Thursday, 25 July 2013

Ubuntu Edges over $5 million USD on Indiegogo

After many webizens (including myself) expressing doubt over the potential success of the Ubuntu Edge campaign there has been renewed interest with the campaign edging (get it?) over $5 million USD with 28 days left to go.

If you're wondering how they managed to do this you can check out the new pledge options with cheaper Edge devices in limited quantities below:

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Why the Ubuntu Edge excites me (and why I'm not pledging)

The Ubuntu Edge
If you haven't heard; Canonical - the guys behind Ubuntu Linux have started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to develop an innovative new phone. The idea is that this device will run both Ubuntu Linux and Android simultaneously, allowing you to seamlessly switch between using it as a docking desktop device and your smart device of choice on the go.

Keep reading after the break

Hot off the press - Zomato comes to New Zealand

Zomato, a restaurant guide site based in India has come to New Zealand, or at least to Auckland and Wellington (sorry everyone else in NZ, you don't exist). You can read the press release below and check out the Android app for free on the Play Store now.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Thoughts on the Galaxy Zoom

The Galaxy Zoom: trailblazer for a new world of connected camera, or
second attempt at a class of device that nobody actually wants?

I'm probably going to be outspoken here, but I really like what Samsung have done with the Galaxy Zoom. I don't particularly mind being outspoken, after all I think I was one of the few people to review the original Galaxy Note who actually got it. To all the naysayers who wrote derogatory comedy posts about the Note rather than real reviews, I will merely point to a now thriving device class with millions of fans and say I told you so. Now I don't think this generation of Galaxy Zoom will be the one to really carve a niche here as the Note did in its category, but I do think the idea is right.

Last year Samsung released the Galaxy Camera, a device that I found wanting from just about every perspective. It wasn't a smartphone, lacking any telephony capabilities; as a camera it wasn't good enough compared to similarly priced standalones either. Sure, it had some smarts, but not enough to make the price premium for the imaging on offer a worthwhile proposition. The size of the device made carrying it around a rather non-trivial issue too. If I want to carry around a relatively non-compact imaging device, then I want to do that in return for a fairly tangible gain in imaging ability, right? I struggled then to see how it belonged anywhere in the market, and I haven't seen anything since that made that any more apparent for me. 

The Galaxy Zoom on the other hand is better pitched. From an imaging standpoint it's more compromised than the Galaxy Camera, but I think that's right. As an imaging device it's positioned more to go head to head with smaller point and shoots, both in terms of likely image quality to judge from the few example stills I've seen, but also in terms of the form factor and the use-case scenarios where that is desirable. In that market segment offering full smartphone capabilities becomes a much more compelling option I think. That said, the difference between success and failure there is likely to be exquisitely price sensitive. 

What premium will people pay to get smartphone capabilities in a device that will certainly be a secondary device to complement a smartphone, even if that one that offers the important but relatively limited use-case scenario of being able to perform duties as a temporary primary device when the situation calls for it? For reference that is exactly the niche my Pureview 808 fills right now, it stands in for a point n shoot most of the time, but sometimes steps up to be my primary smartphone too. In exchange for 10x zoom and an incomparably better OS I could be persuaded to switch to the Zoom to fulfill that role.

Reading those last two paragraphs one could be mistaken for thinking that I am suggesting price point is the only barrier standing in the way of success for the Galaxy Zoom, but it isn't. Or at least is isn't as far as my wants dictate, but I will readily admit I'm an outlier and could stand to be proven comprensively wrong here where the mass market is concerned. While I think compromising on imaging in favour of smarts and telephony is the right idea, for my money the smartphone experience offered by the Zoom is still too limited. Were it to offer a 720p screen, internals worthy of a good 2012 device, and a feature set pitched around the level of the S3 I think it could be close to a homerun - or at least a device with a genuine shot at launching a new device category with some real authority. Perhaps in the next generation?

That criticism aside, all in all I think Samsung have taken the first steps in the right direction here, even if it isn't quite enough to wholly satisfy me at the present time. I can say with certainty that I look forward to trying it out... if the price is right.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

How to Root the Padfone Infinity [How to]

Possibly the easiest Root method ever.

It's a little bit grandiose calling this a guide really, because to Root your Padfone Infinity all you need do is download and install this app, and then select the 'Gandalf' exploit. Viola! Your Padfone Infinity is Rooted. I had to try the app a couple of times before it gave me the success message, so don't be disheartened if it doesn't take first time.

Big thanks to alephzain from XDA-Developers for this exploit, his original thread is here.

Be sure and donate to him to show your appreciation.

[UPDATE] Immediately after obtaining Root I was notified of a brand new firmware update for the Padfone Infinity, just wanted to let you know that OTA Rootkeeper from the Play Store will allow you to backup and then restore Root after applying the update. Oh, and the update isn't 4.2, in case you were wondering.

[UPDATE] It seems Padfone Infinities bearing the CHT product code cannot be Rooted using this method. The only suggestion I have seen so far to address this is to download a TW product code firmware and flash it to the device, although information on how to flash it is scanty at present. More to come on this when I have more information to share.

If you haven't yet got your Padfone Infinity, Mobicity has them in stock right now and you can grab yours here.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Amazon App Store now available to 200 countries, including New Zealand

Todays free app of the day happens to be a pretty good one.

Amazon has today expanded the number of countries that its Amazon App Store is available for, now encompassing 200 countries including our very own New Zealand (the complete list can be found in their developer blog here).

If you're wondering why you would even want their App Store in the first place you may be unaware that they feature a different free app everyday, and also some apps and games launch as temporary exclusives to Amazon. I wouldn't recommend using it as your primary source for apps, that should really remain the province of the Play Store, but it's a great way to try some apps on for size before taking the plunge and purchasing them.

Point your phone browser here to get the Amazon App Store.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Official Galaxy S3 extended battery now available

Not a lot thicker
If you're the type of person that plays with their Samsung Galaxy S3 nonstop and then runs out of battery before the end of the day you may be interested in this. Samsung have officially 'released' an extended 3000mAh battery for the Galaxy S3. While I'm unsure of the current availability of the battery, there are several sites offering it up for pre-order, and several accounts on XDA of people being able to purchase it.

Update as of 19 March 2013

This product has now been released and I have purchased one from here on Ebay. Once I receive it you can expect some photos and a review. Let me know if you have any ideas for measuring the performance of a battery.