Posts tagged device
Moving a bit faster than the BlackBerry Z10 launch, the BlackBerry Q10 is now set to make its arrival in Malaysia. Celcom Malaysia has opened up their pre-registration page for those interested in the device and is currently offering some additional incentives to go along with it. If you register now, you’ll be eligible to receive a free Bluetooth speaker and an additional RM200 rebate which works out to a discount of RM20 for 10 months off your monthly bill when choosing a qualifying plan.
The official release date for the BlackBerry Q10 in Malaysia is set for May 15th and device pickup locations have been noted on the Celcom webpage linked below. Additionally, the BlackBerry Q10 is also being offered by Maxis but as of right now, they don’t seem to have a preorder page set up.
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An analyst says that a war in the Korean peninsula could directly and significantly affect electronic device manufacturing (including Android smartphones and tablets), as many important components are currently mass-produced in South Korea.
IHS analyst Mike Howard said (via ComputerWorld) that in the unlikely case of a “major conflagration,” smartphone and tablet makers could face manufacturing issues, as they’ll have a hard time getting the much needed components from elsewhere, given that South Korean giants play a major role in the supply chain for said products.
Any type of manufacturing disruption of six months would prevent the shipment of hundreds of millions of mobile phones and tens of millions of PCs and media tablets.
South Korean companies are producing vast quantities of DRAM, NAND flash and tablet displays.
Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is used in computers, smartphones and tablets, with Samsung and SK Hynix bringing in a combined 66% of industry revenue in 2012. “Half of all global production” for DRAM comes from South Korea.
NAND flash (storage) memory, also found in various electronic devices including smartphones and tablets is also produced in large quantities in South Korea. Again, Samsung and SK Hynix are mentioned, having accounted for 48% of the industry revenue last year. Two-thirds of the world’s NAND flash supply comes from the region.
Finally, Samsung and LG are major players in the LCD display business, having shipped 49.6% “large-sized LCD panels” in Q4 2012, according to IHS. South Korea is responsible for 70% of the tablet display global supply.
Howard said that DRAM and/or NAND production “couldn’t be easily or quickly replaced” by companies in other regions, and while any short-term disruption “wouldn’t affect the display market as badly” – with production of said LCDs currently at a “high level” – it would still cripple the industry in case of longer disruptions.
The Android products
In addition to producing parts required for smarpthones and tablets, Samsung and LG are also important players in the mobile business, with the former estimated to ship over 320 million smartphones this year, and the later expected to sell around 50 million smartphones in 2013. Most of these smart devices would be Android-based. Furthermore Samsung also produces a significant number of Android tablets, with its models being among the popular Android tablets out there, according to a recent study.
While IHS focuses on supply concerns, we’ll also notice that a longer conflict would likely have an impact on other departments for these companies (R&D, marketing amont others), considering the vicinity of their headquarters to the border with North Korea. In a worst-case scenario the mobile industry could be even more seriously affected, with component shortages being just one piece of said puzzle.
Seoul, South Korea’s capital where Samsung and LG are headquartered, with SK Hynix also located close by, is only 30 miles away from the border with North Korea.
In case of an extended conflict, supply shortages could affect the production of other electronic devices that require such particular parts, especially smart ones, not only Android smartphones and tablets, even though that’s what we’re focusing on here at Android Authority. Manufacturing mobile devices running different operating systems or desktop and notebook computers would become equally problematic, as many other OEM rely on South Korean corporations for semiconductor and display parts, and would have a difficult time looking for alternatives for said parts.
That said, such a conflagration in the Korean peninsula would have far greater effects in the world even though we’re only looking at what such a war would mean for smart gadget production right now, so we can only hope that we’ll never have to move past these extreme “what-ifs” scenarios for the region.
It looks like HP might be preparing a major Android push in the near future. With the HP Slate 7 now out the door, there have been two new HP Android devices allegedly revealed today, both thanks to AnTuTu benchmarking scores. Earlier we reported on the HP Slate 21 AIO, and now it looks like a device called the HP SlateBook 10 X2 is also in the cards.
Just like the HP Slate 21 AIO, the SlateBook 10 X2 benchmark reveals a device equipped with a Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and running on Android 4.2.1. While they run the same processor, the SlateBook X2 actually scored a bit higher on the posted results with a 27,259 versus the Slate 21′s 23,584. Of course, benchmark results can vary wildly from test to test, so the difference in scoring might not mean much.
