Google IO 2015 Coverage

Samsung Galaxy Mega officially released to U.S. market

Galaxy_Mega_6.3

Yesterday we saw a leaked image of the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega sporting AT&T branding, so it should not be a major surprise that Samsung has finally issued their official confirmation that the device is coming to the U.S. market. The Galaxy Mega has already been released to a few markets around the globe since it was officially unveiled, but official word on the U.S. market was lacking until now. According to Samsung’s press release, the Galaxy Mega will be available beginning this month on AT&T, Sprint and US Cellular. The device is only available in Nova Black and Polaris White, but it will be up to each carrier to decided which of those two colors, or both, it will offer.

Sprint has followed up on Samsung’s statement with their own indicating buyers can take advantage of a Sprint Unlimited Guarantee to lock-in unlimited talk, text and data for the life of the line of service. Meanwhile, AT&T indicates the device will be available starting August 23rd for $24 per month with AT&T Next of $149.99 with a standard two-year agreement.

You can read Samsung’s full announcement after the break. Read more

Beats Audio ready to sever relationship with HTC

beats_wood_iovine_dre

A report out today indicates Beats Electronics, LLC, best known for their Beats Audio brand and headphones, is looking to buy out the remaining stake that HTC has in the company. The move comes as Beats is ready to court a new investor that can provide a new source of funds for planned growth into other areas like speakers, car audio systems, consumer electronics, and possibly an online streaming music service. HTC currently owns a 25% stake in Beats, half of what it owned after taking a controlling stake in Beats in 2011 for $300 million.

As part of the original deal, HTC incorporated audio software from Beats into their smartphones and other phones came bundled with Beats headphones, a move intended to raise the bar relative to Apple’s earbuds. Last year HTC provided Beats with a one-year $225 million loan secured by Beats’ assets. A new loan was put in place this year that will mature in July 2014.

During the two years the partnership between HTC and Beats has been in place, the financial position of Beats has continued to grow while HTC’s position has declined sharply. Despite their growth record, Beats has been unable to secure debt-financing that would let it buyout the HTC stake in the company. According to the report, Beats now has a new investor interested in the company and willing to provide debt financing in exchange for a minority position in the company. No details about the possible investor have been revealed.

HTC has not commented on whether it would sell its stake in Beats.

source: Wall Street Journal

Put the phone down! Doctor warns excessive smartphone use can lead to eye problems

Nearsightedness

Remember the days when your grandmother used to yell at you for standing too close to the TV? You never listened, thinking that her logic was clearly flawed. Well as it turns out, there certainly was some truth to her advice, as eye surgeon Dr. David Allamby has recently coined the term “Screen Sightedness.”

However this condition doesn’t refer to televisions— this time, it’s the almighty smartphone. “Screen Sightedness” applies to those that develop nearsightedness from staring at computer displays. Adding to this, according to a recent study, smartphone-related vision issues are on the rise.

Allamby has predicted that around 40-50% of 30-year-olds will be near sighted by 2033 as smartphones and touch displays become even more commonplace around the globe.

The issue stems from multiple factors. First of all, people spend way too much time looking at their smartphone each day, and second, people hold their smartphone much more closer to their faces than they would, say, a book or magazine.

We’re certainly an evolving race, but unfortunately, biological factors do not change as fast as the technology we use each and every day.

Source: TechnoBuffalo

New image of HTC One Max shows fingerprint scanner

HTC-One-Max_Fingerprint_Scanner

Last week we saw a leaked image of what was called a non-final render of the HTC One Max. It was later dismissed by HTC Senior Global Online Communications Manager Jeff Gordon as completely fake. Today’s latest image might tell us why Jeff Gordon said that. As you can see the One Max is pictured along with its siblings, the One and One Mini, but something is very different with the Max. That little square below the camera lens is supposedly a fingerprint scanner. Now something like this could easily be photoshopped, so take it with a grain of salt. However, if you want a clue as to if this is real or not, wait to see if Jeff Gordon chimes in again. If he doesn’t, it might be just be real.

source: ePrice

Is this the backside of the new LG Nexus 5?

LG_Nexus_5_Leaked_Image_902Last week we got word that the new Nexus 5 will indeed be manufactured by LG and somewhat based on the G2. Now we have an image of the backside of the said device. We have no idea if it is real or not, but we can say that it confirms the rumor that there won’t be any G2-like volume/power controls on the back. As you can see, the volume and power buttons appear to be on the left side. The other thing that was reported last week was that it would sport a glass back. It’s hard to tell if this device has a glass back, but it does appear to have a shine or gloss to it. Lastly, as Christopher Wilkinson pointed out in the comments below….Where the hell is the Nexus logo?

What about specs? It was first rumored that it would be a scaled down version of the G2 as in the Snapdragon 600 vs the Snapdragon 800. Then it was reported that the Nexus 5 would indeed have the Snapdragon 800. Now we are going backwards again and hearing that it will not only be a Snapdragon 600, but the camera will be scaled back to 10MP. Non of this is surprising since Nexus devices are generally affordable.

