3 years ago

Evi is a Siri 'competitor' for Android -- if you like slow, non-answers


We've talked before about what it takes for an app to truly be a competitor to Apple's Siri. 

  1. It needs to be easily accessible, and launch quickly. Very quickly.
  2. It needs to actually understand what you're saying.
  3. It needs to return results quickly.

We're going to add one more reqiurement to that list: It needs to actually be on iOS. Otherwise, it's not a Siri competitor. It's just an alternative. On another platform.

Anyhoo. That brings us to Evi, the latest app to attempt Siri-like functionality on Android. That is, you ask it a question or give it a command, and it responds with audio and text. Maybe.

Evi's user interface isn't too shabby. Clean lines and all that, and you've got a nice, prominent microphone button, so you know what to hit. You don't get the same home button metaphor that you do with Siri on the iPhone, but then again most Android smartphones don't have dedicated home buttons. That's not a big ding, just noticeable. Evi uses Google's voice-to-whatever UI and is powered by Nuance, so that looks familiar, and it's quick enough in listening to what you're saying.

But that's when things pretty much go off the rails. In even just our handful of tests, Siri was much quicker at returning results. It's pretty obvious for some things, Siri already knows the answer -- it's looking them up in the background. Evi needs a minute, though typing your question may speed things up a tad -- but that kind of defeates the purpose here.

And once again we see diametric differences in the presentation of results. Siri is simple, both in audio and visual answers. Evi's voice is decidedly robotic, and the answers are too long -- almost engineerish. Oh, and telling me to go look up the weather myself? That's really not acceptable. On the other hand, you get to give each answer a thumbs up or thumbs down. Guess which one I've been using more. 

Does Evi have Siri-like functionality? Sure. Is it a Siri "competitor?" No. It's just not as good -- and it's not on the iPhone, therefore it can't directly compete. (Update: Ah, it's on iOS, too.)

Check out our video walkthrough after the break. And note that we're not dinging Evi too badly for having server problems. When you're a new app that gets a bunch of attention in a short amount of time, this can happen, we suppose. But that doesn't mean we're willing to put up with it for very long. After all -- if your app doesn't work, it doesn't work.

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3 years ago

Sony unveils new CMOS sensors for smartphones


Sony's Exmor R image sensors have been a stand-out feature for many of the past year's Sony Ericsson phone cameras. Moving forward, the electronics giant looks set to introduce even more impressive capabilities in future devices, with today's announcement of new image sensors for smartphones.

Today Sony took the wraps off new CMOS image sensors for smartphones with white pixels in addition to the usual red, green and blue detectors. The new tech is designed to improve low-light performance, something which Sony, as well as rivals like HTC, have been focusing on in their high-end smartphones over the past year. Sony also says that this new "RGBW coding" allows them to introduce HDR video capabilities in its smartphone cameras, meaning more detail is captured in very light and very dark areas in the same shot.

Samples of the new sensors are due to ship from March, meaning it'll probably be later in the year before we'll see them in products you can actually buy. Sony's new Xperia S and Xperia Ion, which are due in March and Q2 respectively, feature earlier model Exmor R sensors at 12MP.

Source: Sony

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3 years ago

Dolphin Browser releases Skitch and Evernote add-ons


The folks at Dolphin Browser, one of the most popular third party browsers for Android devices, have unveiled two new add-ons today -- Skitch and Evernote.  Both integrate seamlessly with the Dolphin Browser app, and look to be simple and elegant.  We love simple, especially when paired with elegant.  Using them is easy enough -- when you come across a page you'd like to share you just tap the icon in the Dolphin Browser sidebar (Skitch is a big pink heart, and Evernote is the elephant profile we all know and love) to send it to the correct app.  You can either grab the screen and annotate before you share it with Skitch, or clip a block of text to send to Evernote.  If you don't have the app itself installed, Dolphin will direct you to download it and get signed up.

The developers at Dolphin promise us a whole slew of great add-ons in 2012, and they're off to a great start with these two.  When something looks and runs well, and is useful, we're all for it.  Keep up the good work fellows!  We've got links to the Market for both add-ons below, check 'em out.

