All posts by Andrew Kunesh

Andrew is a geek, Apple enthusiast, blogger and coffee lover from Chicago. Follow Andrew on Twitter for constant updates: @andrewkunesh

Apple Confirms Acquisition of Locationary

Apple has confirmed its purchase of Locationary, a location data company based out of Toronto. The company uses a crowdsourced platform to gather and provide information on businesses across the globe. This platform goes under the name Saturn. Saturn is used to ensure that information on businesses are completely correct, for instance, if a store is closed for renovation, the platform would know and update said business’s location data.

Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling confirmed the acquisition to All Things D and made the following statement:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

We will almost definitely see Locationary’s data be used in Apple’s Maps application in iOS and OS X. When introduced in iOS 6, Apple Maps was greeted with some outrage amongst the Apple community due to the fact that it would give incorrect information to users. Hopefully Locationary’s croudsourced information will help Maps be more correct, and ultimately provide a better experience.

Red HTC One Available For Purchase In The United Kingdom

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If you’re located in the UK and want an HTC One with a bit more color, you’re in luck. HTC has released a red variant of the device in the UK where retailer Phones4U is offering the smartphone on-contract on a wide-range of networks. Red joins the readily available black and silver colors that are available in the UK and other countries. As of now, we’re not sure if HTC will launch the red variant of the HTC One in the rest of Europe or even the rest of the world.

The red model of the HTC One is clearly based off of the black model. This is due to the fact that the device features black accents that blend well with the red side and back panels of the device.

The HTC One is HTC’s current flagship device. The phone features a huge 4.7″ S-LCD 3 display, a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU, and 2GB of DDR2 RAM. The smartphone is available in both 32GB and 64GB variants.

Source: Android and Me

HP Drops Slate 7 Price To $139

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HP has dropped the price of its Android-powered Slate 7 budget tablet from $169 to $139.  This price change is showing right now on HP’s online store and all new Slate 7 orders will feature this $30 price difference. It’s not yet clear if this $30 price drop is meant to clear out inventory for the discontinuation of the tablet or is just a general price drop.

The Slate 7 tablet was released a few months ago in February at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. The tablet is meant to cater to the low-end Android tablet market and undercut the price-tag of the ever so popular Google Nexus 7 that comes in at $199. The HP Slate 7 is a 7-inch Android-powered tablet that is currently running Android Jelly Bean. The device offers a dual-core 1.6GHz Cortex-A9 CPU and 1GB of RAM. These specifications are lower than that of the Google Nexus 7, but with a price-tag of only $139, we’re expecting it to appeal to a totally different crowd.

Source: TalkAndroid
Image Source: Kārlis Dambrāns

Instagram Gains Video Sharing Capabilities

During a Facebook press event today, the company announced that Instagram is gaining video sharing capabilities. Videos hosted on the service will be limited to a length of 15-seconds. After shooting said video, the user can choose to apply a filter and then publish the short video to their Instagram followers. These filters have been developed specifically for video files, so they shouldn’t degrade the quality or sharpness of your published video. After a video is edited, the user can choose their favorite scene and set it as a still thumbnail for the clip. Videos on Instagram can be viewed using both the Instagram mobile app or the web interface.

Instagram’s new video functionality is almost a direct response to Twitter’s Vine service. This is due to the fact that Vine also allows users to shoot and share short video clips. However, unlike Instagram, Vine does not allow its users to add filters to their videos.

Personally, I think we’ll see Instagram video takeoff much quicker than Vine. This is due to the fact that millions of people already use Instagram on a daily basis, and since Instagram’s video functionality is built right into the Instagram app, there is no reason for these users not to try video.

Instagram has already rolled-out video functionality to both its iOS and Android apps.

Samsung Officially Announces The Galaxy S4 Active

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Samsung has officially announced the outdoor-friendly Galaxy S4 Active. This device is essentially a more rugged version of the company’s standard Galaxy S4 that is both water and dust-resistant. This makes the phone ideal for people who often find themselves in the outdoors in harsh conditions. The smartphone can withstand being submerged in one-meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Because of this, the Galaxy S4 Active complies with the standard IP67 certification.

Compared to the standard Galaxy S4, the S4 Active is only 1mm thicker and a mere 20g heavier. This isn’t much considering how rugged the phone is. Internally, the phone sports a 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of advertised memory. The device offers an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. On the front of the device, you’re greeted with a vivid 5-inch HD TFT LCD display with a pixel density of 443 ppi. Finally, the device is powered by Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with all of the standard Samsung features layered on top.

If you’re planning on purchasing a Galaxy S4 Active for yourself, the device is stated for release in Sweden and the United States over the summer. You’ll be able to purchase the device in one of three colors: Orange Flare, Urban Gray, or Dive Blue.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow via Android Guys

Google Glass Photo Update Brings HDR, Captions

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Google has pushed an update to Google Glass users that upgrades the camera functionality on the device. This update brings HDR capabilities to the device as well as the ability to automatically sense and brighten low-light shots. This update also allows Google Glass to more easily capture photos that have lots of movement.

