At this point there’s no denying that the Nokia X is a real thing and its pretty much guaranteed that the handset is destined for a MWC unveiling. So what do we know about the Nokia X? Quite a bit actually. Not only have we heard the rumored specs, but we have also seen press renders and Nokia’s own official teasers. Now several actual photos of the device (and its UI) have allegedly be leaked as well.
The phone in the pictures looks exactly like what we’ve seen from the leaked press renders, and the same pretty much goes for the UI. As expected, the interface is very reminiscent of Windows Phone, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your tastes.
One thing you’ll also notice is that not a single Google app is listed on any of the tiles we can see but there is a Nokia HERE maps icon and a ‘Store’ icon, which falls in line with the idea that Nokia will be pushing its own apps and services (as well as Microsoft’s) and will not be Google certified. In short, this means that Google apps won’t be available for the handset and the Android app selection will be limited to whatever Nokia’s store offers.
Overall, the Nokia X is an attractive enough looking handset device, but it’s clearly marketed at those looking for an entry-level smartphone judging by its lack of flash and its dual-SIM support. According to the rumor mill, the Nokia X is expected to feature a Snapdragon 400 CPU, 512MB RAM, a 4-inch low-res display, 4GB storage, microSD, a 1500 mAh battery and a 5MP camera.
The [#protected_0#] is network attached storage (NAS) appliance that can be used for, among other things, Time Machine backups, media storage, and more. With 5 drive bays and 4 ethernet ports, it can scale up to 20TB and move it around at Gigabit speeds. There’re also 4x USB, 2x USB 3, 2x eSATA, and support for Synology Hybrid RAID, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10, and a bunch of other stuff like VM, LDAP, iTunes Server, and more. So, what’s it like?
It’s really meant for small business use or, for people like me, home office use. My quick take is that the Synology Diskstation DS1513+ is way more appliance than I’ll need in terms of functionality, but exactly what I’m looking for in terms of rock-solid reliability and redundancy. Setup was easy enough and anyone familiar with web-based enterprise-y control panels — the kind you find with routers, web management consoles, etc. — will feel right I home. (Though I’d prefer a native OS X Synology app to avoid flashbacks to my days in IT…)
I’ll be putting this Synology Diskstation DS1513+ review unit through its paces in the podcast studio for the next little while. Right now it’s hanging off my Mac Pro (no, not the new one!) and backing up all of our video and audio recordings. I’ll try other things, like Time Machine, iTunes Server, etc. over the next few weeks, and will follow up with some specifics on how it performs, and how it compares to other systems like Drobo and QNAP
If you have any questions on it, or specific things you’d like to see tested and tried out, let me know!
On Monday Pebble officially announced that their much-anticipated App Store was finally ready for prime time, at least for iOS users. Hours later, the smartwatch maker revealed that the Android version was also available, though only as a beta.
Since this is still a beta app, it’s definitely not as polished as the final version is expected to be, and at times the app can be a little on the slow side.
We might not have gotten a full release this week, but the beta definitely shows what we can look forward to in Pebble world! I’ve been using the App Store for the last few days, and have generally been impressed by what I’ve seen. If you’re looking to download the beta app for yourself, you can find it here.
pebble app store first look before” src=”http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/pebble-app-store-first-look-before-645×352.jpg” width=”710″ />
Up until now, getting apps for your Pebble smartwatch required you to search various websites and look for compatible apps. You’d then have to manually install them as well. Although it wasn’t that difficult to find apps, with the introduction of the new Pebble App, everything is now in one place.
With the introduction of the new Pebble App, everything is now in one place.
Since a lot of these individual apps also had to be downloaded to your phone, another huge advantage of this consolidation into one app is the clutter reduction in your device app drawer. Now all you have to do is tap on one app and get everything you’d need to manage your smartwatch.
On the downside, this is still a beta app, so it’s definitely not as polished as the final version is expected to be, and at times things can be a little on the slow side.
