After quite a wait, Nest Protect smart smoke and CO alarms are finally starting to appear for folks in Google's Home app. Though the prerequisites were laid out for it all the way back in March, it's only just now showing up as a device in the app for some folks. However, this rollout may have happened a bit early, as Google notes some issues ahead of a formal announcement.
Earlier this month, we covered the inclusion of "Play Protect" in a teardown of the latest Google Play Store APK. Today, Google formally announced this feature as part of its efforts to double-down on security. Boasting the fact that its machine learning algorithms scan over 50 billion apps each day, Google emphasized the importance of security on the Android platform.
If you're familiar with the brand name Nest Labs, then you already know that this company basically changed the way the common household thermostat works with its Nest Thermostat. Now it wants to do the same thing for another household necessity: the smoke/carbon monoxide detector. This new offering, dubbed Nest Protect, is a sleek, sexy looking box that replaces the tired old white disk currently attached to your ceiling.
Like the Nest Thermostat, Protect is a smart product – instead of just sounding its alarm at full blast when the slightest hint of smoke arises (like, you know, when burning cooking food), it will give a subtle "heads-up" and you need only wave your hands around it to let it know that everything is OK.
OtterBox, one of the leading names in protective cases and accessories for just about every popular mobile device under the sun, announced today the acquisition of Wrapsol, a Boston, Massachusetts based manufacturer of several lines of protective film wraps for smartphones, tablets, and e-readers, and makers of an interesting "Grip Pad" line introduced at CES 2012 that provides a, well, grippy surface to hold onto so your device can avoid the drops Wrapsol's films protect it from.
For those unfamiliar with Wrapsol's work, here's a quick demo:
Exact details of the acquisition are as yet unknown but Brian Thomas, President and CEO of OtterBox, assures readers the deal is a match made in heaven.
Avira, a "worldwide leading supplier of self-developed security solutions," has thrown its hat into the Android security ring, releasing Avira Free Android Security to the Market today. The app offers a bevy of familiar anti-theft functions, including remote lock, scream, GPS tracking, and device info monitoring, among others.
Though Avira's solution offers the old standbys as far as anti-theft functionality, the app also has a few unique touches and key features that make it worth checking out.
First off, the service can handle multiple devices, which is a huge plus in my book. The app also allows users to add a convenient button to the lock screen which will call a predetermined phone number, allowing the person who finds your phone to get a hold of you quickly and easily.
After reading through all 170+ entries - some funny, some tragic, some that make you feel awful for the story teller, and some that were just downright crazy, we've reached a decision on who the winners are.
So, without further ado, here they are (in no particular order):
First up is a tragic story of a love almost lost thanks to a dead battery, but fortunately, it has a happy ending.
Let's get real for a minute, shall we? When I say real, I mean real -- let's talk about protection. We all know of it, and while some of us use it regularly, others go without it all the time. Not only is this a horrible practice, but it's just not safe for any of the involved parties. Think about it, if you will -- what potential consequences could you suffer from going without protection? It's time to start acting a bit more responsibly -- it's time to get safe.
Naturally, I'm suggesting that you get a case for that expensive device in your pocket (where was your mind?).
The Motorola XOOM, the world's first Honeycomb tablet, costs a pretty penny - between $600 and $800, depending on the variant. If you picked up a XOOM in the last few months, you've probably asked yourself whether you should get some sort of protection, and, if so, which option you should go with.
Motorola has released a few official cases, such as the $40 PORTFOLIO, but most aftermarket case manufacturers, such as Otterbox, Amzer, Trident, and others, haven't put out many options. The PORTFOLIO case, while decently priced, has too many faults, and I simply can't recommend it unless it is reworked from the ground up: it appears to scratch the XOOM, has no charging port, USB, or HDMI cutouts (really, Motorola?
Good news for all you prepared individuals out there who are subscribed to Sprints TEP (Total Equipment Protection) plan: You now have access to a new app that adds a whole new level of useful to protecting your device through Asurion, the third party company that handles the insurance rigmarole for Sprint (and pretty much every other U.S. carrier, but they don't get an app).
The Sprint Total Equipment Protection App essentially mirrors the functionality of services like Lookout Mobile Security (but without the antivirus part): It can be used for locating your phone via GPS, helping to find it by sounding an alarm (even when on silent mode), backing up your contacts, remotely locking your device with a pin code, and remotely wiping the contacts.