Sunday, November 17, 2013

Google Play Music Comes to iPhone (Free Month of All Access service)


I didn't expect this to happen but Google has launched it's amazing music service and application Google Play Music for the iPhone. This is a really good thing for iOS users! I have been using Google Play Music and Google Play Music All Access since they have launched and they have been two of my favorite Google services. Google Play Music allows users to upload 20,000 tracks from their computers to their Google accounts in the cloud. Afterwhich, all of this music is accessible from any Android device and now iPhone or web browser. All playlists, ratings and libraries are synced and can be streamed at any time. The mobile app also allows for caching music on the device for playback when there is no network connectivity.  Additionally, iOS newcomers will get one month free All Access streaming services (normally $9.99/month) which gives you access to over 20 million tracks, custom radio stations (like Pandora with more features), and smart features that recommend new music based on your listening habits. Google launched a similar deal at launch on Android also offering a $7.99/month deal for early adopters. I bought in early, convinced within the first hour of my free month trial.

This is an app and service I have been telling all of my Android and iPhone friend s about and I'm glad my iOS friends finally get to experience Google Play Music. Even if you don't want to subscribe to the All Access service Google Play Music is worth a look just to have a free cloud streaming service for your own music library. Google Play Music allows you to upload any of your music regardless of where/how you obtained that music. Whatever goes in the folder you designate for it to pull from goes into your library in the cloud and is accessible to you anywhere including iOS now. Google Play Music also has a tool to easily sync your music from iTunes. Google says the iPad version as well as some of the more advance features are on the way.

Check out the video below for full details on Google Play Music.

How many of you love Google Play Music? Any iPhone users excited to check it out?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Nexus 5 Intial Impressions


So after months of aniticipation I finally got my Nexus 5 Wednesday. After immmediately rooting it I restored all my settings and apps from my Galaxy SIII and am up and running. I plan to do a full hands on review soon, but for now I'd like to share my intial impressions.

Opening the box I thought I knew exactly what to expect. There have been so many leaks leading up to the releae of the Nexus 5 that I didn't expect there too be much of a wow factor. I was wrong. I was immediatley impressed after opening the box! I love soft touch plastic and matte black so I am really happy with the finish on the Nexus 5. The black model is pretty much just a  5" display wrapped in a  clean and classy soft touch matte black casing. I am a big fan of the simplistic design of the Nexus 5 and 7. I haven't seen the white model in person yet but I have heard good things about its finish. I'm not a big fan of white phones but as far far as white phones go it looks nice to me. I would have rather seen it white all the way around personally instead of of the half and half design that that seems to be popular with manufacturers.


The first thing that really jumps out as you as you remove the phone from the box is how light it is. Now part of this for me is probably due to the fact that my Galaxy S3 with 4500mah extended battery was a huge brick, but the Nexus 5 is really light and thin! Build quality is great in my opinion, the materials seem well crafted and everything is put together quite solidly. I really dislike the plastic cheap feel of most of Samsung's Galaxy phones, despite how good the phones actually are, but Google did a good job of making plastic feel higher end. 

The next thing that stands out is the crisp IPS+ Gorilla Glass 3 display. There are other displays on high end Android phones that may slightly out perform the Nexus 5, but none that I've seen do so in a significant way. Without the device's being side by side chances are most  won't notice any difference. I'd be surprised if someone didn't like the display on the Nexus 5, I am really impressed! I do think Google needs to tweak the auto-brightness feature though, as it is at times overly/unnecessarily bright, causing unnecessary drain on the battery. Fingers crossed Google addresses this in the rumored upcoming Android 4.4.1 update. Definitely not a deal breaker though and obviously can be tweaked to your liking.

Volume rocker
Power button (and sim card tray)
The Nexus 5 only has a few actual hardware buttons since all navigation buttons are on screens intended by Google (and defiantly ignored by most manufacturers). On the right you have the power button (and sim card tray) and on the left the volume rocker. The buttons are very well  and made of a nice ceramic material. After the cheap buttons on my Galaxy S3, the buttons on the Nexus 5 are a huge improvement, with just the right amount of give when pressed and protruding just enough to be easily found by touch. 

I've only had the phone a few days so I don't want to make any judgement calls on many of the features until I've had more time to test them, but overall I am very pleased with little complaints.




The phone is super smooth and snappy and Android 4.4 KitKat  some nice new tweaks that I'm sure will prove to be more and more noticeable as I use the device for a while. The phone is very smooth and responsive, opening apps and switching between tasks is blazing fast and so far it has handled everything I've thrown at it with no problems. 

