Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Gear Can Run Full Android Apps; No Rooting Needed

by Pang Tun Yau · 11 months ago · No Comments · 128 views

galaxy-gear-candy-crush

While being billed as a companion device to a Samsung Galaxy device, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch is built with some pretty impressive internals. There’s a 800MHz single core processor, 512MB of RAM as well as 4GB of storage – pretty much entry-level specs for Android devices. So it was only a matter of time before someone went beyond wondering if the Gear – which is based on Android 4.2.2 – could run full Android apps, to actually attempting it.

Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo managed just that, and as it turns out, you can indeed run real Android apps on the Gear. Surprisingly, one does not even need to root the device. As Amadeo demonstrates, all you need is the Android software development kit (SDK) installed on a PC, and connecting the Gear to the PC in USB Debug mode on. The Android Debug Bridge (ADB) will then allow users to open a command line, and from there sideload apps onto the Galaxy Gear.

Using this approach, the Gear’s 1.6-inch screen can function as any other Android smartphone, albeit shrunken down immensely. There are limitations, of course: there is no way to connect to the Internet, and Google’s suite of apps are not present. However, custom launchers will work too, as well as locally stored music and video playback – further unlocking the potential that the Galaxy Gear has beneath its simplistic software.

Check out the full demonstration and a video at the source link below.

(Source: Ars Technica)

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Surface Prominently Featured At Nokia Malaysia’s Lumia 1020 Roadshow: Sign of Things To Come? [UPDATED]

by Syefri Zulkefli · 11 months ago · 3 Comments · 46 views

Microsoft Surface @ Nokia Malaysia Lumia 1020 roadshow

Taking place since 9 October, Nokia Malaysia is currently having a Lumia 1020-oriented roadshow in Mid Valley Megamall which will last till this Sunday, 13 October. But guess who is making a guest appearance together with the newly launched smartphone? It is the (1st generation) Microsoft Surface tablets.

Well, everyone knows what happened recently between Microsoft and Nokia. But before we get there, we were made to understand that this doesn’t mean Surface will be made available at Nokia Stores just yet. Consumers that are interested in Surface tablets will still have to visit one of the existing authorized retailers to obtain the tablet.

In general, the appearance of Surface RT and Surface Pro at the roadshow is apparently a joint marketing initiative by Microsoft Malaysia and Nokia Malaysia to show how Surface tablets and Nokia Windows Phone devices are able to work well together since they are in the same Windows ecosystem and shared a number of services with each other such as SkyDrive and Office.

It is interesting to note that marketing effort that combines both Windows PC and Windows Phones together like this doesn’t happen very often even among brands that have both type of devices under their wings. Not that there is any lack of effort of Microsoft since they have actually come out with Windows Everywhere campaign earlier this year.

Meanwhile, we have reached out to both Microsoft Malaysia and Nokia Malaysia to obtain the official side of the story. So, stay tuned.

[UPDATE (552PM)] We have learned that Surface is now also being showcased at a number of Nokia Stores around town. Specially, Suria KLCC (says s7ran9er in the comment section below) and Plaza Low Yat (according to Wan Ahmad Luqman in his comment at our Facebook page). Interesting.

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Celcom Teases iPhone 5S and 5C; DiGi Opens ROI

by Huei Song · 11 months ago · No Comments · 11 views

Celcom iPhone 5C Coming Soon

That was quick, less than a day after Apple officially announces that the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are coming to Malaysia on 1 November 2013 (or 31 October 2013 according to Apple Malaysia’s website), Celcom has listed both devices as “Coming Soon” while DiGi opens up its registration of interest page.

DiGi iPhone 5S ROI

Celcom will be offering all the color options for both devices – black, white and gold iPhone 5S, and blue, green, pink, yellow and white iPhone 5C. DiGi on the other hand now allows you to register your interest for a black, white or gold iPhone 5S, and interestingly, they only have got white and yellow iPhone 5C…for now at least.

