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21
May

Blu releases Studio C 99 dollar Android smartphone on Amazon.com


Blu products released their latest unlocked Android, the Studio C, smartphone today on Amazon.com.  The new device is compatible with GSM networks such as T-Mobile, AT&T, Metro PCS, and Cricket Wireless to name a few.  The most important feature of this phone is its low price of $99.  For a low price, you get a dual sim, 5.0 inch IPS screen with 720×1280 resolution, 4G connectivity, 1GB RAM, 8GB of memory with an expandable slot for a MicroSD card, 8MP camera, FM radio, and Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Battery life is an estimated 40 hours of talk time due to a large non-removable 3000mAh battery.  The new Studio Ccomes in black, white, pink, green and orange, is available today and can arrive as soon as tomorrow if you select one-day shipping.

Spec wise, for 99 dollars, this is one heck of a phone.

Purchase here on Amazon.com.

Blu press release

blu studio c 1

The post Blu releases Studio C 99 dollar Android smartphone on Amazon.com appeared first on AndroidGuys.

21
May

Duet Review: A Premium Two-in-One Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone [iOS Blog]


Given that the Apple Watch has an advertised 18-hours battery life based on mixed usage, chances are that you will be taking off the wrist-worn device each night to charge. Naturally, accessory makers have been quick to jump on the opportunity to create a wide variety of Apple Watch stands for docking the watch on your bedside table or elsewhere. Ahead, we take a closer look at one of them.

Antsy Labs has risen to the challenge with a Kickstarter project for Duet, a two-in-one stand for docking the Apple Watch and iPhone together. The stand is machined from a solid block of aluminum, in silver, space gray or gold, giving it considerable weight and a sleek design that closely matches the look of the MacBook, iPad, iPhone and other anodized aluminum Apple products.

Duet Apple Watch Stand Full
I received a prototype unit of the Duet that I have been testing over the past week, and my first impressions are mostly favorable. Given that the Duet unit I received was part of a limited production run for members of the press, the stand has a few imperfections that will not be found on the final product. In particular, there are a few minor scuffs on the stand, and the finish isn’t as shiny as the unit that will ship to customers.

First and foremost, Duet’s built-in magnets allow you to attach the Apple Watch stand to the symmetrical iPhone dock or separate both pieces and charge your Apple Watch and iPhone separately. This multipurpose functionality is a major selling point for the stand, given that many Apple Watch and iPhone standalone stands and docks are available for considerably less than Duet’s future $99 price tag.

Duet Apple Watch Stand
Duet has an aesthetically pleasing design that both looks and feels premium, and smartly placed cutouts along the stand’s arm and pedestal hide the Lightning connector and Apple Watch charging cables for a clean setup. The stand is quite heavy, and has suction pads on the bottom, allowing for one-handed removal of an iPhone or Apple Watch without the entire stand sliding or moving on most surfaces.

At the same time, one major concern I have about the Duet’s design is the lack of rubber inserts — like the Twelve South HiRise — to protect the Apple Watch against possible wear and tear. I just spent close to $750 on my stainless steel Apple Watch and shouldn’t have to be worried about scratching it or the charging puck, but I found myself worried more often than not. The potential for metal-on-metal contact was the Duet’s biggest downfall in my testing, although the Apple Watch does not physically touch the stand.


Overall, the Duet has a premium design and delivers multipurpose functionality as a two-in-one stand for Apple Watch and iPhone. The stand earns a favorable recommendation, but the lack of rubber inserts where the Apple Watch is positioned and expensive price tag are off-putting enough for me to suggest looking into alternatives as well. ElevationLab’s NightStand, for example, is a silicone Apple Watch stand that costs just $30.

Duet is available for a $79 pledge on Kickstarter, where it has already exceeded its $25,000 funding goal, and will retail for $99 after the campaign ends. The stand is compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with or without a case. Antsy Labs plans to start shipping Duet to customers in July, but is striving to begin deliveries even sooner. Kickstarter rewards will be shipped towards August.




21
May

T-Mobile Un-Carries Its Way to New Alabama Facility


 

Birmingham Alabama T-Mobile2

T-Mobile defines itself as “America’s fastest growing wireless company,” and it’s doubling down on that claim by opening a new customer care facility in Birmingham, Alabama. But don’t take our word for it. Behold, the wonderful, self-congratulatory world of press releases!

Bellevue, Washington and Birmingham, Alabama − May 21, 2015 – With the Un-carrier™ revolution continuing to disrupt US wireless and attract millions of customers, T-Mobile is applying its flair for bold innovation to a brand new customer care center in Birmingham, Alabama. T-Mobile threw open its doors today with company leaders and community representatives present at the all-new, expanded customer care facility. The Un-carrier also stepped up its longtime support of youth in the local community, announcing a $10,000 grant to the YMCA of Greater Birmingham by the T-Mobile Foundation.

