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Google not locking down Android, coming to TVs and cars in the near future

Posted by wicked October - 17 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Google will soon take over the world. The search giant is bent on bringing its Android platform into other devices aside from smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. Soon, we’ll see Android-running cars, TVs, appliances, and more. When it comes to cars, there’s already the Android Auto being employed in the latest Honda vehicles. Android Wear can now be found on watches while the OS version for Android TVs is still being developed.

Google also currently has Chrome OS running on Chromebooks and the Chromecast dongle turning digital TV into an Internet TV. Maybe someday, the company will roll out Android versions for these devices for uniformity.

Google is doing the process slowly but surely. It’s also started to limit the degree to which OEMs can customize the platform for their own hardware. For example, Google limited software customization in watches running Android Wear. The watch manufacturers were limited to adding custom watch faces only. However, Google is saying it won’t lock down Android completely even if it seems the platform is going that direction.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s Vice President of Engineering commented, “It’s not some Google-way-or-the-highway kind of thing.” He also said the makers’ limited flexibility is only temporary and Google is only perfecting the basics before it allows customization by others. In fact, Asus will be the first to show off the new customization on Android Wear with its yet-to-be-released Zen Watch.

Google also has Android One and Android Silver. Android One is supposed to be for low-cost phones priced $100 and below. This Android version requires Google to control the software images loaded on the devices but the OEMs can select apps that can be downloaded. On the other hand, there’s also Android Silver-—a program that is less customizable. Google had good intentions for the Silver but was shelved because hardware makers were not interested on a restricted version and didn’t want to share the brand with other companies.

The Nexus line will still continue according to Lockheimer while Android Auto is already in its early stages. We’ll see if the car version will be as successful as the first vehicle from Honda hits the market.

VIA: Re/code

Asus ZenWatch to be first smartwatch with Android Wear customizations

Posted by wicked October - 16 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

asus zenwatch aa 9

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.”

Source: Recode;

Google Announces the Nexus Player, an Android TV Reference Device

Posted by wicked October - 15 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

As you may be aware, Google announced a ton of cool stuff today. Much of it had been rumored for months, though, so the unveiling of the Nexus Player came as somewhat of a surprise. 

Essentially an Android TV reference device, the Nexus Player is a $99 set-top box made in collaboration with Asus. It packs a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, a Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi radio, 8GB of storage, and a microUSB port. It ships with a microphone-equipped remote for voice search and navigating around the UI, and hooks up to your TV via HDMI.

Following in the footsteps of Amazon’s Fire TV, Google is making a play (pun intended) for gaming. The Nexus Player sports a powerful PowerVR Series 6 GPU, and supports an official gamepad accessory that will retail separately for $39.

As Google demonstrated earlier this year at I/O, Android TV will support a bevy of entertainment apps at launch. The operating system also has built-in support for Google Cast, meaning screen mirroring and casting should work without a hitch.

Pre-orders for the Nexus Player begin October 17. Brick-and-mortar buyers will have to wait until November 3.

Via: Google

Google Announces the Nexus Player, an Android TV Reference Device is a post from: Droid Life

Android Lollipop revealed with Nexus 6, 9, and Player

Posted by wicked October - 15 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

This afternoon Google revealed that they’d be releasing Android L as Android 5.0 Lollipop. Along with this release comes three new devices, the Nexus 6 smartphone, the Nexus 9 tablet, and the Nexus Player. The Nexus Player is the first official Android TV device to be released with Google, and it’s made by ASUS. The Nexus 6 is made by Motorola, and the Nexus 9 is made by HTC.

Nexus 6

The Nexus 6 will be released for pre-order on the 17th of October, coming with an extra-large display and connectivity around the world. This device also has a powerful camera at its back and a dual-LED ring flash for extra brightness around its f/2.0 aperture.

Display: 5.96” 2560×1440 QHD AMOLED (493 ppi) with Gorilla Glass 3
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SOC
Camera (back): 13MP with OIS, 4K video capture at 30fps
Camera (front): 2MP
Internal Storage: 32GB or 64GB
Battery: 3220mAh
Sensors: GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Ambient light sensor, Barometer
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop

Below you’ll see a number of images of this smartphone – we’ll let you know what we know when we know more!


