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
Razer never seemed to really get behind its Android TV device. As far as we can tell, review units for the Forge TV were never sent to any of the tech media (not that we're bitter or anything. Razer. Not at all), and after brutal user reviews were splattered all over the Internet, the device still doesn't support the Android TV version of Netflix. Razer never released the neat-o mouse-and-keyboard combo designed specifically for couch gaming, the company's alternative to NVIDIA's PC game streaming software still hasn't materialized, and there have been no mentions of software updates or even notable game releases since the Forge TV launched in April. Read More
TAG Heuer has now officially announced the most expensive smartwatch running Android Wear, which means (by the infallible logic of luxury watch enthusiasts) that it's also the best. To be fair, in terms of materials and technical hardware, the TAG Heuer Connected probably is the best Wear device at the moment: it uses a new-to-Wear 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM, along with 4GB of storage and a 410mAh battery. That means it should be faster than most current Wear devices, and with double the memory, it might have significantly better performance. It had better: TAG's suggested price and the going rate on the online store is a whopping $1500. Read More
Version 1.4 of the Android Wear app started rolling out late Friday. The theme of this update, at least for what's currently live, is a set of changes to the Settings screen. There are a couple of new options, but they come at the expense of the battery stats screen. A look under the hood also shows that a few other features are either live or in the works for the next Wear OS update. Read More
The Chromecast is already a pretty fantastic deal for a streaming gadget, and it just keeps on giving. It looks like Google is repeating the $6 offer it extended back in February, giving users six bucks of Play Store credit for each Chromecast and Android TV box associated with their account. The credit stacks - I have both a Chromecast and a SHIELD TV, so I now have $12 in credit just begging to be used. Thanks, Big G.
We've seen this credit activated for both the original and updated version of the Chromecast, plus the SHIELD TV and Nexus TV. Read More
Until today, just five countries had access to Google Play TV shows: Australia, Canada, the US, UK, and Japan. Now, Germany and France have joined the rather [frustratingly] exclusive Play TV club, and that's not all. Germany and Spain are also getting access to redeemable Google Play credit promo codes starting today, both having already been in the list of countries with Google Play gift cards.
While Play Movies is available in dozens of countries, licensing television shows can be much more difficult. With many different distribution deals often occurring even within different regions of a given country, let alone for different seasons of a show, the number of deals that have to be made can be quite ridiculous. Read More
Once upon a time, Google got together with OEMs to sell Google Play Edition versions of flagship phones. They were expensive, but here we are in late 2015 and the 2014 HTC One M8 GPE just got Marshmallow. The regular M8? Good luck with that.