Rovio’s “ToonsTV for Samsung” App Launches

Rovio’s “ToonsTV for Samsung” App Launches

Nov 16, 2016

Android heavyweight developer Rovio has a new app out exclusively for select Samsung devices called ToonsTV for Samsung; it’s the first time Rovio Animation collaborated with a company to release ToonsTV videos.

The app has a new 12-episode series called Fun Game Coding which utilizes professional hosts to extend principles of game creation and coding. The hosts interact with characters from the Angry Birds universe in the productions in an effort to connect with young watchers.

ToonsTV chief Sanna Korppo talks about making content available to more families. “By working with Samsung, we’re taking a giant step forward in making our curated content available to more families across the country,” he says. “Giving our partners the ability to reach millions more potential fans with their amazing videos is a win-win deal for everyone involved.”

According to the press release, the app is available on the Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Note 5, Note 4, Tab S2, Tab A, and Tab E devices.

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A look at Samsung+

A look at Samsung+

Sep 26, 2016

In today’s tech-crazed world, the simple truth is we want what we want almost before we want it. Seriously… it should be right there.

Mark my words: prescient mind-reading apps will rule someday.

Everything we do now is seemingly based upon an assumed speed of return, and this is especially true of our mobile device use. And with all these little gizmos do — and when one considers it’s easier to figure what they do not do — getting a bit mixed up isn’t that unbelievable.

So, what to do when one hits a roadblock on his/her shiny new device? Web forum? Complex device support page? Google? Well, if it’s a Samsung device, one can get with Samsung+, the on-device Samsung-exclusive support portal that is geared towards making Samsung ownership a breeze. Some devices — those devices — have swanky brick-and-mortar locations. Samsung is looking to put that experience and advantage in the palm of your hand.

Bingo. And Samsung even provided a spanking new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge to try it out on.

Right from the application launch, it mostly exudes business. The app is split into sections, and one that stands out is the Diagnostics tab. This area gives a quick run-through of performance basics: a battery charge forecast tool, a data monitor, speed test, and storage manager. It also packs a “scan” tool that checks the phone for any major issues, like irregular charging, rebooting and even root.

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It also has an Answers section, which is sort of an onboard knowledge base. It’s a veritable first level of service with regards to getting solutions and answers to basic questions. The For You has a lot of interesting articles and pointers, like “Emergency Uses for Your Phones Camera.” Next is Explore… here, there is the informative “Life Hack” set, and more stuff like “Community Buzz,” “Do More” (to see what tweaks one might do to eke out even more from one’s device), “Getting Started” and more.

The Community section is a portal to the user forums, right there on the device. Powered by the knowledge of Samsung users, it is a great resource.

The crown jewel of the application is probably the Live Help. For those truly bogged down, it is a great tool, allowing users to connect with help staff via voice or videochat. Now, the former is available for 24 hours, and the latter 8AM to 11PM EST, but they do work.

When it’s all said and done, Samsung+ isn’t the first time a device manufacturer has placed a self-help app on a device, but it sure is one of the snazziest iterations around.

PEAR collaborates with Samsung on new training app

PEAR collaborates with Samsung on new training app

Mar 3, 2016

Innovative fitness company PEAR Sports has just unveiled a new application specifically made with Samsung device owners in mind.

Now Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch and the company’s latest Galaxy smartphones, such as the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note 5, will offer PEAR Sports’ top-of-the-line interactive coaching at the touch of a screen and the turn of a bezel. . Samsung’s smartphone users will now have the ability to experience PEAR Sports’ exclusive and dynamic coaching content. Samsung users will receive a 3 month complimentary subscription with access to exclusive workouts curated by PEAR’s elite coaches.

PEAR Sports SVP of Design Simon Sollberger talks up teamwork. “Our goal is always to create a unique fitness option for users through world-class training,” he says. “Teaming up with a leading electronics company like Samsung is going to elevate that idea exponentially by exposing PEAR to millions of Americans hungry for better workout routines.”