Nexus 9

The Nexus 9 is the long-fabled HTC tablet. This device works with an NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor under the hood, much like the SHIELD Tablet, and works with an 8.9-inch display up front.

Display: 8.9″ IPS LCD, QXGA (2048×1536), Gorilla Glass 3
Processor: 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1
Camera (back): 8MP Rear camera, f/2.4, Auto-focus, LED flash
Camera (front): 1.6MP, f/2.4
Internal Storage: 16GB or 32GB
Battery: 6700 mAh
Sensors: GPS, Ambient light sensor, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop

N9-hero-1600 (1)
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Above you’ll see a number of photos of this device – and its optional keyboard dock. This device will work with front-facing BoomSound speakers and a release date around the same time as the Nexus 6, which is likely early November. Pre-orders begin on the 17th of October – just one day after Apple’s iPad event.

Nexus Player

The most circular of the Nexus releases this week is also the strangest. This is the first Android TV release from Google, still working within the Android 5.0 Lollipop family with TV or large display-aimed abilities. All delivered through HDMI.

Video Out: 1920 x 1080 @ 60Htz (through HDMI, whatever TV you have)
Processor: 1.8GHz Quad Core, Intel Atom
Internal Storage: 8GB
Power: 18W DC power
Connectivity: 802.11ac 2×2 (MIMO) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop (Android TV)

This device will likely have a similar release date to the other Nexus smart devices, with a pre-order date set for the 17th. This machine will come with a single Nexus Player Remote and will have the option of working with a Nexus Player Controller, sold separately. Below you’ll find a number of photos of this puck-shaped machine as well.

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Android Lollipop

Android Lollipop hasn’t changed a whole lot since we got to know it as Android L. We’ll be investigating the details over the next few days – stay tuned in our new Android Lollipop tag portal!

Lollipop Forest

The ASUS PadFone X mini is coming to AT&T on Oct. 24, $199 contract free on GoPhone

Posted by wicked October - 15 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off


ASUS, AT&T, and Intel sent out a presser this morning letting us know that the PadFone X will be available on AT&T GoPhone for $199. That means no contract or commitments.

The PadFone X mini features a 4.5-inch IPS+ 854 x 480 display, a 1.6 GHz 2×2 Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, microSD slot for up to an additional 64 GB of extra storage, 5 MP rear camera, 1 MP front-facing camera, an Intell XMM 7160 LTE modem, and Android 4.4 KitKat.

When the phone is docked, you get a 7-inch tablet experience utilizing the 7-inch IPS+ 1280 x 800 display. The phone itself has a 2060 mAh battery and the tablet dock sports 2200 mAh.

We have the full presser after the break.

ASUS, AT&T and Intel to Bring PadFone X mini to United States on Oct. 24

PadFone X mini Available Exclusively on the Nation’s Most Reliable 4G LTE Network[1] with No Annual Contract for $199.99

DALLAS and FREMONT, Calif. and SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –


  • ASUS, AT&T and Intel introduce the ASUS PadFone X mini in the U.S. with no annual contract for $199.99 on GoPhone®.
  • The PadFone X mini will be available in select national retailers in October and in all AT&T retail stores that offer GoPhone on Oct. 24.
  • Powered by an Intel® Atom™ processor and Intel® XMM 7160™ LTE modem, the 4.5-inch 4G LTE smartphone transforms into a 7-inch tablet-like experience when docked.

ASUS, AT&T and Intel Corporation today announced the availability of the ASUS PadFone X mini, a 4.5-inch 4G LTE[2] smartphone powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor and Intel® XMM™ 7160 LTE modem. The PadFone X mini transforms into a 7-inch 4G LTE tablet-like experience when docked into its companion docking station. It will be available in AT&T retail stores on Oct. 24 and in national retailers by November. Exclusively on the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network, covering more than 300 million Americans, the PadFone X mini will retail for $199.99 on GoPhone®, AT&T’s branded prepaid service.[3] Plans start at only $40 per month for 500 MB of data and 500 minutes of talk time.

