Google just announced that it will acquire Nest, the company that sells the popular and impressive connected Smart Thermostat and Protect smoke alarm devices, for $3.2 billion. With the deal, Nest founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers will join Google, bringing the two men who pretty much brought the iPod to life into Google's clutches.
"They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe," said Google CEO Larry Page in a statement. "We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!"
Google says that Nest will continue to operate independently, and Nest says that the customer data will be kept separate from the rest of Google data mining. We've seen similar promises from other companies Google has purchased in the past, and many of them were broken. We'll see how this one pans out. The acquisition is now pending regulatory review, and will likely take a few months to close.
Now that the Moto X has landed on Verizon and AT&T, Sprint is up next to launch the customizable smartphone from Motorola. Sprint will have the Moto X for $199.99 with the typical two-year contract, but for a limited time, customers switching over a number from a competing carrier will get $100 off the price instantly, making the phone just $99.99. Sprint will offer the Moto X in woven black and white, with support for the highly-customizable Moto Maker versions coming later.
Google Android (and Chrome) head Sundar Pichai has announced the next version of Android: KitKat. Yep - Android 4.4 will be known as KitKat, a name Google got the rights to use in partnership with Nestle, and continues the tradition of Android versions being named after sweet confections. While Google had been using the name "Key Lime Pie" internally for Android 4.4, "very few people actually know the taste of key lime pie," according to Android director of partnerships John Lagerling. Not sure why that matters, but obviously KitKat is a bigger marketing play.
No new features of KitKat have been announced just yet, but at least we know the name, and have a new Android icon with integrated chocolatey KitKat goodness integrated in.
Google is currently running a promotion that lets buyers of specially-marked KitKat packs to have a chance to win a free Nexus 7 or some Google Play credit.
Read More | Google Android KitKat 4.4
With Apple expected to release the lower-cost iPhone 5C next month, Google has just cut the price of the Nexus 4, dropping it to $199 for the 8GB model without contract--that's $100 less than it cost just a day ago. If you prefer the 16GB version, you can get that one for $249. These prices are a steal for the Nexus 4, which is widely seen as the best current Android smartphone, even thought it lacks LTE. This is a much more inexpensive way to get the pure Google experience in a smartphone than it would be to buy the Google Play editions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4. The price cut is now live in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Korea, the United States, and the UK.
Read More | Google Nexus 4
Well, the rumors were correct on the mysterious device that momentarily showed up on Google's support page. The Chromecast is a media dongle that allows you to sling web content the web and cloud-stored content, using a smartphone or Chrome browser as a remote control. It's a bummer that it still doesn't have the ability to stream or mirror content stored on the device like Apple's AirPlay, but hey, for $35, we can't complain.
Read More | Google
A few eagle-eyed Google support page visitors spotted a mysteriously unknown device dubbed Chromecast. It has since been removed from the site, as if it never existed. Luckily, someone took a screenshot for posterity. There are no concrete details of what it actually is. However, there is some speculation of it being an HDMI dongle streaming device for TVs, while websites like Droid Life say it might be a Apple AirPlay-like feature to sling content from a Cromebook to the TV. Hopefully, the mystery will be solved at today's Google event. In the meantime, let the speculation continue.
Read More | Droid Life
Motorola fans, mark your calendars for August 1st, as that's the date set for the Moto X event in New York city. Some details of the device have leaked, such as the "always listening" mode for Google Now, snapping the phone to activate the camera, and giving customers customization options of the design of the smartphone like colors on the sides and rear. There is some speculation that the device will be budget-friendly, costing around $199 off-contract and available on all major US carriers. Perhaps the idea is to take on the highly-rumored technicolored low cost iPhone. Motorola is looking for a winner this time around, as previously the subsidiary of Google has posted a quarterly loss $342 million on the top of massive $12.5 billion acquisition. Curiosity here at Gear Live if the Moto X will run Google's latest and greatest Android software as they are hosting thier OS Android and Chrome event on the 24th of July.
Several big named tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft are publicly requesting that the National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) allow them to transparently publish more information regarding the controversial data mining operations and surveillance programs held by US government agencies.
Dubbed SpyGate, the legitimate controversy has made headlines over legislation of section 215 of the Patriot Act and section 702 of the FISA amendment ACT. Not to mention the whistleblower saga that has ensued after former NSA employee and current on the run globetrotter, Eric Snowden, leaked details about the covert operation infamously known as Prism. Many of the allegations summarized in the massive leak state that the US government has backdoor access to the servers of many leading private industry companies and direct access to major US telecommunication carriers. With such access, the government collects and monitors millions of American's information not limited to just metadata. Many private companies have signed a petition of transparency that includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Skype and many others. Below is the petition letter in its entirety.
Read More | The Next Web
The alleged next-generation Nexus 7 tablet showed up in the retail inventory at OfficeMax with a SKU placeholder that points toward a starting price point of $229 for the 16GB storage capacity, and $269 for the 32GB version. The sale of the device is said to coincide with Google's Chrome and Android event scheduled for the 24th of July. The new Nexus 7 is rumored to have an astonishing 4GB of RAM, Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, 5 megapixel rear camera, and 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera. There's also some speculation of a 1080p display, all which is yet to be confirmed. Check out the video of the purported next generation Nexus 7 tablet below.
Read More | Androidcentral
Google is hosting an Android and Chrome event next Wednesday, July 24 hosted by OS honcho Sundar Pichar. Very little is being revealed right now, but the timing is rather interesting in light of the Google I/O event in May and Apple's WWDC event in June. But sure enough, Android will get some much needed attention this time around as it's upgraded to 4.3 (or straight to version 5.0.) Hopefully, it will get some legit support for Bluetooth 4.0 along with the expected new features and UI tweaks. The event kicks off at 12PM EST (that's 9:00 AM for you folks in the west coast.) It will also be live-streamed on YouTube. Stay tuned here at Gear Live as we analyze, synthesize, and slice up the Key Lime Pie.