Wonder what Google's Project Tango-equipped SPHERES robots will look like when they're in action aboard the International Space Station? The company is more than happy to show you. It has posted video of a recent test that took the machines on a zero gravity simulation flight to see how the 3D environment sensors and other systems will work in practice. As you'll see in the clip, it wasn't quite as easy as testing on the ground -- Google's ATAP team had to work during brief bursts of weightlessness that could challenge both the employees and the devices.
Source: Google ATAP (Google+)
HTC's latest flagship device, the One M8, is one of the best Android smartphones now available on the market, but what would happen to it if Google stripped the phone of some of its customizations? That's essentially what the Google Play edition of the new One offers. Plunk down $699 and you'll have access to an unlocked and (mostly) unadulterated version of the M8 with stock Android 4.4 (also known as KitKat).
Of course, we've been curious to see what will happen to the features that make the new One unique. HTC told us that the Google Play edition will be able to take advantage of the Duo Camera, for instance, but does it still offer the same functionality? Additionally, can we use the Motion Launch gestures to wake up the phone and access different features? And how about that clever Dot View case that comes in so handy on the Sense version? Look no further for the answers. %Gallery-slideshow187650%
You trust your friends for restaurant recommendations, so why not apps as well? That's the idea behind Google Play's new "People" section, which attempts to leverage Google+ as a way to show which apps your friends like enough to award a +1 (you'll be able to see their ratings on those apps too). And it's not just restricted to your buddies either; the section will suggest other folks on G+ that you should follow to get even more app recommendations. The update should have rolled out to your Android handheld by now, but you can view the same reviews and ratings under the "From Familiar Faces" heading on the web store as well.
Source: Google Play
For the last 24 hours (and likely the next 12), excitable company execs have been barraging our inbox,YouTube and your social media networks with their best shenanigans. Love it or loathe it (and you're probably starting to loathe it by now), the April Fools tradition continues, even stronger, in 2014. Google went a little overboard, but hopefully, after today, selfies will die a death. Hopefully.
Google+ has been taking cues from Snapseed ever since the company snapped up the app, and this refresh for Android is no different. The update introduces tools like crop, rotate and one-touch filters. It also comes with Snapseed-like enhancements, including HDR Scape, which made its debut on the web interface early this month.
While the update brings these familiar features onboard, you'll also come across something entirely new: "non-destructive editing in the cloud," which gives you the power to edit photos on one device and pick up where you left off on another. Finally, you can now see every photo you've saved on the device and in the cloud (arranged by date) on the new All tab. Since people upload more than a billion images a week on Google+, this definitely won't be the last photo editor upgrade you'll see. We just hope whatever the social network comes up with in the future is a lot better -- and a lot less cheesy -- than its Valentine's Day stunt.
Source: Todd Kennedy (Google+)
Yesterday Google announced Project Tango, a prototype smartphone with a sophisticated 3D sensing system for mapping and tracking your surroundings. One day later, we've already got a sneak peek at the phone's indoor modeling capabilities, courtesy of TechCrunch and Project Tango partner company Matterport.
Matterport, which creates 3D models of interior spaces, used one of the prototype Tango devices to create a map of the room you see below. When a Matterport employee moves the phone around the room, the company's software captures 3D data and color camera data, which it uses to construct a comprehensive model. The result is accurate enough to measure the height from floor to ceiling, and we imagine the company chose to map an insanely cluttered room to demonstrate the system's ability to process complicated information. Matterport's CEO says Tango's 3D mapping will only get better with a higher-resolution camera, but the 4-megapixel shooter on the current prototype clearly does a respectable job at 3D capturing already. Head past the break to see the video demo.
21/02/2014 - YouTube makes finding and following others' playlists easier, debuts new card design for the web
We figured changes would be afoot after Susan Wojcicki (former chief ad guru at Google) became the head of YouTube, and it turns out, the first ones made since she got the job are all about playlists. Henceforth (or at least until the next round of UI tweaks arrive), the left rail on Youtube.com will have a dedicated "Playlists" pane that shows your personal playlists along with those from other channels that you've liked. Additionally, users will find a new "Playlists" tab on channel landing pages and get a new dedicated playlist editing page. The new features are rolling out worldwide over the next few days, and with them comes a new responsive, card-style design that fits "neatly on any screen size," per the company, and should feel familiar to folks who use YouTube's mobile apps. One YouTube for all, yo.