DiGi iPhone 5C ROI

Visit Celcom to bookmark their page or visit DiGi now to register your interest.

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[OPINION] Please Stop With Incremental Device Updates, We’re Not THAT Stupid. Or Are We?

by Lucas Lau · 11 months ago · 22 Comments · 68 views

I had to re-read this press release of a new product a couple of times before it dawned on me: there was basically no difference in this “new” product from its predecessor. Upon further inspection, the price of the new device in the US was not THAT much different from the previous model and in fact, it was cheaper. Looking back at the specs sheets for comparison, checking and double checking release dates for both devices, I realised that it hadn’t even been a full year before its predecessor was unveiled to the world that this “new” product swooped in like the slightly more good looking twin and instantly putting the other in the eternal stasis of old stock limbo.

Bonus points if you guessed it; I’m talking about the Nikon D610.

D600

11 months ago, the D600 was released and it was an amazing camera. As Nikon’s first “cheaper” Full Frame camera, the D600 was a perfect camera to get hobbyist photographers in the FX game without splashing the dough for the luxurious D800/E or the D4, or “downgrading” to the D700. It was a revolutionary camera for the company and it certainly did get the attention it deserved. Fast forward to yesterday, Nikon unveiled the D610. You’d expect some difference at least from its predecessor, right?

D610

Here are the main differences: You can shoot 0.5fps faster on the D610. You can shoot high speed a little more quietly on the D610. Lastly the Auto White Balance works better. That’s it.

For some reason Nikon found it necessary to work on such a tiny incremental update and release it as a brand new camera – essentially slapping all of its D600 “early adopters” in the face with a large trout. The D600 evangelists were simply guinea pigs to the Internet theory of the D600′s problem of oil gathering on the sensor, which was most likely fixed in the D610. For shame.

It then dawned on me that Nikon isn’t the only one doing this. The D610 is one of many in a scary trend that is not just isolated to the camera world, and has been around longer than we think.

Article continues after the jump

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It’s Official, NTT Docomo Announces the Sony Xperia Z1F

by Huei Song · 11 months ago · 10 Comments · 193 views

Sony Xperia Z1F

Well what do you know, Android “mini” smartphones may not be gaining traction among consumers but that isn’t going to stop manufacturers from making smaller versions if their flagship devices, Japanese telco, NTT Docomo just officially took the curtains off the Sony Xperia Z1f, a 4.3” 720p version of the Sony Xperia Z1. The device was showcased at the telco’s annual winter/spring lineup along with 15 other new mobile devices.

As seen in the rumors, unlike other mini smartphones, all Sony did to the Z1F was shrink down its size to 4.3” with a 720p resolution display, pack in a smaller battery (of course) of 2,300mAh, while retaining all the specifications that makes the Z1 stand out. Looking just slightly larger than an iPhone 5, the Z1F packs the same amazing 20MP rear camera with G Lens, 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and runs on the telco’s 150Mbps LTE network. As with the Z1, it has a water and dust proof construction made of glass and aluminum.

According to NTT Docomo, the Z1F is an exclusive model for them, so we have no idea if the “Xperia Z1 mini” will ever make its way out of its home country. Will you prefer a smaller Xperia Z1 or do you think 5” is the perfect size?

(Source: TheVerge)

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Apple Malaysia Website Lists iPhone 5c and 5s to be Available From October 31

by Pang Tun Yau · 11 months ago · 3 Comments · 12 views

iPhone 5C and 5S

While the official announcement states that Apple’s latest iPhones, the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, will be available in Malaysia from November 1, its Malaysian website has stated that they will be available to purchase on October 31.

apple-iphone-5s-malaysia-31oct

As pointed out by reader @fuad_fadz, Apple’s official Malaysian website states that both the new iPhones will be available to order at its online store, as well as for physical purchase at official Apple Resellers from October 31, which is 24 hours earlier than the official date stated last night. Unfortunately, pricing details for both devices remain a mystery.

