Posts with tag android
The year of the budget Windows tablet
Microsoft hasn’t had the best of luck with tablets running Windows 8.1 just yet, but that isn’t stopping some manufacturers from trying. Budget manufacturer eFun has come to CES with not one, not two, but three low-spec tablets running Windows 8.1, all of which will run you under $300, thanks in part to Microsoft’s still relatively new Windows 8.1 with Bing version of Windows.
The main differentiator between all of these devices would be, of course, screen size – all three models feature a quad-core Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB to 64GB of internal storage. The cheapest model will run you $229 and features a 10.1 inch display, while one ring up gets you a 11.6 inch display for just $279.
The real deal, however, is the 12.5 inch model at $279. Not only is that on the upper end of tablet display sizes, eFun’s tablet also comes with a full year’s subscription of Microsoft Office 365. That comes with the full suite of Microsoft Office programs, something that many other tablets can’t boast.
But if Windows 8.1 isn’t your thing – and if sales are any indication, it might not be – eFun also has three Android tablets they want to offer you. A slightly smaller 8-inch device ships with bundled LTE support and a Snapdragon processor starting at $129 in a 16GB configuration, or you can upgrade to 32GB of internal storage if you need a little more room for activities. There’s also a 10.1 inch model for $229 with similar specifications, and an 11.6 model for $249 with a boosted 64GB of internal storage. All of the Android tablets feature 1GB of RAM.
Google has long been heralding two very distinct platforms – Android, the company’s mobile first operating system that helped pioneer the modern smartphone market, and Chrome, which began as a humble, WebKit based web browser that grew to become an entire operating system with a not small library of developer and end user support.
Google’s two platforms couldn’t be more different, but Google is making strides towards bringing their two babies closer together than ever. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has put the VP of engineering for Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, in charge of the engineering team over on the Chrome side. That means that the same individual will now be responsible for building both the mobile-centric Android and the desktop-class Chrome OS. While this isn’t exactly a confirmation that the two platforms will grow closer together in terms of design and functionality, it does suggest that such a thing wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
It's like the new Moto X, only bigger-er
Google’s Nexus ship sure has been leaky lately, and today we got what’ll probably end up being the closest thing to a confirmation that the Nexus 6 by Motorola is a real thing until it, you know, is actually announced. The FCC just revealed a new six-inch smartphone made by Motorola with compatibility for both AT&T’s LTE network as well as T-Mobile’s. That fits perfectly with what we know about the Nexus 6, which a massive leak revealed in comprehensive detail just a little while ago.
If you aren’t up to date on your Nexus rumors, the Nexus 6 is basically a 2014 Moto X with a 6-inch display – and you thought the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus was big. No word yet on whether or not the upcoming Nexus 6 will make its way to Verizon and Sprint (though I don’t see why it wouldn’t), nor if it’ll come in a slightly smaller version for those with slightly less gargantuan hands, nor when it’ll be making an official appearance.
It kinda looks like a stretched Nexus 5
With Android L, the Motorola Nexus 6, and the HTC Nexus 9 all on the way things sure are getting interesting for those who couldn’t really care less about any phone that begins with a lowercase “i”. We originally reported on a new Nexus tablet offering by HTC, unofficially dubbed the Nexus 9, a couple of weeks ago – and today thanks to infamous leaker @upleaks (a spiritual successor the @evleaks, goodness rest its leaking soul), we’ve got our first purported look at the device, which you can see in the image above.
As you can probably tell, the Nexus 9 we’re looking at above essentially looks like a scaled up, weirdly stretched Nexus 5. That is to say it seems to have the same rubbery, plastic back that is featured and so highly thought of on the black Nexus 5 (seriously, it feels great – nice and grippy, and not at all low quality). It’s got a camera on the top left corner, pretty much where Apple puts the cameras on the iPad line. It’s also got that expected micro-USB port on the bottom alongside that expected HTC logo.
So now we’ve got our first good looks at both the Nexus 6 as well as the Nexus 9, that should theoretically conclude Google’s entire 2014 (and perhaps final?) Nexus lineup, barring any surprise updates to the Nexus 7 or the Nexus 10. What do you think? Will Google’s 2014 lineup be the one to beat, or will you be sticking with Samsung’s offerings?
The 9 isn't the only new kid on the block
The Nexus 5, Google’s flagship Android device, is coming up on a year old – almost an eternity in the mobile space. That’s why it should come as no surprise that Google is already hard at work figuring out its successor, and today thanks to 9to5Google we got our first real look at both the design and the technical specifications of Google’s upcoming Nexus 6, designed and manufactured by – wait for it – not LG (like the Nexus 5), not Samsung (like the Nexus 10), not even HTC (like the rumored Nexus 9)… but by Motorola.
As you can see in the leaked shots above, the Nexus 6 (which isn’t yet an official name, by the way) bares more than just a passing resemblance to Motorola’s latest lineup of smartphones, the Moto X and Moto G series. In fact, it looks almost exactly like a stretched out second generation Moto X, complete with the top / bottom speaker grille on the front, and the aluminum chassis around the sides.
