Hoping to easily install the CyanogenMod (CM) app to change the software on your Android device? It’s no longer as easy as it used to be: The app was voluntarily removed by the CM team at Google’s suggestion as Google said it would eventually have to pull it from the store. The reason? It “encourages users to void their warranty,” which typically happens when a user gains root access to an Android phone or tablet. CM can still be installed through sideloading and is available as a direct download.
Even with more powerful phones out on the market, I still consider the Moto X to be among the best Android phones you can buy today. But you don’t want to buy one today; if you can wait until Monday, you’ll save $150. Motorola is holding a special deal on all no-contract Moto X handsets and that includes custom Moto Maker versions and the unlocked Developer Editions. A 16 GB model will cost $349 while $399 will get you a 32 GB version. According to Motorola’s John Rinaldi, the sale starts at 8am on Monday and supply will be limited.
Recent reports indicate the best selling Windows Phone is Nokia’s Lumia 520. If true, it makes sense why Nokia is launching the Lumia 525 as a successor. The only change in this model appears to be a doubling of memory from 512 MB to 1 GB, allowing more apps to run simultaneously. The handset will also support interchangeable covers in different colors. To keep costs down, the handset uses an older but still capable 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 8 GB of internal storage an 800 x 480 resolution 4-inch touchscreen and support for 21 Mbps HSPA+ networks in lieu of LTE.
If you had doubts that you’ll be able to speak to a computer and have Google Now bring up personalized information, Google’s newest Chrome extension should dispel them. Read more »
Here come the holidays! Tune in to this week’s podcast for our recommended Chromebook and five extensions that would make a great gift package. We also discuss how Google made Chrome for Android faster and a new web-based development tool for web apps. Read more »
Wirelessly charging an iPhone usually means you need some bulky case accessory. The iQi adds it without the bulk and lets you choose your own case or cover. How does it work? Quite well as you can see in this video demonstration. Read more »
Acer continues to round out its Chromebook C720 lineup, announcing on Tuesday its new touchscreen model for $299. That’s a far lower price than the other touchscreen Chromebook currently available: Google’s Chromebook Pixel starts at $1,299. Of course, you don’t get the Pixel experience with the C720: It uses an 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 resolution screen, for example. Acer says the new C720 touchscreen model runs on the same Intel Celeron as the other C720 devices, meaning it should offer similar battery life of around 7.5 hours. The device, available in early December from Best Buy and Acer directly includes 32 GB of internal flash storage and 2 GB of memory.
In tandem with Monday’s rollout of KitKat for the HTC One Google Play edition, Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 Play edition is also getting the software. Google shared the news late Monday evening on its Android Google+ page. With Android 4.4 being the largest upgrade since the sale of Google Play edition phones, the quick release of the software shows a sort of “pecking order” for Android upgrades. Obviously the Nexus phones, which aren’t carrier controlled, get the software first, quickly followed by the Google Play phones, which are largely a pure Android experience. One notable exception is Google’s own Motorola phones; Android updates for the Moto X began last week.
Add another tablet-optimized app to the list for Android. DoubleTwist, the excellent music player with AirPlay support, has a new look and new features that make it better on tablets. Read more »
Want a smartwatch with color display that runs for days on a charge? Qualcomm’s Toq is one option and the device is now available for pre-order. Expect to pay $349 though because it’s a showcase of Qualcomm’s technology. Read more »
Chromebooks are already priced relatively low, yet this Friday, they’ll be even lower. I found not one, but two deals for the HP Chromebook 14, which can save you a $100 on the purchase. Read more »
So where’s the new Nexus 10? Maybe it’s not here because it won’t actually run Android and will instead, run on Google’s Chrome OS platform. And that’s fine by me! Read more »
Amid falling smartphone sales as rivals are seeing gains, ZTE is planning to launch its own smartwatch in early 2014. Unfortunately, the watch will only work with ZTE phones. Why aren’t wearables more platform-centric? Read more »
Big changes at BlackBerry continue: On Monday, the company announced that COO Kristen Tear and CMO Frank Boulben are leaving. BlackBerry recently replaced its CEO with John Chen following in the footsteps of Thorsten Heins, making for a full executive sweep of late. After watching its handset market share erode and failing to sell the company, Chen has his work cut out for him. There are no quick-fixes likely available, although the company is sure to continue pushing its services, even as large organizations consider alternatives: Earlier this month it was reported the Pentagon is distancing itself from using BlackBerry.
Looking for a better screen capture app for Chrome or Chrome OS? Consider SnagIt from TechSmith. It’s both an app and an extension; the two work together for capturing images, annotating them and then syncing them up to your Google Drive. Read more »
Motorola is quick on the draw, pushing out Android 4.4 to its Moto X on three U.S. carriers within just a few days. Google is highlighting tablet-optimized apps now and speeding up its Chrome browser for Android phones and tablets. Read more »
Google is reportedly discussing some type of partnership with VSP Global, a vision care provider that also makes lenses and frames. The company could be helpful in creating new frame looks for Google Glass as well as prescription lenses. Read more »
Nokia’s $499 Lumia 2520 tablet is priced $50 higher than Microsoft’s own Surface 2, mainly because it comes with an integrated LTE radio. Neither come with a keyboard at that price, but for a limited time, Nokia is providing a free Power Keyboard with its tablet. The normally priced $149 keyboard cover has a battery inside, which adds five hours of run-time to the tablet. The offer ends on December 2, and you’ll have to send this form in by January 31 to receive the Power Keyboard in the mail.
