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Author Archives: ewilkinson

Moshi for iPad
  • Our first 'Thank Gadget It's Friday' feature, Dexim's remote controlled Monster Truck for Apple devices

     


    We're making Fridays even more fun at the Pure Mobile blog, with a new weekly feature we're calling 'Thank Gadget It's Friday,' or TGIF for short.


    What better way to wrap up the week than with our favorite gadgets? And in this feature, we'll be bringing you our top picks in mobile accessories, from the coolest smartphone cases to the best phone docks and speakers.


    But we're kicking things off in style today, with an accessory that's a little out of the norm, and a whole lot of fun – Dexim's remote controlled AppSpeed Monster Truck.


    Definitely a toy for grown ups, the Dexim RC Truck uses Apple devices, like iPhone, iPad and iPod in lieu of a traditional controller. All you need is the free app that's provided when you purchase the truck.



    But that's not the only difference between this suped-up mobile accessory and a regular remote controlled car. Dexim's monster truck can be controlled by either traditional touch sensor or "gravity sensor," which lets you control the vehicle by tilting your device in different ways.


    The truck also has multiplayer mode for racing with friends, and comes with three preset stations that let you "automatically ZigZag, Spin, or Dance your vehicle to     music."


    As far as mobile accessories go, the Dexim RC Truck may not top the list of most needed, but it's certainly among the most exciting, and would certainly make a great gift for the techie in your life. Though we can think of more than a few people who'd simply want one for themselves.


    Vroom vroom!




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  • The latest addition to the Lumia family, Nokia's Verizon-exclusive Lumia 822 arrives this month

     


    And we thought they'd never get back together...


    Verizon announced this week that, for the first time in three years, they'll be carrying a Nokia smartphone.


    The Nokia Lumia 822, a version of the Lumia 820 customized for Verizon, will start rolling out to Verizon subscribers this November, a press release announced. Though no release date has been publicized, a source told Engadget that it may be available by November 8, while BGR thinks it'll be out on November 12.


    With the announcement no doubt timed to coincide with all of Microsoft's recent events, the smartphone runs on WIndows Phone 8, and is available exlusively through Verizon.


    So how, exactly does the Lumia 820 stack up against other Lumia devices? Well, for one, it's curvier, and its camera pod and flash placement has the same lengthwise setup as the Lumia 920 and 810, "instead of the transverse layout found on the Lumia 820," writes Engadget.


    As for specs, the Lumia 822 packs a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, has 8 GB of internal storage, and 1 GB of RAM, though you can get models with up to 64 GB.


    Its 4.3" screen has a resolution of 800 x 400, and it's got an 8 megapixel camera as well as a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, and an exchangeable shell for wireless charging.


    It body seems pretty sturdy, which is no surprise for a Nokia phone, though some have called it a little thick. Still, says one TechCrunch reviewer, "If anything, the version I played with was even thicker than normal because someone had swapped the stock backplate with the wireless charging plate, but the end result was a device that was still very comfortable to hold."


    Available in white, black or grey, one of these bad boys will run fairly cheap – about $100 on a 2-year contract with Verizon.




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  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says there have already been 4 million Windows 8 upgrades

     


    Microsoft put the finishing touches on a massive month this week, with the global launch of Windows Phone 8 Monday, and the Build developer conference Tuesday.


    The company already launched their extra-sized Surface Tablet earlier this month, as well as holding their Windows 8 event.


    But what most of us were really waiting for was windows Phone 8, and now it's here. Touted by the event's speakers as "the most personal smartphone operating system you can get," Microsoft began by highlighting the growing number of apps for Windows Phone, 120,000 and counting.


    However, speakers stressed that people, not apps, are the focus of the revamped OS, and called out Apple and Android for not doing enough to really change smartphones since they arrived on the scene.


    As such, Microsoft is banking a lot on one of Windows Phone 8's main features, "live apps." Live apps move like live tiles and update themselves, so that your phone becomes like your fingerprint, says Microsoft.



    "For example, the Facebook app updates the lock screen with your personal photos,"  explains WebProNews. "A number of app developers including Twitter, Zynga and Rovio are updating their apps to take advantage of live apps."


    That brings us to what TechCrunch says the "future of the Windows 8 platform," hinges on – the developers.


    Because the OS – nevermind the idea of live tiles – is so new, Microsoft's going to have to lure developers to it for it to really take off. At the moment, says TechCrunch, the number of new Windows 8 apps is "underwhelming," and that may explain the somewhat middling reviews Microsoft's Surface Tablet has received:


    "Most of the reviewers cited the lack of apps – and not the hardware itself – as one of the reasons they didn’t enjoy the experience."


