maandag 15 december 2014

Sony releases tutorial Unlock your boot loader

Unlocking the bootloader is, more often than not, the gateway to squeezing out every bit of functionality from your Android device, specifically via rooting and installing custom ROMs. While not exactly necessary for most users, it has become both tradition and requirement for developers and power users. Trying to endear itself to that crowd as well, Sony has just released a video tutorial that guides users through the process of unlocking an Xperia device's bootloader.

Sony can perhaps be credited and praised for being the only major device maker to actually support modding their products this way, though with the necessary disclaimers and warnings. You can find many guides on the Internet about rooting and unlocking Samsung, LG, HTC, and whatnot, but, aside from Motorola, which is a very special case, Sony is the only one that provides detailed instructions for doing so. It even provides a tool for flashing the stock Sony ROM. And now they have a video that ties all those up together.

That said, the process isn't entirely easy as Sony doesn't provide a one-click tool to automate it all. They do it the official and multi-step way, perhaps to ensure that only those who dare take that journey are really those who are sure of the consequences. Users will have to request for an unlock code from Sony, download the Android SDK from Google, and fiddle around with ADB and Fastboot, among other things. Those steps indirectly serve as checkpoints to make sure that the user is really aware of what they're trying to do.

Of course, unlocking the bootloader isn't a necessary operation and Sony reminds users of that. Of course, they'd prefer users to stick to their own custom Android experience, but there are also technical considerations as well. Depending on the device, most especially the more recent models, unlocking the bootloader and installing custom ROMs results in some functionality being disabled, commonly the camera, noise reduction, and sometimes even cell radio, which practically renders the device useless. But at least for those who do live for these kinds of things, and those that develop the ROMs that other users install, the option and the instructions are officially there.


donderdag 11 december 2014

Nest thermostat gets Insteon smart home integration

Smart home addicts relying on Nest for their HVAC can now hook the learning thermostat up to an Insteon automation system, integrating it with their lighting, security, and more. The new support, added in an update today to the Insteon Hub as well as the iOS and Android apps, allows Nest users to remotely control their home or office temperature.

That was of course already possible with Nest's own apps, which allow settings for the thermostat to be manually controlled remotely.

Update: Insteon tells us that there is currently no macro support for its Nest integration. In the future, the company says, the hope is that the thermostat can be included in macros, such as changing HVAC settings alongside lights. Insteon supports various timer- and motion-triggered actions, like unlocking doors or opening the garage, and so you could presumably have the heating turned up when you arrive home, even if that's outside the times that Nest itself has learned you're around.

Insteon relies on a combination of AC power line and wireless to communicate between devices, and is flexible enough to work with third-party devices like Revolv's Hub which we reviewed last year.

Meanwhile, Nest is believed to be one part of new owner Google's own smart home ambitions. According to rumors, the search giant is still harboring home automation ambitions that could include streaming media among other things.

You'll need an Insteon hub in order to use the new Nest integration, of course, which runs to $129.99 if you opt for the company's own model, while Nest itself is $249.

maandag 8 december 2014

Buy A Chromecast, Get $20 Google Play Credit christmas bells From Now Until December 21st !

Google christmas bells  Chromecast HDMI Streaming

Media Player

Google seems to be making a final push to get people buying Chromecasts before Christmas. If you buy one between today and December 21, you'll get a $20 Google Play credit to buy some new movies to stream on your TV. They don't make it too clear, but it appears you will need to buy fromthe Play Store to redeem this offer. Update: As commenter SEJ326 points out below, Chromecasts from both Amazon and Best Buy are also eligible for the offer.

If you managed to hold off on buying the Chromecast during Black Friday, you'll be glad to know that Google is now offering a $20 Play Store credit toward purchasing movies and other digital content to stream to the device. The deal is in addition to three months of free Google Play Music All Access (for first-time subscribers) and two months of Hulu Plus that Google is already giving away to all buyers of the Chromecast.
The deal is only valid to customers buying the Chromecast during the promotion period, which is from December 7 to December 21. After purchasing the streaming media player, you have until January 31, 2015 to receive a code for the Play Store credit, which is accessible from this link.
Note that the deal is US-only, and is applicable on purchases made from Amazon and Best Buy in addition to the Play Store.
Source: Google
  • Stream online video, music, photos and more to your TV using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop
  • Supports a growing number of apps including Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, ESPN, MLB.TV, Google Play Movies and Music, Plex, MLS, crackle, Vevo, Rdio. Allows to cast a Chrome browser tab.
  • Box includes Chromecast, HDMI extender, USB power cable, and power adapter. No remote needed.
  • Easy setup: Plug into any HDTV and connect to your home WiFi network
  • Works with Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks 
Brand NameGoogle
Item Weight0.2 ounces
Product Dimensions    4.7 x 4.7 x 1.4 inches
Item model numberH2G2-42
Color Nameblack
Item Display Height3.5 centimeters

donderdag 4 december 2014

64-bit Android phone

Over the coming months, we’ll see a lot of new phones trumpeting 64-bit processors. Should you run out to get one? Is 64-bit silicon twice as good as that crummy 32-bit technology we’ve been using for years? The short answer is no. The longer answer is that the move to a newer ARM architecture includes some nice enhancements, but being 64-bit isn’t, by itself, all that important.

