Hot from the floor of CES, Archos have introduced their latest gadget that integrates the Android operating system into your TV. They call it the Archos TV Connect. I’ve had a number of Archos gadgets down through the years so I am very excited to see this come to market.
The TV Connect is fully Google certified and the first certified device that brings a full Android 4.1 Jelly Bean environment to your TV. There are minor tweaks to the software but its pretty much the same as you’ll get on any stock Android 4.1 tablet, meaning full access to Google Play with all its apps and games. Imagine playing Angry Birds or Jetpack Joyride full screen!
The Archos TV Connect system comprises of 2 devices, the Connect itself sits on the top of your TV and holds all the processing power, 1.5 GHz multi core processors complemented by 1 GB of RAM. It also has the HDMI connections for your TV and it includes a camera for video conferencing such as Skype!
All the controls are done via the Archos TV Touch Remote. At first glance the remote looks similar to your xbox or playstation controller, but you quickly spot the full QWERTY keyboard! It connects to the TV Connect via Bluetooth and while there are your standard buttons, D-pads and even a home and back button just like your phone. There is also the option to control a cursor on the screen in a similar fashion to a Wii controller The joystick type buttons make it possible to interact with the OS as if you have dual touch, this comes into its own when you are zooming in and out of maps!
Not fond of the TV Touch Remote? Well then just download the Archos remote app from Google Play and you can take control of the TV Connect with your Mobile phone!
Release date for the Archos TV Connect is scheduled for February and with about a €99 price tag this device will go right up top of the wish list!
Will 2013 be the year when wireless charging hits the mainstream? It’s not science fiction no more and hasn’t been for quite sometime, wireless charging devices are out there. (Think of your electric toothbrush!) They maybe few and far between but both the charging stations and the devices capable of being charged wirelessly are becoming more popular.
Wireless Charging… what the hell?
Wireless charging also more technically known as inductive charging is the ability to charge a device without making an electrical contact between the power source and the device being charged. It means you don’t have to plug it in! Just leave your device on a charging pad and it will charge the battery, no more fumbling to find the usb port!
So this is simples…. ya?
Well yes but there are issues… as with most new technologies different companies have different systems and in the case of wireless charging two systems or standards seem to be surfacing, one being “Qi” pronounced “Chee” (the Chinese word for flow). The other is being developed by A4WP, a syndicate of global electronics companies including Duracell, Samsung and Qualcomm. Manufacturers already using the Qi standard include, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Sony and the big hitter Samsung. Yes as far as I can see Samsung have a finger in each pie! What does this mean…? Just be careful when you buy a wireless product that it will be compatible with the charging pad!
In time as with most battling Standards, one standard should come out on top, which one, at the moment is anybody’s guess.
What options do Androiders have?
You have a few but more and more wireless charging pads are being developed so lets deal with the charging pads first. Duracell have the PowerMat, there are several different renditions of this floating around on the web take a look at the Duracell Powermat website for an in-depth account.
For for Qi people the Energizer Qi-Enabled 3 Position Charger looks to be one of the best on the market and is getting very positive reviews over on Amazon. I’ve also read that people have noticed increases in prices on these products as more devices get wireless charging abilities. I’ve seen LG, Nokia, Samsung and a few random brands making charging stations, Amazon it looks like they have a good range.
Onto the Phones!
Believe it or not alot of phones have the ability to be wirelessly charged…. the manufacturers of the stations are making wireless charging covers for phones with wireless charging receivers in them. Any phone such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII that has a removable back cover, it is possible to get a replacement back that has a charging receiver in it. You can also get protective covers with wireless charging receivers built in that will slip onto your phone plus you get the added protection of the cover! A little pet peev of mine… Duracell among others have a dongle that will connect via micro usb into the charging port of you phone, you then leave the dongle device on the charging pad… to me this is not wireless charging, you still have yo disconnect the dongle form your phone when you are leaving.
The Google Nexus 4 has the ability to charge free of wires built-in, they have even designed their own Orb wireless charging station to complement the phone. Although released a number of months ago the Orb is proving difficult to get your hands on. HTC Thunder Bolt, HTC Droid DNA, Motorola DROID 3 and the LG Revolution all have wireless charging capabilities.
So thats about it… more phones will undoubtedly crop up and we will hunt them down and perhaps review them here. It was a slow burn but I can see wirelss charging making leaps this year, pads will be popping up in useful places such as coffee shop tables and counters, next to seating in public centers such as airports, in the dash of your car, bed side lockers for your home… the list goes on. This can be my prediction for 2013!
Howdy, this week’s installment of Appy Monday is Jetpack Joyride, a super addictive game from Halfbrick Studios the makers of Fruit Ninja.
