Unlocking Chromebooks will soon get simpler

Due to Google being the creator of both Android and Chrome OS, they have begun to experiment with these operating systems, combining them to create unique features, like how Apple does with their iOS devices and Mac OS X line of computers. Previously, Muktware mentioned Google working on alternative methods for unlocking Chromebooks, but the Android Police discovered one such development in the works on Chromebooks running the Dev channel. (The Dev channel is Google’s early release channel, through which Chromebook users can get new features earlier but are unstable, so sometimes cause problems).

With this new feature enabled on a paired Chromebook and Android smartphone, the Chromebook will unlock when the Android smartphone is near. This feature, currently called Easy Unlock, will give users instant access to their Chromebook, and still offer them security if the device is accessed when they are not present.

Screenshot of the setup wizard for the Easy Unlock setting
Screenshot of the setup wizard for the Easy Unlock setting

The Android Police tried to test this feature by setting up the connection, and they easily moved through the first two pages of the setup wizard on the Chromebook. However, the setup currently hangs at the screen where the Android device is to be paired. Either Google must release an Android app to provide this function, or include the feature in the next version of Android. For now, this is still a feature to be looked forward to and that a majority of users will find use in.

Google I/O will most likely reveal more on this feature and mark the release of it to the masses of Chromebook and Android users. According to rumors about Google I/O, Chromebooks in general will be one of Google’s main focuses at the event, and their plans for Chrome OS’ future.

Rumors have been churning about tablets running Chrome OS, and more unique devices such as Lenovo’s Yoga Chromebook which will be the first convertible Chromebook. Google I/O will definitely be an event to watch this year, especially on the topic of Chromebooks and Google’s Chrome OS.

Source: Android Police

New HTC One Google Play Edition available for sale

The new HTC One which was announced yesterday is now available with stock Android from Google Play Store. These devices running stock Android are called Google Play Edition devices and they don’t come with the usual bloat-ware or custom UI pushed by the hardware companies.

The phone comes with 32GB internal storage, in addition to an SD-card slot, and 2GB of RAM. The device is available for $699 and will start shipping in 2-3 weeks. These are unlocked devices which get updates from Google faster as there is no OEM or carrier sitting in between to delay the OTA updates.

It’s for those who do want pure Android experience with great hardware as Google’s own Nexus hardware is often not top-notch.

New HTC One: Larger screen, better software. Available today in the US

The new One, HTC’s latest Android flagship, gets official. The Taiwanese company took the wraps off the new One during a worldwide launch event today. Thanks to a number of leaks over the last few months, you might already know that the device features a tweaked design with a larger display, curvier metal sides, louder speakers and a dual-camera system.

“It takes the best smartphone in the world and makes it better in every way,” CEO Peter Chou said on stage in New York City. “The design is so pure and honest.”

Powered by the brand-new Snapdragon 801 processor, the new One offers a 5-inch, 1080p screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Coming to storage, HTC is providing you with two options: either 16GB or 32GB. The successor to last year’s HTC One also comes with a microSD card slot, for adding up to 128GB more.

Offering a sizable 2,600mAh battery, HTC claims a 40 percent improvement in the new One over the original. A new power-saver mode can get you 40 days of standby time, according to the company.

The new One is powered by Android KitKat 4.4, providing users with the latest enhancements straight from Google. On top of that, the smartphone is running Sense 6.0 (the sixth iteration of HTC’s Sense Android software), which includes BlinkFeed and a heavy focus on themes. “We’ve redesigned Sense from top to bottom, touching every pixel along the way,” said HTC’s Jonah Becker.

The phone also includes Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, AWS compatibility, LTE, NFC, an accelerometer, gyroscope and barometer.

North American customers can order the new One starting today at 1 PM Eastern, from AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Rogers, Bell, and Telus for immediate shipping.

For Verizon customers, the device is already available in-store. The 16GB model will cost you $199, while you will have to shell out $249 for the 32GB model. The phone is being made available in three colors–gunmetal gray, glacial silver and amber gold.

HTC has plans to bring the new One to Australia, Taiwan, the UK, Germany, France, and China by the end of April.

Google Patents new ‘Blink’ input technology for wearables

An new patent submitted by Google to USPTO describes a smart contact lense, equipped with multiple sensors which could be used to provide inputs to wearable as well as non-wearable devices by just blinking.

Google unveiled Android Wear last week, which is a version on Android OS tailor made for wearable devices such as smart watches. Google is making use of Google Now’s prediction power and natural language processing to provide you with information on Android Wear devices at the right moments. This reduces the requirement to provide inputs to the device as information is made readily available. Also, very limited inputs could be provided using the tiny touch screen on wearables such as smart watches. However, effective input methods could increase usefulness of wearable devices. This technology could also open up new ways to interact with your non-wearable devices such as smartphones.

