Contest: Win 1 of 5 Chromecasts From DL to Celebrate the Dongle’s Birthday!

Since Google is taking the time to celebrate the 1st birthday of the Chromecast by giving away free 90-day All Access subscriptions, we wanted to join in on the party by giving away additional goodies. Instead of handing out All Access subscriptions – that many of you can’t take advantage of because you have already taken it for a trial run – we are instead giving you free Chromecast devices! We will put up 5 for 5 lucky DL individuals.  (more…)

Qualcomm is Ready to Bring You LTE Direct, Battery-Friendly Contextual Awareness

Lots of apps nowadays – from Google Now, to Foursquare, to Keep – rely on locational awareness (more commonly referred to as “geofencing”) to serve contextually sensitive information, such as the number of nearby restaurants and friends. That’s all good and fine, but those features typically rely on a combination of GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth signals to function, which means using them requires sacrificing power.

Qualcomm thinks it may have a solution in LTE Direct. The technology, a device-to-device discovery service, piggybacks on LTE spectrum to help smartphones and tablets – thousands of devices at a range of around 500 meters, to be precise – to exchange information.  (more…)

Google Gives “Offline Games” Their Own Section in Google Play

There are games aplenty that require a steady data connection for playing, but that is sometimes because game makers are either concerned over piracy or the game features an online multiplayer, which would naturally require a data connection.

Regardless of why an app needs to be connected constantly, Google now has a new section in Google Play for Offline Games. That’s right, a full group of games that do not require a data connection.  (more…)

LG Mobile Sells Record 14.5 Million Smartphones in Q2, Turns A Profit for the First Time in Three Quarters

Life’s good for LG, if the company’s financials are anything to go by. The smartphone division had a record quarter (selling 14.5 million smartphones), leading to a Q2 net profit of KRW 412 billion ($399.8 million) and an operating profit of KRW 606 billion ($588.5 million). That’s a 165% and 26.5% increase year-over-year, respectively. (more…)

AT&T Launches Eight New 4G LTE Markets Across US

This morning, AT&T announced yet another set of cities/towns that have been graced with their 4G LTE network. It seems that the network won’t stop its rollout, at least until every US resident is bathed in faster data speeds.

As for the competition, Verizon announced the end of its 4G LTE rollout quite some time ago, and we actually expected the same from AT&T, as both carriers are now focusing on LTE-Advanced in select markets. Verizon is also beefing up large chunks of its LTE network to XLTE, which simply boosts bandwidths in struggling sectors.  (more…)

1 Year in: Google has Sold “Millions” of Chromecasts, Gives Away Free Google Music to Celebrate

Today, Google is celebrating the birthday of Chromecast by announcing a handful of stats to show how popular their HDMI streaming dongle has become. At $35, the Chromecast is still one of the best values in tech, as it allows you to take all sorts of media and “cast” it directly to almost any screen. It is a fantastic tool.

According to Google, they have sold “millions” of Chromecast devices in this first year, have tracked more than 400 million casts, and are selling the device in 20 countries and 30,000 stores across the globe. I don’t know that any of us saw this dongle becoming such a big seller, but like I just mentioned, there is incredible value there. It was sold out for months on Amazon and Google Play when initially launched before Google could catch up to demand. One year in, I would say that Chromecast has been a surprise success.  (more…)

Hangouts is Now an Option for Making Calls on Google Voice

Google Voice and Hangouts will be merged at some point in the future, at least that is what Google keeps telling us. Google announced back at last year’s I/O conference, again in October, and then again in March that Hangouts is the “future” of Voice, only they forgot to give us another update at this year’s I/O conference. So yes, we are more than a year into this supposed merger of Hangouts and Voice, yet the mystery surrounding the timing of that action is thicker than ever.

Thankfully, we know that at least Google’s Alex Wiesen has not stopped working on Google Voice. He told us back in June that Google is working to improve voicemail transcriptions with your help, and has followed that up with the unveiling of Hangouts calls through the web version of Google Voice. Mentioned on his G+ page last night, Weisen noted that when placing a call through the web version of Voice, you now have the option to call through Hangouts instead of through your phone or “Google Talk.” If you aren’t a G+ user, you can still use the Hangouts option as it doesn’t require a G+ account.  (more…)