Samsung just announced that the Gear S will be available in the U.S. starting next week. What separates this smartwatch from others is the curved AMOLED display as well as its 3G cellular connectivity. You will be able to find it Best Buy, as well as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, And Verizon Wireless. Sprint and T-Mobile already reached out to let us know they will offer the device on November 7 and November 9 respectively.
Sprint will offer it for $0 down (plus tax) and 24 monthly payments of $16 ($384 excluding taxes). There is also a $10 monthly charge when adding it to the Sprint Family Share Pack. However, they will waive the fee if it’s added to any plan of 20 GB or more.
The ES App Group, makers of the popular ES File Explorer Manager, released the ES Chromecast Plugin app a couple of days ago. It works in conjunction with ES File Explorer, and it allows you to cast your videos and photos from your device, network shares, or even from other cloud services to your Chromecast.
This is strictly Beta so expect some choppiness and a few bugs. They are looking for feedback, but I am not sure this one will offer any more than the other like apps that are already available. However, if you are a heavy user of ES File Explorer, you might want to give it a try. And if you never tried the ES File Explorer Manager app itself, give it a shot. It’s a full featured app for exploring all the files on your device. We have download links for both apps below the break.
To celebrate Halloween, the Amazon App Store is hosting a Spooktacular sale that offers 40 apps and games for free. That’s a $115 value. Some notables include Plex, Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO, World of Goo, and Plants vs Zombies. They also have a few Halloween themed offerings like V for Vampire, Amelia and Terror of the Night, and Zombie Gunship.
You have until Saturday to grab these. Hit the break for the full list of games and apps, and hit the link at the bottom to start downloading.
With the smartphone market shrinking, Samsung has been feeling the pinch. Profits for the 3rd quarter were the worst in three years (49% drop), and it can only continue to deteriorate unless drastic changes are made. Apple introduced iPhones with bigger displays, which was probably the biggest differentiating factor for the past couple of years. That, and the fact that cheaper phones were being launched in India and China, have made it difficult for the Korean tech giant.
During an earnings conference call, Samsung investor relations head Robert Yi said they were “not quick enough” to the changing market conditions. Now they seek more efficiency in their product portfolio, which can be translated to a lower number of handsets. Samsung has always offered more handsets than any company, but that needs to be changed immediately.
9 months ago, Google shocked the world by announcing they had sold Motorola to Lenovo for just under $3 billion. As per all deals like this, it takes time to pass through all the regulatory approvals, and today the deal is final. We can now officially refer to Motorola as a Lenovo company.
The plan is still to keep Motorola as a wholly-owned subsidiary, and their headquarters will remain in Chicago. Whether all 2,800 employees out of that headquarters are safe remains to be seen though. And if you remember, Google retained Motorola’s deep collection of patents.
The Microsoft Band leaked earlier when the company posted details about its companion apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. It’s a complete fitness band that’s similar to the Samsung Fit.
It has 10 sensors, which include heart-rate, UV, and even a galvanic skin response for detecting stress. Microsoft will also offer Microsoft Health, which is a cloud-based service for tracking and analyzing the data from the band as well as other devices. Companion apps are available for Android (screenshots below), iOS, and Windows Phone.
We saw glimpses of this at Google I/O, and developers can now make their apps searchable through Google Voice Search. It only takes a few lines of code. Once added, apps can receive the SEARCH_ACTION intent containing the SearchManager.QUERYextra with the search expression.
Examples of such searches might be “Ok Google, search pizza on Eat24” or “Ok Google, search for hotels in Maui on TripAdvisor.” Imagine the possibilities.
YouTube announced the WatchMe for Android project that allows developers to integrate YouTube live streaming into their Android apps. It’s already being utilized by HTC with the Re and Sony with the Live on YouTube app.
It’s an open-source project that uses the YouTube Data API v3, YouTube Live Streaming API, Google Play Services, and Plus API. It’s available on Github and can be customized. It’s still experimental, but you can make sure to keep up with the progress if you subscribe to the YouTube for Developers channel.
Next year could bring the birth of the modular smartphone with Project Ara, which is developed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team. The latest working prototype, the Spiral One, is being built by a team at NK Labs in Boston, and Phonebloks put together a video showing us the device along with the background from the development team.
One thing to note is that the Spiral One uses off-the-shelf chips, so developer functionality is limited. The Spiral Two will feature custom chips made by Toshiba, thus improving developer function. That device will be shown in January at the next Project Ara developer conferences. They will take place in the U.S. and Europe on January 14th and in the Asia Pacific on January 21st.
The video after the break not only shows you the phone, but a decent amount of the development background with NK labs.