The LG G Flex is the first commercially available smartphone with a flexible curved display and it is also a very nice looking device that boasts a self-healing feature to help repair and hide scratches and other damage.
While the LG G Flex arrived last year in Korea it is on the way to the U.S. with release dates on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint in the first quarter of 2014.
At CES 2014 we were able to go hands-on with the LG G Flex and see the flexible display in action. In the short video below you can see the LG G Flex bend, flex and bounce back to life.
The LG G Flex includes a 5.9-inch 720P display with a P-OLED screen. A P-OLED display uses plastic, which is necessary for the phone to flex and bend and also why the device includes a self-healing component.
While many of the flagship smartphones rely on metal, the G Flex’s body is made of a plastic material that still feels nice to the touch. The Flex material will repair scratches and nicks over time so users won’t need to find a case that can flex with the phone to keep it looking nice for the life of the phone.
From a hardware standpoint the LG G Flex has a 13 megapixel dual stage flash and a 2.3GHz Qualcomm processor with 2GB RAM. The phone includes a large 3,500 mAh battery which somehow lives inside the bending flexible body of the LG G Flex.
There is no specific LG G Flex release date on AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint, but we will see them before March is over according to the company. The LG G Flex price is missing for now, but expect something in the $200 to $300 range.
Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Date: What Not to Expect
With a Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release date all but confirmed for early November, we want to take a look at what we do not expect from the Nexus 10, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop release date from Google.
Google’s Android L update was first announced as Android 4.4 KitKat’s successor back in June at Google I/O. At the event, Google did not confirm an Android L release date or name though it did outline many of its features and release a pre-release version to Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5 users. In the weeks after that early release, we’ve seen features teased and release dates rumored and earlier this week, Google finally spilled the beans on Android L.
Google’s Android L update, as expected, is called Android 5.0 Lollipop. The update will be accompanied by two new Nexus devices including a Nexus 9 from HTC and a Nexus 6 from Motorola. Both devices will help usher in a new era for Google and its Android operating system. Problem is, Google still hasn’t confirmed a specific Android 5.0 Lollipop release date.
The company confirmed several Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for arrival including updates for the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10. Earlier this month, we learned that the Android 5.0 deployment could start in early November for Nexus users. Google still hasn’t confirmed the timing outright and may not.
With that in mind, we want to help paint a release picture for Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10 users. This will outline what we know so far about the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Nexus devices and delve into our own expectations. These expectations are based on Google’s history and our own gut feelings about Google’s upcoming release.
Here are 10 things you should not expect from Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 release for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10.
Nexus Lollipop Release Outside November
At this point, do not expect any Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release dates to fall outside the month of November. Google’s official line is “coming weeks” but we fully expect the company to deliver the Android 5.0 Lollipop update next month around the time it delivers the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 to consumers around the world.
Android Police recently released a document that not only points to an Android 5.0 release in early November but also points to specific release dates for two Nexus devices. The site is very reliable and the information, while not official, should be treated as credible. The document suggests that the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 Wi-Fi only Android 5.0 updates will arrive on November 3rd. This is the same day that Google plans to release the Nexus 9 on shelves.
The document suggests that the Nexus 5, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 LTE will all get their updates after the initial Android 5.0 push. No specific dates are mentioned but we simply cannot see them getting released in December. That’s too close to the holidays. Keep in mind, the Nexus 5 is still on shelves as a budget Nexus smartphone option and Google’s not going to want to head into Black Friday with the Nexus 5 missing a key component like Android 5.0.
Look for all of these updates to start pushing in November not December. Similar to what Google did with last year’s Android 4.4 KitKat update that emerged in mid-November. There should not be a wide gap between all of its Android 5.0 release dates. We don’t expect anything other than a three week release window for this upgrade.
