Phandroid » Events http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 30 Aug 2014 00:43:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 LG G3 Stylus is an Android phone, not an accessory, coming next week http://phandroid.com/2014/08/25/lg-g3-stylus-android-phone/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/25/lg-g3-stylus-android-phone/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 03:23:15 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=147547 lg-g3-stylus-3

LG has been busy: over the weekend they let the world know that the Moto 360 wouldn’t be the only circular Android Wear watch for long and they’ve just now announced the LG G3 Stylus, a variation of their flagship phone that offers an affordable alternative to the up-and-coming Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Some key LG G3 Stylus specs:

  • 1.3 GHz Quad-Core processor
  • 5.5-inch qHD IPS screen with 960 x 540 pixel resolution
  • 8 GB  internal memory with MicroSD slot
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 13MP camera with 1.3MP front camera
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat

LG G3 vs LG G3 Stylus

The G3 Stylus is a variation of the G3 that shares many of the same specs, however, to fit the stylus and offer a competitive price LG toned down some of the most aggressive specs. The screen is still 5.5-inches qHD IPS but has lower resolution, internal memory is cut to 8GB (from 16GB or 32GB), RAM is halved, and the front camera is dropped a megapixel.

These compromises likely have as much to do with pricing as engineering. The LG G3 Stylus is set to launch in Brazil with Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to follow. These are emerging markets where price is a higher priority and where having the most powerful specs may not be such a pressing issue. Furthermore, stylus are in higher demand in these locations, especially Asia.

lg-g3-stylus-2The Stylus

I find the “Stylus” naming convention confusing and unfortunate: when I first read the related press release, I assumed LG was launching an official Stylus to work with their existing LG G3 Android Phone. The “LG G3 Stylus” as an actual name of a device confused me and I’m wondering if it will confuse others. I prefer Samsung’s “Note” name which now suggests Stylus support without outright saying it.

You can of course expect the G3 Stylus software to come with some features that make great use of the pen input, including QuickMemo+ for note taking and Dual Window to view two activities on one screen. Expect LG (and carriers) to preload the device with apps that make further use of the stylus.

Price and availability

The G3 Stylus should be affordably priced considering the knock it takes on specs, not to mention company CEO Dr. Jong-Seok Park’s tease that  it has an “exceptional price that can’t be beat.” We’d expect him to say that regardless of the price, but in this case, we think the price will indeed be aggressive. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until IFA for LG to make a formal announcement regarding these details.

Don’t expect the LG G3 Stylus to come to the states any time soon or at all, And if it does, remember that this is no Galaxy Note 4 competitor, but rather a Galaxy Note 4 alternative for folks who want a big screen and stylus but don’t need the high power and high price of a flagship Android device.

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Motorola invites us to “choose” on September 4th (Moto X+1 and G2 being unveiled?) http://phandroid.com/2014/08/14/motorola-september-event/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/14/motorola-september-event/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:18:33 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146825 motorola chicago invite

Early September is jam packed with more events than your average person can handle, but add another to the calendar — Motorola has something to show us on September 4th. The company put together a colorfully animated save the date, telling us to “choose” a bunch of things: choose to discover, choose to have fun, and to choose a “new experience.”

We’re sure all that is hinting toward something that we’ll be able to customize via Moto Maker. The Moto X+1, perhaps? Could the Moto G2 also be in store? Will we also be hearing more about the Moto 360? Tons of possibilities.

We can’t say for sure what, exactly, will be on Motorola’s agenda, but the late summer drop date of whatever this announcement turns out to be sure does fit Motorola’s original wishes to reveal their next flagship right around this time. The latest Moto X+1 rumors tell us to expect a device made up of the following internals:

  • 5.2-inch 1080p display
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat
  • Snapdragon 800 processor
  • 12MP rear / 5MP front facing cameras
  • 32GB internal storage (with micro SD card slot up to 128GB)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2,900mAh battery (26 hours of mixed usage)
  • Water resistance

Not quite the “boom, pow, zap!” sort of phone others are sure to come out with in the second half of 2014, but Motorola proved they could provide a top notch experience without having to pack in a ridiculous set of silicon with the original Moto X. Expect them to do the same with the follow-up should it be the star of the show September 4th.

