Headlines

1 week ago

Learn coding, design and more with a lifetime subscription to Stone River Academy for $85!

0

Choosing a specific career in the field of app development, web design, and 3D-animation can be tough — each is a growing field with high demand for specialists, and you have many interests. What if you want to learn them all? How can you afford the education needed for each career, and where will you find the time to go back to school?

Stone River Academy might be the answer you're looking for; they've put together what can be likened to a complete tech-education bundle. Courses for all levels of knowledge are available, and you can learn at your own pace; course availability stays open indefinitely thanks to a lifetime subscription. Master app development, web design, 3D-animation, coding languages, and more. You have the ambition and you can squeeze time into your busy schedule, but how can this be affordable?

Enter Android Central Digital Offers. Right now, we're offering this lifetime subscription with over 110 courses and over 2000 hours of content for only $85. That's no mistake — that's a 99% discount off the regular $11,000. You're essentially paying a one-time fee to be enrolled for life. No matter what comes in the future, you'll be already set up to tackle it. Talk about a head start.

There are a ton of courses to choose from, but each course is broken down into a comprehensive curriculum to help keep things sorted. Learn programming languages like Java, Python, and CSS, as well as the ins and outs of game development tools like Unity 3D. Not only will you learn development, design, and programming, you'll also acquire the skills needed to carve a career in the tech industry.

Do you want to always keep on top of current tech trends? With a lifetime subscription to Stone River Academy, you'll always have access to the latest courses — yes, new content is added all the time. Thanks to the broad range of content available, you might even discover a hidden interest. Imagine the possibilities available to you for only $85. The need for all sorts of specialists in the tech industry is high — why not get started today on a new career?

See at Android Central Digital Offers

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Best Accessories for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in 2018

28
Samsung Galaxy Note 8

These are the best accessories for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

Did you or someone you know get a brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to ring in the new year? It's time to make sure you're rocking the best accessories to get the most out of the Note 8 experience.

We'll keep continuously updating this list throughout the release of the Note 8 and beyond to provide you with the best accessories, but here are the best that we've rounded up so far!

Samsung Alcantara case

Samsung is known to makes great cases for its phones, and arguably one of the best available for the Note 8 is the soft, colorful and really grippy Alcantara case.

Not only does it look great, but the suede-like material makes the slippery phone more comfortable to hold and adds a bit of friction, too. Easy to install and available in a nice variety of colors, this is a case that will keep your phone both protected and stylis — for about $30.

Need more convincing? Check out our hands-on review of the Alcantara.

See at Amazon

Looking for more case recommendations?

Best Cases for the Galaxy Note 8

Anker PowerCore+ 21000

The Note 8 has a bigger battery than most, but if you're a heavy user you still might find yourself running out of juice before the end of the day. That could be an issue if your phone hits that low battery warning while you're away from a wall outlet.

That's what makes a battery pack such a clutch accessory, and specifically the Anker PowerCore+ 21000 which is both super functional and compact. Its slim enough to easily fit into a backpack or purse pocket while giving you the option to recharge your Note 8 from the brink multiple times with a fully-charged pack. And since there are two USB-A charging ports, you're able to simultaneously charge your phone and a friend's phone, too, because sharing is caring.

Now available for just over $40, it's an absolute steal and the most affordable way to ensure your phone never goes dead at an inopportune time.

See at Amazon

MicroSD card

The Note 8 ships with 64GB of internal storage, but if that's simply not enough for your needs you'll be happy to know Samsung has included a microSD card slot — meaning you can add more storage for those 4K videos or whatever reason you need more storage.

Our recommendations for the Galaxy S8 should certainly apply to the Note 8 in a pinch, but if we had to recommend just one card, we'd go with Samsung's own 256GB EVO Select microSD. Available for around $130 it ain't cheap, but you get what you pay for — read speeds of up to 100MB/s, write speeds of up to 90MB/s, and Class 10 UHS 3 classification which ensures it's good to go for 4K video.

There are other options available with the same speed specs available, but if you own a Galaxy Note 8 we imagine you live by the mantra "Go Big or Go Home."

See at Amazon

Spigen Wallet S

Spigen's Wallet S is the ultimate in functional cases, packing protection for your phone and space for cards and cash. While it shares many of the same features as the other folio wallet cases, Spigen's attention to the little details that makes this wallet case stand above the rest. Featuring card slots on the inside, a pocket for cash or receipts, and folds up to be a kickstand for hands-free viewing. One thoughtful feature you might appreciate is the cutout around the ear speaker on the front flap, which allows you to talk on the phone with the cover closed.

The exterior is made of synthetic leather and will keep your Note 8 well protected. It's only available in classic black and features a magnetic strap to keep it closed. Get this premium-looking wallet case for just $15.99.

See at Amazon

Whitestone Dome Glass Tempered Glass Screen Protector

The Whitestone Dome Glass uses a special UV machine (included) and a liquid adhesive during installation that manages to achieve full-screen adhesion where other screen protectors might only adhere around the edges.

It's a premium option all the way and is compatible with more rigid cases or ones that don't touch the front glass at all. It goes on crystal clear and shouldn't affect your touch sensitivity at all. Most importantly it's tough enough to take the abuse of a drop so your phone's screen doesn't.

It's a $45 accessory, but it comes with that little UV machine for installing it and is arguably your best bet if you're serious about protecting your Note 8 above all else.

