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25
Jul

Could an Xperia “Made for Bond” signal a major Z5 redesign?


There is a new James Bond film coming out this year, and unless you want things spoiled it’s best to exercise caution when uncovering the super spy’s spoiler-filled trailers. Sony however, is quite eager to start the hype train running on a mysterious new product that will apparently appear in the film:

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Given that this pair of images do not come directly from Sony, there is ultimately no way to guarantee their authenticity; given the relative simplicity it would be quite easy to fake them. Assuming they are real however, it asks the question of just what is being teased.

The Number 5

The presence of the number “5” would immediately suggest the device will be the Xperia Z5, a product that would make sense given Japan’s semi-annual product refresh cycle. It is all but assured the Z5 will release, though how Sony might rebrand it for the outside world is another story given the existence of the Z3+.

The Z5 would also be the most likely product for the simple reason that James Bond is a big franchise and Sony has always made it a point to have key product placement in the movies with branding prominently visible. It could be used for its intended purpose as a communications device, or perhaps even as a futuristic prototype developed by Q.

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“Built for Bond”

In considering what it actually means to be “Built for Bond”, one might think of the most advanced R&D imaginable: the Mach 5 of mobiles. Perhaps most relevant of all however, is a leaked email from last year that openly stated neither Spectre’s Director, Sam Mendes, or Bond himself, Daniel Craig, actually see the Xperia brand as fitting for 007 to use:

BEYOND the $$ factor, there is, as you may know, a CREATIVE factor whereby…[Mendes] and [Craig] don’t like the Sony phone for the film (the thinking, subjectively/objectively is that James Bond only uses the “best,” and in their minds, the Sony phone is not the “best”).”

This admission, along with the alleged $5,000,000 Sony had to pay Daniel Craig to use the phone would certainly suggest they want to get their money’s worth, and in doing that it definitely needs to make a big impact device. Given that the Z4 proved to be little more than what Sony truly branded it as globally, a Z3+, there were certainly a fare share of disappointed fans. Many were expecting it to be a radically redesigned flagship that would truly allow Sony to play with the “big boys” on the mass market radar. 

Perhaps lending more credibility to this theory, there are two additional issues to consider:

Earlier this year, pictures of a phone that was believed to be the (then) upcoming Z4 were leaked that showed a slightly modified design. The images, said to have originated from a pitch Sony made for the Bond movie, show a phone, “The Elemental” which looked to have had a metal frame. The power button however, still looked true to the Xperia Z design language.

sony concept 1

Additionally, a second leaked picture was revealed along with the aforementioned emails that contained Mendes’ rather unfavorable opinion of the “Sony phone”. This product’s intentions were even less clear; it could have been a prototype mockup, it could have been a working model, it could have been nothing more than just a design render. Still, the look is even more drastically different than “The Elemental” has.

sony concept

Ultimately the question is just what Sony plans to do with this pair of products, if anything at all. It’s possible they were nothing more than ideas for what became the Z4/Z3+. It’s also possible they were deliberately held off for consideration with Spectre tie-in promotion and release this creating the less inspired Z4 that actually released.

Ironically there is another question asked as well, namely just how receptive the public would be of these phones should they ever materialize. “The Elemental” actually looks rather similar to the current Z-series, and in some ways, the second phone looks almost like a step back in terms of design language; almost too Samsung Galaxy Tab 4-esque with the sliver of chrome (plastic?) that rings around the frame’s perimeter. Do either of them look cool enough for the mainstream customer to use, let alone James Bond himself?

Sony Style

In light of Sony Mobile’s optimistic views of the future and assurance it’s not going anywhere, there could potentially be some big success for the Z5 if it can come packing heat. The Xperia Z4v (pictured below) is actually a good place to start thanks to the souped up internals it has, namely a QHD display – the first ever to be used on a Sony smartphone. The design is another element that many want to see altered, given that the previous four models are relatively unchanged compared to say, the differences between the Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6.

Sony Xperia Z4v 2

The Xperia Z4v has some extra points of interest going for it, but is ultimately still similar to the past 3 models.

Still, we caution readers not to get too optimistic. Even if Sony were to have made the pictures, there could technically be any letter proceeding the number 5. It could be the E5 for example, or even the M5 to reference the famous motorway from where James Bond calls home. It could also be an all-together product, perhaps an Xperia “X5″, though if said device was going to launch a new series of products it would be best to eliminate a numeral entirely less it be seen as in the same vein as the current existing lines.

