Swiss Luxury Watchmaker TAG Heuer Announces Android Wear Collaboration with Google and Intel

Swiss Luxury Watchmaker TAG Heuer Announces Android Wear Collaboration with Google and Intel

Mar 19, 2015

In an interesting amalgamation of technology heavyweights, renown timepiece maker TAG Heuer is partnering with Intel and Google to create a smartwatch that will be powered by Intel technology and Google’s wearable initiative Android Wear.

According to a press conference that was held on March 19th at watch and jewelry confab Baselworld, the partnership looks to “create a product that is both luxurious and seamlessly connected to its wearer’s daily life — a culmination of innovation, creativity and design from Silicon Valley in California and the Watch Valley in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.”

Beyond the raw heft of the announcement itself, this is interesting in several ways. For one, getting TAG Heuer on board with the idea of making a smartwatch is pretty major. It definitely gives Android Wear much needed legitimacy in a budding wearables sub-sector. Also, it creates a potential cascade as other luxury watchmakers potentially try to add functionality to their pieces.

We can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Below is the official video of the announcement.

[Source: Intel via BBC]

Intel Inside: A look at Intel On Android

Intel Inside: A look at Intel On Android

Nov 5, 2014

Admit it: what comes to mind when you think of Intel?

Laptops? Desktops? Computer parts?

Well, whatever it is, it seems as though Intel itself doesn’t mind if its name invokes thoughts of Android. More and more Android devices are running with its vaunted chips on the inside.

We had an opportunity to check out two Intel-powered Android wi-fi tablets, one from ASUS, and one from Acer. The Acer Iconia Tab 8 is a serious looking mid-range tab that smaller at packs 2GB RAM (plus expandable memory), 7.9 inches of screen in an 8.5 x 5.1 x 0.3 inch frame. It also has 2 MP front-facing snapper. Software wise, it comes with Android 4.4, and also has a suite of Acer-specific applications.

The ASUS MEMO Pad 7 is physically smaller, at 7.5 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches (which encases a 7 inch screen). 1GB Memory, 2MP front-facing camera, 5MP in the back, expandable memory, Android 4.4.

Both are fantastic tablets, with plenty to love. Both were a joy to test, smooth and snappy. There are other things that are common to both, outside the affordability: Intel’s Atom Z3745 processor.


The Z3745 brings the best of Intel to newer Android devices in an ultra-affordable package. It consists of a quad-core CPU that maxes out at 1.86 MHz, and an Intel graphic GPU that hits 778 MHz.

In real life, the chip works well. In testing with these tabs, I couldn’t find noticeable lag. I did notice some warmth when taxed by hard-hitting games, but all in all, both tabs worked well.

And this is where it looks like Intel is hitting its groove with regards to Android. The affordability of the chip helps keep device prices down, and this allow device manufacturers to price their devices competitive… in theory at least. In the case of the Iconia Tab 8 (at $199) and the MEMO Pad 7 (at $129), the theory arguably holds true.

Lenovo Announces New Tablet at IFA 2014

Lenovo Announces New Tablet at IFA 2014

Sep 3, 2014

Lenovo is in a revealing mood at IFA 2014, and has just announced its latest entry into the Android-powered slate arena in the Tab S8.

According to Digital Trends, this new offerings will debut with an 8-inch screen, Android OS 4.4, 2GB of RAM and, notably, Intel Atom Z3745 processor. The new device will also have two cameras and dual Dolby speakers.

And how much? It is priced at $200, which will most likely hit the sweet spot for many potential buyers.

More information from the official press release from Lenovo:

Lenovo created the TAB S8 for consumers who are looking for a stylish, slim and affordable Android tablet starting at just $199. At 8-inches, the TAB S8’s 1920×1200 infinity screen is sharper than FHD, while the One Glass Solution touch-panel technology provides a crystal clear viewing experience. The tablet’s ultra-slim bezel seamlessly merges the screen with the dark front panel, giving the TAB S8 a sleek, clean look. The front panel also features a 1.6-megapixel HD camera for easy video chatting. Turn the TAB S8 around to reveal an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. The wide aperture f2.2 lens snaps sharp photos, even in low light. Pre-installed apps, like SHAREit, allow for easy and safe photo and file sharing.

The Tab S8 is due out soon.