On the Pebble smartwatch, you can only have up to 8 watch faces or apps installed at one time. In order to manage these apps and switch them out for new ones, you previously had to download another app that would list all the Pebble apps in one place in order to add or remove them.
Making life a lot easier, the Pebble Store introduces “Locker”, a special feature that shows you what apps are currently installed on your device and gives you the ability to quickly swipe them out for new ones.
The most exciting part about the Pebble AppStore, however, is the apps and watch faces themselves. As you can see in the video above, there are tons of options out there when it comes to watch faces. You can even search through these watchfaces by looking through different categories including Most Loved, picks that Pebble likes, and a splash screen at the top of the app that has a few featured watch faces.
Anything you like can easily be added to the Locker, and then added to your Pebble from there. If you’re looking to change the way your smartwatch looks when in “watch mode,” this is the place to do it.
app store first look apps” src=”http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/pebble-app-store-first-look-apps.jpg” width=”710″ height=”391″ />
Next is a quick look at the various apps that you can download for the Pebble. App categories include fitness, tools and utilities, notifications, games, daily, and remotes. Just like the watchfaces section, there’s also a splash screen that contains a few featured apps at the top. There are also special categories for Top Weekly Picks, Most Loved, and Essentials.
For those that know exactly what app they are looking for, there’s also a search icon that lets you type the name of the app.
The magic of the new Pebble AppStore isn’t necessarily that it introduces new functionality, it’s that it makes finding, installing and swapping apps and watchfaces as convenient as possible.
You might be thinking, “Everything that the Pebble App Store does could be done before”, and that’s true. The magic of the new Pebble AppStore isn’t necessarily that it introduces new functionality, it’s that it makes finding, installing and swapping apps and watchfaces as convenient as possible. Extra features like Locker also make the AppStore a welcome addition to the Pebble experience.
So there you have it! This concludes our first look at the beta version of the Pebble App Store for Android. Hopefully, the final version, without all the current kinks, will make its way to the Google Play Store very soon.
For those that have yet to pick up a Pebble watch of their own, stay tuned to Android Authority, where we’ll be sure to bring you a full review of the smartwatch as soon as firmware 2.0 is fully released.
Last week, CyanogenMod GalleryNext beta was announced and a public beta was opened to the community. So far results have been mixed. Many people love the the replacement app, touting how much better it is than the standard AOSP gallery. Others are a bit more conservative in their praise. So we decided we were going to go hands on and take a quick look at GalleryNext to see what it was like for ourselves. Note, you can read our assessment below or watch it above. Your call.
Okay since this app is still in beta, we’re just going to go over the functionality and design pretty quickly so you can have an idea of what this is all about. As you can see, this is a gallery app so it does gallery app things like viewing photos and videos stored on your device.
As advertised you can sign into a few services to get your cloud-stored photos as well. This includes Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, and Dropbox. Signing in is easy enough and everything loads as quickly as you can reasonably expect it to.
Once everything is loaded in it can then be sorted a few different ways. You can view everything all at once in a tiled layout, view by album, and view by Moments. Moments is simply a bunch of photos that are grouped together by common things like date.
Of course, there are the basic functions of a gallery app that are present as well. There is a sharing function, the ability to view photo details, and support for photos, videos, and gifs.
In terms of design, CyanogenMod keeps it simple. There’s a left side slide out menu that lets you navigate around the app and everything is viewed in tile format. It’s color neutral so you don’t have to worry about it clashing with any themes. That’s really it folks, nice and simple.
So here’s a quick list of things we liked about it.
It’s very simple. There’s no complicated menus to deal with or weird, unfamiliar user interface elements. Just open the left side, pick the category you want to view, and then view content. Easy peasy.
The Moments feature works on all of your photos at once, or each source individually, which I thought was kind of cool.
Signing into the various cloud services is pretty easy.
Usually we do a list of things we didn’t like, but since this is a beta and some features may not be fully implemented and all the bugs may not be fully squashed yet, we’re going not going to give the app the same scrutiny we would give a fully released app.
