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Samsung Level Box mini: quality audio at a slimmer size

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Samsung has unveiled the newest member of its Level line of premium audio accessories and it’s a stylish and compact gadget to amplify your music on the go. The Level Box mini is, you guessed it, a smaller version of the Level Box wireless speakers that became available in the US market just last month. It’s perfect for carrying around in your bag and whipping out in case there’s a need for an impromptu dance party somewhere.

The Level Box mini is a 55mm stereo speaker that packs a wallop when you pair it with your Android smartphone to aurally project music from your music player or your music streaming service of choice. As long as your smartphone is NFC enabled, you can quickly connect it with the wireless speakers. It also has a passive radiator, noise reduction and echo cancellation features. It even has a built-in microphone so you can also use it for conference calls.

It is also compatible with the Samsung Level App so you can control the volume and settings from your smartphone. You can also use the text-to-speech features of the app as well as the S-Voice functions of Samsung gadgets. The SoundAlive technology adjusts the volume and sound quality of the speakers by analysing the sound source of the connected gadget to your Level Box mini.

Compared to the original Level Box speakers, the mini version is 30% slimmer and has 1,600mAh battery that can last up to 25 hours playback without needing any charging. It’s available in blue, blue black, red and silver varieties. There is no SRP yet on the product page but given that the Level Box is at $169.99, you can expect the it to be a little cheaper than that.

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SOURCE: Samsung

Droid X gets a new lease on life via CM11

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

We’re not hating on the Droid X – we think nobody who knows his Android history would ever be able to do that to the phone which at its peak was the “for real” iPhone killer. But just four years after its release, it is already considered ancient – such is the pace of technology today. But XDA senior member “Aaahh” has given the old phone a fitting swan song, by successfully installing CyanogenMod’s Android KitKat-based OS on it.

Motorola‘s Droid X was a kicker of a phone at its time, giving the iPhone 4 a real run for its money. It was powered by a Texas Instruments OMAP3630-1000 single core processor which turned at 1.0Ghz. It had a 4.3-inch 854×480 TFT display with 8GB of internal storage. All well and good, but to run CM11, an Android 4.4-based OS, on this would be actually surprising. And it’s been done.

The flashing of the custom ROM is a bit roundabout, a bit more tricky than usual because of the difficulty of getting a custom recovery to work with the phone. In the process, you would have to use at least three different versions, one of CWM and two versions of TWRP. Make sure to follow the exact steps via the official thread at XDA – check the source link.

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I don’t think we need to remind you that because of partitioning issues, you will lose data on the original phones when you do this – if you still have personal data on your old Droid X. But if you do, make sure to get it out first before starting the process. When you finish, it will be one of those “there’s some life in the old dog yet” moments. And then you go back to tapping away at your Moto X. Typical.

SOURCE: XDA

LG G3 UX features coming to mid to low end devices

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

When you finally land on a winning formula, it’s only natural to want to capitalize on it as much as you can until the well runs dry. The LG G3 has been praised not just for its premium hardware but for its software suite as well, which LG will now be bringing in parts to its roster of less premium devices down the line.

LG has slowly been introducing a number of custom software features that have reached their crowning glory in the G3. Features like Multi Window, QSlide, QPair, and Knock Code have been improved in the latest smartphone and have likewise made appearances in LG’s other devices. The company will be continuing that rollout of features and is now targeting its line of entry-level and mid tier smartphones and tablets.

Of the many UX (user experience) feature in the G3, two will be coming to other LG devices, namely Smart Keyboard and a set of Camera features. Smart Keyboard goes beyond the call of duty of other “learning” keyboards by studying not just your most used words but also your typing habits and mistakes. The keyboard also offers some degree of customization to make it even more personal and tailor fit for different kinds of users. On the camera side, three specific features will be making their way down the chain. Touch & Shoot combines the act of “tap to focus” and “tap to shoot” into a single tap to make taking photos quick and easy. Gesture Shot lets you activate a three-second timer by simply opening and closing your hand in front of the camera. Finally, Clean View removes all the clutter around the camera screen, giving you an unobstructed view of your target.