Aside from improvements to the camera itself, Google has also brought the ability to add captions to photos taken with Google Glass. These captions can be added to photos by a simple voice command.

Glass is a new piece of wearable technology developed by Google. The device is worn like a standard pair of glasses and pairs with the user’s iOS or Android smartphone to connect to the web. You can use the device to send messages and update social feeds with a simple voice command. Glass also has a built-in camera and can run third-party apps that go under the name Glassware.

As of now, Google Glass is only being used by a small number of testers who paid over $1500 to be in the Explorer Program. The device went into the hands of these users in early 2013, though the device was originally announced at Google IO 2012.

Source: AndroidPit
Image Source: Giuseppe Costantino

HTC One 4.2.2 Update Coming By Mid-June

HTC One 4.2.2 Update To Drop Mid-June

Andrey Kormiltsev, the country manager at HTC Russia, has tweeted that the offical OTA rollout of Android 4.2.2 for HTC One users will begin in mid-June. This update has been requested by HTC One users for quite sometime as the release was made available by Google in early February of 2013. This update should bring Sense 5.0 tweaks to the device as well as some of the updates that Google implemented with Android 4.2.2. This includes updated notifications and the introduction of lock screen widgets.

If you’d rather not wait until mid-June to update your HTC One, a leaked ROM for Android 4.2.2 has been available to HTC One users for quite some time now. Installing this update will take a bit more time and skill than the official OTA update will, but it’s worth a shot if you know what you’re doing. The leaked update can be downloaded via the XDA-Developers website.

Source: Android Pit
Image Source: Kārlis Dambrāns

HTC Releases Strong May 2013 Revenue Statistics

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HTC has today released its revenue numbers for the month of May 2013. May has been a good month for HTC as it released better than expected numbers. As far as unaudited revenues go, we saw the bring in NT$29B, which is equal to roughly $969M USD. This is a 48% increase from April where we saw the company report unaudited revenues of NT$19.6B, or $655M USD.

The past few years haven’t been the best for HTC, a Taiwanese consumer electronics company.  During the company’s previous quarter, HTC reported just NT$42.8BB ($1.43B USD) in revenues. So the fact that they’ve already reported $1.624B USD in revenue this early in the current fiscal quarter shows that HTC is on the road to recovery. If sales continue to be strong throughout the month of June, we should see HTC meet or beat its projected revenues of NT$70B ($2.3B USD).

These improved revenues show that the newly released HTC One smartphone is helping the company’s sales drastically. This smartphone was released in March of 2013 and features an all-metal design. The phone sports a quick 1.7GHz quad-core Krait 300 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and is powered by Android 4.1.2. HTC has also released other new devices this year including the HTC First with Facebook Home.

Source: TalkAndroid

LG Announces The Waterproof Optimus GJ

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LG has announced the Optimus GJ: a waterproof variant of the ever so popular Optimus G. This smartphone can withstand 30 minutes in 1 meter of water, giving the Optimus GJ a IPX7 rating. Aside from being waterproof, the Optimus GJ is also dustproof, making it suitable for those who work on construction sites. To make this all possible, LG has opted for a plastic battery cover on the Optimus GJ with a removable battery. This is opposed to the glass back found on the Optimus G.

The Optimus GJ’s spec sheet is impressive as the device features a spacious 4.7-inch IPS HD display, a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 13mp rear-facing camera. The device is also equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, a MicroSD slot for expansion as well as a 2,280 mAh battery pack. The device will be available in two color combinations: red/black and black/black.

If you’d like to purchase an Optimus GJ for yourself, you’ll have to either live in Taiwan or import one from the country sometime in June. The smartphone will retail for a hefty $17,990 TWD ($600 USD). As of now, we’re not sure if the device will be available for purchase in markets outside of Taiwan

Source: ePrice via UnwiredView
Image Source: ePrice

Review: BlackBerry Z10: Does It Live Up To The Hype?

The folks at BlackBerry have had a rough couple of years. After taking its time to launch a tablet and updated smartphone OS, some thought that the company was headed towards the graveyard. However, earlier this year, the company announced two new phones: the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10. These two smartphones are run off of the BlackBerry 10 operating system that has been rebuilt from the ground up.  I’ve had the past couple weeks to play around with the Z10, the full-touch, keyboardless variant of  the BlackBerry 10 ecosystem. Below is my in-depth review on the Z10’s hardware and software.

