Friday, November 20, 2015

Google Wants To Make The One App To Rule Them All

So Google has this crazy idea where your smartphone would only need one, single app.....Google's. It used to be that when we wanted information we had to go to a library or read an encyclopedia. Then it transitioned into sitting in front of our computers and typing our queries into Google. Today, we simply open up our smartphone and verbally ask it questions and wait for it to find us the answers. In addition to that, other things aside from information have started getting their own apps. Looking for a good restaurant? There's an app for that. Looking for new clothes? There's an app for that. Trying to check out the latest in world news? App. However, Google wants to change all of that.

According to recent reports, Google wants to extend its domination in the search engine world to smartphones. Google wants to give you a way to use apps without having to actually download them onto your smartphone or tablet and they want to start this as early as next week. Sounds crazy right? I mean how am I supposed to use an app on my phone if the app isn't actually on my phone? Google's solution to this is actually very interesting.

If you search for something, like a cheap hotel, using Google's app on a smartphone running the Android operating system, you will receive search results from all over the internet, like normal. However, there will also be information from apps like Hotel Tonight or Kayak. If you tap a button, Google will open the app so that you can book a room on the app even if you don't have it installed on your device. This sounds like a ridiculous pipe dream to some and pure ecstasy to others, especially those people who don't download an app until the very moment they need it and then are in a time crunch waiting for it to download.

Google is using some shenanigans, though. The company is actually streaming a video to your phone from the internet while the app runs on a computer far, far away. In addition to that, there's also a catch. At the moment, Google can only achieve this feat with these nine apps: Hotel Tonight, Weather, New York Subway, My Horoscope, Daily Horoscope, Visual Anatomy Free, Useful Knots, Gormey (a restaurant finder), and Chimani (a national parks guide). According to Lead Engineer for Google's Mobile Search and App Indexing Team Rajan Patel, "We feel like it's our role to make sure we have answers. In mobile, oftentimes that's in apps."

So what does this mean for consumers like me and you? Well for starters it means a decrease in the time and hassle it takes to download an app and install it on your phone or tablet. You will also have the ability to use an app without having it take up space on your device. For Google, this could be an attempt to make mobile apps less relevant while also keeping Google at the forefront of smartphone users' minds. Even though Google is basically untouchable on the desktop market, the same can't be said for its mobile counterpart.

This is but one of Google's attempts to make mobile search better. Back in April the company changes the way it organized all websites and prioritized those that come up better on smartphones. In addition to that, Google has also been working on making information from inside an app more searchable on Google, known as deep linking. Google said that it now has over 100 billion links to information from apps.

Google streams these apps with technology it got from a startup called Agawi last year. In reality, you aren't really getting access to these apps from Google. Sure it feels as if you are in the program, but Google is actually streaming you an HD video that you can tap and scroll through like a normal app, according to a company spokeswoman. The only real  difference here is that in the Google version a banner runs across the bottom fo the screen that says "App streamed by Google".

This technology is currently only available on Android devices though Google did say that it will eventually come to iPhones and other Apple iOS devices though a timeframe has yet to be established.

Content originally published here

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Monday, November 9, 2015

The Nexus 6P Is Fancy

The Nexus 6P (which stands for Premium) is officially out and the reviews are ranging from good to the most incredible Android smartphone to ever grace mankind! Ok so I might have embellished a little bit on that last part, but that isn't to say that the Nexus 6P is your average run-of-the-mill smartphone. No, this one has features and designs that are really making waves with consumers and putting it up on a pedestal.

Almost every review on the internet about the Nexus 6P shows that people are really loving the smaller dimensions, especially when compared to the previous Nexus 6. In addition to that, the metal case is also receiving rave reviews, though a few people did complain that the design could have been a little better. Regardless, the vast majority of reviews praised the camera as well as the fingerprint scanner on the back. Although, one reviewer stated that both features lagged in performance behind the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus though the majority disagreed with this.

Some criticisms that came along all fronts included ones about the lack of an SD card slot for upgrading storage space and the fact that there is no removable battery. What's also interesting is that wireless charging is not included either. This is particularly strange considering the non-removable battery. Many smartphone manufacturers either give you a removable battery or give you wireless charging. Rarely do they take away both.

Specifications include: Bluetooth 4.2; 802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac WiFi; reversible USB Type-C; Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994 chip, Octa-Core 2,000 MHz ARM Cortex-A53 or ARM Cortex A-57 64-bit processor; Ardeno 430 graphics; 8MP camera and either 32GB or 64GB of storage space. However, specs seem to becoming less important to average users who are more interested in all the pretty bells and whistles that a phone has to offer. The Xperia line from Sony is a perfect example of a smartphone that looks really good on a spec sheet but doesn't sell as well as it should because it's not as fancy as others.

The Nexus 6P is a great smartphone and a great looking one as well. Android enthusiasts will love it, iPhone users will be indifferent towards it, and average smartphone users will definitely find something about it to love. The 34GB model will run you $499 with the 64GB model running you $549.

Content originally published here

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Rumor: Apple Music App Headed To Android

According to Tim Cook, Apple Music is starting off very well, with 15 million subscribers already. Now that there's an Android version coming out, a lot about it seems to be coming to the surface.

MobileGeeks (via SlashGear), the german-language tech site, posted screenshots that show an Android version of Apple Music. The screenshots show different sections of the app, like the New and For You screens. It also has Beats One streaming radio. The app looks just like the iOS version, but it also has some Android design touches, Like the Hamburger menu in the upper right corner.

Apple recently announced that Android would be getting Apple music "this fall." MobileGeeks has been very reliable in knowing what's coming with Android. This isn't the first time rumors passed around about an Android version of Apple Music. TechAeris reported last month that some people were given invites to join a limited beta of an Apple Music app for Android. Although TechAeris's rumor-mill track record isn't fully known. There are some things that seem odd with Apple performing a beta test this way, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it couldn't be done.

Those of you that have Android, like me, may appreciate this music app. Sometimes only using Pandora for music just isn't enough.

Content originally published here
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Friday, October 23, 2015

Xiaomi Is Amazon With A Focus On Smartphones

Have you ever heard of Xiaomi? No? Well, this is a company that partners with manufacturers all over the world in order to sell a plethora of products online. In addition to that, this company is also willing to lose some profit in order to make sure that the prices it offers are bargain-bin low. Sure it sounds like a knock off of Amazon and while Xiaomi isn't a well-known brand in the United States, it is huge in Asia.

