With Android 4.4 dropping on us this Halloween, we’re seeing a lot of improvements to all the apps we hold dear. One of those apps is the camera. To that effect, one of camera’s most popular camera modes, the Photosphere, is also receiving a bit of a tune up itself. The update improves both quality and image stitching. On top of that, image rendering has received a boost in speed. Even so, it appears that the stitching is the most notable fix in KitKat.
There should be a decent reduction in stitching errors thanks to the new “optimal seam finding.” This seam finding looks for the most optimal space to stitch individual pictures together to avoid moving objects, people and difficult areas. On top of that, indoor environment stitching has been improved. So look for that on your newly purchased Nexus 5 or your soon-to-be updated Nexus devices.
source: Evan Rapoport – Google+
Here’s some interesting information about the Google Experience launcher Android 4.4; it’s basically just a front-end for Google Search. Thanks to some code digging over at Ars Technica, Google Search is drawing everything you see on your home screen and handling all of the information. There’s still a Google Home apk, but it essentially just forwards all of the information to Google Search.
This makes it a little different than just adding a few extra search widgets on the home screen, mainly because of how it’s going to integrate into Android. First off, Google Search is updated through the Play Store, so this Google Home should likely be made available in the Play Store before long. It also means that any popular device that ships with Google Apps (even the heavily skinned phones like the S 4 and HTC One) will be able to take advantage of Google Home and bring a more stock experience to any device.
This is a pretty sneaky move to push stock Android onto every phone, but like how Google is handling their Play Services, it’s an excellent way to make sure that they can update devices with just a Play Store update instead of manufacturer-and-carrier approved OTA updates.
source: Ars Technica
Remember a few years ago when Nortel’s enormous patent portfolio went up for auction and we had tons of tech companies bidding for it? Well, looks like we’re about to see the effects of it. The group of companies that won the patents – Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Sony, and Ericsson – banded together under a new company named titled “Rockstar” and have filed an extremely extensive patent suit against Google and several Android handset makers, including HTC, LG, and Samsung.
Originally, Google wanted to purchase those patents to prevent this from happening, but stopped bidding for them at $4.4 billion. Rockstar nabbed the patents for $4.5 billion, which is an astronomical sum of money for a patent portfolio. Some of the patents that are being used in the lawsuit include patents for things like an “associative search engine” and “an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network.” Vague? Yep.
Realistically, the ultimate goal for the Rockstar Consortium would be to strong-arm other companies into paying licensing fees for infringing devices. Microsoft already makes several bucks per Android phones sold because of patents and licensing agreements. It’ll be interesting to see how this suit plays out, but make no mistake, it’s probably going to get pretty messy.
source: Ars Technica
After being exposed yesterday by Twitter’s @evleaks, a poster regarding the inevitable Moto G has appeared. According to a tipster from GSM Arena, the poster shows Motorola’s budget-friendly device will run Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor. The screen, which has a water repellent coating, is a 720p screen sized at 4.5-inches covered with Corning Gorilla Glass. Considering its purpose, the Moto G will have just 8 GB of storage. The camera around the back is 5 MP and the front is 1.3 MP.
As for the price, this handset is expected to be free with a new contract and maintain a relatively low price without one. With the holidays quickly approaching, this could be that one item that gets all of the attention. You would be getting a pretty good device since the will be priced competitively.
Source: GSM Arena
Thor: The Dark World, Marvel’s latest superhero movie, will be opening next week, so it is only fitting that a companion app has been released. Thor: TDW – The Official Game hit Google Play today, letting players take on the forces of Malekith and the Dark Elves in the action-arcade game with RPG elements. Read more
Yesterday we learned that the Nexus 5 will have a non-removeable battery sized at 2300 mAh, but prospective owners should not have to worry about running out of juice quickly. Inside will be Qualcomm’s new QFE1100 envelope tracker that the company claims to be able to reduce heat and power consumption from the radio components. A huge concern with many phones is the pace at which LTE data kills a phone’s battery; however, Qualcomm’s new envelope tracker aims to solve that. Also, the Nexus 5 has the 802.11ac WiFi standard. This means that if you have a compatible router, your phone will reach the signal easier with much larger transfer speeds. All very good signs if you’re picking up a Nexus 5.
For the first time in a long time, Google announced a new version of Android, but didn’t release it for Nexus devices right away. Those of you with a Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (old and new), and a Nexus 10 will have to wait a few weeks until Google pushes it out.
If you find yourself needing a Kit Kat fix right away, then look no further than Paranoid Android. They have posted early Android 4.4 ROMs for the Nexus 4, the 2012 WiFi Nexus 7, and the 2013 WiFi Nexus 7. These are based on the AOSP build, but again, this is an early build so expect some bugs.
Remember that mystery barge in San Francisco that was thought to be a data center for Google? It’s going to be way cooler than a data center. KPIX 5 in San Francisco is reporting that it will include luxury showrooms and a party deck. It will be used to market Google Glass and other gadgets to invitation-only clients. Sergey Brin is behind it as well.
According to sources, the first three floors will have “dazzling showrooms” that are outfitted with chrome features and floor lighting. The upper level will include a party deck that will feature bars and lanais.
Last week, we mentioned that “Windy Day” was coming to the Moto X through the Spotlight Player app. It’s an animated interactive short story that is also somewhat of a game. It was created by Jan Pinakava and a team of engineers at both Motorola and Qualcomm. Jan Pinakava was actually a co-director for the Pixar hit Ratatouille.
You don’t have to do anything to get “Windy Day” on your Moto X. It’s an automatic download, and you should already have it. You may have noticed a little red hat floating around and/or fixed at the bottom near the on-screen navigation buttons. When I saw it yesterday, I thought it was some sort of a Google push that had to do with Halloween, but it was just a teaser for this clever app. Tap on the hat, and the story will open.