Google's official device art generator is a great tool for making screenshots look pretty. For all recent Nexus devices, including Nexus 5, 6, 7, and 9 (plus a few older devices), the generator has high-quality device frames that will perfectly show off properly sized screenshots. Users can simply drag a screenshot in and then drag the framed shot back out, with shadow or glare effects if desired.
Now, it looks like Android Wear has joined the lineup on the device art generator. Rather than opting for specific device art (which in this case would include a watch body and a strap), Google has added very basic frames for "round" or "square" watches (no flat tire shapes allowed).
This year's Consumer Electronics Show will kick off next week, and many tech companies are ready to show off their gadgets. Alcatel OneTouch plans to attract attention on the show floor with its line of affordable phones and watches. But this time the price isn't the biggest draw.
The Alcatel OneTouch PIXI 3 series of handsets offer screens ranging from 3.5 to 5 inches. The smallest will only support 3G, while the 4", 4.5", and 5" options should handle 4G LTE as well. All will apparently be able to run Android, Firefox OS, or Windows. Alcatel describes the devices as OS agnostic but doesn't specify if the same hardware will run each platform or if there will be different models to choose from. The company also didn't include photos with the press release, so we'll have to wait until next week to get more information on the phones.
There are very specific applications and implementations that make sense on Google's smartwatch platform. Minecraft isn't one of them. Even so, the first batch of Android Wear devices have at least as much processing power and memory as some of the older or cheaper smartphones, so it was only a matter of time before someone tried something like this. That someone is YouTube user and Galaxy Gear owner Corbin Davenport.
Corbin says that he didn't do anything special to get Minecraft: Pocket Edition running on his Gear Live, just manually installed it (I'm assuming he used the standard ADB commands). Since the Gear Live uses a Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.2Ghz, with half a gigabyte of RAM and 4GB of storage, it's got more than enough oomph to play the ubiquitous building game, though I'm betting that it's only working in local mode.
This is a story you've heard before - Samsung has announced another smartwatch. Not content with its current bevy of smartwatch offerings, the South Korean manufacturer has introduced the Gear S, a new Tizen-powered watch with a curved display that Samsung says "enhances the smart wearable experience."
The watch has a 2.0" SAMOLED display at a 360x480 resolution, a 300mAh battery, a dual-core processor, and a handful of sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, barometer, and sensors for ambient light and UV. Like some of Samsung's other watches, users can also make and receive calls from the device.
Like other Google I/O attendees, I picked up an Android Wear device at the conference. I went with the LG G Watch. What follows is not really a review so much as my experiences and thoughts about Wear thus far, having lived with it literally every day since picking it up. I'll include some of my opinions on the platform (ignoring for now the hardware), and what I think might be relevant insights and comparisons to Google's other efforts (like Glass). If you've not had your fill of editorial Wear discussion yet, let's get started.
My First Smart Watch
I'll confess - I've never owned a smart watch before the G Watch.
There have been rumors recently that LG's G Watch might be the focus of Google I/O's Android Wear discussion, with the nascent device possibly being handed out to attendees. Whether Moto's watch, the Moto 360, would make an appearance has remained unclear. Until today though, those were the only two Android Wear devices even rumored for I/O cameos.
Cnet has reported, however, that Samsung will (according to sources) be throwing its hat into the Android Wear ring at I/O as well, debuting an Android Wear smartwatch of its own. Cnet's sources only divulged that the manufacturer may show off a watch at I/O, one of two models apparently being developed (one with Samsung's own chips and one with Qualcomm processors).
One of my few complaints with the Netflix app for Android has always been that the app makes it more difficult than it should be to indulge in binge-watching behavior. Watching episode after episode of a TV show meant either going back into the episode list again, or hitting the show's tile from the home view again, and neither was ideal.
With a recent update, however, Netflix has added what it calls a "post-play" experience, which gives users the number and title of the next episode, along with a big red "play next episode" button. Just like on the web, the next episode will play automatically unless you stop it.
Typically, AP refrains from covering crowd-funding projects that have not yet reached their funding goal. Sometimes, though, there comes a campaign that is just too good to pass up. These campaigns usually fall into one of two categories - either the yet-unfunded campaign is unbelievably awesome, or it's really weird and kind of ridiculous. We'll let you decide which bucket the HeadWatch falls into.
On the surface, the HeadWatch looks pretty much like any current smartwatch - it receives notifications, can manage phone calls, and has a big square display and unfashionable wrist strap. The Indiegogo page boasts "easy app deployment," a total lack of buttons, and contactless temperature sensing (see video above), along with plenty of other nice-sounding features.
As part of its Mobile World Congress presentation, Huawei officially unveiled its own entry into the wearable market with the TalkBand B1. There's no denying the device looks odd, but there's functionality hidden in its slightly weird-looking body. The display portion of the device actually pops out and can be used as a Bluetooth headset, while the band itself can be uncapped to reveal a USB connector for charging.
According to CNet's hands-on, Huawei claims 7 hours talk time and 2 weeks standby battery life for the device. The device's readout is an OLED display at 1.4", and users will need to manage the "smartband" via their phone running Android 2.3 or higher.
Here's a fun way to pass the time while you're catching up on CES news at home: take a drink of your favorite spirit every time you see the word "wearable." Now say goodbye to your liver. Korean manufacturer LG has decided to enter both the smartwatch and fitness tracker markets at once with the Lifeband Touch, a watch-style Bluetooth device with an OLED screen.
Both fitness tracking and remote notification bases are covered here. The Lifeband Touch will track your steps taken, distance, and calories burned, and use the OLED screen as a readout for said data. When you throw in a pair of LG's "Heart Beat" headphones, they'll use an integrated optical sensor to measure your heart rate as well.