Motorola Announces Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and New Moto G

Motorola has reemerged as a leding smartphone maker ever since the orignal Moto X hit the scene in 2013. The Second Generation Model in 2014 raised the bar even further. Now Motorola isn’t just breaking the bar, its shattering it with not just one , but a pair of new Moto X phones. They’re also bringing a brand new Moto G for the table with them. Let’s take a peak.

Moto-X-style

Moto X Style

If you wanted everything good about the 2014 Moto X in Phablet form with a QHD screen and 64-bit CPU, your wish has been granted in the form of the Moto X Style. The screen is a 5.7″ LCD display in 2560 x 1440 Quad HD. This is rather curious since previous Motorolas and the Moto produced Nexus 6 have employed Super AMOLED screens instead of LCDs. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 808 MSM8992 CPU. This 64-bit SoC pairs two High end A57 Cores with four low end A53 cores. It also has Quadcomm’s Ardeno 418 graphics processor. Essentially its a Snapdragon 810 with two less A53 Cores. The SoC is paired with 3GB of ram The case is 153.9 x 76.2mm with a curved back from 6.1 to 11.06mm in depth. It weights 179 grams. The styling is very reminiscent of the previous two Moto X phones, but with more metal accents including a metal strip down the center and back for the camera and log. The phone also has a water resistant coating.

The most improved part other than the screen is the cameras. The back uses a 21mp sensor with a f/2.0 lens part capable of shooting 4k video at 30fps or Full HD 1080 at 60 frames. Its also capable of shooting 120FS slow mo and Video HDR in both 1080 and 4k. It also has a phase detect auto focus and dual color flash. If previous Moto cameras were lacking, this seems first class at first glance. The front camera is also rather impressive with a 5mp sensor with 1.4 micron pixels and also a f/2.0 wide angle lens. It also has a flash, slow motion, and a night mode. In man ways, the Moto X style’s front camera is more impressive than the rear camera on the original Moto G. Selfies and video chat is no longer a second class citizen. Sound is also upgraded with front facing speakers.

The rest of the IO is up to date with 802.11AC with MIMO, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.1 LTE is up to cat6 and the phone supports up to 14 different brands. In fact, Moto says the Pure Edition of this phone will work with every carrier in the US. There are two disappointing aspects of the Moto X Style. First, while there is an ultra fast charging mode called Turbo Charging, it still uses a Micro USB connector instead of USB-C. Second, despite Google adding native support in Android M, there is no fingerprint sensor in the Moto X Style.

Pricing & Availability

The Moto X Style in its pure addition form will ship this September for just $399. It will come in two standard models, 18 different Moto Maker backs, and 7 different accents. This version will come with pure Android and Motorola has promised you can use on any carrier, not just the two GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile. It’ll come in 16, 32, or and 64GB versions, but you can also add up to 128GB of MicroSD. Pricing for carrier versions was not disclosed.

Moto-X-Play

Moto X Play

The Moto X Play is the midrange option. It features a 5.5″ 1080 display though Motorola does not disclose wither its LCD or AMOLED. The phone borrows much of its look and features from its badder brother. The Chip is powered by two quad core 64-bit CPUs in a Mid-Low configuration with two sets of A53s and 1.7 and 1.0 ghz. It has 2GB of ram and Qualcomm’s Adreno 405 GPU. It has the same 21mp camera as the Style, but without 4k capability, and also a 5mp sensor up front, though not with the bells and whistles. It also features NFC, AC Wireless, and BT 4.0. LTE is provided on 10 bands. Like other Moto phones, the Play has a pure Android experience.

Pricing & Availability

The Moto X Play will be available pretty everywhere other than the United States. Not initially at least. Curiously that also includes Canada whose wireless networks are designed for interoperability with the US. It’ll come in 16 and 32GB version and like its big brother will also handle up to 128GB of mSD expansion. Motomaker versions will have 14 different backs and 7 accents. Colors will depend on market.

Moto-G-2015

Moto G 3rd Generation

The third announcement is Motorola’s step up from entry level, the 2015 version of the Moto G. While its a very affordable phone, its got some features that were high end not long ago. It features a 5″ 720 HD screen, again Moto doesn’t say which type. At 294 PPi, this is very close to being a retina-type display. The phone is featuring a 64-bit Snapdragon 410 SoC with a quad core A53 CpU at 1.4ghz and a Adreno 30 CPU. The phone features a camera similar to the other two Motos in features, but with a 13mp part instead of 21. The front camera is 5mp and is also feature packed. Its even more water resistant than the others with a IPX7 rating. The Moto G now features standard LTE in 6 or 7 bands depending on the mode. What it is missing are the front facing speakers, NFC, and AC Wireless. Despite that, this is a lot of phone for the money.