In contrast, the other countries sharing the November 1 release dates as Malaysia , India and Saudi Arabia, both lists varying availability dates, with India having the same official November 1 release date, and Saudi Arabia having a slightly later release date listed for November 3.

Looks like the midnight queues will start a day early, then.

(Source: Apple Malaysia)

Thanks, @fuad_fadz!

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Android “Mini” Smartphones Not Gaining Traction Among Consumers

by Pang Tun Yau · 11 months ago · 11 Comments · 39 views

samsung-galaxy-s4-mini-htc-one-mini

The recent “Mini” variants of flagship Android smartphones that have appeared this year are struggling to find much success. Samsung, HTC, Sony and even ZTE have all released mini variants of their respective flagship devices, and all have met disappointing sales figures.

A report on Digitimes noted that sales of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini have been “bleak”, due to a combination of better mid-range options as well as “lacklustre” sales of the flagship Galaxy S4. HTC’s One Mini smartphone fared even worse, where it was forced to drop its price more than $100 (around RM320) within two months after its release. The same was also true for ZTE and Sony Mobile, though there were no actual figures to support it in the report.

Sony’s Xperia ZR model, a 4.5-inch variant of last year’s flagship Xperia Z, sports a similar set of top-tier hardware as its bigger brother – a different approach to the other manufacturers in their “Mini” flagship variants. The company is rumoured to be doing the same with its upcoming mini version of the new Xperia Z1 flagship, which may be called the Xperia Z1 f.

Despite the bleak sentiment for smaller Android phones, Apple’s 4-inch iPhones continue to do very well in the market. It appears that for Android smartphones, bigger is indeed better.

(Source: Digitimes via BGR)

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(Update: Comes with Free Magnetic Dock) Maxis Now Offering the Sony Xperia Z1 From RM1,199

by Huei Song · 11 months ago · 3 Comments · 398 views

Maxis Z1

As teased by Maxis, they will unveil their Sony Xperia Z1 bundling from today and if you’ve been waiting for it, here it is. Maxis is now offering the Sony Xperia Z1 from as low as RM1,119 when you sign up for a contract under one of its postpaid and mobile internet plans. The telco is offering the latest flagship smartphone from Sony with a 12- or 24-months contract.

Maxis Z1 TableClick on image for larger version

Update: All purchases of the Sony Xperia Z1 from Maxis comes with free Magnetic Charging Dock DK-31 in the box (only for the first 1,000 units).

The Sony Xperia Z1 officially hit our Malaysian market last week, 4 October 2013; it is currently available on the shelves, from our very own Storekini as well as on Celcom. Check out our camera comparison with the Nokia Lumia 1020 in our previous post or watch our unboxing video right below. More information about Maxis’ bundling at their website.

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A Look At Previous iPhone Launch Events In Malaysia: From iPhone 4 to iPhone 5

by Syefri Zulkefli · 11 months ago · 5 Comments · 34 views

Maxis iPhone 4S Launch Pt 3 - 11

So, Apple have finally confirmed iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c for our market. 1 November is the date to remember, that’s if you are planing to obtain Apple’s latest iPhone models right on the official Malaysian launch day.

With that, I guess it is now a great time to briefly walk through the memory lane and take a brief look at previous iPhone launches in Malaysia. If there is one thing that all of them have in common, that would be the long queue. While waiting time and the length of the queue differs from one venue to another, getting a brand new iPhone on the launch day is certainly not an easy feat to most customers.

Unfortunately, most of our coverage for previous iPhone launches are no longer available online since we moved servers not too long ago and lost some of our older contents in the process. That being said, we do have plenty of sights and sceneries to see from the launch of iPhone 4 in 2010 right to last year’s iPhone 5 midnight release.

