It's time for some real talk about Android Wear. If I'm being completely honest, I wasn't sold on the idea of a smart watch when Wear was announced. Even after using the original G Watch I wasn't sure I'd find value in having Android on my wrist. It took a few updates for Wear to find a place in my life, but through it all there have been bugs. Some of that is to be expected, but here we are nearly two years after Android Wear launched and connectivity is still bad for a lot of users. While I quite like Wear now, you have to wonder why this is still a problem. Read More
An update to the Google Photos app just rolled out, bringing the current version number up to v1.17. This release is pretty straightforward with just one notable change: photos can now be edited in a non-destructive fashion. In other words, you can make changes to a picture and still return to the original version if you like. That feature alone is certainly enough to make this a worthy upgrade, but a teardown provides some good clues about features that are probably coming in the next couple of releases, assuming they're not already here. Read More
Remember that sweet 25% discount on the Pixel C tablet for "developers?" (Don't worry, you don't actually have to be a developer.) Originally it was only available to buyers in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, but as of today it's been updated to apply to a handful of new counties. Customers in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland can now take 25% off of the local currency price.
Remember that the discount requires a code, which may take anywhere from a few hours to a day or two to hit your inbox once you request it. Read More
If you route all of your voice calls through data-only web tools like Hangouts, you may want to keep an eye on T-Mobile. According to an internal leak posted by Tmo News, the "uncarrier" will offer a surprisingly wide array of data-only options starting later this week. While these plans are still under the "Simple Choice" label, they're considerably cheaper than the existing options thanks to omitting voice services. The plans do include the now-standard unlimited texting, whether you need it or not. Read More
When Android 6.0 landed, it brought a big new battery-saving feature called Doze mode. While it was great at reining in known troublemakers like social network apps and misbehaving games, Doze had a bad habit of knocking out apps with genuinely important roles to play. One such app was Android Wear. Today, a new update to the Wear companion app adds awareness of Doze Mode and prompts users to add it to the protected list.
Doze Mode Support
When the Android Wear app starts up for the first time after updating to v1.5, it will have a bright blue notice on the screen to let you know that your watch may not remain connected unless the Wear app is allowed to run in the background. Read More
Last June, dbrand released bamboo device skins, but they sold out in less than two days. Since then, the company has been getting everything in place to bring back bamboo without the supply issues. Bamboo is back starting today, and that's not all. To celebrate, dbrand is discounting everything by 30% for the next 48 hours. Read More
The Google Admin app is the go-to mobile tool for managing Google for Work accounts. This piece of software provides system administrators with the ability to add or remove users, change their passwords, and perform other puppet master-like tasks. If you're a person with such responsibilities, the latest update puts a few more tricks in that bag of yours. Read More
You might have missed it in all the CES madness this year, but Huawei announced a few new versions of the Huawei watch intended for ladies. At the time, we saw two styles (still shown on the worldwide site), but Huawei's Chinese website now shows four of them with a mix of bands. Of course, none have actually gone on sale anyplace we're aware of. Read More
If you listen to a lot of podcasts, you probably spend at least ten hours or more every week getting through them. A common feature of podcast playback tools is the option to speed up playback, allowing at least some users to get through these almost entirely spoken-word programs more quickly. Popular Android podcast manager Stitcher now includes this option... but oddly, only for devices running Android 6.0 or later. The tool can speed up playback to 1.25x, 1.5x, or 2x (which is insanely fast). It can also slow playback by half.
Other changes in this version (3.5.5 on my Nexus 6) are mostly bug fixes, notably including a major bug for Wi-Fi detection on Marshmallow phones and tablets. Read More
AT&T customers looking for another hotspot option will have one come April 1st. And no, that's no April Fools' joke. It would be a very bad one if it were.
AT&T is releasing the Unite Explore, a rugged portable hotspot that you can take on your next hike or camping trip. The device is advertised as dustproof and resistant to both water and shock. Read More