The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One both come with IR receivers that allow them to replace your television remote. It's convenient, but that isn't necessarily true about the default apps they ship with. The HTC One's TV app tries to streamline channel surfing by placing favorite shows front and center, but it only adds clutter for someone like me who doesn't have cable television for the app to pull from.
|Bertel King, Jr.||Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.|
Another day, another cancelled Google product. Try to sound surprised as I report that the Google Catalogs Android app will go the way of the dodo on August 15th. Too difficult? I understand. I couldn't muster up any shock either. Catalogs scratches a very niche itch, one Google was willing to address on tablets but never bothered with on smartphones. While it's true that some people have installed the app, the vast majority of Googlers probably never knew it existed.
The key is a beautiful creation. It's small, portable, cheap, and effective. What's the problem? They're annoying. No one likes fumbling for them before opening the door, scratching up the area around a lock at night, or leaving them on the coffee table at work. This is why you probably want the Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth-enabled door lock, which can turn your smartphone into your house key. Security without the hassle.
Perhaps Google Reader's largest advantage wasn't its features, usability, or ubiquity - it was Google's massive resources. The Old Reader was one of many alternatives that readers fled to in advance of Reader's imminent collapse, and its users swelled by over 1000 percent in just a week. Now, after having swelled from 10 thousand users to over 400 thousand, the developers are saying that enough is enough. They currently plan to re-launch The Old Reader as a private service and only invite back those who joined before the flood, but they're still open to alternatives that would ensure continued public access.
Panasonic's KX-PRX120, besides having a sexy name, is quite the handset. It runs Ice Cream Sandwich, has access to the Play Store, and sports a 3.5 inch touch-screen that would not look out on place on display next to any other budget smartphone. The thing is, buyers won't want to tote it around town. This digital cordless phone is too timid for that lifestyle and works best within the confines of its own home.
Think of Sprint as the Little Engine That Could. It's tinkered with 4G perhaps longer than any of America's other major carriers, but it has little to show for it. There are large swaths of the country that don't have LTE coverage and the speeds aren't necessarily that fast in the areas that do. Still, those of us on Sprint's network must hold on to hope. The company is hard at work, and today they've announced the availability of 4G LTE in 41 new markets.
Anyone who has made the jump to Android 4.3, which admittedly isn't that many people right now, may have noticed that some applications now plant persistent notifications in the status bar. We offered this as a disclaimer in our post about manually updating a Nexus 4 to Android 4.3. Turns out, this is completely intentional. Android now forces persistent notifications on unkillable apps that run silently in the background. This is an attempt to call attention to behavior that isn't quite okay.
Floating Notifications brings the usefulness of Facebook chat heads to every Android app that shoots out a notification. Get an email - receive a floating Gmail icon on the side of the screen begging for attention. Tapping that icon reveals the contents of the message. Double tapping dismisses the notification, but there's a catch - before now, removing the floating notification hasn't also removed it from the status bar. Thanks to the latest update, devices running Android 4.3 will sync these actions due to integration with the new Notification Listener Service.
Buying a laptop was a necessity, and so was that phone. Maybe you need didn't need the tablet, but you took a chance on it anyway, and it's been pretty fun. The e-reader was a tad pricy, but it's since made reading so much less of a hassle. All of those devices have crappy speakers, though, so a set of portable Bluetooth speakers was a must. We understand. We also understand how much of a pain it can be charging all those devices, and sometimes there simply aren't enough outlets within walking distance.