Thursday, October 31, 2013

Updated: Google watch: release date, news and rumors

Updated: Google watch: release date, news and rumors

Updated: Google watch: release date, news and rumors

Fresh from creating Google Glass, could Google now be turning its attention to a Google watch? We've heard that watches from Microsoft and LG may also be forthcoming, while an Apple iWatch is also widely predicted.

Samsung has already given us the Galaxy Gear, while Sony has the SmartWatch 2. So what about Google's smartwatch? Well here's everything we know so far.

Google watch release date

Android Police's Artem Russakovskii recently spoke about Google's watch in a Google+ post, telling us that the release date is set for October 31. He also says this will be the date we'll see Android 4.4 KitKat go live.

While it's looking like this will indeed be the day when KitKat goes live, the Google watch is looking less likely. We do think it's close though. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Google was "in talks" with various Asian suppliers about an Android smartwatch that could enter mass production "within months".

Looks like we won't be seeing anything until 2014, then.

Google watch design

A filing with the US Patent Office from early May 2013 showed a "smart-watch with user interface features" - it sounds pretty clear to us what that might mean.

The watch displayed in the illustration has two touchpads on either side of the display face. The patent says that you'll be able to use these to "pinch, stretch and scroll on a platform with limited space available for user input." This could mean it will interact with Google Glass.

It's possible that the watch will also rely o n a Google Now-style use of information cards, and after word that the watch will integrate the personal assistant features of Google Now, it seems even more likely.

Google watch features

There's obviously a big question around what kind of operating system the Google smartwatch will be running. Right now it's all guess work, but the fact that the big Google Watch reveal is rumored to be after Android 4.4 KitKat - October 31 - means we reckon it will be lifting a lot of the tasty new Android features.

One thing that the Google smartwatch is rumored to be going big on is Google now, which some sources reckon will lie at the heart of the watch.

If so, this means we could be talking to our Google watch - very Google Glass style, then - to check emails or see what the weather forecast holds. We expect this also means you'll need a phone that supports Google Now in order to take advantage of the watch's core features.

A recent report claims that Google is hard at work to solve the ongoing problem of the smartwatch battery. Apparently it's looking at methods to reduce the power consumption so we won't be taking it off our wrists to charge quite as often.

Google watch to be Motorola-built?

We've also heard that the Google watch could be manufactured by Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility.

Anonymous tipsters contacted Android Aut hority and claimed the watch already exists in a physical form and has been seen in its Berlin, Manchester and Google's Mountain View offices.

Motorola already has an exercise watch available, the Motoactiv. Could this give us any hints to the possible design of the new Google Watch or should we expect something radically different?


Watch out for the glass

The Motorola aspect is particularly interesting, though not all that surprising now that it's owned by Google â€" and that Motorola released its own smartwatch, the Motoactv, in 2011.

The same sources also state that the watch is "not a standalone device yet", claiming that it needs to be tethered to a smartphone to function properly. This part isn't so surprising given that Google Glass works much the same way.

Google watch name

As for the name of a Google watch, many are predicting that it could use the same name as Google Glass - in other words, it will be a Google Glass watch. We're not so sure about this, since we'd have thought it will be a totally separate and somewhat more consumer-orientated product than Google Glass is. (And yes, we know Google plans to sell Glass to the wider world too).

Android Police's Artem Russakovskii wrote on Google+ that the watch currently existed under the name of Google Gem. While the final name could well be something different, we have to say we're warming to Gem.

Rumors also continue to abound that Google will launch its own retail stores, although it will take some time to rival the all-conquering Apple Stores, of course.

The stores would enable consumers to get face-on with Google Glass as well as Android phones and, potentially, the Google watch.


Mozilla and Opera will keep Windows XP alive and kicking

Mozilla and Opera will keep Windows XP alive and kicking

Mozilla and Opera will keep Windows XP alive and kicking

Mozilla and Opera have followed Google's lead in pledging to pump life into Windows XP's dying corpse after Microsoft stops supporting the 12-year-old platform next year.

In an emailed statement to TRPro, Johnathan Nightingale, VP of Firefox, said that the company has "no plans to discontinue support" for XP after the April 8 deadline, while Opera Software told PCPro that it will support XP while the OS remains popular among its users.

Unlike Google, which has already pledged to release "regular updates and security patches" for Windows XP until April 2015, neither company said how (or how long) it will support the platform.

Taking risks

Microsoft has sounded multiple warnings that remaining on XP could leave businesses wide open to security and compliance risks in the absence of regular patches and updates. Despite this, the platform still remains relatively popular among both business users and consumers.

According to web analytics firm NetMarketShare, 31.4% of the PC users it tracked in September were running Windows XP - the second most-used operating system tracked that month - behind leader Windows 7 (46.39%).

Businesses are similarly dragging their feet. A recent study by IDC found that 28% of 750 executives and IT professionals are yet to migrate half of their application estates to Windows 7, and 3.7% haven't even started the process. The reason for that? They're too tied up with BYOD projects, apparently.

