HTC has sent out invites for a major launch on March 1 in Barcelona, just as Mobile World Congress gets underway. Naturally, this is where we're expecting to see the company's next big Android smartphone — the phone that may go by the name HTC One M9.
Need to quickly purchase tickets for a major concert soon approaching? No problem, should you be searching through Google. The company has partnered with AXS, Ticketfly and Ticketmaster to link directly to checkout if you search for specific venues. What's more is the search results page will show tour schedules for artists and performers.
Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae as the company's new design chief, according to a report on The Korea Herald. The former CEO of Tangerine, a London-based design firm founded by Apple's Jony Ive, will aid Samsung to further advance its hardware designs and drive sales.
T-Mobile launched a new set of Simply Prepaid plans today, leaving many of us worried that the Un-carrier was messing with a good thing. Fortunately for the value-conscious customers out there, T-Mobile confirmed to us that the new Simply Prepaid plans are not replacing the current set of Simple Choice Prepaid plans — they will simply show up alongside them on January 25th.
We're no strangers to smartphone-controlled flying machines around these parts, especially those of us who have wandered the halls of CES, but the folks at Zano are promising something wildly different form the current experience with their mini quadcopter. While most flying experiences with smartphones happen at a 1:1 ration, Zano wants to give smartphone owners the ability to control a swarm of autonomous drones just by waving the phone in your hand around. To accomplish this, the tiny drone is packing GPS, sonar, IR, and an HD camera to capture your adventures from above. The collision detection smarts in this little casing, combined with additional instructions from the user, is apparently enough to allow some magic to happen.
We didn't get to experience this setup in person just yet due to some technical difficulties, but check out Marketing Director Reece Crowther as he walks through the details with Cali.
Google has just posted the factory image of Android 5.0.2 Lollipop for the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi. Now that the factory images have been pushed, an OTA update is sure to be around the corner.
We've jokingly referred to the robotic toys made by Orbotix as the world's best cat toys, but the truth is there's a ton that can be done with these little rolling robots. Sphero has a huge third party following with dozens of apps that let you do everything from roll your ball in an augmented reality maze through the camera on your phone to picking the ball up and using it as a controller for games on your phone. Ollie, their brand new robot, is a little more focused on fun by offering more speed and some fun optimizations. If driving these robots around and chasing your cat aren't enough to get your attention, the Orbotix SPRK (that's Schools Parents Robots Kids) program should be all the push you need. It's a program Orbotix started to help kids learn the basics of robotics and programming, and so far it has been a huge success in the classroom.
Allen Richardson from Orbotic gives Cali and Rene the breakdown on what SPRK has been up to so far, as well as repeatedly shooting the robots off the desk during the video. Either way, it's worth a watch.
Update: Expansys informs us that they've encountered high demand for the reduced-price Nexus 6 and have exhausted their stock. Sorry, folks, they're back to regular price now!
If you still have yet to get your hands on a Nexus 6, you can currently snag one at a discount from Expansys — so long as you're only interested in the Cloud White option. The reseller is currently offering that particular flavor of the device for $605 unlocked.
For years there's been this growing sentiment among smartphone users who have to drive on a regular basis, and that sentiment usually involved being able to just dock your phone in the car and use the larger screen in the dash to use the things your phone already does very well. As cool as it would be for the infotainment center in the car to just be the receptacle for our phones, many of these in-dash systems do a lot more than what we've seen from Android Auto so far. As a result, at CES this year, we saw several systems where the smartphone bits are treated like an app on a larger system.
A perfect example of this is the new Pioneer systems, much like the one we have a hands on with, which have their own UI and features independent of a connected smartphone. Who knows, maybe in future versions of Android Auto we'll see separate apps that control all of the car functions and there is no underlying system to speak of.
You may have noticed an app popping up in a lot of throwback posts of late called Timehop. Timehop is an app with a very specific purpose: it digs up your social media posts from years ago and presents them to you on their anniversaries. While the primary use for Timehop is to rediscover old posts and content and then reshare it, Timehop can also serve as a daily dose of nostalgia — or embarrassment, as is often the case for my own social history. Timehop is a quick, no-frills trip down down memory lane and a cheat-sheet for #throwbackthursday.
Everyone knows what Wikipedia is, because it's the world's biggest free resource for information that is largely supported and built by users. The folks at the Wikimedia Foundation have worked hard to make the world's information available to as many people on the planet as possible, and that means making sure the mobile apps are easy to use and highly functional. While Wikipedia has existed in app form on Android for a couple of years now, the experience hasn't really been any better than using the mobile version of the site.
Today the Wikipedia app for Android has updated to meet that promise, bringing along with it a native feel and lots of Material Design style. If you're the type to grab your phone before your laptop when looking something up, this might be the last time you see the Wikipedia website for a while.
The folks at BMW showed up at CES in a big way this year, and that has a lot to do with all the extra tech the company has been shoving under the hood. Demos during the week long convention included dares from BMW to try and crash their cars while the new 360° crash detection system was in place, as well as future-focused discussions on self-driving systems that will be able to drop you off at the curb of your favorite mall and then go park itself. The future of car tech is a big deal, and you can bet your smartphone is going to be a big part of it.
Check out the demo of BMW's i3 control panel app, which keeps an eye on your remaining battery life and travel schedule to make sure you can get through the day without issue.
New Simply Prepaid plans feel like a strategy to upsell to postpaid, not offer the best value to customers
I've always been a fan of the way T-Mobile has done prepaid, but with today's announcement of its new Simply Prepaid plans I'm worried that the Un-carrier is going in the wrong direction. On the surface, the plans look pretty good — all you can eat talk and text with three choices (1GB, 3GB or 5GB) of data buckets, all of which undercut its previous prepaid plans by $10 at each data allotment. $40 is now the entry point for these plans, which grabs headlines, but not everything here is an improvement.
To someone walking into a T-Mobile store or checking out their website on Jan. 25 when these plans go into effect that seems like a pretty good deal, and it is, unless you've looked at the plans as they stand now. T-Mobile's Simple Starter plans come in at $40 and $45 currently, with 500MB or 2GB of data, and the higher plans at $50 (1GB), $60 (3GB) and $70 (5GB) offer unlimited Music Freedom music streaming, as well as tethering up to the data allotment and international texting. Something's not adding up here.
Wrestling fans are in for a pretty cool treat today. NetherRealm Studios, the developers behind Injustice: Gods Among Us, just announced that WWE Immortals has been released for Android. The game allows you to play supernatural, supercharged versions of your favorite WWE stars such as John Cena, Roman Reigns, and Big Show.
PBS Kids has released Odd Squad: Blob Chase, a new educational game geared towards children ages 5-8, on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. Meant for tablets, this is the first app based on the Odd Squad brand. Blob Chase tries to teach basic math concepts by making them fun and engaging.
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