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.

Gazer Automated Stabilizer

The one thing about taking shots on the move is that the shots usually come out very shaky, and getting to be smooth is a difficult task. There are lots of great kits out there in the market but they all take practice and skill to get the right weights perfectly to shoot with these stabilizers, I always wondered if there was an automated stabilizer and thankfully someone else was thinking the same idea and brought it to Kickstarter.

There are different models for different uses, for those who want to shoot with a GoPro or Camera phone there is one, and those who want to use a point and shoot there is a different model and there is one for a DSLR and they look very simple to use. I already made a pledge for the SP1 & MD1 for my usual use as thats what I shoot with mostly. Check it out if this interests you as there are is only a few days left to back this project.

Link: Kickstarter

LG G Flex

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A ridiculously large phone that bends, I’m honestly impressed with the specifications of the phone. The other large phones out there are the HTC One XL & Samsung Note 3 with the Note 3 being much more successful then the One XL. The LG G Flex is the best specced flexible curved phone out in the market at this point with a lot of interesting features.

Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 6-inch flexible OLED screen at 720 x 1280
  • Rear mounted power and volume controls
  • Android 4.2.2
  • 32GB internal storage
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 802.11 b/g/n/ac dual-band Wifi
  • A-GPS and GLONASS support
  • 13MP rear camera, 2.1MP front-facing camera
  • 3500mAh battery
  • 160.5 x 81.6 x 8.7 mm; 177g

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I like that it has very good hardware specifications for a phone this size, and I like that its flexible. The only thing that is annoying about this phone is that it is Android 4.2.2 and not 4.4.1 which would be much better. LG has been very successful with the LG 2 and lots of great opinions about the phone so this one might be just as good even though the software is somewhat dated.

I really like that it’s curved and I want to try it out to see just how it feels. The interesting part is the self healing rear cover meant to withstand scratches in your pocket, not direct intentional scratches.

PicsFrom Gigaom

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Nexus 5 – D820 & D821 – Preordered & Shipped

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I honestly have no patience when it comes to the Nexus line, I do love the line from Google and usually its a clean slate, I just wish they had devices with the right kind of power to it and camera with in it. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is still an amazing device with a fantastic camera, honestly the best phone camera out there in my opinion, let’s see how this 8 MP camera with stabilization will be different.

Technical Specifications:

  • Screen 4.95” 1920×1080 display (445 ppi), Full HD IPS, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Camera 8MP rear facing with Optical Image Stabilization
  • Battery 2300 mAh & Wireless Charging
  • Builtin speaker, 3.5mm stereo audio connector
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.26GHz, GPU: Adreno 330, 450MHz
  • Dualband WiFi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC (Android Beam), Bluetooth 4.0
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • microUSB, SlimPort enabled, 3.5mm stereo audio jack, Dual microphones, Ceramic power and volume buttons
  • GPS, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Compass, Proximity/Ambient Light, Pressure

Networks (North America)

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
  • LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

Networks (Rest of World)

  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
  • LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20

The main issue of the phone is that there are two models that work on the LTE/4G networks the D820 & D821 and the one I am picking up is the US Version which will work fine for now just to test out KitKat which is Android 4.4. I am annoyed that they can’t fit all the frequencies onto one single chip but this has been the case with most technologies initially and the same case with 3G connectivity. As for the screen it is a 1080p 5 inch cornered Gorilla Glass which is going to be interesting to see. The D820 works in the US across all their networks, and the D821 is for the rest of the world, and it will probably be on sale in the UK soon enough. The device seems interesting at $400, and compared to other phones its on the cheaper side, I’m looking forward to tinkering with this device.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD or X

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I was in love with all things Android, the freedom and flexibility with all the functionality. The Amazon product line was always trying to get you to work within the framework of the Amazon, the content all collected nicely and delivering TV Shows & Movies through Amazon Prime, but you have to be within the US for that to work.

