There’s no denying that the switch to Broadcom’s Bluetooth stack in Android 4.2 has created some stressful situations for frequent users of the short range networking technology. The added attention also raised awareness for some features that are woefully lacking in the OS, something that other OEMs have been working to resolve independently. To a round of applause during the Best Practices for Bluetooth Development session, Sara Sinclair Brody announced Google will finally address two of the most popular requests.
We first heard about the Jambox's larger sibling, the BIG Jambox, just over a year ago. At the time, it promised to be bigger (of course) and better than the original, offering a bigger battery, a wall power adapter, and "unbelievable sound". If reviews are to be believed, the Jambox managed to deliver good sound and power, while maintaining the unique design language of its smaller counterpart.
If you're in the market for a Bluetooth speaker, the BIG Jambox is a decent choice, and Amazon's sweetened the prospect by putting the device on sale for $249.99, down $50 from its usual $299.99 price.
It's not Jelly Bean yet. Well, I mean it is. It's the older Jelly Bean. Not the newer Jelly Bean. I'm sure this isn't confusing. However, Verizon is getting ready to roll out an update to the Galaxy S III that will bump the phone from 4.1.1 to 4.1.2. Unfortunately this isn't the 4.2 upgrade most users were likely hoping for. Among the listed improvements are a better keyboard and the ability to take pictures while on a call.
There was one black spot on our mostly favorable review of the Pebble smartwatch: the music control app just didn't work on some phones. As stated in the review, that's probably got more to do with the phone in question than Pebble's software, since it worked just fine on two separate Nexus devices. Even so, the people at Pebble have been listening, and the latest update to the official app includes a music player selection feature.
Last week we told you about Pebble Notifier, an app that allows Tasker to send updates to the Pebble smartwatch over Bluetooth. Developer Dattas Moonchaser has updated the plugin to a full, independent app: you no longer need Tasker to send updates to your watch. (You'll still need the official Pebble app.) As you probably know, while Tasker is an incredibly powerful piece of software, it's also very difficult to learn and master, so the update should make it useful for a larger percentage of Pebble owners.
We love Tasker. And we mostly love the Pebble Smartwatch. But there's no denying that the utility of the Pebble is somewhat limited - right now you get calls, emails, texts, Facebook, and a few more remote notifications. With the Pebble Notifier plugin for Tasker, the Swiss Army knife of Android apps can send alerts for anything and everything happening on your phone. It may be the single most useful thing that could happen to Pebble.
While it's not a major Android version update, Sprint is rolling out a pretty good upgrade to Evo LTE customers. The over-the-air software will add the ability to stream audio/video to a television set or other display via an MHL cable. Neat!
The update will also bring a variety of improvements, including to WiFi, Bluetooth compatibility, and the proximity sensor while listening to voicemail. So hopefully you won't have to worry about your face pressing buttons now.
We've featured this particular Motorola keyboard in our deals section before, but the price has never dropped quite so low: the 89451N model Bluetooth keyboard is now a paltry twenty bones on NewEgg's store, with the application of promo code EMCXWVS225. It's also got free shipping. If you want to take advantage of this deal, get a move on - it's only valid until January 30th (next Wednesday). Sorry, international readers, this one's US-only.
Hope you like the idea of a smartwatch, because startups are not giving up on them. To wit, one of the most popular manifestations of the concept is the Pebble which began as a Kickstarter project that aimed to raise $100k. Instead, the company raised $10 million. Yes, a hundred times a hundred thousand. That investment seems to be paying off a bit, though, as today an Android app landed in the Play Store just prior to the first round of units arriving on customers' arms.