  • Now we're going to throw you 80 Windows XP tips and tricks. Catch.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Competition: £10,000 giveaway: WIN! A year's Sky subscription, Sigma DSLR, Sony home theatre and more

Competition: £10,000 giveaway: WIN! A year's Sky subscription, Sigma DSLR, Sony home theatre and more

Competition: £10,000 giveaway: WIN! A year's Sky subscription, Sigma DSLR, Sony home theatre and more

TechRadar's parent company Future is giving away a massive stash of tech worth £10,000 in our biggest ever prize draw.

The prize pool includes a year's Sky+HD subscription, £2,000 Sigma D-SLR camera, Sony BDV-N590W home theatre system, a JVC GCXA1 Action Camera, Pure Jongo S3 and lots more gadgets besides. There's even a mountain bike and Garmin Edge 810 Bike Computer!

There are 45 prizes which will all go to one lucky winner.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply text the code TRR to 87474 (texts cost £1 plus standard rates of approx. 10-12p).

Find out mo re at


Already leaky Nexus 5 reportedly heading to Sprint

Already leaky Nexus 5 reportedly heading to Sprint

Already leaky Nexus 5 reportedly heading to Sprint

Judging from the sheer number of leaks, Google's next Nexus-branded handset is likely to be short on surprises - unless your carrier is Sprint.

Android Headlines reported Tuesday that the still unannounced Nexus 5 handset has popped up on the radar yet again, with signs pointing to Sprint customers actually being able to use the handset on their favorite network.

According to a typically brief tweet from @evleaks yesterday, the Nexus 5 will be "coming to Sprint," although the electronic missive provides little in the way of solid evidence to support that claim.

Indeed, the horizontally angled image which accompanied the tweet shows zero carrier branding of any kind, nor any indication that it might be a CDMA variant of the unannounced smartphone.

Where's Nexus?

Historically, Nexus-branded handsets have been targe ted at customers of U.S. GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile, who can easily swap SIM cards between unlocked handsets.

One rare exception was the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which actually made its way to Verizon Wireless, but by all accounts fared rather poorly on the nation's largest carrier.

Yesterday's tweet-leak suggests that the Nexus 5 could arrive in both GSM and CDMA variants, the latter intended for third-placed carrier Sprint.

Tipsters also provided a series of images such the one above, apparently extracted from Sprint's website, where the handset is presumably waiting for Google to pull the trigger - officially, that is.


Hands-on review: Updated: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Hands-on review: Updated: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Hands-on review: Updated: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Lenovo is looking to get back in the Android tablet game with its new Yoga Tablet range, but can this unorthodox slate really take on the iPad Air?

The 10-inch Yoga Tablet gets off to a good start in terms of price, setting you back just £249, $ 299, AU$ 399 - that's half the price of Apple's new iPad and still a good deal cheaper than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

But with a lower price comes compro mise.

That compromise may not be immediately obvious as the Yoga Tablet looks premium from a distance - although all becomes apparent when you approach the tablet and pick it up.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

While the Yoga Tablet 10 may look metal, it's almost completely plastic, making the slate feel as cheap as it is. The textured rear provides something different for your fingers, feeling almost like silk - but it offers little in the way of grip and it won't suit everyone.

It's not all bad news though as the lighter material means Lenovo has managed to keep the weight of the Wi-Fi only version to a palatable 605g, while the 3G variant tips the scales at 610g.

Lenovo Yoga T   ablet 10 review

The iPad Air is far lighter than the Yoga Tablet 10, but Lenovo reckons its negated the weight issue with its rather unusual design.

Lenovo claims its a completely new design, but we can't shake the feeling of Deja Vu as we think of the Sony Xperia Tablet S.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet review

As Sony did in its explanation of the folded-book Tablet S, Lenovo is employing a similar mantra, choosing a folded magazine as its muse. This unique shape makes for easier one handed use - with your hand gripping the bulging length of the tablet.

And to be fair it does work. Having a decent section of case to hold on to really does reduce the effect of the weight on your hand and wrist and we found we could hold the Yoga Tablet 10 for longer periods than our iPad 4.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

There is, of course, no getting away from the fact it still looks a bit odd and left side by side next to an iPad there's only ever one winner, and it's not the Lenovo.

That large bulge isn't just for holding though, it also doubles as a hinge for the stand which folds out from the rear of the Yoga Tablet 10. It's all very Microsoft Surface.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

While the rest of the device is plastic, the stand itself is made of metal, giving us confidence that it's built to last.

You need to apply a reasonable amount of force to prize the stand open, but once done you can then adjust the tilt to fine tune the perfect viewing angle.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

It's certainly a handy feature, but considering a lot of cases now incorporate a stand functionality in their design it's not exactly something people will be queuing round the block for on the Yoga Tablet 10.

