Human society didn't really enter the modern era until we invented the remote control, because let's face it, no one wants to get up. The freedom to loaf around is an important part of life, and Universal Remote brings that to your PC. With today's update, it's much more attractive and useful. Unlike you... because of all that loafing around.
Well, that didn't take long. Just a couple of hours after the end of Google's I/O keynote, the Android TV remote control app has burst on to the Play Store. Download it now to control all the Android TV devices in your home! Which are none. Because Android TV isn't released yet. And won't be until the fall.
If you're wondering why Google even bothered to put the app on the Play Store in the first place, it's because it's designed for the developer kits currently on display at I/O.
The Hulu Plus app is perfectly capable of pumping out videos on its own to a small screen. With a Chromecast plugged into your TV, it's even able to cast content out to the big screen as well. Now the app is gaining a feature that will give it even more control over your viewing experience. Starting with the latest update, Hulu Plus is capable of becoming a remote control for Hulu content streaming from the Xbox One, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation 4.
Hot on the heels of BlinkFeed and the vaguely defined HTC Service Pack, HTC is hitting the Play Store with another app: SenseTV. The electronic programming guide meets universal remote control made its first appearance last year alongside Sense 5.0 on the HTC One. This looks like an update to the original which includes a redesigned style to match Sense 6, improvements to data for sporting events, and support for the HTC One Google Play Edition.
I know this is Chromecast country, but Roku was here first. The humble little WiFi streaming devices are competent and powerful, and they work with at least some online media sources that Chromecast doesn't. (Lookin' at you, Amazon.) If you're a happy Roku customer like me, then the Android remote app is probably a big part of your entertainment center. The new and improved version overhauls the user interface and adds one much-needed change.
TeamViewer is a household name, at least if your household does a lot of PC-based remote access. The TeamViewer QuickSupport app is mighty handy if you have to give enterprise-level support to remote Android users, but it's got one big drawback. For full remote control features you need to have a device from a specific manufacturer (or a rooted device from anyone, which is a no-no for both novice users and businesses).
Piper is a nifty little gadget that combines a number of recently deployed technologies to create a connected and hyper-aware home automation hub. The project has been getting a lot of press since it appeared on Indiegogo a couple of weeks ago, and it passed its $100,000 funding goal today. There's another twenty days before the project ends, so the creators won't be wanting for funds.
Piper is essentially is a little box that's stuffed with a ton of sensors and WiFi connectivity, making it the hub of a connected house.
Screen mirroring on Android is still a bit of a hit-and-miss prospect. Plenty of issues can arise from environmental factors like network congestion, to the type of device being used (*ahem*, Tegra). A few months ago, we covered a recent entrant in this market, BBQScreen by XpLodWilD and nebkat. The app was able to deliver a pretty consistent 25 fps from several types of devices over WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB. Unfortunately, several bugs and incompatibilities plagued some users, but the developers have been working hard to remedy many of those issues.
If you've ever wanted a Parrot AR Drone that feels more at home in the water than in the air, you'll want to check out the Ziphius Kickstarter campaign. This remote-controlled floating drone just passed its $125,000 goal with less than a day and a half remaining, and is scheduled to go into mass production later this year with backer units shipping in March 2014.
Ziphius is a floating drone, a Raspberry Pi control board, twin propellers, and a 1080p video camera with an LED flashlight, shoved into a lightweight waterproof chassis.