3608 articles published since December 04, 2013
About Michael Crider
Michael is a born Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order. He wrote a novel called Good Intentions: A Supervillain Story, and it's available on Amazon.
All you're losing is a glass top and heart rate tracking
Wyze has built a frugal empire on low-price smart gadgets, including the $20 Wyze Scale that measures weight, body fat percentage, heart rate, and other essential health data. Today the company announced an even cheaper option if a $5 difference is going to break your budget for smart health gadgets. The Wyze Scale S is a little cheaper and a little less sophisticated.
Complete with continuous recording via Nest Aware
Google introduced a new wireless version of the Nest Doorbell last month, with a Wi-Fi connection and a battery in order to record camera events. But it lacked an important function that the older wired model could handle: continuous recording. It can't even record continuously when it's connected to dedicated power. Plenty of Nest users weren't impressed, saying they'd stick with the older version or find another solution. It seems that Google was listening.
They come in some fun colors based on where you buy them
Sony tends to grab headlines with the WF and WH headphone series, at the top of the game for active noise cancellation earbuds and around-the-ear cans, respectively. But if you're not ready to drop quite that much on those accessories, the company has a whole line of alternatives ready for you. Today it's announcing two new ones: the WF-C500 true wireless earbuds and the WH-XB910N over-ear headphones.The WF-C500 buds forego active noise cancellation to allow a design that's a little smaller, a little cheaper, and a little more sporty. Sony gave them IPX4 water resistance to deter a few splashes of sweat, plus compatibility with both Google Assistant and Siri. They're quote at an impressive 10 hours of playback time on their own, but due to its extremely compact size, the charging case gets only one recharge for a tidal playback time of 20 hours.
A hybrid diver watch? James Bond approves
Hybrid smartwatches combine at least some of the tracking and alert functions of modern smartwatches with the classic looks of conventional watches. The latest model from Withings combines its most sophisticated sensors with the looks of a Rolex-style diver watch. It's called the ScanWatch Horizon.
It's a good chance to grab it if you missed that Epic giveaway
Stadia Pro subscribers get access to a couple of free games every month, but they're usually not all that notable — Google sticks with smaller, cheaper titles if it's giving stuff away. But next month's additions include a critical darling from a couple of years ago: Remedy Entertainment's Control. This thoughtful action game cleaned up at the award circuit for its impressive storytelling mixed with competent shooting and metaphysical powers.
It, um, didn't work.
At the moment Google and NBCUniversal are in the middle of an old-fashioned carrier dispute, arguing over who should pay who and how much for access to NBC channels on YouTube TV. These kinds of fights are a dime a dozen with cable and satellite providers, as are the insulting "call your cable company/call the channel owners to complain" attempts to get consumers to pick a side. But according to an industry researcher, this familiar story has a new streaming twist.
The Ring Always Home Cam costs $250, but you need an invitation to buy one
Wow, it's been almost exactly a year since Amazon announced its Ring Always Home Cam. It's a little bitty Wi-Fi security cam that hangs off a quadcopter drone, and roams around your house like an adorable hunter-killer robot from Terminator. Well, it's finally ready for prime time (Prime time?), at least if you're lucky enough to get an invitation to use it.
Material You isn't just a pretty face
Users who frequently tweak their homescreens know the pain of widgets that can't be edited after they're placed. (Lookin' at you, Palabre.) Android 12 has a new system for dealing with it in the Material You interface: the "Reconfigure" button. The API was announced this summer, but we're starting to see it implemented for a few apps updated to take advantage of Android 12.
Surprise: it has a CPU, and memory, and storage, and cameras, and some other bits!
We've already seen leaks of the upcoming Galaxy Tab A8 tablet, revealing a new design language for the budget line. Today we're getting word of the specs underneath the 10-inch screen. Don't get too excited, this isn't the Galaxy Tab S series: while a new processor and storage options are nice, they aren't going to set the world on fire. But that probably means the tablet won't break the bank, either. That's in contrast to those other rumors we've been hearing, about a super-sized super-expensive Samsung tablet.
Google's new customizable avatars add a splash of color (and anonymity) to your profile
Google has had a few dozen pre-made avatars available to Gmail and Google Workspace users for years. But if you prefer something other than your smiling face, you'd have to hunt around the web for some image to use for an alternative. Today Google is introducing a new avatar system called Google Illustrations, which lets you choose from a huge variety of scenes, elements, and custom colors.
