Samsung likes making smartwatches. This is an understanding one might come to, considering that the Korean giant is just one wearable away from having a different device for each day of the week. Let’s count them: the Galaxy Gear, the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo, the Gear Fit, the Gear Live, and the Gear S. In the weeks and months leading up to Mobile World Congress, we heard some rumors about a seventh wearable, one that would make use of the round patent which was filed last year. Nowhere is it to be seen, and the reason for it is a surprising one at that.
In a recent interview by the Wall Street Journal, Young-hee Lee, an EVP in charge of Samsung’s mobile marketing, was quoted as saying her company is “working on” the new one. She explains that, “We’ve been introducing more devices than anybody else…It’s time for us to pause,” and then adds “we want a more perfect product.”
Regardless of what one thinks about the Gear series, Ms. Lee definitely has a point about the number game; even its domestic rival LG has only managed to announce a third watch in the span of 8 months. Sony has three. Motorola has but one. Even companies like Asus and Huawei are just now starting to get into the game. And let’s not forget the sleeping giant in the arena, who despite the dizzying array of Android-compatible hardware, has yet to even announce a release date for its self-professed, magnum opus.
While the Gear S did bring a host of new functionality with it via the inclusion of a 3G radio for cellular calling and data transmission, it was nonetheless a plastic piece that doesn’t look as nice in comparison to some of the more recent offerings by competing companies such as the all metal LG Watch Urbane or Motorola Moto 360. By taking a breather of sorts, Samsung can rethink what kind of market it wants to target with its next product, and -perhaps more importantly- use feedback and reaction from that other smartwatch to help its own line.
You knew it was going to happen — just days after Pebble’s Time smartwatch topped the company’s previous Kickstarter record, it’s now the most-funded Kickstarter project ever at more than $13.3 million. Almost all of the pledge money has gone toward the basic wristwear so far, but it’s the unveiling of the higher-end Pebble Time Steel that put the campaign over the top. It’s still not shocking that Pebble would do so well given its established fan base and skillful use (or abuse) of crowdfunding for publicity. The real question is whether or not the Time will face any stiff competition in the near future. Barring surprises, it’ll likely rule the roost for a long while.
Swedish car manufacturer Koenigsegg is known for its high-priced luxury sports cars, often called hypercars. At the Geneva Motor Show today, Koenigsegg showed off its latest car — an ~1,800 horsepower hybrid vehicle with built-in support for Apple’s CarPlay service.
Called the Regera, which translates to “to reign” in Swedish, the car can go from 0 to 250 miles per hour within 20 seconds, and it tops out at a speed of 255 miles per hour. It’s equipped with a 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine along with three electric motors. One motor replaces the standard transmission with the Koenigsegg Direct Drive system, and there’s a motor dedicated to each rear wheel.
Inside, the Regera is equipped with an infotainment system that includes a 9-inch infrared zForce Neonode touchscreen, which is said to offer superior touch performance and multi-touch gestures. The infotainment system is compatible with Apple’s CarPlay, letting Regera buyers connect their iPhones to their cars to access all of CarPlay’s features.
The Koenigsegg Regera is priced at $1,890,000, and only 80 of the cars will be produced. The version being shown off at the Geneva Motor Show is the first in the series, and is said to be 95 percent complete.
A long list of automobile manufacturers have signed up to partner with Apple and introduce CarPlay in upcoming vehicles, but thus far, Ferrari is the only brand that has produced a car that’s available with CarPlay — the $300,000 Ferrari FF. Audi, Volkswagen, and Hyundai have all promised that CarPlay-compatible cars will be available in 2015, and there are a number of aftermarket CarPlay solutions from Alpine and Pioneer that are currently available for purchase.
A few months ago, I reviewed the UNU Superpak Battery Pack, and had a great experience with it. That battery pack was more portable with its 6000 mAh battery. The battery pack I have now is not as small: this 10000 mAh beast will keep your devices going for days. The UNU Ultrapak Tour isn’t necessarily supposed to be small though, as in it is packed a turbo-charging ability that uses a charger that looks similar to a computer charger. This battery pack is great for road trips or travel where you know you won’t be near an outlet easily for a while.
I won’t go too deep into this, as we all know how external battery packs, and my experience with this battery pack was very similar to the one I had with the Superpak. However, I will say that what continues to amaze me about UNU’s battery packs is how long they last. Generally external battery pack’s mAh amount doesn’t translate into exact amount it will charge it devices, but UNU’s seems to defy this. I would charge this battery pack, and it lasts me charging my phone, tablet, and my wife’s phone, usually doubling up on two or three of those, and I still have a little left over on this battery pack. I also still enjoy UNU’s addition of two ports, one that charges with an output of 1 volt to 5 volts, and one that charges 2.1 volts to 5 volts. They recommend using the 1v-5v port for phones, and the 2.1v-5v port for tablets. This really helps speed up the charging for tablets that would take most external battery packs 2-3 times as long. All-in-all, UNU provides another great functioning battery pack.