Source: Dolphin Browser

Download the Evernote add-on

Download the Skitch add-on

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3 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Keep Calm and Get It On


Not a whole lot to say about this play on the old British morale booster, which dates back to World War II. Frankly, we tend to enjoy this version just a little more. War sucks.

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3 years ago

ICS-based MIUI 4 ROM available for Galaxy S II


Two months after the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code dropped, we're starting to see more exotic custom ROMs appearing for popular devices like the Samsung Galaxy S II. One such ROM comes from XDA's adyscorpius, and brings MIUI 4.0 and Ice Cream Sandwich to the Galaxy S II. MIUI 4.0 Fresh includes most of the features that you'll need to use this thing as your daily driver, if you're into the look and feel of MIUI.

The current version 2.1 features full 8MP camera support, as well as external SD support, so you shouldn't need to sacrifice any of your device's basic functionality in order to enjoy the unique ICS/MIUI combo. For download links and a full feature list, check the source link.

Source: XDA

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3 years ago

Verizon sees record revenue in Q4 2011, adds 1.5 million subscribers


If you see a Verizon executive walking around today whistling a happy tune, it's because the company's fourth-quarter 2011 earnings were just announced. Big Red recorded a 7.7 percent increase in revenue compared to Q4 2010, for its wireless (as in mobile) and wired (mainly FiOS) combined.

On the wireless side, Verizon saw $18.3 billion in total revenue, up 13 percent year over year. Data revenue was up 19.2 percent to $6.3 billion, and Verizon saw 1.5 million (net) new subscribers, its largest increase in three years. The vast majority of those new subscribers -- 1.3 million -- are of the traditional postpaid variety. Verizon now has 108.7 million total "connections," the company reported, 6.3 percent higher than Q4 2010.

Smartphones make up 44 percent of Verizon's customer base, compared to 39 percent for for the final three months of 2010. It didn't break down how many are Android, and how many are iPhone.

Source: Verizon (pdf)

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3 years ago

New 'Experiments' Gmail feature discovered in Android 4.0.3


The Android 4.0.3 update for the Asus Transformer Prime brought with it some improvements to the Google Apps. However small any changes may be, nestled among them the Gmail application has received an interesting new feature menu known as "Experiments."

Experiments at the moment consists of a couple of new features which are probably not quite ready for the prime-time. 

The first of these, enables full text search. Pretty straight forward this one, but still pretty useful. It allows you to index an entire message to search for keywords. 

The second may not be immediately obvious as to its function. The contact chip is bascially the name entered into the To, Cc, and Bcc fields when composing a new message. Enabling this function allows you to long press on one of these contact chips, and simply drag and drop to another box. 

At the moment, the updated Gmail app is rolling out with Android 4.0.3. But, enter the Android community, as the apk has been extracted from the Prime and is working just fine on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It has been tried on Honeycomb, but ran into some nasty force close issues meaning this is purely for Ice Cream Sandwich guys. 

If you're keen to try it out for yourselves, hit the source link where you'll find a handy download.

Sources: Computer WorldAndroid Police

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3 years ago

AC Asks: Are you using Google Currents?


Google Currents is closing in on being two months old. Initial growth has seemed pretty impressive -- we've got around 178,000 subscribers -- but how much are you folks actually using it? We'll share some numbers here shortly. But for now, let's hear it. Are you using Google Currents? And if so, how often? And if you're looking to give it a shot, hit our subscribe link below.

Subscribe on Google Currents: Android Central; iMore; Mobile Nations

Are you using Google Currents?

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3 years ago

Google Music updated in Android Market, fixes bugs in shuffling songs and multiple accounts


Google Music has been updated to version 4.1.512, bringing fixes to shuffle mode and fixes for folks using multiple Google accounts.  The update looks to be across the board for all devices running Android 2.2 or higher, so be sure to check and see if your copy is up-to-date.  We love Google Music around here, and on devices without removable storage it's a life saver.  Hit the break for the download link if you haven't given it a try yet.

