It is a well-known fact that Google has a rough history with Bluetooth. While the Bluetooth situation on Chromebooks is improving thanks to recent development, many of us who pair Bluetooth peripherals to our Chromebooks like wireless earbuds or mice will know that the wireless experience isn’t perfect. In 2018, with Bluetooth devices on the rise and the launch of the Pixel Slate looming, Google likely felt pressured to tackle this problem. This led to an experiment with a brand new Bluetooth daemon, in an ambitious project known as NewBlue.
Picture this: You left your phone on the table, but as always, you forgot to put it on its wireless charging cradle, and when you're ready to leave the house, it's already almost empty again. A South Korean research team must've been really annoyed by that, as it has developed a tiny robot living in a phone case that gives the handsets legs, helping it crawl to the nearest charging pad. Read More
Using app-generated one-time passcodes (OTPs) is perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way to add a second authentication layer to all your online accounts and services. They eliminate almost any chances of an unauthorized person accessing your accounts even if they’ve got hold of your passwords. But it would be a scary situation if the passcodes within those apps were compromised, and that's just the threat Google Authenticator is facing right now thanks to some banking malware. Read More
Smart speakers are quickly becoming standard across U.S. households. My grandmother recently floored me when she demonstrated how she uses her JBL Link to play 60s music with Google Assistant. I was impressed because she was still learning how to Google, but here she was jamming out while making breakfast. That’s the moment I knew smart speakers were here to stay. Research from Nielsen now confirms the sudden rise of this market category. Read More
It's hard enough for us to keep track of who's talking in a loud or crowded party, imagine how difficult it is for automated systems to follow. Speech recognition at a reasonable quality is really only something that's been mastered in the last decade or two, add in conflicting sounds as people talk over each other, and an already tricky problem becomes much harder.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) for us, researchers at Google have been working on isolating sources of audio like speech in videos, and the results they showed off yesterday are kind of incredible and simultaneously terrifying. Read More
It was bound to happen eventually. Global smartphone sales have fallen year-over-year for the first time since 2004. Research firm Gartner reports that industry-wide, sales in the fourth quarter of 2017 dropped 5.6% from the same time period in 2016.
While Samsung and Apple maintained their leads in units sold, both showed declines in year-over-year sales. Samsung's sales decreased by 3.6% for Q4, and Apple dropped a somewhat surprising 5%.
Gartner attributes some of the slowdown in Q4 to the aging of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, with the S9 set to debut at the Mobile World Congress, as well as some confusion over Apple's release of three new models of iPhone and supply shortages for iPhone X. Read More
Google is constantly working on projects with interesting potential, but we rarely get to hear about them at such an early stage in development as this latest one. Google researchers Hee Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff have been developing software on a Pixel phone that uses the front-facing camera to spot someone looking over your shoulder at the screen. Read More
If there's one major technological limitation that's slowing progress in a number of areas, including smartphones, it's probably batteries. More efficient power delivery in smaller cells would no doubt lead to some interesting advancements, and there are plenty of academics and companies around the world working towards better battery tech. You hear about potential new breakthroughs all the time (taking most with a pinch of salt), but Samsung believes it may have come up with a promising new battery material. Read More
It may seem unthinkable that the much maligned 'selfie,' a photo of oneself taken by oneself, could be used in any meaningful, useful way. That's exactly what is being proposed by researchers from the University of Washington. They've developed an app called BiliScreen which could utilize selfies, as well as computer vision algorithms and machine learning tools, as a method of screening for pancreatic cancer. Read More
Smartphone cameras have come a long way, but can you ever take images that rival a "real" camera? According to Google software engineer Florian Kainz, the answer is yes. Using a custom camera app and some post-capture editing , Kainz shows what the camera sensors in the Pixel and Nexus 6P can do in low light situations. Read More