Thursday 13 june 4 13 /06 /Jun 03:36

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is here! Check out the official pictures, and see how it looks like a phone on one side and a camera on the other.

The S4 Zoom is a camera-focused spin-off of the smash hit Samsung Galaxy S4, starting with the Android smart phone and adding a whacking great optical zoom lens on the front.



A 10x optical zoom lens, no less. The zoom lens adds some bulk to the S4 Zoom, but it's still more phone-sized than Samsung's first Android snapper, the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

The S4 Zoom is a 16-megapixel snapper with optical image stabilisation and a xenon Flash, with a 4.3-inch screen and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software. It packs a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and connects to the Internet via 4G, HP pavilion dv3500 extended life battery which is handy when you're sending big files -- like photos, for example.

It seems Samsung has put a bit of thought into the Zoom, rather than just bolting on a giant lens. The lens ring adds a selection of controls for the camera, even if you're using it as a phone: for instance, if you're in the middle of a phone call and you see something you want to share, you can take a picture and send it to the person on the other end of the line with a twist of zoom ring.

The zoom ring also calls up shortcuts to different camera modes.

The S4 Zoom has 8GB of memory, of which Samsung says 5GB is available for your snaps and apps, movies and music. If that's not enough leg room, whack in a microSD card for up to 64GB storage.

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Saturday 11 may 6 11 /05 /May 05:39

Acer announced new mobile products running Google Android and Microsoft Windows 8. The company showed off the $169 Aspire A1, which runs Android and is meant for one-handed use. The new Aspire P3 is a convertible Windows 8 Ultrabook that works as a tablet or laptop due to a unique hinged dock with keyboard.

The new A1 is targeted to budget-conscious shoppers. Similar to the HP Slate 7 at the same price, the A1 cuts corners that keeps it from using premium components. Acer is keeping costs down with a 1.2 GHz quad-core chip from MediaTek and includes only 8 GB of internal storage capacity. Customers can expand storage through a micro SD card or spend $50 more for a 16 GB model. The 7.9-inch display uses the same 1024 x 768 resolution of Apple’s iPad mini; it also has the same 4:3 aspect ratio.


Even with a lower range of specs, the A1 has all the features you’d expect in almost any useful Android tablet: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, a 5MP rear-facing camera that can capture 1080p video at 30fps, a front-facing camera, micro USB 2.0 and microHDMI ports. Acer says the Acer aspire 4720 notebook battery is rated for seven hours of use, which is a little light for this category, but not awful either.


I’m more intrigued by the Aspire P3, partially because I liked the Acer Aspire W510 Windows 8 tablet. That was powered by an Intel Atom, but the new P3 has your choice of either an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor for improved performance. Of course, there’s a hit in battery life — I saw a good 12 hours from the Atom-based units; more with the keyboard dock — but Acer says six hours of run-time is possible. I expect that will rise a bit when the next-generation of Core chips, called Haswell, arrives in June.


The 3.06-pound Aspire P3 has an 11.6-inch IPS display with HD resolution. Instead of a traditional keyboard dock, the slate slides into a hinged case. That allows the screen to be propped up while also offering a standard chiclet keyboard. Unlike the dock of the W510, there’s no secondary battery in the P3 dock. Overall, the device looks like a large iPad in a keyboard case.

Acer says the price of the new P3 is $799.99 for the Core i3 model, which is available now.

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Sunday 5 may 7 05 /05 /May 15:46

You might be surprised to learn that there is still huge a percentage of smartphone users that have not heard of Whatsapp, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the best Android apps for messaging, if not the best. Maybe that will get your attention as to who this San Francisco startup is?Whatsapp success as best Android message app

It wasn’t long ago that Whatsapp came under the radar of Google, who had tried to purchase the app for $1 billion, but you’ll be pleased to learn that the offer was rejected. It’s always nice to hear startups like these become so popular, so there is hope for other developers out there.

Whatsapp Android success

What has made Whatsapp so popular is that it’s an app where you can not only send texts, but also images, videos, and even call via Wi-Fi, and it’s ideal for younger users because it’s fun to use.

However, it’s not all positive though, as like similar apps there have been a few issues with privacy and security, with some authorities alleged that the app violated international privacy laws because users have to upload their entire list of contacts. Well, this has not stopped me, as I cannot see how I did without Whatsapp for so long.