Before you pull out your wallet to snag the first 64-bit Android phone (the HTC Desire 510), or begin salivating over any of the other 64-bit phones coming this fall, let’s discuss what the term 64-bit really means, and why you should, and shouldn’t, care about it.

Just what is a 64-bit processor, anyway?

Ask around, and you’ll hear numerous definitions of the term “64-bit processor.” Most often, you’ll hear that it means the processor can use more than 4GB of RAM. This isn’t really true, as a chip’s “bit count” doesn’t really have anything to do with how much memory it can address.

Processors use two kinds of numbers to perform operations like addition, multiplication, and moving or copying data in memory. You have your integers (whole numbers like 90210) and floating-point numbers (those with decimals like 3.14159265359). If a processor can handle integer operations up to 16 bits long, it’s a 16-bit processor. If it can handle a 32-bit integer operation, it’s 32-bit, and (you guessed it) a 64-bit processor can handle 64-bit integers.

Apple introduced the first 64-bit, ARMv8 phone processor last year with the A7.

A 32-bit processor also uses 32 bits to point to locations in memory, while a 64-bit processor uses 64 bits. That means that a single program can address only 4GB with a 32-bit chip, even if the processor itself can address more. A 64-bit processor points to memory locations using 64 bits, allowing individual programs to address 16 exabytes—a practically unlimited amount of memory.

For most apps, a 64-bit processor doesn’t offer much benefit. Most of the apps we use on our phones and tablets really don’t have much need for 64-bit integer operations, or more than 4GB of memory per program. In fact, a 64-bit app can sometimes run slower than a 32-bit app, because using all those 64-bit memory pointers can make the app larger, sucking up more cache and RAM.

So why are 64-bit mobile processors better?

The move from 32-bit to 64-bit ARM processors in our Android devices is just one development in a greater, much more important change: the move from the ARMv7 architecture to ARMv8.

For nearly the past decade, all the chips in our smartphones have been based on one principle set of supported instructions and features—ARMv7. All our modern smartphones, from the original iPhone and T-Mobile G1 through the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S5, have been built with processors that adhere to the ARMv7 specifications. Yes, ARMv7 has had its share of improvements and extensions over the years, but at its core, it’s still the same fundamental architecture we’ve been stuck with for almost a decade.

And ARMv7 is getting a little long in the tooth. So about three years ago, ARM introduced a new standard all the chip makers can build processors around—ARMv8.

ARMv8 includes a whole host of improvements. It takes all the ARMv7 instructions that today’s processors must handle by default, and streamlines them. New instructions for modern applications have been added, and old, depreciated instructions have been thrown out. Special instructions applicable to encryption have been added, too. What’s more, the spaces inside a processor where commonly used instructions and data are stored—they’re called registers—have roughly doubled in number in ARMv8. That’s a big deal, because it means an ARMv8 processor will spend less time pulling data from memory.

Qualcomm's first 64-bit chips are low- and mid-range. But high-end chips like the 810 are coming soon.

And, of course, ARMv8 is 64-bit capable, all while maintaining compatibility with older 32-bit ARM software.

When all is said and done, the new ARMv8 architecture is what makes 64-bit chips faster and more efficient, not merely the fact that they’re 64-bit. You don’t get one without the other, but it’s a lot easier to celebrate “64-bit” in a press release than try to explain the benefits of increased register space or a refined instruction set.

Is 64-bit really going to make a big difference?

Well, yes and no. The first Android products to bear 64-bit chips will offer performance that’s all over the map. The HTC Desire 510, for example, is a budget phone powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor. The Desire 510 is based on the ARMv8 architecture and is 64-bit, but it’s still a low-end handset that’s going to be slower than most of the high-performance phones already on the market. Qualcomm’s next 64-bit chips to hit the market will be the mid-range Snapdragon 610 and 615 chips—and they’re still nothing to get worked up about. The pedal really hits the medal early next year, when we expect devices bearing the high-end Snapdragon 810 chips.

On the other hand, we may see tablets sporting the dual-core 64-bit version of Nvidia’s Tegra K1 chip before the year is out, and that processor should be very fast, indeed.

Consider this: Apple’s iPhone 5S has a 64-bit mobile chip, and it has been on shelves for about a year. It’s very fast, but that hasn’t stopped Android phones from matching its performance with lowly 32-bit processors. Moral of the story: Faster processors are always on the way, 64-bit or not.

