Phandroid » Accessories Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:10:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 You can now buy a Nest smart thermostat on Google Play Tue, 22 Apr 2014 23:44:37 +0000 Nest Google Play listing

It’s probably not the biggest news of the day, but after Google announced that they’d be acquiring Nest for $3.2 billion back January, the smart thermostats that put Nest on the map are now available for purchase in the Google Play Store. It’s really not surprising, and probably just the tip of the iceberg in Google’s plan for home automation.

We can’t wait to see what becomes of this marriage — which didn’t become officially official until February –  but a new hardware OEM Google now has at their disposal, they’ll either come up with super cool gadgets to help better our lives, or rule over us with their robot army. Only product missing is the Nest Protect, but they still have a few bugs to work out first. You can find the Nest Learning Thermostat for $250. Link provided below.

Buy on Google Play: Nest Learning Thermostat

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HTC One M8 DotView case hack could bring support for more notifications Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:33:54 +0000 htc one m8 dotview case hack

The HTC One M8′s DotView case is a pretty interesting accessory. It gives you a glimpse at several device statuses and notifications, including time, weather, notifications about SMS messages, the ability to answer and decline incoming calls, and more — all without having to power it on. You can read more about it in our HTC One M8 DotView case hands-on.

Unfortunately the DotView case doesn’t work with all notifications. In fact, there are very few built-in applications it does work with. HTC also didn’t make an SDK to allow third-party apps to display their own. Things might change soon, though, thanks to the after-market development community surrounding the phone.

Prominent developer Shen Ye posted an image to Google+ showing the DotView case lit up with a Twitter notification, something we certainly don’t get out of its stock capabilities. Unfortunately that’s all we get, as the simple caption of “DotView hacking” was the only other thing accompanying the post.

It wouldn’t be like Shen Ye to tease without intentions of giving up the goods, though, so it may not be long before we see some sort of mod to flash atop the many Sense 6.0 ROMs already running about for this phone.

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This Project Ara dual-analog controller concept has us licking our chops Mon, 21 Apr 2014 22:05:50 +0000 Flippypad Project Ara concept Aether Technician

There are few advances in the mobile that truly have us as excited as Google ATAP’s Project Ara. The world’s first modular smartphone project, we’re still trying to wrap our heads around everything that could be possible in a smartphone that features removable components. Sure, additional batteries, bigger cameras, or even a QWERTY keyboard are some of the modules that immediately come to mind, but what about when it comes to gaming?

We wont beat around the bush — the Google Play Store is chock full of amazing game console emulators. And just imagine playing all those amazing old-school games on the “Flippypad,” a concept controller module for Project Ara from the mind of the The Aether Technician. The controller would merely snap into one of the larger sized modules on the back and not only allow For gaming properly on-the-go, but keeps your screen protected as well. Battery life is always a concern with gaming on our smartphones, but outfit this controller with a few mAh of juice and it might not even matter.

The concept’s creator says that although the Flippypad isn’t a real product just yet, it’s possible his concept will inspire someone else to create something similar for Project Ara in time for its release sometime in January of next year. We. Can’t. Wait.

[The Aether Technician]

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Pressy aiming for April 28th delivery date, will “squash” copycats with patent Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:55:12 +0000 pressey ship date

Delays on Kickstarter are like coughs on a cold day — you just come to expect them at this point. That’s why we weren’t too peeved when we heard Pressy had a bit of hold up during the initial engineering process, with the project creators claiming they weren’t terribly happy with the quality of the product.

Things seem to be moving along smoothly, though, as Nimrod Back is confident enough to say they will begin shipping the little button that could on April 28th. The first batch will be coming in from China and then has to go out to everyone around the world, so the first actual deliveries aren’t expected to begin until Mid-May.

pressy kickstarter pressy pressy wire

Nimrod Back also took this opportunity to address a couple of things. For starters, they’ve revealed a newly-designed holster for the Pressy button, which can now fit on your key chain or be looped onto a headphone wire.