It's pretty pricey for a basic dongle, but the remote is worth a look
Anker continues to expand its budget electronics offerings. The company already makes a series of projectors under its Nebula brand, and now it's expanding into set-top boxes. The Nebula Android TV Dongle is a video streaming dongle that runs Android TV (aren't you glad we're here to cut through this technical jargon?). It's shipping from Amazon today for $89.99.Stephen wants me to point out that this isn't technically a dongle, since it plugs in with a standard HDMI cable. It's more of a tiny streaming box. But that's what Anker calls it, sooooo whatever.That's a surprising premium over, say, the Chromecast with Google TV, especially since Anker isn't actually using Google TV — it has the vanilla Android TV interface. It's especially pricey given that it's using the same 8GB of storage for apps and games, with 2GB of RAM to keep them running smoothly.
You can connect to your phone for wired or Bluetooth controllers, or use touchscreen controls
When Stadia launched it was only available on TV via the Chromecast Ultra, and when going that route, you could only play it with the Wi-Fi powered Stadia controller. Google seems to have realized that was a bit limiting, especially since you can use Bluetooth and wired controllers with Stadia on your phone, a Chromebook, or a Windows or MacOS-powered PC. To help spread controller support to more TVs, Google is allowing the Stadia app on your phone to act as a bridge for controls on your TV, including third-party controllers like those for the Xbox and PlayStation.
The only thing better than smartwatch support is smartwatches support
About a month ago Google released a new YouTube Music app for Wear OS. But "Wear OS" now means either the new 3.0 version, running on only the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 until at least next year, or more or less every other Wear OS device running older software. Today Google says the YouTube Music Wear OS app is available on some older devices.
Could Google and NBCU please finish their dumb little spat so we could go back to watching YouTube TV already?
NBC threatens to remove 14 channels on September 30th
Remember back in the day, when your cable or satellite TV service was suddenly inundated with commercials about such-and-such channels going away soon, and to call your provider to complain? And then more commercials from the provider would air, telling you to call the channel office and complain instead? They're called carriage disputes, and they're very much still a thing, even in the age of cord-cutting. Now it's happening between Google-owned YouTube TV and Comcast-owned NBCUniversal.
But don't get your hopes up: it's not very much
WhatsApp is pushing hard to get a slice of that money transfer pie, introducing mobile person-to-person payments in India and Brazil. And what's better than sending your friend a fast food combo's worth of money to cover that time you left your wallet in the car? Well, lots of things. But getting a tiny, tiny portion of that payment back in credit is probably one of them.
Who says you can't use a Chromebook in your battlestation?
Chrome OS has had a meteoric rise in popularity, especially since cheap and easy laptops have been in such high demand lately. But they still get the short end of the stick when it comes to accessories: users generally have to hope that Google's done a good job making generic drivers for devices designed for Windows PCs. Hyper is bucking that trend with a series of sleek aluminum USB-C docks and dongles certified with the "Made for Chromebook" branding.
Alright, if y'all say so
The Surface Duo is a contentious little gadget, with a lot of cool hardware and a lot of glaring issues. One of them is slow software updates. Despite it being Microsoft's only mobile product, and an expensive one at that, it's still running the year-old Android 10. A day after announcing the sequel device, Microsoft says it'll have the original Duo upgraded to Android 11 before the end of this year.
New owners Asurion will lend its name to the storefronts and mobile repair vehicles
A couple of years ago, national gadget repair chain and frequent strip mall tenant uBreakiFix was purchased by Asurion. That's not a ship name from Star Trek (USS Asurion has a nice ring, right?), it's that company that sells third-party insurance for the stuff you buy. The purchase made sense, and it looks like Asurion is hoping to further integrate the stores into its brand. According to a press release, the retail stores will be renamed beginning later this year.
No, not $165 ― sixty-five dollars
Sony's on top of the game for active noise canceling. While the XF-1000XM3 isn't the latest model, it's still a technical marvel, and a great traveling companion if you're going anywhere even a bit noisy. These true wireless earbuds debuted at over $200, but today you can grab a certified refurbished set on eBay for just $65.
That's $10 off per bud!
OnePlus has an official set of "Pro" earbuds, complete with premium design and materials and the requisite active noise cancellation. They did pretty well in our review, especially if you like headphones that tend to go really heavy on the bass. Normally the OnePlus Buds Pro are $150, competitive but a little beyond impulse buy territory. Today the OnePlus store is offering them for $20 off with a coupon code.