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Google launches new Nexus 5 smartphone with Android KitKat OS

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Google has revealed its new LG-made Nexus 5 smartphone, a lighter, thinner version of the previous Nexus 4. Despite the change in size, the touchscreen itself is actually bigger, and the device runs the new version of the Android operating system, 4.4 KitKat.

The new KitKat OS promises more Google features, including voice searching and the new Hangouts App which allows all of your messages to gather in the same place for easy access. Just say "OK Google" and you can send a text, Google search, play a song, or pretty much do anything you want.

The new Android OS also aims to use less memory on your phone to ensure that more smartphone users with lower-end Android devices can take part.

The handset is sleek and slim, and includes a 5-inch full HD display. It also claims to be the fastest Nexus yet, including 4G/LTE Wi-Fi and enhanced camera lens all for a starting price of £299.

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Image: LG

The Nexus 5 is already available in certain countries on Google Play, and soon it will be available from chosen retailers. Android KitKat comes with the new smartphone, and will soon be available for previous Nexus models and other smartphone devices.

Check back to Inspect-a-gadget at a later date for a hands-on review of the Nexus 5.




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Gadget Guide: Smartphones

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Gagetguide_smartphones.jpg

Computer Weekly's Gadget Guide on smartphones gives you a round up of all the latest smartphone news, previews, and reviews from Inspect-a-Gadget.

If you're researching the wide range of smartphones in the market head over to our guide for the low-down on the devices you just can't live your life without. 

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Google extends its Nexus family

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Hurricane Sandy may have prevented Google's press conference in New York from making a big announcement today, but the company has released product details on its official blog

Google has announced three new Nexus devices available in "small, medium and large". 

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The devices include a smartphone as well as a 7 and a 10 inch tablet, all of which run Android 4.2.

Nexus 4 smartphone.

This smart cookie comes with a quad-core processor and... wait for it... wireless charging! Just like the Nokia Lumia 920, you can place the device on charging plates to easily recharge, I'm quite excited at that prospect of this taking off in upcoming phone launches.

Again, like the Lumia, the 4.7 inch (320 ppi) display encourages using your phone for photography with Google applications such as Photo Sphere.

Nexus 7 tablet

The improved Nexus 7 tablet now comes with 16GB or 32GB of storage as well as offering a version with mobile connectivity. No 4G to be seen here, the 3G connectivity will be available from Three in the UK. 

The new Nexus 10

This new addition to the Google family, claims to be the "highest resolution tablet on the planet at 2560-by-1600 (300ppi), that's over 4 million pixels." Also available in 16 and 32GB, it has nine hours of video playback and 500 hours of standby time. 

The Android 4.2 operating system allows multiple users to switch from the lockscreen. With business users taking their personal devices into the office more and more, there is a potential keep different profiles for home and work use. 

Interestingly this 10 inch tablet, is the same price as Apple's 7 inch iPad mini ($399).

The Wi-Fi version of the Nexus 7 is available in the UK from today, while the 3G version as well as the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 will be available from mid-November

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Four years in the making: The best of the best.

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karate-kid2.jpgHaving created this blog and nurtured it for the past four years, I've decided to put the best blog posts/videos from the best on one page.

Diary of an outcast: Apple's Special iPad 2 Event
I will start with my favourite post, the infamous Apple event. I had been invited to Apple events before but somehow started getting missed off the list. I hate Apple so it was no surprise that they didn't want me there. Safe to say that after this post not only was I missed off the list but Computer Weekly never received an invite from Apple ever again.

iPhone Vs N97
This was the first big video project that me and David (video editor) put together. At the time I was so happy that I'd got the N97 I decided to make a video pitting it against the iPhone while mocking Apple's advertising campaign. Little did I know that the N97 would prove to be the worst purchase I've ever made in my life.




HTC Desire HD Review
David (who stars in this video) and I wanted to do something different and create a cool video review. This is what we came up with.

Sadly once we started recording David (and the department he worked for) were made redundant. It didn't effect the video but it wasn't a happy time for us. Having cleared out his desk he set up at home the next day to finish it. This was our last hurrah and the last video I made. Very proud of it.




What is the best mobile OS around?
At this point, no one wanted to be in any of my videos. The company was starting to cut back on them and so I tried to play four roles with four outfits and a moustache before I got told that what I was doing wasn't a productive use of my time. Honestly, how could they say that?

