It might be time to upgrade your home Wi-Fi now that that 802.11ac standard is official. Industry analysts are counting on you to do so, expecting 802.11ac access point sales to zoom with 45 percent market share in 2014, up from 8 percent last year. Read more »
Google introduced hands-free voice search in its Chrome beta browser on Thursday for all major desktop platforms. To use it, simply open a new blank tab or navigate to Google.com in Chrome and then speak your query. The voice search works for general searches as well as Google Now information. You can set a reminder, for example, or get a list of upcoming calendar events. Google says the feature is rolling out on desktop platforms in the next few days while Chrome OS will follow. Chromebook and Chromebox owners don’t have to wait though as this extension introduced in November will add voice search.
Android already verifies apps upon installation, checking against known security or malware issues. Google is going to beef up the feature for nearly all Android devices however in a coming Google Play Services update. Read more »
Google is aiming for a $50 phone out of Project Ara, the effort to create a modular smartphone. Don’t get too excited just yet though: That base handset won’t be nearly as capable as the phone you likely use today. Read more »
Freemium mobile software with in-app purchases might be racking up money for developers but not everyone is happy. Several EU member countries feel the approach is misleading, causing the European Commission to call a meeting of the minds. Read more »
Blippar has migrated its object image recognition technology from the smartphone to Google Glass, showing off the concept at Mobile World Congress. The app could be used for advertising, education and more. It can also recognize faces but that feature will be disabled. Read more »
Introduced at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show, the Toshiba Chromebook 13 is now available with a $299 starting price. Here’s a first look at the device, which I’ll be using full-time for the next few days as a real world test. Read more »
When I reviewed the Qualcomm Toq watch in December, I thought $349 was a bit much for what’s essentially a Qualcomm technology showcase on your wrist. Now the price is $249 as noted by Android Authority and confirmed on the Toq website. HTC recently licensed the Toq so we may see a re-badged version in the near future. I still think Toq is limited and not as easy to use compared to other smartwatches, but the price cut adds appeal. With so many new wearables hitting the market now, perhaps the days of $300 or more for a smartwatch are over.
You probably won’t see widespread adoption of Eaze soon but it’s an interesting mobile payment system that ties Google Glass with BitCoin. Using the app and a QR code for transactions, you simply nod twice to make a payment. Read more »
Smartwatches and wearable health gadgets typically get or send data to the cloud via Bluetooth 4.0 to a mobile device. You could soon cut out the middleman thanks to Chrome OS host support for Bluetooth 4.0 LE. Read more »
Plex is the latest app to add Chromecast support. Why is it that many big names haven’t yet added the Chromecast icon? We discuss that as well as new Bluetooth features coming to Chrome OS and the Samsung Chromebook 2 on this week’s podcast. Read more »
After first patching an SSL vulnerability in iOS 7, Apple followed with a fix for OS X. Mavericks 10.9.2 is now available and also includes support for Facetime audio calls on a Mac. Read more »
Samsung passed on using the Snapdragon 800 to power its new Galaxy S5, instead opting for the newer 801 chip. Is there really that much of a difference? Actually, yes, and it’s why the Galaxy S5 has some new features and more speed. Read more »
Lawmakers are seeking to ban Google Glass when driving and Google is reportedly fighting back with lobbyists. I can and do drive with Glass, so I see both sides. I’d prefer a technical solution to a legislative one, though. Read more »
How much technology can fit in a small package? Quite a bit if the ReSound LiNX is any indication. The first Made For iPhone hearing aid with companion app boosts sound while also acting as a high-quality wireless in-ear speaker for iOS devices. Read more »
After months of not really enjoying Google Glass with corrective vision glasses I ordered Glass frames from Google. The verdict? Much better but there are a few restrictions on the corrective lenses that had me devise a complicated solution. Read more »
Looking for a “lite” smartwatch with health tracking features? Samsung’s Gear Fit might fit the bill and your wrist. The curved-screen wearable can track your health and exercise and still get notifications from a smartphone. Read more »
With no flagship follow-up to the HTC One expected until March 25, HTC introduced its first new Desire handset for the mid-range market. It launches next month in China but HTC hasn’t announced the price yet. Read more »
The old Samsung Chromebook is getting long in the tooth and it appears a successor is coming soon. Actually, make that two successors according to a company taking pre-orders early. Read more »
