Cortana for Android Public Beta Now Downloadable for All

Cortana, the Microsoft-made personal assistant, is now available for all to download on Google Play. Still sporting a beta tag, Cortana offers most of what Siri or Google Now provides you, with exception that she is powered by Bing, Microsoft’s search platform. When speaking to Cortana, you can ask her to set alarms, get calendar event reminders, and quite a bit more.  (more…)

It’s 2015, Why Do All Android Phones Still Include a “But”

The year is 2015 and we still don’t have a perfect smartphone. I’d argue that there isn’t even a phone that is all that close to being perfect. I’m not saying that all of today’s phones are bad, because most are very, very good and you will probably be satisfied with whatever you choose. But every single one of them includes a big “but.” Hear me out.

Over the past few years, we have seen display technology from Samsung that looks more life-like than your TV and is mindblowingly good. We have seen processors reach PC-like power and efficiency levels. RAM is insanely fast. The Galaxy Note 5 has 4GB of it, people. 4GB. Storage is also faster than ever before. We even have fast wireless charging now! Cameras are reaching point-and-shoot territory. No, smartphone cameras are coming close to eclipsing some point-and-shoots. Metals are being used. Glass is too. Phones look like high-end watches or jewelry, yet do more than a computer in many instances. Technology is, well, pure awesome right now. So why is it that every single Android manufacturer can’t make us the perfect phone.

Why isn’t there a perfect option right now?   (more…)

Here are 21 Interactive Watch Faces to Get Your Android Wear Watch Ready

The next Android Wear update to hit your smartwatch will introduce interactive watch faces. These new faces will allow you to interact with your watch like never before, meaning you will be able to tap on them to quickly view the weather or your calendar or even launch an app. The watch faces could allow you to toggle between steps taken, calories burned, change dials that show, or tweak a watch face’s HUD, depending on the app.

To help get you ready for all that interactivity, Google has posted a collection of the watch face apps they partnered with to launch the new feature. There are 21 in total, but I’d imagine others will get their watch faces ready as quickly as possible now that the new API is available.

Keep in mind that none of the new interactive features work until you receive the next Android Wear update, which will slowly rollout over the coming weeks.

You’ll find all of the new watches and the link below.

Play Link

interactive watch faces

Google Photos Now Helps You “Rediscover Photos From the Past”

A new update to Google Photos is rolling out that should help you re-live your past through pictures. The update will notify you of moments or events from the past through cards in the app’s Assistant. The cards could be from a “trip this time last year” or as a collage of photos from a time long ago where you and bunch of friends shotgunned Busch Light at a gravel pit, around a fire of burning pallets, with Ruff Ryders Anthem playing out of Brett’s jacked up Chevy. Ahhh, youth. The feature is opt-in, so if you don’t want to rediscover the past, you don’t have to.  (more…)

Google Adsense for Android Gets New Logo, Full Material Makeover

The Google Adsense application for Android just got its big update to Material Design. The app is now as “fresh” as can be with new logo and move away from the days of Jelly Bean hamburger menus.

Outside of the new look (which can be seen below), Google also added custom date ranges, a bunch of new reports, new metrics, and translations for Hindi and Malay.

For those grabbing pennies on the daily with Adsense, be sure to update.  (more…)

Android Wear Update Introduces Interactive Watch Faces

This morning, the Android team announced a new update to their Android Wear platform that introduces interactive watch faces. An interactive watch faces gives developers the opportunity to bake in more advanced features and information to watch faces with fewer taps. Now, as Google points out, “with just a tap” your watch face can “change its design, reveal more information, or even launch a specific app.”

In the examples below, you can see how a watch face could have shortcuts to steps, weather, calendar, missed calls, etc., all that can be quickly launched with a tap. You could also use taps to toggle between items like calories burned, steps, or distance with a fitness watch face.  (more…)

Sony’s SmartBand 2 Features Advanced Heart Rate Sensor, Can Judge Stress Levels

Sony took the wraps off its new SmartBand 2 this morning, a health and lifestyle fitness band that will launch in September for around 119 EUR. The goal of the new SmartBand 2 is to not only look appealing with its variety of colors, but to provide “full-scale insights about your fitness, well-being, and stress levels.”

Sony included an accelerometer and heart rate sensor to monitor pulse and heart rate “variability,” which they think allows them to “gauge overall fitness, excitement and stress levels throughout the day.” That’s a pretty bold idea to grasp, but hey, the more data crunching in wearables we can do, the better, in my opinion.  (more…)