Announced just this past June at last year’s Google I/O event, Android TV is a platform developed by Google, running Android 5.0 and higher, that aims to create an interactive experience for the TV. This platform can be built into a TV directly as well as into set-top style boxes, like the NVIDIA SHIELD we are looking at today. The idea is to bring the breadth of apps and content to the TV through the Android operating system in a way that is both convenient and intuitive.
NVIDIA announced SHIELD back in March at GDC as the first product to use the company’s latest Tegra processor, the X1. This SoC combines an 8-core big.LITTLE ARM processor design with a 256-core implementation of the NVIDIA Maxwell GPU architecture, providing GPU performance previously unseen in an Android device. I have already spent some time with the NVIDIA SHIELD at various events and the promise was clearly there to make it a leading option for Android TV adoption, but obviously there were questions to be answered.
Today’s article will focus on my early impressions with the NVIDIA SHIELD, having used it both in the office and at home for a handful of days. As you’ll see during the discussion there are still some things to be ironed out, some functionality that needs to be added before SHIELD and Android TV can really be called a must-buy product. But I do think it will get there.
And though this review will focus on the NVIDIA SHIELD, it’s impossible not to marry the success of SHIELD with the success of Google’s Android TV. The dominant use case for SHIELD is as a media playback device, with the gaming functionality as a really cool side project for enthusiasts and gamers looking for another outlet. For SHIELD to succeed, Google needs to prove that Android TV can improve over other integrated smart TV platforms as well as other set-top box platforms like Boxee, Roku and even the upcoming Apple TV refresh.
But first, let’s get an overview of the NVIDIA SHIELD device, pricing and specifications, before diving into my experiences with the platform as a whole.
Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2015 - 12:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Android, Samsung, htc, Nexus
It seems that the factory reset for Android 4.3 and below is flawed, in that researchers were able to recover data from wiped phones. Two University of Cambridge scientists tested 21 phones from Samsung, HTC, Nexus and 2 other unspecifed vendors all running versions of Android ranging from 2.3 to 4.3 and were able to recover data from a supposedly wiped phone. They did not test newer versions and so are unsure if the problem has been rectified nor did Google respond to The Register when they inquired. The researchers had a success rate of 80% for recovering tokens for Google and Facebook and could even recover encryption keys, although the keys were still password protected they could be brute forced. Make sure to encrypt your phone with a long password before you wipe it and sell it, give it away or toss it out!
"Half a billion Android phones could have data recovered and Google accounts compromised thanks to flaws in the default wiping feature, University of Cambridge scientists Laurent Simon and Ross Anderson have claimed."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- No, Your SSD Won't Quickly Lose Data While Powered Down @ Slashdot
- Microsoft brings Office 365 feel to Outlook.com @ The Inquirer
- New Windows 10 Build 10122 aims to fix file association hijacking @ The Register
- Colorful rising fast in graphics card market @ DigiTimes
- BlackBerry: we ARE cutting jobs AGAIN @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2015 - 12:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: remote access, gps., google, Android
Looking for your phone? Well, Google will now let you literally search for it. A recent update to its Android Device Manager service, the search giant now allows users to type "find my phone" into Google search. So long as you have Android Device Manager turned on (and some sort of network connection) and you have the latest version of Google's Search application installed on your Android phone, you will be presented with the phone's location on Google Maps along with options to ring the device at the loudest volume, remotely lock the device with a new password, or remotely wipe it altogether. Note that you will need to be signed into your Google account on the PC to access these options, and you may need to re-enter your password. Hopefully you have a trusted PC (or backup codes) available that you will not have to authenticate with your, well, (lost) phone if you have two factor authentication turned on.
If your smartphone is nearby you can have Google ring the device at its loudest volume for up to five minutes (once you find it you can stop the ringing by pressing the power button).
The remote lock is handy if it appears the phone has simply been left behind somewhere relatively secure while the erase option is handy if the phone is on the move and appears to be stolen. If you don't have a backup of your data, you might try calling it first to see if you can get it back, otherwise it is best to erase it, report it stolen to the authorities and chalk it up to a lesson learned (backup, backup, and backup again! Bittorrent Sync makes this easy, btw).
On the phone side of things, you will get a notification card along with a timestamp of when the device was located by ADM. This locate, ring, lock, and erase functionality has been around for a couple of years now, but it is now even easier to use and all you have to do to get to it is run an intuitive Google search of "find my phone". It works well and is definitely a welcome update. More information can be found here.
This has been a public service announcement from PC Perspective. Stay vigilant out there folks!
Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2015 - 03:02 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Intel, compute stick, baytrail, asus, x205ta, SM951, NVMe, XP941, windows 10, SSD 750, acer, XR341CKA, gamebench, ios, Android
PC Perspective Podcast #346 - 04/23/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Intel Compute Stick, ASUS X205TA, Samsung PCIe SSDs and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:18:28
Psst, hey buddy I got some nice Android apps for you cheap! They just fell off the back of a truck ya know.
Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2015 - 12:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Android, security
If you are running a device with Android 4.3 or earlier you should avoid third-party app stores; arguably all users should but there are times when Google Play does not offer what you need. A security problem with the way that APK files are authenticated during install can allow a seemingly harmless app to be modified, either at the source or while being transmitted, leading to the installation of an app that may not be entirely honest about what it does. Palo Alto Network's testing shows versions 4.4+ do not suffer from this particular problem nor do the vetted apps at the Google Play store. It is unlikely you will encounter this problem unless you usually install things from places like Creepy Ice Cream Van Discount Apps and Malware, but you should be aware of the existence of this issue. More at The Inquirer.
"A FRESH VULNERABILITY CALLED Android Installer Hijacking is making itself known as a threat to almost half of all Android users."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The New Place Where Linux & Other Open-Source Code Is Constantly Being Benchmarked @ Phoronix
- Adobe Flash fix FAIL exposes world's most popular sites @ The Register
- No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory @ Slashdot
- Australian Company Creates Even Faster 3D Printer @ Slashdot
- First figures in and it doesn't look good for new internet dot-words @ The Register
Subject: Mobile | March 24, 2015 - 07:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Android, linux, smartwatch
Linux.com offers you a shopping list of smartwatches which are all less expensive than the fruit flavoured models and run Android or Linux. From familiar models like the Pebble and the older and less impressive Neptune Pine and Omate TrueSmart to leaked models like the Tizen-based Samsung Orbis you have quite a few choices to look through. There is even Monohm's large Runcible that is more of a pocket watch than a wrist watch to consider. In many cases the details are a bit lacking but the model names are known so you can get a leg up on your research for when they are finally revealed with full specifications.
"Much to the delight of Apple fanbots everywhere, Apple has now fully unveiled the Apple Watch. The watch, which was previewed in September, will go on sale April 10 and ship on the 24th. Based on its brand name, styling, accessories, and battery life claims, it will likely be a big hit -- at least as far as smartwatches go."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- ASUS ZenFone 6 Mobile @ Kitguru
- Kingston Technologies Mobile Lite G4 Media Reader @ Bjorn3d.com
- Kingston Technologies Data Traveler microDuo 3 @ Bjorn3d
- Seagate Wireless 500GB mobile storage drive @ Kitguru
- Startech Universal USB 3.0 Laptop Docking Station @ Bjorn3d
- MSI GE62 2QD Apache @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2015 - 01:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DuOS, Android
Be it for development reasons or a serious addiction to a certain game, there are those who find themselves wanting to run Android on a device larger than a phone or tablet. For a mere $10 you can pick up DuOS, a supported Android emulator which will run on a PC, or at least a modern Intel powered machine as the emulator uses VT-x to run properly which is a shame for AMD users. It will not run on ARM hardware but it is ARM v-7 compliant so you can use applications designed for the chip that most mobile hardware runs on with DuOS. The footprint on your machine is tiny, 16GB maximum and you can root the installation very quickly if you are looking to test your modifications to the Android OS before installing them on your phone. Techgage does mention that there is no help menu and you will need to update the application manually so plan to spend some time on the DuOS forums if you will be making use of this software.
"With so many devices out there, on many different operating systems, deciding which one you should purchase can be difficult. DuOS helps lessen that burden by providing an Android tablet experience on your Windows computer. Does DuOS step beyond the barriers that currently divide these OS’s, or are we still locked into one OS per device?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cisco uncovers PoSeidon malware targeting point of sale systems @ The Inquirer
- Gmail-Friendly Email Clients Available on Linux @ Linux.com
- The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Introduces the Doomsday Dashboard @ The Bulletin
Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2015 - 04:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: z3580, venue 8 7000, venue, tablet, silvermont, moorefield, Intel, dell, atom z3580, Android
Dell's Venue 8 7000 tablet sports an 8.4" 2560x1600 OLED display and is powered by the Moorefield based Atom Z3580 SOC, 2GB LPDDR3-1600 with 16GB internal of internal storage with up to a 512GB Micro SD card supported. Even more impressive is that The Tech Report had no issues installing apps or moving files to the SD card with ES File Explorer, unlike many Android devices that need certain programs to reside on the internal storage media. Like Ryan, they had a lot of fun with the RealSense Camera and are looking forward to the upgrade to Lollipop support. Check out The Tech Report's opinion of this impressive Android tablet right here.
