Microsoft's Translator isn't the first service to attempt to confront Google in the translation game, but it may be one of the first to pose a real challenge to Google Translate. Out of the gate, the app has an Android Wear component, a sorely missed feature in its competitor, and even though Translator does seem quite simplistic and limited, it has most of the basic features covered to warrant a more thorough comparison against Translate.
A different approach
While many of Microsoft's recent apps have adopted Material Design in their interface, Translator is more subtle about it. Both the welcome and the translation screens' blurry background and iconography are modern but not exactly Material.
Google's Deep Dream program is a method for computers to analyze and recognize images with an artificial neural network. When visualized, its effects range from strangely appealing to completely terrifying (at least to our boring human eyes). Google showed off a visual version of some of its processing tools last month, then opened up the source code for developers. At least one or two of them probably got really excited and incorporated the code into new and interesting projects. The rest proceeded to use Deep Dream to turn Gawker and Buzzfeed into an extended LSD trip for about a week.
Google and the various major Android device vendors and carriers are scrambling to patch the recently-discovered Stagefright exploit, a weakness in Android's multimedia processing that can allow remote access via a simple MMS message. Google has already begun patching Nexus devices, and Samsung is working its way through its extensive product range starting with flagships. Yesterday Motorola released its plans to update its phones.
So which devices will get the fix? Basically everything Motorola has made since 2013, including carrier variants and DROID models for Verizon in the US. Here's the full list:
Moto X Style (patched from launch)
Moto X Play (patched from launch)
Moto X (1st Gen, 2nd Gen)
Moto X Pro
Moto G (1st Gen, 2nd Gen, 3rd Gen)
Moto G with 4G LTE (1st Gen, 2nd Gen)
Moto E (1st Gen, 2nd Gen)
Moto E with 4G LTE (2nd Gen)
Some third-gen Moto G phones (released late last month) have been patched from launch, but others will need an over-the-air update.
When Android TV launched, it did so to an attitude that, at best, could be described as lukewarm. Google has attempted to corner the living room for years now, and its most successful attempt - the Chromecast - has essentially undercut Google's own more ambitious TV products.
Google TV never really had a chance - it was slow, the hardware was never particularly powerful, and the remotes were a nightmare. Google eventually let GTV die by slowly letting it fade into uselessness piece by piece.
Chromecast actually launched before Google TV was really "dead" in any official sense, and its success was immediate.
You can never have too much battery power. Actually that's not true - strapping a Duralast to your back via some kind of shoulder rig so that you can play Crossy Road for 200 hours straight might be considered overkill. But any external battery that you can shove in your pocket for a long day of travel is a good one. If you're in the market, an Amazon vendor is offering a 16000mAh model (big enough for 4-5 charges of a current flagship) for just $23.99.
You'll need to use a coupon to get this discount (which also means that it's probably limited to the US version of Amazon).
NVIDIA's GRID gaming service, which streams high-end PC games to the company's Android-powered hardware at extremely low latency, has been promoted as one of its best exclusive features. Unfortunately, NVIDIA seems to be having a lot of trouble getting over the last few hurdles to actually launch the thing. GRID has been in beta since late 2013, and was scheduled to launch its paid service in July as of the SHIELD Android TV announcement. Now it looks like the full launch has been pushed back again.
Yesterday, we took a look at the YouTube Gaming app (at least the creator preview). Navigating through the app, users will see several elements obviously informed by YouTube's existing design - the video player can be minimized and dismissed, the navigation model relies entirely on tabs, and getting users to discover more content is the name of the game. But the app branches off from YouTube's design and UX - and the design of all of Google's Android apps - in some really remarkable and unique ways.
For that reason, I thought it may be fun to take a closer look at the design of YouTube Gaming (Creator Preview).
Competition in Android smartphones is better now than it's ever been, and not just in the flagship segment. With devices like the Moto G, the ZenFone 2, and various Blu designs, the mid-range is heating up with phones that are jam-packed with value. But how about the low-end, entry phone segment? For those people who just want a device that runs a few apps, plays a nice round of Threes, and maybe browse for some sports scores? Before a few years ago, they were limited to whatever bottom-of-the-line, low-margin phones Samsung and LG would spare.
Ah, the 90s, when computers were only good for Word Perfect, Minesweeper, and whatever "edutainment" software the school had budgeted for this year. One of the standouts among some pretty decent educational games was Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, a series of puzzles centering around the titular tiny Smurf-like critters. If you have fond memories of that game, or later entries in the series, mosey on over to the Play Store. A new and updated version is now available for download.
Right now we're hearing about off-season trades and commitments for pro sports like the NFL, NBA, and NHL. A similar phenomenon has happened in the somewhat smaller world of Twitter clients for Android. Joaquim Vergès, the well-known developer of the Falcon Pro Twitter client, has been hired by Twitter itself. According to a series of tweets posted Friday afternoon, Vergès says that he's been hired specifically to work with the "Android core UI team."
Guys, big news. It’s finally official. I'm joining the @Twitter Android core UI team!
Falcon Pro has won fans for being a full-featured Android client that outshines the first-party app in basically every respect, from interface to performance, even to supporting the built-in features of the Twitter platform itself.