“The PadFone X mini is a powerful device with great features from ASUS and Intel – and all on the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president – Device Marketing and Developer Services, AT&T. “Offered at budget-friendly prices, consumers that want a quality device with no annual contract will be thrilled with the performance and value of the PadFone X mini.”

For ASUS, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Mobile Communication, Benson Lin stated, “ASUS is passionate about providing incredible experiences. We are excited to work with AT&T and Intel to bring the ASUS PadFone X mini to the U.S. This unique device offers the compelling combination of a 4.5-inch LTE smartphone and the power and versatility of a 7-inch handheld tablet that allows people the best of both world experiences.”

“The combination of Intel’s processor and cutting-edge LTE solution gives the PadFone X mini a robust, one-two punch for U.S. consumers,” said Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Mobile Communication Group. “People are demanding more from their devices, and the phone’s unique smartphone and tablet form factor allows consumers to have more capabilities on one data plan, all at an affordable price. Intel, ASUS and AT&T have proven to be a powerful trio to deliver a fast and easy-to-use phone for on-the-go multi-taskers.”

Power, Convenience and Beauty Converge
The PadFone X mini is the first smartphone for the U.S. market powered by an Intel application processor and an Intel LTE solution. The device has an Intel XMM 7160 LTE modem and an Intel Atom processor with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology, which supports four simultaneous application threads for smooth and seamless multitasking and responsive web browsing. Additional features include:

  • Automatic charging with up to 28.3 hours of battery life when the phone is docked into the station, and up to 15.8 hours of battery life on a single charge when used in the smartphone mode.[4]
  • ASUS exclusive 5-megapixel (5MP) PixelMaster camera for high-quality photos.
  • ASUS DynamicDisplay[5] technology that resizes apps for the different display sizes, as well as the ASUS ZenUI, an exclusive user interface for smart devices that includes features such as ASUS ZenUI What’s Next and Do It Later. These new features put users’ next task in front of them or allows them to mark items for follow-up.
  • The Side Flip Cover and TriCover, a stylish and practical cover lined with microfiber with a tough polyurethane outer cover for the phone and docking station that helps prevent scratches, scrapes, and dents in two different landscape orientations.

Availability and Pricing
On Oct. 24, customers can purchase an ASUS PadFone X mini from AT&T for $199.99 with GoPhone plans that start at only $40 per month. Customers can also get the PadFone X mini online at or or in AT&T retail stores that offer GoPhone. Starting in October, the ASUS PadFone X mini will be available at national retailers.

ASUS is a worldwide top-three consumer notebook vendor and maker of the world’s best-selling, most award-winning, motherboards. A leading enterprise in the new digital era, ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today’s digital home and office, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, displays, desktop and all-in-one PCs, notebooks, netbooks, servers, multimedia devices, wireless solutions, networking devices, tablets and smartphones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 4,256 awards in 2013 and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with its Eee PC™. ASUS has more than 13,600 employees around the globe with a world-class R&D team of 4,500 engineers. Company revenue for 2013 was approximately U.S. $14 billion.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide based on offering roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV service with the AT&T U-verse® brand. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at and YouTube at

© 2014 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Intel (INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. As a leader in corporate responsibility and sustainability, Intel also manufactures the world’s first commercially available “conflict-free” microprocessors. Additional information about Intel is available at, and about Intel’s conflict-free efforts at

Intel, Intel Atom, XMM and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.


ASUS PadFone X mini


1.6GHz 2×2 Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core processor with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology

Operating system

Android 4.4 (KitKat) with ASUS ZenUI


1GB RAM; up to 64GB micro SD card supported


4G LTE: B4/B17/B2/B5, Category 3

3G: 850/1900/2100

2G: 850/900/1800/1900

802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 4.0

GPS (A-GPS with SUPL 2.0)

Data-transfer speed

LTE Category 3


Smartphone: 4.5-inch IPS+ panel / 854 x 480 FWVGA

Station: 7-inch IPS+ panel / 1280 x 800 WXGA


Smartphone: 5MP (rear); 2MP(front)

Station: 1MP (front)


Smartphone: 2060mAh (removable)

Station: 2200mAh (non-removable)