The company, which is based in China, is valued at $46 billion, which makes it the second-most valuable startup in the world behind Uber. Xiaomi has created a reputation by selling inexpensive, high-quality smartphones which sell out in Asian markets in a matter of hours. The founder of the company also reminded people at a recent Wall Street Journal conference that it offers a large list of products ranging from HDTVs to air purifiers, all of which are offered at extremely low prices. Co-Founder and President of Xiaomi Bin Lin was quoted saying, "We are more in the area of smart consumer electronics. We'd rather be called an Internet company."

However, the company's push to make itself bigger puts it on the same level as massive online retailers, like Amazon or Alibaba. As a matter of fact, both Amazon and Alibaba have benefited from the increased comfort of consumers making purchases online. It's a strategy that could help Xiaomi expand faster and into different parts of the world. Xiaomi is actually already planning on launching a US and European online store in May that will feature electronic accessories but no phones.

In markets where Xiaomi does sell smartphones, however, the company believes that these handheld devices will be the remote control for everything we have. Unlike Amazon and Alibaba, Xiaomi only sells gadgets. "It's been clear for a long time that it has much broader ambitions and that seeing Xiaomi as just a smartphone company was missing the bigger picture," says Jackdaw Research Analyst Jan Dawson.

For example, Lin talked about the capabilities of his new air purifier that addresses the pollution issue in China. The air purifier is capable of clearing the air around you in six minutes and can also connect to a smartphone. He also called the MiTV 3 television that Xiaomi recently launched "almost like a phone, except for the bigger display." The HDTV boasts a 60" 4K resolution screen for a price tag of under $800.

Xiaomi is also taking a play out of Amazon's playbook and sees an opportunity to provide media, gaming, and other services through TV, all of which will also connect to a smartphone. According to Lin, 130 million people use the company's smartphones, televisions, routers, and other products and Xiaomi is generating pretty good revenue from the services related to those products.

The company is also looking past smartphones as its main source of business. "The last couple of years in China the smartphone business is changing from rapid growth to a replacement market," Lin added. "So the absolute growth of the smartphone market is flat." Lin also talked about the concern that smartphones are becoming boring and that consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to get excited about the seemingly same products that come out every year. "In the next few months, I'm sure we can come up with something that is super cool," he added.

The Mi store from Xiaomi in the United States offers things like battery chargers and headphones though Lin did say that he was thinking of selling the company's popular smartphones in the states, though he did not give specific details on when that would happen.

Content originally published here
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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Google Looking To Make Mobile Web Faster

Google has created a way to make the mobile web faster. The company announced a technical preview for a system called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). It is designed to fight many of the factors slowing down your mobile web pages. Google has teamed up with a bunch of publishers for the system, such as The Washington Post, Vox Media (The Verge's parent company), The Guardian, and Buzzfeed.

The system is available on a public GitHub repository, having a more commonly held code and smarter caching system. If the system is working, you should have lighter, faster loading mobile pages on things like smartphones and tablets. Google's head of News, Richard Gingras said, "We're here because we love the web and we feel the web can be better than it is. We can make the web great again."

Although the system is still in technical preview, the announcement comes with a ton of major programs for offsite content hosting. In May, Facebook released Instant Articles that allowed publishers to push content directly to Facebook with the results of faster loading times and simpler advertising. Apple has done something similar with Apple News, which they announced at WWDC in June. With this new availability of ad-blocking applications in iOS 9 has allowed you to bypass a lot of tracking systems that slow down your internet completely. This is making publishers look for a way to shrink mobile pages.

With all these systems out, it's putting a lot of pressure on Google, which relies tremendously on web advertising and is being threatened by the migration to closed systems. Gingras spoke about the power of the web but never said that Google's future depends on an open internet.

Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages system is more open than the systems from Apple and Facebook. The core of the system is an open-source GitHub repository, which allows companies to adapt or change when needed. Individual libraries or systems can also adapt individually, becoming more of a toolkit than a self-contained portal.

Google and its partners will still use non-trivial power in its advertising and tracking within the system. The system still allows for third-party caching, Google's hosting network means most of AMP content will likely be hosted on the company's servers. The system is likely to restore concern on the increasing balkanization of internet platforms. Google will represent an open, web-integrated alternative for more controlled platforms within Facebook and Apple.

Content originally published here
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Two New Smartphones Unveiled By Google

Last week, Apple unveiled its newest iPhone models with the 6S and 6S Plus. Not missing a beat, Google has debuted two new smartphones as well. The new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P come with 5.2" and 5.7" screens, respectively, and are actually pretty inexpensive. In addition to that, these phones are aimed to be direct competition to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Both phones run the latest version of Google's Android operating system (6.0 Marshmallow), bringing a ton of updates to Google's operating system, including increased battery life.

The Nexus 5X, which comes from LG, is the least expensive of the two smartphones and comes with a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution and a pair of front-facing speakers for better audio. On the rear of the device, you'll find a 12.3-megapixel camera sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and larger pixels that will aid with low-light photos. Laser autofocus will help with detecting and focusing on objects faster, meaning there will be less delay when taking pictures.

In addition to that, the back of the 5X also has a fingerprint scanner. Granted, this is an odd place for a fingerprint scanner, but it is within easy access of your index finger while the phone is in your hand. The one thing this could cause problems with is when making mobile payments as this typically requires you to place the back of the phone on a retailer's payment terminal.

On the inside of the 5X, you'll find a 6-core processor with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of storage. Unfortunately, this storage is the only option you have as there is no place for upgrading. Still, the 16GB model will start at $380, which is a heck of a deal compared with the iPhone 6S starting price of $650.

On the flip side, we have the Nexus 6P from Huawei. This smartphone comes with a 5.7" screen that has a 2560 x 1440 resolution and is aimed at consumers looking for a big screen handset with a super high-res AMOLED display. This is Google's flagship device, meaning it gets the luxury of having an all-metal design made from aerospace-grade aluminum.

Like the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6P comes with a 12.3-megapixel camera and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. On the front of the device, you'll find an 8-megapixel camera, making the billions of selfies you take everyday look nice and bright. Inside you'll find a powerful 8-core processor and 3GB of RAM for fast performance. In addition to that, the 6P also offers more storage than the 5X. Here you'll get 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB of storage.

However, that increased memory, bigger screen, and more RAM means a higher cost. The base Nexus 6P with 32GB of RAM will run you $500. That's still cheaper than the base model iPhone 6S Plus, which runs you $750 for only 16GB of memory.

