Pebble SmartWatch Hardware Review

Pebble SmartWatch Hardware Review

Jan 9, 2014

Wearable tech is all the new rage. From Google Glass to the Galaxy Gear, everyone seems to want a piece of the on person action. Now, sadly we haven’t seen any Android powered belts buckles or tennis shoes quite yet, but we have seen an affordable but amazing SmartWatch called the Pebble. The product of a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, this independent Palo Alto, CA company developed a SmartWatch which costs way less than the Galaxy Gear but sports many of the same capabilities. Additionally, as a wrist watch, it has comfort, functionality and style.

In light of Pebble announcing the Pebble Steel at CES 2014 just recently, the regular Pebble SmartPhone is still an awesome option. A year after its initial release, the Pebble SmartWatch is available at retailers such as Best Buy or online at Amazon. It’s capable of interacting with both iOS and Android via BlueTooth, though Android is where it really takes the cake. It also comes it at a much lower cost than the Samsung SmartWatch, and even the Pebble Steel comes in about $50 less than its Samsung competition.

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The watch itself may come off as unimpressive and a cheap knock off at first. The LED watch only appears in grayscale, lacking bright colors on the display. The colors on the Pebble is on the device itself, with the outline area around the screen coming in any of the 5 colors offered. The Pebble also lacks out of box, many of the popular features that a First Party device would have, such as the ability to answer one’s phone via the watch.

But where the Pebble SmartWatch really comes to life, is through the various first and third party apps that exist for the device. The PEbble SmartWatch prides itself on being an opensource device, with information on their website as to how to develop for the watch. Many of these third party apps add in functionalities such as the ability to answer the phone, to adding a calendar, pedometer, the ability to control the music on one’s phone, or a whole mess of other features. Pandora and some other apps are also coming to the PEbble SmartWatch, as announced at CES 2014. These apps give the watch more functionalities than other wearable tech items, while still looking cooler on your wrist and your wallet.

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Setting up the device with an Android phone takes almost no time at all. Much like many BlueTooth devices, it’s important to make sure both are discoverable, but I was able to go from unboxing the phone to having it work properly to read a test text from my wife in about 5 minutes. It also has an impressive range with which it will still notify the wearer of any activity on their phone. I was able to get notification of my wife calling me from when I was across the office.

This device is capable of really giving a user a true hands free experience. The particular app I downloaded to answer the phone will actually answer the phone in speaker mode. This device will also send your emails, text messages, Google Hangout notifications and even Facebook replies to your watch. There’s also apps that will send Twitter notifications to your Pebble, as well as many other notifications and utilities. The Pebble Watch does seem to have it all.

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The Pebble SmartWatch is probably one of the better devices out there in terms of cost, functionality, usability, operations and overall cool factor. Out of the box, it may not look like much, but an open source device always has an army of ambitious and smart people behind it. The Pebble is no exception to that, boasting a wide array of difference watch faces and apps that will do just about anything. Once you get your hands on one of these devices, it may be hard to imagine what life was like without it.

You can find more information about the Pebble, or purchase it here.

Modern Combat 5 To Be Optimized For MT6592, Octa-Core Smartphone Chip

Modern Combat 5 To Be Optimized For MT6592, Octa-Core Smartphone Chip

Nov 20, 2013

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MT6592 is called the “first true octa-core smartphone chip”, octa-core here meaning it consists from eight different chips to give an extra computing power to whatever it’s stuck into. It’s not yet released, but people already think that it has some potential. Gameloft has announced that the new Modern Combat, coming to fruition next year, will be optimized to bring the best possible graphics and immersion when launched on MT6592. More information about the processor can be found here: MT6589 on MediaTek Website.

Zapstreak SDK and Apps Supporting Its DLNA Media Streaming Technology Go Public

Zapstreak SDK and Apps Supporting Its DLNA Media Streaming Technology Go Public

Nov 29, 2012

Zapstreak, the SDK for developers to add DLNA media streaming to their apps, is now public, and users can now download apps using Zapstreak to try out for themselves. One such app, musiXmatch, allows users to stream music and discover song lyrics, is available on Google Play right now. Another, video2brain allows for educational videos to be easily sent to smart TVs. As Thomas Friedl, lead developer of video2brain, says, “We want to serve as many platforms as possible, giving our subscribers the choice to learn whenever and wherever they want. Using Zapstreak, we were able to bring our video based courses to the living room, turning smart TVs into a rich source of 21st century education.”

While this technology has potential uses as it expands, what about Miracast, which is available in the Nexus 4 for providing display mirroring? When I spoke to Stefan Bielau, co-founder of Zapstreak, he expressed to me that because Miracast is such a limited protocol at this point, versus the more open DLNA standard (which is supported by many smart TVs and the Xbox 360 and PS3), their service will have key advantages over Miracast. As well, with their plans to launch on iOS and Windows 8, they’re hoping to expand out their technology to be more than just an AirPlay alternative, to possibly be more flexible.

Google Goggles About to Become Literal

Google Goggles About to Become Literal

Feb 24, 2012

Google Goggles, the augmented-reality service from Google that scans photographs for related information, is about to come to a new platform: glasses. Yes, it appears as if the term Google Goggles is about to become literal, as the New York Times and 9 to 5 Google are reporting. These glasses, which reportedly resemble Oakley Thumps, would offer a heads-up display with a built-in camera to get augmented reality information. Users could hypothetically put them on and look around their surroundings to get information on nearby restaurants and stores, or to help identify landmarks. The devices would be Android-powered, and have Bluetooth and cellular radios for communication. User head movement would power the device’s user interface, where nods would help move between menus and confirm selections. They’re not meant to be worn all the time, but as something to be put on when necessary. It’s a bold idea, one that Google may be releasing just as a sort of public experiment, and one that hasn’t been revealed to the public yet, but these could be an intriguing new piece of technology.