Late last year, Amazon started to allow hobbyists and developers to integrate the Alexa virtual personal assistant into their own products through the developer preview of Amazon Voice Service. This effort has already borne fruit with Invoxia's Triby.
Looking a bit like an FM radio from yesteryear, the Triby immediately loses points in the looks department, especially when compared to the sleek, futuristic aesthetic of the Amazon Echo. It packs a magnetized back, allowing you to attach it directly to any metal surface, such as a refrigerator or knife rack, as well an E-Ink display for showing messages and notifications.
Not only can it be controlled through voice commands, but there's also an official companion application available for Android and iOS.
The OnHub has been out for more than six months now, and it hasn't evolved much beyond the basic router functionality. Google promised us smart home features, and now it's starting to happen. The latest OnHub update added support for IFTTT. The channel is already live for you to start crafting automation recipes, but your OnHub needs to be on firmware version 7978.51.0, which is rolling out now.
Well, that Angry Birds movie is going to come out in a few weeks, so the time has come for Rovio's latest promotional vehicle to launch. Angry Birds Action! appeared in the Play Store as a geo-limited beta a few weeks ago, and now it's live for everyone. What's it like? It's a mix of pinball, classic Angry Birds, and desperation. I kid, sort of.
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.
It's hard to predict which games among the hundreds of thousands in the Play Store will hit the sweet spot and become a sensation. Taichi Panda, Snail Games' Diablo-style dungeon crawler, is a good example. Since its release a little over a year ago it's gained over five million downloads and an impressive audience of frequent players both free and paid. After a successful soft launch period, the developer is returning to its anthropomorphic well with a sequel called Taichi Panda: Heroes.
What do you do when your phone is running low on battery and you must make a phone call because the wife expects you to do some grocery shopping before you get home or because your tummy has started rumbling and your only path to salvation is through the gooey cheese-stuffed crusts of a pepperoni pizza?
Well, you either whip out your speed rapping skills that you innately acquired that very moment to blast through an entire conversation in a few seconds, or you wish you were using an ASUS Zenfone Max with its 5000mAh battery to never, ever, have that problem in the first place.
With last month's release of the Android N Preview, the Tools team launched a preview release of Android Studio 2.1. Not only did the new version add support for the N Preview SDK, but it also brought a few important important and welcomed additions, including adoption and support for many of the language features in Java 8, a semi-official switch to the Jack compiler, an updated New Project wizard, and further improvements to the new and faster Android Emulator. As of today, Android Studio 2.1 has been promoted to Stable and is available to all developers.
The biggest advantage of updating and switching to the Jack compiler, aside from playing with new Android N APIs like Launcher Shortcuts, is probably the addition of Lambda Expressions.
Google already sells various Android Wear devices in the Google Store, but now it's getting into the accessory game with the MODE watchbands. These watchbands are on sale today in leather and silicone varieties and will work on any watch (Android Wear or other) that uses standard lugs. They're designed to be easily swapped with a new clip system, but they're not cheap. Google is asking $50 for the silicone ones and $60 for leather.