When things move as fast as Android does, we shouldn't be surprised by bumps in the road
By the time you are reading this, most people who use Google Voice and Google Hangouts are in various stages of excitement and exploration as most of these two services merge together. It has been a long time coming, and the way this merger happened caused me to step back and really think about the pace of software development in general.
When users all across the U.S. started to see that blue box pop up, asking if they wanted to merge Google Voice into Hangouts, the response was spectacular to sit back and watch. Users who had the blue box went from excitement to confusion as the features didn't quite line up the way they had hoped, and users who didn't have the prompt yet expressed immediate outrage at the dismal state of Google's staged rollout system. (Never mind that it turns out Google apparently had jumped the gun a little.)
By the next morning, mere hours later, all of the social networks were filled with excitement, confusion, and anger.
Google has expanded availability of its Google Maps with Navigation app, bringing turn-by-turn navigation instructions to 20 more countries. This brings free driving, walking, and bicycling directions to more people as Google Maps with Navigation makes its global expansion.
The next version of Google's Android operating system, known as Android L, will automatically encrypt user data out of the box, making it more difficult for law enforcement officials and security personnel to access your personal data. Though Android has had optional encryption for devices for some time now, next month's Android software update will be the first time that encryption will be turned on out of the box for all users.
Long-time Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has announced he will step down from his post, effective immediately, to be replaced by two new CEOs. Mark Hurd (formerly of HP) and Safra Catz will both take over as CEO concurrently, though Oracle isn't handing out the "co-CEO" title to either of them. Though he's one of the richest people in the world, Ellison isn't leaving the company — he plans to stay on full time as the executive chairman and CTO of the company instead.
Samsung's metal-clad Galaxy Alpha may not have an official release date in the U.S., but popular device importer Expansys will be happy to sell you one for a cool $699. That price is quite high, but shouldn't shock anyone who's bought a brand new device from an importer before. The over $700 after shipping you'll pay is getting you a global unlocked model with 32GB of storage, a nice metal frame and an octa-core processor.
After making its debut on iOS a few weeks ago, the action-strategy game Star Wars: Commander is now available for Android smartphones and tablets. The game, which definitely was inspired by Clash of Clans, is set in the classic Star Wars movie trilogy setting.
HTC's new high-end handset for Asia packs M8-level internals, an upgraded camera and a water-resistant body
Over the past year HTC has consolidated most of its smartphone range into two distinct device families — HTC One at the high end, and Desire in the mid-range and entry-level spaces. But there's still one outlier — the Butterfly series, which kicked off with the original J Butterfly a couple of years ago. That phone eventually came to Verizon as the Droid DNA, but the Butterfly line proved most popular in Asia, and the following year it spawned a successor. The Butterfly S brought upgraded specs and BoomSound speakers, but axed a couple of the original's standout features — water resistance unfortunately didn't make the cut. Whereas the HTC One line differentiated itself with premium metal construction, the Butterfly line seemed content taking this product and repackaging it into an Asia-specific device.
A year or so later, it's time for a new Butterfly. The HTC Butterfly 2 (known as simply the "new J Butterfly" in Japan), brings back the look and feel of last year's model with 2014-level specs, an upgraded camera and, once again, the ability to survive a plunge into the sink.
But how does it measure up to the current competition? And in markets where both HTC flagships are available, which is the one to pick up? We'll take a shot at answering both of these questions in our full review. Read on.
I have had my eye on the AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadcopter for quite a while, though I was never quite ready to drop $300 for one. So when Parrot offered to send me one, to say I was ecstatic would be an understatement. When the package arrived at my door, I quickly dropped what I was doing and got to work (well, got to play I guess). I popped open the box, pulled out all of the pieces, installed the free app (Android & iOS) and it was up, up, and away!
Qualcomm announced a new software development kit for anybody getting in on augmented reality apps for devices like the Samsung Gear VR or Google Glass. Qualcomm's Vuforia SDK will enable augmented reality apps with this burgeoning sector of devices, mainly by easing the process of calibrating position. Big players like Epson have already been working with Vuforia and are liking what it has to offer.
Accessibility features may not be important to the vast majority of users out there, but for those who need them, these tweaks deep in the settings can be a make-or-break features for whether a new Android phone will work for them on a daily basis. It's the inclusion of accessibility settings in these phones that allows Android to have such an amazing reach, and we want to highlight where they are and what they do.
We've been looking at the differences in accessibility features across various popular devices, and now it's time to dive through the Galaxy S5's options and see how they differ from others out there.
Paramount has just released a new Android game on Google Play based on director Christopher Nolan's upcoming sci-fi epic Interstellar and it looks like it will be a tad different than the normal movie tie-in as the player can not only create his or her own solar system but can also explore it as well as others made by fans.
The folks behind the OnePlus One will be temporarily accepting traditional pre-orders for a limited window in late October. If they have the devices in stock, they'll ship right away, and if they don't, they'll put you on pre-order status. If you manage to get an invite while on pre-order status, you can bump up to the top of the queue. Of course, you can always cancel the pre-order at any time if you're sick of waiting.
You've no doubt by now read our complete Moto 360 review. But if you're more of a visual learner, we've distilled five basic things you need to know about the Moto 360 into a couple minutes of video.
If you've got questions about the look and feel of the Moto 360, or how battery life's managed after a couple weeks of use, or how wireless charging works out — and if you've only got a couple minutes — we've got you taken care of here.
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