Optical character recognition, also known as OCR, is really an amazing technology. If you aren't familiar, it takes images and reads the text on them. For PDFs, it can make the words it finds searchable, selectable, and whatever else you may want to do with them. The better implementations of OCR work well enough that they pretty much make CAPTCHAs pointless. And while Google Drive has offered this function in English for over a year now, it is now rolling it out to over 200 different languages. Read More
The most recent over-the-air update for the Nexus 9, the one that totally wasn't what you were actually waiting for, has apparently bricked the device for some owners. A couple folks affected by this 5.0.2 issue have taken to Google's product forums to ask what gives.
The person who opened this thread was told to perform a factory reset in recovery mode (as well as the bootloader, which has a separate factory reset option). Read More
Amazon has phones and phone accessories on sale constantly, but it's not usually so time-sensitive. The new Huwaei SnapTo is on sale through Amazon as a Lightning Deal, meaning it's only available at this price for a few hours, or until the deal is sold out. It's usually $179.99, but right now you can have it for $139.99 with Prime shipping. So snap to it.
To say that Nexus 9 owners are somewhat miffed that Google's flagship tablet is currently lagging several versions behind the latest Android release is something of an understatement. The Nexus 9's slow software update rollout, well behind the rest of the Nexus line and even some third-party devices, is as odd as it is irritating. Read More
In just 3 weeks, we expect Google to officially announce a new subscription option that will allow users to enjoy YouTube completely ad-free. In the lead-up to this, both the web service and its Android apps have received a swarm of updates and features. In just the last month, there has been a revised web player, search for 360-degree videos, and some improvements to YouTube Kids (with more to come). Read More
Samsung has teamed up with Marvel to offer a free limited edition set of 4 Avenger themed Galaxy Note 4 phone cases to anyone purchasing the latest generation Korean phablet. Samsung generously applies a $200 value to the cases, but I think that estimate is about 4-5 times too high. They look like pretty typical snap on plastic cases, but the artwork on the back featuring symbols of Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America does look pretty snazzy and is sure to draw nerd lust from all your friends. Read More
Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a book. Read More
Last year, we shared some fascinating information surrounding a rumored effort called "Nearby." According to our information at the time, Nearby would enable Android devices to communicate with people, places, and devices that were, well, nearby.
At the time, we had evidence that the feature would come with a future version of Play Services, with a friendly overview for users explaining that the service could use device sensors to communicate with nearby things.
We've seen some of this functionality already - consider Chromecast's guest mode. The device can use ultrasonic sounds (picked up using your device's microphone) to connect to your device. Read More