So is this legit? Hard to say, as benchmarks can certainly be faked. If they are indeed real, it’s interesting to see HP is not only embracing the high-end of Android, but doing it with Nvidia as a partner. So far the only other potential partners we’ve heard about for the Tegra 4 are Toshiba and ZTE.
It is worth mentioning that HP’s two newly benchmarked devices seem to be a bit “different” from the rest of the pack, with the Slate 21 being a massive tablet and AIO, and the SlateBook 10′s name could perhaps be hinting that it might be some kind of convertible Android tablet/notebook– of course that’s just a bit speculation, as the ‘book’ part of the name could mean absolutely nothing.
What do you think, would consider a premium tablet from HP considering their mixed history in the mobile sector?
Telus Galaxy S4 pre-orders seem to be going well, as the carrier is ready to offer some early buyers a bill credit if they agree to wait “up to two weeks to receive” their purchased handset.
The Galaxy S4 is described as “so popular” by the carrier, which is trying to manage its “restricted supply” on launch date by offering selected customers this particular deal.
The Galaxy S4 is available with Telus for 9 with new three-year contracts, or 0 outright, and it’s now available for pre-order. The pre-orders should be delivered on April 27, while in-store purchases will be available starting with May 3. However, should customers accept Telus’ limited offer, they’ll get their pre-ordered units by May 10. Here’s the full e-mail notification some Telus Galaxy S4 buyers received:
Interestingly, Telus suggests in its email that there may not be enough Galaxy S4 units to go around on launch date, in “Canada and internationally,” although we don’t know exactly what that means for now, as there haven’t been any reports detailing any potential launch issues for Samsung. In fact, we’ve seen so far various estimates for upcoming Galaxy S4 sales all looking very well for the company, with one of the latest such guesses saying that Samsung would sell as many as 10 million units at launch, and move 30 million units by the end of June.
On a different note, a few days ago Telus revealed that it will stock the Galaxy S4 in different colors in the future, in addition to the White Frost and Black Mist versions that will be available at launch.
Would you take credit and have your Galaxy S4 unit shipped two weeks later than initially expected, or you want to get your hands on it as fast as possible?
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is on record as having praised T-Mobile’s new un-carrier approach. We’re fans, also… and so are many of you. It is clearly a head-turner, putting the entire industry on notice. Maybe… just maybe… this could catch on.
The crew at Droid Life has their hands on a leaked document (below) which shows a very interesting new strategy. Under the heading regarding a customer who would like a new device, there is an option for a payment plan… much like T-Mobile’s new design. Interesting, to say the least.
This doesn’t mean Verizon is going to cannonball into the unsubsidised realm, as T-Mobile did, but it shows the value for carriers in adopting such an approach. It seems as though Verizon may have seen the light, and is inching toward this strategy. Verizon customers would probably be over the moon if this occurred.
Then again, it may be a scheme to get people away from their unlimited data plans. The heading of the document is regarding dissatisfied customers, suggesting they have people who simply want new devices within their contract. If you have unlimited data with Verizon, and sign a new contract, the option for unlimited is no longer there. This could be an end-around play for getting customers away from the unlimited data.
Of course, we hope Verizon is just dipping their toe into the un-carrier water, but only time will tell. Being complimentary of a service, and switching your business model, are wholly different entities. We just hope others are as brave as T-Mobile.
Of the many ordinary and extraordinary things that I can do on my Android device, mobile photography is one of my well-loved activities. Taking panoramic images is a walk in the park on my Android phone. I can even create 360-degree photos of my surroundings with the Photo Sphere mode of the Android 4.2 Camera. Yet, there’s a very nifty camera mode that’s not much talked about — High Dynamic Range mode, better known as HDR.
Used appropriately, HDR Mode can produce really awesome photos. On the Web I have seen stunning HDR images that were taken using a DSLR camera and merged through an HDR photo editing tool. Can the HDR feature on Android devices provide the same or comparable quality? What is HDR anyway? And, how does it work? How can you effectively use HDR?
In this guide, you’ll learn how to use HDR on your Android device. You may also watch the video tutorial towards the end of this post.