The camera, at least initially, seems pretty good. I've only snapped a few shots so I will reserve final judgment for a bit but so far I'm at least satisfied. The new HDR+ takes noticeably more detailed pics, but requires more time to snap and process a photo. I will definitely have to test the camera some more to get a true feel for how it performs, but if you were worried about the camera because of the track record with Nexus cameras, don't be. I'm sure with future updates the camera software will receive additional tweaks and only get better. I've posted a few of the first sample pics that I took really quick while playing with the camera below.
Automatic
HDR+
Automatic
HDR+ (I think I moved while it was still processing)
HDR+
Automatic
Taken in pitch black room
My biggest area of concern is battery life. I was really disappointed that Google only went with a 2300 mah battery. The jury is still out on how this will impact battery performance. The first few days have been ok, but I'll see how it does over the weekend. I work in a cellular black hole (and generally have terrible Sprint service) so any phone struggles with battery life at my job. This weekend will give me a better idea of how  performs in normal coverage conditions. Even with the poor coverage I have gotten about 8-9 hrs of light use these first few days, which at my job is actually pretty decent. Depending on where I am in the building, even my old Galaxy S3 with 4500mah battery that typically lasts 20+ hours under moderate to heavy use, struggles to get through a full day often tapping out around 15-20% or less after 10 hours. So comparatively, the Nexus 5 might have done ok. Again, this is a horrible means to make this assessment so I'll sum it up as initially seeming to be ok, but still needing more time to truly gauge it. 


My only complaint so far honestly is the speaker. It is disturbingly weak! Music is inconsistent and often sounds like a whisper. The speaker (which is actually only one of the grills on the bottom, the other is a mic... Yeah, no stereo speakers) is easily muffled by a misplaced finger making the problem worse. Speaker phone also left a bit to be desired. I've also read about playback inconsistencies where some apps handle audio a bit better than others for no apparent reason. I've been concerned that I won't even hear notifications, but have mostly been on vibrate the last few days so I haven't tested this much yet either. The good news is Google has acknowledged the audio/speaker issues and stated an update to rectify them is on the way. 

I'll have a full review and video soon once I've had more time to test things out, but my initial impressions are very good! The Nexus 5 is a quality device that gives you Android as Google intended at a unbeatable price. It also provides a freedom not many other phones can, supporting the networks of 3 out of the 4 major US carriers (Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T) granting you the power to jump from carrier to carrier and take your phone with you. (Now if the other carriers would follow T-Mobile and drop contracts they might have to to actually compete based on service quality and price). If you're considering the Nexus 5 I can confidently say, go for it! 

Thinking of getting the Nexus 5? Already got one? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Dialer App in Android 4.4 KitKat

Android 4.4 KitKat brings a number of subtle but impressive changes. The phone dialer app has some really nice new innovations. Check them out as described on the Android Google+ Page:

"The phone app (you know, the thing that helps you make a call!) on most smartphones hasn’t seen much change since the days of flip phones--with a dialer, a list of all your contacts and a call log. The new Phone app, which comes with Android 4.4, KitKat, makes calling even easier with improved search and caller ID by Google.  

Better search 
The new Phone app helps you find just the right number, even if it’s not in your contact list, by letting you search among nearby places or even Google Apps accounts (including your company’s directory, if employees numbers are shared), directly from within the app--just start typing, and results will show up! 

Caller ID by Google 
Screening your calls just got a whole lot easier! Even if you don’t already have a number saved in your contacts, Caller ID by Google can help you identify who’s calling. It’s useful for: 

-Businesses: We match numbers against the names of companies and services with a Google Places listing ( http://goo.gl/0c8Egt ). Now when they call you to tell you your table is ready, you’ll know to pick up! 

-Google Apps: Never worry about missing a call from work again - lookups from your Google Apps domain ( http://goo.gl/DUa8SG ) will let you know if someone important is calling. 

-People: Coming in early 2014, users who have verified their phone number and have discovery turned on will have their names and Google Profile photos display whenever they call you, or you call them (it’s great if a new friend who hasn’t been saved in your contacts yet calls you). Check your Google Account to make sure you are happy with how you appear on caller ID by Google: http://goo.gl/g9P3Bp 

In addition to these two new feature areas we have also refreshed the look and feel of the app, placing the people you call the most frequently front and center, so you can call them even faster. All of this is available now to all Nexus and Google Play edition devices running Android 4.4, KitKat."

I can't wait until my Nexus 5 arrives on Wednesday to get some hands on time with these new features. What do you think about the new dialer app? Sound off below in the comments. 

Source: Android on Google+

Grand Theft Auto Online Update and $500K Stimmulus Package Coming Soon


Grand Theft Auto 5 will likely go down in history as one of the best games ever created. I got it midnight launch day and was disappointed that the online functionality was not ready at launch. So when Grand Theft Auto Online launched I was super excited! That is until I actually tried to use it. Anyone on Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 will tell you that GTA Online had and is having a very rocky start. Things have stabalized a bit but it can still be buggy. Many people have lost their created characters and game progress, some even mutlitple times. Rockstar has been working hard to fix these issues and get GTA Online stable and the patch to fix this could be coming as soon as this week.

Also coming this month is the Beach Bum Pack DLC containing new beach-themed vehicles and weaponry that can be used in GTA Online and Story Mode. The Beach Bum Pack will also include more customization options for GTA Online characters, including tattoos and hairstyles. New Jobs will also be added across Los Santos and Blaine County.

