We review a lot of Bluetooth speakers, most of which have the same basic features. Every once in a while, however, one comes along that brings more to the table in terms of flair, or additional usage that's outside of the normal scope. The majority of portable speakers pair with your wireless device, let you change tracks and volume from a distance, might charge external devices...and that's essentially it.
Then Creative Labs made the SoundBlaster AXX 200 ($150). Read More
The number of weeks between us and this year's World Cup are wilting away, which makes now the time to get prepared. Snag some tickets to Brazil if you can, or, more practically, go snatch up the new Android App ESPN has just released for keeping tags on all of the goings-on. This way you don't even have to watch the games to know who's kicking whose butts, and how hard. Read More
Bookmarks - we all use them. Sometimes. Maybe. Maybe not since like 2011 in my case (I really, really don't like bookmarks). But bookmarks have remained a relatively unchanged experience on desktop browsers even since the Netscape days - you CTRL+D, the page goes into a list, maybe that list has folders, and that's that.
This stale experience has helped give rise to read-it-later apps, content aggregators, and even social networks (Pinterest, for example). Read More
Taking swipe payments with a mobile device is really handy, but if your connection drops out, it can quickly become a disaster. You probably won't get a lot of sales jotting down card numbers on a scrap of paper, but Square has a solution. The new version of Square Register for Android adds offline mode so you can still swipe cards without a connection.
Qualcomm released a substantial update to its Toq smartwatch today, taking advantage of a hardware feature few even knew the device had: a microphone. The 1.5 software adds the ability to respond to SMS messages on your phone through the watch using your voice, which is then converted to text using Nuance's STT technology. Oddly, no other voice control features are included with this update, though arguably the ability to reply to texts is one of the more common things you'd do with a smartwatch to begin with. Read More
Do you like the idea of water and ingress protection on the Galaxy S5, but don't feel like ponying up for a flagship phone? Then Kyocera hopes you'll consider its Hydro Vibe smartphone, at least if you're a potential Sprint or Virgin Mobile customer. The "ruggedized" Android phone will be launching on Sprint on May 9th and Virgin on May 27th. Sprint is talking up its "Easy Pay" payment plan, where the phone costs ten bucks a month for two years, but Virgin will sell it outright for $149.99. Read More
Verizon customers who want to indulge in the more in-depth parts of Android don't often get the chance, thanks to the carrier's tendency to lock down bootloaders and close off most of the avenues to custom ROMs. But for major releases, manufacturers often sell contract-free variants with an unlockable bootloader. Like the S4 before it, the Galaxy S5 now has the option, and you can buy one directly from Samsung. Verizon won't sell it to customers online or in retail stores. Read More
Google hasn't forgotten you, Canada. Google never forgets – it just takes it's time. After substantial complaining and gnashing of teeth, Google Play Music and All Access are rolling out to Canada. Yes, you can upload your tunes and subscribe to unlimited streaming.
XBMC started life as a hack for the original Xbox game console, but it has since evolved into a much-beloved open source home theater system on a number of platforms. After months of release candidates and betas, XBMC 13.0 (codename Gotham) is ready to download on Android (and other stuff).
The new version brings a number of improvements, only some of which pertain directly to Android. The most relevant to our interests is the inclusion of hardware media decoding on ARM and x86 Android devices. Read More
It's a good thing originality isn't a pre-requisite for a good game, otherwise there would be far less enjoyment to be had on our mobile devices. Heroes: A Grail Quest is yet another clone, this time inspired by Heroes of Might and Magic, but that shouldn't prevent it from being a fun little experience. Game Dev Team, aside from having perhaps the most straightforward and honest name in the industry, has also developed the moderately well-received Sky Aces series and a 3D RTS based on mechs. Read More