See at Amazon

Samsung Gear VR with new controller

If you've never tried Samsung Gear VR before, you're in for a real treat. Samsung partnered up with Oculus to provide one of the best mobile VR experiences you'll find with compelling games to play alone or with friends, tons of streaming video apps and VR exclusive experiences, along with its own functional social media platform.

The updated version for 2017 is compatible with the latest Samsung flagships, and Samsung has also included a new touch controller. It's about the best virtual experience you'll find without dropping thousands of dollars on a top of the line gaming PC, and is instead available for just $120. VR for all!

Everything you need to know about the Samsung Gear VR

See at Amazon

Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch

The Gear S3 is an amazing smartwatch with tons of features that naturally pairs nicely with the Galaxy Note 8. It doesn't get as much love as other smartwatch options, but if you're running it with Samsung's latest smartphone, you're going to get awesome features like Samsung Pay, which isn't available on other devices.

Available for under $300, Samsung's smartwatch is more than affordable and looks great with a long-lasting battery and awesome features. If you own the Note 8 and have been considering buying a new smartwatch, the Gear S3 is a perfect pairing.

See at Amazon

Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Convertible Charging Stand

Like the Samsung flagships that came before it, the Note 8 allows for wireless charging. Samsung's own wireless charging pad is the first option you should consider. All you need to do is place your phone on the charging pad and it starts charging at Fast Charge speeds.

Need your phone to be accessible while you work? Flip up the stand and you've got a charging stand that lets you read incoming notifications or accept calls without interrupting your phone charging. You can get yours for around $60 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

Samsung Gear 360

The Gear 360 continues to be one of the most accessible and enjoyable 360-degree cameras on the market, and it works best with Samsung phones like the Note 8! It's exactly what it sounds like: you hold it by the handle and capture completely 360-degree photos or video, seamlessly stitched together for upload on platforms like Facebook and Flickr.

You can still pick up your own Gear 360 for around $200 on Amazon. Check out our full review to learn more about how easy and fun it is to use this portable 360 camera.

See at Amazon

Samsung DeX Station

DeX Station

Samsung introduced DeX alongside the Galaxy S8, but it was prominently featured in the Note 8 announcement presentation, too. It's a dock that you plug your phone into that lets you use it more like a desktop computer — all you need is a monitor, keyboard and mouse to complete the setup.

While Samsung likes to talk about DeX as if it's a full replacement for carrying a laptop with you, we beg to differ — it's something different entirely, but that doesn't mean it isn't useful. If you love the novelty of using your phone as a computer and like being on the cutting edge you'll probably want a DeX Station for your Note 8.

See at Samsung

Which accessories are you buying?

We know the hype is real for the Note 8, and many of you may have already started picking up accessories for your new device. We want to know what you got, or what you want! Let us know in the comments.

Updated January 2018: Added the Spigen Wallet S case and the Whitestone Dome Glass screen protector to our list. Keep that new phone protected well into 2018!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Best Buy

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

How to make a fitness app part of your daily routine

36

Technology is transforming fitness.

It used to be that fitness apps were primarily used to count calories, and check in after workouts. That's no longer the case. There are dozens of fantastic apps out there, and they cater to what you are specifically looking for. Whether you're always looking for a new fun app to help motivate you along, or you've never been inclined to look into them at all, fitness apps can help make your average day healthier.

Keeping fit is easier than ever

Most of us get some amount of exercise every day, just by living our lives. We walk around, in some cases all day long. Plenty of fitness apps will track this and let you know what your activity level is like each day, including the number of steps taken and calories burned based off of your height and weight. There are apps which do this without ever even needing to be opened after you initially set them up.

Fitness doesn't have to be a chore, at least not with these apps.

If you're just starting a fitness routine, there are apps that can help build workout plans, count calories, give you videos so you can workout at home and much more. It might seem a little strange at first to have an app tracking your fitness level. By integrating these apps into your day you can see how active you already are, without ever having to hit the gym. That isn't to say that all fitness apps are made for that purpose. They've branched out, and the abundance of choice lets you determine what you need out of a fitness app.

More: 4 interactive apps that will keep you entertained

If you're looking for something that turns fitness into a game there is Zombies, Run! The Walk, or even Pokémon Go. Charity Miles donates money to a charity of your choice for the distance you run. Fitness doesn't have to be a chore, at least not with these apps. They take what you're already doing, and put a spin on it to make it fun and encourage you to do more.

Assistants can help

When it comes to working out, maybe you need to fit things in right in the middle of a busy day. If you have a Google Home, a Samsung phone with Bixby and Samsung Health, or an Amazon Alexa your digital assistants can be of help.

That's because each different Assistant can launch a workout for you. With Samsung devices, you can build a workout plan right from inside of Samsung Health, whether that be drinking more water or training for a 5K program. Alexa has workout based skills that you can enable, and Google Home can talk to several workout programs. This means that you can trigger a quick workout just by talking to your connected device, making it easy to fit in some activity even when you only have a few short minutes to spare.

One size fits all fitness is a thing of the past

Even if you aren't particularly fitness-minded, integrating an app into your life can be a benefit. With unobtrusive tracking apps, you can see your daily activity levels. While that might not seem like much if you're a city dweller you could be walking miles every day without ever realizing it. These apps can help with your health as well, outlining when you have more energy for activity, or what your stamina is like. Some games even have fitness benefits that are purely accidental, like Ingress where walking around to capture portals is a game mechanic. Apps like Aqualert can even help to make sure you're drinking enough water. Fitness apps are no longer just for the people who live and breathe getting and staying in shape. They're built now to be friendly to everyone no matter what your level of motivation might be.

