Microsoft Says “No” to Xbox One DVR

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Microsoft has long promised TV DVR functionality to their Xbox One user base. It included the ability to pause live TV and schedule programs for recording. It was to be done through their existing TV Tuner adapter that takes TV antenna signals and allows them to be viewed on the Xbox One.

Here is what Microsoft said about the situation:

“After careful consideration, we’ve decided to put development of DVR for Over-the-Air TV on hold to focus our attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming experiences across Xbox One and Windows 10. We’re always listening to fan feedback and we look forward to bringing more requested experiences on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Live this year.”

This comes as a slap in the face to loyal Xbox One owners who have been looking forward to this feature. I know people who have held off on buying a DVR because they thought their Xbox One would have that functionality. Hopefully in its place Microsoft adds some new great gaming features as they mention.

Project Fi Now Adds US Cellular to the Mix

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Project Fi just got a new benefit announced today. It was announced that US Cellular is going to be an added provider that Project Fi uses. This means better coverage for all Project Fi users. Google has said it will be rolled out in the coming weeks. That means it will most likely need an update for Nexus phones. It is interesting that Google could build phones that were ready for even more networks than they originally planned for with their cellular service.

Looking at the coverage map for US Cellular it looks like their primary network is in the Midwest and Northern California. There is also other partner coverage that shows up on their map, so it will be interesting to see how much more coverage is added to Project Fi. It can range from a few small areas to a lot more. We will see what happens in the coming weeks.

OnePlus Smartphones Finally Available Without Invites

 

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For the past few years OnePlus has made good smartphones. The OnePlus One, Two, and X have all been popular phones. But until now you had to sign up for an invite and wait a long time sometimes to get your phone. In the days of Amazon Prime 2 day shipping it is hard to stomach a 2 month wait for a smartphone.

The OnePlus 3 will launch on June 14th without needing an invite. Whether this means they have enough stock to not sell out quickly or not is still to be seen. It would be a waste of time to make a big display about not having invites, then having the phone sell out and have a 2 month wait.

Nexus 5X only $199 with Project Fi Signup

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The Nexus 5X has always been a good value at $349. It has a 5.2 inch screen with a good camera, up to 32GB of storage, and other specs not found in low end phones. Now until June 9th, Google is having a sale on the phone and bringing the 16GB model to $199 and the 32GB model to $249 when you sign up for Project Fi.

Project Fi is Google’s entrance into the world of wireless carriers. They are not just another reseller of mobile networks like the other providers other than the big 4. Project Fi combines Sprint and T-Mobile’s wireless networks so you are able to get the best coverage in every area. It switches seamlessly between networks, and even allows for Wi-Fi calling when indoor reception is limited. The pricing starts at $30 per month for 1GB of data, unlimited calling and texting. Project Fi is not for heavy data users, but if you are looking for an affordable Nexus 5X and to try it out, it is a good deal.

Google Allo is the Coming of the Chat Bots

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Google announced Google Allo at their Google I/O developer conference. Allo is a new messaging app that learns the phrases and reactions you have in your normal writing and gives suggestions as to what it thinks you will say next. For example, if someone says they had a long day, it could suggest a couple options like “Why is that?”, “What happened”, or something else. You could then just touch the option, then hit send. This would greatly speed up messaging and give you the ability to write basic responses to situations and questions.

I think this could be something that could be beneficial if it was built into Android, or at least would work with SMS text messaging. Right now it looks like it will just be a separate messaging app that would need to be downloaded. Then if you are having friends download an app with chat bots it would be obvious that sometimes you would be talking to a chat bot instead of a human. That probably wouldn’t be the best idea.

Android Apps are Coming to Chromebooks

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Google just announced at Google I/O, their developer conference, that Chromebooks will be able to run Android apps natively in the future. Right now Chrome OS and Android are two completely separate universes. Chrome OS has the apps that live inside the Chrome browser, accessed through the Chrome store. Android has over a million apps accessible through the Google Play store.

This is exciting because Chromebooks will now be opened up to a world of new applications and capabilities. This makes the idea of a $200 laptop much more interesting if it can run over a million apps including games. It appears as though it will only be available for touch-screen Chromebooks, and will come sometime later this year. The Chromebooks will likely need a GPS sensor and other sensors smartphones have to enable all app functionality. Google may require new Chromebooks to have these features in the future.

Leaked Moto G 4th Generation Spotted

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The latest version of the popular Moto G series has been spotted in the wild. The Moto G has always been a great value phone that was around $200. The latest leak suggests the phone will have an upgraded camera, NFC, and a 32 GB storage option. It also suggests upgraded specs like processor and RAM. It appears the Moto G will be announced during a May 17th press conference that will be held in India.

Although this phone will be a good value for the money, it will be hard to beat the latest deal from Google on the Nexus 5X. They are offering the 16GB version for only $199 ($249 for 32GB) when you sign up with Project Fi for at least a month. Obviously they want people to stick around with Project Fi, but there is only a one-month requirement to stay with their service. After that you could switch to another pre-paid GSM provider like Cricket, AT&T GoPhone, MetroPCS or others.

Windows 10 Reaches 300 Million Users

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Windows 10 is something people either love or hate. It has improved greatly from the Windows 8/8.1 days, and some think it is the best Windows since Windows 7. Windows 7 was regarded as a success after the downfall of Windows Vista. It seems as though Microsoft releases a successful operating system, then has one or two misses, then releases a successful one again. Windows 10 now has reached 300 million users, so Microsoft has considered it a success.

A much hated feature of the Windows 10 upgrade has been the constant nagging to upgrade. With users of Windows 7 and later they see ongoing notifications bugging them to upgrade to Windows 10. Although it is free it is still annoying. I even had a family member accidentally upgrade to Windows 10 just because the prompts purposely pointed her to do the upgrade.

Google Play Music App Now Runs Podcasts

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After announcing last year that Google Play Music would offer the ability to subscribe and listen to podcasts, it has finally come to mobile. This has worked on the web version, but until recently has not worked on the mobile version.

This brings the Android phone up to the same level of Apple when it comes to podcasting. Podcasting has always been a seamless experience on iPhone because the iTunes Store has been the most popular directory in existence. In the past you had to use separate podcasting apps, but now it is built-in. This will make listening to podcasts on the go easier for all Android users.

Comcast increases their bandwidth caps to 1TB

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In a very “un-Comcast like” move today, Comcast has announced it is upping its bandwidth caps from 300GB per month to 1TB per month. The bandwidth cap is only in place in certain markets, but it has been a real pain for users, and has fielded a lot of complaints to the FCC.

300GB a month of bandwidth worked a few years ago, but with 4K TV and 40GB video game downloads coming about it just wasn’t working anymore. The 300GB cap was a big issue for houses with multiple people streaming Netflix or other TV services at once. Just 3 people watching internet TV as their primary source can use 400-500GB without even trying. It is good to see Comcast up their data caps. The only downside is overages will cost more once you hit the 1TB limit.