Please also keep in mind that this entire piece is ultimately just speculation based on likely or potential possibilities. Considering that Sony actually used an Xperia T-series in Skyfall, there really is no telling just what it might actually be planning.

At the very least we can hope that this potential product will usher in a new era for Sony Mobile, one that finally gives it the very oomph and appeal needed to stabilize its situation and start earning market share in countries other than its own, where it comes in second only to the iPhone.

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25
Jul

Game of Thrones Episode 5 – ‘A Nest of Vipers’ now available for download


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The guys at Telltale Games had a plan in mind when they highly discounted the Game of Thrones app to only $0.60. They know the series is amazingly addictive and all other episodes are $4.99 each. This does include the latest one, ‘A Nest of Vipers’, which has just been released across all compatible platforms (PC/Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS and Android).

This is episode 5 of the game’s 1st season, so if you haven’t been playing it you can get access to countless hours of the amazing story-telling that Telltale and George R.R. Martin are so characterized for. You would also have to pay $4.99 per episode (for installments 2-6), or $20 for the season pass.

As with the show, this interactive video game is full of medieval folk and death, so you are in for a treat. If you have been enjoying season 1 of Game of Thrones, you can simply follow the same drill and download the new episode as an in-app purchase within the app.

The Game of Thrones Telltale series is based on the same universe as the popular TV show, but the story revolves around House Forrester, a family in the North of Westeros which happened to be an important Stark partner. Things get heated as new rulers in the North arise, and you can imagine how things get after that (hint: not always pretty).

I definitely need to catch up on this series, as I only played the first couple episodes. Maybe this is my chance! Are you spending all your weekend hours waiting for winter to come?

Buy Game of Thrones from the Google Play Store

25
Jul

The OnePlus One… Now


We are only a few days away from the official launch of the OnePlus Two, and with the hype train running at full steam, we are certainly excited about getting our hands on this latest high-end offering from the Chinese OEM. Before we do get to see what this sequel has to offer, we thought it a good idea to revisit the smartphone that started it all, and certainly captured the attention of the media and consumers alike, even if not always in a positive way. When it was first released it last year, the device was heavily marketed as a flagship killer – but that was then, and this is the OnePlus One….now.

Must read – OnePlus Two – Rumor Roundup & Everything you need to know!

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Much of what made the OnePlus One so appealing when it was first launched was its unbeatable price point for what it offered, with its high-end specifications and 64 GB of storage an absolute steal for just $349. The many units we see out in the wild attest to this, as the OnePlus became the phone for the savvy internet user, those who knew how to seek out the best bang for the buck in the market, even though, for a long while, it wasn’t the easiest device to get your hands on.

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The much-maligned invite system was, understandably a big source of frustration for users, as the barrier of entry as pretty stacked, with the only options available was to either win an invite, or be lucky enough to have a friend who had an invite to spare. This, of course, isn’t an issue anymore, with the OnePlus One now available for immediate purchase, and also at a discounted price. It can be argued that both of these otherwise positive moves are too little too late, having been made on the eve of the arrival of its predecessor, but its now $299 price tag means that the One continues to be a very compelling offering.

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My personal device, that was bought not long after we released the full review, has held up quite well in the more than a year that I’ve used it. The sandstone backing is still unique and nice to the touch, but of course, I had to get my hands on the version of the device with the bamboo backing, when it was finally made available, unfortunately via invites once again. The invite system has become a running joke when it comes to OnePlus now, but it has been very tiresome, and we will hopefully see a better implementation when the same rolls around with the OnePlus Two.

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The story of hardware and performance is also the same, after more than a year in. Everything from the display to performance has remained solid, providing exactly what is expected from high-end smartphone from 2014. Playing processor-intensive games is still great, the media consumption experience allowed with the 5.5-inch Full HD display is enjoyable, and the 13 MP rear shooter provides some good shots. Though performance and viewing experience don’t fall behind by much, it is in the camera that you might left wanting a bit more, especially when given the fact that the current crop of flagships have brought a sort of revolution in this regard. The OnePlus One definitely feels dated when pit against the latest and greatest, but the ability to get a device with 64 GB of storage does make up for most shortcomings this phone might have.

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The software by Cyanogen has since been updated to 12S that is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, and proves to be a worthwhile upgrade that brings with all that Cyanogenmod fans love, including some real customization tools, gestures, and every little feature originally afforded the One, with Material Design making it all look better. Oxygen OS was born from the ashes of OnePlus’ relationship with Cyanogen, and was an alternative turned necessity that got off to a decent start. Not only is based on an earlier version of Lollipop though, but it is also about as stock an Android build as you can get. This is both a good and bad thing, because stock Android is always great, but the Oxygen OS still feels like it has a way to go to really differentiate itself.

