After reviewing the Galaxy Gear, my feelings about smartwatches are the same as ever: meh. But a lot of people really, really like the idea of smartwatches. And it seems more and people either own one, or have one on order. So that's this weekend's question, nice and easy: do you own a smartwatch?
While nothing has been officially announced just yet, it seems all but certain that CyanogenMod will be coming to Oppo's new smartphone, the N1, as an officially supported alternative to the company's own custom software layer. I can indeed confirm that something CM-related is happening, because Steve Kondik is here in Beijing for the event (as am I!), which will be happening later tonight (more around very early morning in America).
I know, Chromecast and Google TV are obviously two different products. They don't share the same features or functionality, and one can be wildly more expensive than the other. But they're also attempting to solve the same problem, albeit with competing philosophies. That problem? Making your TV smarter.
The Chromecast chooses to do this as a sort of 'bridge,' making your smartphone, tablet, or computer the control center for your TV, while the Chromecast itself just acts as a sort of facilitator for this process.
Our time at IFA is drawing to a close, and after the dust has settled, it's pretty clear who came out on top in terms of interesting unveils - Samsung. The Note 3's new features, enhanced display, faster processor, and continued focus on maximizing screen space without increasing the size of the device itself have clearly kept people interested in the increasingly-popular line of handsets. Having played with the Note 3, I must agree - it's better in nearly every way than its predecessor.
It looks like some images of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, or at least a mockup used in an internal Samsung promo video, have leaked out. And, based on those images, this is apparently what the Galaxy Gear will look like in proportion to your wrist.
Large, one might say. Quite large, apparently - VentureBeat claims the Galaxy Gear will have a 3.0" display and seems to runs Android (or at least is capable of running some Android apps) in some sense of the word.
It looks very likely to be the case that Motorola will be charging a little extra for the wooden backs on the Moto X, and by a little, I mean in the neighborhood of $50 compared to the plastic X. Is there $50 of wood, workmanship, and assembly there to justify this premium? Of course not. It's an option that, like most "premium" add-ons for everything from cars to kitchen appliances, is there for those people willing to pay to get it.
Here's one we haven't done before for the weekend poll - wireless charging. As Qi wireless charging slowly becomes more and more popular, more handsets and tablets are supporting the standard. The big barrier to entry for many, though, are the charging pads that such devices require in order to take advantage of the feature. They aren't usually cheap if you choose to go with official OEM accessories, and even 3rd party solutions don't exactly come in at bargain-bin prices, and the few that do yield less than consistent results.
You may have noticed the new version of the Play Store app (4.3.10) has a little tweak. It now lists apps that you've updated recently near the top of the list (right under pending updates). How recently? We asked a Googler who confirmed it's 7 days. Is that maybe a little long?
This weekend's poll is easy - now that the dust has settled, the reviews have been published, and the bugs reported, did you buy the refreshed Nexus 7? I'm going to do my very best to accommodate you all in terms of poll answer choices, too, I promise.
Me? I didn't. I thought about it. I was actually determined to impulse-buy one if I could convince a Staples, Office Max, Best Buy, or RadioShack to sell me a unit a few days before they were supposed to go on sale (there were also AP-related motivations there, of course).