Category Archives: google

Project Tango: Google’s new prototype Android phone

project-tangoEarlier today, Google announced its latest Android phone titled “Project Tango”.  This new Android phone experiments with robotics and computer vision to map out the world around you.  Project lead, Johnny Lee, stated, “The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.”

The phone itself measures five inches and includes a few sensors (4 MP camera and a motion tracking camera) that allow the phone to make over a quarter of a million 3D measurements every second.  These measurements help the phone update its position, in real-time, and combines all of the data into a single 3D model of the world around you (video below).

This new phone opens up a lot of doors for new features on current smartphones. Chase Cobb stated, “imagine that you scan a small section of your living room and then are able to generate a little game world in it, I don’t know of any controller or gaming device that can do that at the moment.” Besides that, there has also been talk suggesting that these new phones have the ability to help the visually impaired navigate unfamiliar areas with ease. Pretty cool huh?

Well good news to any developers out there. Google is planning on shipping out 200 prototypes and dev kits of Project Tango to “developers with dreams of creating more than a touch-screen app.”  There is an application online for anyone who is interested in trying to get their hands on this device, here.

Thoughts on Project Tango? Comment below with any thoughts/opinions. Also, follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date with current tech news!

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Apple to use magnets to attach accessories on iPad

ipad-magnet-accessories-patentThe US Patent and Trademark Office published earlier today that Google has put a patent on a “Magnetic Attachment Unit”.  This patent describes how the iPad’s current magnet system could be expanded to allow the device to connect to docks, joysticks, cameras, and even other iPads.  This way, consumers would not have to spend time thinking about what type of connector they need when they are purchasing their next iPad accessory.

As described in the patent, accessories would be able to connect to any side of the device (including the bottom).  Users would also be able to connect and disconnect the accessory by pressing the home button.

The patent also describes a “magnetic ring” that will supposedly give users the ability to move your hand above the screen in order to take advantage of some features.

Other possibilities of what could be developed from this “Magnetic Attachment Unit” is that two iPads would be able to connect to each other and send content displayed from one screen to the other.  Also, you could turn your tablet into a computer by attaching a second iPad, and using it as a virtual keyboard for the main iPad.

This will definitely open up a large doorway of opportunities but unfortunately just because they filed the patent, doesn’t mean that we will ever see the technology.  However, it does look to be very possible since the current iPad already has magnets built in (to support smart covers) so we may see this technology in the near future.

Tell me what you think of this patent and what ideas/products could possibly develop from it in the comments below and on Twitter!

Follow me on Twitter @Techtonicc

Google Maps Introduces Indoor Navigation

Google Maps 6.0 brought a promise of indoor navigation back in November of last year, but outside of a few dozen airports, transit hubs and retail outlets, we had no idea where it was or wasn’t implemented.  Luckily, Google made the smart move of mapping out most of Las Vegas before this year’s annual Consumer Electronics Show.  As of right now, not much is mapped out (it is obviously still a work in progress) but it brings the promise of yet another amazing “add-on” of technology to the year of 2012.

Google Says Merry Christmas

Google’s holiday Doodle has finally arrived after being spotted around the world over the last two days. The early timing of the festive logo in Australia, was unusual and unexplained, but there seems to have been be two versions it – one static and, today, one animated, which also plays jingle bells.  Some people were having trouble playing the animation in their web browsers so here is a video of the animation in action.

Besides Google’s animation, they have also provided us with multiple other holiday surprises this year.  There is the “let it snow” Easter Egg, as well as YouTube now has a snowflake button to make it snow along with your video.  If you have trouble finding the button on YouTube, just search “let it snow” on YouTube and see the snow appear!

youtube snow, snowing youtube videos

As mentioned in another one of my posts, Google has also set up a Google Voicemail where you can send an actual voicemail to Santa! If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot, it’s pretty fun.

Use all of these holiday features Google has set up for you and have a happy holiday!

2011 Top 10 Downloaded Apps

To many, this was the year of Angry Birds.  But to others, other apps were on their minds.  Here is a quick list of the top 10 downloaded apps for mobile phones and tablets. Don’t forget to vote in the poll at the bottom!

1. Angry Birds

2. Facebook

3. Skype

4. Angry Birds Rio

5. Google Maps

6. iBooks

7. Angry Birds Seasons

8. Fruit Ninja

9. Talking Tom

10. Twitter

Samsung Galaxy S Phones Won’t Have Android Update

Earlier today, Samsung announced that its line of Galaxy S phones, which include some of the most popular phones on the market today, will not be receiving the latest Android update, Ice Cream Sandwich.

This means that about 10 million people will be out of luck and will have to be satisfied with the outdated, Android 2.3 also known as Gingerbread until they decide to drop more money on a brand new phone.

