Amazon took to its developer blog today to announce that Alexa, its very successful smart home speaker, will be supporting scenes. These will allow users to speak simple commands to set predefined conditions on various connected devices. Prior to this announcement, interaction with them was limited to specific manufacturer apps. Read More
Last year around this time, Google announced that unsupported cards already in Google Wallet accounts would be able to be used with Android Pay, but only for a limited time. Problem was, we didn't exactly know how long Google's "limited time" would be. Thanks to a ton of emails that were sent out to Android Pay users with unsupported cards today, we now have an actual date: October 14th, 2016. Read More
YouTube Gaming, Google's direct competitor to Twitch, has had something of a lukewarm response from the gaming community. Many streamers opt to stay on Twitch's site, the advantages over the standard YouTube app and website are minimal, and YouTube's infamous Content ID system can result in channels receiving copyright notices for seemingly anything.
But Twitch is first and foremost a streaming site - broadcasts can only be watched for a few days after the air date before they are removed. Twitch users wishing to upload permanent content had to look elsewhere, primarily YouTube. But today, alongside Twitch Prime, they have announced the Uploads Open Beta. Read More
Amazon has owned streaming giant Twitch since 2014, but besides a Fire TV app, you would be hard-pressed to find evidence of Amazon's handywork. Today that changes, with Twitch announcing their new premium subscription, Twitch Prime. And as you may guess from the title, it comes free with an Amazon Prime subscription.
To put it simply, Twitch Prime is a bit similar to YouTube Red. You get free game content every month (such as indie games or DLC), as well as discounts on new games sold by Amazon during the pre-order period and first two weeks of launch. As far as Twitch itself, you will get exclusive emotes and a chat badge, ad-free viewing, and a free channel subscription every 30 days. Read More
After an extensive delay, Google finally dropped the third developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 yesterday. While the hot topic was a newly extended timeline that pushes a final software release to early 2017, there was also a new version of the Android Wear companion app made available.
It's important to note right away that this is a beta release and is currently only intended for watches running developer preview 3. In fact, it's pretty clear the only reason for releasing this update is to add the necessary interface for some of the new features. If you're planning to install DP3, and only if you're installing DP3, you'll want the 2.0 beta of the companion app. Read More
As you may have noticed in a recent teardown, Google's launcher shortcuts are most likely returning in Android 7.1 with the Pixel Launcher. This feature was part of the Nougat developer preview some months ago, but wasn't implemented in the final release. Now, an improved version is on the way, and Action Launcher continues its tradition of adding all the Pixel Launcher things before the Pixel Launcher even exists. Read More
Google is making use of its new company blog to announce a feature for Maps. The app now has improved integration with your upcoming calendar appointments, a feature that we spotted in a teardown the other day. When you include a location with your Google Calendar events, they'll now show up on the Map and in a special upcoming places tab. Read More
The Verizon-exclusive Droid Turbo 2 was released almost a year ago, and promptly made headlines with claims of a shatterproof screen. Verizon and Motrola have at least made an effort to keep the device updated, compared to other devices on Big Red, and it even received Android 6.0 Marshmallow earlier this year. Now owners of the Turbo 2 can finally use WiFi calling, courtesy of a software update.
An update, titled '24.31.22.kinzie_verizon.verizon.en.US,' is being pushed to all Droid Turbo 2 devices with the "Latest Android™ security updates and bug fixes," as well as full WiFi calling support. Read More
A week ago, a Chromecast Preview Firmware changed all references of the companion Google Cast app to Google Home. The reasoning for that change seemed simple at the time: presumably you would control Google Home and your Chromecasts from the same app. But a recent report from Variety sheds light on Google Cast's role in Google's smart home ecosystem.
It's no secret that adoption of Google Cast in WiFi speakers has grown exponentially. Cast is a huge step up from Bluetooth speakers in terms of usability (no finicky pairing), and unlike Apple's AirPlay technology, is platform-agnostic. Thanks to the rapid adoption of Google Cast, Google has relationships with numerous companies in the audio industry - relationships it hopes to use for Google Home. Read More