Google Announces Project Tango, Mobile Platform That Allows Devices to Sense the World Around Us

Google is one of those companies that is continuously looking into the future and trying to predict what users will want next. It’s the bright minds in Mountain View that continuously surprise us with projects like Google Glass, self-driving cars, and Project Loon. Project Tango is the latest experiment announced by Google, showing just how ambitious Google can be when they get behind a new project. Project Tango might look like a bulky Android device, but as you see in the video below, it looks to do so much more than just be big.

To put it simply, Project Tango is seeking to put together a set of device components and algorithms that give mobile devices more awareness of their surroundings. Johnny Lee, lead of Project Tango, said “our devices today assume that our world ends at the edges of the screen,” and he wants to change that.

In their video released today, Project Tango is shown as a mobile device (running Android, of course) hooked up with a 4MP camera that works alongside a host of other sensors – such as a motion-tracking camera and depth sensors. It’s a lot of technology packed into that small white phone.

A few of the experiments Google shows off in its intro video is the ability to 3D map a phone’s environment, and then to place a virtual game level in that environment. It’s kind of like the games they created for Glass, but on super-sized steroids. They also showcase its ability to help people with visual impairments, as the phone makes over a quarter of a million 3D measurements every single second, then displays those measurements in real time for people to view.

As with most of their projects, Google has put the pieces of this project together, but is opening it up to software developers to figure out what to do with it. Project Tango is lining up developer units for people to put their minds together about what it would mean for a device to be able to track where it is in this world.

What kind of creation would you make with Project Tango in your hands?

 

Source: Droid Life

Google Play All Access Subscribers Begin Receiving Google Glass Invites

 

It wasn’t that long ago Google added support for Play Music within Glass, and, what with the release of the studio earbud accessory, it seemed only appropriate that Google celebrate in a manner befitting of music aficionados everywhere.

Today, Google Play Music All Access subscribers began receiving e-mail invitations to join the Google Glass Explorers program. The asking price of $1,500 hasn’t changed, unfortunately, but at least those who can afford Google’s heads-up computer finally have an opportunity to purchase it.

The expansion of the Explorers program can only mean one thing: Google’s ramping up production of Glass. They may not be a sign of imminent release, but especially big, recent Glass developments – including a massive software update and support for prescription glasses – signal exciting things to come.

 

 

Source: Droid Life

Moto G in Verizon Retail Packaging Leaked, Could be Priced at Only $100 (Updated: With Release Date)

 

We have known that Verizon plans to bring the Moto G to its network sometime in Q1 of 2014 since November, but this afternoon, we are seeing that this device is turning into something much more than just a cheapy pre-paid phone. It’s actually not that bad – priced at $179, it features suitable specs for anyone who looks to score a phone off contract that won’t either a) snap in half due to cheap materials or b) suffer from poorly-made software and other issues. Either way, as a few folks are finding out, the Moto G is a great phone for the price.

Thanks to a new leak, the device has been spotted in apparent Verizon retail packaging. According to the leaker, the device might even come with an outrageously low price tag of just $100. Seriously, just a $100. That info is nowhere near confirmed, but if they happen to have their hands on the retail packaging already, then it’s quite possible that they know Verizon’s future plans of marketing the device for an insane price.

Regardless, if the Moto G is launched on Verizon for just $99, Moto and Verizon might see crazy sales taking place. Would you pick one up for $100?

UPDATE: Sources have told us that the device launches at Best Buy on January 9. That is the “hard street date.”

 

 

Source: Droid Life

Chromebooks Overtake MacBooks and Android Tablets in Sales to US Businesses

 

Chromebooks are the new MacBook. At least, that’s the takeaway from the NDP’s new data on technology purchases made by US businesses: of the 14.4 million computers sold to workplaces, 9.6 percent – around 1.3 million – were Chromebooks. That’s meteoric growth for Google-branded alternative laptops that, in 2012, represented as little as 0.2 percent of sales. This year’s share easily trounced Apple MacBook sales (1.8 percent), and even Android tablet orders (8.7).

Unsurprisingly, Windows notebooks dominated with a nearly 34.1 percent share of sales. The iPad, too, remains the most popular tablet for business at 15.8 percent. However, those numbers represent a decrease in demand from 2012, when notebooks and iPads made up 42.9 percent and 17.1 percent of purchases, respectively. It’s conceivable that, as quality Chromebooks decrease in price, those shares will continue to trend downward.

