Google's bookmark revamp (which was sometimes referred to as "Stars") has had a rough ride over the past dozen or so months. After being spotted online, it showed up as a standalone Chrome extension and web interface, then resurfaced as the Bookmark Manager for Chrome. It seems however that the experiment wasn't as positive or fruitful as the team had hoped, and the redesign has been canned - at least as the default bookmarks view in Chrome. Read More
If you look at the hero image of this post, you'll notice that, despite running basically the same software, my Galaxy S6 has a slightly different set of notification toggles than my S6 Edge. Specifically, the Edge is missing private mode. Both devices are missing the toggles for mobile data and hotspot, too, which they originally shipped with. But... why?
At this point, the frank answer is that no one knows. In a problem that appears to be affecting a huge number of Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge owners, several notification quick toggles in varying combinations seem to simply be evaporating out of the drawer. Read More
According to M&A giant Mesa Global, Ouya has officially been acquired by Razer, as was rumored last week. No details of the transaction were provided.
Razer, a PC and gaming accessory manufacturer with ecosystem fantasies, recently launched its Forge Android TV "console" to outright terrible customer reviews on Amazon largely because the box shipped without Netflix support or the promised PC game streaming feature meant to compete with NVIDIA's GameStream technology. Basically, it's junk at the moment - buggy and incomplete.
Ouya, a Kickstarter Cinderella story if Cinderella ended with the protagonist being sold into human bondage as a mannequin model at a moderately successful but tasteless high-end garment and shoe factory, also shipped a console box thing at one point, and we thought it was also pretty much terrible. Read More
The Moto Maker customization tool, first introduced with the original Moto X and later expanded to the second-gen model and (technically) the Moto 360, has been one of the company's more unique offerings. It's been slowly expanding since its launch in 2013, from the US to the UK, Germany, France, and China. Next up on the schedule is probably India, presumably starting with the second generation Moto X. Read More
T-Mobile is first out of the gate with an official update to Android 5.1.1 for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. You can head to the update menu right this minute and start downloading the 630MB OTA.
The Galaxy S6 comes with support for wireless charging, but if you're going to do (mostly) without cables, you're going to need a compatible pad. Samsung will gladly sell you one for $50, which some would consider a bit much to drop on an alternative way to power their device. Fortunately, you can currently get a third party option on Amazon for 1/5th the price.
Ionic Pro's Galaxy S6 wireless charging kit is priced at $20.95, but you can get it for $10.47 by entering the coupon code 2O5I8F45 at checkout.
The box comes with a wireless charging pad, a 2A wall USB adapter, and a microUSB 2.0 cable. Read More
NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV box has only been available for a few weeks, and it's already getting its over-the-air update. This one improves a handful of the SHIELD's app functions and its accessories. Notably, software build 1.2 enables 4K output in Google's Photos & Videos app, provided of course that you have a 4K TV to view them on. According to the changelog it also improves streaming performance for both Netflix and Google Play Movies. Read More
Amazon's HAL 9000-style voice controlled gadget thing, the Echo, (yes, that's the best way to describe it in a single sentence) is gaining more capabilities with each software update. If you can get over the creepy implications of that, it's amazingly cool. The latest update adds the capability to interact with user recipes from the popular IFFT (If This, Then That) web service. At the moment it's mostly requests for music, to-do functions, and connected gadgets.
The practicality of this is dependent upon which recipes you've created or imported. The example from Amazon's promotional email is an Alexa song request that's automatically funneled through IFTTT and shared on Facebook. Read More
We heard at Google I/O about Google's plans to help improve the experience of users on slow connections, especially in parts of the world where even 3G speeds are few and far between. They gave us a peek at how the search interface would change under those circumstances to improve those load times. Now, in select markets, the pages you click on will also be optimized to load much faster.
Google's estimates have you loading the page 4x as fast compared to the unaltered version when on a slow connection, with 80% less data. They claim, appealing to webmasters, that this results in 50% more pageviews due to the better experience and lower wait. Read More
BLU has been making some respectable low-cost unlocked phones over the last few years, and you can get your hands on one for cheap today. The BLU Vivo Air is on sale for just $150 on Amazon (that's $50 off). This deal ends at midnight on the west coast, so you'll want to decide soon.