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16
Apr
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Google’s ‘Project Tango’ Smartphone Uses Apple’s PrimeSense Technology


Earlier this year, Google unveiled “Project Tango,” an experimental smartphone that incorporates 3D sensors to allow users to map indoor and outdoor environments.

Reports suggested that the smartphone’s 3D capabilities were powered by the Movidius Myriad 1 3D-sensing chip, but as it turns out, Project Tango is also powered by Apple technology. Alongside two Myriad 1 vision co-processors, Project Tango utilizes a PrimeSense Capri PS1200 3D imaging system-on-a-chip [PDF], technology that Apple acquired when it purchased PrimeSense late last year.

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The unexpected PrimeSense chip was discovered in a teardown of the Project Tango smartphone by iFixit that was posted this morning.

This appears to be PrimeSense’s new Capri PS1200 SoC 3D imaging chip, unexpected for a couple of reasons:

Just last year, Apple bought PrimeSense, manufacturer of the Kinect’s 3D vision hardware. Speculators assumed we would be seeing this hot new hardware in an upcoming iOS device, with intent of mapping 3D spaces. Looks like Tango beat Apple to the punch with their own tech?

Google’s Project Tango smartphone is one of the first mobile devices to use the diminutive Capri 3D sensor and it offers a glimpse at what Apple could possibly do with the technology in the future.

Project Tango is essentially a mapping tool, capturing the world around each user to provide directions, dimensions, and environmental maps. Google also has plans to use the technology to create immersive augmented reality games and apps that merge the digital world with the real world.

According to iFixit, Project Tango works very similarly to the original Microsoft Kinect, which also used technology developed by PrimeSense. Tango displays a bright grid of dots that are captured by IR sensors to build a depth map.

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Along with the Capri 3D chip and the Myriad vision co-processors, Project Tango incorporates four separate cameras to capture its environment. Amazon is said to be working on a similar device that incorporates multiple cameras for 3D mapping and with Google and Amazon both working on 3D projects, it is reasonable to assume that Apple is also experimenting with the technology.

There have been no hints that Apple intends to incorporate PrimeSense technology in the upcoming iPhone 6, but motion control capabilities similar to the Kinect have been rumored for the next-generation Apple TV set-top box, so the first Apple device to use PrimeSense technology may very well be the Apple TV. Project Tango proves that PrimeSense’s 3D chips are ready for mobile devices and it is likely that the company is continuing development on its Capri chips, improving the technology for possible inclusion in future iPads and iPhones.



16
Apr
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‘Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft’ for iPad Now Available Worldwide [iOS Blog]


Blizzard Entertainment’s digital card trading game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for iPad is now available for download worldwide after soft-launching in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand in early April. The game initially launched for the Mac in March.

The free-to-play collectible card game is set in the Warcraft universe, allowing players to compete with Magic the Gathering-style decks in one-on-one fights via Battle.net or against the computer. The iPad version of the game is able to connect to a Battle.net account, syncing with the PC/Mac version.

 

JUMP RIGHT IN: Fun introductory missions bring you into the world of Hearthstone’s intuitive gameplay.

BUILD YOUR DECK: With hundreds of additional cards to win and craft – your collection grows with you.

HONE YOUR SKILLS: Play in practice matches against computer-controlled heroes of the Warcraft universe. Thrall, Uther, Gul’dan – they’re all here!

COLLECTION TRAVELS WITH YOU: Your card collection is linked to your Battle.net account – enabling you to switch your play between tablet and desktop with ease.

AND FIGHT FOR GLORY: When you’re ready, step into the Arena and duel other players for the chance to win awesome prizes!

Our sister site Touch Arcade has given Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft a five star review, calling the game “a ton of fun” and “super easy to pick up.”

Hearthstone is not only an example of a free-to-play model done right, but it’s a must-play for card game enthusiasts everywhere. It’s incredibly easy to get into, the picturesque art is easy on the eyes, and best of all — it plays perfectly on an iPad.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is also available for the Mac after launching in March and Blizzard has plans to bring it to the iPhone as well, later in the year.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for the iPad can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]



16
Apr

The animated GIF as art: Google puts six loopy images on display


Micaël Reynaud, Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

It’s easy to sneer at the idea of artists piggybacking on the GIF craze, but Google is taking the whole thing pretty seriously, especially now that Google+ supports the animated file format. The search giant is collaborating with the Saatchi Gallery in West London to host a number of looped moving images, displayed on giant TV screens, which it feels are worthy of public recognition. There’s a hint of competitiveness, as a panel of judges (including His Artiness, Baz Luhrmann) will select a single winning GIF tonight. In the meantime, we’ve embedded the finalists from six different image categories after the break, ranked according to how much we like them and whether any of the artists are mates of ours.

1. Category: “Urban”

Christina Rinaldi, Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

This GIF was crafted by the artist (and extreme nail painter) Christina Rinaldi, who — through sheer coincidence — helped us to redesign the Engadget site a few years back. It shows a window cleaner doing his thing in New York, and was created from a bunch of still images that were taken on an iPhone 5 and then edited as a stack inside Photoshop. Christina makes around three of these little videos each day, and for her it’s all about escaping the restrictions of regular storytelling:

“The GIF actually starts from the bottom, with the window cleaner starting to move from the bottom of his sweep. For me, that’s a subtle thing, but it’s the biggest difference between this and film. With film you expect a beginning and an end and some kind of climax, but with this it’s just a cycle and everything depends on where you catch it.”

2. Category: “Lifestyle”

Kostas Agiannitis, Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Next up, we like this one by Kostas Agiannitis because it’s colourful and it reminds us of the Cinemagraph app on Nokia Windows Phones — an app that lets you move some parts of a picture while keeping others dead still.

