tbreak.ae http://tbreak.ae tech'ing the Middle East Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:55:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Microsoft wants to be a part of the smartwatch race http://tbreak.ae/microsoft-wants-part-smartwatch-race/ http://tbreak.ae/microsoft-wants-part-smartwatch-race/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:55:30 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27975 Smartwatches are the new fashion in tech town, and it’s probably just a matter of time people start saying “I got a Moto on my wrist”, or “Check out the cool LG watch am wearing”, or “Is that the Apple Watch in your hand?” Both Apple and Google have taken the lead in the smartwatch […]

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Smartwatches are the new fashion in tech town, and it’s probably just a matter of time people start saying “I got a Moto on my wrist”, or “Check out the cool LG watch am wearing”, or “Is that the Apple Watch in your hand?” Both Apple and Google have taken the lead in the smartwatch race along with Samsung, Motorola, ASUS, LG and Sony. Now it’s no surprise now that Microsoft wants to join the party too.

According to a report by Forbes, Microsoft is prepping to launch a smartwatch of its own, that will sport heart rate sensors with fitness oriented features and be compatible with multiple mobile platforms. That’s right, it will be usable with android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms. Furthermore, the report also indicates the battery life will last over two days.

The announcement is expected very soon to compete against Android Wear powered watches that has already started to dominate the market and Apple’s Apple Watch which is yet to be released. How cool it will be to see a Windows Phone-like UI on a little AMOLED screen. Wondering if schools will allow kids wear these watches.

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Marriott touts new mobile check-in app http://tbreak.ae/marriotts-mobile-app-checkins/ http://tbreak.ae/marriotts-mobile-app-checkins/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:49:38 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27313 Mr. Mohammed Rizwan is the IT Director at JW Marriott Marquees. Recently, Marquess introduced a check-in process into their hotel through their app and I was invited to see how this works as well as have a brief conversation with Mr. Rizwan on some of the technology implemented at the JW Marriott Marquees as well as […]

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Mr. Mohammed Rizwan is the IT Director at JW Marriott Marquees. Recently, Marquess introduced a check-in process into their hotel through their app and I was invited to see how this works as well as have a brief conversation with Mr. Rizwan on some of the technology implemented at the JW Marriott Marquees as well as what to expect in the upcoming future.

Tell us a bit about how the app works

It’s very easy, very simple. All you need to do is open Marriott mobile app from your iPhone or Android device. You have to be Marriott’s rewards member and once you’ve logged in you can see all your upcoming reservation. If you have a reservation for today, the app will prompt you for a mobile check in and ask me to provide an estimated arrival time to the hotel which should be at least two hours in advance. This informs our front office and they will start preparing the room with the key. Once that is done, you will see a notification on your mobile that your room is ready.

Approximately how much time do you save when a person checks in with a mobile compared to conventional check in?

Honestly it takes no time compared to conventional check in so when you use mobile check and arrive at the hotel, you simply go to the mobile check in counter and we are expecting you. Your key is ready we know that you are coming and your room is ready to go.

[Note: Another employee of the hotel informed us that it cuts down the check-in time from roughly seven minutes to under three minutes]

What happens when you want to check out? How does that work?

On the day when you are supposed to check out, from 4AM onwards the application will give you the option to start the check out process. At 8AM you will receive a notification that mobile check out is ready and you simply select check out. You can also select to have the bill sent to you over email.

Can you request a late check out with the app?

That process hasn’t been implemented in the app yet and for now, you need to call the front-desk to request that. Using the app, you have have until 12PM to check out. Marriott is working on a very long term plan of mobility wherein for now we have started using mobile check in and check out which is the most widely used service by guests. But in the future we will build communication within the same app whereby you can chat with the hotel staff and do a lot of things that you previously did by calling the main call centre number to the front desk- including requesting a late checkout.

Can you tell us the work that went in to integrate this process?

