Google – Android Wear

After months of rumors, Google is officially entering the wearables market. On March 18th, 2014, the company unveiled a specialized version of Android — Android Wear — designed to power smartwatches and other wearable products. On the same day of its major announcement, Google also revealed that it’s already signed on a number of hardware partners including LG and Motorola to help realize its vision.

Android Wear promises to deliver notifications, reminders, and navigation directions. Google says it also puts a huge focus on fitness tracking. The first smartwatches running the platform are set to arrive this year. Google has already released a preview of Android Wear to ensure that smartphone apps are optimized with support for the operating system by the time it reaches consumer devices.

Link: TheVerge

The Simple Known Facts:

  • Automatic Passive Reminders – Sort of like Google Now – Requests are started by saying “Ok Google”
  • Connects Automatically
  • Touch & Voice Reply
  • Circular (Motorola 360) & Square (LG) – They are working with a few other manufacturers
  • The new Android Wear is promised to be released around summer so I have high expectations to get my hands on it by then
  • Screen Resolution is Unknown, but from the video it looks impressive
  • Battery Life hasn’t been disclosed yet

Now seeing this I got excited, Google is throwing their full force into this and here I thought Apple would be releasing a wearable product first, but it seems Google stayed quiet just a few months before release. I’m hoping its going to be much more reasonably priced then the $1500 Google Glass, and I still haven’t tried it out. The best part is that Google is working with multiple manufacturers to bring these to people as soon as possible and to give you options. The Sony Smartwatch 2 was a pretty good watch to give you information but not seemlessly and not all features worked with every phone, and honestly the Samsung Galaxy Gear was a good effort but really fell short in my opinion, it even failed to connect with a lot of the S4s the samsung application store left a lot to be desired, and I think they realized people don’t care about a crappy camera on a watch. I for one tried both of them out and really wanted to like them but they couldn’t replace my watch, it was fun to get the information but it didn’t have everything I wanted and needed. I’m hoping that Android Wear learned from other manufacturer’s mistakes and made something that can work seamlessly and provide all the information that you would want with a decent battery, and one important thing, I really hope it’s water proof.

Loved the music that went with this video, gets you excited to use it.

Surly Moonlander & Pugsley

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The first time I saw this bike was a few years ago in Aspen Colorado, it has ridiculously fat tires and looks like you are floating in the snow. I honestly thought my eyes were deceiving me so I was walking where the bike was treading and ended up sinking into the snow. Turns out the fat tires of the bike is what keeps it afloat and if you read up on them on the website they are made to go where no typical bike would go. After that I looked into this bike, they have normal bikes and they are a specialty manufacturer of fat bikes, specifically the Moonlander & Pugsley, which I think are very cool looking. When I saw the Pugsley up close again I honestly loved it, I thought it was a cool looking bike and a machine I would like to ride around, it just looks light, and the Moonlander has even bigger tires, its like riding a monster bike.

The pricing on these bikes range from $1400 to $1800 depending on which one you chose and the annoying part is that it isn’t sold online. There is only one way to buy it, at a store which is a Surly dealer and in this case you can only find that in Dubai, and it is just a very annoying process to go through in this case. Still I want to try a bike out to see if I want to purchase it because it is one very expensive Bicycle. And I have been in some specialty bicycle store before, they do get very expensive.

Link: Surly Bikes

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SOOT Electropak – The Modular Back Pack

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Modular pack system, consisting of a mini-messenger and a backpack that zip together to form a larger pack. Both were designed to hold battery systems for charging your devices.

For all of you who have a fondness for minimalism and functionality, you’re going to want a all-in-one sort of deal that isn’t too cumbersome. The SOOT Electropack will fill your every need as a bag of holding, and can transform with a simple pull of a zipper.

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I like that you can customize it to a degree and seperate it based on usage, then there was the integartion of batteries into the bag which is very smart. I always carry with me an external battery charger for my phone or iPad when needed and these are some powerful batteries built into it.

The commuter bag is 24 liters which has an excellent arrangment of compartments, and the messenger bag is 10 liters with a breakdown that can be used for cameras and other gear. I have two or three back packs that I use consistently when traveling and this one seems to be a great one when going outdoors to carry all your gadgets when traveling.

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The design actually consists of 3 modular bag of different size that can be combined in a variety of ways to suit the user’s needs. Each contains a 10,000mAh battery- as thin as possible without sacrificing power. Charge up to four devices at once — from smart phones to tablets, and wireless speakers to smart watches.

