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Xiaomi Mi 4 takes on the market with steel

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

As expected, Xiaomi revealed today its next flagship, the Mi 4 and as expected, the it boasts of the best in class specs, save a few here and there. Proving past rumors and leaks right, this Chinese manufacturer has indeed tried to give the Xiaomi Mi 4 a more premium personality, by utilizing a slightly heavier but definitely sturdier stainless steel material for its body.

Let’s get the tech specs out of the way. The Xiaomi Mi 4, unsurprisingly, boasts of top of the line hardware, though there are some areas where flagships from major brands do better. While we may all probably wish for 2K screens, the Full HD resolution on this 5-inch panel, made by Sharp and Japan Display Inc (JDI), is just right for its size. Considering very few devices run on the latest Snapdragon 805, the 2.5 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 is still pretty much at the top. And with 3 GB of RAM, things are guaranteed to run fast and smooth, at least up to a certain point.

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But it is the design of the Xiaomi Mi 4 that bears noting. Not many employ the use of steel for its devices. Although it is more durable, it is a bit more expensive, heavier, and harder to get right. But when done well, the quality of craftsmanship shows, as seen in the iPhone and some of Sony’s high-end Xperia phones. Xiaomi has managed to keep the weight down to 149 g, not exactly the lightest but an achievement nonetheless. That said, there is one part of the Mi 4′s appearance that might raise a few eyebrows. When leaks revealed that the company would be returning to more rounded corners, the photos hinted at a design more similar to Samsung’s devices. The final product shown on stage today, however, reveals one that could be mistaken for an iPhone.

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But an iPhone, at least by default, would not have the customization options that the Xiaomi Mi 4 has to offer, particularly in terms of back covers. Taking a page from Motorola’s book, the company will be making available a variety of swappable covers, not just of varying colors but even of different textures, including wood, fabric, leather, and even marble. The default color options, however, are black and white. Xiaomi also has two internal storage options available, of course with different prices. The 16 GB model costs 1,999 RMB, around $322, while the 64 GB has a price tag of 2,499 RMB, roughly $402. Xiaomi has a rather interesting launch schedule for the Mi 4, starting July 29 on China Unicom, August for China Telecom, and September for China Mobile 4G. Now all that remains is the biggest questions of them all: will it ever land on the US?

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Amazon Fire Phone games put Dynamic Perspective to work

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

The Fire Phone‘s fancy Dynamic Perspective feature may have left some scratching their heads trying to make sense of its utility and practicality, but it is a control system that is just begging to be used in games. It isn’t surprising, then, to hear that Amazon Game Studios has two new games in store that takes advantage of this head-tilting mechanism to put a literal twist to some conventional themes.

Match-3 or Same Games have evolved through the years, thanks in part to mobile gaming, beyond the simple pattern or item matching game to one that sometimes incorporates other game genres, like RPGs, for example. Saber’s Edge is pretty much like that, where you try to make matches that will, in turn, power up your pirate crew in battle. Of course, being a Fire Phone exclusive, there is another side to this game, literally. Where normal match-3 games use a flat board, Saber’s Edge’s items are actually laid out on a cube. Tilting your head, which is sensed by Dynamic Perspective, allows you to take a peek at the other sides of the cube so that you can plan a super match-9 combo attack. The game also makes use of other gestures like twisting and tilting to control other parts of the game.

Amazon Game Studios really love their cubes. There is also a cube in To-Fu Fury, but this time, it is the hero, a cube of bean curd, obviously. In contrast to Saber’s Edge, To-Fu Fury takes a more direct approach to battles. You take control of the tofu and make him swing, stick, and stretch to avoid obstacles and headbutt enemies in this platformer game. But while it doesn’t employ Dynamic Perspective in some fancy way like Saber’s Edge, it does give players a different perspective. Yes, again, literally. You can take peeks around obstacles and levels to get a better view of the layout and plan your strategy better. However, it doesn’t seem to be critical to finishing the game and it might be even more challenging and satisfying to play it without this feature.

Saber’s Edge is still marked as coming soon but will be available for free, while To-Fu Fury is already out and costs $1.99, both with in-app purchases. Of course, the actual price for either of these will be much higher, since you’ll need to buy a Fire Phone to even play it, unless you already own one, of course.