    But as he took the stage to kick off the Build developer conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer already had some positive news about the new OS' reception, saying that there have already been 4 million Windows 8 upgrades in just the few days since its launch. Hopefully some of those interested parties are developers.


    But as for regular users who want to get in on the new OS, Windows Phone 8 will be globally available by November across a number of devices, including the Nokia Lumia, and HTC and Samsung smartphones.




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  • This week kicked off with a bonanza of Nexus news from Google

     


    Hurricane warnings mat have put an end to Google's plans for an October 29 event, but Android fans won't have been disappointed with what Googled offered up on Monday instead: a bonanza of news about their highly anticipated upcoming Nexus devices.


    In lieu of an event unveiling, Google has simply made an announcement online, confirming what most of us have been suspecting for some time – A Samsung-made Nexus 10 tablet, and an LG-made Nexus 4 smartphone.


    The rumors of an LG Nexus 4 smartphone have been confirmed by Google

     


    The fact that the new gadgets couldn't be revealed live didn't seem to lessen the impact of the announcement, as major news organizations and leading tech sites jumped onto the Nexus news en masse.


    Now, we're breaking down all the latest talk to give you the major points of this dual announcement.


    Release dates and pricing:


    Both the Nexus 10 tablet and Nexus 4 phone will be available as of November 13 in the U.S and Canada, as well as in several European countries and Japan for the Nexus 10.


    Google's pricing the unlocked LG Nexus 4 at 8GB for $299, and 16GB for $349 or $199 through T-Mobile with a 2-year contract.


    Specs and reviews:


    There's already been a lot of positive reactions to the Nexus 10.


    With a slightly more curved body than most of us had anticipated, the entirely Samsung-made tablet has a 10" display that Gizmodo's calling better than retina at 300 pixels per inch.


    Inside, it boasts a a dual-core 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos processor, 2 GB of RAm, and is available in either 16 GB or 32 GB models.


    Powered by Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), it's also got front and back cameras and front-facing stereo speakers.


    The new Samsung Nexus 10 tablet

     


    As for the new LG smartphone, the Nexus 4 also runs on Android 4.2 and, like the Nexus 10 tablet, has gotten good reviews, with Gizmodo claiming "it might be the best Android phone yet."


    A collaboration between Google and LG, it bears a lot of resemblance to the LG Optimus G, but has a more rounded body, better software, and new features like PhotoSphere and Gesture typing.


    Behind its 4.7", 320 ppi screen, it's got a quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2 GB of RAM, and comes in either 8 GB or 16 GB models.


    A couple of other strong points are its 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, and the fact that it supports wireless charging.


    If you're looking for detailed specs, TechCrunch has a pretty complete list for both devices here.


    Meanwhile, we'd like to know what you think about Google's new Nexus devices. Are you planning to get one? Both? How do you think they live up to all the hype? Leave your opinion in the comments section.




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  • Beware: bogus iPhone 5 dock is total BS
    Posted on October 28, 2012 by ewilkinson

    Seeing is not believing: beware this bogus iPhone 5 dock

     


    At Pure Mobile, top-notch mobile accessories are kind of our thing.


    So when we came across a story on Gizmodo about a bogus Chinese iPhone 5 dock that doesn't actually work, all we could think was "for shame."


    "Don't buy an iPhone 5 dock," Gizmodo warned, "because it's a Chinese scam."


    Their information comes from Double Helix Cables, where a friend actually had a hands-on experience with the fake accessory. Here's what they had to say:


    "Opening up the box and out pops this stinker. I did a double take because it looked like a prank, prop, or placeholder of some sort. The lightning plug on the dock looks like a damn piece of cardboard, if you can even call it that. Because it's a cardboard-like chunk of circuit board that supposedly is going to fit into my iPhone 5."


    The reviewer goes on to write about the the fact that dock's cutout "isn't remotely close to being iPhone 5 shaped," and then elaborates on the "home brewed lightning plug [...] which 100% doesn't fit."


    A critic of the phoney dock took major issue with its "home brewed lightning plug"

     


    This lovely critique then ends with the writer concluding that any "further effort to make this non functional dock [work] would probably damage my iPhone."


    Granted, Apple doesn't actually make a dock accessory for the iPhone 5, yet. But that's no reason for third party manufacturers to start churning out ones that simply don't work.


    Many would be more than happy to produce a suitable iPhone 5 dock that actually functions, especially if they don't have to compete with Apple itself. There are plenty of fun third party iPhone 5 gadgets out there that not only work, but work really well.


    And, in our opinion, there's no excuse for this kind of blatant BS when so many companies have been able to turn a dollar making affordable and functional iPhone accessories that consumers actually want.




