It seems like every cable and satellite operator is in a hurry to provide a second screen app for tablets and phones. And they all seem to have something in common: either they don't offer live streaming, or they do, and the service is rather arbitrarily restricted to use on a home Internet connection. Time Warner Cable's TWC TV app for Android was just updated to get around this restriction... at least in some cases. Unfortunately, mobile access via the TV app is only available to Verizon Wireless customers - everyone else will just have to live with paying TWC alone.
Hulu's premium TV service hit 4 million users last week, and to celebrate, they've released an update to their Android app. (Actually, the update probably doesn't have anything to do with that. Forget I mentioned it.) The 2.8 version of Hulu Plus adds some much-needed improvements, particularly for playback and video seeking. The free app (tied to the paid service) is now compatible with a wider range of devices - the Play Store is showing everything from the Galaxy S II to my Nexus 7 running Android 4.2 as compatible.
The revised app has better playback performance and reduced buffering, a great help to anyone who's trying to catch up with All My Children over 3G.
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. Users can also set the service to automatically sync photos. Here's Samsung's introductory video for the product:
As great as the service looks, the tagline "PC in Mobile, Mobile in PC" is at least a little misleading - Side Sync doesn't just work with just any PC – it's only compatible Samsung PCs.
Let's be honest, most of us will never get to live in a crazy futuristic home like the Jetsons, but that doesn't mean we can't strive for a few of the simple luxuries. To that end, Doug Gregory is on track to make his living room smarter than the bridge of the USS Enterprise, all with a few electronic controllers and extensive use of Tasker. There's no way around it, you really need to see the video for this one.
Not counting home theater equipment and the Nexus 4, Doug was able to put everything together for less than $300, but he appears to have had the advantage of working for an authorized dealer.
Readers of a certain age will remember the way LCD screens looked back in the early 90s. We'd never heard of color LCDs – that would have been witchcraft plain and simple. LCDs were dingy little grayscale things that you saw on clocks and mediocre handheld games. Still, there's nothing like some nostalgia in this age of pocket-sized supercomputers, right? MyColorScreen user z3u5 posted a classic LCD theme for custom Android launchers recently, and it's a seriously cool effect.
This theme can be applied in various launchers like Nova, ssLauncher, and Go Launcher. You'll need to download the resource packs from MyColorScreen and apply the theme and backgrounds in your launcher.
My Google Glass unit has finally arrived. I've had a few days to play with Google's fancy new heads-up display, so it's probably time for some first impressions. A full review will be coming at some point.
One of the most striking things about Glass is just how well put together the whole package is. Everything about the design, from the hardware, to the typography, to the cool little whoosh noises it makes just oozes polish. What's here is certainly not finished, but even in this state it is easily the slickest product Google has ever produced. Glass feels like the culmination of the new, design-focused Google.
Google's official Glass YouTube channel released its first video today – a minute long introduction to Glass' most basic controls. The video is titled Glass How-to: Getting Started, which leads this writer to believe there may be more How-to's in the works.
Impressively well-produced and perfectly simple, the video discusses Glass' gestures – tapping, swiping forward, backward, and down, and gives a very digestible explanation of the device's time-based card interface. The video shows off a few possible Glass cards, but nothing we've not seen before – Google Now notifications for a flight and nearby places, a message, the clock home screen, and calendar items are all represented.
We should've seen this coming. Really, Samsung, it's our fault. We should've stopped you when you put on that incredibly sexist Broadway show. We didn't. We argued that it was funny and then even enabled you by saying you have better marketing than HTC. We set you up for this. What could we have expected except a Gangnam Style parody that touts the virtues of the Galaxy S4?
The above video of the song...*sigh*...Samsung Style, was taken at a Galaxy S4 launch party in India. The man you see singing on stage is Ranveer Singh, a Bollywood superstar.
Paradox Interactive, a well-known game publisher and developer, today posted up a promo video for the upcoming ship battling game Leviathan: Warships. If you watch only one video today, let it be this one. Kittens and puppies can wait till tomorrow. I haven't had this much fun watching trailers ever since the unfortunate fireworks accident at the nearby trailer park.
Paradox Interactive's previous Android project, Magicka, is sitting at 4.8/5.0 after over 100 reviews, so needless to say, I'm pretty excited about their next game. It sets sail April 30th on Android, PC, Mac, and iOS.
And now, for the main event.
Facebook Home has arrived, and whether we like it or not, it's here to stay. The 2.5/5.0 rating at the close of the day isn't exactly inspiring, but it's likely a knee-jerk reaction from Facebook haters, which I am confident will go up to somewhere in the 3.X range with further improvements. Cameron addressed the current state of Home pretty well earlier today, so now that the dust has settled, it's time for a fun video to finish off the work week, both for Facebook employees who worked on the product and us, its potential (but unlikely) users.
I'll be honest - I haven't liked a launch video this much in a while.