When the Nearby API started rolling out to Google Play Services in July of last year, it had a lot of potential and promise. It made it so devices could talk to each other based only on their proximity and regardless of whether or not they were on the same WiFi network (in certain applications) or paired via Bluetooth. That's why we've often said it's the genius feature no one is using.
But Nearby in its original form required a lot of involvement from the user. The few apps that implemented the API only used it in specific screens, had to ask for a permission to activate it, and had to show a notification whenever Nearby was on and looking for other devices. Read More
Contextual awareness is one of the pillars of Google's recent push in mobile communications. You don't have to look far to see that: Google Now has been getting better and better at "guessing" the information that you need before you even look for it. But when it comes to location, we all know that it can use some help. Not just Google Now, actually. Most current location techniques are quite lacking indoors, underground, or simply fail to differentiate between you standing in front of a bus on one side or the other of the street. That's where beacons, which are small Bluetooth Low Energy devices, come into play by providing a quicker and more granularly precise location information. Read More
If you've ever wanted cloud storage that you don't have to pay for each month, well, you have had no shortage of options for years. But here's another one. Lenovo has launched an Android app that taps into its new Beacon storage device. This way it can serve files to your Android phone or tablet alongside your TV and other electronics.
Android devices actually get a better deal than TVs, which must be physically tethered to the Beacon using an HDMI cable. Handsets can pull the data down from anywhere, including outside of the house. The catch is that you need to have the Windows Beacon software installed to manage access permissions. Read More
The Beacon from Griffin is an interesting little device - it effectively transforms your Android phone or tablet into a fully-functional universal remote control. It connects to your device via Bluetooth, and then transmits the signals to your TV, DVD/Blu-Ray player, digital cable box, etc. via IR, just like a traditional remote control would. It does all this through an app called Dijit, which is the meat and potatoes of the entire system.
But how well does it work?
The Dijit app received an update a few days ago that addressed several of the issues I experienced while writing this review.
How many times have you been sitting around watching the tube and reached down for the remote, grabbing your phone instead? Or grabbed the wrong remote? Or lost the remote? These scenarios could go on all day long, but what if you could put a stop to the remote madness altogether?
A new device from Griffin and Dijit Media called Beacon looks to do just that by turning your Android phone or tablet into a fully-functional remote control. It's actually a simple little gadget that communicates with your Android over Bluetooth. It converts that Bluetooth transmission to IR and transmits it to your TV, Blu Ray player, stereo, etc. Read More