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Android

Google Adds Handwriting Input To Android 80

Posted by timothy
from the dreaming-of-sheep-is-next dept.
BarbaraHudson writes: The Reg is reporting on the release of Google Handwriting Input for Android smartphones and tablets: "The Chocolate Factory's research arm says handwriting recognition is needed because touchscreen keyboards remain modestly effective and while 'Voice input is an option, but there are situations where it is not feasible, such as in a noisy environment or during a meeting." The Google Research Blog notes that it allows recognition both on-device and in the cloud (by tapping on the cloud icon) in any Android app.

It works as advertised on my smartphone, so now I can type, speak, or scribble my searches, texts, etc.
Robotics

John Hawley Talks About UAV Controls (Video) 20

Posted by Roblimo
from the monocopter-bicopter-tricopter-quadcopter dept.
John 'Warthog9' Hawley was the boss sysadmin on kernel.org before he jumped to Intel in April, 2014, as an open hardware technical evangelist. He last showed up on Slashdot in June, 2014, with his Dr. Who-inspired Robot K-9. Now he's talking about flight computers for quadcopters, specifically ones based on MinnowBoards. Last month (April 2015) he was speaking at the Embedded Linux Conference + Android Builders Summit. That's where he and Timothy Lord had this conversation about flight controllers for UAVs, which makes it a fitting sequel to yesterday's video, which was also about controlling drones with real-time Linux.
Google

Google Helps Homeless Street Vendors Get Paid By Cashless Consumers 139

Posted by samzenpus
from the easy-pay dept.
An anonymous reader writes Starting today Seattle pedestrians can no longer pat their pockets and claim to have no cash when offered a copy of the ironically-named Real Change weekly newspaper by a homeless street vendor. Google has spent two years working with the Real Change organization to develop a barcode-scanning app which lets passers-by purchase a digital edition with their mobile phones. Google's Meghan Casserly believes the Real Change app — available on Android and iOs — represents the first of its kind in North America.
Android

Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps 175

Posted by Soulskill
from the unexpected-alliances dept.
Unknown Lamer writes: Microsoft and Cyanogen Inc have announced a partnership to bring Microsoft applications to Cyanogen OS. "Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft's consumer apps and services across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services. As part of this collaboration, Microsoft will create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a powerful new class of experiences." Ars Technica comments, "If Cyanogen really wants to ship a Googleless Android, it will need to provide alternatives to Google's services, and this Microsoft deal is a small start. Microsoft can provide alternatives for Search (Bing), Google Drive (OneDrive and Office), and Gmail (Outlook). The real missing pieces are alternatives to Google Play, Google Maps, and Google Play Services."

Rather than distribute more proprietary services, how about ownCloud for Drive, K-9 Mail for Gmail, OsmAnd for Maps, and F-Droid for an app store? Mozilla and DuckDuckGo provide Free Software search providers for Android, too. With Google neglecting the Android Open Source Project and Cyanogen partnering with Microsoft, the future for Free Software Android as anything but a shell for proprietary software looks bleak.
EU

Google Responds To EU Antitrust Claims In Android Blog Post 235

Posted by samzenpus
from the wait-a-minute dept.
An anonymous reader writes Earlier today the European Union released a Statement of Objection against Google, asserting that the search giant's dominance violating antitrust rules and Android products hindering equal opportunities for market access among its rivals. Google has now released an official blog post in response to the Commission's proposed investigation. Regarding its Android devices, Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP of Engineering at Android writes: "The European Commission has asked questions about our partner agreements. It's important to remember that these are voluntary—again, you can use Android without Google—but provide real benefits to Android users, developers and the broader ecosystem." He continues: "We are thankful for Android's success and we understand that with success comes scrutiny. But it's not just Google that has benefited from Android's success. The Android model has let manufacturers compete on their unique innovations [...] We look forward to discussing these issues in more detail with the European Commission over the months ahead."
Google

EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges 245

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-be-too-good-at-what-you-do dept.
Bruce66423 sends news that the European Union has decided to hit Google with antitrust charges that could lead to fines of over $6 billion. The EU has been investigating Google for five years now. "The European Commission has highlighted four main areas of concern in its investigation: potential bias in Google’s search results, scraping content from rival websites, agreements with advertisers that may exclude rival search-advertising services and contracts that limit marketers from using other platforms." They're also keeping an eye on Android-related business practices.
Bug

