It’s been a busy week for Android Wear. We’ve seen new watches from Fossil, Nixon and now Michael Kors. The fashion designer announced the $395 Michael Kors Access smartwatch this week at Baselworld, an annual watch and jewelry trade show taking place in Switzerland.
The Access is an Android Wear-powered smartwatch for fashionistas, complete with exclusive watch faces designed by Michael Kors and support for interchangeable metal, leather and silicone straps. It has a round display that’s not a complete circle. Like the Moto 360, the watch includes an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust display brightness, which is the reason for that black bar at the bottom of the screen.
Other specs weren’t announced, although the watch likely features ether an Intel or Qualcomm processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage for apps and music. Aside from the design and some unique watch faces, the Access can do everything other Android Wear watches can do, which means you can view personalized Google Now cards and notifications for emails, calls, texts and app alerts from your Android or iOS device.
We’ve seen a handful of fashion-forward smartwatches hit the market in the past year from Tag Heuer, Fossil, Huawei and Motorola. The Access will be offered in two models: a gold version that the company says is for women and a sporty one for men.
The Access will start at $395 in the US, and arrive in Michael Kors stores and select department and specialty stores around September of this year. International pricing wasn’t announced, but the US price converts to about £270 and AU$520.
One of my roles as a dad is iOS Game Scout. In an effort to get my daughter to take a break from one of the many Toca Hair salon games she plays and my son to step away momentarily from Minecraft, I bring games to their attention that have, in my estimation, some sort of artistic or educational value. Monument Valley was a big hit last year with both, and Alto’s Adventure is the latest game I’ve suggested that has resonated with both of them.
My daughter has her own iPad and Apple ID, and I’ve set us up with Family Sharing so we can share apps and movie purchases. This week, I noticed something odd when I went to install Alto’s Adventure on my daughter’s iPad. I found it on the Top Charts list, and it appeared as though the App Store insisted she pay for it even though I had already paid for it on my iPhone. Instead of the iCloud download button that you usually see for apps that you have already purchased but are not currently installed on your device, Alto’s Adventure — and other apps that I had purchased — simply listed the price.
I wanted to avoid paying double for the app, so I first checked Family Sharing in Settings > iCloud but all family members were present and accounted for and logged in. I then checked that I had the toggle switch on for Share My Purchases for my profile in iCloud > Family. Nothing looked amiss.
Next, I restarted the App Store app, but that didn’t do the trick either. Then I logged us both out of iCloud and then back in. No dice.
It turns out that we did nothing wrong with our Family Sharing situation. The confusion lies with the App Store itself. Apple wants you to drill down in the Purchased tab of the App Store to make family app purchases. The default view on the Purchased page are the apps you installed yourself, but you can tap My Purchases in the upper-left corner to bring up a small Family Purchases panel. It lists all of the family members in your Family Sharing plan. On my daughter’s iPad, I tapped on my name and on this page Alto’s Adventure and the other apps I had purchased each showed a Free button to install them.
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET
I found it strange that on the main pages of the App Store app — Featured, Top Charts and even via Search — Alto’s Adventure listed a price of $2.99, while on the Purchased page it listed the app as Free. I wondered if Apple really was going to charge me twice for the same app, so I searched for a handful of apps on my daughter’s iPad that I had already purchased and tapped the price button for each, and guess what I found. The apps installed for free. I checked my iTunes purchase history and confirmed that I was not double billed for any of them.
My wife is a part of our Family Sharing plan, too, and I double-checked this situation with her iPad. Same thing — no double billing. But what I also found out is that for apps I had already purchased, she could tap their price button and the app would install right away without asking for her Apple ID password. And on my daughter’s iPad, previously purchased apps would install without sending me an approval request.
This means that they never need to drill down to my Purchased page in the App Store app. If a paid app begins installing without asking for a password or permission, then it means I already paid for it. And if a paid app asks for a password or permission, then it’s an app I have not previously paid for and installed.
Apple could certainly clear up this confusion by listing the little iCloud download button or the Free button for apps that a Family Share member has already purchased.
In the end, my advice to Family Sharing members is to ignore the price button listed for app you know someone in your family already purchased; you won’t be billed twice. And if you are the cautious type, you can always jump to the Purchased page in the App Store for the person in your family that bought the app, where it will clearly show you can download the app for free.
For more, learn how to get started with Family Sharing.
The best tip for preventing messes when using a stand mixer is to start it on a low speed and work your way up to a faster speed. If you’re like me, though, you still make a mess no mater how careful you are. I’ve tried various ways to contain splatters and have found two ways that work well.
