Even though you probably don't notice that any of your Google Home devices are constantly receiving firmware updates, they get new software all the time. Most likely, you'll only realize it when something goes really wrong, which is exactly what more and more people are reporting on Google's help forum and Reddit. They say their Google Homes and Google Home Minis have been bricked following an OTA, and they receive little to no help from Google when they're outside of warranty. Read More
Google tried to take on Apple's AirPods with its Pixel Buds, but as we all know, that didn't work out too well – the Pixel Buds aren't truly wireless and connect to each other with a cord, and coupled with some additional issues like poor audio and a finicky charging case, they never stood a chance. However, if you bought them prepared for these problems, you still got headphones with stellar Google Assistant support and quick pairing, so there's that. Now, the Buds are receiving a new firmware update that packs reduced lag, better connectivity, and improved battery stats. Read More
The stable release of Android 9 Pie appears to be going out to Xiaomi Mi A2 handsets right now. It includes lots of the features Pixel phones have now had for some time, including adaptive battery, gesture navigation (crap though it may be), and app actions. Read More
Recently in the US, Verizon inadvertently trolled Galaxy S7 and S7 edge owners on its network by releasing an update that supposedly brought Android Oreo to the devices. It turns out the carrier had just attached the wrong changelog, and Oreo wasn't imminent at all. To rub salt into the wounds of those customers, S7 and S7 edge units in the UK are now actually receiving the Oreo update. Read More
Chrome OS is one of the most secure desktop operating systems on the market (privacy concerns about the Google ecosystem aside). Automatic system updates, verified boot, and system drive encryption all keep your Chromebook safe from attacks. Most models also use a Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, for generating the cryptographic keys that protect local data. Read More
While some Bluetooth earphones like Bose's SoundSport Free can be updated easily over-the-air, others require a desktop updater. Jaybird's RUN and Freedom are among the second group, and although updating is a little annoying, it can be done. And if you happen to own a pair of the RUN wireless buds, you'll be happy to learn that version 1.1 of the firmware makes signal reception much better. Read More
If you happen to still own a Google Glass unit, yesterday's mysterious update of the MyGlass companion app might have had you thinking about dusting off the headset to see if it could still hold a charge... If you could ever really say Glass held a charge. In possibly the biggest tease (or troll) for Glass owners, today brings an even bigger surprise: New firmware. Yes, if you leave Glass connected to the Internet for a little while, it should download and install the brand new XE23 update.
Here's an interesting example of a product getting better with age. The Amazon Tap speaker was introduced as a mobile, battery-powered alternative to the Echo, with access to the same Alexa voice commands, but limited in that it could only accept said commands with a button press. This made the less-expensive Tap, while interesting, not all that much better than a smartphone for voice searches. But the latest firmware update from Amazon enables hands-free Alexa commands, like the Echo and Google's Assistant on the Google Home. Talk about a value add. Read More
I'm honestly conflicted. When I spotted this new software on T-Mobile's support pages, I had to do a double take. How come a phone that's still stuck on Android 4.4.2 KitKat is getting the November 2016 security updates? It's ridiculous and awesome to a point that I just couldn't pass up the news.
The ZTE ZMAX was announced and released in September of 2014 on T-Mobile. It had midrange specs with a 5.7" 720 display, Snapdragon 400, 8MP back camera and 1MP on the front. The major selling point was the 3400mAh battery and the $252 price point. At the time of release, it ran Android 4.4 KitKat and it has managed to stick to that version for two years, no version bumps whatsoever for ZMAX owners. Read More
Sony was one of the first companies to offer Cast-enabled speakers. Instead of buying a regular speaker and then plugging in a Chromecast Audio, you could save on power outlets and wires and just grab one with Google Cast capabilities built right in. The problem with these speakers, as some of you have discovered, is that their software updates seem to be totally reliant on the manufacturer.
So when Google's own Chromecast Audio got an update to support Hi-Fi audio and multi-room (aka grouping) back in December of last year, owners of some of these speakers had to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait a bit more to get the same functionality on their own speakers. Read More