Pixel C and Keyboard Unboxing and Tour

Android tablets are not something we talk much about these days, because unfortunately for Android tablets, most aren’t really worth talking about. In fact, there aren’t many manufacturers even making them anymore, so our job of ignoring them has become pretty easy. But here or there, someone introduces one worth a look. Like, we gave the Galaxy View tablet/TV monitor/wtf-is-that-plastic-stand-thingy a short look because at least it was doing something different. And that’s why we are about to take a short journey with Google’s new Pixel C tablet.

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Originally announced back at the Nexus event in September, the Pixel C is now available from Google at a starting price of $499. As the name suggests, this isn’t a Nexus. This is a Pixel, which means 100% Google. Google didn’t partner with LG or HTC or Motorola to build this thing – they did it all themselves. That’s really what the Pixel family is all about, honestly, a line of products with best-in-class specs and materials that are the vision of Google.

So yeah, we have one in house and are about to unbox it below before getting to a review. Want first impressions? You’ll get those in the clip, but the short version is this. It’s an Android tablet. Android tablets don’t really offer anything particularly interesting on a software front, because Android has never really evolved into a powerhouse tablet operating system. With this device, Google doesn’t seem to have even tried to do anything different as it just runs Android 6.0.1 in a tablet form that we are all used to.

With that said, the hardware is quite nice. It’s an all-metal design with zero logos. If you didn’t know what that multi-colored lightbar was at the top of the back and didn’t know Google made this, you probably would wonder who it was from (HTC, maybe?). Combine that beautiful, mysterious hardware with what may be the real selling point, the sold-separately-for-an-arm-and-two-legs keyboard, and you get a productivity combination unlike anything else on Android at the moment that is in tablet form.

Pixel C and Keyboard Unboxing! – YouTube Video Here


Samsung Tablet rumor 18.4 inch

A few weeks ago we got word that Samsung may be working on a gigantic 18.4-inch tablet thanks to an import listing. Back then, though, its existence was the only thing revealed. Yet now a new rumor comes to confirm it’s real, and even thankfully shares its most important specs.

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So, this device will have the model number SM-T670. It will come with a TFT LCD touchscreen with just 1080p resolution, which makes for a measly 119 ppi pixel density. The tablet should also sport the Exynos 7580 SoC with a 1.6 GHz octa-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, an 8 MP rear camera, a 2.1 MP front-facing unit, and a 5,700 mAh battery.

It will allegedly run Android 5.1 Lollipop when it launches, and its dimensions are said to be 451.8 x 275.8 x 11.9 mm. There’s currently no telling when we’ll see it in stores, or how much it will cost. Though with that size we assume this will be targeted at some pretty niche use-cases.

Recently Samsung has also been rumored to be working on a 12-inch Windows 10 tablet, so the Korean company seems to be pretty serious about large (and extra large) tablets this year.

How to root your Android phone or tablet

Is the allure of being a superuser tempting you? Android rooting opens up a world of possibility, but it can also void your warranty, or even leave you with a bricked device. Yes, when it comes to rooting your Android, you’ll want to know the benefits as well as the risks.
Manufacturers and carriers have a vested interest in dissuading you from rooting. The act of rooting can be inherently dangerous. Even so, for the careful user, the risk is minimal, and the potential benefits are impressive. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps to root your phone. Some devices can be rooted in minutes. Others take a little research. One thing is clear: rooting your phone can be one of the best ways to tap into the deep potential of your Android device.

What is rooting?

Rooting is jailbreaking for Androids and allows users to dive deeper into a phone’s sub-system. Essentially, it’ll allow you to access the entire operating system and be able to customize just about anything on your Android. With root access, you can get around any restrictions that your manufacturer or carrier may have applied. You can run more apps, you can overclock or underclock your processor, replace the firmware.
The process requires users to back up current software and flashing (installing) a new custom ROM (modified version of Android).

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Why would you root?

