The Anatomy of an Android OS update – infograph by HTC

this is an amazing Infograph detailing the work needed to put out an update for Android by the HTC  since Google announces it (most OEM’s have a similar procedures), till it reaches the consumer, its a long process so no wonder they take some time to release software updates, speaking of which I’m waiting for my HTC One to update to KitKat, the site says its ready now. Yay!

for the source of the Infograph, click [Here]

Gamestick – a quick review

GameStick

note: all the images used in this post are taken from Google, because I’m lazy.

 

 

What is it?

 

GameStick is an android based gaming console,

it has a very small form factor making it very portable,

its made by PlayJam and the project was initiated in Kickstarter,

their campaign was very successful reaching over $650 thousand dollars.

and the GameStick is available now for the very low price of $80.

 

GameStick console stored-580-90

 

The hardware

 

being an Android based device the GameStick

is internally very similar to the hardware found on smartphones and tablets,

on the outside it resembles a flash drive but with an HDMI instead if a USB tip,

anyone familiar with the Android based Tv boxes will quickly recognize the form factor.

 

here are some of the tech specs of the GameStick :

  • ARM® CORTEX™ – A9 CPU
  • MALI™ – 400 GPU
  • Onboard Storage 8GB
  • 32GB Micro SD Card Support
  • Built in 802.11 b/g/n Wifi
  • 1080p Video Playback
  • Bluetooth® 4.0
  • 1 x Micro USB Port (Stick)
  • 1 x Micro USB Port (Controller)
  • Bluetooth® HID Android Compatible Controller

 

I think the hardware would’ve been better, but the device works and boots just fine,

the beauty of the GameStick is that it fits right into the Controller in a specially design bay

which makes it easier to pack and just adds to the portable feel of the device.

I think the build quality of both the GameStick and the controller are superb,

and I found the controller to be very responsive and it feels sturdy in the hand.

 

GameStick-6

but I should note that the GameStick needs an External power source,

usually powered by a USB if your TV has one, or the supplied power brick.

the GameStick uses a standard Micro USB to power up,

and that makes it kinda less portable.

 

this is the kickstarter edition GameStick, just like the one I have

this is the kickstarter edition GameStick, just like the one I have

 

The Software and Games
I really liked the interface of the GameStick,

it is a very simple and clean UI that really fits the console,

I had no problems setting up and starting my gaming,

on the UI you can do everything like manage wallet,

you can view your games and purchaces,

by visiting to the GameStick Market (also accessible by browser),

but unfortunately this device doesn’t have the Google Play Market,

and so the user cannot access the apps outside the GameStick Market.

3_UI_-_GameStick_Popular

as for the Games there is a good but short list of games that is growing,

I have tried a handful of games and all of them played smoothly and just great,

the games are of course optimized to be played with a controller,

and so they play just as well.

 

its critical for GameStick to add more games to the catalog because this is what gives

them an edge over competition (Like Ouya),

which is something I’m looking forward to right now.

 

Conclusion

the GameStick is a gaming console,

its cheap but it doesn’t compete with PlayStation, Wii or Xbox in terms of games,

and the hardware (specs) while can be better but is performing well with current content.

speaking of the games I really wish I could use the games I purchased on my smartphone,

but I have to buy them from the GameStick, although they are cheap at $1-$5 each,

and I really wished for an emulator, a major downside is that I cannot Download such apps from the Play Market.

 

on the plus side, the GameStick is a fun device to play with

and is cheap console alternative for the younger children or the casual gamers,

and as for PlayJam I think its a good device  as a first portable big screen console,

I would love to see how the GameStick evolves,

so I will continue to support PlayJam to see how far they can go with this.

 

for more information, or if you’d like to buy GameStick go [Here]

Super Monsters Ate My Condo – a game

SuperMonsterAteMyCondo

I randomly Installed this game on my android, its a great puzzle game where you have to match the colors of the condo’s to make a high tier of condo.

condos

its a simple idea, but with the addition of monsters, colors, power ups and a spinning wheel of boosts it becomes an amazing game.

boosts

the best of this game is the colors and music, it creates a really silly fun atmosphere and very joyful game play, each game round runs for 2 minutes and you have to do certain achievements within the time limit and unlock more boosts and features as you level up.

