Unlike HTC or Motorola, LG still has a terrible reputation when it comes to delivering Android software updates. It is usually among the last well-known vendors to upgrade its devices to the latest version of Android, even when those devices are flagships. It also has the bad habit of leaving some handsets out of its upgrade plans, even when those handsets are compatible. Not to mention that its upgrade plans are actually revealed well after its rivals announce theirs.
This is a nice change of pace then. Today, LG gets to proudly claim "first" for once, as it is rolling out Android 5.0 Lollipop ahead of any of the usual suspects, namely HTC, Motorola and Google. Its first device to see Android 5.0 Lollipop is the G3 flagship.
We've reached the midway point of football season. Races are shaping up between NFL teams that are battling for a playoff berth, while others have fallen by the wayside -- I won't name those, to spare the poor fans. But sometimes sports meets technology, and it does so at an increasingly high rate. That happens today as Motorola joins the club of "NFL fans".
The Moto X has gained notoriety, partially because of its functionality, and largely with its customized backs. Perhaps not everyone wants a phone with a wood back, but apparently some do. Now Motorola is going a bit further, adding a "football back". In other words, it has the look and texture of a game ball.
Today, there is a messaging service for just about anything and anyone. The core features are pretty much the same across the board, however. Where they differ is mostly in the way those features are implemented. For instance, you can chat with others using any messaging app, but not all offer encrypted conversations or delete your messages after they're received. The devil is in the details, as always.
Despite all the different options available today, there is still room for new messaging services to make their mark. Wiper is among the new up and coming players, with its main highlights being the option to delete conversations everywhere, on-demand, and provide secure HD video chats.
As a web user it's very easy to feel like just another cog in the financial machine. Visit just about any website and you'll encounter ads. These generate revenue that's needed to pay for developers, writers, servers and so on, but the likes of YouTube, which rely on user-generated content, can quickly generate large profits thanks to the costs to revenue margins. Now video streaming service Hang w/ is bucking the trend and sharing profits with its users.
The platform exists as an iOS and Android app, and enables users to broadcast to users around the world as well as conducting video chats. It has managed to earn itself celebrity endorsement from the likes of Cheech and Chong (oh, yes), 50 Cent, Soulja Boy, Timbaland, and Ultimate Poker, and has helped to drive 22 million downloads for major shareholder MEDL Mobile. Recognizing the fact that it is users creating content, Hang w/ now shares 25 percent of its advertising revenue with users.
The Nexus 9 is the best Android tablet on the market. Hell, I called it "magical". It is built well, has great sound quality and comes with the newest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop. While I love the tablet, my biggest criticism is the arguably high price. Don't get me wrong, I believe the tablet is worth the $399, but I hate to see it priced out of reach for some consumers.
Today, the manufacturer of the tablet, HTC, is offering $50 off. Yes, only one day after launch, you can score it for the starting price of $349. However, there is a catch.
Another day, another streaming media box. Quite frankly, the idea of testing yet another such device would normally bore me, but this one is different. You see, it carries the Nexus name. If you aren't familiar, "Nexus" is synonymous with a pure Google experience. What does this mean? Well, it is Android the way the search-giant envisions it.
Amazon for instance, uses Android as a base for its Fire OS found on the Fire TV; however, it is very customized and doesn't have access to the Play Store. The Nexus Player is Google's retort -- showing device manufacturers how Android TV should be done. How does the Nexus Player compare to the competition? Read on for more.
My first-ever tablet was the first-generation iPad. I loved Apple's tablet very much, but ended up selling it to buy the Nexus 7. My decision made sense, as the iPad was nearing end of life, while Google's tablet was just beginning.
The Nexus 7 was awesome, but it lacked the same magic as Apple's tablet. Yes, I am using the word magic to describe the iPad, a much maligned word for Apple's detractors. To explain, the "magic" I speak of, was the emotional connection that I had with iPad; something that did not exist with both Nexus 7 models. Don't get me wrong, both Nexus 7 tablets were great and functional, but also cold and smartphone-like. Now Google releases the Nexus 9 and it finally has the feature I desire most -- magic.
Google has just announced the Nexus Player, bringing the extensive Play store content to the living room. But Google's new set-top box isn't the only device on the market. There is plenty of competition in the arena from Apple, Roku and Amazon, to name only three. Now it appears Google intends to compete with itself in this crowded space.
