Review: The Willy And FrameShift Stands By Insanely Great Products

If you’re in the market for a stand for either your iPhone or iPad, you may or may not have heard of Insanely Great Products. Insanely Great is a smaller iOS accessory maker who specializes in handcrafted stands for both the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Its whole line of stands are made from extremely high quality materials, like aluminium and sturdy acrylics. Because of this, most of the stands manufactured by Insanely Great Products feature a very industrial look, something which I’m a huge fan of.

Insanely Great Products was nice enough to let me test out a couple of their stands: the Willy and the Frameshift. The Willy Stand is made for the iPhone, but can be used with pretty much any smartphone. The FramesShift is an iPad stand which works with most tablets and eReaders on the market. Below, I’ve written up an individual review for each product, giving you my opinion on whether or not I think you should purchase either of the stands for yourself.

FrameShift For iPad

The FrameShift is a pretty awesome stand for the iPad, though it’s compatible with most tablet devices. It’s constructed completely out of anodized aircraft aluminium, and is available in three colors: red, blue and black. All three of these colors look absolutely stunning, though I prefer blue. Since the FrameShift is made out of aluminium, you don’t have to worry about the stand breaking, denting or cracking. Also, all of the nuts, bolts and washers used to construct the FrameShift are standard, so if anything gets broken, you can easily replace the part yourself.

One nice thing about the FrameShift is how versatile it is. The stand’s arm can be configured in multiple angles, allowing for easier viewing of movies and typing. Because of this, the FramesShift can also fold flat, which is helpful when traveling. Also, the interior of the FrameShift is padded with rubber, ensuring that your iPad won’t come in contact with the Frameshift’s metal construction.

All in all, I’d be happy to recommend the FrameShift as an iPad stand, though the price is a bit steep at $99 USD. For the price, however, you’re getting an extremely durable stand for your iPad which should be able to withstand most any situation, whether you’re storing it in your messenger bag or watching movies on the airplane. The fact that the FrameShift can be used to position your iPad at pretty much any angle really seals the deal for me.

Willy For iPhone

Willy For iPhone

If you’re looking for a cheap and functional iPhone stand, the Willy is your match. The Willy is made out of a sturdy acrylic material and features a non-skid bottom, so you don’t have to worry about using the Willy on your nightstand or desk.

Your iPhone is held into the Willy using one of two suction cups. The secondary suction cup can be used to mount the Willy to your car’s dashboard, your whiteboard or even the bathroom mirror. One of my favorite uses for the Willy is for positioning my iPhone comfortably between my ear and shoulder when on long calls. When used on a table, the Willy is positioned at a perfect angle for hands-free movie viewing and FaceTime calling.

If you’d like to purchase the Willy for yourself, expect to drop $20 on Insanely Great Products’ website. With such a low price-tag for such a functional product, I have no trouble recommending the Willy to any smartphone user.

Disclosure: Insanely Great Products provided both the FrameShift and Willy for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Apple Kicks Out Maps Executive, Richard Williamson

Richard Williamson, the Apple executive behind Apple Maps, was reportedly kicked out of the company two weeks ago according to The Wall Street Journal. When Williamson was with Apple, he primarily focused on Siri and Maps, two of the bigger flaws within iOS. His boss and senior vice president of iOS, Scott Forstall, got the boot in October. Williamson’s official title at Apple was Vice President of iOS Platform services.

Bloomberg has reported that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, was reportedly the one who let Williamson go. Cue is currently overseeing Apple Maps and is working to make it better.

Williamson and Forstall were both likely kicked out of Apple because of Apple’s rocky launch of Apple Maps with iOS 6. iOS 6 Maps has suffered from many flaws such misplaced location errors and is lacking both bike and public transportation maps. Apple has yet to comment on Williamson’s departure nor have they made his departure public like they did with Forstall’s.

Image Source: Yuya Tamai

AT&T Allows iPhone 4S To Use FaceTime Over 3G

According to a poster on the MacRumors forums, iPhone 4S users on AT&T’s network are finally able to use FaceTime via cellular. This is surprising as AT&T announced earlier this month that they would only allow users with 4G LTE devices and a tiered data plan to use FaceTime via a cellular connection. MacRumors has also reported that the poster was using a grandfathered unlimited data plan on his or her iPhone 5 and 4S, both of which are able to make FaceTime calls over cellular. We’ve embedded the forum post below:

In a recent thread we were discussing AT&T members getting facetime with LTE devices and tiered plans. However I noticed today that I have facetime over cellular and I have an unlimited plan on my 5.

