Review: Living with Android Wear and the LG G Watch (Video)

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When Android Wear was first announced, I was very impressed. Aside from Google Glass, Android Wear and its associated devices is Google’s first major step into the wearables market for consumers. Let’s be honest, Glass came around a bit too early and it’s definitely not ready for mass consumption.

LG, Samsung, and Motorola jumped on the Android Wear train and so far, we’ve seen a couple of different smartwatches hit the market. The G Watch and Gear Live are our first Android Wear devices and I’ve been getting to know them over the past few weeks. This my experience…

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HP’s new smartwatch doesn’t run Android Wear, but it’ll still play nice with your smartphone

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The great smartwatch boom is starting to consume electronic makers and HP is not exempt. The company is partnering with designer Michael Bastian to produce its own next-gen timepiece. Unlike the latest wave of smartwatches from LG, Samsung and Motorola, Hewlett-Packard’s timekeeper won’t be based on Android Wear and will instead be a compatible companion for Android and iOS smartphones.

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Google developing Moto Maker-like smartphone customization tool called “Workshop”

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Google is reportedly in the process of developing a new platform that will let users create custom smartphone cases and wallpapers. Referred to as “Workshop,” the budding project only works with the Nexus 5 for now, but it’s possible that it may support other devices whenever Mountain View officially opens it up to the public. Still in its infancy, Workshop is comprised of two tools: MapMe and Moments.

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Samsung shares ‘Tablet Realities’ ads for Galaxy Tab S (Video)

Samsung shared a few new ads today for the new Galaxy Tab S series of tablets, that it officially launched back in June. The tablet, which comes in 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch variants, includes a 2560×1600 Super AMOLED display and that is the focus of the marketing message in two of today’s ads titled “Mom” and “Artist”. The other ad, titled “Judge”, shows off the tablet’s multitasking features. Read more

Verizon and T-Mobile Galaxy S5 receive carrier specific updates

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Galaxy S5 owners on Verizon and T-Mobile are receiving new software that targets a few carrier specific items. Big Red’s over-the-air push for Samsung’s flagship smartphone brings enhancements to the device’s Caller Name ID, Message+ and cloud apps. The phone’s new software also resolves a lengthy list of bugs, such as Visual Voicemail when using an S-View flip cover, improved connectivity when streaming music and several stability fixes.

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Android 4.4.2 rolling out to Verizon’s LG G Pad 8.3

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While many devices are making the jump to Android 4.4.4 or the lesser 4.4.3, Verizon’s LG G Pad 8.3 is just arriving at software version 4.4.2. Although it’s not Google’s latest and greatest, this is still an upgrade for those who invested in this carrier connected slate. The highlights of this new software push include: Immersive Mode, which automatically places apps in full screen view and LG’s Knock Code security feature that lets users set up screen tap patterns to wake or lock their device.

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Kyocera’s sapphire display-toting Brigadier now available from Verizon for $100

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There’s been a lot of talk about the next iPhone launching with a highly resilient sapphire display, however phone maker Kyocera has managed to beat the Cupertino-based software giant to market with the release of its rugged Brigadier. Available now on Verizon for $100 on a two year service agreement or $20 a month via the carrier’s Edge service, this durable device targets people who frequently battle the elements.

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Microsoft’s Snap Attack word-building game will stretch your vocabulary

Snap Attack Microsoft recently released Snap Attack, a word-building game for Android that places players against each other in a beat the clock tournament challenge. Games consist of two and a half minute rounds, where players from across the globe compete with each other using colored movable word tiles to “snap” together words on fixed black letter tiles across the game board. Read more

LG G Vista now available from Verizon for $100 on a two year service agreement

LG G Vista

After weeks of leaks and tips, the LG G Vista has officially landed on Verizon. Priced at $100 on a two year service agreement, this handset is a case of a big screen and not so big hardware. The G Vista packs a robust 5.7-inch qHD display, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing shooter and Android 4.4 KitKat.

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Samsung hints at upcoming smartphones including one w/ “new materials”

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During its earnings call with investors where Samsung announced a 31 percent drop for its profits in its mobile division, the company also slipped in a small announcement about upcoming smartphones to reassure investors going into the next quarter. As noted by The Wall Street Journal, Samsung executive Kim Hyun-Joon told investors that the company would launch a new model with a large screen and another that will be made with “new materials.” Read more

As expected, Samsung Mobile profits slump 31 percent as Chinese competition bites

Trial Begins In Apple-Samsung Patent Battle

Samsung has announced a 31 percent drop in for its mobile division, broadly in line with its earlier guidance, when almost 200 managers “voluntarily” handed back 25 percent of their bonuses. Year-on-year operating profits fell from 6.43T won ($6.28B) to 4.42T won ($4.32B).

Chinese competition in low- and mid-range handsets was cited as one of the key reasons for the slump, with Samsung Mobile’s SVP Kim Hyun-Joon promising that the company would address this.

We will respond more aggressively to meet demand in the Chinese market [...] in the latter half of this year by introducing more products with better specification as well as better price competitiveness …

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Google once again facing anti-trust investigation in Europe over Android marketshare

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Google is no stranger to anti-trust lawsuits—especially when it comes to the popularity of its Android platform and the first-party app installation requirements to which it holds third-party handset makers—but European anti-trust regulators are preparing to bring a case against the search giant over that very issue.

It’s already been established in previous cases that in order to use the latest version of Android on their handsets, manufacturers must agree to also install a set of Google-branded apps, such as YouTube and Gmail. The European anti-trust regulators argue that this is an abuse of Google’s 80% marketshare that should be stopped.

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