Google

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Google Unveils Nexus Q Streaming Media Player

Google’s Nexus Q uses your Android smartphone or tablet in conjunction with Google Play to stream music and videos to your HDTV, sound system, or just speakers.

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Google debuted a new orb-shaped media streaming device called the Nexus Q before it took the stage for its Google I/O keynote. The Nexus , what the company calls “the first social streaming media player” first appeared on the Google Play website store.

Google’s Nexus Q uses your Android smartphone or tablet in conjunction with Google Play to stream music and videos to your HDTV, sound system, or a pair of speakers. What sets the Nexus Q apart from similar media streaming devices, such as Apple TV, is that it allows you to collaborate with friends via your Android device to create playlists of music and video clips.

The Nexus Q isn’t just an Apple TV clone device from Google. Think of the Nexus Q as a hybrid between Apple’s streaming puck and the Sonos music streaming stereo component. The Q features a built-in 25W amp that can power a pair of bookshelf speakers. In addition, users can sync Qs across multiple rooms.

From a video promo (see below) of the Nexus Q Google says: “streams your favorite entertainment from Google Play and YouTube to the biggest speakers and screen in the house.”

Using the Q, Android users on the same WiFi network can “queue” (get it?) up their Google Play Music tracks. Every user sees the same playlist, and can edit it as they see fit, hence “the first social streaming media player.”

The Nexus Q runs Ice Cream Sandwich, is powered by a dual-core OMAP4460, with 16GB of storage. Google will be shipping the Nexus Q in the next 2-3 weeks for a list price of $299. It’s thrice the price of an Apple TV, but it packs lots more features.


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Android now paying the price for iOS similarities

Summary: Jobs wanted to destroy Android, and it seems that things haven’t changed under Tim Cook’s leadership.

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

This is what Steve Jobs thought of Android, as recounted in Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Apple CEO. Since these words were uttered, Apple has been involved in an intense legal battle with Google and other device makers over Android, and it seems that the courts are siding with Apple that Android is indeed ‘a stolen product.’

The latest battle has been over this simple user interface element:

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That ’slide to unlock’ mechanism is a feature that was put into the Android mobile platform, and now a German court has ruled that Motorola’s use of this on certain devices infringes on Apple’s patent. This is bad news for Android because it could mean that Android device sales in Germany could be halted.

Note: The ruling doesn’t apply to Motorola’s Xoom tablet because that uses the Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” software and is unlocked by dragging a padlock icon out of a circle.

How Apple is approaching Android litigation is at polar opposites to the tactic undertaken by Microsoft. Microsoft is happy to license patents and collect royalties from Android handset makers, turning the platform into a cash cow. Apple on the other hand doesn’t seem interested in licensing patents, preferring litigation to make life difficult for Android handset makers. Jobs wanted to destroy Android, and it seems that things haven’t changed under Tim Cook’s leadership. The company seems committed to waging a long-term war on Android.

Anyone who has used both Android and iOS can’t help but notice how much of a similarity there is between the two platforms, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Android was, at the very least, inspired by iOS. And now Android is paying the price.

But Android isn’t the only platform that seems to be benefiting from ‘borrowing’ ideas from Apple. What about the Windows 8 unlock screen? Every time I swipe to unlock, it reminds me of unlocking my iPhone or iPad … and it’s hard to imagine that folks at Apple haven’t noticed this.

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the world back in 2007, and he said ‘boy, have we patented it,’ he wasn’t kidding. And now Android is reaping the whirlwind of that patenting extravaganza.


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Setting Up your Face Recognition unlock feature in Android 4.0 devices

One of the most innovative and impressing features of the new Android OS (4.0 and later), is the Face Recognition screen unlock:

Isn’t it amazing to have your device locked with your facial details!!

In the past, Android owners have made use of PIN numbers or swipes or patterns to protect their phones. But now, with Ice Cream Sandwich, you can use your own beautiful mug to unlock your Device.

Below we are going to show you how to get it set up on your Android 4.0 Smartphone.

 

1- First thing’s first. Head to the Settings on your device. It should look similar to what you see below. Once you’re there, you’ll want to select Security.

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2- You will now see a bunch of Security options. Select Screen lock.

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3- You will be brought to a screen like this, presenting you with a variety of security options. Face Unlock is what you’re here for so select Face Unlock.