With the ways that fitness apps have diversified, there really is something out there for absolutely everyone.

These aren't the apps from years ago which were tailored for a specific type of person to use. Rather, they have spread their influence and tried to find new niches for people who might not usually use a fitness app. The analytics and data can be fantastic if you're a fan of graphs and charts, but even better is the fact that using these apps can actually help you to live a healthier life. We only get one body, so why not treat it right with the help of technology?

Questions?

It doesn't matter what your activity level is like on a day to day basis. Everyone can benefit from having a fitness app in their life. It can be something small like simply tracking your activity levels, or detailed down to your caloric intake and workout intensity. No matter where you sit on the fitness spectrum, there is an app for you. So are you using any of these apps, or is there a fitness app that you stand by already? Tell us all about it in the comments!

January 2018: We've updated this post with information about using the Assistant on your phone to help make fitness a part of your daily routine!

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Blade Runner 2049 Speakerhat review: I guess I wear music now

5

I'm a sucker for cyberpunk, and this thing was screaming my name.

Living in a world where nostalgia is practically weaponized against young adults with functioning wallets, I'm used to skipping over the latest quick attempt to make a buck. I'm a collector of nerdy things, but I try really hard to avoid the cheap stuff that hops on the latest bandwagon. The release of a new Blade Runner movie guarantees a resurgence of poorly-made glowing umbrellas and t-shirts with Replicant stamped across the chest, but something from that noise caught my attention in a weird way. It's a fairly ordinary-looking hat with the Japanese Atari logo stitched across the crown, but when you put it on you are able to fully immerse yourself in sound from your phone.

This unassuming hat comes with a fairly obvious name, Speakerhat, but what you get out of this experience is fairly unique.

See at Amazon

Wearing your sound

The Blade Runner 2049 Speakerhat is one of several variations made with tech from a company called AudioWear in collaboration with Atari. If you dig the Atari logo but aren't a fan of the Blade Runner logo on the back, there are other designs to buy. If you'd prefer something a little more focused, there's a slick Pong version as well. The design of these hats all include the same basic tech underneath, a pair of speakers on the underside of the visor and a single button on the back near the adjustable strap.

Essentially, this hat is a Bluetooth speaker you wear on your head. The pair of speakers point at your face, and due to their angles, it feels like surround sound. A single microphone sits next to the speakers so you can use your hat for calls. The battery is tucked under the sweatband on the back of the hat, opposite the control button. You charge your hat via Micro-USB, and there's a 2.5mm jack just in case you feel like using a cable instead of Bluetooth.

Considering all of the tech stuffed in this hat, I was surprised to find it didn't really feel heavier than any of my other hats when sitting on my head. I could tell it was heavier when I picked it up, but the way everything is balanced around the hat it distributes that weight very well when you're actually wearing it. The weight isn't enough to cause the hat to be any more prone to falling off your head in a heavy wind, either. It really does just feel like a solid ball cap.

This hat is not waterproof at all, which makes sense since it's just an ordinary baseball cap on the outside but presents a unique challenge given all of the tech on the inside. It's OK for the hat to get a little bit of spray on it or a mild drizzle, but getting caught in a rainstorm probably means it's not going to function as a Bluetooth speaker anymore.

Audio experience

Let's get this out of the way real quick — these are not headphones. These are speakers. You are not using this hat to play music just for yourself. When you press play, everyone around you will hear whatever it is you are playing. This is great if you're outside and you want to hear the world around you while you are listening to music or catching a podcast, but on a bus or a train you're going to be blasting your sound to everyone and it is unlikely to be widely appreciated.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the reactions from those around me when using the Speakerhat.

That having been said, the audio quality of these speakers is decent for the price point. These speakers are on par with your average thin $60-80 Bluetooth speaker. There's essentially no bass, but the mids and highs come through without being overly tinny. It's great for spoken word podcasts or streaming a TV show or movie, but playing your favorite song will probably make you want to tweak the EQ on your phone a bit to get a sound you are happy with.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the reactions from those around me when using the Speakerhat. Even though the speakers are pointed at me, the audio is loud and clear enough for others in the room or nearby to enjoy. The audio doesn't sound muffled or distorted, like you'd get from a cheaper Bluetooth speaker pointed away from you. The same is true of phone calls; everyone I spoke to said I came through clearly and they were unable to hear themselves despite the speakers being so close to the microphone.

The Speakerhat itself has no volume controller, since there's only the one button on the hat. You have to jump in and control volume from the buttons on your phone, which is a little on the inconvenient side. That button does three things, but it does them all exactly the way you'd expect. You can turn the Speakerhat on and off with a long press, pause and play a media file with a button press, and answer or hang up a call with a button press. It's super simple, just like the audio cues for letting you know when you're paired to a device. Other than these things, you're using your phone for control.

Should you buy it? Sure

Overall, I'm thrilled with my Speakerhat. It's a stupidly nerdy hat that fills the world around me with sound when I'm folding laundry or out by the grill, but the design is subtle enough that I can wear it anywhere and no one but me will know it's a gadget. I wouldn't go so far as to call it practical, but it is fun and I dig the look.

That having been said, it's also a $100 hat that I have to stuff under my shirt if I'm caught out in the rain, something I would never need to do with my favorite headphones. It's clearly something that appeals more to my desire to show off some nerd culture more than my desire to own "the best" gadget, and I'm ok with that. If you are also ok with that, you should grab one of these for yourself.

