Wells Fargo Starting Smartphone ATM Withdrawals on March 27th

Wells Fargo, the third largest bank here in the United States, is rolling out the ability to use your Android phone or iPhone to withdraw funds from any of their 13,000 ATMs nationally.  The new feature will be in place starting Monday, March 27th.  It is yet another step towards technology in the banking sector, a sector notoriously slow at adopting new technologies.  That is particularly true here in the US where Chip-and-PIN terminals are just now making their way into retailers.

How the new system will work is straightforward.  In the Wells Fargo app, you will be able to request an 8-digit code which you then enter into the ATM.  You will then have to enter your personal PIN for your account and once it is verified, your funds will be provided.  This means that you can withdraw cash from your account even if you forgot your bank card.

Today’s Deal – Google OnHub ASUS Wi-Fi Router is $129 at The Google Store

Today’s Deal is on the ASUS built dual-band Google OnHub router.  The OnHub router is currently down to $129 at the Google Store and eligible for free shipping.  For those who don’t know, the OnHub routers were the predecessor of what is now Google Wi-Fi.  It allows easy network management through the Google Wi-Fi app and is completely compatible with the new Wi-Fi models from Google.  This router will completely mess with the new ones, giving you complete coverage in your home.

The OnHub has high performance antennas that auto-tune to give you the best Wi-Fi experience in your home without you having to do anything.  It does this by moving your device from channel to channel to find the least crowded one on your network.

Review – iClever BoostCube – Designed for Performance & Travel

When it comes to travel, there is always the need for USB wall chargers.  The question is how many you want to carry and if they are really designed for travel.  For me, when I’m on the road, I have a separate charger for my Nexus 6P, my Nexus 9 and my Fitbit Blaze.  That’s a lot of cables and a lot of chargers.  Then the team over at iClever sent me their recently redesigned dual-port USB wall charger.  I now carry one less wall charger.

The iClever BoostCube series is actually made up of several different models but the one they sent me to review, the IC-WB21W, is perfect in so many ways.  It is truly designed for travel with folding AC prongs and a compact design.  Recently the team at iClever sent me this newly redesigned charger to review and I’m quite pleased with what they have done with this simple yet important accessory.

Super Mario Run Now Live in The Play Store

A day earlier than expected, Super Mario Run is now available to download and install on your Android devices.  The endless runner style game has been exclusive to iOS since it was released in December last year with some 50 million downloads on that platform.  With the release of the game on Android, that’s likely to easily double in just a few weeks time.

In the game, you are the ever popular Mario and you are doing what you do best:  Collecting coins and progressing your way through six worlds in the game.  The way gameplay works is that you can only move forward, up or down so no going back to get coins you missed for example.  The object of the game is to collect as many coins as you can before get to the flagpole at the end of the level before time runs out.  Sound familiar? Oh, and yes you still can save Princess Peach and defeat Bowser too.  There are two other game play modes as well to keep you entertained.

Google Photos Gets Backup Improvements for Slow Connections

Google has announced that a new backup feature is rolling out for Google Photos.  The update will be for both Android and iOS and will offer users the ability to backup low-resolution copies of their photos while they are on a slow mobile network.  The photos, which will look fine on smartphone screen, will be replaced by a High Quality version of the photo once a stable Wi-Fi connection is established on your phone.

The feature is aimed at users who do not have a high throughput mobile signal.  This gives users the option to have photos backed up so in case something happens to their phone, they will not have lost the photos.  To this point, backing up in Google Photos on mobile networks was done at full original or Google’s compressed High Quality.  Those can take a lot of time to backup on a slow connection.

Today’s Deal – Acer Chromebook 14 Down to $270

Today over at Amazon you can pick up a great deal on the Acer Chromebook 14.  Right now this all aluminum chassis Chromebook is available with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $270.  That price is good on either the aluminum or the gold aluminum finish and is eligible for Prime shipping for members.

This Acer Chromebook is powered by a Intel Celeron N3160 processor running at 1.6GHz and the display renders at 1920 x 1080 full HD.  As mentioned already, it has 4GB of RAM which is really handy on a Chromebook and has 32GB of storage for those things (like Android apps) that you need to store locally.  It also has a built-in battery that is rated to give 12 hours of life between charges.  Overall it is a great package and one of the higher rated Chromebooks out there right now.

Google Maps Enabling Trip and Real Time Location Sharing

Google Maps is in the process or rolling out a location sharing feature that you may actually want to use.  Location Sharing is something that has been a bit spotty for both Android and iOS with Apple probably having it figured out best with Find My Friends.  But, as is usually the case with Apple, it is only for fellow iOS users.  That is why this new feature in Google Maps is so exciting.  It works cross platform between Android and iOS.