Pricing & Availability

The 3rd Gen Moto X is $179.99 and shipping now. It comes in the black/ white standard colors and is now open to Moto Maker. It’ll come in two sizes: 8GB with 1GB of ram and 16GB with 2GB of RAM. Both can take up to 32GB of mSD storage.

Source: Motorola
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Samsung Announces Incredibly Thin and Light Galaxy Tab S2

A couple years back, Samsung released the Galaxy Tab S, a tablet that offered a little more style and flair than their typical tablet offerings. Since then, style has become more part of their line and they’re ready to try again with the Galaxy Tab S2.

Galaxy Tab S2 Features

The Galaxy Tab S2 can justly be called samsung’s new flagship tablets. They’re stylish and packed to the gills with features. The tablets are based around a metal frame that is just 5.6mm thin, even thinner than the 6.1mm iPad Air 2 or 7.5mm iPad Mini 3. The Tab S2 also backs that up by being light, with a weight of just 392 grams for the larger model and 272 for the Mid-sized version. The styling of the device is classy, but also very Samsung.

The heart is the tablets is its screen and the Tab S2 look to have a good a good one. The Tab S2 comes in two sizes, 8.0 and 9.7″ at 2048 x 1536. Yes, if this does seem familiar, it’s the same resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio as the current iPad line. Samsung has traditionally made its tablets in 16:9, but 4:3 is more preferred by consumers as its better for reading digital media and eBooks. Samsung admits as much and you’re seeing more Android devices adopt it. It’s definitely not the same panels as the iPads though; Samsung is using their own Super AMOLED technology. It features adaptive technology is make up for some of the disadvantages of AMOLED screens and there’s even a dedicated reading mode.

The Tab S2 features a Twin Quad-Core CPUs in its SoC in a high-low configuration at 1.9ghz and 1.3ghz speeds. That should give users power when they need it and save battery power when they don’t. The CPU is paired with 3GB of memory. Storage is 32 or 64GB and unlike some of their recent smartphones can be expanded with up to 128GB of mSD storage. The cameras are good for a tablet at 8mp rear and 2.2mp front, but don’t really offer anything to differentiate themselves. I/O is top of the line with Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11AC wireless. It’ll come in Wi-Fi and cellular versions with at least 8 bands of LTE for worldwide coverage. Like the GS5/6 and Note 4, the Tab S2 has Samsung’s built-in fingerprint sensor. However, one apparent omission is NFC support. Software is built upon Android 5.0 Lollipop and feature’s the multitasking functions you’d expect to see in a Samsung tablet. Using Android’s built-in pointer support, there is a very Microsoft surface like smart keyboard coverage available as an accessory..

Pricing and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is TBA on price and still no word on exact market availability. The general availability date is August.

Final Word

This is undoubtably Samsung’s best tablet yet. It borrows quite a bit from both Samsung’s other tablets and the iPad, but the specs and features. look very compelling. We’ll find out if it lives up to its promise in a month or so.

Source: Samsung
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Times for the Tech Hangout 2.0

Its been a rollercoaster of a year for me. It started out on a high note and kind of went downhill from there. As you know I used to be associated with a well known technology news show and a couple months ago that association went away. Working remotely the last couple years gave me a lot of freedom and I really enjoyed it at times. I tried to find another remote position, but I ultimately failed. A couple weeks back, I decided to take a more traditional day job.

This will mean I will have set hours I’m to work outside of my home. This will also mean that I can no longer promise a set schedule for our TTH 2.0 Live Show. Quite frankly, as much as I’d like to, I need to make money to live and that has to come first. It’s also a job that takes me back to my roots a little bit. This is not ideal and I would have preferred to do this a different way, but it is what it is. That said, I made the best decision I could and I hope you’ll continue to support the Tech Hangout. I’ll try to have the show’s weekly time out as far in advance as I can, but it could be later than 5pm est and it could be earlier. It could also move around a bit.

However, we’re not going anywhere. Technology is our passion. I could also use some help around here, especially with the run sheet.

