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
One of the best things about smartwatches is that they finally give the fashion-inclined the ability to switch out watch faces without buying another $300 bit of wrist jewelry. There have been attempts to create systems whereby end users could easily create their own digital watch faces ever since the original Pebble, with varrying degrees of success. Now Asus, which has already released dozens of custom watch faces for its ZenWatch and ZenWatch 2 customers, has created its own custom watch face maker app.
ZenWatch FaceDesigner, in addition to being number one with a bullet on the Most Wanted list for camelcase offenders, offers Asus smartwatch users a way to quickly and easily make and install customized watch faces for the ZenWatch. 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
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. Read More
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. Read More
Are you excited to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Have you taken out a second mortgage to pay for all the new action figures, LEGO sets, Millennium Falcon quadcopters, and a tiny army of BB-8 Sphero droids? And do you still have about twenty-five bucks left over? Then you might want to check out the latest licensed phone decals from Slickwraps, starring none other than Darth Vader and Stormtrooper #5. According to the official Empire Strikes Back Annotated Companion, his name was Martoona Chumscrubly and he once served Obi-Wan a Coke in the Mos Eisley Cantina before being press-ganged onto a Star Destroyer, getting a mild burn from a stray laser blast delivered by Han Solo, and retiring with disability pay to another galaxy with less obsessive lore. Read More