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A very low-priced Nexus phone might be in the works

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

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Flagship phones always get the center of attention, but lower-tier phones are growing in popularity, especially in developing countries. Over the last year there has been a trend in better quality low-tier phones, such as the Moto G.  Now it looks like Google might have something in the works as well.

A report out of China has Google partnering with MediaTek for a very low-priced smartphone. Those of you that generally buy flagship phones are probably not familiar with MediaTek. Like Qualcomm, they are makers of mobile processors, but they are generally found on budget phones. This rumored phone is expected to sell for only $100.

We certainly don’t expect this phone to be Google’s featured Nexus phone for this year, but it could very well be a secondary phone for developing countries. For all we know, it might not even be marketed under the Nexus name.

source: mtksj
via: G4Games

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Google holding internet scavenger hunt for a chance to attend I/O in June

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

google_io_scavenger_hunt_page_screenshot

An internet scavenger hunt is right up Google’s alley. And that is what the company is doing to give people a chance to attend Google I/O in June. The company has deployed links through its developer site and finding one will either reward you with a spot in the Google I/O lottery or a pleasant rejection message. The spot in the Google I/O lottery will provide an opportunity at purchasing a $900 ticket for Google’s showcase.

For an example, click here to see a link that is taken.

Source: Android Police

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Google is sending Glass try-on kits to select users

Posted by wicked April - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

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Following Google’s big one day Glass sale event, it looks like they are contacting individuals who showed an interest in Glass to try it out. These individuals appear to be people who expressed an interest, but not until prescription frames became available. Those potential customers are receiving an email from Google stating that the Titanium collection is now available and they would like to send out a home try-on kit for free.

Now before you start thinking that these candidates will receive Glass for free, they won’t be. Google is sending out four non-functioning frames (Charcoal, Tangerine, Shale, and Sky) to find out what style the person likes best. What’s interesting is that these appear to be real Google Glasses, but the USB ports have been destroyed to keep the devices from powering on. Some people have reported that they were able to power them on, but they couldn’t get to the OS.

The frames can be sent back with prepaid shipping labels, but a $50 credit card hold will remain until the frames are returned.  Some people have been able to simply call the 800 number and get a kit sent to them, while others were told they needed an invitation email.

source: Reddit
via: 9to5Google

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Toshiba plans on bringing Project Ara to wearables

Posted by wicked April - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

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So far we have only heard of Project Ara smartphones, but couldn’t the concept also apply to wearables? According to Toshiba Senior VP and Technology Executive, Shardul Kazi, the answer is yes.

While at the Ara Developer Conference, Kazi showed the above slide that represents a module being removed from the phone and inserted into a smartwatch. At this point in the game, this is just a concept and not in development. Assuming consumers adopt this “module” way of thinking, you can clearly see that it’s inevitable that Project Ara could be used for so many other things, including wearables.

source: Engadget

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Casting live streams to Chromecast added to YouTube app

Posted by wicked April - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

YouTube-Transparent-Logo

Google recently added the ability to cast live streams from YouTube to Chromecast devices, but it was only available via a desktop web browser. Google is now pushing out an update to the YouTube app for Android devices that includes this same feature.

As usual, Google is rolling this update out in phases. You can hit the link to Google Play below to see if it is available for your account. If not, you can download the apk for version 5.6.31 and install the new YouTube app manually if you just can’t wait to cast live streams.

APK download link

qr code

Google Play Download Link

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Google’s new Camera app introduces Lens Blur via software optimization

Posted by wicked April - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

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When Google released their Camera app on Google Play earlier today for users who have Android 4.4, one of the new features noted was something called Lens Blur. This is a new mode Google has introduced that enables a software based shallow depth of field. One of the main uses of a shallow depth of field is to create a bokeh effect where the primary subject of a photo is in focus while the background is blurred. HTC recently enabled this in their new HTC One (M8) through hardware consisting of a dual camera system. Google’s new Camera app achieves this entirely with software.

A shallow depth of field has historically been confined to single lens reflex (SLR) cameras with their large lenses and apertures. To get similar results, Google uses a combination of images to capture a scene. The images, after being passed through various algorithms, are used to generate a 3D model of the scene. With estimates of the distance to every point in the scene, users can simply tap on an image to set that as the primary focal point. The camera app can then calculate distance from the selected focal point for everything else in the scene and adjust focus accordingly.

As noted earlier, HTC added a second camera to their latest flagship device to help capture all of this data so their camera app can produce bokeh effects. Google captures their data by having users move the camera in an upward motion to get the necessary images.

Let us know if you are looking forward to utilizing bokeh effects on your images.

google_camera_app_lens_blur_images

source: Google Research Blog

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Google’s Project Ara phones will be available to purchase in January 2015

Posted by wicked April - 16 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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If you’re waiting to get your hands on a Project Ara device, you’ll only have to wait until January of next year. Google has announced that the customizable devices will be available to purchase in January 2015 through a configuration tool similar to Moto Maker for the Moto X. Project Ara plans to go beyond the simple color tweaking that you could get through Moto Maker, though, and it will allow you to change the components and design of the phone, in addition to different colors and materials.

If you’re a developer, Google plans on making these devices available slightly ahead of the January launch date. Google hasn’t clarified exactly when that will be, but it would have to be sometime later this year. We’ll let you know as soon as we find out more.

Who’s planning on buying one of these devices next January?

source: 9to5 Google

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Google hosts early Mother’s Day sale

Posted by wicked April - 16 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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Actually I am not even sure this sale is really all that early since you actually have to buy your Mom a gift before Mother’s Day. Google knows that, so they are already offering 1 year magazine subscriptions for Mom at $5.00 off plus select books at 50% off. The sale will run through May 5th, but I would hit the source link now to get your orders in before you forget. You might want to pick up a Nexus 7 for her as well, but unfortunately they aren’t on sale.

Mother’s Day is May 11, so make a note of it.

source: Google Play

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GoogleXLabs

People always wonder what projects Google’s secret division dubbed as “Google X” considers each year. Thankfully, a couple members of this secret Google division came out and discussed some of the projects that were talked about. Hoverboards, teleportation and space elevators were all talked about and while it seems very far-fetched and a far reach, you have to reach for the stars in order to achieve something great, right?

While it’s not practical for the technology we currently have, I like the idea that Google at least talks about these ideas. Lets face it, ever since we all saw “Back to the Future 2,” I think it’s safe to say we all have wished for hoverboards to be invented someday. While the projects of teleportation and space elevators have been shelved due to the high cost of money and the need to break certain laws of physics, who knows, maybe we’ll see these projects being revisited in the decades to come?

source: Fast Company

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Google’s Gmail makes access to your smartphone’s photos much easier

Posted by wicked April - 15 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

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Google has announced that they are rolling out support in the Gmail web client for users to access all of the photos from their smartphone when composing new messages. To take advantage of the new features, users do have to have the Auto Backup feature for photos enabled on their Android powered phones. When composing a new email message, users can click on the Insert Photo button to be taken to a new dialog. In the past users were given the option of uploading an image from their computer or pasting the URL for a photo. The new dialog box adds tabs for Photos and Albums stored on a user’s account via the Auto Backup.

In addition to easily inserting an image backed up from their smartphone, users can insert an entire album, useful if one has gone through the effort to organize images into albums. Google also says images can be resized in the compose window using dragging handles.

The update will start rolling out today.

gmail_phone_photos_insert_resize

source: Official Gmail Blog

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