JPG1A few days ago we received an email with the question whether we would like to do a review on a new device called the PompAdapter. Of course we are interested to test and review new items that are related to cellphones and devices linked to it.

Curious as we are, we first looked at the Indiegogo page, to see what’s it all about. The makers of PompAdapter claim that their device can double the charging speed of your mobile device, and you can still keep using the cables you already own.

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Winnergear’s Montar Car Mount – updated


Montar Car Mount

Montar Car Mount

A few weeks back we received our Car Mount. We were very sceptical because of the bad experiences we had with car mounts in general.

To give you an idea:

  • One car mount which should be mounted on the ventilation exit of the car broke after the second time mounting it, leaving parts in the ventilation system of the car. So every time we needed the ventilation on high, we heard these parts brattling :(The dealer switched the broken item within one day, but this one had the same problem
  • So we switched to glass mounted car mounts, but on that one our smartphone didn’t fit
  • The second one was better, but it was impossible to both charge the phone and use the controls on the side of the phone
  • The last one we tried worked quite fine, but when the sun was shining and the window became warm, the car mount fell of the window

So, you can imagine we were quite sceptical when the package of Winnergear was delivered to our office.
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Ook Samsung laat de mini-jack varen

Toen Apple bij de introductie van de iPhone 7 het verdwijnen van de mini-jack bevestigde stond de halve (headset) wereld op zijn kop. Inmiddels is iedereen er wel aan gewend, of gebruikt de meegeleverde verloopstekker. Als we de recente berichten rondom Samsung's volgende vlaggenschip, de Galaxy S8, mogen geloven dan neemt de Koreaanse fabrikant ook afscheid van de standaard 3.5mm audio aansluiting.

Dat betekent natuurlijk dat bekabelde headsets en speakers op een andere manier aangesloten zullen moeten worden. Samsung zou daarvoor de USB-C aansluiting gaan gebruiken van de Galaxy S8. Omdat de Koreaanse fabrikant zelf officieel nog helemaal niets over de Galaxy S8 gemeld heeft - dat gebeurt pas eind februari in Barcelona tijdens het MWC - moet dit 'nieuws' nog als een gerucht gezien worden.

De voordelen van het dumpen van de 3.5mm plug in een smartphone mogen duidelijk zijn. Er blijft meer ruimte over voor andere onderdelen. Denk bijvoorbeeld aan een stereo speaker of 'dikkere' accu.

Het zal mij benieuwen hoeveel hoon Samsung over zich heen gestort krijgt wanneer de Galaxy S8 inderdaad geen mini-jack meer zal blijken te hebben. Afwachten maar!

Een van de concept ontwerpen van de Galaxy S8

OnePlus Invites User Opinion on Camera Blob Release on OnePlus 3

The OnePlus 3 is an almost perfect fit to fill in the void created by the lack of a Nexus release this year. You get stellar hardware at affordable price range, and an experience that does justice to this hardware. OnePlus had also released the kernel source code and device tree for the OnePlus 3 (and OnePlus 3T as well) early on, so the enthusiast community had the opportunity to really dig in.

Our forums are testimony to the love that the developer community has extended on to the OnePlus 3. With a wide variety of custom ROMs with different bases (CM, AOSP, OxygenOS and even MIUI) to choose from, the OnePlus 3 is currently the flashaholic’s device with good reason.

Even after all the developer friendliness that OnePlus has recently shown to the community by fulfilling their obligations and more, they still showed interest in going on ahead. The company promised to look into improving camera performance on non-OxygenOS ROMs, and we kept inquiring about it a few times after their promise. This is what Carl had to say on the issue, from our last interview:

Mario: Do you guys have any plans on helping with the development of the camera software for Custom ROMs?

Carl: We want to, and we’ve been talking about internally. So there’s a challenge with the camera because if we want a blob, then there are two major challenges. The first one being, the code relating to the camera is on a lot of layers, so you have something related to the camera on the framework level, something on the Android level, something on a system level. So we’re gonna have to rewrite a lot of code to be able to separate it in a way that allows us to blob it. And the second reason is, if we were to blob it the result is that the speed will suffer, so the speed of the camera UX on custom ROMs will suffer. We’re still trying to figure out a way of how we can release something that will help people improve the camera in their custom ROMs without making the experience become too bad. And we don’t want something with our logo to have a poor experience either. So it is going to be a little bit harder than we thought, but we’ve been discussing this.

In a forum post at the OnePlus forums, Bradon from the OnePlus Community team has given an update to the current camera situation.

