accessories

Galaxy Note 3 third-party accessory issues not due to KitKat upgrade: Samsung

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Samsung has quickly cleared the air regarding its Galaxy Note 3 third-party accessories issue, which were said to have become incompatible with the handset following the Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade, as part of a speculated policy enforcement that required Note 3 accessories to be Samsung certified.

Previously, reports (our link) speculated that the third-party accessories for Samsung Galaxy Note 3would no longer run with the device after the recently released Android 4.4 KitKat update, that required authentic Samsung ID chips to be included on the accessories post the certification process, which enabling proper pairing.

However, the Korean consumer electronics giant firm, a few hours after these initial reports, addressed the issue, saying that the customers can continue using the third-party accessories and the issue has no relation with the Android 4.4 KitKat OS.

“To ensure a pleasant and smooth user experience with Samsung products for our customers, we recommend that only original accessories from Samsung are to be used. Of course, customers can continue to rely on third-party accessories. The full functionality of our devices and accessories, however, can only be ensured with genuine Samsung components, since only in this way it is certain that the equipment and accessories are perfectly matched. A correlation between the Android version 4.4 and the supposed incompatibility of third-party accessories does not exist,” stated the firm to All About Samsung, a German website.

Recently, Samsung started rolling out the Android 4.4 KitKat to its Galaxy Note 3’s Exynos processor variant. It has been understood that the first country to receive the Exynos Galaxy Note 3 update will be Russia, followed by other regions in the coming weeks.

The company is already rolling-out Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the Snapdragon 800-powered Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N9005), starting with Poland.

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Samsung announces the Galaxy Gear smart watch

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Samsung has finally announced the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and we’re happy to report that it does not look exactly like the leak we saw last week. The design of the Gear is similar to what we saw, but the bezels are tapered, so it doesn’t look quite as big, and what had been a matte plastic, now looks to be a polished chrome finish. There are still the odd screws on the bezel though. The Gear also isn’t nearly as big as rumors had said. The Gear has just a 1.63-inch square Super AMOLED display at 320×320 pixels.

Samsung is marketing the Gear as “the perfect companion to your Note 3”. As we have heard before, the Galaxy Gear will be able to work with your Samsung smartphone for easy access to notifications, and other features, but the Gear will only be compatible with Galaxy smartphones. It will be compatible with the Note 3 out of the box, and there will be software updates for other Galaxy smartphones to add compatibility. The Gear will show you incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts, delivers a preview of those messages, and then allow you to dig deeper or get rid of the message. But, the real power comes from Samsung’s Smart Relay feature.

Smart Relay basically takes whatever is on the screen of your Galaxy Gear and automatically transfers it to your Galaxy smartphone when you unlock your device. So, if you’re looking at a notification on your Gear, and you unlock your Note 3, that notification will automatically expand on your smartphone. Or whatever contact you are viewing on your Gear will automatically appear when you unlock your phone, so you can choose to call or message that contact.

Galaxy Gear will feature a number of S Voice commands for you to easily initiate different functions. As you would expect, you can use the voice commands to initiate a call, and you will be able to have the entire call run through the Gear using its built in speakers and microphone, so you can feel like a super-spy, speaking to your wrist, and you can answer a call simply by raising your Gear to your head. The speakers and microphone are placed on the bottom of the strap, rather than near the watch itself. Additionally, you can create a Voice Memo, draft messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather using voice commands.

There are extra features to connect the Gear to your smartphone as well. One of our favorites is that anytime your Gear moves more than 1.5 meters from your phone, it will automatically lock your smartphone. Additionally, there are options to help you find your device, and control music from the Gear screen. Also as we heard before, Samsung is positioning the Galaxy Gear as a health-tracking companion device. It comes preloaded with an S Health app, and will act as a pedometer, though not a heart-rate monitor as we had heard before.

There is also a 1.9MP camera on the Gear with auto-focus and Smart Shot options. The camera is located on the outside part of the wrist strap below your pinky, so it’s very easy to get a picture. Just a simple swipe will open the camera, and a tap takes a picture. Photos can then be shared through social networks or messaging.

As we expected, Samsung has also set up a Gear app store, which comes with a number of apps right out of the box. Samsung says there will be about 70 apps at launch. Some of the featured apps are:

  • Banjo: which aggregates social updates to bring you trending stories
  • Evernote note taking app
  • Glympse for location sharing
  • eBay
  • Line messaging
  • MyFitnessPal nutrition and exercise tracking
  • Path social network
  • Pocket read-it-later app
  • RunKeeper exercise tracking
  • TripIt for travel plan organization
  • Vivino Wine Scanner which lets you take a picture of a bottle of wine to get info on it

That’s a lot of functionality in a very small package, and Samsung says that you should expect “about a day” of battery life, but it’s unclear if that means a calendar day or a work day, which are very different things. The spec sheet says the battery is just 315mAh, but it’s hard to say what to expect from that. The Gear also has 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and an 800MHz processor.

Samsung Galaxy Gear will launch “later this month” in most regions, and in October in Japan. The Galaxy Gear will cost $299 in the U.S..

Sony QX10 and QX100 lens modules official: turn your smartphone into top-shelf camera

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Sony’s innovative QX10 and QX100 “lens-style” cameras are real, people, and they just got introduced at the company’s IFA 2013 event. The concept lies on the premise that you don’t want a bulky cameraphone with you at all times, but only at those periods you know you’ll actually need it.

The lenses come complete with their own Exmor sensors, BIONZ image processor, Zeiss optics and wireless connectivity to your Android or iOS device with the PlayMemories Mobile application used as the camera management app. You can attach them to your handset with the provided adapter, hold them in your hand, or mount them on a tripod, while using the phone as a remote viewfinder and control center.

That’s a pretty cool idea for a modular camera, since the units can actually be operated on their own as well – “both the DSCQX100 and DSC-QX10 cameras have a shutter release, memory card slot and come with a rechargeable battery,” says Sony.

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The QX100 module features a huge 1″ 20.2 MP Exmor R sensor, the same from the award-winning RX100 II camera that comes great for low-light shots. The Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens with 3.6x optical zoom are transferring the light to the sensor, and the info gets processed through the trademark BIONZ image processor of Sony. In addition you get a ring for manual focus and zooming, just like in a standalone camera.

QX10 is for the zooming enthusiasts, as it uses 10x optical zoom Sony G Lens pouring light onto an 18.2 MP Exmor R sensor. The whole kit weighs just 4 oz, but has optical image stabilization tech built in, which would ensure steady video of those zoomed-in women’s beach volleyball championships, and sharp low-light pictures.

Such innovations don’t come cheap, and Sony will stock the “lens-style cameras” on the shelves later this month at the cool $500 for the DSC-QX100, while $250 will net you the zoom capabilities of the DSC-QX10. What do you think about Sony’s new concept of making any Android or iOS smartphone a cameraphone?

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Case for the iPhone 5C unearthed on Amazon with August 23 arrival

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There isn’t much mystery anymore surrounding the appearance of the budget iPhone 5C that Apple is about to unveil in the fall. The hardware specs are more enigmatic, but the outer shell in numerous colors that keeps on leaking, hints that Apple has an iPod touch design concept for the device.

Now a slim fit case leaked prematurely on Amazon has been snapped, destined for the iPhone 5C, and confirms the elongated volume buttons on the side, reminiscent of the iPod touch indeed.

The buttons themselves already leaked out in a variety of hues, so for now all roads lead to a painted, jolly device aimed at the younger crowd and emerging markets. The case is to be stocked on August 23rd, which should be a few weeks before the official unveiling.

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