Behind the stand hides a microSD slot which can gobble cards up to 64GB in size, allowing you to build on the 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. A 3G enabled Yoga Tablet 10 variant will also be produced, and your SIM card will slot in alongside the microSD card.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Lenovo has made the most of the additional space provided by this huge hinge by placing a large power/lock button at one end, while at the other you'll find the headphone jack.

Dual-front facing speakers sit on the front of the hinge section and with Dolby providing some audio wizardry behind the scenes we found them to be among the better of the in-built offerings.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Holding the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 in landscape doesn't feel quite as natural as the portrait setup, with an uneasy amount of weight distributed at the bottom of the device giving the impression it's always about to slip out of your grasp.

The location of the volume r ocker switch towards the bottom of the right side (when in landscape) isn't overly convenient for quick access and we found ourselves having to shuffle our hands around to manipulate it.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

That bulky bulge has one last trick up its sleeve in the form of the 9000mAh battery, which Lenovo claims will last up to 18 hours. We didn't have time to test this during our hands on with the tablet, but we'll put the claim to the test in our full Yoga Tablet 10 review.

Onto the screen and the true cost of producing such a low priced tablet becomes apparent, as the 10.1-inch display can only muster a 1280 x 800 resolution which is noticeably pixelated.

Lenovo Yoga Tabl   et 10 review

We're used to seeing full HD displays on our tablets now and the Lenovo Yoga Tablet looks dated.

It does have a decent viewing angle and colours are generally pretty bright, but we couldn't get away from the fact that the screen just didn't look particularly good.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Couple that with a display which isn't always responsive to the touch and the Yoga Tablet 10 starts to become a disappointing user experience.

Lenovo has managed to get Android 4.2 Jelly Bean onto the Yoga Tablet, and while it's not the very latest version it is at least close enough and provides a wealth of functionality.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Unfortunately though Lenovo has taken it upon itself to add its own Android overlay to the software, and in our opinion it's made things worse, not better.

The Yoga Tablet 10 is apparently aimed at the hyper connected generation born after 1980. The kind of people who are deeply integrated into technology and own mulitple devices.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Why oh why then has Lenovo made its overlay look like a kid's toy? The babyish icons don't do the Yoga Tablet any favours and the removal of the app tray will undoubtedly frustrate the Android faithful.

You can have up to a maximum of nine homescreens to ease the loss of the app list, plus dragging and dropping apps onto one another will create folders - allowing you to keep things tidy.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Hit the menu button in the toolbar and you get a custom set of options including Theme, Wallpaper, Preview, Preferences and Settings - allowing you to quickly customise the tablet.

The 1.2GHz quad-core processor isn't the snappiest we've experienced and the Yoga Tablet 10 lacks the zip we're accustomed to on the likes of the iPad or Galaxy Note 10.1. It doesn't seem to lag, it just isn't as efficient when it comes to getting the job done.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Apps also take that split second longer to open, and while it's not a huge issue it i s noticeable when you put the Yoga Tablet 10 up against its rivals.

Another area where the Yoga Tablet falls down is in the camera department. We're still not sold on using 10-inch tablets as everyday snappers, but if Lenovo is going to the effort of putting cameras on its new slate it might as well do it right.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Sadly though the 5MP camera on the rear of the Yoga Tablet 10 is not only badly position - you'll find it on one end of the chunky hinge - it's also struggles to focus properly and produce even half decent snaps.

Unsurprisingly the front facing 1.6MP option - located above the screen when held in portrait - didn't fair any better in the short time we spent with the tablet.


An added bonus for anyone picking up the Lenovo Yoga Tablet is the inclusion of a free Bluetooth keyboard.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

As well as providing a full QWERTY keyboard and mouse track pad, the keyboard also doubles as a cover to protect the screen of the Yoga Tablet, using magnets to keep itself in place.

Put the cover onto the Yoga Tablet and sleep mode will activate. Remove it, and the tablet will wake up, ready to be used.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Lenovo claims you can get 75 days out of the keyboard from one charge if you use it for two hours a day.

The keyboard itself isn't too bad to type on with some decent travel between keys, although its flimsy plastic construction makes us fear for its well being. T his is something which could be broken easily.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

A slightly annoying factor on the keyboard is the port used to charge it. Lenovo has designed a special port just for the keyboard in an attempt to keep it as thin and light as possible.

However it requires a special cable to charge and if you don't happen to have it on you and the keyboard dies then you're out of luck as the standard microUSB cable used to charge the tablet won't be able to help you here.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Early verdict

During the presentation of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 things were looking good with a decent sounding spec sheet, free keyboard a nd impressive 18 hour battery life piquing our interest - that was until we actually got our hands on the thing.

The screen is disappointing, the cameras are pretty much useless, the UI is childish and the cheap quad-core processor doesn't have the same oomph as its high-end rivals.

Of course this is hardly a surprise considering the almost bargain basement price tag the Yoga Tablet 10 is sporting, but if you're looking for an affordable 10-inch tablet you might want to hold out for the new Nexus 10.


//PART 2