As if worrying about whether someone is tracking your smartphone via the GPS chip or triangulating your cell signals, Stanford researcher Hristo Bojinov has discovered the accelerometers in our devices give off unique “fingerprints” that can be used to identify and potentially track a device. The accelerometer is typically used by a device to determine which way a handset is being held so the user interface can adjust for portrait or landscape mode, although other apps make use of the data as well, especially gaming apps or fitness apps. Each accelerometer has to be calibrated so the device will be able to understand the data. Normally, very small deviations may be ignored by the operating system, but they are still being generated by the accelerometer if for no other reason than due to the effects of tiny defects in the manufacturing process and Mr. Bojinov discovered no two accelerometers are alike.
You have to hand it to Samsung really. After getting the public to generate unprecedented buzz and pandemonium, Samsung certainly brought in the Galaxy S 4 with a bang thanks to its snazzy Unpacked 2013: Episode I event. Heck— the buzz and excitement caused not one, but two competitors to try and pour salt in Sammy’s coffee, yet Sammy wasn’t deterred. As opposed to the traditional unveilings and demos that we’re used to seeing at keynote events, Samsung instead thought about doing something ummm, “unique” or “different” to say the least by providing a variety of skits, dances and literally theatrics to introduce its new flagship. More importantly, Samsung used its brand name to be out of the box in comparison to its competitors: go into the heart of the Broadway, use one of the world’s largest stages complete with an orchestra, an MC and some sweet live performances to introduce something that is “unique” and different”.
While those of us in attendance were quite impressed (and believe us, Rob Nazarian & I were certainly entertained at the event)— the Galaxy S 4 certainly poses a significant observation of not just the Galaxy S 4, but Samsung as a brand as we know it: Samsung is utilizing the features and more importantly— the marketing of its products to sell its brand. Make no mistake about it: Samsung has made a serious transition going from what was known as a relatively unknown Korean brand to a wannabe Apple competitor to what is perhaps the most exciting and controversial brand to date. The scary thing is this— not only is the transition a success, but everyone else is now playing catchup in terms of brand recognition and excitement.
By far my favorite feature of CyanogenMod is their customized native MMS application. It offers so much more functionality than the stock Android MMS app. While it looks almost exactly alike, CM and his group have added useful features such as the much popular emoji emoticons that were made popular by iPhone users. Other notable add-on’s is the quick reply function, pop-up feature, gestures for SMS templates, stripping unicode support, and much more.
Personalizing your Android device is something a lot of us do. After all, you’ve spend hundreds upon hundreds on these handsets, so why not give it some flare to your own liking that separates it from others? That’s where dbrand inc. comes in and provides your device with some awesome top-of-the line 3M textured vinyl’s. For review purposes I’ll be using the Nexus 4 as that’s the device I have the product installed on, although the company provides these vinyl skins on a slew of devices on their website.
First off, the quality of these vinyl’s are top-notch. According to dbrand, the vinyl’s that they use are generally reserved for architectural re-upholstering and auto body trim. Even better is the flat price of $9 per skin and you can actually request a customized skin for your liking. Just e-mail them what you have in mind and send them the images you want and they’ll be happy to work with you on what you want. Of course, customized skins often uses twice the material plus the added labor, so expect the price of that to double to about $18. With that being said, the two vinyl’s that I have from them feel and look great. As you can see with the pictures below, the cutouts are dead on with the camera and speakers. What’s even more surprising is how well the “nexus” letters were cut in precision to perfectly match it on my Nexus.
Texture wise, these aren’t just cheap “stickers” that have been slapped together. While the titanium seen above isn’t real titanium, it looks just as real and has great texture. Same goes with the black carbon fiber skin that is seen below, the texture is great and you can actually feel each line. I can’t say enough how great these look on your device. If you prefer a “cleaner” look and not have the “nexus” cut-out, then you can easily request that by e-mailing them.
I’ve also found that these skins are very easy to apply. With mildly steady hands I was able to apply these in no longer than 30 seconds. The best part is that you can re-apply these numerous times, this is especially great if you bought a couple colors and decide to swap the them out as you please.
Last but not least, what makes an already great company into an awesome one? Customer service of course! After various e-mail exchanges and reading customers feedback from various threads on XDA and Reddit, dbrand provides great and speedy customer service. By far one of the best I’ve seen. What’s great is that you can shoot them an e-mail if you have any questions, whether it’s a personal request on a customized skin that you have envisioned or a general question about their products. Regardless of the inquiry they are quick to respond. You can purchase these skins on the first link below, and you can also check out their Facebook page for more HD pictures of their products on numerous devices!
Needless to say, if you’re looking to customize your device then I would highly recommend dbrand inc!
Are you one of the few that were lucky enough to nab the elusive Nexus 4 by Google? If you do possess Android’s hard to attain device and are into modding/rooting, then finding the perfect ROM can be hard, and maybe even overwhelming at times. RasBean Jelly is a custom AOSP ROM made by the developer Rascarlo and has been around since the Galaxy Nexus days when it was called Rascream (back when Ice Cream Sandwich was the latest ROM). If you’re an avid ROM flasher, then you’re well aware that a handful of the ones you flash tend to have bugs and other problems that you’ll frequently encounter. While that’s expected, that’s one thing that I don’t particularly enjoy about flashing custom ROM’s.