As mentioned before, this battery pack is not particularly small as far as external battery packs go, but the heft comes from the addition of two ports and the charger it uses. It also is due to the addition of a screen on the front of the device, which tells you the percentage the battery pack is at. I find this much more appealing than the typical dot LEDs as you get a more precise number. The power button on the side is flesh with the side, but large enough that it’s easy to find and easy to press. Next to the two ports, there is also an LED flashlight, though to be honest I’m going to be more likely to reach for my phone as a flashlight rather than an external battery pack, but I suppose this is useful in case of emergencies. Other than that, the front and back has a nice smooth finish, and the sides have a sort of rubber that make gripping this beast of a battery pack easier.
UNU focuses on bringing well-made, long-lasting external battery packs to consumers, but they also strive to be different by bringing custom features to their battery packs. The Ultrapak Tour’s feature focus is in what UNU calls it’s Ultra-x charging technology. Essentially, the Ultrapak Tour can recharge itself in a fraction of the time other battery packs can, despite its heft in mAh. It can charge to 2000 mAh (about enough to charge up an average smartphone) in 15 minutes, and charge to the full 10,000 mAh in an hour and a half. I can happily say that these numbers are 100% accurate. One of the drags with most other external battery packs is it usually takes 8 hours to charge just 5000 mAh, so you have to plan ahead if you think you’ll need an external battery pack. The beauty of the Ultrapak Tour is you can quickly plug it in before you have to leave for an event, and be assured you’ll have enough juice to get you through the night, if not longer depending on how long you got to charge it. This feature may seem trivial, but it really has been helpful on more than one occasion, and I think it is UNU’s smartest feature yet.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Ultrapak Tour, which is an odd thing to say about an external battery pack. Usually I just use it to review it, and then when I need it occasionally. But I know the Ultrapak Tour will be the first battery pack I’ll reach for the next time I need power on the go. If you’d like to pick one up, head to UNU’s site here. The Ultrapak Tour is $129.99, which is an investment, but one you certainly won’t regret.
Bitcoin isn’t new. In fact, Wikipedia points to the date of introduction as being January 3, 2009. But still many people have never heard of Bitcoin. And then on the flip side, there are lots of people who know about Bitcoin but have never considered using it. I happen to fit into the latter category, and while I’ve long know what Bitcoin is — I have largely ignored the topic. But a recent episode of “Morgan Spurlock Inside Man” peaked my curiosity enough to look further into the currency and even setup my own Bitcoin wallet.
After browsing the Bitcoin.org website and learning a bit more, I opted to use the wallet from Coinbase Inc., which is simply called Bitcoin Wallet. The setup process was quick and easy, and Coinbase does a really good job of walking even the most novice user through the process. Whether that novice user actually needs a Bitcoin wallet is another story, however if we introduce you to Bitcoin, maybe you’ll introduce a few more. And from there maybe Bitcoin will become a bit more commonplace.
My reason for avoiding Bitcoin was because it always seemed like a separate system — a system that is completely detached from your regular banking. But the Bitcoin Wallet app from Coinbase taught me otherwise. It taught me that it doesn’t have to be entirely separate. Key features for the app include the obvious — being able to buy and sell Bitcoin. The app also allows you to easily send Bitcoin to, or request Bitcoin from another user. The sending and requesting is done using your Bitcoin address and/or a QR code. And novice users shouldn’t worry as the app provides both of those items.
The Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet app opens up to your current wallet which shows you how much Bitcoin you have and how much it is worth in terms of your default currency. In my case that means US dollars. And novice users should remember that Bitcoin value does fluctuate. Overall the Bitcoin Wallet app has a simple design, and it makes use of a navigation menu that slides in from the left hand side of your Android device. That menu is where you’ll go to buy or sell Bitcoin, adjust the settings of the app, and view your Wallet and Vault. A small circular icon in the lower right is where you can send or request Bitcoin from other users.
But going back to the part about how the Bitcoin Wallet app connects to your regular banking. Part of the initial setup process has you connecting your regular bank account. That means you can now accept Bitcoin as payment from someone. Then once that person sends you the Bitcoin as payment, you can “sell” the Bitcoin, which just means regular money will be transferred to that connected bank account.
What We Liked
- Clean and easy to navigate user interface.
- The ability to access your account from a mobile device, and from the desktop.
- Easy connection to your more traditional banking.
Room for Improvement
- Android app security limited to 4-digit PIN.
- Transfers from Bitcoin to dollar, or dollar to Bitcoin have a 1% fee attached.
- Wait times. Bitcoin purchases take 4 business days to finalize.
The wait times and fees certainly aren’t ideal, but the overall setup and the ability to easily turn your Bitcoin into regular dollars should make this an attractive entry point. And lastly, as an added bonus, you get $1 USD worth of Bitcoin just for signing up.
Bottom line here, if you were curious about Bitcoin but didn’t know where to start we suggest giving the Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet app a try.
The post Bitcoin Wallet by Coinbase: Making Bitcoin easy for everyone appeared first on AndroidGuys.
The Google play store is now an incredible three years old! Can you remember what life was like without apps? I certainly know that I love my apps, from productivity apps like Gmail, calendar, Chrome, to fun apps like Boom Beach and Words with Friends, down to the very useful apps like Domino’s pizza for when I am too lazy to cook or get myself food.