There are some bugs that still need squashed. Again, it is a beta so this is expected but I did experience a crash or two while I was checking it out.
The only other thing are the number of cloud services available. Right now it’s just the four which is Facebook, Dropbox, Picasa, and Flickr. While that’ll be just fine for most people, support for additional services would be nice to see.
Overall, this is going to be a very solid gallery app offering when it’s finished. It’s simple and modern with enough functionality to put it head and shoulders above the standard AOSP gallery app. In most cases it’s quick and we’re sure bug fixes and optimizations will make it even better before it’s released.
If you want to check it out, we have a link to the Google+ community you can click this link and follow the instructions. It’s fairly easy, just join the community, become a beta tester, then download it. Keep in mind that this is not a finished product yet, so bad things will happen while you use this app until all the bugs get fixed. So if you’re not into being a beta tester, we recommend holding off for now.
A new video from Sony shows off all the components that go into its QX100 lens, the camera lens that can turn any smartphone into a high-quality point-and-shoot camera.
While Sony may not have a huge share of the Android smartphone market compared to the likes of Samsung, it is virtually untouchable in terms of image sensors. Based on Sony research data from April 2012 to March 2013, the company holds a 50% market share in images sensors for digital cameras and camcorders.
Not only is Sony popular in the digital camera market, it’s critically successful as well. Sony’s DSC-RX100M II is considered one of the best point-and-shoot cameras on the market. The QX line is Sony’s way of bringing its strength in that category to smartphones without sacrificing the size of the sensor.
Sony also uses its expertise in imaging inside its smartphones. The Xperia Z1S uses a 1/2.3” Exmor RA sensor, which is similar to the one found in the DSC-RX100M II, but made small enough to fit inside a phone.
Sony does license out its sensors to other manufacturers, but can’t put its imaging into every phone. The QX line helps that by giving anybody who wants it, a great sensor on the phone. Except it adds a lot of bulk, and the software could be better. It’s not a perfect solution by any means.
Do you think the QX line is a good idea? What do you look for in a camera? Or in a smartphone camera?
If you’ve been keeping up with our CES 2014 coverage, you know that Samsung unveiled a series of high-end tablets yesterday, in different sizes: the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4, 10.1, and 12.2-inch, along with the Note PRO, which features the S-Pen stylus.
With any new release, the first thought before making the choice to pick one up is with regards to how it stacks up against the competition. To help you answer that question, we’ll be taking a quick look at a comparison of the the newly announced Samsung TabPRO 8.4, against the very popular Google Nexus 7 (2013). Let’s get started!
Size and build
When it comes to size, the the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4, with its comparatively larger display (8.4-inches vs 7-inches), provides a lot more screen, while its sleek form factor and thin bezels, reduces any negative effect on portability. Even though the footprint of the Nexus 7 (2013) is significantly smaller, the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 is thinner. Understandably, a more accurate size comparison for the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 will be against the LG G Pad 8.3 and the iPad Mini.
The faux-leather plastic back with the stitching effect, that was first introduced with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, is also featured on the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4, making it comfortable to grip and hold, and great to look at. The Nexus 7 (2013), with its minimalistic soft touch plastic build, is also quite a stylish device.
As far as the display is concerned, the difference between the Nexus 7 (2013) and the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 is obvious. The Nexus 7 (2013) may bea big upgrade from its predecessor with its Full HD 1920×1200 (~323 ppi) resolution display, but the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 is definitely the better choice in this regard as well, boasting a whopping 2560×1600 resolution (~359 ppi).
The Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 tablet will run Android 4.4 KitKat at launch, with several features on top, including Samsung’s new Magazine UI, that aims to bring a cleaner, more organized look to the tablet with its resizable widgets layout, and is a much needed upgrade. There is no S-Pen stylus, but that shouldn’t affect productivity needs in any way. On the other hand, the Nexus 7 (2013) features the stock version of Android, and while currently also running Android 4.4 Kitkat, will also be among the first devices to receive any future OS update.
