When I was a tiny tot, I watched Knight Rider and pretended I was Michael Knight, talking to KITT on my watch. Yet now that there are real-life watches that can do even more things, I don't find myself quite as excited as my 5-year-old self was. Smartwatches have been around for over a decade already (remember Microsoft SPOT?), but the category hasn't evolved at the same pace as smartphones. It's not because there's a shortage of digital wrist-worn timepieces. The problem is that there's no common platform for third-party apps, which means there's little potential for growth.

There also doesn't seem to be any vision. Some watches act as Android phones with SIM cards and tiny touchscreens, while others try to establish their own platform to entice developers. Still others have even tried to put fitness bands and smartwatches into one device, to limited success. Even worse, most of the watches on the market today are what you might call "fashionably challenged" -- they simply aren't attractive enough to entice the masses. Google's solution is to extend its Android platform -- which has very strong market share and developer support -- to the wearables genre with Android Wear.

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You're master of your domain. There's a chair with your name on it and an impression to match your backside. It overlooks a media center loaded with intelligent gaming consoles and set-top boxes. The rest of the house is also getting smarter, and that chair is still so comfortable. Not to worry, Logitech's Harmony Ultimate remote is getting brainier too, with support for the Nest Learning Thermostat and a variety of devices like Philips Hue smart bulbs. Logitech was nice enough to provide a Harmony Ultimate and Nest thermostat for this week's giveaway so one lucky reader can dominate their domicile in style. The remote offers a color touchscreen and tons of customizable features, for flexible, comprehensive control over your home's devices. There's also a partner app for both Android and iOS in case some fool lets this smart device fall deep into the cushions. Your chance at winning this powerful package is only a few clicks away, so head down to the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility... to get off your butt and exercise or you might not be able to out run the machines -- if it comes to that.

Winner: congratulations to Eric S. from Picayune, MS.

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How many times have you checked your phone today? If Google's data is correct, your answer is somewhere between zero and 125. This proclivity to check our phone is the foundation upon which Android Wear, the company's wearables platform, is built. Wear isn't about replacing your smartphone though; it's about extending Android beyond your pocket and into the world around you. Yesterday's I/O keynote revealed a lot about Google's vision for the future -- and Wear is the thread that could tie it all together.

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Android Wear, Google's new platform for wearables, is fascinating stuff. We got to see a lot of it yesterday, but we didn't get to spend a lot of time with the user interface itself because the watches were on retail mode -- a limited version of the firmware. This is no longer a problem, as Samsung demoed its brand new Wear-laden smartwatch, known as the Gear Live, for Engadget. Once you're done checking out our walkthrough of the UI below, we recommend you also take a closer look at our other coverage of Android Wear devices from yesterday. In the meantime, however, head below for a photo gallery and five-minute tour of Google's new platform.

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LG G Watch, Motorola Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live

Google made much ado about the debut of Android Wear at its I/O conference keynote, and few would doubt that this is a potentially sea-changing move in the wearable space. However, the company didn't do much to address the differences between the first smartwatches using its brand-new platform. How are you supposed to know which wearable suits you? That's where we can help out. We've taken a good look at this first batch -- LG's G Watch, Motorola's Moto 360 and Samsung's Gear Live -- to see how they compete. And it's a closer fight than you'd think. While all three have their charms, you'll be making some sacrifices no matter which model you choose.

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By releasing a Developer Preview of the next version of Android (only known as "L" for now), Google is walking new ground -- and it's blazing a glorious path that will greatly benefit the platform going forward. Developers and manufacturers will no longer be in the dark for upcoming firmware updates; by making a preview available, Google is giving its valued partners and third-party devs the opportunity to prepare their apps and services for the forthcoming refresh, which is due out sometime this fall.

This may not eliminate fragmentation (in which a vast majority of users are on old -- and different -- versions of Android) entirely, but it should reduce it significantly. Imagine, if you will, the day when Google officially releases the L update; how nice would it be if your six-month-old phone got it that very same day, rather than months later (if at all)? It seems like such a simple concept, yet this is exactly what Android users have put up with for years.

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The biggest news to come out of Google's developer-focused I/O conference isn't Android TV or even the several new Android Wear smartwatches; it's that Android is about to become much more than a mobile operating system. It's about to consume your life.

With the introduction of the Android L platform (as the next version of that operating system's tentatively being called), Google wants to be a part of everything you do -- with technology, at least. Whether it's swiping through Google Now on your smartphone, dismissing notifications on your smartwatch, using voice search to find a movie on Android TV or searching for a cafe on your in-car display, Android will follow you everywhere. And while features like universal sync across devices and voice commands will likely make your life easier, Google's getting something pretty significant in return: access to nonstop streams of your personal data and search history. In short, it's pretty clear that the "L" stands for "Life."

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Meet Google's answer to Apple's CarPlay: Android Auto. It's a new platform announced today at the annual orgy of software and hardware development known as Google I/O, and it puts the (almost) full power of Android in your car. Why almost? Well, despite the fact that the system leverages your smartphone to power your car's infotainment system, you don't get access to all your apps. It has a limited selection of options that are suitable for use on the road and optimized for an in-dash interface, and I got to see several of them in action in an Audi S3.

