6-digit code when someone tries to sign in to your account and you’ll be the only one who can get it (it will be different every time) via your phone. If you mark a certain device as a “trusted device”, you won’t be required to enter the code there any more. This is a great way of doubling your security and I do recommend to every single one of you to active this feature.
There is even an official app available in the Google Play Store that can verify codes for you even if you’re in airplane mode, you can get it HERE.
The post How to set up 2-step Google account verification (step-by-step) appeared first on AndroidGuys.
LG just announced its first two curved 4K OLED TVs, perfect for high-end buyers that don’t want to compromise on contrast or resolution, and now we know when they’re going on sale in the US. The 65-inch version will start shipping next month, with a $10,000 MSRP. Rumors have put the eventual price as low as $7,000, but for now the MSRP is all that’s listed at retailers like B&H Photo and Video & Audio Center. The 77-inch model will be much more exclusive however, arriving in November at “select retailers” with a $25,000 pricetag. OLED promises higher picture quality than we’ve seen so far from LCD, although not all manufacturers are ready to switch over. LG’s WRGB tech has garnered wide praise however, and its existing model shared in a victory at the recent Value Electronics 2014 TV shootout. Hopefully the price drops on these follow an arc similar to the 55-inch 1080p version, which went from $15,000 to $3,500 in about a year.
If you haven’t entered our Back to School 2014 sweepstakes yet, do it now! In just two days, we’ll stop accepting entries to win one of 15 gadget-filled Timbuk2 bags, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve entered the raffle on each eligible post (you’ll find them at the link above). Good luck!
Filed under: Announcements
Remember that massive 105-inch Ultra HD TV LG brought to CES earlier this year? Today at the custom installer show CEDIA, LG has revealed it’s going on sale, but fitting it into your budget will be tougher than squeezing one into your house. That’s because this giant will cost $100,000 when it ships in November. Prefer mild over wild? You can get the 98-inch version (which still stretches more than 8 feet diagonally) for a mere $40,000 around the same time. For the rest of us, LG is introducing three new series of 4K TVs, with the 40-inch 40UB8000 available as the cheapest model for just $1,000.
The new TVs are all going on sale this year, and fill out several tiers, depending mostly on how big of an Ultra HD experience you’re seeking. Every one has LG’s webOS Smart TV platform with access to 4K content from services like Netflix, support for HEVC / h.265 decoding and “the latest HDMI connectivity.” Joining the 98-inch version at the high end are 84-, 79- and 65-inch models in the UB9800 tier, which cost $10,000, $8,000 and $4,500, respectively. The next step down is the UB9500 series with 65- and 55-inch versions for $3,500 and $2,500, and a 65-inch UB9200 for $3,000. The next series are the UB8500 and UB8200 lineups, with a 60-inch 8200 for $2,500, down to a 49-inch for $1,350. The real question is how useful the extra pixels are in these smaller sizes, but by the time they hit store shelves and are discounted from the MSRP, we’ll have a number of new choices at more reasonable prices than ever.
Series, Models and Suggested Prices:
- 105-inch class Model 105UC9, $99,999.99
- 98-inch class Model 98UB9800, $39,999.99
- 84-inch class Model 84UB9800, $9,999.99
- 79-inch class Model 79UB9800, $7,999.99
- 65-inch class Model 65UB9800, $4,499.99
- 65-inch class Model 65UB9500, $3,499.99
- 55-inch class Model 55UB9500, $2,499.99
- 65-inch class Model 65UB9200, $2,999.99
- 55-inch class Model 55UB8500, $1,999.99
- 49-inch class Model 49UB8500, $1,499.99
- 60-inch class Model 60UB8200, $2,499.99
- 55-inch class Model 55UB8200, $1,799.99
- 49-inch class Model 49UB8200, $1,349.99
- 40-inch class Model 40UB8000, $999.99
It’s autumn once more and that means you’re back at school. The car-load of Craigslist-sourced furniture is unpacked, you’ve already had the first (of likely many) arguments with your roommate about a spilled bowl of ramen. Not to mention, you’ve probably already been through a glut of syllabus readings and awkward around-the-room introductions. So, you have the essentials for the next two semesters covered. But, financial aid disbursements are direct-depositing their way into bank accounts everywhere right about now. You’ve already bought your books, so what’re you going to do with the rest of that “free” money? Make your dorm the envy of everyone on your floor, that’s what — and we’ve a few suggestions of kit to help do just that from sun up to sun down.