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Tech Hangout 2.0 #13: In Memorandum of Satoru Iwata

Hosts

Ben Roethig

@benroethig
BenRoethig.com

Mikel Potts

@TwerkPoet

Editorial

Issues Affecting The Tech Community

Don’t Do Software Reviews Using Beta Operating Systems

  • Notes when making app store reviews of beta and developer preview OSes
  • Do not use beta operating systems if you are aren’t prepared for a bumpy ride
  • The Operating system is not finished and will be buggy
  • Third party software will likely not have access to beta features.
  • Its unfair to rate developers poorly for things not under their control.

Big News

Most important news stories of the week

Neil Young Keeps on Rockin’ in the Old World, Pulls Music from Streaming Services

  • Neil Young has pulled his catalog from streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play music, etc
  • says move is about music quality, not the financial aspects of streaming music
  • Young argues that quality of streamed music devalues his music
  • says he is preserving his life’s work by dropping streaming
  • is open to return if quality improves to acceptable levels

T-Mobile Launches Free Roaming in Canada and Mexico

  • T-Mobile has introduced Mobile Without Borders
  • Part of new Simple Choice plans
  • Offers free voice and LTE roaming and calling to and from Canada and Mexico
  • free for existing Simple Choice customers

Apple

News about iOS, Macs, Apple TV, Apple watch, etc

Apple updates iPod Touch with A8 CPU

  • new iPod touch
  • first update since 2012
  • Upgrades from A5 to A8 CPU
  • Gains 8mp pixel iSight Camera similar to iPhone 5S and updated facetime camera as well
  • also gains AC Wireless
  • Same 4” form factor, but without
  • No Touch ID
  • Space Grey, Silver, Gold, Blue, Pink, and red
  • $199 for 16GB, $249 for 32GB, $299 for 64GB, and $399 for 128GB
  • iPod Nano and Shuffle also updated in same colors
  • Nano and Shuffle not compatible with Apple Music.

The Challenges Apple Could Face in Streaming TV Service Negotiations

  • Apple is rumored to be talks with TV networks about a streaming TV service
  • reportedly the sticking point is the Broadcast Networks’ Regional Affiliates
  • Apple would have to negotiate with individual affiliates and/or their parent companies
  • Apple may be trying to enlist the networks to have the affiliates give the networks the right to negotiate on their behalf
  • Deals would also be complicated by existing cable deals and sports contracts

    iBooks Author 2.3 Includes Support to Export to ePub

  • New iBooks author allows export to ePub 3
  • Allows Books to be distributed in Open ePub, but later converted to Kindle and other store formats as well
  • will not work with iBooks exclusive widgets and features

Google

News About Google and Android

Google Map Maker to Reopen

  • Google Map Maker was taken offline in April after several users misused the service
  • Google will reopen the service to the public in August
  • regions will be overseen by trusted regional community moderators who will approve changes
  • some changes will still be restricted to approval from Google

Google Gets into Bluetooth Beacon Game

  • Google is introducing its Eddystone Bluetooth Smart Beacons platform
  • similar to Apple’s iBeacon
  • provides local contextual data to mobile devices via bluetooth
  • Cross platform and open
  • supports both iOS and Android

ZTE Launches Axon Flagship phone on US market

  • Axon
  • from Chinese phonemaker ZTE
  • 5.5” Quad HD screen
  • 2ghz Snapdragon 810
  • 13mp rear camera with 2mp secondary depth camera
  • 8mp front camera
  • $449 street price
  • Unlocked for AT&T and T-Mobile

Commodore Name Returning…Via an Android phone

  • Commodore was a computer company in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s
  • Known for its Commodore 64 and Amiga Lines
  • Name is coming back for an Android Phone
  • Commodore PET
  • Will run a custom version of Lollipop
  • Coming to large european markets of Italy, France, and Germany as well as Poland with plans to expand to the US
  • Starts at roughly $300
  • Comes with Commodore and Amiga emulators

Gaming

Computer, console, mobile, or tablet top gaming news

Nintendo President Passes Away

  • Nintendo President Satoru Iwata died on Saturday the 11th
  • Age 55
  • Due to complications from a bile duct growth
  • Formerly game developer and later President of game designer HAL Laboratory
  • worked on the Kirby games among others
  • Joined Nintendo in 2000
  • Hand picked by longtime Nintendo President Yamauchi to become Nintendo’s President in 2002
  • Became CEO in 2013.

Thanks for watching the Tech Hangout 2.0. We’ll see you all again next week.

