Posts Tagged

hardware

Last Friday, Apple began shipping the 7.9″ iPad mini, a new addition to the iOS family and a device set to rival with Google’s Nexus 7. An interesting product, the iPad mini will compete with seven-inch Android tablets but has attracted a lot of discussion regarding its entry price set at a higher $130 premium.

I stood outside an Apple Store and queued for the launch with a Nexus 7 in tow. Now, in this article, we’re going to take a look at the iPad mini, comparing it to Google’s device and seeing what it means for the market landscape of smaller tablets.

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A gripe I share with many Android users is that although my battery will last quite a long time, if I’m away from home there’s the possibility of it dying and my phone becoming a useless brick of metal and glass. But what if our phones had batteries that would never run out? Batteries that last forever, or can be charged through the air, charged from the heat in our pockets – the means of charging doesn’t really matter in this post: what I’ll be focusing on is what could we do with such limitless power.

Online services such as Google Voice which integrate well with Android could be used a lot more now that battery usage isn’t an issue. And as these services get tuned more they’ll make usage of our phones a lot easier.

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When I think of Android devices, I typically think of tablets and slate phones, with the occasional sliding or fold-out keyboard. But because of Android’s flexible, open-source nature, it’s not been restricted to rectangles with big screens; the OS has been crammed on to all sorts of hardware.

Sometimes this can be a bad thing, as when hasty manufacturers stuck a phone version of Android onto cheap tablets without polishing it up. But other times, this can be really cool, and genuinely innovative.

In this article, I’d like to celebrate the range of hardware features that Android has let manufacturers experiment with – even if they weren’t all successful!

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Many people are spending around $100 on brand new low end Android phones. While these phones are good value for money, and run Android along with most apps and games and everything else great about Android, I’d like to put forward an alternative: buy an older high-end Android, second hand.

Instead of spending the cash on a brand new low-spec phone, why not spend roughly the same amount of money on a great phone with much higher specs?
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Why Are We Still Using Hardware Keyboards? Of course, when asking that question here, i’m referring to the little keys that reside underneath certain phone’s screens – certain phones like those in RIM’s line. RIM’s future doesn’t look that good, especially with the growth in Android and iOS devices that opt for a large touchscreen in lieu of some small, tacky keys.

However, HTC took a U-turn and created the HTC ChaCha (or “the Facebook phone”, as some call it). The ChaCha is an Android 2.3.3 device that comes complete with QWERTY keyboard and dedicated Facebook buttons, even though it also features the common capacitive navigation buttons below the screen.

Is a hardware keyboard worth the cost of a smaller screen size? And why would you not just stick with the now-standard touch interface? Let’s discuss. (more…)

Android has, traditionally, been seen as a niche platform with limited apps, but in recent times, due to its open-source philosophy, it has become the most popular smartphone OS on the market. Android’s Market boasts over 290,000 applications, which, though less than Apple’s 500,000 or so, shows that Android is rapidly catching up. According to German research company research2guidance, Android will overtake Apple sometime in the next few months in having the most apps available.

The same applies to gaming. Android games used to be quite basic and limited; however, most developers now release both Android and iOS versions of their games, and the surge in popularity of games such as Angry Birds (especially on Android, owing to the fact that it is free) shows that the Android platform can satisfy an avid gamer’s needs.

Manufacturers of Android-based devices have recently been flexing their muscles and packing a bigger punch into their range of tablets and smartphones by using NVIDIA’s range of Tegra processors, designed to really emphasize the performance of the device. With this range of processors, they hope to push Android up in the gaming world to become a solid platform for mobile gaming. Read on to find out more.

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Google I/O has been happening this week in San Francisco and the conference was kicked off with some major announcements on the Android front. Big things are happening for Google’s position on the mobile front, including their new cloud-based music player, Android 3.1 for tablets, and the new version of Android for phones and tablets: Ice Cream Sandwich.

However, amongst all the exciting software announcements, Google also unveiled the Android Open Accessory Developer Kit, or the ADK. In the real world, this new development kit allows accessory makers to build native accessories for the Android platform which are connected via USB, in a similar way to Apple’s dock connector on their range of iOS devices and iPods. (more…)

Tablets are a definitive mark on the Android roadmap for 2011. We’re seeing them pop up everywhere and the recent Mobile World Congress just saw the market grow. 2010 was all about the 7″ tablets, but CES this year saw them mature into larger, ten-inch versions.

MWC saw some of the seven-inchers evolve with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab being boosted up to a 10″, Tegra 2-powered, Honeycomb tablet. It seemed that the days of nano-tablets were over and that Apple might be right in this case. However, HTC took a different spin on things: they announced the Flyer. (more…)

One of the big differences between Android and iOS is the range of choices of handset that Android owners enjoy. Apple fans get four choices: “big or small”, “old or new”, “lots of storage space or even more storage space”, and “black or white”. We have to decide whether to get a hardware keyboard, what screen resolution to go for, how important having two cameras is, … it’s almost too much!

Today we’re just going to focus on one part of that choice. We’re asking you: who manufactures your Android device? Vote in the poll, and let us know what you think!

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