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Latest Technology, Sony

Sony Store Launches 2013 Holiday Deals

It’s that time of the year again and the Sony Store started launching some of their holiday sales early!

Not seeing what you’re looking for? Don’t worry, we’ll be updating this post as more and more deals become available.

As always, free ground shipping on all orders over $25!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter via @SonyStore  – we’ll be sharing more sales in the days to come.

We’ll also be posting Thanksgiving /Black Friday/Cyber Monday goodies on Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+.

Having trouble with the site? You can always shop by phone at 1-877-865-7669.

A couple notes: All deals are limited time and while supplies last. These prices exclude tax and are US only. Discounts are calculated from original suggested retail price (SRP). Cannot be combined with other offers. Click deal links for full details.

If you plan on braving the crowds at the mall this week, here is a list of our updated Sony Store hours.

EDITORS’ PICK:

  • Free 4K Media player (FMPX1, $700 value) with purchase of a 65″ Class (64.5″ diag) XBR 4K Ultra HD TV ($4999.99, excl tax): http://bit.ly/1dq1ZHj
  • Save $70 the Sony Internet Player with Google TV now $129.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1cIzkID
  • Save $100 on the Xperia® Tablet Z: Kitchen Edition now $549.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/18eAKO2
  • Get a free vertical grip and flash ($929 value) with purchase of the the Sony a99 Full-Frame DSLR Camera Body for $2799.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1ch5BGH
  • Get the Sony α58 Camera bundle w/ 18-55mm and 55-200mm F4-5.6 lenses, case & memory card now $550 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/18zlNnM 
  • Save $150 on the Alpha NEX-6 Camera Body  now $599.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/I6dm8W
  • Save $100 on the Cyber-shot RX100 now $549.99 (excl tax) + get a free 32GB memory card with purchase: http://bit.ly/IbT7an
  • Get the Action Cam with Wi-Fi for only $129.99 (excl tax & exp 12/2): http://bit.ly/1fu2Re4
  • Save $100 on the Full HD Camcorder (black, blue, red,  or silver) plus receive a free carry case all for  $149.99 (excl tax & exp 12/2): http://bit.ly/18vvweO
  • Save $100 (50% off!) Sony X Headphones (red & back) now $99.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1aWzN76
  • Save $20 on the Smart Watch 2 with Metal Band, now $199.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1bJTAHV
  • Save $50 on the Xperia ZR smartphone (black, mint, pink, or white) now  $449.99 (excl tax & exp 12/4): http://bit.ly/I6eJVa          

 

TABLET

TV AND HOME THEATER

TV:

  • Free 4K Media player (FMPX1, $700 value) with purchase of a 65″ Class (64.5″ diag) XBR 4K Ultra HD TV ($4999.99, excl tax): http://bit.ly/1dq1ZHj
  • Save $500 on the Sony® 55” class (54.6” diag) 4K Ultra HD TV now just $2,999.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/18Y3sNA
  • Save $500 on the 55″ Class (54.6″ diag) XBR 4K Ultra HD TV (XBR55X900A), now just $3,499.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1iF7sKi
  • Save $500 on the 65’’ Class (64.5″ diag) XBR 4K Ultra HD TV (XBR65X900A), now just $4,999.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1ceOg1b
  • 48 months, no interest financing on 4K HDTVs: http://bit.ly/1c18PzU

Home Theater:

Cameras and Camcorders

Cyber-shot® Digital Cameras

  • Save $50 on the 16.1 MP Cyber-shot W730 Digital Camera (silver, blue or pink) now $89.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1bLx0ii
  • Save $60 Cyber-shot WX300 Digital Camera (black, white or red) now $269.99 ( excl tax & exp 11/30): http://bit.ly/1beT1Lu
  • Save $100 on the 18.2 MP Cyber-shot HX50V Digital Camera with built in Wi-Fi now $349.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1i4VxYv
  • Save $80 on the 20.4 MP Cyber-shot HX300 Digital Camera with 50x optical zoom now $419.99 (excl tax & exp 11/30): http://bit.ly/19RWKIt

Alpha:

NEX:

  • Save $100 on the NEX-5T Interchangeable Lens Camera Body now $449.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/Imb2ue
  • Save $100 on the NEX-5TL Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 16-50mm Lens (black or white) now $599.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1cJohyH
  • Save $150 on the NEX-6 Camera Body  now $599.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/I6dm8W
  • Save $150 NEX-6 Camera with 16-50mm Lens now $749.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1iFr7cX

