The Ouya raised $8.6 million on Kickstarter, and to its credit, the promised $99 Android-powered game console was delivered and works as described. The problem is that it just wasn't very good in the grand scheme of things. The outlook on Ouya hasn't been particularly positive, but maybe that's about to change. The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese retail giant Alibaba has swooped in with a $10 million investment
The Internet has made buying things as effortless as possible. You don't need to go to the store or even roll out of bed. You don't have to bother with cash, and in places where you frequently shop, you can do without pulling out a card either. A series of mouse clicks or finger taps is all it takes.
The inverse isn't so simple. Mailing packages typically requires making a trip to the nearest postal service and wrestling with packaging. Shyp wants to do away with this hassle, and it has just brought its app over to Android.
To mail an item with Shyp, simply snap a photo, tell the service where you are, where you want your item to go, and schedule a pickup.
The Smart Lock feature that has been slowly cooking in the Chrome OS dev and beta channels has made its way into the latest stable release, version 40. Now anyone with a phone running Android 5.0 or later (sorry, no tablets) can automatically unlock their Chromebook just by keeping the two devices within 100 feet of each other.
You can find the option tucked away under advanced settings. In this shot I've scrolled the area to the top and have already turned things on.
Smart Lock is still in beta, but so far it works-ish. I find the feature to be amusing in practice.
Update Wednesday wasn't particularly active this week, but Google did push a few bug fixers out before the day was done. While most of the apps only saw minor version revs with little more than minor tweaks, Chrome Beta 41 came down the pipe with some noteworthy improvements like pull-to-refresh and an option to block only 3rd-party cookies. However, it turns out that those weren't the only new bits to be found in this release.
Kid Accounts, Again
A couple of months ago, Google Play Services 6.5 landed with a handful of new bits and pieces, including the first signs of a feature referred to as Kid Accounts.
The name "Naughty Kitties" is not particularly descriptive. Is it some sort of game or a seedy strip club? It's a game this time, and actually a rather fun one. It bills itself as a combination of endless runner and tower defense, but it's more strategic than you might think.
There are many ways to go after a competitor, and Microsoft isn't storing all of its eggs in one basket. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the company that challenges Android with Windows Phone is investing in Cyanogen Inc.
Yes, we're talking about the same Cyanogen that was built around a custom ROM towards the end of 2013. Microsoft is reportedly a minority investor in a round of equity financing that accumulated roughly $70 million for the startup, during which investors have valued the company in the hundreds of millions. Counting this latest round of financing, Cyanogen Inc.
Think of the number one billion. A billion of just about anything is a lot - people, bananas, cars, pints of novelty ice cream flavors. According to a report published by market research firm Strategy Analytics, the number of Android powered smartphones shipped last year was approximately one billion, forty-one million, seven hundred thousand (give or take a few tractor-trailers worth). That's about one Android phone for every seven people on the planet, not counting tablets, set-top boxes, and other Android-powered devices.
The one billion figure is an increase of about one third over 2013, and with a total smartphone market of 1.3 billion shipped devices, Android dominates with an estimated 81.2% marketshare.
Way back in the bygone days of December 2014, we told you that mega-publisher Ubisoft was teaming up with the nostalgia specialists at DotEmu to bring the turn-based strategy classic Heroes of Might and Magic III to Android. Today they published the revived game in the Play Store, right on schedule (those DotEmu folks are pros, I tell ya). You can buy the game for $9.99 - pricey, but not unreasonable - for tablets and tablets only.
The Heroes of Might and Magic series helped to establish the foundations of the modern tactical genre. The third game was released for the PC in 1999, and is considered by many to be the best of the 6-game collection.
So, you've got a lot of stuff that doesn't fit on your phone? If you're lucky enough to have a microSD card slot, that's easy to fix. Amazon's Gold Box deal today features Sony flash storage, but not just microSD cards.
There are no shortage of ways to get links from one device to another, but this often involves signing up for a service and leaving behind a record of what you're sharing. CaastMe is a new Android app that has an innovative way of getting around this, account-free.
The software relies on QR codes, but it uses them in the opposite of the way you would expect. Instead of prompting your device to open a URL, CaastMe tells the computer displaying the code where to go.
All you have to do is open the caast.me website on your computer, then click the share menu on your Android device, select CaastMe, and scan the QR code.