Time flies in the tech world. The Moto 360 isn't the latest hotness anymore, but I still love the one strapped to my wrist. In my mind, it remains the most visually stunning smartwatch you can buy. And when I say you, I'm referring to folks in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom—all places where the watch is now listed as available from the Play Store.
OK, European readers. We know Google doesn't always put a rush on features and products outside of the United States. America got lane guidance (which tells you which lane to get into before you approach a turn or exit) way back in May. It looks like US roads were the only ones on which this feature was available, at least until yesterday, when Google announced lane guidance for some European countries on the official Google Europe blog.
Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Zoom phones haven't exactly been a runaway hit. Maybe it's because no one really wants a massive camera strapped to the back of their phone, or maybe it's because they're lumpy and expensive. Whatever the case might be, Panasonic is throwing its hat into the super powerful phone-camera with the LUMIX Smart Camera DSC-CM1, a gorgeous little point and shoot that hides a full Android phone (including calls and data) on its back end.
Aside from its round P-OLED screen and stylish case design, the G Watch R is remarkably similar to the original LG G Watch. But as just about anyone could guess, consumers will be paying a premium for that style when the round Android Wear device is released later this year. If LG's German press release announcing the G Watch R is accurate, it's going to be quite a premium indeed. The PR lists the suggested retail price as 299 euro, a full €100 more expensive than the G Watch.
More than a few Android fans are ready and willing to get their smartwatch on with the new Android Wear platform, so some German users must have been excited to see LG's G Watch pop up in the Play Store in Germany. AndroidPit spotted a small section of promo text for the device, and while it didn't include any photos or links and it was quickly removed, it certainly implies that the G Watch will be sold on the Play Store.
The Google Play Newsstand Android app is pretty and all, but without the ability to subscribe to magazines, it's little more than a dumbed down pseudo-RSS reader. So it's a pretty good thing Google is rolling out access to the digital magazines to more countries. By now, residents in France and Germany should have access to the Newsstand content available in Google Play.
Carrier billing for the Play Store is slowly, slowly making its way across Europe, which probably isn't much comfort for those who want it and still can't access it. If you happen to be in Germany and use the third-largest carrier in the country, you no longer have to wait. German carrier E-Plus was added to the list of carrier billing supporters yesterday.
For the uninitiated, carrier billing allows users to buy apps, songs, books, movies, and in-app purchases by charging the amount to their carrier bill instead of a credit or debit card.
Update: at least one German gadget site has more evidence of an eminent Chromecast release, including retailers Amazon and Media Mart.
Our European readers have been waiting to get their hands on the Chromecast ever since Google announced its diminutive streaming gadget, and at least some of them will be able to soon - the UK is getting it on Wednesday. But what about the rest of the continent?
Samsung started pushing an update to KitKat for the Exynos variant of the Galaxy S4 (GT-i9500) less than a week ago. Now, it's time for the Snapdragon-equipped S4 (GT-i9505) to see some action. In addition to the standard Android 4.4.2 feature set, this update will also bring some tweaks to the lockscreen, including a shortcut to the camera and full-screen album art during music playback, an improved landscape-mode keyboard, several bug fixes, and the now standard white KitKat status icons.
Here in the US, Amazon offers video streaming bundled up with its annual Prime subscriptions, so anyone who wants discounted shipping gets to watch some videos on the side seemingly for free. Now the company is starting to replicate this setup in the UK and Germany as well. Today Amazon announced that it is merging Amazon Prime and LoveFilm Instant in both of these countries starting on February 26th, combining the speedy delivery and substantial Kindle library of the former with the 15,000-strong collection of TV shows and movies of the latter.