Try it out because its a free game:

  • on Android Play Store [Link]
  • on iOS iTunes [Link]

Ubuntu for Phones

 

Ubuntu is known mostly as the Linux based OS for computers, but news surfaced on Christmas about an Ubuntu mobile OS, just like samsung’s TIZEN, this OS will compete with Android and iOS devices, personally I used Ubuntu for about a two years on the desktop and the new OS for computers is good, as well as the mobile version is very exciting, I can’t wait to try phones with the new systems, like:

  • Windows 8
  • TiZen (by Samsung/Intel)
  • Ubuntu Mobile
  • maybe even BlackBerry 10

Check out this Post I made on TIZEN a while ago, it seems that its official if you check online they are planning to release it some time this year.

PS: I still love Google Android though :P

GameStick – promising gaming console

"Ouya" popular Android based gaming console

“Ouya” popular Android based gaming console

you might have heard of “Ouya“, its an Android based gaming console, GameStick is a similar console but the difference is the design, its shaped a lot like the Android TV I bought earlier [Review] with an HDMI output and it can be stored in its own controller, the console uses MHL which is a standard that means an HDMI port also provides the power to keep the device on, just like how the USB port can power up gadgets.

the first GameStick Version

the first GameStick Version

the compact and elegant design is what really attracted me to this “gaming” console, the truth is there are many options and possibilities for Android based consoles, my own ASUS transformer infinity tab can play all kinds of games if you connect a controller to the USB port in the keyboard (provided the games supports game pad/controller).

this is the Mark 2

this is the Mark 2

but the differnce in these consoles is that they have their own user interface, a customized Android and maybe even their own market design.

GameStick UI looks nice and clean.

GameStick UI looks nice and clean.

on the other hand the beauty of these consoles is that they are cheaper than the current generation of gaming consoles (Sony PS3, Xbox360, Wii) and they are also great because Android games are much cheaper and sometimes free even, so the cost is significantly less, another issue is that smartphone/tablet games are becoming better and more developed, so I think that the market for these consoles is still young, and its very promising.

 

you can support GameStick at KickStarter [HERE]

http://kck.st/Uk6VPu

personally i paid $79 to get me one of them, I’d like to see how it plays, you can also read about them in the engadget .

TIZEN – Samsung/Intel OS

logo

 

this is not really news, information on this OS has been floating around the internet for months now (and most sources here are from 2011), but I decided to look at this OS that is a probable threat to Android, Android has been doing well and the past few years it has great market penetration, so what is TIZEN and what are the chances it will compete with Android ? also where will that put iOS ?

 

What is TIZEN?

this OS is a development collaboration between Intel and Samsung developers, powered by Linux Mobile (LiMo) and Linux foundations, Its very close to systems like the MeeGo (formerly MaeMO which I loved on my Nokia N900) and Android however it will be working on issues that Android have regarding copyright (and Copyleft) because Android is an open source OS that has some copyrighted elements; this means its not 100% open source or something.

NokiaN900

the Nokia N900

others who are involved in the project:

  • ACCESS
  • Panasonic
  • NEC Casio
  • NTT DoCoMo
  • SK Telecom
  • Telefonica
  • Vodafone
  • Orange

 

So who are the competitors for TIZEN? 

other than Android there are many competitors, Windows 8, iOS , BB 10 and many other OS’ are out there, the competition is fierce however after reading I realized that the Linux MeeGo is probably the base for the Tizen system, so the relationship between the two is not a competitive one, but rather a son/father kind of relationship.

logo-meego

How will TIZEN effect the market ? 

this is only my opinion, as I am still reading on the subject and I don’t have the information or the ability to tell how will Tizen perform, but I think its a very big project, a lot of people are involved in it, and it will most likely have a few devices released running Tizen before the companies behind it can measure the performance and how the market will react to it (they are designing it to work on Smartphones, tablets, Car systems…etc) so even if say TIZEN is Successful, will it replace Android ? at least withing Samsung ? I don’t think it will, I really hope that Samsung runs TIZEN Along with Android, two parallel systems within the company, but then again I can dream.

 

Honestly the main reason I was interested in this OS is because I had read a bout it a long time ago and I used to think its a threat to Android, but now I’m interested in it because I owned and used Maemo (now known as MeeGo) with the Nokia N900 phone, it was a lot of fun and I think everyone should use an open system like that for once.