Nexus 7 (2013)
Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4
7-inch IPS LCD, 1920×1200 resolution, 323 ppi
8.4-inch Super Clear LCD, 2560×1600 resolution, 359 ppi
200 x 114 x 8.7 mm, 290 grams (Wi-Fi only), 299 grams (3G/LTE)
219 x 128.5 x 7.2 mm, 331 grams (Wi-Fi only), 336 grams (3G/LTE)
Conclusion at a glance
As you can see, the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 is miles ahead of the Nexus 7 (2013) when it comes to specifications. Of course, the biggest selling point, and the reason the Nexus line of devices is so popular, is its price point. While no official information on pricing is available, we expect the Galaxy TabPRO series to be towards the higher end of the price spectrum, and could be one of the few reasons for consumers to think twice before picking one up.
[#protected_0#] has just unveiled a new color option for its Galaxy Note 3 in Korea. Those who are dissatisfied with the smartphone’s original colors or the variety of colorful covers now have another color to choose from.
Not that the Galaxy Note 3 is lacking in color. The first models are available in Jet Black, Classic White and Blush Pink. Not only that, there are numerous cases, both the wallet and the S View Cover type, available with different colors and shades. Not to mention the myriad of unofficial accessories available to dress up the device. It’s probably still a different thing when your smartphone comes in the exact color you want without need for an additional accessory purchase.
While those dying for a blue handset might be disappointed, fans of red will probably welcome the new Merlot Red option with open arms. Except for the display and the parts that are painted with a metallic sheen, this Galaxy Note 3 model is undeniably red all over, from the front-facing bezel to the faux leather back cover. Even the S Pen is in red!
There are no details on when this new option will be available in Korean markets or if it will cost extra. It is also unlikely that it will even appear in US markets. China, however, seems to have it good as not only does it have the Merlot Red variant, it is also said to be getting a Rose White Gold version as well.
Both Samsung and LG are pioneers of what could become a very popular trend very soon, with their respective curved display smartphones. But how do the two compare to each other? Does this increasing focus on form factor lead us to this natural evolution? Are curved displays a good thing? Are they even necessary? Let’s take a quick look at a comparison between the Samsung Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex!
With its larger 6-inch display (compared to the 5.7-inch display of the Galaxy Round), the LG G Flex is definitely the bigger of the two smartphones. This difference in size may be the deciding factor for a lot of consumers, either for or against the G Flex, especially if you’re not used to handling devices of this size.
But, if you’ve caught our unboxing and first impressions videos of the Galaxy Round and the G Flex, you’ll know that the “problem” associated with large display device is mitigated, albeit slightly, because of the curved displays of both these smartphones. Because of the left to right curve of the Galaxy Round, access across the device is somewhat easier because of the curve. Similarly, because of the top to bottom curve of the G Flex, access to the top of the smartphone, whether at the front to open the notification center, or at the back to access the button layout, is also easier. Overall, the curves do allow for easier handling, and if the upward trend in display sizes is to continue, curved displays could play a big role in making life simpler.
As far as the display of both these smartphones are concerned, the difference between the Samsung Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex is obvious. The Galaxy Round features a 5.7-inch AMOLED display with 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 386 ppi, while the G Flex features a 6-inch Plastic OLED display with 720p resolution, and a pixel density of 245 ppi.
LG’s G Flex design is curved from top to bottom.
Before jumping to pick a winner based on specs, it’s important to note that the display of the G Flex is still quite impressive, and definitely works with the curve. For example, if you’re scrolling up and down a website, you do get the sense that the elements on the screen are bending to the curve, which is really nice. While the curved display of the Galaxy Round is also equally noticeable, the natural feeling is missing, with Samsung relying on the software, such as the side ways scrolling transitions on the homescreens, to provide that illusion.
