Blackberry’s Android phone – just in time or a little too late?

by Pete


Blackberry is preparing to launch its first phone running Android, it has been claimed.

A new image shows a phone similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge, with curved sides.

Many believe the handset could be the company’s last attempt to revive itself following disastrous sales of its own BB10 touchscreen handsets.

I’ve not been a fan of touch devices when it comes to typing. ?Everything else on those things kicks serious ass, but typing continues to be the worst part of it.

This is especially noticeable when you came to Android from the Blackberry keyboard – the Bold’s “Rolls Royce” was incredibly good. ?People could get up to 80 words per minute on this without a single error.

Since jumping to Android via the Samsung S3 I have never looked back. ?But, I have always missed the berry keyboard.

So will this “Venice” phone get me back to Blackberry? ?Can it wrestle me away from Samsung?

Oh yes.

Blackberry have had an intelligence and really smart smoothness to the way their phones operated. ?With dynamic menus that almost always predict what your next option was going to be, and superb general styling and an unbeatable keyboard, it was no wonder it led the world.

If they can marry that sort of hardware with an Android version that is boosted to have the same Blackberry security and “smarts”, then I’ll be back.


– Daily Mail


RED: How Israel warns it’s citizens from Hamas terrorism

Yesterday I mentioned the app that is available to push alerts of rocket strikes to your smart phone.

It is called RED and is available for iPhone and Android.

I have it installed on my phone and at dinner last night a flurry of alerts came in reminding me to share with you what it looks like.

When you login you have two possible screens.

The latest alerts and and a Map showing the latest alerts. It uses GPS and cell towers to know where you are.

Here is the Map screen showing the flurry of rocket attacks against Ashdod and Askelon and the general vicinity at around 6:45pm last night.

Screenshot_2014-08-23-19-07-15 Read more »


Face of the day

Female Announcer robot

Female Announcer robot

Look out overpaid TV stars – here is the news… with an ANDROID! World’s first robotic broadcasters are so lifelike they can read reports without stumbling

The Kodomoroid and Otonaroid droids were revealed at Tokyo Museum
Both droids have silicone skin, artificial muscles and are remote-controlled
The creepy-looking robots speak so smoothly they are eerily lifelike
In a demonstration, robots read the news and interacted with the audience
There were some glitches such as lips not moving while one robot spoke

Read more »


Kim Dotcom wants to spy on you…he really does

It looks like Kim Dotcom’s life has come full circle, he started off?hacking phone cards, PABXs, Banks, the Pentagon, the Taliban…well that’s what he has claimed.

And his blowhard skiting has followed him around the planet. Pity our media are too thick to use google. ? Read more »

WhaleTech: Cool apps for your Android TV Box

Following the considerable interest in last week?s post about Android TV boxes, I thought I?d share some of the top apps I use on mine.

Bear in mind at the outset that the apps I like may not be ideal for you; that?s the ?wonder? of smartphone ecosystems. The millions of apps available on Google?s Play store (or Apple?s App Store?and to a lesser extent, Microsoft?s Windows store) provide the flexibility for you to get your device working like you want it to.

While I’ve included YouTube, I’ve left out some other ‘major’ but obvious ones, like Facebook, Twitter, Google Earth, Chrome, etc, as these are, well, obvious.

Worth noting too, is that an Android TV box is based on a smartphone, but it isn?t a smartphone. That means some apps which work well on a smartphone, won?t work well (or even at all) on an Android TV box. After all, it doesn?t have GPS, a camera or a gyroscope ? and it?s primary purpose, at least how I use it, is to access and display media.

Right,?on to those apps.

YouTube1.?????? YouTube?

Yes, it seems trite, since YouTube is probably something we all use every day anyway. The reason this makes it as a top app is because in addition to endless FAIL collections (people doing stupid things and getting it on camera), you can watch a huge collection of old full length movies. As someone who thoroughly enjoys wasting time watching FAILarmy (to the annoyance of my wife) and old movies, this is enormously valuable. You could just access YouTube in your browser, but the Android app makes it easier to navigate. As a bonus, sign in to Google on your PC, your notebook and your Android box and your activity on any and all other devices is synched (ie find fails faster).

MX Player2.?????? MX Player

If?you have a ?cache? of content (no, I don?t care where it came from, that?s between you and its maker) on a hard drive or even just on your PC and want to watch it on your TV?well, that?s what the Android box was made for. Yes, and a lot besides. MX Player is my choice for playing back movies, old TV shows ? I?m a fan of such things as Magnum PI, 30 Rock, Arrested Development and others ? clips from the GoPro, etc. What makes MX Player stand out is that it can handle just about any file format (and there are lots of them) without a hitch. One thing you don?t want when streaming content, is tech hassles. With MX Player, there isn?t a file I?ve found that it can?t handle.

ES File Explorer  File Manager3.?????? ES File Explorer File Manager

A?comment from JeffdaReff last week alerted me to the fact that many of us are still technophobes; luckily, setting up an Android box and connecting it to your wireless network is really easy. Once it is connected, you will want to browse the network and find your other devices (like the PC or networked drive on which you have that stash of content). ES File Explorer makes this simple; load it up, find the ?LAN? button, click SCAN and every device on the network will appear. Click through and find the file you want, and open it with MX Player. Happy time.

Fast Reboot4.?????? Fast Reboot

Here?s an opportunity for Apple fanbois (hi guys) to get excited. Android does occasionally wind up with too many background processes and apps running, which can clutter things up. Fast Reboot is a simple utility which, at the click of a button (now that didn?t sound like a clich?, did it?) closes any extraneous apps. I place the icon on my desktop and routinely hit it after ?fiddling? to keep my gadget running sweetly. I am aware that the last sentence is potentially ambiguous and potentially incriminating. No matter.

