Samsung Testing Its Smartwatches to Work With iPhone

Samsung Testing Its Smartwatches to Work With iPhoneSamsung Electronics is gearing up to enable its watches to work with rival Apple’s mobile devices in a bid to reach a wider audience for its wearable accessories beyond its own phone users, an executive said on Wednesday.

Richard Knight, Samsung’s head of global product management, confirmed media reports in South Korea which said the company is running beta tests of the latest Samsung smartwatches to ensure compatibility with Apple iPhones.

“We have a beta trial now in Korea,” the Samsung executive told Reuters following the introduction of new smartwatches in Berlin. “It is completely open. It involves about 2,000 people. So we are making some real progress there.”

Knight offered no timeframe for when compatible products might be announced but said it was very much in the works.

“It is absolutely our goal to make it compatible with iOS as well”, he said, referring to Apple’s operating system software for phones and tablets. “We don’t want people who have an iOS device having a bad experience with our own devices.”
Samsung is the world’s largest maker of mobile phones which run on Google Android software. Samsung’s line of Gear smartwatches run on in-house-developed software known as Tinzen.

The company held 22.8 percent of the mobile handset market in the second quarter, twice the share of Apple, the world’s No.2 maker, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio sport watch

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED

£199 inc VAT

TOMTOM MULTI-SPORT CARDIO SPORT WATCH REVIEW

The TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio is a GPS sports watch that measures your activity as you train. Here is our TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio review. Also see: Best smartwatches 2015.

TOMTOM MULTI-SPORT CARDIO SPORT WATCH REVIEW: WHAT IT IS

The TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio is a watch with a built-in heart-rate monitor. This sits neatly in the base of the watch in order to accurately measure your heart rate from your wrist, meaning you don’t need one of those weird chest-strap things. A built-in GPS receiver provides real-time speed and distance information, so you can track distance, time, pace, speed and calories burnt as you run, cycle, walk or even swim. Then you can store activities on your watch, or share them via TomTom’s own desktop software.

TOMTOM MULTI-SPORT CARDIO SPORT WATCH REVIEW: PRICE AND VALUE

The RRP of the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio is £199.99. But this is one of those happy occasions in which the RRP is merely a guide. A quick look online shows that the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio is available from John Lewis for just £149.99.

Hop over to Amazon and you will pay only £179.99 too.

This puts the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio in the upper echelons of fitness wearables. Creeping toward smartwatch pricing, without being quite there. Which is important, because this is a fitness gadget, and not a smartphone extension. The Microsoft Band retails for around £145, for instance, and offers some smartwatch features such as email notifications. But it isn’t waterproof, and can’t be used for swimming as can the TomTom.

You will pay the same of more for the Fitbit Surge, which is the equivalent FitBit fitness device. So the TomTom is well priced, but only for fitness enthusiasts. See all smartwatch reviews.

TOMTOM MULTI-SPORT CARDIO SPORT WATCH REVIEW: BEFORE YOU START

Setting up an using the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio is not a seemless and slick experience. Far from it. You are warned on the box, and in the instructions, to always connect your TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio to a computer before you start exercising, using the desk dock provided. The desk dock is a slightly clunky plastic nugget to attach, which then connects to your PC via USB. You then visit the TomTom Get Started web page at www.tomtom.com/123 and download the MySports Connect desktop software, and it in turn updates your watch.

This is important, because if – like me – you decide to find out what happens when you don’t update the watch, you will find yourself pounding the streets running 6.45s and being told by your stupid useless watch that you are crawling along at nine minutes a mile. Pah.

A little irritating that you have to go through this rigmarole. I mean, it isn’t 2003 and this isn’t an iPod. But it wouldn’t be a reason not to buy the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio.

In line with the slightly old-school nature of requiring a physical connection to desktop software in order to upload and download to the web, it is from the desktop software that you can update stats for your activities. You can also, however, install the MySports mobile app and pair your phone direct with your watch via Bluetooth.

TOMTOM MULTI-SPORT CARDIO SPORT WATCH REVIEW: DESIGN AND BUILD

TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio sport watch review

Robust and waterproof up to 50m, the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio is designed to be used when out and about, and it is built to last. It’s also lightweight and comfortable to wear, and despite being rubbery and plastic, the design is sufficiently holey to allow sweat to simply drift away.

We shoved it in water to know obvious negative outcome, and for more than a month it has been either in a rucksack or in use, without coming to any ill effect. Also see: Best activity trackers 2015.

The TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio turns heads. It is, it is fair to say, an aquired taste. It is also unlikely to sit on your wrist at the Lord Mayor’s banquet. A bright plastic strap with wholes punched out of it, the wrist band element of the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio is more than 3cm wide at its thinnest point. (Compare that to your watch, it’s wide.) This is a device that screams out to be noticed, which is fine when you are running or cycling, less so in civilian life.

The clasp itself works well, which is important. You don’t want your watch slipping around as you, well, slip around. Those wristband holes allow you to affix the strap at multiple levels of tightness, too. Overall TomTom has done a good job of building a watch around a clunky, sensor-heavy device.

There is no touchscreen. Instead you navigate the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio using a four-button pad that sits below the display. It is perfectly intuitive, if a little clunky at times.

The charging and connecting cradle is mildly awkward to connect and disconnect. We have been using the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio for over a month, and I have still never managed to get it off- or on without a sweary struggle. Perhaps I am just clumsy.

TOMTOM MULTI-SPORT CARDIO SPORT WATCH REVIEW: DISPLAY

A 1.5in backlit greyscale display (22x25mm technically), the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio’s screen has a resolution of 144×168 pixels, which makes for a pixel density of around 148ppi. This is pretty decent on a watch face.

When on the move the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio is clear and easy to read even when bouncing around in front of a face full of sweat. It isn’t a touchscreen, but we can forgive that. See all wearable tech reviews.

TOMTOM MULTI-SPORT CARDIO SPORT WATCH REVIEW: IN USE

After our failure to update false start, we have been impressed by the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio. The GPS locks on quickly, and is very accurate. Moreover, we like the viewing options: even on the same run it is good to be able to view, at different times, speed, average speed, distance travelled, and heartrate. Throughout you can see time taken, distance travelled and heartrate on every screen. You simply choose the big figure in the middle.

We like that you can store a certain number of previous activities. We did find stopping an activity a little counter-intuitive (you have to hit back, which does have a pause sign in place), but accept that was likely our stupidity.

Battery life has been good. We usually charge it once a week, and use it several times in that period. Although it is worth checking: on more than one occasion the battery has run out whilst we were on the hoof.

We can’t comment on the accuracy of the heartrate monitor, but when in use it is always on and always giving us a number.

SPECS

Could The New Apple TV Look Like This?

Apple TV

The new Apple TV will be made official at Apple’s press event later today, the device is expected to come with a new design and a range of new features.

Designer Martin Hajek has created some amazing concept design for a new Apple TV device, we suspect that the new Apple TV wont look as good as his designs.

Apple TV

The new Apple TV is said to come with a new remote that will feature a trackpad and motion control, in Martin’s concept, the Apple TV remote has a touchscreen as well as physical buttons.

Apple TV

The Apple TV is expected to come with an Apple A8 processor and will feature a range of storage options from 8GB to 16GB, the device will feature a new version of Apple’s TV OS which is based on iOS 9 and it will come with apps and games.

Apple TV

Gaming is said to play a major part in the next generation Apple TV and Apple are expected to relese some additional gaming controllers for the device, they will also release an SDK for developers to create apps and games for the platform.

tv1

We will have more details on the updated Apple TV when it is made official later today, you can see more of this cool concept design at the link below.

Aukey 10,000mAh External Battery Charger

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED

£16.99 inc VAT

AUKEY 10,000MAH EXTERNAL BATTERY CHARGER REVIEW

Useful battery capacity, an excellent price and Quick Charge 2.0 support make the Aukey 10,000mAh power bank an attractive device. Find out more in our Aukey External Battery Charger review. Also see: Best power banks 2015.

Update 8 September: Aukey is offering the 10,000mAh External Battery Charger to PC Advisor readers at the reduced price of £12.99! The deal is running at Amazon and starts today at 4pm (BST) and ends Sunday evening (13 September) at 11:59pm using coupon code LAOSTZC – get in there quick!

Last month we reviewed Choetech’s Portable Power Bank. Brick-like in design and pricier than many rival power banks, the Choetech took our fancy for its inclusion of Qualcomm Quick Charge support, making it the fastest power bank we’d seen.

Then we received this Aukey 10,000mAh External Battery Charger. It’s still reasonably heavy at 247g, and you’re probably going to want to carry it in a bag rather than a pocket, but with a lower capacity the Aukey isn’t such a chunk of a device. It’s also half the price but with the same key lightning-quick specs. The Aukey External Battery Charger costs just £16.99 fromAmazon.

