With the unveiling of the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, we knew that cellular and speaker capabilities were coming to Android Wear. Yesterday, Google officially announced cellular support and explained how the feature will let you use your watch without being near a phone. However, missing from that post were details about whether or not the watch will communicate back to you using its speaker and whether other watches with speakers will also be able to do the same.
Cody's teardowns of various Google apps yesterday revealed the underlying basis for speaker support on Android Wear. We know that Play Music will likely let you play music through the speaker and Google's app is ready to implement text-to-speech. But it turns out that Google has already revealed a bit more about speaker functionality on new watches, except it hid it in its Support pages. Read More
ZTE has just announced the newest entry to its Blade lineup, the Blade S7. The S7 will go on sale in Thailand and other countries across the Asia Pacific soon afterwards, and is squarely targeted at the selfie-loving segment of the population, with ZTE dubbing it its "most powerful selfie smartphone to date."
Jacky Zhang, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices in the Asia Pacific, claims ZTE wanted to create a device "that takes the selfie experience to a new level," and they have arguably delivered on that promise. The Blade S7 features a 13-megapixel front-facing camera with a flash and phase detection autofocus, which can be used to take full advantage of the 14 different "beautification" options available. Read More
Coming across a genuinely new launcher interface and paradigm on Android is rare. Most third-party clients try to emulate the default Android launcher and add some customizations and improvements here and there. Not to undermine the power of something like Nova Launcher, but there's only so many times you can swipe left and right between homescreens or tap to open and close an app drawer before you wonder what that new launcher you installed does differently. If you seek the novelty of a new welcoming interface each time you unlock your phone, choices are somewhat more limited especially if you want a reliable and simple app, not one that has been built for the sake of difference more than usability. Read More
If there's one place that Google Docs is a market leader, it's where it comes to collaboration. A web app was a natural place to build on the familiar commenting features from Microsoft Word and make them work in real time and without formal software requirements. On the other hand, we don't normally think about spreadsheets in those terms. With the latest updates to Sheets, though, Google is bringing comments to Android and the web.
I know I haven't even thought much about the need for this kind of feature in a spreadsheet app, but in hindsight it makes plenty of sense. Read More
Fossil makes things you can wear, Misfit wears things you can wear. Fossil wants to make smart wearables, Misfit makes smart wearables. Fossil does fashion, Misfit does fashionable gadgets. If it sounds like a match made in heaven, then you know what the two companies were thinking when they brokered a deal to make Misfit part of Fossil's corporate portfolio.
The purchase is valued at $260 million, no small bet on the part of Fossil on the legitimacy of both Misfit and the smart wearable market in general. Fossil had until now only just begun treading into this area, releasing an activity tracker and forging some partnerships with bigger players. Read More
If you have an Asus ZenWatch 2 and are in need of a spare or replacement charger, then I've got some good news for you. You can now officially buy one on the Google Store. The thing has been sitting in the Google Store for a while now as a 'coming soon' item, but now it can finally be purchased for $14.99.
The charger comes with a wall unit and a detachable cord with a proprietary magnetic pogo pin charging tip. It's nice that the cord can be used independently from the base, allowing users to plug it into a computer or a multi USB charging hub. Read More
With all of the activity surrounding YouTube Red, including a brand new YouTube Music app, it seems like a good time for a Play Music update. Version 6.1 just landed and aside from a mysterious new "Auto-offline" feature and a bit of cleanup in the Settings screen, it looks like a pretty typical bug fix release. However, the teardown tells a different story. It looks like this version also brings support for the recently announced family plans and Android Wear speaker support. As usual, we've also got a download link at the bottom if you can't wait for the apk to roll out to your account. Read More
The first gen Android Wear devices are getting a little long in the tooth, but in the electronics world, with age comes a dramatic drop in price. The smartwatch I have worn daily for the past 9 months is the Sony Smartwatch 3, and I have to say, I don't really feel any need to replace it.
The watch has great battery life, WiFi, GPS, and while the transflective display isn't the prettiest, it sure is functional for outdoor use. The water resistance and silicone band keep me from worrying about damaging it while working in the hospital and MicroUSB charging makes it the easiest Android Wear device to top off when out of the house. Read More
Virtual reality is posed to be the future of gaming for folks who like wearing goggles that close them off to the world. While you wait as the necessary tech rolls out to consumers—and for your bank account to grow—you can get a taste without much investment. Wizard Academy is an educational action game you can play using Google Cardboard. Read More