Whenever we do anything at Marriott, we do it in a very organised and structured way with no flaws accepted when implementing a process. So mobility is one of our road maps going from now until a few years. And since, the way that guests used to interact with the hotel is changing, Marriott is spending a lot of time finding the current technology, the options available for guests and a road map where we want to reach. We’ve collected a lot of facts from research and based on this we’ve identified what is most important. Based on this Marriot decided that we would start with mobile check-in, mobile check out and bookings using the app. You can also check hotel details, go through the pictures etc. These were functions our guests were using and identified through a very expensive research. Following that, we selected the right technology and ensured that we launch the application on the most widely used platforms such as iOS and Android.

Are all Marriot hotels in Dubai supporting mobile check-ins?

Marriott started with the pilot earlier this year and we have over 1000 hotels using this system worldwide. As of now all Marriott hotels in the UAE are equipped with it.

What goes behind the technological infrastructure of a proper as big as the JW Marriott Marquees?

Marriott was working on the JW Marriott Marquees for almost a year and half. I was on-board six months before the hotel was to open and worked on planning, surveying, checking the technology that was being proposed and looking at new technology that is coming in the future as well. It’s a lot of work in terms of implementing the core infrastructure- let’s take fibre, of which we have a few thousand kilometres of the cable running through the hotel. The number of components, the hardware used to support the infrastructure, planning the core skeleton of the technology with huge number of hardware, like the number of switches, access points, controller, and so on. It’s a lot of work.

How do you envision a hotel room in ten years from now?

There are two things in a hotel, one is what the guests see and then there is the back-end of the hotel. I see a big development, big changes in terms of our back-office technology and the systems being used. Currently, we use many technologies that talk to each other via interfaces. But in a few years time, we do not need to have a lot of interfaces. There might be just one technology integrating all of them and working for everything. For the guests side of things, it’s moving towards mobility. A lot of mobility is coming in and a lot of process that used to be done by humans is now done through the system. At the moment you can do about 20% – 30% from your mobile – but five years or ten years from now 80% – 90% of your requests will be done through your mobile or tablet.

Will you be bringing NFC technology to replace key cards?

I believe some hotels have already started piloting this. At the moment, we have this hard key, and there is a risk on this hard key- it’s basically magnetic filled data which can possibly be read by other devices. Those risk will be eliminated by using Near-Field Technology (NFC) where your mobile will allow you to access your room. And then, once you are done with your stay it will automatically clear the key access. But the most important thing where the focus will be is security. Hotels have to cope up with this rapid growth but at the same time ensure that we meet the data security standard because everything will be passing though this technology. So security is one thing we have to be on top of to make sure that all the data going through our network is always secure and inspected.

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Interview with Microsoft Devices Vithesh Reddy http://tbreak.ae/interview-microsoft-devices-vithesh-reddy/ http://tbreak.ae/interview-microsoft-devices-vithesh-reddy/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:21:20 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27916 Microsoft Devices launched their latest pair of phones- the Lumia 730 and the Lumia 830 during GITEX Technology week. We managed to secure some time with the devices as well as Mr. Vithesh Reddy, General Manager, Lower Gulf, Microsoft Devices. Vithesh primarily works on Microsoft Devices’ strategic implementation in the region and the overall management […]

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Microsoft Devices launched their latest pair of phones- the Lumia 730 and the Lumia 830 during GITEX Technology week. We managed to secure some time with the devices as well as Mr. Vithesh Reddy, General Manager, Lower Gulf, Microsoft Devices. Vithesh primarily works on Microsoft Devices’ strategic implementation in the region and the overall management of the company’s market operations including sales, marketing, distribution and logistics.. We asked Vitesh some questions about the new devices as well as how Windows Phone is doing in the region- and if we will be meeting Cortana any time soon.

