It's no secret that emoji play an integral part in today's daily communication. From a user experience point of view, emoji pictographs make up a universally recognized language that adds emotional nuance to conversations. They've been integrated throughout our digital lives, and in 2018, Chrome gained a shortcut to quickly insert them on the desktop. It poses a problem for Chrome OS users, though — clicking on the context menu launches the on-screen keyboard, which is clunky and unintuitive with a mouse. However, that's changing soon as Google is working on a dedicated emoji picker for Chrome OS.
The touchscreen on your phone is the primary way you interact with it, so it absolutely needs to work. That makes problems like so-called "dead zones" or ignored/unregistered inputs among the most annoying out there. Based on reports, many are running into those types of touchscreen input problems with Samsung's Galaxy S9+.
Do you long for the simpler days of pen and paper? Do you need direct pen input to your tablet or phone for drawing or equations? Do you just want a really nifty folio case to make all the other board members jealous at the next meeting? In all three cases, Wacom has you covered. The famous graphics tablet company is branching further into mobile accessories with the Bamboo Paper, a folio that combines some impressive technology to let you write on standard paper and save your work digitally to Android or iOS.
Here's how it works. The Spark includes a specialized Bluetooth-enabled pen, but it's writing in old-fashioned ink - there's no stylus, powered or otherwise, in the package.
Update Wednesdays are always exciting, but particularly so when Google releases a new app. Today, Google has hit "publish" on Google Handwriting Input, a new keyboard option that - as the name implies - allows users to type by handwriting text in 82 languages.
Google says the app supports print and cursive, written with or without a stylus. If you draw a smiley face, Handwriting Input will even suggest emojis.
Of course the input method is styled to resemble Google's other input methods, using the same light grey and teal (or dark blue-grey and teal if you choose the dark theme) colors found in Google's main Keyboard app.
If you don't use any language with a non-Latin alphabet, you've probably seen at least one of Google's alternative language keyboards and promptly dismissed it. But for a huge portion of Android's userbase, those things are essential tools for daily interaction. Today almost every one of Google's customized input/keyboard apps has been given a major update: Google Hindi Input, Google Japanese Input, Google Korean Input, Google Pinyin Input, and Google Zhuyin Input.
Old on the left, new on the right.
To be honest, none of us at Android Police have need for any of those, so we're not the best to comment on what's been changed or improved.
The SwiftKey developers are getting ready to introduce a version of their popular third-party keyboard with Japanese input support. Prominent features should transition over just fine, with the keyboard still able to make personalized predictions and suggest emoji that it thinks may be appropriate. It will be able to switch back and forth between Japanese and English, making it useful for native Japanese speakers and friends of Japanese speakers alike.
The app is currently in beta, but it's open for anyone to download and try. To do so, just head over to http://www.swiftkey.net/jp. There you can sign up for the open beta and help the team work out the kinks.
Google makes cool stuff. There's self-driving cars, that funky street view camera, and those experimental glasses anyone will be able to buy for one day only tomorrow, April 15th. Yet for every product that comes out, there's another in the pipeline that may or may not ever see the light of day. Last month we learned of a patent application for a pair of smart contact lenses that would process blinks as input for wearable devices. Now Patent Bolt has reported on a separate application for a micro camera component for those lenses.
The first thing that comes to mind here is the ability to take photos using just your eyes.
"Smart contact lens." Get used to that term, even if it makes you cringe - a new patent from Google indicates that at least someone at Mountain View thinks it's a potentially viable idea. Patent Bolt reports on a Google application to the USPTO for "multi-sensor contact lenses," intended primarily as a method for blinking input or input augmentation for wearable devices, or just electronics in general. (Note: this shouldn't be confused with Google's other contact lenses, announced in January as a medical diagnostic device for diabetics.)
The basic idea is that a number of sensors embedded into a contact lens could be used to detect blinks with incredible accuracy.
We generally have a rule at Android Police HQ: we don't post about Kickstarter/Indiegogo projects at least until they've been funded. Too often things turn into vaporware and people's money ends up wrapped up in things like Diaspora that never take off. Today, we're making a rare exception to talk about Minuum, because this video starts off as "Oh, that's kinda cool," and quickly shifts to "Holy crap, that's amazeballs!"
As you can see in the beginning of the video, the concept is fairly simple. It's yet another predictive text input algorithm that allows you to be less accurate when typing.
I'm going to do my best to make it through this article without making a Portal 2 reference, but this new SwiftKey feature is not making it easy on me. After recently announcing Flow, the Swype-like gesture input method, someone inside SwiftKey HQ thought to themselves "Well, you know, this is great and all, but man, what's with all this raising-my-finger nonsense? So inefficient!" So now the company is demoing Flow Through Space. It's nearly identical to the familiar method, only it predicts your entire sentence without the need to start fresh with each word.
Of course, it would be silly to criticize the utility of shaving a few milliseconds off of text input on a phone or tablet.