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2
Jan

Review – Nokia DC-50 Portable Wireless Charging Plate


One of the primary attributes that I look for when shopping for just about any device is versatility. If I am spending my hard-earned cash, I want to get the most bang for the buck. So I am always happy to find a product that can fill multiple needs.

Enter the Nokia DC-50 portable wireless charging plate.

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2
Jan

Archos unveils the budget-friendly 50 Diamond phone, 80b Helium tablet


archos-50-diamond-yellow-3-shot

French device manufacturer Archos has just announced two new devices ahead of CES 2015. The company has been a long-time budget device supporter, and the new Archos 50 Diamond smartphone and the 80b Helium tablet are no exceptions.

The 50 Diamond is a 4G LTE-capable device that sports a 5-inch 1080p display with an impressive pixel density of 440ppi. It also boasts an Octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 16MP rear-facing camera and an 8MP front facing camera. The device also measures 8mm and weighs only 142g, and has a 2700mAh battery. It launches with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, but will likely receive Android 5.0 Lollipop sometime in the future. Archos is forecasting the device to be sold for less than $300, and the company will have the device on the show floor at CES in the coming days.

archos-helium-80b-landscape-left

Archos has also announced their new 80b Helium tablet, a 4G LTE-capable budget tablet for less than $150. Details are pretty scarce when it comes to this tablet, so we’ll have more details for you in a few days. Additionally, the company has announced their renewal of the 45b, 50b, 50c phones and 70 and 101 tablets to be offered at cheaper prices.

Stay tuned with Android Authority for more CES 2015 coverage!

Show Press Release
ARCHOS Strengthens its 4G range during CES 2015

Complete selection of 4G devices on display at CES 2015 at Sands Expo Hall A-C Booth 70437

Paris – January 2, 2015 – ARCHOS, a pioneer in Android™ devices, unveils its new 4G tablets and smartphones ranges at CES 2015. With the evolution of mobile technology and the advancements 4G offers, ARCHOS continues to innovate answering consumer demand for high performance smartphone and tablet technology with an affordable price tag

The latest offering from ARCHOS provides a range of high quality and great performance 4G smartphones and tablets starting at under $80.

ARCHOS Diamond, the best 4G smartphone ever under $200

Announced at the “Paris CES Unveiled”, the ARCHOS Diamond boasts both sleek design and 4G compatibility. The Diamond is fully loaded with an octa-core processor, 16 GB of internal storage and 2 GB of RAM, a 16 MP camera, and a 5 inch full HD IPS allowing users to fully enjoy games or movies without delays thanks to 4G speeds.

Previously dominated by entry-level handsets with basic functionality, the sub-£200 smartphones segment is now more competitive than ever, thanks to ARCHOS offering handsets with an unprecedented set of features and outstanding performance in this category.

“In 2014, consumers don’t have access to high performance handsets from traditional smartphone vendors below $500″ says Loïc Poirier, General Director of ARCHOS. “With the ARCHOS 50 Diamond, we are pushing forward the same advanced technology but we make it accessible to all consumers.”

The 80b Helium, an over-equipped 4G tablet for less than $150

Downloading an HD movie (2 GB) and watching it on your tablet, in less than 3 minutes is now possible with 4G technology!

With the resolution of the ARCHOS 80b Helium 4G, consumers can not only enjoy various multimedia content but also enjoy all the games available on Google Play Store, thanks to its 1.5GHz Quad Core processor.

A full range of 4G smartphones and tablets

ARCHOS does not stop there because the brand will also announce a full range of 4G smartphones, including the renewal of the range Helium, with 45b, 50b and 50c Helium and new tablets, the 70 and 101 Helium all offered at affordable prices.

