The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are packed with a number of cool hardware improvements over previous generations, like a shockingly fast fingerprint reader and a fast-charging USB Type-C connector. During today's presentation, Dave Burke spoke about a brand new piece of hardware dubbed Android Sensor Hub that can significantly extend battery life and allows even more inventive features to these phones. It's a dedicated low-power processor designed to efficiently manage sensor data so the main processor can go to sleep for longer periods of time.
Samsung's forays into Wearable technology for the consumer market haven't been very groundbreaking, and a few never even touched down. Perhaps the secret was to aim higher than heart rate trackers and smartwatches. A small team at Samsung has been working in the company's Creativity Lab (a.k.a. C-Lab) developing a headset capable of observing brainwave patterns for signs of a stroke. Not only could the system help millions of people each year to prevent a crippling or fatal stroke, but the technology may have applications for monitoring the heart and brain for many other conditions.
The project began two years ago when the project lead, Se-hoon Lim, and 4 other engineers from the smartphone and washing machine divisions came together with the goal of an early warning system.
Sony announced at the Symposium on VLSI Technology that it is trying to improve the functionality and light capture of CMOS sensors by bending them, using - get ready - a proprietary "bending machine." So far, their efforts sound successful. The manufacturer has created a pair of curved CMOS sensors, one sized for cameras (43mm) and one for mobile devices (11mm), that they say have improved sensitivity 1.4x at the center of the sensor, and 2x at the edges.
It's no mystery that Google has been poking around wearable gadgets for quite some time. The list of projects seems to keep growing as we hear about rumors of an LG-made smartwatch, another prototype watch designed by Motorola, and of course, Google's own Glass. Earlier today at SXSW, Sundar Pichai took to the stage to announce plans to release a brand new SDK for Android-based wearable devices in about two weeks.
Back at IFA, I got my hands on Sony's QX10 lens camera, one of two such devices the electronics manufacturer announced in Berlin. I wasn't sure what I thought about it then, having only played with it for about a day, but I've spent some quality time with the device since, and I'm ready to lay down my full impression.
For those not quite up to speed, the QX10 (and its higher-end counterpart, the QX100) is a camera in a lens. The generally lens-shaped body houses a sensor, microphones, and telescopic zooming lens assembly.
This odd device can clip onto your smartphone with a special adapter included in the box, accommodating most form factors adeptly with its spring action.
Like many digital innovations, WigWag occupies the space between facilitating necessary evolution and being a lazy person's wet dream. It's an "If This Then That" intelligent environment-building sensor that reached its funding goal a month ago, already achieving twice the funds the team asked for. Now the campaign has ended, with WigWag acquiring nine times more than its $50,000 ambition.
What's all the excitement about? The WigWag is a sensor that empowers users to write their own rules for how their homes should function. It can perform physical functions, such as turning out the lights when no one's in the room, or digital functions, such as sending a text message whenever the mailman opens the mailbox.
There are a few surefire ways to get straight to a consumer's heart, and one of them is nostalgia. People love to be reminded of the good old days, and Sony has done just that, uploading a new Xperia Z spot that will take viewers back to the moon mission, the Berlin wall, roller skating on the beach, and playing video games, all with Sony products.
The ad then continues with a young couple joining in a Holi celebration using the Xperia Z, showing that Sony hasn't abandoned its iconic role in capturing or enhancing your most memorable moments. The video finishes by showing that, after running through plumes of colored powder and revelry, you can simply rinse the phone clean – after all, it's waterproof.
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.
Panasonic has announced a unique Android offering headed for Softbank, a Japanese carrier, officially unveiling the Lumix Phone 101P today.
The Lumix Phone looks almost exactly like a pocket-sized digital camera, except for its 4" touch screen and Android 2.3 software. Under its surprisingly slender frame, it houses some interesting specs:
4-inch QHD LCD screen with 960×540 resolution
13.2MP CMOS Lumix sensor with “Mobile Venus Engine“
There's no word yet on pricing, or whether this phone will make an appearance in other countries, but it seems like a unique fusion between a point-and-shoot camera and a mobile phone, and it will be interesting to see how its 13.2MP sensor performs, especially next to Samsung's newly-announced 16MP sensors.