Kodak Ektra boasts a 21-megapixel camera, dedicated shutter button, and other camera features


Almost two years after Kodak last launched an Android phone, the camera-centric company is back with another smartphone.

The Kodak Ektra was officially announced today as an Android 6.0 smartphone with a heavy focus on camera performance. Kodak has equipped the Ektra with a 21-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization, and a dual LED flash. There’s also a dual press shutter button to give the Ektra a feel that’s more like a real camera.

The front of the Ektra is home to a 13-megapixel camera with a f/2.2 aperture and phase detection autofocus.


The Ektra’s software has a lot of camera goodies, too, like an SLR-style Scene Selection Dial that’ll let you pick different modes like HDR, Landscape, Portrait, Macro, Sport, Night-time, Panorama, and Bokeh. Kodak has also included a manual mode that’ll let you tweak settings like exposure, ISO, focus, white balance and shutter speed. If you’d prefer to let the phone do the work to figure out the best settings for your scene, you can use the Smart Auto mode.

Other features for the Kodak Ektra include a deca-core MediaTek Helio X20 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD slot for adding more storage, and a 3,000mAh battery that supports fast charging over USB Type-C. The Ektra’s also got a 5-inch 1920×1080 display.

The Kodak Ektra — which is built by the Bullitt Group, just like Kodak’s last phone — will launch in Europe later this year for £449 ($550 USD). Kodak has said that if there’s a strong enough demand for the Ektra, the device could launch in the US sometime in 2017.

Kodak is known for photography, so it’s no surprise that its newest Android phone has a heavy camera focus. There are a lot of smartphones already on the market with solid cameras, though, including the Galaxy S7 and the new Google Pixel, so the Kodak Ektra is going to face some fierce photography foes when it launches later this year.


ZTE reveals Eye-Tracking, Self-Adhesive Phone as winner of crowdsourced Project CSX contest


After launching its Project CSX effort earlier this year to find a great new smartphone idea, ZTE today revealed the program’s grand prize winner.

ZTE says that the Eye-Tracking, Self-Adhesive Phone is the winning Project CSX design. It won 31 percent of the overall vote, beating out other ideas like Intelligent Smartphone Covers (21 percent), Stock Android Flagship Phone (19 percent), VR-Interactive Diving Mask (16 percent), and Powerglove (8 percent).

Now that the Eye-Tracking, Self-Adhesive Phone has won Project CSX, ZTE has committed to bringing the device to market in 2017. The person that came up with the winning idea will travel to CES with ZTE next January.

As its name suggests, the Eye-Tracking, Self-Adhesive Phone includes eye-tracking cameras and sensors that can be used to perform actions without the user touching the screen. The phone also includes a self-adhesive back cover that’ll let you stick the device to other surfaces, like to a wall for reading a recipe or watching a movie.

Other features included with the Eye-Tracking, Self-Adhesive Phone concept include a 5.5-inch LCD screen, bottom-firing stereo speakers, a USB Type-C port, and a 16-emgapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture and dual LED flash.

We haven’t seen much in the way of eye-tracking features in smartphones, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of functionality ZTE can build into this device. As for the rest of the phone, its design doesn’t look too shabby, but we’ll have to wait until it actually comes to market next year before we know exactly what the final product will look like.

Sources: ZTE (1), (2)


smrtFOB is a battery pack, speaker and more


A Canadian startup is aiming to change the way consumers charge devices. The team behind smrtFOB is creating a battery pack that moonlights as a key tracker, flash drive, Bluetooth speaker and more. The technology that empowers smrtFob’s versatility is a modular design, which allows users to build upon the existing base to satisfy their desires. While smrtFOB is still in crowdfunding, the company already has fully-working bases and three modules, including a battery booster, a flash storage bank and a Bluetooth speaker.

smrtFOB is designed to ensure that you never go without power. The company has created a companion app that utilizes intelligent reminders and calendar-based suggestions. Upon returning home with a low battery on smrtFOB, the app will send a reminder to charge the smrtFOB. When a busy day of travel or meetings is ahead, the app can also send reminders to pack extra modules, such as the battery booster or flash storage module.

