Cables, the technological innovation that just won't die no matter how bad some folks want them to. There are wireless ways to charge smartphones these days, as well as options for transferring data without pulling out a cord. But frankly I still reach for a microUSB cable to do both of these things, and the number of people who do hardly stops with me.
You've been able to tell Android to place calls by voice since time immemorial, but it has gotten a lot smarter over the years. Now, with OK Google commands, you can place a call without even touching the phone. It only makes sense you could activate the speakerphone in that situation, and indeed you can. At some point, Google added the ability to begin a call on speakerphone with only a voice command.
Ah, Adobe. You can't turn around without Adobe either discontinuing or releasing another app that fits somehow into its complicated product ecosystem. Today we're getting Android versions of Illustrator Draw and an app called Capture CC. The functionality of this one isn't technically new—it's an amalgamation of three other apps, which are being phased out.
If you're looking forward to a night of kicking back on the couch for a serious Game of Thrones marathon – or maybe Archer – you might want to check out the latest update to Play Movies & TV. Google's premium video app just got an update to v3.9 and it adds a feature many of us will know all too well: binge watching. Also making the latest version is an easier setup experience for Roku devices.
Android phones are beginning to cross over to USB Type-C for charging and data ports, notably with the OnePlus 2, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P. Other gadgets, laptops, and all sorts of electronics are also being equipped with the reversible port standard, but transitioning from the conventional USB ports (Type A, the rectangular shape) is going to make for some headaches over the next few years. If you and/or your family is stuck in the middle, check out this new car charger from Tronsmart: it uses both a USB Type-A port and a USB Type-C cable, and both of them are compatible with Quick Charge 2.0.
Android updates are in the spotlight again, thanks to Motorola's questionable dedication to its own recent products. And while you can (usually) count on at least one or two software updates for most flagship phones, sometimes a low-end device comes back and surprises you. Such is the case with the Galaxy Core Prime, a Verizon exclusive in the US which launched with Android 4.4 back in February. At the time the relatively small and underpowered budget phone was promised an update to Lollipop. Quoting David earlier this year: "Oh, and it actually comes with a promise of a Lollipop upgrade, so that's good, though how long it'll take is anyone's guess."
You can stop guessing: it took a little less than eight months.
Asus' ZenWatch series has gained a small but dedicated following since the original version was released thanks to the gadget's understated style and low price. The second watch in the series is now available on the US version of the Google Store, and unless we're mistaken, it's the first time the Android Wear device has been available for purchase in the country. The price is $149.99, quite low compared to competing Wear devices, and it's shipping now. Before today it was marked as "coming soon."
The ZenWatch 2 uses the ubiquitous Snapdragon 400 chipset with 4GB of storage and half a gig of RAM.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a sprawling pirate-themed RPG, a high-end first-person shooter, an impressive runner game, an innovative top-down horror title, a sequel to a puzzle favorite, and a couple of interesting casual games. Without further ado:
Swords & Crossbones
Swords & Crossbones is a humerus RPG that incorporates elements of turn-based tactical games and base-builders (without the freemium baggage that usually carries).
Cosmic Watch is not a watch face, or even a conventional clock app. It's an app that models the Earth, the solar system, and most of the familiar constellations in 3D specifically as they relate to both real time and any point in the past. It's also stunningly beautiful - you don't often see educational apps with such a focus on aesthetic beauty. The screenshots really don't do it justice; check out the video below:
The app is equally concerned with current astronomy and time-keeping and the more classical astrology, at least as it relates to the real model of the universe - there aren't any horoscopes telling you that you'll meet tall, dark strangers.