You take control of Barry Steakfries as he throws a jetpack on his back and bursts his way into a secret laboratory. Barry is continually moving forward so all you have to do is control how high or how low he flies by touching anywhere on the screen. As you get further into the levels he starts moving faster making the game that bit more challenging! When you die you restart from the beginning. This may sound annoying to restart from the beginning but as you progress you get different missions which make the game more addictive. More on missions later.
As you fly through the lab you can collect coins, these in game coins are added to your stash and can be used to buy clothes, upgraded jetpacks, vehicles and a host more goodies. You can also spend real world money to buy extra in game coins so you can get the jetpack you always wanted without spending the time playing the game!
At different stages throughout the game you come across a mulitcoloured box, these boxes contain a vehicle. Barry can collect a vehicle and take control of it using it to fly through the lab. There are a huge range of vehicles each having their own way of being controlled. For some you touch the screen and the vehicle will go up, others it will go down and as with the Crazy Freaking Teleporter it will teleport you to a different area! Barry will die when he hits lasers or bombs that can come whizzing by, but if in a vehicle you only lose the vehicle and Barry can continue with the jetpack, so the vehicle also acts as a second life.
Spin coins will come floating by as you zip through the lab, collect these and at the end of the level (when you die) you will be given the option to use the coins in a slot machine. Match 3 items on the machine and you will win a prize. Prizes include extra coins, head starts, exploding finishes and numerous other items.
By completing the missions you get to collect more and more coins, plus the missions are good fun. Some are very simple such as collect 2 spin coins in one game others are a bit more tricky such as finish a game between 350 and 400 meters, it may sound easy but play it and find out!
Jetpack Joyride is a great game just if you have 4 or 5 minutes to spare while waiting for the bus, games are generally only less than a minute long but and action packed minute. the missions and different achievements help to keep you coming back for more.
Google recently released details relating to its latest Nexus smartphone. The Nexus 4, which is manufactured by LG, boasts a host of impressive specifications that will leave most Android users chomping at the bit.
While the phone hardware is top drawer, the same cannot be said of the price which is basement bargain. The phone is currently on sale in the U.S. for just $299 USD, unlocked and with no commitment required to a mobile carrier. This will allow folks to purchase a top end phone at a knock down price without the pain of a 12-18 month contract! Happy days I hear you scream!
So where is the downside? The only major downside that has been noted to date is the phones lack of support for LTE networks, and this may not bother most people due to its impressive download rates via HSPA+. That said, according to theverge the phone can be forced to use an LTE network, for users in Canada, through some light tweaking.
Regardless, this is an impressive new offering in the Google range and one that we here in Android Mobiles cannot wait to get our grubby little fingers on!
This is slightly off topic but it does involve an Android Phone! U.S. Marine Sgt. Winston Fiore decided one day to go on a trek, a 5000 mile trek.
Winston decided to undertake the journey to raise money for children in developing countries that require reconstructive surgery for cleft palates. Money raised going towards the International Children’s Surgical Foundation. The trek took him 5000 miles across Asia, through Brunei, Loas, Taiwan and Vietnam to name but a few. With a trusted Google Nexus phone Sgt. Fiore used Google Maps to plan his route and accurately guide his way.
The walking directions proved to be excellent, taking him on paths that normally wouldn’t be used yet making his journey as short as possible. He traveled up to 25 miles a day and did the 5000 miles in 408 days.
Along the way he met people interested in his cause and were more than willing to donate to it, whether it be financially, giving him a place to stay or giving him a hot meal. His website smiletrek.org has tons more information of his journey including a full map of everywhere he visited, you can also donate to help him reach his €75,000 goal.
This week’s Appy Monday installment is long overdue! But this week I have a game for you that is the one of the weirdest I’ve ever come across!
Mr. Legs is an amazingly quirky unique and to say the least strange android game. The object of the game is simple, collect the cherries as Mr. Legs is as the developers say “is the best CHERRY picker in all of the Deserts Of Londonium”. By swiping your finger up and down the screen you extend or reduce Mr. Legs legs allowing him to gobble up the cherries while also avoiding the dangerous bombs and birds that can attack Mr. Legs.
Like all great games the plot is simple and Mr. Legs is no different, where it is different is its style. It’s not too often games of this caliber come along, its styled in a black and white 1920′s style animation that in it’s self is odd. Throw in some off the wall music and the wacky sound effect and you a very very odd ball that is brilliant! You can download Mr. Legs on Google Play for a €0.99. It’s only a euro, you cant even buy a burger for a euro these days!
