Watch for Microsoft’s April Build conference where it’s expected to detail the newest Windows Phone features. According to The Verge, those will include at least two key functions: The debut of a personal assistant app and a centralized notification center for Windows Phones. While iOS has Siri and Android has Google Now, Microsoft’s virtual assistant is rumored to be codenamed Cortana, after the AI assistant in the Halo game series for Xbox. Unlike the other main platforms, Windows Phone currently handles notifications on an app level without any central notification center to manage such messages. Perhaps Cortana will do that for us too?
A report in the Korea Times on Monday suggests that LG is looking to partner with Huawei to “create a turnaround for its smartphone business.” The analyst quoted in the report explains that LG has a weak presence in some key emerging market countries, which is where a partnership with Huawei could come in handy. And when you think about it like that, a partnership between the companies starts to make sense. But it’s simply not true, LG told The Verge. According to a spokesperson, “There is no discussion now or in the past with Huawei on any aspects of LG Electronics’ business.”
One of my fave and most used features on the Moto X smartphone got a little bit smarter: Motorola improved the Touchless Control app with a new update available in the Google Play Store. As noted by Android Central, the app now interacts with more Google Now commands even when the Moto X is locked. And, assuming nobody is around, you can unlock your Moto X by speaking your PIN code. Lastly, the app has a new listening sound when you say “OK Google Now”; just in case you weren’t sure the phone was always listening. (Hint: It is.)
Pebble owners that haven’t already updated their smartwatch firmware today have a nice surprise waiting for them. PebbleOS v.1.14 launched late on Thursday evening, adding a few new features and fixes. Among the more prominent additions is a customizable Do Not Disturb mode, which disables notifications moving from your smartphone to your watch. Overall control of notifications is improved as well and data coming from iOS devices will begin to appear quicker after the update. The firmware update is available both for iOS and Android users directly from the Pebble smartphone app.
Good news for the iPhone-toting If This Then That lovers out there. The service has added a native iOS location tracking channel, which means you can make recipes based on where you are (or rather where your phone is). So you can get the weather of a city you are traveling to when you land, or tell your WeMo, Hue or SmartThings-enabled lights to come on when you get home. IFTTT also has a FourSquare channel for those who might want to use location but don’t have an iPhone. It’s just a wee bit less automated.
After months of private beta status, Cover is now available in the Google Play Store. The free app, still in a public beta status, is a smart lock screen of sorts for Android devices, showing specific apps based on context such as time of day or location. That means apps you use at home would appear when your handset location is home as compared to work apps showing while at the office. Cover even learns which apps you use or would be most likely to use on the road, showing maps, music and messaging apps while in your car.