Friday, November 30, 2012

ASUS Qube with Google TV pops up at the FCC

ASUS Qube dongle for Google TV pops up at the FCC

Despite its crucial role in the Android ecosystem, ASUS hasn't taken the plunge on Google TV so far. An FCC approval for a new adapter, the Qube, suggests that reticence is coming to a quick halt -- and in an uncommon way. Rather than build a full media hub, ASUS appears to be crafting a possibly Roku-like dongle that would graft Google TV on to a host device through USB. The Qube's components aren't outlined in earnest, but it would pair up with an RF-based keyboard and touchpad for its main input.

Some details may have been given away through Google Play listings for O!Mobile Control Center and Remote apps linked to the Qube -- they hint that ASUS could use the same Marvell Armada processors that power modern Google TV boxes, as well as extend smartphone control beyond what Google's official remote app can offer (we tried it with an existing Google TV unit and it wouldn't connect.) At this moment, we're less curious about when and where the Qube releases than how it will sell; its dependence could see it destined for an equipment bundle instead of sitting on shelves by its lonesome. We're asking around for possible details and will let you know if we hear more.

Continue reading ASUS Qube with Google TV pops up at the FCC

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Source: FCC, Google Play (1), (2)



Mugen Power offers massive 6,400mAh Galaxy Note II battery, tests the limits of our pockets

Mugen Power offers massive 6,400mAh Galaxy Note II battery, tests the limits of our pockets

Is the already insanely long battery life of the Galaxy Note II just not enough? Mugen Power's new extended battery might not have Samsung's giant smartphone running forever, but it sure will feel like an eternity. At 6,400mAh, the replacement has more than twice the capacity of the Galaxy Note II's stock 3,100mAh pack while keeping the NFC wireless. Just don't expect to shove the resulting franken-phablet into a tight pants pocket -- like most such batteries, Mugen's is much thicker than the default and even comes with its own kickstand to save wrist strain during a movie marathon. The pack normally costs $106 and is listed as working with most any Galaxy Note II variant, including at least the American variants for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular. Those who can bide their time until the quoted December 21st ship date will end up with a tank of a smartphone, but one that might just last a whole weekend away from a wall outlet.

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Via: (translated)

Source: Mugen Power



Basis Activity and Sleep Tracker Is One to Watch

Basis Activity and Sleep Tracker Is One to Watch
The new sensor-laden Basis activity and sleep-tracking device launched today to help you form healthy habits.



Angry Birds Star Wars updates with 20 new levels, Princess Leia, and more

Angry Birds Star Wars has been updated with 20 new levels on the ice world of Hoth, a new pink bird that stars as Princess Leia, and more.

It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth. Unfortunately the evil Darth Vader discovers their hideout, and the desperate Rebel birds must escape the AT-ATs and Pigtroopers hot on their trail. But the Rebels have an ace up their sleeve with the debut of PRINCESS LEIA!

As the birds head to the ice world of Hoth, Princess Leia joins the Rebels with her special ability -- a power GFD device that draw items to her. In addition to the 20 new levels on this world, there are also new bonus levels to be discovered.

Have you picked up this update, yet? If you're able to pry your eyes away from it, let us know what you think!

$0.99 for iPhone - Download Now

$2.99 for iPad - Download Now



Next Issue grows iPad library with addition of eight new magazine titles

Next Issue grows iPad magazine library with addition of eight new titles

Next Issue -- the service unofficially billed as the Netflix of digital magazines -- has just announced an expansion of its catalog, adding eight additional titles to its tablet-based offering. This recent inclusion of big names brings the company's impressive library to a total of 80 even, letting iPad users now peruse the likes of New York Magazine, Food & Wine and Men's Fitness, just to name a few. Pricing for both Unlimited subscription tiers remains unchanged, with $10/mo still netting users access to 73 monthly and bi-weekly titles, while the more premium $15/mo service opens up the entire archive. As of now, these new additions won't work on Android slates, but the company promises "work is underway" to make them available across the board. Hit up the break to check out the official release.

