When you make a voice search or any other voice input on Android, there's a complex process that goes on behind the scenes. Your voice is recorded, transmitted to Google's servers, analyzed and converted into a text string, then either passed on to the relevant web service (like Google Search) or sent back to your device. It's usually almost instantaneous if you have a decent Internet connection, but therein lies its one weakness: you do have to have that connection in order for it to work. The rudimentary offline system (in Android since Jelly Bean) relies on a relatively unsophisticated vocabulary and detection system that's slow and less powerful than the connected version. Read More
There are several reasons why it isn't fun to write formatted documents on a phone, but one of the biggest is how arduous the process of doing simple things like hyperlinking or adding images is. Well, Google rolled out an update to the Android app for Docs that makes these tasks far easier. From within the app, you can now perform Google searches, read webpages, and insert links or images in a very user-friendly way.
In the Docs app, you can now use a feature called "Research" in the overflow menu. This brings you an in-app interface to make the process of finding and using external sources way simpler. Read More
HTC's Power to Give app, the philanthropic software created by HTC to devote idle processing power to scientific research, has been updated with a refreshed interface and a single sign-on feature to help streamline the process of signing into various projects. Read More
Fun fact: Microsoft was working on "smart watches" a solid decade before the current craze. Microsoft partnered with Fossil and a few other watch makers to release SPOT Watches, which received information updates via FM radio broadcasts. I don't want to say that SPOT watches were terrible, and I don't have to, because this Cnet review does it for me. Maybe Microsoft is trying to capture the not-so-glorious days of early 2000s smartwatches, because the company's research division has just posted an experimental keyboard for Android Wear.
Actually, the Analog Keyboard Project seems like a pretty good idea. Instead of trying to replicate a full smartphone-style virtual keyboard on a tiny watch screen, or adapting an alternative input for the smaller form factor, Microsoft is indeed going back to an earlier design standard. Read More
Technology in general and mobile tech in particular is on a rapid march forward, but there's a bottleneck that's holding it back: batteries. For years lithium-ion batteries have been the best option for storing energy pound-for-pound, but they've hit a wall - now we can only get bigger batteries or make our gadgets more efficient. A team of researchers at Stanford University have created what they call the "holy grail" of battery technology, a battery with a stable lithium anode.
Here's a quick refresher for those of us who are a long time past middle school. Your standard rechargeable battery uses three primary components, an anode that stores lithium ions while charging, a cathode that receives the ions while discharging, and an electrolyte that allows the ions to move from one to the other. Read More
At this point, we've got some really amazing technology in our smartphones, and not just on the inside. Corning's continued work on their Gorilla Glass has made phone screens amazingly resistant to scratches, and as soon as someone manages to figure out how to make synthetic sapphire faster and cheaper, they'll be even better. But no matter how tough your screen is, it's still glass, and dropping it on the pavement is an almost inevitable recipe for a broken screen. (Just ask David Ruddock.)
Indium tin oxide (ITO) layers in current touchscreens. Source: Digi-Key
Dr. Yu Zhu of the University of Akron thinks that he and his team have a solution. Read More
Most mobile users these days are happy to get LTE service (and a few of us just wish we could get 3G reliably) but there is already a surprising push towards the next big thing in wireless speeds. Samsung thinks it has the solution, or at least what might become one: expanding existing LTE networks into the super-high 28GHz range, the lower part of what's known as the millimeter wave bands. The company is calling this system 5G, and expects to have it ready for cellular networks in 2020.
Any grade school science student can tell you that higher-frequency radio waves have the capacity for more data, and Samsung's system has been tested with speeds just north of 1Gb per second, about ten times as fast as the best current LTE offerings. Read More
Smartphones have a staggering amount of data they can monitor, and not just in terms of the Internet. Position, orientation, speed, sound, light, g-force, the list goes on - that's why academics are using them as self-contained sensor stations for cool stuff like blasting into space. If you need to monitor data remotely for decidedly less cool reasons (like seeing if your CDL contractor got four tons of gravel to the worksite without stopping at Arby's first) Valarm might be the right service for you.
Valarm monitors a handful of variables on a remote Android device: Accelerometer, GPS, light sensor, and other variables like battery life. Read More
The rumor mill giveth and the rumor mill taketh away. Late Sunday night, a commenter on our site posted a surprising confession: he was the source of several rumors regarding Android 4.2. Initially, we confirmed that this commenter was the same who had sent us some different yet equally fantastic stories. Our batch hinted that Robert Downey Jr. might have been hired to introduce the new Nexii for the next couple years, for example. Now, Android & Me has posted a retraction of the initial article stating that Android 4.2 would contain a Customization Center and Project Roadrunner.
However, the commenter known as Peter claimed that a certain set of Android rumors were not a part of his elaborate and entertaining ruse. Read More