Google Lollipop Bricking Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 Devices 179

Posted by timothy
from the upgrade-is-not-always-the-right-word dept.
First time accepted submitter Zape (303550) writes The Lollipop update has turned sour for me and several other Nexus 7, Gen 2 (and Nexus 5) owners. It seems that I'm not alone in having my tablet boot to the Google Logo since a couple of days after updating to Android 5.0.2. Now Nexus 5 owners are reporting a reboot loop in Android 5.1. My device, like many others, is a couple of months out of warranty, but worked great until the latest OTA update from Google. They branded it, and they updated it, but Google claims it is between the buyers and ASUS, the manufacturer.
Intel

Dell Expands Intel RealSense Tablet Lineup With 10.5-Inch Venue 10 7000 2-in-1 22

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid writes "Dell unveiled a new Android 2-in-1 today, the Venue 10 7000, which brings with it many of the same hardware features that we saw with their popular Venue 8 7000 8-inch tablet. It's powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a 2560x1600 10-inch display. You'll also find a microSD slot that supports up to 512GB of additional storage, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Miracast, front-facing stereo speakers, a 2MP front-facing camera, and an 8MP Intel RealSense 3D camera on the rear. Where things get more interesting, perhaps, is with the design of the tablet. Whereas the Venue 8 7000 features a more traditional tablet form-factor, the Venue 10 7000 features a cylindrical "barrel edge" which Dell says makes the tablet easier to hold and carry. It's reminiscent of Lenovo's Android-powered Yoga Tablet family. In addition to providing a handy place for your hand to grip the tablet, the cylindrical spine also serves as an attachment point for an optional keyboard that transforms the Venue 10 7000 into a laptop. The keyboard accessory allows the tablet to be used in five different configurations: Tablet Mode (w/o keyboard), Tablet Mode (w/ keyboard), Laptop Mode, Tablet Stand Mode, and Tent Mode.
Advertising

Consumer Groups Bemoan Google's "Deceptive" Ads for Kids In FTC Complaint 92

Posted by timothy
from the part-of-this-nutritious-breakfast dept.
Mark Wilson writes A number of consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FTC suggesting that Google is targeting children with 'unfair and deceptive' ads in YouTube Kids for Android and iOS. A letter signed by Children Now, Consumer Watchdog, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and others says that ads are displayed in a way that would not be permitted on broadcast or cable television. The letter makes three main complaints about the app. The first suggests that Google mixes programming and ads, while another says that the relationship between Google and the manufacturers of advertised products is not clear. The groups ask for the FTC to take action to stop the advertisements. Also covered by The Verge and VentureBeat; here's the complaint letter.
Android

Popular Android Package Uses Just XOR -- and That's Not the Worst Part 277

Posted by timothy
from the ightray-onyay-ethay-urfacesay dept.
siddesu writes A popular "encryption" package for Android that even charges a yearly subscription fee of $8 actually does nothing more than give a false sense of security to its users. Not only is the app using a worthless encryption method, it also uses weak keys and "encrypts" only a small portion of the files. One wonders how much snake oil flows through the app stores, from "battery savers" to "antivirus." What is the most worthless app purchase you made? Did you ask for a refund?
Android

Forking Away: OnePlus Introduces Android-Based OxygenOS 38

Posted by timothy
from the camel-caps-galore dept.
The Verge reports that phone maker OnePlus has introduced its own OS, an Android fork called OxygenOS. OxygenOS was developed in-house by OnePlus, though at this point it is merely a modest refresh of Android 5.0 Lollipop. In a blog post, the company explains that it took a "back to basics" approach with the software, adding, "We place things like performance and battery life over gimmicks and bloated features." ... The company says its goal with OxygenOS "is to provide faster, more meaningful updates and a better-integrated range of services for every OnePlus user." What it doesn't say is that the software also gives it a way to reduce its dependence on Cyanogen. The two companies have had strained relations since Cyanogen signed an exclusive deal with Indian phone maker Micromax just before OnePlus' planned launch in the subcontinent. It's expected that OxygenOS will eventually be the default on future devices like the OnePlus Two, but, for now, you'll have to install it yourself over Cyanogen if you want it. You can find instructions on OnePlus' website. (Also at TechCrunch.)
Android