See at Amazon

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

LG Tribute Dynasty coming to Sprint and Boost Mobile for $99

9

Act fast and get the phone for just $59.

If you wanted to buy an Android phone for $200 or less a few years back, you'd end up with something that had a good chance of breaking down within a week. We've thankfully left those dark days behind us, and as such, have devices like the LG Tribute Dynasty.

LG just announced the Tribute Dynasty ahead of CES 2018, and while there's nothing here that'll blow your socks off, the Tribute Dynasty does look like a respectable Android handset for tackling the basics. On the front of the phone is a 5.0-inch 1280 x 720 IPS display, and right above it is a 5MP front-facing camera for all your selfies and Duo calls. An 8MP camera is on the back with LED flash, and a 2,500 mAh removable battery promises up to 15 hours of talk time.

The Tribute Dynasty is powered by a MediaTek 1.5GHz octa-core processor and 2GB RAM. There's 16GB of expandable storage (up to 32GB) for your apps, games, and pictures, and Android 7.1 Nougat is present out of the box.

You can get the LG Tribute Dynasty now from Boost Mobile and it'll be available January 12 on Sprint. The retail price is set at $99, but if you buy the phone now, you can get it for just $59.

See at Boost Mobile

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

HP Chromebox G2 has a Kaby Lake Core i7 and 16GB RAM

16

HP returns to the Chromebox.

We saw some excellent Chromebooks in 2017, but the market for Chromeboxes has been much quieter. However, just in time for CES 2018, HP's announced its all-new Chromebox G2.

For first impressions, the G2 doesn't look all that exciting. In fact, if you quickly glanced at the thing, you might mistake it for an Apple TV. On the outside of the G2 is a solid selection of ports, including a 3.5mm headphone jack, one USB Type-C, three USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI output, and one RJ-45 connector (not to mention a microSD slot).

Take a peek inside the G2, and that's when you realize why you might want to consider buying the thing. You can choose to pick up a configuration with Intel's Celeron 3865U, but we'd recommend going with the Kaby Lake Core i5 (7300U) or i7 (8650U). The Celeron model ships with Intel HD Graphics 610, but going for either the i5 or i7 will bump you up to Intel UHD Graphics 620.

You can get up to 16GB of DDR-2400 SDRAM that's equipped thanks to two memory slots, and you have the choice of either a 32 or 64GB M.2 SSD for storage.

There's currently no word on pricing for the HP Chromebox G2, but we should see a release at some point in April.

Chrome OS will finally let you run Android apps in the background

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google would like you to stop stealing its bikes

42

Poor bicycles 🚲

Google's got a lot on its plate at any given time. The company is in charge of the Android mobile operating system, has to put out fires with rambunctious YouTubers, and according to an article from The Wall Street Journal, is constantly on the hunt for missing bicycles.

At its Mountain View campus, Google has around 1,100 multicolored bikes for its employees to ride around to get back and forth building to building throughout the day. The bikes have a yellow frame, blue wheels, green fenders, and red baskets. They're cuter than they have a right to be, and although they're intended for use only by Google employees, Mountain View locals apparently steal them all the time.

Up to 250 bikes are stolen from Google every week.

Google reportedly loses between 100 to 250 bikes every single week, and they've been found in people's lawns, on the roof of a sports pub, and even in a commercial on TV for Garnier. A 68-year-old employee at Oracle who often rides the bikes says they're "like a friendly gesture" for Mountain View residents, and even the city's mayor has admitted to taking one on his way to see a movie following a meeting at the Google campus.

The Mountain View Police choose to not get involved with the missing bikes, so in an effort to take matters into its own hands, Google started placing GPS trackers on the bikes last year. After doing so, the company discovered that its bikes were being transported as far away as Mexico, Nevada during Burning Man, and even Alaska.

Google's now started to test a system where employees can bypass locks on bikes with their smartphones, but it remains to be seen if something like this will be expanded to the entire fleet.

If you've got a bicycle in your life, be sure to hold it close to your heart tonight.

Because somewhere in Mountain View, hundreds are being stolen at any given time.

Google has fixed the infamous cheeseburger emoji with Android 8.1

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Android 8.1 causing swipe issues on Pixel and Nexus devices

119

Swiping woes.

Android 8.1 was a pretty minor update when it was released in early December, and while it added nice touches such as enabling the Pixel Visual Core and a new security patch, it also introduced a new bug that doesn't appear to have been fixed since it was discovered nearly a month ago.

On December 7, a thread was started on Google's support site titled "Android 8.1 Issues" with a user reporting that swiping up on the lock screen to enter their pin often doesn't work and requires them to swipe multiple times before it goes all the way up. Shortly after this, many other users responded with similar issues.

In addition to it being difficult to swipe up on the lock screen to go home or enter a PIN/password, it's also reported that it can often take multiple tries to swipe away a notification that's on the lock screen. This is something that I've been noticing on my Pixel 2, and I can confirm that it is extremely annoying to sometimes have to swipe three or four times just to dismiss a notification.

Along with issues on the lock screen, users have also noticed problems when trying to answer or decline phone calls. This is again something I've run into on the Pixel 2, and more times than not it requires multiple tries before the gesture is actually completed.

Based on Google's support site and Reddit, this is an issue that seems to be affecting both Pixel and Nexus devices running Android 8.1. We reached out to Google to see what's going on, but have so far only heard that the company is "looking into this." When we get a more detailed response, we'll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, have you noticed any of these issues on your Pixel or Nexus phone?

