Dedicated technology newshounds have already heard that all of Sony's upcoming BRAVIA televisions will feature Android TV powering their integrated electronics. At CES, the biggest show around in terms of home theater (among other things), they've made good on that promise. Don't believe me? Watch these attractive people over-emote and demonstrate a BRAVIA television's Google Cast feature and ability to play games from the Play Store.
Android TV runs these TVs, including the various inputs and live television, in a manner similar to some Roku-branded HDTVs already on the market.
The United States Patent and Trademark office publishes publicly-available copies of all accepted patents, a great boon to nerds, lawyers, and technology reporters everywhere. The latest batch of design patents includes hundreds of obtuse examples, everything from glasses frames to mops, and among them is this little gem awarded to Samsung, US Design Patent D720,747. It's an interesting look at a style of tablet and cover from Samsung before in exactly this configuration.
Seeing which manufacturers will bake Android Auto into their latest models is cool and all, but I'm looking to see which third-party options start appearing on store shelves. After all, I bought my vehicle in 2013, and I'm not looking to replace it in the next couple of years. Fortunately Kenwood has come to CES with one that supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the DDX9902S.
Out of the box, Kenwood's unit has a tacky interface that perhaps only a car enthusiast could love.
Look, we're not in the audiophile business. We don't cover music products that don't feature Android in some way, shape, or form. And running bleeding-edge software is not a prerequisite for quality sound. But seriously, Sony, if you're going to charge twelve hundred dollars for a device that runs Android, could you not load it with an OS build that's over two years old? Alas, such is the case with the Walkman NW-ZX2 announced at CES.
Despite some impressive tablet, laptop, and combination devices, ASUS has left its smartphones mostly in the budget and mid-range end of the pool. That changes with the Zenfone 2 announcement at CES: while the new device probably won't set the world on fire, it's a definite competitor to offerings from the likes of HTC, Samsung, and LG at an amazing price. The ZenFone 2 is the first phone anywhere to be equipped with 4GB of dual-channel RAM (on the high-end model), and the rest of the specs are no slouch either.
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.
Android Wear 5.0 is finally out on all devices, and that means developers are playing a little catch-up. Not only are there new system features to take advantage of, we finally have full support for custom watch faces. Many of the previously released ones have been updated for Android 5.0, but we're focusing here mostly on newly added apps and watch faces.
A lot of the new Android Wear watch faces are cool, and a surprising number of them are free.
Ever since Google integrated Voice with Hangouts, listening to voicemail has been a highly-focused affair. Unlike traditional voicemail, which we're conditioned to hold up to our ear like a phone call, voicemail in Hangouts comes with a play button that encourages us to treat it more like the audio file that it is. This is the same way Google Voice has treated it on the web for forever.
The downside is that turning off the screen or backing out of Hangouts has, until recently, caused the message to immediately stop playing.
Big tech companies are hesitant to admit when a competing platform offers something that they don't. But the folks at Pebble are more than ready to take advantage of the functionality introduced by Android Wear. The team has pushed out a beta that lets the Pebble not only interact with notifications, but respond to them in a manner akin to an Android Wear watch.
Instead of swiping from the right repetitively to access various options (as you would with Android Wear), Pebble lets you access different options using the three physical buttons available on the side of the watch.