Ever since Amazon announced the Echo, the platform and Alexa's voice commands have been expanding and adding more partners and features. They haven't, however, gained the magical ability to control your house's manual window blinds. It has though become possible to connect Alexa to an Arduino board, which increases the potential uses for the platform.
An enterprising guy has used that to his advantage, MacGyvering his way into smart window blinds with an Arduino (he uses a SmartThings shield for his Arduino to connect it to the rest of his smart home system), a servo, and some lasercut gears. He details the whole process, which I'll be honest in saying I don't understand the first thing about, in an Imgur post that I'll link below. Read More
Virtual reality is the tech topic du jour, with nearly every major hardware and software company (or one of their partners) looking into it in some capacity. Time will tell if this is just a fad or something that will truly change the way we interact with technology, but Google is hedging its bets. In addition to the growing Cardboard VR platform, a few user-facing changes in the second developer preview of Android N point to more robust support for virtual reality in the future. Read More
Dev previews are by definition not finished, so bugs are to be expected. Sometimes bugs are also patched, though. You might have noticed something that looks broken in the new Android N dev preview recent apps list, but it's not. The missing app previews are actually addressing a bug in the secure apps flag. It's a security thing. Read More
There are all sorts of exciting phones coming out right now, but let's not forget about the current-gen Nexus phones. They're both still great deals, and even more so today with the return of the sales from last month. You can get a minimum of $50 off the Nexus 5X and 6P. The Google Store just has the $50 discounts, but other retailers are offering even more. Read More
Not all of the LG G5's "friends" are available in the US, but the 360 Cam is one of them. To indirectly promote that device, LG is releasing a dozen new 360-degree live wallpaper landscapes for the G5. You can download them from the SmartWorld app on your phone. And hey, while you're at it, maybe buy that 360-degree camera so you can make your own! Right? Read More
In the first Android N Dev Preview, we spotted a Full Importance setting in the System UI Tuner that allows you to granularly control each app's notifications and decide whether you want them to show up, play sound, peek on top of your screen, climb to the top of the notification list, and more.
In the second N preview, the 5 levels are getting slightly renamed and there's an sixth added level for very urgent notifications. First, you'll notice a new Min importance setting level, but it does what the previous Low importance setting used to. The new Low importance is for what used to be the Normal importance previously. Read More
There are many ways to buy content on the Play Store: debit/credit cards, carrier billing, Paypal, and gift cards. The latter is one of the least complicated options since all you have to do is buy a card from the store, enter it into your account, and you're good to go. There's no need to worry about bank cards, carrier fees, or a Paypal connection. You can even gift these cards to friends and family members to encourage them to buy content.
Now gift cards are coming to Indonesia — one of the most populated countries in the world. They'll be available in 150000, 300000, and 500000 Indonesian Rupiah values (approx $11.37, $22.76, and $37.93, respectively) and will be sold at Indomaret stores. Read More
For a while, desktop Google Drive's selective sync functionality has been rather, well, selective. You could only select top-level folders. This meant you could select all of your music, or all of your photos, but not a specific set of albums.
Now that's changing. Read More
Play Music will soon let you listen to podcasts. No, I'm not trolling you. I know we ran a headline that said this way back in October. But we were just repeating Google's words. This time, we have a date: April 18th. Read More