What has changed, however, is the size – the Nexus 6 is simply massive with its whopping 5.92-inch display. Featuring a resolution of 2560 x 1440, the Nexus 6’s display evens out at a cool 498 PPI, making it higher resolution than Apple’s big screen device, the iPhone 6 Plus (401 PPI) but lower resolution than Samsung’s next generation phablet, the Note 4 (550 DPI).
Driving this big screen is said to be a Snapdragon 805 processor, one of the fastest out there, a huge 3,200 mAh battery, and 3GB of RAM (compared to a measly 1GB on the iPhone 6 series). Though that sounds impressive, all that extra oomph will presumably be needed to power the Nexus 6’s ginormous high resolution display at acceptable levels of performance for this tier of device, meaning you shouldn’t necessarily expect next generation graphics or 48 hour battery life.
No word yet on pricing and availability, though 9to5Mac speculates on a late October launch, but with both the Nexus 9 and Android 5.0 “L” seemingly just around the corner, I wouldn’t really be surprised to see this thing hit stores sooner rather than later. And given Motorola’s excellent track record at developing and manufacturing beautiful, high powered devices at an amazingly low cost, it sounds like it’s going to be worth the wait – as long as you think you can stomach that extra huge screen.
The rumors are true... probably
We’ve been speculating about a HTC-made Nexus tablet for sometime now, but it looks like the rumors are about to come to fruition. According to sources available to the Wall Street Journal, HTC and Google are hard at work on a next-generation large screen Android tablet to be part of the Nexus series. Speculated to be dubbed the “Nexus 9”, the companies’ new tablet would be the successor for the much ignored Samsung made Nexus 10, which hasn’t seen an update for nearly two years now.
The Nexus 9 is expected to launch with Nvidia’s next generation Tegra K1 SoC, which will offer performance significantly greater than that found in either the Nexus 10 or the most up to date Nexus 7. The Nexus 9 will also have the distinction of being the first tablet made by HTC since the launch (and failure) of the HTC Flyer, the first Nexus device made by HTC since the launch of the original Nexus One, and potentially even the last Nexus branded device before the launch of Google’s much rumored Android Silver initiative.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Will be among the first to get Android L
With as little fanfare as possible despite an event invitation earlier this month, Google has finally announced their long awaited lineup of low-cost Android phones that will be among the first to ship as part of the company’s new “Android One” lineup. The devices – which are currently being developed by smaller, lesser known brands Micromax, Karbonn and Spice Mobiles – are being positioned as ways to get Google into the lower-priced, entry level phone market that has been traditionally dominated by “dumb phones” such as those in Nokia’s Asha platform.
Most Android One smartphones will go for about $100, and all of which will be built on some low-end-but-not-abysmal specs, like a 480 x 854 4.5-inch display or a 5-megapixel camera. All will come running with the latest version of stock Android, Android 4.4 “KitKat”, and all will be among the first tier of phones to get a free update to Android 5.0 “L” when that becomes available at some point in the future.
Will partner with OEMs for low end, quality hardware
September is winding up to be quite the busy month, and now Google itself is getting in on the fun. The company has just sent out media invitations to a Special Event set to take place on September 15th in India. While the invitation is fairly cryptic – all we can really gather from the invitation, seen above, is that we’ll be talking Android – today’s reports indicate that Google plans on announcing a new partnership (dubbed “Android One”) with OEMs to release a lineup of low end, budget smartphones running Android.
Google is said to be working with a variety of OEMs, including relative no-name brands Karbonn and Spice, in order to launch a variety of devices soon. No word yet on whether or not we’ll get any more information on either Android 5.0 “L” or the true successor to the Nexus program, but we’ll let you know what happens to come out of the corporate giant’s mouth.
But not for the reasons you may think
You’re reading the headline right now and I bet I know what you’re thinking – this guy, he’s an Apple fanboy. He’s gotta be. I’m sitting here writing an article about why my switch to Android didn’t work out, after all. You’re probably betting that I’m sitting here with an iPhone next to me right now – and guess what, you’re absolutely right. But before I even start the meat of this article, I want to clear the air – I’m not back on my iPhone because I dislike Android. I didn’t even particularly dislike the Nexus 5 I was switching to. On the contrary, I quite liked both Android and the Nexus 5. So why am I back on my iPhone?
It turns out, the reason I went back is because at the end of the day – iPhone, Android, whatever – switching to Android just didn’t matter. It made nearly no tangible difference to my daily routines. Sure, there were some minor inconveniences – I missed iMessage terribly, and I couldn’t find an official version of the just fantastic TwoDots game on the Google Play Store. But really, for the most part, I couldn’t find a single tangible difference in the way I used iOS and Android.
Using Android was, to be honest, entirely enjoyable. Android is no longer the poorly designed mess that it was back when I last tried out the platform for real back in the Gingerbread days (over two years ago, for you non-geeky types). There’s an app for just about everything I wanted – Google Chrome is an excellent mobile browser, easily just as good as Safari on iOS 7. The camera on my Nexus 5 was fine – not iPhone 5s good, as I’m accustomed to, but certainly not bad in any sense of the world. Integration with Google Hangouts was beneficial, and I actually really liked the way that Facebook Chat Heads worked on Android – in fact, I wish Apple would let Chat Heads float above running applications and the home screen on iOS as they work on Android. While switching to Android, literally everything was fine or even great.
