Amazon's Alexa voice control assistant is undeniably slick, but the initially limited availability and high price of the flagship Echo device kept it out of the hands of a lot of people. New Alexa-powered gadgets like the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap have lowered the barrier to entry, but the real opportunity is in devices that license Alexa for use on other hardware. Such is the case with FABRIQ, an inexpensive wireless speaker that works with Alexa out of the box. Read More
Updates are still a huge pain point for many Android OEMs, but Google's usually been okay with them. Historically, devices with the Nexus nameplate have received around two years' worth of updates; for instance, the LG-made Nexus 5, which was released in late 2013, is stuck (officially) on Marshmallow, which was released in late 2015. That trend seems to be continuing with the Pixel phones. Read More
Android Pay has slowly been growing to more and more regions, and now has finally reached the city of Hong Kong. This makes Hong Kong and Singapore the only regions in Asia supported by Android Pay.
Pay will be accepted at over 5,000 locations including 7-Eleven, Circle K, Fortress, McDonald's, and more. This works exactly like Android Pay in other regions; just install the app and you're good to go.
MasterCard and Visa cards are supported, as well as cards from BEA, DBS, Dah Sing Bank, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank. Online and in-app transactions with Android Pay also work. Google is also encouraging additional merchants to support Android Pay, so Hongkongers might have more locations accepting Android Pay in the near future. Read More
Android Pay now supports a ton of banks and credit unions, but most of them are small, local ones. That's not changing with these latest additions; I don't recognize a single name here. Hopefully, those of you who use smaller banks will have better luck. Read More
The Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview 1 just came out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Pixel C, and we're already seeing quite a few improvements over 7.0 Nougat. Some of the most noticeable changes are in the notification panel; not only are there now six mini Quick Settings toggles, but Settings is easier to get to. Read More
Google recently renamed their Google Apps for Work service as 'G Suite,' which I still think sounds silly. However, the features Google announced today for all G Suite users are anything but.
Possibly the most important new feature is Action Items, which are Docs files assigned to a person or group of people. You can assign documents to others, which then appear on the recipient's main Drive screen with a special badge. Additionally, when you create a comment on the desktop site along the lines of "Phil to enter numbers for this week," Docs can figure out whom you are talking about and assign it to them automatically. Read More
Google promised a developer preview of Android 7.1 before the end of the month, and here it is sooner than you might have expected. Android 7.1 ships on the Pixel, but now you can try it on the Nexus 5X, 6P, and Pixel C. If you want in, head to the Android beta program page. Read More
Google's Pixel smartphones have just begun shipping in most countries (some lucky Aussies got them last week), but Verizon, a carrier notorious for slow updates, will be pushing an update with build number NDE63P out to their Pixels tomorrow. Impressive.
The update is so small that the changelogs for both the Pixel and Pixel XL only have five words: "This update improves Wi-Fi connectivity." It's almost definitely just a fix for a small bug that Google caught before the public release of the phones. It's likely that phones from the Google Store will also receive this update, if they don't ship with it already. Read More
The Galaxy Note 7 may have left us too soon, but LG wants you to remember that it also offers stylus-equipped Android phones! Granted, the G3 Stylus and G Stylo weren't exactly in the same super-premium league as the Notes, but they had big screens and pointy sticks, and that's what counts. The LG Stylo 2 wasn't blessed with a G, and perhaps that's why it hasn't come to any American carriers. Spotting a hole where a superfluous letter needed to go, Verizon decided to slap a "V" on the end. So now we have the Verizon LG Stylo 2 V, coming to a retailer near you on October 20th. Read More