Both phones get a USB Type-C port, which is faster than the older micro USB ports found on most Android smartphones, allowing you to stream video to external displays. In addition to that, this port is reversible, meaning you don't have to worry about which way you plug it into your device.

This is Android smartphone technology at its purest. The fact that both devices are being made by Google means that the Android interface is unchanged and you won't have to deal with any unwanted apps or things from manufacturers like LG and Samsung. It also means that you will get all the Android updates as soon as they become available, which is always nice. If you're looking for a nice, new Android smartphone, then the Google Nexus 5X and Google Nexus 6P may be precisely what you're looking for.

Content originally published here
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Friday, September 11, 2015

iPhone 6 Powered By Hydrogen Lasts One Week on One Charge

There had been rumors that a British company was working very closely with Apple to develop a hydrogen fuel cell for the iPhone 6, which would allow the device to run for an entire week without recharging.

Intelligent Energy, according to reports, has reportedly created a working iPhone 6 prototype that looks identical to every single other iPhone 6 you've seen with one small change. There are now tiny vents on the rear of the device that allow imperceptible amounts of water vapor to escape from the smartphone. In addition to that, the iPhone 6 prototype also has a rechargeable battery along with its very own hydrogen fuel cell, the Telegraph reports.

Hydrogen fuel cells are capable of generating energy by combining hydrogen and oxygen with the only emission from the process being water. Fuel cells supply hydrogen to a negative anode which releases electrons. These electrons then flow to a positive cathode in order to generate electricity. What's more is that upon releasing the electrons, the hydrogen becomes a hydrogen ion moving to a positive cathode and then bonds with oxygen in the air, forming water. Yeah, science.

When it comes to our wonderful periodic table, hydrogen is the simplest and most common molecule that exists. Because of this, hydrogen is a part of pretty much every single substance known to man, including water and hydrocarbons. In addition to that, hydrogen is also found in biomass, which includes every single plant and animal on this fascinating planet.

Intelligent Energy has produced over 2,000 patents related to fuel cells, patents which it has used to create things like car batteries and a portable charger known as the Upp. The Upp is a mini-hydrogen fuel cell that charges any USB-compatible mobile device, like smartphones, tablets, handheld gaming consoles and cameras.

Like any other fuel cell, the one in this prototype iPhone 6 requires charging with hydrogen gas. Intelligent Energy has stated that this process could be completed via an adapted headphone socket. The company is working on a commercial version of this smartphone fuel cell, which would be in the form of a small cartridge that would fit into the bottom of a smartphone. The cartridge would supply power for up to a week and could be discarded after use.

Finance Chief for Intelligent Energy Mark Lawson-Statham was reported saying that this type of smartphone fuel cell technology is still a few years out from commercial use. While this technology is cool, I wonder what it would cost to buy these cartridges every single week. If that turns out to be expensive then this will be nothing more than a neat concept.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Smartphones Now Capable Of Detecting Boredom

It sometimes seems like our phones can do literally anything. I mean they can make appointments for us, wake us up in the morning, remind us of things, help us search for things on the internet, take pictures, record videos, etc... and now, it seems, we can add boredom detector to that list. That's right, according to researchers, an algorithm has been developed that can tell if you are bored by looking at your mobile activity. The algorithm considers factors like the time since you last received a call or text, the time of day it is, and how much you are using your phone.

The research was conducted by several people at Telefonica Research in Barcelona, Spain and will be presented at the UbiComp ubiquitous computing conference in Japan. The researchers determined that looking at this kind of data gives a reliable prediction of boredom as often as 83% of the time. In addition to that, the researchers also sent bored smartphone users an alert to check a BuzzFeed article. This was to judge that people who were bored clicked on the link more often than those who weren't.

Granted, it is a bit tough using a machine to infer a person's state of mind, however being able to do so with a smartphone could be very powerful. Let's say an app were able to predict that you were bored and also knew your location, it could then attempt to feed you content that it things you would like to see. One startup has already started trying something similar. Triggerhood has built software that allows apps to collect data about how the smartphone is being used and then determines when the best time is to send the user a notification.

The researchers at Telefonica first determined characteristics of boredom by using an Android app that surveyed participants, asking them to rate their boredom multiple times a day for two weeks. These responses were compared to other data that was taken from phones measuring how many apps the user used and how intensely the phone was used overall. Both of these measures increased as the users became more bored.

To validate the algorithm, the researchers built another Android app that determined, on its own, whether or not the user was bored. When it did this it sent an alert to the user's phone asking if they wanted to read a Buzzfeed article on the site's news app. A separate set of participants used this app for two weeks and researchers determined that people who identified as bored were more likely to click on the alert and read the story.

University of Stuttgart Graduate Student and Co-Author of the paper Tilman Dingler worked on the study  as a visiting researcher at Telefonica last year. Dingler says that the researchers now want to find out more about what kinds of content people might want to see the most of when they are bored and whether or not that might include learning activities.

The biggest problem here is getting people to use an app or service that analyzes this much data about them. In addition to that, there is also the question of how accurately researchers can predict boredom due to the fact that they received their data by asking people to repeatedly report how bored they were. Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Rochester M. Ehsan Hoque believes that this may not accurately represent "true boredom" as our mental states are usually subconscious. Regardless, Hoque says that he is excited about the promise of the study as it shows that researchers are looking the mental state of people through smartphone data. "We know boredom leads to depression, so if you can infer the person is bored, you can do something about it," Hoque concludes.

Content originally published here
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Say Hello To M, Facebook's New Personal Assistant

It seems that every piece of technology needs an "assistant" these days. I mean Apple has Siri, Windows 10 has Cortana, even Google has Now. And now, it seems, that Facebook is jumping on this bandwagon. There have been rumors that Facebook was working on an assistant within the Messenger app, but details have finally surfaced that bring it all together. This means that Apple, Microsoft, and Google will have yet another company to compete with.

In a post on Facebook (of course), Facebook Messenger Lead David Marcus wrote, "Today we're beginning to test a new service called M. M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf. It's powered by artificial intelligence that's trained and supervised by people."

Marcus went on to say, "Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments, and way more. This is early in the journey to build M into an at-scale service. But it's an exciting step towards enabling people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what's important in their lives."

Ever since Marcus joined with Facebook the Messenger product has been churning like crazy in terms of development. Regardless if it's payments or a standalone site, the product seems like it is getting a lot more attention than it ever has before.

