Smart home technology is great. The Nest Learning Thermostat, Phillips Hue, and Sonos sound systems are wonderful products that make life more convenient, automated, and beautiful. These technologies are great, but many components in a smart home are controlled by applications from a smart phone or tablet. Having to pull your phone out of your pocket and unlock it every time you want to turn off the lights while watching a movie can be a little annoying.
Fortunately, the Logitech Harmony Home Control makes running a smart home a little easier. The remote works great for controlling your media center, but it also can be programmed to control many different home automation devices. Read More
AirDroid offers one of the more Android-themed ways to get files from your computer to your smartphone or tablet. It's green, there's a bugdroid in the logo, and, well—this isn't the point. Besides, file sharing is just scratching the surface. AirDroid lets you control your device remotely, accessing texts and turning on the camera. Now the developers have rolled out a number of intriguing features in the latest updates to its Windows and Mac desktop clients.
On the Windows side of things, there's a new desktop widget. It lets you access much of the functionality the main client offers without having to load up the full window. Read More
Last year the XBMC project changed its name to Kodi, giving the media manager a much-needed fresh start considering how it has long since expanded past its original Xbox roots. Yatse is a popular remote app for use with the platform that recently got a spiffy material redesign.
Fast forward several months, and Yatse has disappeared from the Play Store (though you can still find the unlocker and several plugins). Read More
AT&T U-Verse customers can use the Android companion app to watch live channels on a phone or tablet, turn their handset into a TV remote, and manage DVR. The user interface hasn't looked particularly holo over the last several years, but after the latest updates, it now looks kind of ready for KitKat just in time for everything else to go material. Hey, at least it's something.
If you've used U-Verse on a tablet before, then this interface probably won't look particularly new. While AT&T has provided fresh screenshots on both Play Store pages, the tablet UI has looked this way since over the summer. Read More
Unified Remote gives your PC the TV treatment, letting you control it from afar with just the right blend of convenience and laziness that have turned us into the society that we are. Its developers have created a solid app, and they're not wasting any time making sure it looks up-to-date.
Version 3.1 preps Unified Remote with those touches of Material Design that should make it feel more at home on a device running Lollipop. Below you can see shots of the new menu button, a side panel that pulls out on top of the action bar, and a floating action button. Read More
LG and Samsung got the Android Wear party started, releasing the G Watch and Gear Live, respectively. Those watches only need Google's Wear app to function, but Motorola changed the formula a bit with the Moto 360, tying the watch to the existing Motorola Connect app. For the upcoming ZenWatch, ASUS is beating them all (well, sort of) with three separate watch-focused apps.
The first new ASUS app is simply titled "ZenWatch Manager," and it's essentially a remote setup function for your watch on your phone screen. Its all-blue interface allows you to change simple settings like the watch face, the ambient mode, and enabling your phone to bypass its lock screen when paired. Read More
Google's Camera app just got a bump up to version 2.3 (rolling out in stages of course), which adds a very welcome feature - remote shutter functionality for Android Wear devices.
We saw hints of this functionality inside the code of a previous version of the Camera app, but now that Wear devices have hit release, it's finally live. Users need only open the Camera app on their phone or tablet, and Wear will automatically insert a card for remote capture. Clicking that card gets you a big fat shutter release button right on your wrist. The interface will count down for three seconds, capture, and then show you the results. Read More
Today's phones are big. They're practically trying to be HDTVs, which makes it hard to get them into your pants, and even harder to get them out. So Sony is releasing a teeny tiny phone for your phone that can answer calls with a microphone and a speaker. Insert Xzibit joke here. The BRH10 was shown off at Mobile World Congress back in February, and it's on pre-order at a few places, but you can't buy it yet. You can, however, install the companion app that controls its functions.
See, the BRH10 isn't just a Bluetooth headset, though it's got that functionality. Read More
The Hulu Plus app is perfectly capable of pumping out videos on its own to a small screen. With a Chromecast plugged into your TV, it's even able to cast content out to the big screen as well. Now the app is gaining a feature that will give it even more control over your viewing experience. Starting with the latest update, Hulu Plus is capable of becoming a remote control for Hulu content streaming from the Xbox One, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation 4.
The functionality should be relatively straightforward to use. After launching the Hulu Plus app, your game console should be detected automatically (as long as it's turned on and signed into the same Hulu account). Read More
Like it or not, TV-based operating systems aren't going away. Google TV, Samsung Smart TV, and others have all done their part to beef up your TV's IQ, and while each has found varying levels of success, none has quite gotten the situation right. One immediate problem with most options is the tool you're provided with out-of-the-box for controlling things. Typing in movie titles with anything that looks like a traditional remote is nothing short of a complete pain. One thing that can save you precious time is investing in a remote with a full keyboard.
You can currently get a TaoTronics offering on Amazon for just $19.99 following the use of coupon code 9EP9XSOT at checkout. Read More