Posts Tagged ‘feature’
Even though we don’t yet know what the PlayStation 4 looks like or how much it will cost, one of the many details revealed at Sony’s February event was that games will be playable even as they download. Now it turns out we won’t have to wait for the new hardware to experience that feature on a console — Steam, for example, does this on PCs with some games — as The Last of Us leaders Bruce Straley and Neil Druckman told Game Informer the PS3 game will be available as a download the same day it arrives on discs, and is playable once the transfer is 50 percent complete. There’s no word whether other developers will have access to the “magic” Naughty Dog worked out with Sony to make it happen, but as least there will be as little delay as possible before you begin exploring its post-apocalyptic landscape June 14th.
Source: Game Informer
Samsung is in a unique position among Android smartphone manufacturers, which allows it to create devices like the Galaxy S4 Zoom, a rumored S4 variant that showed up for certification at the Bluetooth SIG this week (via UnwiredView) as the “SM-C101.” The S4 Zoom is reportedly going to resemble the unreleased S4 Mini, but boast a 16 megapixel rear camera with optical zoom.
Optical zoom is really the one remaining advantage that point and shoot cameras have over smartphone shooters, at least from a hardware perspective. Other companies, including LG and Huawei have been working on building smartphone optical zoom tech, too, but if Samsung brings this one to market with its rumored 10x zoom, it’ll be the strongest one currently available, beating the Nokia 808 PureView’s measly 3X power.
Samsung has the luxury of experimenting with different form factors, and using its flagship branding to offer a range of devices that potentially cut off competitors by giving users a complete device to match ever competitive advantage. Like the S4 but want a more manageably sized screen like on the iPhone 5? Get the S4 mini. Like the S4 but want something a little better able to withstand the environment and harsh conditions like the Xperia Z? Get the rumored rugged S4 variant. Want an S4 but with the best smartphone camera in the business, which exceeds even Nokia’s most ambitious efforts? Get the S4 Zoom.
Samsung’s lineup variety strategy may be more about blocking the competition and casting a wide net than anything else, but a big zoom on a mobile camera will have a lasting effect on the industry if it goes over well and produces impressive results. More importantly, it could bring about even bigger changes for the dwindling standalone point-and-shoot camera market, which means other smartphone OEMs won’t be the only ones watching to see if and when the Galaxy S4 Zoom makes a splash, which could happen as early as June according to release date rumors.
Rumors have been circulating that Google Glass may have a feature that lets you wink to take a picture. Within the kernel source code, developers have discovered that the feature does exist deep in the code, but for most users of Google Glass, this feature is not an option on the front-end.
However, TechCrunch has confirmed with multiple sources, who wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, that the wink feature is indeed real and being used by a small number of engineers who were seeded with the original developer units of Google Glass. In other words, those who are developing for Glass as a part of the second wave of units (#ifihadglass) are not privy to the feature, as far as we know.
In fact, one source told us that Google actually came to a location to physically install an updated version of the software to unlock this feature, which appears in settings. Developers have already started building applications that employ the wink feature, but Google can also offer the command on an OS level.
Here’s how it works: At any time while Google Glass is on your head and turned on, the user may perform an extended wink (much like the one Lucille Bluth does repeatedly in Arrested Development*) to snap a picture instantly.
A second source explained to us that Glass actually trains itself to recognize your wink. In other words, you calibrate the tool so that Glass recognizes what your particular “wink” looks like. Without calibrating the length of a purposeful, command-giving wink, Glass would pick up each and every blink as a photo op. Obviously.
Multiple sources confirmed that the wink feature is available as an option in settings, once Google has updated the unit with the proper version of the software. The kernel also confirms this, as the code has options for “ENABLED” and “DISABLED” as well as information on “CALIBRATION,” just like one of our sources mentioned.
Google has not clarified the exact number or names of the sensors within Google Glass, though many believe that there is both an infrared sensor on the inner portion of the headset, as well as a proximity sensor baked inside. The proximity sensor is there to handle the “waking” and “sleeping” states of your device, according to Google’s official statement.
Just like a smartphone, Google Glass will go to sleep when you put it down, halting incoming calls and messages and turning off the display (though keeping the camera button alert in case there’s a Kodak moment afoot). When you pick it up and place it on your head, it instantly wakes back up and starts receiving notifications, etc.
