Review – Noreve Ambition Folio Case – Luxurious Protection for Your Nexus 9

When it comes to luxury cases for your phone or tablet, few fit the bill like Noreve.  The French couture designer from Saint Tropez makes some of the most beautiful phone and tablet cases available today.  Each case is handcrafted and fits the devices they are designed for perfectly.  I’ve had the opportunity to review many of their cases over the years for a wide range of devices and when they contacted me to review the Ambition folio case for my Nexus 9 tablet, I couldn’t pass up the chance.  If you want a case that not only provides protection for your tablet but looks stunning as you use it, this case is for you.  Here is my review.

Today’s Deal – Asus ZenFone 3 Max for $149 on Amazon

Today’s Deal over at Amazon is on the well appointed entry level Asus ZenFone 3 Max.  The 5.2″ phone has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage but what is really impressive is the battery.  It comes with a whopping 4100 mAh battery for all day performance.  Right now you can pick up this phone for $149.

The ZenFone 3 Max is powered by the Mediatek MT6737M quad-core processor running at 1.25 GHz.  It has a 5.2″ IPS display and as mentioned, has 2GB of RAM.  The 16GB of storage can be expanded thanks to the Dual-SIM/MicroSD slot.  You can add an additional 256GB of storage with a card.  The phone runs Android Marshmallow and it is unclear if Nougat will be coming to this phone.

The phone is sold unlocked and works on GSM carriers here in the United States like AT&T and T-Mobile.  Sorry Sprint and Verizon customers, the phone doesn’t support CDMA.

Camera wise, the rear shooter is a 13MP auto-focus unit with flash while the front selfie camera is a 5MP shooter.

The ZenFone 3 Max is in silver and if you are an Amazon Prime customer, shipping of this phone is free to you.

Head over to Amazon to get all the details.

YouTube To Stream The Presidential Inauguration

[Editors Note:  Due to the political nature of this post, no comments will be approved]

On Friday, January 20th, the United States will see the swearing in of our 45th President, Donald Trump.  Regardless of where you stand politically, the swearing in of a President is a big event and you will be able to stream it live on YouTube.  YouTube will give viewers live streams from multiple sources throughout the day including the swearing in ceremony and the inauguration speech of the President.  You can view those streams from any device.

As part of the coverage, some channels will be offering 360-degree views and 4K streaming.

Today’s Deal – Acer Chromebook 14 with 4GB/32GB Storage for $269

Today’s Deal over at Amazon is on the well equipped and stunningly beautiful Acer Chromebook 14.  Right now this all aluminum chassis Chromebook is available with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $269.  That price is good on either the aluminum or the gold aluminum finish and is eligible for Prime shipping for members.

This Acer Chromebook is powered by a Intel Celeron N3160 processor running at 1.6GHz and the display renders at 1920 x 1080 full HD.  As mentioned already, it has 4GB of RAM which is really handy on a Chromebook and has 32GB of storage for those things (like Android apps) that you need to store locally.  It also has a built-in battery that is rated to give 12 hours of life between charges.  Overall it is a great package and one of the higher rated Chromebooks out there right now.

Flickr Update Abandons Yahoo Account Requirement

Yahoo has rolled out an update to Flickr for Android that over all, isn’t that exciting.  It is mostly a bug fix release and a new notable feature of seeing photos from your groups within your feed on the home page.  The bigger news in this update however is there is no longer a requirement to sign up with a Yahoo account.

It goes without saying that Yahoo is an unholy mess.  The company, once one of the pillars of the online world, is a shadow of itself and Verizon looks to be picking the carcass for valuable bits.  If and when that happens, Yahoo will have a name change and will cease to exist.  But one that that will stick around it seems is Flickr.  The photo storage & sharing company was acquired by Yahoo back in 2005 and one of the early changes they made to the app was the requirement for a Yahoo account.  At the time, it angered a lot of pre-Yahoo users but 11 years later, the requirement has been abandoned.

Chrome OS An Option for Toontastic 3D Android App Install

Earlier today, Google launched a new app aimed at helping youngsters be creative.  The new Toontastic 3D app looks like a lot of fun and it allows kids (and adults) to create stories and turn them into 3D cartoons.  You can read more about it here but if you have creative young people in the house, it’s worth a look.  But that’s not really the point of this article.  It is the install options for Toontastic 3D.  If you go to the site and click the “get the app” link, you will get a splash screen with links to the Play Store and iTunes Store.  No biggie right?  Read the test of that splash screen.

Download Toontastic 3D for your tablet, phone, or Chromebook

So we all know that Android apps are coming to Chrome OS and this, as far as I am aware, is the first genuine advert that a Chromebook, i.e. Chrome OS, is an install option.

Book Your Ride Share Service Right Within Google Maps

Google Maps has a big update rolling out that brings a nicely integrated car sharing booking element to it.  The ability to see ride share services like Uber and Lyft has been in Maps for a while now but if you wanted to actually book an Uber, you had to go to the Uber app to do it.  No more.  Now you can link your Uber account to Google Maps and can book your ride right from within the app.  Further, you can see the location of your driver within the app and you don’t even have to have the Uber app installed on your phone for all this to work.

