You will hear many things about today's Pebble acquisition by Fitbit - that it was about software, firmware, engineers, intellectual property, or simply that Pebble was unable to continue on as it existed. The one examination you should take to heart, though, is that Fitbit just straight up wrote a check to kill a competitor. There's really not any other way to slice this deal from Fitbit's end: Pebble was competition, even if not necessarily in a big commercial sense these days, and this was an easy way to smother a company that had hogged much of the wearable limelight.
Fitbit even goes so far as to make expressly clear that they are not acquiring any assets or personnel related to Pebble's hardware division - only its software and firmware teams, and some intellectual property. Read More
Long before the Chromecast audio was a twinkle in Larry Page's eye, Sonos was the undisputed king of smart home audio. With its multi-room speaker systems, you can rock out all over the house. Sonos has been adding more service to its selection of listening sources, and today it's getting Spotify. Read More
The smartphone has replaced a lot of things. For me, one of its most notable uses is as a portable music player. Frankly, I have not even picked up my iPod Touch in... months. Yet, your smartphone needs a good app to play that music. Poweramp has been one of the big names on Android for a long time. It was my player of choice at one point. Luckily for some, this is the $0.10 app of the week (since the game has been posted already). You should all know the drill by now. Read More
Is Pokémon GO still cool? Because Sprint desperately needs to be associated with something cool. The nation's number four carrier is now the exclusive US carrier partner of Pokémon GO. What does that mean? More Poké Stops, more gyms, and more Sprint branding. Read More
The Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2, and Pebble Core were introduced in May as part of a Kickstarter campaign that ended up getting over 66000 pledges and more than $12 Million in cash. However, since then, only the Pebble 2 has begun shipping to backers and the Time 2 that was slated for shipping in November is nowhere to be seen. Even the latest update by the team mentioned Time 2 units being EVT (Engineering Verification Testing units), but didn't say anything about a shipping date. Read More
Want a great last-minute gift for the geek, gadgeteer, gamer, office worker, or commuter, in your life? What about a gift to yourself for the holidays — nobody said we couldn't just buy something nice for us, right? Well, there's a great Woot deal on a pair of Sony headphones and it should be right up your alley.
While the MDR-XB950BT/B name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, these headphones do have features that make them very appealing. They work both over Bluetooth and a wired cable, with a 20-hour estimated battery life in wireless mode. They have NFC for easy pairing, big plush earcups, 40mm driver units, and a Bass Boost button that triggers the DSP to produce "club-like enhanced low-frequencies."
The MSRP is $199.99, but Amazon is selling them now for $128. Read More
The Play Store team is killing us. Over the past couple of months, we've seen so many server-side tests for interface changes that we've lost track of them all, and which ones are official and which ones are still not available to everyone. Just today we discussed a significant improvement that could have apps and games show up separately on the Store, and now we're back with another change.
The in-app purchase dialog, the one that pops-up whenever you tap on a paid item inside an app or game, might be getting an overhaul soon. Instead of the old pop-up window showing up in the middle of the screen, this new IAP menu covers the bottom of the display and uses the Play Store's new shade of green along with a big Buy button akin to the new wide buttons in app listings on the Store. Read More
For a while, Expansys was one of the good online shopping sources for electronics and gadgets and a place where we found and shared lots of deals with you. But that is no more, unfortunately.
On December 1st (sorry, we just spotted this), Expansys closed its USA, Canada, and Mexico stores to consumers and is now redirecting its efforts toward its B2B units. Warranties for purchased products will still be honored until their expiry date. Here's the notice Expansys has posted on all three sites:
After over a decade of bringing the latest and greatest technology to consumers in North America, Expansys has decided to refocus on its partner and B2B business units.
Android Pay may not yet exist where you live, but it is slowly continuing to expand into new markets. As of today, Pay is available in Ireland, making this effectively the first time a user can use euros with Android Pay.
Impressively, Android Pay works on any NFC-enabled phone running KitKat 4.4 and up — which as of last week potentially represents as much as 84.7% of active devices. Setting up mobile payments requires adding an eligible debit or credit card from either AIB or KBC, with more banks to be added "in the coming months." For now, Android Pay in Ireland supports nine retail partners and seven apps, including Tesco, McDonald's, and Uber. Read More
I have never understood why apps and games are grouped together on the Play Store. They're both software, but beyond that, there's really nothing there in common. Bundling them together also creates a lot of issues: top grossing or trending charts are a jumbled mix of apps and games, and games have had to use sub-categories to organize everything. Separating the two into their own main sections just makes sense.
And it looks like Google is finally, freaking finally, toying with the idea as well. One of our readers tipped us with this new layout that gives apps and games their own distinct upper-level sections, next to Entertainment (which also shows up as Music, Movies, Books for some users). Read More