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Posts Tagged ‘cellphone’

Google Maps adds live traffic for over 130 cities, boosts existing coverage

August 8th, 2012

Google Maps adds live traffic for over 130 cities, boosts existing coverage

Google has expanded its Maps traffic coverage before, but rarely on a grand scale. The search giant isn’t standing on tradition this time: it just flipped on live traffic data for at least the major roads in over 130 cities. Most of the coverage centers around smaller cities in the US, although Google is tipping its hat to Latin America with first-time support for Bogota, San Jose (in Costa Rica) and Panama City. Coverage has also been improved in a dozen other countries worldwide. While the widened reach still won’t ease the burden of anyone already caught in a traffic jam, any democratization of smarter driving directions is good in our book.

SOURCE via Google

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Google gets patent for eye tracking-based unlock system, shifty looks get you access

August 8th, 2012

Google gets patent for eye tracking-based unlock system, shifty looks get you access

Look up. Now down. Back up here again? Imagine having to do that every time you wanted to unlock your phone, as this granted Google patent for “Unlocking a screen using eye tracking information” possibly suggests. Okay, it actually looks more like it’s intended for the firm’s super spectacles — which given their general hands-free nature — makes more sense. The claims are fairly straightforward, unlocking of a device would be granted based on “determining that a path associated with the eye movement substantially matches a path of the moving object”. As long as those moving objects aren’t moving too fast, we think we can work with that.

SOURCE via USPTO

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Apple lands patent for NFC-ready shopping app, could make impulse spending an iPhone tap away

August 8th, 2012

Apple lands patent for NFC-ready shopping app, could make impulse spending an iPhone tap away

Apple has been filing more than its fair share of NFC-related patents, but it was just granted what could be one of its more important wins at the USPTO. The design for an “on-the-go shopping list” app would help buyers find and pull the trigger on deals through every tool an iPhone has at its disposal, whether it’s taking a snapshot of goods with the camera, punching in the UPC code by hand or tapping an item for an NFC-based “touch scan.” We’ll admit that we’re a bit disappointed at how NFC is used, however. As with an earlier filing, the very short range wireless is kept largely to price comparisons and adding products to a list for a purchase from a store clerk later on, rather than closing the deal outright as we’ve seen with Google Wallet. The original 2008 filing date will also have seen a lot of water flowing under the bridge; there’s no guarantee that any enthusiasm for NFC from the iPhone 3G era will have transferred to the present day. Accordingly, we would be careful about drawing any connections between iOS 6′s Passbook and Apple’s ideas from four years ago — even if Apple has regularly been a never-say-never sort of company.

SOURCE via USPTO

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Is this the upcoming new Xiaomi 2 phone?

August 7th, 2012

Is this the upcoming new Xiaomi 2 phone?

Having seen the next-gen Xiaomi Phone’s more colorful yet rejected designs, we’re rather baffled by these dull-looking certification images of the real deal. According to a filing from the good old TENAA, this new device from Xiaomi goes by the codename “2012051″ and packs WCDMA radio, but that’s pretty much it in terms of specs. Eagle-eyed readers may have already spotted the striking resemblance to the original Xiaomi Phone (aka MI-One Plus), but it appears to be getting an extra front-facing camera and, for some reason, a smaller speaker grill on the back. But wait, there’s more! We dug up two additional models in the China Compulsory Certificate database: there’s the “2012052″ also with WCDMA radio, plus the “2012053″ with CDMA2000/WCDMA dual radio.

Bearing in mind that the current Xiaomi Phone has three variants, our guess is that its successor will follow a similar pattern: the WCDMA flavor may again have a 1.5GHz version followed by a slower and cheaper version (much like what the Youth Edition aka MI-One is to the MI-One Plus); and depending on Xiaomi’s arrangements with China Unicom and China Telecom, the CDMA flavor for the latter may or may not be launched alongside its WCDMA cousin. Let’s hope for the best when this alleged quad-core phone gets announced next Thursday.

SOURCE via TENAA

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Xiaomi Phone 2 may debut on August 16th, packaging will withstand 180kg of weight

August 6th, 2012

Xiaomi Phone 2 may debut on August 16th, packaging will withstand 180kg of weight

Amid rumors that Chinese startup Xiaomi will soon be bringing out its next-gen Android smartphone, various spy shots have been circulating around the web. However, a company representative has already shot them down by claiming they were all rejected designs, though the same person told CNMO that the so-called “Xiaomi Phone 2″ will feature a larger display as well as Qualcomm’s quad-core chip clocked at 1.5GHz. If true, this would make the new Xiaomi Phone officially the first smartphone to pack the beefy APQ8064 silicon, which should be no surprise given the tight partnership between Xiaomi and Qualcomm — not to mention that the latter is also a notable investor of the phone maker.