Since it doesn’t yet own Nokia’s handset business, Microsoft couldn’t squash the Android-powered Nokia X phone. Should it do so when it can? There are definitely pros and cons, but I’m leaning towards the idea of Microsoft keeping the phone for a number of reasons. Read more »
A report surfaced on Monday suggesting that Ford may consider using BlackBerry’s QNX software over Microsoft Sync in vehicles. Such a deal would be a boon to BlackBerry, as the connected car market is just revving up. Read more »
Looking to play Android games or browse the web directly on a TV? You’ll be able to do that once Android mirroring support comes to the Chromecast; Google and developers are working on it. Read more »
Mobile World Congress starts soon so this week, the Android leaks were flowing faster than the St. Lawrence Seaway: the HTC Desire 8 mid-range phablet, details of a Google Now watch and more. Google also introduced Project Tango this week. What will devs do with it? Read more »
Chrome OS keeps improving and with new features come new ways to get things done. Here’s a list of 10 new tips that could be handy for those with a new Chromebook or Chromebox. Read more »
One of the best mobile app beta testing platforms is no longer independent. Apple purchased Burstly, owners of TestFlight. Apple also gets SkyRocket, Burstly’s mobile app monetization product. Read more »
After starting life on the small screen of a smartphone and then moving to a Windows RT tablet, Nokia’s Here mapping software is coming to the big screen: It will be freely available for all Windows 8.1 devices. Read more »
Wi-Fi not cutting it for you on Nvidia’s Note 7 tablet? You’ll soon be able buy an LTE model of what the company calls the world’s speediest 7-inch Android tablet. Expect to pay $299 — a $100 premium over the current Wi-Fi model — when the new model arrives in the second quarter. The LTE service is a bit of a win for Nvidia which has been working on mobile broadband modems to better compete with Qualcomm in phones and tablets. When it arrives, the new LTE model will run on Android 4.4.2, which is now getting pushed out to the Note 7 Wi-Fi model.
With tough competition in the flagship phone market, HTC sees opportunity in less-expensive handsets. The sleek and slim Desire 8 looks to be the result, with HTC itself sharing early images. Read more »
Google continues to push boundaries with new efforts. Case in point: Project Tango, which uses special sensors and chips in a smartphone to measure space and movement around you. Read more »
If your household income is $60,000 or more in the U.S. it’s a safe bet you own an iPhone. But the fastest growing sales segment is for those earning $30,000 or less. Might there still be big opportunity for Motorola, HTC and others? Read more »
Yes, you can improve your vision through an app although what you’re really training is your brain. A team of baseball players used UltimEyes and can on average see clearly 31 percent farther than before. Read more »
For a web-based computer, Chrome OS devices aren’t yet showing much overall web traffic. That’s the gist of Chitika’s latest report although the share of Chrome OS usage has doubled in five months. Read more »
Shop [x] for Glass is an early alpha app that isn’t looking to reinvent shopping lists; it simply wants to bring them closer to your field of vision so that you don’t have to stare at a smartphone while shopping. Read more »
HTC has a trio of wearables in the works: a possible rebadge of the Toq, a music-playing bracelet and perhaps most intriguing, a watch built around Google Now. Read more »
There’s a new Microsoft Surface 2 model on the way and this one will have LTE built in. An FCC filing was spotted by Dave Zatz who tweeted out the news and Engadget was able to dig up the details. The only difference seems to be the LTE support from AT&T; Microsoft had previously said the Windows RT device would arrive with LTE in 2014, although it hasn’t said what the extra cost would be. While FCC certification isn’t a product launch guarantee, I’d expect the Surface 2 with LTE to launch between now and Microsoft’s April Build event, bringing more mobile freedom to the tablet.
Why bother getting low scores on an addictive iPad game when you can build a robot to play — likely better — for you? That’s what Tom Randle did for Leap Sheep using an iPad, Arduino board, sensors and tablet styli. Read more »
Sometimes it makes sense to not reinvent the wheel. It looks like Microsoft is taking heed of that advice with its new Action Center for Windows Phone 8.1, which looks just like Android’s quick settings. Read more »
It ought to be pretty difficult to actually lose your keys, bag or other personal belongings if you have a Nokia Treasure Tag. The small device measures 30 millimeters square and 10 millimeters thick. Inside are both Bluetooth and NFC, which are used to pair with and communicate with a Windows Phone. A Treasure Tag app will alert your phone if you’re ever more than 30 feet from the Treasure Tag, and therefore from the attached object. Nokia is offering the Treasure Tags in four colors for $29.90 each in April. The app supports up to four Tags and if your belongings are left behind, you can track their last location using Nokia Here maps.