Believe it or don't, there were smartwatches before the Pebble and its host of contemporaries. While it's debatable that Sony's second-gen watch was the best of them, it was certainly among the most high-profile watches, and the company has returned to its old stomping grounds now that the segment has exploded. The SmartWatch 2 (stylized "SW2") includes a bigger, denser display, a revised software suite that more naturally mimics Sony's Android phones, and embedded NFC.
|Jeremiah Rice||Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.|
Sony is getting into the plus-sized phone game in a big way. Today they've officially announced the Xperia Z Ultra, a super-sized handset that follows the design principles of the original Xperia Z. Nearly all the specifications (with the exception of the camera) have been boosted over the current Sony flagship, starting with a downright massive 6.44-inch 1080p screen. Other highlights include a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2Ghz, (labeled as "the world's fastest") a super-slim 6.5mm body, and a water- and dust-resistant design.
When the flagship Xperia Z launched with Android 4.1, Sony promised that an update to the latest version was coming. Now they're making good: XperiaGuide reports that the Jelly Bean 4.2.2 rollout started yesterday, for at least some users of generic phones (C6603) in Spain and Hong Kong. The updated software needs to be flashed via Sony's PC Companion software. The new build is labeled 10.3.A.0.423, exactly the same as the update that started for the Xperia ZL four days earlier.
This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.
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Pebble smartwatch owners have been without a reliable way to receive notifications for Google instant messages since Hangouts was launched at Google I/O, at least if they rely on first-party solutions. Today's update to the official Pebble app changes that, with native support for the Hangouts app for both messages and video Hangout requests. If you've remained faithful to the older Google Talk app, it's still supported as well.
Other changes are sparse: the official changelog mentions only the standard stability tweaks and some developer-side improvements.
Nintendo DS games making their way to the Play Store? I could get used to this. Publisher UbiSoft and port developer Tag Games have just released Might & Magic Clash of Heroes, a 2009 entry in the venerable Might & Magic RPG series originally made for the DS. It's been re-released as a downloadable title on the Xbox, Playstation, PC, and (of course) iOS, but this one only took five months to jump ship to Android, so let's not hold too much of a grudge.
Who's excited about Samsung's latest revisions to its Galaxy Tab line? Don't everyone rush all at once. With the rise of the 10.1-inch and 8-inch Notes, the Tab series has been pushed further and further towards the budget end of the spectrum, in features if not in actual price. But if you really do want one of Samsung's three new Tabs, they'll be headed to online and retail stores in the United States on July 7th.
There's a new crowdfunded Bluetooth smartwatch on the... wait, come back here! It's true that this particular market niche has become somewhat overcrowded in the last few months, but the Meteor smartwatch by startup company Kreyos has a few features we haven't seen before. For one thing, it's detachable from its watchband, making it a bit more flexible when it comes to sporty activities. And for another, it works as a Bluetooth speakerphone and includes voice command, letting you live out your Dick Tracy fantasies.
If you're one of those people who likes to know the full lyrics for every song in your library, prepare for a shock. The TuneWiki service will be shutting down on Friday, June 28th, after nearly five years of dutiful service providing scrolling lyrics for pretty much every song under the sun. The shutdown was announced on TuneWiki's website, with no concrete reason given, aside from members of the company moving on to "new journeys."
The Team Win Recovery Project (stylized "TWRP") is an alternative recovery software for various Android phones and tablets. TWRP tends to focus on newer, more interesting features, as opposed to the more established ClockworkMod recovery. A few TWRP fans have created a support app for users of the custom recovery and posted Alpha information to the XDA Developers forum, allowing users to install new ROMs, backup, restore, and wipe their device from within Android.