So, don’t be hoodwinked by the inevitable “64-bit” checkbox on the specs sheet. The move to ARMv8, 64-bit mobile processors is a very good thing, but not every 64-bit processor is faster than every 32-bit processor.

64-bit really needs Android L to shine

There’s one more piece to this puzzle: the operating system. If you buy a 64-bit phone with Android 4.4 KitKat on it, you won’t really unlock its potential until it gets an upgrade to Android L.

You see, to properly utilize ARM’s new 64-bit architecture, you’ll need both operating system and application support. Android L has been designed to fully support ARMv8 and 64-bit platforms, while KitKat has not. But what about apps? Do you need to wait for app developers to create special 64-bit-optimized versions of their apps?

Android L brings with it a ton of new features, among which is full support for ARMv8 and 64-bit.

Well, apps will get faster and more efficient when developers optimize for these new chips, but you may not have to wait to see benefits. On Android, most apps are based on Java. So when you download an Android app, you’re really grabbing a package of zipped-up code and libraries that the Android OS turns into a functional program that can be understood by your phone’s processor. This is called “compiling.”

The compiler in Android L, known as ART, is made to produce code that’s optimized for the new ARM architecture. So, with Android L and a 64-bit processor in your phone or tablet, your apps could run faster without a developer lifting a finger to make special optimizations. And if they do make those optimizations, their apps could run even better.

By this time next year, we’ll have forgotten all about 64-bit

Marketing departments love the term 64-bit. Any time they can put a number twice as big on the box, they’re going to. You’re using a 32-bit phone now, so if you’re anything like the typical human, your emotional triggers will tell you a 64-bit phone is twice as fast. It’s why we see cameras crammed with more megapixels, and processors with more cores. More always equals better, right?

In this case, the marketing departments aren’t wrong, they’re just overstating the importance of 64-bit to the Android market. Yes, the new ARMv8 architecture—which brings 64-bit computing along for the ride—has a number of nice enhancements. And, yes, so does Android L, which is necessary to take advantage of the new architecture. But better processors and operating systems roll out every year. They’re never twice as good as last year’s, and these won’t be, either.

Within a year, nearly every hot new phone or tablet will contain a 64-bit-capable chip. Even the cheap ones. Android L will be everywhere, and we’ll already be pining for the next version of Android. 64-bit will no longer be a selling point worth calling out on marketing materials, and we’ll wonder why we ever made such a big deal about it in the first place.

woensdag 26 november 2014

Nokia N1 specs comparison

It was only yesterday when we wrote about how the Nokia N1, the Finns' excellent come-back product, is about to brawl with the Google Nexus 9 for attention like only the iPad Air Mini 3 can. We felt it was worth putting the two against each other in an in-depth specs comparison before the battle transcends the Internet and becomes a market reality.


On the surface, the two tablets seem remarkably similar, but they have significant differences. While the two share almost identical front panels, back panels, button and camera placements, the HTC-made Nexus 9 is built from plastic, while the Nokia N1 is carved from aluminum. Although it is marketed and priced as a premium device, the Google Nexus 9's build quality left something to be desired - the plastic feels cheap and gives in when the tab's back panel is pushed. Being an aluminum tablet, the Nokia N1 should be free of any "soft material" problems, and provide a (literally) more solid feel.

We knew that Nokia was up to something after seeing yesterday's teaser, and now we know what's been hiding in the mysterious black box. Meet the Nokia N1 tablet – a compact, stylish, and inexpensive tablet running Google's Android operating system.

Yes, folks, we're dealing with an Android slate here, but before we get to the software part of the deal, here's what you need to know about the tablet's design. The Nokia N1 is a sleek, aluminum-made device with a thickness of just 6.9 millimeters. And at 318 grams, the device is both slimmer and lighter than the leader in the segment, namely the iPad mini 3. During the announcement, Nokia pointed out that the lack of sharp corners make the device comfortable to hold even for prolonged periods of time. On the tablet's bottom you'll find a reversible USB 2.0 connector (type C). Sweet! The anodized, one-piece aluminum body of the N1 is treated to a Natural Aluminum or Lava Gray finish.

On the front of the Nokia N1 resides a 7.9-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels and an aspect ratio of 4:3. We must absolutely mention Apple's iPad mini 3 again as it is matched by the N1, at least specs-wise. The fully laminated, zero air-gap screen is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3. 

Under the hood of the Nokia N1 is tucked some pretty potent silicon, including a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor with a 2.3GHz maximum clock speed alongside a 533MHz PowerVR G6430 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. This hardware combo is nothing to frown at as it is about as capable as a high-end Snapdragon SoC, according to benchmarks. As far as connectivity goes, you get Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac at 2.4 and 5GHz and MIMO antennas for better reception. Alas, there's no GPS or cellular connectivity on board.

