Subject: Mobile | September 4, 2013 - 11:45 AM | Drew Hendricks
Tagged: wimm, smartwatch, google, Android
In an effort to bolster its own trek into the much-hyped smartwatch market, Google has acquired android smartwatch developer WIMM Labs. This may be new news to you, but this stealthy acquisition occurred well over a year ago, with most of the world none the wiser—WIMM casually shuttered its operations and alluded to an “exclusive, confidential relationship”—until tech news company, GigaOM leaked the details of the merger .
Since GigaOM spoke up, there has been a deluge of activity to back their claim: Investment bank Woodside Capital Partners posted an image practically screaming that they had assisted with the merger, and a number of WIMM employees are updating their online profiles to state that they now work for Google. The purchase of WIMM labs will give Google a massive edge in the upcoming smartphone wars and here is how:
Like many manufacturers of Android hardware, WIMM has implemented a unique ecosystem exclusive to its devices, but unlike most other manufacturers, the WIMM Micro App Store features an independent third party developer program; this means that much like Google’s own Play Store—the primary Android marketplace—that anyone with a great app idea can build a Google smartwatch-ready app. This added capability doesn’t just mean a few extra apps for your smartwatch, though. It also will allow app integration, so that alarm clock set up on your Android smartphone or tablet will buzz on your watch, your calendar will literally always be on hand, and your highly important notes will always be accessible. The WIMM/Google Micro Apps will also operate with unique independence from their phone and tablet-bases cousins. A Google Smartwatch Micro App could, for instance, remotely control your smartphone, enabling you to make phone calls, play music, or power down the device.
The Micro App Store is important, but the hardware and personnel benefits that came with the WIMM acquisition should not be ignored; any patents that WIMM owned are now at Google’s disposal, and with other tech giants, such as Apple looking for a reason to sue anybody for “stealing their ideas,” and with those patent troll companies still being a drain on legitimate business ventures, the WIMM patent portfolio could go a long way in protecting Google’s interests from the legal sharks. Also, the wealth of knowledge about the Micro App Store’s inner workings will go a long way in streamlining the Play Store/Micro App Store app integration process.
Image source: GigaOM
The WIMM acquisition proves that Google is dead serious about playing its hand in the smartwatch wars; consumers should be on the lookout for a “Google Nexus Smartwatch,” and seriously consider buying into the capabilities of such a device, and owning one themselves.
Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2013 - 07:26 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, ota update, nexus 7, gps, google, Android
Google’s new Nexus 7 was released in July with updated hardware and Android 4.3. One of the changes to the platform was the switch from the original Nexus 7’s Tegra 3 processor for a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC. Qualcomm also built the GPS (and GLONASS) unit. Unfortunately, some users ran into issues with the GPS and touchscreen on the updated Nexus 7 due to software bugs.
In response, Google is rolling out an Over The Air (OTA) update to all new Nexus 7 devices. Among other minor bug fixes, the JSS15Q update resolves the GPS and multi-touch issues. Previously, the GPS would randomly drop the connection and a smaller number of users reported that touching the screen would initiate screen presses at multiple (unintended) areas of the screen on a shared axis from the actual touch point.
AnandTech reports that the JSS15Q update, which is being slowly rolled out to all of the 2013 edition Nexus 7 devices, has resolved the GPS issue. The XDA Developers site further reports that the update addresses the mult-itouch and user data eMMC corruption bugs.
Nexus 7 users can either wait for the JSS15Q update or flash the device with an updated Google-provided ROM.
Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2013 - 03:58 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: verizon, smartphone, physical keyboard, LG, enact, Android
LG recently launched a new slider smartphone called the Enact on the US Verizon network. The new smartphone pairs low-to-midrange hardware with a physical keyboard and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
The LG Enact measures 4.37” x 2.06” x 0.62” and weighs 5.99 ounces. A black chassis surrounds a 4” touchscreen display with a resolution of 800 x 400 and front-facing VGA webcam. A physical keyboard slides out from the left side of the phone and a 5MP camera (with auto-focus) is located on the back of the smartphone along with a LED flash. The keyboard’s five row layout includes full qwerty and a top number row along with arrow keys in the bottom-right corner.
Internal specifications include a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8930 SoC, 8GB of internal storage, wireless radios, and a 2,460 mAH Li-ion battery. The MSM8930 SoC includes a dual core ARM CPU clocked at 1.2GHz and a Adreno 305 GPU. Wireless functionality includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS. The smartphone runs Android 4.1.2.
The LG Enact has a full retail price of $349.99, and a subsidized price of $19.99 with a 2 year contract through the Verizon website. The smartphone has modest specifications and an older version of Google’s mobile operating system, but it does offer up a physical keyboard and is the latest in an increasingly rare product type.
