Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Deal: HP Chromebook 14 – $204.95

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AH HP Chrome Chromebook 14-2

Right now, eBay has a pretty decent deal on the HP Chromebook 14, which a few of our editors swear by. It features a Haswell Celeron processor, so plenty of battery life. As well as a 14-inch 1366×768 resolution display, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of SSD storage. Of course, it’s got all the normal ports and such on board. This is a manufacturer refurbished version of the HP Chromebook 14, so if you don’t mind that then this is one I’d definitely recommend jumping on, as the HP Chromebook 14 is a great machine. Especially if you just need a web browser.

HP Chromebook 14 – eBay

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Lenovo X2 Smartphone Gets Certified By TENAA

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Lenovo X2_7

Lenovo is doing extremely well as a company. Their net income rose 23% and smartphone shipments grew 39%, which is great. If you consider that PC business accounts for about 82% of company sales, you can imagine how well the company is doing on all fronts. Lenovo has great presence in Asia and Europe (along with some other markets) and when it bought Motorola Mobility from Google it gave Lenovo a way to enter North America markets as well.

This China-based company seems ready to launch 2 new devices, actually 2 somewhat different versions of the same device. Lenovo X2, which we haven’t heard much about up until now, has been certified by TENAA in China. The listing shows 2 versions of the device, X2-CU and X2-TO. the dimensions and design are same on both of these, as most of the specifications are. These devices have different processors though, X2-CU model is powered by an octa-core chip, most probably made by MediaTek. On the other hand, X2-TO model has a dual-core 2.2GHz processor inside. Both devices sport 5-inch IPS 1080p (1920 x 1080) display along with 2GB of RAM and either 16 or 32GB of internal storage. 13-megapixel camera is located on both of them as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter. Both of them will reportedly come with Android 4.4 KitKat pre-installed. The device(s) looks like something Sony would make, the resemblance is uncanny actually. That aside, the design seems to be spot on, the device(s) looks sleek and premium.

These devices will probably launch in China and work their way to the rest of Asian markets. No word on the release date, we also don’t know if Lenovo plans to bring either of these 2 models on other non-Asian markets. These devices might be really capable, judging by their specifications and considering the design resembles Sony’s Xperia flagship line, that’s a plus as well I guess. Sleek, elegant and powerful, at least it looks that way. What are your thoughts on this? Would you buy either version of these devices if they become available to you and they end up being really affordable?

Lenovo X2_1 Lenovo X2_2 Lenovo X2_3 Lenovo X2_4 Lenovo X2_5 Lenovo X2_6

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Featured Review: Bose QuietComfort 20 Earbuds

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If you have followed my on Google+ or even Twitter, you probably know my love for Bose’ headphones. I’ve been using the Bose ime2i headphones for about 3-4 years now and have loved them. Usually headphones would last me maybe a year, but these could probably last another 3-4 years. I also love the way the ime2i earbuds fit in my ears. I’ve found with many others that they fall out pretty easily, but my Bose earbuds don’t. Which is why I was excited to check out their Quiet Comfort 20 earbuds.

Bose’ QuietComfort 20 earbuds are noise-cancelling headphones. They also have an inline mic with a few controls. Now the controls only work on Android, Windows and Blackberry devices for this particular model. They do also have the QuietComfort 20i earbuds which work with Apple products. So while the controls worked beautifully with my LG G3 and the Acer C720 Chromebook, they didn’t work on my Macbook Pro, unfortunately. But that’s not a big deal to me. As I mentioned already, do they have noise canceling ability which can be toggled on or off. Which is actually really nice, in my opinion.

As far as how they fit in your ear, they fit like a glove. And I absolutely love that. I hate wearing headphones while I’m working and all of a sudden they fall out of my ears. It really annoys me. But that doesn’t happen with the QuietComfort 20 or really any other Bose earbud. The sound quality is top-notch as you’d expect as well. It’s really hard to describe, but compared to other headphones I’ve used, including V-Moda, Bose’ sound quality is much better. Unlike Beats, it’s not more bass. It’s just more clarity, listen to some music on these, and you’ll fall in love.

Bose also includes a nice carrying case with the QuietComfort 20 earbuds. Which includes different ear tips, because not everyone has the same size ears, right? They are on sale now for about $299.95. Yes they are pretty expensive, but I promise you they are worth every penny. And that comes from the guy that paid $175 for his ime2i earbuds about 3-4 years ago from the Bose store.

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Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2 and Evolve 2 coming to T-Mobile USA Next Month

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Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 10.01.31 AM

This morning, Alcatel and T-Mobile announced that two of Alcatel’s new smartphones – the OneTouch Fierce 2 and Evolve 2 – are making their way to magenta next month. We don’t have pricing just yet for these two smartphones, but they are likely going to be around the $200 mark, and that’s full retail. So don’t expect anything spectacular.

Specs for the OneTouch Fierce 2 include 5-inch qHD display, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor (Likely Snapdragon 400), Android KitKat 4.4, 5 MP auto-focus main camera + VGA front camera, 1 GB RAM + 4GB of storage (expandable up to 32 GB with MicroSD) and a 2000 mAH battery. So not terrible, but you could probably do better. But we’ll know for sure once the prices are announced.

The OneTouch Evolve 2 specs include a 4” WVGA display, 1.3GHz dual-core processor, Android KitKat 4.4, 5MP main camera + VGA front camera, 512MB of RAM + 4GB of storage (expandable up to 32GB with MicroSD), and a 1400mAH battery.

Definitely not going to be competing against the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 or even the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. These are more in the Moto G and Moto E territory actually. Alcatel does make some nice looking devices, so at least they’ll be nice looking with great build quality, even if the specs aren’t the best. These phones would be perfect for those that don’t do much on their phones, you know checking email, checking Twitter, etc.

We’ll be looking for that official release date from T-Mobile and Alcatel, but so far it’s just set for September. Hopefully we’ll learn more soon. It’s great to see T-Mobile adding smartphones in all kinds of price points, with all kinds of specs. It’s great for those that want a good phone but don’t want to spend all outdoors for a new one. How many of you are interested in the OneTouch Fierce 2 or the Evolve 2? Let us know in the comments below.

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Dropbox Upgrades Pro Users to 1TB of Storage, Also Adds Security Features

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AH Dropbox logo 1.3

Many of you probably use Google Drive more than anything these days. Especially with Google Drive giving you 1TB of space, for just $9.99 a month. Well Dropbox is now doing the same. Previously you paid $9.99/month for just 100GB of storage. So upgrading that to 1TB for the same price is a pretty huge jump. But that’s just what Dropbox did today. With both Dropbox and Google Drive offering 1TB of storage for just $9.99 a month, the storage wars are definitely going to start heating up.

In addition to more space, Dropbox also added some more security features. So now if you share something, you can choose to let anyone open it, or if they need a password. You can also choose for the document to expire on a certain date. So when that date passes, no one will be able to view the document anymore. Which is actually pretty cool, as far as security goes. Because maybe you want people to see this document, but not the entire world, and putting a password on there makes it even easier.

Additionally, if you unlink a computer you can choose to have all your files wiped from that computer. Which is great for if you lose a computer, or you sell it/get rid of it, and forgot to take your documents off of it. Although you are supposed to do a full restore on it anyways. Nonetheless, it’s great to have a backup solution.

It’s great to see Dropbox attempting to compete more with Google Drive now. I think more people use Drive because of how integrated it is into other Google Services. But these upgrades may give people a reason to switch over to Dropbox. How many of you are going to start using Dropbox more now? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Xiaomi Stops Selling Mi3 In India After Five Weeks

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AH Xiaomi Logo 1.6

The Chinese-made Xiaomi Mi3 was revealed back in September 2013 as a 5-inch smartphone powered by the at-the-time high-end Snapdragon 800 processor. The device was announced as going on sale in India in July 2014. The launch was so successful that Xiaomi sold out in under 40 minutes on the launch day, helped in part by how Xiaomi manufacture their devices: in batches. This is in contrast to the big name manufacturers such as Sony, HTC and Samsung, who make devices in the hundreds of thousands. Xiaomi is still one of the smaller players in the smartphone market and presumably is only able to order a batch of handsets rather than establish an ongoing production line. However, this batch manufacturing process is a brilliant form of hunger marketing, taking a leaf from other well known manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung. After all, if a new smartphone has been launched but it’s only available in limited quantities, you’re going to want it, right?

Xiaomi’s hunger marketing tactics worked in India and now they’re pulling a successful and desirable handset from sale after just five weeks. This might just be a stroke of brilliance! Xiaomi selling the Mi3 in India was an important step for Xiaomi as a first step into selling the handsets outside of China and so far, their strategy appears to have worked.

The Mi3 is being replaced with the cheaper and less powerful Redmi 1S and Redmi Note devices. The Redmi 1S is based around a 1.6 GHz quad core Qualcomm processor with a 720p 4.7-inch screen but has a local price of just 5,999 Rupees, approximately $99. This compares with 13,999 Rupees for the Mi-3. The larger Redmi Note has a 1.4 GHz eight core MediaTek processor and a 720p 5.5-inch screen. The Note will sell for 8999 Rupees, around $150 and again significantly cheaper than the Mi3. Xiaomi are selling these in limited quantities, perhaps in the hope of continuing their successful hunger marketing strategy.

Xiaomi’s successful product launch in India will be followed by launches in Brazil and Russia before rolling out to other developing smartphone markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico. It doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Xiaomi devices for sale in the more developed US, UK or core European markets just yet but there is no doubt that the Chinese branded smartphones are coming.

What do you think of the Chinese handsets? Would you be interested in a high value device? Hit us up in the comments below.

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LG Once Again Tease the G Watch R in Facebook Post

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G Watch R Tease

These days, it’s pretty clear that technology gets people excited, and there’s no better way to get people even more excited than to keep on building the hype. It seems this is the route that LG is taking with their new G Watch R, a circular smartwatch they’re announcing next month in Berlin. In their latest teaser, the company has taken to their Facebook page, letting us know that during IFA next month, smart will be coming full circle. We’re given another little look at the watch itself, but no more than that.

Coupled with the other small, tantalizing teaser we were given over the weekend, it’s clear that LG is trying to keep a few secrets up their sleeves. Just what they are however, remains to be seen. With LG and Motorola to release circular Android Wear watches – and Samsung rumored to follow suit – it begs the question as to just what’s going to happen to square watches like the G Watch and the Gear Live. Will manufacturers be pushing more of these circular devices and forget about the square, more digital options? Personally, I’ve always preferred square watches, with the classic Braun designs from Dieter Rams being my favorite, but a circular watch certainly sounds more natural and will appeal to those regular watch wearers more than an unattractive black slab.

Right now there are more questions than there are answers, like for instance the resolution of the display on the G Watch R, or the internals. Will LG be using a faster processor, or will the specs be similar to the G Watch’s? We’ll have to wait and see, but with IFA just around the corner, we’ve not got much longer to wait and those looking for another choice for a round Android Wear watch besides the Moto 360 might want to pay close attention next month.

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Samsung Releases Four New Galaxy Note 4 Teasers, S Pen In Focus Yet Again

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 4.4

Samsung’s IFA “Unpacked” event is close and Samsung is trying to hype up its upcoming Galaxy Note 4 as much as possible. Two days ago they released an official teaser which focused on the S Pen and its capabilities in various situations. Now we have 4 more such teasers, courtesy of Samsung. These clips are similarly long to the one they released two days ago and they basically show a couple of people talking about the S Pen and how much they like using it. All four of these teasers are kind of… well, clicheic. Though we’re already used to it, that’s Samsung’s way of advertising. No wonder Samsung is focusing on their S Pen for advertising, that is Note’s differentiating factor. If you’re interested in these “Ready to Note?” teasers, you can find them below the article, each of them is approximately a minute and a half long.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 phablet is expected to sport a 5.7-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) display along with a Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor (or Exynos CPU for selected markets). Leaks were also touting 4GB of RAM and a 16-megapixel rear-facing shooter. The device will probably come with Android 4.4 KitKat (with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on top of it) pre-installed along with a support for MicroSD card in case you want to expand your memory. If Samsung will stick to its old ways, we’ll see a replaceable battery as well. New fingerprint features have also been rumored.

Samsung will announced Galaxy Note 4 on September 3rd at their “Unpacked” event as part of IFA in Berlin. We could see some other devices make an appearance there as well, but Samsung’s new phablet will most certainly take the spotlight away from them. There are many people out there waiting for this device to come out, since its initial launch in 2011, Galaxy Note line has grown into a serious brand. Many people all around the world simply love this phone. Phablets in general aren’t exactly my thing, though I did enjoy handling all three current Note devices. How about you, do you own a Note device and intend to buy the upcoming Note 4?

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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National Weather Service Website Allegedly Effected By Unnamed Android App

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AH National Weather Service

We all need our weather updates. OK, not all of us, but most of us probably like to stay on top of what the weather will be like on most days so that we might be able to better plan for the days ahead. If you use and frequent the US National Weather Service website to get your chunk of data and information, specifically if you have visited the site more recently like all of yesterday for example, you may have been experiencing issues with grabbing certain pieces of information, half loaded pages, or even accessing the website altogether. According to the National Weather Service and the source, this was all caused by an Android app.

Although the NWS had decided to keep the name of the app out of the media, which is probably a good thing for the developer as it was most likely an accident if this was actually the cause(dragging their name into it over such a matter would most certainly not help anything)it was said that the app who shall not be named was requesting frequent weather update data and information from the service too often and basically crashed the servers of the website. If this is what happened then the app is most likely an application that deals with weather, like a widget for example, which might grab weather information from the NWS as the source of data for users. While surely a problem for the NWS to have their site effected on such a large scale for near a full 24 hours, they have stated that the website is now back up.

Thankfully things seem to be up and running just fine and the NWS stated that they were working with the app’s developer to correct the issue that caused the hiccups to the site. While no major issues seem to have been a direct result of this tiny mishap, should it have not been caught as quickly as it was there could have been more problems due to site irregularities. The NWS reports that they are taking the necessary measures to prevent such things like this from happening in the future, although the event served as a good way to expose a flaw that it seems the website had and was not caught prior to now.

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KnC Wallet For Bitcoin Gets Updated With Easy Person To Person Payments

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AH KnC Wallet

If you primarily like to deal with things using digital currency, then it’s imperative that you have a digital wallet that matches your needs. One of the more popular digital forms of currency that gets used on a daily basis and is now even being accepted at some local businesses, is Bitcoin. One of the more popular Bitcoin applications designed specifically to give users easy access to their Bitcoin funds is KnC Wallet, and they have just announced the latest update which comes with some great new features that will serve a useful purpose to new and old users of the app alike. If you’re not already using a Bitcoin wallet app but you have Bitcoin currency in possession, KnC Wallet is worth a look. The app is free to use and free of ads as well, a loveable feature that anyone should appreciate.

In the latest update KnC Wallet makes it even easier than ever for users to send and receive Bitcoin to and from other users whether they be family or friends. Users can now send payments through a simple name search feature using or by simply choosing the desired phone number that you wish to send coin to. Sending coin to someone will require that they also have the KnC Wallet app installed on their device, once done coin can be sent back and forth freely any time you need to make a payment to someone, quickly and easily.

There are other useful features as well, like encrypted wallet backups to Google Drive and Dropbox, very useful if you like to keep copies of important data in the cloud just in case. Paying in person is also simple, as the app utilizes easy QR codes to accomplish in person payments. You can also use the app to add notes and messages to any of the purchases you make or transactions you complete to keep your activity organized, and you can import your paper wallets. Since the value of Bitocin can constantly fluctuate, KnC Wallet even keeps a record of up to date conversion values of your local currency so you can always be up to date on how much your personal Bitcoin is worth at the time. If you’re interested in trying out KnC Wallet you can grab it from the Play Store link.

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Veu Theme Developer Arz Bhatia Teams Up With Paranoid Android For Dynamic System Bars

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AH Veu Theme

Paranoid Android is known for doing some amazing work in the ROM community, and they’re always quick to update the users on what’s new and what will be added in future releases. The same goes for the newest bit of information that they passed along via Google+ today, although at this point in time they haven’t mentioned anything about a release date. If you’re already on the latest available build of the PA ROM than today’s post is certainly directed at you as it has to do with stuff you’ll most likely be able to look forward to with the next build. Of course, it’s also directed at anyone looking to give Paranoid Android a try for the first time, whether you wait for the new build or not.

Paranoid Android is bringing some color to our lives with something they’re calling Dynamic System Bars, which is basically taking the old, boring and bland black colors of the status and nav bars, and giving them a splash of vibrant color. Paranoid Android is doing this with the help of another awesome developer named Arz Bhatia, who is known for doing some awesome work with Paranoid Android Themes. The Dynamic System Bars are in part a collective of PA style with elements from Arz’s PA theme called Veu, a theme I have been personally using for a while and is a much loved favorite. The theme itself provides some really cool Material Design type looks for the inside of some of the system apps like Gmail among others, but together with the new Dynamic System Bars you can really give your device a unique and colorful look to match your style and personality.

Themeing is one of the best parts of PA, although not the only great thing about it, and this new feature simply takes things a bit further and gives the user a little something extra to work with if they really want to make their device look original. The team at PA mentions that they still need to work out some of the rough edges, but they point out the base concept is strong and as always they urge us to Stay Paranoid. Hats off to the PA team and Arz Bhatia for bringing this awesome new tweak to an absolute favorite among the ROM community.


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