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This year, we’ve already had some great experiences provided by inexpensive phones, and it is fantastic that reliable smooth performance is now very easily available for sub-$400, or even sub-$300 in some cases, which is a development that OnePlus may not have started, but definitely brought into the spotlight. That is also how the OnePlus One continues to be relevant even after more than a year since its release.

The OnePlus One may pale in comparison to this year’s high-end flagships, but it is easy to consider the device as a very compelling member of the “inexpensive but reliable” group, a criteria that is getting more and more attention in the smartphone world. It’s certainly not going to go toe to toe with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the LG G4, but that’s a job for the upcoming OnePlus Two, which will undoubtedly have its own problems with the re-instituted invite system and the latest iteration of the Oxygen OS.

Great OnePlus Videos!

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The OnePlus One is the device you get when you need to save money, and you can rest assured that the phone will continue to perform up to a daily standard. The device has seen its fair share of controversy, but when looking at the bigger picture, the OnePlus One continues to succeed at what it was meant to, providing a great smartphone without breaking the bank.

Now read: Best Bluetooth Earbuds — Best Android Phones

Latest Flagships Reviewed!

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And how about you – excited to see what the OnePlus Two has in store? As always, Android Authority will be there to deliver the very best coverage, hands on videos and more, for you. As flagships keep getting better and better, and with so much more competition from the ‘super’-midrange portfolio of devices, and some very excellent devices coming in at sub $300 and sub $200 price points, would you ever consider getting an ‘old’ flagship? Devices like the Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3 still perform exceptionally well. Let us know your thoughts – we do this for you!

25
Jul

Moto G (2015) pricing details emerge


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Every last thing about the Moto G (2015) is being discovered prior to its announcement on July 28. The handset will come with plenty of customization options and offer mid-range specifications. A promotional video also leaked really showcasing what the new Moto G will be about. Now, details have come out about the handset’s pricing.

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US Cellular plans to sell the handset for $179 off-contract which is the same as its predecessor, the Moto G (2014). These details come from a recent report in the carrier’s internal systems under SKU 186978.

You can watch the livestream on Tuesday morning at 9:00AM ET.

Source: Droid Life

Come comment on this article: Moto G (2015) pricing details emerge

25
Jul

Apple and Nike work out settlement terms for FuelBand lawsuit


Nike is ready to pay up to get a two-year-old FuelBand-related class action lawsuit off its back. The case filed back in 2013 against Nike and Apple claimed that there were some “false and/or misleading statements” in the wearable’s ads about its ability to track calories and steps accurately, as well as breach of warranty. While the companies maintain that they did nothing wrong, Nike has decided to settle the issue — it’s now offering class members a choice between a $15 cash payout and a $25 gift card redeemable in its US, Puerto Rico and online stores. Apple, which stopped selling FuelBand and other wearables earlier this year, won’t be shelling out a single cent.

Folks part of the lawsuit who bought their device(s) from January 19th, 2012 to June 17th, 2015 can file a claim through the settlement’s official website until January 4th, 2016. They can claim as many payments or gift cards as the number of FuelBands they bought within that period. Those who find the amounts a bit too small, though, can object to the settlement terms by following the instructions outlined in the court’s legal notice. Speaking of FuelBand, it was reported last year that Nike’s killing it off in the future to focus on software.

Filed under: Wearables, Mobile, Apple

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Via: MacRumors

Source: Nike+ FuelBand Settement

25
Jul

BT’s Ultra HD box now available to order online


BT Sport Ultra HD Box

When the Premier League kicks off again in two weeks, we’ll see new teams and fresh faces, but there’ll also be a new way to catch the action as it unfolds. That’s all thanks to BT’s new Ultra HD box, which will offer coverage of Saturday evening and mid-week matches in glorious 4K. While the new Humax-made YouView box has been available to purchase over the phone for around a week, BT has today opened up online orders, making it much easier to get your living room ready for when Arsenal meet Chelsea in the FA Community Shield on August 2nd and the lunchtime kickoff between Manchester United and Tottenham on August 8th.

If you’re interested in making the upgrade, there are a few things you should know first. You will need to pay a one-off connection/installation fee of £44 for the Ultra HD service and you must have BT Infinity broadband for it to work (it operates independently of your normal internet, so download speeds won’t be affected). BT says you’ll only need its “up to 38Mbps” broadband tariff to get the channel, so as long as your line is capable of supporting 44Mbps, you’re good to go.