Continue reading Next Issue grows iPad library with addition of eight new magazine titles

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Words With Friends for Android updated, promises "smoother game experience"

As several of you noted in the comments to our post asking for cross-platform iOS/Android games, Words With Friends for Android does not provide the smoothest gaming experience... and that's being rather charitable.

You might be happy to hear that a couple of days ago Zynga released an update which promises to solve many of the Android-specific issues, such as notifications not popping up.

Sadly, installing the update is not a smooth experience; you have to manually uninstall the previous version, and then go to the Android Market and install it. What's nice is that it doesn't lose your saved games - this screenshot shows a game I've started before the update and continued after updating.

How's the new update working out for you? Let us know in the comments!

Words With Friends for Android updated, promises "smoother game experience" originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 04 Mar 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Shot Shot Pirate is a fun, simple physics game

Shot Shot Pirate is very satisfying, because each level is short and to the point. You know what you have to do and you just do it.

As you may have gathered from the name, you're cast in the role of a pirate. Your goal is to shoot at a diamond and make it fall off a tower of bricks. The height of the tower changes as you progress through the levels. It's not enough to just make the diamond fall off the tower of bricks - it has to fall below a certain line (drawn on the screen) for the level to be completed.

There are also different kinds of bricks, with some heavier than others, and different kinds of ammo. You only get a certain amount of ammo for each level, and when it's gone, you lose. But don't worry! If you don't make it on the first try, it's very easy to restart the level and just give it another shot (or three).

All in all it's a cute game. I've seen similar games with better graphics and music, but the game delivers on its main promise - a few minutes of pure time wasting!

Shot Shot Pirate is a fun, simple physics game originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 24 Feb 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Bing begins roll out of HTML5-enhanced search interface

Bing transitions
Bing's new HTML5-and-CSS3-enhanced search interface, which was first demonstrated back in September 2010 to showcase the power of IE9, has started to roll out.

The most notable addition to the new interface is is smooth page transitions -- the fade in and out -- and navigation tabs (maps, images, videos, etc.) now persistently float at the top of the page. WinRumors is also reporting that a feature reminiscent of Google Instant search is being added to Bing, with page elements smoothly transitioning in and out as you type in your search query.

If you want to try out the new Bing UI, your best bet is to set your locale to United States - English and pray that you're part of the initial roll out. Alternatively, just wait a few days until MIX 2011, Microsoft's Web developer conference, which is when the new Bing UI should be officially launched.

Bing begins roll out of HTML5-enhanced search interface originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 08 Apr 2011 06:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Raspberry Pi's $25 Model A enters production, could be in tinkerers' projects early next year

Raspberry Pi's $25 Model A enters production, could be in tinkerer's projects early next year

Raspberry Pi's Model B computer will be no stranger to regular readers. We've seen it turn up in all sorts of projects, and generally stretched in various directions. If you were holding out for the cheaper, lower specced Model A however, your time is near. A recent post on the official Raspberry Pi site confirms that the first Model A samples are rolling off the production line. The main differences? Whereas Model B has two USB ports and 512 MB of RAM plus Ethernet, Model A sports only the one port, has half the RAM, and no Ethernet connection, making it more power economical as well as $10 cheaper. Price likely isn't the issue here, but if you were after the even more stripped back version, it's estimated they'll be ready to purchase online early next year.

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Source: Raspberry Pi



O'Reilly helps Japan, offers entire e-book catalog for 50% off, today only

O'reilly make some of the best computer books in the world. They also sell them as DRM-free e-books in a bunch of formats, including PDFs and Mobi for Kindle.

They usually offer one "Deal of the Day", which is a 50% discount code for a book chosen for that one day. But just for for today, they've created a discount code -- DDJPN -- that gives you a 50% discount on their entire catalog, and they give a part of the proceeds to aid Japan relief efforts.

So far they've raised over $60,000, and the day is still young. So if you've been recently hankering after some nerdy book (or three), now would be a great time to grab one.

O'Reilly helps Japan, offers entire e-book catalog for 50% off, today only originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 22 Mar 2011 14:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How Effective is the iPad as a Business Tool?