Siri, Now, and Cortana, and M are now one big happy family! Basically what these companies are doing is they are taking the data that you've put into the service and are using it to help you out or suggest different things based off of what it knows about you. Putting M inside of Messenger is a quite a brilliant move due to the fact that people are used to tapping out messages to people as opposed to speaking out commands like other assistants sometimes require.

Facebook acquiring back in January provided the human side of the project, meaning the "trained and supervised by people" part that Marcus mentioned. Google and Apple have focused primarily on the science of Artificial Intelligence whereas Facebook has decided to power through the development of a personal assistant with more human hands.

This means that it won't be cheap for Facebook. Should the project scale out it will have to wait until the humans teach its AI to handle most requests automatically or it will have to spend a ton of money hiring a ton of people to assist the assistant. In addition to that, the launch of this tech will be very, very slow but as soon as it is released you can check back here for more information!

Content originally published here
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Droidcon NYC 2015

In the world of mobile technology, we've all seen the rivalries. Apple has done their very best to stay at the top of the mobile market, but it seems that Android is always on their heels. While there are many conferences for both companies, one can't forget about Android's Droidcon coming up! Are you unfamiliar with Droidcon? In case you are, Droidcon is considered to be the world's largest, community-driven, Android developer's conference. It's a globally held conference that has hit beautiful locations, such as London, Dubai, Moscow, Madrid, and Berlin. With a developer's conference that has this type of following, it only makes sense that Droidcon come visit The United States in the melting pot capital of the world. That's right, Droidcon is heading to beautiful New York City, New York!

Although Droidcon is a conference on the global scale, there are still some who are uninformed as to what the goals behind the conference are. The idea behind the Droidcon conference is to support the Android platform and create a global network for developers and companies. The conference is known for offering high-class talks from different parts of the ecosystem, including core development, embedded solutions, augmented reality, business solutions, and games. The Droidcon Conferences have been being held since late 2009. Ever since the first two cons were held in that year, the community-driven conference format has repeated itself in all of the held locations since.

Droidcon covers all aspects of the Android ecosystem from mobile devices to TV to cars to gaming and so much more. It is organized by local partners and only possible with the generous support of sponsors from big blue chips of this industry to SMEs and a lot of volunteer work. It truly is a conference driven by a community that loves Android and wants to see as much progress for the products and services as possible. When Android has made such an incredible name for itself, it only makes sense that their community would go out of their way to hold an event like this.

What most people may not be aware of, is that this will be the first ever Droidcon to take place here in America for the development community! This year's event will host a vast majority of sponsors. Arguably the biggest sponsor this year will be Google Play. Google's cross-platform products for mobile developers help them to design, develop, distribute, and monetize apps and games. From the Google Play Store and Google Play game services to Google Analytics and AdMob, Google's solutions are helping millions of app businesses grow globally. It would only make sense to have Android be backed by such a huge sponsor. Other names, such as some of the larger social media sources (ex. Facebook and Tumblr), are sponsoring this year's event, as well as companies like American Express, Microsoft, and Uber.

This year's Droidcon schedule is still currently being updated at the time of writing, but even now the line-up looks superb. Between the different keynote speakers and the workshops, New York City's Droidcon will be sure to have something for everyone. There have been a couple of keynotes already confirmed for the conference this year.

The 2015 NYC Droidcon will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The Metropolitan Pavilion is one of New York City’s most versatile and reliable event spaces for media-intensive events, trade events and product launches. This year it was the site of Internet Week New York and NYC Uncubed, among other cutting-edge tech events. This particular venue offers a wide range of audio-video, and entertainment technology enhancements; it's also within walking distance from the subway and minutes away from Madison Square Park and Union Square. Droidcon NYC will be held on the main floor (The Full Pavilion) and the second floor (The Suite) for breakout rooms and a lounge.

When you're visiting this year's event, but sure to check out the beautiful areas of New York City. Go out and enjoy the sights and attractions of Times Square. Everything from futuristic a McDonald's to a four-story Toys R' Us with a Ferris wheel inside. This event was made for tech geeks and is being hosted in the Melting Pot of America. You can bet there will be memories made here!

The event will take place August 27th and August 28th at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.

For more information about the event or to register visit the Droidcon NYC 2015 website.

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Great News! Your Next Android Will Have Less Bloatware!

There's something special about getting a new phone. You open it up, take a whiff of that "new phone smell", and then fire it up so you can start playing with all the new apps and features that your old phone only dreamed about having. But then you start to realize that there are a lot of apps pre-loaded on your new phone that you don't necessarily want or need. And the worst part about it is that there's absolutely nothing you can do to get them off (unless you jailbreak your phone, which isn't advisable).

This has been the woe of many a smartphone user, the dreaded bloatware that comes pre-installed on every new device. While there's nothing you can do about the bloatware on your current smartphone, I do have some good news for you! Your next Android phone is going to come with fewer pre-loaded apps! Which means less bloatware!

The first showing of this was the Galaxy Note 5 from Samsung. As you may have heard, the Note 5 comes without Googl+ pre-installed. Some people see this as more proof that Google's social media platform is all but dead though it's really only one of several Google apps that are no longer required to be included by smartphone developers.

What a lot of people don't understand is that Google writes and updates Android itself, giving away the source code to anyone. Consumers are able to get their own copy from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository and Google even offers detailed instructions to assist you in building a fully functioning version of Android.

In addition to that, smartphone developers also have access to the Android source code for free and they are also allowed to modify and change any parts of the code that they like. This is how things like Amazon FireOS come to fruition. It's a positive, trust me. Where things differ is when it comes to installing Google's proprietary apps and services.

If a developer wants to include the Google apps suite, which includes the Play Store and Gmail, they need to adhere to a couple of different rules. Once they have modified Android itself to their liking, it has to be tested for compatibility by Google. Once it is approved, the developer is given a package list of apps that they are required to install on the device.

There have been a ton of apps made by Google that a lot of us would rather not have on our devices. Smartphone developers include them because they are a part of that required list. In addition to that, these apps aren't Open Source and they aren't a part of the AOSP. Basically, if you want Gmail or the Play Store then you have to deal with all the other apps you don't want. In terms of business, this is smart and Google isn't the only company to do it. Apple bundles bloatware that a lot of users don't use or want and so does Microsoft. "You will get all the apps and you will like it!" seems to be their motto.

