Tag: Android

Here comes a smarter watch than Apple’s

iType SmartwatchThe iType Smartwatch has an intelligent, extremely fast keyboard interface in a wrist-worn device. With iType, you not only receive messages, but most importantly, can type a response and run any Android app directly from your wrist. Kickstarter and Pepcom’s Mobile Focus served as its launching platforms with Ryan Ghassabian showing off the working product, writes Darleen Hartley.

Historically, the developing company, SnapKeys, invented state-of-the-art keyboards with a unique approach only to discover that QWERTY ruled the typing world. Through its subsidiary, Type Time, SnapKeys is taking its avant garde techniques to the mobile arena using that QWERTY design. It should prove disruptive.

Consider what one reviewer said of competitor Apple’s move into the smartwatch field: “The Apple Watch was a first generation product with bugs, quirks and confusions.” Look out Siri, there’s a better way. Even a whispered message isn’t as private as one that can be typed. No longer do you have to depend on voice recognition that doesn’t always recognise what you want to say. iType displays your developing message clearly on the watch face before you transmit it.

Six large buttons represent the three key rows of the familiar right and left hand QWERTY board. A few taps on the intuitive watch face quickly develops sentences ready for transmission. Other easy operations will make this strapped on device a must have. Simply pressing a button brings up a camera immediately ready to capture any unexpected, transient image.

Time counts and the fast, predictive app that drives the keyboard is a technique to be reckoned with, all on an Android device. If Apple wants to go head to head with iType’s keying capabilities, the industry headlines may be filled with court cases yet again, since all SnapKeys’ technologies are protected by a significant number of globally filed patents.

IType operates with both Wi-Fi and SIM cards. It lets you choose from all the apps available on Google Play. Surf the net, check your health stats, use GPS to find that new restaurant, mark a special date on your calendar, answer phone calls, and even listen to music via the device on your wrist. You can leave those other cumbersome devices at home.

Technology is inclusive: a dual core A7 processor, Android 4.4, a high-resolution 240 x 240 color display, 1G RAM, 8G ROM, Wi-Fi, GSM and WCDMA phone, camera, mic and speaker, Bluetooth, water resistant, all delivered in seven principal languages. Put that smartphone back in your pocket or purse. Conveniently carry the only, always at hand … uh, wrist … device you need.

Want one? Until June 11 on Kickstarter, the early bird price is only $184 USD. Once the $100,000 project is fully funded, the price will be $235, one hundred clams less than the cheapest version of Apple Watch.

Check iType out on Kickstarter.

Smartphone app detects snoring

Tudor Manor in Great Snoring, NorfolkMost people snore from time to time, but it can be a cause for domestic friction and can also affect your health.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Washington claim to have developed a smartphone app to test sleep apnea – that’s snoring to you and me – in your own bedroom.

The app uses inaudible sound waves from the phone’s speakers to track breathing patterns without the need for sensors or special equipment, the researchers claim.

The team said it conducted a clinical study that showed the app recorded snoring as accurately as a hospital test for 98 percent of the time.

The medicos said that untreated snoring can cause people to be at higher risk for dangerous diseases including strokes, heart problems, depression and diabetes.

The app – called ApneaApp – turns Android smartphones into a sonar system that will record minute changes in peoples’ breathing by sending out inaudible sound waves that bounce off your body and then are picked up by the microphone.

The researchers tested 37 people at Harborview Medical Center by putting a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone on a bed overnight.

The results, they said, showed 32 out of 37 patients were correctly classified as having no, mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea.

Microsoft tightens hold on Android

vader-chokeSoftware giant Microsoft has tightened its ligature on the throat of Android by making a deal with Qisda.

For those who came in late, Microsoft makes a huge pile of money from Android by owning some of the key patents behind the operating system.

If a phone maker issues an Android phone, it has to pay Microsoft for some of its patented technology. This is a big percentage, some say that a couple of bucks from the sale price will go to the Redmond Volehill.

Now Microsoft has increased its number of patent licensing agreements, by signing a deal with Qisda.

The deal is a worldwide patent licensing agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for an array of Qisda and BenQ devices, including smartphones and tablets, running the Android and Chrome operating systems.

Nick Psyhogeos, vice president and executive director of Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC said in a statement that the agreement demonstrates the power of licensing to accelerate innovation.

“It will provide Qisda with greater patent protection as it brings new devices to market. With this agreement, Microsoft has now entered into patent licensing collaboration agreements with nearly all the top Taiwanese original device manufacturers (ODMs). We are pleased that companies around the world continue to see the value of our patent portfolio, and view mutual respect for patents as an important element of building broader business partnerships”.

In other words Qisda has paid money to Microsoft to go away and will give Vole shedloads of cash if its product is successful. How that helps Qisda’s innovation we are uncertain.

The rationale seems to be similar to the beliefs of those who felt that the Kray twins were good for London’s East End. If you are troubled by little trolls, you pay off a big troll to make sure they are too frightened to bother you. We would have thought innovation worked best in a troll free environment.