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Sony PS4 Remote Play is coming soon to Xperia Z2 & Z2 Tablet http://tbreak.ae/sony-ps4-remote-play-coming-soon-xperia-z2-z2-tablet/ http://tbreak.ae/sony-ps4-remote-play-coming-soon-xperia-z2-z2-tablet/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:18:29 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27958 Any of you PlayStation 4 gamers want to remote play on your Xperia Z2/Z2 Tablet as the latest Xperia Z3/ Z3 Compact and Z3 Compact Tablet? Well, you’re in luck now. Sony has confirmed that they are going to expand remote gaming capability to their Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet as well. PS4 Remote […]

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Any of you PlayStation 4 gamers want to remote play on your Xperia Z2/Z2 Tablet as the latest Xperia Z3/ Z3 Compact and Z3 Compact Tablet? Well, you’re in luck now. Sony has confirmed that they are going to expand remote gaming capability to their Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet as well. PS4 Remote Play was one of the main show-stopper features of the new Xperia Z3 family of devices that was revealed last month at IFA 2014.

The guts of the new Xperia Z3 family of devices aren’t that different from its predecessors, the Xperia Z2 and Z2 Tablet. Questions were raised as of why didn’t the older devices receive the update. The new Xperia Z3 devices will have a separate PS4 Dual Shock 4 controller attachment for the remote gameplay. Perhaps Sony will release controller attachments for the Xperia Z2 as well. The update is expected to roll out next month. Unfortunately, no word for the older Xperia devices. Any of you guys thinking Sony should release a PSVITA-like Android handheld games console?

 

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Intel shows Bay Trail can run Windows 8.1 off a USB Stick http://tbreak.ae/intel-shows-bay-trail-can-run-windows-8-1-usb-stick/ http://tbreak.ae/intel-shows-bay-trail-can-run-windows-8-1-usb-stick/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:16:41 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27963 Intel is quietly selling USB sticks that packs a full blown light weight x86 hardware to run a desktop class operating system such as the Windows 8.1. The device is sold at online retailers such as Alibaba or Aliexpress by an unspecified manufacturer in partnership with Intel. The little pocket machine will come in two […]

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Intel is quietly selling USB sticks that packs a full blown light weight x86 hardware to run a desktop class operating system such as the Windows 8.1. The device is sold at online retailers such as Alibaba or Aliexpress by an unspecified manufacturer in partnership with Intel.

The little pocket machine will come in two configurations, 32-bit and 64-bit. The standard comes with an Intel (32-bit Z3735F) quad-core Bay Trail Atom processor speeding up to 1.7 GHz, along with 1GB RAM running at 32-bit Windows 8.1, and nifty features such as 16/32GB storage options, memory card expansion slots, Bluetooth 4.0, WIFI, two micro USB ports and one HDMI port.

If you want little more beefy features, the 64-bit version comes with a 64-bit Z3735G processor, 2GB RAM and 64-bit Windows 8.1 OS. The availability on the Middle Eastern shelves are unknown, but the prices start at $125 (459 AED). Handy stuff isn’t it?

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The Blackberry Classic spec has allegedly leaked with tons of images http://tbreak.ae/blackberry-classic-spec-allegedly-leaked-tons-images/ http://tbreak.ae/blackberry-classic-spec-allegedly-leaked-tons-images/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:10:59 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27941 Blackberry will be officially revealing the Blackberry Q20 Classic soon with the legendary five button belt Blackberry power users always wanted. The first QWERTY BB10 devices just didn’t feel complete without the super sensitive optical trackpad. N4BB has unearthed the official specs of the new Classic. For starters, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 will run the […]

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Blackberry will be officially revealing the Blackberry Q20 Classic soon with the legendary five button belt Blackberry power users always wanted. The first QWERTY BB10 devices just didn’t feel complete without the super sensitive optical trackpad. N4BB has unearthed the official specs of the new Classic.