Many of the Galaxy S users are asking, “Why??”.  Well, Samsung says its hardware isn’t powerful enough to support Ice Cream Sandwich and its TouchWiz skin for Android. (TouchWiz is the extra layer of design Samsung adds to its Android phones)

This is awful news to many.  With this announcement, Samsung has made Google look pretty foolish when Google said that Android devices will start getting on a somewhat unified update cycle, similar to what iPhone and Windows Phone users enjoy now.

This is making Android’s popularity fall pretty fast as their updating “system” needs some major work.  It seems that the only way you are guaranteed the new Ice Cream Sandwich is if you purchase the new Galaxy Nexus phone otherwise you will be waiting weeks, months, or forever before Samsung decides that it’s time for your phone to be updated.

Like I said, this is causing Android’s ranking to fall to both Apple and Microsoft.  Look at Microsoft, every single Windows Phone is eligible for the latest version of  Windows Phone 7, even if the phone was released more than a year ago.

Google needs to get it together and figure out a way to keep its customers around or they will end up with little to no customers at all.

Twitter updates on this subject

Consumer Electronics Show 2012: Trends To Watch Out For

All across the globe, electronic/technology companies are preparing themselves for CES (Comsumer Electronics Show) 2012, which takes place during the second week of January at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Although Microsoft disclosed its plans to end its participation in CES starting next year, this year’s show should hold some promising insights to what’s ahead in the world of electronics.

During an interview with FORBES Wednesday, Accenture‘s Kumu Puri, a senior executive with the consulting firm’s consumer electronics practice in San Francisco, laid out what she thinks will be the five big themes from the 2012 edition of the show.  Microsoft will of course hold a big role this year.  Apple will be casting a big shadow over the event although it will not be participating this year.

So here they are, Puri’s 5 trends to keep a look out for at this year’s CES show:

  1. Ultrabooks: PC makers are expected to role out 20-40 new versions of the incredibly thin notebooks.  Puri thinks pricing will start in the $800 to $1,000 range, but quickly scale down from there.
  2. Tablets/Smartphones: As everyone could have guessed, we will be seeing a lot more mobile devices this year, including new Android based tablets and smartphones.  We should be expecting to see more support for mobile payments and location-based services on these devices.
  3. Connected Devices: Puri expects to see innovation in connected cars, for instance, with new features for Internet radio, and in-car apps targeting safety issues. There will be more Internet-enabled kitchen appliances. Also big again this year will be connected televisions. She thinks some of those services are maturing, and should improve over previous attempts at TV-based Web offerings that received an indifferent consumer reception.
  4. Windows 8: Coming back to Microsoft, the company is expected to launch its new operating system at some point in 2012.  Everyone is just asking how much of it they will be showing off at CES.  Also likely to show up at CES: a variety of new Windows Phone-based mobile devices.
  5. Digital Health: Puri thinks there will be an increased focus on health care at the show, with developments in three areas. One of those is the increased adoption of tablets in hospitals and doctors offices for recording data and other purposes. A second focus will be cloud-based solutions for storing, archiving, accessing and retrieving medical records. And the third will be an increased number of consumer medical devices, some apps running on tablets and phones, others dedicated gizmos for monitoring things like glucose levels and blood pressure.

Santa Calling You?

It’s a busy time of the year for Santa, but he finds a way to robocall the person of your choice, free. He’s also ready to listen to his voicemail.

Google is offering two Santa-related technologies this year.  First, you can tell Santa what you would like for Christmas by leaving him a voicemail at his Google Voice number, 855-34-SANTA (855 347-2682).  The call is free for residents in the United States and Canada.  Outside of that, it will cost $.01 a minute.

Second, if you happen to live in the U.S., you can surprise your friend(s) or family by having Santa immediately send a customized voice message, complete with the person’s name, state, and a variety of other customizations, which can all be combined for hilarious results.

Try it at Google’s Send a Call From Santa site, or listen to a sample message here.

Newest Google Easter Egg

Google’s latest Easter egg has a holiday theme to it bringing snow to even those who live in the warmer parts of the world.

Typing “let it snow” into Google.com will return the normal search engine results for YouTube videos of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra singing the classic song. But then, a few snowflakes will start falling from the top of the screen until all the search results are obscured by a digital blizzard.

Eventually, your entire screen will fill up with “snow” at which point you can draw in/on the snow by clicking and dragging your mouse.  You also have the option to “defrost” the screen which will get rid of the frost but snow will continue to fall.

Android Ice Cream Sandwich Delayed

Earlier today, Google announced the delay of the expected launch of Android’s latest upgrade, Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest in a series of operating systems named after sweets, was anticipated to combine previous smartphone and tablet versions, known as Gingerbread and Honeycomb, into a cohesive whole.

Recent plans for the Samsung event on October 11, where the Ice Cream Sandwich and a new Samsung phone running on the operating system were expected to be unveiled, has been canceled.

The reason? A Google spokesperson said it was out of respect for the loss of Steve Jobs.

“Samsung and Google decide to postpone the new product announcement at CTIA Fall,” the companies said in a joint statement. “We agree that it is just not the right time to announce a new product. New date and venue will be shortly announced.”