Right from the start the iPad was marketed as one of the best unique devices to be launched on the market. It’s screen size and ability to render amazing images as well as it’s great video playback lives up to this claim. However, there is more to the iPad than just this because the device offers business-savvy users some very interesting apps they can really benefit from.

Although Apple is pretty independent, it does however, have in-built support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and 2007. Microsoft’s Business Email service cannot be ignored and as such Apple would not let their users get left behind should they choose to buy an iPad.

This enhanced software feature allows iPad users to manage specific calendar details as well as search global address lists and inbox messages that are stored in their Microsoft profile.

Apple is known for it’s high level of security and this is just as important on the iPad. Data exchanged over the Internet or over-the-air can be encrypted. Corporate communication over-the-air is also very well protected using a certificate-based authentication process via VPN and Exchange. If users lose their iPads or they are stolen, people are able to delete any vulnerable data that’s stored on the device by way of a remote command app.

There are loads of specialized apps which include business metrics tracker, proposal reviewer and many more that have be specifically developed with business users in mind. Apple hosts the iPhone Developer Enterprise Program which is much the same as the enterprise edition of the BlackBerry RIM. The real difference between the two is that iPad users can create their own apps and they can share these with colleagues as well as employees when deemed necessary.

Companies are able to set up on their own profiles on their iPads and this includes their details like VPN, email, password as well as wireless networks which they can then share with their colleague through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or the Internet.

For business users, the iWork app allows them to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. These applications have been specifically designed to be accessed by the iPad’s multi-touch screen system. They can create and present keynote slides throught the touchscreen device and manage Numbers and Pages by simply tapping the element on it.

Users can share these documents in different ways including via a VGA adapter that connects the iPad to a projector which allows the device to display a much larger image, this is particularly useful when a presentation needs to be given to a roomful of people. One good thing about the iPad is that users can import Microsoft documents onto their device. Users can share their presentations, spreadsheets and text document on a much wider scale if they upload to as this allows a much larger audience to view the files when they need to.



Tonight, on the Greatest Android Podcast in the World!

Android Central Podcast

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Androids and ... Dogs and cats of all ages! It's Thursday. Again. And that means it's time for the Android Central Podcast. We're all recharged from the Thanksgiving break here in the states, and it's time to catch up on how everybody's doing with their new Nexus devices, who's been able to buy more -- and what the hell Google need to do to keep that process from getting any worse. Plus, more of your e-mails and voicemails!

Join us tonight at 9 p.m. EST at

The Android Central Podcast is your weekly peek into the world of Android, where we break down the news that really matters, and explain what's just a bunch of hype. Plus, we answer your e-mails and voicemails. You don't want to miss it. Check out the Android Central Podcast.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Google Voice Search learns Latin American Spanish, Indonesian, and Malaysian

google voice search
Google Voice Search has just introduced localizations for Latin America, Indonesia and Malaysia, enabling native language search for hundreds of millions of users.

Google's official blog post offers some interesting insights into the process of collecting and analyzing the speech data needed to expand support. Thousands of hours were spent gathering voice samples and choosing key regional accents to analyze, and International Program Manager Linne Ha is clearly very appreciative of the Google users who helped the company complete the expansion. Without an enthusiastic base of users to lend a hand, Google Voice Search's polyglot powers would have been nearly impossible to deliver.

Google Voice Search learns Latin American Spanish, Indonesian, and Malaysian originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 31 Mar 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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RichardSolo FreeWheelin Audio System for Helmets review

FreeWheelin attached to clip with round charging cable.

FreeWheelin attached to clip with round charging cable.

Bluetooth speakers are becoming quite popular, since most folks are carrying their music on their phones or tablets. Sure, plugging in an AUX cable gives a better connection in most cases, but trying to use something while its tethered, or having something fall off the edge of a counter because it was precariously balanced next to the stereo and power outlets is a drag. I’ve found Bluetooth also is much more flexible when sharing devices between folks. Once you learn the pairing process, it’s trivial to connect from another device. As Bluetooth 4.0 becomes more common, the quality of both the audio and the connection is growing continually.

