In addition to making phones, TVs, and refrigerators, Samsung builds some pretty decent audio devices. David reviewed the bulk of the Level series (Samsung's name for their audio line) and came away pretty impressed with their build quality and sound performance.
One of the members of the Level family, the Samsung Level Box Mini, is part of a special BOGO promotion today on Samsung's own website. It's simple, buy one Level Box Mini for $80, get another free. Admittedly, the price is higher on Samsung's site than on Amazon (where it is $50), but with the BOGO promotion the speakers come out to $40 a pop.
Android Auto is quite possibly shaping up to be the dark horse in Google's larger Android family. At I/O 2016, Google announced more new Android Auto features than it ever has before, including the much-demanded wireless mode which will finally see Android Auto freed from the tether of a USB cable (if that's something you're into).
The real story from an adoption perspective, though, wasn't really Wi-Fi mode, the standalone phone app, or Waze integration: it was a silly little tire pressure notification in a Honda Civic.
You see, to date, Android Auto's interface has had five tabs - telephony, navigation, media, home, and the mysterious "OEM" tab, which has an icon that looks like a vehicle gauge.
There are many opinions about wearable technology, but most criticisms focus on the awkwardness – or just plain unattractiveness – of many products that have come thus far. One of the more interesting presentations from I/O 2015 came during the ATAP session, in which Project Jacquard was introduced. This is a touch-sensitive fabric that can be woven into regular clothing and used a bit like a trackpad. This technology is being put to real use, and in a partnership with Levi Strauss, the first product using Jacquard will be launching next Spring.
Levi's is calling it the Commuter Trucker Jacket, a denim jacket with Jacquard woven into the left sleeve.
Project Ara was supposed to go into public testing last year, but that didn't happen. Google has been quiet about the state of its modular smartphone since then, but now there's a new demo video. It shows off some weird modules, but what about a release date? Well, there's nothing for regular people, but a developer edition will be available this fall.
It would definitely seem like Google is making Android N the 'polish' release: things which haven't seen any changes for years, like the System UI icon, are getting refreshed, while features are not being included in the final release because of a lack of polish (like the dark theme and night mode). Even the update procedure is getting updated.
As well as the aforementioned System UI icon, another long standing Android fan-favorite is getting a revamp: the OS update animation. Gone is the little Android figure with his front open, a prism turning, and his antenna going. It feels like it's been in Android forever, but it might be gone soon: instead, the new animation is a swirling circle of light, which looks great but maybe has lost some of its inherent Android-y-ness.
Google's MODE watchbands launched about a month ago, but they're expensive at $50-60. Now you can get one a little cheaper if you were on the fence. Google is running a promotion in the Google Store for 20% off a single MODE band. Before you get too excited, this is US only. Sorry, everyone else.
Joaomgcd hates touching his phone. At least that's what I think the drive behind all of these apps he keeps developing and improving is. He's truly the man who wants to make automation as attainable of a goal as possible, and to that extent, he has built apps like AutoNotification and AutoInput that allow you to create plenty of new actions that the famous Tasker app can make use of in its automation profiles.
Joao has been working on AutoNotification and AutoInput to add plenty of new features enabled by the additional APIs brought in Android N. AutoNotification is getting custom Quick Settings tiles (feature explanation) and Quick Reply in notifications and Notification Groups (feature explanation).
Google's Daydram VR platform is coming this fall, and YouTube will be front and center when it launches. Google mentioned YouTube VR content in the keynote, but we didn't know if it would be VR content in the existing app or a new one entirely. Now we know it'll be a full YouTube VR app.
Google's Daydream Virtual Reality platform was announced a couple of days ago at I/O. In it, Google detailed its plan to release specifications for OEMs to make Daydream-certified phones, as well as a reference design for a Daydream VR headset and controller that OEMs can use to build their own offerings.
What wasn't announced though is whether Google would release its own Google-branded Daydream VR headset. According to Recode and a talk it had with Google's VR head Clay Bavor, the answer is yes. The company won't just be a Daydream partner who provides reference designs, it'll also build a headset (and controller?) itself.