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BBC iPlayer now sports video downloads on most Android devices

Posted by wicked April - 16 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

BBC has just shared some good news to users of its BBC iPlayer app on Android. Those with devices running Android 4.0 or higher can now have access to video downloads, though the success or quality of that experience is not exactly guaranteed to be smooth.

Last September, BBC launched support for downloading TV programs via its Android app on a select number of devices, 11 in total, including both models of the Nexus 7 tablets, the HTC One (M7), Samsung Galaxy S II, SIII, and S 4, among others. BBC has been growing that roster though rather slowly, supposedly due to stringent testing of the myriad of hardware and software combinations possible. Now, they are somewhat throwing caution to the wind in order to bring the feature to majority of their users and simply making the feature available with barely little testing.

The good news is that now, anyone with a more recent Android version, which BBC claims to comprise around 96 percent of the app’s users, will now be able to enjoy video downloads on their devices. The bad news is that BBC is practically offloading QA testing to its users. As such, BBC isn’t giving any guarantees that video downloading will be a painless experience outside those it had previously officially supported. With more than 5,000 possible combinations of phones, tablets, and Android version, it would just be statistically impossible for them to guarantee each one.

That said, BBC isn’t exactly abandoning its users to frolic or flail, whichever the case may be. They do have a mechanism available that will disable video downloads for specific Android device models and versions that are reported to be critically misbehaving. However, for some such devices that are only slightly having problems, BBC will just list them but not disable video downloads for them wholesale. It believes that any download is better than no downloads at all, and some users might even agree.

SOURCE: BBC

PhotoSync transfers pictures and videos over WiFi

Posted by wicked April - 7 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Backup tools, even those limited to photos and videos, abound in Android, and each have their own unique features and selling points. One such app is PhotoSync which not only does away with the need for cables but even skips rather roundabout cloud-based techniques.

Transferring files via cables is almost always the fastest route, but it’s also the most cumbersome. With the prevalence of cloud storage, many have turned to the cloud to provide wireless convenience for storing and backing up their media, at the expense of losing a bit of control and security. PhotoSync tries to combine both worlds by providing wireless transfer but retains security by keeping everything within your own local network.

PhotoSync can transfer photos and videos not only between a mobile device and PC or Mac but even between other mobile devices. Files are transferred in their full sizes with their metadata intact. Users can opt to simply backup their files or actually move them from one device to another. The app is also smart in keeping track of which files have already been transferred before so you are able to optimize time and bandwidth for new photos. And all of this happens over WiFi, whether using a local network or via an ad-hoc mobile hotspot. This ensures that your files do not leak out over the Internet, keeping them safe and secure.

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The PhotoSync app is available for free on Android for devices running Android 4.0.3 or higher as well as on other supported platforms. For communicating with computers, users also need the Windows app for PCs running at least Windows XP SP 2 or the Mac app for OS X 10.5 and later.

Download: PhotoSync (Google Play Store), (PC/Mac)

Samsung goes for touching story to market Gear 2 and Gear Fit

Posted by wicked April - 6 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off

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Despite a bumpy start in the wearables market with the original Samsung Galaxy Gear, the company still has lots of resources to try for a better round with their new Gear 2 and Gear Fit. Although we have learned this past week that Samsung was effective in annoying Apple with their “Next Big Thing” ads, for wearable tech there is little competition to deal and certainly no one as big a target as Apple was in the smartphone market. That means Samsung has to be creative in choosing the marketing path to take with their new devices. Their latest ad for their Gear devices suggests they are shooting for an emotional connection.

The latest ad, title Another Me, highlights the story of two sisters, Samantha Futeman and Anais Bordier, who were separated at birth. Upon finding each other, they discovered how similar they were to each other despite different upbringings. The point is that they were in sync. Samsung apparently hopes potential buyers will see the Gear devices as a way to stay in sync.

Check out the new video below and let us know what you think about Samsung’s Another Me message in the comments.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: Samsung goes for touching story to market Gear 2 and Gear Fit

MediaMonkey media manager and player arrives on Android

Posted by wicked April - 4 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

There is no dearth of media players on Android, so each one tries to carve out its a name for itself by focusing on some niche or unique feature. While MediaMonkey does indeed play music and video like any other, it is perhaps better known for helping you manage those files instead.

