A few months ago in June, a Stadia app update added (unofficial) support for Android TV. To get it up and running, you need a mouse, a Bluetooth controller, and you have to sideload the Stadia phone app including some weird scaling, all of which makes it more of a proof of concept right now. The latest Stadia update to version 2.26 doesn't quite fix any of these gripes, but at least you don't need a mouse to navigate the Stadia store and game selector anymore — controllers are finally supported for that.
Accessories specifically tailored to Chrome OS are few and far between, but Logitech is doing its part to rectify that with the announcement of a new mouse and keyboard made just for Google's operating system. The mouse is really just a mouse, but the keyboard's got Chrome OS-specific function keys and a Google Assistant button — rarities among Bluetooth keyboards.
Android has never really been designed for use on desktop or laptop PCs, but various ports like Android x86 and Remix OS have appeared over the years. Now that Android apps can run on Chromebooks, perhaps Google thought it was finally time to implement pointer capture support in Android.
Starting with Android O, apps can capture a device's mouse pointer using the new requestPointerCapture method.
What is this witchcraft? DeskDock, now available on the Play Store, allows you to share your computer's keyboard and mouse with your Android device. If you've ever used Synergy, it's very close to that.
What's the point of something like this, you may ask? The primary use the developer provided was to make Android development much easier. With this tool, you could work on an application on your computer, push it to your device, and test it without your hands ever leaving your keyboard. But there are plenty of other potential uses as well - you could use your Android tablet as another monitor to watch media on, for example.
Android is mainly a touch environment, but it has had rudimentary support for mice and keyboards for years. Mice will be getting more useful in Android N with the addition of a new mouse cursor API, which is available in its final form as of dev preview 4. The cursor can actually change to indicate actions just like on a desktop OS.
It wouldn't be fair to call the Razer Forge TV a failure. No, that simply wouldn't be right. If I did that, I'd miss the opportunity to call it a half-baked, poorly-supported product that lags behind even the limited field of Android TV devices like a three-legged dog chasing a nitrous-powered mail truck. Almost a year after its US launch the set-top box is still inexplicably incompatible with Netflix, the promised PC game streaming software feature has disappeared, and even after being injected with the decrepit soul of OUYA the Forge is basically a dead platform. But there's one last thing to report on before we can finally lay it to rest: the Turret.
We've known that Razer was working on its own branded version of an Android TV set-top box for more than half a year, but at CES 2015 the well-known gaming peripheral company has given the gadget its coming out party. The Razer Forge TV hopes to be the go-to choice for gamers, with support for up to four simultaneous players, keyboard and mouse input, and (eventually) streaming high-end games from a local gaming PC.
The Forge TV box itself is a nondescript slab that looks something like a blacked-out version of a Mac Mini with Razer's triple snake logo on top.
Android manufacturers have been using the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) standard since 2011. While most Android device owners are blissfully unaware that their gadgets can output HDMI (among other things) via a nifty little adapter, power users treasure MHL as an easy way to expand functionality. Today the MHL LLC announced the 3.0 revision of the standard, including a ton of new goodies.
First of all, MHL 3.0 will support video output of up to 4K (or "Ultra HD," usually 3840 × 2160 pixels) resolution. That should be a big plus for those who can afford the early crop of 4K televisions and monitors, even if there's a definite lack of content that actually takes advantage of it.
Motorola introduces a novel idea with its Atrix phone: a lapdock. The idea was simple. All these Android app can be extremely productive, so why limit them to a single, small screen? Plug your phone into the lapdock, use its frankly-over-powered processor to run a larger screen with a keyboard and trackpad. Well, that's exactly what the ClamBook does. Only it does it way better.
As you can see in the renders above, when most phones are plugged in, you're presented with a tablet-styled UI. The device doesn't appear to be touchscreen, but Android has had support for mouse functionality since Android 3.1, so you won't be stuck.
Last week, I traded my Google I/O Chromebook for an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer/keyboard dock combo and started exploring the fascinating laptop/tablet hybrid. Overall, my impressions so far are more positive than I thought they would be, and I'll most likely end up selling the 3G XOOM that has none of the features the Transformer with the dock have to offer. The only problem with the Transformer that I've experienced is a relatively poor battery life compared to both the XOOM and the Tab 10.1, which I can't explain yet... but I'm getting carried away.
After my exploration of the Transformer was complete, I noted 2 annoyances - the absence of the dedicated app switcher key on the dock, which was conveniently present on the Samsung keyboard dock I tested earlier this month, and the absence of the familiar scrolling area on the touchpad that I got so used to on my laptop.