RichardSolo, the new company from the founder of the Sharper Image, makes several different products that we’ve reviewed here in the past. His newest offering is the FreeWheelin Audio System for Helmets, a Bluetooth speaker system designed to use on your bike, in your car, and on your desk. Since I try to bike as often as possible, I requested to be the one to review it. 

The Freewheelin system comes in a cardboard box, with a molded plastic insert holding the main unit and speakers and the clip all assembled. Under the molded tray is a proprietary round USB charging cable and several click-loc patches to attach the pieces to your helmet. I have used speakers on my helmet before, and enjoyed the safe freedom of hearing my choice of audio while not blocking out the sound of cars and fellow riders as they pass. (It’s really sad to pull up at a light beside someone else on a bike, make eye contact and say “hello”, only to realize they have earbuds buried in their ears and can’t hear anything. I like to be a bit more aware of my surroundings than that when I’m on a bike!)

The FreeWheelin system consists of three pieces wired together with curly cables. The center piece is a “head” unit, which contains the battery and probably the Bluetooth radio. The left speaker has a single button, used for turning it all on and off or for answering the phone or starting/stopping music. The right speaker has two buttons for volume up/down. The buttons are rubber coated and very easy to engage. Pairing is handled by holding down the power button until the LED on the head unit blinks to indicate discover mode.

The FreeWheelin' consists of three devices connected by curly cables. The left box has a single button for on/off and connection, the right box has volume up/down buttons.

The FreeWheelin consists of three boxes connected by curly cables. The left box has a single button for on/off and connection, the right box has volume up/down buttons.

The back of each piece has a click-loc connector patch attached. This is not Velcro, so there is no “scriiiiitttttch” noise as you remove or replace items. Instead, each piece has a series of teeth that stand up with little heads on top, almost like a forest of sewing pins. They are spaced apart enough that, when you press a similar piece onto it, the pins merge with a little “snick” and hold quite well. Since all pieces are the same, there’s no rough side/soft side issue like there is with Velcro. Pretty nice stuff, and well suited to this application – except that it works best with a flat surface. Biking helmets are pretty much free of straight lines on most surfaces. I tried every place I could think of, and could never find a place where I could stick the click-lox patch that would actually hold the speakers. There is a flat place on the back top, where I previously mounted a speaker. It fit the head piece of the FreeWheelin’ perfectly, but the two speakers could not engage at all. I finally was able to MacGuyver things together with duct tape in order to test, but it was a struggle. Plus, that prevents the quick on/off that the system is designed for.

There aren't too many flat edges on a bike helmet.

There aren’t too many flat edges on a bike helmet.

There aren't too many flat edges on a bike helmet.

There aren’t too many flat edges on a bike helmet.

The included clip is plastic, flat on one side, with click-loc patches already attached. You can leave the speakers attached and move it around, or clip it to your visor for sound in your car.

When clipped together, the FreeWheelin system is a tight unit.

When clipped together, the FreeWheelin system is a tight unit.

I’ve been using a different Bluetooth unit clipped to the visor in my car, and replaced it with the FreeWheelin for a few days. The sound was quite a bit louder, but there is much less bass, I guess due to the smaller speaker size. If you’re listening to a podcast or audiobook, this is great, since you don’t have to deal with the lower registers. But for music, when you want to have a broader sonic experience, this is less than optimal. On a bike, this is really helpful, in that you have the higher level sounds cut through any other noises, yet you can hear the sounds of car engines coming behind you, which are usually in lower frequencies.

Having your audio come from something other than earbuds is great. You can still hear birds, people talking, and vehicular traffic, yet your music is there, as loud or soft was you want it to be. You do get looks as you pass other folks, however, much like those who drive around with music blaring out of their car’s stereo. Even listening to softer sounds or even a podcast, folks don’t expect to hear a radio out on the greenway, or while walking the streets of their neighborhood. Prepare yourself for quizzical passersby.

