Samsung gave Galaxy S III buyers a small rainbow of color choices in the summer, and there’s signs that the Galaxy Note II might receive a similarly resplendent treatment. A supposed press image obtained by AndroidSlash shows the giant smartphone draped in a previously unavailable black that’s potentially very striking — and more than a little reminiscent of 2001‘s species-changing monoliths. There’s no official word from Samsung on its authenticity, although we wouldn’t be surprised knowing the company’s history and the Note II’s strong track record. When a theoretically niche device is selling like gangbusters, some added diversity could be in order. Just don’t expect any Starchildren as a result.
Update: Alas, this is indeed a fake. The source has updated to confirm that this was just a quick darkening job with an image editor — you can tell by the darkened LED flash, camera and logo. But still, we wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung does release its phablet in other colors to keep milking it.
After launching budget feature phones earlier this year, Videocon has now forayed into the budget Android market with two new smartphones, the A20 and A30. The A20 is priced at Rs. 4,999 while the A30 costs Rs. 7,299.
The A20 runs on Android 2.3 and sports a 3.5-inch HVGA display and features a 3-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front-facing camera. It is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor underneath with 256MB RAM. It comes with a 1350mAh battery. The smartphone has 512MB of on-board storage with external expansion options upto 32GB via microSD card.
The A30 on the other hand comes with beefed up specs in comparison to the A20. The device runs on Android 4.0 and has a 4-inch WVGA display, a 5-megapixel auto-focus rear camera with LED flash and a VGA front-facing camera. Under the hood, it features a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 512MB RAM and comes with 4GB internal storage (expandable upto 32GB). It has a 1500mAh battery.
Connectivity options on these dual-SIM smartphones include 3G (HSDPA 7.2Mbps), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0. Both devices also come with various pre-installed apps including Facebook, History Eraser and more.
Current mobile offerings from Videocon in the feature phone segment include V1528, V1531+, V1542, V1544, V1548 and V1580 ranging from Rs. 1,799 to Rs. 2,999.
Videocon A20 Specifications
Videocon A30 Specifications
Android phones and iPhones pack pretty powerful processors — powerful enough, in fact, to deliver laptop-level performance, if only they had big screens and keyboards for your viewing and working pleasure.
It works like this: Your smartphone sits in a wired dock and drives the ClamBook’s screen and keyboard. It’s effectively your phone writ large, which could be great for everything from watching movies to playing games to working on documents.
ClamCase isn’t sharing a lot of details just yet, but here’s what we know so far:
Although ClamBook says the device is for iPhones and Android phones, there seems to be more focus on the latter at this point, as evidenced by the aforementioned Android keyboard keys and the nod to Motorola’s Webtop app, which simulates a desktop OS — when paired with Android.
So, will there be a slightly different model for iPhones? And will it simply provide a large, iPad-like view, or will there be a similar kind of desktop simulator?
These are key questions, to be sure, but I think the biggest one is price: how much will the ClamBook cost? I would love to see this come in at around $149, though I suspect it’ll probably sell for twice as much. At that point, most folks would probably just buy a tablet and pair it with an external keyboard.
That said, the ClamBook could be a game-changer, a way to unleash smartphones’ processing power in a slim, travel-friendly package. Hopefully we’ll know more before the product ships in “holiday 2012.”
What do you think? Is this something you’d buy? If so, what’s a fair price? Share your thoughts in the comments!
It’s not easy to compete with the iPhone and the wonder of iTunes gaming.
Ever since Apple first unveiled its touchscreen masterpiece back in 2007 (seems like eons longer, doesn’t it?), the world’s other smartphone manufacturers have been long chasing their tails.
Count HTC among the companies battling oh-so-hard to catch up. But after a shaky 2011, it reinvents itself with the new HTC One S. And this almost-invisible smartphone, a T-Mobile offering that debuted in early May, just may make you think about putting down your iPhone and giving Android another chance.
My experience with Android phones has long been this: They traditionally pack a lot of firepower, presenting intriguing hardware and ideas and applications. But often, the package is clunky and bugs abound, leading me back towards the overwhelming polish of the slightly underpowered iPhone.