The Humax DTR-T4000 box comes with 1TB of storage and can store up to 600 SD or 250 HD hours of recorded footage. For 4K broadcasts, you’ll get roughly 60 hours of playback. If you’re used to Netflix on your YouView box, you should be aware it doesn’t currently work with the new Ultra HD hardware.

BT Sport Ultra HD Box

Once you have the kit, you’ll need to subscribe to the BT Ultra HD Entertainment pack, which costs £15 per month. This will include the normal BT Sport Pack, all the Freeview channels, 47 additional “premium” channels, on-demand services and, of course, the BT Sport Ultra HD channel. BT also throws in a £500 voucher to put towards the purchase of an LG 4K TV (if you’ve not already upgraded).

If you’re a Sky or Virgin customer, you’re going to miss out (at least until both companies launch upgraded set-top boxes), but you will be able to enjoy BT’s domestic and European coverage in HD (for a fee).

Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD

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Source: BT

25
Jul

Have we reached peak lightbulb?


Buying smart bulbs for the home is a little like choosing between HD-DVD or Blu-ray. Like regular old incandescents, or CFL or LED or halogen bulbs, smart bulbs-which can be controlled from your phone-fit into your regular old sockets. But unless you want to have a separate phone app for each room of your home, you’ll need to choose a system and stick with it, hoping that the system stays around so you can buy replacements or additions in future. You also have to hope that the app you use to switch your lights on and off is updated to work on any new phone you might buy.

So have we reached “peak lightbulb”? After all, it seems that every week another Kickstarter smart-bulb pitch lands in my inbox.

It’s unlikely that any of today’s startups will be around in 20 years, which is the promised life of these LED bulbs. So, realistically, what happens after your purchase? After all, the environmental savings of auto-shutoff and low-power LED are quickly lost if you have to toss the bulbs in the trash prematurely.

“Even without connectivity, Ilumi works like a regular bulb,” says Bruno Solari, speaking for Ilumi, a company making yet another new smartphone-controlled lightbulb system. “In fact, when you set your preferences or schedules, those are stored in the bulb so you can still use them like a regular light bulb.”

Ilumi is among a wave of startups to launch a smart bulb product. Its latest bulbs have some interesting features, such as its Bluetooth “mesh networking.” Instead of connecting your phone directly to each lightbulb in the house, the bulbs instead connect to each other, forming their own network. Not only does this simplify things, as you only have to connect to one bulb to control them all, it also extends the range, because your commands leapfrog all the way down to the bulb in the basement, handily sidestepping the usual 30-foot limit for Bluetooth radios.

The Ilumi bulbs, which cost $60-$70 depending on brightness, switch themselves on and off as you get near and also have an absurd-sounding suggestive lighting feature which “automatically provides the right lighting for every room in a home, acting as a personal interior designer.”

While new technology brings enticing and even essential new features, it also brings complication. How often does your Bluetooth speaker go screwy on you? Now imagine the same thing, only it’s your lightbulb, and all you want to do is douse the light and fall asleep. No one really wants to be troubleshooting bulbs at bedtime. At the risk of sounding like an old man, at least you always know where you are with a regular lightbulb. Even dogs and cats can manage to switch on a light, if YouTube is to be believed. Some tech might be best left dumb.

These two problems are intertwined. To differentiate themselves in a saturated market, bulb makers have to add clever new features. But this adds complexity, and it also causes early obsolescence. The Ilumi bulb seen here is version two. The original was launched on Kickstarter back in 2013, and yet we’re already being asked to upgrade. And it only takes on glance at the aluminum, glass, plastic and circuit boards that make up the bulbs to see that they have a much bigger environmental impact than a glass ball with a burned-out filament.

Our advice? LED bulbs are great, and you should just buy whatever excellent bulb Wirecutter tells you to buy. If you really want a smart bulb, then go with something from an established company that will be around in the future. And third, start of with one or two bulbs and test them for a good long time before committing to a system.

[All Photos: via Ilumi]

Also from Fast Company:

Filed under: Household

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25
Jul

Meizu MX5 on Gearbest: Flagship performance at half the cost?


The MX5 is a 4G LTE smartphone made by Chinese manufacturer Meizu. The MX5 comes with 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a Helio X10 SoC from Mediatek clocked at 2.2GHz.