Dubbed by its creators as a media player for serious collectors, MediaMonkey is more of a media organizer than your run of the mill player. While it cannot boast of a large library of media files, since it is limited by the collection you already do have, it tries to make it up for it with features that make it easier to categorize and search for your files.

MediaMonkey actually already had a presence on Android since 2012 with a beta version of the app. Now, however, it is going full blast. Among its advertised set of features for media organization is the ability to easily navigate according to various categories like artist, album, composer, genre, etc. Of course, you have the ability to set these attributes yourself. As a player, it features replay gain, an equalizer and even a sleep timer. Perhaps most useful is the ability to sync the database between Android devices and Windows running the MediaMonkey software. And you don’t just sync files and file info. You are also able to share playlists, lyrics, ratings, and even play history across devices.

MediaMonkey for Android may sound like a music collector’s dream come true, but it does come with a price, literally. The app does come for free, but some features that make MediaMonkey a great organization tool is offered on a trial basis. This consists of WiFi syncing, UPnP/DLNA access, and navigating by folders, which can be purchased in app for $1.99 each. Be warned, though. Based on immediate reviews and feedback, the in-app purchase seems to be experiencing difficulties, so it might be best to hold off on that. One can also just buy the MediaMonkey Pro version which unlocks all those features in one go for $3.59.

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Download: MediaMonkey (Free), (Pro)
SOURCE: MediaMonkey

Google takes us behind the scenes to peek at Project Ara development

Posted by wicked April - 4 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

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As Google prepares for a developers conference later this month for their modular smartphone project, known as Project Ara, they took some time to share a peek behind the scenes of some of the ongoing work. The video that was released focuses on a few areas of development, like the electro-permanent magnet system that has been designed to hold the modules in place. They also showed a little bit about how they will be utilizing 3D printing to produce parts with different colors and textures.

If you listen closely, they mention one of the challenges is figuring out how to mass produce these pieces hinting at their belief Project Ara is going to eventually hit the consumer market. Check out the full video below.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: Google takes us behind the scenes to peek at Project Ara development

HTC One (M8) videos teach you how to best use your new smartphone

Posted by wicked March - 26 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

With a new smartphone boasting of dozens of new features, users might naturally feel a bit lost when facing the HTC One (M8) for the first time. Luckily for them, HTC has provided a series of videos that will help ease new owners into their shiny new device.

One of the highlights of the latest HTC One is the camera, so it is no surprise that a good number of the videos tackle camera-related functionality, both during and after taking the shot. One example would be the Duo Effects video below. These camera effects take advantage of the Duo Camera setup, explained here in more detail, like Foregrounder focus and Dimension Plus for a 3D effect. There is even a rather whimsical Seasons effect for faking the weather.

HTC’s BlinkFeed is something even non-HTC users should probably get familiar with since it will be coming to more Android devices soon. Similar to most news reader apps, BlinkFeed allows you to search for and add channels from a pool of curated sources. You can also add social networking feeds. In the HTC One (M8), BlinkFeed has been updated to be easier to use, as demonstrated in this video.

Despite all those features, getting access to your apps and important functionality doesn’t have to be a chore, thanks to the number of gestures, all accessible without even having to unlock the screen. It is not exactly LG’s Knock Code, but some users might prefer the ability to jump directly to functions or apps without having to fiddle with menus. Right from the lock screen, swiping to the right will open BlinkFeed while going the opposite direction takes you to the regular homescreen. Swiping up simply unlocks the screen but swiping down initiates a voice-activated voice call. If you just want to see the time, simply double tap on the screen to take a peek.

The new HTC One (M8) is loaded with features, which we’re sure to hear about in the coming days. So keep an eye on our HTC One timeline to keep abreast of news and reviews about the device that will be coming your way.

HTC One (M8) video ads won’t tell you anything about the HTC One (M8)

Posted by wicked March - 26 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

There are bad video ads and there are weird video ads, and there are some that are strange enough to be effectively thought-provoking. Like this pair of videos advertising, if you can call it that, the new HTC One (M8) which practically tells you nothing about the device at all.

HTC has just announced the 2014 iteration of its One flagship and naturally people will be curious about what it has to offer. If, however, you were expecting to see some fancy or entertaining exposition of the smartphone’s features straight from the horse’s mouth, you best look elsewhere, because HTC won’t be telling you.

