Google IO 2015 Coverage

Samsung patents backside touch controls for transparent display devices

samsung touch patent

Curved glass screens? That’s so 2013. The real next big thing, according to Samsung, is going to be devices with transparent screens. Samsung has filed a patent for controls on the backside of a device that has a transparent front display, and that’s really just a mind-blowing sci-fi pipe dream at this point. These displays will allow users to interact with them on both the front and back, and supposedly you’ll be able to see what’s behind the display thanks to their slightly transparent nature.

Some of the interactions listed in the patent involve opening a folder by tapping the back of the screen, expanded truncated text, simultaneously moving objects like icons and widgets on a device, controlling video playback, and unlocking the device, all without ever touching the front of the device. Obviously this isn’t something we’re going to see implemented in a device anytime, but it’s a nice glimpse into Samsung’s vision of the future. (or maybe just something to sue other companies with, but let’s hope not)

If you’re interested, you can hit the source to see some visual diagrams for how much of this will work according to Samsung.

source: Patent Bolt

Sony pushes out update for Smartwatch 2 with several new features

Sony_SmartWatch_2_SW2_US

Sony has released a new update for their Smartwatch 2 that includes a handful of new features and fixes a few quirks of the device. You’ll find several new watch faces, an increased font size, automatic light sensing and a built-in stopwatch app. On top of that, Sony has built in a fast-scroll option for notifications and an option to mark all notifications as read. That seems like something simple enough that it should have been included from the beginning, but take what you can get.

You can launch the update through the Smartwatch’s Play Store app below.

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Play Store Download Link

LG feels smartphones with flexible displays will have 40% of market by 2018

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With the LG G Flex starting to get a release date overseas, the company is now projecting big things for smartphones with curved/flexible displays. LG believes that these smartphones will have 40% of the market by 2018. Their reasoning for believing so is in the appeal of curved displays because they form to your hands, providing a natural feel. And according to SlashGear, components for the handset are “a collaboration between cutting-edge production technologies from LG Display, LG Innotek, and LG Chem.” LG clearly believes in the future of smartphones with curved displays. Dr. Ramchan Woo says that “‘it took, like, three years [to develop G Flex], but now it would be much shorter.'” Read more

Chrome OS camera gets update to interface, framework for more features

chromeos_camera_app_update

Google has started the process of rolling out an update to the Camera app that is included in ChromeOS. The updated app features a new user interface that puts more emphasis on the content, which in the case of a Chromebook is probably the user. While that is nice, most users will probably be more interested in the features that are described as “in the pipeline:”

  • video recording
  • the ability to upload to YouTube and Google+
  • Syncing of pictures across Chrome devices

Unfortunately, no timeline for the availability of these new features was provided. The new version of the Camera app is being rolled out to users in the typical Google phase fashion. However, users impatient for the update can head over to the Chrome web store to grab the update.

sources: +François Beaufort, Chrome Web Store

Update hits Play Movies, lets users save videos in low resolution to save space, increase download speed

Google Play Movies

A new version of Google Play Movies now allows users to stream video in standard definition even if the user had purchased the HD version of the movie. Previously, users were forced to download the massive video file of HD content— now, more options are presented.

You’re most likely asking: why would I watch the standard definition version of a video after purchasing the HD version? Well now, having the choice of which version to watch lets you save storage space if it’s running low, especially if your device doesn’t support microSD storage.

There isn’t anything else too major in the update, but it’s still noteworthy that Google is providing another option to users looking to stream media to their devices. Hit the break for the link to the app in the Play Store.

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Plex headed for Chromecast in the near future

Plex logo

Plex is an extremely popular home media center program, and thanks to some early configuration files found in its server software, we’ve got a pretty good hint that it’ll be functional on Chromecast fairly soon. Plex has several configuration files built-in to determine how it should send transcoded video, so if there’s a config file for Chromecast, it’s pretty clear that official support isn’t far off. Plex has always said they were planning on supporting Chromecast, so this shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone.

Hopefully this will make a convenient way for users to play local files to Chromecast, which is something developers have struggled to get working properly.

source: Gigaom

Google Calendar receives flurry of key improvements in time for busy holiday season

Google Calendar Autocomplete

The holidays are always a pretty busy time for most people, and Google Calendar is here with some really convenient improvements just in time for you to start planning those parties and family get-togethers.

Some of the improvements include:

  • Google Maps autocomplete: Calendar will predict (autocomplete) addresses as you type locations of events into your schedule (Seen above). If the event is shared, you’ll be able to click on the event’s map to make sure everyone knows you’re going to the same place.
  • If you forget the exact date and time of an event and need to quickly look it up, you don’t need to search through all of the days of your calendar for results. Now, you can simply type in keywords related to the event in Calendar’s search feature and all relevant events will appear (Seen below).

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Fingerprint Cards hopes to make an imprint on Android manufacturers

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Fingerprint Cards, an identity technology company from Sweden that manufactures touch sensors, hopes to ride the wave of touch recognition demand by selling to the likes of Samsung, LG and Huawei among others. Fingerprint’s CEO Johan Carlstrom thinks Apple’s inclusion of fingerprint identity technology in the iPhone 5S will set off a scramble by Android device producers to include the same technology in their products during 2014.  Read more

Tic-Tac-Toe game for Chromecast released on Android and iOS, requires two devices to play

Tic Tac Toe Chromecast

Chromecast isn’t only just for streaming video and music content to the big screen— now, people are finding that it makes for a pretty nice tool to stream games to your TV.

A very simple tic-tac-toe game for Chromecast has just been developed, and the app is available on both Android and iOS. Simply grab another player who also has the app installed, and easily display the game on the big screen for all to see.

It’s nothing mind-blowing for now, but the concept is certainly pretty cool and will make for some interesting innovations in the future. Hit the break for the link to the game in the Play Store.

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