USB cables - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. The USB has been both a beloved and bemoaned part of the tech world since the first big wave of USB1.1 consumer devices hit the market in the late 1990's, and we've all been universally serially bussing along ever since. You had USB type B, miniUSB, USB 2.0, microUSB, and more recently, USB 3.0. And now some phone manufacturers (COUGH SAMSUNG COUGH) are even using the semi-ridiculous USB3.0 Micro-B, which while it is backwards-compatible with the original microUSB, just seems like a really weird and unnecessary evolution of the standard.
Today Amazon announced FireTV, its new preferred set-top box for pumping media out to your TV. The $99 box primarily emphasizes shows, movies, and music, but it can also run apps and games. Now Amazon Game Studios has provided a sneak peek at what it's working on. These are games that, as the company describes underneath the first YouTube video, are "built from the ground up for Kindle Fire tablets and Fire TV." Whether any of this content will eventually arrive on other Android devices remains to be seen.
Google is rolling out an update to Keep today, and it's a pretty big one. With the push to v2.2 Keep is gaining a few new features, but probably the first thing you'll notice is that wacky orangey-yellow action bar.
Samsung makes absolutely anything and everything that can fit inside a home. Whether it's the TV showing the big game, the refrigerator chilling the beer, the computer keeping track of everyone's fantasy rosters, the phone you silenced so no one can nag, or the washing machine needed to get that nacho cheese stain out, Sammy's got you covered. Now the Korean conglomerate has dropped an app in the Play Store for controlling many of its appliances from a single location, along with the requisite plugins to make it happen.
Gary Busey has carefully crafted a reputation as a lunatic. True, a good part of that might just be his Hollywood persona, but you've got to admit it's entertaining. Someone at Amazon agrees, because they enlisted Mr. Busey's services for one of the first promotions of the new Android-powered FireTV set-top box. In this one-minute spot, Gary Busey talks to a lamp.
Amazon takes the initiative here, using a crazy shouting man to illustrate the fact that the competing Roku set-top boxes don't have voice control.
It's hard not to be excited about the future of Google Now. It's already an incredibly powerful tool, on its way to being a do-anything personal assistant, and we've heard tell of even more functionality from bill pay reminders to inferred events entries to contact-based reminders.
Today, though, we've heard about something that many have asked for from Google Now for a long time now - actual timer functionality. Search may not be getting its own built-in timer, but it won't be side-stepping your request to set an alarm, either.
Amazon has made it easy to access its streaming content on a number of living room devices, but now it's finally making a play for your TV with its own box – the FireTV. This $99 black box contains a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor (1.7GHz), 2GB of RAM, optical out, MIMO WiFi, and 8GB of storage. It runs a heavily modified version of Android as the base of Amazon's new content delivery platform.
There are a ton of Samsung tablets out there, and while each model isn't always a winner, customers typically can't go too wrong with picking one up. Woot's currently got a deal that should save anyone looking to buy one quite a few bucks. Customers can get a 2014 Galaxy Note 10.1 with 32GB of storage for $384.99 (compared to $549 on Amazon and cheaper than the last deal we came across).
Pressy tore it up on Kickstarter last year, eventually raising $695,138 of its original $40,000 goal. While backers have been eagerly awaiting delivery of the almighty Android button, Chinese OEM Xiaomi is trying to sneak its own version onto the market first. Xiaomi's Hugo Barra (formerly of Google) posted an image of the gadget on Google+, and the Pressy folks are not pleased.
There's a new version of Gmail making the rounds at Google, if a couple of leaked screenshots from Geek.com can be believed. Those shots describe a radical user interface change and a handful of new features. Whether they're real and/or final or not is up for debate - even the report notes that the organizational features are mostly experimental at this point.
Aside from the new flat look to the user interface and Google+-style rounded profile pics, the biggest change comes in the form of a new inbox view, with a focus on organizing messages by content.