If the initial sales of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c can be used as a guide, expect to see and experience the same sceneries once they arrive in Malaysia on 1 November. Head on to the link below to go through some of our coverage for the previous iPhone launches in Malaysia.

iPhone 5 Launch: Celcom, Maxis.

iPhone 4S Launch: Maxis – pt 1, pt 2, pt 3, pt 4.

iPhone 4 Launch: Maxis.

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iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c To Arrive In Malaysia On 1 November

by Syefri Zulkefli · 11 months ago · 9 Comments · 47 views

iPhone 5C and 5S

Took them long enough. Apple have finally announced that the release date of their brand new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c for Malaysia has been set at 1 November 2013. The release is part of market expansion for both devices which will be involving 35 countries on 25 October and 16 countries (including ours) on 1 November.

So far, no pricing for either of the devices have been announced by Apple or any of Malaysian major telcos. Nevertheless, we predict that things will be heating up in the next three weeks as everyone getting ready for the release of Apple’s latest line-up of iPhone in Malaysia.

While we are still gauging local consumers’ interest in both devices now that Apple have finally announced the release date for Malaysia, we do expect that the launch will be a big hoo-ha once again considering the positive response from the 11 initial markets.

So, if you planning to purchase either of these new iPhone this coming 1 November, it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared for the launch event which most probably involved long hours of queuing.

[Source: Apple]

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Google Maps Live Traffic Now Extends to Johor Bahru and Major Malaysian Highways

by Pang Tun Yau · 11 months ago · 2 Comments · 646 views

google-malaysia-live-traffic-jb

Google Malaysia has announced that its Live Traffic feature has now been extended to support Johor Bahru as well as major Malaysian highways. The new additions come less than a year after it added support for Live Traffic outside of the Klang Valley, where they were available in Penang, Ipoh and Melaka.

The Live Traffic layer on Google Maps allows users to see, in real-time, the traffic conditions along supported cities. They are marked onto the roads in universal traffic colours: green for smooth traffic, yellow for slow-moving traffic, and red for bumper-to-bumper conditions. With the addition of Live Traffic for major highways along the Peninsula, users now can better plan their routes, especially during festive periods.

Check out maps.google.com.my for more.

(Source: Google Malaysia (Google+))

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Samsung Officially Announced Galaxy Round: The Android Smartphone With Curved Display

by Syefri Zulkefli · 11 months ago · 10 Comments · 162 views

Samsung Galaxy Round

That was fast. Just mere hours after the first press shot was leaked out to the world, Samsung have officially announced that the Android smartphone with curved display is indeed called Samsung Galaxy Round.

Featuring a 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED display, the new Samsung Galaxy Round has a thickness of 7.9mm and weights around 154g. Within its curved chassis, the Samsung Galaxy Round apparently is packed with a 2.3GHz quad-core processor together with 3GB of RAM, 32GB worth of internal storage, 2800mAh and a 13-megapixels rear camera. At the same time, the device’s back area is covered with leather which is similar to the newly released Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

As expected, Samsung have implemented a number of features exclusive to the device. One of them is called Roll Effect which allows user to check certain information such as date, time, missed calls and battery status on the device’s display while it is being inactive by pressing the device against one of its side. Hence, the “roll”. Here’s a demo:

Apparently, the same gesture can also be used to control music – press the left side to play previous track, right to play the next track – through a feature that is dubbed Bounce UX. Additionally, there is also Gravity Effect which is described as “visual interaction with the screen” when users tilt the device. Last but not least, tilting gestures also allows users to navigate through photo and video album – a feature Samsung called Side Mirror.

Samsung Galaxy Round

Priced at around 1.09 million won (around RM 3259), the Galaxy Round will be released in South Korea tomorrow exclusive to SK Telecom. At the time being, no international release date has been announced so far by Samsung.

That being said, would you get one if it is released in Malaysia?

[Source: Samsung Tomorrow (1,2),  Samsung (MT) via The Verge]

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