Amazon has a ton of obscure brands that sell shady, poorly-built products you should avoid; AUKEY is not one of them. I personally own a few AUKEY chargers and batteries, and I've been very satisfied with all of them. Now, through November 29th, AUKEY is handing out discounts for some of their products in the form of promo codes.
Manufactures have been scaling back the included extras that come with hardware for a while now - you won't find included headphones or cases with any of the latest flagship phones. But you can generally rely on getting a USB cable and a wall-wart charger at least. Such is the case with the current Android Wear devices, the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. But if you have one, you'd better hold onto that charger like it's made of gold, because it might as well be. At present there doesn't seem to be any way to get a replacement.
Remember that neato Sony car stereo we checked out at CES, which is basically the perfect receiver for someone who uses their phone for all their in-car entertainment? Well, the XSP N1BT (catchy!) is here. You can buy it from Crutchfield or pre-order it now on Amazon for $249.99, and it will ship out on Thursday the 29th, just barely making Sony's May commitment for release.
If you don't recall, the XSP N1BT is a Bluetooth-powered receiver that foregoes the fancy color screens of modern car stereos for a tiny dock that clamps onto your phone. Once it's in, a combination of an NFC pairing element and a custom-made Sony app will let your phone control the stereo if you're listening to AM/FM radio, satellite radio, or a CD.
Asus has lately become the king of anime-style transforming electronics, with their Transformer tablet line and Padfone devices. It looks like Google is paying attention, at least when it comes to conceptual hardware. US patent 8,649,821, granted to Google in February of this year, describes a laptop with a built-in and detachable cell phone, with the two working in tandem for various functions. While Android and Chromebooks aren't specifically mentioned in the patent documentation, it's easy to assume they were on the engineers' minds, since it was filed in September of 2012.
The basic idea is that the laptop can borrow the cell phone's wireless connection for on-the-go Internet access, as well as use the removable handset as a speaker and microphone for VOIP calls and other obvious functions.
Update 3/27/14: The guys at B & A Studio found a much more affordable way to manufacture the dock, so they cancelled the already-95%-funded project and opened a new one. As a result of the new manufacturing process, the company is now only seeking $13,000 (instead of the original $20,000), and the docks are down from $35 each to $19. That's a pretty massive savings – now you can essentially get two for the price of one original.
Desktop docks are nothing new in the mobile world, but finding a solution that can A) work on multiple devices, and 2) fit devices in cases can be a challenge.
Electronics are getting increasingly affordable, which means even non-enthusiasts these days are ending up with multiple devices they use regularly all needing to get charged at around the same time. Between smartphones, tablets, second tablets, portable media players, smartwatches, and activity trackers, far too many desks, countertops, and side tables are becoming entangled by cables of varying length and size. Therefore it's not difficult to understand why so many people were drawn to the All-Dock Kickstarter project. The campaign just closed with the team having pulled in $97,479 in funding.
The All-Dock will be capable of charging multiple Android devices at once and hold them upright at the same time.
Part of the reason I was drawn to the Chromebook Pixel is that it's essentially a thin client for accessing the same content I interact with using my phones and tablets. Having to move and maintain files between separate machines is a chore I no longer wish to deal with, so I'm happy to see that this issue may soon be a thing of the past. Today at IFA, Acer demoed its Extend prototype, a laptop-dock that could enable you to use a smartphone as a your primary computer.
If this concept sounds familiar, that's because it is. A couple years ago, Motorola introduced the Motorola Atrix 4g and a proprietary dock called the lapdock - a laptop without a brain that only worked when the Atrix was docked in its back.
There have been plenty of times over the course of many lengthy emails sent from my smartphone that I've wished for a keyboard shaped like something between a heavily armored headless bird and a stingray that's missing its tail. Okay, I may not have worded the wish quite in that way, but the point is that a new Kickstarter project is available that promises to make it come true nonetheless. The TREWGrip Mobile QWERTY is a handheld typing device and mouse that will give your smartphone wings.
The TREWGrip wants to give mobile typists an alternative to the on-screen "hunt-and-peck" game we've been playing for years.
Nova Launcher is one of the most popular home screen replacements out there, and the developers are hard at work ensuring that this doesn't change any time soon. The latest update introduces even more ways to customize every aspect of your launcher's appearance. Anyone who makes the jump to version 2.2 will gain the ability to add backgrounds to their docks, customize the look of their unread badges, and dabble with new scroll effects. You'll need to have Nova Launcher Prime to utilize those last two, though.
Custom Dock Styles
Custom Unread Count Badge Styles (Prime)
New scroll effects (Prime)
Optimizations and fixes
Nova has long granted us the ability to customize the number of icons on our docks and how much space they take up.
Samsung has just announced details of a new syncing/file management tool called Side Sync, which it mentioned last month alongside new ATIV PC branding.
The basic idea behind the app is easy, painless file and information transfer from PC to mobile and vice versa. This is accomplished using a dock that plugs into your PC's USB port. Once hooked up, you can share your mouse and keyboard with your Samsung phone, dragging and dropping files, and copying and pasting information as you please. Users can also set the service to automatically sync photos. Here's Samsung's introductory video for the product:
As great as the service looks, the tagline "PC in Mobile, Mobile in PC" is at least a little misleading - Side Sync doesn't just work with just any PC – it's only compatible Samsung PCs.