One of the most obvious incentives to root your Android device is to rid yourself of the bloatware that’s impossible to uninstall. You’ll be able to set up wireless tethering, even if it has been disabled by default. Additional benefits include the ability to install special apps and flash custom ROMs, each of which can add extra features and streamline your phone or tablet’s performance. A lot of people are tempted by the ability to completely customize the look of their phones. You can also manually accept or deny app permissions.
You won’t find a lot of amazing must-have apps when you root, but there are enough to make it worthwhile. For example, some apps allow you to automatically backup all of your apps and all of their data, completely block advertisements, create secure tunnels to the Internet, overclock your processor, or make your device a wireless hotspot.

Why wouldn’t you root?

There are essentially three potential cons to rooting your Android.
Voiding your warranty: Some manufacturers or carriers will use rooting as an excuse to void your warranty. It’s worth keeping in mind that you can always unroot. If you need to send the device back for repair, simply flash the original backup ROM you made and no one will ever know that it was rooted.
Bricking your phone: Whenever you tamper too much, you run at least a small risk of bricking your device. The obvious way to avoid it happening is to follow instructions carefully. Make sure that the guide you are following works for your device and that any custom ROM you flash is designed specifically for it. If you do your research and pay attention to feedback from others, bricking should never occur.
Security risks: Rooting may introduce some security risks. Depending on what services or apps you use on your device, rooting could create a security vulnerability. For example, Google refuses to support the Google Wallet service for rooted devices.

How to root your Android?

Two recent rooting programs that have garnered some attention in the past few months are Towelroot and Kingo Root. Both will root your device in the time it takes to brush your teeth. However, both rooting programs aren’t compatible with every Android device. Here’s Kingo’s list of compatible devices.
If your phone is not compatible with these devices, you’ll have to spend a little time researching ways to root on Androd forums. The best place to start is XDA Developers Forum. Look for a thread on your specific device and you’re sure to find a method that has worked for other people. It’s worth spending some time researching the right method for your device.
Preparation for root
Back up everything that’s important to you before you start. You should also always back up your current ROM before you flash a new one.

You’ll want to ensure that your device is fully charged before you begin. You’ll also need to turn USB debugging on. On Android 4.2 you’ll enable USB debugging by going to Settings>About Phone>Developer Options> and then check the box next to USB debugging.
Most Android rooting methods require you to install some software on your computer. It’s possible you’ll need to install the Android SDK. You may find other software is required. Make sure you follow the instructions on the XDA developers forum and install all of it before proceeding.

Unlock your bootloader

Before you get started, You will also need to unlock your bootloader. Bootloader is a program that determines which applications will run in your phone’s startup process.
Unlocking your bootloader will allow you to customize your device. Manufacturers have responded to a demand for customization. Many of them have provided methods to help you unlock the bootloader on their website, though they are generally provided for developers, and they usually require you to sign up or register an account first.

Some manufacturers and carriers don’t allow bootloader unlocking, but you can often find a way around that with some searching (try the XDA Developers forum).

Using Towelroot

One of the easiest methods of rooting is through Towelroot. This option works on most Android devices, (it was designed to root the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5) but not all–specifically some Motorola and HTC devices. Unlike other rooting programs that require downloading and running a program on your computer, Towelroot will root your device by simply downloading and running the app. No computer needed. However, Towelroot will only work with devices

To use Towelroot, you’ll have to enable your device to install apps from unknown sources. This can be accessed by clicking on Settings>Security> Unknown Sources. Now you’ll be able to download apps from outside the Google Play store.
Now go to Towelroot in your phone’s browser and click on the Lambda symbol. For more information check out Gadget Hacks’ youtube video.

Using Kingo Android Root

The Windows based, Kingo Android Root is one of the easiest ways to root your Android device. First, check to see if your device is compatible with Kingo. Their site provides a list of compatible devices. Then, download Kingo Android Root and enable the USB debugging mode on your phone.

Once you’ve enabled USB debugging mode on your phone, run the program on your PC and connect your Android to your PC with a USB cord. The program should detect your device and a message asking if you’d like to root will appear. Select “root” and then hang tight. Kingo will only take a few minutes to grant super user privileges.
Rooting forums
No other mobile operating system parallels the diversity of Android OS. For this reason, there’s no universal way to root your device. If the above two options fail, don’t fret. There is likely a guide on how to root your specific device available somewhere online. Generally you can find a guide to your device on such as XDA developers’ forum and Phandroid Forums.
Once you have found the right guide for your phone or tablet, it’s simply a case of working through the listed steps methodically. It can be a complicated procedure and it can take a while. Here’s an example guide for rooting the Samsung Galaxy S4. It can appear intimidating at first glance, but provided you follow it step-by-step, it should be a pain-free process. You can post questions in the XDA Developers forum if you run into trouble.