Rockstar is still working hard to release GTA Online Content Creator sometime this fall, which will allow players to create, publish, rate, and play custom Deathmatch and Race jobs. Rockstar will designate certain player created content as "Rockstar Verified" and will feature it on the Rockstar Newswire as well as part of upcoming GTA Online Social Club events (weekend events where players can earn special rewards and bonuses). The Beach Bum Pack and Content Creator will be free.


Finally, Rockstar has said there will be a $500,000 (GTA$'s of course lol) stimulus package deposited into the accounts of all players affected, presumably those who played or tried to play during October, in two $250K installments. These deposits will take place once GTA Online has been patched and stabalized and all game progress is successfully being saved. I have already been riding around looking at new houses waiting for my check. How will you spend your stimmulus money? Houses, cars, boats, clothes, weapons? Maybe invest it in the stock market? How many of you will be making it rain and paying some young digital girls tuition? Let us know below in the comments.

Update (11-7-13): Looks like the bonus cash should be rolling out to accounts over the next few days starting now!

Source: Gamespot

Monday, November 4, 2013

Get an Early Taste of Android 4.4 KitKat


Google has been making smart moves lately breaking down many of Androids features into updates in their core apps. This strategy is a great way of getting new features directly to consumers without having to deal with carriers and manufacturers. With KitKat Android 4.4 they've taken this method a step further. Making an official Google home launcher and heavily integrating the home screen and Google Search/Google Now. The new Google Launcher allows users to easily swipe left from the home screen right into Google Now.


With the release of the factory images for KitKat developers have been able to pull some of core apps that have been updated and provide them for the rest of us to downlaod and install. They seem to work for most Android devices running Jellybean (maybe Ice Cream Sandwhich too, I've only tested JB) and I've been using a few since Friday with minimal issues. They are easy enough to install if you're familiar with sideloading apps (installing via sd/internal storage instead of the market). Be sure to go into settings, security and check "Unknown Sources" (Allow installation of apps from unknown sources) first. Then download any of the following apps. You will also need a file manager app (I use ES File Explorer) to navigate to the download folder on your phone and install the apps.

To get the new home screen and integrated google search features you must download and install the following three apps:


The only issue I've been having here is Google Search occasionally crashing, others seem to be having similar issues and it may vary from phone to phone. This seems to be able to be fixed by changing the language in Google Now/Search voice settings to anything but English (US), I used English (Generic or UK), performing a search (some say reboot here also) and then switching back to English (US). I've just left mine on English (Generic) since the fix doesn't seem to stick on my Galaxy S3 running AOSP 4.2.2. The only drawback I've seen to my method is I seem to have lost the "Ok Google" hot-word voice search feature and now have to push the mic to voice search. No big deal to me. It may have to do with Google's new enhanced hot-word voice search activation, KitKat allows user to utilize the "Ok Google" phrase to launch voice searches from the home screen Moto X style (or any screen on the Nexus 5).


Other new core Google apps can be downloaded below. Of course use with caution. Any apps that don't play well with your phone should be able to be uninstalled or downgraded so that you can return to the current version in the Play Store if necessary. I've primarily just used the new Hangouts app to test the new SMS integration, which so far isn't perfect but is a good start. It's nice being able to do most of my messaging in one app. I just hope they add more functionality to the SMS features. The new keyboard also brings the emjoi's from Hangout into anything that you can type in. Also, grab the new Android 4.4 wallpapers to get the full KitKat aesthetic experience.

Source: Phone Arena

The Nexus 5 Bumper Case


Now that I have received notice that my Nexus 5 should be here in just a few days, naturally I am starting to think about accessories. I probably won't use a case day-to-day, especially when I first get it. If the Nexus 5's soft touch plastic housing really feels like the Nexus 7's, I don't want to ruin that with a case. Honestly, I prefer my phone case-less as much as possible.

At the end of the day I always get one though. I at least get one to use on certain occasions, like when I'm working out. That case will likely come from Amazon however, and for a third the cost. The Official Nexus 5 bumper case is $34.99! A bit much in my opinion but worth a look even if for nothing else but a reference point. I'd expect Google to make their official case as near perfect as they can.

The Google bumper case looks like it is a pretty good fit. I like how it fits around the camera and that it still will allow wireless charging. I've never really cared about wireless charging, but now that my Nexus 7 and 5 will both have it. I'd definitely prefer that my case allow the use of this feature.

Check out the early review from Android Central and see what you think.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Google Nexus 5 Finally Officially Announced



This Halloween finally Google gave the Android community the treat they've been waiting on for months. The Nexus 5 was finally announced! Due to the excessive amount of leaks over the last few months there weren't many surprises, but still good to see things officially confirmed. The Nexus 5 has a 5-inch 1080p screen, 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera (with OIS), 2300 mAh battery and 4G LTE connectivity for a lot of different bands. The $350/399 (16GB/32GB) asking price is for an off contract completely unlocked phone with support for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, sorry VZW customers no Nexus love again for you!