Turn the slate around and you'll find an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with 1080 video recording capabilities, which is pretty good for a tablet of this category. Video chats are made possible by a 5-megapixel front-facing cam. Audio is reproduced by a pair of 0.5W stereo speakers paired by a Wolfson WM8958E codec. Battery life details aren't being mentioned, but we're pretty sure that the N1's 18.5 Wh (5300 mAh) rechargeable lithium polymer battery won't disappoint.

As for the software running on the Nokia N1, the tablet will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop, but in a heavily modified form. On top of the platform will be layered Nokia's own Z launcher, which is built on the principles of simplicity and ease of use. The software simplifies the process of finding your apps by letting you scribble its name onto the screen. On top of that, the Nokia Z launcher takes the time of the day and the user's location into account to bring relevant applications at the user's fingertips. For example, entertainment apps are suggested in the evening, when the user is at home, while productivity apps are prioritized at the office. You can give Nokia Z launcher a try on your Android device, in case you're interested.

So, how do you get one of these sweet Nokia N1 tablets? Well, you can't, at least not yet. The Nokia N1 will be released in early 2015, just in time for the Chinese new year. Nokia is planning on launching the slate in China for a price around $249 before taxes, with "anticipation of expanding sales" to other parts of the world. Further availability details remain unclear for now.

UPDATE: The Nokia N1 tablet will be manufactured by Foxconn – the OEM that builds a huge fraction of the electronics on the market, including Apple's iPhone and iPad. The actual design of the product, however, is Nokia's work, and Nokia will be receiving licensing fees for the use of its brand name. With the N1, Nokia is aiming to deliver a tablet as good as the iPad mini, but at a lower price point, clarified Nokia's technology chief Ramzi Haidamus.  

maandag 20 oktober 2014

Asus ZenWatch

Google is easing its rein over Android Wear, with the first “glimpses” of OEMs’ increased control over the smartwatch OS to be visible on the Asus ZenWatch.

That’s the gist of a talk that Google VP of Engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer had with Recode’s Ina Fried. “It’s not some Google-way-or-the-highway kind of thing,” said Lockheimer in response to questions about the tight control that Google has over the first generation of Android Wear smartwatches.

Devices like the LG G Watch, Moto 360, and Samsung Gear Live are basically identical in terms of software experience. Google only allowed its hardware partners to customize the watch faces users can choose from, as well as to pre-load some apps, like Motorola’s heart rate monitoring app.

According to Lockheimer, Google wanted to “have the basics right” before giving OEMs the freedom to tweak Android Wear. But that’s changing now, and the Asus ZenWatch will be the first smartwatch to show “glimpses of how hardware makers can customize software on Android Wear watches,” said the Google executive.

Striking a balance

It’s not clear how Asus and other OEMs will get to tweak Android Wear: it’s possible that Google will allow some sort of theming, but it seems unlikely that companies will get to create heavy skins the way they could with Android on mobile devices.

When it comes to added functionality, Asus’ top brass talked in the past about support for Chinese language voice controls, as well as some kind of gesture support. The Asus ZenWatch is expected to launch this month for less than $200.

Google will be taking the same approach when it comes to its others Android-derived operating systems, Android TV and Android Auto, as well as Android One devices. Android One phones, currently selling in India, run a stock version of Android, but include some carrier- and manufactured-added apps. Users can remove these apps if they wish. Google hopes that this approach – same UI, different functionality through apps – will allow it to strike a balance between “differentiation and customization.”

Time-honored Tradition, Smart Innovation

Fine Watch Craftsmanship
  • Exquisitely-crafted using premium materials
  • Sophisticated design enhanced by rose gold color layering
  • Genuine stitched-leather watchband and quick-release clasp design
  • 100+ combination watch face choices to fit your mood and personality 
  • Vivid AMOLED display and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 
Smart Companion 
  • Seamless ASUS ZenUI integration and enhanced functionality
  • Automatically unlock your phone with ASUS ZenWatch
  • Tap Tap and Find My Phone helps you locate your phone instantly if misplaced
  • Simply cover ASUS ZenWatch with your hand to mute an incoming call 
  • ASUS Remote Camera frees users to take photos from creative angles where the viewfinder would be difficult to see. 
  • Presentation Control enables ZenWatch to be used as a remote control and time manager when giving a business presentation or lecture
Wellness manager 
  • Monitor and track a range of health-related statistics with the ASUS Wellness app
  • Measures steps taken, calories burned, activity duration, heart rate, exercise intensity and relaxation level
  • View an easy-to-understand relaxation score based on relaxation-level measurements
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2GHz CPU
Operating System: Android Wear
Memory & storage: 512MB RAM, 4GB EMMC
Display: AMOLED 1.63-inch, 320 x 320, 278ppi touch display
Cover Lens: 2.5D curved Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Sensor: 9-axis sensor, Bio sensor
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
USB Port: Micro USB on charging cradle
Audio: Built-in microphone
Battery: Li-polymer 1.4Wh
Water Resistance: IP55
Colours: Silver- and rose-gold-coloured layers, Brown leather strap
Size:50.6 x 39.8 x 7.9-9.4mm
Weight: Body - 50g, Strap - 25g

donderdag 9 oktober 2014

iHeartRadio: Coming Soon #AndroidWear

The streaming music and digital radio service iHeartRadio has announced it is coming to Android Wear smartwatches on Oct. 15.