IFA Press Kit Banner

[Source: Lenovo via Digital Trends]

Acer Iconia One 7 Hardware Review

Acer Iconia One 7 Hardware Review

May 29, 2014

The Acer Iconia One 7 is not a tablet that you buy if you want the latest and greatest in hardware, necessarily. It’s the tablet you buy if you just want a cheap Android tablet, if your parents want something to easily check their email with. But don’t be mistaken: as a budget tablet, it does a solid job.

This Intel-powered tablet is priced at $129.99, aiming for a budget market, and the build construction shows: the 1280×800 screen is clearly of a lower grade than most high-end ones, lacking in brightness, and with muted colors. The battery life is a bit lacking, even for a tablet: expect 4 or 5 hours’ use with it. The tablet is a little on the thick side, despite all this: not to say that it’s thick, in general, it’s still light and portable, but in the relative sense compared to other tablets.

As far as specs go, the table is a 7″ 1280×800 IPS panel, with an Intel Atom Z2560, dual-core 1.6 GHz processor, a PowerVR SGX544 GPU, 3700 mAh battery, front and rear camera, 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB port for charging, micro SD slot for storage, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB or 16 GB of storage (the unit Acer provided was 16 GB). The tablet comes running Android 4.2.2, with a planned update to KitKat later. There’s a few pre-installed apps, but nothing too onerous: an anti-virus program, some AcerCloud apps, but nothing that substantially affects the stock Android interface.

The rear camera is really just there to be there: it takes fairly unimpressive photos at 1600×1200 resolution. There’s also a front-facing camera for those applications that can use it. Again, quality-wise, it’s there. There’s a micro SD card slot, though it appears apps can’t be copied to it. Still, it’s nice to have the option for music and videos.

There’s no video out via MHL or SlimPort for the micro-USB port. The charging port is on top where the headphone port is in portrait mode, which actually isn’t a bad design: it’s definitely out of the way when charging in both landscape and portrait modes because it is as at an offset.

The system is surprisingly capable for a budget tablet: it can definitely handle web browsing, email, and many basic games without issue, and Asphalt 8 runs decently: it’s not the smoothest framerate, but it’s definitely quite playable. Some apps seem to have crashed shortly after launch, possibly because, well, Android devices do that, but the Intel processor’s x86 architecture, when most tablets are ARM-based ones, may be at fault.

Ultimately, the Acer Iconia One 7″ is, for $129.99, a solid budget tablet. I was able to check my email, browse the web, type up things in JotterPad X, and play games on it. For the non-tech-savvy looking for an affordable tablet for doing basic things, I can recommend the Acer Iconia One 7.

The Acer Iconia One 7 will be available starting in June 2014 for $129.99.

Intel Creates Pocket Avatar, an Avatar and Gesture-Based Social Platform

Intel Creates Pocket Avatar, an Avatar and Gesture-Based Social Platform

Aug 29, 2013


Intel decided to try and revolutionize social interactions on the web with a new messaging platform, called Intel Pocket Avatars. This app allows users to use its facial recognition software to control their avatars with just their facial expressions. Users can record an audio or text message, smile, and the avatar on the other end of the line will play the recorded message and smile as well. I don’t have a faintest clue as to the specifics, requirements and limitations of such a service, but anyone willing to participate in the beta can fill the form and apply here: Intel Pocket Avatars On Google Docs

Samsung’s Android-Campatible Competing OS Tizen More Likely to Materialize Soon Thanks to Unity Support?

Samsung’s Android-Campatible Competing OS Tizen More Likely to Materialize Soon Thanks to Unity Support?

May 28, 2013

Samsung and Intel’s Tizen OS may not have materialized in any real form, but a recent announcement means that for the common person, it’s likely to be a real possibility. See, Unity has announced that they will support exporting to Tizen. This is a huge deal because Unity is a cross-platform game development engine that supports PC/Mac/Linux, the current-gen consoles, and iOS/Android. If the powers that be behind Tizen are striking deals to ensure that developers can easily put their apps on the platform, then the odds of Samsung heavily pushing a Tizen device in the near future seems more likely.

While Tizen’s Android compatibility layer will mean that games will have a support leg up from the outset, getting native content will be a boon for support. And if developers have ways to easily export to Samsung’s newest phone on Tizen, it may well be worth the push. It seems to be a similar initiative as 100% Indie – entice developers with a juicy fruit to go to their store and to ensure that they have a bigger library.