Bradon mentions that discussions are still ongoing internally on how to best manage the release. The issue at hand is that camera code is something that OEMs need to spend a lot of time and effort to develop and fine-tune, effectively making it intellectual property. The various stakeholder involved in a company would definitely not be happy if OnePlus openly distributed its IP, as that would lead to OnePlus losing its edge against all competitors, big or small, as far as the camera performance is concerned.

But at the same time, lack of camera code has led to below-average camera performance on custom ROMs. ROMs are amongst one of the main draws on the OnePlus 3 right now, so a handicap like this presents a virtual roadblock in getting the best performance out of your device.

OnePlus was contemplating releasing camera blobs instead of code directly. This would allow ROM developers to directly insert the custom software into their ROMs without directly being privy to the code intricacies. While camera quality would improve for photos and videos to come at par with the OxygenOS experience, the overall camera experience would become slower than that of OxygenOS (which could have indirect implications for the Oxygen branding).

OnePlus is unhappy about this trade-off and how this would affect user experience on the device. But they are open to discussion, so the company has posed the following questions:

Would you be interested in camera blobs given these tradeoffs? Are there any alternative solutions that might make sense for you?

If you would like to chime in the discussion and share your thoughts, head on over to the OnePlus forum thread. Make yourself heard!

Android’s December Distribution Numbers Show Lollipop is on Top

As we start the last month of the year, we get a look at how Android is being divided up among the current active install base (which are also visiting the Google Play Store). These stats were collected during a 7-day period that ended on December 5th, and as usual, any version of Android that is less than 0.1% of the active install base will not be shown in this graph. So let’s take a look at how things compare to last month’s distribution numbers.

Starting with the newest version of Android, we can see that 7.x Nougat is now up to 0.4% of the active install base. This is an increase of 0.1% compared to November, and includes devices like the Pixel, Pixel XL, LG V20 (among others) and custom ROMs that are based on Android 7.x Nougat. With so many devices in the market though, a 0.1% increase is at least 1.4 million devices. So that’s something to keep in mind.

Next up we have Android 6.x Marshmallow up to 26.3% of the active install base, which is an increase of 2.3% compared to last month. Then we have Android 5.x Lollipop, that is currently the king with 34% of the active install base, which is actually down 0.1% compared to November’s numbers. Then there is Android 4.4.x KitKat with 24% of the active install base, which saw a drop of 1.2% when compared to last month’s distribution numbers.

At the tail end we have Android 4.1.x, 4.2.x and 4.3 Jelly Bean with 12.8%, which is down from 13.7% last month. Android 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich only has 1.2% (down a whole 0.1%), Android 2.3.x Gingerbread is at 1.2% (also down a whole 0.1%), and then Android 2.2 Froyo is still holding strong at 0.1% of the active install base. It will be interesting to see if Android Nougat will be able to beat Marshmallow’s yearly progress and hit over 26.3% by December of next year.

Source: Android Developers

Samsung Galaxy S8 to Get Rid of Home Button and Headphone Jack

Remember the Samsung Galaxy Note 7? Everyone does. It came in with a bang, and went out with a literal one. But everyone will agree that we do need to move on, hoping to look forward to other different offerings that Samsung is planning for the future.

We have a few interesting tidbits on the next big thing from Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy S8. There has been nuggets of new information from different sources coming in, so we will take a look at these and figure out how Samsung’s next move will appear to the market.

Starting off, one of the upgrades on the Galaxy S8 will come in an area which has not seen as much focus in terms of hardware as other areas of the smartphone. The front facing camera on the upcoming Samsung flagship will be finally upgraded with autofocus technology. Reports coming in from Korea mention that the S8 will use an encoder type focusing mechanism as against the current voice coil motor implementations. This will allow the camera module to be of shallow physical depth as the focusing actuator is mounted on the side of the lens instead of the middle. Having a camera bump on the front of the device would be poor aesthetic choice, so this upgrade will allow Samsung to hopefully continue on with a flat front design with no camera bump as seen on the rear. The report unfortunately, does not mention the resolution of the camera, so that is left for future leaks to figure out.

On the topic of cameras, the rear camera on the Galaxy S8 is not expected to use a dual-camera setup. There was speculation on this end, claiming that Samsung might be planning to use dual cameras on the rear. It turns out that was wishful thinking indeed, as the latest reports maintain that Samsung will stick to one sensor on the back only.