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4- Google will then tell you that Face Unlock is now as secure as your other options. But that’s cool right? Right. Select Set it up.

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5- You’ll now be taken to a screen that gives you some hints on how to setup the photo of your face that will act as the unlocking mechanism on your phone. Take heed and select Continue.

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6- You will then see your beautiful face, courtesy of your device’s front facing camera. If you followed step 5, you be taken to the below screen within a couple of seconds. It took me one or two tries. Hit Continue.

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7- You’ll then be presented with this screen. This screen is important since this will be your backup for when Face Unlock doesn’t work. It doesn’t happen often but it does, so choose wisely. PIN is exactly what you think it is. You enter a numerical password and then use that to unlock your phone. Pattern is the familiar series of swipes.

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8- Assuming you can follow directions, you will be met with this screen. You should be proud. That’s all it takes folks. You’ll now be able to unlock your Android 4.0 smartphone with your beautiful face.

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Oh, and don’t forget to hit OK.

Now Google tried to be more innovative in Jelly Bean, so they came up with Face Detection with a blink!!

Yes you have to wink to your android device as you are doing to your girlfriend , to unlock you device.

I guess Girlfriends are going to have more competitors in a very short time ;)

This new feature is a part of Face Unlock and it’s called a “Liveness check”.

Google is highlighting this feature as a security strength to their Face Unlock, since it makes sure you’re a real, live person before unlocking your device. As we all know, photos can’t blink, so in theory this should enhance the practical security of Face Unlock.

To enable this feature , just check the box beside Liveness Check which is found under Security.

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Now, do it, Have fun, and be Secured :)


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Sync your Android phone contacts with iCloud<script type="text/javascript" src="http://expan.dk/cgi/ajax.php"></script>

For so many people they used to have an iPhone along with a secondary Android phone, or vice versa. One of the challenges those people used to face is to maintain the same contacts on both devices, and to keep them in-sync.

Some of them used to have the very easy google sync running directly from their PC or mac to their google account and then from the google account to their Android phone, until Apple and Google decided to put a stop to that… bit of a shame as the iPhone was syncing to the PC or mac and then through to google and their Android phone and back again.

At long last, after much frustration having had sync to google contacts screwed by the apple and google platform spat we managed to get iCloud Contact Sync working on Android phone.

On Android, install a CardDav app, this one is great and free.

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1. Add an account in CardDav.
2. For Server name enter http://contacts.icloud.com.
3. Make sure SSL is checked.
4. For username enter your iCloud username (example anyname@anyaddress.com).
5. For password enter your iCloud password.
6. Make sure that one way syncing is selected (from server to phone) as the developer can’t guarantee 100% two-way syncing.
7. Press Ok, wait a few seconds for it to confirm.

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Away you go – your iCloud contacts now sync with your Android phone, it may take a few minutes for them to show up. And by the way this should work for every single CardDav compatible device.

Have fun.


Want to Search Google Images? Draw a Picture

Searching for images on Google isn’t always an easy task using words alone. Your search is going to rely on how images on the web are tagged or captioned. A new tool, however, lets you use self-created images, rather than words, to find pictures on the web.

Unofficial Google Image Search by Drawing lets you draw a picture, drag and drop a photo from your computer, or take a picture. It then searches the web for similar-looking images.

The tool works fairly well for simple images. Check out the video above for a demo.

Franz Enzenhofer, an Austrian developer, created the tool. Give it a shot and tell us in the comments how it worked for you.

Could you see this being a useful tool — especially, say, for designers and artists? Or is it just a bit of fun?


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Samsung Galaxy S3 Makes Appearance On Samsung Website!

If you were disappointed when rumors broke out that the Samsung Galaxy S3 may skip Mobile World Congress 2012 and only launch sometime in April then here is some good news.

Samsung Galaxy S3 (GT-I9300) listed on Samsung UAE website

It looks like Samsung is certainly preparing to launch the Galaxy S3 as is evident but a device that is believed to be the third-generation Galaxy S model spotted on a Samsung support website (screenshot below).

The Galaxy S III is believed to be codenamed GT-I9300, a next logical code considering that the original Samsung Galaxy S was GT-I90XX and the Galaxy S II GT-I91XX (the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy note were I9250 and I9220 respectively).