The Densest 2.5 Hours Imaginable
Subject: General Tech, Systems | July 14, 2013 - 08:51 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: utilite, ubuntu, silent, SFF, linux, fanless, cortex-a9, compulab, arm, Android
CompuLab has announced a new fanless, small form factor PC called the Utilite. This new PC comes from the same company that engineered the MintBox, MintBox 2, and Fit PC series. The Utilite is a low-power desktop PC powered by a quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor and runs either Ubuntu Linux or Google’s Android operating system.
The upcoming Utilite measures 5.3” x 3.9” x 0.8”(135 x 100 x 21mm) and consumes anywhere between 3W and 8W of power depending on the particular hardware configuration. It is designed to be a quiet desktop replacement with plenty of IO.
CompuLab will provide single core, dual core, and quad core CPU SKUs. Specifically, the Utilite is powered by a Freescale i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor that is clocked at up to 1.2 GHz. Users will be able to further configure the system with up to 4GB of DDR3 1066 MHz memory and a 512GB mSATA SSD. Storage can be further expanded using Micro SD-XC cards (maximum of 128GB per card). The GPU in the SoC is compatible with OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 as well as OpenVG 1.1 and OpenCL EP. It is capable of hardware decoding multi-stream 1080p video in a variety of common formats.
Wireless functionality includes an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi card and Bluetooth 3.0.
The Utilite has a dark gray case with silver front and rear bezels.
The front of the Utilite PC features the following IO options in addition to the power button and indicator LEDs.
- 1 x USB OTG (Micro USB)
- 1 x RS232 (ultra mini serial connector)
- 1 x Micro SD card slot
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 2 x 3.5mm audio jacks (line in, line out)
The rear of the PC hosts:
- 1 x DC power input
- 1 x Wi-Fi antenna
- 1 x RS232 (ultra mini serial connector)
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jacks
- 2 x HDMI video outputs
According to fanless PC guru FanlessTech, CompuLab will be releasing the ARM-powered Utilite mini PC next month with a starting price of $99 and a variety of SKUs with varying amounts of CPU cores, memory, and storage. The Utilite PC is a bit on the expensive side, but this is a system for industrial and enterprise use as well as consumers, and Olivier from FanlessTech notes that build quality should be on par with those goals/industry aims.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 6, 2013 - 01:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: htc, financial results, Android
Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has released financial results for its Q2 2013. All things considered, HTC had a good quarter, but it is still far from reaching the performance of the prior year.
HTC had quarterly revenue of approximately $2.35 billion (NT $70.7 billion), net income of $41.5 million (NT $1.25 billion), and Earnings Per Share (EPS) of $0.05 (NT $1.50).
The previous quarter (Q1'13) saw HTC achieve revenue of $1.42 billion (NT $42.8 billion), net profit of $2.82 million (NT $85 million), and EPS of $.003 (NT $0.10). The company's HTC One smartphone is likely a contributor to the improved performance QoQ.
Year over Year (YoY), HTC is still down quite a bit. In Q2 of 2012, HTC had revenue of $3.02 billion (NT $91.04 billion), net profit of $245.6 million (NT $7.4 billion), and EPS of $0.30 (NT $8.90). The following chart shows the figures in USD in a handy table.
|Q2 2013||Q1 2013||Q2 2012|
|Revenue||$2.35 Billion||$1.42 Billion||$3.02 Billion|
|Net Income||$41.5 Million||$2.82 Million||$245.6 Million|
|Earnings Per Share||$0.05||$0.003||$0.30|
YoY, HTC's Q2 revenue is down about 22% while net profit and EPS are both down about 83% respectively. The recent financial report is not all bad news, however. HTC is recovering from its fall and saw a positive increase over the first quarter of 2013 with 65.5% higher quarterly revenue. Profit and EPS also saw a massive jump over the previous quarter. The HTC announcement did not include and outlook for investors, but the company is refocusing on quality hardware and had a positive quarter.
Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2013 - 08:52 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xperia z, xperia, triluminos, sony, Android
Sony has a new smartphone on the way called the Xperia Z Ultra. This 6.4” tablet-sized smartphone uses high end hardware and will be available in Q3 2013.
The Xperia Z Ultra measures 17.9 cm x 9.2 cm x 0.65 cm and weighs in at 212 grams (approximately 0.47 lbs). The front of the device is dominated by a large 6.4” Triluminos display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080p (342 PPI). Users will be able to use touch or a capacitive stylus to interact with the screen. The back of the smartphone includes an 8MP camera (no flash). The chassis is IP55 and IP58 rated as being dust resistant and waterproof.
