Each year at CES we are always introduced to some cool new concepts that will make our lives easier and more productive. This year, Fulton Innovation (a company who is constantly pushing the envelope in the wireless charging field) is going to treat us to a demo of a new, and very useful idea: a tablet that doubles as a wireless charging mat. Battery life has always been an issue for smartphones, so the thought of being able to use your tablet to wirelessly charge your smartphone throughout the day is a pretty innovative idea (pun intended). Besides the altruistic tablet, Fulton Innovation will also show us a charging mat that can charge up to two devices at once, regardless of form factor (tablet or smartphone). It does this by scanning to find out how much voltage each device needs, and then charges each one accordingly, so you don’t over-juice your smartphone and under-juice your tablet. To see a video of the device in action, or to read the press release, jump past the break. To keep up with all our latest CES coverage, click here.
Back in November we reported on plans by Samsung to produce the Samsung Galaxy S III mini in some new colors. Today new renders were released showing three new colors for the devices: Titanium Gray, Garnet Red and Onyx Black. These three colors will join the White version. We do not have any information on when these different versions will be available or which carriers may make them available.
Mad Catz is a popular brand for aftermarket gaming accessories. And as we’ve all seen, the Android platform is a pretty popular choice for gamers, so releasing gaming accessories for Android devices seems like a no-brainer, right? Mad Catz thinks so. They announced they’ll be launching “GameSmart” peripherals, which are basically just accessories that you can use across multiple devices. Your PC, your Xbox… or that shiny new Nexus 10 tablet. They’re releasing a wired and wireless mouse, a gaming headset, and a wireless gaming pad, and they all come in quite an assortment of colors and styles. Personally, I think something this universal is long overdue, and I’m excited to pick some of them up in early 2013 when they’ll supposedly become available to consumers. Hit the break for the press release.
Samsung’s new portable Bluetooth speaker, model DA-F60, includes apt-X codec support and NFC pairing. Samsung has already made the simplicity of tapping to share, via S Beam, a big deal in their funny/naughty commercials. Now they’re using NFC to simplify Bluetooth pairing (which, if you hear my in-laws tell it, is nearly impossible). The apt-X codec, supported by only a handful of handsets including Samsung’s own Galaxy S III and Note II, boosts the dynamic range of streaming audio. We should get more details, hopefully to include pricing, at CES. Follow our CES 2013 coverage here.
Press Release after break
OUYA, the Android gaming console, is a relatively low-budget, yet intriguing approach to console gaming. In the minds of many in the Android community, it’s been high on promise but low on substance. Fortunately, we’re starting to see examples of actual gameplay on the device. The gaming site, Game Fans has put together a collection of videos showing some classics on the OUYA.
Checkout the N64 emulator, Street Fighter 2 Torbo and Sonic 4 on the OUYA. Hit the source for more videos.
We here at Talk Android love when we can use our Android devices to control items in our homes and Belkin has delivered in a big way by introducing its new WeMo Light Switch— aiming to help home automation just a little bit easier for all. The specialized light switch is basically a WiFi-controlled unit which replaces an existing light switch and connects into your home’s existing electrical wiring—- allowing users to control all aspects of lighting, right from the comfort of their Android devices. Additionally, users can control the lighting in their homes from anywhere at anytime or even make a set of schedules of when to turn on/off the lights.
While the WeMo Light Switch will be on full display at CES 2013 this week, it will be a while before Android users can get their hands on the puppy. Belkin pledges the WeMo Light Switch and app will be available for all Android users by this summer for Android devices operating on Ice Cream Sandwich and above.
While we wait to see this nifty little gadget in person, why not hit past the break to see the full presser?
It’s no secret that more and more users of mobile devices prefer Android over everything else, but it also appears that more of us use Facebook on our devices compared to well… everyone else. I know you’re all slightly perplexed at where I am going, so let me explain— the Facebook app is no doubt a mainstay on mobile devices everywhere… regardless of what mobile OS the app is on. However— it appears there are more Facebook for Android users than Facebook for iPhone users. In fact– research indicates Facebook’s Android user count is growing much faster than its iPhone user base, despite the Facebook app being found on a lower percentage of Android devices. Through some raw data compiled by Benedict Evans, data shows that since September 2011, Facebook for Android had a 66 million monthly active user count (MAU) and Facebook for iPhone had a 91 million MAU. Moving to November 2012, Android had grown to a 192.8 million MAU while iPhone only had a 147.2 million MAU. The data shows that Facebook’s Android users helped Facebook reach a total of 604 million mobile users by the end of Q3 2012, which is tremendous.
As exciting as the findings are, there are some things to note. While there are more Facebook Android users than iPhone users, there are more Facebook iOS users overall when the iPad user base is taken into account. As it stands, there is a 48 million MAU for iPad users, which brings the total to 195.2 million MAU, just slightly more than the overall Android user base. In addition, the study could not take into account the integration that may not have been taken advantage of with iOS6 users, so the number could very well dwarf the number of Android users.
