In just 3 weeks, we expect Google to officially announce a new subscription option that will allow users to enjoy YouTube completely ad-free. In the lead-up to this, both the web service and its Android apps have received a swarm of updates and features. In just the last month, there has been a revised web player, search for 360-degree videos, and some improvements to YouTube Kids (with more to come). Read More
Samsung has teamed up with Marvel to offer a free limited edition set of 4 Avenger themed Galaxy Note 4 phone cases to anyone purchasing the latest generation Korean phablet. Samsung generously applies a $200 value to the cases, but I think that estimate is about 4-5 times too high. They look like pretty typical snap on plastic cases, but the artwork on the back featuring symbols of Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America does look pretty snazzy and is sure to draw nerd lust from all your friends. Read More
Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a book. Read More
Last year, we shared some fascinating information surrounding a rumored effort called "Nearby." According to our information at the time, Nearby would enable Android devices to communicate with people, places, and devices that were, well, nearby.
At the time, we had evidence that the feature would come with a future version of Play Services, with a friendly overview for users explaining that the service could use device sensors to communicate with nearby things.
We've seen some of this functionality already - consider Chromecast's guest mode. The device can use ultrasonic sounds (picked up using your device's microphone) to connect to your device. Read More
After years of unsuccessfully pushing its almost-here software-defined Icera LTE modem, NVIDIA officially announced yesterday that the Icera unit, which it acquired in 2011, would be shutting down. The fate of the 500 employees working on Icera projects at NVIDIA was not announced, but may be in NVIDIA's quarterly earnings call tomorrow.
As recently as two years ago, NVIDIA was still pushing the Icera i500 LTE modem solution as part of its Phoenix Tegra 4i reference design phone platform, which saw adoption that could be counted on a single hand (OK, if the hand had six fingers). I believe ZTE, Xiaomi, and Coolpad were actually the only full-on Tegra 4 phone partners, each with a single, limited-run 3G phone that didn't even use Icera modems. Read More
Towards the end of 2014, Oppo released an update for the Find 5 that bumped the Jelly Bean-running device up to KitKat. It wasn't a quality piece of work, but it was something. Now we know that for the Find 5, along with the N1 and the R819, things won't get any better. No additional ColorOS updates are on the way. None of these devices will see Android Lollipop.
This news comes after a reader pointed us toward the Oppo forums, where a moderator stated that these three devices won't receive any more ColorOS updates. We've since reached out to Oppo, and today we received this short but straightforward statement:
"OPPO will not be providing a Lollipop update for the R819, N1 and the Find 5."
And that, as they say, is that. Read More
The Moto X line is a great destination for Nexus lovers who tire of feeling like beta testers for Google, but the transition does come at the expense of timely updates (not that all Nexus devices are speedy). Fortunately Motorola remains committed to getting its devices up to date, and it looks like Android 5.1 may soon come to both iterations of the Moto X.
Motorola has posted release notes detailing what users can expect from the 5.1 update. Read More
Back in January Xiaomi announced the Mi Note, a rather fetching midrange smartphone, and let loose some details regarding its more powerful sibling: the Mi Note Pro. Today, we got more information and an official release date for the Pro.
The Mi Note Pro is pushing the envelop of high-end smartphones with all-singing all-dancing all-heating specs. It has a sunlight-optimized 5.7" QHD 2560x1440 display from Sharp that crams 515 pixels per inch, 4G of RAM, a 64GB eMMC 5.0 storage module, a 13MP camera with OIS, dual SIM slots with LTE Cat 9 support, and Qualcomm's feverishly maligned Snapdragon 810 processor. Everything is powered by a 3090mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0. Read More