SOURCE: Amazon

Pale Moon Browser Ported to Android

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Pale Moon Browser

Having a wide choice of third party applications is one of the most beautiful things that Android has to offer. Almost every app has its alternative. So if you don’t like a particular offering, you can easily replace it with another–hopefully much better–alternative.

Naturally, the same thing applies to Internet browsers. Chrome or Firefox doesn’t necessarily have to be your default choice. Some lesser known projects maintained by one or a few developers are often better than big boys made by corporations. One of the smaller projects that is worth taking a quick look at is Pale Moon Browser. This browser was ported to Android by XDA Recognized Developer cyansmoker.

Pale Moon is fully open source, Firefox-based browser. It is focused on speed and efficiency. To that end, the developers take special care to add only crucial functions and keep the application as light as possible. Pale Moon has earned some fans on Windows and Linux already, and now Android users can enjoy this project because Cyansmoker delivered his source-built browser port.

The current build is considered an Alpha version. As such, the application is still at very early stage of development and may not work on every device. It likely depends of CPU architecture, so only certain devices should be able to run this browser successfully.

You can find more details and the download by heading over to the Pale Moon Browser application thread. Feel free to go there and give it a try.

The post Pale Moon Browser Ported to Android appeared first on xda-developers.

HTC might have accidentally leaked upcoming smartwatch

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

There are generally two ways you want to handle secrecy on a new product – you go the Steve Jobs way, which is to guard the secret as if your life and the life of all your loved ones depended on it. Or you can go “controlled leaks” which is what most companies do now, we think. Jury’s still out on whichever HTC was going for, but the end result is that they might have just leaked their upcoming Android Wear smartwatch.

It was a smart way to do it though, if it was intended – embedded deep in a design promotional video that no one might actually notice it. Inevitably though, someone did. If this was not intentional, then it becomes just sloppy then. See if you can locate the “leak” at two points in the video below.

Right, so at 0:35 we see two things – a smartwatch dock or holder, and right beside it is an actual smartwatch on the dock. It looks like it functions like a dock-slash-charger at this point, looking at how it is situated on the users’ desk, but we won’t really know. The other significant thing here is that HTC might have actually signified that they are going the “square” path in designing their Android Wear smartwatch – only Motorola has so far been brave enough to go circular, and to their credit the Moto 360 looks fiiiiine.

At 0:43, you may see a designer working possibly on a CAD render for the smartwatch. That’s basically it. In HTC’s defense, they have not given the tech blogs much to go on in trying to see how their Android Wear development is progressing, and what kind of features we can expect. So again, we will have to go out and dig for clues like this in the meantime.

VIA: SlashGear

LG G3 Cat. 6 to launch in Korea with Snapdragon 805

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

LG seems to now also be doing the LTE-A variant dance like its arch rival. Instead of vesting its latest flagship with the latest and greatest specs, including an LTE Category 6 compatible modem, LG has left the G3 a bit wanting in that area and instead will be launching a different model in its home country just for this very purpose.

So what does the LG G3 Cat. 6 variant offer that its flagship namesake can’t. Well, as the name implies, it has support for Category 6 LTE. That means, at least in theory, that users will be able to achieve download speeds up to 225 Mbps, depending of course on the network quality. Considering that Korea likes to flaunt its LTE-A networks, that might not be impossible to achieve. In practical terms, LG says that users will be able to download an 80 MB music video in just 2.8 seconds and a 1 GB movie in 36.4 seconds. Again, in theory.

There is, however, one more difference. In order to support this high-bandwidth LTE network, LG had to swap out the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 on the original LG G3 with a more recent and more multimedia-focused Snapdragon 805. But aside from Cat 6 support, the new processor also bumps up the processor speed, up to 2.7 GHz max for each of the four cores. In contrast, the Snapdragon 801 only reaches 2.5 GHz. The GPU is also an upgraded Adreno 420, bringing with it maximum graphics performance.