This video used to have a voting element that has since been removed because we couldn't afford to pay for the server the flash sat on.

The most ambitious video we ever tried.





Video: The future of business cards, I'm not taking the Poken
There was a girl I was desperate to go out with at my work. I needed to do a video to have a reason to talk to her but the only thing I'd been sent was a Poken. No phones or cool gadgets. Somehow I persuaded her to help me make this video. We're still together :)




Video review of the wiimote like Gyration Air Mouse
This video is pretty much when I realised that I can be funny. What people don't realise is that filming didn't take long but discussions between David and I on what was funny took forever.

He would stand there saying "That's not funny" every time I cracked a joke or did something stupid. Or one of my favourite lines of his was "You might think that's funny, but it isn't".




Video: Palm Pre vs the iPhone - The big debate
I had 2 weeks before Christmas to do a video armed with my wit and a white wig that was left over from a very bad 'Back to the future' spoof I'd made where I played the Doc. That video was so bad that the company we producd it for sent us a letter saying that if the video ever saw the light of day, they'd sue my a** off. 

David went on holiday with a week left of editing/filming to do so I didn't have anyone to tell me that what I was saying wasn't funny and some of the editing is a bit off. It's still a good video but we felt it was rushed.




Video: I heart iPad - Dating website matches man to iPad
What do you do when you get your hands on an iPad before the UK release? Write a review. Then what? Make a video about having a special relationship with it. Yep, not sure why.



The HTC and Google story: A love affair and a tragedy
Lord knows what compelled me to write this. Had I taken more time to craft it, I think it could've been great but when I read it now I feel it's rushed. Still good, where the idea came from I'll never know.

Video: Flip Mino HD review
This video took 84 takes. For no reason at all I couldn't stop laughing during recording. We got in trouble because it was meant to take a couple of hours but took almost two weeks.

Video: Zeemote review - Is this the future of mobile gaming?
I did this video because Zeemote said that they'd give me a free phone if I reviewed it. So...

GeeklyWeekly Sexy Halloween Special
Wow, how bad is this video? It doesn't even have anything to do with gadgets!!

Do flexible plastic e-paper displays have a place in the market?

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I wrote late last year about Nokia and Samsung developing flexible displays and it now appears that flexible screens are becoming widely accepted as the next step in the evolution of mobile devices/computing. 

Question is, do the flexible plastic e-paper displays, like the one LG unveiled today, have a place in the market?

Short answer: I think it will all boil down to the pricing of devices that include these new displays. 

Long answer: Kindles and other e-books are successful because they are useful bits of kit that excel in one area (replacing books) and, because it's only one area, the pricing is reasonable and affordable.

Tablets can do a number of jobs, including the one e-paper displays can, but with the added bonus of colour and in a better resolution.  

However, if these displays can be utilised in devices that can offer a similar battery life to that of the current Kindle then I think they will have a fan base. 

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Image from engadget

Formalities over, I am a fan of these fexible displays, they seem to go back to the past to offer a new future..... That made more sense in my head.

What I mean is that they could well be the future of the faltering newspaper industry, being that they are flexible like the pages of a newspaper. Paper boys should be scared, they could be in for a cold winter. 

I think people of the older generations that have reluctantly started getting to grips with smartphones, tablets and e-books will feel more comfortable with this but if they are to be widely successful the younger generation will have to get on board too. 

Touch sensitive, HD, colour flexible screens will undoubtedly take off in the next generation of hand-held devices but I am eager to see how these plastic e-paper displays are received. Once they have been approved by original design manufacturer, they could hit the European market as early as the start of May. 

5 of the worst smartphone collaborations

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Following on from my 5 of the best smartphone collaborations entry last week its only fair to revisit this topic in order to bring you 5 of the worst. 

Before I start, I implore anyone who owns any of these phones below to leave a comment because I would love to hear why you bought that phone and what it is actually like to use on a daily basis.  

Just to be clear, I'll be doing this list in reverse order so it will go from bad to progressively worse. Onward and downward we go.

First up is the Jaguar Android, now I'm unsure as to whether this is Jaguar as in the car manufacturer or another pretender so for now we will just run with it.

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What you have here is, put simply, a grey brick. 'But it has Android 2.2 and dual SIM capabilities', I don't care it just assaulted my eyeballs. 

The GPS navigation and Microsoft Advanced Technology for MS office software support suggest it isn't a slapdash job but I still haven't gotten over how awful it looks. 