Predictable Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Time
While Apple releases its iOS updates in an around 10AM PST, Google’s Android update release times are unpredictable. That is to say, it doesn’t stick to a schedule. In the past, we’ve seen updates released in the morning and we’ve seen Android updates for Nexus devices released in the late in the afternoon following an announcement.
This is an element of the release that Google probably won’t confirm ahead of time which means that users are simply going to have to sit by the device, waiting for the upgrade to pop up. This applies to post-release as well.
Google’s staggered OTA roll outs typically arrive at random, unpredictable times. We’ve seen Nexus updates pop up late at night, we’ve seen them pop up early in the morning. It’s a random process and one that you shouldn’t lose sleep over.
Widespread Installation Problems
Unlike Apple, we typically don’t see major day one installation errors for Nexus Android updates. This is probably a product of Google’s staggered roll outs as opposed to Apple’s immediate push for all compatible devices. Apple’s servers typically crumble under the load of iPhone and iPad users trying to install. Google’s servers typically hold up well because it uses an OTA approach.
We might see some updates get stuck or fail but we should see a majority of updates go off without a hitch. Google’s servers are typically very strong not just on release day but during the entire Android update roll out. Don’t expect to encounter much difficulty here. You should be able to install it right off the bat without any headaches.
Android 5.0 Lollipop Leaks
Do not expect the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to leak for Nexus devices in the build up to the official release. Android updates have a habit of arriving ahead of their release date, often in the form of test builds, but Google and its partners have managed to clamp down on leaks over the years. And with just a few short days to go before a release, we’re not expecting anyone to come up with a surprise Android 5.0 Lollipop leak for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, or the Nexus 5.
You should expect to have to wait until Google issues the update to the public. Sure, there will be ways around the OTA upgrade but Google’s official manual update option should be the only way to get your hands on Android 5.0 Lollipop before it’s pushed from Google’s servers.
Every App to Match New Look
Finally, do not expect every single Android application to match Google’s new Material Design that’s coming with Android 5.0 Lollipop. We should see some of the bigger applications provide updates that mirror the look and feel of Google’s new Android release but there will be many apps that simply miss the initial boat.
It’s similar to what we’ve seen with Apple’s iOS 7 (a major design overhaul) and iOS 8. Developers took weeks to release apps that mimicked the look of iOS 7’s new design and developers are still pushing out updates to match the look and feel of the iOS 8 upgrade and Apple’s new big screen iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
For more information about Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 Lollipop update, have a look at what we expect from it. This will outline many more key Android 5.0 Lollipop details for Nexus devices.
The 5 Best Games from E3 2014 So Far
It wasn’t that long ago that the gaming community stood at a giant fork in the road as far as next generation consoles are concerned.
First there was the early launch of the Wii U. For sure, the $299 Wii U is a current generation console with a next generation controller, and to say that customers didn’t respond to it that way would be laughable. They did, mostly by not buying it. The console has seen extremely soft sales, especially when compared to its direct predecessor the Wii.
Last year Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles arrived to do battle. Like the Wii U, on the surface there wasn’t much to celebrate about the $399 PS4. How wrong we were, the PS4 doesn’t just have a great controller, but its maker also has a brand new swagger; an attitude that’s continually upping its game and hammering Microsoft for not catering to gamers more.
A week later came the Xbox One, Microsoft’s next-generation console as the most expensive of the bunch. At $499, it included a Kinect 2 sensor and many of the same hardware upgrades as the PS4. Unfortunately, Microsoft failed to articulate its vision early on. It still delivered a console that millions of users picked up, but there are a lot of differences between the console they initially announced and what they finally delivered.
Each of these consoles had separate ways of doing things, different price points and distinct disadvantages. As each one of the company’s press conferences this week proved that much. Each of this week’s E3 2014 press conferences also proved that they each share one distinct advantage: games that are every bit as interesting and dynamic as gamers all collectively hoped they would be.
It wasn’t that long ago that Bungie was still the studio known most for bringing Halo to the masses. In that game it turned playing with others via the internet into a pass time that everyone could learn and enjoy.
