The summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro should be interesting to watch this year, if only in the same sense that a burning building is hard to ignore. As it has been for decades, NBC will be the sole media outlet for the games in the United States. Sports fans can use the official NBC app to keep up with the Olympics on their phones and tablets... though keep in mind that the results of the games, including medal winners, statistics, and a general schedule, will be available in all the usual places like ESPN and Google Now. Read More
Looking to get your head around the majority of the announcements at Google I/O? We've got a video for that. Our summary of all the announcements from the keynote and day one of the show will catch you up with the major happenings at I/O 2016, with our very own Mark Burstiner. Read More
Have you ever been part of a crowdfunding campaign gone wrong? No doubt some of you have, and some of you may well have contributed to such campaigns through PayPal for a reason that, until now, made it quite handy in the event of such a misfortune: purchase (formerly buyer) protection. PayPal's purchase protection basically is a "guarantee" that if you buy something through PayPal and never receive it, PayPal will reimburse you the cost of your purchase. So, instead of making you play a never-ending dispute resolution game of cat and mouse with an unresponsive - or in this case, likely non-liquid-asset-possessing - seller, you just get the money back, and PayPal can choose to go after the merchant. Read More
Minecraft isn't the first game you think about when you hear the word "immersion." No, it's the first one you think of when you hear "surprisingly popular," or "construction-based," or "Notch made more money than Solomon's divorce lawyer." But even so, it's been tied to the new virtual reality trend more than once, most notably thanks to new owner Microsoft's HoloLens platform. That said, a little platform competition isn't going to keep them from making ungodly amounts of money, so check out Minecraft for Samsung's Gear VR headsets. Read More
If you're a regular user of Instagram, you may soon notice some nice changes to its look. The photo sharing service appears to be quietly rolling out a tweaked UI to some users, likely via a server-side switch. There hasn't been any official announcement from the company yet, but on the surface it looks like a lot of the blue has been toned down in favor of black, and there are new icons for the photo controls.
Normally this would be the point where people would put in a cliché joke about people taking pictures of their food, but I'm going to refrain because I actually love Instagram. Read More
Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages is a neat idea system that automatically reformats an HTML web page into a light and speedy version ripe for consumption on mobile phones and potentially strained connections. It's a sort of mix between the old dedicated mobile sites (which are often broken and lacking in features) and the newer dynamic formatting (which can be too heavy for a phone browser even when written correctly). The AMP system has been going for a few months now, and Google claims that it has "thousands" of publishers on board. Read More
Following on the heels of other carriers, Verizon has now announced its own deal for customers looking to hook themselves, and someone else, up with either a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge. If this is you, then you can head on over to Verizon's website to get down to business.
Judging from the promo rules, it works similar to other BOGO offers where you go under a payment plan on both devices, then you get a prepaid card for the full retail price of one of the phones, or about $792, within 8-10 weeks. Read More
Most of the monthly Nexus updates are security patches, but Google is pushing out an OTA to the Nexus 5X right now that's actually got some substance to it. While other phones are just getting the March security update, the Nexus 5X is receiving a raft of bug fixes and tweaks in the update too. Read More
Samsung's flagship announcements have become cornerstones of the Android upgrade cycle. Just like last year, the company has announced two new Galaxy-branded phones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. Both phones are modest bumps over their previous designs, both in terms of hardware and style, but there are some notably improved features that power users and practical consumers will both appreciate.
The new phones bring back two of the most-missed features that were dropped from the S6 generation: expandable storage (via MicroSD cards) and water-resistant bodies. The former comes from a new "hybrid" nano-SIM tray, which houses both the SIM card and the MicroSD card in a single metal tray that slides out via a standard SIM tool. Read More
Cars are the biggest piece of tech most of us own, but they're relatively conservative. Newer models may come with USB ports, Bluetooth, and touchscreens, but those have been elements for years. And the touchscreen experience isn't generally all that good, even with spiffy spoftware.
But significant enhancements are gradually working their way into our vehicles. A number of vehicles can detect when other cars are in their blind spots. Some can parallel park on their own. There are models in development that can drive limited distances without input from the driver. And, of course, there's Google's self-driving cars. Read More