Android TV ADT-1 Unboxing

Google has decided to give the market of set top boxes another try with their latests release of devices in the Nexus family. Among these devices Google has announced the Nexus Player. During my time at Google I/O 2014, I was able to get my hands on their early device named Android TV ADT-1. With this new device comes the Gamepad controller for the Nexus Player. The ADT-1 is running the Developer Preview of Android L – now known as Lollipop. The ADT-1 offers a great user interface, solid build quality and bring the competition to set top boxes to a whole new level.

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Unlike other set top boxes, the ADT-1 comes with a gamepad controller which allows users to play their Android games with a new experience. Along with the Gamepad controller comes with the voice search remote (not included with ADT-1, but is in the Nexus Player). This allows users to search for their favorite content with voice activated search using Google Now. For those who do not have the remote, you can still download the Android TV Remote application on the play store. Since this device is just a developer preview to what Google had in store for set top boxes, the Android TV ADT-1 helps us understand what to expect with the upcoming Nexus Player.

 

Android TV ADT-1 Technical Specifications:

  • Tegra 4 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB internal memory
  • 2×2 MIMO dual-channel WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ethernet Port
  • HDMI Port
  • Android L Developer Preview (Lollipop)

By: Andrew Pritykin

Acer Iconia Tab 8 (A1-840 FHD) Review

When shopping for a new tablet, it is always difficult to choose between which manufacture to choose, size and specifications. In the realm of Android tablets there are more than just a handful that you can pick from. With the Acer Iconia Tab 8 priced at $199, its specifications make it a competitor to one of the most popular 7″ tablets the Nexus 7

Acer Iconia Tab 8 vs Nexus 7 (2013)

Weight(g): Acer(360) | Nexus 7(290)

Screen Size: Acer(8″) | Nexus 7(7.02)

Resolution: Acer(1920×1200) | Nexus 7(1920×1200)

Pixels Per Inch (ppi):  Acer(283) | Nexus 7(323)

My impressions remain the same as when I first unboxed the Acer. Its very sleek, clean and build quality feels fantastic. The screen is one of the brightest I have seen in the market  and is a well made device. The only downfall I can say about this device is the rear speaker bar. Its not super quiet but at the same time does not surprise me with a great audio quality. Needless to say I personally tend to use this tablet with my headphones plugged in.

Lastly another benefit of the Acer Iconia is the support from Acer. If you ever have any issues or concerns with the tablet their customer support and relations team is spot on and quick to solve any situation to verify that the customer is happy.

Technical Specifications:

  • OS – Android KitKat
  • Screen – 1920×1200 IPS LCD
  • Weight – 360g
  • Processor – Intel’s Z3745 1.8GHz
  • Memory – 16/32GB internal storage with 2GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE)

By: Andrew Pritykin

Motorola Moto 360 Unboxing

The first format when the average person thinks of when it comes to a watch is round. The Motorola Moto 360 is the first Android Wear device that is round and personally “watch-like”. Many of the other smart watches out in the market today tend to navigate to a more square approach, as for the Moto 360 its the first Android Wear device that adapts to the round interface.

With a first look at the Moto 360, right away you can tell that the team at Motorola have put lots of time and effort into perfecting what they feel a smart watch should look and feel like. Starting off with the leather band, its soft and does not feel cheap. Sitting on the leather band is the beautiful 46mm face that is the Moto 360. In this video I unbox the grey/silver Moto 360 as it also comes in a black/black variant (and soon with bracelets).

Technical Specifications:

  • OS – Android Wear
  • Screen – 1.56″ 320×290 205ppi
  • Weight – 49g
  • Processor – TIOMAP 3
  • Memory – 4GB storage with 512MB RAM
  • Battery– 320mAh (All day mixed)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE)

Whats in the box:

  • Moto 360
  • User manual
  • USB cable
  • Charing Dock

By: Andrew Pritykin

Motorola 360 Top 5 Preview

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On September 5th, the Motorola Mobility team released the Motorola 360. At Google I/O 2014, this was one of the top watches people were looking forward to see. The newest Android Wear device to hit the market is the only one at the moment that is adapting to the round face. With orders finally being submitted by consumers and its $249 price tag, below are my top 5 reasons I am looking forward to the Motorola 360.

