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5
Nov

Vaporcade’s Jupiter is a phone you can smoke


jupiter-vaporizer-phone

Phones with bendable or flexible displays, curved edges, second screens, shatterproof displays – we’ve seen a lot of devices that attempt to be unique by adding interesting hardware or design features that help them better stand out from the crowd. One thing we haven’t seen is a phone with a built-in vaporizer (nor did we expect to…), until now.

Startup Vaporcade is currently offering up 3G and 4G LTE variants of its “Jupiter” smartphone for pre-order, priced at $299 and $499 respectively. The big feature for both of these devices is the vaporizer, beyond that, Vaporcade tells its would-be consumers next to nothing about this phone – though it’s more than willing to take your money for a pre-order despite not telling you exactly what you’re getting. We know it runs Android 4.4 KitKat, but that’s the only spec detail we could dig up.

In addition to pre-orders for the Jupiter, Vaporcade also sells e-cigs, and apparently coffee. It’s hard not to be a little skeptical of whether this phone actually will ever get off the ground. For what it is worth, the website claims that it is working with Herbert A. Gilbert, the man who is recognized as the inventor of the e-cig. Reportedly Seamus Blackley is the co-founder of Vaporware as well, a man known for work in the video game industry and his role in helping create the team that would go on to build the original Xbox game console.

If we had to take a guess, if this phone actually ends up in the hands of consumers, it’ll be nothing more than an entry-to-mid-range device that is modified to have a vaporizer attached. In other words, most of the price will be paying for the privilege of having a novelty item. Still, we have to admit this is a unique idea and one that we hope actually comes to pass.

What do you think of the Jupiter? Would you consider this if the specs are at least of mid-range quality? For more details (though really not much more to be found) head on over to their website.

5
Nov

Tizen has taken the #4 mobile OS spot from BlackBerry


Tizen-in-the-Big-Picture

While the Samsung-centered have already been playing around with Tizen for some time now – arguably since the Gear 2 released – the world at large still has very little knowledge of the fledgling platform, if any at all. Still, great strides have been made in India, for example, where Samsung claims it has the country’s second largest mobile OS as far as budget devices goes. Today however, a milestone has been reported by Strategy Analytics, who has found that, as of Q3 2015, Tizen is now the fourth largest mobile OS, which puts it ahead of BlackBerry.

To many, this accomplishment might seem like a non sequitur given the appeal of Android, however at the very least it gives further insight into why BlackBerry is releasing an Android handset. Likewise, other challengers such as Firefox OS have been around for years yet have ultimately failed – so far – to make major movements.

On Tizen & BlackBerry

IDC: Smartphone OS Market Share 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 Chart

While the above chart reflects data accurate as of Q2 2015, the changes in market composition regarding BlackBerry OS and the “Others” category is unlikely to have altered significantly within the past few months. Most likely, there has been a 0.3%-0.5% shift, still less than a single percentage point. To this end, the “success” of Tizen is a relative one to say the least.

It is possible that Q4 data will indicate a slightly larger shift however, givent hat Samsung is preparing a major European roll-out for its Tizen-based Z3 with 11 different countries involved. Given that trends in Europe are changing these days, there is definitely potential for the new mid-range device to see some adoption. At the very least, it may appeal to those consumers who have grown tired of premium pricing for the Korean conglomerate’s more readily available flagships.

The news is also relevant given the other Samsung-related stories that have graced headlines this past week. One such story was no less than the OEM’s Vice Chairman and co-CEO proclaiming that the company has to make major changes to survive: the eventual, larger success of Tizen could ultimately stem into a much larger money making enterprise, especially given that the ultimate goal is to use it on a host of different lifestyle products and appliances.

Samsung Z3 color options

Samsung Z3

 

Likewise, another big story this week was a bold claim that Samsung will be exiting the smartphone market within the next five years. While it’s a possibility to be sure, the rising success of Tizen would also serve as an indication as to why the Korean OEM would want to stay.

Still, perhaps the most significant aspect of this report is that BlackBerry has continued to slip in market share, something that not only makes the new Priv essential to the company’s business, but also underscores the nature of Waterloo’s recent and serious statement. Somewhat ironically however, even if new-found success is found via Android, it is clearly not going to help re-establish the OEM’s BB OS market share, rather it may ultimately see it decrease even more significantly.

5
Nov

Chronos turns any watch into a smartwatch


chronos-2

As smartwatches become more commonplace, we are starting to see more companies get involved in the wearables game, including traditional timepiece makers such as Fossil. Of course none of these smart devices have yet to master the iconic looks, design, or even feel of many of the high-end analog watches that attract watch enthusiasts.

Looking for ‘smart’ functionality, but not willing to give up on your traditional watch just yet? Chronos could be the perfect solution.