That means users who have iHeartRadio installed on their Android phone can control iHeartRadio via the Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360 and LG G Watch.

SEE ALSO: Android Wear Review: Google's Vision of the Smartwatch Isn't Quite Right

The coolest part about this integration is that it works using voice activation. That means you can search for a radio station or artist simply by saying the station or artists name.

The app will also allow users to access their favorite stations or shows from the watch, browse tailored recommendations, as well as thumb up or thumb down station and music recommendations.

iHeartRadio is part of iHeartMedia (formerly known as Clear Channel) and is unique amongst streaming options with its breadth of content. The service has more than 50 million registered users and is integrated with more than 35 different devices and technologies.

This isn't iHeartRadio's first foray into the wearables space, earlier this year iHeartRadio support came to the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch.

For us, the voice support is what makes this app partnership really make sense — especially in the context of a watch. Smartwatches are already great devices for controlling music playback, but to be able to use your voice as a way to call up a station or artist makes even more sense.

woensdag 8 oktober 2014

Complications and future advancements

The Pine smartwatch could be revolutionary but it's not without drawbacks. One very important point to note is it only supports up to 3G speeds. Wilkins explained the speed ceiling is really due to a limitation of components.

"The reason we don't have 4G was when we were looking at antenna considerations, the 4G space requirements were a little out of our range," he said. "It would have just made it too big and we're pushing the limits on this at the moment to fit 3G GSM and enough space that the antenna and board don't

Interfere with each other."
"We're about at the size limit and still we've had to overcome a lot of technical barriers to have it working smoothly and pass FCC regulations so you don't have to worry about dropped calls or any antenna inefficiencies."
Moving forward, the Neptune team is still tweaking Pine to reduce the size and refine the user experience. On top of this, they hope to improve the battery life from eight hours of talk time and 120 hours on standby. That said, Wilkins also sees a lot of emerging technologies on the horizon for the next generation Pine device.

"There's a few new technologies we're looking at like flexible OLED and things like this that are just coming into production. Obviously a bunch of different low-energy technologies let us extend our battery life and there's a lot of other cool technology we're looking at for next-gen."
The roadmap to reality

The Pine smartwatch has already garnered enough support on Kickstarter to raise well over its initial $100,000 CAD goal. Combine that with the 2,007 backers, 1,839 of which have actually pre-ordered a Pine, and it seems like the smartwatch stands a good chance of making it out the door.
By January, Neptune expects to produce at least 2,500 Pine units to be shipped throughout the US and Canada, plus international orders sent worldwide for an additional $15 (about £9/AU$15). However, Neptune stated that Pine has only met regulatory requirements for Canada, the United States, China, India, and the European Union.
The Neptune Pine smartwatch is up for pre-orders starting at $215 (about £131/AU$237) for the 16GB model and $262 (about £159/AU$289) with double the storage. When the Pine comes to its full retail launch in 2014, it will be available starting at $314 (about £192/AU$347).
While even the most popular Kickstarter campaigns have fizzled before their products make it to backers, Wilkins said he is 100% confident that Neptune will be ship Pine by the end of next month.
"We're most of the way through tooling and setting up our assembly line. It's really just getting the funds for the materials, but we have working devices and overcome all the major technical challenges to it."

Samsung moves past the bend and shows off Note 4 durability with a drop test

So #BendGate is over. It was funny, ridiculous and all around crazy. Samsung’s ready to move on from that specific angle of the durability debate and they’re looking to do so by putting their own Note 4 to a good ol’ drop test. The result? It’s pretty frickin’ strong and should stand up to some tough falls should you be fortunate enough to drop it onto a hard surface.

