Say what you will about the latest crop of Android Wear devices, but it would be hard to call any of them "feminine." Even with gold-plated bodies or thin bands, the chunky or boxy nature of the watches mean that they don't easily conform to the current designs of women's conventional watches. (For my money, the most svelte looking Android Wear device right now is the Asus Zenwatch 2.) But Huawei is willing to give it a shot: a few months ago we caught wind of two new variants of the Huawei Watch, the "Jewel" and the "Elegant," and now it appears both of them will soon be available in the US. Read More
Sphero's tiny, motorized BB-8 droid (based on the company's well-known ball robot design) was the Star Wars toy to have when Episode VII hit theaters last year. It's become less of a hot commodity since then, but Sphero keeps adding new things to do with the toy, and now you can actually find it on store shelves. The miniature astromech was just a little past the impulse buy range at $150 retail, though it looks like most retailers have taking it down to $130 or so. Today Amazon has the toy for even less. Read More
WhatsApp has conquered the world of low-cost SMS alternatives, at least in the international market. The company's practically free system, which uses standard phone numbers and a text message-style interface, gained hundreds of millions of users before being acquired by Facebook for an amazing $19 billion. WhatsApp already offers a web interface for sending and receiving messages away from your phone, but it looks like something a bit more complex may be in the works. Read More
Google apparently has a Material Design UI overhaul in the works for YouTube and it looks pretty good. While it has not yet been pushed to the masses, it is apparently being tested on a small group of users while the developers look for bugs and Google braces for any negative feedback (people hate change, remember). Here's a look at the goods and a way to enable the new UI for yourself.
First, let's look at the homepage. Here's the current version:
And the new:
Not exactly a radical difference, but you do see the modern search bar that should be familiar from Google's Android apps and several web services as well. Read More
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we have a new licensed pinball game from Zen, a stylish take on Minesweeper, two retro-inspired platformers, another Sparke "life" game, a simplified brawler, and a connect-the-dots puzzle game. Without further ado: Read More
It's impossible to launch a new flagship phone these days without some fancy (and expensive) companion devices. At least that seems to be the approach that Samsung and LG are taking, and the former has a very interesting 360-degree action camera on the way. The Gear 360 captures both still photos and video in (you guessed it) 360 degrees thanks to dual lenses and a ball-like design. The Gear 360 is launched in Samsung's home market of Korea, and though it's yet to get a western release, the companion app is already available. Read More
Gfycat is an annoyingly misspelled place to post and retrieve animated GIFs, as well as more fancy-pants WebM videos. It's popular for uses where normal GIFs, which get surprisingly large as they get longer, are unwieldy or hard to embed. The tools on the site chomp standard videos and GIFs down into bite-sized versions, saving tons of bandwidth. The service has been around for a while, but now there's an official Android app... just don't try to download it on the Play Store. Read More
Most of you who pay much attention to the bluetooth speaker market know that Ultimate Ears, a.k.a UE, makes good stuff. While the UE Boom and related Boom variants are pretty well-known, the Roll is a nice, albeit quirkier member of the product line. What sets it apart, other than the smaller size, is that it is also waterproof and designed to be strapped onto whatever you want to. If the sticker price of $100 was too steep for you, then give it another look while it's discounted to $49.99 at Best Buy.
For a full rundown of the device, check out our review. Read More
Last week, Sony had a nice gift for a large portion of the owners of their relatively recent devices: Marshmallow! That was following up on March updates to their newest releases. Still, a few were left out. The wait should be over soon, if not already, for owners of the Z3 Tablet Compact.
The updates are going to both the LTE-enabled and WiFi-only variants of the tablet, which were released in late 2014. Here's the summary info provided by Sony's web pages for each variant:
Android version: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Latest available software: 23.5.A.0.570
Release started: 2016-04-26
The version number is common to most or all of the recent Marshmallow releases to the Z2 and Z3 lines. Read More