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Android 4.1 Jelly Bean proven carrying rough but working code for multi-user support

August 6th, 2012

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean proven carrying rough but working code for multi-user support

If there’s ever been a persistent gripe among families sharing mobile devices, it’s been the absence of multiple user profiles — hand that iPad or Nexus 7 to Junior and you may have to play a spot-the-differences game when it comes back. Some long overdue testing of previously found code references in Jelly Bean shows that Google, at least, has explored ending that anxiety over who uses the family gadgets. Command-line code in AOSP-based versions of Android 4.1 will let you create a separate guest profile, complete with its own lock screen security, home screen layout and limited settings. To say that the code is unpolished would be an understatement, however. Apps and even some notifications cross over from the main account, which could prove more than a little embarrassing if the hardware is left in the wrong hands. At least it’s easy to revert back, as the instructions (and video after the break) show. The real challenge will be waiting to see when — or really, if — Google gets to finishing multi-user code and turns that Nexus 7 into the communal tablet we want it to be.

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Microsoft downplays Metro design name, might face a lawsuit over all that street lingo

August 3rd, 2012

Microsoft downplays Metro design name, might face a lawsuit over all that street lingo

If you’ve seen most of Microsoft’s design language for nearly three years, there’s only one word that sums it up: Metro. In spite of that urban look being the underpinning of Windows Phone, Windows 8 and even the Zune HD, Microsoft now claims to ZDNet and others that it’s no longer fond of the Metro badge. Instead, it’s supposedly phasing out the name as part of a “transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog” while it starts shipping related products — a funny statement for a company that’s been shipping some of those products for quite a while. Digging a little deeper, there’s murmurs that the shift might not be voluntary. Both Ars Technica and The Verge hear from unverified sources that German retailer Metro AG might wave its legal guns and forcing Microsoft to quiet down over a potential (if questionable) trademark dispute. Metro AG itself won’t comment other than to say that these are “market rumors,” which doesn’t exactly calm any frayed nerves over in Redmond. Should there be any truth to the story, we hope Microsoft chooses an equally catchy name for those tiles later on; Windows 8-style UI just wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

SOURCE via Ars Technica and The Verge

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ARM claims new GPU has desktop-class brains, requests OpenCL certificate to prove it

August 3rd, 2012

ARM claims new GPU has desktop-class brains, requests OpenCL certificate to prove it

It’s been a while since ARM announced its next generation of Mali GPUs, the T604 and T658, but in the semiconductor business silence should never be confused with inactivity. Behind the scenes, the chip designers have been working with Khronos — that great keeper of open standards — to ensure the new graphics processors are fully compliant with OpenCL and are therefore able to use their silicon for general compute tasks (AR, photo manipulation, video rendering etc.) as well as for producing pretty visuals.

Importantly, ARM isn’t settling for the Embedded Profile version of OpenCL that has been “relaxed” for mobile devices, but is instead aiming for the same Full Profile OpenCL 1.1 found in compliant laptop and desktop GPUs. A tall order for a low-power processor, perhaps, but we have a strong feeling that Khronos’s certification is just a formality at this point, and that today’s news is a harbinger of real, commercial T6xx-powered devices coming before the end of the year. Even the souped-up Mali 400 in the European Galaxy S III can only reign for so long.

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ComScore: Android back above 51 percent of US share, iOS still growing briskly

August 2nd, 2012

ComScore: Android back above 51 percent of US share, iOS still growing briskly

We’re starting to see a distinct shift in US smartphone market share that leaves Android having to share the spotlight. ComScore’s results for this past June have Google hitting a new high of 51.6 percent share, which still gives it something to crow about — that’s both a small increase over a month earlier and a return to the 51 percent mark. However, Android is still competing with an iOS platform that’s been growing at a healthy rate, reaching 32.4 percent of the American space. The fuel for both sides comes from an all too familiar decline in BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows share. Samsung is still in the top spot as far as manufacturers, although it’s shrinking where Apple and HTC are on the way up. We’ll be looking to see how much the Galaxy S III affects the numbers during the summer, but less patient observers can get the manufacturer results after the break and the full scoop on current market share at the source.

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Samsung starts mass-producing 4x faster mobile flash memory, kickstarts our phones and tablets

August 2nd, 2012

Samsung starts mass-producing 4x faster mobile flash memory, kickstarts our phones and tablets

Samsung isn’t content to leave fast NAND flash memory to traditional solid-state drives. Its Pro Class 1500 promises a big jolt to the performance of frequently pokey smartphone and tablet storage. By how much? That name is a clue — it reaches 1,500 IOPS (inputs/outputs per second) when writing data, which along with 3,500 IOPS data reads is about four times faster than any previous embedded flash chip Samsung has tested.

In the real world, that leads to as much as 140MB/s when reading data and 50MB/s for writes. The speed comes after Samsung has thrown virtually every trick in the book at its new chips, including a dense 20-nanometer manufacturing process, quick toggle DDR 2.0 memory with its own controller and a new JEDEC memory standard with 200MB/s of bandwidth to spare.

Samsung hasn’t named customers for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB parts that are rolling out of the factories, although we’d do well to remember that a flourishing phone business doesn’t guarantee that the only major customer is Samsung itself: even in the face of legal challenges, Samsung still has at least one noteworthy client that tends to snap up much of its flash supply.

SOURCE via Samsung

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