Report: Google Home is Basically Just a Chromecast Inside of a Speaker

If you are at all interested in the smart home or at the very least, putting Google a voice command away from being able to confirm that the Oklahoma City Thunder completely choked against the Golden State Warriors after taking a 3-1 series lead, then Google Home should excite you. First announced at Google I/O a couple of weeks back, the Amazon Echo-like competitor won’t arrive until later this year and is mostly covered in mystery. We know its basic functionality and love the potential that this video shows us, but Google hasn’t exactly provided us all of the dirty details behind this new home hub.

According to a new report out of The Information, that’s OK because we may already be quite familiar with its innards. The Google Home, at least the current version that was shown off at I/O, is really just a Chromecast (similar microprocessor and WiFi chip), surrounded by a speaker, microphone, plastic casing, and some LED lights.  (more…)

Google: Current Smartphones Unlikely to be Supported by Daydream VR Platform

Google’s overseer of Virtual Reality, Clay Bavor, states that folks looking to get into Daydream, the Android VR platform, should hold off on upgrading their smartphone for a couple of months. For anyone who wanted to upgrade within the next few weeks, if VR is an important purchasing factor, you may want to take Bavor’s advice. According to Bavor, it is “unlikely” that many current devices, or any at all, will be “Daydream-ready” out of the box when the platform is made available to consumers later this year.  (more…)

Report: Samsung Pay Will Soon Move Into Online Payments too, on Both Android and iOS

To help boost the amount of users making purchases through Samsung Pay, Samsung is reportedly working on an extension to the existing Samsung Pay platform that will be available to both Android and iOS devices, as well as online for desktop users. According to industry insiders, this Samsung Pay extension could launch as early as June.

To recap Samsung Pay as a whole, it is a bit different from what is offered by Google (Android Pay) and Apple (Apple Pay). As of right now, only select Galaxy device owners can use Samsung Pay in stores, and it is also limited to whichever banks support it. The list of supported banks is growing, but there are still plenty that do not. If you do have a supported bank and smartphone, users can upload banking and credit card info into Samsung Pay, then pay for goods at almost any retailer in the US, as long as there is a MS-powered credit card terminal. Samsung Pay does not entirely run off of NFC (Android Pay and Apple Pay do), so it allows users to benefit from the service in more places. (more…)

DEAL: Save $5 on Chromecast and Chromecast Audio

Google’s dongle line-up is currently on sale with a $5 discount at retailers like Best Buy and through the Google Store. The dongles I’m talking about are the Chromecast and Chromecast Audio of course, two products from Google that turn TVs and speakers into Cast-ready devices for modern day stream-a-thons. With a $5 discount, you are looking at spending just $30 for each.

Not sure what a Chromecast does? Please leave now. I’m kidding!  (more…)

Google’s Use of Oracle’s Java APIs in Android Qualify as “Fair Use,” Says Jury

A jury returned a favorable verdict for Google today in their trial with Oracle over use of Java API’s in Android. The jury, after three days of deliberation, says that Google’s re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by “fair use.”

I’m no copyright specialist, but this is  good news for both Google and developers. Not only does this save Google from what could have been a multi-billion dollar settlement, it alleviates some worries of developers who use public and open APIs for their own software.  (more…)

Report: Google Created a Android Update Ranking System by Manufacturer, Might Publish It

According to a report out of Bloomberg, Google has created a ranking system for Android device manufacturers based on how quickly they are not only updating their phones to the latest versions of Android, but applying the most recent security patches as well. Google has apparently considered publishing their findings, which of course, would be bad for manufacturers, almost all of which are terrible at updating phones in a timely manner.  (more…)

Report: No More Android Wear Devices From Samsung (Updated)

Not that anyone was expecting to see one, but according to Fast Company, who spoke with executives of Samsung, there are no future plans for a Samsung-made Android Wear device. The only Android Wear smartwatch Samsung ever released was the Gear Live, which was made available after Google I/O in 2014. Since then, Samsung has used Tizen, its in-house operating system, exclusively for wearables.  (more…)