Google faces many interesting challenges with Android Auto. It seems like a simple task to build an interface that is less messy and more enjoyable than existing in-car systems. Given the low bar set by most existing platforms, this doesn't sound very difficult. However, Google is taking advantage of more advanced technology and clever design so Auto isn't just another small iterative step forward. A teardown of the latest update shows some interesting progress on new input methods that don't require as much attention and a parking assistant feature that remembers where you left your vehicle.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Google Now On Tap is one of those features that sounded great when it was announced, but has failed to live up to the hype now that it's out. It's not going to remain in that state forever, though. Google is already adding new features to On Tap, including some we've already noticed. A blog post on the Inside Search blog lays it all out.
The Vimeo app is one of those famously bad apps that actually make a mediocre mobile website look good by comparison. After years of being behind the curve, Vimeo is finally stepping up its app game with a v2.0 update. There's a lot of good stuff here, but you'll have to wait a bit for all the pieces to be in place.
This one's easy: if you use Android Pay on a Nexus device before December 31st, 2015, Google will add a $20 Best Buy e-gift card to your Android Pay... digital repository of cards. (Side note: what are we supposed to call the collection of cards and gift cards and loyalty stuff in Android Pay if not a wallet? This is awkward.) There is a limited supply of these gift cards, however, so the promo may end before 12/31 if people really get on this (I certainly will be taking advantage ASAP).
The nitty-gritty details aren't very rigorous, but here's what you need to know. Read More
Samsung is upping its microSD card game. Today the company announced its new 128GB PRO Plus memory cards. Compared to the existing 128GB EVO Plus cards, these offer significantly faster write speeds. Read More
A Project Fi support page for tablets and "other compatible devices" has just gone live, and it spills all the juicy details of the very-soon-to-launch (we assume) feature on Google's MVNO. The best part? The money: it costs nothing to add a tablet to your Project Fi plan. There is no monthly device fee, and it doesn't even appear that Google is charging for SIMs, though we've yet to verify that. Read More
You start with a song. Ten seconds in, you decide that this one isn't your style. You give it a thumbs down, and the track goes away. Another song begins. You love it, and give it a thumbs up. You don't particularly like or dislike the next one, but you give a few of the songs after more approval. Then you create another station, and you start the process again. Read More
AT&T announced NumberSync a few weeks ago, and now the first wearable device with support for the feature is ready. The Gear S2, which already launched, can now work on the same line as your smartphone thanks to NumberSync. AT&T is offering the Gear S2 for $99 on a two-year contract as well. Read More
A mobile payment service is only useful if you can, you know, use it... which must be pretty disheartening for customers of smaller banks and credit unions. Each one of them needs to be certified with new payment systems before their customers can join in the "fun" of paying for stuff with their phones. Today Samsung Pay, the semi-proprietary system that's surprisingly interoperable thanks to some neat payment tech, adds a whopping 19 new Visa and MasterCard issuers to its list of compatible banks and similar companies. Read More
Pushbullet added two small, but useful, new features this morning. First, replying to group SMS from a computer or tablet is now (finally) supported. In a small gesture of holiday goodwill, Pushbullet won't count group SMS messages against the 100 message limit for non-paying users for the rest of the month.
Group texting is now available through Pushbullet's Chrome extension, Windows desktop app, and Pushbullet's website. Support for Safari, Opera, and Firefox is coming soon. Replying to group texts also requires a phone running Android 5.0 and above.
The second change Pushbullet added this morning pertains to the new remote files feature that was added earlier this month. Read More