Android Phones, Info and Apps

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Archos TV Connect

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!

Archos TV Connect And TV

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!

 

 

 

 

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HTC Wireless Charging

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!

Qi Disc Charging Pad

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.

Energizer Qi Wireless Charger

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.

Duracell PowerMat with Dongle

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.

Nexus Wireless Charging Orb

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!

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Dec/12

2

Google Nexus 4

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!

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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.

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Nov/12

11

ZBand Silent Alarm for Android

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 Android Silent AlarmZBand 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.

 

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Android Jelly Bean

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”!

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Sep/12

15

Why I Will Never Buy An iPhone

Apple iPhone 5 2012

With the launch of the new iPhone 5 (or is that 4.2) the other day the world is swept up into iPhone fever. Folks are rushing out to get their hands on their shiny new best friend. All this hoopla (or what Psychologist Robert Cialdini may refer to as Social Proof) over a phone, an Apple product, regurgitates in my head the core reason (get it, apple – core!) I will never buy an iPhone and it’s this same core functionality that Steve Jobs insisted on in the development of the iPhone and indeed iPad…. locking the them down, tying them to iTunes.

Jobs had a vision and he followed it, steadfastly and I respect him for that, it doesn’t mean I can’t disagree with him. I hate the idea of having to load a certain piece of software just to view, add or remove  files, pictures, videos, whatever from my phone or any device for that matter (some digital cameras come to mind). I often wonder do iPhone users know this…. an Android phone you can just plug into any pc and add or remove files just as you would with a usb memory stick, no other software is required. Apple you have to use their software.

A cable of course is required, but not a special cable, most android phones now have micro or mini USB, yes that’s the same as you use for your camera or your GPS or non Apple mp3 digital music player, I even have a torch that uses a Micro usb port! Point is, they are everywhere, they are a standard. If you buy an Android phone I’d be pretty confident you already own a cable that connects to it and if you buy an Android next year or three years time chances are, that cable will fit it, unlike the new iPhone 5 cable where that cable fits an iPhone 5 and an iPhone….. or maybe an Apple…. no just an iPhone 5. Apple you have to use their cable.

Ok, lets just say you are happy with the ties iTunes cast’s upon you. Are you happy with how the iPhone looks? No… sure just change to another iPhone design…. oh no hold it, you cant, no you can, just go back a model or two. I don’t want this post to be an Apple bashing and a hail to Android post as I do think Apple make a great phone but there is no way that one phone can be perfect for everybody and this is what Apple are telling people and they buying into it, upgrading into it! Robbing people’s individuality. Apple you have to use their style.

Dear iPhone user, when was the last time you turned to a fellow iPhone user and said “hey look did you see what I can do with my phone?” Bar showing them an app (which they can just go and download and do the same as you) I’m guessing it was years.

Joel Runyon worte a blog post about meeting the inventor of the first PC, Russell Kirsch, in a cafe in Portland. Kirsch made a great point about tablets on how they are used to consume information, how they lacked the ability to empower the user to be creative, unlike a PC where you can learn multiple languages to create code and develop software, tablets he felt stifled creativity. I feel its the same with an iPhone… You have to use Apple’s software, Apples’ cables and Apple’s style. Blinkered to use Apple and that’s why I will never buy an iPhone.

 

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Ice Screen 26 inch Android screen

 Ok I have to admit I’m in a bit of a muddle over the latest offering from the combined efforts of Tencent and TCL Multimedia…. A 26 Inch portable TV running Android. Yes I did type  and you did read “portable”. Who would have ever thought a 26 inch device would be categorized as portable! Either way I think I want one….?

It has a 1366 x 768 display with a dual core Cortex 1 GHz processor. Bung in a Mali 400 GPU, 4GB of RAM and Version 2.2 of Android and you have a TV (not a tablet, as the screen is not touch sensitive) capable of surfing the web, listening to music, watching videos and playing games. You control the 26 inch beast with a infrared remote control and keyboard. For connectivity you have the standard options including Wi-Fi, USB ports HDMI port and 3.5mm headphone jack.

The iCE SCREEN looks like a cool piece of kit, as for it being portable, I’m not too sure (and I do like my big phones!) Maybe if it was actually touchscreen it may have a chance! Also from reports I read it looks like it has an external battery…? plus it doesn’t have a tv tuner so is it actually a TV? This post is asking more questions than it answering!

 

 

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Hi there, I have just a quick update for the site that I thought I’d let you all know about.

Through the wonders of the Facebook Developers software and a plugin called Seo Facebook Comment you are now able to leave a comment on our website using your Facebook login details.

Once you are logged into Facebook and you visit our site, without any further login details, email addresses or passwords you can share your own comment on any of our articles or posts. Exceptionally handy I think you’ll agree! There is also and option to post your comment not only on our website but onto your Facebook wall or timeline.

Check it out on any of our posts and tell us what you think!!

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Google Play Gift Cards

It was a while back when the notion of Google Play Gift Cards came into my head, so went on the hunt and googled the bejesus out of it… a fruitless effort, they didnt exist. What I did find was a whole host of discussions and pleas for people all over the world for Google to get up off their ass’s and create a Gift Card/Voucher for the Google Play store, it was a no brainer. Apple have been doing it for years with their iTunes store.

We are delighted and over the moon to bring you the news that now finally gift cards will become available in the not to distant future for Google Play…. Wohoo!!!!

Rumors started a few days ago when the latest apk or application file for the Play Store was updated, the folks over at Android Police interrogated the apk and found evidence for the potential addition of gift cards, just yesterday Android Central were “slipped” a few photos of the actual packaging for the gift cards. As shown above.

As of yet, all evidence points to definitely a USA launch, the gift cards are in US dollars, $10 and $25 denominations.  I’d be very surprised if there are not more including a $5 and $40 or $50 denominations. As for international currency well thats another matter…. maybe not at first but eventually. When, I hear you say will they become…. possibly end of August is the answer.

Here’s also hoping they create digital versions of them, which i think would be very useful. Any friends that usually get gifts from me at Christmas, well now they know what they are getting this year!!

On a side note… the coloured triangle, is it me or does it remind you of a certain Pink Floyd album cover??

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