Mobile Magazine Gadgets, Smartphones, Android Tablets, iPhone, iPad and all the latest tech you'd expect. Fri, 21 Feb 2014 10:36:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Amazon Appstore for Android Holiday Deals, Including Free Apps Sat, 30 Nov 2013 00:28:47 +0000 Michael Kwan 131129-amz
Not to be outdone by the Google Play Store deals happening this weekend, there are tons of deals from the Amazon Appstore that will be offered starting now and throughout the holiday shopping season. They say that they will have “hundreds of titles that are eitehr free… or available between 50-90% off” the regular price.

The free apps will be a part of the ongoing “Free App of the Day” promotion. For example, starting today on Black Friday and running through to Sunday, December 1, you can get a free gaming bundle worth almost $18. This bundle includes Angry Birds Space, Sonic the Hedgehog, Quell, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Fruit Ninja, and more. On Cyber Monday, you’ll be able to score Monsters Ate My Condo for free.

As far as the discounts for this weekend go, running until Cyber Monday, you’ll be able to get your choice of OfficeSuite Pro (regularly $14.99), Wheel of Fortune (regularly $2.99), or Tablet Talk (regularly $2.99) for 99 cents each. On Cyber Monday, they’ll be discounting ten kids titles at 50% off, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Strawberry Shortcake Berryfest Princess and ABC Preschool Alphabet Silhouettes.

Keep tabs on what the latest freebie or sale is by checking out the Amazon Appstore for Android.

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Black Friday: Google Play Store Apps, Games and Content on Sale All Weekend Fri, 29 Nov 2013 23:30:11 +0000 Michael Kwan 131129-google
Yes, there are people trampling over one another to get a cheap 21-inch 720p HDTV today, but you don’t have to brave the crowds to get a good deal. In fact, some of the better deals aren’t on physical hardware at all.

Case in point, if you head over to the Google Play Store right now, you’ll find that Google is celebrating all Cyber Weekend with discounts on all sorts of content. This includes many popular apps and games, as well as digital content like music, movies and books. You get get The Hangover Part III for just $3.99 for example.

I’ve been playing Star Wars: Tiny Death Star for the last week or so and it’s a great little game. Yes, it’s a little bit of Farmville, but it’s in the Star Wars universe and it’s totally awesome. For Cyber Weekend, you’ll find that you can get an exclusive Google Play bundle with some Bux, some Coins and an unlock for Boba Fett.

And do you know what’s the best part about this whole Black Friday, Cyber Monday kind of sale at the Google Play Store? Because it’s digital content, they’ll never be out of stock. Booyah.

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Black Friday Deal: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-Inch for $100 Off Fri, 29 Nov 2013 22:46:54 +0000 Michael Kwan 131129-gtab
Did you manage to score any epic Black Friday deals this morning? Are you still on the hunt for a new tablet? One of the better deals today is on the 10.1-inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, which is on sale for $100.99 off the regular price.

Regularly listed at $399.99, you can now get the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 for $299.00 on Amazon, including free shipping. This is for the 16GB version, powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor and 1GB of RAM. There is a microSD slot that allows for up to 64GB of additional storage, plus the bonus 50GB of free Dropbox storage.

As if the $100 savings weren’t enough, you’re also getting “hundreds of dollar’s worth of pre-loaded content,” including a free 3-month membership to Hulu Plus, plus a 12-month membership to unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi access across North America. That’s perfect for when you go visit your family during the holidays and into the new year. An extra $10 Google Play store credit has been thrown in for good measure too.

Just like all the other Black Friday deals out there, this one will likely also be of limited quantity, so head over to Amazon now to buy the Tab 3 10.1 for just $299.

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Arduino Co-Creator Releases Plans for $200 DIY Mobile Phone Thu, 28 Nov 2013 23:00:44 +0000 Michael Kwan 131128-diy

Growing up, I played a lot with LEGO. I was never fortunate enough to really indulge in those pre-made kits, so I would bumble my way through my bucket of assorted bricks to see what my imagination could create. There’s just something special about making something out of nothing, but can you really take the same approach with something as complicated as a cell phone?

