thanko android smart 640x263Everything around us these days seem to have to come with a mandatory “smart” moniker – we have smartphones, smart houses, smart cars, smart buildings, and smart TVs. Well, if you happen to have a dumbed down TV, so to speak, and wished that you could see it upgraded to being a smart TV but do not want to fork out too much money for it, then you might want to check out what Thanko has in store – with the Thanko Android SmartTV.

This is basically a plug-in device that will be able to turn any compatible LCD TV into an Android-powered device. Heck, the Thanko Android SmartTV itself comes with a couple of USB terminals, letting you plug in other peripherals like a keyboard, a mouse, or even a portable hard drive, now how about that? Do not despise small beginnings, as this bad boy is powered by a quad-core 1.6GHz processor, runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean as the operating system version of choice, and has 2GB RAM. Of course, something like this has been introduced in the past, and it definitely will not be the last, either.

waterbeeThere is nothing quite like the march of progress – if it is headed in the right direction, that is. Well, for those who have been desktop farmers – and by this, I mean folks who have spent plenty of time seated behind a computer screen playing FarmVille when your boss thinks that you have been hard at work all day long, you might be under the impression (heck, I am sure fans of the Harvest Moon series would think of the same, too) that farmers of today get up in the wee hours of the morning to milk their cows, live in a rustic cottage home, and drive around in tractors with a border collie accompanying them. Of course, there would be a certain quarter of farmers who still do that, while others have embraced technology in order to increase their yield with the same effort.

Robots have been introduced to add more strength to everyday tasks, and even to milk cows, dust crops and perform other kinds of similar chores which were previously limited to manual labor. Irrigation, too, has a new helping hand to look forward to – in the form of the WaterBee smart irrigation and water management system. The WaterBee system is hooked to a smartphone app that would let one remotely control their irrigation installations with a smartphone, in addition to obtaining information on farm conditions, among others. It is still being developed, and so it might take some time before it is perfected.

h spa 640x358 It was yesterday when we mentioned that Halo: Spartan Assault can be enjoyed today, and here we are with the app already being made available over at the Windows App Store, where the link is provided at the end of the story. In Halo: Spartan Assault, the game’s timeline has been set to be between Halo 3 and Halo 4, where one is thrown headlong into the first missions of the Spartan Ops program which would certainly provide additional depth into the backstory of Human-Covenant wars. You will be able to play the role as either Commander Sarah Palmer or Spartan Davis who is stationed aboard the UNSC Infinity, where you slug it out against Covenant forces with a total of 25 missions to keep you occupied over the summer.

The 25 missions can be broken down into part of 5 operations that have 5 missions each. You will be able to compete against friends in Leaderboards, take on Weekly Challenges and pick up over 40 in-game Achievements and Medals that will eventually accrue to your gamerscore and Halo Waypoint career. You can get Halo: Spartan Assault here.

htc one mini fccI know that all of the major media outlets, us included, have already gotten hold of the HTC One mini, where you read our hands-on review here to get a better idea of what you are getting into if you decide to jive with this particular handset. Still, it is well on track to hit the US, since we have seen the HTC One mini arrive at the FCC, impeccable timing as it is. The FCC got a look at the global version of the HTC One mini (model number PO58200), and it is just a matter of time before the handset is released officially – hopefully sooner rather than later, of course, since all the formalities are more or less tied up.

How many of you would like to see the HTC One mini arrive on your carrier? I suppose if you have budget constraints when it comes to a new smartphone, and yet do not want something that is gimped, the HTC One mini could be a very viable alternative. In the mean time, just hold on to your existing handset and wait for an official announcement to be made.

locketThe next time you are fiddling with your smartphone over the dinner table, and you get chided for it, just tell the person off that you are making some money. That ought to get the attention of them manners Nazis, don’t you think so? Of course, we are not talking about million dollar deals here, but rather, something to pass your time and yet send some extra ka-ching! into your pockets. You will, however, need an Android-powered device, of course, in order to get this app known as Locket going.

