Better models and neural networks power improved Google voice search


Google has announced that their research labs have introduced some new models to power Google’s voice search function and dictation on smartphones thanks to the adoption of Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) and sequence discriminative training techniques that make up a form of Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). The RNN model replaces the Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) that Google adopted in 2012 to replace the Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM) that had been the industry standard for the previous 30 years. Google says the new technology will produce more accurate results, even in noisy environments, and can produce those results much more quickly. Read more

New research report says tablet sales have peaked


As new technology form factors like smartwatches and virtual reality headsets continue to grab the attention of the industry, one piece of hardware that has faded from the limelight is the tablet. Even Apple’s devices have been hit by the lack of interest on the part of buyers according to a new research report from Forrester Research, although Lenovo has managed to buck the trend. Read more

Lithium ion battery life could double according to new study


Researchers at Stanford, led by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, report they think they have discovered a way to double and perhaps even triple the battery life of a lithium ion cell. This is good news for owners of smartphones, tablets, electric vehicles, and any of the hundreds of other devices that use lithium ion batteries. The researchers turned to nanotechnology in trying to find a way to protect the lithium anodes in a typical cell from degrading as quickly as they do. They discovered that coating the anodes with “a monolayer of interconnected amorphous hollow carbon nanospheres helps isolate the lithium metal depositions and facilitates the formation of a stable solid electrolyte interphase.”

Besides helping to keep the lithium in better condition for a longer time, thus extending the life, the new technique also helps with safety issues resulting from the decay of the lithium in a battery. As the technique is perfected, this should also allow for the use of denser lithium. Of course, the challenge now will be for battery manufacturers to figure out how to incorporate this into current manufacturing techniques if further testing bears out the benefits to be gained.

source: Nature Nanotechnology
via: Engadget

Are the latest Android flagship phones female friendly?

I’m sitting here today with my Galaxy Nexus by my side with its wonderful 4.65″ HD Super AMOLED display and I’m feeling a bit of tech envy towards the 4.8″ display that’s set to arrive when the Galaxy S III hits the shelves. I’ve had some hands on time with the HTC One X and its 4.7″ screen and Motorola’s current flagship device, the Droid RAZR, offers up a 4.3″ display. It seems that most Android phone manufacturers are of the view that bigger is better and with the runaway success of devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note, it would appear that they might be right.

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Glare-Free, Self-Cleaning, Water-Repellent Glass Of The Future From The Minds At MIT

How would you like your future smartphone screen to be completely glare-free, water-repellent, and self-cleaning? Researchers at MIT published a paper describing how they selectively removed parts of the glass to create microscopic cones, which apparently gives the glass the ability to resist fogging and glare. The MIT news site states the following:

“The new ‘multifunctional’ glass, based on surface nanotextures that produce an array of conical features, is self-cleaning and resists fogging and glare, the researchers say. Ultimately, they hope it can be made using an inexpensive manufacturing process that could be applied to optical devices, the screens of smartphones and televisions, solar panels, car windshields and even windows in buildings.”

The lack of glare or fog would make the glass nearly invisible. Also, water would literally just bead and bounce right off, taking any dust along with it, making it super easy to keep dust-free. Check out the video of water droplets  rolling off the glass after the break.

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Kantar: Apple Smartphones More Popular Than Android Phones

The Apple iPhone has taken over as the smartphone in highest demand in the U.S. According to research firm Kantar Worldpanel Comtech, the latest iPhone model helped Apple beat all phones using Google’s Android platform in the U.S. smartphone market in Q4 2011, according to data presented Wednesday. It states “Apple’s share of the U.S. market doubled from a year ago to 44.9 percent in the October to December period, just beating Google’s Android smartphones, which slipped to 44.8 percent from 50 percent”.

In addition, Kantar believes Apple gained strong momentum and it looks to overtake Android smartphones as the most popular among consumers moving forward. This is demonstrated by Apple phones outselling Android manufacturers such as Sony Ericsson, HTC and Motorola. According to global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo:

“Apple has continued its strong sales run in the U.S., UK and Australia over the Christmas period. Overall, Apple sales are now growing at a faster rate than Android across the nine countries we cover”.

Naturally, Kantar’s recent findings don’t come without question. We saw as recently as last week that established research and measurement firm Nielsen highlighted Android not only having the most market share, but it also holding a whopping 16 percent advantage over Apple phones in Q4 2011. It’ll be interesting to see how Kantar came up with its findings and what its methodologies were used for its research.

Kantar also includes some minor information for some of the less popular devices in its report as well. Kantar mentions how the Windows Phone share in all of the nine key markets it measured remained at less than 2 percent, despite the high-profile launch of the Lumia range from Nokia. Sunnebo adds “The Nokia Lumia 800 still needs to be joined by a number of other competitive Windows Phone handsets before we are likely to see the OS (operating system) providing any real challenge to the likes of Apple, Android and BlackBerry”. Guess the consensus among research firms is not many people are interested in Windows Phones just yet.

I’m sure you all may have a lot of questions or comments about Kantar’s findings, I know I do. Be sure to hit the Comments section, sound off and give your 2 cents.

[via Reuters]


IMS Research Says Global Smartphones Sales Will Top 420 Million Devices in 2011

According to IMS Research, a leading independent supplier of market research, sales of smartphones will come in at over 420 million device by the end of this year .  This will account for roughly 28 percent of the handset market as the research shows.  According to the company, with the release of more and more “entry-level” smartphones, we could see one billion devices sell by 2016.

According to IMS, despite how well mobile sales are going, not all companies will ultimately benefit from the trend.  IMS uses LG as an example, pointing to the fact that though they were the third largest OEM world wide, they barely exhibited any innovation over the past several years, subsequently causing the company to reach less than three percent of the market share in 2010.

The same source also notes that Nokia took a hit so devastating (see chart) they went to bed with Microsoft for its Windows Phone operating system, abandoning its very own Symbian platform.  Sales for the company dropped 34 percent from last year.   Read more

Android domination of Apple will continue to widen through 2016

The global smartphone market will double in size by 2016 and Android will destroy all competition, including Apple. Apple will be the closest competitor, but it won’t be close. According to Ovum, which provides clients with independent and objective analysis to enable them to make better business and technology decisions, Apple will be 20.5% behind Android.

Ovum expects shipments of smartphones to be 653 million by 2016 with a compounded annual growth rate of 14.5%. Ovum principal analyst Adam Leach said,“The smartphone market will see significant growth over the next five years, once again outperforming the wider mobile phone market. We will see dramatic shifts in dominance for smartphone software platforms, with Android storming into the lead with 38% market share, compared to Apple iOS’ 17.5%, by 2016.”

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