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Best Buy Verizon Google Store Project Fi

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

OnePlus 5T vs. OnePlus 3T: Should you upgrade?

15
OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 3T

The iterative march can make it tough to know when to upgrade.

The average OnePlus phone owner likely upgrades faster than owners of other brands, but even they have limits. Most won't drop the money to get a new phone every six months ... but jumping up every year is totally reasonable. With the release of the OnePlus 5T there are a whole lot of OnePlus 3T owners eyeballing this upgrade who understandably passed on the quick jump to the original OnePlus 5 while their own purchase was still nice and fresh. And there are probably many OnePlus 3 owners feeling the same way, not wanting to wait another half a year for whatever succeeds it.

Whether you're hanging onto a OnePlus 3 or the slightly upgraded 3T, we want to give you the information you need to know if the OnePlus 5T is a worthy upgrade at $499.

What's the same

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 3T

OnePlus has held a pretty amazing consistency in its flagships from the original OnePlus One up to today's 5T. Though the exterior of the OnePlus 5T looks quite different from the 3 or 3T, the core experience of using the phone hasn't changed all that much. Android 7.1 Nougat on the OnePlus 3 and 3T is near-identical to what ships on the 5T, and all three phones are slated for the Android 8.0 Oreo update by the end of 2017.

The core experience of using the phone hasn't changed much from the OnePlus 3 to the 5T.

Performance, too, is extremely consistent between the phones. Though the OnePlus 3 may seem "old" to phone nerds, its Snapdragon 820 processor and 6GB of RAM are more than capable of pushing this nimble OxygenOS software and all of the latest apps at nearly the same pace as a Snapdragon 835 and (potentially) 8GB of RAM on the latest OnePlus 5T.

Beyond the software being displayed on the screen, the core hardware experience hasn't changed much either. We'll talk about the design changes below, but when you think about the basic hardware features — like ports, buttons, speaker, radios, etc. — you'll find few discrepancies between the previous generation and the latest. Again, it's worth remembering that even the OnePlus 3 isn't particularly old at this point, and when it was released it had most of the latest and greatest internals — they've aged well.

What's different

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 3T

The most obvious difference with this upgrade is the change of hardware design. OnePlus is using the same simple, solid and efficient hardware in the 5T as it did back with the 3, but it's much more sleek and refined in 2017. The OnePlus 5T has a bit more character, more polish and more style when set next to the generic-looking OnePlus 3. The feel isn't much different between the two, but looks are important.

There's no doubt the OnePlus 5T feels like a far more 'modern' phone.

The same goes with the view from the front, where the 6-inch 2:1 display on the OnePlus 5T just feels more modern compared to the larger bezels surrounding a 5.5-inch 16:9 display on the older phones. And it isn't just for looks: you get the benefit of more usable screen space in effectively the same package, too, and the fingerprint sensor is just as usable on the back of the phone. The Optic AMOLED display panel itself isn't notably improved from last year, but getting more of it in the same basic package is a win-win.

We've established that the OnePlus 5T doesn't necessarily have a huge lead in terms of performance today compared to the older phones, but its newer specs certainly give it a longer runway into the future. The Snapdragon 820 holds up just fine today, but how about in another year? It won't feel the same as the 5T's Snapdragon 835. And that brings up a larger point about the future of software on these phones: the OnePlus 3 and 3T are likely done with official software support following the Oreo update, while the 5T will see at least the "P" release in 2018.

The 5T's specs aren't game-changing today, but they will help a ton going forward.

The one clear point of differentiation in terms of specs and their actual effect on your daily use right off the bat will be when talking about battery. The OnePlus 3's 3000mAh capacity is of course 10% smaller than the 5T's 3300mAh, but the newer phone also has a much more efficient processor on board to make better use of it. That's a real-world improvement you'll see in battery life day after day. Now when talking about the OnePlus 3T with its 3400mAh capacity, you won't see much of a difference — you can't argue with that extra capacity.

The camera comparison between these phones is a bit of a mixed bag as well. You can quite easily argue that the OnePlus 5T's newer sensor, secondary lens for low light and Portrait Mode as a complete package is better overall than the single 16MP camera on the OnePlus 3 and 3T. But in many shooting conditions that old camera — with its optical image stabilization — is going to do an admirable job that'll compare favorably to the OnePlus 5T. Yes the newer phone has more features, but in terms of raw shot-to-shot photo quality OnePlus just hasn't made massive strides in the last year.

Should you upgrade?

As you can see, OnePlus hasn't made huge improvements in features or performance when comparing the OnePlus 5T to even the original OnePlus 3. But that really is more of a testament to how well the OnePlus 3 has held up over time than the OnePlus 5T being unattractive on its own. OnePlus takes a relatively conservative approach, and isn't particularly willing to throw out features or specs with the new phone — it instead refines in some areas and adds in others to give you a better phone with each generation.

This isn't a 'sure thing' sort of upgrade, but you can find reason for it — and it may not be expensive.

When you look at things this way, it's easy to say that your can be happy with your OnePlus 3T or even OnePlus 3 at the end of 2017, choosing to not drop the extra money on a new OnePlus 5T that isn't a substantial upgrade. Yes the hardware is nicer, the screen is larger and the specs give you more runway for the future; but today you'll get almost the same experience using a OnePlus 3 as you do on the OnePlus 5T.