I have found no evidence to suggest that Jaguar (the car manufacturer) have been directly involved in the design/creation of this smartphone, other than the name, but at the same time I found no evidence to suggest they haven't been involved, so it makes the list.

Second in line is the Disney Android smartphone, for the big kid in us all. If Disney haven't already used that tagline, they should. 

Disney.jpgThe DM010SH (catchy) handset is the higher end model of the two that have been released. It has a 4" 3D capable screen, 8MP camera and a 1GHz processor. 

The handsets, which run Android 2.3, have replaced the normal 'home' button with the mouse ear silhouette and are available in all the colours a princess could desire. White, pink and black. 

Amazingly, this is not one of the worst Android handsets available but, at the same time, I don't think the market was screaming out for Micky Mouse to release a line of phones. 

Next is the Samsung Hugo Boss. 

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Look familiar? That's because it's the Samsung Tocco with Hugo Boss written under the screen. 

There's a 2.8" screen, 5MP camera and.... hmm there appears to be nothing else noteworthy to add. 

What have Hugo Boss contributed apart from their name? Well, much like the Acer Liquid E Ferrari in the 5 best list, they've thrown in a self styled Bluetooth headset. No doubt it would match with a range of handbags or something like that.

Another 'designer' phone now. The LG Prada. 

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Released in 2007, the LG Prada wasn't really cutting edge back then. A poor grainy 2MP camera with LED flash was as good as it got. That's with me even taking into account the huge range of polyphonic ringtones! 

Apart from the shiny and sleek styling the only thing Prada related about the LG was the fact that Prada didn't want LG ruining it by sticking their non-designer logo all over it. 

The time has now come to reveal the worst smartphone collaboration. It may not strictly be a collaboration, or a smartphone (see how I tried to sneak that past you),  but it is none-the-less awful. 

This is Alcatel's shameful attempt to cash in on the Royal Wedding. At £15 a pop, you do get a 1.4" colour screen, calculator app and flashlight.

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What makes it Royal, I hear you ask? Well, you'll be delighted to hear the front is decorated with the Union Jack, whereas the back includes the C & W initials as well as the wedding date. 

The cashing in doesn't stop there though, Alcatel want to give you your moneys worth. This special edition One Touch 208 comes loaded with a wallpaper of Prince William and Kate Middleton while the ringtone plays Mendelssohn's Wedding March. Classy. 

I can't see huge corporations relenting anytime soon and I think they will continue to view smartphones as just another cashcow for the foreseeable future. 

Least it gives me something to whine about though. 

The LG DoublePlay: Are keyboards making a comeback?

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The LG DoublePlay isn't just trying to bring any old keyboard back, it's rocking a split-keyboard! 

If you look back through the archives at some of my other entries, I think you'll struggle to find more than one other exclamation mark. Basically what I'm saying is, I don't go round dishing them out nonchalantly, that devalues them you see.

I used that one in the opening sentence because of the reason for the DoublePlay's split-keyboard. The keyboard has been separated, nice and symmetrically, to make room for a second touch-screen.

Doubleplay.jpg
The LG DoublePlay is going to come loaded with Android 2.3, which will then be powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU. It will also feature a 5MP camera, capable of 720p HD recording.

The main display measures 3.5 inches, with it's smaller, interior, pixely brother measuring 2 inches. 

The LG isn't just a jokey device that the South Korean company have produced for a laugh, the fact that both screens can be used together or separately depending on what you are doing means significant thought and development has gone into this handset.

As yet, the only news I have is that it has been announced on T-Mobile, with sources reporting a release date of around October 26th. There has been no indication of pricing. 

Review: The LG Optimus One (P-500) - Could Android 2.3 Come To The Rescue?

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LG-Optimus-One-P500.jpgThe LG Optimus One has received mixed reviews since it's release four months ago and now it has the opportunity to address them.

When it was first released the Optimus' main attraction was that it made Android 2.2 available on a mid-ranged smart phone at a low price.

Funnily however, most of the criticisms that have been levelled at the p-500 are about Android 2.2 and what LG have done with it; chopping and changing, adding their own tweaks and 'styling'.

The announcement of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) should be seen as an opportunity for LG to tackle and improve some of the poorer areas that have been identified on this phone.

LG gave Optimus owners a shock after initially stating that the upgrade to Android 2.3 would not be made available on their handsets.

