Since the launch of the Moto X, Motorola has been pretty good about releasing timely Android updates... though that's been called into question recently. Apparently at least one variant of the original Moto X (the one from 2013) has been lagging a long way behind as well. The Sprint version of the phone only recently got its over-the-air update to Android 5.1 (the one from February). Before now it had been running Android 4.4.4 (the one from 2014). Read More
Audio latency is defined as the time delay that a signal experiences as it passes through a system. On a mobile device, this is deeply related to how long it takes between tapping on a screen and receiving audio feedback. Low audio latency can be the difference between an immersive gaming experience and an unpleasant, disconnected one. Too long a latency and a device can begin to feel strangely laggy, even if every visual animation is snappy and responsive. It is especially important — essential, even — for recording and composing music, since slow audio feedback can easily throw off even the best artists and destroy their creative process. Read More
There are new Android Wear devices coming out finally, but truth be told, they aren't much different than most of the older ones. So, the Watch Urbane deal on eBay is a solid one if you want a round smart watch. This device launched at $350 (still nearly $300 most places), but you can have it for a mere $214.99 right now. Read More
With the unveiling of the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, we knew that cellular and speaker capabilities were coming to Android Wear. Yesterday, Google officially announced cellular support and explained how the feature will let you use your watch without being near a phone. However, missing from that post were details about whether or not the watch will communicate back to you using its speaker and whether other watches with speakers will also be able to do the same.
Cody's teardowns of various Google apps yesterday revealed the underlying basis for speaker support on Android Wear. We know that Play Music will likely let you play music through the speaker and Google's app is ready to implement text-to-speech. But it turns out that Google has already revealed a bit more about speaker functionality on new watches, except it hid it in its Support pages. Read More
With all of the activity surrounding YouTube Red, including a brand new YouTube Music app, it seems like a good time for a Play Music update. Version 6.1 just landed and aside from a mysterious new "Auto-offline" feature and a bit of cleanup in the Settings screen, it looks like a pretty typical bug fix release. However, the teardown tells a different story. It looks like this version also brings support for the recently announced family plans and Android Wear speaker support. As usual, we've also got a download link at the bottom if you can't wait for the apk to roll out to your account. Read More
As part of Google, Motorola garnished a reputation for speedy updates. These days the company has a new owner, and those OTAs don't seem to come out as reliably as they used to. But Motorola hasn't gone back on its promise to bring Marshmallow to something, and now it's beginning its rollout for the 2015 Moto X Style and the 2014 Moto X, according to Senior Director David Schuster. Read More
Things are heating up for Android Wear lately. Earlier this week, a new version of the Android Wear companion app began rolling out to make preparations for the next OS update. There's now an update to the Google app in the Beta channel which follows up with some interesting changes of its own: a new Wear-specific app that places the Google Now stream into a distinct card on watches. A teardown also shows some interesting new experiments for continuous queries and text-to-speech. There's even a small tweak for the Google Now Launcher.
The Google Now Card
Views of the new Google Now card and the first page to the right. Read More
Google "surprised" us all yesterday by announcing that cellular support was coming to Android Wear. Cue in Oooohs and Aaaaahs and gasps of jubilant shock. Having already heard about the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE through its teaser video back in September, it was pretty much a given that Wear watches were about to learn a new trick and cut their umbilical cord tether to their phones. But understandably, Google had to make things official just in time for the release of the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. (I'll call it WU2LTE from now on, ain't nobody got time for that shit!)
The WU2LTE is coming to the US in the next few days, and it's already available for pre-order on both AT&T and Verizon's sites. AT&T will be selling it starting $199.99 with a two-year contract. Read More
Raise your hand if this comes as unexpected news to you. Crickets. Alright, we know Google isn't really revealing the most secret of secrets with its newest "Cellular support comes to Android Wear" announcement, but it is clarifying a few things we didn't know about how LTE would work on our smartwatches.
In his post, Peter Ludwig, Product Manager for Android Wear, explains that cellular connectivity on Wear will allow you to leave your phone behind and use your smartwatch on the go. However, it doesn't seem like you'll be able to completely forego the phone, à la Samsung Gear S2, because both phone and watch will need to be turned on and connected to a network for Wear to do its thing. Read More