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  • Branded as the official James Bond Skyfall phone, Sony's XPeria TL arrives at AT&T November 2

     


    Dubbed the "Official James Bond Phone," the latest in Sony's XPeria Lineup, the Xperia TL, will be swaggering into AT&T stores as of November 2.


    In pretty hyperbolic style and promising to "give everyday people the chance to live like James Bond," the AT&T press release promised to make the new smartphone available for $99.99, so long as you sign a 2 year contract.


    According to Engaget, the device has quite a lot going for it, despite the fact that its "materials feel cheap." For one, it's got a 1.5GHz dual-core S4 processor as well as NFC capabilities.


    Sony's XPeria TL features a 4.6-inch 720p display

     


    Aside from that, AT&T just couldn't help reminding us all (for what seems like the thousandth time) that the Xperia TL is "featured in the upcoming James Bond cinema release Skyfall [and] will be used in the film by 007 himself."


    But just in case you didn't get the message, they've preloaded the device with tons of Skyfall content like "behind the scenes footage, interviews, clips, wallpapers, ring tones, and more."


    Though we have a hard time believing that any smartphone can ever really let someone "live like James Bond," we have to admit the XPeria TL at least looks slick enough to be something Bond would carry.




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  • Carphone Warehouse leaked, well, everything about the next Nexus smartphone

     


    As writer Ernest Hamlin Abbott once put it, "rumors are not news; but they sometimes foreshadow news."


    And, boy, have the rumors ever been stacking up concerning Google's next Nexus device, even though Google's expected to be saving any official news about it until their October 29 event.


    Still, between the speculation that the new Android phone will be LG-made, the pictures, and even a premature review, we've already learned quite a bit about the upcoming Nexus 4.


    And today, a new leak from retailer Carphone Warehouse revealed pretty much everything else, right down to the LG phone's specs, price and expected release date.


    Advertising pre-orders for the phone, Carphone Warehouse has listed a price of £389.95. And their description boasts that the new smartphone has a 4.7" LCD display, and "the fastest and smoothest version of Android yet," Android OS 4.2 Jelly Bean, as well as some new features:


    "Search gets smarter with Google Now. You ask. Google answers, instantly, and with all the detail you want... Stay in touch with Gesture Typing, a faster way of typing that lets you spell words by dragging your finger across the screen from letter to letter."


    Meanwhile, Carphone Warehouse sets October 30 as the start date for delivery, just one day after Google's event. Though, after this last and possibly most comprehensive leak, there isn't much Google could tell us about their latest smartphone that we don't already know.




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  • Alarmingly Android: Pure Mobile is rounding up the best in Halloween smartphone apps

     


    This week, we started a frightening little feature on the Pure Mobile blog with a list of our favorite Halloween-themed smartphone apps.


    In our first instalment, we rounded up some eerie apps for iPhone, but today, we'll be moving along to the best Halloween apps for Android.


    From games and photo editors to real ghost detectors, your smartphone will have all the spooky it can handle come October 31, with these seasonal picks


    1. Angry Birds Seasons for Android



    Who doesn't love Angry Birds? Wll, the pigs are back for Halloween with Angry Birds Seasons, which includes special "Ham'O'Ween" levels.


    It's the same physics-based fun that has made us all addicted to smartphone gaming. But this time, it's got haunted backgrounds, pumpkins to smash, and a generally cutesy Halloween look.


    Angry Birds seasons is also available for iPhone and iPad.



     2. SpecTrek augmented reality app for Android


    If you've ever wanted to go ghost hunting, SpecTrek lets you chase spectres using your smartphone's GPS. The augmented reality game shows you "ghosts" on a map of your area and gives you a time limit to find and capture them.


    It may be kind of silly, but hey, it's probably the most fun you'll ever have using a smartphone GPS.



    3. Entity Sensor Pro app for Android



    If virtual ghosts don't cut it for you, the Entity Sensor Pro app for Android claims to let you detect "real" ghosts using a supposed EMF sensor in your smartphone to check for "paranormal" readings.



    It's essentially like playing Ghost Busters with a mobile device. Whether or not you actually believe in ghosts, the app has a pretty high rating among users.


    And even if you think it's useless as a ghost detector, you can always use it with friends as a gullibility detector.


    4. Ouija Board app for Android



    Like so many classics, the Ouija Board has been revamped for modern mobile devices.


    Use your smartphone to try making contact with the spirit world, or simply relive the fun of middle school with this Android app. In any case, it gives new meaning to "the ghost in the machine."


    5. Ghost Camera Pro app for Android



    Halloween pictures looking like dullsville? Think a specter would spice things up?


    You can add a little eerie appeal to party pics with the Ghost Camera Pro smartphone app for Android.


    The app lets you choose from a bunch of different types of ghosts and spirits (not just the cute kind pictured above) and insert them into pictures on your device. You can also edit the size, color and opacity of your ghosts.