The contact lens is said to have sensors to measure, light, pressure, conductivity, temperature and electric field. By using multiple sensors blink detection could be made very accurate. There will be various algorithms and mathematical functions to distinguish between blink input and involuntary eye blinks. The lens will also be able to connect to a wireless network. To power the lens various methods could be used such as solar, thermal, or radio frequency power.

The patent application was filed in Q3 2012 and there is no information if the technology will even see the light of the day anytime soon.

After AT&T, Qualcomm teases the all new HTC One

The official unveiling of HTC’s “primary flagship for 2014” is still a few days away, but there is no dearth of leaked images about the all new HTC One (M8). After AT&T, Qualcomm is now promoting the HTC M8 smartphone via its official Twitter account as it will feature one of the company’s Snapdragon SoCs.

It’s not yet known what Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset the eagerly awaited sequel to HTC’s current flagship will use, but it seems it’s going to be a quad-core 801 model – similar to what Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 are using.

As Qualcomm puts it, the 2014 HTC One is “a stylish new Snapdragon powered device” that will let you “#OneUp your mobile experience.”

The big unveiling of the all new HTC One (M8) has been scheduled for March 25th, and the event will take place in New York and London simultaneously.

The smartphone is likely to go on sale the same day in select markets – possibly including the US.

Huawei kills plans to launch a dual-OS Windows Phone-Android smartphone

After announcing plans to launch a dual-booting Windows Phone and Android handset this spring, Chinese telecom giant Huawei has now said that it has no plans for such a device in the near future.

In a statement to FierceWireless, a Huawei spokesperson said that “Huawei Consumer Business Group adopts an open approach towards mobile operating systems to provide a range of choices for consumers. However, most of our products are based on Android OS, [and] at this stage there are no plans to launch a dual-OS smartphone in the near future.”

Contradicting to their latest statement, Huawei’s chief marketing officer, Shao Yang, said last week that the company was following a “dual OS” strategy to provide users with Android and Windows Phone on a single handset.

“With Windows Phone, one direction for us–and one that we are now following–is dual OS. Dual OS as in Android and Windows together,” he said. “If it is Windows only, maybe people will not find it as easy a decision to buy the phone. If they have the Android and Windows together, you can change it as you wish and it is much easier for people to choose Windows Phone.”

The reason behind the company’s move is not yet clear, while some media reports speculate that the manufacturer could have been pressured by Google and Microsoft which would rather not see a dual-OS smartphone hit the market.

Oppo Find 7, the most powerful smartphone out there, and it runs Android

If Canonical teased everyone with their Ubuntu Edge concept phone making smartphone users salivate for such a phone, Oppo has kind of realized that dream. Oppo has announced the most advanced smartphone in the market leaving Nokia and Samsung in the dust.

Oppo Find 7 can shoot image up to 50 megapixels. Yes, it’s not a typo…it’s 50 megapixels.

Oppo Find 7 has a 5.5″ Quad HD screen with 2560 x 1440 resolution (538 PPI) which is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It has 13-megapixel Sony Exmor IMX214 CMOS sensor with 4K video recording and 50-megapixel Super Zoom photo. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 801 CPU, expandable storage up to 128 GB with removable battery.

The phone is still cheaper than the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S4 as it is priced at $599. There will be cheaper models of $499 which will have 1,920 x 1,080 display, a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 chip, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

I always maintained that the open source Android will take over tech lead from Apple. The only reason Apple had a technological edge was that the competitor of its times–that’s Microsoft–was a mediocre company and had a monopoly in the market so there was no need to innovate for this company which, in my opinion, kept the PC market from innovating. Then came Android and it changed everything. Now Apple is in the game of catching up and Microsoft is busy with Scroogled campaigns.

So are you going to buy Oppo Find 7? Do you think they can take over the market with better hardware?

Geeksphone’s Revolution to offer Ubuntu Touch: Report

Spanish mobile start-up Geeksphone is reportedly in discussions with Canonical to offer Ubuntu Touch in its new phone, the ‘Revolution’. Featuring a 4.7-inch IPS display, the dual-OS running smartphone was released last month.

The dual-core Intel-based smartphone currently packs two operating systems – Android Jelly Bean and an unbranded version of Mozilla Firefox OS.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress, a Geeksphone spokesperson revealed to tech blog DigitalTrends that the company is “in talks with Canonical and Jolla, and could offer a choice of all four operating systems – Android, Firefox OS, Ubuntu Mobile, and Sailfish OS – on the Revolution. Booting between all of them would be great, but even just the option to buy a phone and then chose which OS to install is very intriguing.”

The handset features a 4GB of expandable internal memory, 1GB of RAM, and an 8MP primary camera alongside a 1.3MP front-facer. All of this is powered by a 2,000 mAh battery.

Though the company claims it to be a dual-boot phone, it’s not…at least, not yet. The phone does run Android and Firefox, but not side-by-side or at the same time.

Geeksphone also plans to bring “a true dual-boot system” in the future.

