If you've heard of Fuhu, you're either a parent, a tech news junkie, or both. The Los Angeles-based company makes the Nabi line of tablets, some of the first Android-powered devices to be made and marketed directly for children, and the forerunner of more widespread "kid" tablet variants from Samsung and Amazon. Android Police has reviewed several of its tablet designs. Fuhu announced that the company is being acquired by Mattel, famous makers of Barbie, Hot Wheels, and all manner of other children's toys and games.
Concurrently, Fuhu is also filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That's alarming, but according to the lengthy post on the official Nabi Facebook page, it's more of a procedural method than an actual decommission of the company as it currently stands.
Google announced that multi-room audio is finally available for the Chromecast Audio dongle today, after several months of waiting. The new feature allows you to simultaneously cast the same audio to as many CC Audios as you have on your network. You can create groups of dongles specifically, too, which then appear on the Chromecast app for any compatible device.
The update also adds support for 96KHz/24-bit lossless audio playback, which is important for those in the audio community concerned with larger, higher numbers that are ostensibly significant in terms of quality. If you don't know what those numbers really mean, trust me - you don't need to care.
The Google Photos app had some cool sharing features when it was released back in May, but now it's getting even better at sharing. Google has announced the addition of shared albums to Photos (announced a few months ago), and it's available today on Android, iOS, and web.
Unlike some of my colleagues in the tech media, I don't have any particular beef with Walmart. Yes, they sell cheap imported crap, and yes, they under-pay their employees, stiffing both the people who make stuff and the people who sell stuff. But if you object to that strongly enough to actually change your buying habits, you'll soon run out of places to buy things. I do, however, object to the idea of a mobile payment system that works at exactly one store. That's taking the biggest problem with mobile payments as a whole, the lack of inter-operability, and turning it into a selling point.
Version 1.40 of YouTube Kids, Google's way of getting your children hooked on video clips from a young age, doesn't want any youngster missing out on what's going on outdoors. Encouraging them to look away from the screen would be too risky, so instead YouTube Kids now has a winter-themed homescreen. Look at the snow, and imagine the cold.
About a month ago, Google engineer Benson Leung went on an Amazon crusade against companies claiming to sell USB Type-A to Type-C charging and data cables. As Benson found out from his extensive reviews, most of them were selling non-compliant cables with the wrong kind of resistor that could potentially damage your Type-C devices (like the new Nexus 5X, 6P, Chromebook Pixel). The list of correct cables was small and the braided USB 3.1 USB 2.0 iOrange-E was among them. It also happened to be the cheapest back then at $14.99.
A month later, the situation has changed a little bit.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow's text selection behavior changed, pushing the toolbar from the top of the screen to a floating one that pops up right above your finger. It also made this popup expandable and accessible to developers, some of which have since updated their apps to take advantage of this new option. First, Google Translate added a system-wide Translate button, making it possible for users to convert any word or sentence they come across into another language. Then Medium built a highlight and respond option inside the toolbar that only got triggered while using its app. Now Wikipedia's beta app has received an update to start searches from anywhere on your device.
Google is on an update spree for most of its apps, probably getting everything as ready as it could before the end of the year holidays. An update to Google+ rolled out yesterday, bringing the app up to version 6.9 and updating the look of the Notifications tab.
Previously, this tab was a slide-out from the right side of the screen, and it only covered about three quarters letting other content show beneath it.
SwiftKey — the company behind the eponymous keyboard app — has just released SwiftKey Symbols, an app designed to make it easier for non-verbal individuals to communicate. The picture-based keyboard was developed by a small team at SwiftKey that wanted to make it easier for children with autism or other speaking difficulties to express themselves, and is especially geared towards those individuals.
The app lets users construct entire sentences by picking an image from several categories, such as people, actions, and colors, or from the smart suggestion bar. By harnessing the prediction engine of the SwiftKey SDK, SwiftKey Symbols can more accurately guess at what words or expressions to suggest next.