Drape the bowl
The easiest is to cover your stand mixer and bowl with a kitchen towel while you mix. This works great, but if you are mixing something that can stain, like berries or beets, your towel can get ruined.
Make a lid
The solution to the staining problem is creating a lid for your mixer. Simply cut a hole in any plastic lid that is bigger than your stand mixer bowl and place it on top of the bowl when mixing. You can use an old plastic lid that has lost its container, or you can recycle a lid from a thrift store for just a few cents.
Cut the hole using a pair of kitchen scissors since normal craft scissor aren’t usually strong enough for cutting plastic. You want the hole to be around 3.5 inches (8.9 centimeters) in diameter so that the mixing mechanism has enough room to circulate while the bowl opening is as covered as possible.
You won’t be able to get your whisk through the hole in the lid, so you will need to put the attachment through the hole in the lid and then attach it to the mixer.
B&H Photo has announced that it will begin selling the LG G5 unlocked starting on April 1. B&H says that it will offer the unlocked G5 in two colors — Titan or Silver. And while the retailer hasn’t yet provided pricing information, interested buyers can sign up to be notified when the smartphone is in stock.
There’s no word yet on whether B&H Photo will be carrying any of the LG G5’s modular components (dubbed “Friends” by LG), but we’d expect to hear more as the sale date approaches. For now, if you’re interested in picking up an unlocked LG G5 from B&H Photo, you can look forward to the retailer opening up orders starting at midnight on April 1.
See at B&H Photo
- LG G5 hands-on
- LG G5 complete specs
- LG G5 CAM Plus module
- LG G5 B&O Hi-Fi audio module
- The G5 has an always-on display
- LG G5 keeps the SD card, shuns adoptable storage
- Join the LG G5 discussion
Microsoft’s Xbox leader Phil Spencer recently hinted that the Xbox One might get hardware upgrades in the future. Now a new report claims that rival Sony is planning to release an updated version of its PlayStation 4 console, with more powerful graphics hardware.
“Based on conversations with developers who have spoken with Sony, this ‘PS4.5’ will include an upgraded GPU both to support high-end 4K resolution for games and add more processing power that can enhance the games supported by PlayStation VR, the headset Sony will launch this fall. It’s unclear if ‘PS4.5’ is an official name or just a nickname that developers have been using. One developer jokingly called it the ‘PS4K’ while telling me about the device.”
The report didn’t offer any information on when the “PlayStation 4.5” might be released or how much it would cost.
In his comments a few weeks ago, Spencer offered up these hints on the Xbox One’s possible upgradable future:
“We can effectively feel a little bit more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me. Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don’t have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before.”
Spencer clarified some of his statements on the Major Nelson podcast a few days later, stating:
“Am I going to break open my console and start upgrading individual pieces of my console? That’s not our plan,”
However, it is possible Microsoft could release some kind of graphics module for the Xbox One to increase its performance, similar to the recently revealed Razer Core, an external graphics enclosure for increasing the visuals on notebooks and other PCs on the low hardware end.
Why is there PlayStation stuff here?
You are undoubtedly confused by the existence of PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR articles on Android Central. Yes, we are aware the PlayStation 4 does not run Android. But we do use our Android phones to interact with the PlayStation 4, some more than others (looking at you, Xperia owners with your awesome Sony app). We’re also talking a lot more about VR lately, and the PlayStation VR is just as big a part of that conversation as the Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift. Yeah, it stretches things outside of Android a little, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun. Enjoy!
- Gaming with Second Screen apps
- Hands-on with PlayStation VR
- Specs comparison: Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Gear VR
Xiaomi’s Yeelight is a perfect fit for those of us who want a simple — and affordable — smart lamp.
Smart lamps have been around for a while. Many of us have stand-alone bulbs that can be controlled with a remote, or even a full-on smart lighting system like the Philips Hue, and it’s usually the first step folks make when they start thinking about a connected home.
Xiaomi is a player in this space (as well as every space it seems), and they sent me one of their Yeelights to take a look at. I’ve been using it for a bit, and I have to say I’m impressed.
Meet the Yeelight
The Yeelight is a smart, Bluetooth Low Energy multicolor table lamp marketed as a bedside fixture. It has a clean cylindrical design, and you can control it with your smartphone or through a few controls on the top of the unit. The light output and features pit it against something like the Philips Hue Bloom, and the quality of materials and construction are equally top-notch. While the Yeelight is plastic and not glass, it’s very well built and the plastic used works well with the metal base. There are some major differences between the Yeelight and other smart lighting systems, though, and they can be the deciding factor when buying a smart light of any type.