So, if and when the first Galaxy Tizen phone materializes, and it could be in a month at Samsung Premiere 2013, then there would be no excuse for it to not have content. Be prepared.

The Hills Are Greener: Why Google Should Be Wary of Samsung and Intel’s Tizen

The Hills Are Greener: Why Google Should Be Wary of Samsung and Intel’s Tizen

May 13, 2013

Samsung has been known for heavily skinning Android, and for experiencing great success while doing so. Now, it seems like this could actually be in the name of supplanting Android altogether with a new OS: Tizen.

Unlike alternative measures like Ubuntu for mobile, there’s a big reason why a Tizen push should leave Google at least a little concerned: Samsung and Intel are behind it. Samsung is by far the biggest non-Apple smartphone manufacturer in the world, and them pushing a non-Android OS could be a huge blow to Android if they can transition their customers over to Tizen devices. Intel is still the biggest processor manufacturer in the world, and they would likely much rather have devices made using the x86 architecture that they primarily manufacture. ARM chips from Qualcomm, Nvidia, and others have largely powered mobile devices thanks to their low power draws. While Android can run on Intel x86 chips, an OS that supports it from the ground up would be a major boon for the company, and give them a foothold in the low-power-chip race that they’ve seemingly been falling behind in.

GALAXY S 4 Product Image (5)However, Android still seems like the safety net for Tizen, as the OS is compatible with Android applications via a compatibility layer. So for Google, this is a possible nightmare scenario: they could get replaced by a quasi-open OS that can use the apps from their OS, totally supplanting their work and leaving them in third place. Android is very heavily propped up by Samsung at the moment. I say that Tizen is quasi-open because while the OS is built on open source Linux components, Samsung controls the licensing of their SDK under a closed model. They could exert more control over the platform and rake in licensing fees if they prove that Tizen is the future, not Android.

This does all make Samsung’s current initatives make sense. They want to skin Android so heavily and add so many features because they would want the transition to a Tizen device to be smooth. They want developers to put their apps and games on Samsung Apps (and offering limited-time 100% revenue deals) in order to fill out their store and to make it easier for future submissions. There may be gaps in the apps that exist on both platforms, but Samsung is in a position to make putting apps on Tizen a must for developers if the platform gains traction.

And really, it’s the traction-gaining that will be difficult. Samsung has reportedly promised that a high-end Tizen device will come later this year, but there’s still a grand total of zero Tizen devices out there, and the Galaxy S4 is still running Android. Samsung tried its own OS in the past with Bada, which is now part of Tizen, but obviously it failed to gain any significant momentum. But now that Samsung is top dog among mobile manufacturers, and given their success in many products that could potentially be powered by Tizen, Google and Android need to be wary of Samsung pulling the welcome mat out from under them.

CES 2012: New Android Hardware Roundup

CES 2012: New Android Hardware Roundup

Jan 11, 2012

Ah yes, a big technology trade show rolls around and plenty of shiny new Android hardware is unveiled. While some on the Apple side of the aisle will sneer at more potential iPhone killers that likely won’t be as such, and WP7 & BlackBerry fans will lament their lack of attention being paid to them, there’s still a variety of interesting new phones and devices to report on.

Motorola Droid 4: The Droid 4 is the latest in the flagship line of Motorola & Verizon’s Droid phones. Like the other flagship Droids, it boasts a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, with only a .5 inch thickness. It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a gigabyte of RAM, 16 GB of storage, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, and a 4-inch 960×540 screen. Sadly, it will only ship with Gingerbread, but should get an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade later.

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX: Android phones do not have great battery life; it’s kind of a fact of life at this point, sadly. Motorola’s solution? A new Droid Razr that boasts a 3300 mAh battery versus the original 1700 mAh. Most phones use a similar amount of battery capacity. Apparently the phone is about as thin as the original Droid Razr was, or at least any difference in thickness is negligible. It boats the same specifications as the regular Droid Razr otherwise.

Asus MeMO 370T Tablet: Asus announced this upcoming 7″ tablet in partnership with Nvidia, which hopes to combine two disparate tablet worlds: the low-priced entry model tablets with the high-performance Android tablets. The tablet boasts a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, Ice Cream Sandwich, and various other Nvidia features, such as a “fifth ninja core” that will be used for features like “Direct Touch” which supposedly will improve touch screen response. Apparently the device will be powerful enough to run PC games remotely, as Asus ran a demo with Skyrim running off a remote PC, being played on the tablet.