“Customers are #1 at T-Mobile. As millions join the Un-carrier movement, we’re making big investments in our customer care to match,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “With today’s grand opening of this truly inspiring care center, we’re not only doubling down on the best possible care for our customers—we’re also committing to a stellar work environment for our people and investing in the local community. This is win-win-win.”

Last month, T-Mobile was named one of the Best Places to Work by the Birmingham Business Journal for the second year in a row. The award specifically called out T-Mobile’s Birmingham customer care center for outstanding teamwork, trust and great management.

T-Mobile has been a community partner and major employer in Birmingham for nearly 20 years. In 2014, the Un-carrier hired nearly 250 employees, and almost 100 people have been hired already this year. T-Mobile plans to hire more employees at the new, larger care center before the end of the year.

T-Mobile is “all in” in Birmingham! Employees regularly lead and take part in community events and partner with organizations such as the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, the South Hampton School, Gifts for Angel Tree Kids and Relay for Life. T-Mobile is committed to the local communities it serves across the US, while creating the culture and environment that makes it Un-carrier − and completely unlike anyone else in the wireless industry.

So there you have it. Move to Alabama, like now.

Source: T-Mobile

Come comment on this article: T-Mobile Un-Carries Its Way to New Alabama Facility

21
May

9to5Mac: Apple’s working on iOS tweaks for 12-inch iPad


Still holding out for a larger iPad? Well, you’re certainly not alone. Thanks to new details from 9to5Mac, it looks like Apple’s prepping for a reveal as well. The site has a solid track record when it comes to rumors, and it reports that both hardware and software tweaks are in the works for the 12.9-inch slate. Two models, code-named J98 and J99, are reportedly in the testing phase alongside tweaks to Apple’s mobile OS to outfit the extra screen real estate. As you might expect, the difference between the two is one is WiFi-only and the other carries both WiFi and cellular connectivity. Among the changes to iOS is a split-screen feature that could be announced for current iPad models as early as WWDC in a few weeks.

As 9to5Mac notes, a similar tool was tipped to arrive with iOS 8 only to be pulled before the release, so nothing’s guaranteed there. However, the site’s sources suggest that the split-screen mode would allow for more divisions than just side-by-side windows, depending on the app. What’s more, in order to make the larger tablet more productive, other iOS changes are said to arrive for Siri and Notification Center for better use of the extra space. Expanded multi-user support is said to be in the works too, but it won’t arrive with iOS 9 at WWDC. Instead, it’s rumored to make an appearance in the fall, when we could very well see Tim Cook & Co. finally reveal the so-called iPad Pro.

Filed under: Tablets, Software, Apple

Comments

Source: 9to5Mac

21
May

ASUS VivoWatch review: a fitness watch with style and shortcomings


My wife often says I’m fat, but that’s hardly a motivation for me to resume my exercise routine. Then the ASUS VivoWatch landed on my desk, so I had no choice but to get back on the treadmill for your amusement. To keep things short, it turns out that this fitness-centric smartwatch does have a couple of compelling features that made me interested in getting fit again — more so than the other basic (as in no heart rate monitoring) fitness trackers that I’ve long left in the drawer. Also, the VivoWatch can pair with both iOS plus Android, and costs just under $150 in Taiwan, meaning it’ll be going head to head with the similarly priced Fitbit Charge HR around the world. So is ASUS’ first fitness device worth trying? Or should you stick to some more mature offerings? Let’s take a look.

Hardware

Compared to its $200 sibling device, the ZenWatch, ASUS’ newer and cheaper VivoWatch is all about wellness: steps, calories, heart rate, sleep quality and even UV level. With the exception of caller ID (with vibration alert), you won’t be getting any notifications from your phone. In other words, the VivoWatch is less of a smartphone companion and more of a fitness wearable. The company admits that both the ZenWatch and the VivoWatch “target distinct user groups with highly crafted, but varying features,” thus implying that there isn’t much overlap between the two groups.

It’s not every day that you come across a sports watch with such understated elegance.

In terms of design, what you get here is a curved Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreen encased within a slightly rounded stainless steel frame. It looks similar to the bigger ZenWatch from afar, except it comes with a glossy metal finish instead of a brushed one. Over time, I became a fan of the VivoWatch’s decent looks: It’s not every day that you come across a sports watch with such understated elegance. But that’s obviously subjective, and a couple of my friends did say they’d prefer something that looks a bit sportier to reflect its purpose. At the risk of sounding picky, maybe the glossy frame could use a brushed finish instead to keep fingerprints off it.