6ae_dsc-5457-sm

For starters, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 will run the show along with 2GB of RAM pool to run multi-tasking. If you ask me, Blackberry could have opted for something better like the Snapdragon 801, but the Snapdragon S4 is no slouch. In terms of storage, you get 16GB standard mark, plus you can expand via Micro SD up to 128GB. The display is a 1:1 aspect ratio 3.46-inch in size and it’s a LTPS TFT LCD touchscreen, don’t worry you do get the trackpad as well. Resolution is at 720 x720 sharpness, and you get 294 PPI pixel density brightness and 24-bit color reproduction (that’s 16 million colors).

e8f_dsc-5523-sm db3_dsc-5516-sm BlackBerry_Classic_6 BlackBerry_Classic_5 be8_dsc-5551-sm 9b4_dsc-5483-sm

The main rear shooter is at 8MP BSI, F2.2 aperture with an LED flash and image/video stabilization. You even can zoom, 5x digitally and do Full HD with 30fps. The front selfie snapper is rated at 2MP, decent enough for Skype calls. The keyboard with 35 keys are illuminated, along with the other buttons. Interestingly, in the leaked pictures, the trackpad isn’t illuminated but we hope its just a software option. The battery is rated for 2515 mAh, but non-removable.

Additionally, Qi and Powermatt wireless charging technology is supported for certain Q20 variants. You get support for NFC and Bluetooth along with wireless video via Miracast. The Q20 will have aluminum like side trims all around the device, with the front keyboard similar to its predecessors. Looking at these mediocre specs, it doesn’t look like the Q20 is meant to be a flagship device or be eligible to be the successor to the Q10, rather, a midrange that brings back the good old originality of a Blackberry. So Blackberry fans, are you saving up for a Q20 with optical trackpad and BB10?

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iPhone 6 photography and bandwidth usage http://tbreak.ae/iphone-photography-bandwidth-usage/ http://tbreak.ae/iphone-photography-bandwidth-usage/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:18:25 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27918 One of the better upgrades to iPhone 6 is its camera. At 8 megapixels, the pixel count hasn’t changed from the iPhone 5 or 5S and you still have the same F2.2 aperture but Apple has made some good changes that makes shooting photos from the new phones much better. On the iPhone 6, the […]

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One of the better upgrades to iPhone 6 is its camera. At 8 megapixels, the pixel count hasn’t changed from the iPhone 5 or 5S and you still have the same F2.2 aperture but Apple has made some good changes that makes shooting photos from the new phones much better. On the iPhone 6, the camera pixel size is increased to 1.5 micron-pixels and Apple has switched to Phase Detection Auto-focus. With those two changes, expect the camera to focus faster on your subject and to take better photos is low-light conditions or when using the HDR Mode.

The following are some shots I took using the iPhone 6.

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1.7MB

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2.7MB

 

Taking pictures is obviously an important aspect of using your phones and for many of us, keeping those photos backed up is equally important. For this purpose, I have installed Microsoft’s OneDrive app that gives you a generous 30GB of space to back all your photos. With the pictures above, you’ll noted that I’ve also mentioned the sizes they occupy on your drive. From my clicks, an average picture with moderate detail takes about 1.6MB of storage space but move to something with HDR and you’re looking at around 2.8MB per photo. A 10 second video on the other hand can take about 50MB.

Considering the size of the photos above and the number of photos you take, it would be a wise idea to calculate the amount of data you would require on your mobile plan. I generally take about 15-20 photos every day- more if I am attending a work event. But on an average day, lets break my usage into the following:

10 photos with no HDR: 10 x 1.6MB = 16MB
5 photos with HDR: 6 x 2.8 = 14MB

The total for above photos is 30MB per day. If I stick to this schedule, I would be utilising about 1GB of bandwidth simply uploading photos. You can easily chose to upload photos when at home or over Wi-Fi only but I prefer having them uploaded right away which, many a times, requires me to be connected over LTE. I suggest getting an LTE plan that gives you some decent room over and above your allocation.