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Report: Samsung to introduce SIM-enabled Gear Solo alongside Note 4 at IFA http://phandroid.com/2014/08/08/samsung-gear-solo-rumor-2/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/08/samsung-gear-solo-rumor-2/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:58:31 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146465 samsung-galaxy-gear-neo-3

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was once thought to be the sole guest of honor at Samsung’s Unpacked event next month, but a recent report says that isn’t quite the case. Yonhap News in Korea is reporting that Samsung will be introducing a new Samsung Gear smart watch at the show. The name is said to be “Gear Solo,” which alludes to its supposed standalone SIM card.

That detail would effectively make it Samsung’s first smart watch that wouldn’t require a smartphone connection to receive data. We’re not sure what other features it might gain or if it would be much different from the Gear 2, though our gut tells us current Gear 2 owners won’t really be needing an upgrade unless they’ve been yearning to ditch their smartphone.

The impacts of cellular radios inside a smart watch could be quite significant. For starters, devices with 3G or 4G radios tend to be more expensive than their WiFi-only counterparts. Cellular radios also suck up a lot more battery than WiFi or Bluetooth. Samsung’s going to have to pull some pretty neat tricks in order to mitigate those typical drawbacks, but we won’t count them out until we see it for ourselves. Fingers crossed that they end up trotting to IFA with it on their wrist for their September 3rd event.

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Samsung asks us to “Note the Date” in latest Unpacked Invite; Note 4 all but confirmed http://phandroid.com/2014/08/06/samsung-unpacked-2014-event/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/06/samsung-unpacked-2014-event/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 12:15:40 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146280 samsung note the date 2014

Earlier this week Samsung started inviting press to a Berlin event for September 3rd, though the company quickly asked those media sites to unpublish their posts for some unknown reason. Perhaps it’s because they wanted to put together something a bit more flavorful, as they’ve done just that with an official public announcement for a worldwide Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 event going down on that very day.

This particular invite doesn’t go light on the hints. They’re teasing the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in every way imaginable, from the circular Air Command menu to the quirky (if not cheesy) “Note the Date” line with an artists’ pen to the right of it.

The invite confirms that the event will be simultaneously cast in Beijing, New York and Berlin, giving Samsung an avenue in all three of their most major markets. Of course, the news won’t take long to reach the rest of the corners of the globe as the internet should have all the details you’re looking for by the end of it all.

We aren’t yet sure what to expect from the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 aside from the oft-rumored 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 display, but whatever it is we’re sure Samsung won’t want to disappoint as this is the smartphone line they usually go all in on. Be sure to circle September 3rd (and all the dates through September 10th, really) to stay informed on all the latest coming from Samsung, Sony and everyone else attending IFA this year, and stay tuned for live coverage from Phandroid once that day arrives.

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Samsung schedules unpacked event for September 3rd in Berlin — Note 4 in tow? http://phandroid.com/2014/08/04/samsung-ifa-berlin-2014-note-4/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/04/samsung-ifa-berlin-2014-note-4/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:04:23 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146137 samsung-logo

Just a few short days after learning Samsung might be planning to launch the Note 4 in Berlin next month, the company inadvertently and partially confirmed those rumors this morning. Samsung has started sending press invite to European press for an Unpacked event in Berlin on September 3rd, just two short days before one of Europe’s biggest technology conventions kicks off.

Samsung obviously didn’t divulge information about the event’s purposes, but history tells us to expect the next iteration of their flagship phablet. The Samsung Galaxy Note line usually sees Samsung pulling out all of the stops and pushing smartphone innovation much more than even their Galaxy S lineup does.

