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Mar 16, 2016 - 4:15 PM - by dgstorm
If you are a developer or Android super-fan who has signed up for the Google I/O 2016 lottery, then you might want to start checking your email for an invite. Google started shipping out the results to inboxes. If you haven't received one immediately, there's still hope. Google usually sends out the invites in separate groups, so you may just need to keep looking for it later this week.
The registration window for folks who receive an invite is 24 hours. It's possible that unused or declined tickets might make you a lucky winner later. Be sure to sound off here if you are one of the lucky folks who won an invite!
Mar 15, 2016 - 11:27 AM - by dgstorm
The quest is on for the perfect dessert name that starts with the letter "N." Google's Android N is currently called New York Cheesecake internally (according to various reports), but history has shown that Google rarely uses the internal code-name as the final retail name. In fact, the last several Android versions in a row (since KitKat) all used a different lettered dessert name internally than what was seen in the final release.
In this instance, we fully expect Google to follow that pattern from the last few releases. The biggest reason for doing so is that New York Cheesecake is both too lengthy/unwieldy, and is also too regionally focused/not universal enough.
There's one other obvious clue that Google will not use New York Cheesecake as the final dessert name for Android N, and that is that they just started an Opinion Rewards Poll to come up with a name for it. The Google Opinion Rewards Poll is an app that polls users on various topics. The above image was taken from the most recent series of questions found there.
As you can see in the image, the questions are as follows:
- "What tasty food comes to mind that starts with the letter "N""
- "What is your favorite tasty treat from the list below?" Possible choices are - Napoleon, Nut brittle, Nachos, Nori, Noodles, Nougat, Neapolitan ice cream.
It seems obvious that several of these are "red herrings" designed to troll Android fans: Nachos and Neapolitan Ice Cream? One is not a dessert, and the other is a variation on a dessert name we have already seen... Ice Cream Sandwich.
Still, there are a few of these left which could end up as the final name (or something else entirely). What do you think Google will finally choose?
Mar 15, 2016 - 9:31 AM - by dgstorm
Mar 11, 2016 - 11:13 AM - by dgstorm
If you are one of those frugal consumers who doesn't mind grabbing an older model smartphone when it's cheaper because the new models are distracting everyone, then this deal alert might be good for you. The online retailer B&H Photo has a sale going for the latest Google Nexus smartphones.
You can grab the Nexus 5X for $50 instant off, and/or you can get the Nexus 6P for $50 instant off plus another $50 Gift Card for a total $100 savings. Here are the links below to take advantage of this limited time offer:
Nexus 5X deals -
Nexus 6P deals -
Mar 08, 2016 - 1:41 PM - by dgstorm
Google's Project Fi is now available without an invite. To celebrate the new open availability, Google is also offering a very tempting discount for folks who sign up for the service and opt for the Google Nexus 5X smartphone to go with it.
Customers who sign up for the Project Fi service and purchase the Nexus 5X will get $150 off the regular price of the phone, bringing it down to a super-affordable $200 price. When you consider Google's Project Fi service could save individual plan holders a ton of money, this is a deal that might be too good to pass up. The offer is valid for only one discounted Nexus 5X per account, and officially ends on April 7, 2016 while supplies last.
For those who haven't heard the details about Project Fi, it is Google's own wireless cellular and data smartphone service. Project Fi is an MVNO which uses both T-Mobile and Sprint's networks in tandem for users to get the best signal strength. Additionally, the Project Fi compatible phones (the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P) have special radios that allow them to seamlessly switch between Wi-Fi and the cellular network for both data and phone calls. This means you are frequently using Wi-Fi for data instead of the usage of your data plan.
The pricing for Project Fi is very affordable when you compare it to individual data plans from the other big U.S. networks. It is only $25 per month for unlimited calling/texting and is just $10 per month for every 1GB of data. You only pay an additional $10 per 1GB of data beyond the first, and Google will actually pay you back for any unused data in your plan each month. The average user on Project Fi uses about 1.6GB of data, leading to a typical price of just $45 per month.
Here's a link for more info: Official Android Blog: From ?Hi? to Fi to ?Goodbye? to invites: 7 things we?ve learned about Project Fi
Mar 07, 2016 - 11:07 AM - by dgstorm
The software developers behind the AnTuTu benchmark decided to put all of the current (and newest) mobile CPUs to the test. Here's a quick breakdown of results.
Mobile Chipsets (early 2016) CPU scores:
- Qualcomm 820 — 136,383
- Apple A9 — 132,657
- Samsung Exynos 8890 — 129,865
- Kirin 950 — 92,746
- Samsung Exynos 7420 — 86,652
- Qualcomm 810 — 81,049
- Qualcomm 652 — 79,636
- Apple A8 — 79,100
- Qualcomm 650 — 78,979
- Qualcomm 808 — 68,508
The respective GPUs were also tested for these same chips. Here is that ranking.
Mobile Chipsets (early 2016) GPU scores:
- Qualcomm 820 — 55,098
- Apple A9 — 39,104
- Samsung Exynos 8890 — 37,545
- Qualcomm 810 — 29,189
- Samsung Exynos 7420 — 24,583
- Apple A8 — 22,466
- Qualcomm 805 — 20,777
- Kirin 950 — 18,082
- Qualcomm 808 — 17,487
- Qualcomm 652 — 17,365
At first glance it seems surprising that the Snapdragon 820 isn't that much faster than last year's Apple A9 chipset, but the biggest advancements in that chipset have come in energy and heat efficiency.