"Dell's Venue 8 7000 is the thinnest tablet around, and that's not even the most exciting thing about it. This premium Android slate packs a Moorefield-based Atom processor with quad x86 cores, a RealSense camera that embeds 3D depth data into still images, and a staggeringly beautiful OLED display that steals the show. Read on for our take on a truly compelling tablet."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Works Great As A Linux Ultrabook @ Phoronix
- Cooler Master NotePal ERGOSTAND III Review @ Techgage
- Portable Smartphone Battery Pack Roundup @ eTeknix
- Sandberg Outdoor Powerbank 10400 mAh Review @ NikKTech
- Xiaomi Mi4 64GB Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
Flagship. Premium. Best in class. These are the terms that Dell and Intel muttered to me during a conference call to discuss the new Dell Venue 8 7000 tablet. It’s a bullish claim and one that would likely have been received with a sideways eye roll or a shrug had I not been able to get a short amount of hands on time with the device at CES in January. The idea that Dell would develop an Android tablet that bests what more established brands like Nexus and Samsung have created, AND that that same tablet would be powered by an Intel processor rather than a Qualcomm, NVIDIA or Samsung chip would have seemed laughable last year. But after a solid three weeks with the Venue 8 7000 I am prepared to make the statement: this is my favorite tablet. Not my favorite Intel tablet, not my favorite Android tablet: just plain favorite.
The Venue 8 7000 combines style, design, technology and visuals that are simply unmatched by anything else in the Android word and rivals anything that Apple has created to date. There are a couple of warts that center around the camera and gaming performance that won’t drop your jaw, but for the majority of use cases the user experience is as exceptional as the looks.
Maybe best of all, this tablet starts at just $399 and is available today.
Dell Venue 8 7000 Specifications
Let’s begin the review by looking at the raw specifications of the Dell Venue 8 7000. Even though hardware specifications don’t tell a complete story of any device, especially a tablet that is based so much on experience, it is important to get a good baseline expectation.
|Dell Venue 8 7000 (Model 7840)|
|Processor||Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-Core 2.33 GHz|
|Screen||2560x1600 OLED 8.4-in (359 ppi)|
MicroSD Slot (up to 512GB)
|Camera||8MP Rear + Dual 720p Depth
|Wireless||Intel 7260 802.11ac 1x1 Dual Band
|Connection||USB 2.0 (power and data)
|Dimensions||215.8mm x 124.4mm x 6mm
8.5" x 4.88" x 0.24"
The center of the Venue 8 7000 is the Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processor with a peak clock rate of 2.3 GHz and a base clock rate of 500 MHz. The Z3580 is a 22nm processor based on the Moorefield platform and Silvermont architecture. I first got information about the Silvermont architecture back in May of 2013 so it seems a bit dated in some regards, but the performance and power efficiency is still there to compete with the rival options from ARM.. The Venue 8 7000 includes an LPDDR3-1600 controller and there is 2GB of memory; a decent amount but we are seeing quite a few smartphones with more system memory like the OnePlus One.
Subject: Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ZenFone 2, zenfone, smartphone, lollipop, ces 2015, CES, asus, Android 5.0, Android
ASUS has announced the all-new ZenFone 2 (model ZE551ML, if you prefer), their 5.5-inch flagship smartphone in the ZenFone family.
The ZenFone 2 has a new ergonomic design that tapers to a slim 3.9mm at the edges, and the front is dominated by a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display (1080x1920) with 403-ppi pixel density and a 178-degree viewing angle. (Does this sound familiar, Apple iPhone 6 Plus?) The ZenFone 2 also features 13MP rear and 5MP front “PixelMaster” cameras, and is powered by a quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom processor with 4GB RAM, and 4G/LTE connectivity from the Intel SoC.
Specs are useless without an interface, and ASUS is using the latest version of Android, 5.0 “Lollipop”. This is not “stock” android, however, as ASUS is using a new version of their ZenUI, which they claim is “the world’s first fully-customizable interface”. The phone is bundled with Trend Micro security software as well (ah, bundled software) and gets its juice from a large 3000mAh battery with fast-charging technology (which I personally find indispensable with my Nexus 6).
Available in all of these phone-tastic colors
The screen is protected by the industry-standard Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which has an anti-fingerprint coating to reduce friction. One odd design feature is the position of the volume control, which is on the middle of the phone's back (just under the rear camera).
The ZenFone 2 will start at $199 USD (I would assume this is a contract price), but no specific word on availability yet.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!