In all other aspects, the LG G3 Cat. 6 remains the same LG G3 that you might have fallen in love with, which is good for LG’s core Korean market. Those who have already invested in the main flagship won’t have to feel jealous over this new variant, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A, which is a substantially different and better model than the Galaxy S5. No price has been mentioned yet but so far it will only be available in Korea, starting July 25. It will come in Metallic Black, Silk White, and Shine Gold colors.

SOURCE: LG

Facebook introduces ‘Save on Facebook’ feature

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

We’ve all been there once before – maybe you’re killing time at a lounge before a meeting and took a quick glance at Facebook over your handheld device. Then you see an interesting link – a video, an article, a BuzzFeed list – but you really don’t have the time to explore it just now. What do you do? Either you let it go right now and hope you remember it later, or consign it to oblivion.

The new “Save on Facebook” looks to meet that need, taking its cue from Android apps like Pocket and Links Saver, allowing users to “save” links so that they can come back to it later. Sounds cool, huh? Well, suffice it to say that Facebook wasn’t the first to think about this idea, but we’re actually glad that it is going this way. With the hundreds of links you get on your News Feed every day, this is a way for you to explore those that are actually relevant to you.

But Facebook is going one over the apps we mentioned, and rightly so because of the relative variety of content you do get on your feed. So “Save on Facebook” doesn’t just save links, you can save virtually ANYTHING that appears on your News Feed – that great restaurant that your friend went to last night, that book your friend was reading, or music that you may have been listening to. Want to react or comment at a later date because your friend was “feeling meh” at one point in the day? Save it on Facebook.

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Lastly, Facebook will be making the items you save available on all platforms – you can view the items you saved on mobile on the web. Your saved items will be organized by category, and you will be able to directly share to your timeline from your saved list. Again, pretty logical for Facebook to do. You will also be getting reminders on your feed about the items you have saved, just in case you forgot that you did save some items. This cool new feature will be rolling out on Android (and iOS) devices in the “next few days”, FB says.

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SOURCE: Facebook

OnePlus One Bamboo cover is here and out of stock

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Right on the dot, OnePlus has revealed the availability of the first “textured” StyleSwap cover for the still elusive OnePlus One smartphone. Of course, that depends on how you define “availability”, as this unique wooden cover is currently marked as out of stock, making it pretty much like the smartphone itself: unavailable.

OnePlus promised a lot, and to be fair, it has delivered on them to some extent. The OnePlus One was indeed a premium smartphone with an affordable price tag, which could explain the sustained interest in the device despite being near impossible to acquire. Before launch, OnePlus already promised that there will various StyleSwap covers of varying textures, including wood, something Motorola also provides for the Moto X. Today, OnePlus made true its word and the first, or maybe even only, wood cover has been revealed as Bamboo.

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Environmentalists might feel a bit aghast at the idea of using bamboo as a smartphone cover, but those who like their devices to be truly unique and personal might find this offer quite attractive. And unique it will be as OnePlus promises each cover is one of a kind thanks to an almost endless combination of bamboo fibers, nodes, and colors. OnePlus claims that no two Bamboo covers in the world will be the same. It does indeed look professionally crafted and might attract a few glances. OnePlus amusingly even made a trailer just for the cover alone.

The OnePlus One Bamboo StyleSwap cover costs $49, though, as mentioned it is currently out of stock. OnePlus has apparently taken a regular approach to manufacturing and selling these covers, unlike the per-order system of the Moto Maker. Considering that there are comparatively few OnePlus Ones out in the world, it wouldn’t be hard to keep up with orders. That said, as interesting and beautiful as this bamboo cover might be, with the OnePlus One still unavailable for retail, it will remain just a taunting photo in our web browsers. OnePlus better be careful that it doesn’t let the window of opportunity pass by, that is, if it actually has any plans of selling the smartphone the old fashioned way at all.

SOURCE: OnePlus (1), (2)

Partial Android Wear Source Uploaded to AOSP

Posted by Will Verduzco July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Android Wear Partial Source Code

2014 is certainly shaping up to be the year of the wearables. And thanks to its innovative interface and impressive functionality, the Android Wear platform is uniquely positioned to take this relatively young market by storm. It’s been just under one month since Google officially launched the first two Android Wear devices at the Google I/O 2014 keynote. Now, developers have something to be excited about thanks to the partial source code release to the AOSP.