For more information about ARCHOS and its entire selection of Connected Devices, visit us during CES 2015 at Sands Expo Hall A-C, Booth 70437 or at http://www.ARCHOS.com



2
Jan

iCloud Photos Web App Experiencing Technical Difficulties [iOS Blog]


As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple’s iCloud.com Photos app has been experiencing difficulties for the past few days, with many users reporting the icon missing from the web interface entirely and the direct link to the app also producing a “problem loading application” error. In our own testing today, performance has been spotty, with the icon missing at times but present at other times. Even when the icon is present, clicking it has sometimes generated error messages while at other times properly loading the Photos app, albeit with some delays.

icloud_photos_web_app_broken
Apple has not commented on the situation, and the company’s status page shows no issues with any iCloud web apps. As a result, the reason for the issues remains unknown.

The iCloud Photos app is part of Apple’s iCloud Photo library, which was introduced in beta alongside iOS 8.1. The service stores all iOS photos and videos and shares them across platforms. Images can be viewed using the iOS Photos app and the iCloud Photos web app, which was last updated in November with the ability to upload photos to the user’s library from the web interface. Apple is also working on an upcoming Photos app for Mac, which will replace Aperture and iPhoto.



2
Jan

Android 5.0 Lollipop landing on Galaxy S5 devices in Russia and Malaysia


Everyone wants Android 5.0 Lollipop on their device. There are options and ways to make that happen, but a lot of people are plenty happy just getting the OTA from the manufacturer/carrier and running with it. Samsung hasn’t always been the largest proponent of updates to Android OS version updates in the past, but more […]

The post Android 5.0 Lollipop landing on Galaxy S5 devices in Russia and Malaysia appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

2
Jan

Is this the HTC One M9 (Hima)?


htc-hime-1

We’ve heard a lot of talk about HTC’s next device, thought to be codenamed the HTC Hima and the successor to the HTC One M8, but very few, if any, pictures of the device have leaked.

That is until now; what is claimed to be the HTC One M9 has leaked onto the internet and boy does it look good.

HTC are said to be keeping the same rear casing as found on the HTC One M8, as well as the same front-facing speaker grille design, but with a facelift. Both the speakers and bezels have been toned down to create what can only be described as an absolutely beautiful device, if the leak is accurate.

The HTC One M9 (Hima) is said to be ahead of schedule too, with some predicting it could appear as early as CES 2015 next week.


The post Is this the HTC One M9 (Hima)? appeared first on AndroidGuys.

2
Jan

Divoom Voombox-Outdoor review


Voombox-Outdoor

We’ve got another Divoom Bluetooth speaker for you to check out here, this time a little bigger and more powerful. The Voombox-Outdoor Bluetooth speaker brings the quality sound and volume you’d expect from other Divoom speakers, but even better as this is their best available Bluetooth speaker.

BUILD

Built with a rubber and plastic exterior as well as metal speaker grills, the Voombox-Outdoor is weather resistant and can withstand rain, mud and whatever else you throw at it. I gave this speaker the same treatment as its little brother, Voombox-Ongo, with pouring a pitcher of water on it while playing music. With no surprise, this speaker completely ignored the shower it was given. As well as being sturdy and strong, the Outdoor speaker is simple and easy to use, with only four buttons on top (power, pause/play, volume-down/previous, volume-up/next). Simply turn on the speaker with the press of a button, and if your smartphone has Bluetooth on, it will automatically detect the speaker and connect. You also have four options of colors: Smart Black, Indigo Blue, Vermillion Red, and Army Green.

SOUND

I was impressed with the sound on the smaller Voombox-Ongo as it delivered quality sound and vocals with a relatively high volume for the size. I’m even more impressed with the boosted quality of the Voombox-Outdoor, as bass is even deeper, and mids sound incredible. The speaker delivers 15W of sound, and has 5 sound drivers built into it for clean highs, a good midranged punch and deep bass. The only notable flaw when playing music on highest volume was the suffering of the highs, as they were dialed down a little bit when there was bass. But this is to be expected with any Bluetooth speaker of this size.

BATTERY

Divoom claims the battery on the Voombox-Outdoor lasts around 12 hours on a charge. I’m happy to report that I literally has this speaker playing music all day long from 10:30 a.m. till 10 p.m. with a mixture of Kid Cudi Pandora radio and my Awolnation radio. I was very impressed with the 11 1/2 hours of playback.

