Samsung Note 4 and Smart Homes

Most people may still be talking about the Galaxy S6 and  S6 edge, but let's not forget, if you want something larger, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the best phablet on the market.

Samsung are also investing heavily into smart homes and home automation. Samsung have released a promo video on how to use your Galaxy Note 4 with your smart home.

The video features the brilliant smart washing machine, the WW9000 which we have already blogged about, and the Smart Things range of products. This range of products isn't current available in the UK but represents one of the easiest ways of getting into smart homes and home automation with devices that include motion detectors, flood detection, temperature and humidity detection as well as smart plugs. All of these devices are controllable via your Galaxy Note 4!

Panasonic 2015 TVs Powered By Firefox OS

We have already blogged about the new range of Panasonic TVs for 2015, all of which will now run Firefox OS, which has been specially customised for this TVs.

]Panasonic have released a video showing some of the functions of the OS on the TV and just how smooth and pretty it is.

The new interface is a vast improvement visually on its predecessor. The home screen features a high-resolution, customisable photographic backdrop, with a row of large, brightly coloured icons superimposed on it.

Firefox OS is the first truly open mobile platform built entirely on Web technologies, bringing more choice and control to the mobile and TV industry. When customising the OS for the TVs the focus has been on making it even easier for users to quickly access their favorite content – including live TV, applications, websites and content on other devices. Also, for the first time, these Panasonic TVs powered by Firefox OS will allow TV on-screen notifications from applications, and, in the future, from compatible connected appliances.

Being built on HTML5 it should be a lot easier to produce apps for the TVs as well as cross compatibility across both mobile and TV platforms. This should allow Panasonic to ramp up the number of Apps available on the TV extremely quickly and Firefox have already demoed  Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Vudu and others and the Firefox browser.

Some of the other key features of the 2015 Panasonic line up include HEVC and VP9 decoding built-in. The former allows you to take advantage of Netflix and Amazon Prime 4K streams while the latter is the codec of choice for Google and is used to encode 4K content on YouTube.

You will also be able to “Swipe and Share” that allows you to push video, photos and other content from your smartphone or tablet onto the TV via the Firefox browser (or compatible unspecified apps). It is not exactly Google Cast yet, but Mozilla is working on improving and expanding the system.

Finally Panasonic's new Life+Screen TVs feature Xumo Guide, which provides recommendations from multiple content sources based on users' viewing history and lets users search and browse for content across multiple apps and platforms.

We can wait to try out this years line-up, Panasonic already produce brilliant screens and having the smart featured powered by Firefox OS could mean they have the most beautiful and functional smart TVs on the market.

 

NVIDIA Shield: gaming-focused Android TV set-top box

The NVIDIA Shield  range of devices has been a bit of a niche product line but generally receiving favourable reviews. This line is now being expanded to include a gaming focused Android TV set-top box which is set to retails for $200 (no word on UK pricing) and launch in May. NVIDIA’s calling Shield the “world’s first … Read more

Sony Announce M4 Aqua – Waterproof Mid-Range Android Smartphone

Sony maybe pulling out of the tablet and smartphone business in the future but they are still releasing a limited number of devices. This includes the previously posted about Xperia Z4 Tablet and now the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua.

The Xperia M4 Aqua is a mid-range version of last years excellent Z3 compact which is a fully waterpfroof 5-inch Android Lollipop device.

Unless you are a big gamer the internals should be adequate for you with a  Snapdragon 615 processor, LTE, 2GB of RAM, and up to two days of battery life from a 2,400mAh cell. Hopefully the M4 will match the industry leading battery performance of the Z3 compact. The battery is smaller but the CPU is also less powerful so it should balance out. Talktime is claimed to be 13.28 hours verses the Z3c 12.00 hours, but from personal experience this often means nothing.

Sony have cut costs using a plastic body instead of metal, but they have improved the waterproofing so you no longer need a cap on the USB port.

Beyond the SoC, the phone has a 13MP rear-facing camera with an F/2.0 aperture, and a 5MP front-facing camera.

Pricing is set at 299 euros which means it could be a great mid-range option for most people.

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Sony announce Xperia Z4 Tablet

Following the accidental leak by Sony they have now officially announced the Xperia Z4 which is a  slimmer, lighter and more powerful follow up to the Z2 tablet released in May and claims to be the thinnest and lightest 10in tablet at 6.1mm thick and 392g.

The tablet runs Android Lollipop software and has a high-resolution 2K screen, which is the brightest 10in 2K screen. It also has a claimed 17-hour video playback time and runs by Qualcomm’s latest 64bit octocore Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

It is waterproof, using internal seals rather than small external covers to allow exposed USB and headphone sockets.

Sony are also releasing a removable Bluetooth keyboard accessory into which the tablet slots, turning it into an Android-powered laptop that includes a trackpad, “chiclet” keys which give space around each key, custom control buttons and a hinge to hold the screen at an adjustable angle.

The tablet should be available from spring 2015.

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HTC One M9 Announced

So the HTC One M9 has finally been announced! And it appears most of the leaks were about right! There is no major change in terms of industrial design here; the M9 looks a lot like the M8. So you have a aluminium unibody design with a 5-inch 1080p display and HTC’s trademark BoomSound speakers. Specification appear … Read more

Huawei unveils Huawei Watch – Android Wear smartwatch and TalkBand B2 Fitness tracker

With the growth of the Smartwatch industry it is no surprise that Huawei have joined in on the action. Today they announced 2 new wearable, the first is the TalkBand B2 which is the successor to last years B1 and is a wrist-worn Bluetooth earpiece and fitness tracker. The second is probably the most attractive Android Wear watch … Read more

Huawei announce TalkBand B2 Bluetooth headset, music player & fitness tracker.

Huawei has announced 2 new wearable at the MWC, the first is the TalkBand B2, successor to last years B1, which is a slightly unusual product that is both a fitness tracker that’s also a Bluetooth headset. The TalkBand B2 has a 0.73″ PMOLED touchscreen, and as you can see the Bluetooth headset part of it neatly … Read more

Watch the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2015 Live Stream Here with Galaxy S6 Launch

The Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event is just over 3 hours away with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and possibly the Galaxy S6 Edge due.

Based on leaks it appears Samsung are deviating from the Galaxy styles of previous devices with an all metal, glass back design which will like mean no removable battery, microSD slot or water proofing.  This is already causing quite a bit of a stir among Samsung fans on Reddit, but I guess a sleeker design will have more mass appeal.

Either way we will find out what all the fuss is about at 5.30pm GMT