So there you have it. The supposed first leaked image of the Nexus 5. Let us know what you think.

source: Techtastic

Samsung Galaxy Note III to ship in September followed by Galaxy Gear smartwatch in October

Samsung_Galaxy_S_4_Back_Samsung_Logo_TA

We already know that Samsung will introduce the Galaxy Note III and the Galaxy Gear smartwatch on September 4, but when will we be able to purchase them? It looks like the Note III will ship rather quickly as in the same month. It has also been confirmed that Samsung won’t offer the Note III with a 16GB capacity, and instead opt for 32GB. Considering how much useable space was on the Galaxy S 4 16GB model, this is probably a very good move. As to the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, it will likely ship in October. No word on what regions for either of these devices, but we will let you know as soon as we hear it.

source: SamMobile

HTC to skip Android 4.2.2 and go right to 4.3 for HTC One Dev Edition and most likely carrier versions

HTC_Tweet_Jason_Mackenzie_Android_4.3

The Google edition HTC One already has Android 4.3, and many unlocked HTC Ones already have Android 4.2.2 (including the upcoming Verizon version), but it looks like most HTC One owners won’t get the 4.2.2 update at all, but instead get the 4.3 update. HTC President Jason Mackenzie confirmed this regarding the HTC One Dev Edition via Twitter so we can only assume this will be the case for most carrier versions.

This is kind of good news, with some bad news thrown in. Although it’s nice to know you will get the 4.3 update, it only means a longer wait. Not only do you have to wait for HTC to get 4.3 ready for all carrier versions, you still have to wait for each carrier to go through their long and tedious approval process.

source: Twitter

Sony Honami Mini, codenamed Ray 3, leaked

sony-honamiWe’re all expecting the Sony Honami to be launched next month. Perhaps we’ll see another device as well, as information about a smaller Honami Mini has leaked via a forum. Codenamed Ray 3, the Honami Mini packs in a Snapdragon 800 at  2.3GHz, 4.3GHz HD 720p resolution, 2GB of RAM, 20-megapixel main camera with Sony G Lens, 16GB of internal memory and a 2,400mAh battery.

Interestingly, the Honami Mini is not so much a downgrade from the Honami as just a more compact design. The processor and camera are the same as what we’re expecting on the Honami. The source says that the device will launch on September 4 and will be showcased at the IFA 2013 event in Germany.

Source: GSM Insider

Koushik Dutta releases app allowing you to share videos from your Gallery, Dropbox, or Drive to your Chromecast

Koushik_Dutta_AllCast_App

If you follow Koushik Dutta on Google Plus, you have noticed some of the amazing stuff he has done with Chromecast such as the ability to cast just about anything. The only question on everyone’s mind is “When can we get our hands on some of these apps?” Right now the Google Cast SDK is in Beta and any apps created by skilled developers will only work with whitelisted Chromecasts. Well Koushik Dutta has figured out a way to reverse engineer the Chromecast protocols and has figured out a way around this whitelist issue.

As a result, he has just released AllCast as a third party APK for all of us to try. The only caveat at the moment is that it will only work for 2 days and self destruct after that. Eventually, he plans on releasing it as a freemium app and will most likely need to change the name of it since the “AllCast” name has already been taken from Samsung.

The app works through the Android Sharing service. All you have to do is select a video from either the Gallery, Dropbox, or Drive and tap the Share icon. From there, select AllCast and choose your Chromecast device. It works really well, but I did experience pauses every 10 to 15 seconds seconds. However, things are working smoothly for a lot of other people. Hit the break for the video demo and source link to get in on the conversation and/or download the APK. He could probably use some ideas for a new name for the app as well.

Read more

SoundSeeder gives most Android Devices Samsung Group Play-like functions

SoundSeeder1

With smart phones becoming a staple in day-to-day music listening you’d think that they’d be sporting decent quality speakers. Well that isn’t the case, unless of course you’re rocking an HTC One. You could be one of the folks with an S4 that has Group Play installed which allows up to 8 devices to blast music almost creating a stereo/surround sound-esque effect. Everyone else sadly has to put up with the one speaker on the back of their device. Well, not anymore as XDA member jekatt created an app that emulates that very function. SoundSeeder works on any device with Android 2.2 and up. With SoundSeeder you’ll be able to:

  •  Stream and spread your music at home or on your party to multiple devices in different rooms.
  •  Start a portable Hotspot and listen to your music via SoundSeeder on multiple devices wherever you want.
  •  Similar to Samsung Group Play – Share Music™
  • Supports mp3, mp4, m4a, aac, 3gp, ogg, flac Media formats.

The music player itself requires Android 4.1 but you’ll be able to use any device with a speaker that’s packing Froyo or newer. With it you’ll be able to sync up to 16 devices at once and they don’t even have to be in the same room. The free version of the app will give you a four minute demo mode and purchasing the app will unlock it’s full capabilities. As per the norm we have your download links, QR codes, video and gallery after the break. If you and you’re friends are wanting to rock out with your Android devices this is the app to get.

Read more