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Windblockers let you talk outdoors with less wind noise

Posted by wicked March - 4 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Windblockers might look like carved Ping-Pong balls or those little foam orbs you get from the craft section at Walmart, but that isn’t what they are. These little devices are made to attach to your smartphone mic and block wind noise so you can have a clearer conversation without shouting.

Windblockers clamp onto the edge of your smartphone over the mic hole and block out wind noise. That means the person you are talking to can hear you better. If you tend to stay inside when you would rather be outside in case an important call comes in, this might be just the ticket.

It appears that the orange tabs are actually the ears to a small clamp hidden away inside the ball of foam. These simple little devices were unveiled at MWC this week.


It does look a bit like you have Ernie’s use on the bottom of your device but better calls in windy condition is a trade off many people will make. One key bit of info that we don’t know about the Windblockers at this time is how much they will cost. Considering their relatively simple design, the cost shouldn’t be much.

SOURCE: Gizmodo

HTC to replace One M8 with One M8s, newer but slower proc

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

HTC is set to gently ease out last year’s flagship device, the HTC One M8 – with the advent of the HTC One M9 and still a lot of M8 hardware probably in stock. The solution is to sell an HTC One M8 replacement in the One M8s – with most of the hardware the same, but going for a newer but slightly slower processor.

At least, that is the rationale behind the decision which is apparently sourced from HTC’s Benelux arm in Europe. The HTC One M8s — originally rumored as the One M8i — will now carry the newer, 64-bit enabled octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, rather than the old but still premium Snapdragon 801. The Snapdragon 615 consists of 8 cores in big.LITTLE architecture layout – four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.7Ghz, and four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.0Ghz.


It’s not a big change, and the newer chipset is 64-bit enabled for better performance, but proc speeds will basically dictate the performance of the device. The One M8s will be a bit slower, although we doubt if it is at all noticeable.

Other than that, you will still get the same form factor, the same premium materials as the old M8. Since the new HTC One M9 will go for around USD$840, sources say that the HTC One M8s will sell for around USD$560 – still a very premium price at that.

VIA: GSM Arena

PhotoMath lets you become a mathematical genius in a few seconds

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Have you ever encountered a math problem for work that suddenly got you stumped and unable to recall from your vast knowledge of college or even high school math? Well of course you can Google for the answers or post the problem on your social networks in the hopes that someone will take pity on your numbers-challenged self. But there should be an easier way than that right? Well, as they always say now, there’s an app for that.

PhotoMath has one purpose in life and that is to solve the math problems for you. Just point your camera at the problem that’s bugging you (we’re talking about math issues, not life struggles okay?) and it will solve it for you. And if you feel like you want to have a detailed explanation for how they solved it, you can click on the steps button and it will show you how it got to the answer.

For now, it only supports basic arithmetic, fractions, decimal numbers, linear equations, logarithms, etc. They will be adding “new Maths” in future updates, so if you encounter something they can’t solve, then you better message the developer so they can add it. The app also only supports printed problems from text books, so sorry, but your chicken scratch problems you’ve doodled on your notebook will not receive an answer.

While this is a pretty neat app to have when you’re working and too busy to properly research how to solve that problem, we don’t know how to feel about students using this to answer their Math homework. And let’s face it, most of them will not bother to click on the steps explanation anyways. But if you’re a reasonable adult who just doesn’t get math, you can download PhotoMath from the Google Play Store for free.


Synaptics now has fingerprint sensors for mobile devices

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

While smartphones with fingerprint sensors are still in the early stages, with just a few devices bearing this new tech, forecasts are saying that it will be one of the next big things for smartphones and tablets. There were just 317 million units that were fingerprint sensor-enabled by the end of 2014, but it’s expected to rise to 1.4 billion units by 2020. Human interface solution provider Synaptics has announced they are branching out into fingerprint sensors, and they are looking at high-end mobile devices for their product.

The Synaptics Natural ID touch fingerprint sensor simplifies the identification process by using a single touch motion so you can unlock devices or access online services (banking, social networks, retail stores, etc). Their sensor has advanced capacitive imaging and digital image processing. It is also supposedly more flexible since the fingerprint sensing element and the fingerprint controller IC is separate. The sensor can also be placed in smaller devices since the minimum touch area is just 4mm by 10mm.

