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4 years ago

Is Google developing a Voice Action remote for Google TV?

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Google may be developing a voice activated remote for Google TV devices, if we're to believe the rumors around the Internet today. Last year Google filed for a patent with the USPTO for a new remote and/or Android application that uses Google's cloud assisted voice recognition technology to navigate through the menus on your Google TV. Of course, everyone is comparing it to Siri, but Google has been working on this technology since they were first to market with Voice Actions in August of 2010.  

According to the filings, users will be able to speak into their Android smartphone or dedicated Google TV remote, transmit their speech to Google's servers to be analyzed, then the correct intent will be sent back through the network to the GTV unit.  There's also indications here to allow the process to work up to a quarter-mile away, so we can tell our television to be on and have Wheel of Fortune playing when we walk in the door. From the patent filing:

the provision of the query to the television may occur when the user is within a set distance of his home also (e.g., by determining with GPS functionality on the smartphone that he is within 1/4 mile of the home), and the television may be turned on automatically as he approaches the home, with the television tuned to a channel that is determined to be most relevant to the query

Add in additional uses like music controls and application commands, and you'll have a full featured voice remote.

Using your Android phone as a remote for Google TV is something we expect from the people in Mountain View. Tying the two together is natural, and we've already seen an Android app remote that uses voice input, and it works well. Having Google take this further can only mean good things for anyone who's interested in talking back to their television. Hopefully, we see something more about this in the near future -- I'm ready for it.

Source: Patently Apple

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4 years ago

Chrome boss suggests full-screen browsing and desktop view coming to Chrome on Android

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Google released the first beta version of Chrome for Android a couple of weeks ago, giving Android 4.0 phone and tablet owners the chance to try out the new mobile version of its web browser. Today Google's senior vice president of Chrome, Sundar Pichai, gave the first hints about which features to expect in upcoming releases, in an interview with CNET.

Answering a question on consumer reaction to Chrome for Android, Pichai said that two features in particular had been frequently requested -- full-screen browsing and a "request desktop page" option. Both features are present in the stock ICS browser, but neither is available in the current Chrome beta, but Pichai seems to indicate that may change in the future -- "both fully make sense", he says, but "we just want to do them correctly and well."

Of course, there've also been a few complaints about the lack of Flash support in Chrome for Android. On that subject, the king of Chrome says that the fate of Flash has already been decided by Adobe -- "following their road map, [Adobe] clearly said they'll not support Flash for mobile in the future."

Elsewhere in the interview, Pichai restates Google's commitments to Chrome OS and Chromebooks, despite continuing suggestions that Google's second OS should instead be rolled into a future Android release. He says, "we got a lot of positive feedback, and we are really looking forward to the next generation of Chromebooks."

Source: CNET

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4 years ago

Sony Google TV rooted to allow unsigned kernels, no soldering required

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The folks over at GTV Hacker have released a root exploit for Sony Google TVs.  The NSZ-GT1 Eagle (that's the Blu-ray player) and the Asura stand alone TVs can use this method, requiring only some software modifications and a little wizardry with the remote -- no soldering or other hardware modification is needed. Devices running the latest 3.2 Honeycomb firmware are required, and the detailed instructions will have you running a custom kernel that brings a number of new features:

  • Modified flash plugin with random per box flash string for Content Provider Bypass.
  • Crippled update feature to prevent box from receiving automatic updates.
  • Completely RW system, cache, and rootfs partitions
  • Full ADB Root
  • Removed signature checks on kernel / init scripts / init binary
  • A few other surprises.
  • BETA: Enable NTFS Support for Sony Google TV devices

In layman's terms, this means that your GTV is rooted with full write permissions to the file system, won't auto-update and break things, uses a desktop identity for site that use flash to play streaming video (like Hulu), and has some sort of surprises for us. We like surprises.

As mentioned, the process doesn't require any hardware modification. That doesn't mean it's easy, and the instructions look like this is something you'll want to carefully read. You'll be downgrading the software and exploiting it via some image files you burn to four individual USB thumb drives. Once complete, you'll be able to boot your GTV normally and the thumb drives are no longer required. Of course, any warranty is gone the minute you start doing these sorts of shenanigans, so keep that in mind. If you're the curious type, head to the source link and have a look. 

Source: GTV Hacker

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia S gets unboxed in Malaysia, release expected in March

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The time draws ever nearer to the launch of the first Sony branded phone, the Xperia S. In Europe we expect to see it both on and off contract for sale by mid-March. But what about the rest of the world? Well, the guys over at SoyaCincau in Malaysia have got their hands on a review unit of the white version of the Xperia S. Like Europe, Malaysia are expecting the release of the device in March, albeit without any indication of when in March as yet. 

They've put together an unboxing video for everyone to see. OK, so unboxings aren't the most interesting things to watch. But the SoyaCincau guys have put together a two-part, detailed look at the retail version of the device. All that remains now is to actually get the Xperia S into hands. It is a feast of specs, it has the looks, and that screen. Well, that screen looks amazing.

Check out both videos -- complete with demo fail -- after the break. 

Source: SoyaCincau thanks Hadip!