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What got annoying about the Amazon Kindle over time was that it was so stiff, the iPad is restricted within the iPad Framework but there is so much that you can do with an iPad it never really bother’s you, there is so much to choose from.

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But only certain Apps from Android is allowed to install on your Kindle Fire/HD/HDX when the Android platform has a lot more Apps. It is honestly frustrating that I can’t get to all the Apps, and not all the ones I use are formatted for the Kindle. The Kindle has a great feature of integrating your Amazon details into your payments and subscriptions making it easy to use but I was still frustrating with the stiffness of it. The Kindle PaperWhite seems more useful since it is dedicated for those who want to read, to get that feeling that it isn’t a screen yet it is bright.

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At first the Kindle Hardware was disappointing, but when the HD came out it was great and the HDX is eve better, even the PaperWhite is great for it’s purpose. But at the end it became a paper weight in my office with no other real use since I have an iPad which I use for all sorts of things and my Samsung Nexus 10 does have the flexibility of an Android device that I love.

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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.

Google Keyboard in Google Play

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Previously the only real Keyboard you could buy was Swift 3 and that’s what I did since I didn’t like the Samsung Galaxy S4 standard Keyboard. But as of June 5th the Standard Google Keyboard which was only available previously on the Nexus devices is now available as download for devices with Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 and above.

There are different levels of predictive text as well as the swype option, it’s a keyboard with options and a clean feel. If you don’t have a Nexus phone try it out, you will like, its a different and clean feel for Google Keyboard. What I like is that they recently made it into its own App just like GMail, Maps, & G+.

Link: Google Play

HTC One VS. Samsung Galaxy S4 – Battle Of The Titans

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With the release of the Samsung S4 & HTC One, everyone was running to get their hands on it, true 4G Android Devices which honestly make the iPhone 5 look like crap and its going to have to do a lot more then just another hardware design to beat these two machines. HTC have been having a hard time getting things right with Android after Samsung took the lead as the best, but I honestly think they have a great device on their hands with the HTC One. The Samsung Galaxy S4 was a smart move by Samsung, the S3 was so successful that they just improved on it slightly in regards to the design and packed it with the best possible hardware they could put together.

There were a lot of comparison and technical reviews, but I wanted a real use review of both machines to see which fit better and for what use. I wanted to really try both phones and after almost a month of having them both I can honestly say there isn’t just one conclusion, it just depends what you want because they are both really good.

Wifi

It’s very important for a device to have a strong wifi signal capability, it has to capture it and use it. And out of all the Android brands out there, I can say that Samsung has that down, they pretty much have everyone beat. And sadly the worst out of the bunch is HTC, I had the problem with the HTC One X and with the HTC One it’s signal always weaker then the S4 and sometimes it can’t see the Access Points.

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Screen

The Samsung S4 screen is huge, both screens are crisp and excellent touch interface. Honestly they are both excellent. If you want the bigger screen then the Samsung S4 is the way to go, but its a matter of preference. Both of them have amazing brightness and you can easily see them during day time.

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Design

Honestly hands down the HTC One wins in this department, if Apple wants to copy anyone for their next phone then it would be the HTC One. The Samsung S4 is 80% the same as the S3 just bigger screen and an aluminum frame which I liked. The one benefit to the Samsung S4 is that it feels lighter then the HTC One, but still it looks better then the S4. One aspect that I like about the S4 is the ability to add the a MicroSD Card, that is a huge win for the S4 in my case. You don’t need that much space on your phones these days but having the ability to is a huge plus.

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Above is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Shot & Below is the HTC One Shot

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Camera

HTC has the Ultrapixel which is sort like a supercharged 4MP which performs better then most camera phones with higher Megapixels. The HTC has the machine gun shot which shoots multiple shots and you can choose the best or keep them all which is a great feature. The Galaxy S4 has an amazingly crisp camera, they improved on their best selling Galaxy S3. And they included all the features of the Galaxy Camera with all the different settings and mode. The HTC One has the low light shots done perfectly, this is one thing that HTC has had down. Between the two I preferred the S4 camera, but it’s just barely better. And hands down both better then Apple iPhone 5.