And now for the good news. Recent changes to the rules that smartphone developers are required to follow to get Google approval for their Android builds are allowing for certain apps to no longer be mandatory. Apps like Google Play Games, Google Play Books, Google+ and Google Newsstand join the likes of Google Earth and Google Keep as apps that are no longer mandatory. You can still get them in the Play Store if you truly want them and they will also receive regular updates, but not having them pre-installed is definitely a huge bonus for Android users.

Having pre-installed apps takes up valuable storage space on your device and the less of that we have the better. Unfortunately, we still have to deal with the bloatware that comes from the phone developers themselves. That means any Samsung app, HTC app, LG app, etc... will still be there, as will apps from carriers, like Verizon and Sprint. But while there doesn't seem to be any chance of us getting rid of things like Verizon Navigator or T-Mobile TV anytime soon, we can at least say a not-so-fond farewell to all those Google apps we care nothing about.

Content originally published here
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Friday, July 17, 2015

New Liquidmetal Android Smartphone May Or May Not Be A Terminator

Apple's past has shown no sign of an upcoming Liquidmetal iPhone since they can only manage to use the strong material for small iPhone components. Alas in just a few weeks, Android is going to outshine Apple! An Android handset called the Turing Phone is actually set to launch the first smartphone ever to have a liquid metal case.

Venturebeat was told by Turing CEO S.Y.L. Chao that his company is the first company able to manufacture Liquidmorphium components, measuring more than 10 millimeters. The new liquid metal smartphone is finally beating Apple's iPhones tiny SIM card tray, that is the largest liquid metal smartphone part.

The lucky company to finally release the first "Liquidmorphium" phone in the world is Turing Robotics Industries. Since the handset's housing is far stronger than steel, aluminum AND titanium, you won't have to worry about the phone bending, even in the slightest. The front of the new smartphone has an appealing chrome look, but the back isn't as fortunate in the design. Also, the Turing Phone is coated inside and out with a nanoparticle treatment, to make it waterproof. Not even getting water INSIDE the phone and covering all the circuits will phase it.

The smartphone will include a 5.5-inch full HD display, 3GB of RAM, a fingerprint scanner, a 2.5GHz quad-core processor, a 3,000 mAh battery, 64/128GB of storage, a 13-megapixel dual flash camera and Android 5.1. The Turing Phone will be available in the U.S. and China, for preorder on July 31st, starting at $740.

Content originally published here

Thursday, July 9, 2015

New iPhone Rumors Could Upset New Users

There are some new leaked images of the iPhone 6s that should be coming out this September. If the leaked photos are real, then everyone is about to be really mad. Apparently, the new 6s is going to start with only 16GB of storage.

This is an outrage, mainly because that is what the iPhone 5 started at... and when it came time to update the operating system, no one had enough room, and it was a huge deal. Apple then decided to make the iPhone 6 and 6 plus start with 32GB of storage, and there wasn't any bump in price from the previous generation of entry-level iPhones. So... now, for the same price you would have paid for 32GB last year, you can get 16GB and run out of space when you take too many pictures or download too many apps. Or, God forbid, you want to download the next operating system that comes out for it.

Text messages also take up a lot of space. So that is something to think about. Users with 32GB phones really don't have to worry about anything. It seems however that 16GB is just enough to make you wish you had more. I know this from experience.

Pretty much every other company in the world starts out at 32GB of onboard storage and also lets you add more with the use of SD cards. Apple, for some reason, refuses to make life that simple. Instead, they have given developers a tool called "App thinning" that lets them make apps take up less space. They also believe that because of iCloud, that onboard storage isn't important. Never mind the fact that iCloud is not free, and developers shouldn't have to do extra work. Instead of figuring out ways to release the exact same product every single year and charge more money for it, maybe they should revisit the technology of the late 90's and throw in an SD card slot. It can't be that hard.

To touch on the iCloud thing a little more, I exaggerated a little bit, it doesn't always cost money. You get 5GB free. The problem with this is that is barely enough to back up your phone with absolutely nothing on it. And you have to back up your phone on it. So if you want to store anything on the iCloud, you have to pay. Now, what happens when you have multiple devices linked to the same account?? You get where I'm going with this.

The simple fact is that Apple has made the choice to make more money off of their loyal customers rather than give them the product they deserve. They literally took a step backward just to make more money. Now, you can either pay more for iCould, or shell out a few hundred more dollars to get the iPhone with more storage. It's absolutely ridiculous that to get more storage you have to buy a more expensive model anyway. Apple is literally the only smartphone company that does this.

I can't wait for the day when people realize that Apple puts out phones using technology that is about 10 years behind, and they could have a Samsung Galaxy with brand new cutting edge features, and as much storage as they could ever want without any hassle... or paying more money. Micro SD cards are pretty cheap these days.

Content originally published here

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ubuntu Launches New, Invite-Only Smartphone

So far one big thing we know about Ubuntu phones is that when they launch, it is in a very odd way. For the newest edition to their family, things haven't changed.

Canonical is launching an invite-only handset manufactured by Meizu. The company had hoped to launch an Ubuntu phone back in 2014, and now it seems they have finally done it in a really weird way. The new MX4 Ubuntu Edition has been available for a few months only to developers in China, but now you are able to order one in Europe too if you are one of the few people who are able to get an invite. They aren't announcing how many are available, but every day you can visit their teaser site and complete a few puzzles and other nonsense to compete for your chance at an invite. They also haven't said if they will release the phone outside of this odd invite system, or if it will be sold in other markets besides Europe. The whole thing is pretty much just extremely unusual.

The company has launched a few other phones, like the Aquaris E4.5 and E5, which are basically modified versions of Android phones that are already out, and the MX4 is basically the same idea. Its main features include a 5.36-inch display, an octa-core MediaTek 6595 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 3,100mAh battery. It also has a really nice 20.7-megapixel rear facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for all of your selfie needs. It looks like a pretty good, solid smartphone, though there aren't really any features that make it stand out from the crowd and be the next "must have" phone.

Maybe it is coming out at a bad time. Compared to the Ubuntu Edge, it doesn't really seem very cool at all. Canonical has been really slow at developing the software for the device, and now it is almost outdated when put up against iOS 8 and Android Lollipop. There are also other operating systems about to drop soon, so it seems like the launch wasn't even thought out very well. Some people think that this phone's release is a strategic way of keeping expectations for the company low so that they can come from left field with something awesome and unexpected in the future. Whether this is true or not, who knows. But the phone isn't super awesome, that's the main point here.