Samsung obviously isn’t the only company that knows how to make a durable phone, but they’ll sure act like it in the wake of all this negative iPhone 6 coverage. At the least, you won’t have to worry about the durability of your phone should you decide to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 later this month (unless that worrisome gap bothers the ever living crap out of you). Check out the drop test above.

bend test video

It’s been easy for Samsung and others to make jokes at the expense of Apple throughout this whole #BendGate controversy, but Samsung has decided to shelves the jokes for now and show folks how durable their own smartphone really is. The company released a video showing how they test the Galaxy Note 4 (and all their smartphones) against pressure that might cause it to bend or break.
The test consists of weight equivalent to and beyond average humans being forced upon the middle as it’s stationed between two pillars. This gives them a proper platform to bend the device in a way that simulates real world conditions. Of course, Samsung’s phone springs back into shape just as easily as it should.
In the video, Samsung touches on the fact that the Note 4 uses a metal frame and a magnesium bracket to ensure superior durability. This isn’t a bad way to open the eyes of folks who might have been put off by the iPhone 6+’s build issues without having to hurl a bag of insults at Apple. Take a look at the video above.

zondag 5 oktober 2014

Smartwatch concept

Waarom kan niet groot smartwatches lijken normale horloges? Smartwatches, voor het grootste deel, kan worden onderverdeeld in twee categorieën: vage benaderingen van de toekomst, zoals de Pebble, Toestel, Toestel Fit, of conventioneel vormgegeven horloges van bedrijven zoals Burger en Cookoo dat veel minder functionaliteit bieden. Hoewel het waar is de Pebble Steel ook te groeien in de esthetische afdeling, de geblokte bouw en de grote toetsen zijn waarschijnlijk niet om een beroep op de massa's.
Gábor Balogh is een freelance designer uit Hongarije die, zoals velen van ons, wil een aantrekkelijke, horloge-achtige horloge dat net toevallig slim zijn. Het verschil tussen Balogh en de rest van ons is hij ging vooruit en ontwierp een interface hij gelooft regelmatige horloge ontwerpen in staat kan stellen om een ​​volledige schare van slimme functies omvatten.
Na het posten van zijn concept voor een SmartWatch op Behance, Balogh duurde enige tijd door zijn interface van ideeën om te praten met The Verge . De werkelijke horloge afgebeeld in de mockups is bijna incidenteel, als het concept neemt gewoon de Zweedse horlogemaker Triwa's Havana uurwerk (met toestemming van de vennootschap) en vervangt haar gezicht met een ronde display. Dit voorstel gaat over communiceren nodig, geen product design. "In dit concept de UI niet over een vooraf gedefinieerde stijl," zegt Balogh, "maar het zou overeenkomen met de behuizing. Alleen de navigatie patronen in aanmerking moeten worden genomen."

Hoewel de interface zelf naar beneden zal zijn om naar te kijken en de telefoon bedrijven om te beslissen, Balogh biedt tot een aantal eenvoudige, maar gepolijst ideeën die heel goed gaan met Triwa's design. Het koppelen van uw smartphone aan haar horloge maakt u de juiste app pictogrammen verschijnen op het scherm, met de aanmeldingen, kaarten en informatie over de muziek gestreamd vanaf het apparaat zelf. Wanneer u niet wilt dat het een smartwatch te zijn, het ziet er meestal en gedraagt ​​zich als een gewone horloge.


"Ik hou van producten met discrete technologie", legt Balogh, "toen zij dien mij, mijn echte behoeften, en maken mijn leven gemakkelijker in plaats van simpelweg het veranderen van mijn dagen." Hij roept de Nest thermostaat en Apple Airport Express als eerste voorbeelden van technologie discreet worden toegepast zonder verduistert functionaliteit. "Ze zijn gewoon weg te vinken op de achtergrond, het maken van uw leven gemakkelijker te maken."
In een poging om verwarring te voorkomen, heeft begrip Balogh's niet een touchscreen of voice control gebruiken. In plaats daarvan, de interface maakt gebruik van de knoppen en de bezel vinden op de meeste horloges. De bezel is de sleutel tot deze interface. Het kan draaien om, bijvoorbeeld, te scrollen door een lange boodschap of schakel functies in een app, of worden geklikt om een ​​selectie te maken. De rotatie-element hoeft niet noodzakelijk fysiek te zijn - Balogh zegt dat hij een meer klassieke horloge gaat met een fysieke knop, of een sportief design te kiezen voor een iPod-achtig klikwiel kon voorstellen.
Gebruik van de ring voor het regelen van apps en andere smartphone-gerelateerde taken bevrijdt van de drie aan de zijkant gemonteerde knoppen om "native" functies zoals tijd, datum en alarm, evenals het schakelen tussen modi te controleren. Deze duidelijke scheiding tussen autochtone en app functies moeten de interface gemakkelijk toegankelijk zijn voor gebruikers die vertrouwd zijn met de manier waarop een gewone horloge werkt te maken, terwijl het ontbreken van een touchscreen op het display van het oppakken van vlekken en vuil van je vingers zal stoppen, en ook stoppen met uw vingers uit verduistert de display. "De grootte van het horloge is een zeer beperkende factor is, zodat we niet hebben om het heel slim maken. Zie ik het horloge als een sieraad, en wilde een interface die vertrouwd op een klassiek horloge zou zijn toe te voegen."