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3 years ago

Droid RAZR now available in purple from Verizon Wireless



If you don't fancy the Motorola Droid RAZR in white or black and have been holding out for it to arrive in purple, your wait is now over. The purple Droid RAZR that got announced alongside the Droid RAZR MAXX at CES 2012 is now available from Verizon Wireless. There is no difference in pricing for the device so; you're looking at $200 with a new two-year agreement or $600 with no contract at all. Want one? Hit the source link below.

Source: Verizon; Thanks, @Pilotboy!

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3 years ago

Nexus rant, Kindle Fire worth rooting? [From the Forums]


Another week has kicked off here at Android Central and we're already rolling with a great start. If you managed to miss out on anything from this weekend, get your self caught up and don't be shy to stop by the Android Central forums and get in on the action in there:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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3 years ago

Notion Ink partners with Texas Instruments for its next-generation Adam II Tablets


The folks from Notion Ink are once again getting their name out there. After having released an Alpha build of ICS for their original Adam series tablet, they teased a new upcoming device briefly but skimped out on the majority of the details at that time. They've now revealed one of their partners via their blog:

Notion Ink has partnered with Texas Instruments (TI) Incorporated for its next generation Adam II Tablets. Adam II will be using OMAP44xx processor along with other TI components like Wi-Link 7.0 and Phoenix Audio Power Amplifiers. Adam II will also leverage the power optimizations achieved using mature combination of TI’s integrated power-management IC.

Notion Ink is looking to make use of the Texas Instruments OMAP44xx processor to help keep things nice and fluid in the UI, allow for better multi-tasking and handle power consumption better. It'll be interesting to see what they present this time around, but there has been no mention of when they plan to show off things further. Vaporware all over again?

Source: Notion Ink

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3 years ago

European LG Optimus Black Gingerbread update rolling out now


It's been a long time coming, but European owners of the LG Optimus Black should finally be starting to see some Gingerbread. Optimus Blackl owners in India also should be seeing this update.

We first heard about the updates for the Optimus range way back in October, and now it's the turn of the Black to be pushed up to Gingerbread. The 2.3.4 update is rolling out as version V20N. 

New features touted include improved power management, support for new media formats, shortcuts, widgets, better auto-focus on the camera and Google+ pre-installed. 

The update is reported to be available currently via LG's software update tool right now. It still hurts a little that updates to Gingerbread are still rolling out, but LG has made no secret of its ICS plans.

Sources: AndroidOS.in; HDBlog.it; thanks to everone who sent this in

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3 years ago

Google+ now allowing the use of nicknames and other established identities


A longstanding bone of contention when registering for a Google+ profile was that you were required to use your actual name. Google had gone so far as to delete entire accounts based on psuedonyms. But Google has finally decided to allow for these nicknames and other established identities to be used on Google+, which is definitely a huge plus for folks out there who have built themselves around the alternative identity. While they will still be watching over the nicknames, and have restrictions put in place, this is definitely a huge step in the right direction. 

Source: Google+ Names Policy; via: +Bradley Horowitz

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Transportation


We're back for the second weekly Android Central photo contest, and this week's theme is transportation.  Anything that you use to get from point A to point B is fair game (see our example photo above), and we're looking forward to seeing another round of great pictures from you guys and gals.  Come Sunday, we'll pick the cream of the crop and show them all off (check out last week's finalists, they're amazing) -- and the winner this week get's an extended battery from ShopAndroid.com for his or her phone so they can carry a bit of extra juice and take a few more pictures.  We've also adjusted the rules a little, so read the next bit carefully:

  • Pictures must be taken with an Android device.  Yes, your iPhone or DSLR takes great pictures, but we're all about Android here.
  • Only one picture per person.  If you send in more than one, even if it's the best one, you're disqualified.
  • Entries must be accompanied by the name of the phone (or tablet) used to take them, and the name you want used for photo credit should you make the final cut. In other words, we want to know which phone you used!
  • Photos must be sent as an attachement.  With so many entries, we just don't have time to visit your Picasa or Flickr album.

Pick out your best photo, and send it to pics@androidcentral.com.  Good luck to everyone!

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