Due to smrtFOB’s nature, it became an important goal for the creators to offer an easy method of charging the device. smrtFOB is solving the issue with a charging pad that uses resonance wireless charging technology. This allows smrtFOB to charge without directly touching the pad, meaning that it can stay on the same chain as your keys, while still charging, even if smrtFOB isn’t making direct contact with the charging pad. Additionally, a male USB adapter is built-in, which allows charging in USB ports when away from the wireless charging pad.

smrtFOB is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter, with of over 75% of its goal met. The early price for the device is $69, which is lower than the likely $100 price that the smrtFOB will carry when it launches in late spring 2017. Interested customers can also purchase packs that include different modules and the wireless charging pad. For all of the options, follow the source link below to smrtFOB’s Kickstarter.


Verizon won’t have 128GB Google Pixel XL in-store on launch day


For any Verizon subscribers out there who were hoping to walk into a retail store and pick up a 128GB Pixel XL tomorrow, those dreams have been dashed.

Jeffrey Nelson, part of the Verizon Wireless communications team, said today that the 128GB Pixel XL is sold out and that Verizon retail stores will not have any stock for launch tomorrow.

4/6 NEWS! Initial inventory of Pixel XL 128GB is SOLD OUT… NOT in stores Thurs. All other models in stock. Get to Verizon early!

— Jeffrey Nelson (@JNels) October 19, 2016

It’s probably also worth noting that shipping dates for the 128GB Pixel XL have slipped to November 18 at this point, so if you were thinking about ordering online, be aware of that.

There is no word on when the 128GB Pixel XL might find its way into Verizon stores, but we hope that the drought won’t last long.


T-Mobile will pay out $48 million following FCC investigation over deprioritization policy

T-Mobile Uncarrier

Unlimited data plans are still a crucial element for T-Mobile, but the Un-carrier got into choppy waters with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over its rules regarding deprioritization.

As a result of an investigation, T-Mobile has settled with the FCC and will pay $48 million. The investigation centered on customers that had complained to the FCC that they were unhappy with the deprioritization policy put forth from the Un-carrier, saying that they did not believe they were being given access to the unlimited data plan that was being advertised.

The investigation determined that prior to June 2015, the Un-carrier was not explaining its deprioritization policy for the heaviest unlimited data customers (the top 3% of data users), and did not explicitly outline the threshold that customers had to pass before their devices were deprioritized on the network. On top of that, the FCC found that T-Mobile did not outline in clear language the speed reduction that those devices would be hit with.

Here are the changes T-Mobile has agreed to implement moving forward:

  • Update disclosures for its deprioritization, including on T-Mobile and MetroPCS websites
  • Clearly explain deprioritization in all marketing materials for unlimited data plans or stop using the word “unlimited” to describe plans that are subject to deprioritization
  • Will not misrepresent performance of unlimited data plan
  • Provide direct and individual notification to a customer when they’re nearing the deprioritization threshold
  • Spend at least $35.5 million on benefits to T-Mobile and MetroPCS unlimited data plan customers, including offering 20 percent discount (up to $20) on an accessory and 4GB of additional data for mobile internet customers
  • Spend at least $5 million on a program that’ll provide students of low-income schools with free devices and service
  • Pay a $7.5 million civil penalty

Under T-Mobile’s current deprioritization policy, a customer needs to use more than 26GB of data in a month to be deprioritized. This means that customer’s devices will be prioritized below other devices connecting to the network in “locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources.”

Have you ever had to deal with T-Mobile’s deprioritization?


LG V34 features 5.2-inch QHD display and water resistance, but it’s only available in Japan


The LG V20 is right on the cusp of landing on store shelves, but it looks like folks in Japan are going to be getting a slightly tweaked version of the flagship handset.

LG Japan has officially debuted the LG V34, and while it shares plenty of similarities between the V20, there are a few key differences. The V34 features a 5.2-inch 2560×1440 display, while the V20 features the same resolution in a 5.7-inch panel. The V34 also boasts a 3000mAh battery, while the larger V20 has a 3200mAh battery. Another big difference? The V34 is IP67-rated for water and dust resistance, a feature that the V20 completely lacks.