SmartWatch Concept Runs Windows Wear 8.1, Looks Pretty Solid

After seeing the slightly underwhelming Apple Watch, I’d say that the battle for smartwatch market supremacy is still wide open, right? Well, Microsoft may as well take advantage of this void of power, especially if their smartwatch is as solid as the concept below. Enter, the Microsoft Smartwatch:

Designer Eric Huismann has come up with this product, that relies on something called Windows Wear 8.1, a special small screen version of Windows Phone. The Microsoft smartwatch is shown in a variety of colors and it features a front camera, used to take selfies. Notifications will obviously be available, as well as text messages and IM straight from the watch. You’ll also be able to call the people from this device, through a very simple interface.

The watch adopts a squared format and shows small live tiles, that will keep you posted regarding what’s happening around you. Some of the design lines and maybe the material may be borrowed from the Surface, so we may be dealing with a magnesium body here. We’ve got a 1.45 inch display and an advanced dual core processor inside. Skype is associated with the front camera and there will thousands of apps for the watch at launch.
Cortana is also included in the equation and it’s so much improved that it eliminates the need for a keyboard. Do you fancy the Microsoft Smartwatch?

dinsdag 9 september 2014

Asus smartwatch


How do you go from being a technology company to becoming a fashion accessory company? That's the challenge many tech companies face with the launch of a wearable device.
For Asus, the company more famous for its range of stylish laptops, the transition from desk to lap is a brave one, one that it isn't even confident enough to put its name on the front of the watch itself at the moment.
That's no bad thing, after all you don't hear people yearning for an Asus over a Rolex just yet, but it is significant because it is the start of something new, and something Asus realises from watching others, that many customers don't even want. It might be cool to brag about having a new Zenbook, but the verdict is still out over a new ZenWatch.

Stylish design

Still, Asus has focused on the design aspects here for this Android Wear-powered watch, more than Sony or Samsung did with their early smartwatch efforts. Pocket-lint saw the watch ahead of its IFA press conference but wasn't permitted to photograph the top-secret product ahead of time - hence a delay in our pictures from Berlin.

For your cash the ZenWatch delivers a stainless steel chassis with touches of rose gold highlights down the side. A 22mm brown leather strap is included and can be easily replaced if you want something more suited to your wardrobe, while the watch face itself is made from curved Corning Gorilla Glass to give it a slightly smoother finish over something that is just square and angular.
On the wrist it is a bit large - a bit long even - and if you don't have "manly" wrists then it might pose a problem. A lot of smartwatches are opting for this chunky, larger kind of design though, so it doesn't appear out of place in the order of things.
The underside of the ZenWatch features the company logo, a small emergency button to get you back up and running if the swiping and voice commands aren't working effectively. There's also a reminder that the watch is only water-resistant rather than waterproof - so don't go scuba diving or anything like that, but a flash in the shower is no problem.

With no buttons on the front or sides of the ZenWatch everything is left to voice and swipe commands, typical of the Android Wear system and much like the LG G Watch. Voice instructions were well received and as long as you've got good reception on your phone results were returned quickly in our use.

Tech specs

The Asus ZenWatch features a 1.63-inch square AMOLED display with a 320 x 320 (278ppi) resolution that stands out well in sunlight, and certainly more so than the LG G watch and Samsung Gear Live which use standard LCD screen technology. The vibrant colours certainly help the AW interface punch more so than previous Android Wear devices we've seen.
Powering the ZenWatch is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHz 400 processor combined with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. It comes with Bluetooth 4.0 for low-power connectivity to your Android smartphone and there is a 9-axis sensor and bio sensor added into the mix as well.

Android Wear expanded with more apps

Asus hasn't touched the raw Android Wear interface per se, however it has added a few shortcuts of its own and introduced a number of dedicated watch faces and apps to allow you to get more out of the smartwatch experience. Accessing the apps is done via a new diagonal swipe across the screen. 

These apps, which are managed via a dedicated ZenWatch Manager app on a paired Androidsmartphone, offer you a host of new features above and beyond Google's offering and go some way to helping the ZenWatch stand out against the competition.
Dedicated Asus apps range from an SOS app that monitors the movement of the watch to see if you've fallen over and if you have to phone an emergency number you've provided, through to allowing you to use the watch as a presentation tool for your next sales pitch.
There are other apps too, including Watch Unlock, Tap Tap, Cover to Mute, and Find My Phone. The ZenWatch is also able to remotely control the camera on your smartphone, and check your heart rate via Asus' new Wellness app.
Add a bevy of new watch faces (there are seven in total at the moment) should ensure that your friends don't claim you've got just any old Android Wear smart watch.


Samsung has its heart rate monitor on the back of the device, but fearing that forces users to wear the watch too tight, Asus has opted for a bio sensor hidden in the bezel on the front of the watch instead.

