Are you looking for a full-featured fitness tracker on the cheap? Then Amazon has Microsoft's branded Band for $50 off today. That brings the price down to $150, pretty reasonable for a tracker with a full-color screen and a heart monitor built in. (The price from Microsoft's store is already a bit discounted, down to $180.) It comes with free shipping, and Amazon Prime members can get two-day shipping for gratis as well. All three models of the Band, large, medium, and small, get the same discount.
The design of the Microsoft Band is remarkably similar to the Samsung Gear Fit from back in 2014, minus the curved screen.
The photos show the front and back of the device, and what looks like a standard protective case. There's a circular area on the back (which is more or less the same as the design from the previous leak), and considering that the case has an access hole cut out for it, it's presumably a fingerprint reader.
A couple of weeks ago we spotted LG's new G Pad II 8.0, at that point announced exclusively for the company's home market of South Korea. The hardware is underwhelming at best: despite some interesting features like a full-sized USB port and a stylus, many were put off by the pokey Snapdragon 210 processor and 1.5GB of RAM. Fortunately, it looks like LG isn't going to go for the lowest common denominator with all its forthcoming tablets. The G Pad II 10.1, announced today, has a little more oomph to its hardware.
To begin with, it uses a 1920x1200 screen, which has become essentially the lowest point of entry for 10-inch tablets at this point (no matter what Samsung says).
Floatify has been around for a little over a year now. It's an app that presents an alternate way to display notifications, specifically the Heads Up (AKA Peeking) notifications that were hidden in Android 4.4 and fleshed out in 5.0. The app has been continuously updated even as Lollipop has become public, and now it's a full-fledged alternative to most of Android's built-in notification systems. The latest update is something really special - we kind of wish Google would steal some of developer Jawomo's ideas.
Want to see something new in Chrome for Android? Aside from essentially unlimited websites, of course. If so, and if you're using Android 5.0, 5.1, or the 6.0 preview, then download either the Beta or Dev version of the browser. Then go into the Settings menu and disable "merge tabs and apps." Now, go back to the main browser window, open the hamburger menu, and tap "new tab." Wey-hey, you've got a new interface to check out.
Left: new tab in Chrome. Right: new tab in Chrome Beta/Dev after disabling merged tabs.
The new standard swaps out the frequently-visited website thumbnails you're probably familiar with for icons, which are simply letters with some fancy background formatting.
Back in February, we told you about a new experimental service at Google called Tablescape. The app, which at the time served as a stylized funnel for content tied to Google+, encouraged users to upload "foodographs" (photos of food) with specialized categories like "naughty," "cheesy," and "vegetarian" among others. It would also show featured content and special foodography tips for users.
Just a few months later, though, Tablescape was unceremoniously closed, the experiment ostensibly over. But in the update sent to testers, Google was sure to note the following:
This doesn't mean we're giving up on food photography, you may see the influence of Tablescape in future apps.
If you felt like Google clubbed you over the head with tons of announcements and releases last week, you're not alone. Between giving out the codename for Android M, a new preview release, an Android Wear update, and about a dozen other things, it was a huge week. Toward the end of the onslaught, a fairly innocuous update to Google Maps bumped the version up to 9.13 and it has a couple of useful shortcuts that deserve a look. There's also a new Google app, but it's not in the Play Store, and that deserves a Teardown-style discussion of its own.
While the Note 5 and S6 edge+ are far from the first Samsung phones with reported issues killing background tasks with unusual aggressiveness, they are the first ones with four freaking gigabytes of RAM to do so. We've long assumed that Samsung's background task issues on certain handsets are related to a lack of RAM headroom due to TouchWiz, and yet, the Note 5 and S6 edge+ may exhibit the most aggravating task killing of any Samsung devices we've yet seen. Let's cut to the video for a complete explanation. (I realize it's long, but I'd recommend watching all the way through to see what's going on here.)
The issue was readily reproducible on both our S6 edge+ and Note 5 review units, and we aren't the first people to point this out.
Android Pay was announced at Google I/O around 3 months ago, and Google has since said we can expect the platform to launch here in the US sometime "later this year." It appears "later" could now be "like, next week," if this notice to employees at a McDonald's location is to be believed.
The August 21st launch for Samsung Pay is wrong, but it's the launch date for the devices (Note and S6 Edge+) - which seems like an honest mistake.