1 – Materials and Comfort
#1

The Motorola 360 comes with a stainless steel face and currently with a genuine leather band. Motorola’s Jim Wicks stated that the 360 will come later with a stainless steel bracelet and users would be able to interchange the bands as they please. The only concern with that is if the 360 can fit any band, or will it be like the Pebble Steel and only allow proprietary bands from the manufacture.

2 – Design
#2

Prior to the release of the 360, Motorola ran a design contest called the Design Face-Off. This was a open challenge for anyone to create mock-ups of what they would like to see a Motorola 360 watch face to look like. The contest shows that Motorola truly pays a lot of attention to design principles and is shipping with 6 pre loaded Android Wear faces.

3 – Battery Life
With the specifications released on the 360, we now know that it comes with a 320mAh battery that is said to last a full day with average use. Due to the nature of Android Wear, it is a device that a user should be able to use a full day hence not to lose connection with notifications from our mobile devices.

4 – Wireless Charging
#4

Unlike the LG G Watch which uses the Pogo Pins, the Motorola 360 uses the same induction technology similar to the Qi charger. This allows the watch to not require any physical port or external pins to charge the device which limits the amount of external ports to break.

5 – Round
#5

Currently the Motorola 360 is the only Android Wear device that has adapted to the round format. As wearables continue to find their spots in the consumer market, having a Wear device that is round will make the Motorola easier to adapt to the average consumer. Lastly for developers this is the first device that we get our hands on to test our Android Wear apps on a physical device; rather than using the round emulator.

The Motorola 360 is truly a game changer in the world of wearables and primarily Android Wear. Besides looking forward to getting my hands on the 360, I am even more excited to see what other devices will come out with the round display.

By: Andrew Pritykin

Acer Iconia Tab 8 (A1-840 FHD) Unboxing

When people think of tablets a few come to mind, the Ipad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, LG G Pad and the Acer Iconia. During my visit at Google I/O at one of the Intel parties I was given one of the latest tablets from Acer. The Iconia Tab 8 is running Android KitKat and powered by Intel’s Z3745 quad-core Atom processor.The Iconia Tab 8’s IPS panel has a 1,920×1,200 resolution. It’s also using something called Zero Air Gap that brings the panel closer to the protective glass. The tablet only weighs about 360g and comes with a really sleek metallic finish on the back. Battery life is said to last around 7 hours with constant view, which is not top of the line but is long enough for someone who uses tablets for average use.

 

With a first look the Iconia is very impressive. The screen is very sharp and clear, especially when reading small text or watching HD video. The feel of the tablet is not large and with the metallic brush on the back the tablet reminds me of the similar metallic HTC One. With the very impressive specs and much anticipation for the new Iconia Tab 8, I am looking forward to playing with the tablet and writing a full review.

Technical Specifications:

  • OS – Android KitKat
  • Screen – 1920×1200 IPS LCD
  • Weight – 360g
  • Processor – Intel’s Z3745 1.8GHz
  • Memory – 16/32GB internal storage with 2GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE)

Whats in the box:

  • Iconia Tab 8
  • User manual
  • USB cable
  • Travel Adapter

By: Andrew Pritykin

LG G Watch Unboxing

This year at Google I/O the official release of Android Wear was announced. Along with this announcement the reveal of three Android Wear devices out on display for attendees to check out were the Samsung Gear Live, Motorola 360 and the LG G Watch. Those who attended I/O will be getting the Moto 360 (upon release later summer 14′) and a choice of either the LG or Samsung.

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The LG G Watch is a watch that gives you useful information when you need it without getting in the way of allowing you to continue to get stuff done. Currently the LG G Watch is only compatible with Android devices running 4.3 and up.

