Samsung is whipping its accessory offerings into shape today with two new fitness-oriented products. The Gear Fit2 is about what you'd expect, a followup to the original Gear Fit smart sports band. The Gear IconX is something new from Samsung. It's a pair of completely wireless earbuds that include some standalone fitness tracking features. If this sounds familiar, that's because both products leaked in April. Read More
Jaybird has made some of the nicest Bluetooth earbuds you could buy in recent years with the X series. The Freedom wireless earbuds are designed to be an even more premium version of that product. These buds were announced back at CES in January with a more compact all-metal form factor, but that comes with an increased price. The Jaybird Freedom Bluetooth earbuds are now available for purchase at $199.95. Read More
It's time for some real talk about Android Wear. If I'm being completely honest, I wasn't sold on the idea of a smart watch when Wear was announced. Even after using the original G Watch I wasn't sure I'd find value in having Android on my wrist. It took a few updates for Wear to find a place in my life, but through it all there have been bugs. Some of that is to be expected, but here we are nearly two years after Android Wear launched and connectivity is still bad for a lot of users. While I quite like Wear now, you have to wonder why this is still a problem. Read More
You may have heard the name "Anker" a few times, but haven't really paid attention to what they make. Today is your chance to get acquainted because just about everything Anker makes is on sale via Amazon's gold box deal. There are external batteries, cables, car chargers, earbuds—allthethings.jpg, basically. Read More
The speakers on your phone are pitiful. I know, some of you have two of them and they're pointed at your face, but compared to almost any other type of device, they still suck. So when you want to listen to some tunes, it benefits you to have better audio options. Like, for example, the JBL Charge 2 Bluetooth speaker. It's on sale at Best Buy today for $99.99. Read More
A serious audiophile will scoff at Bluetooth audio. They also scoff at most other things, but maybe there will be less wireless scoffing now that Qualcomm's aptX HD audio codec is a thing. Using aptX HD, a device can output true 24-bit audio over Bluetooth, and there's already a Bluetooth hardware module that supports it. Read More
We've had Bluetooth technology for the better part of two decades now, so it's surprising that it's still so hard to find a decent pair of headphones that use it. One of the more consistently good brands for wireless headphones, at least of the sporty variety, has been Jaybird. The company's using CES to show off the newest entries in its product lineup, and by "newest," I mean it will be three to six months at the earliest before you see either of them. Meet the Jaybird Freedom, an ostensibly new design (despite the fact that the company has used the "Freedom" name on models before), and the Jaybird X3, the latest revision of the popular original and the more recent X2. Read More
Here's a good news / bad news kind of situation with the latest Android 6.0.1 update. In 2013, KitKat was supposed to link Bluetooth and System media controls allowing headsets, speakers, and car stereos to manage volume loudness on your phone. That never happened. Up until Android 6.0, if you were listening to audio through a Bluetooth-connected accessory, you had to control volume from your phone and the accessory separately. You could lower one, but the other would stay high, resulting in a medium volume. In order to completely lower or raise the volume, you had to do so from both, which wasn't practical at all. Read More
A growing thread on the Android issue tracker is home to more and more reports of in-vehicle Bluetooth problems with the Nexus 5, 6, 5X, and 6P. The N5 and N6 allegedly only became affected when their Marshmallow updates rolled out, while the 5X and 6P, which run Marshmallow out of the box, have allegedly had problems from day one. Notably, the Bluetooth issue being cited supposedly was not present in the "M" developer preview releases for the Nexus 5 or 6, suggesting something changed recently to cause it.
The rather irksome bug manifests most commonly as follows. When attempting to dial out to a phone number when your phone is connected to your car via Bluetooth, the call will fail and the car's radio will resume playing whatever audio was on previously. Read More
Google's Chrome development team regularly implements new APIs to extend the possibilities for web apps to behave more like their native counterparts. The most recent addition to the Chrome dev channel allows web developers to use Bluetooth to communicate with nearby hardware. This could be used for things like an online fitness tracker that gets data from a heart rate monitor or for a controller to drive a Sphero, all without installing a native app.
These things are possible with the new Web Bluetooth API. Still in the early stages of development, this allows a web application to query for Bluetooth devices based on their capabilities, then pass messages back and forth with little or no friction. Read More