My love of devices with built-in kickstands is well-documented. So it's no surprise that Lenovo's Yoga Tablet line, which is more or less built around the kickstand (or at least a big, rounded, multi-purpose hump that holds the kickstand and several other neat things) would catch my attention. The first versions were brought down by sub-par hardware, but Lenovo is back with the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+, which addresses a lot of the issues with the original.
Pushbullet makes it easy to send messages to all your devices, but now you can automate the process. The newest version of Pushbullet comes with support for Tasker, because manually pushing things between your internet-connected devices is for chumps.
Plex was one of the early apps to add Chromecast support. This is great, because as a service that takes content stored on one of your computers and makes it accessible anywhere, it's the ideal candidate for Chromecasting. Yet the team isn't settling for simply putting videos up on the big screen, and after the latest update, the app now goes a step further by tossing up detailed information on it while you browse through content on your mobile device.
The fourth Thief game is hitting consoles and PCs in North America today, and as you would expect, Square Enix has dropped a full companion app into the Play Store. A lite version came out earlier this month that provided game news, trailers, artwork, screenshots, and other ways to hype up eager gamers. Now the full version, priced at $2.99, is here to serve as a true companion to the main experience.
I've long had no issue admitting my inability to get excited about Sony's smartphone products. Often, they're too late to market here in the US, have specifications that while competitive are rarely groundbreaking, and really do very little on the software feature front. When I saw the Xperia Z1 at IFA last year, I just wasn't all that impressed - Sony's flagship still suffered from ridiculous screen viewing angle issues, and the UI felt almost no different from what Sony shipped with Ice Cream Sandwich.
ARM still dominates mobile devices more than two years after Intel started making chips suitable for Android phones and tablets. The company is taking another swing at it in 2014 with the newly announced Merrifield and Moorefield chips. These processors pack updated GPUs, new 64-bit architecture, and an efficient 22nm manufacturing process.
The Merrifield chips are now officially known as the Z34xx family. According to benchmarks produced by Intel, the dual-core Z3480 processor is capable of besting the Snapdragon 800 and Apple A7.
One year ago we took a look at the original Grand Memo, ZTE's mid-range entry in the bustling "phablet" market. Fast forward and ZTE is back at Mobile World Congress, showing off a new and improved version called the Grand Memo II LTE, that's better in every way... but still not really good enough to elicit a "wow" of surprise. Check out our hands-on video below.
The Grand Memo II bumps up the screen size to 6.0 inches, putting it squarely in between the largest of the conventional smartphones and low-cost tablets.
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.
Sony announced its new Xperia Z2 Tablet here at Mobile World Congress, so we swung by their booth on the show floor to get a hands-on with the next tablet flagship. This is the successor to the Tablet Z, now more fully aligned with the leading Sony phone in both name and hardware.
The first thing you notice when you pick up the Z2 Tablet is that it is thin. Crazy thin - 6.4mm, in fact, thinner than the previous tablet, thinner than any phone you're likely to get your hands on in the United States, thinner than the iPad Air by more than a millimeter, and lighter as well at only 425 grams.