Feb 18

Sources: TAG Heuer to launch a new connected watch in mid-March

Tag Heuer Connected Modular to appear March 14, fully customizable and convertible.

Back in January 2017, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said the company wanted to release a successor to the $1,500 TAG Connected in May 2017 during an interview with Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Android Central has learned some details about the coming TAG wearable from one of those people “familiar with the matter.”

Our sources tell us the Tag Connected Modular will arrive March 14, 2017, and have a unique set of features that make it a true one-of-a-kind Wear 2.0 smart watch. The TAG Connected Modular will feature fully customizable lugs complete with a choice of straps and clasps to swap at your convenience. A custom automatic watch head module will allow the wear to switch between the digital connected Android Wear 2.0 body and a more traditional automatic movement.

TAG Heuer considers the original TAG Connected a successful product citing strong initial sales that exceeded the original goal of moving 20,000 units of the expensive wearable. Biver noted that TAG considers smart watch technology to still be in “the stone age” and there is plenty of future potential in the market. TAG wants to be part of that future.

We understood that TAG Heuer planned to leverage its strength as a traditional watchmaker by offering to accommodate the variety of styles and wrist sizes found in the different markets it services. A modular customizable timepiece meets and exceeds those goals. With no word on the pricing, we expect this one to be a wearable we can long for and admire from afar. We’ll know more come March.

Feb 04

This is Google Home’s big 2017 Super Bowl commercial [VIDEO]

Earlier this week we learned that Google was paying $5 million to advertise Google Home during the 2017 Super Bowl. Here’s the commercial they plan on airing during the event.

Feb 03

How the $500M VR lawsuit might be a good thing for the technology

Why copyright could pull the Rift from store shelves

Continue reading…

Jan 31

Everything we hope to see in the Android Wear update

Google is rebooting Android Wear, and that’s exciting!

Despite repeated reports that smartwatches are dead, we know for a fact that Android Wear is about to get a massive refresh. Rolling out alongside Google’s Wear 2.0 update are two new watches meant to act almost like the Nexus program of old, and we know several manufacturers will be following up quickly with new hardware of their own. With new hardware and new software, Android Wear as we know it is being rebooted.

The big questions now lie in our expectations. What do we as Wear users want from this new generation of watches? Here’s a lap around the Editor’s table with all of our thoughts!

Andrew

Android Wear has a bit of an identity crisis, and I hope that the launch of Android Wear 2.0 helps spur manufacturers to lock in and put out some compelling hardware that can meet a variety of needs. Though external case designs of Android Wear watches have differed, they’re all basically the same: a too-big watch with clunky bands and very little feature differentiation.

Going forward I hope companies can bring in some variety with smaller, thinner watches, as well as mid-sized watches that skip out on trying to do everything to focus in on the core features people use these watches for. This new era will hopefully introduce a better variety of offerings to fit more needs and styles, though I know the business models of these companies may not be compatible with hitting niches inside of an already small market.

Jen

While I’m really excited to have longer battery life and Assistant on my watch, what I really want to see are smaller watches. I am a teensy human, and having a watch that actually properly fits me without looking like a child playing dress up would be amazing.

I’m also pretty stoked about the activity trackers. I’m terrible at remembering to open up my activity apps before I start working out, [and if what we saw at Google I/O is true](http://www.androidcentral.com/android-wear-20-brings-new-features-fitness, this won’t be a problem for me anymore.

Jerry

I want to see watches that look better and feel better while I’m wearing them.

I have been in situations where being able to discreetly check notifications was a plus. I think we all probably have. But in general, I’ve found that there isn’t much reason for me to wear a smartwatch. I have my phone in my pocket no matter where I am, and when I wear a watch it’s because I like the way it looks on my wrist. And I don’t mean it looks better than other options like my Huawei Watch does. I mean I like the way it looks. Everyone wants things that look good, right?

I know it’s hard to pack everything into a watch to make it smart, then put a big enough battery in it to keep it running. I’m hoping new processors and smarter software that is easier on battery life means someone can make a smartwatch that doesn’t look like a smart watch. Samsung got very close with the Gear S3 Classic (it’s not necessarily a size thing), so I have hope.

