This Week On The TC Gadgets Podcast: Lockitron, Nintendo, Google’s Smart Contacts, And Nest

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It’s been a big week for smart things.

Coming off the heels of CES, this week we learned that Lockitron hasn’t been shipping the majority of their smart lock pre-orders, Nintendo hasn’t been selling many Wii Us, that Google has been building smart contact lenses and buying smart thermostat companies, and that our dear Chris Velazco is leaving us.

It may not be the happiest Gadgets Podcast you’ve ever heard, but at least it’s honest.

We discuss all this and more on this week’s episode of the TC Gadgets Podcast, featuring John Biggs, Matt Burns, Jordan Crook, and Darrell Etherington.

Enjoy!

We invite you to enjoy our weekly podcasts every Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern and noon Pacific. And feel free to check out the TechCrunch Gadgets Flipboard magazine right here.

Click here to download an MP3 of this show.
You can subscribe to the show via RSS.
Subscribe in iTunes

Intro Music by Rick Barr.

Toshiba Unveils 13″ Chromebook For $279, Available February 16

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Here at CES 2014, Toshiba has just unveiled a new Chromebook, running Google’s Chrome OS on a 13.3-inch display for the first time, and priced below the $300 mark.

This is the company’s first step into Chrome territory, while competitors like Dell, Lenovo, HP, and Acer have been pumping out the light-as-air notebooks for a while now.

The Toshiba Chromebook is powered by an Intel Haswell chip, with a promised battery life of nine hours.

Meanwhile, the laptop sports a 13.3-inch 1366 x 768 display, with a .8-inch profile at 3.3 pounds.

On the inside, alongside that Haswell processor, you’ll find 16GB of SSD storage, 2GB of RAM, as well as dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wifi. And once you have Wifi on a Chromebook, the magic really begins.

These devices run on a Chrome OS, which is essentially a beefed up Chrome browser. This means that access to various applications and programs is limited to web apps.

However, Google is working to make the browser experience as complete as possible with the help of Google Apps and Gchat + Hangouts.

Toshiba’s Chromebook is available for $279 starting on February 16.

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Chromecast Gets 10 New Apps, Including Songza, VEVO, And Revision 3

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Slowly but surely, Google’s Chromecast devices is beefing up with content partners. The company just announced 10 new apps landing on the $35 smart TV dongle, including VEVO, Revision 3, PostTV, and Songza, to name a few.

For those of you who don’t already know, Chromecast is a device developed by Google that plugs right into your TV to add various streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and most recently HBO Go.

Here’s what Google had to say about the new apps:

Beginning today you can enjoy action sports, news, music videos, and more with the addition of VEVO, Red Bull.TV, Songza, PostTV, Viki, Revision 3 and BeyondPod.

And for those many holiday gatherings, you can also cast your personal media straight to your TV using Plex, Avia, or RealPlayer Cloud apps. There’s no need to huddle around small screens when you can share your own photos and videos using your phone, tablet, or laptop.

To learn more about Google Chromecast, click here.

Songza Holidays

Along with the launch on Chromecast, Songza is also launching new Holiday Playlists.

Songza has been relatively quiet since the launch of iTunes Radio in September, but that might have to do with raising $4.7 million and launching Club Songza, the company’s ad-free premium service.

Or perhaps they were just hard at work on bringing a variety of holiday-related playlists to the apps. Songza has developed over 75 different Christmas playlists ranging from Drunken Christmas Party to Christmas on the Beach.

You can check out the app here.

  1. cast

  2. christmas

  3. songzachrome

Chromecast Gets 10 New Apps, Including Songza, VEVO, And Revision 3

chromecast

Slowly but surely, Google’s Chromecast devices is beefing up with content partners. The company just announced 10 new apps landing on the $35 smart TV dongle, including VEVO, Revision 3, PostTV, and Songza, to name a few.

For those of you who don’t already know, Chromecast is a device developed by Google that plugs right into your TV to add various streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and most recently HBO Go.

Here’s what Google had to say about the new apps:

Beginning today you can enjoy action sports, news, music videos, and more with the addition of VEVO, Red Bull.TV, Songza, PostTV, Viki, Revision 3 and BeyondPod.

And for those many holiday gatherings, you can also cast your personal media straight to your TV using Plex, Avia, or RealPlayer Cloud apps. There’s no need to huddle around small screens when you can share your own photos and videos using your phone, tablet, or laptop.

To learn more about Google Chromecast, click here.

Songza Holidays

Along with the launch on Chromecast, Songza is also launching new Holiday Playlists.

Songza has been relatively quiet since the launch of iTunes Radio in September, but that might have to do with raising $4.7 million and launching Club Songza, the company’s ad-free premium service.

Or perhaps they were just hard at work on bringing a variety of holiday-related playlists to the apps. Songza has developed over 75 different Christmas playlists ranging from Drunken Christmas Party to Christmas on the Beach.

You can check out the app here.