Here is a great new accessory for Android devices, it’s a silent alarm called ZBand. (yes i did say silent alarm… read on!)
The ZBand is a wristband which is paired to your android phone using the ZBand Android App. It was designed with simplicity in mind and is designed it to be small, light, comfortable, affordable and user friendly.
The idea is simple; you create and manage your alarms on the ZBand Android App. The App then syncs the alarms to the wristband. When it’s time for the alarm to go off, the ZBand wristband vibrates to gently awaken the wearer without disturbing anyone else in the vicinity. You can also configure snooze times and vibration strength on the App.
So, who is ZBand for?
- Couples who get up at different times in the morning
- Parents with kids who sleep close by
- People who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Students or travellers who sleep in dorms or hostels
As you could imagine, uses for the ZBand is endless.
ZBand is easy; once you purchase the ZBand wristband you simply install the ZBand App on your Android smart phone or tablet via the Android Play store. Then, you pair your phone with the ZBand wristband and you’re done.You can then create alarms and configure your snooze and vibration settings. The ZBand gently vibrates when it receives instructions from the App to indicate it has received and understood alarm commands. The good news, unlike your phone or tablet the Zband wristband will last over 10 days on a 30 minute charge. You can charge the band using your Android phone or standard USB charger. There is also a USB cable included with the ZBand.
The ZBand was invented, designed and developed by Paul Griffin and Declan Leonard, which is an interesting story in itself. You can check out more about their story and the ZBand on www.zband.biz. The first shipment of ZBand’s is due in at the end of November. Griffin and Leonard are running a campaign on indiegogo at present to help get the word out there about the ZBand. So you can pre-order the ZBand on www.indiegogo.com/Zband and by doing so you are helping the ZBand and a start-up get up and running.
Hello there fellow Android Mobilers, hope you guys and gals are all well and appy! This week I have a good old plain and simple loads of fun app for you all to try out.
Face Swap is exactly what it says on the tin…. it lets you change two faces on a picture instantly. The faceswapper tool uses automatic face recognition to select the faces to be swapped and at a touch of a button you can switch the faces of people on to different bodies.
In reality, although the app is pretty well built, it feels solid with good graphics, I found the face recognition to be a bit dodge, it didnt just get the faces exact. That said you do have the option to move the selection to the desired location and if the faces are straight you can get very good results. Face Swap also gives you the option to flip and rotate the faces, giving you even better results.
Overall the results do depend on the picture you are use, I’d like to see an option to zoom into an image to allow you to select faces more accurately. It’s good fun swapping faces of friends or parents with their kids you get some very funny results. A cool app to have a laugh with! Download it on Google Play and have an Appy Monday!
First off, this is not free! But that in itself is a statement as to how good this game is, it’s the first app I’ve included in the Appy Mondays series that you have to pay for, One Euro and five cent will get you Granny Smith one of the most enjoyable games on the Android market today
There are 36 levels tot his superb game, where you, as Granny Smith don a pair of roller skates to chase after a young thief who tries to steal you apples. The object of the game is to collect all three apples on each level before the thief does. For the most part Granny Smith will self propel herself, you can use the jump button to make her not only jump but somersault into the air, being careful to land her on her feet!. You also have the option of using her cane not only as a speed boost but also the hook the thief and slow him down. As levels progress you use the cane to hang form ropes going between buildings and tress etc.
Gameplay is exceptional and I got the old school free of Sonic The Hedgehog, so if you are a fan of Sonic, this game is well worth checking out. There are powerups such as helmets and baseballs for throwing in the tool shed that can be swapped for points collected, character changes also int eh shape of a dog and an old man, each with canes!
Gameplay is second only to graphics, the whole game is given a vintage twist to keep up with the aging Granny, menu’s are within old TV surrounds and sepia coloring’s. The graphically details on every level and how beautifully drawn the buildings and landscapes make the game a joy to play.
Download it, you’ll love it, You’ll have a very Appy Monday!
The folks over at Android Authority have a neat little guide for anybody who wants to update their Samsung Galaxy S3 the the latest version of Android. The update to version 4.1.1 or Jelly Bean as its known, is done via a ROM called TaStEoFbEaNs (tasteofbeans). A clever name I’m sure you’ll all agree!
There are a whole host of different ROM’s for the different versions of the Galaxy S3, depending on what carrier you are on or what country you are in, this ROM is for Verizon and the SCH-I535 model. It’s like a dolly mixture of different features including the gallery from the Note 2. Although there are still a few bugs in the ROM and Warning!! you flash it at you own risk but it might just be worth it to experience, as Android Authority put it “jelly Bean’s undisputed smooth-as-butter interface”!