It was recently reported that Samsung would eventually implement fingerprint scanners, but probably not until the second half of next year because the technology is still in its infancy. This morning, news out of Korea is that Samsung originally designed the Galaxy Note 3 with a fingerprint scanner, but scrapped it. They were going to use a company in Dittisham Valley, but the chip didn’t pass quality assurance tests. The problem is there just isn’t enough companies working on the technology. Apple gobbled up Authentec in 2012 and Crucialtec is working with Pantech.
Trying to read through the story in Korean, it’s possible that Samsung might release a phone with a fingerprint scanner by the end of the year or early next year. That could very well be the rumored Galaxy Note 3 Active we reported on earlier in the week. It’s also possible that Samsung will develop their own technology, but I doubt that would be ready so quickly.
A new rumor circulating indicates Xiaomi has a smartwatch in the works, possibly thanks due to the influence of Hugo Barra. Although Xiaomi has been receiving generally positive reviews of its devices, the company’s strategy has also been one of trailing the competition, so joining the bandwagon in the early stages is a bit out of character.
Hopefully that change does not portend a change in Xiaomi’s pricing strategy which has been to sell their devices for quite a bit less than the competition. If they try to match one of the lower-priced entrants in the market, that could put a Xiaomi smartwatch in the AUD$200 ($188 USD) range. If they can pack decent hardware into such a device at that price point, it could be very attractive to consumers.
At this point no details about any specs are available though it is believe Millet is producing the watches for Xiaomi. We also do not know whether a Xiaomi smartwatch will be smartphone agnostic or would require a Xiaomi smartphone to be paired with it to take full advantage of the features and functionality.
As Google Glass gets closer and closer to a public launch, features continue to be added. Today, Google announced a big new feature – Transit. Transit for Google Glass allows users who have paired their headset to their Android phone to see public transit directions while navigating. In addition to directions, users will see other helpful information like where to change trains, how far you have to walk to the bus stop and how long it should take to reach your final destination.
Another minor feature added is the ability to tap to select links in notifications. You can find the latest Glass update in the MyGlass Explorers Community.
Looks like Samsung won the curved phone race. The recently leaked Galaxy Round was just made official by Samsung, and it’s an odd piece of technology, to say the least. It’s a 5.7-inch Note 3-like device with a curve right down the middle of the device. Samsung is claiming they’ve made some specific software adjustments to make use of the curvature, such as showing certain notifications when the phone is tilted to the side while laying flat, and gesture based actions in the applications in the software. I’m not sure how well it’ll work, but hey, at least they’re trying.
The specs are just about identical to the Note 3, excluding the S Pen. It’s got a 1080p screen, 3 GB of RAM, a quad-core processor, and a 13 megapixel camera. There’s nothing concrete, bu I imagine this is that rumored limited edition curved Note 3 that we’ve been hearing about. It’ll go on sale tomorrow exclusively in Korea for a little over one million won, which equates to about $1,000. That’s pricey, and very limited. It’s pretty clear that this is essentially a test run device for Samsung. Still, depending on how well the device is received, it’s always possible this could start to become the norm in the next few years. I personally don’t think it will, but crazier things have happened. More pics, a roll effect video, and full presser after the break.
Google Shopping is going through a few changes, most dealing with the implementation of local results. When a user searches for an item on Google, either desktop or smartphone, local store results will show up in addition to online results. Clicking on a local result will take the user to a local storefront page, where they can see the store’s inventory, managed through Google Merchant Center.
These new features for local businesses are currently only available for a limited number of retailers, but local merchants interested can fill out a form on Google’s website.
Source: Google Commerce Blog
Hot off the heels of its announcement this morning, the HP Chromebook 11 is already taking part in a giveaway. On Chrome’s Google+ page, they announced the “#giveachromebook“ contest. The goal is to reward someone that makes “your web amazing” so that a “Chromebook can help them do their thing even better.“ At the time of this writing, there are just 992 Chromebooks left so you better start nominating people! Read more
Rumors continue to swirl around the upcoming release of Android 4.4 KitKat and tonight’s latest involves the Downloads app. According to a leaked screenshot, the new version transitions the app to use the Holo Light color scheme, which should probably not be surprising given all the Google apps moving away from the dark theme. The screenshot also shows the new version of the app incorporates a proper action bar, with the sort button located on it instead of as a separate button at the bottom of the app.
It is not clear from the screen shots whether it will be possible to quickly Select All files with one button tap or whether users will still have to individually check each item. The screenshot does seem to suggest the possibility of arranging file icons in a grid instead of as a list. We also do not know whether any new sort options may be available.
source: Android Police
If you have been worried that the continual gains in computing horsepower in smartphones was reaching the point of uselessness, you can breathe easier as Disney Research has discovered a new technology for touchscreens that will surely chew up computing cycles. The team in Pittsburgh has created a way to communicate tactile information creating a sensory illusion of 3D objects or textures when a user is touching a screen. Read more
Google is always enhancing their search results, and starting today, when you search for a TV show, you will get some useful additional info. Searching for a TV show will now show episode information in the results, including episode numbers, names, and air dates. If you click on the episode name, you will get relevant results on that specific episode. It’s a very useful new feature in Google’s goal to have everything accessible to you through their Knowledge Graph.