The Samsung Galaxy Round’s curvature is from side to side
Granted, at the end of the day, if you’re looking for a high resolution display, the Samsung Galaxy Round is the definite choice, but the the 720p display of the G Flex is no slouch either, and should also provide a pleasurable viewing experience.
When it comes to the software, you’re getting familiar versions of the Samsung TouchWiz UI and the LG Optimus UI with their respective smartphones.
TouchWiz remains the same as what we’ve become used to seeing recently, but the Galaxy Round includes some new features that are designed to take advantage of the curve, such as Quick Glance. Tilting the phone opens a small notifications window, which is very cool. Unfortunately, in its current version, there is on occasion a little bit of delay, and you may be better off using some of Samsung’s other staple features, such as Air Gestures, for quick access to what you need.
While limited, the Galaxy Round does take advantage of the curve on the software front, and the LG G Flex is found wanting in this regard. In our first look, there don’t seem to be that many features or functions that make use of the curved form factor of the device. In the case of the LG G Flex, the stand out feature is more on the physical side, with it being possible to flatten the smartphone with some amount of force.
Samsung Galaxy Round
LG G Flex
5.7-inch, Super Flexible AMOLED, 1920 x 1080, 386 ppi
Opera has spent 2013 revamping their entire mobile browser interface. Earlier this year, we reviewed all the big changes to Opera Browser. With their latest big update, there is now a brand new Opera tablet UI that optimizes the look and feel for tablets. If you’d rather watch than read, check out the video above.
Opera tablet UI
Even though there are a lot of changes, many of them are subtle. To start, Opera takes advantage of the increased screen real estate on tablet screens by using a real tab system like you’d find on desktop browsers. This differs from the phone browser which uses the Chrome-like Square with numbers to denote tabs open.
Another change you’ll notice is the settings menu. Instead of opening the settings to the full screen, you instead get a windowed settings menu that you can click out of without using the back button. It looks nice and it doesn’t make you reach for that back button.
Other UI enhancements involve moving as many things to the left and right sides as possible. Adding things to the Speed Dial is now in the top right where you can get it to it with your thumb. Replacing it on the left side of the address bar, where it is on phones, is an icon that’ll take you quickly to speed dial.
Aside from moving buttons around, the new settings, and the actual tabs, everything else remains the same. Since there is more screen real estate, the app feels like it makes better use of the space and everything looks more spaced out and comfortable. It does not have that cramped feeling of a phone browser and we liked that a lot.
Overall, we liked this new UI improvement. It really takes advantage of the space provided by tablets while maintaining a user friendly interface by putting essential functions within the reach of a thumb. If you’re looking for a browser on your tablet, it’s worth giving this one a shot. You can pick it up by clicking the button.
While majority of users will be content with using Google Maps for most of their tasks, there will always be a market for more dedicated navigation tools. And to snag a significant part of that market, MapQuest is upgrading its mobile app with some new features, which can all be yours for no cost.
It has been more than two years since MapQuest was kind enough to launch an Android app to wean its users off a more cumbersome browser-based experience on their mobile device. Even back then, the app already featured the basics that you’d want in a navigation tool, such as real-time traffic and incident updates, voice search, and international coverage. Now the developers are taking the app to the next level by releasing the next major version of the app.
The biggest, and naturally the most visible, change to MapQuest is its fancy new look. Not only has the user interface been updated to more modern Android style guidelines, the maps themselves boast of high-resolution vector quality, with improved zoom and cartography. Interactive map layers have also been added to ease the process of looking for popular spots nearby. The app now also has a very visible ETA status bar that includes both time and distance estimates that take traffic into consideration. Of course, no decent navigation tool will be without voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation. The app even has a one-click feature that lets you share your location via SMS, social networks, or email, should the need arise.
MapQuest might be facing some tough competition ahead now that Google has started integrating crowdsource-based Waze information into its Maps app. Still, for a very low price of free, it wouldn’t hurt to add this latest version of MapQuest to your traveling arsenal.