Archives For Mobile

amazon-SD4930UR

While we’re still an hour away from Amazon’s smartphone reveal, what I believe to be their Android-powered handset just passed thru the FCC. We don’t have much to go on other than a shell company and my successful track record in turning up Lab126 products ahead of launch. Beyond the label, identifying the unnamed smartphone as the SD4930UR, documents indicate it features a variety of wireless frequencies (as you’d expect) – including multiple LTE and WiFi bands, along with Bluetooth. Amidst rumors of AT&T exclusivity, the device will supposedly possess a number of front-facing detectors to work in conjunction with an accelerometer for new methods of interaction and perhaps 3D viewing. We’ll find out shortly…

starbucks-powermat

While Coffee Bean may have given up on café table Qi charging, Starbucks has just announced a nationwide initiative to bring Powermat inductive charging to all US stores. Despite the promise of wireless power, a variety of competing standards and far-from-universal mobile manufacturer integration have led to limited consumer uptake. Perhaps more than 12,000 retail SBUX outposts will stimulate adoption. Although, iPhone and iPad owners will require compatible cases or external chargers, which probably defeats the purpose, as wireless power hasn’t (yet?) been integrated. Continue Reading…

Amazon Prime Music Arrives!

Dave Zatz —  June 12, 2014

amazon-prime-music

After months of rumor and speculation, Amazon Prime Music has arrived. And, as with other Prime benefits, the streaming service is effectively free for existing Prime members ($99/yr). At launch, Amazon’s collection pales in comparison to other streaming music services, such as Spotify. Yet, as The Verge notes, it doesn’t have to compete head-on. Prime Music is a just-nice-enough perk that it’ll surely replace my $4/mo Pandora and provides another reason to stick with Prime (despite LaserShip’s ongoing delivery challenges).

As to the service itself, it’s an interesting ad-free hybrid of albums, tracks, and playlists… with favorites ending up cross-pollinating your library of Amazon music purchases. In fact, anything tagged Prime can be downloaded for offline listening. Sadly, Amazon “Cloud Player” joins “Unbox” in the digital media dustbin as the e-tailer goes with the clear, yet dull, “Amazon Music” app branding for iOS and Android. Regarding app distribution, Fire TV support remains notably absent and my Sonos connected speaker system hasn’t yet been updated. Soon?

2014-06-09 20.29.20

Intro
Ever misplaced your keys? Or wanted to know when your luggage has arrived at the baggage claim?  Maybe marked the spot where you parked the car in the mall lot?

The Elgato Smart Key aims to address all of these situations as a sensor that you either attach or place on different items for tracking. Depending on what you are looking to track, the Smart Key can notify you of certain situations that might need attention.  Walk too far away from your keys, it will start to beep. Attach to your luggage and when it comes near to you at baggage claim, your phone will notify you. Continue Reading…

google-movies-chromeos

By way of Twitter, we’ve learned that the Google Play Movies & TV Chrome browser extension has been updated to allow Chromebooks to cache rented or purchased video content for offline viewing. And, given my travels, this may breathe new life into my largely abandoned $250 Samsung Chromebook. It’s been interesting to observe the platform evolve additional local capabilities, given Google’s original positioning as a web-based OS. And, starting at a mere $200, Chromebooks do offer a compelling experience that rivals tablets – especially for those who require and/or are more comfortable with an integrated keyboard.

Aereo Chromecast

Still waiting on a potentially fateful ruling from the Supreme Court, Aereo today announced Chromecast support for its Android app. That means that users with the service can cast Aereo video from an Android mobile device direct to an HD television via Google’s popular HDMI streaming stick. Aereo already works with Roku and Apple TV, but Chromecast is a super-cheap option for making your dumb TV smart enough to handle Internet video.

Direct from Aereo:

Aereo is now live on the Google Chromecast™ platform. The Aereo app for Android™ is available for download in the Google Play™ store. Subscribers can access Aereo’s antenna and DVR technology to record and watch live broadcast television using Google’s Chromecast™.

The Aereo news comes on the heels of another recent announcement of Chromecast support for WatchESPN. That earlier update has me considering whether or not to invest in upgrading my Roku. I had planned on it, but now with Chromecast compatibility, I don’t see a compelling reason to spend the money.

tmobile-hotspot-cap

My T-Mobile honeymoon has long since passed, with the day-to-day reality of life on a second-rate carrier having set in. Of course, your mileage may vary as cell coverage is highly dependent upon locale (or building composition). For me, T-Mobile has provided an extremely frustrating experience with perhaps, ironically, superior coverage roaming overseas partners versus native networks here at home — with the majority of my calls dropping. On the occasions I have coverage to initiate one. Continue Reading…

amazon-fire-bundle

Well here’s an interesting promo should you lack for both a TV streamer and tablet. Amazon has paired their new Fire TV with the 7″ Kindle Fire HDX tablet for $249, which clocks in $79 cheaper than purchasing each separately. While the Fire TV remains somewhat app poor, the platform has grown on me and we’ve enjoyed dozens of hours of Amazon Instant video at this point (and unloaded our Apple TV). Had the offer been available at launch, I’d have gone this route given my deep ties into Amazon’s ecosystem and synergies between the products (that may or may not ultimately extend to other tablets):

  • Second Screen—Fling movies, TV shows and photos from your Kindle Fire HDX to your HDTV so you can use your tablet to control media playback or browse the web
  • Mirror your Kindle Fire HDX on your HDTV—Share everything you enjoy on your Kindle Fire HDX from apps to music and photos with everyone in your living room

(via Swanni)