Google: Less Than One Percent of Android Devices Are Affected By Harmful Apps 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-nines-security dept.
jfruh writes: One of the selling points of iOS is that its more restrictive nature makes it more secure. But even though it's easier for users to accidentally install malicious apps on Android, data collected by Google (PDF) indicates that less than one percent of Android users have actually done so. Quoting: "During October 2014, the lowest level of device hygiene was 99.5% and the highest level was 99.65%, so less than 0.5% of devices had a Potentially Harmful Application (PHA) installed (excluding non-malicious Rooting apps). During that same time period, approximately 0.25% of devices had a non-malicious Rooting application installed. ... Worldwide, excluding non-malicious Rooting applications, PHAs are installed on less than 0.1% of devices that install applications only from Google Play. Non-rooting PHAs are installed on approximately 0.7% of devices that are configured to permit installation from outside of Google Play. Additionally, the second graph shows devices with any PHA (including Rooting applications). Rooting applications are installed on about 0.5% of devices that allow sideloading of applications from outside of Google Play."
Android

Visual Studio 2015 Can Target Linux; Android Apps Anywhere Chrome Can Run 96

Posted by timothy
from the then-you-win-maybe dept.
jones_supa writes Phoronix has noticed that the Visual Studio 2015 product page mentions that the new IDE can target Linux out of the box. Specifically the page says "Build for iOS, Android, Windows devices, Windows Server or Linux". What this actually means is not completely certain at this point, but it certainly laces nicely with the company opening up the .NET Framework. And speaking of cross-platform software: new submitter mccrew writes Google has released a tool that lets Android apps run on any machine that can run its Chrome browser. Called Arc Welder, the tool acts as a wrapper around Android apps so they can run on Windows, OS X and Linux machines. The software expands the places that Android apps can run and might make it easier for developers to get code working on different machines.
Input Devices

Control Anything With Gestures: Myo Bluetooth Protocol Released 15

Posted by timothy
from the not-for-use-while-driving dept.
First time accepted submitter Legendary Teeth writes The makers of the Myo Gesture Control Armband (Thalmic Labs) have just released the specs for the Bluetooth protocol it uses. While there are already official SDKs for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, this means that now anyone can roll their own support for other platforms like Linux or Arduino without needing to use one of the official platforms as a bridge. Anything you can write code for that that can act as a Bluetooth GATT client would now be possible, really. If you aren't familiar with the Myo armband, it's a Bluetooth Low Energy device with 8 EMG pods and an IMU that you wear on your arm. It can read your muscle activity to detect gestures you make with you hands, which you can then use to do things like fly drones, play games, or control music.
Businesses

Apple Extends Its Trade-In Program 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-much-will-you-give-me-for-it? dept.
Mark Wilson writes "Earlier in the month it was reveal that Apple was about to start offering gift cards as part of a trade-in program for people buying new a new iPhone. The updated program has now gone live so you can take your old Apple device, or non-Apple smartphone to an Apple store, or mail it in to receive credit. The credit can be used in store or online against the purchase of a new Apple device, and this program expansion is the latest move from Apple to try to tempt users away from other platforms. You can check online to see how much you can expect to receive for your existing phone and decide whether it's worth your while. Hint: it might not be.
Networking

Dueling Home Automation Systems at SXSW (Video) 47

Posted by Roblimo
from the to-serve-man dept.
Austin has a strong western heritage and more country and western music than you can shake a fiddle bow at. So when Timothy came back from SXSW with video clips from two home automation companies with different approaches to this question: "How can you work with a whole bunch of lights and thermostats and other IoT home automation pieces that all have different OSes and control APIs?" we obviously had to call the resulting video 'Dueling Home Automation Systems.'