My personal usage is about 2GB of data per month and thus, I prefer the du Smart 300 package which gives me 3GB of data. If your consumption is lower, you could go for the Smart 150 which gives you 1GB of data. On the other hand, if you do more videos you should look at the Smart 600 with 4GB of data or Smart 1000 with 10GB of data.

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Everything you need to know about Android Lollipop http://tbreak.ae/everything-you-need-to-know-about-android-lollipop/ http://tbreak.ae/everything-you-need-to-know-about-android-lollipop/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 08:49:24 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27840 “OK Google, how sweet is Lollipop?” What happens when you ask this question to Google Search? Not much really- all I got were search results of Android Lollipop. It would have been fun if Google had made the search say something fun about the new software update. Jokes aside, Google is getting ready to roll […]

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“OK Google, how sweet is Lollipop?” What happens when you ask this question to Google Search? Not much really- all I got were search results of Android Lollipop. It would have been fun if Google had made the search say something fun about the new software update. Jokes aside, Google is getting ready to roll out dome of its latest engineering efforts. The HTC Nexus 9, which is now its best tablet comes with Tegra K1 and Android Lollipop and marks the start of 64-bit Android computing. The Nexus 6 may not have a 64-bit chip to accompany Lollipop OS, but it is the biggest and fastest Nexus smartphone released to date. The Nexus Player Android TV is a surprise announcement to all.

So what’s new with the stock Android Lollipop? Here are some interesting things to look out for

Default SMS Client

 

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Well, for starters, the default Messaging app is back with a makeover and is now called the Messenger. Hangouts isn’t the default SMS client anymore as Google had hoped it to be when it combined text messaging with it a few months back. Users will be given a choice to use a simple and quick Messenger, or the network hungry Hangouts. Messenger and its new icon were spotted many times in leaks related to the Nexus 6.

Inbuilt Data Migration

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We always had the patience to set-up our new shiny Android device which takes a few painful hours, install only the apps we need and configure the way we want. The normal default Android backup feature is limited and probably useless that we are forced to use third-party backup apps. Looks like Google heard our cries and has implemented an enhanced feature to restore all your data and apps or only ones you want from any of the previous devices registered with your account.

Anti-malware

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Security is one of the main concerns about the Android OS, and so is the reason for the existence of a large number of anti-malware/virus scanners for Android. Google adds SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux) feature to address the issues against threats of malware. As our earlier post suggested, Google has Data Encryption turned on by default for the Android Lollipop. We aren’t sure how effective is the implementation of SELinux, but it still won’t hurt to install some of the best detection anti-viruses for Android.

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Make your Home Smart with WeMo http://tbreak.ae/make-home-smart-wemo/ http://tbreak.ae/make-home-smart-wemo/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 08:29:09 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27800 Belkin’s acquisition of Linksys early last year made the company’s portfolio more stronger than ever. Belkin products are more inclined towards consumer and home segment, while Linksys plays a vital role in SMB and enterprise sector. To enhance their product portfolio, Belkin has recently introduced a new brand called WeMo, which focuses on providing smart technology to homes […]

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Belkin’s acquisition of Linksys early last year made the company’s portfolio more stronger than ever. Belkin products are more inclined towards consumer and home segment, while Linksys plays a vital role in SMB and enterprise sector. To enhance their product portfolio, Belkin has recently introduced a new brand called WeMo, which focuses on providing smart technology to homes with simple yet effective products.

At the GITEX Technology Week, I met Bart Bomers – Business Unit Director EMEA for WeMo to discuss more about Belkin’s expansion with WeMo line-up. He guided me to each of the products and how they can make your home smarter and safer.

How do you differentiate the market between Belkin and Linksys products?
Linksys is more of a premium brand to us and that’s the space we are targeting for its line of products. Linksys is more of a high-end consumer brand, while Belkin is targeted towards mid-range consumer segment. Linksys already has 50 percent and more market share in the Middle East and the rest of it we want to capture with Belkin products.