Samsung Media Solutions Center America EVP John Pleasants concurs. “At Samsung, we want to work with developers to create unique and compelling apps that are exclusive for our Samsung Galaxy owners. Adding the integrated fitness platform from PEAR Sports is an exciting offering for our customers looking to maximize their time spent exercising.”

We certainly loved the time we spent with PEAR gear; the hardware/software amalgam is superb.

The app is available on both the Galaxy Apps and Gear Apps stores. As noted, users also get three months of unlimited access to PEAR custom workouts.

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Samsung Unveils Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note5

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note5

Aug 13, 2015

Quick… think of a smartphone form factor. Any form factor.

Samsung probably has it.

Samsung continues to look to be the one-stop shop for everything Android, and today, the technology super power announced two new additions to its smartphone line up: the S6 Edge+ and heavily anticipated Galaxy Note5.

Samsung also announced the launch dates for its KNOX-fortified payment system Samsung Pay.

Excerpts from the official press release:

The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 blend form and function with industry leading features, including: Samsung’s best screen technology, Samsung’s most advanced camera for high quality photos and videos, fast wireless and wired charging, and an incredibly powerful processor. With increased 4GB RAM, both phones enable users to enjoy more seamless multi-tasking.

With its curved 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen, the Galaxy S6 edge+ makes the edge experience even better and provides a more immersive multimedia experience. The thinner, slimmer and newly-designed Galaxy Note5 has a refined, next generation S Pen and multi window capabilities for a more productive smartphone experience.

Samsung Pay, Samsung’s simple and safe mobile payment service, will launch in the U.S. in September and will be available virtually anywhere you can swipe your card1. Protected by Samsung KNOX, fingerprint verification and digital tokenization, Samsung Pay works with both MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies, bringing consumers closer than ever to a world without wallets.

Both new devices incorporate KNOX, Samsung’s end-to-end secure solution.

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In the press release, Samsung Electronics IT & Mobile Division Chief JK Shin talks about the company’s drive to remain innovative. “At Samsung, we believed in the promise that big screen smartphones could actively address some major consumers pain points by providing users with a better viewing experience and more productivity on-the-go,” he says. “With the launch of the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5, we’re reemphasizing our commitment to bold, fearless innovation that meets the needs of our consumers.”

Both devices can pre-ordered now, and will be available on August 21st. Samsung Pay is do to launch on August 20th (in Korea); the U.S. will see it on September 28th, 2015.

[via Samsung Press Release]

Samsung S Action Bluetooth Mouse Hardware Review

Samsung S Action Bluetooth Mouse Hardware Review

Aug 13, 2015

I have a confession. I actually like using the iPad Mini.

Oops.

My second generation was originally procured for work, and it became an ever huger part of my process due to (then) superior WordPress app on iOS. Paired with a great keyboard combo, and one gets an effective makeshift netbook.

One shortcoming, for my needs, is the inability to use a bluetooth mouse. When it’s all said and done, I like using bigger tablets like an aforementioned notebook — or more like a full-fledged computer — when the occasion calls for it, and reaching to touch the screen for navigation irks me more than I’d like to admit.

So, for doing computer-y things, it’s back to Android. Why? I get to use peripherals like the Samsung S Action Bluetooth Mouse.

The name says it all: it’s a wireless mouse (Bluetooth 3.0), and has the added benefit of working with Android devices.

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The retail package is simple, containing the mouse, AA battery and documentation. The top cover opens up, and the battery fits in intuitively. On the top of said cover is a scroll wheel. At the bottom, there is a bluetooth connection button as well as an LED indicator and on/off toggle. There are two soft non-skid grips on the bottom too. Officially, it’s 2.26 x 3.84 x 1.32 inches and 0.18 lbs. We tested out black, and there is a white option as well.

Pairing it to devices is as easy as one would expect. With the battery inserted and the unit turned on, it can be discovered by nearby devices. After the connection is approved, a telltale cursor appears on the screen, and one is ready to go.

