Mozilla employees have mentioned a few times that the company is working on its own streaming device to compete with Google's $35 Chromecast, and now we're getting our first look at how it will work. The device is based on Firefox OS and actually plugs into most Chromecast-enabled apps out of the box.
Right now, in the slide-out "hamburger" menu of most Google apps, there's a Help button, with a tiny circled question mark icon. If a user needs help with the app (or anything else), this button will pull up a web page. Once on the web page, users can browse through categories for help articles and potential solutions or, if all else fails, request a support call from Google.
It looks like Google wants to make that experience a little more elegant, though.
Let's see what we can't do to get you outfitted for a relaxing weekend of mobile fun. I don't mean "mobile" as in you go anywhere, goodness no. I mean fun on your mobile device. I suppose that still applies even if you never leave the house. Anyway, here are some sales.
Despite the lack of all that many updates this year, the folks behind Path have big plans for their social networking app. Today the company has announced its acquisition of TalkTo, a company that allowed customers to get information about the businesses and places around them via text messages. It did this by hiring agents who would phone these locations and acquire the information in your place. Later this summer, Path plans to roll this functionality into its newly unveiled Path Talk instant messenger, where it will be known as Place Messaging.
We've been hearing rumors about Tegra-powered Chromeboooks for quite a while now (anyone remember the supposed Tegra 4-powered Chromebook Pixel?), but it looks like the first one could actually be set to release in early August. According to a product listing on Swedish retailer Komplett.se's site, the Acer-built Chromebook CB5 is packing a Tegra K1, 4GB RAM, a 32GB SSD, and a 13.3" HD display. Looking at images on the site, it appears that the device is sporting two USB 3.0 ports, an ethernet HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and an exterior that's ready to give the Samsung Chromebook 2 a run for its money.
If you're still on the fence about picking up a Google Play Edition of the LG G Pad 8.3, Sony Z Ultra, or HTC One M7, you may have run out of time. All three devices are presently showing as out of stock on the Google Play Store. History tells us that once devices go out of stock on the Play Store, they often tend to remain in that state indefinitely.
Amazon is hoping the Fire Phone will be a hit with consumers despite the higher than expected price and AT&T exclusivity. To make its case, the retailer is looking to ensure there are plenty of apps and games that take advantage of the device's unique features. Developers can get up to $15,000 in Amazon coins to give away to users if they go along. There are some caveats, of course, but that's a lot of free money.
If dramatic price drops and expanded software capabilities haven't convinced you to shell out for NVIDIA's Android-powered gaming machine, maybe a little free Play Store credit will do the trick. This referral link for NVIDIA's SHIELD store will net you a $25 Google Play Store credit for purchasing the SHIELD, which is still going for its reduced $199 price. C'mon, you know you want to.
You don't have to spend any of that $25 on games, but if you were so inclined, it could buy SHIELD versions of Valve's Portal and Half-Life 2, and maybe a movie and a cheap album to take advantage of the device's impressive audio.
An unexpected treat came zooming out of Google HQ today as Android 4.4.4 OTAs and factory images have started rolling out for Nexus devices. The updates have already been posted to AOSP and Al Sutton quickly followed up with a list of the changes. Since 4.4.3 is only 2 weeks old, and I/O is merely a week away, we had a feeling this was just a security update, and it looks like that's all it is.
Most of the significant changes are centered around fixing a recently discovered vulnerability in OpenSSL.
Both PCWorld and Bloomberg are reporting today that Google is on the record as saying the next version of Android will contain an anti-theft "kill switch," or as Google calls it, a "factory reset protection solution." Smartphones are among the most commonly stolen possessions in the world today, presumably because of their small size and high value. With increasing pressure from governments to incorporate built-in countermeasures to deter theft by rendering a user's smartphone inoperable in the event it is lost or stolen, expanding the existing Android Device Manager's features to include a reset-proof lockout only makes sense.