We’re still not fully sure what to expect from this go-round, though odds are Samsung’s finally ready to unleash their own 2560 x 1440 display in a 5.7-inch form factorTdivu. It must have stung to see LG beat them to the punch with this resolution in the LG G3 considering Samsung is usually on the edge of the market when it comes to display innovation.

Recent hints from Samsung could also allude to the company trying out an infrared-based iris scanner in the phone, adding to the long list of biometric options that you can now use to enhance smartphone security. As for everything else, we expect Samsung’s latest home-grown Exynos, as well as a possible return to 3GB of RAM that we missed out on in the Samsung Galaxy S5. Rumors are useless until they’re confirmed, of course, so we’ll just have to circle our calendars and sit tight.

[via SamMobile]

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Sprint invites us to “take the edge off” on August 19th http://phandroid.com/2014/07/24/sprint-event-aug-19/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/24/sprint-event-aug-19/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:56:09 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145530 Sprint_Ranger_Registration

Another Sprint event is on the horizon, with the Now Network inviting us to “take the edge off” come August 19th in New York City. In typical invite fashion we don’t get any clue as to what they’ll be announcing, though the word “EDGE” being emphasized in the invitation could give a hint.

If it’s not some sort of network announcement, we might guess that this could be a follow-up device to the Kyocera Hydro EDGE from yesteryear. That particular phone was also revealed in August of its respective year, prime timing for its ability to stand up to summertime swimming, beach walking and other elements-filled activities.

Of course, your guess is as good as ours with no rumors suggesting anything. The only other hint the image gives is in the image name: “Sprint_Ranger_Invitation.jpg” is what they’ve decided to call it. Whether that means anything remains to be seen. Whatever it may be you can be certain we’ll be stamping our calendar and waiting for that day to arrive. Circle back at that point if you’re just as curious as we are.

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Video: Google IO 2014 in under 2 minutes, and all the developer sessions you can handle http://phandroid.com/2014/07/15/google-io-2014-videos/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/15/google-io-2014-videos/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:52:36 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=144873

Google IO was a two-day developer conference jam packed with tons of stuff that developers and users alike can get excited about. In case you weren’t there to attend it or missed all our coverage during the show itself, Google is giving us a rundown of all the event’s happenings in under 2 minutes. It won’t provide the full rundown, but it gives you a sense of the excitement of the show and all the goods that came from it.

io2014-stage1

What we do get an extensive archive of, though, are all the developer sessions Google held at the Moscone West this year. There are more than 70 in all, and they’re all available for your viewing pleasure online right here. Whether you weren’t able to attend the show or you were there in person and too busy to zip around to each one, this should ensure you didn’t miss a single beat. The only problem will be finding the time to watch all of it. Settle in and press play!

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Reflecting on Google I/O 2014: From our Android community to Android everywhere http://phandroid.com/2014/06/27/reflect-google-io-2014-android-everywhere/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/27/reflect-google-io-2014-android-everywhere/#comments Sat, 28 Jun 2014 02:49:01 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143895 io2014-stage1

Being what some would call a bit of a fanboy, making the pilgrimage to Google’s annual developer conference was nothing short of a dream come true. I sit here in the cabin of this airplane, unable to relax and unable to close my eyes like unlike many other passengers during our journey across the country. The truth is, even though Google I/O 2014 has come and gone, the best is yet to come. And that’s what’s truly exciting. Before we talk about the future, let’s revisit and reflect on not only the events, but the experiences over the past few days.

Google provides live streaming for countless sessions as well as their highly anticipated keynote presentation for all to watch and listen to from anywhere in the world. Yes, the keynote is where we learn all of the juicy details about Google’s upcoming products and services, but as I mentioned, you can get that at home.

For me, the true experience of Google I/O comes from the relationships built and social aspect of the conference. Attending Google I/O allowed me to meet some truly amazing people from the Android community that I’ve wanted to meet for years. From big bad famous Googlers, to ex-Googlers, to Android bloggers, and all sorts of friends from far and wide that I’ve only known on Google+ for the past 3 years. Being able to finally meet and hang out with so many of these amazing people made the past few days just truly awesome (Queue everything is awesome music.)