The mouse works just as one would expect. Hovering, clicking, and scroll wheel work with no lag on any of the devices it was tested with. I was even able to use with Angry Birds 2, which was interesting, though I admit to prefer the good old finger. It works on any number of surfaces, including carpet. It’s size allows it to be comfortable in hand.

At under $30 on Amazon, it might be just the piece to boost productivity. It has value as a travel peripheral, as the power button allows for one to control battery usage, so it resides well over time in one’s go bag till needed, and it has the added advantage of working on other platforms.

Some of them, anyway.

Need a Screen Protector for that New S6? ZAGG’s Got You Covered

Need a Screen Protector for that New S6? ZAGG’s Got You Covered

Apr 8, 2015

As we inch closer to getting hands on het new Samsung flagships, a lot of people will be looking to get some screen protection. ZAGG, the company that is all but synonymous with screen protection, is ready to go with regards to Samsung Galaxy S6 accessories.

Excerpts from the press release:

ZAGG, the makers of the #1 selling, industry-standard InvisibleShield protective films for handheld mobile devices, today announced the InvisibleShield HDX screen protector for the Samsung Galaxy S6. The InvisibleShield HDX combines 3X shatter protection with an ultra-clear finish and glass-like touch and feel, for a thin film that provides best-in-class protection from inevitable drops and scratches.

ZAGG’s most advanced film yet, the InvisibleShield HDX has been designed with a thin component layer of extreme shock absorption to provide smartphone screens with three times the shatter protection, when compared to unprotected devices. The InvisibleShield HDX features EZ Applyâ„¢ tabs, a moisture-free method that provides the easiest application on the market. As with all other InvisibleShield film products, the HDX line comes with a lifetime guarantee and is available for the Samsung Galaxy S6 starting at $24.99. The InvisibleShield HDX is also available for popular smartphones from Apple, LG, Sony, HTC, and other device manufacturers.

The InvisibleShield family of products are available online at ZAGG.com and through select retail partners. Products in the InvisibleShield family include: InvisibleShield Original starting at $14.99, InvisibleShield HDX starting at $24.99, and the InvisibleShield Glass starting at $34.99.

The products are available now at ZAGG.com.

[Source: ZAGG Press Release]

Milk Video Review

Milk Video Review

Feb 20, 2015

The internet is a wonderful place.

It’s all about the content. Meme videos. Music clips. Technological reviews. News analysis. Satire. And a whole, whole lot more.

Yep… it boils down to so much content, and so little time. Samsung’s Milk Video looks to be the bridge in the process, a service that pulls in video from a host of sources, and gets smarter as it goes.

Opening up the app the first time gives an idea of the breadth of offerings; off the bat, one gets to see an interesting swathe of options with regards to channels to pick from: Jimmy Kimmel Live, Laugh or Die, The Tonight Show, NBA, HuffPost Live, Engadget, Android Authority, VEVO and a whole lot more. The basic concept is to “follow” milk2channels, and said channels will then show up in the users feed.

Then in the feed, the channels are stacked upon each other vertically, and tapping on any video makes it play embedded in the feed. Switching to landscape allows the app user to consume video full-screen, which is a nice feature. Also, videos can be acted upon from the feed; long-pressing (or tapping the three-dot menu at the top right) a video gives one the options of saving a video, formally “liking” it, or even sharing using on-device utilities like email or social networks. To do any of these operations though, one must have a Samsung account, Google account or a Facebook account.

Altogether, it works well as an aggregator, with videos playing smoothly. Content providers continue to increase, and for music lovers, the presence of genre-specific VEVO channels is huge. Sadly, the ad-free goodness is restricted to owners of specific Samsung devices — no tablets — and as such, this is an unabashed exclusive directed at a specific set users. Still as an anchor service, it does resonate surprisingly well.

For folks who do a lot of video — and who doesn’t — it is a more than just an enjoyable diversion.

Samsung Ultimate Accessory Pack Review

Samsung Ultimate Accessory Pack Review

Feb 16, 2015

Ah the fun of buying new a smartphone! It’s always great having a brand new device to fiddle with, play games on or just enjoy using, especially if it’s a behemoth like the amazing new Note 4. However, a new phone means having to buy a new raft of accessories. Luckily, our friends at Mobilefun have a useful bundle of vital accessories available to get new owners of Samsung’s phablet up and running.

