One of the biggest problems with TV news is that if you're not interested in a particular story – say, sports or celebrities – you have no option but to sit through it. Haystack TV aims to solve that by turning the news into personalized streams which are curated through artificial intelligence, big data, and editorial decision-making. The idea being that if you're especially interested in finance or international affairs, you can create a TV channel just about that.
In addition to being available through the browser and as a downloadable application for most major smartphone and Internet TV platforms, it is also available for Google's nascent Android TV platform, which can be found running on the latest-and-greatest Sony Smart TVs.
Leica and Huawei really seem to have let discussion about the P9's camera module get under their joint-skin. Today, the companies released a joint statement addressing concerns about Leica's involvement, after it became clear earlier this week that the camera modules themselves were manufactured by the Chinese company Sunny Optical.
Huawei and Leica, though, were not satisfied with the conclusions this continued to cause journalists and readers alike to draw: that the camera was, in large part, a marketing effort. Today, Huawei and Leica have attempted to shine a light on exactly what involvement the German optics and camera manufacturer had in the P9's development process.
When it first launched last summer, Microsoft Translator had some potential but a lot of catch-up to do with Google's own Translate. No offline mode, no natural conversation mode, no Android Wear app, and many other missing features made me refrain from recommending it when I compared it against Translate. But Microsoft has been updating its app, bridging the gap with each new version, adding all of these features and more like Klingon support and a kickass Android Wear integration. The only major capability that was still missing from Translator's arsenal was image translation and that's finally here.
Version 2.16.82, which is already live in the Play Store (and on APK Mirror) can load images, automatically detect languages, and overlay the translation into the language of your choice on top of each element.
Smartphones are, in my opinion, in something of an innovation rut. Underlying technical advancements have slowed in the last couple of years, and reasons to upgrade from year to year seem to decrease with each new generation of device. That's in large part because smartphones are already, generally speaking, very good products.
This is not to say they are near-perfect, or even optimal. Of course not - batteries still don't last long enough for many people, their cameras have notable limitations versus traditional dedicated systems, and we still have real performance bottlenecks that could be widened. There is refining that can still occur, and when major companies like Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and LG keep pushing the envelope on that refinement, there is always a chance a new product simply won't stack up well against the competition.
At this point asking people to support your crowd-funded concept device is kind of like asking them to support your "sure-fire multi-level marketing system." Sure, it could be legitimate, but it's better to just treat that money as if it's gone forever. That said, smartwatches might be the one exception. Pebble, arguably the legitimate dark horse in that small market and one of the first to successfully market itself, got started on Kickstarter. So maybe it wouldn't be fair to dismiss the CoWatch, a new smartwatch that features interoperability with Amazon's Alexa voice control system, out of hand.
Ever since Amazon announced the Echo, the platform and Alexa's voice commands have been expanding and adding more partners and features. They haven't, however, gained the magical ability to control your house's manual window blinds. It has though become possible to connect Alexa to an Arduino board, which increases the potential uses for the platform.
An enterprising guy has used that to his advantage, MacGyvering his way into smart window blinds with an Arduino (he uses a SmartThings shield for his Arduino to connect it to the rest of his smart home system), a servo, and some lasercut gears. He details the whole process, which I'll be honest in saying I don't understand the first thing about, in an Imgur post that I'll link below.
We're starting our week with music and song — cheerful stuff. Shazam was updated a couple of days ago to add a feature that I can't believe wasn't available before. I use the app intermittently, mainly because of the Android Wear component ("OK Google, Open Shazam") and Google Now command integration ("OK Google, Shazam this song"), but I rarely venture to the My Shazams tab so I never noticed that those songs never synced across devices. Lolwut?! What was the point of signing up for an account in the first place?! Apparently, it just worked to keep your followed artists in sync, but not your Shazams.
Microsoft is at it again. There's a new app under the developer's name on the Play Store, and both the description and name left us a little wondering. Aside from a cryptic name, Project "Madeira" isn't compatible with any of my devices — it's probably georestricted — and the sign-up page madeira.microsoft.com (uncovered by @walkingcat) doesn't seem to work for me.
But if you read the Play Store description and check the screenshots, you'll see that Madeira seems like an Office 365-integrated business management solution for small to medium companies. It should allow them to manage their stock inventory as well as their sales and purchases with different customers and vendors, create and share bills and quotes, and check their finances and performance.
Facebook's Developer Conference is scheduled to start today so this is probably one of many bits of Messenger and Facebook news you'll read in the next 48 hours. Dropbox just announced that it now integrates in Messenger to allow you to share any media files or documents from your cloud to friends and group chats.
If you already have the Dropbox app installed on your phone, you'll see it as a source for sharing under Messenger's "More" menu just like in the first screenshot above. You can then browse your Dropbox files, pick the one to share, and send it. If it's an image, gif, or video, it will be immediately embedded and previewed inside the conversation.
The name Genymobile is well-known throughout the Android development community for building a very fast and efficient emulator before it was cool. Today, Genymobile announced an ambitious new direction for the technology: Genymotion Cloud. Tagged as the first cloud-based Android emulator, Genymotion Cloud is targeted at business and enterprise customers with some big new collaboration and automated testing features.
An Android emulator remains at the heart of Genymotion Cloud, but as the name implies, the emulators are running remotely. The idea here is that it's possible to set up an instance for use in a wide variety of ways.