Read with me on the sources, there’s much to learn:

  • News Article [Here]
  • TIZEN Wiki Article [Here]
  • Tech Radar Article [Here]
  • Official TIZEN Site [Here]
  • SlashGear Article [Here]

 

I would love to read about any info you have on TIZEN or MeeGo, I would like to write more as I read more on the OS, I hope you find this interesting enough to see that open source software is getting more main stream, which I believe is a good thing.

Miniand MK802 Android TV – Review

The other day I was lurking YouTube and I found this type of Android Devices, they weren’t phones or tablets, but they were TV Media Players, this is not really a review of this device, but is more like a showcase. How does it work? the MK802 is built like any phone or tablet, and it runs on Android. it uses an HDMI cable to connect to your TV and turn it into an Android based Entertainment system: the MK802 Specs are as follows:

 

  • 1.0GHz Cortex-A8 + 500Hz GPU
  • 1GB DDR2 Ram
  • 4GB Internal Storage (also available  8GB)
  • Micro SD Card Reader
  • 1 Standard USB Port
  • 1 mini USB port
  • mini HDMI out port
  • WiFi + Bluetooth
it runs on Andorid 4.0.4 (Icecream Sandwich), and has 1080p output, and it plays full HD content, and it also gives access to the normal android interface (using a launcher) and this way you can access the market and get all kinds of apps on it.

Click to see it connected

 

Why would you need it?

 

this is perfect for people who want to play HD content from a Hard drive or a flash memory on their TV, the cheap price of the player and the versatility of Android as a system make a really strong competitor to other media players like WD TV Live or Boxee, I would also like to mention the Size of the MK802 is way much smaller than any other Media player, and the Micro SD card really keep it compact (up 32GB Micro SD). I have a Samsung Smart TV and I enjoy plugging in a small hard drive and watching  shows, and with the MK802 I can do that on any other TV.

 

Whats in the box?

  • the MK802 Unit
  • HDMI Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Power Adapter (alternatively you can use the  USB for power)
  • Mini USB to Standard USB converter

Video review.

 

here is an Engadget review.

And you can order it here.

please note that I bought the MK802 by mistake,

there is a second version called MK802 II which is better.

EDIT:

and a third version the MK802 III which is better even. :P

Nexus 7

Nexus 7 is the latest tablet made by Asus for Google. I just bought it from PC World here in London. What caught most of our attention, when it was announced, is the price tag on Google’s newest gadget.

image

I bought it for 200£ + rubber cover + Norton antivirus.
it’s 16g I wouldn’t buy it if it was just 8g. Specially when there’s no room for SDcard. Which is a huge letdown.

image

On the bright side the tablet is light, and small fits right into your hand. It has Google’s latest Android update Jellybean 4.1

image

which isn’t a major update like Ice Cream Sandwich. This was more like a deep update for the OS infrastructure. It’s super smooth, fast, and responsive.
Loved Google Now feature.
If you want a tablet this is a must buy.

image

The ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity – a review

and I also bought shoes, but that’s irrelevant.

I finally Received my ASUS Tablet that i was waiting for so long, you can check a Pro unboxing Article Here.

here are the Specs of this Tablet:

  • NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 Quad-core CPU running @1.6 GHz
  • 10.1 inch Full HD IPS+ touch screen
  • Running Android 4.0 Icecream Sandwich
  • 1GB DDR3 Ram
  • 32GB Storage, and optional MicroSD card.
  • WiFi only, no 3G connectivity.
  • Comes with optional Full QWERTY attachable Keyboard

 

Image Source

 

to me this tablet is THE best available in the market right now, the only challenger is the Nexus 7, a smaller more affordable tablet that is also made by ASUS, it was the tablet I was going for but then I decided to go for more performance, and the keyboard was a great selling point to me.

 

The Tablet Overall feel:

I like the weight and Size of the tablet, the 10.1 inch size and the slim design are really comfortable in my hands, its a bit heavy if you wanna lay down and hold it up but it’s not too annoying, the controls are smooth, the speed and performance are amazing, all the buttons and stuff are in the right places, its a joy to use really.

 

The Screen ♥:

this is my favorite part, ever since I got the Tablet I’ve been throwing at it all kinds of Apps and Videos and pictures to see how good it looks on the Screen, and it NEVER FAILS, everything looks absolutely wonderful and crisp on the 1920X1200 resolution, although i have to say the Retina Screen on the new iPad might be more Detailed, but i thing it cannot match the brightness and clarity of this screen, and the colors are probably even better on the ASUS, I need to compare it :P

the other aspect which I love about the screen is the Corning Gorilla Glass, I can basically use this Tablet as a coaster, or even throw my keys at the screen and its very durable and scratch resistant, it does show some smudges and finger prints, but that easily goes away with a little wipe.