Source: Official YouTube blog
Google's just announced Project Tango, an Android smartphone prototype equipped with Kinect-like 3D sensors. Available to a limited group of developers today, the device uses sensors to track motion and build a map of your surroundings.
Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group is the brains behind Tango, and ATAP head Johnny Lee (formerly part of the Microsoft Kinect team) told TechCrunch that the prototype "strives to give mobile devices a human-like understanding of space and motion...enabling new and enhanced types of user experiences." New use cases could include indoor navigation and immersive gaming, among other software that lets devs use precise location information to enhance user experience. ATAP, one important holdover of Google's acquisition (and subsequent selling off) of Motorola, hadn't revealed any hardware prior to today's announcement, so we'll be following this project with interest. Head past the break for a video demo of the concept.
As reported yesterday, Google's Nexus 7 tablet will finally become available on Verizon Wireless with support for the carrier's LTE network. And it looks like rumors got the date right, too; the 7-inch Android slate will go on sale at Verizon this Thursday, February 13th, with the 32GB model priced at $350. The Nexus 7 will also be available on a two-year contract for $250, though only for a limited time.
If you already own a 2013-edition Nexus 7, you'll be able to access Verizon's LTE network once you've downloaded the latest Android software update. Adding the tablet to your Share Everything plan will cost an extra $10 per month. Google's 7-incher had to undergo a lengthy certification process before gaining support for Verizon's network, so today's announcement is good (if overdue) news.
Via: The Verge
Source: Verizon Wireless
05/02/2014 - Google sells Motorola Smartphone business to Lenovo
04/02/2014 - The red Nexus 5 is now on sale at Google Play
Well, that didn't take long. We saw leaked snapshots of the Nexus 5 in red last week, and now the scarlet-hued handset has made its proper debut over at Google Play. As of right now, both the 16GB and 32GB versions are available with their usual $349 and $399 price tags. You can expect identical specs to the existing black and white models with the only difference being a new coat of Bright Red paint.
Via: Droid Life
Source: Google Play
Last week, loyalty card scanning was added to the Android version of Google Wallet, but today the iOS faithful can get in on the action. An update allows you to add all of those pesky rewards cards that clutter the ol' billfold and ditch the unsightly key ring tags. Just like the previous release, you'll just need to scan the barcode of each card and the app will automatically populate your account info. If you'll recall, credit card snapshots were enabled on the iPhone change purse last month for adding a full range of payment options. In addition to the new frequent buyer functionality, Wallet will also notify you when you're strolling past a merchant that matches one of those saved memberships. You know, just in case you're having trouble finding the nearest GameStop.
In an effort to bring Maps for iOS up to par with its Android equivalent, Google has released an update that makes the app on Apple's platform smarter in real-time. Now, when you're using Navigation mode within the iOS application, Google Maps can send a notification to let you know a faster route has become available. If that's the case, you'll simply have to choose from either a "Reroute" or "No thanks" option -- but, you know what they say, time is money. It's worth noting this particular feature made its way to Android last month, and now those with iDevices will be able to take advantage of it as well. Unless, of course, you're just a big fan of Cupertino's own map service.
According to several sources Lenovo is nearing a rather stunning deal that would put Motorola's cellphone business in its pocket for roughly $3 billion. Google snatched up Motorola back in 2011 for $12.5 billion. Since then it's slowly broken the company up, scaled back its device lineup and added its massive pile of patents to its legal arsenal. Now, after losing money for several years straight, Mountain View is reportedly preparing to offload the division on Chinese computer giant Lenovo.
14/01/2014 - Moto G Google Play edition now available for $180
The Moto G now has an official Google Play Edition. The device, which just popped up on the Google Play Store, is available for $180 (8GB) or $200 (16GB). Just like we've seen on other Google Play edition devices, the Moto G will offer the same specs as the GSM version along with a stock version of Android 4.4 KitKat. It'll be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile here in the US. We're still waiting to hear details about its availability in other parts of the world. Head to the source link to grab one of your very own.