  1. cast

  2. christmas

  3. songzachrome

Google Invites A New Round Of Explorers To Buy Glass

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Google has reportedly sent out more invitations for developers to purchase Google Glass, according to Engadget.

The invites were only sent to developers who have previously inquired about how to purchase a Google Glass on Google’s website, as you can see in the image below.

As far as we can tell, there’s no open website or public availability to purchase Glass at this time.

It’s also not clear how many Glassware developers will be given access to the device itself, but we’ve reached out to Google and will update as soon as we know.

The new round of invites makes sense given the timing.

Just this week, Google opened up the Glass Mirror API and a preview of the GDK (Glass Development Kit), giving all developers the ability to build for Glass.

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HBO Go Lands On Google Chromecast

GOTGoogle has just announced that HBO Go is now available on Chromecast.

This means that Chromecast owners can now stream HBO Go content from their Android or iOS device, as well as the HBO Go web app.

Fly Or Die: Motorola Moto X

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The Moto X has caused a rift between the TechCrunch Gadgets family. Chris Velazco and I think it’s just fine, whereas Darrell Etherington and John Biggs are rather unimpressed.

But why?

Well, the Moto X is Motorola’s first real Google phone, with pure Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, customizable back plating, a 4.7-inch 720p display, a 10-megapixel camera, and a dual-core Snapdragon processor running the show.

Under the hood, you’ll find 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM.

In other words, the specs are right on par for a phone of this price ($199 on-contract) but nothing to write home about. There isn’t one feature of this phone that truly sets it apart or above any other phone, except maybe the customizable back panel, giving the user slightly more cellular flare than was previously available.

Pure Android, without any of that TouchWiz, Sense, Motoblur crap is actually quite wonderful, and voice-activated Google Now is a nice touch. But like Siri, it’s not always dependable.

It’s hard to come down to a solid conclusion with this guy. Still, whether you’re excited like Chris, ambivalent like myself, bored like John, or actively against the Moto X like Darrell, the phone itself seems to have a solid build at a fair price.

You can also listen to us argue about the Moto X here on the TC Gadgets podcast.

Gmail Offers Full-Screen Compose Again

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Google has just launched a brand new, but ultimately ineffectual, feature for Gmail users: a full-screen compose option.

Enabling this option will push the compose window to the center of your inbox, expanded across the majority of the screen for a better viewing experience.

Google launched a brand new compose a few months ago, which gave users a bevy of new tools to build out their emails, as well as a new design to let you open a compose window without ever leaving the inbox. However, it appears that some users enjoy a more full-screen compose experience, not unlike the Gmail compose of Yore.

By default, the formatting toolbar will stay on in the full-screen compose.

Users can switch to full screen by clicking the expand button in the top right window or set full-screen as the default by selecting the “Default to full screen” option in settings.

If you don’t see full-screen compose functionality just yet, have no fear. According to the Gmail team, it’ll be up and running for all users over the next couple of days.

This Week On The TC Gadgets Podcast: Surface RT, Moto X, And The Seattle Meetup

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Hello and welcome to another Friday. It’s a scorcher out there, AMIRITE? But we’re here to cool things down a bit with yet another episode of the TechCrunch Gadgets Podcast.

This week, Microsoft revealed that no one actually wants the Surface RT. Meanwhile, Google earnings call placed a focus on Moto X (and we also just like to talk about it). Finally, TechCrunch invaded Seattle just yesterday with the TC Meetup + Pitch-off with over 900 people in attendance.

John Biggs, Jordan Crook, and Chris Velazco discuss all this and more on this week’s episode.

Enjoy.

We invite you to enjoy our weekly podcasts every Friday at 3pm Eastern and noon Pacific.

Click here to download an MP3 of this show.
You can subscribe to the show via RSS.
Subscribe in iTunes

Intro Music by Rick Barr.

Catching Up With Android, Google Maps 2.0 For iOS Offers iPad Support, Indoor Directions

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Poor Apple Maps. While we see very minor improvement from Apple’s year-old Maps application, Google continues to improve its world-class offering pretty rapidly.

Why, today, in fact, Google launched an update to the Google Maps for iOS app, adding support for the iPad, indoor maps, and a slew of other features that were released with the recent Android Google Maps update.

Google Maps 2.0 now fully supports the larger screen sizes of the iPad and iPad mini, as well as offering indoor maps with walking directions for transit stations, airports, malls and other large buildings.

Past that, you’ll also notice that the Google Maps iOS app now offers better navigation with live traffic updates and incident reports. Meanwhile, Apple Maps still hasn’t figured out transit directions.








Google 2.0 also includes 5-star ratings for various locations, alongside reviews from friends and Zagat content, and if you were perhaps looking for a little marketing in your Maps app, Google is also pushing Google Offers to users through the navigation app.

Google has always been ahead of the pack when it comes to Maps, and with the recent acquisition of Waze crowd-sourced mapping technology, Google’s lead will likely only get bigger.

The update is available now in the Apple App Store.

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