Currently the watch comes in two different colors; Black Titan and White Gold. Regardless of the color of the watch it has a standard band size which allows consumers to replace the sporty rubber band with any band of choice.

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Technical Specifications:

  • OS – Android Wear
  • Screen – 280 x 280 IPS LCD
  • Dimensions – 37.9 x 46.5 x 9.95mm
  • Weight – 63g
  • Battery – 400mAh
  • Processor – 1.2GHz
  • Memory – 4GB internal storage with 512MB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE)
  • Connectors – USB (Pogo Pin)
  • Sensors – 9 Axis (Accelerometer/Compass/Gyro)

Whats in the box:

  • LG G Watch
  • Charging cradle
  • Travel adapter
  • Data USB Cable
  • Quick Start and Safety guides

With Android Wear officially on the market for consumers to purchase, it is very exciting to see how the new addition of Android Wear will further impact the world of wearables.

By: Andrew Pritykin

XE16 Release Notes


April 15h, 2014 meant a lot of things in the Google world. First was the opening day to register for Google I/O 2014. The applications are open from the April 15-18. Google I/O is the yearly conference held by Google in San Francisco. The second news update was Google allowed anyone to join the explorers program for one day. This does not mean that Glass is officially out, just allowed others to join the program without waiting for an invitation. Last but not least Google updated Glass to XE16! There are a lot of notes for this major update since XE12 back in December.

KitKat for Glass

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Google Glass is now running on the latest version of Android KitKat. This is the foundation of XE16 update for Glass. Just like most new devices on the market, KitKat brings a lot to the table. Many software features behind the scene allow huge improvements to Glass. KitKat also brings a lot of new changes for developers using the GDK and a minor tweak with the Mirror API.

Photo Bundles

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One of the biggest complaints by explorers in the community was how flooded our timeline becomes for those who take lots of photos, videos and vignettes. With this update, your Glass timeline will combine all your media taken by day and put it into a sub folder to free up space on your timeline.

Send a message with a photo

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With the ability to send messages to your contacts, XE16 adds a little spice to your messages. Now while sending a message, if you press the camera button the background of your message will be changed to the photo taken. Feel free to say nothing and let the picture do its work.

Smarter Home menu sorting

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A minor change but a pleasure to hear about is the new sorting of the menu item on Glass. Both voice menu and touch actions are now sorted by the choices you use most recently as well as the options used the most. If you enjoy taking pictures, “ok glass, take a picture” will be the first option on your menu.

Sharing to Google+ communities

 

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Released 2/28/2014 This update to glass was sent to users prior to XE16 but Google has decided to add it to its release notes. Now users have the ability to share content with their contacts and Google+ Communities. Keep your communities updated with pictures or videos that you would like to share, instead of needed to do it via Google Plus.

Play Music Instant Mixes

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If you enable Google Music from the Glassware tab in MyGlass and you have yet to subscribe to  All-Access, you now have the ability to still listen to music via Instant Mixes. Instead to your playlists through the touch menu, now from your home screen you can swipe forward and begin to listen to music.

Easier Wifi setup with Android

 

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With XE16, you now can easily connect your Glass to any WiFi network that your phone is connected to. Your networks are synched with your Google Account. This makes it very easy for you to connect to networks without the need of MyGlass page.

Networking Help

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Lets admit it, Glass is not the most stable when it comes to connections to networks. Prior to XE16 you would be left in the dust wondering why you currently do not have a network connection. Now if you get stuck without a connection Glass will offer some more information about your current networking status and offer some tips to reconnect. Tap on the internet connectivity card and select More info.

Feedback Through Glass

 

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Google truly listens to their users feedback when it comes to their products. Speaking with Glass Guides and discussions on the forums, explorers had a voice to change things about glass (as seen in XE12 and XE16). Google updated a feature in Glass that now allows users to send feedback to Google directly through Glass. Find the feedback card by tapping on the Device info card from the Settings bundle and being to share your thoughts.