Aside from unlocking your smartphone or tablet, the fingerprint sensor can also be used for other functions as well, since it is compliant with FIDO, the industry-standard for online transactions. Websites, apps, and services that use FIDO can forego the usual passwords to access their sites or products and can be replaced with something like Synaptics’ sensor. The Natural ID touch fingerprint sensor is already available for mass production so all that’s left is to get some of the OEMs on board to equip their next gadgets with the capability of being used with just the literal touch of a fingerprint.

During the ongoing World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Qualcomm also announced their Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology, which can be used even through “obstructions” like smartphone casing, sweat, hand lotion, etc. It looks like fingerprint identification may really be the next big thing.

SOURCE: Synaptics

Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge debuts

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Mophie has been making battery cases for smartphones for years. One of the lines that Mophie has always supported are the Galaxy smartphones from Samsung. With the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge devices having debuted this week, Mophie has also rolled out the Juice Pack battery case for the new Samsung smartphones.

Mophie has announced that it will have the Juice Pack for both the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge smartphones. The new battery cases were unveiled at MWC this week. With the battery cases installed on the new Samsung phones, the user will get 100% extra battery life.

That means your smartphone will last twice as long away from an outlet. Inside the Juice Pack for the Samsung devices is a 3300 mAh battery. In addition to power, the case also offers edge-to-edge protection to prevent breakage from minor drops and bumps.

Mophie is part of the Samsung SMAPP program and will be the only battery case available for the new Samsung smartphones at launch. The case will sell for $99.95 for either of the Galaxy S6 devices and will be available at launch of the smartphones.

SOURCE: Mophie

Gionee shows off new ELIFE S7 phone at MWC 2015

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

We don’t hear much from Gionee but when we do, expect that the product is going to be a game-changer. The Gionee product we last saw was the Marathon M3 that impressed us with a 5000 mah battery. The phone manufacter is also known for holding the Guiness World Record for the thinnest smartphone. This week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Gionee has introduced the new Ultra Smartphone ELIFE S7. The latest smartphone was developed with the ‘making slim to perfection’ philosophy so we can be assured of another great product from Gioonee.

Gionee is now offering more than just a slim design with better specs and function. Gionee believes that a true powerful slim smartphone is one that doesn’t compromise performance. The ELIFE S7′s design was inspired by the railway tracks’ U-shape design. It still features the Iconic frame design but now with a metal effect and high glossy finish. Notice the two parallel metal light lines and the result is an ergonomic side for a comfortable one-hand grip.

Material used is an aviation level aluminum magnesium alloy so you know smartphone is very durable and can last a long time. No, it won’t bend even when inside your pocket. As with the latest phones today, the Gionee ELIFE S7 boasts of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. And since Gionee knows the importance of long battery life, it has added a 595 density 2750 mAh battery. It may be just half of the 5000 mah battery of the Marathon M3 but it’s one of the highest in smartphones today.

Gionee promises energy efficiency, lower battery consumption, and an optimized user interface. There’s also the Synchronous heartbeat technology and intelligent control background that kills unauthorized apps and reduces the times system wakes up. Other features include a 5.2-inch ALOMED screen, 1920×1080 pixel resolution, MTK 6752 OCTA core 64 bit 1.7 GHz processor, HPM technology, a unique extreme mode, 13 megapixel camera, 8 megapixel front camera, ‘Image+’ image processing system, 16GB built-in memory, 2GB RAM, Hi-Fi standard sound system, dual SIM, WiFi, 3G, 4G/LTE connectivity. Phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box.

The Gionee ELIFE S7 will we released first in Europe with KAZAM and ALLVIEW as partners. Price tag reads EUR 399 which is about $446.

SOURCE: Gionee

Alcatel launches Hero 2+ phablet, Cyanogen OS inside

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Still at the Mobile World Congress, Alcatel is hyping its new partnership with Cyanogen, Inc. with the launch of the Hero 2+ phablet, a 6-inch device that features Cyanogen’s version of the Android OS as the main software. The device will be targeted at the North American market and Alcatel will be selling the phablet off-contract and unlocked.

Let’s take a look at the spec list – the device has a 6-inch full HD (1080p) IPS display, powered by a MediaTek MT6592 2.0Ghz octa-core processor. That is supported by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. From this alone, we can see that the device has ample muscle to be able to handle most daily processes usually done by Android device users. The device is also encased in a brushed aluminum finish to give it that premium feel.