The coolest thing about the phone is really the mystery behind its release, which is riding a fine line between being super cool and interesting, and really stupid and frustrating. Either way, the website is worth checking out, even if you don't end up getting an invite. At least check it out to see how weird it is.

Content originally published here

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

iOS 9 Finally Delivers a Lowercase Keyboard

So... when you are typing on your iPhone and pretending that you are way cooler than every Android user ever... how mad do you secretly get when you accidentally type with uppercase letters when you shouldn't? Or when you don't realize you did something like that until it's too late and look like an idiot? Yeah, I know. All the time.

Well, now it seems that Apple has fixed this little "design flaw" after approximately 5 thousand years of everyone wondering why they haven't done it yet. One of the most welcomed changed that will come along with iOS 9 is that the keyboard will show lowercase letters when typing in lower case. And, as it should, it will show uppercase letters when typing in upper case.

Until this change, we have all had to deal with only seeing uppercase letters when we type anything at all. You only see the difference when the words appear as you type them. Maybe it was to mimic the design of the MacBook keyboard where all of the letters are uppercase. Either way, no matter what they were doing, it was wrong. Android keyboards have displayed uppercase and lowercase letters since the beginning of time. I'm pretty sure there was a T-Rex somewhere who had an easier time texting his buddies while having a great time knowing which set of letters he was using without remembering if the shift button needed to be white or grey.

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Before iOS 7 came out, the shift key was highlighted in blue when you had it engaged. This let you see pretty easily, as long as you weren't texting at all and your thumbs weren't blocking it... which was always. And then they changed it to a monochromatic highlight, which personally confuses me to this day a little bit more. Either way, now it's not an issue anymore!

I'd also like to point out that I am in fact an iPhone user. I've had almost all the iPhone's. So, I'm not hating on them in any way... But come on, even as an avid iPhone user, there are certain things you just have to scratch your head over! At least we can all have a good sense of humor about it while we shell out money for every new model.

Content originally published here

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Huawei Wants the Attention of US Smartphone Users

Huawei, the Chinese company that is the top-ranked telecommunications equipment vendor in the world by revenue and the fourth largest smartphone vendor by market share, created an online store about a year ago, to sell their own versions of a smartphone directly to US customers,

Huawei introduced the P8 Lite, which is an exceptionally priced mid-tier smartphone, along with being a fitness tracker made in similarity with Jawbone called the TalkBand B2. Zhiqiang Xu, the
President of Huawei Device USA, said that this device is just the start in an interview Tuesday. Xu also plans on releasing a premium smartphone in the future, similar to Apple's iPhone 6 and Samsung's Galaxy S6.

Huawei is focusing on online sales in order to reach US customers. This is just part of a push from several Chinese vendors to get around US carriers and make smartphones that directly appeal to US consumers with relatively cheap prices, yet still making high-quality components. Carriers removed subsidies that showed the actual costs that range from $100 to $1000. Xu believes that the market will change and that E-commerce is the perfect solution with consumers buying their smartphones.

Consumers are looking for affordable smartphones in the market that aren't stuck with a single carrier. Huawei claims that its P8 Lite, for $250 with no contract, will be compatible with any US carrier's LTE network. Xu believes this smartphone is good enough to sell millions of units around the world.

It's far from the traditional strategy of working with US carriers, who haven't paid any attention to the Chinese vendors smartphones, and dropping Huawei and ZTE to being prepaid or the budget side. Huawei's Xu is hoping to make that one or more blockbuster phones that change everything.

It's very unlikely for a blockbuster to come from the online market. In the US, most of us prefer to just buy our smartphones directly from our carriers or a partner to our carriers. So far this year, 26% of smartphones were sold online versus actually walking into a store and physically buying a phone right there, according to Kantar WorldPanel. Online sales of unlocked devices have an even smaller percentage. Those who do shop online are typically looking for a better deal in prices.

Google is the only real exception to this. Google introduced its Nexus 4 smartphone a few years ago and it was sold online for $350 without a contract. Last year Google released the Nexus 6, which worked with carriers, to ensure more retail support. This hasn't stopped those like Alcatel who, earlier this year, made an Amazon powered store, or ZTE's US store.

Xu believes going with online sales is heading in the right direction, but he doesn't know when US consumers would take unlocked smartphones seriously. Carriers help educate consumers. AT&T said Monday that they're trying to have their retail partners sell phones without contracts or phone subsidies and focus more on non-contract options such as the carrier's monthly payment program.

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Xu is aiming for more digital and social marketing to help raise awareness for He's still considering more common ways of marketing, such as big sponsorships or eye catching TV commercials, which can be a bit more pricey. Huawei is trying to make their unlocked smartphones more appealing by offering a two year warranty on the P8 Lite, along with a monthly installment program split between 3 to 12 months. Xu claims that you can't find a better deal on Earth with the P8 Lite.

Huawei is focused on its online presence to help its own brand, but they still will work with the carriers to sell smartphones through regular channels. Xu said that he'd prefer to partner up with a carrier along with offering their device on their own website. Smartphones with a carrier are more appealing with well established brands with bigger marketing budgets versus high end smartphones without a carrier to support them.

Content originally published here

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Moleskine's New Calendar App is Both Elegant and Beautiful

Moleskine is famous for their beautiful notebooks and notepads, and now they have their own calendar app that is along the same lines as their physical products. The new app is called Timepage. It has a minimalist design and it doesn't have the traditional calendar view of the whole month. Instead, you get a nice little day-to-day view which makes things a lot more simple and less overwhelming.

The app also has weather built into it, and the ability to work with Uber and take care of all of your upcoming appointments. The app is supposed to help with all of your daily needs by giving you weather, appointments, and even take care of directions and transportation.

When you open up the app you get a list of days, and even if you don't have anything scheduled for a day, it still takes up as much space in the list as the others so things don't get confusing, and it is hard to look at it wrong. If you don't have anything scheduled, it will throw in a historical fact of something that happened that day in history just to keeps things interesting and lively. You can also customize the look of the app and have days that already passed appear darker than upcoming days.

If you want to add a new event to the calendar, all you have to do is pull down on a day and type whatever it is that you want. You can also send out calendar invites and locations are automatically pulled from Google Places.

If you have Google Maps or Apple Maps, you can also get directions from them to your Timepage app. Then it will show you how long it will take to get to your appointments from wherever you are currently. It will give you options for driving, walking, and even public transportation.