No such issues here. Sure, the HTC One S makes some concessions, but it also oozes polish and class, delivering an Android experience like no other.
It all starts with the unbelievably tiny and light chassis. At 0.31 inches thick, the One S is actually only slightly skinnier than the iPhone 4S (0.37 inches), and it can’t touch Motorola’s Droid Razr (0.28 inches). But somehow, the One S manages to make both phones feel chunky by comparison. It simply FEELS thinner, sliding into your back jeans pocket so comfortably that you will sometimes even forget it’s there.
Soft edges, crafted from a delightfully smooth anodized aluminum, frame the entire device, gently tapering along the outskirts. It’s a decidedly sophisticated look — not like that bulky-feeling Razr — that you’ll be proud to tote around, and even the excessively large camera lens on the back (which has a well-wrought purpose) can’t detract.
The phone is built for Android’s newest iteration, Ice Cream Sandwich, so you get three capacitive buttons — Back, Home and Recent Apps — on the front. A power button and 3.5mm headphone jack sit on top. On the left side is a micro-USB port, and on the right is volume rocker. HTC also attractively displays LED lighting icons (charging and the like) in a unique way; they seem to be housed in the top of the casing beneath the speakers, completely unnoticeable when they are not in use.
A terrifically large 4.3-inch, 960×540-pixel Super-AMOLED screen adorns most of the front of the device, and it’s absolutely beautiful to use. I tested the colors with an episode of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” streamed over Netflix (the One S includes some solid proprietary movie software, but most people will, inevitably, gravitate back to Netflix), and the screen produced incredibly deep blacks, and vibrant colors overall. No, it’s not quite Retina, but the larger screen real estate actually compensates, making for a far more comfortable viewing experience.
Android may require a little effort to learn and set up, but you get a tangible return on that investment: A properly configured Android phone can get you the stuff you want faster and with less work than any other mobile operating system.
These tips will get you started exploring. Don’t stop! Once you’re comfortable with the basics, customizing your phone is actually kind of fun. Many of us fell in love with technology because the process of mastering it brought with it a sense of accomplishment. And once you get an Android phone tailored to your needs, you just might realize you don’t want something that’s all set up right out of the box—because nothing beats a custom fit.
• Most of you will be guided through the set-up process the first time you hit the power button. Don’t skip it. Especially not the part where you add your Google account. If you missed it in the setup, just go to Settings Accounts Sync. Then decide what stuff you want to sync. I sync everything with my personal Google account, and then for my work account I just sync Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, and Docs.
• Once you’re at the main screen, check out that little bar at the top; that’s your notification window. Drag it down and you can see all of your incoming notifications (text messages, emails, calendar appointments, etc). If your phone is running Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) or later, you can dismiss individual notifications by swiping them off with your finger.
• The app drawer is at the bottom of your screen. Tap it, and behold the icons for every app on your phone. That’s essentially what the iOS home screen is (just a bunch of apps). Android goes a different direction, borrowing the desktop metaphor from computers. So you have a desktop you can organize and customize, and you have an app drawer where you can see everything.
• Settings. There’s a gear-shaped icon in your app drawer, but there are shortcuts. In phones runnings Android 4.0 or higher you can find your settings in the notification window. Just drag it down and click Settings to open it up. If you’re using Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or lower, from the desktop, you just hit your menu button, and then select Settings.
• How the hell do you get to the menu within apps? Within most apps in Android 4.0 the menu button looks like three vertical dots. Why do three dots represent a menu? I have no idea, but it does. In Android 2.3 and below, use the physical menu button.
You see all of those icons and widgets that came pre-placed on your desktop? Get rid of them. They’re mostly carrier or manufacturer junk, and it’s better to start with a clean slate. To banish something you don’t want, long-press it, then drag it to Remove (that doesn’t uninstall the app, it just takes the shortcut off your desktop). If you see something that you love and you know you want to keep, drag it over to a screen off to the side for now.
So after you’ve set up your Google account, open up the Play Store (the Android Market) at least once and sign in (it’s in your app drawer, looks like a grocery bag with a dumb triangular icon on it). After that, you should be able to install everything through the Play tab on your computer’s web browser (it’s in that black bar at the top of Gmail, etc). This makes browsing through apps and installing them stupid easy. You just click Install and you’re done—the app will automatically install on your phone over the air. You can also just click these links on your phone, or browse through the Play Store on your phone, but it’s way easier this way.