HD Voice technology isn’t particularly new — in fact, some UK operators have supported it since as far back as 2010. Very few devices were HD-capable back then, though, but lots of modern smartphones are now suitably equipped, leading other carriers to get their acts together. Today, Vodafone announced it’s joining the party, letting anyone with a supported handset make HD calls to others on the same network. HD Voice, if you weren’t aware, widens the frequency range of your call, ensuring conversations almost sound like you’re talking to someone face-to-face. Today’s launch means O2 is now the only major UK carrier not offering the feature, and it says it has no official plans to either. Given most smartphone usage is dedicated to messaging and photo apps these days, today’s launch might not excite Vodafone customers all that much. The difference in quality is noticeable though, so prepare to feel like someone’s living inside your head the first time a call connects in HD.
[Image Credit: cizake, Flickr]
Source: Vodafone Blog
I’ll be honest with you: When the first Moto X came out last year, some early apprehension soon gave way to unwavering fondness. It wasn’t because of the sheer horsepower (there wasn’t much of it) or a stunner of a screen (it was fine, at best). No, it was because the Moto X smacked of pluck. You could customize it to hell and back. It tried to improve on stock Android with software features that were actually quite useful. And the icing on the cake? It was a pure joy to hold. Motorola — a company that basically jump-started the premium Android phone movement with the Droid before getting lost in an endless loop of modest annual upgrades — seemed to have a pulse again. So here we are, one year later, and the X has finally gotten an upgrade to match the rest of the mobile big boys. Is it enough to make the new X a winner? Is Motorola really back? Read on, dear friends, and we’ll see.
I have a tendency to opine at length about industrial design, so here’s the TL;DR if you’d rather move on with your day: The new Moto X feels a thousand times better than last year’s model, and is easily the most comfortable phone current-gen smartphone I’ve picked up yet. As far as I’m concerned, the previous owner of that title was HTC’s One M8, but there are a few factors in play that make the X even more pleasant to grip.
First and foremost, Motorola’s curvaceous design language is back — the Moto X’s backplate swoops a bit more dramatically than its ancestor because of the bigger 5.2-inch, 1080p AMOLED screen up front, and the end result is a phone that feels remarkably natural in the hand despite its size. It’s thinner than you might think, too. Seriously, the thickest part of the hump (near the headphone jack, the 13-megapixel camera/dual-LED flash combo and the trademark Motorola dimple) comes in at just under 10mm thick, but the case tapers down to create some startlingly skinny edges — think 3.8mm. It’s a hair shorter and a hair wider than the M8, which means it fills my admittedly meaty hands better, though your mileage will, of course, vary there.
While we’re talking about hand-feel, Motorola ditched the all-plastic trim from the original X in favor of an aluminum band (which also acts as the antenna) that runs around the edges of the phone. You wouldn’t think that so little metal would have such an impact on what it’s like to hold the phone, but it does — it imparts the X with a denser, more premium feel, and combined with the weight of the screen, it means you’ve got a phone that’s reliably hefty, but not heavy, per se. The sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protecting the display is curved at the edges too, and while that may seem like a minor design decision, it helps the X feel like it’s been seamlessly put together. There have been times when I’ve had the X in my pocket and I’d find myself absently fingering those smooth edges. It’s the little things that matter, folks.
Our review unit pairs a white face with a bamboo rear cover, and the rest of the phone’s design is an exercise in subtlety — its face is devoid of extra flourishes except for the 2MP front-facing camera and the four IR sensors dotting it (they’re nigh-invisible on the black version). You’ll find the sleep/wake button and volume rocker on the right while the micro-USB port is centered on the phone’s bottom edge. Like a slew of other flagships, the Moto X includes Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 2.0 tech and Motorola says its forthcoming Turbo Charger will get you eight hours of additional battery life on a 15-minute charge. Feeling impatient? There are a handful of chargers that should do the trick right now. The thing to remember is that it’s a Moto X — it’ll only ever be as subtle as you want it to be. Hate white? Think wood sucks? You’re in luck: Moto Maker is just as robust as ever, so you’ve got no shortage of color and finish options (including Chicago-sourced leather, for you exceedingly fancy types) with which you can cobble together a Frankenphone of your very own.