The long awaited Nexus 5 announcement is a treat this Halloween for tech-nerds like myself, unfortunately there was a trick in store also. The device sold out in under an hour of being announced! While caught up at work running a stupid graduation test I was unable to place my order the second it went official. By the time I was able to order my black 32GB Nexus 5, the wait was out to 2-3 weeks for 32GB and the 16GB is sold out completely. So as one countdown comes to an end a new one begins and as excited as I am about the phone I'm pissed that the wait continues. Some were lucky enough to get their orders in as soon as it went live have already received shipping confirmations, and a few lucky people have already received theirs. Google said they'd be ready to ship by November 8th for initial orders but with some coming early lets hope that maybe all the orders go out ahead of schedule.




In the mean time I'll be watching Best Buy, Amazon, Radio Shack and Sprint, who have all said they will sell the phone. I've called around a bit and most of these places don't seem to have official info on release dates, prices, or reservation processes yet. Sprint will have the phone on November 8th for $150 on contract (now taking pre-orders online for those buying on contract). I'm hoping that they will also let it go off contract at the same $350/399 price point that Google is selling it for. That will let me buy it with my Sprint account without extending my contract and then finally free me to bail on Sprint for T-Mobile as the one single Nexus 5 US model will work on Sprint, T-Mobile or AT&T. I will be buying it from whoever can get it in my hand first and cancelling my Google Play Store order if necessary. Anyone else planning on grabbing the Nexus 5?! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!



Nexus 5 hardware specifications
Screen4.95” 1920x1080 display (445 ppi)
Full HD IPS
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Camera1.3MP front facing
8MP rear facing with Optical Image Stabilization
Dimensions69.17x137.84x8.59 mm
Weight4.59 ounces (130g)
Battery2300 mAh
Talk time up to 17 hours **
Standby time up to 300 hours **
Internet use time up to 8.5 hours on WiFi, up to 7 hours on LTE **
Wireless Charging built in
AudioBuiltin speaker, 3.5mm stereo audio connector
ProcessingCPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.26GHz
GPU: Adreno 330, 450MHz
WirelessDualband WiFi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
NFC (Android Beam)
Bluetooth 4.0
Networks (North America)GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41
Networks (Rest of World)GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20
MemoryChoose 16GB or 32GB internal storage (actual formatted capacity will be less)
2GB RAM
Ports and ConnectorsmicroUSB
SlimPort™ enabled
3.5mm stereo audio jack
Dual microphones
Ceramic power and volume buttons
SensorsGPS
Gyroscope
Accelerometer
Compass
Proximity/Ambient Light
Pressure
Hall

Saturday, October 19, 2013

SwiftKey Updates it's Amazing Keyboard App with New Beta Release


One of my favorite things about Android is that you can easily customize any of its stock apps by replacing it with a more full featured alternative from the Play Store. I switched to SwiftKey a while back and have never looked back, replacing my HTC and Samsung keyboards in the past and my stock Google one presently. SwiftKey's auto-correction and prediction software is amazing and with their addition of Flow, which added Swype-like features it pretty much sealed the deal and it has been my default keyboard on all my Android devices.

The biggest change in the new beta update is “Layouts for Living,” which gives users the ability to create custom keyboard layouts to best fit their device, preferences, and current action. For me this update addresses one of the last major things I could currently ask for, further customization and the ability to adapt the keyboard on the fly to what I'm doing. It also allows for drastically different landscape and portrait layouts which I've found to be very helpful for my Nexus 7 and other larger devices.

SwiftKey is providing three common presets:

Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature minimizes the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one-hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets.

Full: Users with large screens can now opt for a full-width keyboard with left-right cursor control keys and a backspace key above the “Enter” key. By placing the keys closer together, this new layout mimics the experience of two-handed typing on a physical keyboard.

Thumb: For people typing on tablets in landscape and with wide phones in portrait the keyboard can be split into two sections, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs.

Another significant change in this update is that the phone and tablet versions have been merged, no longer requiring the purchase of two different apps (they have a one month free trial). I've found this keyboard, especially with its new levels of even more customization, to be one of the best keyboard options on Android.

Check out the beta here but keep in mind it is a beta and has been released to test for and hammer out any bugs before the official release. I've been using it for a few days now with no issues. Also, because it's a beta you will have to install it from the downloaded apk file with a file manager app of some sort as well as allow the installation of non-Play Store apps when prompted. I'm really impressed with the update and look forward to its final release. Check it out in the video below!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

LG G2 Tips and Tricks



The recently released LG G2 is one of the top phones out right now. Matter of fact if I weren't planning to get the Nexus 5 (which is actually based off of the G2), I'd be getting the LG G2. In addition to some of the most top end hardware I really like how LG handles their customizations to stock Android. Many manufacturers (including LG on past phones) add their own custom skin over Android.  This allows them to tweak and differentiate their software offerings and hopefully separate from their competitors. While some are executed well many are not. LG does an excellent job of keeping true to stock Android while lightly integrating in their unique features.

