May 23, 2014

Wearable technology has come a long way since its beginnings with the humble pocket watch—a device that provided valuable information with a quick glance. The premise of today’s wearables is the same, which is to provide important info and data with maximum speed and convenience. But instead of a singular type of data, the latest wearable tech shows an array of information such as email messages, social-networking pings, and even Google searches.

For some, wearables may seem like information overload. But for others, the promise of communicating through a smartwatch like Dick Tracey is the ultimate fashion accessory to handle a busy lifestyle. Technology and fashion companies alike are banking on the idea that many us fall into the latter category, craving an even closer connection to the people and places around us.

moto-360-2While the wearable tech movement is still in its infancy, some examples are already among us. Google’s smart glasses, called Glass, and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatches are already available for consumer consumption. And while there’s no data to suggest that either of these devices are selling particularly well, the sales haven’t stopped other companies from spending considerable amounts of time and money on creating more wearables.

Despite skeptics around some of these products, Google and Samsung have made it known that they’re in the wearable space for the long haul. Moreover, companies, including Intel, HTC, LG, Apple, and General Electric, are already firmly in the space or likely entering soon. And as more manufactures dive into the wearable category, more attention is being paid to design.

Motorola made headlines in March when it unveiled its first Android-powered smartwatch: the Moto 360. While the company wasn’t first to the smartwatch game, it stood out for putting an emphasis on the tried-and-true design of classic timepieces. It didn’t just provide users with data, notifications, and hands-free Google searches. The device boasted a round face, premium materials, and promises to feel comfortable on the wrist.

With an increasing focus on design and style, wearable tech hasn’t been reserved for only the tech giants. Fashion companies like Fossil are also keeping a close eye on wearables and believe that it’s the start of an entirely new business. In March, Fossil announced that it partnered with Google on its new Android Wear, a project that extends the popular Android operating system to wearables. For Fossil, it’s the perfect opportunity to help shape the fusion of fashion and technology.

Android Wear“We are an innovation and design-driven company that creates watches, jewelry and handbags that our customers fall in love with every day,” said Greg McKelvey, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer for Fossil Group, amid the partnership announcement. “We believe we are uniquely positioned to develop and bring to market products for our fashion customers that marry the beauty of our designs, the promise of our brands and now the function of new technology.”

Some may continue to question the value of wearable technology, especially since many of us don’t stray too far from our smartphones already. And, there have been ethical, safety and privacy concerns raised around these new devices as well. But what remains certain is that wearable technology isn’t going away anytime soon. There are simply too many companies willing to do everything possible to see the category grow. Skepticism will undoubtedly linger, but these new wearables are likely to continue to fascinate consumers. They may also help us live our lives in ways that other devices can’t match.

March 12, 2014

Ready, Set, Shop! March Madness is here, bringing you up to 50% off select cases for smartphones and tablets. All sale items are already discounted, so there’s no need to enter a promocode. Offer is good with our Everyday Free Ground Shipping, which is valid on orders over $50 shipped in the U.S.

For a complete list of sale items, check out our Sale page. You can also find a sample of select cases below.

info-graphic

These deals won’t last long, so find the case you’ve been waiting for before it’s too late.

March 6, 2014

Love bacon? Is bacon one of the reasons for getting out of bed in the morning? Well then Oscar Mayer has the app for you.

The well-known purveyors of meat have come up with their own “appcessory”—a first for a food company. They’ve created a device that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone and emits the sound and smell of sizzling bacon.

Oscar Mayer won’t be selling the device alongside their delicious products in grocery stores, so the only way to get one is by filling out an application at wakeupandsmellthebacon.com. Oscar Mayer is giving away only a limited quantity of the bacon-scented mobile devices, but the corresponding app is available for free via the Apple App Store. Without the device, the app at least allows you to set an alarm to the sound of a sizzling pan.

“With nearly two million mentions of #bacon on Instagram, it seems people never get tired of bacon. That’s why our team decided to develop a device to give folks what they long for most,” said Tom Bick, senior director of integrated marketing and advertising at Oscar Mayer. “As the category leader, Oscar Mayer is thrilled to bring the first-ever, bacon-scented mobile device to market, giving bacon aficionados a new reason to welcome their morning alarm clocks.”

If you ever dreamed of the day when you could wake up to the smell of bacon every single morning, that day has finally come. See how it works below.

March 5, 2014

This year is expected to be an exciting one in the world of mobile technology. While the past year brought us cutting-edge flagship devices with everything from fingerprint scanners to eye tracking sensors, there’s plenty more waiting in the wings for Android and iOS lovers.

The next big thing from Samsung, LG, HTC and of course Apple, is right around the corner. We’ve rounded up just a few of the best smartphones that we’re looking forward to in 2014. While some of the details below are mere speculation, we’re pretty sure that you can expect to see some special devices arrive this year.

HTC One

HTC has struggled in the shadows of Apple and Samsung, but the Taiwanese company achieved notoriety last year when it delivered one of the best-reviewed Android devices ever made. With its stunning all-metal body, slick UI enhancements, and innovative camera, the HTC One was a phone that we all admired.

Today, we’re eagerly awaiting word on the next HTC flagship. Code named the M8, the successor to the HTC One is expected to launch in late March–assuming the teasers hold true. It will look very similar to the current model, but it will feature a faster 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset, a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution display and Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC’s Sense 6.0 user interface.

Leaked images of the next HTC One have already hit the Web, revealing an extra camera sensor on the rear of the handset. This is expected to bring improved focusing, low light shooting and depth of field to the One’s innovative camera setup.

HTC One teaser

With an official event planned for March 25, expect HTC to show off its new One device.

Samsung Galaxy S5

One of the most anticipated devices this year has already arrived from Samsung, maker of the popular Galaxy S4. The next-generation S5 made its debut last week at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), and it will arrive soon.

As usual, this Galaxy device is packed with innovative features, including a 5.1-inch 1080p, Super AMOLED screen. Photography enthusiasts will also appreciate its 16 megapixel camera with improved image stabilization and a new selective focus mode that acts a bit like the aperture on an SLR for depth of field effects.

The new S5 is also the first smartphone with a built-in heart rate sensor, allowing those with active lifestyles to monitor their heart rate throughout the day or just during a working.

Other features include  a 2,800 mAh battery offering 12 hours of video playback, and it comes in four shimmery colors. The hardware is  also resistant to sweat, rain, liquids, sand and dust, so it’s built to hold up to serious punishment.

In addition to the hardware tweaks, Samsung revamped its user interface. Its next-generation TouchWiz UI is cleaner, more refined,  and less cluttered than before.

Look to get your hands on the all-new Samsung Galaxy S5 in April.

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony kicked of 2014 by introducing two new mid-range phones, the Z1 Compact and the Z1S. Neither of these are range-topping replacements. That honor goes to the all-new Z2, which was unveiled amid the MWC.

The Z2 continues Sony Xperia’s sleek, monolithic look. Inside, the Z2 has been fitted with a 2.3GHz Qualcomm processor, an incredible 20.7 megapixel camera, and it allows users to view everything on a high-resolution 5.2-inch HD display.

Since Sony is a leader in 4K televisions, perhaps it’s fitting that the Z2 also captures stunning 4K video. Like the Samsung S5, the Z2 promises to be incredibly durable and it’s both waterproof and dust resistant.

Sony’s Z2 arrives this month running Android 4.4 and it will be available in black, white, or purple.

LG G3

LG had a good year in 2013, launching a slew of hot devices. This new product offensive included the G2 as well as the Google-branded Nexus 5.

The former is expected to get its replacement soon. In addition a slight increase in screen real estate, LG’s G3 is expected to get a crisp 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution display.  It may also be powered by LG’s octa-core Odin chipset for speedy performance. Rumors have also suggested that an iPhone-like fingerprint scanner could give the device a bit more security.

No official information has been released just yet, but the latest rumors in circulation suggest it may arrive as soon as June.

Apple iPhone 6

No company excites consumers quite like Apple, and 2014 is expected to bring yet another industry-disrupting iPhone. While Apple brought about a frenzy with two new iPhones last year, the tech giant is undoubtedly going to go all-out for its next rendition of its flagship device.

Last year’s iPhone 5s was a sales success, thanks its faster chipset, fingerprint scanner,  as well as its lighter, thinner body, but many consumers are currently flocking toward handsets that offer larger screens, better price points, and more unique software features.

Because of these trends, the iPhone 6 may be the device worth waiting for this year. Rumors suggest a larger device with as much as 5.5-inches of screen real-estate. The handset will also undergo a revolutionary design change, as opposed to the more evolutionary changes made to the iPhone 5s.

iPhone 5s

Due to the dramatic updates in store for the iPhone, don’t expect it until later in 2014.

March 5, 2014

HTC is hoping to ease the fears of smartphone users by offering one screen replacement for free. The unique offer can be redeemed by US customers at any point during the first six month of phone ownership. The program is the first of its kind from a major smartphone manufacturer.

This offer is part of the new HTC Advantage—an initiative the company says “marks an enhanced focus and commitment to customers who select the best and want to keep it that way.” In addition to worry-free protection, HTC Advantage also promises to deliver the latest versions of Android to customers, along with up to 50GB of complimentary Google Drive cloud storage. The program applies to HTC’s One family of smartphones, including the One, One mini and One max.

So what’s the catch you ask? There is none—the HTC Advantage comes at no cost to US customers. Purchase a new HTC One and rest assured you’ll be covered in the event you drop your phone—for the first six months, at least.

“We recognize that people spend good money to buy smartphones. Creating premium products that offer customers the best and latest has always been the HTC way, and now we’re carrying that commitment beyond the handset purchase to ensure customers remain satisfied beyond day one,” said Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC Americas. “In line with our history of firsts, we want to be the first to protect the investment customers make in our premium devices, and have created a new position of vice president of customer experience to oversee this commitment as well as the launch and evolution of HTC Advantage.”

Chances are that other manufactures will take note of HTC’s commitment to software updates and hardware protection, and introduce similar programs. But for now, HTC stands alone in addressing the challenges of today’s mobile lifestyle.