David Mellis thinks so.

Mellis was one of the people who came up with the now hugely popular Arduino platform and now he has come up with plans for people to build their own cell phone for about $200 in parts. This isn’t some secret project that he’s keeping to himself either, because the blueprints are freely available online for public consumption.


You start with an Arduino GSM Shield and then you expand on it by plunking in a display, buttons, microphone, speaker and interface. It’s really basic, but the resulting mobile phone is perfectly capable of handling phone calls, sending and receiving text messages, showing the time, and even maintaining a basic contact list. It’s like the phones from 90s, but you build it yourself. It’s not easy, but it can be rewarding. If you’re not a fan of the plywood case, you could easily make something way better looking with 3D printing.

Or, you know, you could just buy a brand new Moto G smartphone for the same $200, but you wouldn’t be nearly as cool, right?

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No Discounts for Apple Black Friday, Just Free Gift Cards Thu, 28 Nov 2013 22:00:54 +0000 Michael Kwan 131128-apple
If you were hoping to save yourself some cash as you brave the Black Friday shopping crowds, you’ll want to go somewhere other than the official Apple Stores. This isn’t to say that Apple isn’t participating in Black Friday; it’s just that they’re not offering any discounts whatsoever on any of their products as part of the sales promotion.

Instead, the entirety of the Black Friday promotions at Apple will apparently consist of free gift cards. The sales have already started over in Australia and they could be indicative of what we’ll get when Black Friday officially hits our shores. For example, buying a Mac in the land down under will score you a AUS$150 gift card. You get a AUS$75 gift card with an iPad purchase and a AUS$50 gift card when you buy an iPod, though there does not appear to be any free gift card if you buy a Retina iPad Mini. You’ll also get gift cards when you buy select accessories.

These free gift card deals are a little better than the similar deals offered last year, but if you really want to score a good deal on some Apple gear, you’re probably better off visiting one of the third-party resellers and retailers. Good luck! May the Jobs be with you.

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Black Friday Deal: 16GB Google Nexus 7 FHD for $189.99 Thu, 28 Nov 2013 21:15:55 +0000 Michael Kwan 131128-ebay
Today is American Thanksgiving. That means that many of you will be gathering around the dinner table with your loved ones, carving up a turkey and passing along the pumpkin pie. It also means that many of you will be huddled over your smartphones, tablets or laptops to do some online Black Friday shopping. And maybe you really want a new tablet.

It looks like one of the best deals on the 2013 Nexus 7 tablet is over at eBay. You can pick up the 16GB model for a solid $40 off the regular price, bringing your effective price down to just $189.99. This is the newer Nexus 7 FHD and not last year’s model, so you get the 1920 x 1200 multi-touch IPS panel, along with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and the usual array of wireless radios. You can find buy it now page here. It’s brand new and comes from Adorama, so you know the seller is reputable and you get the ASUS standard warranty.

If you’d rather get some more storage, there’s also a similar kind of deal on the 32GB model where you can save $60. There is a catch, though, because it isn’t a brand new Nexus 7, but rather it’s been refurbished by ASUS. This may have been a warranty claim or some other product return that has been rejigged back to near-new condition. Pick it up for $209.99, including free shipping and some sort of warranty.

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Designer Cell Makes You Feel Full If Your Body Is Too Fat Thu, 28 Nov 2013 17:00:27 +0000 Michael Kwan 131127-fat
It’s hard to lose weight. They say that you need the right combination of diet and exercise not only to lose the weight, but to keep it off, but sometimes, even hard work and determination aren’t enough. Science can help.

ETH-Zurich biotechnologists have apparently created some sort of genetic circuit that could “trick” your body into thinking that you’re full. The idea behind this genetic helper is that it is able to monitor the fat levels in your body. If your fat levels get excessively high, this synthetic genetic circuit will release a hormone that makes your body feel satiated. If you feel full, you’re less likely to eat.

