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.
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.
The CyanogenMod team has announced the release candidate phase of CM 10.1 is over – the final version is going to drop later today. If your device has been getting the RC builds, you can expect a final version of this popular ROM to be waiting for you in the morning.
Devices that haven't been updated to release candidate builds up to now won't be part of this first push. That includes Tegra 2 phones and tablets, as well as some Samsung Exynos devices.
Need more proof that a Nexus 7 refresh is on its way? The deals are just flowing in. Adorama has knocked $50 off the price of a new 32 GB Nexus 7, bringing the beefier version of the tablet down to just $199. This price is part of a special email promotion, and it's quite lower than the $230 price point the tablet currently goes for at the site. The Nexus 7 may no longer be the peppy little device it used to be, but it's still a good deal for the money.
Privacy Guard, the feature formerly known as Incognito Mode for apps, will make its way into CyanogenMod starting tonight. Steve Kondik, Mr. Cyanogen himself, has merged the ability to enable Privacy Guard support into all future nightly builds. Just to be clear, this new feature is not included in the 10.1.0 RC or stable releases currently available. Only those who like to walk on the wild side are getting their hands on this feature right away.
The portable Bluetooth speaker market has exploded lately, with new offerings seemingly popping up everyday. Despite this, the guys at Killer Concepts couldn't find something that had all the features they were looking for, so, like any logical human being would, they set out to create their own. The end result was the Rocksteady XS, a speaker that claims to be "louder, clearer, and longer lasting" than the competition. The original iteration brought some interesting features to the table, including a removable/replaceable battery; it also has pause/play/forward/reverse controls directly on the front of the unit, which is something all BT speakers should offer.
The HTC One is a beautiful device. At a time when most Android phones are made of plastic, HTC betted on aluminum for its flagship device. The handset just exudes style and class, but there is something it's missing. It screams premium, but it doesn't quite say ... elite. If only it were made of gold. Now that would be a quality device. While we can't expect HTC of all companies to have the visionary mindset necessary to deliver such a product, the fine folks over at Goldgenie understand class.