What’s your workplace setup like? Does your company use iPads, Chromebooks, MacBooks, or anything like that?

 

 

Source: Droid Life

Computer Glitch Automatically Enrolls Verizon Customers In Paperless Billing Option

 

Paper, that stack of compressed pulp, must hold some strange attraction, because it’s hard to fathom that, in a world of portable electronics and wireless connectivity, it remains the medium of choice for companies everywhere. Perhaps it’s the indelibleness of the printed word, or the ease of use; it’s arguably easier to delete or miss an e-mail than it is to overlook a sheet, and luddites need not learn a technology to access it.

Unfortunately for Verizon customers who upgraded their phone(s) over the holidays, they won’t have the pleasure of opening a physical letter this cycle: a computer glitch automatically enrolled many in the wireless carrier’s paperless billing option. The bug was confirmed by Verizon tech support, who says the company is working to resolve the issue.

Affected customers should receive a notification by mail. For those unable to change billing preferences through Verizon’s online portal, a trip to the local carrier store should do the trick.

 

 

 

Source: Droid Life

Awesome Infographic: HTC Shows Us “The Anatomy of an Android OS Update” From PDK to OTA

Ever wonder what the entire process of an Android update looks like? How and when do carriers get involved? Who are all of the players? How much quicker or fewer steps are there for developer or Google Play editions? When do manufacturers see the newest version of Android? All of that can be found in a lengthy infographic that HTC posted their Software Updates page, a spot that gives the status on current HTC phones and when they plan to push updates to them.

The image takes you on a journey of three different device types: carrier, unlocked/developer, and Google Play edition. You’ll see where an update can get caught up in the system, how much easier it is for HTC to get updates ready for non-carrier phones, and more.

You can find the entire infographic below, but I found a couple of points in particular interesting:

  • According to HTC’s count, Developer/unlocked and Google Play edition devices see 3 and 4 fewer steps through an update life cycle than carrier-tied devices do.
  • Chipset manufacturers have a lot more say in updates than I think any of us ever consider. Should one of them decide that their chipsets won’t work well with a new version of Android, there is a chance that that particular phone is done for good with no new drivers made available.
  • Even though most phone OEMs are making single devices that hit each carrier, there is still a lot of carrier customization done in terms of software that takes time during the process, especially should one not approve an initial build.
  • OEMs are receiving a Platform Developer Kit (PDK), however, they get new Android version source when the rest of us do, which is not until Google makes it available.

 

If you sneak over to HTC’s new status update page, you’ll see how the carrier-tied versions of HTC One are coming along through the process. At this point, HTC would put them in the “Integration” stage which means the update has a ways to go. The “Integration” stage is where HTC works with carriers to decide if any software modifications are needed before implementing them, doing internal testing, letting carriers test, and then hopefully getting final approval for a push.

Also, you may want to bookmark that page.

 

Source: Droid Life

CyanogenMod Reaches 10 Million Devices, Oppo N1 CM Edition Gets a Promo Video

Despite Google’s best efforts, some smartphone and tablet manufacturers are perfectly content to allow their devices to languish, never to receive the latest version of Android through any sort of official channel. That’s where Cyanogen, Inc. comes in: the newly incorporated company promises customized versions of Android that, in addition to providing the latest AOSP has to offer, are much more feature-rich than OEM firmware. Installation of CyanogenMod software requires a compatible device and foreknowledge of certain dev tools, of course, but it remains the most consumer-friendly third-party ROM available.

Apparently, the promise of Android updates is attractive to a vast number of smartphone and tablet users: more than 10 million devices are running the ROM. That’s according to a Google+ post by Steve Kondik, CTO of CyanogenMod.

To clarify, 10 million is an estimate; only users who voluntarily report activity via CMStats, a built-in analytic service, are counted. Still, the number is impressive, and certainly an indication that the desire for aftermarket Android solutions is growing.

Perhaps in celebration of the milestone (and the additional $23 million in funding they just took in), Cyanogen took to YouTube to promote the Oppo N1, the first-ever CyanogenMod-certified smartphone. Launching December 24, it’s the fledgling company’s first attempt to translate its software success to the hardware business. As you can imagine, we’ll be keeping a keen eye on this first phone attempt, as well as any others that come through this ROM-turned-corporate entity.

 

 

Source: Droid Life