Moving on, we look at the claimed design and screen aspects of the Galaxy S8. Reports in early November claimed that the Galaxy S8 will come in two variants based on display sizes: a 5.7″ display variant and a 6.2″ display variant. The screen sizes do seem unreasonable for mass adoption as most consumers do not like the handling of devices with displays bigger than 6″, but Samsung has a trick up its sleeve. Samsung is expected to ditch all bezels on the OLED display on the S8’s. This also means that the home button and capacitive buttons might finally be on their way out as well, something that another independent report claims.

As far as names go, the “Edge” moniker may also be on its way out as Samsung looks to standardize the Edge across its flagship lineup. The Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus will have edge displays but not the name, and will likely be close to the current physical dimensions despite the increase in screen diagonal size as a result of the bezel-less and curved design. A flat variant of the S8 may not be revealed at launch.

The display itself on the Galaxy S8’s will retain the 2K resolution as its predecessor, and not a 4K resolution display. However, the Super AMOLED display is likely to shift from the Diamond PenTile layout and go ahead with a Standard RGB arrangement which is claimed to consume less power and have a longer service life. The report claims that the new display will provide significant improvements for the purposes of virtual reality.

Since the physical home button is on its way out, the question that then pops up is: where will the fingerprint scanner go? Under the display, as per reports. The fingerprint sensor will be embedded within the display for optical fingerprint indentification, claimed to be faster and more accurate than an ultrasonic sensor.

In the audio department, the Galaxy S8 will get mixed reactions as it adds, and removes, features in this area. As a shocker, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will be the next smartphone that will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack slot, as per report from Sammobile. The Note 7 kept the 3.5mm jack in harmony with the USB Type-C slot that is used for charging and data transfer, but the S8 is said to get rid of the 3.5mm port and opt for audio out through the Type-C port itself.

On the flip side, Samsung is integrating a stereo speaker setup on the S8. Further, this setup will come bearing the Harman branding, which makes sense as Samsung did acquire Harman for a good $8 Billion.

On the software end, Samsung will very likely also integrate an improved AI based assistant competitor. This will be the result of their acquisition of Viv Labs and its AI platform.

Lastly, there’s the usual set of rumors and speculation that accompanies most talks of flagship successors. The S8 is claimed to come bearing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 or the 10nm-based Exynos 8895  SoC (depending on market). Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 835 instead of the 830, so we await more information on this end. Similarly, the speculation that the S8 will come with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage also needs more substantiation.

Samsung is expect to unveil the Galaxy S8 at Mobile World Congress in late February 2017. With all of these new features which are cutting edge in their own right, and the whole Note 7 fiasco behind it (and the estimated $17 Billion loss), it is unclear what pricing Samsung will look at adopting for the Note 8.

Many expected Samsung to play it safe with the S8 and exercise caution and prudence, but Samsung does not seem to be in the mood to hold any punches back.

What are your thoughts on the Galaxy S8 so far? Do you like the improvements that Samsung is expected to bring to the table? Let us know in the comments below!

HTC One M9 Starts Receiving its Official Android Nougat Update

HTC has been very vocal about which devices they plan on updating to Android 7.0 Nougat. Starting all the way back in May of this year, HTC announced their official roadmap for Android 7.0 Nougat (called Android N at the time). We were told they had plans to update the HTC One M9, HTC One A9, and the HTC 10 with Google’s latest version of Android. The one device left off in this list was the HTC One M8, which didn’t have any plans to get officially updated at that time.

Then in August, we did a piece that detailed HTC breaking their 15-day promise for delivering Google’s latest Android update to the HTC One A9. A promise they made to the public when the device was announced. HTC did say they had plans to update the HTC 10 with Android 7.0 Nougat within the fourth quarter of the year, but the One A9 should have received the update quicker (according to their promise).

HTC had an official response to the issue and said HTC had changed their mind, and instead assigned their available engineers to work on the update for the “most popular flagship products” first since they felt this benefited the most customers. HTC did keep their Q4 promise for the HTC 10’s Nougat update as it started to roll out to devices a little over a week ago. With unlocked HTC 10 units receiving their update, the HTC One M9 seems to be next on the list.

Yesterday, HTC confirmed that the unlocked version of the HTC One M9 would begin receiving its Android 7.0 Nougat update. They said it would start late that evening, so current owners should look out for this OTA update notification soon. The company also confirmed that carrier variants of the HTC One M9 should expect to see the Nougat update hitting their device “early next year.”