And then there’s the stuff you can’t see at all, namely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset tucked away in that curved chassis. We’ll dig into the horsepower a little later — just know that thanks to the quad-core 2.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU, the new Moto X will easily handle everything you throw at it. You’ll be able to snag either a 16GB or a 32GB model later this month, but you should probably splurge on the latter since there’s still no microSD card slot (sigh). Motorola also saw fit to trick the thing out with a non-removable 2,300mAh battery, which has been enough to get me through at least a full day (more on that later).
Display and sound
After being stuck with a 720p display on last year’s X, I wasn’t too hopeful that Motorola was capable of wowing this time around. I was wrong: The new and improved X’s 5.2-inch AMOLED is one of the nicest smartphone screens I’ve seen in a while. Deep blacks and crisp whites? Check. Vivid colors that don’t skew toward the eye-melting end of the spectrum? Double check. More-than-adequate screen brightness for outdoor use? You know where I’m going with this. Even the viewing angles are excellent — I was able to glean most of what was going on in Paprika with my face nearly perpendicular to the screen. My only real complaint (and it’s a pretty minor one) is that the glass covering the screen refracts light when you hold it at certain angles, so you have to re-orient the phone to avoid that funky rainbow effect.
Most phone makers don’t spend nearly as much time agonizing over speakers as they do screens, but Motorola did surprisingly well here too. The X sports just one speaker that lives up front right under the display, and it’s much crisper and louder than I expected. Who knows? That might be a side effect of being disappointed by phone speakers for so long. And while we’re definitely not reaching BoomSound quality, I also rarely felt I was missing out on anything. Still, it sort of smarts that Motorola snuck not one, but two speakers onto the face of the new (and less expensive) Moto G. Sure, compromises have to be made when you’re trying to figure out how to squeeze lots of components into a tiny, curvy shell, but here’s hoping Motorola cracks the code in time for the next-gen model.
Android purists could really go either way on the Moto X: On one hand, it runs an almost completely stock build of Android 4.4.4 KitKat, which means it’s devoid of any obnoxious overlays or gaudy third-party widgets. It’s very close to Android the way Google intended it. On the other hand, just wait until you see what happens when carriers get ahold of this thing. Our demo model is tied to AT&T and so there’s the usual spate of bloatware apps — 12 to be precise, from the mildly useful (Ready2Go service isn’t bad for first-time smartphone users) to the truly pointless (does anyone really use AT&T Navigator or Yellow Pages?). Thankfully, while you can’t uninstall most of them, you can at least disable them. AT&T is actually known for having a lighter touch when it comes to carrier customizations, so I’m awfully curious (and a little worried) to see what the X looks like if/when carriers like Verizon and Sprint sink their claws into it.
In fairness, those carrier-mandated apps aren’t the only things that have been added to an otherwise pristine Android device. Motorola carried over the contextual smarts (both in the form of apps and a bit of specialized hardware) that made the original Moto X so great in spite of its shortcomings, albeit with a bit of rebranding. The first noteworthy trick — Moto Display — lets you see your notifications at a glance, and jump straight into the related app by swiping an icon on the dark lockscreen. The nifty part is what’s going on with the display itself: Since it’s an AMOLED screen, the X can fire up only the pixels that comprise the time and notification icons so it’s not burning battery life every time you wave at it.
Moto Actions is second, and it involves that small constellation of IR sensors on the X’s face. A quick wave of the hand over the screen (the range seems to top out at about 10 inches) will silence an incoming call, or coax a sleeping screen into telling you what time it is and displaying your notifications. I still wish I could unlock the thing by waving my hand in front of it, Jedi-mind-trick-style, but alas. Constantly gesturing at your phone may seem a little obtuse (not to mention funny looking), but it isn’t long before it becomes second nature.