I just turned off my other phone, a 4S and turned it back on, only to find the switch flipped to ON for facetime over cellular. Both phones work perfectly over cellular.

I also checked a few coworkers phones, all now have FT over cellular.

As of now, we’re not totally sure if AT&T is officially supporting FaceTime over cellular on the iPhone 4S and unlimited data plans at it could be an oversight on their part. It’s also worth noting that the original rollout of FaceTime on tiered data plans was supposed to take 8-10 weeks. CNET has reportedly asked an AT&T representative for clarification on FaceTime over cellular. AT&T responded to them with a good ol’ “we’re looking into it.”

Finally, AT&T iPhone 4 and iPad 2 users will be unable to take advantage of FaceTime over AT&T’s network as iOS 6 requires an iPhone 4S or higher to use FaceTime via cellular data.

Image Source: Brett Jordan

HTC And Verizon To Hold An Event On November 13th


HTC and Verizon have just sent out invitations to a press conference which is set to take place on November 13th in New York City. Neither Verizon or HTC have commented on what will be introduced at the event, but rumors are pointing towards a large smartphone with a 5-inch, 1080p screen. The phone will likely feature 2GB of RAM and run on Android 4.1.1 “Jelly Bean”. We should see this phone go under the name “Droid DNA”, but it will likely show strong similarities to the HTC J Butterfly. Androinica expects this phone to start shipping on November 20th.

HTC desperately needs to work with Verizon on this launch as HTC just reported a 60%, or $588 million, loss last month. If this collaboration with Verizon is successful, we could see HTC get back into the handset making game in full force. HTC has also been working on their latest Windows Phone 8 devices which they are hoping will take off better than their Windows Phone 7 predecessors.

Do you think that this bleeding edge Android phone could put HTC back on top? Let us know by leaving a comment on this post.

Source: Androinica

Nook Color, Tablet Receive Price Cuts

It looks as if Barnes & Noble is trying even harder to get on your Christmas list as they’ve announced prices cuts for both the Nook Color and Nook Tablet. The Nook Color is now sporting a $139 price-tag while the Nook Tablet is sporting a $159 and $179 price-tag for 8GB and 16GB storage capacities respectively.

These two tablets are on the lower end of the tablet spectrum as they were recently replaced by the Nook HD and Nook HD+, two tablets which are meant to compete with Google’s Nexus 7 and Apple’s iPad. However, the Nook Color and Tablet are competitively priced to compete with Amazon’s $159 Kindle Fire offering.

Both the Nook Color and Nook Tablet are dated as the color was released in 2010 while the tablet was released in 2011. These two tablets feature the same design, though they are offered in different colors and feature different specifications. The Nook Color sports a single-core CPU while the Nook Tablet offers a faster, dual-core chip. Both of these tablets run a customized version of Android and offer 7″ screens.

Do these price cuts make you want to give a Nook as a holiday gift? Let us know by dropping a comment below this post.

Source: Engadget

Skype For Mac And Windows Updated To Version 6.0

Today Skype has released major updates for both their Mac and Windows applications. According to CultofMachis update brings the Skype app to version 6.0 and adds some pretty neat functionality and fixes. With this update, Skype has added Facebook and Microsoft Messenger integration, Retina Display compatibility as well as a plethora of other features. If you’d like to view the full list of changes, we’ve embedded it below:

  • Microsoft and Facebook Account Integration
  • Sign up and sign-in is easier than ever. You can now sign into Skype using your Microsoft or Facebook account – there’s no need to create a new Skype account. This makes it even easier to connect with friends on Skype without having to set up another account.
  • IM friends on Messenger
  • Now you can instant message your Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail and contacts via Skype all in one place. If you use a Microsoft account today, merging your accounts is easy – just sign in to Skype with your Microsoft account.
  • Calling with Messenger friends is coming soon
  • We’re working on polishing a feature which will enable audio and video calls to Windows Live Messenger customers using Skype desktop clients. The feature will be available in coming weeks.
  • Open Chats in Multiple Windows
  • We hear your feedback! With this release we’ve added support to open chats in multiple windows.
  • Retina Display Support
  • We also added another feature you’ve asked for – support Retina display. Now you can take full advantage of improved usability and of higher resolution screens.

You can update your Skype app by clicking the “Check for Updates” button which is located under “Skype” in your status bar. If you’d prefer to do a clean install of Skype, head on over to the Skype download page.

Google Confirms That Verizon Customers Will Be Able To Charge Play Purchases To Their Bill

According to the official Google Play Twitter feed, Verizon customers will soon be able to charge Google Play purchases directly to their bill, completely avoiding the use of a credit or debit card. Google Play tweeted the following:

Hey @Verizon Customers! Pay for Google Play apps, music and more on your phone bill. We’re rolling this out over the coming weeks. Enjoy!

