Google’s Sergey Brin thinks self-driving cars for the average person will be available in 5 years

It’s no secret that Google and their engineers love to push the envelope and make things that seem improbable happen. One of Google’s smartest minds, Sergey Brin, stated that we should all expect self-driving cars within the next 5 years. He envisions this to be much safer and adds, “Forty thousand Americans and 1 million people worldwide are killed in automobile accidents every year.” In theory, this certainly seems like a great idea and would be more efficient on paper considering it eliminates a lot of the human element into driving that causes most of these accidents.

At first I though this would be an impossible feat to achieve in the next 5 years, but Brin added that Google and their engineers have already been working  on such a thing.

The Google cars use on-board cameras, lasers, radar and other sensor equipment to monitor road conditions and operate themselves. Proponents say the use of computers and other equipment will make them safer than having humans drive, since people sometimes make errors, lose concentration, fall asleep or drive drunk.

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Google makes Jelly Bean factory images available for Verizon Galaxy Nexus

Developers or others who enjoy flashing their phones have a nice new option available if they have a Verizon Galaxy Nexus smartphone. After starting the process of rolling out a Jelly Bean update to Verizon users earlier this week, the factory images are now available on the Google Developers site for download. Listed as version JRO03O, the file can be used to restore a Galaxy Nexus to factory state. Even if you are not inclined to flash your Galaxy Nexus for fun, you can always keep a copy of the image as a fail-safe in case something really bad happens with your phone.

source: Google Developers

Developer interest in Android on the decline

In yet another sign that the apocalypse is upon us, a recent poll from Appcelerators reveals data that may make Android owners shake their head in confusion. While Android currently maintains a 25% margin in activated devices compared to Apple, iOS is still the clear favorite among 5,500 developers polled. Moreover, the Android platform took a dive in the latest polls compared to the previous quarter. Additionally, this is the fourth such decline since June ’11. However, before we jump to too many conclusions, it’s duly noted that all platforms declined at almost the exact same rate with one exception – Windows 8. Windows 8 was the lone increase in developer interest. Now, if all of those developers jumped ship from all other platforms and onto Windows 8 then there would definitely be more of an incline on the Windows 8 side. So what gives? Why the consistent drop almost across the board in developer interest, and more importantly regarding our beloved Android devices? Let us know what you think.

source:  TechCrunch

Motorola Atrix 2 to get Ice Cream Sandwich, soak test already underway

Following a disappointing weekend for Motorola customers, the company has initiated a soak test for last year’s Atrix 2. Initially believed to be a minor Gingerbread update, the new firmware is actually Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Interestingly enough, Motorola’s official software update landing page still lists the handset as “further plans coming soon.”

Participants of Motorola’s feedback program have begun receiving invitations to take part in a preliminary test of the smartphone’s new software. The message reads:

Thanks for signing up for the Atrix 2 software test. Our apologies for the delay in starting this test! The software will begin to be pushed out later this afternoon; however, it may take several hours for all targeted devices to receive the update.

We’re eager to hear your feedback. Please share your experience on the private community provided, and via the survey I will send out after you’ve had some time to work with the software.

Regardless, it’s great to see Motorola actually make an effort to rectify its mistakes. Now let’s just hope other devices (like the Atrix 4G) get some update love.

Source: Android Central

Unlocked Sony Xperia acro S now available to purchase in the US

Sony’s recently announced Xperia acro S is now available to purchase unlocked in the United States. As we saw back at IFA 2012, the Xperia acro S–which apparently isn’t considered a proper noun–is a solid piece of hardware with some pretty impressive specs. For $599.99, users will get a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM. Also included is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 12.1-megapixel rear shooter and a nano waterproof coating.

For that price, though, buying an unlocked handset doesn’t make sense for the general consumer. Keep in mind that for just $350, or about half the price of the acro S, you can pick up a Galaxy Nexus, which is guaranteed to receive better support and runs stock Jelly Bean. However, if you’re the type of individual who could be considered a Sony fanboy, you’ll be excited to learn that you can pick up the Xperia acro S today in your choice of either black or white. Also, be sure to catch the official introductory video after the break.

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ASUS Transformer Prime receives Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update in Sweden

ASUS has officially announced the impending rollout of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to Transformer Prime owners in Sweden. Users should begin seeing an OTA update sometime today. As always, if the update doesn’t automatically show up, you can head into settings -> about device -> software update to pull the firmware directly from ASUS’ servers.

The company is also insistent to remind everybody that along with the update, users will lose official Adobe flash support and Wifi-Direct. Because of this, ASUS isn’t forcing Prime owners to accept or install the update. While there haven’t been any further announcements made pertaining to rollouts in other countries, users can take this news as a good sign. In fact, rumors suggest that if the update goes smoothly, other markets could expect to see Android 4.1 as early as October.

Source: ASUS (Facebook)

New vulnerability found in Samsung devices, TouchWiz to blame

Today a rather catastrophic exploit was found in Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. The new hack allows websites to run a USSD code commanding the device to wipe itself back to factory state, and possibly even damage the SIM card. This means that just by simply visiting a infected website could remove all your pictures, contacts, apps and most importantly: your high score on Temple Run.

Luckily this piece of malicious code will only interface with the TouchWiz interface, so if you’re running CyanogenMod or any other custom ROMs, you’re most likely safe. The current list of affected device include the aforementioned Galaxy S III, the Galaxy S II, Galaxy Beam, Galaxy Ace and Galaxy S Advance.

Source: SmartDroid

Google won’t bail out Apple with a proper Maps app for iOS

By now you must have heard about Apple’s severely flawed maps app. It was introduced last week with the release of iOS 6. What’s bugging many Apple fans is the fact that Google Maps is nowhere to be found as an alternative. Contrary to popular belief, Google never developed the Maps app for previous versions of iOS. Apple actually did with the API’s. With iOS 6, they decided to go a different route and make their own Maps app utilizing data from TomTom.

A lot of Apple fanboys are hoping that Google will release a full fledged Maps app to bail them out, but it doesn’t look like it will happen. While speaking to reporters in Japan during the Nexus 7 launch event, Eric Schmidt said “We have not done anything yet” He also went on to say, “”We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know? What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.”

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iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy S III in Durability Test

First there was that poster-like, anti-iPhone 5 ad that Samsung published in print ads making it look like a “tale of the tape” fittingly before a fight. Well, now we’re about to find out who wins. Only in the arbitrary world of durability tests. Granted, we all like to know how durable that expensive piece of hardware that we’re laying down hard-earned cash for really is. However, with all due respect, this “test” is more for entertainment purposes. Dropping phones from human hands with numerous variables involved is far from scientific and can only be taken as entertainment. Without further ado, check the video for your entertainment and you be the judge.  Hit the break for the video.

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