After parties and social aside, Google taught us this year that Android is everywhere and it’s going to get even better as time goes on.

Android One is going to provide low cost phones to remote places of the world where having a capable smartphone is sometimes out of the question. Google has well over a billion Android devices out there right now. The next billion consumers are ready to join the Android ecosystem.

With Android Auto, Google will ultimately make the roads safer by removing some of our technological distractions while we’re on the road. Google’s success with the smartphone market is now being applied to the automobile industry. The connected car is here, now let’s unify the experience.

As for Android TV, Google is really putting the brand into the product this time around. Android TV will provide a rich and unified entertainment experience for the living room. Chromecast is here to stay if you’re interested in streaming content, however if you’re into gaming and apps, you’ll want something a bit more powerful. Android TV is the answer.

Android Wear aims to show the ever expanding wearables space just exactly how Google plans to shape the wearable computer industry. Being able to seamlessly integrate your wearable device into your current platform and ecosystem is very rewarding. In fact, in just two days time I’ve come to love my LG G Watch more than Google Glass, which I’ve had for a year. This could also be the fact that my Glass only lasts 1-2 hours before dying, but that’s a story for another time.

The Android L preview is not only gorgeous (sorry, fanboy remember?), but it brings about many changes to Android that makes the experience easier for consumers. However, the real point here is that Google took a pointer from Apple and released a developer preview months in advance, giving developers time to ready their applications and services. This will result in a more stable final release as well as (fingers crossed) more applications using the new design language, resulting in apps not looking out of place when it comes to matching the new style.

The future of Android and Google’s new plans to unify all of their platforms in design as well as integration show us that the future is going to provide stellar user experiences when Android reaches it’s final form. We’ll no longer think of Android Auto, Android TV, Android Wear, or any other facet of Android. We’ll just think of Android as one large platform spanning across various devices and gadgets. A platform to unify all of the things.

Lastly, I’d like to thank our Rob and Steve for making Google I/O so enjoyable and an experience I’ll never forget. Here’s to the future of Android with Phandroid and Google I/O 2015.

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First look: Android Auto from Audi, Chevy, Honda and more [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/06/26/android-auto-first-look/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/26/android-auto-first-look/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 22:20:02 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143777

While you won’t be able to get behind the wheel of an Android Auto-equipped vehicle for quite some time, Phandroid is here to give you the next best thing: an up-close and personal look at Android Auto vehicles from Google I/O. Android Auto is Google’s open platform for vehicles that gives you quick and easy access to a road-centric Android experience.

Whether you’re looking for tunes for your morning commute or need directions for a cross-country trip, Android Auto will deliver it all in a very seamless way. Many of the vehicles you’ll see later this year and beyond will support voice commands so you can control music playback, look up info via Google Search, and control your maps without having to remove your hands from the steering wheel.

honda-android-car8

Some of the vehicles will also have media playback controls built into the steering wheel, natch. Of course, you can always do what you need by reaching for the touch-enabled in-dash unit built into the car.

The fact that it’s powered by Google Now, Google Search and the Knowledge Graph engine means the phone can predict what you want and when you want it. For instance, if you happen to go to work at 6am every morning, the car might automatically pull up the directions to your job and some nice music to listen to on the way without you having to do anything. Or perhaps you were searching for good Italian restaurants on your computer before leaving the house — Google Now will know that, and once you get into your car it will ask you if you want to go there.

And just as with Google Now and Search on phones, Android Auto understands contextual conversations. Saying something like “take me to the football stadium” will likely pull up the local professional football stadium in your city and load up the directions without you having to do anything.

honda-android-car5

The best part is that all of it can sync with your phone and Google account. When pairing your phone up with the car, the car gets all of its information from your phone, the apps on your phone and the accounts you’re signed in with, which means there’s no clunky login processes you have to deal with. This also means getting new apps for your car is as easy as downloading an app from Google Play to your phone.