They also took a nice little jab to “copycats” everywhere, saying they’ll be looking to “squash” them. They intend to do so with a patent that they smartly secured a while ago, so a day in court should be a walk in the park as long as those copycats (coughXIAOMIcough) can’t prove prior art.

[via Pressy Kickstarter]

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Aereo will soon bring broadcast television to the Chromecast Thu, 10 Apr 2014 20:21:27 +0000 Aereo Android app

When Aereo finally launched in the Google Play Store last October, we were excited at the prospect of streaming live television to our Android devices. It’s not the most ideal situation — what, with a tiny display/speaker setup on our mobile devices — but it would get the job done.

For those lucky enough to live in an Aereo market (it’s still in beta), starting May 29th you’ll now be able to stream broadcast television to your Chromecast, effectively 1-uping the functionality of Google’s tiny dongle. Depending on how you look at it, it’s a small step for Chromecast, but it’s a huge leap for Aereo, as they’re about to bring broadcast television exactly where it belongs — your television.

For those unaware, Aereo not only let’s you stream live broadcast television to all your devices, but acts as a DVR as well. The antenna/servers are all found in one of their local data centers, which is the reason why Aereo is not yet available everywhere. Aereo still has its fair share of legal hurdles (it was recently shut down in Utah, and the US Supreme Court is about to decide whether or not they’re infringing on broadcast copyrights in a few more weeks.

[Aereo Blog | via Engadget]

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Someone created a charger that can fully charge your smartphone in 30 seconds [VIDEO] Tue, 08 Apr 2014 23:05:12 +0000 StoreDot proof of concept 30 second charger prototype

Battery life has long been a major concern in mobile. It’s only recently we’re finally seeing small strides being taken with how chip vendors and smartphone manufacturers are approaching the issue. This typically involves either creating additional low-power CPU cores, or throwing higher mAhs into our smartphones and tablets. But what about charge times?

As our phones become more powerful (and bigger), and we begin to demand more out of our devices, we really need to start thinking about other avenues to explore if we hope to break free from constantly being tethered to a wall socket.

It was early last year we saw Qualcomm’s attempt at speeding up our device’s charging times with their Quick Charge 1.0 technology that can be found in most current smartphones (the recently released HTC One M8 even features Quick Charge 2.0, though compatible chargers wont be available until later in the year).

And while being able to charge a phone in under an hour and half is all good and dandy, how cool would it be if you could charge your smartphone in under 30 seconds? Suddenly, that 15 hour battery life doesn’t sound so bad.

StoreDot is an Israeli startup introducing their prototype charger and battery technology that does just that, taking a near depleted smartphone to a full charge in 30 seconds or less. The charger, which is about the size of your everyday laptop charger, was shown doing just that on a Samsung Galaxy S3 (support for additional smartphone models is also in the works). The battery itself features biological semiconductors made from “naturally occurring organic compounds” (peptides) and short chains of amino acids. While quite large right now, StoreDot says it should roughly be the size of current smartphone batteries by the time its ready for release.

The best part is you might not even need to wait until you’re old and grey before we see this in the real world. StoreDot says that when the product becomes commercially available in 2016, pricing should be about twice that of the average phone charger. Right now, they also have another project aimed at making the charger smaller for more practical use.

The biggest question we have is how long these batteries will be able to hold a charge, and how well they handle our power hungry mobile devices. You can find a video of the prototype charger in action below.


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Samsung Galaxy S5 wireless charging battery covers now available for pre-order, loads of other accessories too Sat, 05 Apr 2014 00:48:49 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S5 wireless charging back cover

The Samsung Galaxy S5 doesn’t officially launch until April 11th, but if you’ve already got it set in your mind that you’ll be picking one up on launch day, you may need a few accessories to go along with it. Samsung is here to accommodate, making a good amount of Galaxy S5 accessories available for pre-order direct from their site.