The VivoWatch has decent protection against liquids plus dust — IP67 versus IP55 on the ZenWatch, meaning it’s both dust-tight and has been certified to remain intact under one meter of water for 30 minutes. For obvious reasons, the bundled strap is made out of plastic instead of leather, but you can swap it with any standard 22mm strap.

For the sake of extending the battery life to up to 10 days, the VivoWatch uses a combination of ASUS’ self-developed, real-time OS called KoodOS; a low-power processor; and a 1.28-inch, 128 x 128-pixel, low-power, black-and-white memory LCD. The screen works very well under sunlight, and it’s also backlit for indoor usage. To juice up the watch, just snap the small charging cradle onto the back of the body and leave it there for between one to two hours.

To use the watch, you need to click on the home button on the right to unlock it. From the watch face, you can swipe horizontally to cycle through the pulse reader, the alarm, the daily activity log (for steps and calories) and the UV level detector (a feature also found on the Microsoft Band and the Samsung Gear S). You can also swipe vertically to go through the daily exercise log (total exercise time and period of aerobic activity; more on that later), daily sleep log (total sleep time and period of comfort sleep) and a happiness index based on a combination of exercise quality and sleep quality, plus all-day heart rate monitoring.

To fully appreciate the VivoWatch, you’ll want to turn on its Exercise Mode, which uses a front-facing LED to indicate whether your heart rate is within the optimal range (green) or is too intense (red, with vibration alert), according to your profile. To toggle Exercise Mode, simply hold down the home button for about four seconds; when finished, you can do the same to quit this session, and then you can sync the exercise data to your phone over Bluetooth.

Even though Mio is the true pioneer of the heart rate-zone LED indicator, ASUS improved upon it by using a much larger LED strip for easier viewing, and that, in turn, became a motivation for me. In this mode, you can also swipe horizontally to see a live chart of your heart rate, burned calories and steps, though I tended to just stick with the default stopwatch screen.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that despite its name, Exercise Mode can only track one type of workout for now: running. If you want to monitor specific types of exercises, then this isn’t for you — as is the case with many other fitness wearables made for casual runners with basic needs. On a similar note, the VivoWatch doesn’t track your distance, so serious runners may want to look elsewhere (we’ll explore some alternatives farther down in this review).

While I didn’t have other heart rate monitors on hand to do a direct comparison, I did notice that the VivoWatch’s reading occasionally fell short while I was running, and then went back up when I stood still, instead of slowly decreasing as it was supposed to. My watch was definitely secure on my wrist, although not too tight as per instruction. Maybe it was the sweat? No idea. As it happens, our friends over at DC Rainmaker and CNET found the same problem with the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge, so this is likely a common flaw on devices with the same type of optical sensor. The only thing we can do is to make sure that the sensor is clean, and that the watch is worn securely.

When you’re not exercising, the VivoWatch will poke you with a vibration alert if you’ve been idle for too long, and it’ll also congratulate you when you meet your daily goal for either steps or calories, which can be set in the smartphone app. Toward the end of the day, the VivoWatch will automatically track your sleep. So far I’ve found it to be pretty accurate.

Companion app

Before you can use the VivoWatch, you have to first install the HiVivo app on either your Android or iOS device, set up your profile (including age, gender, height and weight) and then pair up with the watch. Every time the watch is paired, the app checks for firmware updates. When it’s available, be prepared: The update process not only takes at least 10 minutes, but also requires you to keep the app active, otherwise you’d end up with an error (at least it did on our Android handset). It was very surprising to encounter such amateur hour coming from ASUS, but even throughout my testing period, the VivoWatch’s firmware version went through several revisions — from a buggy 2.05 to a more stable 2.11 — so at least it’s apparent that the company is actively fine-tuning the product.

As you’d expect, the app gives you a good overview of your fitness parameters in the form of charts, so you can easily track your progress throughout the day or week. But of course, you can already see your basic daily data on the watch’s reasonably sized screen. It goes without saying that your fitness data is synced to the cloud, so even if you switch to another phone, you’ll be able to restore your charts.

The extra bit of info that you do get in the app is a chart of your heart rate throughout the day, and an indication of how much of your exercise was aerobic and anaerobic. For those who aren’t familiar: Unless you’re an athlete or have specific fitness goals, chances are you only want to do aerobic training just for the sake of staying healthy, so you’ll find the app’s Exercise Mode chart useful for analyzing your performance. Unfortunately, ASUS says you can’t export the data to third-party apps like RunKeeper and Strava, so you’re stuck with HiVivo and its website counterpart that ASUS is still working on.