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4 years ago

Leaked promo videos reveal more of Sony's new 'UXP NXT'

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As we approach the launch of the Sony Xperia S, we're starting to see more details of how Sony has refined its software experience for its new flagship product. Two videos leaked today over on XperiaBlog show that much of the user interface -- dubbed UXP NXT -- has been given a lick of paint. The gallery, music player and TimeScape features in particular being dramatically changed, with plenty of animations and 3D effects throughout. Underneath all the visual finery, though, the Xperia S still runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, although an ICS update is expected shortly after launch.

The Xperia S is due to launch in Europe from early March. In the U.S., AT&T will carry the Xperia Ion, a device closely based on the Xperia S, but with a larger 4.7-inch display.

We're expecting to see more of the Xperia S, along with rumored devices including the Xperia P and Xperia U, at Sony's Mobile World Congress press conference in just under a week.

We've got both videos after the break.

Source: XperiaBlog

More: Hands-on with the Sony Xperia S

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4 years ago

Able Remote [GoogleTV app review]

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I'm turning into a Google TV junkie.  I freely admit it, have no shame in saying it, and am having a ton of fun while it happens. I thought things couldn't get better, until I stumbled across Able Remote in the Android Market. It's a simple concept, and one we've seen before direct from Google -- use your Android smartphone as a remote to control your Google TV. Where the official Google TV remote app begins, Able Remote grabs the reigns and pushes things further in a way that's intuitive, full featured, and a mix of geeky and fun. Yeah, I never thought I'd use the word fun to describe a remote control, either. But it fits.

All the basic features you would want and expect are there. You can search, control playback of video (and your DVR if you're so equipped), enter text and control the pointer and all the other functions you need and want to control your GTV, both as a television as well as an Android-powered funbox that happens to sit in your living room. Setup is a breeze, you simply install the Able Remote app on either your phone or your GTV and fire it up. If you installed it on your phone, firing it up will give you a button to click and install it directly to your GTV from the Market. If you installed it on your Google Television, you scan a giant QR code to install it on your phone. There is no guesswork, and nothing to screw up. Trust me, I tried. So far, everything looks good.  Fully functional, foolproof control of your GTV from your phone. Then it gets cool.

A quick trip into the settings and you'll see something that immediately catches your eye -- a setting to forward notifications from your phone to your Google TV. You have to enable Able Remote as an accessibility service (again, click and you're directed right to the correct place to do so), then restart the app and when a notification comes in while you're using it, it pushes right to your television. On paper, this sounds annoying. Especially if you get a lot of messages. But the first time you watch a movie while you're supposed to be working, and instead of having to pull your phone out of your pocket to see what's up, you get a small unobtrusive pop up near the bottom of the screen. From there, you can decide if you need to answer, of just ignore it until your show is over.  I recommend the latter -- life is short.

If that weren't good enough, the folks at Entertailion have built voice control into the app. Yes, voice control. Change channel by name or number if you're watching TV, start an application by saying "app Google Music" or "app Netflix", search by keyword and even run macros you've set up if you buy the $0.99 premium version. Add in the ability to forward photos and video from the gallery on your phone to your television, and push a website from phone to TV, and you have a real winner here. Able Remote is more than just an app -- it ties your Android phone and Google TV together to make an entertainment ecosystem. Grab it for free in the Market, you'll be glad you did.  Download links, a video, and screenshots are after the break. 

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4 years ago

Prada phone by LG 3.0 launches on T-Mobile UK

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It's been available off-contract for a while, but now T-Mobile UK has launched the awkwardly-named Prada phone by LG 3.0 at subsidized prices. The Prada phone, which we first saw at its launch party in late December, features mid to high-end LG internals and a Prada-designed chassis and user interface.

Tmo UK is offering the phone for free on its 24-month, £36-per-month "Full Monty" contract, which includes unlimited texts, unlimited data and 2000 minutes. If you want to spend a little less, it's also available on a number of £31-per-month deals with unlimited texts, data allowances between 100 and 1500MB, and 300-900 minutes.

Source: T-Mobile UK

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4 years ago

Monday Brief: BlackBerry 10 OS images, Microsoft's rumored new music service, and more!

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4 years ago

Barnes and Noble look reportedly set to release an 8GB Nook Tablet

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The world of the E-Reader/Budget Android tablet is a battleground between Barnes and Noble and Amazon. The Nook Tablet is an excellent device with one key drawback. It costs $50 more than the Amazon Kindle Fire. The battle looks set to ignite once more though as there are apparent plans in place to launch an 8GB variant of the Nook Tablet. 

According to documents obtained by The Verge, Walmart will be launching this device at 12.01am, on Wednesday Feb. 22. The key in all this is with that reduced on-board storage, should come a reduced price. The 16GB Nook is priced at $249, so realistically we would expect an 8GB version to be priced similarly to the Kindle Fire. Wednesday isn't that far away, so we don't have too long to wait to find out.

Source: The Verge

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4 years ago

Motorola Motoluxe now available in the UK, £234 off contract

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True to their word, the Motorola Motoluxe has arrived on schedule and is available to purchase today in the UK. Retailer Clove Technology has received their first stocks of the device a day earlier than expected, and are offering up a new Motoluxe for £234 ($371).

