Hands On

Android Pay hands-on: Google wants your money

Android Pay hands-on: Google wants your money

Android Pay is coming, and it's impressively streamlined compared to the overly-complicated and feature-bulging Google Wallet. Officially revealed alongside Android M at Google I/O today, the mobile payments system supports both NFC for dropping virtual cash out in the wild, and in-app integration for retailers wanting to enable easy payments. I grabbed a Nexus 6 and a Nexus 5, both equipped with pre-release versions of Android Pay, to go shopping on Google's dime.

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Inside Google Photos: A super-smart cloud for your memories

Inside Google Photos: A super-smart cloud for your memories

Google Photos isn’t the first cloud photo storage service, or the first media management platform, but first impressions suggest Google has raised the stakes with its smart new system. Announced at Google I/O today, and further detailed in a later session by Bradley Horowitz along with the rest of the Google Photos team, much of the near-magic is what’s going on behind the scenes, such as how it uses landmark recognition to fill in missing geotags, intelligently deals with diminishing storage on smartphones, and even differentiates dogs.

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Hands-on with Google’s VR headset Cardboard for iPhone

Hands-on with Google’s VR headset Cardboard for iPhone

Google gives away their second virtual reality headset Cardboard at Google I/O 2015, the first to officially support Apple's iPhone. What you're going to see here is a simple piece of equipment, one made of cardboard (literally), glass, and a bit of conductive foam. No more magnets. Still velcro, but a little bit different use of metal than before. This allows not just Android devices to work, but any smartphone. Even devices that aren't necessarily running iOS, if you want to be especially explorative with it.

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This is GoPro’s crazy 16-camera Google Jump rig

This is GoPro’s crazy 16-camera Google Jump rig

GoPro has been busy lately, first showing off a spherical rig yesterday and then following up today with this, a 16-camera 360 Array to work with Google Jump. The first example of a Jump-compatible rig for recording entire panoramas of footage, the 3D-printed framework holds more than a dozen GoPro cameras and, optionally, a microphone with them, so that users can capture everything going on around them and share it on the new YouTube service.

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Chevrolet fits 14 cars with Android Auto and CarPlay

Chevrolet fits 14 cars with Android Auto and CarPlay

Chevrolet has announced the most ambitious Android Auto and Apple CarPlay roll-out so far, with a full fourteen of the GM brand’s 2016 line-up supporting the infotainment systems. “There are a lot of smartphones out there today,” Dan Kinney, director of user experience at Chevrolet pointed out, “and not all of them are being used responsibly.” Unlike rival manufacturers, Chevy will be making the advanced smartphone connectivity a standard-fit item, not charging more for it.

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Xiaomi did something interesting with Snapdragon 810

Xiaomi did something interesting with Snapdragon 810

If you're a smartphone company that doesn't make its own mobile processors, you're at a disadvantage. Xiaomi isn't at the scale to follow Apple and Samsung and dive into quite silicon yet - though the increasingly popular manufacturer is growing rapidly - but that doesn't mean the latest Mi Note Pro doesn't have a performance edge over Snapdragon 810-powered rivals like the HTC One M9. Usually they're rarer than hen's teeth in North America, so you can consider me curious when I had the opportunity to do some benchmarking with the fettled phone.

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FOVE headset hits Kickstarter for eye-tracking VR

FOVE headset hits Kickstarter for eye-tracking VR

You might not realize virtual reality has an owl problem, but it does. Turn your head while wearing most VR headsets, and the scene you see will move accordingly; flick just your eyes around, however, and nothing happens. Startup FOVE believes it has the answer, a VR rig that can track eye-movement and in the process not only make games and entertainment more immersive, but potentially allow them to be run from something as humble as a smartphone.

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Lily camera drone hands-on: Aerial video, no pilot required

Lily camera drone hands-on: Aerial video, no pilot required

If you're reinventing the camera, why not make it fly? That's the concept behind Lily, a drone that puts flying photography at its core, but doesn't require a pilot's license to use. Promising not only autonomous flight but eye-catching drone footage with zero operator talent, the new quadcopter wants to usurp the GoPro as the extreme sportsperson's go-to gadget, and snap the selfie-stick for family gatherings. I ventured into the park to strike a pose as I was filmed from the sky.

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B&O’s 90th birthday treats are Danishly delicious

B&O’s 90th birthday treats are Danishly delicious

When you hit ninety you could be forgiven for slowing down, but Bang & Olufsen is celebrating its 90th anniversary by giving some of its recent highlights the rose gold treatment. Dubbed "The Love Affair Collection", the name might be a little cheesy but the tech isn't, spanning B&O's best-selling BeoPlay H6 headphones all the way through to the indecently vast BeoVision Avant 85 with its 85-inch, 4K display.

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HoloLens hands-on: Building for Windows Holographic

HoloLens hands-on: Building for Windows Holographic

Back in January, HoloLens was a Frankenstein’s monster of a headset. In fact, the eyepiece itself was only part of the test rig: the rest was conspicuously tethered to it with a physical cable hooked up to a Windows 10 PC. To say there’s been a dramatic shift in hardware in the ninety days or so since then is an understatement. Microsoft brought a fleet of HoloLens prototypes to BUILD 2015, each of them a standalone computer, eyepiece, sensor rig, and spatial sound system all integrated into a single headset, and offered me the opportunity to see what creating a Windows Holographic experience was like.

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