What is HDR?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It usually refers to the method of capturing images having “greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods” (Wikipedia).
HDR images are frequently described as saturated, high in contrast, and rich in colors. Looking at an HDR image might make you think that it’s a complicated and time-consuming image to create. But, the truth is that creating HDR images is quite simple.
The process involves capturing multiple shots of the same subject but in varying exposures (underexposed, normally exposed, and overexposed). The multiple images are then combined into one photo, resulting in a greatly detailed image. Some photographers use HDR software to merge and edit the images, oftentimes resulting in surreal images.
HDR Mode on Android also follows the same principles but is simpler compared to how it is usually achieved on a DSLR camera. HDR on Android handsets usually correct exposure imbalances and enhance details on both the subject’s background and foreground.
To better understand how HDR works, let me show you some sample images taken by the Galaxy Camera. The photo below was taken without HDR:
And, this one’s a photo with HDR enabled. Do you see some difference?
The tree in the first picture is underexposed because of the bright background (i.e., the bright sky). HDR tries to correct this imbalance by equalizing the exposure on both background and foreground so details are enhanced in both areas. This is basically how HDR works.
Do you have HDR?
Not all Android devices support HDR Mode. The best way to check for HDR capability is by looking for the HDR option in your device’s Camera app.
The HDR option on some high-end Samsung devices can be found under the Shooting Mode menu.
Some custom Camera apps (e.g., on the HTC One X and Desire X) place the HDR option under the Camera Scenes section.
If you can’t find HDR under Shooting Mode or Camera Scenes, try looking for it under the camera’s Settings menu. Some Sony devices (e.g., the Xperia T and Xperia V), for example, place HDR under the camera’s Settings menu.
On the Nexus 4, which runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, you can easily turn HDR Mode on by long-tapping the viewfinder and tapping the HDR icon. Interestingly, the Android 4.2 Camera on the other Nexuses (i.e., Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 10) doesn’t have HDR Mode.
On other Android devices, HDR may be found under certain labels such as Backlight HDR or Backlight Correction HDR. On the Galaxy Camera, HDR is not labeled as such; instead, Samsung calls it Rich Tone and it can be found under the Smart Modes menu.
Using HDR on your Android device
Using HDR on your Android device is easy. All you need to do is enable HDR Mode and snap photos as you normally would: launch camera app, point and focus at subject, and hit camera shutter.
Also, you might want to use a tripod if it’s available, or at least hold the camera with stable hands; HDR doesn’t take too kindly to movement when capturing photos. Also, the camera shutter speed may vary depending on the amount of light.
If you use a Samsung Android device, you will notice that the camera will produce two pictures. One is the HDR image and the other is the one with normal exposure. Check the file name to distinguish the two images. HDR images have “HDR” in their file names.
When to use HDR
HDR is a handy feature on your Android camera. But, when is the proper time to use HDR? Here are some situations where HDR may be advantageous:
When not to use HDR
HDR may be advantageous in several situations, but there are times when you don’t want to use HDR. Here are some of those instances:
Using an HDR camera app
If your Android device doesn’t have HDR, don’t fret. You can still enjoy HDR photography with the help of Android apps. There are several HDR-capable camera apps on the Google Play Store.
A personal favorite of mine is HDR Camera+, a paid app that allows you to take HDR photos and instantly edit your photos after capturing them.
Or, if you just want the HDR feature without the ability to edit your photos, there’s the plain ol’ HDR Camera app, which is free.
Here’s a quick guide to capturing your first HDR image using HDR Camera+:
Know more about how to use HDR on your Android device by watching our video tutorial on YouTube:
HDR is one of the many features on an Android camera that make mobile photography interesting and fun. It certainly makes photos look better because of the wider range of light and dark intensities. And, although not all Android devices have HDR out of the box, you can always try installing an HDR camera app.
Do you use HDR on your Android device? How often do you use it? Do you find it useful? What tips and tricks can you share to us regarding HDR use on Android? Let us know in the comments.
(with contributions from Elmer Montejo)
With legal wars escalating and patent trolls running amok, technology companies often recourse to patenting even the most outlandish ideas, in a bid to gather as much intellectual property as possible.
In many cases, the applicant is not even close to turning the idea into reality, so we can’t rely on patent applications to predict future products. But from time to time, we can get a tantalizing glimpse of what’s to come.