The mid-range Motoluxe brings along Android 2.3.7 for the ride, with a 4-inch screen, a modest 800MHz processor, and the new version of Philblur Motoblur known as the Motorola MotoSwitch UI (in Europe at least.) It's a solid enough device, as we found out back at CES in January -- it won't blow you away, but could be a winner in some European and emerging markets.

Souce: Clove Technology

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4 years ago

Latest Xperia U (ST25i) leak shows 2012 Xperia family portrait

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The latest images of the already extensively-leaked Sony Xperia U show a comparison with its big brother, the Xperia S. The Xperia U -- also known by its model number, ST25i, or its codename, 'Kumquat' -- is expected to be Sony's principal mid-range smartphone for 2012. Today's images mostly confirm what we already know -- that the Xperia U will share a number of design cues with the Xperia S, most notably the transparent notification bar at the bottom of the device.

Spec-wise, the Xperia U is rumored to pack a 1GHz dual-core CPU, a 3.5-inch qHD or WVGA display and 512MB of RAM, with a 5MP rear camera. Like the Xperia S, it'll run Android 2.3 Gingerbread with the latest Xperia UI, and we'd expect a bump up to Android 4.0 soon after release.

We're expecting to see the Xperia U unveiled at Sony's Mobile World Congress press conference next Sunday in Barcelona. In the meantime, you can find more photos after the jump.

Source: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

Contest Winners: ShopAndroid Daily winners and My Backup Pro!

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up shortly. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to this week's winners!

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4 years ago

Sky Go now available on selected devices in the UK

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As expected, British satellite broadcaster Sky has launched its Sky Go app for Android, allowing owners of some Android handsets to view a selection of Sky's on-demand TV offerings.

Right now, the list of officially-supported devices limits Sky Go to a handful of phones, namely HTC's Desire, Desire S, Desire HD, Incredible S and Sensation, and Samsung' Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. However, we also noticed that the Android Market showed it as compatible with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, so you may want to double-check the Market even if your phone isn't listed.

It's also worth noting that the app doesn't support Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), so if you're running ICS-based software, even on an officially-supported device, you're out of luck. Equally, if you're rooted, you'll be denied access. And Android tablet support is missing from this initial release, though Sky has made vague noises about considering adding this in the future.

The rooting issue is a contentious one -- Google's own video rental service, for example, continues to be inaccessible from rooted devices -- however, we hope to see broader support for Android 3.x and 4.x from Sky in the future.

We've got Android Market linkage and a QR code for you after the break.

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4 years ago

What the L is LG Mobile teasing on Facebook?

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LG Mobile already has confirmed a couple of new phones coming next week to Mobile World Congress. There's the Optimus Vu -- a 5-inch, 4:3 behemouth -- and the just-announced Optimus LTE Tag, which a lower-spec'd version of the Optimus LTE, with near-field communication thrown in for good measure.

But LG Mobile on its Facebook page also has been teasing some sort of other campaign. It's fairly cryptic -- the only real clues have to do with a bunch of tag lines accented with capital-letter Ls in all the words. "GenuineLy Compassionate." Esteemed VaLue." Perfection with DetaiLs." TimeLess FuLfiLLment." And that's just the latest teaser.

Today's post says that "Tomorrow, we'LL teLL you what aLL the L has been about!" There are fourt other teasers which include YouTube videos of "A River Runs Through It," chinese architecture, the "Bicentennial Man" trailer and an interview with Audrey Hepburn.

We've got no idea if this means yet another piece of new hardware is on the way, or if it's some sort of new marketing scheme or core values from LG. (My gut's telling me it's the latter.) Guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Source: LG Mobile on Facebook

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4 years ago

LG unveils Optimus LTE Tag - mid-range 4G + NFC for Korea

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LG has announced a new handset for South Korea based on its popular Optimus LTE line -- The Optimus LTE Tag, a trimmed-down version of the original with NFC connectivity.

The Optimus LTE Tag is a 4.3-inch, device with a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and a WVGA (480x800) IPS display. As well as the obvious 4G LTE and NFC connectivity, the phone also sports a 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facer. On the software side, you get Android 2.3 Gingerbread with LG's Optimus UI, and the promise of an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich in the future. The specs are a step down from what's inside the original Optimus LTE, though LG has made up for this by packing the LTE Tag's guts into a slimmer chassis.

The manufacturer is keen to point out the potential practical uses for NFC, besides just being a bullet point on the back of the box. It's developed a technology it's calling LG Tag+, which allows customers to use NFC tags to automatically change the phone's behavior when in a certain location. For example, you might want to enter car dock mode, or start up a navigation app when it's in your car. Sure, there are apps on the Android Market that allow you to do things like this on any Android phone with NFC, but it is pretty cool to see this being offered straight out of the box.

Currently the Optimus LTE Tag has been announced for Korea only, however it's likely we'll see the LG Tag+ tech included in future NFC-enabled handsets from the manufacturer in other territories, too.

We've got today's press release, and the full spec list, after the break.

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