If there's one thing we hear time and again about Android, it's the F word: fragmentation. While it's largely just an annoying word used to get under the skin of Android fans, I think in at least one respect, it's been a valid criticism: the wildly varying experiences Android users have with the post-purchase support and software on their handsets. Now, it's equally correct to say that's not really Google's fault, nor its responsibility - OEMs are the ones dropping the ball in a lot of respects here, and I totally agree with that!
The Galaxy S5 is set to launch on April 11th, but eBay's ready to throw a bone out to the more impatient among us. As a part of today's Daily Deals, the site is offering an unlocked Galaxy S5 for $699.99. That's nothing to sneeze at by any means, but it's more affordable than the same phone at Negri Electronics, where it's going for $720.50, or Newegg, where it's listed at a whopping $799.99.
Google Keep isn't the only app getting an update today – a new version of Play Movies is rolling out as well. This one comes with some UI refinements, news seeking behavior, and a few new settings. You want it? We can help.
USB cables - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. The USB has been both a beloved and bemoaned part of the tech world since the first big wave of USB1.1 consumer devices hit the market in the late 1990's, and we've all been universally serially bussing along ever since. You had USB type B, miniUSB, USB 2.0, microUSB, and more recently, USB 3.0. And now some phone manufacturers (COUGH SAMSUNG COUGH) are even using the semi-ridiculous USB3.0 Micro-B, which while it is backwards-compatible with the original microUSB, just seems like a really weird and unnecessary evolution of the standard.
Today Amazon announced FireTV, its new preferred set-top box for pumping media out to your TV. The $99 box primarily emphasizes shows, movies, and music, but it can also run apps and games. Now Amazon Game Studios has provided a sneak peek at what it's working on. These are games that, as the company describes underneath the first YouTube video, are "built from the ground up for Kindle Fire tablets and Fire TV." Whether any of this content will eventually arrive on other Android devices remains to be seen.
Google is rolling out an update to Keep today, and it's a pretty big one. With the push to v2.2 Keep is gaining a few new features, but probably the first thing you'll notice is that wacky orangey-yellow action bar.
Samsung makes absolutely anything and everything that can fit inside a home. Whether it's the TV showing the big game, the refrigerator chilling the beer, the computer keeping track of everyone's fantasy rosters, the phone you silenced so no one can nag, or the washing machine needed to get that nacho cheese stain out, Sammy's got you covered. Now the Korean conglomerate has dropped an app in the Play Store for controlling many of its appliances from a single location, along with the requisite plugins to make it happen.
Gary Busey has carefully crafted a reputation as a lunatic. True, a good part of that might just be his Hollywood persona, but you've got to admit it's entertaining. Someone at Amazon agrees, because they enlisted Mr. Busey's services for one of the first promotions of the new Android-powered FireTV set-top box. In this one-minute spot, Gary Busey talks to a lamp.
Amazon takes the initiative here, using a crazy shouting man to illustrate the fact that the competing Roku set-top boxes don't have voice control.
It's hard not to be excited about the future of Google Now. It's already an incredibly powerful tool, on its way to being a do-anything personal assistant, and we've heard tell of even more functionality from bill pay reminders to inferred events entries to contact-based reminders.
Today, though, we've heard about something that many have asked for from Google Now for a long time now - actual timer functionality. Search may not be getting its own built-in timer, but it won't be side-stepping your request to set an alarm, either.
Amazon has made it easy to access its streaming content on a number of living room devices, but now it's finally making a play for your TV with its own box – the FireTV. This $99 black box contains a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor (1.7GHz), 2GB of RAM, optical out, MIMO WiFi, and 8GB of storage. It runs a heavily modified version of Android as the base of Amazon's new content delivery platform.