In common with the Choetech, on one of its two USB outputs the Aukey supports Quick Charge 2.0, which can reduce charging time by up to 75 percent with compatible phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S6. On this connection there is also AlPower intelligent device-recognition for phones and tablets that don’t support the Quick Charge 2.0 standard, allowing the Aukey power bank to deliver the optimum amount of power for your device. Also see: How to improve smartphone battery life.

Also like the Choetech there is a second USB output rated at just 5W, but unless you need to charge two devices at once we don’t see why you would use it. Where the Aukey falls down in comparison is that its 10W Micro-USB input, while fast, doesn’t also support Quick Charge.

There are several things we like about this power bank. Besides its Quick Charge support it also seems to happily support passthrough charging, which means you can charge both it and a connected phone or tablet at the same time. It can automatically begin charging your phone when you plug it in, and end charging once the battery is full. And we like its price, with the Aukey offering much better value when compared to its Quick Charge rival from Choetech.

The design is more aesthetically pleasing, too. We’ve seen slimmer 10,000mAh power banks, but the Aukey manages to look reasonably stylish. It’s a rectangular black matt plastic bank with rounded edges and a power button that lies flush on one edge. It feels tough enough not to need a carry case (which is lucky as one isn’t provided), and the Aukey logo on top that pulses as the device sends or receives power looks pretty cool, although it can be difficult to see in daylight. Also see: Best desktop chargers 2015.

Something we’re not overly keen on is how this device tells you it’s running out of power. Whereas rival banks at this capacity use either an LCD screen or a series of four LEDs to tell you how much power is remaining, the Aukey uses a less intuitive system: a white LED means it has more than 60 percent capacity, green means it has anywhere between 20- and 60 percent remaining, while red means you better charge it before you next need to rely on it. And that’s our main gripe here: if you don’t have a good idea of how much power remains then the Aukey is all the more likely to let you down when you need it most.

So how much power can you get from this device exactly? The industry average efficiency rate, unless a manufacturer states otherwise, is between 65- and 70 percent. That means you could see 6,500- to 7,000mAh of power available to your phone or tablet. To work out how many times you can then fill your device you need to know its own battery capacity. So, for example, I could fill my Samsung Galaxy S6’s 2,550mAh battery a little over 2.5 times from the Aukey External Battery Charger.

Read next: How to charge your phone or tablet faster

Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.

SPECS

Netgear D6400 AC1600,802.11ac router that cuts a few too many corners

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED

£124.99 inc VAT

NETGEAR D6400 AC1600 REVIEW

Netgear has two distinct router lines. Its ‘Nighthawk’ series of premium cable routers are the more powerful, with giant external antennas, and one model, the R7500, offers 4×4 MIMO quad-stream 802.11ac for the fastest possible speeds. The D6400 is part of a more down-to-earth lineup though, with internal antennas, a slightly cut-down specification and a considerably lower price. See also: Best routers you can buy in 2015

Routers are generally un-sexy devices in the gadget world. When your router is working well, you don’t give it a second thought; it’s only when your internet connection or Wi-Fi drops out that you curse it and maybe reboot it. Manufacturers try out all sorts of tricks to make their router unique and design is one of the main ways to differentiate a product from the competition.

The front of the D6400 has is so reflective it’s almost a mirror and it attracts fingerprints as easily as the average glass smartphone screen. At the bottom there’s a bright purple band, which serves no purpose whatsoever, other than complimenting the black design. The edges are sharply angled and the rear of the chassis is covered in triangular holes (which are air vents).

Netgear D6400 review

There’s another minor addition. Most DSL routers lack a fifth ethernet port for WAN connections, which you might require if you switch provider and need to use an external modem. Netgear has thought of that and usefully provides both a WAN port and a standard RJ11 DSL connector.

The D6400 is slightly more affordable than a lot of DSL routers, but in cutting the costs, a few features have been cut as well. The two USB ports on the side and rear are only USB 2 rather than USB 3, and although the D6400 offers full 3×3 MIMO 802.11ac for speeds up to 1300Mbit/sec, it only supports 300Mbit/sec over 802.11n.

It has 128MB of memory, a dual-core processor and a 128MB ROM. Such details, naturally, are irrelevant to most buyers.

Netgear’s Genie software works well, with a sparse-looking interface but all the usual features in the right places. The main page gives you an overview of the status of the wireless network, DSL connection, parental controls, attached USB storage and a network overview. The ReadyShare software makes it pretty simple to set up a shared folder on attached drive.