The one thing making this upgrade decision interesting is how well OnePlus phones seem to hold their value on the used market. Browsing OnePlus listings on popular trade site Swappa shows OnePlus 3s still selling for over $200, and 3Ts often snagging upwards of $300. That's a solid return on a phone that's at least a year old, and gets you about half way toward your new OnePlus 5T, should you decide to upgrade.

If you're willing to sell on your OnePlus 3 or 3T, you can hop onto the latest and greatest from the company for what comes out to a modest investment. And in doing so, you're getting a phone with a longer runway into the future and the same great day-to-day OnePlus experience you already know and love.

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

HTC Edge Launcher can now be triggered from the lock screen

3

HTC's making your squeezes more productive.

After launching Edge Sense on the U11, HTC followed this up with Edge Launcher on the U11+. Edge Launcher allows you to squeeze the sides of your U11 handset to get a calendar and array of apps, contacts, and quick settings right at your fingertips, and it's a nice alternative to squeezing your phone for one particular application.

HTC recently updated its Edge Launcher app on the Play Store, and there are a couple big improvements that make Edge Launcher even more useful.

For starters, Edge Launcher can now be triggered from the lock screen. You've previously had to unlock your phone before you could use Edge Launcher, but now you can squeeze at any time to bring it up.

Along with this, HTC has also added new shortcuts for Battery Saver, Auto Rotate, and Wi-Fi Hotspot, in addition to now letting you customize the order of which these appear on Edge Launcher.

This new version of Edge Launcher is available on the Play Store now, and you can grab it by tapping the button at the top of this article.

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google sold about 6 million Home speakers during the holidays

62

More than one Google Home was sold every second.

This past holiday season, there's a good chance you either bought or received a smart speaker of some sort. Amazon's been dominating this space since the first Echo Dot came out in 2016, but with the launch of the Google Home Mini in late 2017, Google finally had its own ultra-cheap speaker to get inside as many people's homes as possible.

Google recently shared a post on its blog outlining the success of Home products and the Assistant throughout the past year, and perhaps the most surprising bit of news is that more than one Google Home product was sold every single second in 2017 after the Home Mini started shipping in October.

Google doesn't really say if it started counting these sales on the Home Mini's launch date (October 19) or later in the month when it actually began shipping to consumers, but even so, we can estimate that about 6 million Home speakers were sold. Google doesn't say which of its three speakers accounted for the most sales, but seeing as how you could buy the Home Mini for just $29 throughout most of 2017, this is what we're guessing was the most popular.

In addition to this, Google also says that the Assistant is now available on over 400 million devices and can control more than 1,500 smart home devices from over 225 different brands. Usage of Google Homes increased by nine times this past holiday season compared to the one in 2016, making it more apparent than ever that Google is coming at Amazon and its Echo brand with full force.

Now that we're talking about it, did you buy or receive a Google Home during the holidays?

Google Home

Google Store Best Buy Target

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

MrMobile goes hands-on... with a cell tower

7

Fun fact: when I was selling mobile phones back in 2004, I would spend the store's slow days taking online training courses reserved for my employer's engineers, fascinated by the networks that made mobile phones work. 14 years (and a change of careers) later, my network curiosity still burned strong. So I asked AT&T to let me go hands-on with a cell site – and to my great surprise, the carrier said yes!

Come along as I scope out not one, but two cell sites: one hidden in the steeple of a church, the other perched high atop the tallest mountain in the Northeast. In the process we'll learn about RF energy, what happens when the power goes out, and why the term "tower" isn't always accurate. Click the video above for the MrMobile Tower Tour!

Stay social, my friends

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Here's what we're reading, watching, and listening to this week

77

How we're spending our leisure time.

Everyone has a bit of quiet downtime once in a while. Whether you're sitting quietly at home or trying to relax on a plane or just giving your busy mind and hands a break, it's important to relax.

A good way to do that is to read a book, listen to some music or watch a movie or show. See what's caught our attention for the week of January 5th.

Tom Westrick

My New Year's Eve was significantly less exciting than previous years: I spent pretty much the entire night wrapped up in my warm blankets watching Futurama. It was far too cold to actually go outside, and staying underneath blankets is cheaper than cranking the heat up in my apartment. So, blankets and Futurama it was.

Music-wise, I've finally given Lorde's new album, Melodrama a listen. I like it a lot, and I'll probably buy it after hearing it a few more times. Finally, I purchased an Xbox One X since the Microsoft Store had a compelling trade-in offer for those moving from the One S. It's hooked up to the same 1080p projector my One S was, but I can already notice smoother frame rates and load times. Combined with the super stealthy black paint job, it was definitely worth the upgrade.

Ara Wagoner

Previous winters, I've had the delightful musical fantasy-comedy Galavant to fill January's chill with whimsical wizardry and magical Menken music. Alas, Galavant has been off the air two years, and while Netflix has the episodes now, I still find myself pining for more. Thankfully, I have Galavant: The Complete Collection to keep me howling with laughter as I struggle through these howling winter winds. The main cast's signing is excellent, and there are guest stars like Weird Al Yankovic to bring extra flair when needed.

Seriously, though, try keeping a straight face through "A New Season" or "Serenade". It can't be done. Also, as midterm election primaries start up, "Build A New Tomorrow" is a cheery reminder of how medieval gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics feel.

Daniel Bader

If you haven't been watching the new season of Black Mirror, you're … probably sleeping better than I am.