Link: Kickstarter

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iPad Air in Kuwait

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The iPad air has made it’s way to Kuwait and it is flying off the shelves. Now the iPad Mini 2 is up for sale on Apple as of a few days ago but hasn’t made it to Kuwait yet. As usual there are few stores that have it in stock and Blink is on top of it.

Blink.com.kw – iPad Air

  • 16 GB Wifi – 165 KWD
  • 32 GB Wifi – 219 KWD
  • 64 GB Wifi – 259 KWD
  • 128 GB Wifi – 295 KWD
  • 16 GB 4G – 219 KWD

Pricing in Kuwait ranges from 15% to 30% more then the Apple Store prices but that isn’t too bad considering that 10-15 KWD would be attributed to shipping, and we would still be cheaper then buying it in the UK. I for one am going to wait for the iPad Mini 2 because it has all the specifications and features that I want.

HitCase Pro

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The battle between Apple and Android continues but there is one place where I have to agree that Apple wins out clearly, and that is the accessories market. I don’t like the iPhone but I can’t respect it, with accessories like the HitCase Pro you can literally take this phone and turn it into your personal action camera. I love this case yet there is nothing remotely similar for the HTC One or Samsung S4.

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Features:

  • Amazing Wide Angle Lens
  • Waterproof Up To 10 Meters
  • Can Handle Motorcycle Vibrations No Problem
  • Ruggedized
  • A Good Amount of Tripods

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The perfect accessory for the action Junkie, you don’t need to carry your Go Pro with you everywhere, you can just turn your phone into the action camera and thats what makes this case so amazing.

In Kuwait you can pick it up from iTradeQ8 they sell it through different outlets in Kuwait for 39 KD. If only it was available for Samsung or HTC.

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Garmin VIRB – What Say You Go Pro?

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Garmin is taking a bite out of Go Pro with the launch of their new rugged action camera, this is a new line for them, but Garmin does know adventure. Go Pro has been a huge hit with a lot of people and I for one love it, the only thing I wish for is more battery life, and it comes with a lot of accessories. Now Garmin has made this camera based on their input, and from the preview looks like and the specifications it looks good.

The VIRB captures 1080p wide-angle video, featuring digital image stabilization, and the ability to take 16-megapixel still images without interrupting video recording. Even with the always-on 1.4-inch color display, the VIRB allegedly lasts up to 3 hours recording 1080p video, compared to the GoPro, which only claims 2 hours and 15 minutes with 720p resolution.

It also presents information in the video as elevation, speed, and gps location which they consider to be a key factor. The device itself is IPX-7 Waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged for up to 30 mins at 3 feet deep. And the way the picture of the device looks, it seems it can take a beating. There two versions, the VIRB & VIRB Elite which will be launched in September at $299 & $399 respectively. There are a lot of features to this device which can be found at the Garmin website, so they can prepared, lets see how it fares against the Go Pro because honestly nobody has really dented their market share since they really good at it.

Link: TheVerge

Rhino Rig – DSLR & Cinema Cameras

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I’m not that good with shooting, but I do practice, and I try to practice when I can and having a steady hand is key. Getting a Rig is a complex process, there are a lot some go for a few hundred and some go for thousands, and they all serve a different purpose but you have to know what that is. In my case I know very little and its confusing to pick the right one, then I saw the Kickstarter message from Rhino Rig, I got the sliders from them and they were fantastic so I know these guys like to make amazing products which are still very easy to use and practical but still have lots of options.

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The Rhino Rig fit exactly what I was looking for and I can get better with more practice. You don’t get better just buying equipment, you have to keep practicing and in my case thats a lot of practice, but this Rig will help me get the shots that I want from DSLR while shooting video. Especially now that Canon is coming out with some amazing AutoFocus DSLRs like the 70D, and the upcoming 7D Mark II, so it will be worth it to practice. I went for the Full kit for $875 with all the options of the Rhino Rig, and for some kits with the same options tend to be a lot more expensive. I’m looking forward to trying it out, the release date is set for Jan 2014, check out the video below to see how it can be used and how it fits.