    We consider this more of a humor app, especially if some of some of your subjects have been going at the punch bowl hard.




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  • The upcoming 2012 Presidential Election is likely to be more closely followed on mobile devices than any other in U.S. history. Voters will be keeping up with the election on their smartphones with polls and political news, as well as on social media.


    But how, exactly, will smartphones figure into this election and, ultimately, who will smartphone owners be voting for?


    Mashable reported on a new study from ad network Mojiva, which surveyed smartphone owners 18 and up to get answers to some of those questions.


    According to Mojiva, people who use smartphones are more likely to vote for Obama on November 6. 47% of those polled said they identify themselves as Democrats, while only 28% identified themselves as Republicans.



    Either way, 82% of respondents said they are planning to vote – a very high rate compared to the actual voter turnout for the past two elections which were below 60%.


    In the lead-up to voting day, more Democrats than Republicans will be reading political news on their smartphones (63% vs. 59%), but more Republicans than Democrats will be researching the candidates (53% vs. 50%).



    Come election day, over half of respondents said that they would be using an iPhone or an Android-powered smartphone to check results throughout the day.


    But many of the respondents said they would use their phone to do even more if they could. When asked if they would use their smartphone to vote if they had the option to, 59% said they would, while a whopping 85% said they would at least consider doing so.



    What about you? Do you plan on using your smartphone to follow the elections? If so, how? Let us know in the comments section.




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  • Pure Mobile's got you covered for Halloween with this list of creepy apps for iPhone and iPad

     


    We at Pure Mobile love Halloween almost as much as we love mobile devices. And when the two come together, it's a high-tech house of horrors that we just can't resist.


    If you're anything like us, you'll want to celebrate the scariest (and probably most fun) holiday of the year in all sorts of ways, and thanks to some creepy smartphone apps, you can take your Halloween spirit with you everywhere you go.


    As Halloween quickly approaches, we at Pure Mobile are delighting in finding all the best iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps for our frightening feature "Macabre goes Mobile."


    Today's all about eerie iPhone apps, but Android and BlackBerry users can expect their own list of apps for those platforms in later instalments.


    1: Free Halloween Sounds Pro for iPhone


    Use sound to scare anywhere a smartphone can go, with Halloween Sounds Pro

     


    Once upon a time, when you wanted creepy Halloween sound effects to scare trick-or-treaters, you had to play them through a stereo. And the speakers aimed at the door were kind of a dead giveaway.


    But with the free Halloween Sounds Pro app for iPhone, you get to control a bunch of spooky Halloween sounds from your smartphone. Sneak up on that unsuspecting teenager who looks just a little too old to be asking for candy, or set the delay to scare the hell out of someone after you've left the room.


    2: iMut8r app for iPhone and iPad



    There are already a couple of apps that let you manipulate photos of yourself and of friends to make horrible monsters on your smartphone. SpookyPic and ZombieBooth are just a couple.


    But iMut8r for iPhone and iPad lets you mutate into a vampire, werewolf, zombie, witch, ghoul, whatever. Mix and match elements for your most hideous Facebook profile pic yet!


    Use your smartphone to turn a picture of anyone into an undead abomination with iMut8r

     


    3: Pumpkin Ninja app for iPhone


    Pumpkin Ninja revives a centuries-old Japanese tradition of slicing jack o'lanterns via smartphone

     


    Addicted to smartphone gaming? The Pumpkin Ninja game app for iPhone lets you swipe at falling pumpkins à la fruit Ninja.


    Not really scary but definitely in the Halloween spirit.


    4. iDrakula app for iPhone



    What's more Halloween than telling scary stories?


    The iDrakula app for iPhone does just that, retelling Bram Stoker's classic Dracula novel with a modern slant through text messages, voicemails, emails and browsers in language geared for the Twitter age.


    iDrakula retells Bram Stoker's classic by sending texts, emails and other messages from the characters to your smartphone

     


    You may get a "text" from a character telling you another chunk of the plot, so the juicy story not only unfolds on your smartphone, but has interactive elements and develops at surprise moments not of your own choosing.


    5. Dark Haunts app for iPhone or Android


    Dark Haunts gives you directions on your phone to the nearest ghost-infested locations

     


    Always itched to go ghost hunting?


    The Dark Haunts app for iPhone claims to help you "find the closest 'real' haunted site near you."


    Dark Haunts' database has over 3,200 haunted locations and is regularly adding new ones. They give you a bit of backstory, and direct you to the ghost-infested locations. You can also choose the type of haunt you want: a restaurant if you're hungry, a hotel if you want a creepy getaway.


    Just don't go crying to the developers if you actually happen to run into a spectre.




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