Via: Android (Twitter)
Source: Google Play Store
When Motorola returned from Google's wilderness, it came back with a new approach to phone design and customization. The Moto X was the subject of plenty of envious glances from the other side of the pond, and while the Moto G is an excellent low-end smartphone, it couldn't entirely scratch that itch, you know? That's why it's to our delight that the flagship is now coming to the UK, albeit without the choose-your-own-body options that are available in the Moto Maker, at least not at launch. According to CEO Dennis Woodside, the company will launch the service just as soon as it can work out how to deliver the units within the same four-day window as it does in the US. It'll be priced for £380 unlocked, or for around £25 a month when it lands in stores on February 1st.
UK residents that liked the Moto G, but wanted the Moto X might not have to wait long. In middle of untold CES-based emails, rants and schedule updates, Motorola tells us that it'll be holding a London event for a "new addition" to the Motorola family. Oh look, there's a Moto X right in the photo. You can join the dots, right?
01/01/2014 - Motorola's New Year's resolution is to sell more smartphones, drops unlocked Moto X to $400
It's no secret that Motorola's flagship Moto X hasn't been a tremendous hit with consumers, and with considerable inventory likely building up, it's time to move some product. Google's smartphone arm is kicking off the new year with some aggressive new pricing. The base configured Moto X will now run you $400 without a contract or carrier affiliation, while the much-anticipated wood flavor now commands a cool $500. Moto Maker pricing remains at $100 with a new AT&T, Sprint or Verizon contract, if a two-year agreement is how you like to roll.
Designing compelling interactive ads for web is hardly a challenge for experienced marketers, but engaging print magazine readers in a similar way requires significant creativity. One method is through technology -- Esquire stood out at newsstands with its attention-grabbing E Ink cover in October 2008, and Forbes turned some heads with a Microsoft ad earlier this year that integrated a functioning T-Mobile WiFi hotspot -- but Wired's January 2014 issue shall not go without mention, thanks in no small part to a partnership with Motorola.
A trio of LEDs, a slab of plexiglass, four batteries and an array of buttons make up an interactive Moto X ad, right in the middle of the magazine. The design enables readers to "customize" a Moto X's rear, with bright LEDs illuminating the phone in 11 different colors. Tap blue and the phone lights up blue, yellow and it's yellow, red for red, and so on. The ad shuts off after a few seconds of inactivity, so those four lithium batteries should last you for quite some time, serving as a reminder of Moto's accomplishment long after the smartphone is laid to rest, while boosting this issue's appeal for collectors as well.
Digitas, the advertising agency tasked with creating the ad over the last six months, says 150,000 copies of Wired in New York and Chicago will include the interactive advertisement. It's available on newsstands in those cities as well, so you should be able to get your hands on one even if you're not a subscriber. It's a costly endeavor, no doubt, but if today's publicity is any indication, it should pay off. Take a closer look in our hands-on (and teardown) video, embedded after the break.%Gallery-slideshow157647%
Three months after the launch of the Sony Xperia Z1, the flagship smartphone is coming to China Mobile -- but the handset as we currently know it isn't making the trip. This particular device (shown above) boasts nearly all of the same features and specs -- 5-inch 1080p Triluminous display, 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM, 20MP camera and 3,000mAh battery, for starters -- but the new model, also referred to as the L39t, has been bumped up to 32GB internal storage (up from 16GB in the international model) and now offers TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA/GSM support for carrier compatibility. Additionally, the sides are now reportedly made of plastic instead of metal and the headphone jack is centered. These are minor differences, but the new Z1 looks very similar to the T-Mobile version first leaked by @evleaks in October, which means it's quite possible we'll see more of this design in Vegas next month. If the T39t is right up your alley, get ready to pay up: it's 4,499 yuan ($724).
11/12/2013 - Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition hands-on
Sony's gargantuan phone, the 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra, is finally getting some quality time in the United States, but not exactly the same way we had envisioned at first. For $650, you can now grab a Google Play edition of the device (in the US, anyway) which is compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile's LTE and HSPA+ networks. Essentially, this means that the unlocked phone features a stock version of Android 4.4, is free of Sony's software tweaks and carrier bloatware and it'll (in theory) get updated to the latest and greatest version of Android sooner than most other devices.