Lenses:

 Camcorders:

  • Get the Action Cam with Wi-Fi for only $129.99 (excl tax & exp 12/2): http://bit.ly/1fu2Re4
  • Save $50 on the Action Cam with Waterproof Housing (HDR-AS30V/B) now $249.99 (excl tax & exp 12/2): http://bit.ly/IchvZz
  • Save $100 on the Full HD Camcorder (black, blue, red,  or silver) plus receive a free carry case all for  $149.99 (excl tax & exp 12/2): http://bit.ly/18vvweO
  • Save $120 on a Full HD 8GB Flash Memory Camcorder plus free case now $229.99 (excl tax & exp 12/2): http://bit.ly/1cf9iNe
  • Save $100 on a Full HD 16GB Flash Memory Camcorder now $349.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1eq7m6z
  • Save $150 on a 16GB Full HD Camcorder with Projector (black, white, or red) now $449.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/18gn8BU
  • Save $150 on the 32GB Full HD Camcorder with Projector now $699.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1aPr2PL

Portable Audio

  • Save $20 on the Clock Radio for iPhone/iPod (ICFC11iP/BLK), now $49.99 (excl tax) http://bit.ly/17PPzGp
  • Save $80 on the Bluetooth Wireless Speaker (black or white) now $119.99 (excl tax):
  • Save $100 (50% off!) Sony X Headphones (red & back) now $99.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1aWzN76

Mobile

  • Save $20 on the Smart Watch 2 with Metal Band, now $199.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1bJTAHV
  • Save $50 on the Xperia ZR smartphone (black, mint, pink, or white) now  $449.99 (excl tax & exp 12/4): http://bit.ly/I6eJVa
  • Save $50 on the Xperia Z unlocked phone (black, purple, or white), now $499.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1cJqzxX
  • Save 10% on the Xperia E (pink,  white, or black) now $134.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1h9S9Kg
  • Save 10% on the Xperia E dual (black or champagne) now $143.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/18gnyIC
  • Save 10% on the Xperia L (black, red, or white)  now $269.99  (excl tax): http://bit.ly/I8R7iT
  • Save 10% on the Xperia M (black, purple, white, or yellow) now $224.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1aHP7sw
  • Get the Xperia SP (black or white) for $341.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/1bLFqpM
  • No contract, $0 down. Plus, get $170 of music, movies and games free with any Xperia Z 4G LTE on T-Mobile phone purchase: http://bit.ly/1904rNa

PlayStation

Latest Technology, NVIDIA

In Los Angeles, Audi, Mini, BMW Meld High Tech With Sexy Sheet Metal

PeekAudiLAGleaming chrome. Throaty engine roars. Vehicles whispering to the cloud. Whether you’re a motorhead or a gadget fiend, it’s all happening at the Los Angeles Auto Show, one of the industry’s most important events. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the cool new cars, powered by NVIDIA, which you can see at the LA… Read More
Latest Technology, Nokia

Nokia Lumia 1020 advert presentations you don’t want martial arts to get the most effective photograph

Both photography and martial arts take years of training to master. But what if you could combine the study of both into one? A humorous new ad from Nokia UAE shows that you too can sign up to study Taekfoto with master Rez-Tu-Lo.

As you can imagine from a discipline that combines taking photos and martial arts, most of the 250 lessons revolve around getting through a crowd of people to get close enough for that perfect shot.

Or you could use Nokia Lumia 1020’s lossless digital zoom and save yourself the AED 7,000 / $1,900 that the Taekfoto lessons cost. Training with master Rez-Tu-Los isn’t cheap.

Check out previous Lumia 1020 ads here.

Source

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Apple, Latest Technology

Amazon updates its Appstore to version 7

Amazon is running is alternative Android app store mainly for the benefit of its Kindle Fire tablets, but the Amazon Appstore is available to any Android device. With a recent update, that leapfrogged from version 5 to version 7, the store is now less of a pain to use too.


Amazon Appstore v7

The new user interface has been changed around to look closer to the updated Fire OS 3.1 (a heavily customized Android 4.0) on the Kindle Fire tablets. It also looks closer to Google’s Play Store, which might make the transition easier. It still looks decidedly Amazon though, with a pseudo-3D shading and a dark grey/orange color scheme.

The new Appstore version also brings performance enhancements, stability improvements and bug fixes.

The Appstore continues to run the free app of the day promotion, giving away apps that are usually paid. That’s how Amazon hopes to lure in consumers.