 

The Battery Life:

while messing around with tablet I kept my eye on the battery, on the box it says 9.5hours of use, with my heavy use I downloaded and installed (then removed) apps, I played High Definition videos, browsed a lot and played many games, and after 6 hours it had %20.

so i would say with heavy use you can expect 7 to 8 hours of battery life, and with the keyboard attached that can be 12 or more hours, basically I can use the Inifinity Pad without worrying or thinking about the battery running out, with high performance and IPS+ mode on the screen brightness settings you can expect a bit less time, but its still great.

 

The Android Experience:

I guess its what you would expect from Icecream Sandwich(Ver. 4.0) on a tablet and the Jelly bean (Ver. 4.1) update is coming out right now and it should be even much smoother and with added features, one thing extra though is that the NVIDIA Market, it gives you the apps and games that use your tablet the best, and although this was available on the Transformer Prime but I still think its a great feature that enables you to use the tablet to its full potential.

 

The Camera:

I will be honest I don’t care much for the camera in fact I haven’t tried it at all, LOL.

I know many people care about the camera but all I can say here is that it has a front and back camera and Maybe I will Snap some pics and post them here later so you can see the quality of the images.

 

 Conclusion:

this being my first Tablet, I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m quite happy with my purchase ( I got it from Amazon) and I’m looking forward for many many hours filled with entertainment from this tablet, i love the build quality and the overall performance of the tablet, but its not what you would call a computer replacement, and as far as tablets go in my opinion, it’s still not the perfect tablet, and neither is the iPad BTW (in case you were an Apple fan reading this :P).

 

Pros:

+Amazing screen in all aspects.

+Great Battery Life.

+High performance high end tablet.

+Keyboard accessory makes it more amazing.

 

Cons:

- no 3G available (correct me if I’m wrong)

- Very expensive

- didn’t come with Android 4.1 (Jellybean) but its coming

-the USB for charging is not standard (applies to most tablets though)

 

Links:

  • Official Image gallery for the Transformer Pad Infinity [Here]
  • In-depth review of the Transformer Pad Infinity [Here]

Android Games – Gravity Project & Epic Raiders

It’s been a while since I posted any games on Android, I don’t play that much. anyway here are 2 games I liked

the 1st is very similar to the classic Pepsi Man om PS1. It’s called Gravity Project 

 

The other is very similar to one of my favorite games on Android  BattleHeart an awesome action RPG called Epic Raiders 

P.S: use your browser here to install them. Just log in with your Google Account (Gmail) then you can install apps using the browser, very fast and handy .

All you need to know about Android’s Jellybean 4.1

ArDroid did an amazing detailed post about the new ver. of Android I advice everyone to check it out.

Personally I liked how Google is trying to optimize what they did in Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0. The previous update was pretty major and huge, this one is more of an upgrade. making it faster, more friendly, and smooth. Adding new features like offline voice typing, Google now search, widgets enhancement , a more accessible notification bar, and a better camera experience.

The update gonna be release to Nexus phones in July. I’m waiting for the ROM for the SIII :P

for more click here

Google I/O Conference

So I went to GUST with Mephisto to check out the live stream of Google’s event Input/Output. It was streamed on a projection, it was fun. I hope other companies would do same things as Google did.

The conference was long like 2 hrs. The announced

  • Android 4.1 Jellybean released in July
  • Nexus 7 tablet powered by Tegra 3 priced at $200-8G or $250-16G released in July
  • New updates for Google Apps Youtube, G+, Maps. Offline voice typing, Google now <3
  • Nexus Q an social media hub, I didn’t like it
  • Google Glass, I hate it

For more details, videos click here

There will be another conference tomorrow, but I think it’ll be dedicated for Developers.

New Star Soccer: Android Game

 

A very addictive game. You pick up a young soccer player and level him up in small clubs. As the matches come you must always impress the fans, teammates, and your boss to gain stars (money) which can buys you new boots, makes you get new skill points, and if you’re lucky a girlfriend u.u

I highly recommend the game. It’s also available in iOS. Google Play Link

image