Google made it easy for developers to adapt said apps to the in-dash display, with some apps being implemented in just under two weeks according to a spokesperson we discussed with. Beyond that, the Android Auto platform gives developers the freedom to style their applications however they need (so you’ll see Spotify’s icons and green highlights within their music app, for instance).

audi-android-car5(2)

Here are just a few of the early apps Google showed off inside Android Auto cars at Google IO this year:

  • MLB At Bat
  • iHeartRadio
  • Spotify
  • Google Play Music
  • Google Search and Google Now
  • Google Maps and Navigation
  • Joyride
  • Pocket Casts
  • Pandora
  • TuneIn Radio
  • Songza

Android Auto doesn’t sound amazing in this day and age, but that’s because it’s simply taking what we already have the ability to do with our phones and tablets and adapting it to a road-safe experience.

That’s all we’re asking for really, and it looks like Google has the right idea when it comes to creating a connected car experience that can do more than just play music and answer phone calls. It certainly gets us excited for 2015 and beyond. Watch the first look video from Google IO above and see if it does the same for you, and have a look at more of the sweet cars that will be equipped with Android Auto in the gallery sitting below.

honda-android-car13 honda-android-car9 honda-android-car11 audi-android-car2 audi-android-car10 honda-android-car3 honda-android-car4 honda-android-car6 ]]>
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Android TV unboxing and first look: specs, pictures, and more [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/06/26/android-tv-hands-on-video/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/26/android-tv-hands-on-video/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 19:22:33 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143716

Say goodbye to Google TV and hello to the wonder you see us groping in the video above. Android TV is a renaissance of Google’s first stab at the smart TV market. While we won’t be seeing any consumer products until we head closer to the end of this year, developers have already been treated to units of the ADT-1, Android TV’s first development platform device.

Specs

One of the things early Google TV devices were chastised for was under-performing specs. The lackluster internals made for sluggish experiences (so much so that some of them became flat-out unusable after a while). Thankfully Google has looked to remedy that as they came out the gate strong with some pretty impressive specs:

  • Tegra 4 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • 2×2 MIMO dual-channel WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ethernet Port
  • HDMI port
  • Android L Developer Preview

The device is fully unlocked out of the box, natch, so Google’s inviting developers to go nuts and come up with anything they can to help get this platform ready for launch later this year. It’s far too early to tell what the result of such openness will be, but we have a feeling it won’t take long for developers to pour their heart, soul and code into these boxes.

Software and Features

Android TV appears to be quite simple at its core. It takes on a lot of the same qualities Google TV had: it combines live television with internet video sources such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube to give you access to nearly anything you’d want to watch at a moment’s notice.

android-tv-pic2

All of that will leverage voice commands, search and Google’s Knowledge Graph to help you find what you are looking for and learn everything about it with ease. Not lost on us is the much improved user interface that presents all your content in a way that’s very pleasing to the eye, and it’s easy enough to zip around said interface thanks to the capable hardware sitting inside.

Where Android TV steps things up a notch — nay, a ton — is the department of games.  One of the important things they wanted to do from the starting gate was build games into the platform in a way that developers won’t even have to think about porting their wares over to the big screen.

This includes integration with the Google Play Games platform for access to achievements, leaderboards and multiplayer gaming. We saw examples of gaming with controllers to give folks a console-esque experience, and with that powerful Tegra 4 chipset inside this could turn out to be a very versatile piece of equipment.

android-tv-game-remote11

Google also mentioned that the platform would have “Cast” capabilities, so the ability to beam music, movies, photos and even mirror your Android phone or tablet’s display should add a lot to the experience. Needless to say this should prove to be a much more useful, usable and exciting package than Google TV was in its infancy, and it’ll be exciting to see what future iterations bring us.

