Good news if you make a lot of short calls overseas. Google had started offering the first minute of Hangouts calls to 25 countries at no charge. It only lasts through the end of 2014, but that's still not a bad deal.
The downside to cloud services is that they're of absolutely no use when they're not available. Today Google Docs, Drive, Sheets, and Slides have all been unavailable for some of the people that have come to depend on them.
Google is aware of the issue, and it's showing a service disruption for each service on its apps status dashboard page. This is delineated in the screenshot below by the presence of an orange icon next to Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
You might remember Robin Labs—it's the company behind that Yahoo voice assistant app and the possibly deadly Android-powered rear-view mirror. Now Robin Labs has launched a kind of real product called Less.Mail, but it's invite only and still in the early stages. Less.Mail is an app that leverages artificial intelligence to manage your email by voice.
There was a time when it was difficult to imagine Microsoft Office becoming available for anything other than Windows. Now the suite, excuse me, service is available to Android users directly in the Play Store. That's no longer new or news. Here's what is: Microsoft has decided to give Office 365 subscribers unlimited storage space for their files.
While this OneDrive expansion is being bundled with Office 365, the space is available to more than just documents.
Support for Google Play carrier billing has recently extended to a number of additional carriers scattered around the globe. A quick visit to the site's direct billing support page shows that four carriers spread between as many countries have joined the list of accepted companies.
Residents in New Zealand can now add their app payments to the 2degrees bills at the end of each month. The option is also available to Belgacom customers in Belgium and people who turn to M1 in Singapore.
3DMark came out a while back to give your Android device's GPU a rating, and now Futuremark's other benchmarking tool has arrived in the Play Store. PCMark will analyze the overall performance of your phone or tablet, rather than focusing on individual components. At the end you get a number. Is that number useful? Maybe.
After reports of skin rashes pushed Fitbit to recall its Force activity tracker at the beginning of this year, the company is now ready to bring the product's replacement to market. It's called the Charge, and it's joined by two other fitness bracelets packing more features and a higher cost.
The Charge comes with largely the same look and capabilities as the Force it replaces, providing the ability to track steps, follow sleep patterns, count floors climbed, see calories burned, and know who's calling.
Update: Predictably, the OnePlus site is struggling to stay up under a barrage of traffic just minutes after pre-orders went live.
If you've been waiting patiently to get your hands on the OnePlus One, or even if you haven't been waiting patiently at all, the "flagship killer" is going on sale in a slightly more conventional way later this morning. OnePlus is scheduled to open its pre-order system at 11AM Eastern, 8AM Pacific US time, when customers will actually be able to pay for a phone immediately in the expectation of actually getting it at some point.
Last year, Google released Chromecast, a $35 media stick that appealed to consumers due to its remarkable value. Earlier this year, Amazon rolled out Fire TV, a set-top box with more power than the competition and a $99 price tag. Now Google has shown off a $99 set-top box of its own, and Amazon is hitting the market with a media-streaming HDMI dongle: the Fire TV Stick.
Like the Fire TV before it, Amazon wants us to know that the Fire TV Stick is more powerful than the competition.