As a student, I have written a lot of papers. Considering that I still have a long way to go until my education is complete, research papers and essays are not going away any time soon. The best part about all of those is citing my sources, which can get tedious when some classes want MLA and others want APA (because who wants Chicago anymore?). Sure, there are citation machines that are immensely helpful, but what if you could just get what you need straight from the Google Docs web search? Well, El Goog has students covered. Read More
You probably know as well as I do that the internet is littered with low-resolution images, either a limitation of a device's camera or purposely-downgraded for faster loading on slow connections. Unfortunately, enlarging an image many times over while still preserving detail is something only possible in episodes of CSI. But thanks to the magic of machine learning, Google has been developing a solution - RAISR, short for Rapid and Accurate Image Super-Resolution. Read More
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