So, the sound is OK, but not stellar. It’s nice to have a decent sound system clipped to your visor or helmet, but what problems can you expect? First off is the whole proprietary charging cable. I know, as an iPhone user, I should have no ground to stand on here, but the iPhone 5 has already brought more Lightening connectors into the marketplace than what RichardSolo will ever sell of these units. If you are not going to sell tens of millions of your device within the first few months on the market, you need to stay with standards, which means microUSB or miniUSB. Period. Any other wacky connectors, no matter the rationale, is just not acceptable. I guarantee there are already buyers of this device that have lost/broken their charging cables and are either calling the company or ending their use of the product because they can’t get a replacement.

The biggest drawback to the whole setup, however, is that it’s three little pieces, dangling together with tiny curly cords. There is no bag or case or anything to carry it in, unless you attach it to the clip. But even then, the cords are still exposed.

I attached the clip and used two mini-bungie cords to connect the unit to my handlebars, and it was like having a stereo system on my bike. (Actually, I’ve been doing that almost every ride since I first tried it and probably will continue.) When I stop, however, I have to unbungie the unit and carefully put it into a pannier or whatever bag I’m using before I can get going. On my helmet, I just store it with the speakers attached.

Music on the go, or catching up on a podcast or audiobook while also getting exercise or running errands on a bike is really fun. I guess this is how the first people to have car radios felt. Getting the periodic reports from my health-tracking app with the music ducked to the background is quite nice, as well. I could probably use this in a strange town to find my way with a GPS mapping application as well. I’m really sad the helmet attachment thing didn’t work out.

So, altogether, three and a half out of five stars. Really well done sonically, good battery and weight. Poor choice for charging connector, and the idea of a flat surface on a bike helmet is a bit naïve. And would it hurt to toss in a drawstring bag to hold the cable and all the pieces when not in use?

Product Information

Retailer:various online and in stores
  • Device that attaches to Bluetooth speaker
  • Fast pairing.
  • Decent sound.
  • Great concept.
  • Flat speaker will not attach to any of the helmets in our home.
  • No way to easily transport pieces.
  • ROund proprietary charging cable.

Filed in categories: Audio, Video, TV Gear, Bluetooth Gear, Outdoor Gear, Reviews

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RichardSolo FreeWheelin Audio System for Helmets review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on November 29, 2012 at 11:00 am.



Sony moved 525K PlayStation 3 consoles during Black Friday week, 160K Vitas

Microsoft and Nintendo aren't the only game console manufacturers enjoying Black Friday frenzy -- Sony today announced that over 525K PlayStation 3 consoles were sold in the US between November 18th and 24th (which includes the big day), adding to the 70 million PS3s in the world. Another 160K PlayStation Vitas were sold between the 19th and 25th, spurred by hefty Sony-backed discounts. The numbers mark a nine percent increase over last year's PS3 sales; as this is the Vita's first Black Friday year, 160K will be the number to beat in 2013. Without offering any actual numbers, Sony also says its PlayStation Plus subscription rate via PlayStation Network increased 259% last week -- it's unclear if this includes the free subs found in many Black Friday bundles and individual games. The service grew considerably recently with the launch of PS Plus on Vita, and bolstered its free game lineup with some of the Vita's best offerings, no doubt attracting many new customers.

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Benchmarks show Samsung's Exynos 5 processor is a beast with Linux

Benchmarks show Samsung's Exynos 5 processor is a beast with Linux

Linux wizard Michael Larabel has been marking his benches over at Phoronix and in the process he's proved that the Samsung Exynos 5 Dual processor -- currently found in some of our favorite tablets and budget notebooks -- is remarkably nifty with Ubuntu. The chip, which contains two Cortex-A15 cores clocked at 1.7GHz and a Mali-T604 GPU, was stacked up against the A9-based Tegra 3 from NVIDIA plus a few Intel Atoms to represent the x86 side of things. Although the various test rigs couldn't be totally spec-matched in terms of RAM and storage, the scores were focused on pure computational grunt and they gave Samsung's SoC a "surprising" lead. Check out the source link below and you'll see that the majority of the graphs look similar to the one above, with the two weaker Atoms and the aging Tegra 3 being left for dust and only the Core i3, with its much higher wattage, being able to keep that Exynos ego in check -- at least until the eight-core version gets here.

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Source: Phoronix