Link: Kickstarter

Dual Sim Phones – 2013

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HTC Desire 600 – Dual Sim

  • Display: 4.5-inch Super LCD2 display at qHD resolution (960 x 540 pixels)
  • Camera: 8 MP camera with auto focus, LED flash with 720p Recording
  • SoC: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 200, quad-core, 1.2GHz
  • Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage + microSD (up to 64GB)
  • OS: Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Sense 5, upgradeable to Android 4.2.2
  • Battery: 1,860mAh battery (non-removable)

Price: TBD

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HTC One – Dual Sim Specs

  • Display: 4.7-inches, Super LCD3, 1080×1920 pixels (469 ppi pixel density)
  • Camera: 4-megapixel Ultrapixel camera, 1080p video recording, HDR video
  • SoC: 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 and Adreno 320
  • Memory: 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage + microSD (up to 64GB)
  • OS: Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Sense 5, upgradeable to Android 4.2.2
  • Battery: 2,300mAh battery (non-removable)

Price: $790 (Only Available in China)

SGMi9150

Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 I9150 Specs

  • Display: 5.8-inches, 540×960 pixels (190 ppi pixel density)
  • Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording
  • SoC: 1.4GHz dual-core CPU
  • Memory: 1.5GB RAM, 8GB internal storage + microSD (up to 64GB)
  • OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Battery: 2,600mAh battery (non-removable)

Price: $380 (Only Available in India)

At this point I think I see about 80% of people carrying two phones at one point or another. I have been carrying two phones for a few years now, and every time I look at Dual Sim phones they are usually very crappy phones or not available. Recently I have been looking around and the only viable dual sim phones are the three above with the Desire 600 being the weakest one. The HTC One Dual sim is an impressive Dual sim since its the same as the normal one but with two Micro Sims, and they are all Micro Sims. Then there is the Samsung Galaxy Mega i9150 which its impressive specifications and one very large phone, almost 6 inches, bigger then the usual phone. Two phone are top tier phones while the Desire 600 is a mid level phone, its very hard to find high spec dual sim phones, but these two are very viable but the only problem is that the HTC One Dual is only available in China, the Desire 600 was available in the UK but can’t find it anymore and the Samsung Galaxy Mega is only available in India. One other note about Dual Sim phones is that they only come in 3G, there haven’t been any chip boards developed with dual 4G in mind, it might be another year before that happens but still out of the bunch these are the only ones. Searching through ebay and amazon you get to find out every once in a while but you won’t find a good dual sim easily.

Decahedron Fire Pit

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I love to BBQ but this is one of the oddest BBQs I have seen, or fire pit in this case. It is an amazingly constructed fire pit, an art piece really for the right place. I wouldn’t want to touch the metal while that pit is going, but the grill looks interesting, not fully optimized for grilling. It would be a bit tricky to cook on that, but it does look very cool.

Price: $750
Link: Uncrate

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HTC One – Mophie Juice Pack

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When dealing with a beautifully designed phone like the HTC One, you face one small problem, you can’t switch out the battery. I had the same issue with my Nexus 4 and I had to have a charger with me everywhere. In this case the HTC One is somewhat better, but only by a small margin and I was looking for a battery case for this phone to use when needed. There were a few options by the time I was looking, the Mophie and the i-Blason, but after taking a look at the design of the I went with the Mohpie.

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I take a lot of work calls on this phone, and a lot of conference calls since it has a great speaker phone. So after looking around for a battery solution Mophie released a juice pack for fairly quickly, usually they only come out this quick for the iPhone, and the last non-iPhone they made was for the Samsung SIII and that took a while. I’m surprised they haven’t made one for the Samsung S4, but lets see how long that takes.

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Pros:

  • Great build quality, a nice black matte rubber finish which is smooth when gripping it, it fits snugly around the HTC One and the buttons operate perfectly. As usual design wise Mophie got the perfect fit.
  • You can easily access the headphone jack without a problem, the phone charges when you connect your charger to the charging port. Voice, Sound, Flash, and Camera are not obstructed with this case, they operate perfectly.
  • The status lights are on the back of the case and so is the on/off switch for the battery case. Its clear and easy to use, you can switch it on accidentally but that hasn’t happened much to me.
  • The cover itself protects the phone all around and it doesn’t get scratched easily which I thought was impressive.
  • For $99 it is an impressive piece of hardware, I thought it would be more expensive, very good value.
  • With a 2500 mAh Capacity it can easily charge the phone more then once, and the best part is how fast it charges it.

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Cons:

  • Right off the bat it is bulky about twice as bulky, and it does feel heavier, but that is to be expected when your mounting a battery case to a phone. But the sleek feeling of the HTC One is gone for the sake of battery life.
  • Even though it is a high quality matte rubber, it does smudge a bit, but isn’t too bad
  • When your charging the phone with the case the phone gets noticeably hot, not to the extent it would explode but you can really feel it

Price: $99
Link: Mophie

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