LG and Samsung got the Android Wear party started, releasing the G Watch and Gear Live, respectively. Those watches only need Google's Wear app to function, but Motorola changed the formula a bit with the Moto 360, tying the watch to the existing Motorola Connect app. For the upcoming ZenWatch, ASUS is beating them all (well, sort of) with three separate watch-focused apps.
The first new ASUS app is simply titled "ZenWatch Manager," and it's essentially a remote setup function for your watch on your phone screen.
The Galaxy S5. The One M8. The LG G3. All very good phones - all phones that I like, for various reasons, and dislike in certain respects for others! HTC, Samsung, and LG have generally been the de facto leaders of the high-end Android smartphone market here in the US. But what about Sony? I'll freely admit that I've never been much of a Sony smartphone fan. I didn't like the Xperia ZL as well as its competitors.
The golden age of PC role-playing is coming roaring back on mobile devices. After releasing the enhanced edition of Baldur's Gate earlier this year, developer Beamdog has kept its promise to bring Icewind Dale to Android. This game was released in 2000 and had a lot in common with Baldur's Gate, though some would say it was even better. Now it can be yours on Android—all 2.6GB of it.
The tech giants are all pushing out fitness platforms of their own these days. Apple has HealthKit, Google recently flipped the on switch for Fit, and now Microsoft is bringing us Health.
Microsoft Health can track your steps, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep quality. If this sounds similar to Fitbit, there's a reason for this. The folks at Redmond are introducing an activity tracker of their own called the Microsoft Band.
This plastic bracelet has an LCD screen and does the things you've come to expect, such as displaying email, text messages, and incoming calls.
Let's talk about massively huge tablets. When's the last time you said to yourself, "you know, I sure wish Google would make a Nexus 20...?" Probably never. You know why? Because as adults, we want tablets to be portable, utilitarian devices. Kids, though? Those crazy little humans don't care about utility or portability. They only care about maximum fun. So really, it only makes sense that a bigger screen = more funnerer, right?
Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.
3DMark came out a while back to give your Android device's GPU a rating, and now Futuremark's other benchmarking tool has arrived in the Play Store. PCMark will analyze the overall performance of your phone or tablet, rather than focusing on individual components. At the end you get a number. Is that number useful? Maybe.
Last year, Google released Chromecast, a $35 media stick that appealed to consumers due to its remarkable value. Earlier this year, Amazon rolled out Fire TV, a set-top box with more power than the competition and a $99 price tag. Now Google has shown off a $99 set-top box of its own, and Amazon is hitting the market with a media-streaming HDMI dongle: the Fire TV Stick.
Like the Fire TV before it, Amazon wants us to know that the Fire TV Stick is more powerful than the competition.
The Nexus 9 went up for pre-order on numerous websites around the world shortly after its announcement, with the 8.9" HTC-built slate garnering quite a bit of attention for a few reasons. First, HTC - HTC hasn't made a consumer tablet in a long while, with the now quite-old Flyer and Jetstream (an AT&T business exclusive) both having been widely-regarded as flops.
The Nexus 9 is also interesting because of its dimensions - it's the first Nexus device to have a 4:3 screen ratio (the same as the iPad).
The G Watch R is LG's first circular-display smartwatch, following up on the original G Watch that launched alongside Android Wear earlier this year. While the original G Watch looked like a proof-of-concept brick out of an engineer's garage at some angles, the G Watch R very clearly got the full design and style treatment from LG - it looks nothing like its kind-of-predecessor.
A 1.3" circular P-OLED (plastic organic LED) 320x320 screen gives it the densest display of any Android Wear device yet announced, and its ability to stay always-on without drastically cutting into battery life provides it a clear edge on competitors that are struggling with longevity issues.