So why did I switch back to my iPhone? If I found my experience using Android just as good as my iPhone, why switching back? For me, it just turned out to make slightly more sense given my personal situation. The vast majority of my contacts use iPhones, so everyone I’m talking to just about is through iMessage when on my iMessage. Not a huge benefit over SMS in and of itself, but when you factor in the ability to chat with people via Mac and iPad – both of which I have and use regularly – that’s a huge plus on behalf of the iPhone. Then there’s the fact that the iPhone has a slightly better camera, I’ve put a ton of money into purchasing apps on the App Store, most of my music has been bought through iTunes, and even my iCloud calendars.
So that’s why I went back to my iPhone. Not because Android is bad – on the contrary, I enjoyed my time on Android. But just because it didn’t offer me anything significantly good enough to pull me away from my years of iPhone use. Proponents of Android will say that customization and extensibility of Android is a huge plus, but to be honest, I tried a bunch of different keyboards, launchers, etc. etc – and I went back to the stock Android setup every single time.
Oh, but lest I forget – I am super pumped about the thought of a Swype-like keyboard being available on iOS 8.
Top notifications, thank goodness
Google has just announced an entirely new version of Android, Android 5.0, which the company has taken to calling Android “L” (looks like they couldn’t think of a dessert theme for the release). The new version of Android is a radical change from the previous 4.0 releases, with an entirely new user interface, some big new features – particularly when it comes to notifications and security – and an updated suite of built in applications.
Android 5.0 picks up Google’s “Material Design” design language for Android, Chrome, and the web” Material Design” language, also announced today, which brings along big, colorful, and minimalistic design to the platform, as well as some subtle but great looking new animations. All of Google’s built in applications have adapted the new design, including Google’s mobile web applications when accessed through the company’s Chrome browser.
The company has also significantly improved notifications with Android 5.0, borrowing some of the best things about notifications from Apple’s mobile platform, iOS. Recent now appear stacked on the lock screen to make updates easily apparent the second you unlock your phone.
New notifications also pop up on top of whatever application you’re running when your phone is unlocked on Android 5.0, exactly like how notifications have worked on iOS for some time now. Google says this is particularly handy for important notifications, so it’s unclear at this point if this new notification style is exclusively for these high level type of notifications or all notifications.
Performance on Android L has also been significantly improved, with Google switching to what Google’s calling the “ART” runtime . Essentially, this will make all applications a great degree faster – sometimes over twice as fast. Because of ART, Android L is more energy efficient, memory efficient, and fully 64-bit compatible – only the second major mobile platform to become so following Apple’s iOS 7 platform.
GPU performance has also seen some love, with Google saying Android L on high end smartphones “closes the gap” between Microsoft’s best in class DirectX 11 desktop and console graphics rendering engine, making mobile games more beautiful, immersive, and – well – nicer to look at.
If all of this sounds as awesome to you as it does to me, and you’ve got a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 (2013) device, there’s some even better news. Google will tomorrow begin providing the Android 5.0 “L” Developer Preview, allowing brave developers and testers to upgrade to a pre-release version of Android 5.0 before the final release.
Depth, color, and comprehension
Google took to the stage this morning at their annual Google I/O Developer Conference, and one of today’s biggest announcements came in the form of what the company is calling “Material Design” – a comprehensive overhaul to Google’s design language that will be used throughout Google’s entire portfolio of products, from Chrome OS to the newly announced Android 5.0 and even the web.
Google says Material Design is all about building a design around the concept of how a digital material would act in the real world, with an emphasis on depth, color, and motion. It’s quite difficult to describe in text, really, but essentially this is one design language that’s consistent throughout all of Google’s portfolio – even going so far as using the same style guidelines for all platforms. It’s flat, its colorful, and it’s got a heavy emphasis on motion.
Google says “Our material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by our study of paper and ink, yet open to imagination and magic,” and that’s a pretty good way to put what we’re looking at here.
Image Source: The Verge
It seems as if the Nokia X was so popular that it demanded a new version – and here it is, the Nokia X2. While still aimed at the low-end, off-contract market, the X2 has been vastly upgraded and improves just about everything that was present in the Nokia X.
While the X2 still comes with a custom fork of Android that isn’t Play-certified, the hardware has been massively upgraded and even trumps the low-end Windows Phone market. Specs-wise, you get a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, a front facing camera and even a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 32GB cards.
On the software side of things, the Metro-esque custom launcher comes with a few improvements like an apps list similar to that of Windows Phone, new screens, and the ability to set the color of the tiles pinned to your Start Screen, also a feature straight out of Windows Phone. Pre-loaded apps include Skype, Outlook and OneDrive with a generous 15GB of online storage (though this was given to every non-paying OneDrive user recently). And being Android, apps aren’t a worry even if it’s not Play-certified.
As mentioned before, the device will sell for about $135 and will be available immediately in “select countries”. As ever, they come in a wide variety of colors; green, orange and black are the launch colors and they’ll later introduce yellow, white and grey colors.