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Samsung's Gear Live and LG's G Watch have already been manhandled today at Google I/O 2014, and now it's time to do the same to the third inaugural Android Wear device, the Moto 360. We've already heard much about the watch's unique circular design and have gotten some sneak peeks at the various watch faces that are coming to take advantage of it. Today, however, I finally got my mitts on one, and I can assure you it's as well put together in person as the press shots have shown previously.

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LG believes it's hip to be square, and it created a smartwatch to prove it. The G Watch was announced alongside Android Wear, Google's new wearables platform, and the circular Moto 360 this March. After three months, LG and Google are finally ready to let me slip one on my wrist. The watch is going to be available for pre-order for $229 (update: preorders are live here) on the Play Store alongside the Samsung Gear Live (and Moto 360, once it comes out later this summer), and will ship out in both black and white to eager users on July 7th.

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Here at Google's yearly developer conference, we just learned a whole lot more about Android Wear, the company's OS tailored to wearables. With that info came word that Samsung's rolling out the newest member of the Gear family, the Live, and I just laid my hands and eyes on one firsthand. Problem is, the smartwatch was only running Android Wear in "retail mode." That means that I couldn't actually explore the ins and outs of Android Wear, but I did get to strap the newest member of Samsung's wrist-worn family on my arm.

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Get ready for two crazy hours of Google awesomeness: I/O's opening keynote is about to begin. This is typically the time for the company to unveil some of its biggest projects and set the tone for the following year. Just two years ago, for instance, co-founder Sergey Brin skydived onto the roof of the venue and biked into the keynote while wearing Google Glass. Whether we'll see anything as adventurous this year remains to be seen, but that's why we liveblog these things -- so you, dear reader, can experience every second of the madness right along with us. So join us right back here at noon (EDT), okay?

June 25, 2014 12:00:00 PM EDT

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S review: slim design, long battery life, stunning screen

It'd be silly of me to talk about tablets in the past tense -- we still write stories about them daily and clearly, we review them, too. But of the ones we've seen lately, most have been low-end; mid-range at best. The market for high-end slates, once crowded with companies big and small, now looks more like a fraternity. At this point, the only players left are mostly big names like Apple, Microsoft, Sony. And, of course, Samsung. The outfit just announced the Galaxy Tab S, its flagship tablet for 2014. Available in 8.4- and 10.5-inch sizes, it comes armed with the best possible specs, including a stunning 2,560 x 1,600 Super AMOLED screen, 12-hour battery life and a slim build that measures just 6.6mm thick. In addition, Samsung added a fingerprint reader (still a rarity on tablets) and free goodies like popular magazines, Dropbox storage and a six-month Wall Street Journal subscription. The tablet's up for pre-order now, starting at $400 for the 8-inch model and $500 for the 10-incher. So, you can't test-drive it yet, but, as it happens, I've been playing with it for almost a week. Suffice to say, I've enjoyed myself. Mostly.

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Sony SmartBand review: a fitness tracker that goes beyond fitness

When you hear the word "wearable," there's a good chance you think of a wristband, probably one that tracks your activity. Ever since Nike launched the FuelBand, your lower arm has become the main focus for fitness tech. Already the rot is setting in, though. Nike is rumored to be leaving the game completely (even if recent events suggest otherwise). Everyone else is still trying to decide what exactly a wrist-worn gadget should do. No one device appears to have figured out the magic formula. Most bands stop at counting steps and logging sleep. But Sony decided to try something different with its $100 SmartBand wearable. It still does the step-tracking thing, just along with other stuff -- like, y'know, logging your entire life. As much as it can with a motion sensor and mobile phone, anyway. So how is it? I strapped one on to find out.

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ASUS has certainly been making a name for itself delivering sleek and slim computing devices, and it's not showing signs of stopping. The ASUS MeMO Pad 8 tablet is one of its latest, which packs a quad-core Intel Bay Trail processor into a super-portable 0.7-pound package. The company's so psyched about the slate, it wanted to share the love and give three Engadget readers one of their own to enjoy. The CPU is said to deliver lightning fast speeds, and paired with its 8-inch HD display and stereo sound, it should help pleasantly pass the time on long flights or lazy couch sessions. The tablet's new Zen UI also adds easy-to-use scheduling, file sharing and gallery tools. Plus there's a series of photo features to help eliminate photo-bombers from your snaps and capture the perfect groufie group selfie. This slim device is also up-to-date on Google's latest sweet treat: Android 4.4 Kit Kat. Don't miss out, there's up to three chances at winning one of these ASUS Pads via the Rafflecopter widget below. It'll only take you seconds, and you won't even have to stay up all night just to get lucky!

Winners: congratulations to Jeff W. of Randolph, MA, Charles H. of Santa Ana, CA and Scott H. of Cordova, TN

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