Hardware.info was able to get some hands-on time with the upcoming Sony phablet.
Internally, the Xperia Z Ultra features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC clocked at 2.2 GHz along with Adreno 330 graphics, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and support for microSD cards. Wireless radios include 4G, NFC, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. A 3,000 mAh battery provides power to the smartphone, which Sony rates at 14 hours of usage per full charge. It will run Google's Android operating system.
Hardware.info managed to get some hands on time with the Xperia Z Ultra, and it looks like a promising device. The crew stated that the display had some of the best viewing angles they have seen on Sony devices, for example. According to the site, Sony will be releasing the Xperia Z Ultra in the third quarter of this year for 719 Euros, which works out to about $940 USD. However, keep in mind that if/when the smartphone does come to the US, it will likely be subsidized to a much lower price point.
Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2013 - 04:19 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: toshiba excite write, toshiba, tegra 4, computex 2013, computex, Android
Computex Taipei is not only about gaming notebooks, desktops, and PC components; it is also about tablets!
One such tablet to make its debut at Computex 2013 is the Excite Write from Toshiba. It is a 10.1" dockable tablet with a touchscreen, 8MP rear camera, Harmon Kardon audio, and best of all, an active Wacom digitizer with 1024 pressure sensitivity levels. The 10.1" Gorilla Glass 2 touchscreen has an impressive resolution of 2560 x 1600, which is the same resolution as Google's Nexus 10 tablet. The Write tablet can be docked with the same keyboard case/dock that the Toshiba Excite Pro uses. The Excite Write runs Android 4.2 and comes pre-loaded with Toshiba's TruNote and TruCapture note taking applications.
Internally, the Excite is powered by a quad core NVIDIA Tegra 4 SoC and 32GB of internal storage (can be expanded with a microSD card),
Toshiba will begin selling the 10.1" Excite Write for $600 next month. Providing the build quality is up to par, it looks like a decent option for students wanting something lightweight but capable, especially with more class material moving online or to eBook formats.
Read more about Tegra 4 at PC Perspective!
Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2013 - 08:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: smartphone, optimus f5, LG, jelly bean, Android
LG has launched a new Android smartphone with 4G LTE connectivity. The new LG Optimus F5 is available in France now, and will be rolled out worldwide later this month. It measures 126 x 64.5 x 93mm and comes in either glossy white or piano black. Its specifications are not anything surprising, but this is not a new flagship smartphone. Rather, LG is positioning the mobile device as an affordable LTE smartphone.
On the outside, the LG Optimus F5 features a 4.3” IPS qHD display with a resolution of 960x540 (256 PPI). Above the display is a 1.3MP webcam while the rear of the smartphone hosts a 5MP camera with autofocus.
Internally, the LG Optimus F5 is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. LG is using a beefy 2,150 mAh battery which should give it decent battery life even when connected to 4G LTE networks. The phone also supports microSD cards for expandable storage up to 32GB. The Optimus F5 is running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
The new Optimus F5 smartphone will be available soon in France and worldwide towards the end of May. LG has not yet released specific pricing information, however.
Subject: General Tech | April 27, 2013 - 05:42 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wearable computing, ti omap, omap 4430, google glasses, android 4.0.4, Android
Earlier this month, Google announced some of the key specifications of its Google Glass project. However, the company left out just how much RAM the device would have or what the exact System on a Chip (SoC) would power the Android device.
Now that the Google Glass glasses are making their way to developers, those as-yet-unknown details are fairly-certain. Google Glass developer Jay Lee managed to access the device using ADB and discovered that the device offered up 682MB of RAM (accessible to developers) and a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 SoC. Google Glass likely has 1GB of total RAM, but the operating system and other necessary device-level processes are likely responsible for reserving the remaining 342MB chunk of RAM. The TI OMAP 4430 is the same SoC that is powering the Amazon Kindle Fire and a number of other mobile devices released last year. Because of battery life constraints, Google is most likely not running the chip at its maximum 1GHz clock speed. In the Google+ discussion, developer Kevin Fitch speculated that it is likely clocked at 600MHz due to the cores’ BogoMIPS scores.
The remaining Google Glass specifications include Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream sandwich), 16GB of internal storage, a 5MP camera, and support for both 802.11g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It is essentially a mid-range smartphone hidden away inside a pair of glasses. At $1500, the first round of Google Glass was solely for developers, but once Google rolls it into production next year, judging by the internals, it should be much cheaper.
Are you excited for Google Glass? If you are curious about the software or hardware, Jay Lee is taking questions on his Google + thread.
Get notified when we go live!