Now the company is back with Destiny. And from what it showed at E3 2014, its daring to attempt the same thing again. Like Halo, Destiny is a shooter, but unlike Halo, Destiny is also a role playing game. That means users will traverse the worlds of Destiny with customized characters made to their specifications and built around their play style. What Destiny is trying has never been attempted before in a first-person shooter on a console.
PS4 users don’t have to take Bungie’s word for it though. As of noon on Thursday, June 12th PS4 owners will get the opportunity to try out the game for themselves at home by submitting their PlayStation Network ID here.
Color us shocked, but with Splatoon, Nintendo may have managed to pull off a feat we thought unthinkable just a few months ago. It looks like we can actually expect a fun third-person shooter on its console.
How Nintendo, a company known for adventure and puzzles games and not necessarily creating characters who’s sole mission is to shoot at other characters, got here is interesting. Splatoon will put users in an arena as a squid with other team mates from around the world.
Players will be tasked with covering as much as the level as they can with ink for their team. Only through areas covered with their ink will players be able to move freely. Shooting ink will require users to morph into people, but moving around quickly will require them to transform back into a squid. As players cover more of the level they’ll get access to more weapons.
Nintendo has only confirmed that the game will arrive sometime in 2015, so its unlikely folks will run out and buy a console just for this today. Still, it’s caught a lot of console owner’s attention.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
With Destiny firmly in the hands of Sony’s promotional tour for the PS4, Microsoft had to deliver something to battle Bungie’s game this holiday season. Well, they didn’t have to since Destiny is also coming to the Xbox One; it’s just that it’s getting exclusive content on Sony’s console.
What do you send to fight a new Bungie game? Bungie’s own creation? You send Halo. To mark the 10th anniversary of Halo 2, Microsoft didn’t just remake that game alone. Instead it’s remade every Halo game that ever featured The Master Chief, polished up the graphics to 1080p, mixed in their original multiplayer elements and threw in access to the Halo 5: Guardians beta for extra flavor.
It’s even added a playlist creator so that users can relieve their favorite moments from the Halo series. Halo: The Master Chief Collection will hit store shelves November 11th for the Xbox One.
At first the Xbox One had no Halo game, now it has four coming all in one package. That escalated quickly.
Call of Duty: Advance Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare looks an awful like someone walked into a conference room and asked everyone around the table what was popular. Apparently, what that executive heard from those seated around the table was, Kevin Spacey, giant robots, futuristic weapons and amazing graphics.
Like it or not, that’s exactly what Activision is delivering with Call of Duty: Advanced Warefare. The list of weapons in this game even include giant red lasers and self-guiding grenades. Someone what call it a rip-off of Titanfall, the Xbox only game that debuted this past March to much fanfare. I’d say that’s not completely fair. It at least has better graphics.
Super Smash Bros Wii U
Finally, there’s Super Smash Bros Wii U. It’s not that this game fundamentally changes much. It’s still the same video game that lets users play as their favorite Nintendo characters and beat the stuffing out of each other.
The key to this game is that there are enough new things to make it exciting. There are new graphics updated to match the capabilities of the Wii U and six different characters for users to choose from. Today at E3 2014 Nintendo announced that it’s adding the ability or users to customize their Mii character with a fighting class and style to compete against other characters. There are a ton of different levels to battle in too.
Super Smash Bros Wii U is scheduled for release in North America on October 3rd.
Of course, as the E3 2014 continues there’ll be more new games with new fighting styles and upgraded graphics that’ll surly make this list grow. GottaBeMobile will revisit E3 2014 games that Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One owners will want to buy when the show concludes later this week.
Can Your Eyes Replace Touch on Mobile?
Capacitive touch was a disruptive technology on smartphones when the iPhone debuted in 2007 as it didn’t require a stylus and offered a fluid experience without requiring users to apply pressure into the display with their fingernails. Now, companies are looking ahead to not only applying touch to new forms, but also to the eyes for navigating a mobile smartphone.
