Have you felt your desktop’s been a little bland lately? I know I have. I have a black desk, and a black keyboard, with a black monitor, and a black mouse. Everything is black and plain…or it’s bright and gaudy, with shiny metal, bright LEDs, and logos so large opposite ends are in different post codes.
This fantastic new keyboard from Logitech, designed by the Red Dot Design Award winning Feiz Design studio, is such a breath of fresh air. Its composite wedge shape consists of a marbled white rubber base and a simple black keyboard with round chuckles keys, keeping things delightfully simple but pleasing to the eye. The two work together for one of the tricks up the K780’s sleeve: the ridge between the keyboard and the rubber base is designed to hold phones and tablets up to 12.9” in size.
Three Easy-Switch toggles embedded in the number row let you switch instantly between three different devices, regardless of type or OS. I could be writing this article on my Windows laptop right now, switch to my Android phone to answer Whatsapp messages, then fire off some iMessages on my iPad.
I’ll be personally purchasing one of these in the coming days for sure, so expect a review soon! And in the meantime you can check out the links below to buy one for yourself, or click through the gallery for more photos of the Logitech K780.
You can buy the Logitech K780 keyboard now from Amazon UK (£) or Logitech’s store.
My first experience with a smartphone was my uncle’s Sony Ericsson. It was a handsome device with a pretty large resistive touchscreen, a flip-down numeric keypad, and a stylus. The interface was tiny and complicated, requiring precise presses with a stylus. It was thick and bulky and capable, if slightly impractical.
Then the iPhone came along. I, as a schoolboy, mocked it. But now its influence is hard to ignore – it completely revolutionised the mobile landscape. Capacitive touchscreens were now a thing. The industry slowly started to move away from focusing on specifications and started to care about user experience – those that didn’t are either dead or dying (think Nokia or Blackberry).
Apple did the same for tablet with the iPad, and had done the same before the iPhone with the iPod. So as smartwatches finally became a thing people waited with bated breath for Apple’s version. This is it. But is it the revelation the smartwatch market was waiting for? …
Naturally with the release of Apple Watch upon us, you’d expect Android to ramp up their marketing. And they did just that in their latest cheeky commercial which was debuted at SXSW Interactive. Quick sidenote, before I start rambling. This ad was directed by Alexei Tylevich and produced by the gifted creatives over at Droga5.
Choreography was the dish of the day, as a host of talented artists danced away to the beat of Shamri’s On The Regular. Other than the dance moves, which I’ll never be able to do in my lifetime, the other important part was the diversity of the products. Not one watch was the same in terms of form factor or design amongst the host of aspects involved. …
Android, despite it’s popularity, has little to now power as a brand. People know their phones run Android, but it’s Samsung’s Galaxy brand or Motorola’s Moto brand that really stands out. Google wants to change that.
This gigantic, 20 million pixel, LED billboard is the latest addition to Google’s campaign, dominating Times Square in New York. The billboard was built and is owned by Mitsubishi, and estimates claim Google is paying more than $2.5 million for four weeks. User-created Androidify figures appear on the 8 storey tall billboard, and an elevated stage lets passers by control figures with Kinect-like sensors.
Earlier today Google officially updated the Google Now Launcher to be used on any device running Android 4.1 and up (ie. nearly 75% of all Android phones currently in use). This, Android fans, is huge.
For the uninitiated, Google Now Launcher brings Google Now front and centre and makes it your homescreen. While the traditional app/widget paradigm persists, Google Now is just one swipe away to the right and can be triggered with the “OK Google” voice command from the homescreen (and anywhere else).
Yesterday Google finally put the Nexus 5’s Google Now launcher on the Play Store for all to use and enjoy. All, that is, except for people who don’t have a Nexus or Google Play Edition device running 4.4 KitKat. If you do have any device that fulfils the criteria then go ahead and get it from the link below!
If you don’t however, I’ve got you covered. Download it from the link below!
UPDATE: Some people not running 4.4 are having issues installing this APK. Now I don’t know if the problem is the APK or if it’s because anything other than 4.4 is unsupported. There is, however, an alternative! I had written a Pro Tip a while back with a link to an Android Police download, check it out here!
Update 1:Google’s updated the app to make the work around in the previous paragraph clearer. At the bottom of the Search history tab is an option to “Make the map area available offline”. Still not as useful as caching a map area, but it’s something at least.
It’s been a couple of months since a Google Maps refresh was announced at I/O 13 but it’s finally here! The new directions are there, as is a brand new interface and other optimisations. In a few words, it looks great, works great, and is simply fantastic.
There are a couple of issues, however. Firstly, the option to cache a map area for offline use is gone. It’s not there. There’s a bit of a hack that kind of does the trick, but it’s almost pointless unless you really need to save what you’re looking at in a pinch.