Still, the fact that Android users are not only adopting Facebook mobile at a faster rate, but are also contributing Facebook’s overall growth is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It will be interesting to see how the numbers grow as Facebook continues to get better and better for the Android platform.
Samsung and Android go together like peanut butter and jelly. Android wouldn’t have gained so much market dominance without Samsung’s Galaxy line, and that Galaxy lineup wouldn’t exist without Android. Surely these two would enjoy a long, peaceful relationship for the foreseeable future, right? Maybe not. Samsung is reportedly looking at launching several phones running Tizen instead of Android in 2013. Now, this isn’t weird for Samsung, as they do have other phones running Bada, although they don’t have the success Android does, but if Tizen does well enough in its initial Eastern launch, don’t be surprised to see Samsung slowly bring a few devices across the sea.
Samsung is understandably in a position where it really needs to make sure it isn’t too dependent on another partner, like Google. If Google were to take Android down a path that Samsung didn’t agree with, for instance, it wouldn’t hurt to have a backup plan. This is obviously speculation for something that won’t happen for another several years, so no one should worry about the Galaxy S IV running something other than our beloved Android. But if Samsung did launch a competing OS and app ecosystem, would any of you give it a chance?
Google is now offering a “Free for print subscribers” option for certain magazines in the Play Store. If you subscribe to certain magazines that offer this, you’ll see a login screen asking for your email address and password to your magazine’s online account. Once you see it, go ahead and select “subscribe”, then you will see an option called “free for print subscribers,” thus the magazine is available for free.
Note that this is only available on your Android phone or tablet and not in the Google Play web version on your computer.
source: Google Support
Samsung’s Lebanon Facebook page surprisingly wasn’t shy about announcing when Samsung expects to launch the Galaxy S IV. Of course, this news shouldn’t come too much of a surprise for us as we expected the S IV to be released around May-June considering that’s the usual timeline Samsung releases the S series. Here’s the exact words from Samsung’s PR:
What we said is only trivial since all Galaxy S series are released between late April and Early May, yet there’s no way for anyone to know the exact release date :-)” – Samsung Lebanon
Considering the global hit the S III was, the S IV should be nothing short of spectacular. While rumors of what the S IV have already been floating around the web for months, no official specs have been announced just yet.
Anyone else excited for what the S IV has to offer?
It seems Samsung hasn’t forgotten about its Galaxy S II users just yet. Today, Samsung Korea posted details to its website regarding an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S II (it seems to be for the Korean version only for now, but that means the international update should be just around the corner). The update will be available soon via Samsung’s Kies software and will take about an hour to complete. Since it’s such a large update, Samsung will need to reformat your phone’s memory and allocate an extra gigabyte for its “system” memory (where it keeps all the important files). This means you’ll end up with 11 gigabytes of internal memory for your apps, music, pictures an other media. Besides all the normal Jelly Bean goodies like “Google Now”, you’ll be getting Samsung’s “Smart Stay” (a feature that keeps your screen on by using your front facing camera to see if you’re eyes are looking at your phone), and some other stock Google apps like Books and Google+. No word yet on if and when the US variants of the phone will be getting an update, but we will keep you posted if we hear anything. For a full list of improvements, jump past the break.
We just reported that HTC will be updating its Sense UI to version 5.0 with the release of its next batch of flagship phones; namely, the yet to be confirmed M7. Sense 5.0 is rumored to have a cleaner and simpler UI, and we may be getting the first glimpse of it in these images from a Chinese website. There’s not much to see here, but it does look like HTC is working toward a more minimalistic design scheme, and we’re liking it a lot! Jump past the break to see the updated Keyboard. What do you guys think? Are you liking HTC’s new design direction?
HTC has had an incredibly successful year bringing in some hits here and there, but it appears that the Taiwanese manufacturer is looking to take things to another level in 2013. While we’ve heard whispers about a mysterious M7 smartphone in the works before, we are now starting to get an idea of what the device is capable of and its awesome features. According to the folks at HTC Source, the M7 is designed to be loosely based off the existing DROID DNA smartphone, having items like a black shell casing and a “very nice looking beveled edge” along the screen. In addition, the smartphone will feature a quad-core Snapdragon processor, a 4.7-inch 1,920 x 1080 display capable of 468ppi and 32GB of internal storage— all being operated by Jelly Bean topped off with Sense 5.0, which promises to to have a “simple and clean” UI.
As it stands, there are no additional hardware features to share for now— though it appears the smartphone is currently in testing on Sprint’s LTE network, giving NOW Network customers yet another device to possibly look forward to. Is it possible we may be looking at the latest addition to the HTC EVO series for Sprint? Perhaps we’ll see it at CES in just a few days…
source: HTC Source