Flo

Someone give me a reason to wear Android Wear. It’s been a few years since they’ve come into existence, but I’m still struggling to find a reason to take my Asus ZenWatch 2 out of its drawer.

Here’s the problem with Android Wear: Google and its partners have failed to convince me, the consumer, that it’s worth buying one for any reason other than it’s a way of showing allegiance to the Android brand. I want seamless interconnectivity between my phone and my watch, but I also want a watch that doesn’t try too hard to cram everything my smartphone does into a 1.5-inch display. Features like Google Assistant and Android Pay are certainly worth looking forward to, but they fail to solve the problem of why I’d wear a computerized wristwatch in the first place.

Alex

My first wish is for the watchmakers themselves, not Google. Just as Android Wear has adopted some of Samsung’s Gear features in the 2.0 release, manufacturers should steal Samsung’s rotating bezel idea for rotating through notifications and menus. It’s more convenient than blocking the screen as you swipe and would allow for some neat design flourishes.

From a purely software perspective, I’ve already written at length about how I think smartwatches, including Android Wear, need to do fewer things and then do them better. Focus on the essentials, make notifications awesome, and everything else can just be gravy.

Russell

Bring on the watches that last me more than a single day! With the new Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and denser batteries, we should see thinner watches with one day of life and thicker watches offering two full days. I want to leave the charger at home, especially if the charger is one of those ridiculous pin things.

I’m also looking forward to Assistant on my wrist, but only if it’s available without needing to press a button. I’d even be happy with a gesture to activate Assistant if an always-on mic isn’t good for power consumption.

Ara

I’m more than ready for Assistant on my wrist, but more than anything, I want Android Pay on my wrist. I’ve had an OG Moto 360 that’s been bootlooping intermittently for the last six months, and the only reason I refuse to upgrade yet is the lack of tap-and-pay. We’ve seen NFC in a number of watches, including in leaks of 2.0 devices, and Apple and Samsung already have tap and pay on their wearable platforms. It’s time for Android Wear to catch up.

Beyond that, I’m hoping that with full-fledged watch apps comes more finessed controls for media apps. Even before Android Wear, even before I was an Android nerd, I had a singular vision for wearables: controlling my music. I could fast-forward and rewind my iPod Video’s click wheel inside a folio case in my pocket with frankly disquieting consistency and accuracy. When I came to Android and Google Play Music, I had to give that up. Now, to fast-forward through 90 seconds of a 25-minute show or rewind 30 seconds to replay the sweet bridge that my coworker interrupted, I have to wake my phone, unlock my phone, open the music app, and seek as desired. I want a click wheel on my wrist. Or at the very least, I want a button in Android Wear that can let me rewind and fast forward in 30-second intervals.

Daniel

More than anything, Android Wear 2.0 has to show me things I didn’t know I needed. I think it’s a given that the platform will integrate Google Assistant, but what I really enjoyed about Android Wear’s early forms was its occasional perfectly timed Google Now card. Give me that experience more consistently, and use the new watch’s GPS and/or cellular connection to show me more accurate location data — and the contextual information around it — without having to rely on the slow Bluetooth connection from my phone.

I typically find that, aside from the push notifications mirrored from my phone, smartwatches are no better than phones at doing most things, and even as a companion to my phone, don’t excel at anything particularly well. So start to use AI and machine learning to adapt what’s shown at any particular time in a way that, because your smartphone is turned off in your pocket for most of the day, only a smartwatch can do. Google is well-positioned to offer a solution like this, but it really has to bring all of its separate pieces together.

Your turn!

Got some thoughts on what you want from the next wave of Android Wear? Share it with us in the comments!

Jan 14

How to install new games on your NES Classic

The NES Classic — you saw our first vid on it, right? — is a cool little piece of nostalgia. But it’s sorely lacking in the games department. Or, rather, it REALLY needs a way to add games.

Fortunately the NES community has answered, and in a big way. And after a few rounds of tinkering we now have a super easy way to add games to the NES Classic.

I used the “hakchi2” method. You’ll want to read through the instructions yourself, but here’s the gist of how I did it, boiled down from a reddit post … and another Reddit post. Full props to those folks!

You’ll need at least Windows 7 to get this done.

OBLIGATORY WARNING: You’re doing this at your own risk. If your teeth loosen and your eyes start to bleed, I didn’t do it.

