LG showed off the G4 at the end of April, we posted our review a couple weeks later, and we've spent the time since then waiting for the time when folks here in the US can pick the phone up from their network of choice. Availability and pre-orders have trickled out gradually, and now we've reached a point where the phone should be on sale across all five of the country's largest carriers.
Remember that "Voice Access" talk that was supposed to happen at I/O but was removed from the schedule? It turns out that, while it wasn't the full-on in-app voice craziness we had hoped for, Google did have some news about voice interactions to share.
Specifically, with Android M, Google has introduced the Voice Interaction API, which will allow apps to get a better handle on a user's voice-initiated requests. Check out the video below, by the leaders of a sandbox talk at I/O about voice actions.
The new API, as Google Search Developer Advocate Jarek Wilkiewicz explains, shouldn't be confused with custom voice actions.
Sony hasn't officially announced a second iteration of its SmartBand activity tracker, but it doesn't have to. It's already done the next best thing. Today it has launched a new companion app into the Play Store that's simply titled SmartBand 2.
The images from the listing give us an idea of what to expect. There's a heart rate monitor on the underside of the band, and one of the screenshots reads: The SmartBand measures your pulse at an even rate through out the day. There's also a "smart wake up" feature to provide you with a smoother start to your morning.
The Doom series is perhaps one of the most iconic in gaming, so much so that it's been ported and hacked onto just about every platform and gadget imaginable. There are plenty of unofficial ways to play Doom on Android, but today owners of NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV and SHIELD Tablet (and sadly, no one else) get a chance to own the entire series in a single package. Doom 3: BFG Edition is now available on the Play Store for $10.
This omnibus collection includes the original Doom, Doom 2, The high-end Doom 3 (originally released for the PC back in 2003), and all the expansions and extra content that the developers have created over the years, including eight new levels for Doom 3.
Sony doesn't have a huge presence in the US despite making a boatload of phones. Still, if you've got one, odds are good that you'll be seeing an Android 5.1 update in the coming months. The update will hit all Z series devices and a few of the mid-range models too.
Google Maps' support document has been updated to add Chile as well as Colombia to the list of countries with turn-by-turn navigation. Whether that means the feature is already activated in the two Latin American nations or is about to be, we're not sure. If you're a resident or happen to be there now, you can open your Maps application and check for yourself.
Sad as it may be, if you've been hearing that the G4 has wireless charging right out of its shiny new box, unfortunately that just isn't true. LG went on the record with us to state that no version of the G4 will be shipping with wireless charging as a standard feature, and that you'll need to buy one of the company's Quick Circle covers if you want to get your battery those sweet, sweet electrons via induction. Here are the specifics.
Almost every G4 sold around the world will support Qi wireless charging - once you buy the Quick Circle case.
Do you want the new LG G4? Well, go call dibs. That's not what this post is about. We're gathered here to talk about the G3. It's still a good phone. Only now, due to planned obsolescence, it's becoming a cheaper one. On eBay, you can get an unlocked GSM model for a pretty reasonable $340. This is the 32GB model, which AT&T still sells for $450.
These are new units, not refurbished ones. They're intended for use on AT&T's network, but you can take them to other GSM carriers, though T-Mobile customers may find that some bands don't quite match up.