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Google Tweaks Voice Search On Android To Make It Faster And More Accurate

Have you noticed an improvement in your phone's voice search or voice dictation capability in the last few days, especially in noisy environments? You can thank the Google Speech Team. They've implemented a new system for automated listening to human voices. Adding recurring neural network functionality to the system has allowed it to more accurately identify complete words instead of individual snippets of sound. From the Google Research Blog:

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It Looks Like HTC Is Fixing The Crappy Volume And Power Buttons On Newer Nexus 9s

Initial reactions to the Nexus 9 have been less than stellar, to say the least. In David Ruddock's review, one of many sour points for the hardware was the volume and power buttons:

...the volume rocker and power buttons on the Nexus 9, for example, are simply bad. They're squishy, have almost no travel, and provide very little feedback unless you know the exact angle to hit them at.

It looks like manufacturer HTC may be addressing at least some of the problems with the initial batch of tablets, its first since the HTC Jetstream way back in 2011. According to one poster on the dedicated Nexus 9 subreddit, a tablet manufactured last week which arrived to a customer on Wednesday has buttons that are noticeably better than those on previous hardware.

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Samsung Unveils New ISOCELL Camera Sensor Technology With Improved Color Fidelity In Low-Light Conditions, Starting Mass Production Q4 2013

Samsung has announced a new advanced pixel technology for CMOS image sensors called ISOCELL that it promises will get higher color fidelity in poor lighting conditions. This new technology has currently been developed for use in an 8MP camera, and it's scheduled to enter mass production in Q4 2013. We can reasonably expect this advancement to appear in future Galaxy products down the road.


The flower on the right shows more yellows than the one on the left, a detail that makes more of a difference once you pan out to view the entire image (an option we unfortunately don't have with the one picture Samsung provided).

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BBC iPlayer Updated With Extra UI Polish, Jelly Bean 4.2 Support, And BBC Alba Channel

Today, the UK's public broadcasting service, the BBC, upgraded its mobile app for Android. The update brings improvements to the UI to bring the interface a bit more in line with Android's Holo guidelines. The new version also adds support for Jelly Bean 4.2, improved video streaming over WiFi, and a new content channel.

bbci1 bbci2 bbci3

Here's the full changelog:

What's in this version:

Many thanks for all of your feedback on our last update. Here’s what’s new in this release:
- We’ve polished up the design of the app
- Video performance over Wi-Fi has been improved(with more improvements still to come)
- Added Android 4.2 Jelly Bean support
- You’ll find a new channel - BBC Alba
As ever, let us know what you think @bbciplayer

Of course, the BBC iPlayer isn't available outside the UK, so international users need not excite themselves too much.

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Jelly Bean Feature Closer Look: Android's Camera Receives A Few (Extremely Useful) Tweaks

One of the bigger changes we saw in the jump from Gingerbread/Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich was in the camera app. ICS not only brought a streamlined, more subtle design to an app that so badly needed it, but also introduced zero shutter-lag, meaning the time between pressing the shutter release and capturing a photo was pushed down to (almost) zero. In fact in many cases, the time between touch and capture is imperceptible. This was huge.

At today's Jelly Bean announcement, however, we learned that Jelly Bean treats users to even more enhancements to the camera app. While they are rather minor tweaks, they enhance the app's productivity and usability by a lot, something that seems to be a common thread in Jelly Bean's enhancements.

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