Let’s be real, though: The star of the show is the X’s ability to quietly listen for your voice commands, even when the screen is off. It used to be that you had to utter, “OK, Google,” to get your phone to pay attention, but now you can define your own command phrase. I’m a fan of keeping things casual, so after a bit of trial and error (you’ll be nagged during the setup process if your magic words don’t have enough syllables). I settled on the jocular “Hey Moto, you there?” From there, you can ask the Moto X to set alarms for you, set up reminders and post inane statuses to Facebook or WhatsApp, in addition to searching Google with your voice.
If you’ve played with Google Now before, you know what sort of accuracy to expect (it’s quite good), but my favorite use for Moto Voice is fairly mundane. You see, in the week that I’ve been testing the X, I’ve used my voice prompt nearly a dozen times just to help me find the phone when it’s nestled deep in a bag, or hiding under a pile of clothes. Lo and behold, the screen almost always sprung to life and an audio cue helped me figure out where it was. There were a handful of occasions when background noise obscured my voice or I wasn’t emphasizing the right words, but the X heeded my commands on the first try about 90 percent of the time. Not a bad hit rate, all things considered.
Each feature on its own is neat enough, but when combined, they help make the Moto X feel like more than just a lump of metal and silicon sitting on your desk. At the risk of anthropomorphizing a gadget, calling out for the Moto X and seeing it tackle my tasks sometimes made it seem like an honest-to-goodness assistant… and not one I have to hold down a button to chat with. Sorry, Siri.
So far, Motorola has a done a fine job of fixing what it didn’t nail with the original Moto X, but the camera experience on this year’s model still isn’t as consistently good as I’d hoped. The new X hosts a 13-megapixel camera (up from the 10-megapixel ClearPixel sensor we got last year) surrounded by a dual-LED ring flash, and when the sun’s out or you’re in a nicely lit room, your shots’ll feature punchy colors and plenty of detail — especially if you’ve got HDR mode on. Expect to see quite a bit of grain in all but the best-lit conditions, though, and waiting for the camera to focus properly can be an exercise in frustration sometimes. I’ve found it’s best to enable the manual focus and exposure controls so you can just take matters into your own hands. In the event that you need to fire up the flash to throw around some more photons, you’ll notice that the ring around the LEDs smooths out the otherwise harsh light, but it isn’t staggeringly better than other flashes I’ve seen on modern smartphones.
On the plus side, videos shot in 1080p are generally colorful and well-exposed, and the X lets you shoot in 4K (though you’ll have to offload the files onto something with a compatible display to get the full effect). The uber-simple camera interface is still a pleasure to putz around with, too. Instead of giving the camera app a discrete shutter button, you can tap anywhere on the screen to snap a photo (which can be a little odd if you’re used to interfaces where you tap to focus). Holding your finger down on the screen kicks off burst mode, taking photos at a machine gun pace until you release your hold on the screen. You can dig into HDR, flash, Quick Capture, slow-motion video and panorama settings from a menu that slides out from the left side of the screen, but anyone looking for really extensive camera controls might get frustrated by the app’s lack of depth.
Fan as I am of the occasional selfie, the X’s front-facing camera is awfully disappointing. It’s not so much the quality of the photos it captured that bothered me — though they’re generally full of noise and not worth writing home about. What really killed me was the latency between moving the phone to frame a shot and seeing that movement reflected on the screen; the camera always feels like it’s a half-step behind where it should be, and the amount of blur that comes into play while you’re angling the phone around is really obnoxious.
Performance and battery life
Last year’s Moto X might’ve been Motorola’s flagship, but it lacked the sheer oomph many of its rivals did thanks to its curious chipset (a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro plus some additional contextual modules, remember?). That isn’t the case this time. In terms of raw performance, there isn’t a great difference between the Moto X and most other top-tier smartphones. That really shouldn’t be a surprise: After all, the Moto X shares the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset as heavyweights like the Galaxy S5 and the One M8.