CONCLUSION

The Voombox-Outdoor places itself in the high-quality range of Bluetooth speakers. With the combination of a weather resistant build, high quality audio and a punchy bass, Divoom is a serious contender for your business. I like a Bluetooth speaker that’s easy to use and connect with anything, and found no confusion using the Voombox speakers. The Outdoor speaker typically retails on Amazon for $99.99 on Amazon, but you can grab one for $79.99 before January 5th here.


The post Divoom Voombox-Outdoor review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

2
Jan

Sony SmartWatch 3 review: dull design, but great for runners


Sony SmartWatch 3 review: dull design, but great for runners

This here is the Sony SmartWatch 3. That might make it sound like it’s the third iteration in a line of gadgets, but really, it’s the first. That’s because even though this is Sony’s third smartwatch (fourth if you count the Sony Ericsson LiveView), it’s actually Sony’s first that comes with Android Wear. Both the original SmartWatch and the SmartWatch 2 ran Sony’s own proprietary platform, which, while Android-friendly, didn’t have nearly the same reach as Google’s Android Wear. It’s great that Sony has finally seen the light, but the SmartWatch 3 has arrived remarkably late to the party, letting rivals like Motorola, LG and Samsung gain ground. On the other hand, the SmartWatch 3 is currently the only Android Wear option with a built-in GPS radio, allowing for more precise workout tracking. Which, as it turns out, could be enough to help Sony stand apart from the pack.

Hardware

While some Android Wear watches like the Moto 360 and the ASUS ZenWatch make attempts at being stylish, Sony’s SmartWatch 3 seems to have given up that notion entirely. Its square watch face, in combination with a rubber strap, definitely gives it more of a sporty, utilitarian look than a fashionable one. Worse still, the band that encapsulates the watch makes the 1.6-inch display seem larger than it is. Indeed, while the bezel surrounding the screen is relatively small, it appears so much thicker when worn in the strap, giving it an unfortunately chunky appearance.

Yet, the fit is not altogether uncomfortable. The flexible strap is coated in what feels like a soft-touch velveteen material, and the weight of the core watch unit is only 45 grams (with the strap, it’s about 74 grams). It’s relatively easy to take on and off thanks to a simple metal clasp, which you can adjust to fit the size of your wrist. The watch might jostle around a bit when you’re running, but on the whole I found it pleasant enough to wear on a daily basis.

The SmartWatch 3’s wrist strap comes in a few different colors: white, black, pink and green. To swap them out, simply push the watch unit out of its rubber enclosure; it should pop out without much effort. That’s easy enough, but this does mean that the SmartWatch 3 isn’t compatible with standard 22mm straps, so you’re stuck with whatever bands Sony offers.

Unlike a lot of other smartwatches, Sony’s latest doesn’t need a proprietary charging dock or cradle. It actually has a micro-USB port housed right in the watch itself, over on the backside, covered by a removable rubber stopper. Though portable charging docks generally contribute to slimmer and more streamlined designs, I actually really like that the watch has this built-in port. If it means not having to carry around yet another thing with me when I travel, I’m all for it. I do recommend popping the watch out of its rubber strap before plugging in the charging cable, however, because it’s rather awkward otherwise.

If you want the watch to survive a dunk in the pool, you should definitely keep that micro-USB port sealed. Once covered though, the SmartWatch 3 is IP68-rated for dust and water resistance, which means it can withstand submersion in up to 4.9 feet of water for 30 minutes. That’s a touch better than the IP67 rating for most other watches like the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R, which can supposedly be submerged in up to a meter (3.28 feet) of water for half an hour.