One thing first. In the Play Store app on your phone, hit Menu (the three dots) Settings, and scroll down to “Auto-add widgets.” You want to UNcheck that, otherwise your pristine desktop is going to get mighty cluttered.
Okay, here are some apps to get you started. Clicking them will take you to their Play Store page where you can just click Install:
• Keyboards. In most cases you’re going to want to install a replacement keyboard. There are tons of options, and there’s probably a perfect one for you, depending on what you like. If you’re coming from iOS (or have iPhone envy) check out iTap (paid/free). Sliding keyboards (like Swype) are a super popular, where you drag your finger between letters. If you don’t have Swype pre-installed on your phone, try SlideIT. Personally, I really like SwiftKey X with its spookily good text prediction, but some whom I’ve recommended it to hate it. (No accounting for taste.) There are dozens of others you can play with.
• While there are some benefits to using the stock text messaging app, Handcent SMS is a replacement app for text messaging that is vastly more customizable. You can enable popups for messages and even assign different notification tones for different contacts. If you use it, make sure you make it your default messaging app and turn off notifications in the stock app, otherwise you’ll get double notifications. Alternatively, if you’ve made the switch to Google Voice, it can completely replace your text and voice message apps.
• Other stuff we like. Dropbox, Evernote, Kindle, Yelp, Google Reader, Spotify, Netflix, and so on. If you’ve heard of an app, it’s very likely in the Play Store. Just browse around, pay attention to ratings, and experiment. (Oh, not neccessarily neccessary, but check out Samurai II: Vengeance. That game is so damn fun.)
Yes, it’s a dumb name, but widgets are worth it: They put a live information and instant controls right on your homescreen. Want to see your upcoming appointments? Try CalWidget. Everyone should have an LED flashlight widget on their desktop (turn it on/off right from the home screen). For the current weather (in your city or another), check out The Weather Channel. Install the Power Control and Music widgets (that come preloaded in Android). Keep up on your social media with the Twitter or Foursquare widgets. Why do these things? Because you can control your music, turn on/off Wi-Fi, adjust your screen’s brightness, see your next appointment, turn on your LED flashlight, all without even having to open an app. You can do these things with a single touch, swipe, or just a glance to your desktop. It’s incredibly convenient. Many widgets are resizable and scrollable. Do not fear the widget.
Once you’ve installed a bunch of stuff, take like 10 mins and organize your homescreen. Think of it as your actual desk. If you just pile everything on there randomly, it’s going to be messy and it will only cause you frustration. But if you place things deliberately, so you know where everything lives, you can get to what you want without even thinking about it. You only have to do this once (and you can always tweak at will).
To move apps to the desktop, just open the app drawer, long-press the app, and then drag it to the home screen. Dragging one app onto another creates a folder (which you can then label, if you want). In stock Android 4.0, widgets are installed through the app drawer—just click on the widgets tab and drag the one you want to the desktop. In Android 2.3, and some skinned versions (like HTC Sense 4.0) add widgets by long-pressing on the homescreen.
Put the stuff you will use most often right up front on the center home screen. Things you’ll use often on the screens just to the right and left. On one of my screens there’s nothing but shortcuts to my “favorite” contacts (which I marked with a star) and my Power Control widget. On another, there are folders labeled “Social Apps,” “Games,” and a bunch of other semi-frequently used stuff. Your resulting home screen might look something like this one. Is it pristine and beautiful? No. Is it highly functional and easy to use? Yes. Take the time to make your homescreen yours. You’ll be happy you did.
Put some tunes on there. Either mount it to your computer via USB and drag some music over, or give Google Music a shot. Get the uploader on your desktop and upload a bunch of your music folders or your whole iTunes library. You get to store something like 20,000 songs free. Import some pictures and videos too, while you’re at it. If you’re using Android 3.0 or higher and you are a Mac user, download the Android File Transfer utility. That may make transfering files via USB a little easier.