Instead of singing its praises itself, HTC would rather have you form your own opinion instead. Ironically, it suggest doing so by asking the Internet, which technically wouldn’t be your own opinion either. Perhaps even more amusing is that it spends over a minute to get this message across, including a 10-second creepy stare.

HTC drives this point again in another video by saying that it doesn’t matter how the HTC markets its new device. It is, after all, supposedly designed for people who form their own opinions. It might also be an ingenious tactic to save up on marketing budgets and let the Internet do HTC’s work for them.

So go ahead and ask the Internet. You can even ask us by reading our first brush with the device as well as other links you’ll find below. Be sure to keep tabs on our HTC One tag portal as well for news on HTC latest flagship as well as our in-depth review coming soon.

New HTC One commercials released, feature Gary Oldman

Posted by wicked March - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

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In HTC’s first commercials for the new One (M8), Gary Oldman essentially tells the world to listen to the “TalkAndroids of the world” (the Internet) and pushes customers to form their own opinions on what phone to get, rather than listen to the marketing “blabber” usually pushed out regarding new devices.

To view the newest commercials, hit the break below.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: New HTC One commercials released, feature Gary Oldman

New HTC One M8 faces off with older HTC One M7

Posted by wicked March - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

We’re literally just counting down the hours before HTC announces its next big smartphone, but this latest video practically does everything for them. In yet another unofficial tour of the All New HTC One, the upcoming flagship is pitted against the still current flagship in order to show what makes the New HTC One special.

The HTC One M8, which is believed to be the model for this oddly named smartphone, is both a subtle and yet at the same time a considerable upgrade to the older HTC One. Externally, you are greeted by almost the same, albeit rounder, aluminum body design, and a larger 5-inch 1080p screen compared to the older one’s 4.7-inch 1080p display. As they say, it’s what’s inside that matters, and that is especially true with the New HTC One.

The whole smartphone is run by a substantially more powerful Snapdragon 801, compared to the HTC One’s Snapdragon 600. There is still a bit of disagreement whether the New HTC One will have 3 GB of RAM or still the same 2 GB configuration. Nonetheless, the expandable storage will definitely be a big sell for the younger version. Software changes are nothing to pan either. Although at the end of the day both are running the latest Android 4.4, the New HTC One will be boasting a more up-to-date Sense 6.0 interface and all that it brings to the table, including on-screen navigation buttons. But perhaps the biggest, if not the most obvious, upgrade will be found behind the device, with the dual camera, dual LED flash setup. The main rear camera is speculated to still be a 4 megapixel UltraPixel shooter while the secondary one remains unknown. You can watch the almost 10-minute video below.

It is almost unfortunate for HTC that almost all aspects of its newest and shiniest smartphone is all but known, provided all these leaks and teaser do pan out. It is also perhaps what makes HTC press event tomorrow somewhat interesting, if only to see if there will be any surprises left for the crowd.

VIA: The Droid Guy

Latest Amazon set top box rumor puts release in April

Posted by wicked March - 19 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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This past January rumors surfaced, as they tend to do on a fairly regular cycle, indicating Amazon was finally ready to launch a streaming media device during 2014. Things got quiet until recently when we’ve witnessed a significant uptick in rumors about the device. This includes indications that a variety of services would be available, not just Amazon’s Prime Instant video, and the potential for games to stream aided by a console-esque controller. Sources speaking to the WSJ are saying the device could be released as soon as April.

According to these sources, Amazon plans to not only sell the new device through its own web site, but through retailers like Best Buy and Staples as well. These same sources appear to confirm the news that other services like Netflix and Hulu Plus will be available. Reports also indicate Amazon’s “box” may actually be a dongle similar to the Chromecast.

The WSJ report does not shed any light on the full game streaming service that Amazon may be planning and how that may be related to the set top box. There is still no news on what the cost of the device may be, although it appears Amazon Prime members may get some consideration. That will be welcome relief after Amazon triggered some angst amongst its customer base when it announced an increase in the annual cost of Prime from $79 to $99 per year.

source: Wall Street Journal

Come comment on this article: Latest Amazon set top box rumor puts release in April

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