In a nutshell, here is how it works.  When the feature rolls out to you, there will be a Share Location feature in the menu.  Tap it then select the contacts you want to see your location in real time.  You can set it up to share your location in real time for a set amount of time or until you turn the feature off.  Once you start sharing, your selected contacts will get a notification on their phone and when they open up Google Maps, they will be able to see where you are in real time.

Huawei Mate 9 Update Brings Amazon Alexa Support

Starting today, the Huawei Mate 9 will have Amazon Alexa on the device.  The flagship phablet is receiving an OTA update that brings Amazon’s personal assistant to the device.  Once you have the update and initiate Alexa, there are a wide range of things you can do from your phone with it.  According to the Press Release, this includes things such as:

  • Home Automation: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa makes it possible to manage your smart home even when you’re on-the-go by controlling lights, thermostats, locks, fans, sprinklers and more.
  • Games/Trivia: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa can make every trip more entertaining with games like Jeopardy, Magic Door and Twenty Questions.
  • Shopping: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa makes it easy to get more done using just your voice — Quickly create lists, order items to be sent to your home, get food delivered or have your favorite coffee ready with Amazon voice shopping, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Amazon Prime restaurants, and more.
  • Fitness/Health: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa helps travelers stay fit with access to skills like 7-Minute Workout, FitBit and Stop, Breathe & Think.
  • News: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa is a convenient way to stay informed with access to news anytime via Flash Briefings from NPR, CNBC, Reuters, Fox News, The Skimm, WSJ, AP, BBC, CNN, and many more.
  • Entertainment: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa puts entertainment in reach with access to a wide array of podcasts and Audible content.

Huawei announced at CES in January that Alexa would be coming to the phone as the assistant battles between Google, Amazon and even Microsoft heat up.

T-Mobile Releases Android Nougat Update for The HTC One M9

T-Mobile continues to be one of the best carriers in the US when it comes to device updates.  The latest proof point is the 2015 HTC One M9.  The carrier has released the Android Nougat update for customers who have the phone on their network.  The update is based on Nougat 7.0 and has the January Android Security Update.  It comes some two months after the unlocked One M9 received the Nougat treatment.

The update is just over 1GB in size so those of you with the One M9 will want to download it via Wi-Fi and you can expect the total download and upgrade time to take about 30 minutes.  Once you get it installed, you’ll have all the Nougat niceties along with some improvements to HTC’s Sense UI.

Review – Choetech Current Voltage Monitor USB-C Cable

Like many readers, I travel a lot and often times I’m trying to charge my Nexus 6P at the airport.  More airports today have seats with USB ports on them so even if you can’t find an electrical outlet, you can still get charged up before or between flights.  The trick, however, is how much you use your phone while it is charging.  We all know that using your phone while it is charging increases the charging time.  But by how much?  Wouldn’t it be great to see how much your phone is consuming energy as you charge it?  Enter the Choetech Current Voltage Monitor cable.

The Current Voltage Monitor cable allows you to see how much voltage is running to your phone as it charges and equally, how many amps are being consumed by your phone to charge it.  Not only will you see how your usage is impacting the charging time, you will see if that USB port in that chair at the airport is only putting out 2-3v instead of 5v which also slows down charging time.  Recently the team at Choetech sent me one of these cables to review and its quite handy having this knowledge in the palm of your hand.  Here’s my review of this handy little accessory.

T-Mobile Opens Up Pre-Orders for LG G6

As expected, T-Mobile has opened up the pre-order window on their site for the new LG G6.  The phone’s dedicate page on the carrier’s site went live this morning and those interested can order one with zero-down and $26 per month on approved credit.  It buying it outright is your thing, it will be $650.  Earlier this week I posted that if you order your new G6 before April 30th, LG will provide you a Google Home to go along with your phone.  That will ship separately but you will have Google Assistant on your phone and in your home.

The LG G6 was announced last month at Mobile World Congress and has already caught a lot of people’s attention with its 5.7″ display that has an 18:9 aspect ratio. Having held a near-final version of the phone, it feels long in your hand but is comfortable.

Today’s Deal – Choetech Dual-Port Car Charger for $7.99

Today’s Deal is on the Choetech Dual-Port Car Charger.  Today you can pick up one of these great little accessories for either $7.99 in black or $5.99 in white.  Choetech makes a wide range of accessories for Android and iOS devices and this Car Charger is one that I personally use in my car and when I travel.  It features two USB-A ports, one of which sports Quick Charge 2.0 technology.  If you have a compatible device, it will charge at up to 5v for minimal charging time but the adapter also includes over-charging technology to prevent damage to your device.

The second port in the charger is designed for any device and has auto detection technology to charge that device with maximum efficency.