Google reveals more hardware partners for Android TV and Google Cast

Google is making new friends and partners as it continues to expand the reach of its Android TV and Google Cast platforms. The company revealed those new partners as part of its CES 2016 announcements.

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Google’s Project Brillo has gained a whole lot of partners to help make IOT less terrible

Project Brillo is slowly becoming more than a just a project.

If there’s one thing the disconnected reject pile of internet-connected toothbrushes and refrigerators we begrudgingly refer to as the Internet of Things is in need of, it’s direction. Some kind of grand, unifying force that will make using all of these potentially interesting products actually useful when bound together as a single household of objects. Google’s Project Brillo, which we first heard about during their most recent developer conference, seems to have all the bits in place to offer that guidance. All we need now is some hardware partners willing to jump into bed with Google and support both Brillo and the Weave networking protocol that will help pull it all together.

Fortunately, this is CES and that’s exactly what we have now.

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BlackBerry expands Priv sales to Italy, Spain and the Netherlands

BlackBerry continues to expand sales of its recently launched Priv smartphone. The Android-based device is now available on the local ShopBlackBerry sites in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, for the price of €779.

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Samsung Pay will be expanding to Singapore, Brazil, Australia and other countries

Samsung announced at CES 2016 plans to expand its Pay platform to new markets, including Australia, Brazil, and Singapore. As well as launching Samsung Pay in the aforementioned markets, the company will also introduce the platform onto Gear S2 smartwatches.

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A little branding restraint goes a long way for HTC and Under Armour’s HealthBox

There’s something quietly brilliant about HTC’s name not being more prominent on the new fitness suite.

Something definitely stood out about the Under Armour HealthBox. Sure, it was the size and scope of the thing — a large, connected UA Scale, the UA Band for fitness tracking or the UA Heart Rate dedicated heart-rate sensor. Sure, it was the price — $400. That’s not an insignificant sum. It’s not even the color or design — if you had any doubt that this is an HTC-produced product, the stark (and nearly blood) red box might have tipped you off.

No, despite all those conspicuous items, what really stands out about the UA HealthBox — “Designed and manufactured by HTC and powered by UA Record” — is restraint.

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Speck is making a collapsible Google Cardboard rig called Pocket VR

Portability is a weird problem for a lot of Google Cardboard kits. They’re small and light enough to toss into a bag, but the versions made of actual cardboard are a little on the fragile side and most don’t collapse down all that thin. Speck, the folks behind those brightly colored CandyShell cases so many people love, have decided what Cardboard users need is a collapsible plastic version of Google Cardboard that can fit in your pocket alongside your CandyShell-wrapped phone.

It’s called Pocket VR, and if you’re using a Galaxy S6 and want a case on your phone there’s a good chance this could be the Cardboard rig for you.

Pocket VR is essentially three pieces of plastic and an elastic band, designed to either hold your phone or collapse down into something pocketable. When you want to use Pocket VR, you unfold the plastic sides and wedge your phone in between the plastic sides. Opening Pocket VR exposes the lenses, and the elastic band ensures your phone doesn’t slide out.

Like other foldable Cardboard viewer designs, Pocket VR is missing the button mechanism you use to interact with the screen and there’s not top or bottom to the design. This means Pocket VR is strictly a viewer and not really for any of the VR games that have come out so far, and won’t work quite as well outdoors as the more traditional Cardboard setups.

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LeTV showcases its VR headset in India, launch imminent

LeTV, the internet conglomerate and technology company from China, marked its arrival in the Indian market by announcing the Le 3D Helmet VR headset, along with a couple of other lifestyle technology products in the country.

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