A Goodbye For Now…

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In XE16, Google decided to fall back on two features and take them off of Glass for now. These features are Video Calls and Song Search. Glass is always changing and with this release they felt that both features were not used as often and taken down to free up space on Glass. This does not mean that they will not return. Google may try to enhance these features or possibly wait for someone to make Glassware for these applications.

Screencast

 

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A small tweak for Screencast for glass has been added to XE16. Now if you begin to screencast through your mobile device, it will remind you to tap on your glass to begin casting what you see on Glass to others.

Changes to GDK and Mirror with XE16

As stated, Google Glass is now running on Android KitKat. This brings some changes to the GDK and Mirror for developing glassware. Find all the release-notes for XE16 here. (some images are from the XE16 release notes) By: Andrew Pritykin

How to Sideload and Uninstall Apps to Glass

One of the best things about being a Google Glass Explorer is the capability to try out the latest and greatest applications developed by the community. In this tutorial I will go over the steps to install and also how to uninstall applications to your Glass. Before this tutorial make sure to have Debug Mode Enabled and have the Android SDK Installed.

Glasscopter

In this tutorial we will be Side Loading (Installing via ADB) Glasscopter; a remake of a very popular web based helicopter survival game. Once you download the application titled “GlassCopter.apk” move the file to your ADB directory. For example my directory is C:\Users\FinalTrigger\Documents\Code\adt-bundle-windows-x86_64_20131030\sdk\platform-tools.

Now that we have our application in the same directory as ADB we can launch our terminal. You can do this either by changing your directory to your folder or perform a shortcut by pressing  Shift+Right Click and select “open command window here”.

Connect your glass to your computer with the original Glass USB cable. If you use any other USB cable you may run into detection issues. To check if your glass is connected type adb devices.

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After inputing that command you should see your Glass ADB number and the status “device”. The next step is to install the application into glass using another ADB Command.

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To install any application to your glass input the following command: adb install [application.apk]. For this tutorial we will type: adb install GlassCopter.apk.

Now navigate through your glass and look for the application. In my demo I use voice commands to start the application. “Ok Glass”, “Fly a helicopter”.

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Congratulations you have successfully installed your first Glass Application via ADB!

Now this is fantastic, what if you want to uninstall your glass application. The commands to do this is not the exact opposite to install.

Navigate back to your terminal and type the following command: adb shell pm list packages.

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As a result your terminal will list all the application packages currently on your glass. At a first glass they all may look the same besides the end of each package. This is where you will look for your application package, or a package that resembles your installed application.

Now that we know what the package of our application is named we input the following and last command: adb uninstall [package name]. For this tutorial our command with package is adb uninstall mohammad.adib.glasscopter.

Congratulations you have successfully uninstalled your application from Glass. Now the process to sideload and uninstall this application is the same for all other Glass applications. So now you have the knowledge, go out there and try out the other great applications for Glass that currently cannot be installed by the MyGlass page.

Warning: Install applications at your own risk! Some applications may not work and/or cause your Glass to perform differently.

*FOR MAC USERS: Type [./] before any adb command. For example – [./adb devices]*

XE12 Release Notes

On December 17, 2013 Google released a major update for Glass right before the end of the year. Many of the updates that are released with XE12 were requests by many people in the community.

iOS app

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MyGlass app is finally available on the App Store for many Glass explorers that use iOS devices. This now allows iOS devices access to many features that Android users have with Google Glass. Some features that this allows are:

  • Set up Glass
  • Get turn-by-turn directions
  • Add new contacts
  • Turn on Glassware

Google Play Music Menu

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XE12 now allows you to have more control of your music with the Listen action menu. You can now choose to listen to all of your playlists, and if you are subscribed to All Access you can also choose Im Feeling Lucky Radio to live dangerously when listing to music.

Screen Lock

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One of the most requested feature for Glass is a form of secruity. Google has answered this request with the Screen Lock feature that requires to match a pattern designed using swipe or tap combinations. The lock is turned on every time you deactivate your device or whenever the On-Head detection detects you have taken glass off.

