Releasing the L preview was an important leap forward for Android as an ecosystem, but, outside of a single almost meaningless update, we're probably not going to see any new builds up until the final L release. I can sort of see why the Android team doesn't want to put out builds with incremental fixes, saving all the improvements for a grand finale unveiling, so in the meantime, any glimpse at their progress is very interesting to us as well as developers working on porting their apps to adhere to the new Material Design guidelines.
Motorola Migrate always seemed a little unnecessary to me - if you're coming from an Android phone, all your contacts should already be saved with Google, and I never saw the point of hoarding years of text messages. But Migrate has allowed for easy contact transfers from Apple's iPhone line, and with the latest update, it can even grab them from other 'dumbphones' as well. (Sorry, I let some inner fanboy out there.)
According to the update text, Motorola Migrate can now import contacts from "non-smartphones," as long as they have Bluetooth and follow the standard contact transfer system that's been in place since before Android existed.
There are a lot of portable battery packs out there, and a lot of them can be had for less than forty bucks. Motorola is counting on a bit of style and extra functionality to get you interested in its new Power Pack Micro, a first-party 1500mAh battery booster that looks more than a little bit like a Zippo lighter. The device also connects with your phone via Bluetooth for some location features.
Motorola's new 2014 series of products is set for an official announcement on Motorola.com in less than an hour, but here's something we haven't seen before: the Moto Hint. It appears to be a pretty standard Bluetooth headset, plus a custom carrier or charger cradle (or both). Considering the emphasis that Motorola is placing on voice control, not to mention the company's own history with radio and Bluetooth hardware, it fits in surprisingly well.
Desk space is a valuable commodity for most of us, and the last thing anybody wants to do is sacrifice a huge area to put down a second keyboard. On the other hand, who among us doesn't hate to switch back and forth between the keyboard and your phone while working and responding to text messages? If this is a familiar feeling, Logitech's just announced K480 Bluetooth keyboard might fit your not-so-uncommon demands.
As a platform, Android Wear is in its infancy. Even Google itself is still figuring out some of the applications and limits of Android in a wrist watch form factor. But that's not stopping them from adding in a bunch of goodies, even at this early stage. Google's Director of Engineering for Android Wear David Singleton spoke with Cnet on the subject, and let loose a few snippets that should excite Wear fans.
If you're looking to flesh out your phone with some high-tech audio, Best Buy has two options at a significant discount today. The JayBird BlueBuds X is a highly-recommended pair of Bluetooth headphones that includes workout-friendly water resistance and an integrated microphone and music controls. The Ultimate Ears Mini Boom is a great little Bluetooth speaker. Right now you can pick them up in a bundle for $169.98, a hundred bucks cheaper than the combined retail price.
Buried deep in the list of new features revealed for the L release of Android, whenever that comes out and whatever it will be called when it is, was BLE Peripheral Mode. This addition to Android is part of the Bluetooth Low Energy profile. Previous versions of Android could use BLE-enabled devices, but only as a primary device. The newly-enabled Peripheral Mode should allow apps on any Android phone, tablet, or what have you to send data to other devices.
Remember that neato Sony car stereo we checked out at CES, which is basically the perfect receiver for someone who uses their phone for all their in-car entertainment? Well, the XSP N1BT (catchy!) is here. You can buy it from Crutchfield or pre-order it now on Amazon for $249.99, and it will ship out on Thursday the 29th, just barely making Sony's May commitment for release.
If you don't recall, the XSP N1BT is a Bluetooth-powered receiver that foregoes the fancy color screens of modern car stereos for a tiny dock that clamps onto your phone.
It's no secret that Bluetooth has been a problem child for Android, plagued with poor audio quality and connectivity issues. I've already covered a handful of common problems in a previous post, but another issue has been emerging in the last few months that threatens to virtually kill all Bluetooth operation on a device in the right conditions. The culprit is a nasty little oversight in the Bluetooth Low-Energy code added with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.