Rumors are flying about Samsung's plans for the virtual reality headset market. Just a week after Engadget's last unconfirmed report on Samsung's VR device, there's a new post that sheds quite a lot more light on the subject. First of all, Samsung and Oculus VR (makers of the Oculus Rift and recently acquired by Facebook) are sharing technology to improve each other's products. And secondly, Samsung's device uses a dock for your phone, which then becomes the primary display for the device.
I get the feeling that Samsung often makes hardware just to be sure they've got something ready, on the slim but possibly lucrative chance that an upcoming hardware market explodes. The Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Gear, the Gear Fit, the Galaxy Beam - all of them slightly crazy niche products following a trend. If Engadget is to be believed, you can add a virtual reality headset to the mix. A Samsung VR headset, similar to the Oculus Rift but intended for use with Samsung phones and tablets, is rumored for production later this year.
Many earbuds and headsets these days come with basic volume up and down buttons that let you manage volume levels without having to pull out your phone. It's nice functionality, but it's also a bit boring out of the box. That's why you will want to install the latest version of the Degauss Headset Control Center. This app raises the bar when it comes to controlling music playback. Not only can you customize what happens when you press each button, you can set actions for when you double-click, triple-click, quadruple-click, and, yes, quintuple-click them.
We all use our smartphones differently. Some people rely on them for web browsing and apps, some for texting, and many of us still resort to making calls, you know, when we have to. Even within those categories, several patterns emerge and certain habits and practices have been developed. Many of us have long since abandoned using wired headsets for calling, but a lot of people still prefer them to keeping Bluetooth headsets charged or holding a 5-inch phone against an ear.
I've reviewed several sets of Bluetooth earbuds. With each one, there are things I would change about the design. On some, the buds are huge. Others forgo the massive bud size in exchange for a remote/receiver that needs to be "worn." Why can't someone just build a set of BT earbuds that look and feel like wired buds? is the question I find myself asking with each new headset.
Then I got my hands (and ears) on the Plantronics BackBeat GO.
Skype, providers of one of the most popular IM and video calling clients available, deployed an update for the service's Android app today, bringing it up to version 184.108.40.2065 and packing a few minor, yet very much needed fixes and enhancements.
Among the changes in 220.127.116.115 are more reliable connection with Bluetooth headsets, support for a wider range of headsets, and several key bug fixes. Here's the full change log:
What's in this version:
• More reliable connection with headsets
• More headsets supported
• No more random signing out
• Fixed green video on HTC devices
• Restored video quality on Nvidia-powered devices
While this is a relatively small update, it brings improvements that should give users a more pleasant experience with the app overall, and will definitely help functionality for those using HTC or NVIDIA-powered devices.
First off, let's talk about the GoGear Connect 3.5 media player. We don't have much information on this device yet, but we do know that it's the latest Wi-Fi-enabled touch screen MP4 player from Philips. It runs on Gingerbread and will likely see a custom interface overlay from Philips. The device will offer access to hundreds of thousands of apps from the Android Market, as well as Skype communication with a front-facing camera, 720p HD video playback on a 3.5" screen, and sound enhancing technology.
Before seeking out a few companies to find the best Android-friendly headphones around, I had never heard of Etymotic Research. Apparently, they've been around quite a while - since 1983, actually, and were among the first companies to market in-ear headphones to consumers. They actually claim to be the inventors of in-ear headphones (or "canalphones"), though whether or not that's actually true is apparently an object of some controversy.
Anyway, the good folks at ER sent me a pair of their hf2 in-ear headphones with Android-friendly inline controls and microphone, and I have to say, these headphones rock - the sheer difference in sound quality from your standard $30-80 earbuds is mind-blowing.
People who constantly wear Bluetooth headsets annoy me. I'll admit it. Yep, it's probably pretentious, judgmental, and just kind of mean, but nonetheless, that's where I stand (see: this highly relevant video). I figure it's only fair warning for you, our readers, going into this review. So, when Samsung offered me a chance to spend some time with their latest high-end Bluetooth headset, the HM7000 (the product naming department was on vacation), I accepted with a good deal of hesitancy.