We’ve seen eye tracking technology used in simple ways in the past. On select Samsung and LG smartphones, front-facing cameras and sensors on the device would detect if you’re looking at the device and prevent it from auto-dimming or shutting off. Video playback would also automatically pause and resume based on if the device could detect your face. However, at CES, a company called Eye Tribe was also on hand to show off how eye tracking could enhance and improve your mobile experience.
With a camera that plugs into a micro USB port on your Android phone, Eye Tribe could track your gaze to allow you to navigate your phone. Eye Tribe says that only an IR light emitter is needed so this technology could potentially be embedded in your next phone or tablet.
Eye tracking will allow you to also play games, and the company was showing off eye tracking used to slash fruit on the popular game Fruit Ninja.
There are other use cases as well. For example, you can scroll through a webpage. Advertisers could also potentially use this technology to see which ads consumers are interested in and are viewing. It could track engagement with apps more easily.
The benefit here is that your hands would be free to do other tasks. In the kitchen, if you’re cooking and need to scroll through a recipe, this could be a convenient way to interact with your phone or tablet without having to touch the screen with greasy hands.
Other tools being shown off at CES that revolve around your eyes include the VOXX myris security tool that scans your iris to authenticate you. Iris scanning technology is said to be much more accurate and with fewer positives in identifying the user than the fingerprint method that’s used today, including the TouchID system that Apple uses on the iPhone 5s.
Still, we’re seeing touch being expanded as well. The Galaxy Note 4 is said to have more touch surfaces on the sides of the phone so users don’t need to touch and dirty their screens. Cases like the Sensus touch case are adding more touch surfaces to existing devices, like the iPhone.
CES 2014: The Year of Wearables Already Wearing Thin
CES 2014 is over. The GBM Team that was on the ground looked pretty exhausted in a photo that was posted on Convo, our internal communication service. I’m sure all of those who went to Las Vegas to cover the big show were equally wrung out. Having been there before I can tell you it is both fun and not fun to cover tons of gadgets, software, and services, some of which may even make it to market. It has to be even more exhausting to cover a show when you know that there really aren’t that many big new next big things coming down the pike. I have maintained for several years now that watching CES from afar can tell you more about what is going on in the mobile tech industry than actually being present at the show. In my view of our coverage and the coverage of others I’d say that held true this year.
Going into CES 2014 this was to be The Year of Wearables. Based on everything I’m reading Wearable computing is already wearing thin. In fact, it was a trend that seemed to be looked at with enough skepticism before the show even began that the predominant theme of CES 2014 could have been called The Year of What Are We Going to Do Next?
At least that’s how I’m reading the coverage from all over these days. It almost feels like bloggers and the media are having to conjure up some excitement about Wearables in the same way that sports broadcasters try to when they are given the assignment of announcing a game between two teams that are so far out of the playoffs that only the players relatives and diehards watch the game.
There’s nothing wrong with Wearables as a mobile gadget category, beyond the fact that I have seen no case made as to why we need smart watches, sensors in our clothes, or Google Glass. Other than to provide data streams back to the mother ship so they can monetize that data stream. The practical use cases just don’t seem to have legs for the mass market, and I don’t think there will be any strong differientation between most devices in the Wearable sub categories for these devices. But that’s not unusual in consumer electronics. Someone starts an idea for a product and most try to follow along as quickly as they can, like lemmings falling into line.
Certainly everyone is assuming that Apple is going to debut a smart watch. I am too. But there is a part of me that thinks Apple might just read the writing on the wall and say why bother. That would be a story if that happened. I’ve already said that I think Wearable computing will be a fad that comes and goes before the real technology that could power it gets fully developed. I still maintain that after the big coming out party at CES 2014.