NETGEAR D6400 REVIEW: PERFORMANCE

When it came to testing, we expected to see 802.11n results from the D6400 that came out slightly worse than other models. Performance at 2.4GHz was nothing special. At short range it didn’t even reach 100Mbit/sec, but it fared better with 5GHz 802.11n. Its performance was nowhere near the bottom of the pack, with some excellent speeds at range.

It didn’t do too well with 802.11ac though, with some fairly middling speeds at short range, although its results at 20m distance look a lot better. None of these results are terrible though, and as we stated earlier, 802.11ac speeds still trump any older wireless standard.

 

802.11ac modem routers: test results

SPECS

Canon’s DSLR camera boasts an insane 120-megapixels

Canon DSLRCANON
Canon is developing a digital SLR camera with a sensor that boasts a resolution of about 120 megapixels.

That’s more than double the resolution of Canon’s 50.6-megapixel EOS 5DS and 5DS R models, which were announced in February as having world’s highest resolution for digital SLR 35mm full-frame sensors.

The super-dense CMOS sensor in the new prototype shooter is in the APS-H format and the camera would work with 60 of the 96 lenses in Canon’s EF lineup.

The sensor produces eye-popping images that can be printed as full-size posters, said Canon, which announced Monday that it has developed a 250-megapixel prototype sensor for extreme-resolution imaging.

The 120-megapixel camera outputs RAW image files with a data size of 232MB, nearly four times as big as the 60.5MB RAW files shot by the 5DS.

In 2010, Canon produced a 120-megapixel CMOS sensor as a technical challenge and it was never commercialized. Though it released a generic image of an EOS DSLR for the latest prototype camera, there are no immediate plans to commercialize it either.

“This camera was produced as an example of Canon’s high-definition imaging capabilities,” spokesman Richard Berger said via email.

The new sensor can be considered an evolution of the 2010 one but it uses the latest fabrication technologies, he added.

Canon Cinema EOS System 8K cameraCANON
Canon’s Cinema EOS System 8K camera, announced Sept. 8, 2015, is targeted at broadcast professionals.

Canon also announced that it’s developing a camera and display that can record and show imagery in 8K, a new video format with 16 times the resolution of today’s high-definition TVs.

The Cinema EOS System 8K camera and 8K reference display follow the company’s 4K equipment for professional users. They mark the company’s first foray into 8K broadcasting, which is expected to begin in Japan ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The 8K camera will have a Canon Super 35mm-equivalent CMOS sensor with 8,192 by 4,320 pixel resolution at 60 frames per second. The display will have a pixel density over 300 pixels per inch, which approaches the limits of perception by the human eye, the company said.

Canon hasn’t announced plans to release the 8K gear, but it’s part of the manufacturer’s recent push into the film-making and broadcasting market with its Cinema EOS products, competing against established rivals such as Sony.

Japanese media companies could be potential users in the run-up to the Olympics. Public broadcaster NHK, which has pioneered 8K technologies, is scheduled to begin tests of 8K programs in 2016.

Nest’s Dropcam outage reveals the downside of online-only IP cameras

Nest CamNEST LABS
Some Dropcam and Nest Cam users may have felt a little less secure last night, when a service outage rendered the IP cameras inaccessible for several hours.

The outage also affected other Nest products, including Nest Learning Thermostats and Protect smoke detectors. Nest acknowledged the outage at 9:28 p.m. Eastern time, and restored service at 12:48 a.m. The Alphabet-owned company hasn’t explained exactly what caused the lengthy outage, but is encouraging users to contact customer support if problems persist.

For Nest thermostat owners, the outage was a small inconvenience, preventing remote control via Nest’s mobile and web apps. Users could still adjust the temperature directly on the Nest itself, just like a regular thermostat.

However, Dropcam and Nest Cam users don’t have that kind of offline fallback. Accessing the camera feed requires an Internet connection to Dropcam’s servers, rendering the cameras worthless during an outage.

Not surprisingly, local Wi-Fi access for Dropcam is one of the most popular user requests. Still, Dropcam has insisted that this feature isn’t worth doing. “While we recognize there are times when this could be a useful addition to the product, we believe a cloud-based service ultimately provides a simpler and more secure solution for the majority of customers,” Dropcam said on its support forums last October. “Because of this, we do not plan on offering a local storage option at this time.”

The impact on you at home: Dropcam’s online-only approach does have its benefits, the biggest being that you won’t lose footage if an intruder swipes your camera or destroys your hard drive. But when an outage does happen, this approach leaves you without any fallback. It’s just a trade-off to keep in mind if you’re debating between Dropcam and an alternative that does local storage.

