Asus announced the ZenFone Zoom over a year ago, but despite how long the phone has taken to arrive stateside (after having long ago launched in other parts of the world), the phone is still a unique piece of hardware. Optical zoom is a rare thing to find in a smartphone camera, as is the dedicated camera button. Read More
With each passing year, the futuristic contraptions of science fiction movies edge closer and closer into the realm of reality. Case in point: Braun has just made a smartmirror that runs Android. No, not that Braun — this Braun. An engineer at Google, Max Braun is someone who enjoys using his spare time in more productive ways than simply watching TV on the couch. Instead, he has been building his own smart bathroom mirror — and it looks amazing.
The mirror displays information such as the time, weather forecast, and latest news headlines in a clean, minimalist UI. It's still a work in progress, and Braun is still experimenting with adding other things like traffic conditions and reminders. Read More
The Asus Transformer line used to be a stalwart of Android tablets, and 2013's Transformer Pad TF701T was no slouch. The device had a beautiful 2560×1600 display that still holds up today, and like all previous Transformer devices, it had a detachable keyboard. It was intended as a productivity machine, but like all Android devices, the manufacturer only provided a couple years' worth of updates. The tablet went from Jelly Bean to KitKat, and there it stayed.
Fortunately custom ROMs have a way of breathing new life into old devices. Read More
There are many ways to pay for apps, games, and other digital goods on Google Play, but one of the most convenient ones is direct carrier billing. It doesn't require you to have a credit or debit card, to set up a Paypal account, or to go hunt for gift cards around your country's stores. All you have to do is just buy and you'll be billed with your operator — sure, some of them like to take a big fat percentage to their pockets, but there's the matter of added convenience.
Google has updated its support pages for direct carrier billing availability to include 4 new operators in 4 different countries: DNA in Finland, Smartone in Hong Kong, and Maxis in Malaysia. Read More
We've known since last October that Google Play Music was getting ready to welcome podcasts into its fold of audio entertainment, but yesterday Sportscaster Bill Simmons broke the news that the feature was going live this month. It turns out that the option is already active for a few Android users through the weird magic of server-side A/B testing.
Our own Cody had already gone through a mini teardown of version 6.3 of Google Play Music that was released last week, and found lots of hints that podcast support was being thoroughly implemented. It seems that the feature was almost ready by then and the switch has been flipped for a few users who have started seeing a Podcasts icon in their app's side menu. Read More
Late yesterday, the Financial Times reported that SwiftKey was in talks with Microsoft about a potential acquisition that could be officially announced during the week. The report was right and this morning both Microsoft and SwiftKey have made the news official on their respective blogs.
The financial details of the acquisition weren't disclosed, but yesterday's report mentioned a $250 Million figure — or about a quarter Instagram if you want. The rest of the deal's terms aren't perfectly transparent either, but SwiftKey's co-founders Jon and Ben made it clear that the keyboard will continue to be developed for Android and iOS.
Our number one focus has always been to build the best possible products for our users.
Now that app updates are back to business as usual (more or less), Play Books is showing some activity again with a couple of small-ish changes that add a bit of polish. There are now shortcuts with links to different sections of the Play Store and an updated welcome card for the so-called Night Light feature. But the more interesting change is actually buried where it can't be seen in the live interface: some real signs that the Family Library is moving forward in Play Books. If you're looking for the APK, we have the link at the bottom. Read More
Microsoft has been releasing its own apps on Android lately, but it's apparently looking to buy one now. Financial Times reports Microsoft is swooping in to snap up keyboard maker SwiftKey for $250 million. SwiftKey is running on millions of Android devices, plus the ones from OEMs that license and re-skin SwiftKey. Now Microsoft could extend its reach to all those devices very soon. Read More
Not all USB Type C cables are created equal. Some charge better than others. A number ignore USB spec so much that they run the risk of actually damaging your hardware. This could happen gradually, or in the worst-case scenario, it could be instant. Read More
It looks like Alcatel's MWC launch plans have been spoiled a bit, based on a couple of leaked support pages on the company's website just tipped to us. The Idol 4 and 4S follow up the rather nice Alcatel Idol 3 with beefed-up specifications all around. Though we don't have much in the way of visuals, we do have a lot of information.
The Idol 4 and 4S will have 5.2 and 5.5" screens, respectively, with the 4S clearly being the up-market device of the two. It has a brand-new Snapdragon 652 octacore processor, Quad HD Super AMOLED display, 3000mAh battery, and 16MP camera with dual-tone flash and something called an "8MP slow motion sub-camera" - whatever that means (maybe it's referring to front-facing). Read More