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Amazon enters the meeting, video call, and messenger space with Chime

Conference calls and video meetings have almost been synonymous with Skype for the longest time, but Amazon is looking at changing that. Chime, a new Amazon Web Services platform, wants to simplify communications between teams and individuals and cater to their different aspects in one app: video call, voice call, chat, and screen sharing.

Chime is now available on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. According to Amazon, the service was built from the ground up with mobile in mind, so the apps work well on phones and let users seamlessly transition from and to their desktops. There are a few other advantages to Chime, like the lack of any long pins (meetings ring up like a phone call), quick options to get out of a meeting or let others know you're running late, a view of all participants and their current status, the possibility to mute one specific person's microphone if there's too much ambient noise around them, and the ability for anyone to share their screen without too much hassle.

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Google Assistant, four months later: Still fragmented, still unfinished, still the best

Back at Google I/O 2016, we got a first look at Google Assistant. It was designed to be a conversational assistant, as opposed to the search-based Google Now. Then when Allo was released in September, it shipped with a beta version of Assistant. Finally when the Google Pixel phones were released in October, Assistant was a major selling point.

Google has a tendency to rush products out the door without fully finishing them, and Assistant was no exception. So now that about four months have passed since the official introduction of Google Assistant (roughly five months if you count the Allo beta), has anything changed?

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Allo v6 prepares to introduce a vote bot, notifications on Android Auto, animated emoji, and new drawing tools [APK Teardown]

Last week was pretty busy with some big app updates and even bigger product announcements. One update that slipped through the cracks was Allo v6. There aren't any obvious new features, but there's plenty for a teardown. Some of the upcoming features will include a chat bot to enable voting among members of a group chat, Android Auto support, animated emoji, and some new drawing tools.

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Microsoft releases Project Rome SDK for Android, for controling nearby Windows devices

One of the many announcements at Microsoft's Windows Developer Day was "Project Rome," a way for Universal Windows Platform applications (apps from the Windows Store) to have cross-device services. In addition to supporting all the various Windows 10 platforms (PC, Windows Mobile, Xbox, etc), Microsoft has also released the Project Rome SDK for Android.

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Adidas to shut down miCoach services, users can migrate to Runtastic and get a free Premium membership

Adidas bought Runtastic in August of 2015 for more than $200 Millions, and since then, we haven't seen a lot of signs of that acquisition. But that changes now with the news that Adidas will be shutting down its own sports platform and apps, miCoach, and focusing instead on Runtastic.

Compared to miCoach, Runtastic is more developed, has more features and more users, and is compatible and integrated with plenty of third-party apps and accessories. If you ask me, it seems like the better service and Adidas is making the right choice, even if this could anger or annoy some miCoach users.

But thankfully, Adidas is making the switch as smooth as possible.

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[Update: OTA resuming] Sony begins rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat OTA to the Xperia Z5, Z3+, Z4 Tablet

The Xperia Z5 series (Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium) was on the list of devices that Sony promised to bring Android 7.0 Nougat to. After releasing the update to the more recent X Performance and XZ, then the X and X Compact, Sony is now ready to bring Nougat 7.0 to the Z5.

The OTA has started rolling out to some Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Premium users and will probably expand to the Z5 Compact soon. It's a large download at more than 1.2GB, and it should up your phone's software to version 32.3.A.0.372.

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Android Pay for Wear smartwatches doesn't work if your phone has an unlocked bootloader

After confirming with Google, we've learned that Android Pay for Android Wear will not function if your paired smartphone has an unlocked bootloader. This is not surprising, but it is disappointing nonetheless. This is despite the fact that we know the actual Wear app runs totally independently on the smartwatch, with the phone at most acting as a data pipe over Bluetooth. But the phone is integral in the actual setup process for Pay, and we suspect this may be where the limitation comes into play.

If you have an unlocked bootloader, the Android Pay app on your phone won't even let you add a card, and setup will fail, notifying you that your device is unsecured.

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Android Pay for Android Wear is here, and this is how it works

Android Pay for Android Wear (which is a mouthful) is easily the most-requested feature in Google's wearable OS, and probably has been since Wear was first announced. It's taken a while - a long while, if you ask me - but it's finally here with the announcement of the LG Watch Sport. The Watch Sport is, for now, the only Android Wear smartwatch that supports Android Pay. No legacy devices are receiving the feature as far as we know.

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Alexa Voice Service now available in UK and Germany, new version of Logitech ZeroMount to celebrate

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) has been available in the United States for sometime now, but today Amazon is expanding the availability to UK and German developers, while also announcing a new version of Logitech's ZeroMount smartphone car holder.

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Google is trying to make AMP pages less confusing, will change how links are handled

Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is a decent idea, with not-so-great execution. AMP pages are designed to be extremely lightweight and load almost instantly, as a solution to mobile web sites being generally terrible. Sites have to opt-in to generating AMP pages of all existing pages, which Google then caches on its own servers for faster loading.

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