While it’s great that Verizon is finally allowing their customers to add Play purchases to their bill, they’re pretty late to the party. In fact, Sprint and T-Mobile have been allowing their customers to add  purchases to their bill for months. One reason that Verizon may have been lagging behind other carriers in terms of payments is the fact that they’re still trying to push V-Cast, Verizon’s proprietary app and ringtone marketplace. Unfortunately for Verizon, not many developers have put their apps up for purchase on V-Cast yet, so most Verizon customers still purchase their content via Google Play.

If you plan on charging Google Play purchases to your Verizon account, let us know by dropping a comment below.

Source: Phandroid

Xbox Price Cut By $50, Holiday Bundles Announced

Today, Microsoft has begun gearing up for the holidays as they’ve announced a $50 price cut for all their current system bundles. All major retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Toys ‘R Us and others will be taking part in this price cut. As of now, the only Xbox that isn’t getting the price drop is the baseline 4GB Xbox without Kinect. These price cuts are said to be for a limited time only, so make sure to purchase your Xbox soon.

Microsoft has also announced that they will be selling multiple holiday bundles this year. One of these buncles will run you $399.99 and will include a 250GB Xbox with Kinect, Kinect Sports 2, Kinect Adventures, Dance Central 2 and a month of Xbox Live Gold. Microsoft has also announced two $299.99 Xbox bundles. One includes a 4GB Xbox, Kinect, Kinect Adventures, Kinect Disneyland Adventures and one month of Xbox Live Gold. The other $299.99 bundle includes a 250GB Xbox along with  Skyrim, Forza 4 Essentials Edition and, of course, a month of Xbox Live Gold. As of now, we’re not totally sure as to when these bundles will go on sale, though it should be soon.

Finally, Microsoft has also put their Halo 4 edition Xbox up for preorder with a shipment date of November 6th.

Source: Major Nelson via BGR

Verizon Galaxy S III Now Available In Brown And Black

Galaxy S III Brown/Black

If you’re on Verizon Wireless and want a bit more subtle colored Galaxy S III, you’re in luck! After Verizon Wireless teased the black and brown Galaxy S III’s this Monday, Android fans were left excited though no release date was given. However, it looks as if Verizon has decided to release the devices at will as both the black and brown variants of the Galaxy S III can be purchased via the Verizon Wireless online store for $199.99 with a two-year contract or $599.99 contract free. If you plan on purchasing a black or brown Galaxy S III from your local Verizon store, we highly recommend calling in ahead of time to make sure they have the device in stock.

If you’re unaware, the Galaxy S III is one of the most hyped smartphones of 2012 and has sold millions of units worldwide. Most US carriers have been heavily pushing this device, so two new colors will give Verizon Wireless a definite marketing edge over other cellular carriers who do not yet stock these new colors.

Source: Engadget via Geeky Gadgets

Amazon Kindle Customers To Receive Refunds

Amazon Kindle Customers To Receive Refunds

If you’re an Amazon Kindle customer, you may have a check coming your way. Today Amazon sent out an email to everyone who has ever purchased a book via Amazon Kindle informing them that they may have a check coming in for each book purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. Each customer will receive anywhere between $0.30 and $1.32 per eBook. The only books eligible for this refund must’ve been published by  either HarperCollins, Hachette, or Simon & Schuster. However, Amazon has informed customers that the Court ruling isn’t final yet, though we should have a final answer by February 8, 2013. If approved, the refund will automatically be applied to the user’s account and can be used to purchase more eBooks, but users can opt to receive a check in the mail as well.

The reasoning behind this refund is pretty simple: Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have settled an anti-trust lawsuit which will impose restrictions on the publisher’s ability to set eBook prices when selling through third-parties like Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. If you’d like more info on the suit, we’ve embedded the full email explanation from Amazon below:

Dear Kindle Customer,

We have good news. You are entitled to a credit for some of your past e-book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories, including yours. You do not need to do anything to receive this credit. We will contact you when the credit is applied to your account if the Court approves the settlements in February 2013.

Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have settled an antitrust lawsuit about e-book prices. Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books. While we will not know the amount of your credit until the Court approves the settlements, the Attorneys General estimate that it will range from $0.30 to $1.32 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. Alternatively, you may request a check in the amount of your credit by following the instructions included in the formal notice of the settlements, set forth below. You can learn more about the settlements here:

In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future.

Thank you for being a Kindle customer.

The Amazon Kindle Team

Source: Slash Gear
Image Source: bfishadow