You can download the Amazon Appstore from here. If you already have it installed, you can check for updates from the store itself.

Via

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Android, Apple, Latest Technology

‘Strata’ for iOS and Android recreation assessment

There are games that are fun. There are games that look great. And then there are games that do both. Strata is one such game that has been lauded for both its design and gameplay when it first released on the Mac and recently it arrived on mobile as well. Let’s take a closer look at it.

Title

Strata

Developer

Graveck

Platform

iOS

Android

Release Date

September 2013

September 2013

Content rating

4+

Everyone

Size

41.3MB

15MB

Price

$2.99

Gameplay

Strata is a puzzle solving game that makes use of colored tiles and ribbons to weave a particular pattern. You have a grid of colored tiles and your objective is to overlay the tiles with matching colored ribbons. Every tile can have two ribbons placed on top of it. The first ribbon can be of any color but the second one has to be of the same color as the tile underneath. When you place all the ribbons over the grid while making sure they match the respective tile colors, you complete the level.

Strata starts off simple with a four tile grid and two color ribbons but soon you’ll be looking at large five by five grids with four color ribbons. If you work out the math, that is a lot of possibilities. But every grid has only one right answer and only with some trial and error will you find the right answer.

You can click on the empty boxes on the side to place a colored ribbon over that row or column. You can tap again to remove it. You will have to try out various combinations to see which is the correct one. Eventually, you get good enough at it that by looking at the grid you can place the ribbons correctly in the right order at first attempt.

You can do and undo the ribbons any number of times to complete the level but if you get everything right at first attempt, you get the ‘Perfect’ badge for that level. You can easily solve a level and play it again once you know the solution to get the ‘Perfect’ badge, or restart the level once you figure it out halfway through and then place everything correctly at first attempt.

If you get stuck, the game also has a hint system in place to nudge you in the right direction but then you won’t get the ‘Perfect’ badge if you complete it using hints.

Strata has dozens upon dozens of levels built-in. Also, there is absolutely no in-app purchase model, so you get everything in the $2.99 you pay for the app, making it great value.

Graphics and Sound

Visually, Strata is stunning. The game makes wonderful use of simple geometric shapes and soft pastel colors. Minimalism has been used wisely with a clean, uncluttered UI without being excessively bland. The game also has a unique, tilted UI design that is consistent across the entire game.

Sound-wise, the game impresses once again. Ever tap on an item is followed by a distinct piano note. The note lingers for a while after you tap and then fades away leaving complete silence behind until you tap again. It’s all very simple and effective.

Verdict

Strata is a really fun puzzle game that will appeal to almost everyone. It offers the right amount of challenge without being too easy or difficult and has tons of levels to spend hours on. Best of all, it looks and sounds splendid. There is nothing here really to complain about and I’d highly recommend everyone with an iOS or Android device to give this game a try.

Rating: 9/10
Pros: Challenging gameplay, plenty of levels, beautiful design
Cons: Nothing in particular

Download: iOS | Android

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Latest Technology
Latest Technology, Tips & Tricks

How to Force Graphics Options in PC Games with NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel Graphics

graphics-card-tweak

PC games usually have built-in graphics options that you can change. However, you’re not limited to the options built into games — the graphics control panels bundled with graphics drivers allow you to tweak options from outside PC games.

For example, these tools allow you to force-enable antialiasing to make old games look better, even if they don’t normally support it. You can also reduce graphics quality to get more performance on slow hardware.

If You Don’t See These Options

If you don’t have the NVIDIA Control Panel, AMD Catalyst Control Center, or Intel Graphics and Media Control Panel installed, you may need to install the appropriate graphics driver package for your hardware from the hardware manufacturer’s website. The drivers provided via Windows Update don’t include additional software like the NVIDIA Control Panel or AMD Catalyst Control Center.

Drivers provided via Windows Update are also more out of date. If you’re playing PC games, you’ll want to have the latest graphics drivers installed on your system.