3.5mm headphone jack; micro USB




Smartphone: 5.20 (L) x 2.61 (W) x 0.25-0.50 (H) inch

Station: 8.02 (L) x 4.70 (W) x 0.44-0.83 (H) inch


Smartphone: 5.25 oz

Station: 8.81 oz

Full specifications are available at

[1]Reliability based on data transfer completion rates on nationwide 4G LTE networks. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. 4G LTE not available everywhere.
[2]LTE is a trademark of ETSI. 4G LTE not available everywhere.
[3]GoPhone devices are restricted to GoPhone service during the first six months after activation, and cannot be used with any other carrier’s service. Commercial resale is prohibited except by AT&T’s authorized agents or retailers. You may not alter any of the hardware or software in GoPhone devices or export them from the US. Activation and use of GoPhone device requires GoPhone service. GoPhone service is subject to the Terms of Service described in the User Guide and Plan Terms described in the rate brochure. You must be in the GoPhone coverage area to place or receive calls. Service may not be accessible at all times due to equipment limitations and certain equipment features may not be functional with GoPhone service.
[4]ASUS measures the talk time/standby time by conductive test with RF equipment (Anritsu 8820 or CMU200 or Agilent 8960). The talking/standby time is derived from “the typical capacity of battery divided from the current measurement.”
[5]Not all applications are DynamicDisplay compatible.
[6]Specifications, content and product availability are all subject to change without notice and may differ from country to country. Actual performance may vary depending on applications, usage, environment and other factors.

Come comment on this article: The ASUS PadFone X mini is coming to AT&T on Oct. 24, $199 contract free on GoPhone

Intel, ASUS to launch PadFone X mini exclusively on AT&T this Oct 24

Posted by wicked October - 15 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Three big names in the mobile industry are working together to bring the PadFone X mini in the United States. Intel and AT&T are helping Asus to release the new smartphone this coming October 24 in AT&T retail stores and some national retailers.

PadFone X is literally a phablet (phone-tablet). It’s a 4.5-inch smartphone that transforms into a 7-inch tablet when docked. The device boasts of an Intel XMM 7160 LTE modem, Intel Atom processor, as well as, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology that allows responsive web browsing and multitasking. This means you open four apps simultaneously without the phone slowing down.

Major features of this new Android phone include a 5 megapixel PixelMaster camera, the exclusive ASUS ZenUI, and ASUS DynamicDisplay technology. The DynamicDisplay allows the device to automatically resize the apps for different display sizes whether on phone or tablet mode. The ASUS ZenUI coms with the Do It Later and What’s Next features and perhaps the ASUS MyWater live wallpaper we featured recently.

The PadFone X mini also comes with a practical and stylish Side Flip Cover and TriCover. The protective cover is lined with microfiber while the exterior is a polyurethane outer cover that prevents dents, scratches, and scrapes. When phone is docked, it is charged automatically, yielding battery life up to 28.3 hours on tablet mode but only 15.8 hours when used as a smartphone.

padfone x mini

AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Device Marketing and Developer Services happily shared:

“The PadFone X mini is a powerful device with great features from ASUS and Intel – and all on the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network. Offered at budget-friendly prices, consumers that want a quality device with no annual contract will be thrilled with the performance and value of the PadFone X mini.”

AT&T will release the smartphone next week with a $199.99 price tag on GoPhone– the branded prepaid service from the carrier. Phone is also available with a plan starting at $40/monthly with 500 minutes of voice calls and 500MB data.


New videos from ASUS showcase Padfone S 2-in-1 features

Posted by wicked October - 14 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

ASUS has released on its YouTube channel several new videos highlighting the advantages of having a 2-in-1 device with its Padfone S smartphone/tablet hybrid. The gadget line, which is one of a kind (so far) can be used as a smartphone which then converts into a tablet when docked, for the price of one device and one data plan as well. So this might be the device for those who want to have both but may have only budget for one.