As mentioned earlier, the device will feature a Cyanogen OS, but it will be based on CM11 (Android 4.4 Kitkat) rather than Lollipop. We do hope there is an update coming for this device to Lollipop. Other than that, there is Cat4 LTE connectivity, a 13MP/5MP camera combo, 1080p full HD video capture, and everything is powered by a 3,100mAh battery.


The specs look good enough for a midrange budget LTE option. Alcatel will be selling the Hero 2+ phablet via its Amazon online store, at a price point of USD$299 off-contract. Not bad at all. Will you consider this phablet for your daily device?

Follow all the news from the MWC via our MWC 2015 tag.

VIA: PR News Wire

Samsung releases official camera samples from Galaxy S6

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

One of the things that Samsung has been touting about its newly-announced new flagship, the Galaxy S6, is how great the camera is, both rear and front-facing one. While 16 megapixels (5 megapixles for the “selfie” front one) may not seem much, it’s definitely more than just those numbers that count. The OEM released the official camera samples from their newest smartphone, and it looks like they might have hit the jackpot, based on these few photos at least.

The main camera does not have just the 16MP to boast of (well, you really can’t boast much about it, if megapixel count is all you’re looking at). It also comes with optimal image stabilization (a must have if you’re taking action shots or fast moving things) and automatic HDR. It also has F/1.9 aperture and an LED flash so that taking pictures in low-light settings will not be a hassle.


The front-facing camera, which is now more popularly known as the selfie cam, has 5MP but also an F/1.9 aperture that can also give you better photos when you’re in a situation where low lighting is inevitable. An aperture of that level also brings you shallower depth of field so you can focus easier. And based on these sample images, their claims may just be right.


Aside from those specs for the Galaxy S6′s camera, you can now launch the camera quicker by double pressing the home button (you won’t get the S Voice now if you do that). They claim that it will bring you the camera up in just 0.7 seconds.

VIA: GSM Arena

Get Samsung Galaxy S 6 apps before they’re even released

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Fancy installing some apps from the new Samsung Galaxy S 6 even before the phone ships to market? Well, that’s what our friends at XDA are good for – releasing apps into the wild for bug-checking and compatibility. This post at the forum gives us nine (9) apps at the moment to play around with.

From XDA contributor “Albe95” we have some apps taken off the Samsung Galaxy S 6 and ported in APK format so you can play around with it. The apps include – Galaxy S 6-like SystemUI (Statusbar and Recents), S 6 and S 6 edge default wallpapers, the S6 Optical Reader, S6 GeoNews, the S6 GearManager, the S6 Gear Fit app, S6 Smart Remote, the S6 Smart Switch Mobile, and the S6 Kids Mode.


A couple of apps here are noteworthy, like the SystemUI which mimics the notification panel found on the new phone. The S6 Smart Switch Mobile also facilitates migrating from one phone to another – even from an iOS phone. Pretty cool.


The one caveat (there always is one) is that these apps will most likely work only with TouchWiz variants of Android Lollipop – like the OS these apps were ported from. So if you want to take a peek at these, click on our source link and get the APK installers for yourself.


Blackphone 2 and Blackphone+ tablet debut at MWC 2015

Posted by wicked March - 2 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

You might recall the original Blackphone smartphone that was designed with the utmost in privacy and security in mind. The phone was designed for the ground up for users who are concerned with their privacy. At MWC 2015, the company behind the original Blackphone has rolled out a pair of new devices.

The new devices include an updated Blackphone 2 smartphone and a new tablet prototype called the Blackphone+. The updated smartphone looks rather like an iPhone 4 with a larger screen. The screen measures 5.5-inches and the Blackphone 2 has other updated hardware as well.

It uses a faster 64-bit processor and has more RAM than the original device offered. The company plans to put the Blackphone 2 up for sale this summer. The other device it was showing off was the Blackphone+ tablet prototype.

This tablet is said to be on an “extended alpha beta program” and Blackphone plans to work with partners to see what they want to do with the tablets. Both of the devices run the PrivatOS, which is a beefed up version of Android focused on privacy and security. It’s unclear when the tablet might be ready for sale.

SOURCE: TechCrunch

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