In this week’s top stories: Android TV picks up an app for the streaming service XUMO, Samsung shares GIFs to fight back against the hate of “green bubbles,” we get our first real details of the “Nest Mini” Assistant speaker, and more.
Cordcutters and Android TV fans, rejoice! Popular free, ad-supported streaming service XUMO has launched their app for Android TV devices in the United States. Compatible devices will be able to find the XUMO app in the Google Play Store.
XUMO, if you’re not familiar, is a free service with over 160 channels including major names such as The History Channel, NBC News, and FOX Sports. XUMO has been available on platforms such as Roku and Apple TV and was first started back in 2011. The addition of Android TV means the service is now available on over 30 devices in the US, expanding its reach by over three times since January 2019.
A recent trend among the petty is to exclude people who don’t have an iPhone from group chats because they don’t have iMessage — or the green bubble problem. Samsung is attempting to fight back in the most absurd way imaginable, a series of green bubble GIFs. Words could never suffice to explain what Samsung has unleashed, so I’ll let this one speak for itself.
This week, our Stephen Hall exclusively shared details about a successor to the Google Home Mini, given the name “Nest Mini.” The key difference between the two generations is that the Nest Mini will boast better speakers with an emphasis on improved bass. The Nest Mini will also feature a built-in wall mount, which should make it more easily installed almost anywhere in your home.
Another interesting addition with the second-generation Nest Mini is a 3.5mm stereo jack. While the port has quickly disappeared from smartphones, the Nest Mini will now be in line with the Amazon Echo Dot, which has featured an aux jack since its first generation. It’s not clear if this will be used for audio input, output to external speakers (a de-facto Chromecast Audio replacement), or both.
We’ve been slowly watching Google prepare for the Play Store to be updated with the latest Google Material Theme style cues since April. While many devices haven’t yet received the official rollout, Google took some time this week to properly announce the Play Store’s Material Theme redesign and explain their thinking behind many of the changes.
This “complete visual redesign” comes as the Play Store now has over two billion monthly active users. The end goal of the Material Theme and “several user-facing updates” is to create a “cleaner, more premium store that improves app discovery and accessibility for our diverse set of users.”
Casio announced their newest Wear OS watch this week, the WSD-F21HR, featuring the company’s familiar rugged design. The biggest improvement over last year’s model — and a first for a Wear OS watch from Casio — is that the WSD-F21HR features a heart rate sensor.
Interestingly, the WSD-F21HR isn’t a successor to the WSD-F30 that debuted in 2018, but rather a variant on the WSD-F20 from 2017. Like that watch, you’ll get a 1.32-inch dual-display that isn’t fully round, instead using the “flat tire” design that was common a few years ago. The WSD-F21HR also has offline GPS features, a rugged body, 5 ATM water resistance, and more.