LG does not mention which devices will be receiving these new features nor when, though it mentions devices released in the second half of this year. The OEM also doesn’t mention if there will be other UX features that will join the list in the near future, though that might be a possibility as LG continues to consolidate its UX offering across is different devices.

SOURCE: LG

Huawei mystery smartphone leaked with fingerprint scanner

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

It will be barely two weeks before Huawei finally unveils its next smartphone and still the Ascend Mate7 is still pretty much shrouded in mystery. And to add even more mystery, another new Huawei smartphone is now being leaked, sporting what is noted to be a fingerprint scanner on the back.

OK, it’s not exactly a firm confirmation, but, being a leak, this is as close as it can get. It seems that this smartphone shares the same rumored sensor with the Ascend Mate7. As repeatedly pointed out before, the placement of the supposed fingerprint sensor is on the back, below the camera, which is rumored to be a 13 megapixel shooter. This mimics the exact arrangement that is found on the HTC One Max. Even the placement of the LED flash to the left of the camera sensor is the same. The only difference is that Huawei is using the square-ish design of Samsung’s camera pieces rather than the rounder shape of HTC’s.

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Previous leaked photos of the Ascend Mate7 also hinted that Huawei is going after HTC’s design in more ways than one, with the smartphone bearing a brushed metal look and a triple segment back cover architecture. That, however, can’t be seen here as the device is enclosed in an “anti-leak” casing.

One peculiarity of this latest leak is the specs for the smartphone, which is named as a Huawei Z100-CL00. The device’s stats show that it is running on a 1.6 GHz processor with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The screen resolution is noted to be 1280×720 and the size is, of course, not given. There are two possible theories. One is that this is the lower end version of the Ascend Mate7, though the specs are even lower than those rumored for that variant. The second is that this is a completely different device that will just bear some, or at least one, of the key features of the higher end smartphone. Expect to hear more from Huawei when its scheduled September 4 IFA 2014 event rolls around.

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VIA: Weibo

LG’s Quick Circle apps uses G3 without opening phone case

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

LG’s Quick Circle case, which works exclusively with their flagship G3, is probably one of the most unique phone cases in the market as it is, well, obviously, round. There is now an app package to bring even more functionality to your G3 smartphone without even opening your case. The Quick Circle Apps lets you control your notifications and several functionalities, access your music, and many more, all from the “safety” of your Quick Circle case.

Your usual notifications on your smartphone can now be mirrored onto your Quick Circle case with Quick Notifications. However, viewing them is all that you can do for now as it doesn’t have the capability of performing any action,like dismissing them. Quick Music lets you use any of your music-listening apps so you can control them from that round face you see on the case. Quick Calendar lets you take a glance into your next few days’ schedule or events in the circle.

Some of the other apps included in the package lets you use several basic functionalities of a phone. Quick Torch is for lighting the way when there is no other light source. Quick Stopwatch and Quick Calculator are basically letting you use those two features quickly. Quick Toggles allows you to adjust your phone’s brightness and turn on or off the WiFi and mobile data.

All of these apps are open source and can be tweaked. This is part of LG’s promise that developers are encouraged to create apps and functions specific for users who own an LG G3 and a Quick Circle case. The Quick Circle Apps can be downloaded for free through the Google Play Store.

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T-Mobile HTC One M8 gets 4.4.3 update, Verizon soon

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

This update has been floating around for a while now, with Verizon actually hinting that their update to Android 4.4.3 might come out today. As it happens, it looks like T-Mobile HTC One M8 users will be the first to get the update, as Verizon says it needs to “re-spin” the update and might delay the rollout.

For T-Mo users, the update may not have shown up on your notifications yet, but as per GSM Arena, a certified T-Mo HTC One M8 user has let them know (with pictures) that the update is indeed rolling out which includes – among other new stuff – Android 4.4.3. There are major firmware updates that should improve network performance (Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/Mobile Network), and new versions of the Camera, Gallery, Settings and HTC Sync manager apps. Lastly, there are also updates to the BoomSound experience, Extreme Power Saving Mode, Motion Launch and Quick Setting. All in all a tasty update for T-Mo HTC One users.

