Asus releases wireless and wired docks for Nexus 7 2013

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The 2013 model of the Google Nexus 7 was released way back in July, but Asus has just released both wired and wireless docks for the device. Although there are already a number of third party docks on the market, many people have likely been waiting for the official Asus ones.

Both docks can be purchased from a number of different retailers, including Amazon. While they both certainly look pretty nice, they come at a price, with the wired one costing $50 and the wireless one coming in at $90.

This may seem like a lot of money, especially when you consider the fact that many third part docks come in at around half that price, however a lot can be said about the quality and reliability of official accessories.

Source: Amazon (Wireless) and Amazon (Wired)

Google Now Launcher now available in the Play Store

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We knew it was only a matter to time until the Google Now Launcher (aka Google Experience Launcher) landed in the Play Store, and that time is now. However there is one caveat: It’s only for Nexus and Google Play Edition devices running KitKat. If you think about it, that is really not that limited since the launcher does require KitKat and there really isn’t that many devices with KitKat other than the Moto X, Moto G, and a few Samsung devices. I would expect it to be expanded to more devices in the near future.

There are some really cool things about the Google Now Launcher that I like such as that Google Now is all the way to the left most home screen, it’s easier to install widgets, add an unlimited amount of home screens, and the always listening “Okay Google” command. However, I am not a fan of the default home screen being all the way to the left (just right of the Google Now page). I do know that a lot of you do like it, so if you have one of the compatible devices, give it a try.

If you want to see more of how the launcher works, check out our guide here. Hit the break for screenshots and download links.

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HTC teases the All New One’s improved BoomSound speakers in latest trailer

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We’ve already pretty much figured out most of the important aspects of HTC’s upcoming One successor, but that’s not going to stop them from building hype for the device. The latest video from HTC’s YouTube channel looks like it’s going to be the first of many videos showing off their new device, and they’re even confirming a few things we weren’t sure of about the device.

The teaser trailer refers to HTC’s upcoming flagship as the All New HTC One, confirming the rumors about what the phone would be called. It’s also confirmed that we can expect to see the dual front-facing speakers with an improved BoomSound to make a return on the All New One, but that’s hardly a surprise. It was one of HTC’s biggest selling points on the original One, and with good reason.

Unfortunately, we can’t get get a good look at the New One thanks to a new pixelation “feature” that HTC is testing on the device for the trailer. Either way, this looks like it could shape up to be a pretty entertaining marketing campaign leading up to the launch of the device in March. Read more

Metal Galaxy S5 to arrive in May as part of “Luxury F” line

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Samsung announced the Galaxy S5 only a couple days ago, but already there are more rumors surrounding the device. According to these new rumors, a premium version of the S5 will be released in May, with a metal body as well as better specs.

Rumors about Samsung’s “luxury” series have been floating around for a while now, and the devices that would be in this series are set to be even better than Samsung’s current flagship devices. For example, the Galaxy S5 version would have a Quad HD display and a new Exynos processor, instead of the 1080p display and Snapdragon 801 processor.

Today rumors suggest that execs at Mobile World Congress have been saying during closed-door meetings that the Korean company will release a portfolio of premium models as part of the “Project F” all sporting premium chassis’ made from metallic materials, and even a camera that supports optical image stabilization.

Source: PhoneArena

One year later and finally some progress on legally unlocking cell phones

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About this time last year, an small uproar was sweeping over the Internet thanks to action taken by the Library of Congress to make unlocking cell phones illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Library of Congress ruling took effect on January 26, 2013 and any cell phone purchased after that date cannot be unlocked, at least not legally. In response, an online petition was created on the White House web site and in a matter of days surpassed the 100,000 signature threshold triggering a response. President Obama responded as hoped, agreeing with the petition that consumers should have the freedom to unlock their devices. Read more

Sony SmartBand now available for pre-order for European markets

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After announcing the Sony SmartBand at MWC 2014 this week, Sony has wasted no time in starting the retail blitz to get the devices into the hands of buyers. On the Sony Mobile Store, the device has already shown up for pre-order for £79.99 ($134 USD) in the U.K. and €99 ($136 USD) for other European markets. Although, Sony indicated the devices would be available in a variety of colors, thus far black appears to be the only choice available for early adopters that want to be the first to get the devices onto their wrists.

The first units of the Sony SmartBand destined for European markets and the U.K. are expected to be delivered in early April. That will give buyers an opportunity to spend some time with the Lifelog application prior to having the device in hand as Sony says the app should be available in Google Play sometime in March.

source: Xperia Blog

Samsung to update original model Galaxy Gear to Tizen OS

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When Samsung announced the new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, one of the biggest changes from their predecessor was the change to the Tizen operating system. Similar to Nokia’s move to a forked version of Android for their new smartphones, the switch to Tizen means app developers will need to produce yet another version of their app if they want them to run on the devices. Samsung has indicated that CNN, The Weather Channel, and Garmin have all jumped on board already.

Users who bought the original Galaxy Gear may be worried new apps will no longer be produced for their devices. Samsung says that they will update the original Galaxy Gear with the Tizen OS as well. New apps won’t be able to take advantage of hardware found on the newer models, but at least both generations of Samsung’s smartwatches will be running on a common operating system. Samsung has not indicated how the update will be deployed or when users may expect to see Tizen rolling out to their watches.

source: TechRadar

Plex comes with Chromecast enhancements in new update

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A new update for Plex should have users pretty excited this morning. The update brings a host of bug fixes, speed improvements, as well as the addition of scheduled tasks, partial scanning, support for more platforms. Additionally, shared sync is finally here. Media servers are required to have a Plex Pass but users who tie into your server aren’t required to. What this means is that while family and friends may have different accounts, they’ll be able to sync with you. Plex is also getting more Chromecast features.

Users will now be able to cast music and photos to Chromecast. Items in your library can be cast in the usual way. Audio transcoding is available for formats that aren’t natively supported as well. Plex has also added content mirroring to the app meaning that as you look at information on your devices, it’s also displayed on your tv through your Chromecast. On top of that, tweaks and enhancements have been made for a more reliable and efficient way to stream content with higher bit rates.

If you haven’t given Plex a try, you can download it here. Current users should see the update live in the Play Store.

source: Plex

Can HTC make a difference in 2014?

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HTC continues to get praise from the media, but it never translates into growth. They were just awarded the best phone of the year by the GSMA, which has to be bittersweet while watching Samsung sell over 200 million Galaxy S phones right in front of their eyes. I declared the HTC One the best phone on the planet, but I asked the question, “Is it good enough?” in my review last year. Some of you laughed at me, but it’s clear that being the best doesn’t always translate into success.

CNet had a chance to sit down with Jack Yang, the new HTC boss of the South Asia Market, to find out what the thinking is for 2014. Ironically, Mr. Yang is the former head of Apple’s iPhone business in Southeast Asia, so this has to be a dramatic change for him. He is not only in charge of Southeast Asia for HTC, but also India and Australia.

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Samsung unveils new Exynos processors

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Even though news seems to be centered around the new Galaxy S 5, that’s not the only news that’s coming out of Samsung’s camp. To “meet the ever-increasing needs needs of high-resolution displays and complicated computation without sacrificing battery life,” the company has announced a newer, more efficient Exynos processor. The new 5422 processor features eight cores ( four ARM® Cortex®- A15™ up to 2.1 GHz for the heavy lifting and four ARM® Cortex®- A7™ up to 1.5 GHz for lighter lifting.) Samsung says that the new octa-core processor is 34 percent more efficient than previous generations.

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