LG's Innotek arm unveiled a new fingerprint scanner implementation today that allows a scanner to be placed directly under a piece of glass, such as the bezel area of display cover glass on a smartphone. The new technology, then, is at least somewhat similar to Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sense ID in that it does not require an exterior element physically demarcating where the scanner sits, and can instead be basically invisible. Qualcomm's solution, though, uses ultrasonics to identify a fingerprint - LG's design appears to be of the traditional capacitive variety.
To be clear, the new technology does not allow the scanner to sit on or under the display itself - this is a problem not yet solved - merely for it to be hidden a bit better in the places where we see fingerprint scanners already. Read More
Google added support for delta app updates ages ago to save you from re-downloading an entire app every time there's an update. That's all well and good, but the process hasn't been very transparent. Now, it looks like the Play Store has started showing the size of an update rather than the full app size. Read More
Say what you will about the latest crop of Android Wear devices, but it would be hard to call any of them "feminine." Even with gold-plated bodies or thin bands, the chunky or boxy nature of the watches mean that they don't easily conform to the current designs of women's conventional watches. (For my money, the most svelte looking Android Wear device right now is the Asus Zenwatch 2.) But Huawei is willing to give it a shot: a few months ago we caught wind of two new variants of the Huawei Watch, the "Jewel" and the "Elegant," and now it appears both of them will soon be available in the US. Read More
Sphero's tiny, motorized BB-8 droid (based on the company's well-known ball robot design) was the Star Wars toy to have when Episode VII hit theaters last year. It's become less of a hot commodity since then, but Sphero keeps adding new things to do with the toy, and now you can actually find it on store shelves. The miniature astromech was just a little past the impulse buy range at $150 retail, though it looks like most retailers have taken it down to $130 or so. Today Amazon has the toy for even less. Read More
WhatsApp has conquered the world of low-cost SMS alternatives, at least in the international market. The company's practically free system, which uses standard phone numbers and a text message-style interface, gained hundreds of millions of users before being acquired by Facebook for an amazing $19 billion. WhatsApp already offers a web interface for sending and receiving messages away from your phone, but it looks like something a bit more complex may be in the works. Read More
Google apparently has a Material Design UI overhaul in the works for YouTube and it looks pretty good. While it has not yet been pushed to the masses, it is apparently being tested on a small group of users while the developers look for bugs and Google braces for any negative feedback (people hate change, remember). Here's a look at the goods and a way to enable the new UI for yourself.
First, let's look at the homepage. Here's the current version:
And the new:
Not exactly a radical difference, but you do see the modern search bar that should be familiar from Google's Android apps and several web services as well. Read More
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we have a new licensed pinball game from Zen, a stylish take on Minesweeper, two retro-inspired platformers, another Sparke "life" game, a simplified brawler, and a connect-the-dots puzzle game. Without further ado: Read More
It's impossible to launch a new flagship phone these days without some fancy (and expensive) companion devices. At least that seems to be the approach that Samsung and LG are taking, and the former has a very interesting 360-degree action camera on the way. The Gear 360 captures both still photos and video in (you guessed it) 360 degrees thanks to dual lenses and a ball-like design. The Gear 360 is launched in Samsung's home market of Korea, and though it's yet to get a western release, the companion app is already available. Read More
Gfycat is an annoyingly misspelled place to post and retrieve animated GIFs, as well as more fancy-pants WebM videos. It's popular for uses where normal GIFs, which get surprisingly large as they get longer, are unwieldy or hard to embed. The tools on the site chomp standard videos and GIFs down into bite-sized versions, saving tons of bandwidth. The service has been around for a while, but now there's an official Android app... just don't try to download it on the Play Store. Read More