Asus has lately become the king of anime-style transforming electronics, with their Transformer tablet line and Padfone devices. It looks like Google is paying attention, at least when it comes to conceptual hardware. US patent 8,649,821, granted to Google in February of this year, describes a laptop with a built-in and detachable cell phone, with the two working in tandem for various functions. While Android and Chromebooks aren't specifically mentioned in the patent documentation, it's easy to assume they were on the engineers' minds, since it was filed in September of 2012.
If you want a mid-sized tablet with a high-resolution screen, LTE connectivity, and you don't mind going with Amazon's ecosystem, but don't want to spend much money, today's Gold Box deal should be particularly compelling. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE version (the previous high-end Kindle Fire model, from late 2012) is discounted by $80 today, bringing its price down to $219.
There's just one catch: it's a refurbished model.
If you were tempted to pick up a refurbished Galaxy Note 10.1 during the deal we posted earlier this week, but the 16GB internal storage left you wanting, an even more enticing offer just appeared on eBay. For just $11 more, you can score a model with 32GB built-in!
- 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 Super LCD display (~299 ppi)
- Exynos 5 Octa (1.9 GHz Quadcore + 1.3 GHz Quadcore)
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage + MicroSD expandable storage
- 8MP rear camera / 2MP front camera
- S-Pen Stylus
These are manufacturer refurbished units and should operate as if they are fresh off the factory floor, but they may have "light signs of use." This is a pretty remarkable deal for a 2014 model (released Oct 2013), especially since $415 is the lowest price available for a matching refurbished unit on Amazon.
A few days ago, Google added a line of official snap cases to the Play Store for the Nexus 5. Some readers may be yearning for a closer inspection of Google's late-entry accessory, which - at first glance - looks a lot like the myriad cheaper options available online, so we're going to give it a quick look.
To tell the truth, the selection of snap cases online isn't separated from the official case by much.
If you've got an HTC One on T-Mobile, whether it's the original from 2013 or the new One M8, you have a software update headed your way. Nether is packing a new version on Android, because they're both running KitKat, but new features are inside nonetheless. One M7 owners get a refreshed version of HTC's Sense interface, and One M8 owners now have access to the Extreme Power Saving mode.
Good news, sports fans: ESPN is almost definitely adding Chromecast support some time in the near future, as strongly suggested by the Google I/O 2014 Sandbox page. Here it is, GIFified.
ESPN is one of the most-watched cable channels in America, so this is doubtless exciting for a great many folks out there, and the description does suggest that live streaming will be available. Chromecast is certainly stacking up to be one of the most competitive video streaming experiences out there, and while competitors like Apple TV and Roku already support ESPN through the WatchESPN service, the fact that the Disney-owned channel is headed to Google's hardware is encouraging nonetheless.
Google changed the policy for app refunds from 24 hours to 15 minutes a few years ago, but Android users eventually adjusted to it. There is still a less prominent way to seek a refund after the 15 minute window if you have a legitimate gripe – it's tucked away in the Play Store order history. However, at some point recently, Google changed the way these refund requests worked.
The blog iTechTriad posted this as a PSA and a potentially serious bug on April 8th, and we've spent the last several weeks digging for details, eventually confirming it as a new Google policy.
HTC's software versioning is a little more complicated than it is with other Android OEMs. You might have Android 4.4.2, but be lacking many of the features found on a newer device because you have an older version of Sense. HTC can, and does, update these independently. Such is the case with last year's HTC One – some versions of the M7 are getting Sense 6 today to go with their KitKat ROMs.