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7
Oct

Barnes and Noble’s Galaxy Tab E Nook is yet another tablet for readers


If you’re a fan of Barnes & Noble’s Nook line of e-readers and tablets, there’s a new option to tempt you this fall. The Galaxy Tab E Nook is a 9.6-inch slate that offers all of the perks of the bookseller’s digital library in a Samsung package. While the front features a familiar-looking Galaxy design, the back is covered in “a non-slip fabric-like material” to ensure you’re able to keep a good grip during long reads. Inside, there’s 16GB of built-in storage that’s expandable to 128GB via mircoSD to store your books and other items. Unfortunately, storage is about the only info on the gadget’s internals the announcement reveals. Like previous Nook by Samsung releases, this one is more than just an e-reader, allowing you to watch movies, stream TV shows and browse the web with Android apps.

Speaking of browsing the web, Samsung’s handy Multi-Window feature handles split-screen duties so you can multi-task with ease. And if you need to take a photo, there’s 5-megapixel rear-facing and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras to take care of those. This Nook also comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Office and touts up to 12 hours of continuous video playback before needing to recharge. Ready to take the leap? The Galaxy Tab E Nook is available now for $250. If you act before November 7th, though, Barnes & Noble will let you trade-in “select” Nook, Kindle, iPad and Samsung devices for up to $200 credit towards that purchase.

Source: Barnes & Nobile (Business Wire)

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7
Oct

Amazon reportedly plans to build its own live video service


Amazon Fire TV

Amazon has found pretty significant success with some of its original shows — particularly the Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning Transparent — and it seems the company’s TV ambitions don’t stop with on-demand programming. According to Bloomberg, Amazon is considering an online TV service that broadcasts live and includes programming from major players like CBS and NBC. It would be the latest service to directly challenge the dominance of traditional cable providers like Comcast and join competitive options like Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Dish’s Sling TV. Both of those services offer a host of live content that has been typically tied to those with a cable subscription.

It’s apparently too early to say just what Amazon’s proposed service would look like — Bloomberg notes that the current discussions are only preliminary in nature. Still, with more and more companies exploring how to get customers TV while cutting out cable providers entirely, it’s a logical area for Amazon to investigate. We can only hope this service comes sooner than later — the more competition, the better things will shake out for consumers.

[Image credit: Diane Bondareff/Invision for Amazon/AP Images]

Source: Bloomberg

7
Oct

Braven Balance review: Portable, waterproof, and 4000mAh of juice to share


Up for review today is one of the newest portable Bluetooth speakers from Braven, the Balance. We’ve been impressed with the stuff we’ve seen out of the Braven camp in the past so we jumped at the opportunity to test one of these out.

20151007_144013The Braven Balance speaker is a waterproof and semi rugged experience. This means you can take it out on the deck, patio, or set it next to the pool to provide hours of audio entertainment. It isn’t designed to take a bunch of drops, but it can withstand some moderate abuse. The rubber coating is nice, and ensures that it doesn’t slip or slide out of your hand.

Thanks to the way this one is designed, you can set it on its side, or flip it over on its stomach. Sound comes from the center of the device however the ends do have some play for the bass and lows. In terms of dimensions, it is not much bigger than a standard size Bible or book of that nature.

20151007_143813While it is a Bluetooth device, it also pulls double duty as a portable power solution, too. Indeed, you can use the Braven Balance as a battery bank to provide some juice to your phone. This is a fantastic little feature should you need to power up while out and about. There is a 4000mAh battery inside, so there’s more than enough to get your phone to where it needs to be and ensure you’re charged for the rest of the day. Just be sure to bring your charging cable as it’s not included in the box.

As to be expected, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack inside that allows you to plug in directly so you can use the auxiliary port from your phone rather than Bluetooth. Should you not have a smartphone or something equipped with Bluetooth, you can always plug in your mp3 player or audio source.

Do note that the ports on the rear are not going to withstand water on their own. You will want to make sure that you cover up the device using the rubber boot or protective cover. Forgetting to do so or neglecting to do so could result in a wet and potentially damage device.

The model that we reviewed was Raspberry Pink, however there are a number of color options (Electric Lime, Raven, Periwinkle, Alpine, Sunset) available from Braven. We tested this unit outdoors as well as indoors. My wife likes to use it for when she teaches yoga, and it certainly does its intended purpose. She finds that she only needs to play volume about halfway up for a handful of her classmates to hear music.

20151007_143955

When used inside, you definitely don’t have to turn the volume up very loud. It will fill a room quite easily.  But, if you need to go loud, it goes loud. There is a semi-hidden feature that allows you to turn the volume to what I believe is maximum capacity. Called Boost Mode, you hold down two buttons (power and “+” button) for a moment whereupon it will switch to maximum capacity. It is quite jarring and unsettling if you’re not ready. If you need to really pump out the jams and liven up a backyard party, then this is the way to do it.

The sound is quite accurate, if not robust. There were very few times where we had to go above half the volume to be satisfied with levels. Regardless of where we set the volume, audio was crisp, clear, and warm.

We found that we only had to recharge the battery once every few uses. The capacity allows for up to 18 hours of playback, however your mileage will vary depending on how loudly you are playing your music. Keep in mind, too, that if you’re using the speaker as a power source to charge up your phone, you’ll need to top this one off more often.

20151007_144028

We were thoroughly impressed with this device and it fits right in line with other Braven models we tested in the past. We are happy to recommend this to anyone interested in a portable speaker. You’ll find the Braven Balance retails for about $130 at a variety of outlets, including Best Buy and Amazon.

http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&%23038;Operation=GetAdHtml&%23038;MarketPlace=US&%23038;source=ss&%23038;ref=ss_til&%23038;ad_type=product_link&%23038;tracking_id=agref_bluetooth-20&%23038;marketplace=amazon&%23038;region=US&%23038;placement=B00ZKTKX9E&%23038;asins=B00ZKTKX9E&%23038;linkId=ZCNKY25CXHM2ILXS&%23038;show_border=true&%23038;link_opens_in_new_window=true

The post Braven Balance review: Portable, waterproof, and 4000mAh of juice to share appeared first on AndroidGuys.

7
Oct

[TA Deals] Pick up a Python Programming Pro course bundle at 84% off


PythonProgrammingProfessionalBundleIf you’re interested in learning a new programming language and Python is on your list, we’ve got a fantastic deal that will get you moving in the right direction. For just $29 you can grab a six course Python Programming Pro bundle that covers everything from data analysis to web development to game creation.

Python is extremely flexible, but that also means there’s quite a bit to learn, especially if you’ve never used it before. This bundle includes courses for analyzing data, using popular Python frameworks like Django, and even material for creating a Flappy Bird clone to get your feet wet with Python game development. There are tons of lectures, courses, and videos included, all of which should help you get started with one of the most popular programming languages available.

This bundle would normally cost you around $190, so getting this deal shaves a cool 84% off that price. Hard to pass up a deal like that, especially if you’re interested in building out your programming skills.

[Talk Android Deals]

Come comment on this article: [TA Deals] Pick up a Python Programming Pro course bundle at 84% off

7
Oct

Barnes & Noble and Samsung announce the 9.6-inch Galaxy Tab E NOOK for $250


Barnes & Noble Samsung Galaxy Tab E NOOK

Barnes & Noble has teamed up with Samsung yet again to bring us a new NOOK branded tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab E NOOK. This new device features Samsung’s familiar design language on the hardware front, while providing the same software experience that’s normally found in NOOK tablets. It comes with a special non-slip, fabric-like material on the back of the tablet, which should make for a comfortable, secure grip. It also comes with a 9.6-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800. It features a 5MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front camera, 16GB of on-board storage and microSD expansion up to 128GB.

On the software side of things, the Galaxy Tab E NOOK comes with NOOK Profiles, so each member of your family can have their own customized reading and entertainment experience. Parents can also set up profiles for their children with kid-friendly NOOK content. For the most part, the software experience will be very similar to what’s offered in other NOOK devices. The E NOOK does come with Samsung’s great Multi-Window feature, which is definitely an added bonus.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab E NOOK is being offered for $249.99 from Barnes & Noble’s website. Especially considering the specs, this probably isn’t the best $250 you could spend on a tablet, but it may be a decent option if you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy. To learn more about this new device, head to the Barnes & Noble link below.


sony xperia z4 tablet 15See also: Cheap tablets: what to avoid, what to look for28

7
Oct

Google introduces the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project


Google is taking on the problem of slow loading mobile web pages. One would logically think with faster LTE and WiFi speeds that web pages should load faster as speeds increase, but more often than not we find ourselves running into slow loading websites on our mobile devices. With plug-ins, videos, advertisements and other content many websites are being bogged down creating an unpleasant experience.

No one wins when web pages take too long to load. Readers simply go to another website and miss out on content that could be of value while advertisers lose out on potential customers.

In order to fix this problem, Google has been in discussions with publishers and tech companies globally and has joined an open source initiative called the Accelerated Mobile Pages(AMP). The purpose of the AMP is to dramatically reduce slow web page load times and improve the performance of the mobile web.

Instead of creating proprietary software, this initiative is an open source project using existing web technologies(AMP HTML) which in turn will allow others to use the standards and hopefully increase the adoption rate benefitting everyone. To kick off this project Google has announced that 30 publishers will be taking part in giving us a better mobile experience. Some of the companies include Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress.com, BBC, The Huffington Post, The New York Times and LinkedIn.

Google used the video below as an example of how fast web pages can load on a mobile device using the Accelerated Mobile Pages HTML:

Google is planning to add more features listed below:

  • Content: Publishers increasingly rely on rich content like image carousels, maps, social plug-ins, data visualizations, and videos to make their stories more interactive and stand out. They also need to implement ads and analytics in order to monetize the content and to understand what their readers like and dislike. The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project provides an open source approach, allowing publishers to focus on producing great content, while relying on the shared components for high performance and great user experience. The initial technical specification—developed with input and code from our partners in the publishing and technology sectors—is being released today on GitHub.
  • Distribution: Publishers want people to enjoy the great journalism they create anywhere and everywhere, so stories or content produced in Spain can be served in an instant across the globe in, say, Chile. That means distribution across all kinds of devices and platforms is crucial. So, as part of this effort, we’ve designed a new approach to caching that allows the publisher to continue to host their content while allowing for efficient distribution through Google’s high performance global cache. We intend to open our cache servers to be used by anyone free of charge.
  • Advertising: Ads help fund free services and content on the web. With Accelerated Mobile Pages, we want to support a comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies. Any sites using AMP HTML will retain their choice of ad networks, as well as any formats that don’t detract from the user experience. It’s also a core goal of the project to support subscriptions and paywalls. We’ll work with publishers and those in the industry to help define the parameters of an ad experience that still provides the speed we’re striving for with AMP.

Cheers to Google for tackling a problem that is getting out of hand.

Source – Google Blog

The post Google introduces the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project appeared first on AndroidGuys.

7
Oct

What could have improved the Nexus 5X?


android_6-0_marshmallow_wall_nexus_chromecast

The Nexus 5X is manufactured by LG and acts as the successor to the Nexus 5. The device comes with a lot of improved specifications and new features.

Even though it may not have flashiest specifications of any phone, the Nexus 5X packs mostly premium components and a design that impresses at the $379 starting price. And who doesn’t want that? With stock Android and rapid updates coming directly from Google, you can’t go wrong. Here are features that Google and LG should have considered to make the Nexus 5X even better.

Wireless charging

lg_nexus_4_wireless_charging_orb_127

A multitude of Nexus devices — the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 7 (2013) — included support for wireless charging. Even though wireless charging is yet to become the norm, it would still be appreciated by many considering lots of Android competitors have it built directly into their flagship phones. The new included USB Type-C port is likely the culprit here. Since USB Type-C is reversible, Google may have found it a worthy replacement for wireless charging. It may also be a factor that keeps the price down low.

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)

lg_g4_back_camera_top_TA

Optical image stabilization (OIS) is used to stabilize your device when taking pictures or recording video to avoid blur and movement while holding the phone. Rather than including OIS, Google decided to increase the camera sensor size on the Nexus 5X to 1.55 μm-sized pixels. According to Google’s, this will make up for the lack of OIS and work just as well if not better. But we’ll have to wait for samples to be sure.

Gorilla Glass 4

corning_gorilla_glass_4

Most presumably, in order to keep the price low, Google decided to use Gorilla Glass 3 rather than the new and more durable Gorilla Glass 4. If you like to throw your device around a lot, you might want to consider the Nexus 5X’s larger sibling, the Nexus 6P, for its increased durability. If you are fine with using protective accessories, this should be nothing to worry about. As far as I’m concerned, the difference between Gorilla Glass 3 and Gorilla Glass 4 is barely noticeable and won’t make much of a difference when your device goes face first onto the concrete.

Expandable storage

Bugdroid_SD_Card

Okay, you didn’t think Google was going to actually include expandable storage right? Recent Nexus devices have hinted that Google has strong feelings against expandable storage mainly due to the cloud services it provides. Google Drive supplies 10GB of space for free to everyone and more is available to purchase at a very low cost. If you’re lucky, Google often runs promotions giving away additional Drive space for free. If 16GB or 32GB isn’t enough for you, consider those options.

Front-facing speakers

Unlike its big brother the Nexus 6P, the Nexus 5X only has one front-facing speaker. Sound quality of recent Nexus handsets hasn’t disappointed, though, but many would still love to have two front-facing speakers blasting sound out of the device. The only time you would notice a significant difference is when watching movies or video clips. Other than that, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal-breaker.

HTC_One_M9_Front_BoomSound_Speaker_HTC_Logo_02_TA

Additional, faster RAM

Those obsessed with specs will be very disappointed to know that the Nexus 5X only includes 2GB of DDR3 RAM. An increase in RAM allows for better performance and enables the device to keep multiple apps running in the background without having to reload them. Most Android flagships are currently backed with 3GB or even 4GB of RAM, so the Nexus 5X’s 2GB can be seen as a disappointment. On the good side, Google has made significant improvements to RAM management in Marshmallow. So maybe, just maybe, the Nexus 5X won’t need it.

Closing

nexus_5x_usb_type-c_port

The Nexus 5X has some room for improvement but not every smartphone is perfect. It really depends on your personal needs and wants for a device. The Nexus 5X definitely improves upon the original Nexus 5 but it’s up to you to upgrade.

[Google Store]

Come comment on this article: What could have improved the Nexus 5X?

7
Oct

WhatsApp users can now create private backups in Google Drive


s3-chataudioThanks to a partnership between WhatsApp and Google Drive, users of the wildly popular message app can now keep copies of chat history. Indeed, there are some 900 million of you out there, many of which are using Android as the mobile platform of choice.

According to Google, WhatsApp users on Android are able to backup chat history, voice messages, photos, and videos in Google Drive. Moreover, it’s also possible to restore all of this to a new device should you ever upgrade your Android. Everything is native, seamless and secure as Google will encrypt the multimedia in the cloud.

The new feature is coming to an Android near you, however the process is expected to take a few months to fully deploy. Keep an eye on your WhatsApp settings to see if you’re ready to start backing things up.

The post WhatsApp users can now create private backups in Google Drive appeared first on AndroidGuys.

7
Oct

Google is working on a way to speed up mobile websites


Google_Now_CardsEveryone likes being able to browse the internet using their phone, but no one likes waiting for the pages to load. Google realizes this as well and are working on what they call Accelerated Mobile Pages. This is said to drastically speed up mobile web browsing.

It uses a AMP HTML, which is a new type of open framework that is said to allow websites to build webpages that load faster. A huge amount of mega size companies are already getting in on the action. Just some of the companies involved are Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress and many more. All of them plan on adding AMP HTML pages to their websites.

Google says in the coming months they will be working with other participants in the project to build more features and functionality focused on some key areas:

  • Content: Publishers increasingly rely on rich content like image carousels, maps, social plug-ins, data visualizations, and videos to make their stories more interactive and stand out. They also need to implement ads and analytics in order to monetize the content and to understand what their readers like and dislike. The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project provides an open source approach, allowing publishers to focus on producing great content, while relying on the shared components for high performance and great user experience. The initial technical specification—developed with input and code from our partners in the publishing and technology sectors—is being released today on GitHub.

  • Distribution: Publishers want people to enjoy the great journalism they create anywhere and everywhere, so stories or content produced in Spain can be served in an instant across the globe in, say, Chile. That means distribution across all kinds of devices and platforms is crucial. So, as part of this effort, we’ve designed a new approach to caching that allows the publisher to continue to host their content while allowing for efficient distribution through Google’s high performance global cache. We intend to open our cache servers to be used by anyone free of charge.

  • Advertising: Ads help fund free services and content on the web. With Accelerated Mobile Pages, we want to support a comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies. Any sites using AMP HTML will retain their choice of ad networks, as well as any formats that don’t detract from the user experience. It’s also a core goal of the project to support subscriptions and paywalls. We’ll work with publishers and those in the industry to help define the parameters of an ad experience that still provides the speed we’re striving for with AMP.

Source: Google

Come comment on this article: Google is working on a way to speed up mobile websites

7
Oct

Nearly a quarter of Android users are running Lollipop


Moto X Pure running Lollipop

Android Lollipop is enjoying its last, shining moment in the sun before Marshmallow arrives in earnest. Google’s not-quite-current operating system now accounts for 23.5 percent of active Android users, a healthy 2.5-point boost from what you saw just one month ago. That’s still trailing behind Jelly Bean (30.2 percent) and KitKat (38.9 percent), but it’s clear that all those new devices and upgrades are starting to add up. The real question is whether or not that momentum will last. Marshmallow is arriving relatively quickly, and shouldn’t suffer from the early performance and battery life woes that kept some people from upgrading last year. If the newer release catches on quickly, Lollipop might not reach the lofty adoption rates of its predecessors.

Android usage share circa October 2015

Via: Android Community

Source: Android Developers

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