They’re a little tough to find, but now available are the Galaxy S5 wireless charging battery covers, available in both black and white (electric blue was strangely absent). If you needed a little more protection, you can also opt for the wireless charging S View Flip Covers, which are also available in black white. If you’re looking for something with a little more color, the standard flip covers (no wireless charging) are available in a plethora of colors. Links and pricing to all things Galaxy S5 provided below.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Wireless charging battery covers $30: Black | White

Wireless charging S-View Flip Cover $70: BlackWhite

S-View Flip Cover $50: BlackRose | Green | White | Pink

Wallet Flip Cover (no wireless charging) $40: Black | White | Green

Protective Cover (price not available): Clear

Spare battery $30: 2,800mAh

Spare battery + charging system $50

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Rhapsody and Napster announce Chromecast support Fri, 04 Apr 2014 23:08:21 +0000 Rhapsody Pharell Chromecast TV

They might be a little late to the party, but we suppose it’s better late than never. And after rival music services like Pandora and Rdio recently added Chromecast support, today Rhapsody is announcing the same compatibility for both their Android app (iOS coming soon), as well as their sister app, Napster.

These updates are just the latest we’re seeing in a flood of Android apps adding Chromecast compatibility. That $35 dongle is gaining more value every day.

[Rhapsody Blog]

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Amazon Dash is the company’s latest gadget to get you using their grocery delivery service Fri, 04 Apr 2014 22:31:26 +0000

It looks like Amazon Fire TV wasn’t the only product Amazon had up their sleeves. The newly announced Amazon Dash is a tiny WiFi-connected accessory that was built for a very specific purpose: help get more people using AmazonFresh, Amazon’s same-day grocery delivery service.

Amazon Dash accomplishes this by helping users keep track of the groceries they need, as soon as they’re depleted. This can be done by either speaking the needed item into the Dash, or by using the built in laser scanner to scan the barcodes on empty products. Dash syncs up with AmazonFresh accounts which can then be accessed via the Android app, or on a computer via the preferred web browser.

Amazon Dash specs

Because not everyone has time to run to the grocery store every day for single items, it’s easy to see how this could be extremely helpful for stay at home moms/Steve Albrights with a small army of children. The best part? It’s Amazon Dash is completely free during its initial trial period, but only by invite (sign up here).

Currently AmazonFresh is only available in small parts of California and Washington, but expect the service to hit more markets in the future. Amazon’s instructions on setting up Dash can be found below.

[Amazon Fresh]

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Pick up the ASUS Cube for only $30 (after $20 rebate) [CRAZY DEALS] Fri, 04 Apr 2014 20:53:17 +0000 ASUS Cube side angle

For those looking to add a little smarts to their television experience can now find the ASUS Cube (version 2) on Groupon for only $50. For those unaware, that’s about half-off. But the 50% discount is only half the story — as tipped by the folks at Fatwallet you can receive an additional $20 off via manufacturer rebate direct from ASUS. When all is said and done, that brings the Google TV equipped device down to Chromecast-like pricing at $30. Yikes!

ASUS Cube ports and remote

Groupon limits purchases to only 3 per person, and is only available for the next 11 days, or while supplies last. Also something to keep in mind, the ASUS’ rebate promotion ends on April 30th, so make sure you don’t waste any time sending it in. The coolest part? The ASUS Cube features HDMI passthrough, meaning you don’t have to switch inputs when switching from live television, to Netflix, Crunchyroll or web browsing. The Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV can’t beat that. Full details can be found in the links below, and if you’re still on the fence, don’t forget to check out our ASUS Cube review here.

[ASUS Cube on Groupon | ASUS rebate form]

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Xiaomi clones Pressy, and charges less than $1 for it Wed, 02 Apr 2014 13:30:41 +0000 It wasn’t long ago that Pressy created something we all thought we needed. Here it was, a tiny button that fit itself into your 3.5mm headphone jack, and can be configured to do anything you need with certain button presses. Each action is user configurable to do nearly anything you could want on your phone, and promised Tasker integration took it to another level. Where has this been all our lives?


