Happy birthday, Chromecast. From your interesting but utilitarian beginnings you've turned into a streaming powerhouse, giving Android and Chrome users a ton of options for streaming music, video, and what have you. Just lately that also includes the super-cool capacity for transmitting mirrored audio and video from your phone or tablet right to your TV. It's been a good year, and to celebrate, Google is giving each and every Chromecast owner a free three-month subscription to Play Music All Access.
Big Red is welcoming two new devices to its stable today: HTC's mid-range
One Mini 2 One Remix, and Samsung's 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 4. Both are available on the Verizon website right now, and should be in retail stores today or soon thereafter. The One Remix costs $49.99 on-contract (half of what we expected), or $449.99 without the commitment, which actually isn't bad as far as Verizon phones go.
Recently, we posted about a new feature Google was testing to help users better "explore" their surroundings, offering more fine-tuned exploration options for a user's immediate vicinity or their destination, with suggestions of what to do in the area based on time of day or conditions. The interface would apparently get its own button in Google Maps' primary view, but the button only appeared for a few users at the time.
Perhaps you don't remember the Xperia L – this 2013 handset never made much of a splash in the US. However, it's proven a popular budget device internationally. It probably won't be seeing a ton of update love through official channels, but at least you'll have CyanogenMod. The first nightly build is available for the Xperia L right now.
Like other Google I/O attendees, I picked up an Android Wear device at the conference. I went with the LG G Watch. What follows is not really a review so much as my experiences and thoughts about Wear thus far, having lived with it literally every day since picking it up. I'll include some of my opinions on the platform (ignoring for now the hardware), and what I think might be relevant insights and comparisons to Google's other efforts (like Glass).
Amazon's Prime Music service, a free add-on for anyone who's already a Prime subscriber, launched to a resounding "meh." The app and service functions well enough, but with plenty of alternatives both free and paid, Amazon's boast of "over one million songs" rang somewhat hollow. As a Prime subscriber myself, I saw it as a nice perk, but it's no reason to stop paying for Google Play Music All Access as well.
Gigantic Verizon logo on the back? Check. Completely unnecessary Verizon logo on the front? Double check. That's the HTC One Remix, which is essentially the One Mini 2, if Verizon followed any sort of rational naming convention. It's official now (for real this time), and it's coming July 24th for $99.99 with a new contract.
When certain things finally happen, they make us want to search for that hidden ladder that takes people up to the rooftop and scream "Hallelujah," religious or no. This is one of those things. Google apparently no longer requires people with two-factor authentication enabled to sign in twice when setting up a new Android device or adding another account. Better yet, this change doesn't require Android L or anything fancy. Here's a video of the magic taking place on an HTC One M8.