Google's Firebase team has been hard at work lately. Earlier this month, Firebase added a whole new storage product called Cloud Firestore, but that was just the beginning. Several major additions and improvements were just announced during the keynote at the second annual Firebase Dev Summit taking place in Amsterdam.
Swype, at its core, helps us be lazy. Want to type? Don't bother lifting up your thumb. Don't know how to spell? Just get close. Sure, these are only the byproducts of creating an input method that takes the pain out of using touchscreens, but the end result is the same. And things are only getting easier.
The latest update reduces the need to hold down keys with numbers as secondary characters or switch back and forth between alphabetical and numerical keyboards. If you peck away at letters with a number attached, Swype will include numerical values among its suggestions. So you can enter $650 by typing sytp or 2:30 by entering wjep.
Timeful produces an iOS app of the same name that takes your calendar or to-do list and makes it smarter. The service suggests events to go along with those you create manually. I see you have a meeting at 12. How about spending the hour before working on your presentation? That sort of thing.
In a post to the official Gmail blog today, Google announced that it has acquired Timeful. Going forward, the team will now spend its time working on Google apps.
Google Calendar already creates events based on messages in your Gmail account. This acquisition shows that more expansive predictive capabilities are on the way.
Adaptxt 3.0 isn't ready for the big league yet, but a beta is available that's introducing some rather intriguing functionality. Most interesting, it gives users the option to have the keyboard's built-in dictionary auto-populate itself with nearby street names, relevant addresses, and nearby landmarks. Of course, this somewhat creepy feature is optional, and typists who don't trust it can choose to manually save addresses instead.
A doctor did this. Before I get any deeper into this story, I want to point out that a person with the prefix "Dr." in front of his name—Dr. Christopher Culligan, a Canadian ER physician and instructor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, to be precise—is responsible for this mobile app that promises to infer a man's size based on a variety of factors. This criteria includes but is not limited to height, shoe size, butt size and whether the man is gay or straight. Seriously.
I can't believe I actually get to write these words, but of all the apps I've seen that promise to measure a man's member, this has to be the best.
Move over SwiftKey. A challenger has appeared and it's aiming to bring even better predictions than we've seen before. This one, named Fleksy, touts predictions that are so accurate, you can type without looking at the screen. In fact, the company says that even if you get every single letter wrong, it can still tell what it is you meant to type. This is pretty impressive. Of course that means the developers need to take it one step further...
In the video above the company shows a blind user walking down the street, typing away on his smartphone (begins around 1:28).
Happy New Year! It's that time again; with the new year comes our new annual prediction post. I tackled this last year, and rather than do a bunch of crazy, pulled-from-thin-air predictions, I ended up with a link-filled research-fest for the year. It worked out pretty well, so that's what's on the docket for today. First though, I'll take a look and see just how many of last year's predictions and rumors came true, and provide some updates for the more important topics.
A Look Back To 2012
What a crazy year. 2012 brought us two versions of Jelly Bean: 4.1 and 4.2.
When Ron tore down the most recent Play Store APK, he discovered references to pre-orders hiding within. It wasn't clear at the time just what this option would apply to, but now we know! It's books! According to a new help page, if an item on Play Books is not yet available, you may find a pre-order option that you can use to place a reservation. Neat!
The page also states that when you place a pre-order, your credit card will not be charged until the book is available. This may be nice for some people who would prefer to pay later rather than sooner.
Let's start with a disclaimer, shall we? Analysts are generally full of it. When we hear a claim that says, with undeserving certainty, that come 2016 there will be 2.3 billion Android and 2.28 billion Windows devices, we're a little skeptical. The likelihood that anyone knows exactly how many units of a particular platform will sell to that level of accuracy is almost none.
However, as we approach what might just be the single biggest week for Microsoft in decades, it's worth asking the question: are Android and Windows gearing up for a battle over the next few years? The question of smartphone dominance between iOS and Android is settled (Android won).
Way back in January 2011, we were all gobsmacked at the recent announcement of 300,000 Android activations per day. That looks cute now, doesn't it? A year later and it's more than doubled, now we're up to 700,000 per day. That's just incredible. Android could hit a million activations per day by the end of the year.
Last Year's Predictions
Tablets: The New Netbook - Netbooks definitely died.