The week in gadgets: LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition, Samsung Galaxy J and Smarty Ring

16 Dec 2013

The G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition from LG Electronics

A look at gadget happenings, as LG introduces a new G Pad 8.3 with ‘purer’ Android stock, Samsung extends the market for its Galaxy J smartphone, and an Indian start-up raises funds for a smart ring.

LG’s pure Android G Pad

LG Electronics’ new version of the G Pad is the first device to be designated a Google Play Edition and Google’s first Android Open Source Project tablet.

The G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition essentially features the same hardware as the original G Pad 8.3 (released in the US just a few weeks ago), but this version will always be kept up to date with the latest Android operating system and no overlaying custom UI.

And so, it launches with Android 4.4, which features a full-screen Immersive mode that allows for full-screen edge-to-edge apps, hiding the status bar and navigation bar and making full use of the 8.3-inch 1,920 x 1,200 WUXGA full-HD IPS display.

Inside, the new G Pad packs a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage and 4,600mAh battery. It also features a 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facing camera. The Wi-Fi-only tablet is available on Google Play in the US for US$350.

Samsung Galaxy J released in Taiwan

The Samsung Galaxy J smartphone – which has been likened to a Galaxy Note 3 packed inside a metal Galaxy S4 body – has extended its reach. Previously available only in Japan, the new smartphone has been released in Taiwan for TW$21,900 (€538) unlocked.

Samsung Galaxy J

Suspected to be testing the waters for an all-new metal handset from Samsung, the rumoured Galaxy S5, the Galaxy J features a 5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED screen, 2.3GHz quad-core Krait 400 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 13MP rear camera and a 2,600mAh battery. It runs Android 4.3 and is available in red and white variants (with a blue version remaining exclusive to the Japanese market).

Smarty Ring’s crowdfunding goal met

An India-based start-up conceived of a smart ring as an alternative device in the growing smartwatch market. The project was set up for crowdfunding on Indiegogo and, last week, far surpassed its goal of US$40,000, raising almost US$300,000.

The first Smarty Ring devices are now expected for delivery as soon as April 2014. The ring can be paired with an Android or iOS smartphone using Bluetooth 4.0, and can then be used to check notifications and updates and manage phone calls through a touch LED display. The company also claims the smart ring can initiate outgoing calls to preset numbers, trigger the smartphone’s camera and control music playback.

It also features a clock that can display up to five time zones and be used as a stopwatch or countdown timer. A proximity sensor also helps to alert you if a paired smartphone is more than 30m away, so you don’t lose your precious device.

Concept design of the Smarty Ring

Concept design of the Smarty Ring

The ring is made from allergy-free surgical stainless steel and measures 13mm wide and 4mm thick to fit ring sizes 5 to 15.

Settings can be adjusted using a mobile app and, as is necessary for wearable tech, the Smarty Ring is waterproof. Battery life is guaranteed for 24 hours and a wireless charger for both your ring and smartphone will ship with the device.

The full-featured Smarty Ring is priced at US$275, but campaign backers will get it for US$175. Those that missed the chance to back the campaign can still pre-order a Smarty Ring at the discount price up to 30 December.

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.