Another interesting feature in this app is the Network section where you can view your friends’ happiness index, as well as their workout time and sleep time. You can view this as a competitive element, but there’s also a “Like” button next to each name for a bit of encouragement. Sadly, I didn’t have any other VivoWatch users to add, which makes us wonder: Maybe ASUS should consider selling discounted bundles to couples and families? We’ll let their business folks do the maths.

The competition

Fitbit Surge

You get the Fitbit Surge’s form factor for the price of the Fitbit Charge HR.

With its $150 price point and pseudo-smartwatch touchscreen, it’s easy to place the VivoWatch somewhere between the Fitbit Charge HR and the $250 Fitbit Surge. In many ways, ASUS’ device is a better buy: You get the Surge’s form factor for the price of the Charge HR, and it’s also prettier — in such a way that you can actually wear it as your everyday watch. The large heart rate zone LED is a nice bonus as well. Having said that, hardcore runners may want to pay more for the Surge’s GPS tracking to estimate distance, and some may want to take advantage of Fitbit’s robust food database.

Other similarly specced rivals include the $200 Basis Peak, the $150 Garmin Vivosmart and the $200 Microsoft Band. In terms of comfort, it’s safe to assume that the VivoWatch beats the Vivosmart and the Microsoft Band, even though they offer more features like distance tracking, cycling mode and smartphone notifications. This leaves us with the Basis Peak, which, again, doesn’t look as good, but the extra cost is somewhat justified by its support for smartphone notifications and automatic workout tracking.

Wrap-up

While this may be ASUS’ first attempt at making a fitness watch, it’s a surprisingly good one. At $150, the VivoWatch manages to beat the crowd by bringing in a handy set of features — especially continuous heart rate monitoring and automatic sleep tracking — all wrapped in a good-looking package that you could easily wear in the office. With the exception of the aforementioned app bugs and the occasional heart rate reading errors, the VivoWatch has all the right ingredients to get casual runners motivated. But if you consider yourself a serious runner, then you’re probably better off looking at GPS-enabled alternatives, as well as those with super-accurate heart rate monitors — namely the ones from Mio.

Given that the VivoWatch is still actively being updated, we have a couple of suggestions for ASUS. How about a sleep cycle-based smart alarm as featured on all Jawbone Up bands? And smartphone notifications would be nice as well.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, apparently it’s “time to move” again.

Filed under: Wearables, Mobile, ASUS

Comments

21
May

Will the future of virtual reality be controlled by our eyes?


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Virtual reality has come a long way over the past few years, though many of the headsets available to consumers today are very similar. Once you put any one of the headsets on, whether we’re talking about Samsung’s Gear VR or even Google Cardboard, you’re quickly immersed into a 3D world that allows you to move around by tracking your head movements. Some of them have physical controllers, some of them let you control your movements by pressing a physical button on the side of the headset. But what if there was a VR headset out there that could let you interact with the virtual world an easier way? The Fove VR headset aims to do just that.

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Tokyo-based startup Fove has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new virtual reality headset that will actually allow users to control and interact in the VR world by just using their eye movements. The big secret behind Fove’s technology is a process called “foveated rendering”, meaning the graphics engine can focus on what the user is looking at, allowing that specific area to appear in a higher resolution. This lets the graphics engine conserve more power, which will allow it to one day be able to run on lower-powered devices, such as smartphones or tablets.

Read more: What is virtual reality, and what role will Android play?

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On the gaming front, users will also be able to make eye contact with characters, aim weapons and shoot with their eyes, and move more naturally overall. Fove has the potential to span beyond VR gaming, as well. Early developers of the headset worked with a teenager that has motor neuron disease to create software that would allow him to play the piano, just by using his eyes.

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Fove just recently launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes to bring this technology to folks interested in the tech. With 43 more days to go, Fove has already raised $235K of its $250K goal. Early backers can snag a headset for $349, while retail units will be available to the public for $500. Headsets begin shipping out to backers starting May 2016.

So now that you’ve seen a brief glimpse into the world of virtual reality eye tracking, do you think this is the future of VR? For those who have yet to adopt more mainstream products, if eye tracking came to Samsung’s next Gear VR headset or to the next version of Google Cardboard, would you jump onboard with the tech? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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21
May

AA asks: What’s the best flagship of 2015 so far? Best smartphone for the money?


lg g4 vs samsung galaxy s6 edge quick look aa (5 of 14)

2015 isn’t even half way through yet and already we’ve had one hell of a year. For flagship buyers, this year has seen Samsung up its game in a big way with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, with the LG G4 giving power users a great option that (almost) has it all with few compromises other than not necessarily having the latest and greatest CPU. We’ve also seen flagship devices from HTC, Huawei, and a (so far) Japanese only launch of Sony’s Xperia Z4 flagship.