What you do need however is the latest build of Google Maps.  That is version 9.43.2 for those keeping score at home and it is currently rolling out to the Play Store.

Microsoft StaffHub Launched to Help Businesses Manage Employees

After spending the last three months in preview, Microsoft has pulled back the covers and launched Microsoft StaffHub for Android, iOS and on the web.  The service and app is aimed at providing a centralized place for managers and staff to handle schedules, send out information and connect with other workforce management tools that are in the market.  With it being across multiple platforms and on mobile devices, Microsoft is aiming to have staff management be easier regardless of where you are – work, home or at play.

Scheduling can be done by managers and allows works to see who is working when and for how long.  This is particularly important for businesses with shift workers.  Managers can also enable the ability for workers to trade shifts with other employees should a personal conflict arise.  This is all done within the app and can be pre-approved by the manager when the feature is enabled.

Today’s Deal – Honor 5X in Gold is $169 on Amazon

Today’s Deal is on the solid performing and well priced Honor 5X from Huawei.  The 5.5″ phone is available in a Gold finish today for $169 on Amazon which is a great price on this solid mid-range phone.  It has an all metal and glass construction, has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.  That storage can be expanded up to an additional 256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot built into the phone.  Powering the phone is the octa-core Snapdragon 616 processor running at 1.4GHz coupled with the Adreno 405 GPU.  The 5X is a dual-SIM phone which is great for those who travel and has 13MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera.

The Honor 5X is sold unlocked and works with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile here in the United States.  Sorry Sprint and Verizon customers, this phone won’t work on your network.  Here are the GSM and LTE bands of the 5x:

  • HSDPA 850 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100
  • LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 8(900), 20(800)
  • LTE band 2(1900), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 12(700), 17(700)

Android Nougat Rolling Out To The Galaxy S7 Lineup

After wrapping up the beta program for Android Nougat last week, Samsung has pushed the button and started sending out the OTA update for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.  The first to see the update will be those who participated in the beta as they will be moved to the stable build.  After that, unlocked variants of the S7 lineup will get the update.  The news of Nougat hitting the S7’s is certainly good news.  Samsung has been lackluster at best in getting major OS builds out in a timely manner but in the case of Nougat, it took about a quarter.  That’s pretty reasonable given the amount of changes and testing that has to happen for a major update.

Long with all the goodness that Nougat will bring to the S7 and S7 Edge, Samsung is also doing some minor UX updates and other under-the-cover fixes to add stability and performance.  If you don’t remember all that is in Nougat, you can catch up on it here.

HTC Shows Off The HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play

HTC has announced two new phones that will be coming soon to select markets, the HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play.  The new lineup is a departure in design for HTC with both phones having a curved glass design over metal designs like the HTC 10.  What’s interesting here is that HTC isn’t being real clear on if the new U lineup is replacing the 10 or if it is a complementary device.  With the 5.7″ Ultra expected to be around $749, it certainly has a flagship price tag to go along with the flagship specs.

Focusing on the HTC U Ultra, it has a 5.7″ Quad HD display along with a 2′ secondary display that is 160 x 1040 in resolution.  That secondary display is aimed for things like notifications and is strikingly similar to the second display on the LG V20.  Powering the phone is a quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor running at 2.15GHz and is coupled with the Adreno 530 GPU.  It has 4GB of RAM and either 64 or 128GB of storage which can be expanded up to an additional 2TB thanks to the MicroSD slot.  You will also find a fingerprint scanner built into the Ultra.

The main camera of the Ultra is a 12MP shooter with laser auto focus, phase detection auto focus, OIS and a dual tone LED flash.  The front facing camera is an even more impressive 16MP shooter.  The Ultra has a 3000 mAh battery which is good but battery life will be interesting to find out as the 5.7″ display is certainly going to draw a fair amount of juice.  All of this in a sleek package that is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5.  What is not know is which markets or even a definitive launch date for the Ultra.  It looks like the price will be around $750 but that’s about all that is know otherwise.

Chrome OS Could Be Running Nougat 7.1 in 2017

Chrome OS is still in the process of having Android apps rolled out to various Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, but that doesn’t mean further improvements are coming.  According to a post on ChromeUnboxed, it looks like Android Nougat 7.1 support will be coming at some point in 2017.  Currently, Chrome OS devices that can run Android apps are running them based on the Android Marshmallow 6.0 API set.  For most of us, that’s fine.  There is however one big bonus to having things move over to Nougat:  Multi-Window support.

Right now if you run an Android app on your Chromebook, only one app at a time can be displayed, just like it was on your Android phone running Marshmallow.  With Nougat, the ability to show multiple apps and resize those windows comes into play and that could be a real game changer.  Along with this comes true multi-tasking too.