Here are some reasons why:
- I don’t see a practical use case for these devices beyond helping us receive more targeted advertising and notifications. Advertising implies shopping. I don’t think everyone is always shopping. Regarding notifications, I think the vast majority of folks are just getting comfortable with turning off notifications on existing mobile gadgets. I can’t assume those folks would want another device to intrusively beep and boop at them.
- I don’t see anyone making an even half hearted attempt at building a successful use case.
- These devices rely on sensors that capture data about our locations and context. We’ve already reached a touchy intersection where consumers are becoming more wary about giving up their data thanks to the NSA and recent credit card data breaches.
- I’m sure if I’m wrong about this being a fad and Wearables do catch on with consumers these devices will get smaller and more fashionably acceptable. At the moment what I’m seeing just doesn’t look appealing. It may be science fiction coming to life, but I’m not sure the mass market is ready to look like the Borg.
- Social and legal acceptance of Wearables like Google Glass is far from assured. One YouTube video of someone capturing a section of a movie in a theatre will bring down the wrath of the copyright gods. One traffic accident that can somehow be tied to a Wearable device will spur a debate frenzy and give eager politicians a chance to make headlines.
I, and many others, could be wrong about Wearables. Let’s remember, I think there were at least three successive Years of the Tablet before that really became a market. Wearables may take off. I doubt it though. Frankly, I’d rather see companies allocating resources towards stabilizing and improving the mobile tech we already have. What we have on the market currently is pretty amazing technology, but it is far from a complete, and certainly could use some more work. Until a use case for Wearables is found, I don’t see the sense in adding a new layer of complexity to systems that are still very much a work in progress. It’s like cobbling an addition on to a house before the initial construction is completed.
CES 2014 also seemed to be a year for other categories that had similar troubles figuring out where to go next. TVs, a staple at CES long before the computing companies rolled in, look like they’ll be repeating the same mistakes with 4K displays and curved screens that they did with the 3D TV revolution. Remember that? Not surprising if you don’t, it came and went as quickly as summer shower. Curved displays appear to be the hoped for next big trend in smartphone factors as well, although I don’t see the attraction there. The Tablet market seems to be thinking bigger, now that smaller has become de rigueur. That only makes sense and shows some maturity in that market. That’s a good thing.
We’ll know what this CES 2014 really means about the time that companies start gearing up for the next one. Somewhere, some company is already looking ahead to 2015 and making plans that will turn into the next hoped for trend. My guess is they aren’t looking at a smart watch or through Google Glass to see what that will be.
HyperJuice Expand Offers External Power with Interchangeable Batteries
Hyper announced a new line of external battery packs at CES this year called HyperJuice Expand. The idea behind these new external battery packs is that the size of the batteries are interchangeable and can be swapped out based on your needs for a certain situation.
There’s a main head unit that includes three USB ports to charge your mobile devices. This costs $20, and then you can get separate battery packs that clip onto the main head unit using magnets. The nice thing about this kind of system is that you can buy whatever size you need without any waste.
Choices are 3,000mAh for $20, 6,00mAh for $40, 9,000mAh for $60 and 12,000mAh for $80. This means that a full 12,000mAh unit will cost a total of $100, which is a little steep for what you can get elsewhere, but Hyper is betting on Expand’s ability to switch out batteries whenever you need to.
For instance, a 3,000mAh would be great for night outs when you just want to put the Expand in your pocket with your phone, but a 12,000mAh unit would be best for road trips or while traveling away from home for a few days.
Furthermore, the main head unit has a built-in flashlight, which is a little gimmicky and unnecessary for the most part, but we guarantee that some users will find it useful for when they get stuck in the dark somewhere.
The main head unit only comes in white, but the interchangeable battery packs come in different colors, including green, blue, red and yellow to match your iPhone 5c.
HyperJuice Expand details are live on Hyper’s website, but are not yet available for sale. However, the company tells us that sales should begin this week.
This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.