Read also: Best Android smartphones of 2015

Some of the recurring themes for 2015’s flagships seems to be premium design, optimized software, and less gimmicky extras. It’s a path we are happy to see, as manufacturers are starting to realize that the overall user experience and the looks of the phone matter more to most consumers than just the spec sheet or feature list.

Best flagships of 2015

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ASUS Zenfone 2-13

Of course, flagship is only one side of the coin. The budget world has also seen some pretty big changes in 2015. While last year saw Motorola and OnePlus lead the pack when it comes to “specs and performance for the money”, this year there are more OEMs pushing into this space with hopes of turning the entry and mid-level markets on their heads. Although Huawei’s attempt at a budget friendly yet powerful device appears to have been less successful, at least judging by our full review, Alcatel OneTouch and Asus have really raised the bar in 2015.

Read also: Best budget phones of 2015

Both the Asus ZenFone 2 and the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 give us near flagship level performance and aesthetics while keeping the price tag under $300, both also have even lower-cost variants for those who are really tight on money (or simply don’t want to spend it on a phone) that bring pricing to the sub-$200 range. It’s also worth mentioning that this year’s Moto E (2015) is also an impressive device for the money, though at sub-$150 pricing, it obviously doesn’t compare to the former two devices when it comes to specs.

Best entry and mid-rangers

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So which of these phones is the best in their class? We leave that to you, our dear readers. Participate in our polls below and let us know what is your favorite flagship and mid-ranger for 2015 so far.

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Now for the budget and mid-range market:

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May

Jurassic World™: The Game is now available on Google Play


Jurassic World is a movie in a series of 4 so far, set to be released June 12th, based on Jurassic Park but 22 years later.   We are still a couple weeks away from its release, but if you just can’t wait you can at least play the new Jurassic World game available in the Google Play store now.  The game is free to download and is brought to you by Ludia and Universal Partnerships.  Ludia has made other great games such as Family Feud, and the Price is Right which means Jurassic World should be a well-built app.

In the game, you can bring 50 different dinosaurs to life by collecting eggs, hatching, and then evolving them.  Buildings from the movie inspired the design in the game, and you will be able to play online vs other players around the world, or you can play solo by following the story mode.  In addition, Hasbro has made Brawlasaurs which are toys that can be scanned to use within the app itself.  The game is optimized to run on Android 5.0 and higher, and like most free games, there are in-app purchases to enhance your experience.  Enjoy the game now while you wait for the box office hit with Chris Pratt(my favorite comedian).

Google Play 

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The post Jurassic World™: The Game is now available on Google Play appeared first on AndroidGuys.

21
May

Adobe Removing Photoshop Touch From App Store Next Week [iOS Blog]


Photoshop TouchAdobe has announced that it will remove Photoshop Touch for iPhone and iPad from the App Store and other platforms on May 28. The software company says it will be focusing its mobile efforts on other apps in the Creative Cloud suite, including Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Comp CC, Adobe Shape CC, Adobe Brush CC and Adobe Color CC. In total, the software maker has over 50 apps on the App Store.


Adobe also announced that it is working on a new retouching solution for mobile devices called Project Rigel that is expected to be available in late 2015. Adobe product manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes shared a teaser video of the software through an iPad simulator today, demonstrating retouching features and filter effects such as warping, puckering and bloating, reconstructing, recoloring, brightness and contrast.




21
May

eBay’s testing Amazon Prime-like shipping service in Germany


Earns EBay

Amazon Prime offers many benefits to its subscribers, starting with super-fast shipping on web purchases. Not surprisingly, retail competitor eBay must try to match this. Over in Germany, the company has started trialling a program slightly similar to Prime, reportedly called eBay +, which will be launching in the second half of this year. Buyers there are said to have to pay between €15 and €20 (roughly $17 and $22) per year, an amount that would be reasonable considering the service’s main purpose: free, fast shipping and other undisclosed exclusive benefits.

Meanwhile, sellers who participate in the loyalty program can reap a variety of rewards, including being able to have their products highlighted on search results — the site does plan to charge them “a small annual fee” to be a part of it, however. For now, eBay’s testing it amongst top-rated German sellers, but more groups could be let in before the program’s wider rollout. We reached out to eBay to find out if this could be headed to the US or other parts of the world, and we’ll let you know if and when it gets back to us.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

Filed under: Internet, Amazon

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Via: The Verge

Source: eBay (Translated)

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