Things are heating up for Android Wear lately. Earlier this week, a new version of the Android Wear companion app began rolling out to make preparations for the next OS update. There's now an update to the Google app in the Beta channel which follows up with some interesting changes of its own: a new Wear-specific app that places the Google Now stream into a distinct card on watches. A teardown also shows some interesting new experiments for continuous queries and text-to-speech. There's even a small tweak for the Google Now Launcher.
The Google Now Card
Views of the new Google Now card and the first page to the right. Read More
Today, the Bluetooth SIG announced a series of improvements on the Bluetooth standard's "technology roadmap" in 2016 would offer enhanced range, speed, and mesh networking capability for the wireless communication protocol.
It's not clear if these changes will be part of a new standard (like Bluetooth 4.2 and beyond) or if there will be improvements applicable to older specs as well. In addition, we don't know if any of these improvements would require changes to the Bluetooth hardware itself, or whether both host and device must support the spec to see any kind of benefit. It's not even clear when we'll be able to expect devices with the improvements. Read More
Google quietly unveiled a new YouTube Music app when it rolled out YouTube Red last month, and we've been waiting ever since to see it become available in the Play Store. Well, today's the day. Google has officially announced its new YouTube app dedicated entirely to music. Read More
If you don't know what PlayStation Vue is, don't worry, you're not alone. It's not a gaming service of any kind, it's an IPTV subscription that delivers select shows and networks to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. It's a sort of hardware-exclusive take on SlingTV. Or at least it was, until Sony announced that the service was expanding to other streaming devices. Amazon's Fire TV and Fire TV Stick will be the first non-Sony hardware compatible with PlayStation Vue, not counting iPhone and iPad.
Apparently there are still no plans for core Android app, but the service will expand to the Chromecast (and presumably Android TV by way of its built-in Cast support) at some point in the future. Read More
If you're not into how your daily carry is looking these days, there's a good chance you'll find something to spruce it up from dbrand. Whether you want to add some color, murder it out, throw a touch of nature into the mix, or spice things up with the aesthetic of metal, there's basically something for everyone.
For those of you who like metal and want to make your phone a little more steampunk, the crew over at dbrand just unveiled a new skin: copper. While there's no question that this could potentially look "cheap" if not well-made, it's pretty clear exactly how killer these skins look after seeing the images. Read More
You want to become a rock hard slab of skin and muscle. I hear you, and I understand. Here's a pro-tip, you have a great fitness trainer already floating around in your pocket. Look at it. That flat, hard sheet of glass. That chiseled frame. Your phone is in great physical shape, and it knows just what to do to help you get there.
First, download Runtastic Results. This is the latest release from Runtastic, and those guys make good software for people who prefer the thought of training at home rather than going to the nearby gym. In the past we've covered their approach to running (go figure), riding bikes, and getting those six-pack abs. Read More
We've checked out the BlackBerry Priv, and it's pretty good - Android fans who have been begging for years for a high-end phone with a QWERTY keyboard will love it. But what comes next? According to CrackBerry, it's the phone you see above, codenamed the "Vienna." It's similar in style and layout to the Priv, but with a keyboard that's fixed in place as opposed to the slider mechanism on the Priv. There's no original source for the images, so we'll classify them as rumors for the time being.
That said, a more conventional BlackBerry design, presumably with a cheaper price point thanks to simpler hardware, makes a lot of sense. Read More
Attention citizens of Earth dimension... uh, which dimension is this one again? Anyway, all you lower carbon-based life forms down there. This is Archie Florboops the 68th, the sector representative of the Galactic Government, and I have a very important announcement to make. By the way, life on other planets exists. Try not to let it distract you. Read More
Google "surprised" us all yesterday by announcing that cellular support was coming to Android Wear. Cue in Oooohs and Aaaaahs and gasps of jubilant shock. Having already heard about the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE through its teaser video back in September, it was pretty much a given that Wear watches were about to learn a new trick and cut their umbilical cord tether to their phones. But understandably, Google had to make things official just in time for the release of the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. (I'll call it WU2LTE from now on, ain't nobody got time for that shit!)
The WU2LTE is coming to the US in the next few days, and it's already available for pre-order on both AT&T and Verizon's sites. AT&T will be selling it starting $199.99 with a two-year contract. Read More
Raise your hand if this comes as unexpected news to you. Crickets. Alright, we know Google isn't really revealing the most secret of secrets with its newest "Cellular support comes to Android Wear" announcement, but it is clarifying a few things we didn't know about how LTE would work on our smartwatches.
In his post, Peter Ludwig, Product Manager for Android Wear, explains that cellular connectivity on Wear will allow you to leave your phone behind and use your smartwatch on the go. However, it doesn't seem like you'll be able to completely forego the phone, à la Samsung Gear S2, because both phone and watch will need to be turned on and connected to a network for Wear to do its thing. Read More