Canon Unveils First 250-Megapixel Camera Sensor

Think 4K is not enough? Camera maker Canon announced on Monday that it has developed a 250-megapixel image sensor. Touting the abilities of the new sensor, the Japanese technology conglomerate noted that the new APS-H CMOS sensor could distinguish an airplane flying at a distance of approximately 18km from the shooting location.

Despite being the densest sensor in its size range, the company claims the new APS-H CMOS sensor is extremely fast. The company noted in a blog post that the new sensor has a readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second.

“With CMOS sensors, increases in pixel counts result in increased signal volume, which can cause such problems as signal delays and slight discrepancies in timing,” the company said.

“The new Canon-developed CMOS sensor, however, despite its exceptionally high pixel count, achieves an ultra-high signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second, made possible through such advancements as circuit miniaturisation and enhanced signal-processing technology,” it added.

As for its other capabilities, the new APS-H CMOS sensor could capture great videos too, the company added. You could record videos in the resolution that is roughly 30 times better than 4K, and 125 times better than 1080p.

But don’t expect this technology to arrive on your smartphone, at least for a very long time. Canon says that it is likely to use this sensor in specialised surveillance and crime prevention tools. But don’t get disheartened; the good news is that camera makers continue to make great advancements in the sensor technologies. This would eventually become readily available to the public.

California bills aim to place curbs on drone operations

Aerosense droneAEROSENSE
The California senate has passed three bills, including two that place restrictions on the flying of drones over prisons or county jails and schools in the state, amid criticism of the over-regulation of drones.

A third bill, Senate Bill 142, requiring drones to fly above 350 feet (107 meters) over private property has also been passed by the senate, and been submitted to Governor Jerry Brown for approval.

Senate Bill 170 prohibits the flying of drones over a prison or county jail without permission, with certain exemptions for jail and prison employees, following reports of attempts to use the unmanned aircraft systems to drop drugs, tobacco and other material into prisons.

“Drones offer many fantastic uses for society, but dropping porn, drugs and guns into our prisons and jails is not one of them,” said Senator Patricia Bates, a Republican from Laguna Niguel, in a statement.

Senate Bill 271 makes it illegal to fly drones at certain heights over kindergarten to grade 12 public schools during school hours. It also makes it illegal to capture images of the campus during school hours or extracurricular activities.

Both SB 170 and SB 271 have been sent to the governor for approval, according to Bates.

Current regulations for model aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration limit flying of drones by hobbyists to a maximum of 400 feet, which will evidently limit the corridor through which drones will be able to fly in California to between 350 to 400 feet, if the bill becomes law.

The FAA has also proposed rules earlier this year for commercial drones that would place a limit of 500 feet on their flying altitude.

But states have pushed ahead with their own legislation on drones. In 2015, 45 states have considered 156 bills related to drones, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The nonprofit Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is, offering a tool on its website for residents to ask Governor Brown to veto Bill 142, as the organizations holds that the rules could impact the state’s technology industry, which includes over 100 FAA-approved drone operating companies.

Kodak Pixpro SP360-4K Offers 360 Degree 4K Ultra HD Photography For $500

Kodak Pixpro SP360-4K

During IFA 2015 this month Kodak unveiled a new addition to their range of action cameras with the launch of the Kodak Pixpro SP360-4K (pictured above) that has been designed to provide competition to the GoPro range of action cameras.

Offering the ability for users to record 360 degree footage recorded at 4K Ultra HD resolutions, building on the previous action camera pictured below that is capable of recording full HD 1080p video thanks to its 16 megapixel MOS Sensor.

 

Kodak Pixpro SP360-4K

The Kodak Pixpro SP360-4K is expected to launch next month and will be priced at around $500, available in a range of different bundles providing users with a choice of different accessories depending on their needs and requirements.

The new 4K Ultra HD action camera also comes with a wrist worn remote control as well as being able to link to its companion application that supports both iOS and Android devices. The action camera is also capable of being dropped from 2m and is also waterproof to a depth of 3m. Kodak explains a little more :

See and experience your world in a whole new light. Introducing the KODAK PIXPRO SP360-4K Action Camera designed not only to capture what you love to do, but much more of it! Immerse yourself and record 360° of 4K Ultra HD video without the need for multiple cameras.

For more information on the new Kodak Pixpro SP360-4K jump over to the official Kodak website for full specifications.