Asus Padfone: Enthusiastically revealed last year, Asus’ phone with tablet dock is still in the works, as they showed it off at CES. However, it’s being kept under glass at this point, and no release date has been revealed yet. We believe in you, Padfone!

FXI Cotton Candy: This USB/HDMI stick runs, rather impressively, a dual-boot solution of Ice Cream Sandwich and Ubuntu. It can either plug into a display, or be run on a computer. It’s still in prototype form, will require a microSD card to store the OS, and. However, it’s still an extremely intriguing piece of hardware, especially with the ability to just plug in to any display easily using HDMI.

Lenovo K800: This phone is notable particularly for being the first Android phone to use Intel chipsets to power it; it will initially be available in China, boasting a 4.5″ 720p display, and Ice Cream Sandwich. It will release in 2nd quarter this year.

The Hills Are Greener: The Truth About Android’s Growth

The Hills Are Greener: The Truth About Android’s Growth

Sep 26, 2011

It’s always interesting to read about the mobile market and where the growth is occuring. While Android is becoming more popular, it appears as if it is cutting into the ‘dumbphone’ market as much as it is the market of smartphones, particularly the iPhone’s market. This doesn’t necessarily mean that iPhone should be declared as supreme overlord of Android or that everyone who uses Android will eventually move on to the iPhone, but it does shed some light on some of the tendencies of the Android app market. It also reveals a lot about the long-term potential of Android as a platform for selling apps.

What this means is that there are a lot of potential customers for Android apps. There are a lot already, but the revenue potential from these users has been less than on iOS, in particular. But we’ve seen evidence that Android users can make up for their lesser individual revenue by way of sheer numbers. Remember the story of Stardunk – one-third the revenue per user, but triple the users. If this ratio can hold true to a point of equalizing with iOS, then Android can truly be an economic viability, or at least not the kind of risk that it’s often portrayed to be. While the challenge will still be in getting people to download apps, there’s no reason why if Android keeps up its growth, even into the ‘dumbphone’ market, then that’s just more consumers that will buy apps and in-app purchases, and with a higher population of Android users, it’s just more likely that apps can be discovered.

Because Android is so versatile (especially now that Intel chips can run Android), even low-powered Android devices can take advantage of some apps, which will help the continued growth of Android. Will they be able to play the latest and greatest games and innovative apps? Probably not. But many mobile apps don’t require extremely powerful hardware in order to succeed. Angry Birds doesn’t require powerful hardware to run. Android can become viable for developers just by continuing to grow and grow, and maybe not even as a secondary market to the iOS App Store.

Intel E6XX Processors to Get a Taste of Gingerbread

Intel E6XX Processors to Get a Taste of Gingerbread

Sep 13, 2011

The internet is once again buzzing with Android news, and this time it comes from a big name processor manufacturer. Intel recently published a video on their new E6XX processors, and that video had a funny little slide boasting Android support. Upon further digging, it turns out Intel will bring Android 2.3 Gingerbread to the new Atom E6XX processors in January 2012. This is both exciting, and concerning at the same time.

First, the concerning bit. Google is slating its next major OS release, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), for a October/November release. This version of the operating system is designed to run on multiple form factors, thus finally uniting tablets and phones under one umbrella. This also means that Intel is choosing to use an old platform for their new low-voltage processors. With so much market segmentation already happening, is it truly wise for Intel to go with an older OS as opposed to utilizing something that is being designed to be more universal?

Now the exciting bit. Intel has been struggling to release an Atom processor with a low enough voltage requirement to make it a viable phone/tablet contender. Intel has been stuck in the set-top box and netbook area for many years, until now it seems.

While Intel claims this new processor is not for the smartphone, they are marketing them towards retailers, fitness equipment manufacturers, in-vehicle navigation systems, and more. What does this mean for you, the consumer? Imagine a refrigerator that tracks your calories and syncs up with the treadmills at your fitness club to help you optimize your workout, or if you don’t like the navigation app on your car, simply change it to something you like. We could see Android start to penetrate every aspect of our lives, and Intel could be a driving force behind it.

While it is still early to see how this will fully play out, the future is exciting. Who knows, maybe our phones will one day start becoming the new laptops, with only a docking station and external monitor becoming necessary. Skynet is just around the corner!