When I was a kid, "robot" meant something that you had to wind up (or if you were rich, something you plugged into your Nintendo Entertainment System). Startup company Play-I wants to change that with Bo and Yana, a pair of toy robots that use a tablet or smartphone as both a controller and a programming tool. The company's crowdfunding campaign started yesterday and has already hit almost 80% of its quarter-million dollar goal.
Charging up phones, tablets, Bluetooth accessories, and external batteries can be a logistical nightmare. As someone who reviews phones (I had, no joke, 9 Android devices on my desk last week at one point), it's a problem that has driven me to the edge of sanity on multiple occasions. As such, I never travel far without a trusty USB wall charger and a portable power strip. The thing is, though, until recently, I wasn't exactly on top of charging my stuff, especially at home (aka work).
It's been just over a month since our review of the iMpulse Bluetooth Controller was posted. It was not flattering, mostly due to what I considered a fatal oversight in its software: the inability to function as a gamepad recognizable by the default profile in Android 4.0 and later. Black Powder Media, the creators of the Kickstarter hardware, have apparently seen fit to remedy that oversight with the latest firmware.
The beta firmware adds a new profile for the controller which should work with any game that supports external controllers natively; the Kickstarter page states that the developers have tested the firmware with Grand Theft Auto 3, Granny Smith, and Mongo Madness without incident.
Frequent Android gamers know that the newest AAA titles are insatiable power hogs, and more than a few are made infinitely better with the addition of hardware controls. Until someone comes out with an Xperia Play MAXX (seriously Sony, get on that), the MOGA Power series might just be the best way to address these issues. The controller/external battery combos have been a long time coming, but now they're finally available for pre-order on Amazon.
One of Kickstarter's greatest success stories is coming to AT&T in just a few days. AT&T has announced it will be the exclusive carrier partner for the Pebble smart watch, which should provide a nice budget-friendly alternative to the upcoming Galaxy Gear.
This won't be an exclusive version of the Pebble for AT&T. It's the same device you can get from Best Buy, but AT&T is offering you the opportunity to get one when you pick up a phone.
Android devices are a little under-represented in the area of high-end accessories, and when it comes to cases, you can't get much more high-end than Portenzo. But the Nexus 7 has carved itself a nice little niche, and the American case maker has extended its full line of book-style protective coverings to the Nexus 7 2013. With three case styles ranging from $35 to a whopping $145 (more than half as expensive as the base model Nexus 7 itself), these accessories are not for the feint of heart or the light of wallet.
Smartwatches are a young category. Superfluous at best and just plain dorky at worst, I've yet to see one that makes me say "wow, I've gotta have that." And if smartwatches have yet to receive their killer application, that's doubly true for the inevitable wave of cheap accessories that will try to cash in on the craze. Case in point: The Bem Wireless Speakerwatch.
This thing is a Bluetooth speakerphone strapped to a wristband.
Sony's QX attachable lens cameras are among the oddest new products we've seen in a while. They are full cameras inside a lens body, can attach to your smartphone, and capture photos with Sony's Play Memories app.
The company announced two variants of the QX during their pre-IFA press conference – the QX10 and its higher-end counterpart the QX100.
Over the past couple of days, I've had the chance to live with the QX10, so I thought it may be helpful to share some initial impressions on the device and how it works.
My dad uses a Verizon Galaxy Nexus, the same one he's had for two years. Whenever I call him his first response is invariably, "talk fast, my battery is dying!" It's become his catchphrase. He's counting the days till he's eligible for an upgrade to a DROID MAXX. Until then, he would probably be well-served by the Anker Astro E4, an external battery pack with a massive 13000mAh capacity. It's available on Amazon for a reasonable $44, but apply the coupon code ANKERE4B (black) or ANKERE4W (white) to get it for $38.99 plus free shipping.
Sony just got finished announcing its interesting and slightly goofy QX lenses, detachable camera modules that use your Android smartphone as a frame/control center/viewfinder, at IFA. But Amazon beat them to the punch: even before the announcement, Sony Alpha Rumors spotted the QX100 and cheaper QX10 on the ubiquitous retailer. They're available for pre-order now and set to ship on September 27th.
The DSC-QX100 is the hero device of this new category, with a 1-inch, 20.2MP sensor, F/1.8 lens, a 3.6x optical zoom, and a manual focus and zoom ring.