Feb 26, 2016 - 4:51 PM - by dgstorm
Media folks who made it out to Mobile World Congress this year have come back some hot intel gleaned from the showroom floor. We have several different rumors to report from various sources. We already reported on several of them, including stories like the OnePlus 3 release in June, no LG Nexus phones this year, Google's removal of the app drawer in Android N app, and more.
Here's the skinny on a couple more rumors from MWC:
- Windows 10 could be coming to several high-end Android smartphones like the Xiaomi Mi 5, the OnePlus 2 and the OnePlus 3.
- Vivo is making a smartphone called the Xplay 5 which will have 6GB of RAM, and could be significantly faster than most current smartphones.
Hmmm... color us intrigued!
Feb 26, 2016 - 10:56 AM - by dgstorm
Regular video bloggers on YouTube can probably attest to situations in which they have uploaded a video to YouTube without realizing they forgot to blur out someone or something that didn't consent to be filmed. It can be very frustrating having to re-edit the original video to blur out the person or logo, and then re-upload it. This is especially true if you didn't catch it very quickly and the video has been up getting hits for some time.
Luckily, Google understood the frustration and made something that rectifies this head-ache. They created a new tool that lets YouTube users blur out any part of a video even after it has already been uploaded. The blur effects can be added, removed, and resized at any time. The tool even has some safeguard measures in place, as viewers will not be able to turn off the effect. Well that's just handy! Why didn't they think of that sooner?
Source: YouTube Blog
Feb 25, 2016 - 5:17 PM - by dgstorm
LG will be taking a pass on making a Nexus device this year. According to a report from CNET, an LG executive confirmed at Mobile World Congress that "LG needs to focus on its own brand." Supposedly, LG is "totally happy" with the work it did on the previous Nexus phones as well as their relationship with Google. He further added that the G5 project requires a great deal of resources that will be better spent on its own phones.
This has not been confirmed by Google when reached for comment, and LG has yet to publicly confirm it either, yet we would not be surprised if it turns out to be true. The question remains, "Who will be making Nexus devices in 2016?"
Feb 25, 2016 - 1:07 PM - by dgstorm
Engineers in the United States have made the final breakthrough for technology called Passive Wi-Fi. It's set to drive the revolution of the IoT (Internet of Things) and replace Bluetooth eventually. Passive Wi-Fi can generate an 11Mbps Wi-Fi connection, and although that doesn't seem very impressive, it does it with 10,000 times less power than standard Wi-Fi connections.
Additionally, the latest successful tests for Passive Wi-Fi had a range of 100 feet (30 meters) and consumed 1,000 times less energy, but with up to 11 times faster speeds than existing low energy standards, like Bluetooth and Zigbee.
Here's a quote with a few more details,
"To achieve such low-power Wi-Fi transmissions, the team essentially decoupled the digital and analog operations involved in radio transmissions.
The Passive Wi-Fi architecture assigns the analog, power-intensive functions - like producing a signal at a specific frequency - to a single device in the network that is plugged into the wall.
An array of sensors produces Wi-Fi packets of information using very little power by simply reflecting and absorbing that signal using a digital switch."
Joshua Smith, associate professor of computer science and engineering had this to say about the breakthrough, "Now that we can achieve Wi-Fi for tens of microwatts of power and can do much better than both Bluetooth and ZigBee, you could now imagine using Wi-Fi for everything."
It's amazing the magical things the wizards of engineering can create! Check out the video in the thread below for a demo of the new Passive Wi-Fi tech.
Feb 24, 2016 - 4:52 PM - by dgstorm
The latest crazy concoction from those zany engineers over at Boston Dynamics (the Google owned robotics company), shows off the latest advancements in robot tech. The newest version of their Atlas project is a remarkably humanoid shaped robot that can walk on snow, move boxes, avoid getting pushed over, and pick itself back up when it is knocked down.
The video (shown in the thread below) is both funny, sad and a bit creepy. You can't help but laugh as the robot stumbles around in the snow, yet you feel a tiny bit sad when the tester keeps pushing the robot over. Overall, the advancement is just a bit creepy and might remind you of the robot from the cheesy 80's movie Saturn 3: Saturn 3 (1980) - IMDb.
Regardless, it's amazing how far the robotics engineers have come so quickly.
Feb 24, 2016 - 11:37 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Facebook finally finalized their new expanded "Like" button. They call the new extra like functions "Reactions," and there are 6 of them. These include the standard "Like" as well as Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. These will obviously give users a wider range and variation on how they respond to Facebook posts.
It certainly took them a while to nail these down, especially when you consider that forums across the web have had this functionality for years. One could argue that Facebook is simply one gigantic social forum, so why couldn't Facebook have expanded this system sooner? Here's what Facebook themselves had to say about that,
"We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer."
Regardless, at least the changes are coming soon. Facebook didn't reveal precisely when these changes would roll out, but we expect it to begin soon. For more info here's Facebook newsroom post: Reactions Now Available Globally | Facebook Newsroom
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