Though you’ll be doing most of your navigation via the watch’s touchscreen display, the SmartWatch 3 does have a physical button on the side for when you need to quickly wake it up (or put it back to sleep). You can also hold it down as a shortcut to the Settings menu. The button sits slightly above the surface of the strap and has a nice give when pressed. Internally, the SmartWatch 3 makes use of a rather beefy 1.2GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor along with 512MB of RAM, plus 4GB of built-in storage so that you can load it with apps and music from Google Play. Other sensors include an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a compass. Of course, it also has Bluetooth, which you can use to pair with your phone, or connect to a set of headphones.

As I noted earlier, the SmartWatch 3 is also the first Android Wear device to have built-in GPS, which I’ll return to in much greater detail in just a moment. It’s also said to have WiFi and NFC capabilities on board, but as Android Wear doesn’t quite support those two functions just yet, I wasn’t able to test them. Still, it’s comforting to know that the SmartWatch 3 is future-proof in this regard — something I can’t say about most earlier Android Wear devices.

Display

While the design of the SmartWatch 3 might not exactly dazzle you with its style, its display is something else. It’s not round like some of the fancier Android Wear options and it’s a hair smaller too, but its clarity more than makes up for it. The 1.6-inch screen has a 320 x 320 resolution, which amounts to a pixel density of 283 ppi, making it one of the sharpest panels you’ll find on any Android Wear device. I had no problems reading text, even on such a small display. I did, however, find the colors to be a bit muted and the whites to be a little yellow. Suffice it to say, it’s not quite as stunning as the OLED screen we saw on the LG G Watch R.

In exchange for some dull colors, though, a transflective LCD screen makes the SmartWatch 3 easy to view in direct sunlight. I left it on auto brightness most of the time, and thanks to the ambient light sensor, I was able to tell time and find out what song was playing with a quick glance, regardless of how bright it was outside. Like most other smartwatches, the SmartWatch 3 packs an internal accelerometer that lights up the screen whenever you lift it to meet your eyes. This, however, takes a second or so longer than I would like. Normally, this isn’t a big deal, but when I was out and about, running errands, it got a little annoying.

In use

In a sign that Sony is finally coming to its senses, the SmartWatch 3 is blessed with Android Wear and not some proprietary Sony operating system like its previous smartwatches. That means if you’ve read any of our reviews of previous Android Wear devices — or maybe even own one yourself — you probably already know how to use the SmartWatch 3.

But perhaps you could use a refresher, so here’s a brief primer. You’ll need an Android phone to get started (obviously), at which point you’ll need to download the Android Wear application. From there, it’s just a matter of pairing the watch with the phone by following the onscreen instructions. Interestingly, I wasn’t prompted at all to install any additional software like some of the other Android Wear watches (the Moto 360, for instance, requires Motorola Connect, while the ZenWatch wants you to have the ZenWatch Manager installed).

As for navigating the watch itself, here’s how it works: From the default watch face, you can swipe down to reveal the date, battery life information and gain quick access to mute, Theater Mode (where it shuts down the display) and the settings. Whenever you get a notification, you can swipe up take a peek, and then swipe right to dismiss it or left to get a further look at it. Pressing down on the default watch face lets you swap out different watch styles. It’s all fairly intuitive and you should have no problems navigating it if you’re at all familiar with smartphones.

If you’d rather not go through the trouble of finger-swiping, you can also give voice commands thanks to the watch’s built-in microphone. Simply say, “OK Google,” and it’ll bring up a short list of eligible voice commands. You can tell it to do all kinds of things, like set a reminder, send a message or find directions, and it’ll do so. Voice recognition can be a little spotty — I sometimes had to repeat myself once or twice — but it worked pretty well most of the time.

As I mentioned up top, the most distinguishing feature of the SmartWatch 3 is that it’s the first Android Wear device with built-in GPS. This is a very important feature for runners, who often like having GPS in their watches to track their distance, route and pace. In previous Android Wear devices, you still had to lug your phone around with you in order to get that geolocation data, which can be a pain if you want to run with as little burden on you as possible. The SmartWatch 3, on the other hand, lets you keep track of your run completely phone-free.