Billed as the Ultimate Note 4 Accessory Pack, this kit contains everything that a new smartphone owner might need.

First is the ever useful Micro Suction Desk Stand. This is a universal stand that will work with any phone model. It is a small, easily portable stand with a micro suction pad that sticks instantly to any phone. Using it is as simple as pushing the phone firmly onto the pad. Mobilefun have managed to do this in such a way that the sticky pad does not feel sticky at all to the touch and does not leave any nasty sticky residue on your device. The connection between the phone and the stand is very strong too; shaking the stand around will not dislodge the phone and you can rest assured that it will not fall or slide off. The stand even includes a plastic plate that can be stuck to the stand. This allows phones without flat backs, such as those in cases to be used with the stand without having to remove the phone from the case. This is a really nice feature.

Next is the Universal In Car Mount. This is a very important item for most any mobile phone owner. It sticks securely to the dash of your car and allows a clear view of your phone for actions like GPS and voice replies to SMS. The holder’s arms support any phone from the gigantic Note 4 to smaller iPhones. The suction cup uses a unique twist-lock mechanism that causes the device to stick fast to glass. It also includes an adhesive pad that allows it to stick to other surfaces like plastic.

I found this a bit problematic however. I tested this by sticking the phone to my fridge. After about half a minute the phone holder itself came away from the suction part and my phone ended up on the floor. The second item I tried, the suction cup failed and the entire holder ended up on the floor. While a great idea and very simple to use, I would not trust this device with very heavy phones.

Next is the Universal Car Charger. This is a familiar charger than plugs into your cigarette lighter and charges your phone. The device also includes an additional USB port to allow charging of two devices at once. This is very good.

There is also a smaller mini desk stand/desk stylus included. This is small enough to fit in a wallet and is very useful.

Also included is a basic Perspex case. It only covers the back of the phone, but it feels solid and does the job. 5 screen protectors are also included.

All up the Samsung Note 4 Ultimate Accessory Pack is a solid pack of useful items. The stand and the car charger work great and the case and screen protectors are a good starter set, although the car holder is a bit unreliable. For $30.99 its a bargain. Recommended!

Thanks to our friends at Mobilezap for providing the items for this review.

Hunger Games and Catching Fire Available for Free on Google Play to Some Samsung Device Users via Lionsgate App

Hunger Games and Catching Fire Available for Free on Google Play to Some Samsung Device Users via Lionsgate App

Dec 23, 2014

Fans of The Hunger Games universe — and the movies based on it — that use the Play Store AND current Samsung devices should be happy with a current promotion movie studio Lionsgate has out.

ome Samsung device users can acquire free codes to obtain digital copies of The Hunger Game and Catching Fire movies on Google Play.

Reportedly, devices that have access include the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note Pro, Galaxy Tab Pro (and possibly the Galaxy Note 4) are eligible for the deal.

To get the deal, one needs to download and open The Hunger Games Movie Pack from Google Play, tap option “2” to watch the movie, and select either movie.

A code is then generated, which can be redeemed for a free copy of the movie in one’s Google Play content library, from which it can be streamed conventionally (or via something like Chromecast) or downloaded.

No word on how long this promotion will last, so grab it while it’s hot.

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[Source: 9to5Google.com]

The GALAXY S5: A Story of Samsung and Android

The GALAXY S5: A Story of Samsung and Android

Nov 24, 2014

Samsung has come along way with regards to Android OS. The reception of its first forays were somewhat mixed, even up until the the galaxy line appeared on the scene. Back then, there was a different king of Android, and Android, believe it or not, was the underdog.

But then, seemingly overnight, Samsung struck gold. How in the world did the the company rebound from early missteps to create a platform fiefdom? Well, look at what is did.

It landed a modest hit with the Galaxy S2. The S3 lifted the device maker to stratospheric levels; Samsung was smart enough to ensure model variants were available on all networks, unlike the competition, which had devices on limited networks. The S4 continued the tradition, and the latest flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S5 arrived looking to maintain the status as the Big Man on Android’s Campus. The S5 probably best shows how the Korean device maker manages to stay atop a crowded mountain.

We had a chance to look formally look at a Samsung provided unit on Sprint’s network. By now, most of the specs are known, but this doesn’t prevent one from enjoying the personal reveal. It rocks a 5.1 Super AMOLED screen on a 5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 polycarbonate body that weighs 5.11 oz. The edges are slightly (dare I say?) rounded, with the white finish braced occasionally with metallic-looking accents around the ports. It sorts a 2MP camera on the front and a 16 MP one on the back. On the bottom front bezel, the ubiquitous home button resides, flanked by a new capacitive recent apps button on the left and the back button to the right. The micro-USB port is centered on the bottom, and is notably covered, which hints at the limited waterproof functionality. There’s LED, speaker grills, and audio jack at the top, and the volume rocker is on the left while the on button is on the right.

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Internally, we get a variable Quad-core chip, and beside the usual sensors (accelerometer, proximity, etc), we get a heart rate monitor. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, infrared: check.

The screen is addictive; turning it on is a pleasure. It comes with skinned Android 4.4.2, and had all the basics with regards to Google Apps. Touchwiz is a bit more palatable in this iteration, but there is a fair amount of bloat included; still, the S Health feature is a pleasant feature I enjoyed exploring.

Performance-wise, the S5 lived up to expectations, with smooth performance and no lag.

And there you have it. Samsung just does it. It created a product line that is nimble and familiar at the same time; standard base core with the Apple-esque yearly refresh. It pretty much has its own store, and somehow, even TouchWhiz feels less annoying over time. Couple all this with Samsung’s propensity to provide devices and accessories in practically every conceivable product category, it’s easy to invest in its system.

Bottom line? Samsung makes itself relevant to everyday consumers.

Samsung Galaxy Phones getting Nokia’s HERE Maps

Samsung Galaxy Phones getting Nokia’s HERE Maps

Aug 29, 2014

In the world of mobile mapping, Nokia’s HERE is probably the most well-regarded outside Google Maps; it is a well-designed application that brings value o devices it resides on. Now, select Android users can enjoy a new beta version.

More specifically, Samsung is taking advantage of a licensing deal and bringing HERE to Galaxy device users. HERE will offer offline functionality, walking, driving and public transportation options, Glympse compatibility in addition to standard turn-by-turn directions in supported locales.

Additionally, the app will pair with the upcoming Samsung Gear S Smartwatch.

For now, the announcement notes the program will be available for Galaxy devices; no specific Galaxy devices are explicitly excluded just yet.

According to Three Sixty, the official HERE blog, HERE will be available when the Samsung Gear S formally hits stores.

As noted, it is a free offering; no word on whether the app will find its way to other Android devices in the future.

[Source: Three Sixty HERE Blog via TechChrunch]

Barnes & Noble and Samsung Release Collaborative Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK

Barnes & Noble and Samsung Release Collaborative Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK

Aug 20, 2014

Barnes & Noble and Samsung have released their previously announced joint project: the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK.

The new offering has a 7-inch display that looks to merge web use and e-reading by bringing NOOK features to the Galaxy Tab line. It is a wi-fi tablet that comes in white or black, with 8 GB of on-board memory that is expandable up to 32 GB via SD card. It also has a GPS chip and has a camera each on the front and back. It will have access to Google apps and the NOOK Store as well.

Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby invites people to come try the new device out. “The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is the most advanced NOOK ever, delivering the great NOOK experience our customers have come to love, with the high-performance tablet features they’ve asked for,” he says. “We invite reading and entertainment fans to visit their local Barnes & Noble store to experience the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK. Once they do, we’re certain they will make this innovative device part of their daily routine.”

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is available for sale at Barnes & Noble online and brick and mortar locations for $179 (with instant rebate).

[Source: Barnes & Noble/Samsung press release via Business Wire]