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Rumors of Apple Watch’s Demise are Far Too Premature

You’ve probably seen it spattered all over town, the Apple Watch is dying, sales are down 90%, its a flop. It’s based on data from a service called Slice, but there’s a lot more story on how these stories used that data. 99% of a story is context and those figures are way out of context.

According to data MacRumors was able to obtain from Slice, Apple sold roughly $3 million Apple Watches through July 10th. To put this in perspective, the original Pebble old 1 million watches in just over two years and there were roughly 750,000 Android Wear devices its first year on the market. This is despite the average Apple Watch having a much higher average price tag than either of these devices.

Apple’s sales were highest during the launch and have tapered off since then. I don’t doubt Slice’s data, but there are some facts that need to be considered. First off, as MacRumors point out, Slice’s data is based almost exclusively on Apple Store online sales in the US. It does not include most International Sales and it does not include In-Store sales. Sales figures are further constricted by availability. The initial launch was so taxing on the supply chain that Apple did not have enough supply to launch the Apple Watch in its own stores or expand to other countries until late June.

As of today, while you can get a Fitbit, Pebble, or Android wear device in almost any population center in the US larger than 50,000 people, you can’t buy an Apple Watch at any third party retailer. If customers can’t get their hands on a product at a retailer, quite literally with a wrist worn device, they cannot buy it. High traffic as Apple Stores are, big box retailers such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target (and their global counterparts) as well as carrier stores are a major part of a product’s sales volume. One more thing… we have no direct data from Apple on Apple Watch sales.

However there are some valid points in some arguments against the Apple Watch. In its current form with watchOS 1.0, it is very much a 1.0 product. Features don’t work as well as they should and Apple didn’t give developers the full deck to play with. Apps, in particular were run through the companion iPhone and didn’t have access to the watch’s sensors like they needed. That changes in watchOS 2 which will presumably launch before the holiday quarter. There’s more features, native apps that run on the watch, and the apps get full access to hardware. In other words, Apple’s getting the kinks out now when sales don’t matter as much as they would in late October, November, and December when you would assume the majority of Apple Watch sales would take place.

The Apple Watch is a victim of Apple’s success. People don’t remember when the iPhone 1 launched with 4 apps or when the iPod only had firewire. Even the iPad struggled its first go around and that was with a more mature version of iOS behind it. They expect a mature, fully developed product out of the gate and that creates a bias. It also creates a lot of hits when you mention Apple in a headline, especially in the negative sense.

So here are the key facts of the situation

  • Apple has sold over 3 million Apple Watches.
  • There has been a decline in those sales since launch.
  • Apple has had severe issues with availability.
  • The Apple Watch has only been in Apple’s own stores for a couple weeks.
  • Apple Watch has only appeared in additional countries the last few weeks.
  • The Apple Watch appears in no third party retailers in the US.
  • The Apple Watch is a recently released and immature platform
  • The Apple Watch software is getting a major update in the fall.
  • the Apple Watch has not seen a holiday quarter.

The most important two:

  • Slice does not include most international sales nor walk-in sales
    and
  • We have absolutely no data from Apple.

Rather than jumping to conclusions for headlines, how about we take a step back and wait until the holiday quarter numbers are out in early 2016 before we make any conclusions. Shall we?
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Apple Launches New iPod Touch with A8 Chip, New Colors

I have to admit, I wondered whether the previous generation iPod Touch was the last of the line. It debuted with an A5 CPU alongside the iPhone 5. We never saw updates with A6 or A7 CPU, it has basically remained unchanged for two and a half years. Nonetheless, the iPod Touch has returned and gone from the back of the line to the front of the line. Its brought a slight update to the iPod Nano and Shuffle as well.

64-bit iPod Touch

The new iPod Touch has basically the same casing as the one it replaces. It keeps the 4″ form factor and 1136×540 Retina Display shared with the iPhone 5/5C/5S. There’s one exception, the little used tab for a wrist strap is gone. Internally, it’s a much different beast. The iPod jumps 3 generations ahead in processor performance and gets the A8 as used in the latest iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It also inherits the M8 Motion Co Processor as well. The cameras have been upgraded as well to an 8mp iSight camera with similar specs to the one used in the iPhone 5S and what appears to be the same front Facetime camera used in the 6 and 6 Plus. The rear camera also gains a flash. iPod also gains 802.11AC wireless and Bluetooth 4.1. If you’re waiting for a TouchID fingerprint sensor, you’ll have to keep waiting. its nowhere to be found