As mentioned, you don’t need a smartphone to use the Yeelight, though not all features are available without one. On the top of the unit you’ll find a power button, a “scene” button and the top of the fixture is touch-sensitive and can be used to change the brightness by gliding your finger in a circular pattern. A tap of the scene button will change the Yeelight from “White” mode, to “Hue” mode to a blooming mode that cycles through 16 million colors. As a stand-alone lamp, it’s one of the most sophisticated we’ve seen.
Of course most people will want to use their smartphone to control the Yeelight, and that’s easily done. Xiaomi has a dedicated app in Google Play for the Yeelight, and while it’s not the most well-designed app you’ll ever install it is functional and easy to use.
Inside the app, you can control the same basic functions that the fixtures top-mounted controls provide, as well as a lot more, all by swiping your finger on the intuitive interface. Besides setting the color and intensity of the 16 million color Osram RGB LEDs (color temperature can range from 1700K to 6500K in the white mode as well) you can set things like a sleep timer, a wake-up timer that gradually increases the brightness starting 30 minutes before your set time as well as schedule on and off times or a night mode that cuts the intensity for a softer glow. If you choose to sign up for the optional Xiaomi account, you can even connect to your Mi Band or through the WeChat service to enable some additional features. You can connect multiple Yeelights to the app, though each must be controlled individually. The only issue I take with the app (other than the decidedly not Android looking design) is that paring the Yeelight was more difficult than it needed to be. It seemed to take longer than it should have, and the lack of feedback to let you know things were still working made it tempting to halt the process and start over. Don’t do that — let it run and you’ll be fine.
Can it replace my nightstand lamp?
Certainly! In fact, that’s how Xiaomi markets the Yeelight. While at full intensity it’s fairly bright — I’d compare it to a 40 watt tungsten bulb — it can also be dialed back to create a much more subdued glow. It has most all the features you’s want in a smart bedside fixture. The multiple colors and pulsing effects make it a perfect companion for any adult activities you and a partner may have planned, and the sleep timer feature and the gradual wake-up feature make the Yeelight excellent at it’s intended use — beside your bed. If you’re still using a traditional light in your bedroom, the Yeelight is the perfect way to get started with smart lighting.
The Yeelight is equally at home on an end table or anywhere you would want a light that doesn’t need to be extremely bright, and you would enjoy some smart control. The soft white output at it’s dimmest setting makes for a perfect accent lamp in the living room or den. You don’t have to relegate the Yeelight to the bedroom.
How “connected” do you want to be?
The Yeelight and a Hue Bloom
The footprint, light intensity and RGB features of the Yeelight are comparable to a Philips Hue Bloom, but a Hue system has one major advantage over the Yeelight — the Hue Hub and WiFi controls.
With a Hue system, you can control multiple lights, multiple zones or individual lights from your phone or a remote or even something more advanced like a home automation control center or a computer. The Hue system was designed to be integrated into an automated home rather than be a stand-alone product. You can’t, for example, set up a Yeelight to work with an Amazon Echo for voice control or integrate with TV programming to change colors while watching a movie. The Yeelight is a Bluetooth device, and that sort of functionality simply can’t be supported.
Of course since the Yeelight is a smart Bluetooth device, there is the possibility that Xiaomi can build more features into the app itself. While remote operation isn’t possible outside the 30-foot Bluetooth LE range, features like caller ID or a mode that pulses to the beat of your favorite music are certainly possible. But don’t buy the Yeelight counting on what could happen. If you want more than a stand-alone smart light fixture, you’ll be better off going the more expensive — but more functional — route with a smart WiFi hub enabled system.
Should I buy a Yeelight?
As mentioned above, that depends on what you want from a smart lamp. If you’re looking for something inexpensive (at the time of this writing the Yeelight is about $65) that you can plug in beside your bed on on an end table but still get the smart features that you want, the Yeelight is an instant buy. If you want a more automated and integrated system, the Yeelight isn’t going to suit your needs as well.
I always like to end any review with the answer to one simple question — would I buy this product with my own money?
I did. Having one for each side of the bed works perfectly for my wife and me, and we don’t miss any features that we would have had if we added a couple more Hue lamps to our setup. We also saved a lot of money by not buying another pair of Hue Blooms. I’m really glad I got to try the Yeelight, because I would have just bought two more Hue Bloom lamps (which are excellent and highly recommended as well) and paid for features I didn’t need at the bedside. I’m confident in recommending it to anyone.
