Dec 27, 2016
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As we move further into the age of wireless audio with the iPhone 7 abandoning the ever-so-present headphone jack, a new category of "truly wireless" earbuds has been popping up. So you may be asking, what does "truly wireless" even mean? Well, as you may have seen, many earbuds that have claimed to be "wireless" actually have a wire in between the buds that generally goes around your neck. So, a few companies, such as Bragi, decided to do away with any and all wires, leaving us with Bragi's first product, the Dash. The Dash started as a Kickstarter project back in February of 2014, with an enormous amount of support, raising just under $3.4 million with the promise of earbuds completely free of wires and with loads of other features. These features included activity tracking, touch controls, on-board storage, water-resistance, and more. The campaign had initially intended to ship out the Dash units in October of 2014, but due to many setbacks, they started shipping out units in early- to mid-2016. With initial reports of problems with the microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, it seemed, at first, like the Dash could be just another Kickstarter flop. Instead, however, the company dedicated a lot of time into creating new updates to the firmware that drastically improved, if not completely solved these issues. The Sound DSC01138An earbud can't be good without sounding good, of course. So, how does the Dash stack up to the competition? After all, the price for these is not cheap, coming in at around $300. Well, they're actually pretty good! I wasn't expecting amazing sound from a device so small, yet packed full of components. What I found was that the Dash produces a good, clear sound, though certainly preferring the mids over the lows and highs. That said, I am quite a bass-lover myself and I'm coming from using a V-Moda Crossfade M-100, so I've been spoiled, and for earbuds, the Dash does a good job producing the bass it does. If I had to compare it to some other earbuds, I'd compare the sound to something like the "wireless" (but not completely wireless) Jaybird Bluebuds, which are quite good themselves. Bluetooth Connectivity Now, a common issue with truly wireless earbuds is their often lacking performance in their ability to hold a strong Bluetooth connection. In the beginning, there were lots of complaints from users experiencing poor connection even if the phone was placed only as far as the user's pockets. Obviously, that's a huge issue, but also one Bragi appears to have fixed through their updates. I can confidently say that I have had virtually no issues whatsoever with the connectivity of these earbuds, other than maybe one or two micro drops in connection. I tested the Dash by walking around a room and was able to go as far as 10 to 15 feet away from the source without experiencing any connectivity issues. Additionally, just the process of using and connecting the earbuds is really simple. All you do is take them out of the case and put them in your ears. The buds sense when they're in and automatically turn on, connect to each other, and connect to your phone or other device. Comfort and Design DSC01125Another historically common problem with this category of audio products is the ridiculous look of the product or their inability to stay in ears due to the sheer weight they carry. Luckily, this is not an issue with the Dash. While you may get some head turns while using this product, people often just don't care, and the Dash really doesn't look bad at all. Additionally, these earbuds were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They come with multiple sleeves to fit your ears (XS, S, M, and L), and once you find the right fit, the earbuds fit snuggly and quite comfortably. I haven't had too many issues with the buds falling out, which has always been a problem for me, whether or not the earbuds I was using were wireless. Yet another check mark for the Dash. Gestures/Controls A neat feature of the Dash is the way you control them. There are multiple ways that you control the Dash, including through the app, touch sensors on the outside of each bud, and head gestures. For instance, if you receive a call while using the earbuds, just nod or shake your head to answer or deny the call. Playing and pausing is easy, with just a tap on the right earbud, or start tracking activities with a tap on the left. One of the issues I noticed is that the touch sensors aren't only sensitive to your fingers, so putting on a winter hat caused the earbuds to do some unwanted actions. After looking around a bit, though, it looks like Bragi addressed this issue by including a touch lock that can be implemented by holding down on both the right and left touch sensors, which worked well and solved my problem. Other Features DSC01143The other features included with the Dash are a microphone, onboard storage, a heart-rate sensor, and a case that charges the buds 5 times on-the-go. To start off, the microphone had quite a few complaints in the early days, with users claiming it was unusable and that the person speaking sounded robotic over the phone. This is yet another area where Bragi has used its firmware updates to address an issue. When I was using the microphone for phone calls, some people said there were no problems at all, while others said it sounded a bit muddled, but they could still hear me and know what I was saying. As for the onboard storage, there's not much to be said about it. Songs can be added through a computer and using it works as described. Next up is the heart-rate sensor, which seemed to be relatively accurate, though I didn't have another device to compare it to at the time. This is a really nice feature for athletes looking to listen to music without an annoying wire and no need for a smartwatch. And lastly, the charging case. The case is built quite well, with an aluminum sleeve and a strong metal or plastic where the earbuds actually rest. The earbuds flash when they've been connected properly, and a magnet holds them in place. My only complaint is that I feel like I will drop the earbuds when trying to get them out of the case because you have to take the sleeve off, hold that, hold the battery part, and then fiddle with getting the buds out. That said, overall, the battery case is a nice feature, as the battery life on the buds isn't spectacular at about 3 hours. Conclusion So, what are my overall thoughts of the Dash? Well, I like them. I don't know if I, personally, would quite want to spend the $300 for them, but I could understand why some would. The features work well and the sound quality is pretty good, considering everything that's built into them. I think Bragi's next product, the Headphone, could also allow a lot more people to purchase their products, with reportedly better sound quality and a much lower price of $149. However, that new product does strip the Dash of many of its capabilities, including the water-resistance, touch controls, onboard storage, and heart rate sensor. So it really comes down to what you want. If you want the smart capabilities, there really is no other product out there that offers all of the Dash's capabilities, but if that does interest you, the Headphone is probably the way to go.

Google I/O Conference Interrupted by Multiple Protests

Google has plenty of fans all over the world for all of the good the giant does. However, not everyone is on the same page when it comes to what the company does, and this was displayed over the course of the annual I/O conference Google had.

One group named “Occupy Google” was there to protest the company not showing interest in net neutrality. On their website, they say that

“Google, with its immense power, has a social responsibility to uphold the values of the Internet. We encourage Google to engage in a serious, honest dialogue on the issue of net neutrality and to stand with us in support of an Internet that is free from censorship, discrimination, and access fees.”

The group says they aren’t against Google, but rather that they essentially want to use the company’s power to give more freedom of speech on the Internet.

A few days ago, Occupy Google set up outside the company’s Mountain View building, also known as “Googleplex” in California to attempt to gain the company’s attention. Google said they were welcomed, but could get wet from the sprinklers. Nonetheless, police came, broke up the protest, and made ten arrests for trespassing.

While all of that was going on, protesters at Moscone Center, where some I/O conference speakers were, were protesting Google lawyer Jack Halprin’s so-called eviction of tenants in an apartment building he’d purchased in San Francisco. In fact, a woman claiming to be one of the evicted tenants found her way into the conference to hold up a sign in protest. She was eventually escorted out of the keynote.

Later that day, a man came in yelling that Google was building people-killing robots. This was likely due to the company’s recent purchase of Boston Dynamics. He, too, was escorted from the conference.

Google normally experiences a lot of fandom at these conferences, but it’s always going to be a source of controversy as it is such a large and powerful company. This isn’t really all that uncommon of a thing to happen at Google, but it’s still interesting to hear the comments from these protesters!

LG G Watch Released, Retails for $230 and Ships July 3rd

Earlier today the LG G Watch went live on the Google Play Store. The watch is priced at $229 and is available in “Black Titan” and “White Gold”. The strap on the watch can be replaced with any standard 22mm strap and the body of the watch is IP67 water and dust resistant. The device is compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3+ and will ship on July 3rd.

Technical specifications

OS
Android Wear

Screen
1.65” 280 x 280 IPS LCD

Dimensions
37.9 x 46.5 x 9.95 mm

Weight
63 g

Battery
400 mAh

Processor
CPU 1.2 GHz

Wireless
Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy

Memory
4 GB internal storage with 512 MB RAM

Ports and Connectors
USB (pogo pin) on G Watch, Micro USB on Charging Cradle

Sensors
9 Axis (Accelerometer/Compass/Gyro)

lg g watch available

All-day comfort
The G Watch’s beautiful display, slim design and long battery life make it remarkably comfortable to wear, all day, every day.

A choice of colors
Match your style with a choice of Black Titan and White Gold.
Changeable straps
Customize your G Watch with any standard 22mm (0.86 inch) watch strap.
Always-on display
The G Watch never sleeps. Its Always-on display allows you to check the time and see new information at a glance without touching it.
400mAh battery
The G Watch’s powerful yet compact battery will keep your watch going all day on a single charge.
Certified water and dust resistant
Don’t worry about wet or rough conditions. The G Watch is IP67 water and dust resistant.
Useful information when you need it most
Android Wear organizes your information, suggests what you’re going to need, and shows it to you before you even ask, such as weather forecasts in the morning and flight time and gate information before leaving for the airport.
Straight answers to spoken questions
Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the football game. Say “Ok Google” to get stuff done like sending a text, setting a reminder or taking a note.
Compatible with Android 4.3+
The G Watch can be used with any Smartphone running Android 4.3 and above. Visit g.co/WearCheck from your phone to see if it’s compatible.
Download Android Wear
Download the Android Wear app from the Play Store on your phone to get started.
Source: Google Play

Watch This: Google I/O 2014 Full Keynote and Highlights

Earlier today Google held a keynote in San Francisco where they announced Android TV, Android Auto, and a slew of other services and products that will be available to consumers later this year. The full keynote is now available on YouTube and we edited a video with all the highlights in case you don’t have a nearly 3 hours to spare, check them out below!
 

 

Google Announces Android Wear

Today Google announced Android Wear, it is an operating system for smartwatches and other wearable devices. The software is heavily integrated with Google Now and will have features such as always on listening like that of the Motorola X that allow you to command the watch without having to touch any buttons. Check out the videos below to see the software in action…

Android Wear: Information that moves with you 
Today we’re announcing Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables. And we’re starting with the most familiar wearable—watches. Going well beyond the mere act of just telling you the time, a range of new devices along with an expansive catalogue of apps will give you:

  • Useful information when you need it most. Android Wear shows you info and suggestions you need, right when you need them. The wide variety of Android applications means you’ll receive the latest posts and updates from your favorite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, and more.
  • Straight answers to spoken questions. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game. Or say “Ok Google” to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm.
  • The ability to better monitor your health and fitness. Hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries from Android Wear. Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk.
  • Your key to a multiscreen world. Android Wear lets you access and control other devices from your wrist. Just say “Ok Google” to fire up a music playlist on your phone, or cast your favorite movie to your TV. There’s a lot of possibilities here so we’re eager to see what developers build.

Introducing Android Wear. Useful information when you need it most – at a glance or in a word. Find out more at: android.com/wear

Developer Preview 
If you’re a developer, there’s a new section on developer.android.com/wear focused on wearables. Starting today, you can download a Developer Preview so you can tailor your existing app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear. Because Android for wearables works with Android’s rich notification system, many apps will already work well. Look out for more developer resources and APIs coming soon. We’re also already working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.

Source: Google Blog

Bright Red Nexus 5 Unboxing [Video]

Google recently added a new color, Bright Red, to their Nexus 5 line. It is available for purchase in the Google Play Store for $350 for the 16 GB Model and $400 for the $32 GB before tax and shipping. Check out the unboxing of the device below…

Specs/Features

  • Android™ 4.4 (KitKat®)
  • 4.95″ 1920×1080 Full HD display (445 ppi)
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
  • 1.3MP front facing camera
  • 8MP rear facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization
  • 2,300 mAH battery
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.26GHz CPU
  • Adreno 330, 450MHz GPU
  • Wireless Charging
  • LTE

Google Glass Prescription Frames Now Available for Purchase, Come in Four Styles

Google has released four titanium frames for Google Glass that you can have fit with your prescription or no prescription at all. The lenses are said to be  “feather-light” and will come with a microfiber case, precision screwdriver, and cleaning cloth for $225 on top of the $1500 that are already charged when purchasing Glass. Explorers can go to https://glass.google.com/getglass/ and choose either a Curve, Bold, Split, or Thin Style and choose the color of frame to match their Glass.

google glass frames

I purchased the Thin style earlier this morning which should arrive sometime next week. We will have a full video showing the frames and we’ll see if they are worth the $225. Google also released two new shades, Edge and Classic, which cost $150 each and have gradient lenses.

Watch This: Google Glass Spoof On The Simpsons

On last nights episode of The Simpsons, characters from the show, such as Homer, got a pair of “Oogle Goggles” from their boss. The episode consists of spoofing Google Glass while managing to point out some pros and cons of the device. The full episode, “Specs and The City”, is available for Hulu Plus subscribers online [here] or you can watch highlights of the episode below which, might not last very long on YouTube.

http://youtu.be/Pu5jlEpymSc

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