  1. Download hakchi2 and unzip: direct download link
  2. Browse to your saved ROMs, and decide what you want to install on the NES Classic. (I kept the original 30 games, too.)
  3. Find box art — either use your own, or just hit the handy Google button in the GUI to automagically search. (Nice touch!)
  4. Plug your NES Classic into your PC using the Micro-USB cable. Leave the console turned off. We’re going to enter FEL mode.
  5. Hold down the reset button on the front. Then press (and release) the power button. After a few seconds, release the reset button. You won’t actually see anything happen.
  6. You should now be able to hit the sync button in the hakchi2 program. (If you didn’t get the FEL mode thing right, it’ll tell you. I didn’t do it right the first time and nothing blew up.)
  7. Reboot the NES Classic.
  8. Profit!

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See the NES Classic
See the NES Classic controller extension

Jan 03

The new ASUS Chromebook Flip features a 360-degree hinge and USB Type-C

ASUS has announced the new ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 which features 2 USB Type-C ports, a 10-hour battery life, and the same 360-degree hinge as its predecessor.

Dec 27

Bugs push Android 7.1.1 update for Nexus 6 to early Jan 2017

The Nexus 6 lives on for at least one more version of Android.

Google may have long since killed off support for the beloved Nexus 5, but it’s showing a bit of mercy with the Nexus 6.

The Motorola-made Android phone will see its update to Android 7.1.1 in early January, according to Android Police, so it’s not obsolete just yet. The two-year-old device will share software features with the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and the Pixel family, including new emoji and app shortcuts from the Home screen. Just don’t hedge your bets on major features like the Night Light mode and Daydream VR because of hardware constraints.

Google said it would support devices for up to two years, but this is already beyond that, though that could be due to the delayed 7.0 OTA. Regardless, this software update brings Android 7.1.1’s features to a nearly-expired device. Part of the incentive is to appeal to developers, though, who may wonder if implementing a feature like app shortcuts is worth the code and deciding which shortcuts to provide. The other part is reminding those who stuck with the Nexus 6 of the future that lays ahead with a Pixel in hand.

Dec 23

More than four years into development Star Citizen changes game engine

Game will now run on Amazon’s Lumberyard instead of CryEngine

Continue reading…

Dec 10

How to turn off screen overlay on Samsung Galaxy S7

This is one of the more confusing error messages afflicting some Galaxy phone owners. The fix is relatively simple — but a little investigation may be required.

Here’s a perplexing issue that’s been affecting Samsung Galaxy S7 owners — in addition to folks on a handful of other Android devices. It goes a bit like this: You start up an app for the first time and accept the usual permission dialogs. Then you’re hit by a message like this:

Screen overlay detected
To change this permission setting, you first have to turn off the screen overlay in Settings > Apps.

A screen overlay is a part of an app that can display over the top of other apps. The most well-known example is chat heads in Facebook Messenger. But apps need your permission to use screen overlays, and sometimes this can cause problems. For example, if an app were able to display something over the top of a permission dialog, it could try and trick you into granting it permission to do stuff you might not want.

The simplest fix is to basically do what the dialog box tells you to do. The language is a little confusing, but what it’s asking you to do is:

  1. Launch the Settings app from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Scroll down and tap Applications.
  3. Tap Application Manager.

  4. Tap More to open the menu in the top right corner.

  5. Tap Apps that can appear on top

From here, you’ll need to track down the app that needs permission to use a screen overlay — usually the app you were just using. When you’ve found it, tap the toggle next to it to turn it off, and you should be good to go.

Note: It’s not always clear precisely which app is trying to use screen overlays. Clean Master has been reported as one app likely to cause issues, as has alert center app Drupe, and Lux, which lets you adjust the color of your screen. If in doubt, think about any app that might change the way things appear on your screen.

Once you’re done, try starting the app you were originally using once again. With any luck, you’ll be able to grant it permissions and start using it as normal.


As this issue is a particularly tricky one, if you know of any apps likely to cause problems with display overlays, be sure to help out and let us know down in the comments!

Dec 02

Top 5 Android Apps & Games of the Week (December 2, 2016)

Every week, hundreds of Android apps and games are submitted to the Play Store. If you’re not paying attention 24/7, it’s easy to miss some of the best stuff.

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