Manufactures have been scaling back the included extras that come with hardware for a while now - you won't find included headphones or cases with any of the latest flagship phones. But you can generally rely on getting a USB cable and a wall-wart charger at least. Such is the case with the current Android Wear devices, the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. But if you have one, you'd better hold onto that charger like it's made of gold, because it might as well be.
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.
Asus has lately become the king of anime-style transforming electronics, with their Transformer tablet line and Padfone devices. It looks like Google is paying attention, at least when it comes to conceptual hardware. US patent 8,649,821, granted to Google in February of this year, describes a laptop with a built-in and detachable cell phone, with the two working in tandem for various functions. While Android and Chromebooks aren't specifically mentioned in the patent documentation, it's easy to assume they were on the engineers' minds, since it was filed in September of 2012.
Update 3/27/14: The guys at B & A Studio found a much more affordable way to manufacture the dock, so they cancelled the already-95%-funded project and opened a new one. As a result of the new manufacturing process, the company is now only seeking $13,000 (instead of the original $20,000), and the docks are down from $35 each to $19. That's a pretty massive savings – now you can essentially get two for the price of one original.
Electronics are getting increasingly affordable, which means even non-enthusiasts these days are ending up with multiple devices they use regularly all needing to get charged at around the same time. Between smartphones, tablets, second tablets, portable media players, smartwatches, and activity trackers, far too many desks, countertops, and side tables are becoming entangled by cables of varying length and size. Therefore it's not difficult to understand why so many people were drawn to the All-Dock Kickstarter project.
Part of the reason I was drawn to the Chromebook Pixel is that it's essentially a thin client for accessing the same content I interact with using my phones and tablets. Having to move and maintain files between separate machines is a chore I no longer wish to deal with, so I'm happy to see that this issue may soon be a thing of the past. Today at IFA, Acer demoed its Extend prototype, a laptop-dock that could enable you to use a smartphone as a your primary computer.
There have been plenty of times over the course of many lengthy emails sent from my smartphone that I've wished for a keyboard shaped like something between a heavily armored headless bird and a stingray that's missing its tail. Okay, I may not have worded the wish quite in that way, but the point is that a new Kickstarter project is available that promises to make it come true nonetheless. The TREWGrip Mobile QWERTY is a handheld typing device and mouse that will give your smartphone wings.
Nova Launcher is one of the most popular home screen replacements out there, and the developers are hard at work ensuring that this doesn't change any time soon. The latest update introduces even more ways to customize every aspect of your launcher's appearance. Anyone who makes the jump to version 2.2 will gain the ability to add backgrounds to their docks, customize the look of their unread badges, and dabble with new scroll effects.
Samsung has just announced details of a new syncing/file management tool called Side Sync, which it mentioned last month alongside new ATIV PC branding.
The basic idea behind the app is easy, painless file and information transfer from PC to mobile and vice versa. This is accomplished using a dock that plugs into your PC's USB port. Once hooked up, you can share your mouse and keyboard with your Samsung phone, dragging and dropping files, and copying and pasting information as you please.
There are still very few "universal" docks available for Android users, but if you own a Samsung smartphone, this little baby comes pretty close. The Samsung Galaxy Multimedia Desktop Charging Dock includes a spiffy flip-out stand big enough to support the biggest of Notes, plus an audio-out 3.5mm jack for easy output to a nearby speaker. One Amazon vendor is selling the dock for just sixteen dollars American, a discount of more than two thirds off the retail price.