Can you brief me on WeMo as a brand and as a product?
The third brand under Belkin’s portfolio is WeMo which currently wears Belkin’s logo. However, when it goes for bulk production, WeMo will have its own identity because its going to be a very big part of our business. WeMo is a family of smart, simple, easy-to-use, connected products that allow you to control home electronics and lights from anywhere. Turn them on or off, trigger them with motion, even put them on a schedule. WeMo comes with an intuitive app that works with any iOS v5 or higher and Android 4.0 or higher devices. WeMo works well with your existing Wi-Fi router and  is completely modular, allowing you to WeMo as much or as little as you like.

A few of WeMo products showcased here are already available in the market. What should consumers expect from WeMo in the coming months?
Currently we are in the market but not in a very large capacity. Soon you will be hearing a launch for WeMo as an entire product portfolio. Right now we are showcasing the entire range of WeMo products, since Gitex is a huge platform to show all the launch products that we have.

Is there any expected date for the launch? Who will be your channel partners for WeMo line-up?
The products will be available soon in the market. We are making a partnership with one of the service providers in the region and you will be hearing about that soon. We will be offering WeMo as service through our partner and not as an individual product.

Which products WeMo is showcasing this Gitex?
The products showcased during this year’s Gitex includes;

WeMo.1

 

WeMo.2

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Belkin Introduces QODE Keyboards for iPad Air and Mini http://tbreak.ae/belkin-introduces-qode-keyboards-ipad-air-mini/ http://tbreak.ae/belkin-introduces-qode-keyboards-ipad-air-mini/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 08:23:58 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27919 Belkin has introduced new range in keyboard cases and accessories for Apple’s latest iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. The new range includes, three QODE keyboards and a collection of thin, lightweight folios for both the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. “With the new iPad hitting shelves just in time for the […]

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Belkin has introduced new range in keyboard cases and accessories for Apple’s latest iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. The new range includes, three QODE keyboards and a collection of thin, lightweight folios for both the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.

Belkin.QODE.1

“With the new iPad hitting shelves just in time for the busy holiday season and more people using them as laptop replacements, the creation of iPad keyboards that can measure up to laptop keyboards and accessories that enhance and protect while on the go becomes paramount,” said Ana Hory, director of product management at Belkin. “Belkin’s new accessories for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 speak to this trend and give iPad users more ways to love their new device,” he added.

Belkin.QODE.2

For the new iPad Air 2, Belkin will expand its award-winning line of QODE keyboards with Ultimate Pro and Ultimate versions. Belkin’s QODE range of products provide enhanced functionality with style to suit your lifestyle at the same time increases productivity. Based on Bluetooth Smart technology, the QODE Ultimate Pro and QODE Slim Style Keyboards provides improved battery life and a redesigned keyboard layout that includes the same number of keys as a laptop keyboard for faster, more accurate typing.

The newly launched product-line is available immediately from Belkin online and select retailers worldwide at following prices tags.
1. QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for iPad Air 2 (F5L176) – $149.99
2. QODE Ultimate Keyboard for iPad Air 2 (F5L178) – $129.99
3. QODE Slim Style Keyboard for iPad Air and iPad Air 2 (F5L174) – $99.99
4. Slim Style Cover for iPad mini/iPad mini 2/iPad mini 3 (F7N249) – $39.99
5. Slim Style Cover for iPad Air/iPad Air 2 (F7N253) – $49.99
6. Stripe Cover for iPad mini/iPad mini 2/iPad mini 3 (F7N249) – $34.99
7. Stripe Cover for iPad Air/iPad Air 2 (F7N253) – $39.99
8. Classic Cover for iPad mini/iPad mini 2/iPad mini 3 (F7N247) – $29.99
9. Chambray Cover for iPad Air/iPad Air 2 (F7N263) – $39.99

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