Hangouts Glassware

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With the recent SMS/MMS integration update for Hangouts, you can now send and receive Hangout chats via Glass. This is a great feature for those who use Hangouts as their main SMS application instead of the default messaging application.

YouTube Glassware

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Another new addition to the list of official Glassware is the new YouTube application. Now when you take videos with your Glass you can share directly and upload it to your YouTube channel. Share your world through your eyes now with YouTube.

Wink

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For those who missed WINK due to the update in XE11 that broke this feature, it is now reborn in XE12. Wink is a great way to take pictures by simply…winking! This application was created by community developer Mike DiGiovanni. I find this feature to be very useful to take pictures if your hands are busy and to skips the voice command to take a picture. Do not forget to check out Jeremy Sciarappa overview video on Wink.

Smart Talk with Glass

Google has updated the glass communication with a larger sense of questions. Now you can say “Ok Glass, Google How far to Brooklyn” and Glass will tell your the distance from your current location. Another great feature is Glass can be your nutritionist! Try, “Ok Glass, Google How many calories in a banana” and it will give you your answer! This is a very nice addition to glass as I can see a lot more updates similar to this in the future.

No more “Sent Through Glass”

This was one of the most brought up topic in the community that most explorers disliked the most. When you would normally send a text message it would display at the bottom “Sent Through Glass” and many users did not like this feature at all. Google listened to everyone’s opinion and decided to remove it, but not completely. If you send an email the lovely quote will still show up near the bottom of your signature (which is not all that bad).

Guest Mode?

Google decided to remove Guest Mode in XE12 and not for a silly reason. Google stated in their  release notes

“Why’d we get rid of Guest Mode? Maintaining features in Guest Mode was an extra burden on developers. That’s time we’d rather spend getting out new features.”

I agree with this remark as I personally never really used Guest Mode and would rather screen cast glass on my phone and take control of glass if the user would mess up or not know what to do. For those who would still rather not have anyone messing with their account, Google still allows you to create a new demo account here.

Wall Street Journal

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You can now read and listen to the news you need with the Wall Street Journal glassware application. WSJ will update your glassware with Breaking News, Politics, Technology, Business and more!

Weather Alert

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The new Weather Alert  glassware keeps you informed about approaching severe weather by sending updates to your glass in real time. You can choose from over 120 alerts to customize which alerts you would like to be alerted by.

Winkfeed

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No this is not another feature to take a picture. Winkfeed lets you stay up to date with all of your favorite news sites and RSS feeds. You can choose which feesds Winkfeed will directly update to your glass and easily tap and save to Pocket.

GDK Updates

Last but not least, Google has made some changes to the GDK and Mirror API in the latest XE12 release. You can find all the detailed release notes here. If you have yet to develop any Glassware take a quick look at the GDK documentation.

XE12 has brought a lot of new changes to Google Glass. What makes this update very special is that Google has listened to many of the requests made by those who speak up and give their opinions on Google+ and on the Glass community page. Looking forward to see what future updates are to come!

(some images are from the XE12 release notes)

By: Andrew Pritykin

Enable Debug Mode on your Google Glass

To allow full control of your Google Glass you must first turn on Debug Mode. This will allow you to connect ADB to your Glass as well begin to code and utilize Glass to your machine. First make sure that you have your Glass turned on. Once it is fully powered on make sure you are at the “ok glass” screen.
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Now swipe your finger toward the back of your head (Cards to the left) until you reach your “Settings” card.

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Tap the side of your Glass to enter the settings sub-menu. Swipe toward the front of your glass (Cards to the right) until your see “Device Info”.

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Tap on the this card to pull up additional information on the device. Swipe forward (Cards to the right) until you see “Turn on debug”

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Now tap your Glass and you will now have Debug Mode turned on! If you navigate back to the same card, it will say “Turn off debug” in case you want to disable debug mode at a later point. With Debug Mode enabled you now have the power to install third party Glassware, mirror Glass to your computer and other great development features. Keep in mind to only tinker with your Glass at your own risk . If you have any questions or concerns feel free to ask!

By: Andrew Pritykin