I stumbled across a good Tips and Tricks video that shows a bit of what I am referring to. If you have or are considering getting an LG G2 definitely check out the great tips in the video below. Let us know what you think of the G2 tips and tricks in the comments below.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Amazon's new Kindle Fire HDX Tablets


Amazon recently revealed their new Kindle Fire HDX tablets as well as their refreshed the Kindle Fire HD line which is now just $139 for 8GB of storage, or $169 for 16GB. With the 8.9-inch version from last year starting at $269. These Prices include Amazon's “Special Offers” tax, in which prices go up $15 for each tablet if you don’t want ads on your lockscreen.

The new tablets a have improved displays, battery life, memory, CPU and graphics processing and are lighter than their predecessors. Check out the specs comparison below:


One of the most interesting features on the new Kindle Fire Tablets is the Mayday 24/7 virtual assistance. THis feature puts at each users disposal a live support agent from Amazon. You can see the agent, but they can't see you. They can see and control your tablets screen and even draw on the screen to guide users. Al of this is available right from the push of a button. I have no idea how Amazon will be able to provide this support, but this could be a game changing feature. This is a huge benefit for those who aren't the most tech savvy, and makes the Kindle Fire an even more attractive holiday season gift for parents and grandparents. Check out Mayday below.




I know some people that these tablets would be perfect for. Any one interested in picking one up? Impressed by Mayday?

Monday, September 23, 2013

GTA 5 Tips: Using the Stock Market


A large part of what makes the new Grand Theft Auto 5 so addictive is the insane level of depth the game provides. You can do almost anything in this game. And just like in real life most of the things you want and need cost money, lots of money. I've found early on that a good way to do this is to invest in the stock market!

There are some events in the game that can cause you to instantly increase your funds or lose a lot of them. Paying attention to in game tips before missions, on the radio and other in game conversations can give you valuable tips on how to invest. Lester is good for giving investment advice before missions and it'd be wise to listen. I've also gotten valuable advice from random civilians I've helped throughout the city. One guy I helped retrieve his stolen motorcycle and he turned out to be the owner of Animal Ark organic pet foods. He later emailed me (I was playing as Michael, not sure if that matters or not) and gave $100,000 in Stock in his company to express his gratitude as well as investment advice that his stock was pretty solid. So I invested in the stock with all my other characters as well and so far it has proven to be a slow but steady revenue builder for me.

I've also gone as far as quitting missions after getting investment advice from Lester and others, to toggle through all my characters and then invested nearly 90% of their cash into said stocks. So far I haven't been burned by this practice and it has allowed me to generate more money to reinvest and start buying property, but I'm sure that similar to real life there is some risk involved and I could've lost a lot of money so invest carefully.

As I've begun to try my hand at investing I decided to Google tips to get a better understanding of what I am doing. I've found some great tips (and a cheat that I probably won't try) that I want to share and hopefully they can help you as well.

Before you go any further, understand that there are SPOILERS in the tips ahead!



CHEAT/EXPLOIT

The easiest way to get rich, like in real life is to cheat. Again I haven't tried this (and probably won't) and it's not confirmed but if you're in a rush the cheat is as follows:

"Right after performing your first heist (or whenever you have a large chunk of money), invest them all in one company (you can go for the cheapest on the market), save the game and exit. Go to your console’s time, set the date 1 month or 1 year ahead and then log back in to the game. Apparently, the stock market will have changed and you can instantly get rich. This has only been reported on a few occasions and is not yet confirmed."

If you're daring and give it a try and it works, let us know in the comments below! I'm also not sure if you can just set your date back to normal after this cheat.

STOCK MARKET TIPS

As far as actual GTA V stock market tips and the best ways to make more money in Grand Theft Auto 5 check out the tips below! (all courtesy of Cyfun from the GTA Forums):

Vangelico heist: 

Sell anything you have invested in them before this. Afterward, wait til it bottoms out around $35/share before buying any. Not sure if there’s a competing gem company to invest in before-hand, didn't see one.

LifeInvader prototype swap mission:

Sell anything you’ve invested in them before this mission cause it’ll tank badly. And I wouldn't bother ever investing in them again, as I tried when it bottomed out but it never really recovered.

Bilkinton/Betta Assassination mission (I think it’s called Hotel Assassination):

Sell anything you have invested in Bilkington. Lester mentions he invested heavily in Betta, but I didn't see them in the LCN. Are they somewhere else? I also noticed DollarPills tank as well. Once Bilkington bottoms out after the mission, though (the low for me was around $120/share), feel free to invest in them again as it spikes up again.