Wireless charging add-ons tend to bring added bulk to an otherwise thin iPhone. That’s what makes iQi so interesting; it’s only 0.5 millimeters thick save for the lightning port. A review unit is on the way for testing. Read more »
Motorola’s intelligent app that causes your phone to take action based on your schedule, time of day or movement is now in the Google Play Store. This lets Motorola update the Assist app without waiting for carrier approval. Read more »
Users who purchased a Moto X developer edition handset and requested a bootloader unlock code will retroactively get their phone’s warranty restored. Motorola explained the policy reversal on Thursday, saying “Customers who purchase Developer Edition devices want the flexibility to take this even further and tinker with the operating system. This may include creating and flashing a custom build of Android or porting one from an enthusiast community.” The change is a solid step forward towards embracing Android’s openness and the ability to customize it the way individuals would like to, without voiding the warranty on their phone. Well done, I say!
Version 32 of the Chrome beta browser brings goodies both to the desktop and to Android devices. Gone is double-tap zoom on Android and so too is the 300 millisecond delay after every tap. Chrome on the desktop gains animated WebP image support. Read more »
Google voice search and Google Now functionality are on their way to Chrome and Chrome OS. The latest developer channel of Chrome OS has the feature in an experimental state and although it’s limited, I see great potential here. Read more »
Last week’s rumors of Chromecast support for the HBO GO app are this week’s reality: The app for both iOS and Android now supports wireless streaming of HBO Go content from a mobile device to Google’s $35 Chromecast dongle. In a blog post announcing the feature, Google says you can also Chromecast HBO GO from a Chrome browser window. I’d opt for ‘casting from a smartphone or tablet though: Those methods actually cause the stream to come from the cloud. Chromecasting from a browser tab uses a peer-to-peer type stream and is dependent on your computer’s resources, meaning the quality may not be as good.
Google’s Wallet Card can be ordered but it won’t help you carry less cards. It’s more like a pre-paid debit card that uses your Google Wallet account balance to pay for things. It’s free, however, Coin’s $50 universal card may be better. Read more »
Want to safely explore Middle Earth from the comfort of your phone or tablet? You’ll avoid dragons and get a taste of new web technologies at the same time: Google’s latest Chrome Experiment showcases off new web technologies for mobile devices. Read more »
Does Google Glass need another input method? The team behind Remotte thinks so: It’s looking to raise $70,000 on Kickstarter for the connected device. Even if you don’t have Glass, this could be a handy little remote control. Read more »
It’s game on for iOS 7 hardware controllers: Logitech launched its entry with the PowerShell + Battery controller for $99. The accessory has an internal battery so it can recharge your iOS 7 device, but it lacks joystick controls, opting for a D-Pad instead. Read more »
After rumors of a lower-cost touchscreen Chromebook, Amazon France outed it: Look for Acer to bring touch to its C720 line. We also discuss some new experimental Chrome features and recommend a useful new extension on this week’s audio podcast. Read more »
Tired of covering the screen of your iPhone or iPod touch when gaming? Moga has a solution to that, thanks to the game controller support built into iOS 7. The folding Moga Ace with lightning port is ready for pre-orders. Read more »
Need a location tracker for your younger child that doubles as a limited phone and text message machine? Check Filip which launches today on AT&T with both a $199 price and a relatively reasonable $10 monthly service plan. Read more »
A day after Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets got a software update, so too does its Paperwhite. Like the tablets, the Paperwhite gains deeper Goodreads integration while also adding some new parental controls that could help children read more. Read more »
With two months of availability, Samsung says its Galaxy Gear is the best selling smart watch every thanks to 800,000 sales. Industry insiders say the actual figure is closer to 50,000. So which is it? Sadly, we’ll likely never know. Read more »
After buying the Zagg Folio keyboard for my iPad Air, Targus sent me a review unit of its Versavu — pronounced “versa-view”– keyboard case. I’m not a fan of the Shift key and the keyboard isn’t backlit, but one unique feature is appealing. Take a look. Read more »
You don’t even have to be a good student to get Sprint’s latest deals, any student qualifies. The carrier is providing one year of free talk, text and data service with a student purchase of a smartphone through Best Buy. Read more »
Got a Kindle Fire tablet? Starting today, you can get new features including deeper Goodreads integration and a function called Second Screen that can wirelessly “fling” video content from a Kindle Fire to a PlayStation 3 or Samsung HDTV set. Read more »
Now that Google has introduced Portable Native Client, developers can use traditional programming languages to create apps that run on the Chrome platform regardless of the chip inside the device: x86, ARM or MIPS. Read more »
The Moto G was finally unveiled this week as a follow-up to the Moto X. For under $200, the handset looks pretty compelling and could give Motorola a nice sales boost. Google Now gets more like Siri and the next HTC handset specs leak. Read more »
A major shortcoming of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch appears to be fixed with a new software update: Support for far more notifications from apps. I’m still not sold on it though. That $300 price tag and a lock to Samsung devices is off-putting. Read more »
AT&T announced contract options for the Lumia 2520 tablet running Windows RT 8.1, but if you ask the right questions, you find the contract-free pricing and per session LTE data costs. That may be a better way to go if you want Nokia’s tablet. Read more »