Photos

In case you were wondering how the ADT-1 and its controller looks from every angle this handy photo gallery should do the trick:

android-tv-pic2 android-tv-pic android-tv-game-remote12 android-tv-game-remote11 android-tv-game-remote10 android-tv-game-remote9 android-tv-game-remote8 android-tv-game-remote7 android-tv-game-remote6 android-tv-game-remote5 android-tv-game-remote4 android-tv-game-remote3 android-tv-game-remote2 android-tv-game-remote androidtv-box-dusty androidtv-box-bottom androidtv-box androidtb-box2

Will you buy one?

So after Google’s second (and seemingly successful) attempt at the smart TV game — will you buy one? Granted, you won’t be able to get the ADT-1, but we should see manufacturers start to push out set-top boxes and televisions with Android TV built-in by this holiday season. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Samsung Gear Live: specs, hands-on video and pictures, and info you need to know http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/gear-live-hands-on/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/gear-live-hands-on/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 21:20:30 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143625

Earlier today Google took a quick second to announce the Samsung Gear Live, one of the first Android Wear smartwatches we’ll be seeing. Wondering what’s under the hood? Here’s a full spec sheet with everything you can expect:

  • 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display (320 x 320)
  • 1.2GHz processor
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • IP67 water and dust resistant
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 4GB of internal storage
  • 300mAh li-ion battery
  • 59g, 37.9 x 56.4 x 8.9 mm
  • Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Heart Rate sensor
  • Available in Black and Wine Red

Samsung didn’t have much else to say about the device, though that’s because Google already did all the talking about its software platform and features. This is standard, untouched and unscrubbed Android Wear (which you can read all about right here).

samsung gear live wm_1 samsung gear live wm_8 samsung gear live wm_7 samsung gear live wm_6 samsung gear live wm_5 samsung gear live wm_4 samsung gear live wm_3 samsung gear live wm_2

Our hands-on time with the Gear Live revealed a smartwatch that wasn’t really amazing, but felt and looked solid. One immediate thing we noticed was the lack of camera was the lack of a camera (which only looked weird because we’re so used to seeing one on the original Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Samsung Gear 2). It’s a bit refreshing to see a Samsung device that isn’t aiming to shove more sensors onto the thing than can barely fit.

Unfortunately the software on the demo unit we handled wasn’t yet available and we were treated to nothing but a repeating demo reel, but it did give us a pretty good idea of how life with a Gear Live on your wrist would be once you receive one in the near future.

samsung gear live wm_2

The smartwatch is supposed to be going live alongside the LG G Watch in the Google Play Store later today so stay tuned as we wait for them to touch down. In the meantime be sure to check our hands-on video up above (and you’ll have to excuse Rob repeatedly calling it the Galaxy Gear Live — I guess he’s gotten so used to Samsung’s strong branding by now).

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You can now signup to learn more about Android Auto and Android TV http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/android-tv-android-auto-info/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/android-tv-android-auto-info/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 19:16:45 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143583 android tv signup

Google announced tons of great new developments at their developers’ conference today. You can read all about it right here if you haven’t been keeping up. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably want to signup to learn more about everything you’re interested in.

Signup forms for Android Auto and Android Auto and Android TV have gone live for those who are interested in learning more about those particular things when they’re ready for public consumption. You’ll also find links to learn about Android phones and tablets, Google Play and more. Be sure to take a good look at all of it and get psyched up for what should be an exciting year ahead!

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Google I/O attendees receive not one, but two Android Wear devices http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/google-io-2014-giveaways/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/google-io-2014-giveaways/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 18:58:26 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143581 android-wear

Google I/O has been known as a bit of a second Christmas for Android fans, and Google again delivered at their 2014 developer conference. While the overall event was short on actual device announcements, a focus on Android Wear meant Google was eager to get new wearable from partners like LG and Samsung onto the wrists of attendees. All making the trip to Google I/O will leave with either an LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live smartwatch in addition to a Moto 360 when it ships later this summer.