If a patent uncovered by Patent Bolt is any indication, Google’s future tablets could feature an adaptive user interface that reacts to the way the device is grasped by the user. In other words, the tablet would “feel” how the user holds it, and move UI elements around so they become accessible with one hand.
The recently published patent application was first filed in Q3 2011, and specifically mentions tablets as devices that could make use of the adaptive user interface.
The USPTO application contains the following illustration of the concept.
As you can see, tablets could relocate UI elements on the fly, thus making it possible to use the device with one hand. In the above illustration, the Back, Forward, and Refresh buttons of a web browser are moved to the side, thus becoming easily accessible.
The patent goes on to discuss the technical aspects of the concept, but what is more important in my opinion, is the fact that the idea is easily implementable. I would especially love to see this happen on 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7, which I often find myself tempted to use with just one hand.
Again, a patent application is no guarantee that a technology will ever make it into a real product. But it’s good to see Google working on improving the way we operate our gadgets.
The post Google patent hints at tablet UI that adapts to the way you hold the device appeared first on Android Authority.
The Kyocera Torque was unveiled in January after being seen making its way through the FCC a few weeks prior to that. Now, Sprint announced via a press release Friday morning that the Kyocera Torque will be available March 8 for .99 on a two year contract and after a mail-in-rebate.
The Torque will be Sprint’s first rugged LTE device. In fact, Sprint is calling it “ultrarugged” as it is a very durable handset following IP67 and Military Standard 810G. Like most rugged handsets, the Torque can withstand vibration, solar radiation, humidity, blowing rain, shock and dust among other things.
The smartphone has a 4-inch 480 × 800 display, a 5MP rear shooter with a 1.3MP front-facing shooter, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of on-board storage with a microSD card slot and a 2,500 mAh battery. It also comes with a 1.2GHz dual core CPU, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and the standard Wi-Fi support. The device is, of course, running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The Kyocera Torque is unique in a way that it uses Kyocera’s Smart Sonic Receiver technology that uses vibrations to transmit sounds. This means that the Kyocera Torque can provide great sound clarity in some of the most noisy environments, such as construction sites.
This is the perfect device to take in some of the most noisy and rough environments. Will you be looking forward to getting one?
Samsung USA has been going all out in publicizing the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 as SAFE devices, that is, Samsung for Enterprise devices (which is catchier, even though SAFE actually stands for Security and Feature enhancements). In a series of videos (in case you missed it, here are videos 1, 2, and 3) Samsung showed how their devices are perfect for business, using, well… unicorns.
Mythical animals aside, the videos raised some good points about how secure the devices are, along with how they can be used for both work and play. Someone probably thought that the final point wasn’t made clear, because here is a fourth Samsung SAFE ad, titled “Samsung USA – SAFE with Two in One” which showcases the fact that a Galaxy S3 or Note 2 can be used for… wait for it… both work and play!
The latest video flashbacks to the first one that showed a lady mentioning her “system” of using one device (an iPhone, even though it’s not explicitly mentioned) for home, and one (a Blackberry, but you didn’t hear that from me) for work. “So until someone makes a phone that can do both really well…” You know where this is going.
Has Samsung convinced you to use their devices for business as well as home? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
There are times when you see an advert for a device and you think, “don’t know, might be useful, not sure.” And that is that, the moment has gone. That is how I generally felt about Android based media players and set-top boxes (and there are plenty of them). They claim to turn your humble television into a Smart TV, give you Android in your living room with Internet etc. Could be useful, but I have Android on phones and tablets all over the house, do I need it in my living room? That was how I felt until I got my hands on one! Now I am thinking, “where has this device been all my life.”
I got hold of a box called the “EZTV“, it is described as a media player with Wi-Fi. On the actual box, which came from Chinavasion, it is called “Enjoy TV” with the slogan, “Make your TV smart and get connected.” What is different about this particular Android TV device is that you can add a hard drive and that makes all the difference! For what you get is a small black box, which connects to your TV via HDMI, a remote control and a power supply. Power it up and (after the initial setup wizard) Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich appears with the familiar Android home screen. The device has a nice Wi-Fi antenna on the back so connecting to your Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t a problem.