*Betta is on BawSAQ instead of LCN and named bettapharmaceuticals

Redwood/Debonaire (Multi-Assasination mission):

Before you even start this mission, sell anything you have invested in Redwood, and invest everything you’ve got into Debonaire. Don’t do it during the mission cause there’s a tight timer. And be sure and not to forget doing this for ALL THREE CHARACTERS. I was in a hurry and only did it for Franklin. Debonaire’s stock will go from about $200 to about $400. When the mission is over, wait a good few minutes as the stock value will continue to rise. Mine eventually peaked at $399.42, so go ahead and sell when it gets to that point. 

Dockyards secret government device mission:

Sell anything you have in Merriweather before this mission as it’ll dive a bit.”

So hopefully these GTA 5 stock market tips will help you improve your investment skills and increase your funds more quickly. Do you have other tips? Let us know in the comment section below!

Source: Unigamesity

Sunday, September 22, 2013

HTC One Guest Review



Here on BHT I'd love to get my hands on and review every single phone that comes out (yes even Apple ones lol), but thats just not feasible. Luckily I can reach out and rely on friends and family (and flexible return policies ;) lol). I recently helped out my friend Chris, Law and Journalism MA student at Miami U,  as he made the great exodus from the limited world of iOS to Android, grabbing one of my favorite devices of 2013, the HTC One. He was kind enough to provide his impressions of this top tier smartphone. Check out his quick review of the main features (with a few of my tips sprinkled in)! For full details check out HTC's site.





BASIC SPECS

  • Size: 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm
  • Weight: 143gDisplay
  • Display: 4.7 inch, Full HD 1080p, 468 PPI
  • CPU: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600, quad-core, 1.7GHz
  • Platform: Android with HTC Sense™ with HTC BlinkFeed™
  • SIM Card Type: micro SIM
  • Total storage : 32GB/64GB, available capacity varies
  • RAM : 2 GB DDR2
  • Network:  AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile (World Phone support)
  • GPS: Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS and Digital compass
  • Sensors: Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
  • Connectivity: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n, DLNA® for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer, HTC Connect, Support consumer infrared remote control, micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port with mobile high-definition video link (MHL) for USB or HDMI connection (Special cable required for HDMI connection.)
  • Sound Enhancement: HTC BoomSound™ Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers, Studio-quality sound with Beats Audio™



CAMERA

  • HTC UltraPixel Camera, BSI sensor
  • Pixel size 2.0 ┬Ám, Sensor size 1/3'
  • Dedicated HTC ImageChip 2, F2.0 aperture and 28 mm lens
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
  • Smart Flash: Five levels of flash automatically set by distance to subject
  • Front Camera: 2.1 MP, 880 wide angle lens with HDR capability
  • 1080p Full HD video recording with HDR Video
  • HTC Zoe™ with Sequence Shot, Always Smile and Object Removal
  • Gallery with Video Highlights and HTC Share
  • Continuous shooting and VideoPic
  • Slow motion video recording with variable speed playback 

MULTIMEDIA:

  • Audio supported formats:
  • Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 9)
  • Recording: .amr
  • Video supported formats:
  • Playback: .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv (Windows Media Video 9), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
  • Recording: .mp4


BATTERY:

  • Embedded rechargeable Li-polymer battery
  • Capacity : 2300 mAh
  • Talk time: Up to 18 hours for 3G
  • Standby time: Up to 500 hours for 3G

Best Buy exclusive blue HTC One


CHRIS's REVIEW:

Sound = A+: 
Beats audio makes a big difference, especially in your car. It is clear and the bass is significantly louder. If you have noise cancelling headphones - even non-beats headphones - there is a noticeable difference with beats audio. Also, playing through the phone speaker with headphones unattached is loud and clear.



Music Player = B+: 
I absolutely hate that the Android music app does not let you sort songs by title once you are in a playlist. You have to search by artist, which really sucks because most people know the song name instead of the artist, and even once you find the artist you have to search for the song you want. If you have downloaded music (not bought), the artist may be saved under a different name so it can be frustrating. I feel that this is the worst part of the phone if you use your phone as a music player with multiple playlists.

Luckily I stumbled across the Power Amp app and it let me sort by title. It also allows you to manually adjust the tone, bass, and treble, and save your settings under preset settings, which is amazing. I have a setting for my car and one for my headphones. My car, 2012 Camaro, already has nice factory audio as is, but the beats audio plus power amp makes it sound AMAZING. It is a very noticeable difference.

One thing I love is how quickly the phone downloads album art that you don't already have, and you can even select the option to display the song lyrics as the song plays! Very sweet and seamless.

HTC Sync allows you to easily transport media from your computer or iTunes so if you like your old media player you can edit things there and then just launch HTC Sync and transfer it to your phone. Simple.

Messaging = B:
The autocorrect is not as smart as it was on iOS. If often puts accent marks when the letter "a" stands alone and it took a week for it to consistently capitalize "I". However, after about a week the phone became better at recognizing words, namely because I would manually select the word I want it to autocorrect (the phone gives you options) and it apparently recognized my typing style. Also, after calibrating my finger with the screen the phone became better at selecting the letter my finger landed on, resulting in less typos. If all else fails using your voice to text by holding the voice icon is very effective and the phone rarely misspelled words I said when spoken clearly.