Thankfully, they then performed a U-turn within days and announced that the update would be made available.

This news will surely have been much to the delight of many Optimus owners out there who are now eagerly anticipating the release of Android 2.3.

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There is no doubting that the OS upgrade could improve the phone no end but there is nothing it can do to help with the look of the Optimus One.

Looks

It looks as if it has been made from an old car interior and had some shiny chrome trim added to break up the bleakness.

My mum always taught me not to judge a book by it's cover but when a phone looks like this you just can't help yourself. Sorry mum.

To be fair, the LG could be uglier. It has managed to score some points for the simplistic design and layout of the volume toggle, headphone jack, micro usb slot and power button, which are all seamlessly included in the chrome trim.

The home, return, search and menu buttons below the screen are all nicely sized and spaced. They also produce a gentle glow when pressed.

The Optimus is the perfect size to be held comfortably in one hand and the cover, despite it's unappealing looks, provides a nice rubbery grip.

Although, the rubbery back of the phone has also been branded with the Google logo, like a piece of cattle, the Google services on this phone are actually one of the best things about it.

Usability and OS

Google Maps and loads of other Google apps are either preinstalled or available for download in the Android store.

Moving onto the looks of the menu and home screen, things improve slightly but this is where Android 2.3 can make all the difference.

LG decided to make their own default theme and menu style, which does not seem to have gone down well.

In my opinion it is not very consistent, it looks like menus and folder icons have been taken from other phones and just thrown together.

The home screen features a curved dock at the bottom, filled with shortcuts to contacts, phone, messaging and the browser, though they can be changed.

In what I deem a show of extravagance, the P-500 can have five or seven home screens, depending on the amount of widgets you would like to have easy access too.

This combined with the categories of menu items and switches in the notification bar make me feel as if there is too much going on and too much choice.

I don't want to have to make 39 decisions in order to put the phone on silent before sneakily playing games under the table.

message widget LG.jpgA messaging widget created by LG will not get the recognition it deserves if people select seven home screens because they will most likely have used up all of their energy sliding from page to page in order to find it.

If they do manage to find it, they will see the first few words of their most recent texts. This is handy for those who need constant reminders but not so handy if your boss picks up your phone to see you've applied for a new job.

LG could also scrap their much-criticised keyboard when Android 2.3 is released.

The keyboard appears as a normal phones keypad yet the buttons are still small and fiddly on the 3.2inch screen. The several shades of grey that are used don't make the keyboard any more appealing.

It is quite simple to change the keyboard to QWERTY but this only really improves typeability (I know that's not a real word but let's move swiftly on) if you tip the phone so it switches to landscape.

Just to balance out some of this negativity there is one positive. A word predictor, much like the one Apple have installed in the iPhones

A suggestion pops up in a small grey box midway through typing a word, it can then be selected or ignored. This saves a few seconds and in a society where time is said to be money, this surely means each time you use it your gaining at least a few shiny pennies.

Screen and camera

The screen, camera and media capabilities of the LG will not be affected by the 2.3 update but it is still worth looking at them.

To mix things up this time I'll start with the negative.

The low screen resolution (320x480-pixel screen) means the Optimus One is incompatible with Flash Player 10, so no BBC Iplayer.

Either cleverly or luckily, I'm undecided; they have saved their blushes somewhat with the preinstalled Youtube app.

Astonishingly, the small and low-resolution screen does not ruin internet browsing. Zooming in and out is easy, all that is required is a double tap or pinch.

lg-optimus-one-hand-webreview-1-580x362.jpgThe Wi-Fi and HSDPA also support fast 3G downloads.

The 3MP camera sounds bad by todays standards but it is clear and bright. Nevertheless, you can't have it all, everything seems quite soft and any slight movement can cause motion blur.

There is no flash but there are is a vast selection of effects and filters along with a face tracking tool which does what it says on the tin.

The camera can also take videos, with three resolutions to choose from - 640x480, 320x240 and 176x144. Clips emerge as 3GP files and play to a decent standard on the PC or Mac, although the frame rate isn't particularly high.

A little feature in the video recorder that you don't see very often is the ability to mute sound during recording.

This could come in handy if you are the sort of person who is desperate for Youtube views.

You could record a video of your fluffy little Labradoodle barking and then later dub over the video and make it look as if it was speaking like a human.