Hardware

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Screen

The screen is one of the Z10’s strongest points. During my time with the device, I’ve found that the Z10’s screen is on par with my iPhone 5’s Retina Display and has proved to be quite enjoyable to use when watching movies, YouTube videos, as well as general web browsing. This is due to the Z10’s semi-spacious 4.2″ screen with a resolution of 1280×768, which brings it to a resolution of 356ppi. The screen is also relatively bright, which makes it nice for both high-light situations and low-light situations.

Design

I’ll be honest: I have a love-hate relationship with the Z10’s design. I do think that the Z10 features a clean and high quality design, and I’m a fan of the soft plastic finish that the device has to offer as well. The rear-end of the Z10 is pretty basic as it features a simple BlackBerry logo and a unique bumpy pattern. The top and sides of the device, however, are made out of a more rigid material. The front of the device houses the screen with relatively large screen borders. All of these design aspects come together to make the Z10 look basic, yet professional and classy.

Though the Z10 may look nice, the device, minus the screen, is completely crafted from plastic. This makes the device feel cheap and makes me wish that it had incorporated some sort of metal like what we’ve seen in the iPhone 5, HTC One and even the BlackBerry Bold 9900.

Camera

The BlackBerry Z10 has a surprisingly decent camera. It features a 8 mega-pixel sensor with 1080p video recording capabilities alongside a bright flash. Aside from the hardware, Z10’s Camera app makes your photos really shine. The app features numerous filters, scene settings as well as shooting modes. I’m a huge fan of the burst mode which is built into BlackBerry 10 as well as TimeShift. TimeShift snaps multiple photos automatically, and allows you isolate faces and go back in time with them. This allows you to get perfect group and action shots.

Software

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Design And Features

BlackBerry 10 is a very interesting operating system in terms of design. It has a similar look and feel to that of HP’s WebOS due to its mostly button-less navigation and gestures. However, I think that BlackBerry has done a good job of making the OS easy and intuitive to use due to its many unique features such as BlackBerry Hub and the improved BlackBerry Keyboard.

BlackBerry Hub is a hub that shows all of your text messages, BBMs, emails, and social notifications in one place. When you first swipe into BlackBerry Hub, you’ll be able to view all of these notifications in one continuous list, though you can also single out feeds if you’d like. BlackBerry Hub is accessible from anywhere within the BlackBerry 10 OS, leaving you connected your family, friends, and coworkers at all times.

BlackBerry Keyboard is BlacBerry’s new and super-intuitive software keyboard. From the naked eye, it may look like any other mobile keyboard, but the changes become apparent when you start to use it. When typing, the keyboard will attempt to predict words for you. These words hover over letters on the keyboard, and can be selected by simply swiping up on them.

Since all BlackBerry 10 devices are completely free of navigation buttons, all actions are performed via different types of swipes and taps. For instance, if you want to close out of an application, all you have to do is swipe up from the bottom of the screen. When doing this, a small preview of the application will be moved to your device’s homescreen where it will reside with the rest of your recently used applications. If you’d like to open an application that hasn’t been recently used, just swipe to the right to bring up your full list of installed apps.

Ecosystem

The folks at BlackBerry have added all of the standard BBM messaging features to BlackBerry 10 that were offered in previous iterations of the OS. For instance, BlackBerry users can still send free text messages and voice messages back and forth. However, with BlackBerry 10, BBM has been enhanced to allow for free video calling and screen sharing between BlackBerry 10 users. This allows BlackBerry users to take their BBM conversations to a whole new personal level as they can share photos, documents, and whatever else is on their phone’s screen.

While the BBM ecosystem may be decent, the app ecosystem is lacking. Though the operating system launched with 70,000 apps, and recently announced that it hit 100,000 apps, none of them seem to be extremely good. Sure, the standard Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn apps may be decent, but as you get further through the BlackBerry Word store, you’ll begin to realize that some major apps and games that are available on iOS and Android are missing. For instance, Instagram, Netflix, Dropbox and Rdio amongst others have yet to make their way to the BlackBerry World for BlackBerry 10. As someone who uses all three of these services on a daily basis, I found it difficult to use the device nonstop over an iPhone or even Android smartphone since I use these apps often.

Responsiveness

BlackBerry 10 has been very good to me in terms of responsiveness. The device quickly responds to most touch-actions and quickly opens apps, documents and multimedia files. When multitasking, I’ve found that one can easily switch between apps without worrying about a stutter or other form of lag. The only form of lag I’ve found when using the BlackBerry Z10 is in the web browser. For instance, when loading and scrolling through web pages, I’ve experienced some stuttering and general slowness.

Bottom Line

While the BlackBerry Z10 may feature a promising new OS and a decent set of internal hardware, I cannot recommend the device at this time. This is due to the fact that BlackBerry 10 is missing some crucial third-party applications and the fact that the external hardware feels cheap on the device. However, if you’ve had your heart set on purchasing a BBM-capable device, then this may be your only modern option.