It's new year's day! (Well, at least in most of the world, I know some of you have already flipped the calendar to the 2nd). And, as you might guess, news is just the littlest bit slow, especially with the first landing on a Friday. Everyone's out and about doing stuff, or whatever. As such, I felt it was a perfect time for a little chat.
2015 brought many new things to Android. Marshmallow is easily the most polished version of the OS yet. Android Auto has started to become available on vehicles. The Nexus 5X and 6P marked the first dual-release Nexus phones.
Fair play to Huawei for including a speaker on its self-titled Android Wear watch long before the software actually supported it. That being said, I'm sure Huawei Watch owners are wondering when their expensive gadget will have all of its parts activated so they can stop carrying around an extra quarter-ounce of extraneous electronics. According to multiple sources, that speaker will be activated soon, specifically whenever Google gets around to issuing the next version of Android Wear's firmware.
A user on Reddit says that he or she is currently using a test build of Android Wear on the Huawei Watch, and that the speaker is active with the new software installed.
The highlight feature of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is something called "3D Touch" — a way of interacting with the phone by pressing harder on the screen than you regularly would. This is not to be confused with "Force Touch," which is exactly the same thing but on the Apple Watch instead. (One of our readers pointed out that there is a slight difference: 3D Touch has a few more levels of pressure sensitivity than Force Touch.) Shakespeare would probably have told you that a feature by any other name would be as gimmicky, but I digress.
A new variant of the OnePlus X, model number E1000, appeared earlier this week on the website for TENAA, the Chinese regulatory agency that is roughly equivalent to the FCC in the US. This means it was approved in much the same way that the FCC certifies all cell phones, but we are lucky enough to get far more detailed information, including pictures. TENAA calls it "E1000," which pretty clearly alludes to the OnePlus X, model number E1001/1003/1005. What's different about the E1000? As far as we can tell: absolutely nothing. It may be a special edition variant for China, or it may be a slight hardware revision (i.e., physical changes to manufacturing necessitating a new model number).
Misfit's popular Flash activity tracker was recently released in a special Cyclist edition, which has a similar price to the original at just $50 but adds a key sensor of interest for those who ride bicycles: cadence. The only "catch" when it comes to fitness sensors like this is that you need software to interpret the data for you. Today's release of the Misfit Cycling app for Android provides just that.
Misfit Cycling is designed as a standalone app for use as a workout tracker, providing real-time GPS and cadence data. For general activity tracking, users will go to the main Misfit app that owners of the original Flash are familiar with.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is scheduled to get Marshmallow eventually, but some models only received Android 5.1.1 in October, meaning most customers are in for quite the wait. Even when the changes do arrive, they may ultimately taste quite a bit like TouchWiz, and that's not a flavor everyone likes having on their tongue.
Samsung's Creative Lab, an outlet for their talent to work on external projects, is starting to bear fruit. Three of those projects will be shown off at CES 2016 next week and they are interesting to say the least. Samsung is treating these as startup projects, with one being manufactured by a new and technically separate company, and the units at CES will not be production quality but rather are being used to assess their market potential.
WELT is what the smart belt is being called. It will be geared towards the health and fitness crowd, tracking activities and daily habits with instant and continuous feedback on waist size.
Do you remember the huge scandal that was Carrier iQ? It's alright if you don't - it's been over four years since the company's data-logging mobile phone software was revealed, resulting in accusations of privacy violations, lax security, lawsuits both from and against the software maker and its partners, and eventually the removal of Carrier iQ code from phones via security patches. The months-long scandal basically killed Carrier iQ as a company... but now its corporate assets are owned by a carrier jokingly referred to as "the Death Star." There's no way that can go wrong, is there?
Yes, AT&T, in between attempts to snap up competing telcos and the country's biggest satellite TV provider, has somehow found time to buy a tiny but incredibly controversial software developer.