The two companies shown in this video are called WigWag and Yonomi. WigWag sells you a "Relay," which they say "is a powerful mini computer that gives you control of your home's smart devices." The minimum pre-order buy-in for WigWag seems to be a $149 WigWag Relay. Their 'products' page his page shows the Relay -- and many other gadgets and kits that could easily run your total tab up to $1000 or more. Yonomi, on the other hand, "resides on your phone and in the Cloud. No need for a hub, controller box or other additional hardware. Yonomi magically finds and enhances your existing connected devices allowing them to interact with one another in ways never before possible."

Yonomi may start with a free Android app (iOS coming soon), but you still need to buy lights, speakers, thermostats, and other things that are Internet-aware, so you're not going to save much (if anything) over buying a WigWag relay and the rest of what you need to create your own, private Internet of Things. And what about good old X10 and other home control systems? They're still out there, still doing their thing in millions of homes even if they aren't getting all the IoT buzz. In any case, it's nice to see new home automation alternatives coming down the pike, even if their cloudness may make them easier to hack than an old-fashioned appliance like this coffeemaker.
Software

Developers and the Fear of Apple 269

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-different-except-about-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes: UI designer Eli Schiff has posted an article about the "climate of fear" surrounding Apple in the software development community. He points out how developers who express criticism in an informal setting often recant when their words are being recorded, and how even moderate public criticism is often prefaced by flattery and endorsements.

Beyond that, the industry has learned that they can't rely on Apple's walled garden to make a profit. The opaque app review process, the race to the bottom on pricing, and Apple's resistance to curation of the App Store are driving "independent app developers into larger organizations and venture-backed startups." Apple is also known to cut contact with developers if they release for Android first. The "climate of fear" even affects journalists, who face not only stonewalling from Apple after negative reporting, but also a brigade of Apple fans and even other journalists trying to paint them as anti-Apple.
Android

Android's Smart Lock Won't Ask You For a Password Until You Set Your Phone Down 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the staying-on dept.
jfruh writes Nothing confronts you with how addicted you are to your phone more than constantly taking it out of your pocket and entering your passcode over and over again to unlock. But without fanfare, Google is releasing an Android update that might solve the problem: a "smart lock" that can figure out if your phone has been set down since the last time you unlocked it. As long as it stays on your person, you won't need to re-enter your password.
Technology

Lenovo CEO Reportedly Posts Image of Next Gen Moto 360 Smartwatch 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-look dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "When the Android Wear platform was unveiled last year, the star of the show was undoubtedly the Motorola Moto 360. With its stainless steel body and round display, the smartwatch looked futuristic while retaining styling that was somewhat familiar to traditional time pieces. However, it's been a year since the original Moto 360 was unveiled and there have been a number of round-faced Android Wear devices that have either hit the market or will in the coming months. Motorola, of course, is still pushing ahead with a second generation Moto 360 and it appears their new parent company — Lenovo — may have just leaked the design of the upcoming smartwatch. Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing posted an image to Weibo, which shows a number of smartwatches in various states of assembly. The image is interesting, because it provides us with two interesting bits of information. First, the new Moto 360 appears to adopt a traditional, exposed-lug design, which should make it easier for users to swap out the band that comes with the Moto 360 for a wider variety of third-party bands. Also, what you can glean from the photo is that, it appears that the "flat tire" display found on the original Moto 360 will carry over to its successor. The Moto 360 currently houses its ambient light sensor and display driver in the crescent-shaped cutout at the bottom of the display."
Android

Apple May Start Accepting Android Phones As Trade-Ins 148

Posted by timothy
from the whatever-you've-got dept.
HughPickens.com writes Bloomberg reports that according to a person with knowledge of the matter, Apple plans to start accepting non-Apple devices as trade-ins as the company seeks to extend market-share gains against Android smartphones. Apple is seeking to fuel even more iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales after selling 74.5 million units in the last three months of 2014. Thanks to record sales, shipments of iPhones surpassed Android in the US with 47.7 percent of the market compared with Android's 47.6 percent. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook Apple "experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches in the three previous years." While Android phones don't hold their value as well as iPhones, it still makes sense for Apple Stores to accept them, says Israel Ganot, former CEO of Gazelle Inc., an online mobile device trade-in company. "Apple can afford to pay more than the market value to get you to switch over," says Ganot, "on the idea that you're going to fall in love with the iOS ecosystem and stay for a long time."