You can peep our benchmark tests below if you’re the numerical sort, but what this all boils down to is that the new Moto X simply screams. There’s very little you can do to stymie those formidable guts (though all the silicon in the world might not be enough to make Facebook for Android feel smooth). Swiping through web pages is fluid, as is trying to take those tricky corners in Asphalt 8, and apps launch in a jiffy. The point is, don’t fret: The Moto X won’t leave you wanting for horsepower.
|Moto X (2014)||HTC One (M8)||LG G3|
|3DMark IS Unlimited||19,568||20,612||16,662|
|SunSpider 1.0.2 (ms)||787||782||918|
|GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan Offscreen (fps)||11.9||11.2||N/A|
|SunSpider: Lower scores are better; results compiled on Chrome. HTC One benchmarked on Android 4.4.2|
Power is peachy, but we’re left with another question: How long can we use it before the X runs dry? In our standard video-rundown test (looping video with WiFi on, but not connected), the next-gen X lasted for a solid 10 hours and 34 minutes before it gave up the ghost. That’s only a few minutes longer than what we squeezed out of the Galaxy S5, but alas — it still falls about an hour short of the number the HTC One M8 put up under the same conditions. Chances are your days will be just a little more involved than that, and Motorola managed to keep its word with regard to an all-day battery — the X stuck with me for just over a day of on-and-off web browsing, texting, Kindle reading, YouTube watching, Rdio streaming and Google Maps navigating. Oh, and here’s another tidbit to keep in mind: Battery performance for some original Moto Xs tanked over time, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any long-term changes.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already discovered that the Moto X compares pretty favorably to premium phones like the One M8 and the Galaxy S5. Both of those devices cost $200 on-contract, and the 32GB Moto X probably will too (Motorola hasn’t officially confirmed the price yet). There’s really no wrong choice among the three, but their strengths are scattered. You’re better off with the One M8 if you’re a stickler for metal bodies and music — those BoomSound speakers are the best on the market. Keen on snapping plenty of photos? If you need the best camera of the bunch and don’t mind some gimmicky software, the GS5 is your pal. And if a stunning screen is your overriding concern, there’s always LG’s G3 to consider for the same price. With so much going on at the $199 level, why should you consider the X? Long story short: There’s hardly any cruft to slow it down and it pairs thoughtfully crafted hardware with a few key features that really add to the Android experience. Fan of simplicity? You’ll find plenty to like here.
And hey, if you’ve embraced the cloud and have gigabytes of empty space floating in the digital aether waiting to be filled, you might want to opt for the 16GB model since it’s only $99 on-contract. Oh, you hate service agreements? If all you’re concerned about are off-contract price tags, pay close attention to the OnePlus One. It too packs an awfully similar spec sheet, along with a much larger screen and a much cheaper sticker price — think $299, compared to the base model X’s $500. Good luck getting your hands on one any time soon, though.
Motorola’s plan with last year’s flagship seemed pretty clear: It set it to build a smarter kind of smartphone. The company mostly succeeded, but the formula just didn’t make sense for people who wanted the most oomph for their buck. One year later and it’s apparent Motorola has learned from its mistakes. This year’s Moto X still isn’t perfect — the camera is occasionally just frustrating, and its battery life is purely average compared to its rivals — but it’s the closest that Motorola has come in a very long time. Moto fanatics might lament the passing of the more compact original, but don’t worry: The new Moto X is the flagship Motorola should have made in the first place, and it’s earned itself a spot in the pantheon of smartphone greats.
Filed under: Mobile
Google promised that Android apps would eventually make their way to Chrome OS, and, well, here they are – the search giant announced that the first batch has just gone live in the Chrome Web Store. We knew that Vine and Evernote were on the short list of Android apps to make the leap, but there’s no sign of Flipboard yet. Instead, we also got startup Duolingo’s excellent language learning app and something called Sight Words, a tool to help little ones identify and recognize words (aww). Four apps may not seem like much to get worked up over, (especially since Duolingo and Evernote work just fine in a web browser) but it’s just a start. Google says it’ll work on getting more developers to use its App Runtime for Chrome “over the coming months,” so don’t go expecting a full-on Android invasion of Chrome OS any time soon.
Source: Official Chrome Blog