With RasBean, I have never encountered a bug or any problems in any build that I’ve tried, even in my ICS Galaxy Nexus days. RasBean is an AOSP based ROM that’s dedicated to speed and overall stability. While Rascarlo does include several additional features to the ROM, he makes sure to clean the ROM of necessary codes and “bloat.” Thus, if you’re a huge CM or AOKP fan, then this ROM may not be for you as it doesn’t have the dozens upon dozens of added features that those two ROM’s tend to have. But if you’re looking for a super fast ROM with no bugs, then RBJ just might be for you! Hit the break to find out more.
Let’s face it, we live in a world connected through the internet where we are constantly looking at (and for) noteworthy photos from our friends, family or anyone of any sort of relevance. It’s no secret that as we become more and more connected through the web, we are looking to share our precious moments with our family and friends faster than ever using our smartphones– especially since we can share photos to our friends and loved ones instantly with blazing fast cellular networks. It’s also no secret while we can share our photos faster than ever, the quality of the photos from many smartphones are average at best— especially compared to a photo taken from a traditional point-and-shoot or DSLR-type camera. Samsung quickly realized this and unveiled the Galaxy Camera: traditional a camera that takes quality photos, while allowing the ability for users to be always connected to the internet in order to instantly share the photos with family and friends.
So in case you’re not familiar, let’s remind ourselves of what the Galaxy Camera is exactly: a camera that’s stuffed with TouchWiz-infused Jelly Bean running the show. The device is more or less what we identify as a connected camera: a camera allowing us to share quality photos and videos with our friends and family instantly thanks to an always-on internet connection via the camera’s built-in SIM card. As it always does with many of its products, Samsung takes a gamble by using its brand name to market a basic camera that’s connected to the internet via the Android platform, but does it succeed in trying to bring yet another “unique” device to the marketplace? We know that certain celebs have taken a strong liking to the device, but for the rest of you– you’ll need to read on past the break to see if it is worth your fancy in our review.
A few months ago, before Google released its most recent Nexus phone, the LG Nexus 4, there were several substantial rumors floating around that Google was planning on opening its Nexus line to multiple manufacturing partners. It all started with a report from the very credible Wall Street Journal and the rumors went something like this: Google will offer its “Nexus” name and early access to the latest stock Android builds to any OEM who is willing to play by Google’s rules and build their phones with a minimum set of specs set by Google’s team. There was said to be five new Nexus phones from five different manufacturers (LG, HTC, Sony, Samsung, and Motorola) all released on November 5th (Android’s 5th birthday) and they’d each be sold in Google’s new Play Store. Sounds pretty plausible, right? Android had finally grown up as an operating system, and now it was time to get the pure Google experience on as many powerful flagship phones as possible, while bypassing the manufacturers ugly and unconventional skins. To be honest, when I first read this rumor I was beyond excited. I absolutely love stock Android (post Ice Cream Sandwich) and was salivating about the fact that I’d get to choose from several top of the line hardware variations for my next Nexus.
It may be the start of the holiday season, but there are always great deals available for prospective smartphone shoppers looking to grab a sweet phone that won’t break the bank. In fact, there used to be the notion that in order to grab a phone under $100 on-contract, you’d have to settle for an outdated or budget-level device. However that notion is no longer the case as customers across all carriers can easily find a decent (if not great) device for a reasonable price. Of course figuring out which device may be a bit difficult, but don’t fret— Talk Android has you covered as we’ve come up with a solid guide with our recommendations of the best devices for under $100 on-contract for your respective wireless carrier. So without further ado, head on past the break to see our picks of the best devices that won’t break the bank.
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few days, you’re probably well-aware of the upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet. Dubbed as one of the saviors for Microsoft’s rapidly degrading brand, the Surface tablet has already been identified as the true iPad and Android tablet challenger. With its thin profile and abundant storage space (comes in 32GB or 64GB configurations with an expandable storage slot), the Surface tablet will have at least the physical features to make it an interesting product. However, the hardware is just one aspect of the tablet— the real kicker is Microsoft’s brand-new OS: Surface for Windows RT technology. The OS will essentially mirror its upcoming Windows 8 OS, while having exclusive offerings like Microsoft Office 2013 and a special version of Netflix included with the tablet. So in essence, upcoming Surface tablet seems to be a true productivity workhorse— at least on the surface (no pun intended folks).
Now while the upcoming Surface tablet certainly looks to be an interesting and perhaps attractive product, Microsoft is treading into dangerous territory. As RIM and certainly HP can attest, Google’s Android platform has a clear stranglehold of the tablet market share— something that both the Blackberry Playbook and HP’s TouchPad certainly couldn’t achieve during their brief lives. Consumers love seeing a new product, but expect reasonable value of what a product offers. The Surface tablet is going to debut at $499 for the 32GB entry-level model– which doesn’t even include the $130 Touch Cover keyboard/cover combo that’s necessary helpful for doing all that increased productivity like using Microsoft Office 2013, as Microsoft is hyping. As indicated by numerous studies, the number of iPad and Android tablets are growing at an astronomical pace. Oh and don’t forget– newer Android tablets are being released on a seemingly daily basis and the prices of the those tablets (and subsequent accessories) are becoming much more reasonable— if not lower overall. So considering Microsoft is certainly unproven, while Apple and more importantly— Android have a clear understanding of not just what consumers want, but what consumers actually need in a tablet— Microsoft doesn’t offer any compelling reason for why consumers should give their product a try. Microsoft’s Surface tablet is a painfully basic product that has a premium price won’t even put a dent in Android sales or overall market share.