See the Yeelight on Amazon
It’s one of those weird times in which we’re completely excited to be playing with things that aren’t quite ready for prime time (OK, aren’t at ALL ready for prime time), but have to remember that pre-production is still pre-production. So this week we catch up on where things stand with the Android N Developer Preview, we’ve got an early LG G5 in house, and we’ll answer more of your questions live on air.
- Find everything on the Android N Developer Preview here.
- And all things LG G5 here.
- And for good measure, even MORE on the Galaxy S7!
Thanks to this week’s sponsors!
- Harry’s: Start shaving better today and save $5 off your first purchase with coupon code AC.
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Podcast MP3 URL: http://traffic.libsyn.com/androidcentral/androidcentral279.mp3
If you’ve ever been curious about how Android is having an impact in the enterprise, a new entry in Google’s “Coffee with a Googler” interview series is worth a look. In the interview above, Android for Work Product Manager Janice Wong explains what Android for Work is and ways developers can target their apps for the workplace.
For those unfamiliar with the initiative, Android for Work brings management and security tools to Android so IT administrators can more easily deploy and manage a fleet of devices. Android for Work also introduces the ability for separate work and personal profiles on devices, enabling workers to use their own Android handset while keeping work data secure.
For a quick overview of Android for Work, be sure to check out the interview with Wong in the video above.
Why ask someone in person to go on a pizza date when you could save face and just send them a GIF of pizza instead?
Tinder in January released a major update that allows people to send GIFs to their matches, thanks to integration with GIF repository Giphy. So, if you can’t quite muster the right words, you can send an animation to your next potential hookup. If you still lack creativity, Tinder surfaced which GIFs are currently trending. You can find GIFs on Tinder next to the text input box.
The dating app, which claims to have made 10 billion matches to date, said its GIFs feature is proving to be well popular, as more than 20 million GIFs have been sent around the world since launch. Tinder has also been playing close attention to how we’re using them; it’s now highlighting a list of the top 20 GIFs used. More interestingly, these are ranked based by highest response rates.
GIFs have taken over the internet, so it makes since they’d be a successful thing on dating apps too. They are reshaping how we communicate in the 21st century, and providing us with new, fun, and more expressive ways to let someone now we’re interested in an era of online dating.
“When using GIFs on Tinder, it’s been found that conversations are an estimated 2x longer and GIF messages are 30 per cent more likely to receive a response than standard text-only messages,” announced the service, while also singling out key findings, like that a Jimmy Fallon GIF is the No. 1 of all time on Tinder, followed by a GIF with Tiffani Thiessen from Saved By The Bell.
Amy Schumer also made the list twice with two GIFs. Other celebrities seen throughout the GIFs include Beyoncé, Emma Stone, Zooey Deschanel, Ryan Gosling, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Brad Pitt, Justin Bieber, Rachel McAdams, Mike Meyers, and Chrissy Teigen.
Check them all out in the gallery above, and be sure to bookmark this page should you find yourself Tindering soon and in need of inspiration.
Uber is looking for a way to cut one of its biggest costs: drivers.
According to Reuters, the ride-hailing app is shopping around Germany for a fleet of autonomous vehicles. We don’t know how many cars it wants to purchase, but it seems to be doing a lot of shopping in Germany lately; earlier today, Germany’s Manager Magazin – citing unnamed sources – claimed Uber had placed an order for 100,000 Mercedes S-Class series with Daimler.
Those cars do not yet have fully autonomous driving functionality, so it looks like Uber is in the country buying up traditional cars with some autonomous features as well as ones that are completely self-driving. The location makes sense considering several German automakers, including Volkswagen’s Audi and BMW, are all developing driverless technologies.
Uber is no stranger to autonomous vehicles. It partnered with Carnegie Mellon to create the Uber Advanced Technologies Center, with the purpose of researching and designing autonomous vehicles. Also, Uber’s CEO hasn’t been shy about admitting self-driving taxis were likely a part of his company’s future, but today’s news seems to be one of the best indicators of that yet.
The company currently relies on drivers who have their own personal vehicles. If Uber buys a fleet of cars, it’ll be able to lease drivers to them, and if it were to buy autonomous cars, it could replace drivers altogether.
Mercedes has said its S-Class series won’t be autonomous-ready until 2020.