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Above is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Shot & Below is the HTC One Shot

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Battery

This takes a bit longer to figure out but both Android devices lasted a full day of abuse. Nonstop wifi use, making phone calls and sending messages, they could both take it. And I know over time I will get the Mophie battery case for the either phone, and its a matter of time the case comes out for the S4 since its selling like crazy as expected.

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Interface & Feel

To be very honest you can go with either of them, this really comes down to preferences. I prefer the HTC One Sense Skin feel over the Samsung Touch Skin, since its less intrusive in this case. I always prefer getting phones from Google because its a clean installation and I can do as I please, but in this case I had to choose, and the HTC One was cleaner and crispier. I just get annoyed with Samsung trying to make things more watery with the TouchWiz Skin. Now for the Sound hands down the HTC One has amazing sound, by far much better then the S4 and it can easily blast music in a room, you wouldn’t think its a phone speaker.

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What I don’t like about the Samsung S4

I really hate the keyboard, had to get the Swift Keyboard so my fingers don’t feel like they are stretching across the screen. It really made me feel like I was learning how to type for the first time. The speaker is loud but not crisp, I wish they put it up front. The air gestures aren’t really that useful, I only like the finger hover when in the gallery for a preview but the rest makes you look crazy when your staring at the screen trying to make things move, if you have an S4 you know exactly what I’m talking about.

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What I don’t like about the HTC One

I hate the Blink Feed, wish there was a way to get rid of it since its taking a piece of the screen that I could use and you only have a limit of 4 screens. The Weak wifi signal is a breaker for me, I have to have good wifi on my phone.

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Which One

Choosing between them is tough but I had two deciding factors which were the Wifi Signal and Camera, which in this case the S4 was the better choice even though I really like the HTC One design. I picked up the Samsung S4 LTE from Al Babtain and got the HTC One from a friend. Honestly Babtain did a great job of making the phone available all over Kuwait and quickly, the HTC One was like hunting an endangered species.

Switching To Feedly From Google Reader

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The signs are always there with Google, whenever the links to a product slowly start dropping from the main page you know that they aren’t a fan of it or giving it that much importance. Google Wave went because it didn’t work as a product, Google Buzz ruffled too many feathers even though I liked it, and then Google Reader was suddenly coming to an end. July 1st is the cut off date for Google Reader, I know these days a lot of people aren’t reading blogs as much but we still visit a lot of websites and my online dependency was on Google Reader to keep things organized. The announcement honestly shocked me so looking for an alternative was a scary idea, I got so comfortable with Google Reader I didn’t know if I would find an alternative. After doing a little research I went with Feedly and I’m very happy I did.

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I tried Feedly a few years back and Google Reader at the time was more comprehensive and useful as an RSS Reader, but within those years they stopped the development of Google Reader, and Feedly is miles ahead. The integration is seamless, a very smooth and clean interface and I honestly like looking at it. It works on both Android & iOS, and its web based which is very simple, and moving onto there is extremely simple, just sign in.

What I Love About:

  • Its Fast, really loads fast
  • Multiple Layout Options, so you can see it anyway you want
  • You can mark things read in different ways which works great
  • Integrated with Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest, and most major social networking sites
  • Works on desktop, iOS, & Android

Link: Feedly

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HTC One – Mophie Juice Pack

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This is a surprise to me, turns out the Mophie made a Juice Pack for the HTC One, they never made it for any other device other then the iPhone and the Samsung SIII, and its not that there is huge volume of the HTC One out there, so I wonder what made them change their mind and produce it. I for one am happy that they are producing the juicepack for other manufacturers, and they are bound to make one for the Galaxy S4. For $99 its reasonably priced, and you know you love it the moment your phone is on the verge of dying, 2500 mAh is enough to bring it back to full charge without any use.

Link: AndroidCentral

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