Face-to-face voice and text translation across multiple languages
We're at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas and while a lot of business and back-end technologies are being talked about here, companies like the Japanese carrier NTT Docomo are showing off at least a couple of consumer-facing products. Its recently announced "Translator Phone" service was on display today and we had a moment to see how it all worked. The app and service, which will be pre-loaded on nearly every one of its devices going forward, gives near real-time voice and text translation between English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and several other languages.
The UI is extremely simple, and all you have to do is select which two languages you'd like to have a translated conversation between. The app then has two buttons -- for example English and Japanese -- that you tap, speak to and receive a translation. Voice is nearly instantly transcribed into text, translated into the text of the other language, then also read aloud in that language. You can then hold the phone to the native speaker of the other language, where they can read the text and give their response for you to read. The translations come through in a threaded conversation view, and any of the translations can be read aloud or re-transcribed at any time.
NTT Docomo is also working with this same technology to provide nearly real-time translation over phone calls, but it is only working in a limited capacity with English, Japanese and Chinese with about a 2 second delay when translating. The hope is to eventually provide seamless translation between languages while on phone calls one day. Be sure to watch the video above of the service in action.
It's my pleasure to announce that I'll be joining Jason Howell, Ron Richards and Gina Trapani tonight on TWiT's "All About Android" show to talk about the new Xbox One. Wait. That's not right. We'll be talking Android. All about Android. But maybe a little bit about the Xbox One. And a lot about last week's Google I/O, and maybe a bit about CTIA this week.
The show should kick off somewhere around 5 p.m. PDT -- that's 8 p.m. on the East Coast -- but things are a little bit in flux due to today's live Xbox One coverage. So check in to live.twit.tv and show 'em what the Android Central fan base can do, won'tcha?
See y'all this evening!
15 hours ago
Galaxy S4 'Google Edition' to be U.S.-only at launch
The Nexus experience device won't be available outside the US at launch, sources tell CNET
It appears that folks around the world are going to have to wait to not order their very own Google Edition Samsung Galaxy S4, as CNET says Google has confirmed the launch to be US-only. The device, which was unveiled during the Google I/O 2013 keynote presentation, is the same Galaxy S4 you all know and love, but without Samsung's Touchwiz software -- or it's features. Instead the device has the same "Nexus user experience" that Google's own Nexus 4 delivers. The version shown at the I/O keynote will be penta-band HSPA+ and LTE, and will be completely compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile in the US.
It was a bold, if strange, move by the two companies, and nobody is quite sure why either side wanted it to happen. Around these parts, we still think you're better served buying the "non-Google" version and doing a little software hackery if you just have to have Google Android instead of Samsung Android, allowing for an easy path back should you want or need all the features the hardware can deliver.
There was no word on when to expect the device to be sold in other countries, but we imagine Samsung and Google both want to make it available and will work out the logistics and details as fast as they can.
Available from June, no pricing details available yet
Following T-Mobile's announcement yesterday, Sprint-based MVNOs Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile have confirmed that they'll offer a 4G LTE-capable Galaxy S3 from next month. The device will run on Sprint's 4G LTE network, which will be available to Virgin and Boost customers in some 88 markets.
Pricing for the phone itself remains up in the air, but you'll get the usual range of price plan options from Boost and Virgin. On the Boost Mobile side, you've got the Android Monthly plan with shrinking payments, starting at $55 per month, going down to $40 in $5 increments. That gets you unlimited calls, texts and web use. With Virgin Mobile, you've got monthly no-contract plans starting at $35 per month, which give you unlimited messaging and data.
Besides the changes in availability and price, this device is essentially the same Sprint Galaxy S3 we've gotten to know over the past year -- 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 720p SuperAMOLED display and 8-megapixel rear camera. On the software side, you've got TouchWiz'd Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box.
We're ready to go on the official first day of CTIA 2013, and the events kick off with the first of three keynote sessions. It is set to run from 9am to 11am PT, with several industry leaders expected to speak.
Two ruggedized mid-range devices destined for Sprint, Boost and U.S. Cellular
Making their appearance as successors to the original Kyocera Hydro, the Hydro EDGE and Hydro XTRM have been unveiled here at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas. Doing what Kyocera does best, the latest two iterations in the Hydro family are mid-range devices that pack a solid feature set with the added bonus of water, shock and dustproofing. First up is the EDGE, which is only officially rated as being waterproof but still sports what feels like a solid case, destined for both Sprint and Boost Mobile. The XTRM (as the name would suggest) is officially certified as resistant to not only water, but also shocks, drops and dust and will arrive instead on U.S. Cellular.
Both devices are decidedly mid-range, with 4-inch WVGA displays, 5MP cameras and dual-core Snapdragon processors. Stick around after the break where we have a bit more information, as well as some hands-on pictures and video to get a better feel for both of these new devices.
Just a quick heads up that LG has confirmed that its May 30 event in Macau, China, indeed is for the Optimus G Pro, as we originally suspected, and not a successor to the smaller Optimus G. That makes more sense from a release-cycle standpoint, as the Optimus G is all of eight months old at this point.
In the United States, the Optimus G Pro is currently (and exclusively) available on AT&T.
6.3-inch Galaxy Mega to go on sale at UK retailer in July for £459.99
If the likes of the recent 5-inch devices, or the Galaxy Note 2 just aren't quite big enough for you, then you may be interested in the Samsung Galaxy Mega. A colossal 6.3-inch smartphone, the Mega was announced back in April for launch in Europe and Russia sometime in May. We're now seeing the first signs of UK availability for this monstrous device, and it can be yours in July, though the exact date is still unknown.
Retailer Clove Technology has started taking pre-orders for the Mega, and for £459.99 you get the 16GB version in either black or white. Other notable specs on the device include Android 4.2.2 and Samsung's latest version of Touchwiz, a 1.7GHz dual-core CPU, a HD display, LTE, an 8MP rear camera, 1.5GB of RAM and a pretty sizeable 3200 mAh battery. You may also need large hands to use one.
Get all your pre-order information at the link below, and if you're thinking of picking one of these up, do please tell us in the comments below.
i500 LTE modem gains support for 150Mbps LTE with software update
At CTIA in Las Vegas, chipmaker NVIDIA has taken the opportunity to showcase the LTE capabilities of its upcoming Tegra 4i SoC, its mobile processor designed for mainstream smartphones. Announced back in February, Tegra 4i includes an integrated NVIDIA i500 LTE modem -- the new "soft modem" that can be reprogrammed over-the-air.
The CTIA demo we sat through saw Tegra 4i bumped from Cat 3 LTE (100Mbps) up to Cat 4 (150Mbps) with only a software update. In testing, the NVIDIA Phoenix reference phone was used in conjunction with an LTE testing unit designed to emulate a Cat 4 network. So we're not dealing with real-world radio conditions here, but it does show the potential of NVIDIA's new software-defined radios, as new hardware would usually be required for a jump between radio standards.
For what it's worth, we also watched Phoenix dutifully connected to AT&T's LTE network, which it was able to use to stream video and make voice calls, though the latter bumps down to 3G because no U.S. carrier has turned on Voice Over LTE yet.
There's still no sign of any consumer devices running Tegra 4i -- these aren't expected until early 2014. And real-world Cat 4 LTE networks are essentially non-existent at this point. Nevertheless, NVIDIA is ready, as is its programmable LTE modem.