Pricing is $199 for 16GB Model, $249 for 32GB, $299 for $64, and $399 for an Apple Store exclusive 128GB model. There are six new colors based around those in the iPhone 6: Space Grey, Silver, & Gold plus 3 additional colors in Pink, Blue, and a red model in Partnership with (Project) Red.

iPod Nano & iPod Shuffle

The iPod Nano and Shuffle also got a minor refresh. Both are basically unchanged in form and function, but they get the same Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Pink, Blue, and Red colors. The iPod Nano is $249 while the Shuffle is $49. Neither model adds compatibility with Apple’s Apple Music streaming service with this update.

All 3 updated iPod models have immediate availability.

Source: Apple

The Tech Hangout’s Take

Quite frankly, this as a bit unexpected. The iPod had diminished in terms of its sales and presence on Apple’s site. Yet, we now have a new iPod touch that is as powerful as the iPhone 6. I can definitely see uses for this in schools, with kids, and multi-iOS device photography. It also makes the prospect of a $99 A8 powered AppleTV refresh more believable.

Tech Hangout 2.0 #12: Return of the Gremlins

##Editor’s Note There were some technical difficulties in this episode. We’re Sorry about that.

Hosts

Ben Roethig

@BenRoethig
BenRoethig.com

Mikel Potts

@TwerpPoet

News

Most important news stories of the week

Spotify Wants User to Bypass Apple, Save 30%

  • Spotify is sending users a deal on Spotify Premium
  • $12.99 through the App Store, but $9.99 through Spotify directly
  • Offers step by step instruction on how to cancel the app store subscription and switch

Sprint Partners with CarPhone Warehouse for More Stores

  • Sprint is launching a pilot program with UK Retailer Dixon’s Carphone Warehouse for new stores
  • Carphone warehouse is a leading european mobile phone dealer.
  • 20 stores initially
  • Stores will be owned and staffed by sprint, but managed by Carphone Warehouse
  • Joins 1400 Sprint-Radioshack stores.
  • If pilot proves successful could result in a substantial expansion

22 Massachusetts Start Gigabit cooperative

  • 22 Western Massachusetts towned have started an ISP co-op called Wired West
  • Will bring gigabit fiber to up to 32 towns (22 have joined formally)
  • $79 million project
  • over 40% of the residents in those towns have agreed to service and paid a $49 deposit
  • Rural residents typically have to deal with slow DSL, Satellite service, or even dial-up
  • Private communications companies have been un-interested in upgrading the networks of this area.
  • prices will be 25 mbps for $49, 100mpbs for $79, and the full gigabit for $109.

Apple

News about iOS, Macs, Apple TV, Apple watch, etc

The Saga of Home Sharing

Additional Coverage

  • One of the changes made in iOS 8.4 was the removal of Audio Home Sharing
  • Only changed on iOS, still active on AppleTV and iTunes
  • May have been a part of a the Apple Music deal
  • Apple wants the feature to return in iOS 9 per Eddy Cue

Apple Details New 2-factor Authentication in new iOS Beta

  • Apple’s new Two-Factor Authentication has launched with newest iOS 9 beta
  • iOS 9 Replaces 4-digit passcode with 6 digit minimum
  • backed into iOS 9 and OS X 10.11’s system instead of inside the find my iphone app
  • It will be easier to add trusted devices or receive code via SMS or a phone call
  • select beta testers and developers will be invited to try new two-factor system
  • two week opt-out period for beta testers will allow roll back to previous settings

Google

News About Google and Android

Blackberry to launch Android phone?

Additional Coverage

  • Blackberry will reportedly launch an Android flagship phone codenamed venice
  • Leaked render from EVleaks Evan Blass who has a great track record
  • Runs full Android with Google services, not a fork
  • slider design with pop out keyboard
  • 5.4” QHD screen (2560 x 1440) & Snapdragon 808 CPU
  • Expected to launch fall on AT&T

Windows Corner

News Microsoft Products

Microsoft Guts Phone Division, Takes $7.6b Write-Off

  • Microsoft has taken a $7.6 billion financial write-off for the Nokia devices purchase
  • will lay off 7800 workers from the Lumia phone division on top of 18,000 jobs cut last year
  • will continue to make more focused first party devices as part of a Windows Ecosystem
  • Move due to diminished expectations of the Lumia line in Microsoft’s current strategy
  • Move follows the recent sacking of Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and his top lieutenant Jo Harlow

TV, Web, and Comics

If something happened in hollywood or print, talk about it here.