• If you’re running Android 4.0 or above, set up Face Unlock. It’s kind of a gimmicky, but it’s fun and it saves time (usually). Settings Security Screen lock Face Unlock. Once you’ve set it up do the “Improve face matching” thing a few times at different angles (especially from a bit lower, because we usually look down on our phones) and in different light. It works pretty well.
• You probably don’t want your phone to ring every time you get a freaking email. To turn off the sounds for email, open Gmail and go to Settings (your email account) Ringtone vibrate. then set it to silent. You’ll have to do that on each of your accounts separately, which is annoying, but I guess some people have important email accounts and unimportant ones (you can also set it so certain labels will ring—handy when you have an email-happy boss).
• Not only can you use any MP3 you have saved on your phone as your default ringtone, but did you know you can assign specific ringtones to specific contacts? You’ll know your BFF is calling without even having to look at your phone. The easiest way to do it is with a free app called Ringtone Maker. It lets you set the in/out points of a song if you want, built in fades, and assign it to specific contacts if you want. Super easy.
• Voice commands. Siri isn’t the only game in town, in fact, as we’ve shown, in some ways Android’s voice actions are superior to their iOS sister’s. In Android 2.3 and below you can long-press the search button to activate voice actions, which was a very nice feature and is sadly absent in the newest versions. In Android 4.0 you’ll have to use the Google Search bar on your desktop. Just tap the mic and make your demands. Android is also very good at taking dictation. Whenever you’re entering text, look for the mic icon on your keyboard to use the built in speech-to-text features.
There are tons and tons of other tips and tricks. Do you have some favorites that you love to tell new Android users? Shout them out in the comments. We may even add it to our list if its good enough. In the meantime, have fun getting to know your new exobrain.
Article source: http://gizmodo.com/5909262/how-to-use-android
Cobra brings in-car radar detection into the 21st century—by pairing it with your smartphone. The Cobra iRadar system ($129.95 list) consists of a hardware radar detector and a companion Android or iOS app. This isn’t a bad idea—a smartphone offers a much nicer interface than a bunch of tiny LED lights and switches, plus the promise of Internet-connected services and over-the-air software updates. Overall, iRadar performs about as well as expected, although several design quirks mar its overall appeal.
Product Line, Design, and Setup
Cobra sells two separate versions of this product. The Android version, the iRAD-105, is the subject of this review. There’s also an iPhone and iPod touch version of the package, called the iRAD-100. The hardware looks exactly the same in both cases, and the software is available as a free download in Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The separate versions don’t pose a problem unless you later switch from an iPhone to an Android phone, or vice versa.
The Cobra iRadar system consists of two distinct features: The main, Bluetooth-enabled detector unit, with its included DC power cord, and a free downloadable app that you install on your smartphone. Let’s start with the unit itself, which looks like just about any other Cobra radar detector, albeit with less controls and LED lights than usual. The device is made entirely of black glossy plastic, with a single hardware volume knob on the left that doubles as a power switch, and a single status LED on the front front. On top, there’s an oversized, circular Mute button. Behind that is a vertically oriented speaker grille.
The built-in suction cups grab the windshield tightly. Instead of using a plastic lever to lock them in place the way GPS mounts usually work, you just push directly on the plastic center portion with a good amount of force. But to effectively use iRadar, you’ll also need a mount for your phone, which is true for any in-car Android app like iOnRoad Augmented Driving (Free, 3.5 stars), or even just when using the built-in Google Maps Navigation (Free). You’ll also want to find a way to run the cable to your car’s power accessory jack as neatly as possible.
For this review, I tested Cobra iRadar for Android on a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket ($149.99, 4.5 stars) running on ATT’s network. I sat behind the wheel of a 2013 Ford Taurus SHO, one of three that the automaker loaned us for PCMag’s Fastest Mobile Networks 2012 testing. Given the SHO’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, which outputs 365 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, having the iRadar along was certainly welcome.
To get started, I downloaded the Cobra iRadar app from Google Play and installed it. Next, I used the phone’s usual Bluetooth pairing mode to link up with the iRadar detector, which worked perfectly on the first try; it pairs, but doesn’t connect. At this point, I fired up the app, which found the paired iRadar device and linked it up within moments. Then I hit the road.