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Moleskine has made the weather portion of the app a really big part of the app. It always keeps you updated with the daily forecast which includes beautiful graphics that look a lot like the Fresh Air weather graphs. You can even check out the forecast for the same time and place as any of the events you create in your calendar. This way you can be prepared for anything.

They have also made the Timepage app compatible with the Apple Watch and made it super easy to use with the tiny device. You'll be able to use all of the same features with the tiny little screen. This makes having the app or the Apple Watch that much more convenient. You can get everything you need to know with just a glance.

The Timepage app will also pull information from the calendar apps that you already have including Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange 2007, and iCloud.

Unfortunately, the app is not free. But it is cheap, and completely worth it. If you are interested, you can get it at the Apple App Store for just $4.99.

Content originally published here

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Best Keyboards for Apple Smartphones

I'm sure everyone is enjoying their new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. The size of their screens are great for quickly checking your Facebook or Instagram, watching YouTube or Netflix, or even crushing all that candy. The only noticeable issue with having such a large phone is trying to type on it with one hand. iOS 8, which was released last fall, does give you the option of choosing from multiple different keyboards by downloading them from the Apple App Store and enabling them in the iPhone's Settings app.

The best keyboard for your iPhone would most likely be the SwiftKey. It has the best word prediction you could possibly get, it's fast when responding to the traditional tap-typing, and has a tracing feature you can use with just one thumb. In addition to that, the word prediction generally knows what you are trying to type or are about to type next. It also taps into you social media accounts, as well as your contacts list to help better personalize it's predictions based off of how you type everything else out.

SwiftKey also has some themes you can pick from such as light, dark, or the occasional holiday theme. It also has the standard auto-correct, double taping the space bar for a period, and auto-capitalizing that you're used to. The downside to using SwiftKey is the way iOS handles third-party keyboards. These keyboards tend to crash in the Messages app or when using Spotlight. You can't talk to your iPhone and have it input passwords or reply to your texts when you are on the lock screen either. It's nothing that you can't look past, but it can get irritating sometimes.

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If you are more of a simple person and don't want to bother installing a new keyboard, your iPhone has it's own built-in iOS keyboard. It's the most reliable keyboard for your iPhone and it's already on your phone. It works great with voice dictation anywhere you can type on your iPhone, even in the lock screen or for inputting texts. It's great with word prediction based on context and tap-typing and the keyboard will suggest different words depending on if you're just texting a friend or writing an email to your boss. The few downsides to this standard keyboard is that it doesn't have tracing or themes to customize.

Some other keyboards you can choose from include Swype ($0.99), which is the original tracing keyboard. It also has word prediction, auto-correct, and themes. Another one is Adaptext (free), which has the majority of the features you want in a keyboard: auto-correct, tracing features, emojis, and themes. TouchPal (free) is a good keyboard if you're really into stickers. It has tracing, themes, emojis, and auto-correct as well. Fleksy ($0.99) is said to have the best auto-correct engine you can get. It has word deletion and themes but the only downside with this one is that it doesn't have tracing. Minuum ($3.99) relies mostly on word predictions and auto-correct for the most accurate words you're trying to type. The thing that is most unappealing about this is that all your letters are in one straight line and it pretty much just guesses on what letter you're attempting at typing. All of these keyboards are not as smart with word predictions as the SwiftKey and are not as reliable as Apple's keyboard.

The best bet for a smartphone keyboard all around would be Swiftkey, but the safest and easier keyboards would be to just stick with your already built-in iOS Apple keyboard. Not an iPhone user? Check out our post about The Best Keyboards for Android Smartphones!

Content originally published here

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Best Keyboard for Android Smartphones

Androids, in my opinion, are the best type of smartphones to get into. The devices come in all sizes, designs, and prices. The majority of them come with giant screens for you to browse the internet or Skype with friends or play games if you're bored and want to pretend like you have something to do while the rest of your friends are busy on their phones. Sometimes it may seem like a challenge to type on phones with tiny screens, but for years Androids have let you customize your keyboards. You can get keyboards that let your trace out your words, keyboards with non-standard layouts, you can even shrink your keyboards down to tinier sizes, or make them easier for you to put all those emojis that you go out of control with.

One of the better keyboards for your Android device is the Google Keyboard. It has a smart auto-correct and word prediction, a great tap-typing response, and a tracing feature that allows you to trace out your words for quick texts. In addition to that, it also has a voice dictation that gets smarter with word predictions the more you use it. Having it recognize and know your voice is great for when you don't have a lot of time to type out those long texts, so you can just tell your Android device exactly what you want your text to say and it will type it out for you. You can also customize your settings for sounds, vibrations, ringtones, and how accurate your auto-correct can be. A lot of Android phones already come with the Google Keyboard preinstalled, but if you have a HTC, Samsung, LG, or any smartphone with a custom keyboard, you can get Google's version of a keyboard from the Play Store, for free. And who can turn down something that's free with so many cool features?

A lot of people also go with SwiftKey on Android. It has tracing, auto-correct, and a bunch of different themes to customize the appearance. The word prediction with SwiftKey is better than with the Google Keyboard. It can get into your social media accounts; Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, as well as your texts and contacts list, to learn how you type and can better predict your words before you even type a letter. Just like with the Google Keyboard, the more you use SwiftKey, the smarter it can get. One of SwiftKey's weaker points is tap-typing. It doesn't seem as responsive as Google's version but that shouldn't really effect you if you mainly use tracing or word prediction.

Some of the other types of keyboards you can get are Swype ($0.99), TouchPal (free), Flesky ($1.99), Ai.type ($3.99), or Whirlscape Minuum ($3.20). Swype is the original tracing keyboard and is almost always preinstalled on the majority of your smartphones. Just like Swype, TouchPal, Ai.typ also has tracing, multiple themes and emojis to chose from, and auto-correct. But the downsides of all these is that their word prediction isn't comparably smarter than with SwiftKey and tap-typing isn't nearly as good as with Google Keyboard.  Flesky is said to have the best auto-correct engine, it manages to write perfectly legible sentences without you even looking at your phone. Whirlscape Minuum has got to be one of the lower quality keyboards in my opinion. It has all the letters on your keyboard laid out in a single row and guesses at what letter you are attempting at hitting, based on context.

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All these keyboards have their own style and most of them have the same features. It's on you to decide what you feel most comfortable with when searching the web, texting your friends, playing games, or being addicted to your social media accounts. Not an Android user? Check out our post on The Best Keyboards for Apple Smartphones!

