I never thought there would be a day when I'd know this much about US carriers and MVNOs, but this is what happens when you work on a US-based site like Android Police. Republic Wireless though comes a lot less often on our radar, and I just discovered why. Until now, the MVNO only had a couple of devices to choose from. Literally, a couple: the Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen) and Moto E (2nd Gen). It also seems to be ahead of its times, relying on Wi-Fi calling and piggy-backing on Sprint's network when Wi-Fi isn't available.
But things are about to improve by a few leaps and bounds for Republic Wireless.
About two months ago, when Amazon announced two new Alexa-powered devices, the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap, many of you voiced the same thought: this is the kind of product Google should be working on. With "OK Google" commands being some of the most powerful voice search and personal assistants on the market, Google shouldn't have a lot of trouble inviting itself into your home and living room or making automation independent from your phone and more integrated with your life.
At the time, we knew (check Artem's comment) that Google was indeed working on an Echo competitor, codenamed "Chirp," and we were rooting for a Google I/O announcement.
Logitech is unveiling a new product today, and its exclusively for Android with the aim of making it easier to use your phone in the car without distraction. Logi ZeroTouch is a smart car mount with included voice control app. And yes, you need one to use the other. These two things are not usually so intertwined, but ZeroTouch is an unusual product. Would you like to know how unusual? Read on.
A long time ago, Sony Electronics had a reputation for stubborn adherence to its own proprietary formats. Back when the iPod was just an MP3 player, Sony was still trying to promote its own ATRAC standard that was only available on its own hardware. ATRAC itself was a descendant of MiniDisc, another semi-proprietary format that tried to usurp the CD... not long after Sony had lost the BetaMax war. The company doesn't always lose - Blu-ray is a notable exception - but it doesn't learn very quickly, either.
Android Wear, and smartwatches at large, were pitched to us with the promise of their becoming the indispensable "second screen" to our smartphones. Notifications, voice communication, smart home integration, highly contextual information and alerts - smartwatches were, in theory, the companion that could give us all the simple things that necessitated taking out our smartphone, but didn't actually require a large screen or access to a keyboard to accomplish.
Android Wear is coming up on its second birthday, and the decreasing number of compelling new Wear apps we see each month that aren't watch faces has actually led to us slowing the regular publication of our "new Wear apps and watch faces" series.
Google Now on Tap, the search engine's contextual tool for Android, hides some pretty neat tricks up its sleeve. But perhaps none is so handy to music lovers as this option, spotted by an Android Police reader: Now on Tap can serve up song lyrics directly from music apps with just a few on-screen taps. Google's Knowledge Graph system can already find lyrics fairly easily, but the way it's been integrated into the retrieval system for Android is fairly slick.
After years of insignificant adoption among manufacturers, Intel is apparently throwing in the towel on smartphone chips. The company's ultra-low-power Atom line of processors has had a tough time competing with low-cost players like MediaTek and, obviously, the incumbent mobile SoC juggernaut, Qualcomm.
Specifically, Intel is cancelling the upcoming Broxton platform and the already-delayed SoFIA fully-integrated mobile chipset, both of which were slotted in the "Atom x3" family and designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. The tablet-focused Atom x5 and x7 currently based on the Cherry Trail platform will continue to ship, though it is unclear if that platform's successor - Willow Trail - will enter production or if it, too, has been axed (Intel did not comment on Willow Trail, as it was not expected to ship for some time).
Late last year, Amazon started to allow hobbyists and developers to integrate the Alexa virtual personal assistant into their own products through the developer preview of Amazon Voice Service. This effort has already borne fruit with Invoxia's Triby.
Looking a bit like an FM radio from yesteryear, the Triby immediately loses points in the looks department, especially when compared to the sleek, futuristic aesthetic of the Amazon Echo. It packs a magnetized back, allowing you to attach it directly to any metal surface, such as a refrigerator or knife rack, as well an E-Ink display for showing messages and notifications.
Not only can it be controlled through voice commands, but there's also an official companion application available for Android and iOS.
The OnHub has been out for more than six months now, and it hasn't evolved much beyond the basic router functionality. Google promised us smart home features, and now it's starting to happen. The latest OnHub update added support for IFTTT. The channel is already live for you to start crafting automation recipes, but your OnHub needs to be on firmware version 7978.51.0, which is rolling out now.
Well, that Angry Birds movie is going to come out in a few weeks, so the time has come for Rovio's latest promotional vehicle to launch. Angry Birds Action! appeared in the Play Store as a geo-limited beta a few weeks ago, and now it's live for everyone. What's it like? It's a mix of pinball, classic Angry Birds, and desperation. I kid, sort of.