After several weeks of rumors, Google has announced their partnership with Softcard. The purpose of this venture is to combine forces with Google Wallet, which has been around since 2011 but never enjoyed wide usage. With Apple Pay having recently entered the fray, Google apparently felt the time is now to get their service back on the map. Buying their competitor Softcard's technology, though, is just the beginning.
In addition to gaining Softcard's back end, Google Wallet will soon be preloaded on all phones sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the United States.
The Nexus 7 will be two years old this summer, but it's still a great little tablet. We still see batches of refurbished units pop up on eBay and other deal sites from time to time, but this might be your last chance to get a new one right from the source. Asus is selling the Nexus 7 with a bundle of goodies for $199.
When LG announces mid-range phones, it does not play around. The Korean OEM has dropped four new devices today with a wide range of specifications and familiar design. None of these phones will be a replacement for the LG G3, but they will launch with Android 5.0 Lollipop.
A developer has done the (almost) unthinkable: gotten an Android Wear watch to work with an Apple iPhone. More specifically, it's a Moto 360 and an iPhone 6. Maybe more surprising is that he did not need to jailbreak the iPhone to do it, even though his happens to be. It's not exactly clear how much he needed to modify the watch, but he's obviously loaded custom software onto it. Here's a proof-of-concept video:
If you don't like videos, it shows a text message rolling in on the iPhone and an alert subsequently popping up on the Moto 360. The notification on Android Wear has the appearance of a Hangouts-type alert, just with the Apple Messages icon instead.
Search, as the foundational product Google is known for, is obviously something the company is very thoughtful of when it comes to design. Even small changes can cause a big impact on user experience and engagements, so Google is careful about how design tweaks are implemented.
One common method of testing and easing into (or out of) design tweaks is A/B testing (something we recently saw Google experimenting with in the Google+ app). Today, it looks like Google has begun an experiment on its search engine results page when users search from Chrome on mobile devices. Rather than show results in a lineup, separated by gray lines, Google is playing with a layout that puts each result on its own card, underscored by a line colored to match one of Google's four primary brand colors - blue, green, yellow, and red.
Samsung loves hype, and it's that time of year for a flagship launch. We don't always report on teasers, because they so often don't give us much information. Still, we can put the many teasers for Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S6 together and get something worthwhile out of it.
Samsung has given several signals that they are going to be very proud of the camera in the S6. A leak from several months ago suggested the shooter on the back of the S6 would be either 16MP or 20MP, they weren't sure. Let's take a look at the teasers for more insight.
With just a week until we can expect to formally meet HTC's next flagship, we're already feeling like old friends of the device. We've seen it purportedly leaked sixways to Sunday, and if today's materials are to be believed, it looks like some of those leaks ended up being right. The HTC One M9 appears to have surfaced on Cyberport.de with copious renders and full specifications. First, let's have a look at the specs.
If you have ever been traveling and wanted to know where the best place to get gas is, you might know that this can be kind of difficult at times. Gas station X might be near you as you search for options, but is it on your route? Or, you don't want to stop just yet, making that problem even more complicated. Well, Google Now has added a card to help with that.
Those we have heard from were not navigating when this card popped up, but they were driving. Google is noticing the speed you are moving and making a prediction about where you're headed in order to give you this information.
Wallet has to be pretty frustrating for Google. They beat Apple to the punch by quite a long time, but the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus basically introduced the lay public to mobile payments. How did this happen? Insert the tired cliches about Apple's control over hardware and software here. More interesting is what Google will do, considering how much they still have to gain by getting more adoption of their Apple Pay competitor.
A report by The Wall Street Journal indicates that Google is not going to stand pat while this burgeoning market passes them by. While it seems much is still in the air, Google is apparently planning several interesting things to remake Wallet, which they will re-introduce at this coming May's I/O conference.
Google has come out unscathed from a lawsuit in which consumers accused the company of anti-competitive practices. The basic allegation was that Google requires manufacturers to use a Google version of Android and that the way they place their own apps at the forefront has increased prices and prevented potential rivals from emerging. The main issue is the stipulation that Google's search be default in order to preload Play Services on Android devices.
There is probably some merit in the raw outline of the complaint; requiring Google Search to be default in order to access the rest of the Google goodies has probably held down competitors both in the search and mobile software market.