Testing, Band Detection, and Crowd-Sourcing
It turns out I picked some good days to review iRadar, because I encountered just about every radar short of actual laser—and several times. The oldest radar guns use X-band, and are often left on continuously; a lot of things also emit X-band and trigger false alarms. More advanced (and now common) guns use K-band, which is shot in bursts, and which detectors can pick up bouncing off of cars ahead. Finally, both the newer Ka-band and laser are the toughest to detect.
The app interface is fairly Spartan. It displays your current speed, your car battery’s current voltage level (just because it can, apparently), your current compass direction, and a toggle for city and highway modes. You can also view a Google-powered map showing your current location. Once alerts pop up, the screen changes to show information about the specific event, although many of these screens are also pretty barren. I appreciate the larger view, but the jury is out as to whether you need a smartphone to display this information. For example, while the app has a speedometer, it doesn’t display the current road speed limit the way a GPS navigation app would. And all cars already have a speedometer, so what’s the point?
In testing, the Cobra iRadar behaved more or less as expected. Range seemed okay with X-band, but much less with K-band and almost non-existent with Ka-band—which is typical for lower-priced radar detectors. For example, I saw one Ka alert, looked up, and saw a cop about 500 feet away on the opposite side. He was already making a U-turn onto my side of the highway. I still heard iRadar alerts as he passed by and pulled up about 200 feet ahead of me, but then I stopped hearing them, even though he was still following people a bit further ahead. I had virtually no warning here, and luckily I wasn’t speeding (much).
A big Report button on the main screen lets you “send in” crowd-sourced data for the benefit of other users. In addition, if there’s an alert, you can tap Real or False to send proper data back to the cloud. None of this ensures the crowd-sourced data will be actually useful, though. For example, the Photo Enforcement Zone and Speed Trap Zone alerts were a total annoyance, simply because they popped up constantly—several dozen times during one 60-mile stretch of I-95 alone. Not one of the alerts was accurate, as far as I could tell. User-reported Live Police alerts were also useless, since I never saw any police cars whenever these sounded. The Settings page lets you configure alerts for individual categories, so you can turn some of these off.
All told, I’m unconvinced of the effectiveness of crowd-sourcing, at least the way Cobra implemented it. This is reflected online, as you can see plenty of mixed reports in the user reviews section on Amazon and Google Play, essentially saying the system is filled with a ton of bad data.
Other Notes and Conclusions
Unfortunately, iRadar also lacks directional alerts, the way the market-leading (but non-smartphone-based) Valentine One ($399) works, and the way K-40 detectors worked 20 years ago. That means if there’s a source of radar ahead, iRadar only alerts you to its presence—but not which direction it’s coming from, or how far ahead it is. Cobra’s app does tell you the number of alerts, at least. This way, if there’s a usual false alarm in one spot that you’re aware of, but then suddenly one day there are two alerts in the same location, you know that a cop could be hiding there. The voice prompts are also useful, as they can clue you in to the type of warning without having to take your eyes off the road and see what the smartphone is displaying.
All told, the Valentine One is still the benchmark in this category, thanks to its class-leading range and reliable direction reporting, although it’s much more expensive and lacks a companion smartphone app. Still, the V1 is also software upgradable; a Valentine One purchased a decade ago can be upgraded to the latest software revision. The Escort Live! ($539.90) offers a similar setup to the Cobra iRadar, but it’s also much more expensive; I haven’t tested this system yet.
Based on my experiences, it’s a pretty involved process to use iRadar, because it’s constantly throwing alert after alert, which needlessly raises your blood pressure. Still, the tech geek side of me finds Cobra iRadar appealing. Some further refinements in the crowd-sourcing features, along with some genuine range improvements in the hardware, would sweeten the deal considerably.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404134,00.asp
Last month, Justin Bieber got this Fisker Karma as a $100,000-plus 18th-birthday gift on the Ellen Degeneres Show. Now he’s given the car a chrome wrap and a few other modifications that should have him watching out for more than just the fashion police.