NVIDIA Control Panel

The NVIDIA Control Panel allows you to change these options if your computer has NVIDIA graphics hardware. To launch it, right-click your desktop background and select NVIDIA Control Panel. You can also find this tool by performing a Start menu (or Start screen) search for NVIDIA Control Panel or by right-clicking the NVIDIA icon in your system tray and selecting Open NVIDIA Control Panel.

open-nvidia-control-panel

To quickly set a system-wide preference, you could use the Adjust image settings with preview option. For example, if you have old hardware that struggles to play the games you want to play, you may want to select “Use my preference emphasizing” and move the slider all the way to “Performance.” This trades graphics quality for an increased frame rate.

nvidia-control-panel-adjust-image-settings

By default, the “Use the advanced 3D image settings” option is selected. You can select Manage 3D settings and change advanced settings for all programs on your computer or just for specific games. NVIDIA keeps a database of the optimal settings for various games, but you’re free to tweak individual settings here. Just mouse-over an option for an explanation of what it does.

nvidia-manage-3d-application-settings

If you have a laptop with NVIDIA Optimus technology — that is, both NVIDIA and Intel graphics — this is the same place you can choose which applications will use the NVIDIA hardware and which will use the Intel hardware.

AMD Catalyst Control Center

AMD’s Catalyst Control Center allows you to change these options on AMD graphics hardware. To open it, right-click your desktop background and select Catalyst Control Center. You can also right-click the Catalyst icon in your system tray and select Catalyst Control Center or perform a Start menu (or Start screen) search for Catalyst Control Center.

launch-catalyst-control-center

Click the Gaming category at the left side of the Catalyst Control Center window and select 3D Application Settings to access the graphics settings you can change.

The System Settings tab allows you to configure these options globally, for all games. Mouse over any option to see an explanation of what it does. You can also set per-application 3D settings and tweak your settings on a per-game basis. Click the Add option and browse to a game’s .exe file to change its options.

catalyst-control-center-3d-settings

Intel Graphics and Media Control Panel

Intel integrated graphics are nowhere near as powerful as dedicated graphics hardware from NVIDIA and AMD, but they are improving and come included with most computers. Intel doesn’t provide anywhere near as many options in its graphics control panel, but you can still tweak some common settings.

To open the Intel graphics control panel, locate the Intel graphics icon in your system tray, right-click it, and select Graphics Properties. You can also right-click the desktop and select Graphics Properties.

open-intel-graphics-control-panel

Select either Basic Mode or Advanced Mode. When the Intel Graphics and Media Control Panel appears, select the 3D option.

You’ll be able to set your Performance or Quality setting by moving the slider around or click the Custom Settings check box and customize your Anisotropic Filtering and Vertical Sync preference.

intel-graphics-change-3d-settings

Different Intel graphics hardware may have different options here. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see more advanced options appear in the future if Intel is serious about competing in the PC graphics market, as they say they are.


These options are primarily useful to PC gamers, so don’t worry about them — or bother downloading updated graphics drivers — if you’re not a PC gamer and don’t use any intensive 3D applications on your computer.

Image Credit: Dave Dugdale on Flickr


    






Latest Technology, Tips & Tricks

Information to Use a Bluetooth Keyboard with Your Android Instrument

clip_image001[7]

Android devices aren’t usually associated with physical keyboards. But, since Google is now bundling their QuickOffice app with the newly-released Kit-Kat, it appears inevitable that at least some Android tablets (particularly 10-inch models) will take on more productivity roles.

In recent years, physical keyboards have been rendered obsolete by swipe-style input methods such as Swype and Google Keyboard. Physical keyboards tend to make phones thicker, and that won’t fly today when thin (and even flexible and curved) is in vogue. So, you’ll be hard-pressed to find smartphone manufacturers launching new models with physical keyboards, thus rendering sliders to a past chapter in mobile phone evolution.

It makes sense to ditch the clunky keyboard phone in favor of a lighter, thinner model. You’re going to carry it around in your pocket or purse all day, why have that extra bulk and weight? That said, there is sound logic behind pairing tablets with keyboards. Microsoft continues to plod forward with its Surface models, and while critics continue to lavish praise on the iPad, its functionality is obviously enhanced and extended when you add a physical keyboard. Apple even has an entire page devoted specifically to iPad-compatible keyboards.

But an Android tablet and a keyboard? Does such a thing even exist? They do actually. There are docking keyboards and keyboard/case combinations and the Asus Transformer family. Logitech markets a Windows 8 keyboard that speaks “Android”, and these are just a few examples.

So we know that keyboard products that are designed to work with Android exist, but what about an everyday Bluetooth keyboard you might use with Windows or OS X? How-To Geek wanted look at how viable it is to use such a keyboard with Android. We conducted some research and examined some lists of Android keyboard shortcuts. Most of what we found was long outdated. Many of the shortcuts don’t even apply anymore, while others just didn’t work. Regardless, after a little experimentation and a dash of customization, it turns out using a keyboard with Android is kind of fun, and who knows, maybe it will catch on.

Setting things up

Setting up a Bluetooth keyboard with Android is very easy. First, you’ll need a Bluetooth keyboard and, of course, an Android device, preferably running version 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or higher. For our test, we paired a second-generation Google Nexus 7 running Android 4.3 with a Samsung Series 7 keyboard.

In Android, enable Bluetooth if it isn’t already on. We’d like to note that if you don’t normally use Bluetooth accessories and peripherals with your Android device (or any device really), it’s best practice to leave Bluetooth off because, like GPS, it drains the device’s battery more quickly.

To enable Bluetooth, simply go to “Settings” -> “Bluetooth” and tap the slider button to “On”. To set up the keyboard, make sure it is on and then tap “Bluetooth” in the Android settings.

clip_image003[8]

On the resulting screen, your Android device should automatically search for and find your keyboard. If you don’t get it right the first time, simply turn the keyboard on again and then tap “Search for Devices” to try again. If it still doesn’t work, make sure you have fresh batteries and the keyboard isn’t paired to another device. If it is, you will need to unpair it before it will work with your Android device (consult your keyboard manufacturer’s documentation or Google if you don’t know how to do this).

When Android finds your keyboard, select it under “Available Devices” …

2013-11-07 21.15.54

… and you should be prompted to type in a code:

clip_image007[4]

If successful, you will see that device is now “Connected” and you’re ready to go.

clip_image009[4]

If you want to test things out, try pressing the “Windows” key (“Apple” or “Command”) + ESC, and you will be whisked to your Home screen.

So, what can you do?

Traditional Mac and Windows users know there’s usually a keyboard shortcut for just about everything (and if there isn’t, there’s all kinds of ways to remap keys to do a variety of commands, tasks, and functions). So where does Android fall in terms of baked-in keyboard commands?

The answer to that is kind of enough, but not too much. There are definitely established combos you can use to get around, but they aren’t clear and there doesn’t appear to be any one authority on what they are. Still, there is enough keyboard functionality in Android to make it a viable option, if only for those times when you need to get something done (long e-mail or important document) and an on-screen keyboard simply won’t do.

It’s important to remember that Android is, and likely always will be, a touch-first interface. That said, it does make some concessions to physical keyboards. In other words, you can get around Android fairly well without having to lift your hands off the keys, but you will still have to tap the screen regularly unless you add a mouse. For example, you can wake your device by tapping a key rather than pressing its power button. However, if your device is slide or pattern-locked, then you’ll have to use the touchscreen to unlock it – a password or PIN however, works seamlessly with a keyboard – other things like widgets and app controls and features, have to be tapped. You get the idea.

Keyboard shortcuts and navigation

As we said, baked-in keyboard shortcut combos aren’t necessarily abundant nor apparent. The one thing you can always do is search. Any time you want to Google something, start typing from the Home screen and the search screen will automatically open and begin displaying results.

2013-11-07 21.49.00

Other than that, here is what we were able to figure out:

  • ESC = go back
  • CTRL + ESC = menu
  • CTRL + ALT + DEL = restart (no questions asked)
  • ALT + SPACE = search page (say “OK Google” to voice search)
  • ALT + TAB (ALT + SHIFT + TAB) = switch tasks

Also, if you have designated volume function keys, those will probably work too. There’s also some dedicated app shortcuts like calculator, Gmail, and a few others:

  • CMD + A = calculator
  • CMD + C = contacts
  • CMD + E = e-mail
  • CMD + G = Gmail
  • CMD + L = Calendar
  • CMD + P = Play Music
  • CMD + Y = YouTube

Overall, it’s not a comprehensive list and there are no dedicated keyboard combos for the full array of Google’s products. Granted, it’s hard to imagine getting a lot of mileage out of a keyboard with Maps, but with something like Keep, you could type out long, detailed lists on your tablet and then view them on your smartphone when you go out shopping.

You can also use the arrow keys to navigate your Home screen shortcuts and open the app drawer. When something on the screen is selected, it will be highlighted in blue. Press “Enter” to open your selection.

clip_image011[4]

Additionally, if an app has its own set of shortcuts, e.g. Gmail has quite a few unique shortcuts to it, as does Chrome, some – though not many – will work in Android (not YouTube, for instance). Also, many “universal” shortcuts such as Copy (CTRL + C), Cut (CTRL + X), Paste (CTRL + V), and Select All (CTRL + A) work where needed – such as in instant messaging, e-mail, social media apps, etc.

