As 2013 drew to a close, news broke that Google’s Chromebook platform and devices were storming the U.S. commercial sales channels. Much of their success has been in places like school districts where low cost devices are needed for deployment to large student bodies. The good news for Google is that students are usually not locked into specific applications and schools tend to utilize cloud solutions to make the constant deployment of technology easier. Things are a little more difficult in corporate settings where business users tend to rely on more specific apps and companies may be more hesitant to use cloud solutions, especially with relatively more stable user populations. Google has taken a step to help break into that market with a recent agreement to work with VMWare to bring access to Windows desktops and applications to Chromebook devices. Read more
When new smartphones are released, we are inevitably hit with videos from folks trying to show how well they survive drops and hits, usually in comparison to other leading devices. Although interesting to those who enjoy watching devices get trashed and fanboys or fangirls who like to find any little thing to claim superiority for their favored device, the results of these videos are really just a single data point. For some folks, like SquareTrade which supplies insurance to consumers who buy electronic devices, the breakability of different devices is important for their rate setting and more extensive, controlled testing is required. The company recently completed another round of testing of popular devices and released the top 10 results. Leading the way as the most breakable device was Apple’s iPad Mini, but other Apple devices along with those from Samsung and Google fill out the top 10. Read more
As Google moves from smart phones to smart homes, their recent acquisition of Nest is now official and complete according to a recent SEC filing. Google reports the transaction closed on February 7, 2014. That was the same day that news broke that the FTC had approved the deal well ahead of the typical 30 day window for anti-trust law compliance reviews. Google’s acquisition of Nest for $3.2 billion was first announced on January 13th, so less than a month later they have already closed.
While Google has moved quickly to wrap up the acquisition of Nest, it remains to be seen whether they will move just as quickly to develop and deploy new hardware to consumers.
source: Securities Exchange Commission
Here’s your crazy story for the day: Microsoft may be figuring out how to bring Android apps to their Windows platform.
Now that Microsoft has a new CEO in place, they’re inevitably going to try out some different new things to give their Windows Phone platform a shot in the arm. According to some close to Microsoft, this radical change would be to embrace Android apps to artificially inflate their app count. Now, we’ve seen BlackBerry try something similar, and it didn’t help them much, but Microsoft has quite a bit more clout to push its own services. Read more
Koush’s AllCast app has seen some ups and downs. It was originally designed to be able to share content to a Chromecast, but Google ended up blocking the feature, and then it was added back last week . The next step for the app might be even bigger, though.
On his Google+ page, Koush hinted that he would be able to stream Android to Chromecast, which presumably means sharing an entire device’s screen to your television. He didn’t explicitly say whether or not that would be an AllCast feature or something else entirely, but the idea is exciting.
It’s always possible that Google could shoot this down almost immediately after release like what happened with Chromecast initially, but hopefully that was a one-time ordeal. After all, if an app like this existed, it would certainly boost Chromecast sales, right?
source: Koushik Dutta
Icon packs are one of the greatest features of Android. There’s a ton of them on the Play Store to help you completely tweak and customize your home screens and icons to make everything look exactly how you want it to. Sometimes, though, that perfect icon pack that fits so well with everything else on your device is missing just one or two app icons for some of your favorite apps.
To help solve this problem, XDA developer tung91 has created a small tool that will help users easily send requests to developers of icon packs. This tool has to be manually added to icon packs by developers, which adds a small request button in the icon pack’s interface. Users can hit that request button to send a report of what apps they would like themed (it only shows unthemed apps, so you won’t have to scroll through hundreds of apps that are already assigned a custom icon) for the developer to see and work on. It’s a quick, relatively painless process. Read more
The G2 Mini that cleared Bluetooth SIG is going to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress on February 24th. LG posted the above teaser image along with the date on Facebook.
We haven’t seen all that many leaks on the device, but back in December, it was rumored to have a 4.7-inch display, a Snapdragon 800, and 2GB of RAM. If this holds, than this is going be a lot like the Xperia Z1 Compact, in that it will sport high-end specs. Most other “mini” versions are entry to mid-level devices.
We are less than 2 weeks away, so we still have time for another leak or two. Stay tuned.
Yesterday, Samsung tweeted a little teaser revealing a new circular icon look for TouchWiz. Not that we needed confirmation from something that was offered by the company itself, but a leaked screenshot from the Galaxy S 5 does just that. As you can clearly see, the image probably comes from China, but is has some of the same icons that were shown in yesterday’s teaser. Hit the break to see the comparison.
One of the things that the app DashClock has been known for is its ability to allow others to take advantage of it. The creator of DashClock, Roman Nurik, looks to do the same with his newly released live wallpaper. Enter Muzei. Russian for museum, the app will showcase a work of art daily as your wallpaper. However rather than be obtrusive the wallpaper will be dimmed and blurred as to not distract you from going about your business. Although, if you’re interested in seeing the actual work of art and information on it, that’s just a double-tap away.
If works of art don’t interest you, you can set the wallpaper to cycle through your photos instead. And this is where the open API comes to play. By keeping it open, developers can use the code to create their own wallpaper sources. Basically this equates to the ability to use other images, for instance, nature, lightning or space related wallpapers to name a few.
We have the Download link and QR code after the break. Also, there is both a gallery and a video for you to check out as well. As you’ll notice, Muzei offers a subtle and classy touch to spruce up your wallpaper. Enjoy!
The other day, HTC came out and said that it needed to push out “mid-tier” devices in order to capitalize on a market it has been somewhat absent in. This would then help the struggling company to turn a better profit. With that, a leaked “Desire 8″ shows off a pretty classy looking mid-range device. The leak surfaced on the Chinese tech web site, MyDrivers, and was later confirmed by Engadget.
The device will be a dual-SIM phone with a 5.5 inch display. The resolution is unknown at this time. Other specs include a 13 MP Camera (not of the Ultra Pixel variety) and a 5 MP front facing camera. That will come with something called beautification mode. We would expect that the device will come in a plastic housing and will be available in multiple colors. As we can see from the picture, it will have front facing speakers, that not seem to be the standard for HTC devices. What we also see, or don’t see for that matter, are capacitive buttons, suggesting that the device may sport on-screen buttons like the HTC M8.
No word on when this will debut, but the image suggests that March 18 will be the day with Beijing being the place to be. That leaves us with a little over a month to wait.