Source: @HTCUSA

Google Launches a New Application: Trusted Contacts

Google unwrapped a new application yesterday called Trusted Contacts, that’s somewhat similar to other services like Google+ Location Sharing and Google Latitude. The idea behind it is to offer a solution for those who need to know the location of a friend or loved one. Trusted Contacts isn’t tied to a specific service though (like Google+ Location Sharing and Google Latitude were), which is what we’re seeing a lot of from Google lately.

Once you install the application, you’ll be allowed to label a number of the contacts you have in your phone as ‘trusted’. By setting a contact to be trusted, you’re not allowing them to automatically see your location though (and vice versa). You’re basically just allowing them the opportunity to see your location. So, after you have set someone as a trusted contact, they’ll be able to request your location from the new application.

At first, this will only be a request because the recipient can deny it. The person you are requesting the location status from will receive a full screen notification (similar to a phone call). If the person does not respond in 5 minutes, then the location of that person will automatically be sent to the one who requested it. Once they receive that full screen notification, they will have the ability to decline the location request or instantly share it.

Trusted Contacts is currently available for Android and can be downloaded directly from the Play Store right now. They tell us the app is coming to iOS in the future, but didn’t give an estimation about when it will be made available. They did set up a landing page for it here though, so you can request to be notified when the iOS application will be made available to the public.

Source: Google Blog

New Shooting Modes in Google Camera

Google Camera received an update that added new shooting modes. These modes will adjust your camera for the appropriate lighting situations. This update will push to the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel and Pixel XL. I tried installing the APK on other devices with no success.


Check out the video to see how the different shooting modes make your pictures better.

Vodafone Wi-Fi en 4G bellen

Nieuwe mijlpaal in telecomsector - 4G bellen wordt de standaard en zorgt voor betere dekking binnenshuis, HD-gesprekskwaliteit, gebruik data tijdens bellen en sneller een telefoongesprek opzetten. Vodafone zet vandaag de volgende stap in de evolutie van mobiele telefonie met 4G-bellen (Voice over LTE of VoLTE) én wifi-bellen (Voice over WiFi of VoWiFi). Door gebruik te maken van de eigenschappen van 4G en wifi wordt de kwaliteit van mobiel bellen voor Vodafoneklanten verder verbeterd, zowel buitens- als binnenshuis. Klanten worden vanaf vandaag gefaseerd overgezet op deze nieuwe standaard van bellen en worden geïnformeerd zodra dat gebeurd is.

Twee Telecom Awards voor Honor, maar ook HTC in de prijzen

Afgelopen vrijdag zijn voor de derde keer de jaarlijkse Telecom Awards uitgereikt. In totaal vielen vijf verschillende fabrikanten in de prijzen. Honor, het jongeren (en prijsvechters) merk van Huawei, dat zelf niet in de prijzen viel, ging er met twee Awards vandoor. De Honor 5C is de Beste Koop in de categorie onder de 200 euro (entry-level) en de Honor 8 het Beste Product in de mid-range categorie (200 - 400 euro).

Opvallend was toch ook wel het feit dat na alle onafhankelijke tests de HTC 10 als Beste Koop in het high-end segment (400+ euro) boven water kwam drijven. Minder verrassend was de Award voor Beste Product in de high-end categorie. Die ging voor het derde jaar naar Samsung; dit keer voor de Galaxy S7 Edge.

Wie goed meegeteld heeft weet dat er nog twee Awards overblijven. Motorola won met de Moto G4 Plus het Beste Product in de mid-range categorie en de Wileyfox Swift 2 kreeg de Award voor Beste entry-level smartphone.

Zoals in eerdere berichten al meerdere keren gemeld worden de Telecom Awards uitgereikt nadat de genomineerde toestellen onderworpen zijn aan een combinatie van objectieve (benchmark) testen door een vierkoppige vakjury van GSM Heldesk, Portable Gear, Android World, All About Phones en Mobile Cowboys.

Uiteraard sta ik volledig achter de uitslag maar dat neemt niet weg dat ik ook mijn eigen voorkeur heb. In mijn lijst, uitgaande van mijn beoordelingen van de genomineerde toestellen (waaronder design, specs, prestaties, scherm, camera), kwamen de Galaxy S7 Edge en Honor 8 in hun respectievelijke categorieën ook als winnaars uit de bus. Bij de entry-level categorie vond ik de Alcatel SHINE Lite echter de beste optie. In combinatie met het oordeel van de drie overige juryleden én de resultaten van de benchmark tests bleek de Alcatel het uiteindelijk nipt te verliezen van de Wileyfox.

De drie Beste Producten; Wileyfox Swift 2, Honor 8 en Galaxy S7 Edge (vlnr)