The landlocked European country of Austria and the Chinese island megacity of Hong Kong don't have a lot in common, but this morning (or this afternoon, depending on where you are) they can come together and bond over cheap Google streaming gadgets. The Chromecast just launched on the respective Play Stores in both territories, making it easy to get a hold of one without importing it or bribing your American buddies.
Today Amazon popped its yearly Kindle Fire update unannounced, showing off no less than four new models of its customized Android tablet family. The Kindle Fire HD Kids is being covered in this post, but the main event is the refreshed versions of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, Fire HD7, and the "all-new" Fire HD 6. These will make up Amazon's new line, scheduled to go on sale in October.
Along with a handful of new tablets, Amazon has officially announced Fire OS 4 (codenamed Sangria), which it says adds hundreds of new features to the "content-forward" operating system.
First and foremost, Amazon says the user interface in Fire OS has gotten a facelift. Amazon hasn't gone into detail in describing its UI changes, but visual tweaks are certainly welcome to an interface that can at times seem scattered.
Besides that, Amazon is touting new features like ASAP, Smart Suspend, and the addition of individual user profiles to make for easier sharing among families.
Amazon announced a handful of new Fire tablets tonight, one of which is designed specifically for kids. The company looks to be going after Fuhu's nabi and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 Kids with the Fire HD Kids Edition, and it's going straight for the jugular.
First off, the Fire HD Kids Edition (FHDKE?) has an unheard of two year, no questions asked guarantee. If the tablet gets broken any time within the first two years – regardless of how it happens – Amazon will replace it at no charge.
OnePlus listed several features as notable when it announced the One in an unnecessarily drawn out fashion earlier this year. One of those items was the selection of StyleSwap covers. The battery in the OnePlus is non-removable, but the back was designed to be replaced with other finishes and materials. However, manufacturing issues have caused the company to cancel the StyleSwap covers completely after a long delay. OnePlus explains on its forums that this isn't settling—no, this is just "complicated decisions."
In addition to a handful of new Chromecast-supported apps announced by Google, Sling Media is getting in on the action. According to this blog post, the Slingplayer app for Android smartphones now has Chromecasting capability. Though the latest update for the app itself was way back in July, Chromecast support is often enabled via a server-side switch, so it should be working now. Compatible Sling hardware includes the Slingbox M1, 350, 500, and SlingTV.
Punit Soni, VP of product at Motorola, just announced on his Google+ page that he is departing from the company. It's unclear why he's leaving or where he's going, but it's safe to say that everyone loved the work he did at Moto, and his influence on the company was definitely felt. He made it a point to essentially bring Motorola back from the dead where customers were concerned – timely updates and a good consumer experience were his top priority.
Just yesterday we saw Motorola flip the on-switch for Moto Maker for the new Moto X here in the US. Customers can head over to the site right away to design a phone that suits their tastes and purchase the unlocked model directly. This time around, eager shoppers in the UK, France, and Germany won't have to wait forever in hopes of tweaking their own version of the flagship. Moto Maker for the new flagship has gone live across the pond, even though the phone is not yet available for purchase everywhere just yet.
It looks like Republic Wireless is going for the Motorola hat trick: in addition to last year's flagship Moto X and mid-range Moto G, the American hybrid MVNO is now planning on selling the low-end Moto E to its customers. According to this post on the official Republic blog, the carrier's customized version of the Moto E will go on sale next month for $99, $30 cheaper than the retail GSM model.
Hot on the heels of Sprint's launch of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, AT&T announced that it will begin selling both the 8.4- and 10.5-inch LTE variants online and in stores beginning September 26. The carrier is also taking pre-orders for both tablets right now with a shipping date of September 23.
Big Blue is only selling the tablets in charcoal gray, so if you were hoping for white, you're out of luck.