Download Root Checker

You’ll need to download another app to make sure your device has been successfully rooted. There are several apps available on the Google Play store that, when downloaded, will tell you if you have super-rooter permission. Root Checker is a popular one. Simply downloading and running the app will tell you if your phone has super-user permissions.
Install a root management app

Rooting will make your phone more vulnerable to security threats. Installing a root management app will give you more peace of mind. Normally, every app that requires rooted privileges will ask for your approval. This is where root management apps, such as SuperSU, come in. SuperSU lets you allow or deny sites’ requests for super user permission. It will then keep track of the permissible apps and automatically grant permission next time you use the app. SuperSU will also keep track of how many times an app requests to root.

Unrooting your Android

For all the good that is rooting, you may want to go back to the way things were. SuperSU allows users to unroot phones by simply going into the app’s settings and select the full unroot option.
To root or not to root
Gaining full root access to your Android device can be thrilling, especially if you want to tinker with settings and customize your device. How much it changes your experience depends largely on the device you have. If you have a shuttered device, like a Kindle Fire tablet, then it’s a great way to get the full Android experience.
The potential benefits for all Android users include improved battery life, root-only apps, custom ROMs, overclocking, an end to bloatware, improved performance, and the ability to upgrade your phone when you want. If you aren’t excited at the prospect of any of these things, rooting probably isn’t for you.

Nokia N1 Tablet With Android 5.0 Lollipop Intel Atom SoC Launched

Finland’s Nokia on Tuesday announced the N1, what the company is calling the “first Nokia-branded Android tablet.” The tablet will be launched in China in Q1 2015 with a brand-licensing agreement extending to an OEM partner (Foxconn) that will manufacture, distribute, and sell it.

The Nokia N1 will cost $249 (roughly Rs. 15,400) before taxes, and will be made available in other markets globally.

With the launch of the Nokia N1 tablet, the company neatly bypasses the restrictions imposed by the Microsoft deal – for those unaware, after the acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services division by Microsoft in April, the Finnish company can no longer use the Nokia brand on smartphones till Q4 2016, and on feature phones for 10 years.

After the Microsoft sale Nokia was left with its core network equipment and services business plus its smaller Here mapping and navigation unit and Nokia Technologies, which manages the licensing of its portfolio of patents and develops new products such as the N1 and the Z Launcher.

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The Finnish telecommunications giant says the Nokia N1 tablet features the “predictive Nokia Z Launcher” interface on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop, apart from a “carefully-crafted industrial design”. Nokia says the N1 tablet features a “unique one-piece aluminium design with a soft finish”, and will be available in Lava Grey and Natural Aluminium colours.

The Nokia N1 features a 7.9-inch (2048×1536 pixel) IPS LED-backlit display protected by Gorilla Glass 3, and is powered by a 64-bit 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 processor (4 cores, 4 threads) coupled with a PowerVR G6430 GPU and 2GB of LPDDR3 (800MHz) RAM. It sports 32GB of inbuilt storage (non-expandable).

Nokia Technologies’ N1 tablet features an 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera with 1080p video recording, and a 5-megapixel fixed focus camera. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/n/ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro-USB with reversible Type-C connector, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The N1 tablet from Nokia weighs in at 318 grams, and measures 200.7×138.6×6.9mm. Also onboard are 0.5W stereo speakers, and a 5300mAh battery. For sensors, it sports a 6-axis gyroscope and an accelerometer.

Sebastian Nystrom, Head of Products at Nokia Technologies, who announced the N1 at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki, said, “We are pleased to bring the Nokia brand back into consumers’ hands with the N1 Android tablet, and to help make sophisticated technologies simple. The N1 has a delightfully intuitive interface and an industrial design to match it. This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet.”

As for the “predictive Nokia Z Launcher”, Nokia says it helps users to “scribble a letter or two to find their content quickly. Over time the Z Launcher learns what applications are in use, and predicts and highlights the applications consumers are expected to want based on time of day and location.”