The infrared sensor, on the other hand, is far more mysterious. Google hasn’t really spoken up about it much, though sources around the web tend to believe that the unidentified little sensor on the inner rim of the headset is indeed an infrared camera. This would allow Glass to track eye movements to some degree. As our sources have clearly confirmed, the IR camera can at the very least detect a blink and a wink, and the possibilities beyond that are deep and wide. Just take a look at these Google patents.
The first is a patent that names Adrian Wong, Google Glass engineer, Ryan Geiss, a senior software engineer at Google, and Hayes Raffie, an interactions researcher on the Special Projects team at Google.
The patent broadly describes a method by which a user could unlock a display (most often referenced as a Heads-up-display on a wearable computing device) through various forms of eye-tracking. Sure, unlocking a device and snapping a picture are different, and so is the method by which this patent describes unlocking and our information concerning the Google Glass wink command for pictures.
However, be well aware that there are 26 mentions of the term infrared, and more than 100 mentions of the term HMD (head-mounted display). There also seems to be a passage within the patent that confirms the ability to decipher blinks (if only to disregard them, in this instance, but still).
To unlock a screen coupled to the HMD after a period of inactivity that may have caused the screen to be locked, a processor coupled to the wearable computing system may generate a display of a moving object and detect through an eye tracking system if an eye of the wearer may be tracking the moving object. The processor may determine that a path associated with the movement of the eye of the wearer matches or substantially matches a path of the moving object and may unlock the display. The path of the moving object may be randomly generated and may be different every time the wearer attempts to unlock the screen. Tracking a slowly moving object may reduce a probability of eye blinks, or rapid eye movements (i.e., saccades) disrupting the eye tracking system. The processor may generate the display of the moving object such that a speed associated with motion of the moving object on the HMD may be less than a predetermined threshold speed. Onset of rapid eye pupil movements may occur if a speed of a moving object tracked by the eye of the wearer is equal to or greater than the predetermined threshold speed. Alternatively, the speed associated with the moving object may be independent of correlation to eye blinks or rapid eye movements. The speed associated with the motion of the moving object may change, i.e., the moving object may accelerate or decelerate. The processor may track the eye movement of the eye of the wearer to detect if the eye movement may indicate that the eye movement may be correlated with changes in the speed associated with the motion of the moving object and may unlock the screen accordingly.
Now, take a look at this patent.
Though it doesn’t go into any detail on eye-tracking, it does reaffirm Google’s intentions to use infrared sensors within their head-mounted, wearable computing devices. A year later, that device is called Google Glass.
Whether Google intends to roll out this feature more broadly is still unknown.
Since Google is allowing a small number of developers to use “wink,” the company is clearly staying true to its tradition of beta testing services thoroughly before a huge roll out. In fact, anyone wearing Glass right now is undoubtedly a beta tester of the whole operation.
But wink will almost certainly raise questions of privacy. If you feel like a simple, spoken “Ok glass, take a picture” is already too much of an invasion of your privacy, imagine how you’ll feel when some Glasshole can take your picture without you ever being the wiser.
On the other hand, the wink also brings up all kinds of interesting use-cases, like the ability to determine when someone is having a seizure, for instance. People were afraid of the geolocation, and CCTV, and online banking, too, at one point in the past. And look how that turned out.
It’s too soon to tell whether Glass will fly or die, but it can sure as hell wink.
Microsoft is releasing fresh Windows 8 app updates this week. News, Maps, Travel, Sport, and Finance are all being updated with new features. The News app now includes a customize option that lets users add their own RSS feeds to the top stories section of the app. A pin option is also included to place custom feeds on the Start Screen. Custom feeds are displayed in a similar format to other curated feeds within the app, but unoptimized feeds will open in a browser.
The Windows 8 Maps app, powered by Bing, has been updated to include an improved local search option. Categories, including restaurants, hotels, and hospitals, are all displayed as local search options when you search within the app. Options to track location automatically…
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Mobile video sharing app Viddy has actually looked like a little a mess recently. CEO Brett O’Brien was tinned, and the business this week laid off a third of its personnel to enhance operations. (Not even one year ago the business was on a tear, at the top of the App Shop, and with $ 30 million of investments in the bank). In the middle of today’s turmoil, the business is today introducing Viddy 2.0 for iPhone, an update that brings in one of Vine’s finest attributes: one-tap shooting and modifying. It’s now simpler than ever before to shoot videos with the app, however was that ever Viddy’s issue?