Content originally published here

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Google Debuts New Fi Wireless Service

Photo Credit: Kachwanya
Google finally announced their wireless phone service called Fi. The service will cost $20 per month for unlimited talk and texting plus $10 per gigabyte of data used. It's a little bit cheaper than your standard phone service plan.

The downside is that if you use 7GB or more regularly, then a normal phone plan with T-Mobile or Sprint would be cheaper than Fi. The upside is that Google will only charge you for the data you use each month, no matter which plan you end up going with. For example, if you were to pay $30 for 3GB and only use 1.4 GB, then at the end of the month you'd receive a refund for $16. No U.S. carriers offer these rebates, the closest you can get is going with rollover minutes with your standard phone carriers. Google is just trying to have a service that makes it easier on us to surf the web at a cheap price. Fi also works over Wi-Fi networks if there's no cellular coverage available.

Something I don't like about Fi is that you can't use your normal smartphones, like Apple or Samsung. These phones won't be compatible with Fi at first. The only phone you can get is a Google Nexus 6 phone that starts at about $649 or $27 a month for 24 months. Motorola did come out with a Nexus 6, with a 6-inch screen, which is bigger than your typical smartphone, but not as good of a phone as an iPhone or Galaxy S6. Still, Google's plans are cheaper than your standard services provided by AT&T and Verizon, two of the largest, broader network coverage carriers in the country.

The Fi service is also providing inexpensive international features, like unlimited international texting. Just like the U.S., data will cost $10 per GB in 120 major countries like Japan, Germany, and India. Also a plus side if you or anyone you know either travels a lot or is in the marines and also across seas.

Google is buying their wireless service from T-Mobile and Sprint, which isn't appealing to me at all. In my opinion, Sprint and T-Mobile are two of the worst phone carriers available. But I can see why they are doing it this way. It saves Google from having to buy an airwave license and start a national network from nothing. And for T-Mobile or Sprint, it gives them more traffic on their networks without having to worrying about any risks. T-Mobile shares were up 2.1% and Sprint 1.7% with Google shares up 1.3% after they announced the new Fi service.

The prices may not be as low as anticipated, but it still is a good plan to consider. Especially if you already have services with T-Mobile or Sprint and are willing to buy from the limited phones you have to choose from. For now, I'm going to stick with my AT&T service and basic smartphone. I'm sure this isn't the last we will hear of this. Next time around, they'll have more options, phones, and services to pick from.

Content originally published here

Monday, April 27, 2015

Prototype Haptic Interfaces Allow Touch Communication Between People

Touch-based interfaces are a modality the MIT Media Lab is working on. Haptics, the science of touch, derives from the Greek haptikos meaning “being able to come into contact with.” At MIT, the Tangible Media Group is researching and working on new materials for human-computer interfaces. Some change shape and rigidity based on digital inputs.

Some of the upsides of haptic interfaces is that they are very fast to read, they can be put into everyday objects or motions, and our sense of touch since it is the best way to express human emotion. MIT has made a Lumi Touch, which is a picture frame that sends a colored glow to the person who has the other picture frame, when you squeeze each side of the frame. Each color can have different meanings for whatever color-mapping you and your significant other create. Proverbial Wallets works with Bank of America, to make your ordinary leather wallet harder to open as you exceed your monthly budget. These are just 2 examples of their prototypes, but haptic interfaces will soon be for sale to everyone.

Smartstones are a more personal haptic interface, that looks like a smooth, palm-sized, river stone. It allows you and your significant other to communicate through gesture, touch, light, and sound. They're designed for any type of intimate relationship, say it be best friends, parent to child, elderly parents, or even caregivers. Our touch communication is designed for us to process information quickly, it allows us to talk without typing or speaking.

In a classic perceptual psychology experiment, pairs of strangers were tested on communicating emotions through touch alone. One person from a pair was given one of 12 emotions, therefore when the decoder would be touched on the forearm, they'd have to tell you what emotion they thought their partner was trying to communicate. Some examples of how emotions were expressed; fear was associated with trembling, sympathy was associated with stroking and patting, disgust was associated with a pushing motion, and anger was associated with hitting and squeezing. The outcome of the experiment showed that people could interpret fear, disgust, anger, love, sympathy, and gratitude at above-chance levels.

Just a simple touch of hands between my boyfriend and I, can send emotions or communication between us. Our skin processes subconsciously. Smartstones have the potential to give off the same messages at a distance, decreasing social isolation and lets not forget, being a slave to your smartphone.

Photo Credit: TechCrunch
MIT products are great examples of the mass improvement from smartphone apps to haptic interface objects. Human-computer interfaces have improved with anywhere from WiFi-connected thermostats and mirrors, to bluetooth jewelry and light bulbs. What's having every product company consider a cloud-connected product is the falling cost of microchips, WiFi being available just about anywhere, and the continuous income from converting objects into services.

Nowadays, most commonly used for logging or visualizing data is social media. Smartstones is the next step up in communicating at a more personal and close level of non-verbal communication. As touch interfaces develop, they will provide us with more sense of a safer, closer, nonverbal communication from a distance, with a speedy and effective outcome.

Content originally published here

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

More Storage Space for iPad Mini, iPhone 6 with Mophie's Space Cases

Since the release of the "Space Pack," Mophie has put out a new line of products for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Mini. They've also came out with a new battery pack called the "Spacestation." They all look pretty much like any of the already existing battery solutions, but they range anywhere from 32GB to 128 GB of flash storage, which is good for those who have a 16GB iPhone or iPad Mini. The iPhone Space Packs and the Spacestation start at $150 for 32GB of storage, and jump up to $200 for 64GB and $300 for 128GB. The iPad Mini pack, meanwhile, runs from $200 to $400.

The new cases still work with the Mophie's Space app, just like the old one, which lets you store and play media. The app allows you to create playlists with media on iOS devices and the Space case, as well as the company updating the app for iPhone uses to manage files you already have.

The iPhone 6 case will double your battery life, while the iPhone 6 Plus case will give you 50 percent more of a battery, which is basically giving you the same option with the new cases. If you'd prefer not to get a case, the Spacestation still can fully recharge an iPad mini and plug into multiple devices and smartphones.

If you're familiar with Mophie's products then the new cases and battery packs won't feel any differently to you. Personally, the Spacestation's metal case is the best feeling case in hand. The company's first battery case for a tablet was the iPad Mini Space Case, which only added a little thickness to the Mini. If you use a lot of media storage on your iOS then this is one of your only options for additional storage without going to wireless hard drives or the cloud for help.

Content originally published here

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