MeizuMX5You may be wondering right now, “Why should I care about a Chinese phone with a Mediatek chip inside of it?”.

Well the Helio X10 is nothing to scoff at. The Helio X10 is a 64-bit CPU with 8 cores. These 8 cores utilize Mediatek’s CorePilot 2.0 technology for maximum power efficiency.

The Mediatek chip coupled with 3GB of RAM will be able to power through daily tasks and activities.

This phone isn’t just about its CPU and memory either, the phone packs a 20.7MP back camera and 5MP front camera. While megapixels aren’t everything, the specs of the cameras give the MX5 the potential to take amazing photos!

Good pictures would be pointless if you didn’t have a good screen to view them on. Have no fear, the MX5 also packs a 5.5-inch display with a 1920×1080 resolution. That is 401 pixels per inch.

For reference, the HTC One M9 packs 441 pixels in a square inch and the second generation Moto X brings 424 pixels per inch.

Wrapping up the specs overview, we have a 3150mAh battery. Unfortunately, the battery is non-removable and there is no expandable storage to increase the supplied 16GB of storage.

Perhaps the best part of this device is that physical home button. Not because it is a physical button but because of what it also doubles as. That’s right, that is a fingerprint scanner.

You will be able to use your fingerprint to quickly unlock your device. While the design does scream iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 clone, it is a powerful device running near the latest version of Android, Andriod 5.1.

Unfortunately, it is a skinned version of Android titled Flyme OS. However, it will be easy to make it feel more like stock Android by installing a 3rd party launcher like Nova Launcher.

If you are wondering how well the MX5 will handle Android 5.1, you can check out PhoneRadar’s review of the device.

The reviewer is a little hard to understand, but he does provide some good information.

The Meizu MX5 is priced at $329.99 from Gearbest right now. It would seem that Meizu is offering a near flagship performance for a fraction of the cost.

A new Galaxy S6 is priced at around $600 off contract while the MX5 comes in at $330. Yes, there are some trade-offs like the Flyme OS and sub-par battery life, but at that price difference, you can buy half a dozen battery packs to store around your home/car/office for extra juice throughout the day and still have plenty of money left over.

If you have read through the spec sheet of the Meizu MX5 and are considering purchasing it from Gearbest, you will have to make sure that it will work on your carrier.

It won’t work on any CDMA carriers like Sprint or Verizon. The good news is that it will work on most GSM networks like T-Mobile and AT&T as the device is sold unlocked.

Supported bands are below. Make sure that your carrier uses any of the mentioned bands.

2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz
4G: FDD-LTE 1800/2100/2600MHz

Note: Your carrier does not have to have all of the MX5’s bands, and your phone doesn’t have to have all of your carrier’s bands. You just need to make sure that at least one of the bands are supported by both and that band is in your area.

You can visit this site to help you determine if this phone will work with your service provider.

MX5Specs

The post Meizu MX5 on Gearbest: Flagship performance at half the cost? appeared first on AndroidGuys.

25
Jul

Earth’s orbiting observatories and their literally awesome images


While the Voyager 1 probe, launched in 1977, cruises into interstellar space (the farthest man-made object from Earth) and missions like New Horizons capture snaps from the outskirts of the solar system, we’ve been keeping the heavy hitters close to home. Massive space telescopes that scan the cosmos with augmented eyes have been orbiting the Earth for years to get a clear view of the universe without atmospheric distortion. The Hubble Space Telescope’s 1990 launch set a new precedent for these space-based observatories in terms of scale and abilities. These new instruments have helped scientists gather an incredible amount of data and mind-bending photos from deep space. With Pluto hogging the spotlight lately, we decided to take a look back at some of these powerful orbiting eyes and their visual achievements.

[Image credit: JPL]

Filed under: Science

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25
Jul

Sony to release new phone with the next James Bond movie?


james bondA leaked promo picture has surfaced that suggest Sony will release it’s next big smartphone along side the new James Bond movie, SPECTRE, when it’s released on November 2015.

The picture reads “Made for Bond” with “XPERIA 5″ underneath. In front of the “5” there is a blurred out letter or number. We would assume it will say “Z” for the “Z5″, but it could also be a new letter for a new line of Sony phones.

Xperia-Z5-Made-for-BondThe pictures came from Digi-wo who have had many other big Xperia leaks. At the same time the picture could of been made by anyone. All we know is Sony has been trying very hard to get their next Xperia phone into the movie.

Source: Digi-wo
Via: Xperiablog

Come comment on this article: Sony to release new phone with the next James Bond movie?

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