Second Star Wars Anthology Film to be Han Solo

  • Focuses on Origin story of Han Solo
  • Set before Episode IV
  • will be directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord who are also helming DC’s The Flash movie (sadly not related to the tv show)
  • Script will be written by Empire Strikes Back write Lawrence Kadan and his son Jon who is also an established screenwriter
  • Set for Release labor day weekend (May 25th) of 2018.

Elektra Comes to Daredevil Season 2

  • Elektra will be officially joining Daredevil for Season 2
  • Will be played by French Actress Elodie Yung
  • Character was already teased as a college flame of Matt Murdock’s
  • joins the already announced Punisher for the season
  • Teaser image includes one of Elektra’s trademark Sai holding up a picture of Daredevil
  • Elektra’s comic arc includes her be hired for a contract by Wilson Fisk on Foggy Nelson
  • Murdock and Elektra rekindle their relationship which causes Elektra to be unable to carry out the contract
  • Elektra is then killed by Bullseye
  • Elektra and Daredevil are portrayed as having an unbreakable bond, but very different views on morality.
  • also a student of the Blind Sensei Stick

Picks

Each brings an item, app, device, show, etc they want to talk about

Ben

Game of Thrones Risk

Andrew

ePSXe

Mikel

Dragon Quest I

Microsoft Writes Off Nokia Deal, Announces Major Job Cuts

Microsoft is announcing a major write-off and job cuts related to the Lumia smartphone unit it bought from Nokia just a year and a half ago. With the move, Microsoft will cut 7800 jobs from the division and take a $7.2 billion write-off from the acquisition. The move follows the recent departure of former Nokia CEO and Microsoft Device Chief Stephen Elop and his top lieutenant Jo Harlow.

Microsoft is pinning the move on diminished expectations for phone hardware under Microsoft’s current strategies. While the company has made no plans to drop the Lumia brand as of yet, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that first party-devices were only a party of the efforts to create a vibrant “Windows Ecosystem”.

Microsoft also announced transfer of mapping assets to Uber and their display advertising arm to Verizon’s AOL division.

Source: Microsoft

Writer’s Take

If it seemed like the selection of the Microsoft CEO last year was a referendum on that’s because it was. Ballmer and Elop wanted a strategy based around devices, but the company ultimately went with a cloud and services-based strategy from now CEO Satya Nadella. I don’t know if first-party devices are a long-term part of that. It will be interesting to see if any moves are made with the Surface tablet and Xbox division.

Review: Fuse Chicken Titan and Titan Loop

Lightning Cables have typically lacked one thing: ruggedness. You can get a protection case for your iPhone, but it’s hard to find a protection cable. Well, Fuse Chicken has come to our rescue with the Titan, a full length cable Lightning to USB Cable with a tough, but flexible industrial grade steel outer covering. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a pocket version called the Titan Loop.

Fuse Chicken

Fuse Chicken is the Brainchild of inventor Jon Fawcett. The company recently launched a number of heavy duty dock/cable hybrids under the Bobine name. I had the chance to test several of their products during my tenure at Geek Beat and was nothing but impressed. Jon knows how to make a product and these Titans don’t disappoint.

Titan

The Titan is 1 meter/ 39 inches long. That’s the same listed length as the standard lightning cable, but the longer light and usb connector sheaths make it a little bit longer. The cable has a thick steel outer cover. Its even tougher than it looks and it’s really damn tough looking to begin with. Its the first lightning cable I’ve used where I don’t have to baby it. The titan can be mistreated as much as you want and come back for more. This is an industrial strength cable designed for your gig bag… or your children. What’s even more remarkable is how flexible the Titan is. It’ll go most anywhere your standard and easily breakable lightning cable can. It’s not a special use cable, the Titan can be your everyday cable.

The Titan adheres to the Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) standards. That means it’s been tested by Apple for compatability. You won’t get that dreaded “cable not supported” error you’ll find in cheap no-name cables. It worked flawlessly both in charging and data. The USB and Lightning connector sheaths are oversized and more rugged, but not as big as you think. The lightning end will work even with protection cases which are notorious for their narrow openings. Fuse Chicken went ahead and made the perfect Lightning Cable.

Pricing

The Titan is available both on Fuse Chicken’s website and Amazon for around $35. When you can get a 1m MFi cable for $10, this is expensive. However, if you keep replacing those $10 cables for frayed ends or broken wires, it adds up. The Titan will last. Its worth the extra money.

Final Thoughts on the Titan

This is the most rugged cable out there for your iPhone or iPod. its also extremely flexible and fully compatible both electrically and physically with your iDevice and its cases. The $35 isn’t cheap, but if you’re tough on cables, it’s worth the money. Fuse Chicken really out did themselves and made the ultimate lightning cable in the Titan. If you’re a professional and you have a iPad or iPhone in a protection case you need to add this to your gear kit.

Rating: 5/5

Pros

  • Steel Casing is tough as hell
  • Casing almost as flexible as a traditional cable
  • Full 1m meter length
  • MFi Certified and 100% compatible
  • No issues at all with cases.

Cons

  • A little pricy at $35

Titan Loop

The Titan Loop is a 9” keychain version of the Titan. Its constructed of exactly the same materials, as many of the same advantages apply. While Fuse Chicken markets this as a keychain cable, I found using it as a keychain to be a little impractical. However, it easily fits in your pocket or purse with only a hint that it’s there. The Loop folds up nice and neat and is just a tad bit longer than other pocket cables like the Kanex GoBuddy+. But it’s a lot tougher and more flexible.

What more can I say, the Titan Loop is the Titan only much smaller and more mobile.

Pricing

At $30 their their site and Amazon, the Titan Loop is also pretty pricey, but compared to other pocket cables, the price isn’t all that more expensive. Plus it has the distinction of being the only steel pocket lightning cable I’ve seen.

Final Thoughts on the Titan Loop

The Titan Loop is a very good pocketable cable, but it’s not that good of a keychain. Its small, its tough, and it’s a bit expensive. If you want a cable that will go everywhere with you and won’t break, the Titan Loop is your best.

Rating: 4.3/5

Pros

  • Steel Casing is tough as hell
  • Casing almost as flexible as a traditional cable
  • MFi Certified and 100% compatible
  • No issues at all with cases.
  • Easily pocketable

Cons

  • Not cheap at $30
  • Only 9” long
  • Isn’t very good as a keychain

Tech Hangout 2.0 #11: Stars, Stripes, and Tech!

[Hosts]

Ben Roethig

@benroethig
BenRoethig.com

Patrice Brend’amour

@Casual_Kitchen
Brendamour.net

Andrew Rouch

@Montisaquadeis

Big News

Most important news stories of the week

Facebook to Share Ad Revenue For Videos

  • Facebook will be offering revenue sharing with video creators
  • Facebook Previously offered a place for video, but kept all the money
  • Will entice creators to use Facebook instead of just YouTube
  • Like YouTube it will be a 55/45 Split in favor of the creators
  • Only applies to Suggested videos
  • videos are chosen based on your watching habits

T-Mobile, Sprint Bring Updated Plans

Additional Content

  • T-Mobile has updated its Jump payment plan with Jump On Demand
  • No fees if you update your handset at least once every 18months
  • Rest of payments spread out over 18 payments
  • Phones are leased, but may be purchased by paying all 18 payments or remaining balance
  • Requires Initial Trade-in
  • iPhone $15mo
  • Users can upgrade to a new phone up to 3 times a year
  • Includes top phones like the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, GS6, GS6 Edge, Note 4, and LG G4
  • Sprint Introduced All-In Plan
  • $20 phone lease and $60 unlimited data plan
  • $10 for early upgrades
  • $0 down, but $36 activation
  • Campaign very reminiscent in tone to T-Mobile’s Uncarrier.

Apple

News about iOS, Macs, Apple TV, Apple watch, etc

Apple Music Launches, OSes and Apps See Updates

  • Apple Music has launched
  • Built Upon Beats Music.
  • Requires OS X with iTunes 12.2 or iOS 8.4
  • OS X 10.10.4 also released
  • Apple’s all-access streaming service
  • 3 months free.
  • $9.99 for 1 user, $14.99 for family
  • Access to 30 million songs and music videos
  • Can add files offline via iCloud music library (Apple’s files have DRM since you don’t own them)
  • separates your music from Apple Music
  • Curated playlists, radio, and live Beats 1 Radio
  • Radio algorithms are some of the best I’ve seen, especially with lesser known or regional artists
  • Also includes connect, a quazi-social network
  • also spurred updates to iBooks/ iBooks Author, and Garageband

