If you own an Android TV box or a television with it built in, there's a pretty good chance you've also taken the time to install Google's remote control app to go with it. It's not that the app is necessary, but it's a great backup in case your main remote is lost or the batteries die. All things considered, it's a pretty basic utility app; but it might not be quite so simple in the near future. A teardown shows that this little remote control is about to turn your phone into a full-fledged gamepad. There are also signs that it may soon take care of shutting off your TV for you and we might also gain control over the volume of voice responses. Read More
So far Samsung's plus-sized Galaxy View tablet has been given a custom CNN news app and a sort of bulletin board photo app, both of which are exclusive to the device. But Samsung isn't finished yet. Today they published a third app that, if not exclusive to the 18.4-inch tablet itself, is certainly meant to be used exclusively with it. It's a remote control app that lets you operate pretty much every input on the device via a Bluetooth-connected Android phone. Read More
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