Computer vision is easily one of the current "magical" features merging in smartphones. It's not that object recognition has hit the mainstream yet, but faster processors and high quality cameras in smartphones have made it very accessible. Google has done its part by opening up the Mobile Vision API, enabling developers to quickly give their apps the ability to read barcodes and identify orientation and basic facial details. Google Play services v9.2 takes this a step further with a new Text API developers can use to add optical character recognition (OCR) in their apps.
The Mobile Vision Text API currently supports Latin characters used in languages like English, Spanish, and French. Read More
Android Pay turns your phone into a Google-powered wallet. Tap it against a terminal, transfer money, and walk away feeling like you're living in the future. Android Pay has been making folks feel this way since September, depending on where you live.
If said place is in Asia, you've been out of luck. That's about to change. Android Pay has made its way to Singapore, its first stop in Asia. Read More
Google first talked about Expeditions way back at I/O 2015, after which they began trying it out with a large number of classrooms worldwide. Using the magic of VR, Expeditions would allow educators to take their students on realistic escapades into far-off lands. At long last, Google is making the app available to anyone who wants it.
Using a viewer like Google Cardboard and a smartphone, people can go on (self-)guided tours of places like Machu Picchu, Antarctica, the International Space Station, and even the now-defunct studio of The Colbert Report.
To go as a group, it works like an old-fashioned LAN party. Read More
What's better than listening to music on the ride home? Listening to commercial-free music. The next time you hop in an Uber car, your driver hopefully won't subject you to ads. Drivers can now stream Pandora Premium for the next six months, free. Read More
Sony is now accepting pre-orders for its line of Xperia X phones in the US, including the X and X Performance. We've already covered the Xperia X in detail, learning that it's a disappointing phone. But what of the top-of-the-line Xperia X Performance? It solves a few of the issues with the Xperia X, but it comes with a much higher $700 price tag. Is this the Sony phone you should buy, or should you buy none of them? Let's use the Xperia X as a thoroughly mediocre and overpriced yardstick to find out. Read More
Google's new Awareness API - part of Google Play Services - is legitimately cool. In theory. Announced at I/O, it allows apps to access what you're doing, in a general sense, and then give you information based on that status. For now, the API offers two ways for apps to monitor your current status, per Google's blog post. Read More
Google has offered the Cast SDK to developers in some capacity for three years, but there have long been some annoyances that made it difficult to implement and maintain in certain apps. Cast SDK v3.0 was announced at I/O 2016 last month, and now it's available to developers. This version of the SDK seeks to simplify several elements of the old one to make developers' lives a little easier. Read More
A new week has just begun, and that can be sort of a bummer. The weekend is like forever away. You know what's not a bummer? Getting apps and games on sale. We've got some of those listed below to help you start the week right. Read More
Today HP announced its latest Chromebook model update, this time with a budget focus. The Chromebook 11 G5 will, most notably, run Android apps and will cost just $189. Another headlining feature of the new laptop is its claimed 12.5 hours of battery life, which is top shelf in general and quite good for a laptop that costs considerably less than most of the phones our readers have. An optional touchscreen, which will increase the price by an unspecified amount, will make Android apps even more usable at the cost of just one hour of battery life.
For those who are reluctant to make the jump to Chrome OS, both Google and HP hope that Android app compatibility will ease your fears. Read More