In typical fashion, Google is celebrating its birthday by offering thirty-three deals on apps, books, movies, TV shows, and movies. All of the titles are relevant too with music from Daft Punk and Beyonce, to movie titles like The Dark Knight and the Departed. Head on over to the Play store and check out the deals for yourself.
What app has the most impact in your life? Post in the comments below and maybe we will feature one of them in an app review.
The post Google play store celebrates its 3rd birthday with 33 hot deals appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Gartner, a research firm, claims that in Q4 of 2014 Apple slightly edged out Samsung as the world’s number one smartphone distributor with 74.83 million sold as opposed to Samsung’s 73.03 million. It is also noteworthy that this is the first time Apple has been atop of Samsung since 2011 and Gartner correlates that with Apple’s success with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While Samsung still outsold Apple for the entire year of 2014, the drop in Q4 is still a cause of concern for the company according to a Gartner rep:
“Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated further in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in market share,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure.”
As we reported earlier, Samsung is poised to take market share back from Apple with the refreshing design of their Galaxy S6. How do you guys think their Galaxy S6 sales will do compared to Apple’s upcoming iPhone iteration this year?
Come comment on this article: According to Gartner, Apple beats Samsung in smartphones sales for first time since 2011
Tinder, the popular dating application, is going premium with Tinder Plus. For a price per month, Tinder Plus will allow users to undo swipes and adjust their locations at will, without the need to be in the current location.
The first big feature available in Tinder Plus is called “Rewind”, which lets users take back their swipes. This will surely come in handy, because up until now, users who accidentally swipe left on another someone else would dismiss that user forever. But now, if you change your mind, you can always go back and redo the swipe. The second big feature is called “Passport”, which will let users change their current location without actually being there. Users can search by city or drop a pin on the map, and instantly start swiping in that area. The folks at Tinder explain:
Whether you’re planning vacations and business trips or simply expanding your social network, with Passport, you’re swiping before you arrive.
Tinder isn’t just giving out these features for free. For users between the ages of 18 to 27, Tinder Plus will run $9.99 per month. For users older than that, Plus will run a hefty $19.99 per month. Tinder’s reasoning behind the more expensive prices for older users has the potential to come off as offensive for both age groups, though. Representatives from Tinder told NPR in an interview that “younger users are more budget constrained, and need a lower price to pull the trigger”.
If you’re interested in Tinder Plus, head to the Google Play Store link below to give it a try.
Whether it’s internal, removable, wireless, microUSB, USB 3.0 Micro-B plug, or something else, batteries are one of those phone features we care deeply about. And, although we’ve had tremendous advances over the years, we still somehow find ourselves running low on juice every once in a while.
We recently spent time reviewing the Mojo Battstation Optimus 20400, a portable power bank that houses 20400mAh of life. Indeed, this guy is able to power your newer model Androids up somewhere between 8-10 times.
First things, first, we are incredibly impressed with just how much power you can squeeze into a device this small. Just a few years ago we were carrying around a 4800mAh unit bigger that took up more space. The Mojo Battstation Optimus 20400 measures a mere 5.5-inches high by 2.8-inches wide with a little more than 3/4-inch depth. It’s heavier than our old devices at 14 ounces but we are happy to trade that in for more battery. The overall design is slightly angular; the battery is a slate grey color with an orange accent stripe.
The Battstation offers two separate options for charging, a 1A and a 2.1A USB port. If you’re like us, and typically only need to add life to your handset, plugging into the faster option is the way to go. Got a tablet or second phone to add to the mix? You’ll do yourself a favor by prioritizing the outlets.
We like that the device comes with a pouch and some cables however we didn’t find ourselves using those too often. But, the carrying case is nice to have; it, too, is darker and a little hard to find in a purse or dimly lit scenario.
Because of the capacity of this battery you’ll find that it takes a long time to get to 100% charged. We’re talking well overnight and into around 14-16 hours. But, charge up on a Thursday and take it with you on a weekend trip and you’ll have more than enough to get your phone through the weekend, plus some for friends, too.
Do note that you must press the power button to turn on charging. Simply plugging in does not trip the trigger. Double tapping the power button turns on the LED flashlight. Yep, this one also pulls double duty as a flashlight, should the need arise. We can’t wait to take this one camping with us!
It’s not a deal breaker by any stretch but we might like to see the power indicator switched to 5 lights or something that changes colors when it gets dangerously low.
- Mojo Battstation Optimus 20400
- One Micro-USB Charge Cable
- One Travel Pouch
- One 30-pin Apple Connector
- One Galaxy Tab Connector
- Quick User Guide
- 1 Year Warranty
Where to buy
You can pick up a Mojo Battstation Optimus 20400 directly from ibattz.com or through a variety of online retailers. Pricing is listed at $129.95 however we found it at Amazon for $107.50. It’s still a shade more expensive than what other name brands might sell for however we didn’t have any issues. If you can get one for close to $100 then you’re doing quite alright.