MX Mariner - Marine Charts5.?????? Marine apps, including Predict Wind, NZ Marine Weather, and MX Mariner

I?ve grouped these together just as an example of some of the ?interest? apps you can whack onto your Android TV box. Although I live right next to the sea and a visual check isn?t too much of a mission, it?s always a good idea to get an idea of what?s going to happen later before going fishing. Whatever your interests are, you?re likely to find heaps of stuff on the Play store to keep you busy.

WhaleTech: The Budget for smartphone/tablet nerds



Last year, Treasury released iPhone and Android apps for those who like to see all the Budget data come alive (after the 2pm embargo, of course). ?They’ve updated the app for the 2013 budget. ?Sorry Windows Phone / Surface users, you miss out, but the rest of you can get your fix here:

Read more »

WhaleTech: NZ Herald Android App to take photos and videos without your permission?

Oh dear. ?Oh dear oh dear.

The backlash is starting after a recent NZ Herald Android App update.

The app can now take photos and videos whenever it likes. ?It can essentially listen in on you. ?It can take photos of you or your surroundings, and send them back to the NZ Herald (or anyone else they want).

In spite of the lessons learned from News Of The World phone hacking scandal, the NZ Herald is now trying to cut out the middleman and take information from you directly?

Politicians, Spin Doctors, Industry Leaders and anyone else ?using this NZ Herald Android App should think long and hard about letting the NZ Herald have the ability to record anything at any time via your smartphone or tablet.

This is a potential invasion of privacy and unauthorised use of a data plan that the NZ Herald isn’t paying for.

This is the sort of thing that the NZ Herald would like to deny the GCSB, yet they are fine with the concept themselves?

I’ve uninstalled it.



Read more »


Chart of the Day – Blogs Influence Consumers? Purchasing Decisions

I found a very interesting article about the influence of blogs. Which is funny because I was once told by a media buyer that blogs were irrelevant.

The latest findings from?Technorati?s 2013 Digital Influence Report?show that ?consumers are turning to blogs when looking to make a purchase.?

In fact, blogs rank favorably with consumers for trust, popularity and even influence.

pr-success-for-inflluencers Read more »

WhaleTech: What would you give up to get a Smartphone that lasts a week on one charge?



If you are happy to give up your colour display, you’ll be able to get an Android Smartphone that will last a week on a single charge.

In what looks like something from the Palm Pilot days, the same tech that’s driving the latest Kindle displays will offer the most readable and sharp text, but, only in shades of grey.

And what if you want both a long battery life and a colour display? ?Then perhaps a phone line this would work for you Read more »

WhaleTech: Why I want Android At Home



Mike Elgan writes

I understand the religious wars between iOS and Android, and have deep appreciation for both sides.

In a nutshell, the iOS platform offers appliances not meant to be tinkered with. Apple controls everything, and in exchange consumers get a controlled environment where apps play by the rules, have consistent designs and things work very seamlessly without any effort, optimization, customization or anything else required of the user.

Android, on the other hand, offers user control and it gives more latitude to developers to do things their own way. In the phone market, the Android platform offers vastly greater variety and choice in hardware design.

When some random, non-technical relative asks me which phone to buy, the iPhone is a safe recommendation. It will be easy for them to use. They?ll have an Apple Store to go to if it breaks. There?s a place in the world for phones that are integrated appliances like the iPhone or open platforms like Android.

But for home automation? No way. I want Google.

That’s a pretty fair summary. ?But why Google for home automation?

home automation is a category of a gazillion hardware devices ? thermometers, smart beds, lighting systems, GPS dog collars, easy-bake ovens (for grownups), intelligent fire places ? we can think of hundreds of categories for home automation products, and there are hundreds more we can?t think of.

I want the platform for this to be a wide-open system like Android, where device and appliance makers can grab the code and run with it without getting permission from a central authority.

There?s another reason. I want home automation tied in with Google Now. I want to talk to my house like it?s a person, and have my house give me information and take action based on our ?conversation.?

And it looks like that just might happen.

Creative people are getting together, and with the ever decreasing cost of electronics and wireless communications, appliances of all kinds will be able to start to communicate with its owner.

The future where the fridge tells you that you’re down to half a litre of milk is really not that far away.

Google released the 4.2.2 update to Android this week for Google?s three Nexi phone and tablets. Future, top-of-the-line phones will also get the new version.

What?s really interesting about this release has nothing to do with phones or tablets.

A reference to mesh networking in the context of home automation has been spotted in the new code. The reference popped up in the following comment:

?Allows access to the loop radio ([email protected] mesh network) device.??

If you?re unfamiliar with mesh networking, it?s a type of networking that functions a little bit like the Internet itself.

Each device on a mesh network acts as a relay for other devices.

The future where your house could be plotting to get rid of you is nearly here.

But now for the most promising and awesome news of all: Recently, the same source that found the mesh networking comment discovered?many new ? references in new code in Google Now, as well as a reference to a ?Card? for turning lights on and off.

(Home automation systems always start with lights, because they?re so simple. The control is either on or off.)

But you can imagine a Google Now ?card? for every conceivable home automation appliance in your home.

I don?t know about you, but the very idea of Google Now being the interface for home automation makes me feel all funny inside. (In a good way.)

This is going to take a while to shake out. ?We need an open home appliance communications standard for example. ?But you can see what will happen. ?Enthusiasts will just be tinkering with this like mad. ?And where home automation was previously the domain of the very rich, the day where you can check on the milk in the fridge from your phone before driving past the supermarket isn’t that far away.

It will be cheap, highly integrated, and only limited by imagination.

Add Google Glass, and… I can’t wait.


Source: ?Cult of Android