Locket is a legit app that was recently launched on the Google Play Store, where it enables a bunch of advertisers (the selection seems to be rather limited at the moment, simply because it has yet to gain momentum – do expect it to increase in due time should the idea catch on) to place an ad on your lock screen, and you are paid a single cent each time you unlock your device. Of course, this will be limited to just $0.03 an hour, and you can then opt to cash out, use the accumulated funds on a gift card, or even to make a donation to your favorite charity. Of course, if you were to unlock your device’s display three times a day round the clock throughout the whole year, you would get $262.80. In reality, it would be a whole lot less since you do need to sleep, don’t you?

xeniumLet’s face the fact – when one talks about vanilla mobile phones and smartphones, the name Philips would not be at the top of anyone’s list, for sure. After all, they hardly do any marketing around the world for their handsets, not to mention the fact that their flagship models are nothing to shout about. In fact, Philips has more or less built a reputation for rolling out handsets with long battery life, a feature that will most probably appeal to those who want a communications device without all the bells and whistles, one that lasts for days on end. The Philips Xenium W8510 does seem to be a suitable candidate, where this will run on the Android operating system while claiming a whopping 35 days of standby time. I am quite sure that this figure involves leaving the handset just there without any of its Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radios turned on.

Not only that, the Philips Xenium W8510 is also said to deliver up to 18 hours of talk time over a 3G network, and a jaw dropping 14-hour of Web browsing time over Wi-Fi. This is done via a 3,300 mAh battery, which also has to ensure that the 4.7” 720p HD touchscreen display works as expected.

june npd 640x360Some folks look to the NPD religiously each month, as they want to know whether their favorite console is at the top of the sales charts, in addition to the different games that have been released. Sort of like the Billboard Top 100, except that this is about games. Well, in terms of hardware, the Nintendo 3DS is tops with close to 225,000 units moved, while the Xbox 360 remains behind at just 140,000 units, meaning Nintendo’s handheld console has achieved a 40% year-on-year increase in sales. I suppose the favorable shift in hardware numbers for Nintendo is due to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon titles for the platform.

As for the best selling game for June 2013, The Last of Us (as you can see above) for the PS3 topped the charts, enjoying the second highest launch sales for a PS3 title, being behind only God of War 3 that was released in March three years ago. In second place would be Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS, where it shifted a combination of 505,000 units – both physical and digital.

How many of you out there, where you were first faced with a device that comes with Gorilla Glass, whipped out your long nails and attempted to scratch it? I am quite sure that demo units tend to be abused by the generally curious public in their own, strange way, with some even resorting to using keys to try and “introduce” scratches along the way. Sure, a hardware manufacturer can tout all sorts of hardiness about your device, but would you go out of the way to test them out for yourself after purchase? Most probably not, so it is nice to see other folks do it on your behalf and upload a video on YouTube about their adventures.

Case in point, this Sony Xperia Z Ultra that was spotted in a video which lays claim to the fact that you can use just about anything as an input device for the display, although Sony Mobile does recommend the use of pencils that have a diameter which is more than 1mm, although other more adventurous folks might want to use keys, the edge of a coin, or even a pen. Anything too thin like a Stanley knife, mechanical push pencil and ruler will not work, though.

galaxy s3 note 2 android 42 delayI am not quite sure just how far Google thought that their foray into the world of mobile operating systems with Android would go, but apparently, they have ended up pretty well – despite the initial rants about Android fragmentation and all that, Android has continued to grow from strength to strength, so much so that it was said that by the time 2017 is over, out of 1.5 billion smartphones shipped then, a billion of those will run on the Android operating system. Now that we have gotten all the positive, feel good vibes out, here is what Google’s Larry Page shared over his Google Plus account – that a whopping 1.5 million Android devices are activated every day.

Considering how Larry Page earlier this March that 750 million Android devices were activated, and when Andy Rubin took his bow as Android head in May with 900 million Android devices activated then, 1.5 million daily activations does sound to be rather conservative, but it is par for the course when it comes to meeting the 1 billionth Android activation before we greet 2014. Are you part of the Android brigade? [Larry Page+]

moto x assembly 640x610It was just yesterday when we managed to get a glimpse of the Nokia Lumia 1020 (that already had its pre-order sold out in a relatively short time, now how about that?) on the production lines, and it seems that Motorola does not want to lose out on the publicity game, and has decided to share an image of the Moto X that begins its life at an assembly line somewhere in their Texas factory, using Twitter as the propagation vehicle of choice.

The image as you can see above, does not show off the upcoming Moto X smartphone at all, but at the very least, it does depict a worker on the assembly line in the factory working. Which is good, otherwise that worker might get the boot if he was caught napping on the sly, no? Motorola remained coy about the image as they tweeted, “Yep. This guy is building exactly what you think he is. Designed by you. Assembled in the USA.” That alone should have given the game away that the handset is the Moto X, since we do know that it will be assembled in the US. [Twitter Link]