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Facebook and Vine were just the beginning — you should have known that. Especially once the biggest social network in the world started dipping its toes in the VoIP pool. Skype isn’t about to let others encroach on its hard won territory without a fight. The Microsoft-owned messaging platform has started testing what amounts to a video voicemail feature on OS X, Android and iOS, something that had already been hinted at in its updated TOS. Why those operating systems at first, without any word about Windows or Windows Phone, we’re unsure. But it’s a safe bet Redmond’s own platforms will get the feature sooner rather than later. Currently users in the US and UK should be seeing the option, just dig a bit as it might be hidden behind a more actions or overflow icon, as it is on Android. Customers are getting 20 free video messages to start, though we weren’t able to wrangle any further details out of the company regarding pricing.
We tested out video messaging quickly and, well, it works just as you’d expect. If a contact isn’t around you can simply select the option from wherever its stashed on your OS of choice (try cmd+click on a contact’s name in OS X) and the camera (front-facing on a phone) fires up. More than once we tried to switch from the front-facing to the rear-facing shooter on a Galaxy Nexus and it simply froze the app and crashed. Then, once you’re ready to record your message simply tap the big red icon. You’ve got three minutes to get through your spiel and send it off to the recipient. On the desktop at least you’ve actually got the option to download the clip in MP4 format, though we couldn’t find that feature on the mobile version. The videos themselves are pretty typical for Skype, at least on the mobile apps. Video was compressed and audio suffered from a few digital artifacts, but nothing so horrendous as to make it unintelligible. We did have one message simply lose audio halfway through, but we’re willing to chalk that up to video messaging still being early in development. Skype was very clear that it’s still in the testing phase, so hopefully some of the rough edges we encountered will be cleaned up before seeing wider release. After the break you’ll find a couple of more images as well as a clip we recorded. Have you tested it out for yourself? Sound off in the comments.
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Facebook undoubtedly isn’t curious about welcoming new social media players, and not long after stopping Yandex’s Marvel app from combing its priceless records, it’s chosen to obstruct the friend-finding feature in Twitter’s Vine video embed app. Secondhanding the “find people” option in Vine now presents users with a mistake message, basically eliminating that labor-saving option. Facebook, as all of us know, is well-known for keeping opponents’ noses out of its data source, and let’s not forget it pulled Instagram Card support from Twitter last year. We’ve called the social network for remark, and will update you if we get a feedback.
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That previously-spotted Premium Suite upgrade for the Galaxy Note is on its way, with Samsung revealing all the details on its site. With a refreshed UI appears very similar to its successor, the respectable Android slab will also lay claim to Air View, Multi-window apps and the addictive easy clip function that allows you to crop and share images and text with the stylus. Thanks to that Jelly Bean update, owners of Samsung’s original phablet can also start dabbling with Google Now, which will continue to pluck information from your search history, location and timezone. There’s no word yet on when the refreshed Premium suite will find its way onto devices anywhere, but with Samsung already singing the update’s praises, it shouldn’t be far away.
Nintendo lays claim to among the more innovative implementations of dual-display gaming; its Panorama View Feature lets you move the Wii U controller to see a various point of view than what’s shown on the external TV display. The company was simply given a patent for this really technology, and the record goes into wonderful information about the gyrosensors used to determine the controller’s change in position. It’s a great deal easier in practice than in theory– just take an eye the image above or peek at our hands-on trial of the concept at E3 2012 (embedded below the break).
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Nintendo claims one of the more innovative implementations of dual-display gaming; its Panorama View Attribute lets you move the Wii U controller to see a different point of view than exactly what’s shown on the external TV display. The company was simply given a patent for this very modern technology, and the file enters great detail about the gyrosensors utilized to determine the controller’s modification in position. It’s a whole lot easier in practice than in concept– just take an eye the image above or peek at our hands-on trial of the principle at E3 2012 (embedded below the break).