We do find it strange how you can take a startup and create a 40-strong workforce in San Francisco and have done so with not much hype. Maybe it’s a mix of keeping a low-profile, as well as taking advantage of the smartphone revolution why Whatsapp has exceeded 200 million users a day, with more than 20 billion messages being sent each and every day.

There are other apps like this on the market, such as Viber, which claims to be a free service, but like the old saying goes, “Nothing comes for free.”


If you ever wanted a text message alternative, then Whatsapp has to be it, and with rival apps on the Play Store, this is the only one that acts like an SMS replacement.

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Saturday 4 may 6 04 /05 /May 15:57

Bowing to market pressures and customer demand for access to the full breadth of Android apps, Barnes & Noble has made the bold move of adding the Google Play store to its two latest tablets, the Nook HD and Nook HD+. The free software update, which also includes the Chrome Web browser, doesn't turn the company's tablets into true "open" Android devices, but it does make them much more open than they were. It will be available today to download from and will be rolled out to devices in the coming days via an over-the-air Wi-Fi update.


Despite positive reviews for its tablets, in recent months Barnes & Noble has encountered fierce headwinds as Apple, Amazon, and Google released well-regarded tablets of their own in advance of the 2012 holiday selling season. From a hardware and price standpoint, not much separates the products, but Barnes & Noble's app offerings have lagged behind those of the competition, even as it worked hard to expand its app store. Such a drawback can give consumers a reason to pause before buying.


Real Racing 3 on the Nook HD+

I got an early preview of the software update on a Nook HD+ and what's a little bit surprising is that Barnes & Noble hasn't held anything back from the Google Play store -- it's as you would expect it to appear on any open Android device, complete with apps, music, Hp Pavilion dv6 Extended Laptop Battery, movies, games, and yes, even e-books.


Not often is it that you see a company place a direct competitor on its device after investing so much in its own store. But that's what Barnes & Noble has done, giving customers the option of buying apps, books, and movies from the Nook Store or the Google Play store a few swipes away.


Google video offerings will go head-to-head against the Nook Store's


If you're wondering whether you can add the Kindle app to the Nook, the answer is yes. Kobo, too. But more importantly, Nook owners can also grab the HBO Go app that has been missing from the Nook Store. Or any number of games and apps that also aren't there.


Barnes & Noble reps said that the Nook Store would continue to coexist side-by-side with the Google Play store and users will be able to import their bookmarks from the Nook's old browser to the new Chrome browser. With the Nook HD and HD+ you can also create separate profiles for different users, and parents will have the option of giving their kids access to the Google Play store -- or not.


To distinguish apps that you've bought in the Nook Store, a small "n" will appear as part of its icon in the navigational carousel at the top of the screen. Content bought in the Google Play store, such as movies, music, and e-books, will be accessible through Google's "players," not Barnes & Noble's.


Whether this best-of-both-worlds strategy will pay dividends isn't clear at this point, but it does seem apparent that Barnes & Noble's walled-garden approach wasn't working.


With the changes, the company is seeking more parity with Amazon, which has created a competitive advantage with its free video streaming and Kindle Lending Library e-book offerings for Prime members. Amazon has its own fairly expansive app store (Appstore for Android), though it doesn't offer the Google Play store on its Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9. Meanwhile, Google's Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 appeal to users who are looking for completely open Android tablets. The Nook HD and Nook HD+ offer an expansion slot of additional memory; the aforementioned competing products and Apple's iPads don't.


We'll be updating our reviews of the Nook HD and Nook HD+ in the coming days. In the meantime, let us know how much of a game changer the addition of Google Play will -- or won't -- be for Barnes & Noble's tablet line.

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Monday 29 april 1 29 /04 /Apr 05:04

LG plans to unveil a flexible OLED smartphone for Q4

A flexible OLED display inside protective covering


LG vice president of mobile, Yoon Bu-hyun, said that his company has plans to launch a smartphone with a flexible OLED screen in the fourth quarter. According to the Journal, he failed to say what other features it'll have and where it will be offered.


LG is among several mobile companies, including one of its chief competitors, Samsung, that is eyeing flexible OLED display technology.


The companies envision devices featuring fully flexible screens, allowing for more leniency in product design. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Samsung showed off a 5-inch demo unit with a flexible screen. Nokia has also shown off similar prototypes.


A year ago, LG trotted out a design for a flexible display for ebook readers.


Word of LG's plan for a flexible display for smartphones comes just after the company reported somewhat weak first-quarter earnings. The company's $135 million profit was down 74 percent compared to the previous quarter.

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