Cyanogen wants to break Android grip with Microsoft

CyanogenCyanogen, which wants to break Android’s dependence on Google, has signed a partnership with Microsoft.

The big idea is to bundle Microsoft services into the Cyanogen OS including “Bing services, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office.”

Cyanogen started as an aftermarket Android ROM maker, but then It got an outside CEO, Kirk McMaster, who wanted to “take Android away from Google.”

Cyanogen want to supply its Android distribution to OEMs as a kind of outsourced software house, and currently Cyanogen OS powers the OnePlus One.

Vole was going to invest in Cyanogen, but the deal fell through at some point, apparently in favour of this partnership.

For Cyanogen to create a Googleless Android, it will need to provide alternatives to Google’s services, and this Microsoft deal is a good start.

Microsoft can provide alternatives for Search (Bing), Google Drive (OneDrive and Office), and Gmail (Outlook) but it is still missing alternatives to Google Play, Google Maps, and Google Play Services.

Cyanogen has said it will develop an app store in-house, but so far there is no mapping deal in the works..

Lacking Google Play Services is also a nightmare as many apps depend on it to push notifications, in-app purchases, Ads, Google Cast, Google Play Games, location APIs, and a ton of other features. Amazon gets around this by offering drop-in replacement APIs for Google Play Services, and if Cyanogen wants a serious app ecosystem it will need to do the same.

Microsoft has been seeing it as a platform it should expand to. The company brought Office over to Android tablets and will reportedly bring its voice assistant, Cortana, to Android as well.

Dell launches new tablet

Dell TabletGiant multinational Dell said it introduced a new tablet to the market and it’s running the Android operating system, not Windows.

The Venue 10 7000 claims to have the best tablet display on the market – it uses a 10.5 inch OLED 2560 by 1600 pixel screen, is powered by a quad core Intel Atom, and also uses Intel’s “Realsense” snapshot camera.

The machine is aimed at the commercial market and can be managed by IT staff so that they can create profiles for business use as well as fun stuff when an owner isn’t earning a buck.

The business data is encrypted and Dell said it will offer Office for Android for the machine later this year.

It doesn’t come cheap though – prices start at $500 and if you buy the optional keyboard, the total price will be $629.

It’s not available yet, but Dell said it will ship in May 2015.

To cover its options, Dell also has added its “education portfolio” as part of the package.

Chinese reveal Microsoft’s control of Android

Microsoft has had a secret list of patents which amounts to a hold that Vole has over the Android operating system.

We say secret, but it appears that a Chinese government action has forced Vole to make the list public for the first time.

According to Ars Technica, Microsoft has revealed a few of those patents since as it has unleashed litigation against Android device makers. But for the most part, they’ve remained secret.

Now a list of hundreds of patents that Microsoft believes entitle it to royalties over Android phones, and perhaps smartphones in general, has been published on a Chinese language website as part of a Chinese government antitrust review relating to Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia.

The patents Microsoft plans to wield against Android include things it has actually invented and patents that Microsoft acquired by participating in the Rockstar Consortium, which spent $4.5 billion on patents that were auctioned off after the Nortel bankruptcy.

It seems that Microsoft was compelled to produce the list to appease Chinese regulators, who feared that the software giant could become more aggressive with its patents after the Nokia purchase.

The longer list is divided into three sections: 73 patents that are said to be “standard-essential patents,” or SEPs, implemented in smartphones generally, followed by 127 patents that Microsoft says are implemented in Android. The final section includes another section of “non-SEP” assets, which includes 68 patent applications and 42 issued patents.

There are some patents that Microsoft used against Barnes & Noble, including all 14 mentioned in this 2011 Network World article. Those patents include Nos. 5,889,522 entitled “System Provided Child Window Controls,” and 6,339,780 “Loading Status in a Hypermedia Browser Having a Limited Available Display Area.”

However there are some new patents, like 8,255,379 “Customer Local Search,” 5,813,013 “Representing Recurring Events,” and 6,999,047 “Locating and tracking a user in a wireless network through environmentally profiled data.”

Nortel patents now owned by Microsoft include 5,982,324, which describes combining GPS with cell signals in an “efficient position location system” said to be used in Android phones. More Nortel patents are in the “general smartphone” section, such as No. 6,430,174, which describes a communication system that supports simultaneous voice and multimedia.

Vole has managed to build a huge patent licensing business by taxing Android phones without telling people what legal control they have. Vole collects between $1 billion and $2 billion from Android device makers paying royalties. By not disclosing which patents it had, it made it impossible for Google to come up with software which did not infringe. 

Apple punished users for switching to Android

The fruity cargo cult Apple is being sued for punishing its iPhone users for switching to Android.

The suit was filed by a former iPhone customer, Adrienne Moore. who alleges she changed to a non-Apple device and stopped getting text messages from Apple mates who remained inside the cult.

