LG's just announced the G Flex 2 here at CES, and we had a chance to go hands-on with the company's next curvy smartphone. First, though, let's get the technical bits out in front.
The G Flex 2 is one of the first officially announced phones from a major manufacturer to have a Snapdragon 810 processor, an octa-core chip in ARM's BIG.little arrangement, with 4 high-power cores offering speed when you need it, and four lower-power cores suited for standby tasks and other low-overhead operations.
Google's inexpensive Chromecast is already popular for streaming audio from sources like Play Music and Pandora to your television, but now it looks like the company wants a more specific approach for music. To that end Google has announced "Cast for audio," an audio-only version of the system that streams directly to connected and certified speaker systems, no extra hardware required. The first compatible speakers should reach the market in the spring of this year.
Dell has been making Android tablets for a while, but none of them have been terribly interesting. The new Venue 8, on the other hand, stands out in a sea of freakishly similar slates. This is the thinnest tablet in the world at only 6mm (a whole one-tenth of a millimeter thinner than the iPad Air 2) and it showcases some neat camera tricks thanks to its Intel hardware. It's been vaporware so far, but now you can get one at Best Buy for $399.99.
Parrot usually arrives at CES with a swarm of consumer-oriented drone aircraft, but this year it's also showing off the RNB6. What is the RNB6? It's an in-dash head unit running its own version of Android 5.0, but it also has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
NVIDIA has been the first few pebbles of the landslide that is CES for the last few years, and 2015 is no different. To kick off the world's biggest consumer tech show, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang started with mobile. The company announced its successor to the Tegra K1 mobile processor, the Tegra X1. This chip includes an octa-core 64-bit CPU married to a 256-core GPU. And that second chip is the killer: it's based on the same architecture as the latest full-sized NVIDIA desktop graphics cards, Maxwell.
The user experience on Android is never standing still, which is no more evident than in the Play Store itself. It seems Google may be trying out a new behavior for search queries that match the names of the Play Store's predefined categories. Instead of presenting a list of apps, searching for a term like 'action' or 'puzzle' can bring up structured lists like those that would appear in the category itself.
When you find yourself needing to use your phone as a flashlight, you usually need it quickly. Those who do not have one of the few devices/ROMs that have support for quick access to the built-in LED for use as a light end up fumbling through their app drawer looking for the appropriate app to do so. Power Button Flashlight/Torch is an app that lets you use your power button as a trigger for this purpose, even when your screen is off.
Last week, we saw Hyundai announce that it would be the first auto manufacturer to provide Android Wear support for its cars, in the form of remote actions that can be initiated on your smartwatch. Pretty cool stuff. But Android Auto is probably even cooler - navigation, music controls, voice dictation, and other functions will soon be made possible in vehicles by your smartphone, instead of some ancient infotainment system from hell.
The venerable animated GIF remains a staple of the internet even after all these years because of its unparalleled versatility. If it has a screen, it can probably play a GIF. Such is the case with Android Wear, and Little TV turns those GIFs into watch faces. This is either fun or really ridiculous. I haven't decided which yet, but it's definitely one or the other.