New SmartBot uses your smartphone as a brain

smartbot-specs-640x608

If you’re the kind of person that likes to tinker around with hardware as much as software, the brand new SmartBot is going to hit the top of your wish list pretty quickly. It’s a small robot that’s powered completely by your smartphone. It uses your phone’s screen, camera, LED lights, etc. to do pretty much everything. The phone sits in a small docking portion of the robot and goes from there. The application for SmartBot even has a little happy face to complete the combo.

SmartBot also has plenty of ports for add-ons and extensions for things like motors and electromagnets and so on, and currently offers support for accessories like a gripping claw, a trunk, and even an adapter for LEGO pieces. It’s even got NFC under the hood. The creators of SmartBot, Overdrive Robotics, even have a full SDK for making apps and games with the device. And for only €160.00 (about $208) you can preorder one of these nifty little gadgets for yourself. Shipping starts in April, so you’ve still got a month to decide. Hit the break for an amusing little teaser trailer that just might convince you to buy one.
Read more

White House Agrees: Americans Should Be Allowed To Unlock Cell Phones

FCC_Unlocking_Cell_Phones

After a petition on whitehouse.gov to legalize cell phone unlocking reached 114,000 signatures (100,000 signatures are required for a response), the White House issued an official response today. The petition was started after a decision by copyright regulators made it illegal after January 26, 2013 to unlock your cell phone and use it on a different network even after your contract expires. From the official statement:

“The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs.”
Read more

Sony officially lists Sony Xperia ZL for U.S., includes red version

sony_xperia_zl_red

Sony has officially added the Sony Xperia ZL to their U.S. web site with a button customers can use to sign up to be notified when the smartphone is available for ordering. No pricing or projected date of availability was provided. Sources indicate the phone will be sim-free and will have LTE antennas available for several bands. The Sony web site lists three colors for the device – red, black and white. The inclusion of the red variant is a nice surprise after that color was shown at an event for South East Asian markets.

source: Sony
via: Xperia Blog

Galaxy S IV to feature “eye scrolling” similar to Smart Stay and Smart Rotation

Galaxy_S_IV_

The latest bit of news to come before Samsung announces their Galaxy S IV has to do with software, not hardware. Similar to the fingerless gesture rumor we heard about, Samsung has something planned that will allow you to scroll your phone’s screen with your eyes. So if you’re reading a news article and your eyes reach the bottom of the page, the page will automatically scroll down so you can continue reading without touching the screen. Pretty high tech stuff.

Now, this isn’t new for Samsung, as they invested quite a bit into using facial recognition in the Galaxy S III with their Smart Stay and Smart Rotation features, and they’ve filed for patents related to eye scrolling built into mobile phones, so this is definitely something that we could see on March 14th.

source: NY Times

Verizon Galaxy S III to receive update that improves keyboard and Bluetooth

Galaxy_SIII_Update_Verizon

 

Verizon has started rolling out an update for Galaxy S III owners with a new build number (VRBMB1). The update will bring users to Android 4.1.2 and features improvements for the keyboard’s predictive text function, allows pictures to be taken during calls simultaneously, better sync of emails and enhances Bluetooth connectivity. The size of the update is around 150.3 MB in size and is expected to be on most devices within a week. Let us know what you think of the improvements brought with the latest update in the comments section below.

Source: Verizon Wireless

T-Mobile Nexus 4 Just $49 For New Customers, Limited Time Only

Nexus_4_1_Million_Sales

If you’re looking to get your hands on the Nexus 4, T-Mobile has an offer that is hard to refuse. For a limited time only, the Nexus 4 is available for $49.99 on a new two-year contract for new customers. As an added bonus, the $35 activation fee is waived and T-Mobile is throwing in a free car charger. While you do save money upfront, it’s worth mentioning that you will pay more in the long run.

Depending on your data plan, buying the Nexus 4 on-contract means you’ll pay $79.99 per month or more over 24 months. However, if you opt to shell out $299 or $349 for the Nexus 4 directly from the Google Play Store, you can pay as low as $30 per month for one of T-Mobile’s off-contract Monthly4G plans.

Source: T-Mobile

Smartphone shipments forecast to overtake feature phones in 2013

idc_smartphone_forecast_2013

Analysis of International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker data indicates smartphone shipments will exceed regular feature phone shipments in 2013. This will be the first time ever on an annual basis that smartphones will own the majority of the worldwide market if IDC’s projection of smartphones grabbing 50.1% is accurate. According to IDC’s analysis, three factors have pushed smartphones to the verge of market dominance. Falling prices for smartphones, a wide “strata” of smartphones, and continued improvements to data networks, especially carrier rollouts of 4G wireless, are all contributing to growth as they make smartphones a more attractive choice for buyers. IDC is forecasting that by 2017, over two-thirds of all phones shipped worldwide will be smartphones.
Read more

Samsung’s Galaxy X Cover 2 will be available on March 7th

Galaxy-X-Cover-2

Remember that rugged Galaxy X Cover 2 leak we saw not too long ago? We’ve got word on the device’s official release date and pricing. According to Sammobile, you’ll be able to get your hands on the device started March 7th for 319 euros, or $414.96. Not too bad for a device that’s waterproof and dustproof and runs Jelly Bean on top of that.

As a reminder, the Cover 2 features a 4-inch TFT display, 5-megapixel back camera, 0.3 megapixel front camera and 4 GB of internal storage. It’s not a high-end device, but it fills that rugged market very nicely. Anyone plan on picking one of these up?

source: Sammobile

Purple Samsung Galaxy S III may be headed to Sprint

samsung-galaxy-s-iii-purple-sprint

According to a tip delivered to web site PhoneArena.com, Samsung may be preparing a purple version of the popular Samsung Galaxy S III to be available through Sprint. The tipster claims to have grabbed a screenshot from one of Sprint’s web portals that provides details of updated handsets scheduled for upcoming launches. Included in the list is a “Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB, Purple.” It appears the device will be released on April 12th though no other details like pricing have surfaced.

No images have surfaced of this purple device and no official word has been released by either Samsung or Sprint.

source: PhoneArena

Sony Plans To Position Itself Third In Smartphone Markets Worldwide

sony_xperia_go_three_colours

 

Sony is hoping to catch more of the smartphone market share this year in the hopes of placing itself as the third largest brand for mobile devices. As of Q4 2012, Sony was ranked fourth in smartphone market share at 4.5 percent of the market and sitting just behind Huawei with 4.9 percent of the market. Sony’s mobile business head Kunimasa Suzuki spoke at a roundtable briefing in Tokyo and says that they’ll alter smartphone development for each different market. This indicates cheaper, less premium smartphones for more developing countries.
Read more