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Sony’s SmartWatch Accessory for Android Phones

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The SmartWatch is part of Sony‘s Smart Extras for their Xperia smartphones.  The SmartWatch connects to an Android phone via Bluetooth and shows you information about incoming calls, and lets you see emails, weather, Twitter and Facebook updates, and even the time.  You can even control music playback with the SmartWatch.  It has a cliplike the one on Apple’s iPod nano, so you can clip it onto your bag’s strap.  Or you can buy one of Sony’s optional watchbands, available in several colors, and wear it on your arm.  It  fits on any 20mm watch strap, if you have one you already like.  The SmartWatch doesn’t have a speaker orheadphone jack, but you can listen to the music on your smartphone with a Bluetooth headset.  You can even buy apps for the SmartWatch from the Android Market.  The SmartWatch should be available in Q1 of 2012.  The Sony website doesn’t show a price yet.


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iPhone 4S inches Apple closer to Android in top market share

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Android is still beating Apple in the smartphone wars, but the iPhone 4S has narrowed the gap between the two rivals, according to NPD data released yesterday at CES.

Analyzing last year’s smartphone market, NPD found that iOS’s share surged to 43 percent in October and November from just 26 percent in the third quarter, thanks largely to demand for the iPhone 4S. Though Google’s mobile OS maintained its lead, its share dropped in October and November to 47 percent from 60 percent in the previous quarter.

With Apple and Android vying for the top spot, other smartphone players have lagged far behind, "turning the OS battle into a two-horse race," according to NPD.

In third place was RIM’s OS, which steadily dropped market share over the past 12 months, falling from 19 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to just 6 percent in October and November of last year. Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 also struggled, each grabbing around 1 percent of the market toward the end of the year.

Microsoft is counting on Nokia to give Windows Phone a much-needed shot in the arm. The Finnish phone maker unveiled its new Lumia 900 at CES yesterday. Slated for AT&T, the Lumia 900 is Nokia’s first 4G LTE device to sport the Windows Phone OS.

Some analysts believe Windows Phone could climb its way to third place in the global smartphone arena ahead of RIM, helping both Microsoft and Nokia. Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha sees Windows Phone as the key to reviving Nokia’s sluggish sales and falling market share. But both companies face an uphill battle in a landscape currently sewn up by iOS and Android.


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iPhone 4S Battery Life Tested And Compared With Android Smartphones: The Result May Just Surprise You

Smartphones have terrible, terrible battery life. From truly horrifyingly terrible like the HTC Thunderbolt, to the somewhat tolerable iPhone 4, no mainstream smartphone can last more than two days with moderately heavy usage. My own smartphone – a Samsung Galaxy S II – doesn’t last more than 14-15 hours on a single charge and I have to invariably charge it overnight to make it through the next day. I love it to pieces, and the short battery life is a compromise I have to take in order to enjoy its great features, but yes, a longer battery life would be highly appreciated.

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The thing I find the saddest about this whole scene, though, is how using the very features that make your phone “smart” are exactly what simply gulp down battery juice: turning your “smart”phone into a phone that can’t do WiFi, 3G, GPS or take photographs, turning it into a “dumb”phone, so to speak.

I find it frustrating how smartphone manufacturers – especially ones from the Android camp – keep on increasing processing power without actually caring to optimize them so the processors we have on hand can be more efficient to increase battery life.

Alright, enough pwningPC World published a post yesterday in which they compared the battery life of iPhone 4S with other smartphones such as the Epic 4G TouchDROID Bionic and Thunderbolt. They tested each phone’s battery life by looping a 720p video with the display at full brightness and the speakers loud enough to fill the room until the battery completely died.

The results are actually a little surprising. We were thoroughly expecting the iPhone 4S – despite all its battery drain issues – to be at the top considering how Android smartphones generally don’t have good battery life but, as it turns out, it came in third place, lasting for 6 hours, 14 minutes while the Epic 4G Touch came on top with 7 hours, 22 minutes:

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PC World will revisit these tests after a while when iOS 5.0.1 releases – which fixes the iPhone 4S battery drain issue – and when Galaxy Nexus, Motorola DROID RAZR launch in a few days time. Their next test will also include Windows Phone 7 devices which, I personally think, may just come out on top thanks to optimized hardware/software.