Since the Z Ultra (no Xperia branding this time) doesn't come with Sony's user experience, this means that it's missing some features you normally find on flagship Xperia devices, such as the Bravia Engine. You'll get a stock camera UI, rather than Sony's proprietary interface, which means you won't have access to as many manual settings as you'd probably prefer; that said, at least it comes with a standard HDR setting, so its software algorithms may be a little different from Sony's, and may affect the final image somewhat. Also gone is the native Android gallery that we've grown to love or hate over the years, and in its place is the new Google+ Photos app that was introduced in Android 4.4 KitKat and featured on Nexus devices.
Aside from these differences, there isn't much else to the experience; the look, feel and dimensions of the device are all the same, so if you thought the original Z Ultra was too big (and too expensive) for your tastes, there's nothing about this new edition that will change your mind. Still, this is the best option for anyone who wants an official stock Android experience on such a large handset (without venturing into loading ROMs, at least), so perhaps a handful of you may be looking at the Z Ultra in a completely new way now. Either way, we've got some pictures below for your viewing pleasure.
10/12/2013 - Sony Xperia Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play editions officially ready to order on Play Store
Google has finally announced that Google Play editions of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3 are not only real, but are actually ready for US buyers to pick up today (sorry, global fans, no word on availability yet). The Xperia Z Ultra is available for $650, while the G Pad can be all yours for $350. From what we can tell, all of the specs appear to be exactly the same as the original versions, but they're offered without the specific OEM customizations that we've grown to love or hate. If you're interested in grabbing one, head here.
07/12/2013 - Motorola's modular phone prototype is almost ready, final product might be sold on Moto Maker
Sure, Moto Maker makes it easy to deck out your phone with a fresh paint job, but the company's CEO has bigger goals in mind for the customization engine. Speaking with Youtuber Marques Brownlese, Dennis Woodside envisioned a Moto Maker capable of customizing not just your smartphone's color scheme, but its functionality too. He was talking, of course, about Project Ara. "The idea is you have a skeleton that holds together a set of components and the components slide in and out," Woodside told Brownlese, explaining the modular cell phone project that was revealed in October. The CEO said that a prototype is "pretty close" to being ready, and the final product could find its way to Moto Maker. "Ara is much further out, but you can see how those two things tie together and how, as we introduce new materials into Moto Maker, we're going to pursue that theme across our product line going forward." It's a vague prediction, but it is encouraging to hear that the customization platform might eventually grow beyond its one phone trick.
Via: Techno Buffalo
Just when it appeared Google's recent run of Android updates had come to an end, a new version of the Play Store pops up with new features in tow. Android Police got its hands on the app, running it under a microscope to find new social and recommendation features that make finding and downloading the best apps less of a hassle. To that end, Google now warns you when an app you're about to download contains in-app purchases, also making it easier to review apps with a larger star selector and dedicated edit and delete buttons. Opting for improved social recommendations, a new activity feed combines your +1s and ratings and connects them to your Google+ profile, letting you peak at those made by your friends to find apps you might otherwise have missed. Google's already begun rolling out the Play Store update, but if you can't wait for it to come over-the-air, hit up the source below to get the jump on everyone else.
Source: Android Police
HTC's 5.9-inch One max is comparatively modest when it comes to the oversized smartphone horserace; it's actually dwarfed by Sony's monstrous Xperia Z Ultra. Still, if your hands are big enough to accommodate the One max's bulk and you're a Verizon subscriber, today's the day you can call it your own. The Big Red operator's offering the device for $300 with any new two-year agreement, or for $25 monthly installments on its Edge upgrade plan. Verizon's even bundled in a special SIM that's "ISIS-ready" so you can take advantage of the carrier's contactless payment (read: Google Wallet) alternative. The One Max offers mostly everything we love about the OG One it shares a heritage with, just in a heftier metallic chassis and with an oddly-placed fingerprint scanner. Sure there's plenty you can do with a big 'ol screen, but in this case, we'd argue the size of your hand matters more.