Google

News About Google and Android

New, Better BlueStacks Released for the Mac

  • New version of Bluestacks released for OS X
  • replaces Alpha version released in 2012
  • Android emulator
  • compatible with 96% of Android Apps and 86% of games
  • Can also run Android TV apps
  • can pass-on your Mac’s multi-touch gestures, pointing devices, cameras, and Mics
  • previous versions of Bluestacks have been used on the old incarnation of this show to demo Android apps

Windows Corner

News Microsoft Products

Windows 8’s Failure is Complete

  • New numbers released for desktop OS market share
  • About a month before the release of Windows 10
  • Most common operating system is Windows 7 with almost 61% of the market
  • Windows 8/ 8.1 has 16%. 4/5ths of those made the upgrade to 8.1.
  • 13 year old Windows XP has 12% marketshare
  • Vista has been mostly phased out at 1.62%
  • Windows 7/8/8.1 PCs make up 3/4s of all desktop PCs
  • They are eligible for free upgrade to Windows 10
  • Windows XP PCs are most likely nearing end of service lives
  • bodes well of Windows 10 adoption.

Linux and Open Source

News about Linux, Unix, BSD, and open source software

Misc Tech

anything that doesn’t fit above

Scientists Create Way to Make Better, Safe Lithium Batteries

  • Scientists have found a way to make a better Lithium batter
  • Lithium batteries have had issues in the past, both in consumer devices and more famously on the 787 Dreamliner
  • Shorts and battery fires are caused by formation of lithium growths called Dendrites
  • Dendrites will pierce into the cathode layer of the battery and start a chain reaction.
  • new formula adds a mixture of lithium polysulfide and lithium nitrate.
  • leads to safe flat growths on the top of the lithium anode instead of dendrites
  • mixture also adds longevity to the battery
  • test batteries retained 99% of capacity through 300 cycles
  • other batteries were less efficient after 150 cycles
  • Discovery made my team at DoE’s SLAC lab
  • could be combined with other improvements to lithium for longer lasting batteries

TV, Web, and Comics

If something happened in hollywood or print, talk about it here.

Tom Holland cast as MCU Peter Parker

  • 19-year old Tom Holland has been cast as new Spider-Man
  • new franchise is a collaboration produced by Marvel Studios for Sony
  • This incarnation is set in the same Marvel Cinematic universe as the Avengers, Daredevil, and Agents of Shield and will focus on a teenage Peter Parker
  • stand alone film will be released on July 28 of 2017
  • Director Jon Watts will helm the movie
  • Previously directed movies Clown & Cop Car and worked at the Onion
  • 3rd reboot of the franchise in 15 years
  • Follows 3 Spider-Man films with Tobey Maguire from 2002 – 2007 and w Amazing Spider Man movies with Andrew Garfield from 2012-2014.
  • Reboot canceled plans for 4 announced sequels included Amazing Spider Man 3&4 in 2016 and 2018, Sinister Six also in 2016, and a related superheroine film in 2017.

Cord Cutters Continue Growth

  • streaming services are becoming increasingly more popular
  • Over 8% of cable subscribers cancelled their service according to TiVO
  • 45% reduced their level of service
  • 44% dropped premium channels
  • 71% of respondents though prices were too high for cable service
  • 54% said they subscribed to a digital content service with Netflix being the most popular
  • Price, selection, and convenience were primary reason to use streaming services
  • answers ratios of these changed very little when asked the last surveys years across nearly 3 years.
  • Speaking of digital service, Showtime and Hulu have reached an agreement to carry Showtime programming on Hulu. Service is $8.99 above standard Hulu subscription. That’s a $2 discount over Showtime’s standalone service by itself.

Gaming

Computer, console, mobile, or tablet top gaming news

Transportation Tech

Cars, Planes, Ships, Rockets, ETC

Samsung Makes Trucks Transparent

  • Samsung is bringing a concept for a see-through semi from Russian firm Art Lebedev
  • combines a series of outdoor displays arranged on the trailer’s gate with a wireless camera in the front
  • camera transmits what’s in front of the semi to the screen
  • Samsung has solved glare issues and the technology is reliable
  • Next step is working on field trials with regulators
  • may not see the road anytime soon due to the expense of the screens.

Picks

Each brings an item, app, device, show, etc they want to talk about

Monti:

Nothing Much

Patrice

MacID

Ben

Waze

Remember not to drink and drive during the 4th of July holiday weekend!