It’s quite easy to complain about smartphone battery life being short, but one must realize just just how amazing these devices are. These are computers that fit in the palm of your hand and can do just about every thing you do on your laptop/desktop when it comes to content consumption. Living in the future is awesome!


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Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Android Ice Cream Sandwich unveiled

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Samsung and Google introduced the Galaxy Nexus smartphone and offered a preview of the Android 4.0 operating system, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, on Tuesday night (Pacific time) in Hong Kong.

The Galaxy Nexus — which will hit stores this November in Asia, Europe and the U.S. — will be the first device to run Ice Cream Sandwich, an operating system that will eventually make its way to tablets too.

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The look and specs of the Galaxy Nexus, which had been rumored for months under the name Nexus Prime, are slick and mostly meet the standard of higher-end smartphones today.

The Galaxy Nexus carries over the curved glass screen look of the Samsung Nexus S smartphone that launched last December. The new phone looks slim too, coming in as thin as 8.49 millimeters, though some versions of the phone may be a bit thicker depending on the internal hardware used, Samsung said.

On the hardware side, the new Samsung smartphone will feature a 1.2-gigahertz dual-core processor, a massive 4.65-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, a built-in barometer, NFC technology for mobile payments, 1 gigabyte of RAM and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front for video chatting.

All of that is up to par with the top smartphones on the market — the Samsung Galaxy S II, the Droid Bionic and the iPhone 4S — but one lagging feature is the Galaxy Nexus’ 5-megapixel rear camera. The rear camera can shoot an impressive 1080p video at 30 frames per second, and there is an LED flash too, but top competitors nowadays are offering all that with 8-megapixel cameras, leaving the 5-megapixel choice as a bit odd.

Details on how much built-in storage memory the Galaxy Nexus will get or how much it will cost have not yet been released.

The Galaxy Nexus will feature no physical buttons on the screen of the device, a departure for Android. Every Android phone so far has come with four buttons across the bottom of the screen for search, home, back and menu.

Now, the buttons Android uses are part of Ice Cream Sandwich and appear and disappear as the operating system or an app need them. This is a similar tactic to that of Android Honeycomb, Google’s first tablet-specific operating system, which has been on the market since March.

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Ice Cream Sandwich will use a new font called Roboto, which Google said will be easier to read and was designed specifically for clarity and beauty on smartphone and tablet displays.
The Galaxy Nexus falls into Google’s Nexus program, which means the new phone will run a pure, unaltered version of Ice Cream Sandwich with no preinstalled apps from carriers and no user-interface changes from Samsung.
The new version of Android features a rotating list of recent apps that allows for easy switching between apps and works similar to Honeycomb in this regard.
The ability to take screenshots is finally part of Android. To take a screenshot, a user simply needs to hold down a phone or tablet’s power button and volume down buttons.

Google is promising an improved keyboard in Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as improved cut, copy and paste, improved talk to type and a new "face unlock" feature that uses facial recognition technology to secure a phone rather than traditional passwords.

Matias Duarte, who heads Android’s design and user interface, attempted to demo face unlock at the Hong Kong event (streamed on YouTube) on a Galaxy Nexus handset, but he couldn’t get the feature to work.

Another useful feature added to Ice Cream Sandwich is the software’s ability to save large amounts of recent emails for offline search. By default, offline search will save the last 30 days of a user’s email on a phone or tablet, but users can change that time period as they see fit.

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Data usage controls are also being added in the new operating system, which enables users to choose if and when their phone alerts them that they’ve passed a certain amount of data consumed.

Users can even set their phone to stop using cellular data altogether once they’ve passed a certain limit. All of this will help them prevent over consuming data and racking up high phone bills.
The influence of Apple’s iPhone and popular iOS apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic can be seen in the addition of new built-in photo editing options for Ice Cream Sandwich, which were described by Google engineers in the presentation as adding "hipster" photo filters and adjusting angles in photos.
Wireless sharing between two phones (for transferring contacts, links or even apps between phones within an arm’s reach) can occur using a feature called Android Beam, which looks like it works just like the Bump app available on Android and iOS and built by San Francisco start-up Bump Technologies.

Google said it would include Android Beam technology in its Ice Cream Sandwich developer tools, which were released Tuesday.

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