The first video has a bit of a humorous (well, for some parts) take on what it means to have “a phone that’s also a tablet that’s also a phone”. It’s easy to switch from a communication device to a work station (although this having no keyboard in the dock may be a disadvantage) to a phone then to an entertainment system just by the mere actions of docking and undocking, giving new meaning to the word “seamless”. It also means that you just get one bill from your data provider, which can be a huge breathing space for your wallet. The dock also serves as a charging station for the phone so even if you use it as a tablet, your phone is gaining energy as well.

The newer video is a bit more technical (and more serious as well) as it boasts of the technical beauty behind the Padfone S. The lead designer, Pete Lin, talks about how the idea that “intuition is instinctive” was the driving force for their design. The imagery (and the words) highlight both the beauty and ingenuity of the device. Things like its 13-megapixel camera, the dual front-facing speakers, the 5″ Full HD display are shown off, as well as the under-the-hood features of the device that runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.3GHz processor.

There is another, longer 7-minute video on the ASUS YouTube channel that gives more information on the various features of the Padfone S. The walk-through not just looks at the basic specifications, but goes into details about its design, productivity and multi-media features as well.

Water level rises as you charge with the ASUS MyWater live wallpaper

Posted by wicked October - 9 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

How many times do you change the wallpaper on your phone or tablet? With the ASUS MyWater Live Wallpaper, I doubt if you’ll ever want to change yours again. Use a live wallpaper and see water rise as you charge your battery. You’ll never be bored.

This innovative live-wallpaper brings a new experience. Now I understand why ASUS keeps on using the term “Zen” on its products because this non-conventional wallpaper offers a relaxing experience—a zen-like experience. It’s easy on the eyes while being informative.

As battery level is reduced, water level will rise. It’s as if you’re seeing a glass of water being emptied or filled up when its battery is being charged. It’s just beautiful to watch, right? And to make things even better, you can play and have fun with the water by tilting, tapping, or swiping on the device.

The app works on all Android devices even those not running ZenUI so that other Android users can enjoy the app. Download ASUS MyWater app from the Google Play Store

Pretty powerful Asus Fonepad 8 out this month

Posted by Tom October - 8 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

The Asus Fonepad 8 will finally hit international stores this month, following its first outing in Asia.

The 8-inch dual-SIM tablet has 3G for web and calls, a 1,280 x 800-pixel HD IPS display, and runs on a quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3560 processor clocked at 1.83GHz.

It comes with 1GB of RAM, 8 or 16GB storage options, a 5MP back camera and a 2MP front-facer, and all this runs on Android 4.4 KitKat.

It’s expected to launch around the $200 mark.

Via tablet-news

The ASUS ZenWatch may be very hard to get in November, at least at first launch

Posted by wicked October - 8 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

asus zenwatch aa 5

Amidst the fervor of Android Wear launches and announcements in the last couple months, ASUS showed off one of the more elegant looking wearables, the ASUS ZenWatch.

The ASUS ZenWatch is now getting closer to an actual launch, but it appears there is a bit of a catch, extremely limited supply may mar initial sales with ASUS reportedly bringing just 300 devices to Taiwan in November.

The ZenWatch is a rectangular shaped device with a slightly curved design. It measures in with a 1.63-inch display at 320 x 320 resolution. The device will be no slouch though, as it brings the Snapdragon 400, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage to the table. Gorilla Glass 3 should keep scratches to a minimum and the remaining ‘premium’ materials add to an overall sleek design.

asus zenwatch aa 11

We are very interested to see what the software will look like on the ZenWatch. On one hand, ASUS has promised the Android Wear OS but with a custom skin called ZenUI. On the other hand, Google has been keeping a pretty big thumb on things, making it clear there is to be no custom skins on top of Android Wear.

For more info on the ASUS ZenWatch, be sure to check out our coverage from the ASUS announcement that took place at IFA back in September in Berlin, Germany.

If this information is accurate, what reason do you see that ASUS will only be selling 300 units for their initial run – could it be an inventory issue, a ‘beta’ program of sorts, or maybe ASUS is trying to follow the lead of social media enthusiasts OnePlus and Xiaomi by making this thing hard to get? No matter the reason, is ASUS shooting themselves in the foot for not hurrying the ZenWatch to market, or are they better off following HTC’s lead in taking it slow?

Via: Phone Arena;