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Tag Archives: mobile & wireless

Project Loon

Earlier this month, Mike Cassidy, a project director at Google’s high-risk research division X, woke before dawn in the Northwest Brazilian state of Piau . It was already warm and humid. He drove for an hour to a clearing in a rural area and helped his team launch several high-altitude balloons with a payload of Internet connectivity technology-the nub of the project he directs called Loon. Then he jumped into another car to race against the balloons’ flight path, speeding along an unpaved road, dodging chickens and pigs, and finally arriving at Agua Fria, a tiny community on the outskirts of the town Campo Maior. Cassidy pulled up to a rural schoolhouse that had never been able to receive high-quality Internet signals. (Locals sometimes climb trees to try to get a signal for their mobile phones.)

Read the full story at Wired.

Adidas Selfie Shoes

In a move that gives Run-DMC’s My Adidas a present-day twist, Adidas now wants sneakerheads to personalize their shoes with their smartphones. Using the Adidas Photo Print app for the popular ZX Flux, which will see release this August, users will be able to snap photos a la Instagram and have them printed on their sneakers. The company teased the new app on Instagram on Friday. Considering how far and wide sneaker lovers’ tastes can vary, it’s halfway reasonable to imagine fans decking out their shoes with their favorite brunch items. We’ll see. The Photo Print app will be available for iPhone and Android this summer.

Read the full story at The Verge.

Word Lens

Google has acquired Word Lens, the mobile app that can translate text in real time using your smartphone’s camera, along with its development team at Quest Visual. The impressive technology will now make its way into Google Translate. Word Lens and its various language packs have been made free on both iOS and Android “as a thank you” to supporters, but don’t expect to see much in the way of updates moving forward. Quest Visual makes it very clear that the plan is to transition to Google as quickly as possible. It seems like a perfect fit for both sides, though the acquisition may sting Apple a bit. The company just showcased Word Lens in its latest iPhone 5S commercial and is still actively promoting it. But the app has been available on Android for nearly two years already, so it’s not as if Google suddenly snatched up an App Store exclusive. (There’s even a Google Glass version.)

Read the full story at The Verge.

BlackBerry

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has denied he would exit the smartphone business if it remains unprofitable for the Canadian company. His new statements come less than a day after being quoted by Reuters, which he now says took his words out of context. Here’s how the original article reads: “BlackBerry Ltd would consider exiting its handset business if it remains unprofitable, its chief executive said on Wednesday, as the company looks to expand its corporate reach with investments, acquisitions and partnerships. “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business,” John Chen said in an interview, adding that the time frame for such a decision was short. He would not be more specific.” Well, Chen is now being more specific: “I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon.? I know you still love your BlackBerry devices.”

Read the full story at The Next Web.

iOS 8 Leaked Screenshot

The above screenshot claiming to represent iOS 8 just showed up on a Weibo account. Even though the source of the images is absolutely uncertain, I have confirmed with several sources that these shots are legitimate. Earlier today, I detailed the new Preview and TextEdit apps shown above, and I previously discussed Healthbook. I’ll have more news on Healthbook in the coming weeks. Until then, you can check out a higher-resolution mockup of the Healthbook icon below. I’m not sure what the Tips icon is for, but it is probably a user-guide of some sort. Of course, it’s plausible that the icons are works in progress.

Read the full story and see all screenshots at 9to5 Mac.

iOS 8 Leaked Screenshot

Huawei

Huawei is still on friendly terms with Windows Phone, but Android is the true object of its affection. Speaking with blog site TrustedReviews, Huawei Chief Marketing Officer Shao Yang said the maker of mobile devices remains “committed” to making phones outfitted with Microsoft’s mobile OS. Last year, China-based Huawei launched the Ascend W1 and struck a deal with Microsoft to sell Windows Phone devices in Africa. But that commitment isn’t quite a top priority. “Compared with Android, the priority of Windows Phone is much lower but is still one of our choices of OS,” Yang said. “We are definitely using a multi-OS strategy.” Judging from Yang’s remarks, a team-up between Windows Phone and Android appears to be at the top of the agenda. He said a dual-OS phone will reach US consumers sometime next quarter. Such a device could appeal to a wider range of customers, Yang said.

Read the full story at CNET and the interview at Trusted Reviews.

Android KitKat

Google officially introduced the latest KitKat version of its Android operating system in October last year, and despite three months passing, it continues to be installed on less than 2 percent of all active Android devices worldwide, according to new data. KitKat is installed on 1.8 percent of all Android phones or tablets that log in to the Google Play store; that’s a small increase on the 1.4 percent that it charted in January. Jelly Bean – the precursor to KitKat – saw its figure rise to 60.7 percent from 59.1 percent the previous month. Particularly of note is the fact that the newest Jelly Bean build – Android 4.3 – rose from 7.8 percent to 8.9 percent over the past month. Looking at the most significant of the rest: the ratio of devices running Ice Cream Sandwich dropped from 16.9 percent to 16.1 percent.

Read the full story at The Next Web.