The second issue might not be that big a deal for many, but for some it’s been a deal breaker. Lattitude is gone from Google Maps, indeed Google have now released a statement that says that the service will be killed on the 9th of August, 2013. A Google+ service will replace it at a later date.
I’ve played around with it a little and I’m writing a hands on/review mashup (the service is still in beta on the PC, and I feel a full review might be unfair. Still undecided). The app looks fantastic and works great, but the features it lacks make travelling abroad nearly impossible using the service. Hell, any travel without a data connection is out of the question entirely.
If you haven’t got the update on the Play Store yet you can grab the APKs that Android Police has mirrored. Do read the post first, there are a couple of versions out there: one for 4.1 and another for 4.2, the 4.1 app won’t parse on a 4.2 phone and vice versa. There are also different APKs for other form factors. Be careful. You can get it here.
Facebook Home: Your Phone’s About People, Not Apps
Remember those Facebook phones HTC made a while ago? Not many, and those that do don’t really remember them as being particularly good. And sure, you’ll see lots of Cha Chas around but how many of them were bought for the Facebook experience instead of it being a QWERTY Android device? Not many I’d bet. Facebook’s back and yesterday evening unveiled its latest developments to create a new home on Android, and boy do they mean business.
Their “new home in Android” is in fact your homescreen only without widgets and with status updates and ads loading in the background. Yes, ads. They won’t be there at launch but Mark Zuckerberg’s answer to that particular question was “Yup!” Statuses will be displayed on top of each poster’s cover photo and your display picture is always visible at the bottom just above the controls. Personalisation’s the key here, with each phone offering a Facebook experience tailored on the user.
Facebook isn’t trying to bury Android under itself a lá Amazon, but coexists peacefully with the mobile OS and gives you access to all of Google’s services. Google Now, Google+, Twitter, whatever you want – it’s there. Of course some apps do get some special treatment on Facebook Home devices (actual “Facebook” phones, more on that later) like Instagram. It isn’t exactly surprising.
If you’ve already got Facebook and Facebook Messenger installed on your phone you’ll get an update sometime around the 12th of April and next time you try to get to your homescreen you’ll be asked for to choose your default homescreen, Facebook Home or the stock launcher (or whatever you were previously using). If you don’t have those apps already and like the service, then go get them right now!
I’ll be playing with it ASAP and you can expect a full review after a couple of weeks of good use.
Ah yes, the phone. This isn’t what Facebook’s event was about really, and the HTC First isn’t anything particularly special, but it serves to showcase the full potential of Facebook Home. Facebook’s partnered with a number of OEMs such as Samsung and Lenovo.
The specs are bog standard for a mid-range Android phone and include:
A 720p 4.3″ screen
A dual core Snapdragon 400 CPU
5MP camera round back, 1MP camera up front
Nothing to write home about to be honest, but it’s all about the software here. Check out Facebook’s page for Home after the gallery!
I’ve got to admit that I was surprised by this news. The platform’s going so well! So many good things are happening! But Andy Rubin has chosen this particular moment in Android’s story to end his chapter and let Sundar Pichai, Chrome’s head, start his own.
In a blog post explaining Rubin’s departure CEO Larry Page praised the work he had done and said that he wasn’t leaving the company. Page specifically said:
Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google. Andy, more moonshots please!
Fine words, with plenty of hidden meaning. The entire post points towards Chrome and Android merging to become one which means that Google aims to bring the mobile OS to the laptop and PC market and its Chromebook. I’m sure that really expensive Chromebook Pixel makes a little more sense now, huh? Speculation and Rubin’s letter to the Android partners after the break.
The IT industry is, at the moment, one of the fast growing economic sectors our country has ever seen and while most companies have focused their efforts on enterprise services a few have given the consumer markets a try. Vioside is one such developer and I proudly present Newsbook, the first app of its kind developed for the Maltese Islands by Maltese developers.
The premise is simple: aggregate news from Newsbook, a Maltese news outlet, and present that content in an appealing and easy to read format that works on every phone I’ve got in the house. There are 4 categories present so far, these being “Lokali”, “Internazzjonali”, “Madwar Il-Hajja”, and “Teknologija”. Translated, these are Local, International, Lifestyle, and Technology.
Selecting a category brings up the most recent article that you can scroll through vertically then swipe from the right to get to the next post. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to view all articles in that category or to mark articles as read, but that’s a minor inconvenience. At the bottom of every article are buttons to view the video attached to the article, share it to any Android application, listen to the article’s sound, or view the original article in your phone’s browser on www.newsbook.com.mt.
All in all it’s a great application with great potential to grow and I can’t wait to see more developers put their content out there. Click through the gallery below! Also get it on Google play from here.