Bieber’s chrome wrap certainly attracts enough attention in the daytime, but it was clearly lacking in the “look at me” department at night. That’s why Bieber tricked out his fresh whip with some sick underbody LED lights. Wicked!
While they do look awesome, these lights are illegal, as the State of California does not allow any lights ahead of the dashboard that aren’t white or amber.
Or maybe they did. And Bieber just wanted it that way.
Which would make Bieber not just a style icon with his Fast and the Furious: Dubai Drift chrome and LED combo Karma, but an outlaw, too. He might even get a “fix-it” citation, or even have to pay a ticket! He’s such a rebel.
Photo Credit: TMZ
The Laramie Limited is an alternative to the Longhorn. Photo by Ram.
The Laramie Limited is offered in six colors. Photo by Ram.
The interior features contrasting piping. Photo by Ram.
The Limited gets full leather seating. Photo by Ram.
The Laramie Limited gets less badging than the Longhorn. Photo by Ram.
In past years, if you wanted an upgrade from the Ram Laramie you had to take the Longhorn edition, cowboy hat and all. Now Ram is introducing a slightly toned-downed version called the Laramie Limited.
The Limited features full leather seating, piano-black interior trim and less obvious badges than its brethren.
The Laramie Limited has a body-color front fascia with fog lamps and a matching rear bumper. Heavy-duty models stick with chrome bumpers. The Limited’s chrome grille surrounds billet inserts. There are chrome accents on the mirrors, door handles and side steps.
Ram 1500 models get the 20-inch wheels from the Laramie Longhorn, while heavy-duty models get 17s. Wheel centers feature the Ram brand name.
The Limited is offered in six colors–black, silver, white, red, gray and true blue. Heavy-duty models are offered in the same hues, except for blue and red.
Inside, you won’t find any Texas stars or buckles on the rear seat pockets. What you will find is contrasting piping, a double-stacked center console and 100 percent leather seats.
The Laramie Limited has LED puddle lights on the outside door handles and a full-length light inside to illuminate the map pockets. The dash is trimmed in piano black with liquid graphite bezels and chrome vent rings. A Limited badge adorns the glovebox.
As for other features, the Laramie Limited gets navigation, a backup camera, remote start and adjustable pedals.
We’ll see the 2012 Ram Laramie Limited in Chicago next month, and it will hit showrooms in the second quarter of this year.
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Article source: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120126/CARNEWS/120129882
Americans, generally speaking, are great guys, and some of our best friends, etc, but about some things they don’t have a clue.
A case in point is the new Chrysler 300 Luxury Series sedan, with “ultra-premium leather, hand-sanded matte wood, world-class craftsmanship and refinement”.
OK, it has the new(ish), 215kW, 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine, the first paddle-shift eight-speed auto transmission on an American car and the option of all-wheel drive.
But when it comes to trim and finishes, oh dear…
We are told that it is “dressed with the highest grade Black or Mochachino Italian Poltrona Frau ‘Foligno’ leather and finished with specially selected and hand sanded Natural Pore Mocha wood trim featuring a matte finish to enhance the beauty of the real wood, found only in exotic cars – all to deliver a surprising combination of hyper craftsmanship, style and technology”.
“Black or two-tone Mochachino seats are wrapped exclusively in supple Nappa leather” and the leather-wrapped steering wheel “with all-new die-cast paddle shifters, features a unique chrome accent ring to highlight the segment-exclusive 360-degree heated rim.”
We couldn’t make this stuff up.
Here it must be said that those “supple Nappa leather” seats are 12-way power adjustable – including four lumbar adjustments – with two-mode heating and cooling, front and rear. The steering column and pedals are power-adjustable (with memory!), the cupholders can be heated or cooled, the 230mm touchscreen has built-in satellite radio and Garmin navigation, the instruments are all-LED as on the Jaguar XJ and there’s ambient lighting for the footwells and door handles.
It runs on 20” polished alloy rims (19” if you ask for all-wheel drive) with a chromed grille surround and mesh grille, chromed bumper trim, door handles and mirror housings. But the worst of it all is that all this ‘hyper craftsmanship’ sells in the US for $40 145 (R327 000).
How can the Europeans justify the premium prices they charge for their luxury cars.? It must be a matter of taste.