Plugging in the little dongle is hardly a difficult task, but it's still less sightly than having the functionality built-in. Throughout this year, B&O Play, Harman Kardon, Onkyo, Philips, Pioneer, and Raumfeld will all join Sony and LG in producing Google Cast-enabled speakers. As they roll out, Google will introduce the ability to sync playback across multiple speakers and rooms using them as well, just as you already can with Chromecast Audio.
Huawei has only released a few phones in the US market, and the new Mate 8 isn't among them. Instead, we'll get the mid-range Honor 5X. No, it doesn't have anything to do with the LG-build Nexus 5X. The Honor 5X has somewhat more modest specs than that other 5X, but the price is lower too at just $199.
If you want frequent Android updates but don't have the cash to pick up a 5X or 6P, then the Nexus 5 may still be your best option. Right now you can buy a refurbished16GB model for just $150 on Daily Steals. The 32GB model is also available for just $30 more.
Shipping is free and no tax is added to the sale price. Both black and white options are available in each capacity. If you want a different (notice I didn't say new?) Android phone, and have less than two bills to spend, there aren't many better options out there, especially for someone who enjoys rooting, flashing, and customizing their phone.
If you own a Xiaomi device, and you probably don't if you live outside of Asia, then you're familiar with MIUI. This build of Android ships on all of the company's devices. 7.0 arrived a couple months ago, and now folks are receiving the first update of 2016, version 7.1.
The update is small, and so are many of the tweaks. The file manager has changed private folders to "Hidden Folders," which let you hide files from view and protect them with a password. The code will be the same one guarding your lockscreen unless you leave your phone unlocked.
A serious audiophile will scoff at Bluetooth audio. They also scoff at most other things, but maybe there will be less wireless scoffing now that Qualcomm's aptX HD audio codec is a thing. Using aptX HD, a device can output true 24-bit audio over Bluetooth, and there's already a Bluetooth hardware module that supports it.
At CES 2016, New Balance announced the launch of a new Digital Sport division that aims to mix its physical activity expertise with modern technologies and bring it into a more modern era of sports and active lifestyles.
There are several aspects to Digital Sports' ecosystem: a Strava-based community of runners called Run Club, plans for embedding sensors and smart technology into future New Balance footwear and apparel and sports equipment (though nothing tangible has been announced there), and finally New Balance-branded wearables. The first product to launch in that latter category will be an Android Wear smartwatch.
Details are almost non-existent, but New Balance says the watch will be first and foremost focused on running.
With winter approaching and the possibility of getting snowed in, there's a certain comfort that comes from knowing your phone can stay active throughout a week-long power outage. Being able to place calls and derp around online (assuming the towers are still active) is like a super power.
But you aren't born with that innate gift. First you have to buy an external battery pack to replenish your phone's reserves when that icon in the corner goes empty, and preferably a big one.
Human's activity and fitness tracker has been available on iOS since 2013, but it has just decided to get its running shoes on and ride to the Android side. The app takes a passive approach to activity tracking, working in the background on your phone to figure out everything (walks, runs, bike rides) you've done throughout the day. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's very similar to Google Fit or to the previous "celebrity" in the category, Moves.
Where Human is slightly different is in its focus on trying to make you actively move more throughout the day.
HTC raised more than a few eyebrows when it announced the Vive, a VR headset that ostensibly competes with the more well-known Oculus Rift. But far from being some one-off excursion like the Re Camera, the Vive has gained critical acclaim from those who've had access to its pre-production developer units, and HTC's partnership with Valve gives the company an in with one of the gaming industry's most influential players. At CES 2016, HTC revealed a new model, the Vive Pre, with some very interesting additions to the original.
On top of some ergonomic adjustments for more comfortable wear, the Vive Pre adds a front-facing camera to the design, which allows for easy viewing of the real world without having to remove the headset.
Twitter always set itself apart from the competition by keeping things succinct. The 140 character limit forced everyone to get to the point rather than drone on a la Facebook. However, the company is now said to be close to essentially doing away with that limit. Multiple reports claim Twitter is planning to make the new character limit a whopping 10,000, just like Direct Messages.