OK–stop hyperventilating for a second, and re-read that last sentence and the first word of this article’s title. Much like what we saw with the Android L developer preview a couple weeks ago, this is only a partial source code release to cover the GPL projects for the currently shipping devices, the LG G Watch (Dory) Samsung Gear Live (Sprat). As explained by Bill Yi in the Android Building Google Group:

hi All,
Today, we pushed a small number of GPL projects for the kitkat-wear release. The tag is android-4.4w_r1. The changes are minor since kitkat-mr2.2. We plan to do a full platform push for Android’s next milestone release.
The kernel source is kernel/msm with the following branches:
- android-msm-sprat-3.10-kitkat-wear
- android-msm-dory-3.10-kitkat-wear
bill

In other words, this is just a partial source code release, and we won’t have the full source release until Android L later this year. As such, it’s not enough to create a full, source-built Android Wear port to existing smart watches. However, if you’ve looking to develop for the G Watch or the Gear Live, this is a great start.

Developers looking to dive in can do so in the links below!

[Source: Android Open Source Project Git (DorySprat) | Via Android Building Google Groups]

The post Partial Android Wear Source Uploaded to AOSP appeared first on xda-developers.

Samsung Galaxy Gear gets a one way ticket to Tizen

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

The rumors and leaks were indeed true and now Samsung is making it official. It is giving owners of the first generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch a chance to migrate their wearable timepiece over to a more up-to-date platform. No, Samsung isn’t talking about Android Wear. This is all about Tizen.

Before you take the plunge, you should probably know first what is involved so that you can make a more informed decision. The Tizen firmware update is completely optional and because of that, it isn’t delivered via OTA. If you want to get it, you’ll have to use the Kies 3.0 desktop software to get it to your Galaxy Gear. But the most important bit of information is this: once you get Tizen installed, you are stuck there for life. You will not be able to revert to the customized Android originally installed if you decide to go this route. It maybe possible some day for some of the arduous modders and developers to defy that limitation, but for now, the dire warning stands.

So why make the change? Well, according to Samsung, you get access to more apps, around 140, which is definitely more than those available currently for Galaxy Gear directly. You also get to play music directly on the watch and pipe it through a Bluetooh headset. And you also get many, but of course not all, of the features present in the second generation Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. So it is basically an upgrade. That is, if you actually buy Samsung’s spiel, who obviously has a vested interest in getting Tizen on as many real-world devices as possible.

To be honest, though, it is a very flimsy and weak proposition, especially considering there is no turning back once the vile deed has been done. Those seeking to extract more use from their Galaxy Gear might as well just install a custom ROM like null_ on the thing and get even more functionality, without leaving the comforts of Android. And of course, there’s is Android Wear, which is probably a better smartwatch platform than Tizen, because of its wider availability and compatibility beyond a single manufacturer. It might sound a bit biased, but then again, we’re Android Community after all.

SOURCE: Samsung (1), (2)

Twitch for Android Updated to Version 3.0, Adds Enhanced UI and Expanded Search

Posted by Tim-o-tato July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

An update has been pushed to Google Play for Twitch users, one which brings an enhanced UI, more features for finding your favorite broadcasters, and a new chat section which keeps you in touch with streamers.

Upon opening the app, users are met with almost every game they could ever want to watch livestreamed, led off by the most popular. Once on a channel, you can subscribe to the broadcaster, as well as join the chat channel, allowing you to chat with fellow Twitch users and the broadcaster themselves. 

Search has also been overhauled, as users can now quickly search for games, channels, people, and much more all from the homepage. Check out the full changelog below.

What’s New

  • A beautiful new interface.
  • Follow your favorite channels.
  • Brand new broadcaster profiles.
  • Chat on a channel, even when the broadcaster is offline.
  • Expanded search that is by channels, people and games.

Ready to get your Twitch on? Hit the Play link below.

Play Link

Twitch for Android Updated to Version 3.0, Adds Enhanced UI and Expanded Search is a post from: Droid Life

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