Creating custom application shortcuts

What about custom shortcuts? When we were researching this article, we were under the impression that it was possible to assign keyboard combinations to specific apps, such as you could do on older Android versions such as Gingerbread. This no long seems to be the case, and nowhere in “Settings” could we find a way to assign hotkey combos to any of our favorite, oft-used apps or functions.

If you do want custom keyboard shortcuts, what can you do? Luckily, there’s an app on Google Play that allows you to, among other things, create custom app shortcuts.

It is called External Keyboard Helper (EKH), and while there is a free demo version, the pay version is only a few bucks. We decided to give EKH a whirl and through a little experimentation and finally reading the developer’s how-to, we found we could map custom keyboard combos to just about anything.

To do this, first open the application and you’ll see the main app screen. Don’t worry about choosing a custom layout or anything like that, you want to go straight to the “Advanced settings”:

clip_image013[4]

In the “Advanced settings” select “Application shortcuts” to continue:

clip_image015[4]

You can have up to 16 custom application shortcuts. We are going to create a custom shortcut to the Facebook app. We choose “A0”, and from the resulting list, Facebook. You can do this for any number of apps, services, and settings. As you can now see, the Facebook app has now been linked to application-zero (A0):

clip_image017[4]

Go back to the “Advanced settings” and choose “Customize keyboard mappings”:

clip_image019[4]

You will be prompted to create a custom keyboard layout, so we chose “Custom 1”:

clip_image021[4]

When you choose to create a custom layout, you can do a great many more things with your keyboard. For example, many keyboards have predefined function (Fn) keys, which you can map to your tablet’s brightness controls, toggle WiFi on/off, and much more.

A word of advice: the application automatically remaps certain keys when you create a custom layout. This might mess up some existing keyboard combos. If you simply want to add some functionality to your keyboard, you can go ahead and delete EKH’s default changes and start your custom layout from scratch.

To create a new combo, select “Add new key mapping”:

clip_image023[4]

For our new shortcut, we are going to assign the Facebook app to open when we key in “ALT + F”. To do this, we press the “F” key while in the “Scancode” field and we see it returns a value of “33”. If we wanted to use a different key, we can press “Change” and scan another key’s numerical value.

We now want to assign the “ALT” key to application “A0”, previously designated as the Facebook app. In the “AltGr” field, we enter “A0” and then “Save” our custom combo.

clip_image025[4]

And now we see our new application shortcut. Now, as long as we’re using our custom layout, every time we press “ALT + F”, the Facebook app will launch:

clip_image027[4]

External Keyboard Helper extends far beyond simple application shortcuts, and if you are looking for deeper keyboard customization options, you should definitely check it out. Among other things, EKH also supports dozens of languages, and allows you to quickly switch between layouts using a key or combo, add up to 16 custom text shortcuts, and much more!

It can be had on Google Play for $2.53 for the full version, but you can try the demo version for free. More extensive documentation on how to use the app is also available.

Android? Keyboard? Sure, why not?

Unlike traditional desktop operating systems, you don’t need a physical keyboard and mouse to use a mobile operating system. You can buy an iPad or Nexus 10 or Galaxy Note and never need another accessory or peripheral – they work as intended right out of the box. It’s even possible you can write the next great American novel on one these devices, though that might require a lot of practice and patience.

That said, using a keyboard with Android is kind of fun. It’s not revelatory, but it does elevate the experience. You don’t even need to add customizations (though they are nice), because there are enough existing keyboard shortcuts in Android to make it usable. Plus, when it comes to inputting text such as in an editor or terminal application, we fully advocate big, physical keyboards. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a way to enhance your Android tablet, give a keyboard a chance.

Do you use your Android device for productivity? Is a physical keyboard an important part of your setup? Do you have any shortcuts that we missed? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think.


    






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LG G Flex goes through the horror of a drop test

LG G Flex is one of its kind smartphone that comes with a truly flexible body, screen and even a curved battery. The folks at Android Authority have taken the shinning new device for a ride in their drop test to check out the durability of the smartphone.

LG G Flex has a unique ability to self-heal bruises and minor scratches, but is that and its flexible body enough to survive a crash against the pavement? Well, let’s find out.

As usual, the LG G Flex went down crashing against the pavement three times and you can check out the video below to know how the device performed.

Well, the LG G Flex is yet another smartphone that ended up with a shattered screen, but the good news is the device was still fully functional. The drop test also revealed that the magic back panel is only capable of healing minor scratches and nicks. So, if at all you managed to get hold of one of the G Flex, then make sure that you don’t drop it.

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