Unnoticeable to a passing glance, the base of the black frame surrounding the screen allows you to check your heart rate by simply loading the app and then placing your finger on the watch. Seconds later (15 to be precise) the watch delivers your stats for you to see how you're doing.
The nearest experience we can relate it to, is Apple's TouchID Home button on the iPhone 5S. The bio sensor works really well in the ZenWatch.

Battery life

Although we've been unable to test it fully as yet, Asus claims the ZenWatch's battery life will last for around a day, meaning you'll have another thing to charge on your bedside table every night.
It charges via a docking station that fits around the watch, which is less fiddly than Samsung's cradle for the Gear charging experience, but still something to have to carry around if you want to charge on the go.

First Impressions

The curved glass, metal design, and clear screen make this one of the better looking Android Wear devices to be launched so far, and from what we've seen so far it looks and performs better than the Gear Live or the G Watch.

We like that Asus hasn't decided to adorn the watch face with logos and that combined with that some rather stylish watch faces. It gives the product a very sensible look and feel.
The watch face does still switch itself off to conserve battery, but comes back on again with the flick of the wrist.
Watches and how they look are a very fickle thing. People are often more concerned about appearance than they would be about, say, a smartphone or a laptop. Asus seemingly understands this, but how the ZenWatch will fair against the circular design of the Moto 360 and newer R Watch from LG is yet to be seen.
What's clear, however, is that the ZenWatch isn't just any old piece of gadgetry and, thankfully for Asus, the company understands that. With an official price of £199 it's a fairly priced gadget too.

woensdag 3 september 2014


Here’s the newly announced BaiduEye, a computer peripheral that can be worn like a pair of glasses.
Baidu took the wraps off the high-tech device at BaiduWorld 2014, reports Sina Tech. As you can see from photographs of the device, it has a camera and an earphone, and can even can go online and identify objects, such as human faces, via the camera.
Wearable, camera-equipped, internet-surfing glasses will no doubt draw comparisons to Google Glass, but Baidu says its product is totally different. For starters, there’s new screen, or heads-up display, on BaiduEye.

A Baidu engineer explained that BaiduEye is lighter without a screen, and won’t distract users with constant on-screen messages.
A major feature of BaiduEye is that it can be controlled through the use of hand gestures. By pointing at an object and making specific gestures with your hands, a user will be able to activate and control BaiduEye.

Android Continues to Gain Market Share in Latin America and Europe

Google's Android operating system continues to make gains against Apple's iOS around the world with market share data indicating that Latin America and Europe are in Google's camp.
In Brazil, South America's largest economy, Android commanded a strong 89.7 percent market share during a three-month period ending in July, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech data. Apple's iOS, meanwhile, lagged far behind with only 4.6 percent. Windows comes in third with a 3.7 percent market share, and BlackBerry has dwindled to 0.7 percent.
The numbers show an increase from the three-month period ending in June for both Android and iOS. Android increased by 0.7 percentage points, and iOS racked up the same gains.  
The story for Apple is even worse in Argentina. Android holds 86.1 percent of Argentina's smartphone OS market, but iOS has only managed to grab 0.3 percent. Instead, Windows comes in second with 7 percent, and even BlackBerry beats out iOS with 5.2 percent.
Kantar Worldpanel does not have Argentina's smartphone OS market share data for the three-month period ending in June, but it does for the same time frame ending in May, when Android had 77.3 percent of the market and iOS had 0.6 percent. Both Windows and BlackBerry fell, showing that Android has clearly siphoned users from other operating systems.
In Europe, Android continues to hold the same stranglehold. According to Kantar Worldpanel, Android has a 60 percent market share in Great Britain, 87.5 percent in Spain, 82.4 percent in Germany, 75 percent in France and 74 percent in Italy. iOS, meanwhile, has a 28.6 percent market share in Great Britain (its strongest European foothold), 6.2 percent in Spain, 9.5 percent in Germany, 14.3 percent in France and 11 percent in Italy.
Dominic Sunnebo, a strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, believes Android's growth can be attributed to smaller manufacturers adopting the platform and giving consumers more budget-minded options.
"Android continued to grow its share across Europe in the second quarter of this year, thanks to smaller manufacturers such as Wiko, Huawei and Alcatel OneTouch pushing the platform," Sunnebo said in July. "Samsung still remains the dominant manufacturer of Android handsets with a 44.1 percent share across the five largest European markets. Meanwhile, Apple's share of the European market remains fairly static."
Google's Android will be powered by even more handsets that will release this fall, such as the Samsung Galaxy note 4 and a new Nexus device, but Apple has something to look forward to: the iPhone 6. Anticipation for the next-generation iPhone is high because of larger screen sizes, and it could help Apple regain customers who have flocked to Android because of the larger variety of options.