And then came Xiaomi, who has come up with a “Pressy” of their own. The device is tentatively named (they’re toying around with names like MiKey or MiButton), but this thing is almost identical to Pressy’s design, save for the “holster” the button fits in. It can be configured to perform 10 different actions, which are activated using Morse Code-like short and long clicks. Says ex-Googler-turned-Xiamoi-exec Hugo Barra:

You can plug it into your Xiaomi phone headset jack and turn it into a clickable button to take quick pictures, turn on the flashlight, record phone calls and so on, all without unlocking your phone.


The kicker? This thing will eventually cost less than $1 once it makes its way to retail, a far cry from the $27 Pressy will cost. It’s even more alarming to know that those who’ve backed Pressy on Kickstarter haven’t even received their unit yet, as project creator Nimrod Back has had the displeasure of announcing delays to their original March 2014 ship date.

There might still be some appeal to Pressy, though. For starters, there’s no telling whether this gadget will be compatible with anything but Xiaomi devices. Pressy also seems to be more open, with the developer working to add more functionality based on community requests and suggestions.

Pressy’s Tasker integration alone means it has potential to be infinitely more useful. Whether that level of integration is worth $26 more is up to you, but those are your options for these types of products right now. That, or you could save yourself money and use the QuickClick app to do everything you need with the use of your phone’s volume buttons.

[via Xiaomi, TechInAsia]

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It’s raining geeks and nerds: Thumbrella hits $1 Million Kickstarter goal Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:53:52 +0000 A Kickstarter campaign that launched over the weekend has generated over $1 Million dollars only weeks after facing ridicule on the hit TV show Shark Tank. Mark Cuban labeled it “a dime a dozen gadget gimmick”, Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful) claimed it was so annoying he wanted to “squash [it] like a cockroach”, and company founder Jonas Hanway left the show with no funding and a bruised ego.


The product in question? The Thumbrella, literally an umbrella for your thumb designed to improve use of your smartphone in the rain.

If you think the idea is stupid you’re not alone, but you might be outnumbered: the Thumbrella has sold hundreds of thousands of units at $4 a pop in a matter of days, perhaps to compulsively early holiday shoppers looking for stocking stuffers.

Hanway admitted his overnight success includes luck, but refuses to concede it’s the only reason:

jonas-thumbrellaIt goes to show that any press truly is good press, that’s for sure, but it’s also validation that the Thumbrella does fill a need, people do want it, and people are  willing to pay for it.

Next time you’re using your phone in the rain I guarantee you’ll smile and think about Thumbrella.

Like most successful inventors and entrepreneurs, Hanway has a feverish passion for his product, whose business plan borders on crazy. He might be an overnight success, but he’s still broke: Hanway priced his Thumbrella at cost, meaning he’s profiting approximately $0 on his million dollar Kickstarter campaign.

Instead, he intends to leverage the success of Thumbrella towards new products and opportunities, including a social networking app that explores how weather, moods, and personalities are interconnceted. Let me know how that works out, Jonas!

The Thumbrella will be a limited run product available for the next 4 days through Kickstarter.

[Via Kickstarter]

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And you thought Philips Hue lighting was expensive before… Fri, 28 Mar 2014 13:30:44 +0000 Philips-3D-print-hue_CPF-detail

Philips has announced a selection of new lighting options that take what many already considered premium pricing and rocket it into the stratosphere. The Philips Hue Luminaries are a collection of smartphone-controlled LED lamps featuring complex, 3D-printed designs. They sell on the low end for $3,500.

The lamps, designed by firms WertelOberfell and Strand+Hvass, are as much objects of art and attention as they are fully functional lighting sources. Let’s be real though: you are paying for the funky designs made possible, apparently, only by the advent of 3D printing. These designs are inspired by light in nature, such as the way photons glint off a bug’s compound eyes or the sun shimmers through spaces in a bare tree. Did we mention that pricing starts at $3,500?

