Archives For Mobile

Hands On Asus Padfone Mini

Dave Zatz —  January 12, 2014 — 2 Comments

padfone-mini

From CES, Asus continues to introduce hybrid devices to accommodate a variety of use cases – from dual OS laptops to “convergent” smartphone-tablet devices as seen from the new Padfone Mini, which mates a 4″ Android smartphone to a 7″ screen. Despite a modest 800×480 resolution, the phone itself looks and feels quite nice — it’s what I imagine a better constructed second generation Moto X could be. Beyond the handsome hardware, the Padfone Mini runs Asus’ ZenUI experience on top of Android – bringing flat, soft visuals, more akin to iOS7 than the Samsung’s garish TouchWiz presentation. In addition to interface customizations, there are plenty of software enhancements – including an superfluous selfie feature and the more practical “What’s Next” that mashes up your calendar, tasks, and location, viewed within a dedicated app or integrated into live wallpaper. Continue Reading…

Sirius XM Raising Rates In 2014

Dave Zatz —  December 18, 2013 — 9 Comments

sirius-online-rates

It’s that time of year. No, not holiday shopping. Rather, annual rate increase notices. And, next up is Sirius XM, who just hit me with a letter that indicates my online streaming add-on will increase from $3.50/mo to $4/mo. A fifty cent increase is pretty insignificant, yet these sorts of notifications may motivate folks such as myself to examine our usage scenarios and competing offerings. As it turns out, I mostly listen to Sirius XM in the car and would probably get more phone, tablet, Sonos enjoyment by re-upping with a more customizable Internet Radio service like Slacker… for the same $4. (It also looks like my satellite rate will eventually go up, but not quite yet as I agreed to an annual package.)

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Those of you who follow me on Twitter are most likely aware of my recent move from Verizon Wireless to T-Mobile. While I’d been very satisfied with Verizon’s coverage the last couple years, their egregious recurring $2.99 fee for visual voicemail (on Android) stuck in my craw every month… and basically pushed me into the arms of T-Mobile with, what I like to call, more “humane” pricing. Having said that, I wasn’t motivated to actually pull the trigger (and incur a substantial early termination fee) until T-Mobile introduced possibly insane International perks: Unlimited and free texts and EDGE data while overseas, paired with 20 cents/minute calls. Continue Reading…

Sling ups the app ante: Android and iOS updates add Roku support, Windows 8 app on deck

Logitech-Ultrathin-Keyboard-Cover-iPad-Air

As a writer, I’ve never found a keyboardless tablet to be very useful as I have a hard time separating work and play. And the original Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover turned me into iPad owner (for a time). So it was with high expectations that I picked up the redesigned Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($100) for the new iPad Air. With many past Apple product releases and revisions, accessory makers were in the dark. Yet these days, it appears product dimensions are getting fed to them in a timely fashion as we’ve seen quite a few covers, cases, and keyboards hit within just a week or so of the iPad Air’s launch (with many sporting “iPad 5″ branding). However, I wonder if Logitech would have been better served by having waited a bit for retail hardware to arrive, as I have a few concerns with their new keyboard. But let’s start on a positive note… Continue Reading…

The $90 TiVo Stream accessory that brings placeshifting to the TiVo Premiere and base Roamio is being updated for remote viewing. Like the the Roamio Pro/Plus, both your live television programming and TiVo-ed recordings can be viewed on iPhones or iPads both within and now beyond the home. Assuming your cable company plays along, as HBO is universally locked down and even basic pay channels have been blocked by the likes of Time Warner Cable. But for those mostly in the clear (thank you FiOS), this is a nice upgrade to an already compelling device. The software started rolling out to units last night and all should receive it within the next few weeks. (Thanks pcbrew!)

google-glass

As you may have heard, Google is expanding its Glass program beyond the initial couple thousand “Explorers” … and, by way of Tim Stevens (the “nicest guy in tech”), I received an invite. As an independent entity on a budget, versus a bankrolled journalist or celebrity, the potential $1500 fee stings. That amount could fund both a PS4 and an Xbone, with room for several accessories and games. Or the last plasma on earth. Or a solid projector. Or 6 crappy Chromebooks.

Yet Google Glass is a brand new product category, despite exploring augmented reality widgetry as far back the mid-90s with some grad school associates. It may or may not be more practical than a “smart” watch, but it’s way more compelling on a geek level… even if law enforcement isn’t a fan. The refreshed version supports lenses, starting with the new and included “twist-on Active Shade” Continue Reading…