Seriously, though, Bl, ck Mirror's fourth season is as dark and depressing as previous ones, and while it's a bit more uneven — there are a couple of episodes that don't land, either due to recycling of ideas or poor acting — on the whole it's an excellent showcase of what can go wrong when powerful technology is misused.

If you can't stomach the idea of going to sleep with a knot in your stomach, I would stick to just two of the six new episodes, USS Calister, which is a take on the Star Trek genre, and Hang the DJ, which looks at the evolution of dating apps. I wouldn't call them light, but there's charm and humor that the rest of the season sorely lacks.

If you're more in the mood for a podcast, may I suggest Alone: A Love Story. Brilliantly written and produced by Canadian Michelle Parise, the story follows the complicated story of her separation from unfaithful husband and the ways she dealt, or didn't deal, with the situation. It's heavy at times, and so sad, but it owns those emotions, and is more beautiful for it.

Marc Lagace

I just got back from a much-needed vacation that allowed me to masterfully avoid the ridiculously cold arctic vortex that made my hometown colder than Mars. I picked up a great book for reading on the beach, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. Written by historian Yuval Noah Harari, it's a very interesting read that takes everything we know about how humans have evolved and overcome incredible societal challenges as we march forward towards a future where humanity may achieve immortality and divinity.

I downloaded some some Netflix content for the flights (side note: I learned that even though a show is available in your home country and successfully downloaded to your device, the content still needs to be available in the country you're visiting even though it's sitting there downloaded on your tablet.)

I was really surprised how much I loved Bright, which really got going once the film was through with all the heavy handed exposition to set up this crazy mash-up between the high fantasy and buddy cop genres. I didn't realize how much I missed seeing Will Smith kicking all sorts of ass as a badass cop, and I'm genuinely excited for the sequel that's in the works.

Joe Maring

I'm usually not one for binge-watching television shows, but I've got no shame in admitting that that's exactly what I've been doing this past week with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Tina Fey's writing shines through with the odd, offbeat humor that made 30 Rock so fantastic, and the relentlessly optimistic Ellie Kemper is is just what we need going into 2018 as world leaders boast about who's got the biggest red button.

On the gaming front, I finally got to play the equally hilarious Gang Beasts. The game was just released for the PS4 earlier this month, and while there are still quite a few technical bugs to wade through, they can't hold back the sheer amount of fun to be had here. Gang Beasts is a beat 'em up in which everyone plays as a gelatinous character that can be customized to look like, Santa, Morty, and anyone else in between. The main goal is to be the last one standing as you throw your opponents in a meat grinder or toss them off a moving truck, and while it's enjoyable on its own, Gang Beasts is a true riot when played with a group of friends.

Hayato Huseman

I've been trying to stay home as much as possible to avoid the cold, which means when I'm not working, I'm holed up watching The Office on Netflix. It's been a few weeks since I started the show (yes, this is my first time), but I'm almost finished — I'm halfway through season eight now, which means I've already fought back plenty of tears during the season seven finale.

It's not the most exciting thing in the world, but I've been watching dozens of videos on credit repair and credit card reviews lately. One of my New Year's resolutions was to bring up my credit score after making some dumb financial decisions in my late teens, and I'm already making great progress thanks largely to two YouTube channels, The Credit Shifu and Ask Sebby.

Your turn

What are YOU reading, watching, or listening to this week? Let us know in the comments!

Update, January 5, 2018: Happy new year! This is a weekly series where we tell you what we're into, so check back every Friday!

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google Pixelbook: Everything you need to know!

20

The Pixelbook is Google's flagship Chromebook for late 2017, offering a stunning design and high-end hardware.

Google has been tinkering with Chrome as an operating system since 2010, and in 2013 released the first Chromebook Pixel. The Chromebook Pixel was everything that was loved about the simple operating, but with a fantastic, high-resolution display and premium aluminum body. The Chromebook Pixel was refreshed in 2015 with new USB-C ports and updated internals.

In early 2017, Google announced their line of laptops would not be refreshed, but that turned out to not be true. In October 2017, Google announced the Pixelbook: a new kind of Chromebook for a new age of Chrome.

Here's everything you need to know about the Pixelbook.

The basics

At its core, the Pixelbook is a convertible laptop: the keyboard flips all the way around so the device can be a tablet, and there's an optional stylus available for an additional $99. Convertible laptops aren't new, even in the Chrome world, but this is Google's first laptop of this form factor.

The Chromebook Pixel line was always (partially) meant to give developers a great device to use for building applications, and Google's attempting to do the same with the Pixelbook, particularly now that the Play Store is part of Chrome OS.

More: Google Pixelbook review

Android apps run really well

The list of Chromebooks with Android apps has steadily grown over the last year, but there was always a beta tag attached to the experience. Even when used in the stable channel of Chrome OS, Android apps still had issues crashing and not behaving correctly.

On more recent builds of Chrome OS, that has changed: launching an Android app on Chrome OS is just as natural as launching a Windows Store app on Windows 10: it looks and acts like a native application because it is a native application.

More: These are the Chromebooks that can Android apps from Google Play

The hardware is gorgeous

Samsung and Asus have both put out fantastic Chromebooks this year, but the Pixelbook is on a whole 'nother level. Rather than using the tried and true generic slab of silver aluminum, Google took a lot of inspiration from their own Pixel phones: there's a big glass window on the back of the lid to allow Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to pass through without obstruction, the trackpad is surrounded by grippy, white silicone that will hopefully hold up to the test of time, and the entire design doesn't look like any other laptop.