We are convinced these lamps exist for primarily only one reason: to make the standard Philips Hue bulb seem cheap by comparison. We kid, but Philips did introduce a new, cheaper version of their standard LED bulb dubbed the Hue Lux. It more or less replicates the features of the last generation of Hue bulb, including the ability to turn on/off, change color, and program via either Philips official app or third-party apps like IFTTT. If, however, loading up an an app seems too difficult, Philips also announced a new wall-mounted switch dubbed the Hue Tap. The kinetic-powered switch needs no batteries or external power and can trigger up to four lighting presets.

The Hue Lux will retail for $40 for a bulb or $100 for a started kit that includes a WiFi hub (far cheaper than those Luminaries). The Tap is priced at $60. Both devices will be available later this year. Pre-orders for Hue Luminaries lamps begin March 31st.

[via Philips, 2, 3]

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Leef Access dongle is a microSD card reader for your Android phone Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:22:54 +0000 leef access 1

A nice new accessory is now available for those of you who have been looking for a microSD card reader for your Android phone for one reason or another. It’s the Leef Access, a $10 dongle that inserts itself into your device’s microUSB port. In trying digital times like these where lots of manufacturers are ditching microSD card slots, Leef Access can be a lifesaver.

Not only will it allow you to easily transfer files to and from your phone, it has a secondary integrated microSD card slot for expansion usage. Need more space to store your music? Add it to your microSD card using Leef Access, and hook it up whenever you want to listen to your tunes.

leef access 5 leef access 4 leef access 3 leef access 2


Something like this isn’t totally practical for everyday use, of course — the fact that it protrudes from the device is an off-putting factor for those who keep their phones in their pockets, for instance. But if you absolutely need physical, external storage and your phone doesn’t provide it, there aren’t many better options out there.

Leef has this thing up on Amazon for sale right now if you’re interested, though you’ll have to put up with an inexpensive $4.50 shipping expense as it is not offered under Amazon Prime. Be sure to check it out if you’re interested.

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NVIDIA Shield gets Android 4.4.2 KitKat, price drops to $200, Portal exclusive [WOW] Tue, 25 Mar 2014 19:43:09 +0000 NVIDIA-Shield-2

Gotta hand it to NVIDIA, they’re doing their best to make the NVIDIA Shield a thing and if you though the chip maker would just up and quit the Android handheld, you’d be wrong. So very wrong. Announced just today, NVIDIA will begin updating Shields to Android 4.4 KitKat, introducing a boatload of new software features.

Said to arrive on April 2nd, Shield owners can expect a revamped UI for the Gamepad Mapper, ability to stream PC games outside of the house, Bluetooth keyboard and mice compatibility, charging the device while using USB connected peripherals, as well as PC wake ups and remote logins. While NVIDIA recommends a “robust” WiFi connection for streaming away from home, there are new settings to adjust the bitrate/frame rate of the incoming stream.

And that’s only the half of it, NVIDIA will also be dropping the price of the Shield down to $200, finally bringing the cost of the device low enough to rival handhelds like the Sony PS Vita, and Nintendo 3DS. That price is only good for the month of April, so if you were thinking about picking one up, you have a few weeks to think about it.

At $200, we wouldn’t exactly call this a fire sale, but it makes us wonder if NVIDIA isn’t trying to clear up some stock before introducing a sleekier, more powerful Tegra K1 powered Shield in the very near future.

When it comes to actual games, legendary game developer Valve has announced an Android port of their hit title Portal will be making its way to the Shield. No word on a release date just yet, only NVIDIA CEO Jen Sen showing off the game running natively on the Shield during their GPU Technology Conference keynote. For anyone that never got the chance to play the game when it was released back in 2007 — now’s your freakin’ chance.

Buy an NVIDIA Shield from popular retailers here.

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