Here comes Onyxphone, an Ink Phone made for reading

Have a need for a phone that is focused more on reading consumption than multimedia use? Look no further, Onyx Midia may have you covered with their Onyxphone. The device features a 1 Ghz Rockchip processor, 512 MB of ram, an 1,800 mAh battery. The OnyxPhone is a 4.3″ phone that uses an energy saving e-Ink screen instead of the LCDs, OLEDs and other technologies that dominate the selected screen technology of smart and feature phones today. It also doesn’t use a hybrid E Ink/LCD strategy like the Yotaphone, it’s pure E Ink only.

You will sacrifice color and fast refresh rates so be prepared to say goodbye to videos and many games on this device. That’s not to say that this idea is bad or crazy, in fact I believe it to be the opposite. It’s a brilliant invention for people that primarily uses their cell phones to consume text but may often be annoyed at how often they may need to charge their devices.

Onyxphone is a hybird of smartphone and eReader. We have not forget about our main goals. If you choose our device you will get smart eBook reader that gives you possibility to calling, sms texting and web connection. – Onyx

(They’re a Chinese company, their translations may not be the best but are more than sufficient)

Very often our modern smart phones may have disappointing battery life. six hour to two day battery life has become the accepted range. A modern smart phone that lasts for two days isn’t bad at all but in another light it could be seen as disappointing. How? Many of the devices it replaces (terrestrial phones, cameras, books, computers, mp3 players, address books, flash lights, etc) traditionally lasted longer before needing maintenance or charging. Now you would be hard pressed to find a more versatile and useful device than the modern smart phone, but we could still hope for other interpretations of that device that helps to fill lost niches and types of uses.

Low-end Android phones may struggle to hit the lower end of that range while a semi-tablet like the Galaxy Note is praised for being able to run for a couple of days. Looking at all that these devices enable today, they’re right. It’s a technological marvel to have a 5″ device that is always connected to the internet, able to allow for communication in a myriad of ways while being more powerful than 6th, and very soon 7th, Generation game consoles (GCN/PS2/Xbox).

It’s nearly obscene that we have so much power and versatility in our pockets yet it’s our reality. Even so, maybe this tech overshoots the needs of some users. Not everyone cares for watching Youtube on the go or looking at pictures. In fact, how many of us just use our phones as a convenient way to read online sites like this one, ebooks or any other form of text(ing)? For those type of uses, color isn’t needed. The modern smart phone is arguably a cellular enabled tablet, but how much longer will that near monopoly last?

Getting back to the main point, the OnyxPhone reveal, it seems like a good idea that is limited by current technology unfortunately. According to Engadget the ebook functionality is smooth but normal phone navigation is beyond sluggish. The specs are low (still partially undefined) and the monochrome screen will be off-putting to the mainstream users. Instead of destroying this concept for what it isn’t, it’s very thrilling because of what it is and for what it may be a prelude to. There is on-going work to develop color e-ink screens, that will be a game changer for future iterations as well as dedicated e-readers. A faster cpu, more ram and more OS customization (it runs Android, and yes it can sideload apks) would make this a very useful and cheap device.

Imagine a color e-ink screen, a more fluid user interface, improved reader-focused features and a solid calling and texting experience – all on a device that only needs to be charged every two weeks. I very rarely stream video and wouldn’t miss the feature on a phone like this. I make heavy use of Digg Reader, Comixology, Nook, Pocket, Wikipedia and many other apps that would benefit greatly from an improved reading experience. I’d happily use an ereader phone in place of the current status quo devices if it could perform its’ reading and communication jobs at an equally high level of quality. The OnyxPhone is that first step, let’s hope that Onyx or others will be fit to see this through to the end.

Source: Onyx via Engadget”

Chinese phone maker Meizu arrives in France

Renowned Chinese phone manufacturer Meizu has made its entry into the French market with the launch of its flagship smartphone, the Meizu MX3. This phone runs a homegrown fork of Android 4.2, dubbed Flyme OS 3.0, which the company claims to have “improved navigation” and “simple and fluid transitions”.

The specs of the phone are:

  • 5.1″ Full HD display, at 415 ppi
  • Samsung Exynos 5 octa core processor (1.6 Ghz × 4 + 1.2 GHz × 4)
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2400 MAh battery
  • 8 Mpx rear camera, and 2 Mpx front camera by Sony
  • F/2.0 flashlight
  • NFC, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Dimensions: 139 x 71.9 x 9.1 mm
  • Weight: 143 g

The phone will be available in France, through a number of carriers, in three of its variants: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB, at €449, €499 and €549 respectively. There has been no word about the 128 GB variant.

Who is Meizu?

Meizu is a Chinese company taking the world by storm. In 2003, Meizu started off as a manufacturer of digital music players, and later entered the mobile phone market. Meizu’s focus lies in developing devices with sleek, elegant design and fluid user experience, for which they came up with their very own Flyme OS.

Meizu is also one of Canonical’s partners, that will launch the first devices running Ubuntu Touch OS.