The suit, seeking class-action status, was filed in federal court in San Jose, California. In it Moore claims that Apple’s iMessage retains text messages sent from other users of Apple devices and won’t deliver them to her Samsung phone running on Google Android operating system, Adrienne Moore said in the complaint filed yesterday in San Jose, California.

According to Business Insider  this means that people who dare to replace their Apple devices with non-Apple wireless phones and tablets are penalised and unable to obtain the full benefits of their wireless-service contracts.

What happens is that texts get “stuck” briefly or permanently inside an iPhone’s iMessage system when they’re directed at someone who used to have an iPhone but has switched their number to an Android phone.

Users have suspected that iPhones behave weirdly when sending texts to non-Apple users, often showing up late, or not at all.

The New York Times’ David Segal complained that he stopped receiving message from iPhone users altogether after he dumped the Apple device for an Android. Given that most of his colleagues use an iPhone as part of their function as Apple’s unpaid press office, this is a little problematic for him.

The problem would be easy to fix, after all everyone else’s phone can do it and Apple claims its software is superior to everyone else’s, but there appears to be a lack of will on Apple’s part.

Perhaps this court case will force Jobs’ Mob to stop behaving like a cult and punishing those who leave the cult by breaking communications with their cult friends. 

Apple loses out to Android, Windows

A report from market research company IDC said that more than three quarters of Western government employees are abandoning Apple and Blackberry.

The European government sector was heavily dependent on Blackberry use in the past, but only 27 percent use the device to connect with their enterprises.

The winners are smartphones based using either the Android or the Microsoft Windows operating system, said IDC.

IDC also said that over 60 percent of government outfits are developing mobile applications, including financial apps.

Massimiliano Claps, a research director at IDC EMEA, said that government CIOs need to support investments in back office apps, workflow automation and analytics.

64-bit Android phone demand better than expected

Fabless chip designer ARM has told Cnet  that the shift to 64-bit mobile gear is taking place faster than expected.

Tom Lantzsch, ARM’s executive vice president of corporate strategy said that phone and tablet makers are rushing to embrace 64-bit designs, surprising even those executives behind the chip platform.

He said that there had been a big uptick in demand for mobile 64-bit products and particularly the Cortex A53, a high-performance 64-bit mobile processor.

This caught the ARM off guard because it thought that 64-bit ARM would only be needed for corporate servers in the initial phase of the technology’s rollout.

He said that he was surprised at the pace that 64-bit is now becoming mobile centric. Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Marvell are examples of public 64-bit doing well.

Lantzsch said that there will be a 64-bit phone and tablet in the shops by Christmas. All this is a little strange because there is not a 64-bit version of Android yet. However he said that all software, nevertheless, will run faster.

He said that the architecture allows for more efficiency in the code. So, that means better battery life, quicker responsiveness, better features. However, he said that when the 64-bit software finally does arrive, products could change in a big way.

Intel has released Android KitKat 4.4 with a 64-bit kernel optimised for Intel Architecture saying that this will provide 64-bit kernel support for development of next-generation devices.

Intel’s Doug Fisher, general manager, Software and Services Group said that Chipzilla is moving everything to 64-bit.

Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 410 in December. This is a 64-bit processor for mainstream phones in emerging markets. 

Apple press screams over Google and Samsung defence pact

The Tame Apple Press (TAP) has been screaming about the fact that Google has agreed to pay part of Samsung’s legal bill as it tries to see off Apple’s patent cases.

Press covering the trial have been referring to a “secret agreement” between the two which was hatched in 2012.

The pact between Google and Samsung was “revealed” in a videotaped deposition played to the eight-person jury hearing Apple’s patent infringement case against the Korean firm, in which the iPhone maker is seeking more than $2 billion in damages.

In the emails, Google offers to indemnify Samsung against two Apple patents as they relate to the Android search box, and a third Apple patent as it relates to Google’s Gmail app.

This means that Google would assume responsibility for Samsung’s defence if Apple brought claims against the company over those patents.

The patents in question were US 6,847,959 and 8,086,604, which related to the Android search box, and US patent 7,761,414, which related to the Gmail app.

Apple lawyers just wanted to show that Google and Samsung had been working together to defend against those patents and that they should ignore claims because they related to software developed by Google.

Press reports muttered about how Google lawyers looked uncomfortable appearing in court and the implication was that they had been caught out. Bloomberg said that Apple’s presentation of a “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” between Google and Samsung, was intended to show the jury that Samsung hasn’t been forthcoming about Google’s behind-the-scenes role.

This is important because the case between Apple and Samsung has always been a proxy war between Google and Apple. Jobs’ Mob never took Google on directly but instead tried to put the frighteners on suppliers and especially its number one competition Samsung.

Samsung’s lawyer characterised the case in his opening argument as “an attack on Android” and has used Google engineers to prove Samsung didn’t need to copy Apple to equip its phones with newish technology.

Samsung would cheerfully have paid Apple off ages ago, but it seems that the company wants funny money for patents which are only a small part of the phone itself. Apple is seeking $2.19 billion in damages while Samsung is asking the jury to award $6.2 million.