The LG V34 runs Android 7.0 Nougat, boasts the V20′s dual rear camera system, and features 32GB of built-in storage and 4GB of RAM. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor is tucked inside to keep things humming along as well.

The only “bad” news here is that the V34 isn’t going to be available outside of Japan.

Would you buy the LG V34 over the V20 if you were given the choice?


Google aims for the home screen with Wallpapers app


Google continues to improve the aesthetics of its Android operating system with its latest application, Wallpapers. The app takes advantage of Google’s repertoire of high-quality images, allowing users to select from Google Earth images, scenic landscapes, urban cityscapes and more. For a personal touch, users have the ability to easily size their own photos into the correct aspect ratio to create a custom wallpaper.

Wallpapers is able to utilize one of the new features found in Android 7.0 Nougat, the built-in ability to set different wallpapers for home and lock screens. The app offers a clean, simple interface for selecting and placing the right wallpaper for your device.

For a final touch, Wallpapers can automatically set a new wallpaper each day from the category of your choosing.

Wallpapers is now available on the Google Play Store for devices running on Android 4.1 and higher. A link to the app can be found at the source link below.


Android 7.1 Developer Preview now available for Nexus devices

Android Nougat

Following the recent release of its Pixel devices, Google has opened up the Android 7.1 Developer Preview to compatible Nexus devices. Google announced the next iteration of Android just over a week ago and has already begun using it on the flagship Pixel and Pixel XL. Despite being stable for those devices, the software is still in beta for other devices, and needs to be tested further before it sees a wide rollout.

Android 7.1 includes a few different tweaks and changes, but perhaps the most notable addition is that of app shortcuts. These have been shown off with the Pixel, and they allow apps to create shortcuts from their homescreen icons, bringing users into actions deep within the app without leaving the homescreen.

The Developer Preview is now available to the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C and can be installed through the Android Beta program or by manually flashing the update. For more information, follow the source link to Google’s official announcement.


LeEco enters the US market with Le Pro 3 and Le S3 smartphones Gallery

LeEco Pro 3

LeEco is a manufacturer that has made a name for itself in its home country of China. The company became the first smartphone manufacturer to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, making the move before both Motorola and Apple. Since then, the company has continued to build a reputation with a variety of products that it offers. Today marks the company’s US launch, which is spearheaded with two smartphones, the Le Pro 3 and Le S3.

The Le Pro 3 is the more powerful of the pair. LeEco has equipped the device with a 5.5-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Power is a priority, with the phone using a 4070mAh battery that can charge quickly with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. Camera-savvy customers will have a 16-megapixel rear sensor and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera at their disposal.

LeEco S3 (2)

The Le S3 has the same 5.5-inch display, but uses a Snapdragon 652 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 3000mAh battery that charges at standard speeds. LeEco chose to use the same cameras on this device, and added support for dual-SIM cards.

Both devices will be available through flash sales beginning on November 2, at 10AM PST. The Le Pro 3 is priced at $399, and the Le S3 is more budget-friendly at $249. The devices are part of LeEco’s new ecosystem, which also includes smart TVs, a wide range of accessories, and a new bicycle that’s in testing.

Source: LeEco (1), (2)


LeEco Pro 3 LeEco S3 (2) LeEco S3


Canary channel for Chrome is now Available on Android


Google has made it possible for developers and those who like to live on the edge to try out pre-release versions of Chrome for quite some time, even on Android. But for the folks who want the absolute freshest version of Chrome, known as Canary, that was only possible on Mac and Windows. Until now.

The Canary channel for Chrome is now available on Android. The Canary channel has always released the most “bleeding-edge” version of Chrome possible. But of course it’s pre-release software, so it might crash. When it’s working, and the team constantly aims to make it work around the clock, users will see the most advanced version of the browser possible.

Because Chrome Canary is such an early version of Google’s browser, it’s updated very frequently. There will be frequent updates to the app, with new builds coming every weekday and possibly even on the weekends in the future. These constant updates can mean using more than 100MB of data (if users allow for app updates over a cellular connection) every week.

If you want to try out the Canary channel for Chrome and you find any bugs, you can report them here.

Do you plan on trying Chrome Canary?