(I'd add to this that the beauty of Android is that it lets you change your default keyboard (or any system app for that matter), I've been using Swiftkey for about a year now, and have never looked back since!)

Speed = A+:
Very fast, faster than my laptop, and it made no difference when launching classic or mobile sites.

Customization = A:

You can pick your news sources (e.g. ESPN, CNN, Huffington, IGN ... a bunch) that will quickly launch and refresh by simply pulling the screen down. You can pick your widgets and apps and easily select what screen they are on and where. However, I don't like the limited choices for text messaging letter colors. You can pick a background for your text messaging screen, but it's hard to read the messages with the colors they give you.

(Again, as you play with Android you'll find text messaging apps you like better, I rarely use manufacturers text apps. Its an adjustment from iOS, but anything you don't like you can replace with an app of your liking in the Play Store. I'd reccomend popular apps, Go SMS and Handcent SMS they're both super customizable!)

Button Placement = B:
If you are right handed, when messaging or generally holding the phone it is a good chance you will incidentally hit the volume up/down button with your right thumb because of its placement. It is also awkward that the power on button is at the top left of the phone instead of top right, because again you have to stretch your finger really far to power on/off.



Camera = B:
Very good effect options after taking pics. It has some pretty cool lighting options to dramatically change the pictures you take and download. Before snapping effects are decent, but not too exhaustive. You also lose quite a bit of clarity when you zoom in. The camera is good, not great.



Overall = A-:
Very solid phone. The pros significantly outweigh the cons on this phone. It looks good, feels good in your hand, it's smooth, fast, trendy, the LED display is large and beautiful. The beats audio is what really sets this phone apart. If you really utilize music on your phone it will likely be your favorite feature, and it gets even better with the Power Amp app ($3.99). There are things about this phone to dislike - awkward button placement and at times ineffective autocorrect - but I can't imagine too many phones on the market are better than the HTC One and it is hard to imagine a better phone will be released at least within the next year or two.

Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat: Leaks Point At October 14th!



Since my first posts about the upcoming Google Nexus 5 by LG and Android 4.4 KitKat there have been even more leaks. It's beginning to look like we can expect a mid-October release maybe as soon as October 14th! Leaks have been coming from all over the place and possibly for the first time ever, tech leaks have even come from a candy company. Nestle, who has partnered with Google for the launch of the candy-codenamed Android 4.4 KitKat and the upcoming Nexus devices, "confirmed" on Facebook that the release is  due in October.



Design and Specs

So what do we know from all the leaks so far? We've seen what will likely be the design of the new phone, now including pictures, a short video (posted below) and even an interactive 3D rendering made from the leaked images. I for one, really hope this is the new design. It looks like they have taken a lot of the design elements from the new Nexus 7 by Asus, which is definitely a good thing. As far as specs, the FCC leaks have confirmed a few and more rumors have been leaking out as well. It most likely will not have a removable battery or micro SD port (no surprises here). It is expected to come in 16GB and 32GB storage options with a 5" 1080p display and a 2300mAh battery. The FCC has confirmed the rumors that the Nexus 5 would have a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor from Qualcomm, same processor found inside the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.




Camera



The camera is a feature that Google has said they will be putting a lot of energy into, and it is sounding like they will do just that. Rumors have it that the Nexus 5 will be based on the LG G2 (the Nexus 4 was based on the LG Optimus G) which brings some great camera features including a 13MP sensor and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), which should help eradicate those blurred images from shaky hands. Check out the video from LG below to see how this works.



A Few Things Still Up In The Air


Nexus 5 render, Nexus 4, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Though we keep calling it the Nexus 5, we don't actually know that its what it will be called. Google has not confirmed this name and the history of Nexus phones doesn't guarantee it either. HTC made the first Nexus, the Nexus One, followed by the Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the the Nexus 4 by LG. So, technically it could be called anything. The only part we know for sure is that it will have Nexus in the title. We also don't know the prices yet, though we expect that they will be quite competitive. The Nexus 4 was $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB) unlocked at launch and recently saw a $100 price cut which cleared out their total inventory. Google has set a precedent of launching Nexus devices a mid-range affordable prices. The Nexus 7 tablet saw a slight price bump this year and it is reasonable to think that the new phone may as well but I'd still expect to see it at no more than $350 and $450 unlocked and off contract for each of the two memory configurations.

We also don't know exactly what to expect from Android 4.4 KitKat. The Nexus 5 (and possibly refreshed Nexus 10 tablet) will be the first devices to launch with KitKat 4.4. So far from the leaks we have gotten the following details:

  • Firmware availability to older phones
  • Fragmentation changes (screen resizing)
  • Miracast updates
  • New Gallery Visualisation
  • New APIs regarding animations
  • Change android default blue to other preset palette colors
  • New notification widgets

The Firmware availability and fragmentation changes seem to address getting updates out to more phones faster, a problem they've been working on for years. Hopefully they finally found a decent solution which would make it easier for manufacturers to update ROMs to the latest version of Android and get around the carriers slowing the process. I'm also excited about the potential to easily customize the color palette throughout the OS. As far as what else KitKat will bring is still up in the air. I'm sure it will have additional improvements to UI smoothness and battery performance.