Lenovo A8 Review

The Lenovo A8 is an affordable Android tablet with a nice display, long battery life and design that feels nicer than the $150 price suggests. This 8-inch tablet runs Android 4.4, offers 16GB of storage and the ability to add a Micro SD card for more storage.

Overall this is a good budget Android tablet, but savvy shoppers should compare this to other devices on the market with higher resolution displays.

Lenovo sells this cheap Android tablet direct for $179. It is also available at Best Buy and on Amazon where it is often on sale for around $150. The Lenovo A8 tablet goes by several other names as well, including the Lenovo Tab A8, Lenovo IdeaTab A8 or Lenovo A8-50. Is this Lenovo tablet worth buying in 2014? Here is a closer look.

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Lenovo A8 Display

The Lenovo A8 includes an 8-inch HD display, but it’s not as high-resolution as the Kindle Fire HDX and the Nexus 7 2013. Instead, it is a 1280 x 800 resolution, short of the 1920 x 1080 found on many more expensive tablets. Even though it falls short of Full HD, the Lenovo A8 display looks good overall. At 8-inches, the display is larger than the 7-inch screen size found on many cheap tablets and it offers good viewing angles, making it possible to share a photo or video with a friend.

Reading ebooks in the Kindle app, playing a few casual games and watching Netflix on the Lenovo A8 is a good overall experience.

In addition to the lower resolution, one downside to the Lenovo A8 display is that there often looks like a gap between the glass on the front of the tablet and the screen, which makes the content seem to float behind the glass.

Lenovo A8 Hardware

This budget Android tablet doesn’t feel like a $150 tablet. Although you don’t get a metal back like the iPad mini Retina or the LG G Pad 8.3, the midnight blue back offers a solid soft touch that is great to hold for long sessions.

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Glass covers the front of the tablet, meeting a black border that runs along the edge before intersecting the midnight blue back. While not as solid as an iPad mini, the Lenovo A8 offers good looks and a nice design at a much more affordable price.

There is a speaker on the front of the tablet, but there is only one, even though the design makes it look like there should be a second one at the top. There is a Micro SD card slot underneath a cover on the left side. This cover is the only part of the tablet that feels cheap. A small gap makes it easy to accidentally open while holding the tablet. The power and volume buttons are on the right side and the Micro USB charging port and headphone jack are on the top of the tablet.

There is a 5MP camera on the back of the Lenovo A8 and a 2MP camera on the front. These are capable in good light, but most smartphones will take better photos indoors. The front facing cameras is well suited for video chat with Google Hangouts and other apps.

Lenovo A8 Performance & Software

The Lenovo A8 is a capable Android tablet that runs any game or app we tried to play on it. Although Netflix stuttered and jumped around on one occasion a restart solved that problem and left us with an enjoyable experience once again.

Games like ShadowGun and Asphalt Airborne 8 run well on this tablet, which is a good sign that pretty much any Android game will run on the Lenovo A8. For games and entertainment this is a capable tablet for the price.

Android 4.4.2 runs on the Lenovo A8, and while there are several small versions of Android that came after this, it is running a very recent version of google’s Android software. There are some Lenovo additions to the software, but overall this is a pretty stock version of Android, although without an app drawer.

The Lenovo A8 battery life is good , easily hitting 8-10 hours of web browsing, video watching and other common tablet tasks. The tablet also performs well in standby, keeping power for a week or so with minimal use.

Users get navigation software, Accuweather, a file browser, FM radio app and an Office app to handle basic Word, Excel and Powerpoint editing needs.

The single speaker is loud enough for watching a movie or playing a game, but headphones or a Bluetooth speaker are high on the recommended accessory list.

Is the Lenovo A8 Worth Buying?

At $150 the Lenovo A8 offers a lot of value in a package that feels like it should be on a more expensive tablet. It is not perfect, but it is leaps and bounds better than many other cheap Android tablets on the market.

Lenovo offers double or quadruple the storage and a larger, higher resolution screen than we see on most $100 and $200 Android tablets at most retailers.

There are better Android tablets available on the market, but the Lenovo A8 is a standout value for shoppers on a budget.