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For Verizon users, it seems that mid-September is the latest the update will roll out. According to HTC Americas President Jason Mackenzie and HTC VP for the HTC One M8 Mo Versi, they had to recall the impending update – which should have rolled out today – because of some issues that need to be tweaked. No information was given as to what issues these were, but it unfortunately pushes the update out of August and into September at the earliest.

There is confirmation for Verizon users though, that the update will finally make available the Extreme Power Saving Mode that turns off a number of battery hungry features and allows your phone to last for more hours even on critical power levels. Worth noting that AT&T and T-Mobile units of the HTC One M8 got this feature in May this year.

VIA: Droid Life, TMOnews
SOURCE: @JasonMacHTC / @moversi

Sharp unveils “edge-to-edge display” of Aquos Crystal

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

When Sharp announced that their upcoming Aquos Crystal phone would have “edge-to-edge display”, people’s expectations of what it would look like were heightened. As they have now unveiled the actual phones, it would seem to have met those expectations, as the front panel of the smartphone has super-thin bezels, giving justice to the original description.

The Aquos Crystal is a 5-inch, 1280×720 pixel HD phone with that will be running on Android 4.4 KitKat. But what has really caught the attention of people is the almost bezel-less front display of the smartphone. In the photos and videos from Buzzup in Japan, the phone is being shown off in all its edge to edge display glory.The previously released Droid Razr M from Motorola was the closest that we came to that kind of display, but compared to this one from Sharp, the borders now seem too big.

But aside from the beautiful display, the Aquos Crystal also has some relatively good specs to offer. It will run on a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2HGz processor with 1.5GB RAM and 8GB of internal memory. It will have an 8 megapixel main camera and a 1.2MP one for the front-facing camera. It will come out in white, black, pink and blue colors. There is a more powerful version of the Aquos Crystal called the Aquos Crystal X, with a 1920×1080 display running on Snapdragon 801 and having 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal memory. However this version will only be released for now in Japan and will have red, white and black colors.

Softbank will be releasing the Aquos Crystal in the US by the end of this month while the Crystal X will come out in Japan by end of this year. There is still no announced standard retail price for the smartphone, but here’s hoping we don’t have to break a bank to own this one.

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VIA: SlashGear
SOURCE: SoftBank (1, 2)

Sony Xperia M2 Aqua takes waterproofing to budget level

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Sony is announcing a new smartphone. Actually, it’s partly a rehash of an existing smartphone. The Xperia M2 Aqua is everything that its name suggests: a variant of a mid-tier device that was announced early this year, blessed with Sony’s popular dust and water proof ratings.

In all aspects save one, this is the same Xperia M2, meaning that you really get what you pay for. It doesn’t boast of high-end specs but just has enough power, with a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 and 1 GB of RAM, to get you through the day. The Exmor RS-toting 8 megapixel camera might be decent for taking pictures and videos, but viewing the same from the 4.8-inch qHD, meaning 960×540, screen might not be an equally pleasant experience. Still, the 2,300 mAh battery is sure to last you longer than most high-end devices, especially considering the lower specs. The Xperia M2 itself just started getting is Android KitKat update, but luckily this one comes with Android 4.4 right out of the box.

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Of course, the selling point of this model is the new waterproof features. Sony boasts of a score of IP65/IP68, claiming it to be the highest found on a smartphone. Definitely the highest for a consumer-grade one. And Sony definitely takes waterproofing seriously. Just last week, an Xperia Z2, which has an even lower IP rating, was rescued from its watery grave after spending 6 weeks on the seabed and was still miraculously alive. Imagine how much more torture the Xperia M2 Aqua can take. Or you don’t have to imagine. Just play one of these underwater games if you ever get a chance to get your hands on one and find out for yourself.

The Sony Xperia M2 Aqua will be available in black and white color options. No pricing detail has been disclosed yet, but availability will start from Autumn this year. Target markets include Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Europe, with no mention of any plans to bring the device to the US.