Finally we have carrier support. This has always been a touchy area. GSM carriers (T-Mobile and AT&T) tend to get the most love and offer the best, more streamlined solutions, but Verizon and Sprint have had some level of support in the past with the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. However, CDMA (Sprint and Verizon) versions of Nexus phones have proven to be somewhat of second rate Nexus experiences, with the carriers complicating and delaying the direct line upgrade process that the Nexus line is designed for. Additionally in the past it has been difficult to make one devices that supports all of the carriers various frequencies, resulting in multiple variants for each carrier. With advancements in the tech in both the phones and the networks themselves, it is becoming easier to put multiple radios in one device, and currently based on the leaks it sounds like the next Nexus phone may support T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. Still leaving out VZW, but they are also one of the most notorious for delaying updates and adding bloatware to devices.

How many of you are excited to see the new Nexus phone getting closer to release? Are you planning on grabbing one at launch? What are you most excited about?

Google Offers Quickoffice for FREE!



One of the most useful types of apps you can have on your phone or tablet is a good office suite app that supports Microsoft Office. This is also one of the first types of apps that I was willing to spend money on. For years I've used Documents to Go Pro, which I got on sale for $10 I believe (currently on sale for $14). I really like this app but free is always better than paid, and right now Google is offering it's newly acquired office app, Quickoffice for free! Quickoffice fully supports Microsoft Office documents created in Word, PowerPoint and Excel and formats them to fit on your mobile device. It also allows access to your Google Drive account and documents within the app. Just download the app on your device (supports Android and iOS) and log in with a Google account before Thursday, September 26th. Also, as a bonus Google is throwing in an additional 10GB of free Google Drive storage space. I haven't used it much yet to give a review but it seems pretty legit thus far. I downloaded it for the free Drive space alone! Who's not up for free stuff? So download and log in! Even if you don't think you need it now at least it will be saved to your account free for later use!

Click to download Quick Office from Google Play Store or for Apple devices

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GTA V: Possibly the Greatest Game EVER!



Unless you live on a deserted island you've probably heard that the block buster game Grand Theft Auto V was released this week. The latest in a long line of games that attempts to recreate an giant open world where you work your way to the top by committing various crimes. You play as three different characters this go round, through a storyline that honestly rivals those within blockbuster movies.



This year the game is bigger and more interactive than ever, allowing an unparalleled amount of depth that has never been seen in gaming! Want to ignore all missions and explore (my favorite thing to do), feel free. Anything you see is theoretically within reach assuming you've found or acquired the necessary skills or tools to get to it. This even includes the depths of the (shark infested) ocean for the first time in GTA history. Fly planes, helicopters, and blimps. Drive a seemingly endless selection of cars, motorcycles, boats, jet skis, and bicycles. Everything you love from previous GTA titles is here, in more detail with more depth and unseen levels of interaction. Want to go on a random crime spree (the favorite activity in GTA V for most) be ready for improved police AI, but you're free to do so on levels that weren't possible previously. Rob gas stations, build your crew even wear masks to assist in your clean escape. The criminal activities are limitless!


What's even more exciting than the game itself is the upcoming release of GTA Online, which is essentially a separate game all together based on GTA V (free add-on with the purchase of GTA V). Everything that is in the GTA V single player campaign's world will be present but with up to 16 live real players. Rockstar has even stated that they plan to continually add an enormous amount of additional content to GTA Online over the next few years, including everything they've made or will make in past and future games. So we can look forward to seeing favorites like Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas as a part of the online GTA world. Rockstar said they can essentially add an entire world one country at a time! Players can form gangs, buy property, commit all types of multi-player crimes, and play mini games.

I really believe this game will stand out in time as a pivotal point in gaming history. The features of GTA Online sound groundbreaking. Right now the game is predicted to make 1 billion dollars (yes BILLION) within the first month of being released! It surpassed $900 million within its launch window and we haven't even hit the holiday season yet. It also has received the highest rating of any game in 2013. I HIGHLY encourage you to pick up a copy and check it out for yourself. In the meantime check out the videos below. I will be honest it's going to be really hard to blog while I've got this game. Matter of fact time to get back to GTA now!

Share your favorite things about GTA V in the comments!



Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Truth About Apple and New iPhones



Ok those of you who know me or have been reading the blog know that I don't care much for the iPhone. In my recent post about the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c I tried my best to be unbiased and just give the facts about the new devices, but when I saw this video I knew I had to share. It truly sums up what Apple does with it's new devices and a few of the many reasons why I don't like iPhones (and love Android).

Check out the hilarious video below: