Qi chargers

We take a look at three popular Qi wireless charging solutions and put them head to head in Jerry's bedroom

Qi (pronounced Chee, and is totally a word no matter what Words with Friends says) is a wireless standard developed in 2009 by the Wireless Power Consortium. The standard itself covers inductive power transfer over short distances — up to four centimeters — and uses a electromagnet embedded in a transmission pad to induce current in a coil on the back of the thing you're charging. In our case, that means a Nexus 4 smartphone.

With big-name device makers like Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola and Nokia (as well as others) using the standard, it is slowly emerging as the winner in the obscure wireless charging war that goes on in cubicles all over the world. Long live Qi! On a serious note, it's an open standard with over 100 companies in Asia, Europe and North America cooperating to set a good standard that everyone can implement. That's good for business, and good for consumers in the long run. Of course, there will always be companies that buck the trend and take another path, but for now if you're going to spend your hard-earned money on a wireless charger that you should be able to use for the life of multiple devices, Qi charging is the way to go.

Because it's a standard, there are quite a few different companies making the base stations (a fancy term for the charging pad). I took a look at the three most popular and put them head to head to see which one I'd recommend. While I used a Nexus 4 for my tests, these chargers should work for any Qi-compatible phone with a flat back. Jump past the break and see who wins the Qi charger showdown.

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New cash and spectrum give Sprint lots of potential, but it still needs to execute on its (Network) Vision

We've known about the impending shutdown of Sprint's legacy iDEN network for a long time now, and this is finally the last full day of service for the network. There are likely very few handsets, and even fewer running Android, up and on the iDEN network today, but Sprint flipping the switch is still an important story. Sprint's post-iDEN plan is to quickly repurpose the spectrum from the old network for its steadily expanding LTE offering.

The iDEN network was running in extremely valuable 800MHz spectrum as well, adding to the importance of this transition. With an influx of cash from an all-but-complete SoftBank merger, Sprint needs to put its new found resources to work and do it quick. While the Now Network has been talking up its LTE network since its launch, customers and potential customers alike haven't been encouraged by its progress.

Moving through the second half of 2013, Sprint has the opportunity to seriously improve its shaky network — let's see if it can follow through.

    




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Vine for Kindle

You have a Kindle Fire from Amazon. You want the Vine app. Today is your lucky day. 

The Vine for Android app is now available on the Amazon app store, and is compatible with the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. That means you can now take all the six-second selfies your heart desires, and share them all with the rest if the civilized world. 

Or you can freak out over … Gummy Worms. 

Anyhoo, it's nice to see the folks behind Vine haven't forgotten about everyone with a Kindle Fire. Grab your copy (it's free) from the app store on your device, or click the link below.

Vine on the Amazon app store

    




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QuickOffice

If you look back about a year ago, you'll be reminded that Google purchased the mobile office suite Quickoffice. We finally see the fruits of the purchase, but not exactly how everyone expected to see it. Using the Microsoft Office compatibility built into Quickoffice's document editing, users on the Chrome OS developer build track can now edit both Word and Excel files without any hassles, right from their Chromebook.

Of course, being in the developer track means there is bound to be bugs. But Google has been fairly swift with pushing features through the dev and beta tracks, and we're seeing new features and additions roll into the stable branch with every release. Still, things may not be ready for prime time just yet.

To give this a try for yourself, you need to switch to the developer track of Chrome OS, and set an experimental flag. Point your browser at chrome://flags, and find the "Enable document editing" entry. Enable it and restart your Chromebook. There's a place to report any and all Quickoffice bugs right here, so be sure to report any difficulties you run into. Here's to a happy test phase, and we're looking forward to seeing Microsoft Office file editing in the stable branch soon.

Source: +François Beaufort

    




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Our pals at CrackBerry.com have had a tough day. Their beloved PlayBook tablet — you know, the only BlackBerry Tablet in existence — won't be upgraded to BB10. Not exactly a shock, especially to those of us who are used to seeing 2-year-old devices be put out to pasture with even less fanfare. At least these guys got a warning.

Anyhoo. CB's giving away a tablet — anything other than a PlayBook, we s'pose — with a contest running through the end of July 1. Seeing as how so many of you fine Android Central readers jumped ship way back when (and we know who you are), might as well lend a hand here.

Good luck!

    




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Chrome beta

Chrome beta for Android has received another sizable update, and a few long-standing nags have been addressed. A quick look at the change log says the white flash that appears when you load a new tab (that's murder on the eyes at night in bed) should be gone, favicons should sync across other devices using Clank (Chrome beta for Android's code name), and issues with the keyboard at the Gmail website where it won't dismiss have been corrected. 

Add in a security fix to make sure a dialog is displayed as soon as any downloads are called instead of actually accepted and a slew of the normal bug fixes, and this is one you'll want to install. Grab the update through Google Play or at the link above.

Source: Google

    




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While the first week of Talk Mobile 2013 was all about mobile gaming, in the second topic we tackled broader issues with apps, developers, and app stores. As with last week, we're working to move past the debates over features and specs and spark a discussion on what really matters: how these advanced devices have actually impacted our lives.

We're going to continue to tweak the Talk Mobile formula as we go, and your feedback is always welcome as we work to make Talk Mobile the best that it can possibly be. So feel free to sound off in the comments about what you think of Talk Mobile so far.

As with our first week's recap, we want to focus on the discussion that was generated, because that's really what we're after here. We've seen a lot of great comments spurring even better conversations about what's great and not so great about apps today, and we'd like to take a few minutes to highlight the best.

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GamePop Mini

Access to hundreds of apps from well-known developers with no up-front hardware cost

In an effort to expand the audience of its upcoming GamePop gaming subscription service, BlueStacks is announcing today that it will offer a smaller "forever free" version of its GamePop console. Dubbed the "GamePop Mini", this smaller console will offer much the same experience as its larger counterpart, but will be free with a subscription to its gaming service whereas the original GamePop will jump up to $129 up-front once its pre-order period ends.

This "Mini" version of the GamePop console will work in the same way as the larger version, connecting to your TV via HDMI and pairing up with your smart phone as a controller. The GamePop subscription service will remain the same for either console, giving customers access to games from over 500 partners — including some of the best-known developers such as HalfBrick and Glu — for just $6.99 per month. BlueStacks says at this point the subscription will offer customers access to the equivalent of $200 in paid apps with the single subscription.

Pre-orders for the original GamePop will end on June 30th, along with its promotional pricing, which will then open up the market for GamePop Mini pre-orders on July 1st at that magical $0 up-front price. The GamePop Mini is expected to ship to consumers this Winter.

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Gmail

A quick update to the Gmail app tonight brings about a couple changes. First off is that Google has brought back the delete option by default, alongside the archive button. (Previously you had to turn that back on in the settings.) Also listed is "tap sender images to select multiple e-mails in the conversation list," but we've been doing that for a little while now, right? Plus, the requisite bugfixes. 

Not a huge update, but any update to the Gmail app is an important one. Head on over and set things right.

    




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Vine

Just use that front-facing camera power wisely

Vine has just been updated in the Play Store to enable what every self-loving kid on the internet needed — front facing camera support. Nothing else in the interface for recording has changed, except now you have a simple button in the bottom left corner of the app to toggle between cameras. You can toggle in the middle of a video between cuts if you just have to give that reaction shot, or you can go the full 6-seconds with one camera or the other.

Is this enough to bring people back over from Instagram with video? Hard to say that it is. Regardless, you're likely about to see your Vine feed filled up with a lot more faces for the next few days. You can grab a download from the Play Store link above.

    




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