I'm no expert on the art of Youtube videos or how to get views but I imagine that's the sort of thing that happens...

Adding media to the Optimus One is just a case of dragging and dropping, once it's connected to your computer of course. A 2GB microSD is included with the phone.

The LG allows you to not only easily share photos, videos and music on Facebook and Twitter, it also allows you to share your contact information and friends display pictures in the phones contacts application.

Battery and call quality

Two quick final points to make are about the battery life and call quality.

The battery will last for two days of moderate usage thanks to clever little power saving tricks. An example of one is that the screen turns off when you press your ear to it during a call and turns back on automatically when you finish your call, all thanks to a friendly little proximity sensor.

The call quality is nothing to write home about, the sound is crisp and clear and the speakerphone is a long way from sounding tinny.

Verdict

For all of the good features on this phone there is at least one major flaw that either ruins or takes a lot away from all the hard work that has gone into creating this device.

The Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) update has the potential to turn this phone from a respectable cheap handset to very good cheap handset. That's providing LG swallow their pride and stop interfering with the Androids OS.

However, if LG stick to their guns and decide to try and put their own stamp on the 2.3 update then Optimus owners and those considering buying one, will be left disappointed all over again.

Review: LG Optimus One

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optimus.png

It could quite possibly be the longest time I've road tested a handset... Back in November I was kindly loaned an LG Optimus One - and it's been in my pocket, nestled next to my usual HTC Diamond 2 every since. Then Christmas came and print deadlines beckoned. Before I realised it, it had become part of my everyday kit...

The LG Optimus One is a neat, powerful smartphone that treads the fineline between fancy functionality and basic phone features beautifully.

The Optimus One is similar in size and form factor to HTC's compact Hero (which I quite like, incidentally), but the Optimus One feels more substantial and robust in your hand. The moulded, concave back in smooth plastic, the screen-protecting front in black rubber - it's a heavyweight handset.

Running Android 2.2, the 3.2 inch Optimus One the display resolution is fairly low.

Still, it boasts a capacitive and very responsive screen, which feels solid enough to the touch and responded well to the apps we used. Occassionally, typing proved to be a bit of a chore when the handset was held vertically. But that's a niggle rather than a complaint.

LG have customised Android a little to fit with the handset. It's a gentle tweak - with a custom dock to complement the physical buttons at the front and bottom of the handset. You can define and configure multiple home screens, though we found we were often happy enough going to the Optimus One's custom app page, where you can sort by category to quickly find your favourites.

It seems a bit of a disservice to tag the Optimus One as an entry level device. Some of the specs bear that out but, seriously, in daily use and operation we rarely missed functionality. The 600 Mhz CPU powering the Optimus One was fine in most circumstances, only stuttering and moaning a little when trying to tackle larger, more complex web pages. And it streamed video over YouTube at smooth rates and resolutions, when connected to WiFi.

The bottom line? The Optimus One is a chunky, serious feeling phone that has much of the functionality you'd expect from more expensive models. Incredibly, it's available free on an £18 monthly contract over at Three, for example. I was happy to use it as my main work phone for close to two months - using it mainly to check mail, Twitter, Facebook and to track stories online. Well worth switching if you're in the market for a better handset but don't want to pay iPhone prices.


LG Optimus Prime er... I mean One to get Froyo along with LG Optimus Chic and Android Tablet PCs

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4761782929_abb682dfe0.jpgLG have been quite late to the smartphone party and have found a quiet place among the attention seeking iPhone and HTC.

SO, what have they come up with? Well, it's none other than the LG Optimus Prime... I mean One, the LG Optimus One.

LG say Optimus means best in Latin, but in the real world it means a red and blue truck robot (in disguise) of awesomeness that transforms into an Autobot god, built to fight the evil Decepticons.

I'm going off-track, excuse the crap pun, LG's latest phone looks to pack a punch carrying Froyo as it's OS.

But that's not the only thing LG are offering, they have also announced the release of a lower end smartphone the Optimus Chic (below center), a super phone LG Optimus Z (aka CYON, below left) and Android Tablet PCs.

This is all exciting stuff, I had the LG Viewty when it first came out and I didn't think it was too bad for a touchscreen phone. Since then it seems LG have been powering up to this launch as their releases in between have been largely forgettable.

The one thing that I expect from an LG, and has been the case for some time, is great UI for both tablets and phones. Watch this space.

LG smartphones.jpg




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