Overnight Recap: Amazon Streaming, Google Voice Fate, Bulletproof Holy Grail
It appears to be game on for Android-based wearables now that Google has thrown down the gauntlet on its own offerings, which will be available in the coming months from LG and Motorola. Meanwhile, Apple continues to be mum on the subject, but something tells us whatever they eventually do come up with will likely make us all forget about every other device in the category...
Amazon Could Launch Chromecast Competitor Next Month
Remember that media streaming box Amazon supposedly has in the works? According to The Wall Street Journal, it's now been shrunk down considerably in size and compared to one of Google's $35 Chromecast dongles, which plug into the HDMI port of any HDTV. The difference is that Amazon's dongle will apparently "carry a variety of apps available on Roku Inc. and Apple Inc. set-top boxes," which will presumably include Amazon's own Instant Video and MP3 services. The company is said to be going back to the forked Android well for the new gadget, which could hit the shelves of retailers such as Best Buy and Staples as soon as early April.
Google Voice Apparently Doomed to Become Part of Hangouts
9to5Google reported Tuesday that Google may be planning to kill off its once promising Google Voice service, which will be assimilated by the all-encompassing Hangouts app that has already consumed Google+ Messenger, Google Talk and even the Android Messaging app. The change is said to be "months out," so some kind of announcement during the company's annual Google I/O developer conference in June seems likely. Google will apparently roll the majority of Voice's features into Hangouts, including VoIP calls to actual phones.
The Holy Grail Brings Bulletproof Protection to iOS Screens
Many iPhone and iPad owners have no need for cases, while others prefer to dress their devices in protection ranging from featherweight to armored tank. But could any of them actually stop a bullet? Sir Lancelot's Armor announced a new line of reusable screen protectors Tuesday called The Holy Grail which make just such a bold claim. Made from tempered bulletproof glass, the bubble-proof screen protectors are available for iPhone, iPad and iPad mini and said to offer "uncompromising screen protection from everyday scratch threats and protects from substantial impact and scratch related screen attacks such as drops and keys." The Holy Grail screen protectors are available for purchase from Amazon or the Sir Lancelot's Armor website and come with a lifetime warranty.
Firefox 28 Adds Notification Center Support for Mac OS X
Yeah, yeah, we say it every time, but is it really that time again? Mozilla released Firefox 28 on Tuesday, and this version has something special in store for Mac OS X users in particular with support for web notifications via Notification Center. Of course, that's not all: The newest Firefox also delivers VP9 video decoding, a horizontal HTML5-based audio/video volume control and support for Opus in WebM. As always, there's a short list of developer-only improvements and "various security fixes" on hand as well, so there would appear to be little downside for Mac, Windows and Linux users to grab the latest and greatest update today.
Sonos Goes Android First with Latest Beta Update
iOS users are used to getting all the best apps, often well before developers get around to supporting Android. The Verge reported Tuesday this won't be the case for owners of Sonos speaker systems, who are being treated to version 5.0 of their smartphone controller app this week on Android devices, with the iOS version set to arrive later this spring. And it sounds like it will be worth the wait for iPhone lovers, with the ability to search for artists, songs or album across a range of compatible services including iTunes, Rdio and Spotify and a "remarkably simpler" user interface that appears to finally match the company's slick hardware.