Google hasn't said much about how its new OnHub router works—it's a mysterious black box (blue cylinder, technically) with inactive radios and updatable firmware. The modders from Exploitee.rs have gotten their hands on an OnHub, and it didn't take long for them to root it. Interestingly, they rooted it like a Chromebook because that's sort of what the OnHub is—a Chromebook with no screen acting like a router. Read More
What's more annoying than a slow webpage? A slow webpage on your phone. Ain't nobody got time for that when a connection is bouncing back and forth between 3G and LTE. And that means a publisher somewhere is missing out on traffic. It's a lose-lose situation.
Unfortunately this is the hole we find ourselves in. Webpages aren't the simple creations they used to be. Sites plug in to other sites, meaning you have to wait for third-party ads, widgets, and comment sections to load up before you can start browsing the way you'd like.
To address this, Google is introducing what it calls Accelerated Mobile Pages. Read More
USB Type-C is the future... but the future isn't here yet. Odds are pretty good that most of your electronics still use the Type-A cable standard (the usual rectangular USB port that we've all become accustomed to). So for the next few years, converter cables and adapters will be needed in the same way that we used to need converters between Mini and MicroUSB cable types. Unfortunately, that's going to be the case for the Nexus 5X - the only cable and charger in the box is the reversible Type-C at both ends.
That's in contrast to the more expensive Nexus 6P, which comes with both a Type-C-to-Type-C cable and a Type-C-to-Type-A cable, presumably specifically because it's more expensive. Read More
Acting on a complaint by Russian search giant Yandex, Russia's antitrust authority has ruled that Google's policy forbidding the pre-installation of competing search providers on GMS-enabled devices is illegal in the country. Yandex, who dominates the huge Russian market on the desktop, has been hemorrhaging market share in mobile to Google. Their complaint is that Google cannot have a rule requiring Google be the default (and only) search engine on devices that ship with the Play Store.
Now, Google never prevents people from downloading a different search provider from the Play Store. From the perspective of Yandex, though, Google dominates the mobile market so much that this policy is an abuse of their power. Read More
The Nexus Player was never really the best set-top box, and thanks to the NVIDIA SHIELD, it's not the best thing running Android TV either. Fortunately you can get one for cheap. Best Buy is selling the thing for half of what you would pay on the Google Store. Yup, only $50. Read More
The new Chromecast is here! Well, sort of new. I mean, it is new, but it doesn't really do anything new apart from one oft-requested feature: 5GHz Wi-Fi (also, Wi-Fi ac support, if that matters to you [read: it probably doesn't]). Google has not only added higher-frequency wireless support to the new Chromecast, it's also doubled down on it with a new Wi-Fi antenna array that should increase signal strength and, potentially, speed for streaming. Also, the Chromecast is now a magnetic hockey puck thing.
Other than that, there are actually no significant reasons from a consumer standpoint to buy the new Chromecast if you already have the old one. Read More
After signing up for Google's Project Fi I had only to wait a couple of days before a SIM card and "Welcome Kit" showed up at my door. I noted that the accessories - a battery pack, earbuds, and white case for the Nexus 6 - seemed to be carefully and thoughtfully designed, even if the hard plastic boxes for each seemed a little extravagant. The welcome kit was foreshadowing for the rest of the Fi experience - thoughtfully put together and pleasing.
I've been using Fi (switching over from T-Mobile) for over a month now, so I thought it might be helpful to rewind through my experience and answer some questions would-be Fi users might be asking. Read More
OnHub is Google's attempt at a router that's easy to set up and, unlike most others, pretty enough to leave out in the open. But it could be prettier. Rather than roll out new hardware this early in the game, Google seems to be interested in producing new cases—or shells—to replace the blue one that comes with the device.
At least one person has completed a Google Opinion Rewards survey (Google's way of acquiring user feedback in exchange for Play Store credit) asking questions about the OnHub. Particularly, would you be interested in purchasing one of three potential shells, and what price would you consider reasonable? Read More
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. Read More