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. 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.
Some of you abuse your phones. You know who you are. You're the folks who are willing to fundamentally change the look, feel, and size of your phone by cramming it into an OtterBox case. A number of you have what few would dispute as a legitimate reason (you work in construction, work as a crash test dummy's stunt double—that sort of thing), while others just feel clumsy enough that their phones can't possibly survive the number of times they will fall against carpet and concrete. Either way, you're the type of person who may want to pick up a Galaxy S6 Active, which is now available from AT&T. Read More
Getting a software update from Verizon is usually a real treat, since Big Red isn't normally too fond of pushing them out. Well, Verizon Galaxy S5 owners, this is one of your special days. Before getting too excited, though, there isn't much to this one.
Weren't you dying to get GALAXY Apps on your S5? No? Too bad, here it is. This is the rebranded version of Samsung Apps, so newer is probably better, even if many users would prefer neither. GALAXY Apps should have a far wider selection than its predecessor.
A more meaningful update is that the fingerprint scanner can now be used to unlock your phone when you have a Microsoft Exchange account acting as a device administrator. Read More
Motorola pushed out the Android 5.0 update to some variants of the Moto X late last year, and that was followed by a few more 5.0 updates and now a 5.1 OTA for some devices. The DROID Turbo, on the other hand, is languishing on Android 4.4. A few rumored dates have come and gone, and now Motorola's David Schuster is trying to cool the speculation. He says it's still being tested.
Yesterday, we took a look at the upcoming Hangouts 4.0, a yet unreleased update that promises to clean up the Hangouts interface in many ways. But there was one thing we didn't cover in that post - the Android Wear app that will apparently come with the update to 4.0. Since yesterday we've been playing with the app and thought it would be good to follow up with a quick overview of what it does.
: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
When you think smartphones, ASUS probably rarely comes to mind. While the company has been building Android phones for several years now, their market penetration outside of Asia has been relatively low, and so they rarely get much attention in American or European markets. But the ZenFone 2, when it launched at CES six months ago, definitely raised eyebrows.
At a starting price of just $199, ASUS is offering up a phone with extremely impressive specifications for a do-a-double-take MSRP - it almost sounds too good to be true. Thankfully, I don't think it is - the ZenFone 2 is a solid phone that works pretty much like any Android 5.0+ device you'll encounter while simultaneously blowing the doors off pretty much any competitor at this price point for raw spec sheet power. Read More
Hey Verizon, you do know that your flagship and completely exclusive DROID Turbo is still running on Android 4.4, right? Right? That being the case, does it seem a little odd that the cheapest of the Moto line, the Moto E, which is only sold to pre-paid Verizon customers, now runs the latest version of Android? No? Well OK, then. If you have the second-gen version of the Moto E, expect an update sometime in the next few days. If you have a DROID Turbo, buy a Moto E.
Verizon's notes on Lollipop 5.1 don't mention anything out of the ordinary for the update, which shouldn't surprise you, since Motorola's cheaper phones run a version of Android that's almost completely stock. Read More