More: The Samsung Chromebook Plus might be the best place to try new Android features

The internals are plenty powerful, with a price to match

The internal hardware is a bit overkill for Chrome OS as it is at the end of 2017, but with time developers may build great applications to take advantage of that extra horsepower. The base configuration includes a fanless seventh generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of RAM and 128 GB of storage. If that somehow isn't enough, the middle configuration uses the same processor and RAM but with 256GB of storage. Finally, there will be a monstrous configuration with a fanless seventh generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of NVME storage.

Chrome OS really shines on low-cost devices, but the Pixelbook is not a low-cost device. The stunning design and powerful internals come with a commensurate price, starting at $999 for the i5/8GB RAM/128GB storage model. That increases to $1,199 for the 256GB model, and to an eye-watering $1649 for the i7/16GB RAM/512GB storage model. That's a lot for a Chromebook, and the Pixelbook won't be drastically faster than cheaper models.

More: Pixelbook with Core i7 and 16GB RAM now on sale at Google Store

The pen is not included

The Pixelbook pen includes a button for activating Google Assistant, as well 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity and a 10 millisecond response time to make it feel like using an ink pen on paper. Note taking apps such as Google Keep and Evernote already work with the Pixelbook pen, with more surely to follow.

Unfortunately, the pen is sold separately and costs $99. Even more unfortunately, there aren't any magnets to keep the pen attached to the Pixelbook when it is not in use.

Google Pixelbook hands-on: Who wants this?

The keyboard has a new layout

Chromebooks have been using the same keyboard design and layout since the very beginning, but the Pixelbook changes that up. First, the search button on the left (where Caps Lock resides on Windows laptops) now uses a dot in place of the previous magnifying glass icon, while there is now a Google Assistant button between the left Ctrl and Alt keys.

Along the top, there is now a dedicated screenshot button and finally, a settings button in the upper right of the keyboard. We expect this keyboard layout to become available on new Chromebooks soon.

This is the first Chromebook with Google Assistant

Speaking of Assistant, the Pixelbook is the first laptop to have Google's AI feature built in. Assistant can understand voice or typed queries just like it does on any other device, and if you type your request Google will give you an answer without blasting it through the speakers.

With the Pixelbook pen, you'll be able to highlight a picture or some text on screen and have Google provide a result from that. We expect Assistant to roll out to other Chromebooks in the future.

More: How to set up and customize Google Assistant

There are plenty of great sleeves

If you're buying a Pixelbook, you're already spending a lot of money. Make sure to spend a little more and get a nice sleeve or case to protect it while you're on the go. There are plenty of great options as low as $20, so it'd be foolish not go get a sleeve. If you don't like any of the official Pixelbook sleeves, check out ones made for Microsoft's Surface Pro since that device has similar dimensions.

More: Best Sleeves for Google Pixelbook

Tablet mode is going to be great... in the future

For the longest time, using Android apps on a Chromebook felt a bit clunky. They worked, but it wasn't as nice of an experience as using those same apps on an Android tablet. That's going to change in the future: users will soon be able to run multiple Android apps at once on their Chromebook screen. This may seem trivial, but it'll go a long way to making users more productive when using a Chromebook.

On another note, users will soon be able to split their web browser in tablet mode, rather than being forced to use it full screen. This is only for the web browser, not Android applications (yet). As time goes on, we expect more improvements for tablet mode on Chrome OS.

More: Pixelbook will soon do split-screen multitasking in tablet mode

It probably isn't for you, and that's okay

As pretty and powerful as the Pixelbook is, there's not a whole lot it can do at release that other, less expensive Chromebooks can't do just as well. The biggest software feature of the Pixelbook is Google Assistant, but Google will want to get that on as many Chromebooks as possible to keep making their knowledge graph that powers Assistant better and better. The Pixelbook is definitely a halo device, but if it tickles your fancy there's nothing wrong with buying one.

More: Why I pre-ordered the Pixelbook

Any questions?

If you have any other questions you need answered, let us know down below our check out our Pixelbook forums!

Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Amazon Alexa will be available on headphones, watches, and more in 2018

4

More Alexa for your life.

Although Amazon Alexa is most prominent on smart speakers, we've seen the AI expand to the likes of smartphones, thermostats, and more over the past couple years. However, one frontier that Alexa's never been very prominent in is that of wearables. A handful of smartwatches have launched with Alexa built-in, but for the most part, these have been few and far between. Starting in 2018, Amazon wants to change that.

On the official Alexa blog, Amazon announced its new Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit. The main goal of the Kit is to make it considerably easier for developers to integrate Alexa into their wearable devices, and the way this is done is actually pretty ingenious.

Rather than making developers load Alexa directly onto their gadgets, the Kit allows wearable tech to seamlessly connect to the Alexa Voice Service on the Amazon Alexa app on Android and iOS phones. Essentially, voice commands you issue on your wearable are sent to your phone, the response from Alexa is obtained, and this is then relayed through your watch, headphones, etc. This does require your phone to be connected to your wearables in order for Alexa to work, but it makes adding the AI to these devices much easier.

The Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit won't be launching until "later this year", but Amazon's already working with the likes of Bose, Beyerdynamic, Jabra, and iHome to release future products with this tech. In other words, it won't be too much longer before we start seeing Alexa-powered headphones, watches, and fitness trackers flood the market.

Amazon Alexa will start helping out in the kitchen with microwave controls

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages