Sony created a one-of-a-kind device with their QX10 and QX100. The attachable camera lenses could be stuck on a smartphone to offer picture quality better than what a built-in smartphone camera could offer. The devices were cool, but they obviously haven’t caught on to the mainstream just yet. However, that’s not going to stop Oppo from jumping head first into that market to give Sony a bit of competition.
While cloud storage providers continue to battle for market share and a profitable business model, some people are turning to personal cloud devices. These devices typically connect to a home network and function like cloud storage services via user provided hardware as opposed to a corporate server farm. At CES 2014 we saw a new entrant in this market, LyveHome, a from Seagate Technology spin-off Live Minds, Inc. being headed up by former Apple executive Tim Bucher. The LyveHome web site is now accepting pre-orders for the $300 device.
Only a few days after their one-day public sale of Google Glass, Google has now opened the Glass store for public orders of the Explorer Edition without an invite being necessary. Like the one day sale, Glass is available in a choice of five colors, including the Cotton color that appeared to sell out during the one-day event. In addition, buyers can still get a lightweight titanium frame or a set of shades thrown for free with their order. The other thing that has not changed is the price which remains at $1500.
If you missed the one day sale and have not been able to get an invite and you are ready to place your order to join the Explorer program, just hit the source link below. You may note though that Google has not released any word as to whether this is an official move on their part to open the program up to the public or if it is some glitch in their system. So you may not want to hesitate.
OnePlus didn’t show off their StyleSwap back covers during yesterday’s big announcement, but we have a few really nice shots of the bamboo and wooden versions. Just like the Moto G, these covers easily swap out to give your phone a completely different look. They will offer wood, bamboo, denim, and Kevlar.
We have no idea how much OnePlus will be asking for these covers, but expect them to be under $25, which is what Motorola gets for their custom wooden back covers for the Moto X.
Hit the break for two more pics.
Amazon Prime members who use the Prime Instant Video service may be glad to know that HBO programming is heading their way. In a move just announced by the two companies, Amazon will be the exclusive online-only home for select HBO programs like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire amongst other as well as mini-series like Band of Brothers and John Adams. Over the course of the agreement, new programs like Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will be made available about three years after airing on HBO. Prime members can expect to see the new content show up starting May 21st.
As part of the agreement, Amazon has agreed to make the HBO GO streaming service available on Amazon’s Fire TV. Some work apparently still needs to be done, so don’t expect a launch until later this year. Using HBO GO, users will be able to stream over 1,700 titles from HBO to their Fire TV devices.
You can check out the full press release after the break.
HTC’s Dot View case is very unique, very cool case for the HTC One (M8). The only drawback, of course, is that the case only works with HTC apps, so it won’t show notifications for third-party apps like, say, Twitter. Shen Ye, popular for working with HTC devices, has fixed that.
Earlier today, he uploaded a photo of the Dot View case showing a Twitter notification, which looks surprisingly good for something not officially supported from HTC. He said that “Sense already hooks into social networking APIs, it shouldn’t be hard to get DotView to show these notifications.” Guess he was right.
Now that Google owns Nest, it’s no surprise that the Nest Learning Thermostat is now being offered in the Google Play Store. The price is the same as everywhere else, $249.
If you’re not familiar with the Nest Learning Thermostat, it is the “Mother” of all thermostats. You don’t even have to program this one because it figures out what your habits are based on when you’re home or not. It even knows what the weather is outside, plus, you can even control it from your phone or tablet. It isn’t cheap, but the goal is to save you a lot more than the price of the device over time.
To celebrate Earth Day, Google is going to plant a tree for each Nest ordered from the Play Store for today only. Hit the link below to get your order in.
Click here to order from Google Play
Last month we learned Sony was working on rolling out an update that would include improvements first seen at MWC 2014. Sony has announced that they have started to roll out the update. The Sony SmartWatch 2 device which is currently supported by about 400 apps is also being updated with a couple new editions for buyers to choose. Sony has partnered to get the SmartWatch 2 to be the official accessory of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and in recognition of that has released a special “Brazil” edition of the smartwatch. Sony has also launched a “Business” edition.
Going in a new direction, Samsung has released a video that combines five spots they have started to run in a few markets around the world for their new Galaxy devices. The ads are a definite departure from some of their previous efforts like their “Next Big Thing” series, relying on animations that pop with color. Two of the ads center on the Samsung Galaxy S 5, Gear 2 and Gear Fit and how they work together to both help users get through their daily activities and stay connected. The other three ads focus on the Galaxy S 5 and some of the new features Samsung brought to market with their latest flagship device, like the fingerprint scanner, water resistance, and the fast focus camera app.
Hit the break to check out the video and let us know what you think about this new marketing direction for Samsung.
Rounding out a trio of teardown’s by iFixit this week is an attempt to find out just what it inside the Samsung Gear Fit device. The team’s teardown revealed some tightly packed electronics inside the device along with some good news. Although it would take quite a bit of work, users could replace their own battery should the need arise. As iFixit discovered, the main body of the Gear Fit just pops out of the watch band, so we can expect to see aftermarket options start to appear to help people personalize their Gear fit.