The nicest thing about having Dropbox on a phone, at least for most users, is the ability to instantly back up photos as soon as they're taken. Accessing other files stored on the cloud is sort of secondary, if only because the mobile client doesn't constantly sync files down and up, like the desktop versions of the program do. Today Dropbox is expanding its capabilities in that area with permanently-assigned offline folder access. But make sure to read the fine print, power users - there are still some important limitations to this feature. Read More
The Phab 2 Pro is the first phone to feature Google's Tango. Tango is, to put it lightly, not really ready for anyone aside from curious tech reviewers and maybe developers looking to get into AR content. The Phab 2 Pro itself also isn't a very good phone, and frankly costs too much to justify a largely gimmicky feature. In short, this product has "commercial flop" written all over it, and I think even AR enthusiasts and Tango phones can understand that. I honestly didn't ever expect it to be commercially marketed: this is a gadget that has some novelty and development value, but essentially zero real consumer appeal at this time. Read More
Google is known for periodically offering free goodies to Chromecast owners. Most recently, Google gave three free months of HBO Now with purchase of a Chromecast. In the Chromecast Ultra's first promotion, you can grab a free copy of the Ghostbusters remake in 4K from Google Play Movies. It may not be the best-performing movie this year, but you can't beat free.
The offer is available to anyone who has purchased and activated a Chromecast Ultra before December 31st, and you can redeem the offer until April 30. As you might expect, this is only valid in the United States and Canada. Read More
Are you a Project Fi subscriber? If so, you're in for a pretty cool treat this holiday season. Open up fiholiday.withgoogle.com to check out Project Fi's World of Thanks site. Awaiting you is an assortment of interesting and cheerful online activities. You'll find cute tools to create custom digital cards and snow globes, a trivia game, a suggestion to set a seasonally appropriate voicemail greeting – sure, why not? – and best of all, a $10 Google Play gift code. Read More
Way back in the day, app updates in Google Play would be the whole new APK. That changed back in 2012, and Google has been working to reduce the size of updates ever since. In its most recent triumph, the Google Play team has devised a system to reduce app update sizes by an average of 65%, but it won't be used all the time. Read More
Chinese manufacturer Meizu revealed the latest entry into its M-Series of smartphones, the M5 Note. Not to be confused with BMW's line of cars, this smartphone family usually sits in the lower end of the "mid-range" category. The M5 Note is no exception, packing decent specifications into an affordable price point. Read More
The history of Android on tablets is complicated. Just as Apple had done in 2007 with the first iPhone, the iPad's release in 2010 set a very high standard for the rest of the market. The next year, Google released Android 3.0 Honeycomb on the Motorola Xoom, designed specifically with tablets in mind. The Xoom wasn't the iPad killer that Motorola had hoped for, and there have been very few Android tablets that could stack up to Apple's iPad line.
Since Honeycomb, Android has shifted away from most tablet-specific features in favor of a shared UI on all screen sizes. There's still a large number of major applications clearly not designed for tablets (Hangouts comes to mind). Read More
Every new phone has at least a couple of issues out of the gate that need to be addressed (and can hopefully be fixed with a software update, rather than scrapping a billion-dollar product line). So it is with Google's Pixel and Pixel XL: last month a subset of users reported spotty connection problems with the flagships, apparently when using LTE Band 4 (1700MHz) on certain carriers outside the US. Owners aired their grievances on Google's product forum, and were heard fairly quickly. Read More
We started getting reports of 4K videos rolling out in Google Play several weeks ago, but not everyone could see the 4K option and Google didn't list a separate price for it. Google has now made it official—4K video is available for rental or purchase in the Play Store. However, there isn't very much of it right now, and you can't even get 4K everywhere. Read More
Google is one of the largest and most far-reaching companies in worldwide tech, but it's also known for progressive (if not necessarily selfless) projects that go beyond its standard interests. Those include sponsorships and massive purchases for renewable energy, like buying portions of solar and wind energy production from farms in the US, Chile, and Sweden. According to the latest post on Google's Keyword blog, those purchases combined with renewable energy credits will account for 100% of the company's business operations in 2017. Read More