On the outside, the box is well made, shiny and has a big sleep / wake button on the front. The various LEDs which flicker when there is network or hard disk activity are hidden behind the plastic and give a reassuring glow when the box is working hard.
On the inside, the device is powered by a single core Cortex A9 Amlogic 8726 M3. It runs at 1Ghz and although it is a single core (which I was a bit dubious about), the device runs very well and since its main job is to play video and music, the CPU never falters.
For those who like to see the numbers, here are the rest of the specs:
Along with all the different ways to access media there is Wi-Fi and a 100 Mbit/s (RJ45) Ethernet port. As well as the HDMI output there is a composite video jack and YPbPr component video. For those who want sound via a different route than the HDMI cable, the device has coaxial and optical outputs.
On top of all those ports and connectivity options the EZTV also has room for a SATA hard drive and fitting it is simplicity itself. All you need to do is slide the release to open the lid, slot the hard drive into the molded bracket and then close the lid again! The device will take a 2.5 inch or a 3.5 inch drive. Once installed the drive appears as a USB device in Android.
The advantage of this system is that you can copy over all your media (over the network or via other USB drives) to the hard drive for easy access. In general I convert my DVDs to either .mkv, .mp4 or sometimes .avi so that I don’t damage my original DVDs. Also most of the Music I buy (from Amazon) comes as MP3 so I have copied my entire MP3 library to the Enjoy TV and it is all available in my living room. Thanks to the audio outputs it is easy to connect the device to my amplifier and speaker system.
On first boot, the EZTV takes you through an initial setup wizard where you can join a Wi-Fi network, add your Google account, set your TV resolution (702p, 1080p etc) and interestingly enough you can set which Play Store you want to access via a built-in Market Enabler app.
After configuration a standard Android home screen appears. The device comes with Google Play pre-installed which makes getting hold of any additional apps very easy and there are also some special media apps included which are optimized for the supplied remote control.
In one sense doing a performance test is a little redundant as the device needs to be able to play video (which it can at full 1080p HD using hardware decoding) and respond to user input, it doesn’t need more CPU power than that. But since it is an Android device, and this is Android Authority, it is at least worth looking at where it fits in the grand scale of things. The AnTuTu benchmark is 2800, which is low. A device like the original Samsung Galaxy S, which has a single core Cortex-A8 running at 1Ghz, scores about twice that on AnTuTu, but here is the thing to remember, smartphones with single core CPU tend to be using displays with resolutions of 800 x 480 (or similar), but the EZTV set-top box (STB) was running the tests on a TV with a resolution of 1280 x 672. So from the start it has to work much harder for all those grueling OpenGL graphics tests.
What this means in reality is that as a media player the 1GHz CPU is more than sufficient. Music and film can be played without any glitches or pauses and apps like YouTube run perfectly.
The EZTV media player comes with a special remote control that is designed to work with Android. There are buttons for Home, the Play Store and the browser etc. as well as direction buttons. Android is of course designed to be used on a touch screen, but on the STB the remote’s navigation arrows are used to highlight different icons and then pressing OK is the same as a tap. The keyboard appears on screen and each letter needs to be selected and then OK pressed.
The remote does become annoying after about 3 minutes! I plugged in a keyboard and mouse and they both worked fine. In the end I settled for just leaving a USB mouse plugged in so I could quickly navigate around and use the remote control to pause and skip forward etc. There are a plethora of remote trackpads and wireless keyboards (separately or as a combined unit) on the market and using one of these is probably the most convenient in the long run.
Because of the Market Enabler functionality and because Android supports VPNs, it is very easy to configure the device to make it appear that it is in the USA or UK and get access to content that maybe isn’t available in your location. A lot depends on the quality of the VPN, but with the right provider you shouldn’t have any troubles.
Having a Android device that converts my TV into an Internet enabled TV is good, but having a Android device that can use an internal hard drive is brilliant. Much like the first generation Apple TV, this device is a true media player and in fact quickly becomes a media hub. The fact that you can browser the Internet, use YouTube, read your emails and play games is really just a bonus! A remote wireless keyboard/mouse combo device is probably necessary in the long term, but just with the remote or better with a USB mouse and the remote the device is fully accessible and easy to use. The built-in media and music player work well with the remote and for nothing more complicated than starting a movie or playing some music a few clicks of the remote is all that is needed.