Roku, perhaps the leader in this area, is announcing that it will now include the Play store for video content. "Today, we're thrilled to announce that Google Play Movies & TV has been added to our expansive Channel Store in the US, UK, Ireland and Canada. With the addition of Google Play Movies & TV, you now have more options than ever to watch the entertainment you love on your Roku player", the company states.
Samsung is slowly moving away from its oft-maligned, all-plastic smartphone designs of the past, in an attempt to convince consumers that it too can make premium-looking and feeling devices. The first smartphone to reveal what the future holds was Galaxy Alpha, announced just a few months ago. Then Galaxy Note 4 came along, stepping things up even further in the high-end segment.
And now we see how Samsung's vision will impact its less expensive Galaxy devices, as the company just took the wraps off Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 today, two mid-range to low-end smartphones featuring "refined full metal unibody designs" that happen to be very, very thin (for whatever reason): 6.7 and 6.9 mm, respectively.
Way back in January, Google announced plans to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. Today that deal has completed. The acquisition sees control of Moto X, Moto G, Moto E and the DROID product ranges moving out of Google's hands as Motorola operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary under Lenovo. Google's CEO is happy with the outcome: "Motorola is in great hands with Lenovo, a company that's all-in on making great devices".
Lenovo takes a total of 3,500 employees under its wing, and becomes the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Practically speaking, at least in the immediate future, little should change. Motorola will remain headquartered in Chicago, and Rick Osterloh will stay on as COO.
If you are a fan of Android, there is something you may live and breathe for -- Nexus. True, fans may choose other devices for various reasons, but Nexus devices are the best way to get timely updates and a pure Android experience. As many of us have learned the hard way, non-Nexus devices may get stranded without updates and get left behind. Regardless of who is to blame, whether it is the manufacturers or the carriers, it can be an unpleasant experience to say the least.
The Nexus 6 is the newest Google handset, this time built by Motorola. Pre-ordering went live today, but something rather tragic happened -- it sold out. Yes, in merely a minute or so, the world raced to pre-order the smartphone and it is now out of stock from the Google Play Store. If you did not get to order one, you have my sympathies; it understandably sucks. However, all is not lost, you can still score one on launch day.
The other day my colleague Brian Fagioli posted a story about Cortana advancements for the Windows Phone crowd. It got me thinking because he stated that "quite frankly, Google Now is so good at learning about you, that at first, it can seem a bit creepy". He isn't far off the mark, as it is creepy, but it works. And it works to an almost scarily good degree, when it comes to figuring its user out. TV? Travel? Packages ordered? It will have you covered. But is all of this a good or bad thing?
The answer will depend on the person, as I know the privacy advocates will chime in and disagree with my assessment. Am I worried about this invasion to my personal life? The answer is a resounding NO. Google Now alerts me to all sorts of events, some are just useful, some are things I'd likely have forgot without the help of the search giant.
As if giving Office 365 subscribers unlimited OneDrive storage was not enough, Microsoft today has some more news relating to its office suite. Previously only available as previews, a batch of new Office 365 APIs open up new opportunities for developers to tap into Office with their own apps. With APIs available for mail, files, calendar and contacts, there's lots of potential for the future.
One of the first big names to take advantages of the new APIs is IFTTT, the online automation service. The new APIs mean that it is possible for IFTTT to react to things that happen in Office applications -- so it is possible to set up an alert when an email matching certain criteria arrives. There are also updates to the Android and iOS SDKs for developers to work with.
OnePlus One has attracted lots of attention from the media and consumers without even being generally available, as virtually every other flagship smartphone is today. Many have chosen to play by the company's rules, asking and waiting for the invites which give them the option to purchase the device. It's a pretty unusual way of selling and buying smartphones, but it seems to have only boosted One's appeal.
If you have not yet had the chance to buy One, you should know that today OnePlus is making it generally available to pre-order, as it temporarily drops its invite-only system to get One in the hands of more consumers.
The mobile device market is extremely diverse judging by the number of companies which sell smartphones and tablets today. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of vendors worldwide. On the other hand, when it comes to mobile processors, there are only a handful of companies which make them. Of those, even fewer are also handset vendors and even fewer still are well known by the average consumers: Apple and Samsung.
It is tough to make a splash in the mobile processor market, as top players such as Qualcomm and Apple are so far ahead in the game that it is very difficult for a new player to catch up and compete on equal footing with the leaders. LG, however, is not afraid to give it a try, as it just unveiled its first in-house mobile processor. And the South Korean maker is not wasting any time as it has already put it to use in its new G3 Screen phablet.