Of course, this only really works if you use a running app that taps into the built-in GPS function of Android Wear. There aren’t too many of these available right now, but thankfully one of the more popular ones, RunKeeper, updated its app to take advantage of it. I simply downloaded RunKeeper on my phone and it automatically synced the app to my watch. I then left the office to go on a brief walk, leaving my phone safely in my desk drawer. Before I took off, I told the RunKeeper app on the watch to start tracking the workout, and it did. When I came back and reconnected the watch with my phone, it automatically transferred the route, along with the pace and distance information, to the RunKeeper website. In short, the SmartWatch 3’s GPS function works as advertised, and I can imagine it being a popular feature among runners and joggers.

While the SmartWatch 3 also has a pedometer for counting steps, it curiously doesn’t have a heart rate monitor like on the Moto 360 or ASUS ZenWatch. We’ve had mixed experiences with these optical heart rate sensors in the past, but omitting it completely in a supposedly sports-oriented watch seems like a big oversight. That said, the fact that the SmartWatch 3 includes two other uncommon features (WiFi and NFC) could make up for it. We just have to wait for the supported apps to arrive.

Performance and battery life

With a 1.2GHZ quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor along with 512MB of RAM, the SmartWatch 3 performs beautifully. I experienced little to no lag when navigating around the watch, and voice commands took no time at all to register. As I mentioned earlier, the accelerometer did seem a little slow to act when attempting to light up the watch with an elbow raise, but on the whole, performance was good.

Battery life, however, is where the SmartWatch 3 really shines. It packs in a 420mAh battery, which is the biggest battery we’ve seen yet in an Android Wear watch. The rated longevity is somewhere around two days. In practice, I found this to be mostly accurate. I left notifications on for Twitter, Facebook and my calendar appointments; used GPS to track the occasional walking route; listened to a few songs on repeat (which I loaded onto the watch via Play Music); and used voice commands extensively throughout the day. The watch kept trucking along for about a day and half before it started begging to be plugged in. When I switched over to Airport Mode and kept the display off for the rest of the day, it lasted almost a full 48 hours. Under what I’d consider moderate to heavy use, that’s quite impressive.

The competition

The smartwatch space is getting increasingly competitive, which makes it all the more important for newcomers like the SmartWatch 3 to stand out. Thankfully, it does. It’s certainly not as stylish as the Moto 360, LG G Watch R or ASUS ZenWatch, and it doesn’t have the sort of unique circular display you’ll find on the first two. At $250, the SmartWatch 3’s price is priced on par with the competition too; the 360 and G Watch R cost $250 and $299, respectively, while the ZenWatch rings in at a more affordable $200.

But what the SmartWatch 3 lacks in style, it makes up for in features. It has built-in GPS, which is great for runners and outdoor enthusiasts, and other goodies like WiFi and NFC mean that the SmartWatch 3 is far more future-proof than any of the other Android Wear devices on the market. Further, its battery life is relatively good, lasting a whole day longer than rivals like the ZenWatch and the Moto 360.

Wrap-up

Sony’s SmartWatch 3 certainly isn’t for everybody. It’s dull compared to its rounder, sexier rivals; its strap is made out of rubber rather than leather; and the display is not as bright or vibrant as others. But if you care more about function than form, the SmartWatch 3 suddenly looks a whole lot more interesting. For runners in particular, built-in GPS is a great feature that lets you leave your phone at home. It also has WiFi and NFC, making it more future-proof than the competition. It also eschews the need for a charging dock thanks to a built-in micro-USB port and has a battery life that makes it one of the longest-lasting smartwatches on the market. No, you shouldn’t get the SmartWatch 3 if you want a watch to impress people at a cocktail party. But if you want one that’s more suited for fitness, this is absolutely worthy of consideration.

Filed under: Wearables, Mobile, Sony

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2
Jan

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is now available for Android


LegoStarWarsSaga

In a galaxy far, far away the LEGO Star Wars: the Complete Saga was released for iOS in 2013 with nary a mention for when it would see an Android release. From what we’re seeing though, that day is today. Combining the original LEGO Star Wars (episodes 1-3) and LEGO Star Wars II: the Original Trilogy, you’ll have hours upon hours of Star Wars entertainment. Of course it comes at a sizable download.

 The kicker is, is it’s only available in the Amazon App Store at the moment and if you decide to download it from your device you’ll be using 1.44GB of storage, where if you download it to your computer, then sync it over to your device it only costs you 735MB of space. You’ll have to drop $6.99 for the game, but considering what you’ll get for that price, that’s not bad. We’re not sure when it’ll hit the Play Store so if you’re not up for more waiting, Amazon will be the way to go.

According to the App Store listing it’s optimized for these devices: Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 10.1, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, HTC One, LG G Pad 8.3, Xperia Z, Xperia Tablet Z, Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HDX 7″, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″. So your mileage may vary with other devices. That said, if you’re interested in Star Wars LEGO action, hit the source link below.

source: Amazon App Store

Come comment on this article: LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is now available for Android

2
Jan

Subway Surfers travel to Las Vegas in the game’s latest update


The popular endless-running game Subway Surfers received an update today in iTunes that sees the World Tour heading to the lights and sounds of Las Vegas. That also means some new contests, themes and unlockable content to try out.

Here’s what’s new in version 1.33.0:

  • Follow the Subway Surfers World Tour to glamorous Las Vegas
  • Surf beneath the star covered sky and explore the flashy subway
  • Add Rex, the amazing performer, to your character crew
  • Spice up your Board collection with the fancy Roller board
  • Collect shiny Spades in the Weekly Hunts to unlock cool prizes

  • Free – Download now

Thanks to Agilesh for the tip

2
Jan

How to install Lollipop-based CyanogenMod 12 on the Galaxy S2 (I9100)


samsung galaxy s2

The Samsung Galaxy S2 was released on February 13th, 2011, and was the predecessor of the first Android device to truly rival the iPhone in both sales and popularity. Four years is almost an eternity in the world of tech, but that hasn’t stopped the XDA Developers community of finding a way of getting a stable Android Lollipop build up and running on the Galaxy S2.

The build was posted by XDA user Lysergic Acid, and is a pure, yet unofficial Cyanogenmod 12 build. From what I have read in the thread, the newest version of the build seems fairly stable, but still has some issues with HD video recording and for some some internal storage bugs. This is a 5.0.2 Lollipop release, so there won’t be any signs of Touchwiz here. This particular build is for the I9100 only and does require root. Make sure you are flashing this ROM on the correct device before you get started.

As with most builds on XDA, you will need to root your device. I have rooted the S2 a million times, and although very simple to do, here’s the standard disclaimer: You root at your own risk. If you brick your device, Android Authority or XDA Developers are not responsible. You are in essence voiding your warranty, meaning Samsung can deny you service should they choose to.

Now if you decide you want to try it out, you can root your device (literally in minutes by following the simple step by step instructions here via Chainfire’s CF Root method). Once you have root, you’ll need a KitKat compatible custom recovery to flash the ROM.

Once you have root, do the following:

  1. MAKE A NANDROID BACKUP!
  2. Download the ROM and the Google Apps package from the XDA thread here and put it on your sd card.
  3. Boot into recovery and wipe all data.
  4. Flash the ROM.
  5. Flash the Gaaps package.
  6. Reboot your phone, and remember the first boot can take a little longer than usual.
  7. Profit.

If you want to see it running before flashing it, XDA member @Troubadour666 put together this video that shows the ROM running on the S2:

I imagine it was no easy feat getting CM12 to run on a four year old device (and especially this well), so be sure to hit that thanks button to everyone responsible if you choose to flash the ROM. While it’s not realistic to expect Lollipop to be as fast and smooth as it is on most (but not all) newer devices, having a stable daily driver in Lollipop will most likely excite a few S2 users out there. Be sure to let us know in the comments how it’s running on your Galaxy S2.



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