In this way, your sense of “hunger” isn’t so much directly related to how much you’ve eaten in the past few hours, but it is also tied into how much fat is circulating around in your body. The genetic helper can be implanted in a capsule and it contains modified human cells with special genes, proteins and reaction steps.

Initial testing has been conducted on lab mice who were fed a high fat diet. After they got all obese, the scientists implanted the designer capsule into the mice and watched as they stopped eating excessively. And thus, they also started losing weight. When the blood-fat level got normal again, the regular appetite of the mice returned as usual. Mice who got the capsule but were fed a regular diet (5% fat) did not reduce their eating habits.

Of course, fatty foods are only one part of the equation. If you load up on carbs, you’re probably going to get and stay fat too. And if you don’t exercise, that’s not good for you either. All that said, this “designer cell” could be an interesting way for humans to win the battle of the bulge some time in the future.

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Video: Could Comet ISON Lose Its Tail on Thanksgiving? Thu, 28 Nov 2013 00:40:49 +0000 Michael Kwan 131127-comet
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise… but what about the voyages of the Comet ISON?

The much observed comet will be making a dangerous journey around our sun tomorrow, just in time for your Thanksgiving entertainment. In fact, NASA scientists are saying that the activity of our sun could effectively strip the comet of its tail, just as they observed from Comet Encke in 2007.

In the video below, you’ll see what is called a coronal mass ejection (CME). This bursts from the surface of your sun and the effect on Encke was quite noteworthy. What makes ISON’s journey even more noteworthy is that it wll be 30 times closer to the sun than Encke and our sun will be closer to its peak of solar activity when ISON makes its pass. By comparison, Encke’s trip in 2007 was during near the solar minimum.

Comet ISON will also be passing around the sun’s equator and on the same side as a cluster of recently active sunspots. A CME, which is a magnetized cloud of plasma, could yank the tail off ISON, but it likely won’t be strong enough to destroy the comet’s core. In any case, the event could be quite dramatic for all the space geeks in the audience. I’m sure NASA will have some follow-up for us.

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Get the Samsung Galaxy S4 for Free on Contract Wed, 27 Nov 2013 23:50:32 +0000 Michael Kwan 131127-sgs4
With rumors of the Samsung Galaxy S5 launching early next year, it looks like we’re getting the jump on a good deal on the current Galaxy S4. If you hop on over to Best Buy, you’ll find that they have a doorbuster deal on the Samsung smartphone, giving you the chance to buy it for exactly zero dollars and zero cents.

This deal, which is being offered both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, is applicable to a broad range of carriers too. Whether you’re rocking Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T, you’ll have the chance to get the Galaxy S4 for free on a two-year contract. This is valid both for new activations and for contract renewals.

So, the contract is the first catch. The second catch is that you’re still on the hook for the activation fee, which is about $35. Given that the regular contract price for the 16GB SGS4 is still $250, you’re still getting a pretty great deal on a pretty great phone. The unlocked version sells for $799.99, by comparison.

The free Galaxy S4 deal starts today and runs through to Saturday.

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Video: Jolla Smartphone Powered by Sailfish OS, Supports Android Apps Wed, 27 Nov 2013 23:00:03 +0000 Michael Kwan 131127-jolla
Do we really need yet another platform for smartphones? Some former Nokia engineers have gone off on their own to create the Sailfish OS and now the first Jolla Smartphone has launched. For the time being, it’s only available to buy in Finland and they’re limiting production to about 450 units as of today.

This first batch is reserved for people who already preordered the Jolla Smartphone through wireless carrier DNA of Finland, so if you’re not already on the list, you’ll have to wait for the next batch. What makes Sailfish OS a little extra special is that it is its own operating system with its own apps, but it also supports Android apps too.

As far as hardware goes, you can expect a 4.5-inch qHD IPS display, 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, 16GB storage, 1GB RAM, microSD expansion, and LTE support, all for an MSRP of 399 Euro. Jolla is currently in talks to expand distribution through UK mobile providers, as well as in other European countries.

You can find more information at, including some details on the advanced gestures for quick access to the homescreen and camera app.

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