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SOURCE: Sony

HTC Butterfly 2 officially announced, but limited availability

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

As what we have seen in the last rumor, HTC has officially announced that it is bringing the J Butterfly HTL23 to other regions as Butterfly 2. The Butterfly 2 and the Japan edition are the same in specs, except there won’t be WiMAX2+ or LTE Advance support in the Butterfly 2.

Available in Rouge, Canvas and Indigo color, the HTC Butterfly 2 features a Duo Camera system, and HTC BoomSound with dual front speakers – boosted with JBL LiveStage digital signal processing. According to the official specifications, the Duo Camera is using a 13MP f/2.0 camera sensor as primary camera, additional depth information is recorded simultaneously by a separate camera sensor on top. THe secondary camera sensor should be a 2MP camera sensor, if it is the same as the J Butterfly HTL23.

The additional depth information allows you to have more post-photo editing fun, which includes changing the picture focal point (UFocus) or applying special effects with the built in Foregrounder tool. There is also a dual tone flash LED, plus another 5 megapixel front facing camera. The front facing camera is not only good for selfies with higher resolution, but it is also able to capture Full HD video and HDR photos.

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Other hardware specs remain the same. The Butterfly 2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz quad core processor (MSM8974AC), comes with 5-inch Full HD S-LCD3 display, IPX5/IPX7 waterproof, IP5X dust proof, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage and microSDXC card slot. It is nice to see the microUSB port and headphone jack are designed without using a water resistant cover to achieve the IP57 protection.

HTC Butterfly 2 specifications:

– OS: Android 4.4.x KitKat
– Size: 145.4 x 70.2 x 9.99 mm
– Weight: 151g
– Display: 5″ Full HD SLCD 3
– Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz quad core
– RAM: 2GB
– Internal Storage: 16/32GB, MicroSDXC card slot
– Camera: 13MP f/2.0 + 2MP Duo camera, 5MP front facing camera
– Dual tone flash LED
– Connectivity: WiFi a/b/g/n/ac / Bluetooth 4.0 / NFC
– Battery: 2700 mAh
– Talk time: Up to 23.9 hours for 3G
– Standby time: Up to 643 hours for 3G
– Others: Barometer sensor, 4G LTE, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0

Unfortunately, HTC has decided to ship the Butterfly 2 in selected countries. It will be launched first in Taiwan on September 2nd, and then in Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Pricing for Butterfly 2, including the J Butterfly HTL23 is not revealed yet.

Amazon Fire Phone has improved battery life in new update

Posted by wicked August - 18 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

While Amazon’s first smartphone, the Fire Phone, may have underwhelmed those who were expecting something at par with its competitors in the market, it is considered a work in progress and may yet find its stride in later versions. An update the software of the current phone promises better battery life (a must for all devices now) as well as a slew of other new features that should please the early adaptors who already have gotten themselves the Fire Phone.

Fire OS 3.5.1 brings with it dozens of system upgrades that would enable your smartphone to have longer battery life. It also now allows you to quickly switch between apps and close running apps just by double pressing the home button, not the long press which is how other Android phones usually do it. You can also now make app grid collections, which are folders to house or group certain apps or certain content from the grid itself. If you have too many apps already, you can now pin the ones you use the most to the home carousel so that it would be easier to find them.

In terms of multi-media functions, there are also slight improvements with this update. You can now use 11 images to create lenticular photos instead of the previous 3. You can also share higher-resolution videos to your friends through MMS (may have additional charges with your carrier) or through email. In terms of email, if you receive notification of an email that you don’t want to read, you can delete it directly from the home screen so that your inbox will not be clogged with unwanted email.

Given how Amazon Kindle Fire has slowly grown on tablet users (especially those who use it primarily as a reading device), the Fire Phone (or at least its later versions) may still surprise the smartphone market later on. For now, users might be pleased with the continued rollout of improvements on the software side at least. You can update your phone directly through the settings or manually download the updated Fire OS from Amazon.

SOURCE: Amazon