The AccuWeather app on Android has just received a new update, bringing a new dedicated app for Android Wear along with it. This allows users to open up the AccuWeather app directly from their smartwatch, instead of periodically seeing cards on their wearable. Read more
Polaroid’s new Socialmatic Camera was not the only device the company announced at CES 2015. Polaroid also announced the availability of a new L Series line of tablet devices. The L Series consists of two tablets, the L7 which is a 7-inch tablet and the L10, a 10.1-inch tablet, both of which will come with Android Lollipop. Polaroid is clearly going after entertainment consumers with the tablet line as indicated by CEO Scott Hardy’s statement, “Our L Series provides consumers with super-fast quad core processing speeds allowing for faster performance and less wait times when watching movies, playing games or surfing the web. In addition the L Series’ sleek design and affordable price point make it a great choice.” Read more
Xiaomi’s recently announced Redmi 2 is an aggressively priced budget device, featuring a 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a 720p 4.7-inch screen. It officially launched in Chinese markets for roughly $110, but trying to get one shipped to the US would be a headache. Fortunately, a Chinese website has started selling the device at a slight mark-up that will ship the device worldwide. Read more
Mobile device security was a hot issue in 2014, and it’s likely going to stay that way in 2015. Many device manufacturers looked into adding kill switches to their phones, and Google has even worked on their implementation.
On the hardware side of things, Qualcomm has announced they are working on a solution for stolen and lost devices called SafeSwitch, which will allow users to remotely lock their devices to secure personal information. Once the device is found, it can then be unlocked and re-activated. Read more
Back in early December, Google finally got around to releasing the application program interface (API) for Android Wear watches. Up to that point, app developers and user interface artists were left in the dark about how to get watch faces onto devices like the Moto 360. A few developers, like Facer for example, were winging it, and doing a pretty good job at that.
Now that it’s been almost a month since the API was released, the Play Store is beginning to show signs of life in the watch face category so I spent some time going through the watch faces for my Samsung Gear Live and made a list of my top 7 favorites. Note that these seven picks will look good on a square or rounded watch, but the final three do favor the circular design.
The Consumer Electronics Assocation (CEA) announced that Ecovent, maker of wireless vents and sensors for home climate control, will be receiving the Automation Device of the Year award. CEA is the group behind the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which has been running all week in Las Vegas, NV.
Ecovent is a DIY upgrade to existing home heating and cooling systems and falls under that hot new category of smart devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). Founder and CEO Dipul Patel, had some gracious words when accepting the award: “To have the industry authority in consumer electronics recognize our product, and the technology and design that goes into it, is particularly gratifying because there is no other organization that has the deep knowledge and insight on the best products and services for the home and ultimately, the consumer.” Read more
Divoom, the company behind various audio products built around functionality, has a speaker product that brings together style and durability. The Voombox-Party is a weather-resistant speaker that has a built-in subwoofer, dual radiators, and five drivers. Although it is not gigantic, the speaker is able to fill a room with deep sound. The Voombox-Party pairs with devices via the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Devices just have to be tapped with the speaker and it automatically connects. Then, the entire experience is wireless. The device features more than eight hours of battery life and charges with micro-USB.
The Voombox-Party will cost $119 when it is available online at the end of January. Color options are black and silver.
Hit the break for the press release. Click here for our full CES 2015 coverage.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson
In a bit of legal tap-dancing, AT&T has filed a motion to dismiss the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) lawsuit against AT&T over data throttling on the grounds that the regulatory body lacks authority to do so. The legal grounds AT&T is basing this on is Section 5 of the FTC Act, in which a portion of that section helps draw distinction between the FTC’s jurisdiction and the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) jurisdiction.
AT&T argues that because of its company’s status as a common carrier in mobile voice communication, then its data service should as well. Mobile data has not traditionally fallen under the purview of the FCC, but AT&T is claiming that data should be under FCC authority. Read more
Music streaming service Deezer, which acquired Stitcher in October, is continuing to devour competitors. It has purchased Muve Music, the in-house music streaming service for Cricket Wireless. Muve Music became popular largely due to its bundling with Cricket Wireless plans. The carrier was able to add value for customers and this made Muve Music, believe it or not, one of the top music streaming services in the United States. With Deezer now in control, Muve Music will fade. Deezer is offering Muve Music subscribers a free 15-day trial of its service and then they can upgrade to a $6 per month subscription.
Hit the break for the full press release.
Alcatel Onetouch is launching a new online store to directly sell devices to American consumers this year. The company has had moderate success in European countries, but so far hasn’t made much headway in the key US market. Selling a variety of phones online might just change that.
The store is actually powered by Amazon, so customers can pay for devices with their Amazon account. You can currently purchase the Idol X+ and Idol 2S, as well as the new Pop 7 and Pop 8 tablet that were announced at CES this year. Their planned smartwatches should also be available on the store, whenever those are released. Read more