Sundar Pichai pointed to the differing form factors when presenting those at the show with the devices they would be able to take home. Both Samsung and LG’s Android Wear offerings utilize a square form factor, but Pichai wanted to make sure developers would get a chance to experience the round Android Wear face of the Moto 360 as well.

Google made wearables a focus this year, and the decision to provide attendees with multiple devices further shows their commitment to promoting app service developments for Android Wear. We’ll be snagging our own ASAP and will report back with hands-on and initial impressions shortly.

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Google announces exciting new features for Chromecast at Google IO 2014 http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/new-chromecast-features/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/new-chromecast-features/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 18:18:42 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143558 chromecast new features

Chromecast got a bit of stage time at Google IO 2014 today, and Google had a lot of interesting new features to show off. For starters, a new Bump-esque feature will now allow your friends to cast content to your Chromecast without them having to connect to your WiFi network. It can be a bit cumbersome to have to ask your friend for their WiFi password and connect, so to be able to skip this step is sure to be a very welcome change.

Google has also vowed to allow you to use your Chromecast to make your TV the “biggest photo frame in your house.” They aim to do this with Backdrop, a feature that allows your Chromecast to display photos, information and more. Think of it as “Daydream,” except for your Chromecast. The Chromecast can show photos from your personal collection, art pieces from a list of art curated by Google, maps that are relevant to you, weather reports and more.

Chromecast Featured ready to cast

And you won’t ever need to question whatever is on your television. Want to know more about the artwork your Chromecast is showing? Just say “what’s on my Chromecast” in Google Search and it pulls up everything you need to know.

The next big feature is the ability to mirror anything you’re doing on your Android phone directly to your Chromecast. This is a feature developers have been trying to implement in their third party apps, and it’s nice to know that it will now be built into Chromecast and Android by default.

Finally, Google announced new apps, sites and sections in the Play Store to make it easier to find Chromecast-enabled apps which we should see rolling out quite soon. All of the features above are due within weeks, apparently, so sit tight as we wait for Google to deliver the goods.

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Android TV announced as Google’s next evolution of the smart television http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/android-tv-announced/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/android-tv-announced/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:35:35 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143466 android TV 1

Ever since the announcement of Google TV at I/O 2010, Google’s aim with their Android-based smart television platform was fuzzy at best. Today things become a bit clearer with the introduction of Android TV, an evolution of the concept that strips away some of the more ambitious features of Google TV and rolls the remainder into the newly-announced Android ‘L’ SDK, streamlining the platforms and making sure TV isn’t left behind.

Google TV debuted with several hardware partners in tow, Logitech and Sony in particular showing up big for the launch. Over the next several months the initiative seemed to slip further and further out of Google’s plans despite several promising hardware options reaching market as well as strides on the software front. At times, Google TV seemed destined to go the way of other short-lived products like the Nexus Q.

Android TV more or less starts from scratch, but it isn’t that unlike what was initially offered with Google TV. The platform will still be available as a software SDK that can be deployed by any manufacturer, it integrates live TV with downloadable and streamed content, and it incorporates search and viewing suggestions to reveal new content for viewers.

android TV

Games will also be a huge part of Android TV, taking advantage of the large library of titles found in the Google Play Store and syncing with Google Play leaderboards and friends. Because the SDK branches out from Android ‘L,’ it will be easier than ever for developers to get their apps and games on as many screens as possible

Android TV will also work in conjunction with Android implementations found on other devices, including smartphone and wearable apps, as well as Chromecast-like functionality to “cast” content from a tablet direct to television.

android TV 4

Sony, Sharp, and other manufacturers are already committed to the inclusion of Android TV in their upcoming HDTV lineups. But we’ve seen this story before. Manufacturing partners do not guarantee success, but Google’s new approach to television looks to be based on some hard lessons learned from their initial attempts with Google TV.

 

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