While much more limited than Tizen, Android Wear, or even Apple’s Watch OS, Chronos is a thin disc fits beneath a regular watch and brings vibration and light alerts for notifications. Beyond this, there’s also basic fitness tracking, the ability to skip tracks played on your phone, and a few other tricks that integrate with your existing Android (or even iOS) device.

chronos-wear

The Chronos does add a bit more thickness to your current watch, at 2 ½ mm thin and 33mm in diameter, but it’s actually not that noticeable, especially when paired with a larger watch.

While you would think the Chronos’ basic design should allow for extremely lengthy battery life, the add-on only lasts about 36-hours on a single charge – likely because it’s small size makes it hard to fit a very big battery. Still, 36-hours is better than most smartwatches on the market, though it pales compared to many fitness trackers and watches like the Pebble series.

The Chronos goes up for pre-order today for $99, or just $79 for the first 250 orders, and is expected to start shipping during the spring of 2016. What do you think of the idea, could you see yourself buying one of these?

5
Nov

Deal: UE BOOM Bluetooth speaker for $50 off!


logitech-ue-boom-bluetooth-speaker

Logitech’s Ultimate Ears brand has done a great job at targeting the hip, young, audio-loving audience, and many younger users want good quality sound and an aesthetically pleasing design. The UE BOOM speaker is a symbol of pure fun, but even more exciting is the fact that now you can have one of these Bluetooth audio accessories for $50 off the standard retail price, and even $30 cheaper than what you’ll find on Amazon.

This awesome deal comes from the AA Deals Store, which we are always searching through to find the hottest offers our fellow Android fans will enjoy. Even with the discount, the UE BOOM may not be the cheapest option around, but we can assure you it’s worth every penny (and more, in this case).

ue-boom-2

This bad boy offers a 360-degree sound that is sure to blow your friends away. And just in case one isn’t enough, you can connect these to each other and make for a surround-like sound coming from multiple UE speakers.

And because this speaker is meant for young, active users, you can bet it handles pretty much whatever you throw at it. It has an IPX7 rating. It is waterproof, dirt-proof and even shock-proof, yet it manages to look very good. Other specs include a 2.5-hour battery life, NFC pairing, Bluetooth connectivity, a specialized app and more.

The UE BOOM is currently going for $149.99 from the AA Deals Store, so go ahead and sign up for it! It’s a pretty good deal if you want a good-quality Bluetooth speaker.

Buy the UE BOOM Bluetooth speaker

5
Nov

Throwback Thursday: a very special hands-on


There’s no doubt that the mobile phone industry has changed considerably since the turn of the century and in 2002, the concept of a smartphone was considerably different to the powerful beasts we know and love today.

Back then, three companies ruled the industry – BlackBerry, Motorola and Nokia – and for the latter of these, one handset would introduce a feature that would be iconic even to this day. Today, we’ve got something ultra special for you – hands on with the grandaddy of the smartphone: Introducing, the Nokia 3410!

Nokia-3410-Throw-Back-Thursday-Hands-On-AA-(10-of-11)

The other day, I was searching through an archive of mine and I found this phone in PRISTINE condition, having been used for just a few days before I put it away 13 years ago. The handset itself is one of the most iconic ever made by Nokia for a plethora of reasons but 13 years later, how does Nokia’s flagship of 2002 stack up in today’s rather-more-demanding environment?

Let’s kick things off with the display and this display is SO impressive, there’s no official classification for how big it is. The monochrome display supports 6 lines of text and has a resolution of 96 x 65 pixels which was considered impressive for a phone from this era.

Nokia-3410-Throw-Back-Thursday-Hands-On-AA-(3-of-11)

Beneath the display we have this iconic T9 keyboard that lights up in yellow like the display and the keys themselves are quite easy to press, although they do take a lot of getting used to compared to today’s touch screens.

Thinking back to mobile phones of this era, there’s a common misconception that they were heavy and thick bricks. I’m also guilty of this but what is quite surprising is that while the Nokia 3410 is thick, it’s quite light compared to today’s flagships.

Nokia-3410-Throw-Back-Thursday-Hands-On-AA-(8-of-11)

At a weight of 114 grams, it’s lighter than almost all smartphones of today’s era, except for something like the Vivo Air LTE, which weighs under 100 grams. The word brick is definitely apt though as at 22.5mm thick, it’s almost the same thickness as the Galaxy Note 5, Xperia Z5 and the Nexus 6P combined!!

Moving to the back and phones of this era had no cameras or speakers on the back. Instead, we had removable XpressOn covers that allowed you to customise the design of your phone. Under the back, we’ve got a removable 825 mAh battery that lasts for a lot less time than current handsets and a SIM card slot. Look at the SIM cards from that era compared to SIM cards used in current handsets and you can see how much technology has changed in the past decade.

IMG_1938

The Nokia 3410 was definitely a firm favourite of mine in the past but looking back on it now compared to modern smartphones, there’s only one feature I think that I’d like to have in all its glory. I am, of course, talking about Snake II!

Be sure to check out the video above for a hands on demo of Snake and if you’d like to see how the game has been reinvented for the modern world, check out Snake Rewind for Android!

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So there you have it, a very special hands on in honor of one of the most iconic mobile phones ever made. Did you have the 3410 in the past? What other old phones did you have and do you have any that still work? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!

5
Nov

Facebook Debuts ‘Music Stories’ on iOS for Better Album & Song Discovery


Facebook today announced a new feature for its iOS app called “Music Stories” that will allow users to sample 30-second clips of songs that their friends and family post to the social network from services like Apple Music, iTunes, and Spotify. Users will be able to stream the clip directly from their feed and even follow a link to purchase or add the music directly into their Apple Music or Spotify playlists.

music stories

There are few things people love more than music. People find out about it from artists and friends alike, and they love to share their discoveries. Today we are enabling better music discovery and sharing on Facebook.

We hope by making this experience better, artists will share more, friends will share and engage more, and music will become a better part of the Facebook experience overall.

The company promises that support for other streaming music services will be coming soon, and that it sees Music Stories as a way to further mold Facebook into a one-stop experience where users can get updates on friends, family, entertainment and political news, and now new song and album recommendations. Facebook didn’t give any word on when the new music-centric feature would be making its way to other platforms like Android or the web.

Recently, the social network company faced a widespread issue of users reporting dramatic battery drain while the Facebook iOS ran in the background, even with background app refresh switched off. It has since repaired the issue, but left some Facebook users unsure of the company’s intentions, like MacStories‘ Federico Vittici, who said the company had “a deep lack of respect for iOS users” when his hypothesis of silent background audio running to produce a snappier experience was proved to be correct.

Tag: Facebook

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5
Nov

Developers can now sell in-game items through Steam


The folks at Valve have introduced a new Steam feature called “Item Store” which, as its name implies, makes it easier for game developers to manage and sell microtransactions. Facepunch Studios has already jumped on board, creating a marketplace for its DayZ-inspired survival title Rust. It sits inside the Steam client and any items you buy are added to your inventory automatically. So what’s the point? Well, this feature means indie developers no longer have to build in-game stores from scratch. They can also be used to manage user-made items — as Eurogamer reports, developers can integrate their stores with Steam Workshops and set their own item prices. Steam handles the checkout process and promises to split the payments between Workshop authors “as appropriate.” What’s not clear, however, is whether the developer takes a cut on community-made items. Earlier this year Valve faced enormous backlash when it tried to introduce paid Skyrim mods — hopefully it’s learned from that mistake and really thought this initiative through.

Via: Eurogamer, ValveTime

Source: Steam

5
Nov

Flickr takes advantage of iOS 9 and your iPhone 6s


Peeking at a Flickr photo on an iPhone 6s

The pressure-sensitive touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus was practically tailor-made for quickly glancing at photos, so wouldn’t it make sense that major photography apps let you do just that? Flickr sure thinks so. It’s launching an updated iOS app that takes full advantage of iOS 9, including 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s line. You can peek at photos, people and notifications with a firm push. It’ll even flip through your camera roll if you swipe at the same time, giving you a quick way to share the right snapshot. As you might’ve guessed, that extra dimension also gives you home screen icon shortcuts that help you post photos that much sooner. Slideshow-339096

Source: App Store

5
Nov

Verizon’s new kid-tracking smartwatches look all grown up


GizmoPal 2 and GizmoGadget aren’t going to win any prizes for cool product naming, but the kid-friendly smartwatches come with noble intentions. Both products let you geofence your progeny, so you can get an instant alert if they wander farther than you’d like — a staple feature of devices in the junior category of course. Both also let the wearer communicate with parents. GizmoPal 2 is more limited, allowing only Jnr to send pre-recorded messages and emoji — perhaps no bad thing for younger children. Adults can, however, call the watch directly. On the plus side, GizmoPal 2 looks less like a child’s hospital band than last time. Bigger kids will want the GizmoGadget, which has the way cooler ability to send messages and calls instantly between devices and a touchscreen display. Both are also waterproof to one meter for 30 minutes.

Source: Verizon

5
Nov

There’s now a smart kegel exerciser for men, too


Every International Women’s Day, a chorus of snippy men ask where’s their equivalent day of celebration. For the last few years, British comedian Richard Herring has led a one-man quest to get them to shut up and stop whining, because International Men’s Day is November 19th. The reason we bring this up, of course, is when news broke of a smart kegel exerciser for women, you can imagine the sort of comments that followed. Now, thankfully, Minna Life, creators of the original kGoal, is back to shut up everyone who’s ever wanted a smartphone-controlled kegel exerciser for men. Say hello to the kGoal Boost.

Source: Kickstarter

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