3. Category: “People”

Emma Critchley, Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

This entry, by UK artist Emma Critchley, employs the same sort of technique as the one above, with only the guy’s feet and the rays of light moving as he stands underwater. He’s held down by the weights in his hand and somehow he’s managed to avoid that thing where you jump in the water and get a huge air bubble in your shorts.

4. Category: “Night”

Matthew Clarke, Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

An all-too-familiar sight as the sun falls on the streets of London. Captured by Matthew Clarke.

5. Category: “Action”

Micaël Reynaud, Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

It’s a pigeon. But at least it’s a relatively clean pigeon that isn’t crapping all over the place. Photographed and turned into a GIF by French artist Micaël Reynaud.

6. Category: “Landscape”

Stefanie Schneider, Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

This one’s made by professional artist Stephanie Schneider and entitled “Instantdreamsnet.” It apparently beat 4,000 other entries to make it this far, so we’ll hush our beaks and let you decide whether it’s any good. Either way, that’s the six, and may the best GIF win. If you’re in the UK and keen to mingle with like-minded folks at the Saatchi Gallery, the exhibition opens its doors to the public tomorrow, April 16th.

[All the above images are courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London]

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16
Apr
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Hyundai’s bringing Apple’s CarPlay to some new Sonata models


It’s becoming a trend to see more and more companies integrate their products with Apple’s CarPlay, whether it be car manufacturers or makers of in-dash systems. The latest to join the movement is Hyundai, announcing that navigation-equipped 2015 Sonata models will feature the recently unveiled in-car infotainment system from Apple. Hyundai says that adopting CarPlay was an easy decision for its engineers, since it provides an interface that’s already familiar to iPhone users and takes advantage of the new Sonata’s 8-inch touchscreen. More importantly, Hyundai’s plan to feature CarPlay makes it one of the more cost-effective brands to do so — and that’s a great thing, because not everyone can afford a Merdeces or a Ferrari.

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Source: Hyundai

16
Apr
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Chrome Remote Desktop for Android browses a PC or Mac from your phone


While we’d seen rumblings that it was in beta testing, Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android made its official debut today. This means that those who fancy Mountain View’s mobile OS can take a gander at files that reside on a Windows or Mac machine that’s safely docked in the office. The Remote Desktop app has been available on the desktop for quite some time, and now the same access is available through Chrome on Android smartphones and tablets. For those who prefer Apple’s devices, an iOS version of the software should be on the way soon.

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Source: Google Chrome Blog, Google Play

16
Apr
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The real impact of Google’s recent TOS update is that it reminds us what little choice we have


So, Google analyzes your email. Who knew? Well, judging by a recent wave of internet chatter regarding a two-sentence update the search giant made to its terms of service this week, not that many. The truth is, of course, that most Gmail users did know that Google scans your email, or parses it in some way so that it can place those oh so important personalized adverts along side them. Like anyone on Facebook who got dating ads after changing their relationship status can attest to. The backlash this week, however, seemed to take two basic flavors. One being paranoia that some deep change had taken place that the search giant was looking to sneak past us. The second being that this was a sign of how our rights are constantly being eroded, and that this constant “policy creep” will soon have us handing over our deepest darkest digital secrets, without any powers to negotiate. So which is it?

We asked Google directly, and it tells us that on this occasion, the additional text is merely a clarification of the existing policy. It’s spelling out what it already does. We spoke to London-based media lawyer John Haggis about this kind of amendment, who confirmed that if there were significant changes to the meaning of the policy, then Google (and others, like PayPal’s shown below) would have an obligation to communicate that to its users. Not doing so would be an incredibly risky strategy for any firm. Minor housekeeping and clarifications, however, might not warrant a (potentially alarming) email blast — though this recent Google case shows that it’s still worth considering your strategy every time.

For those that were concerned about the specific part in Google’s TOS that refers to email you receive (i.e. that sent by people whom might not have agreed to said TOS), Haggis reminds us to think along the lines of how images etc. are shared on Facebook. You might not be on Zuckerberg’s social network, but a photo you took and sent to a friend could be. Facebook might even learn it’s a picture of you via tagging, and have a moderate profile of you based on multiple such photos. But, the truth is, there’s not a lot it can do with that information if you’re not a signed up (and contractually agreed) member.

The more important issue highlighted by Google’s recent tweak is of what little choice we have either way. It serves as another reminder that some of our most precious data is locked into services and ecosystems that we can do little to control or negotiate with. If your email provider incrementally changes its terms of service, you might not even really know what you’ve agree to anymore. Worse, you could actually know all too well, and decide that you no longer are comfortable with those conditions. But what are your options then if a service goes a bullet-point too far? For the most part, you’re left with the binary choice of suck it up, or find another provider. Here lies the biggest problem facing you or I. Who wants to change their email address after double figure years of distribution? Or migrate their music collection from one corner of the cloud to another (not to mention whether you can take it with you thanks to rights restrictions). Not many we’d wager.

The good news? Google tells us that for future such amendments it will be placing an “Updated” notice on the Google.com homepage (including on mobile), which will also show on regional domains (Google.co.uk for example) when applicable. This might not solve your data hostage quandary, but it should mean fewer false alerts.

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16
Apr
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Toshiba’s vision for Project Ara extends to wearables and beyond


Project Ara is primarily focused on building a modular smartphone in the hopes of changing the industry, but is that the only type of mobile device on the drawing board? Absolutely not. An executive at Toshiba, one of Google’s partners on the project, just revealed that his company’s vision of the concept goes beyond smartphones. Shardul Kazi, Senior VP and Technology Executive at Toshiba, posited that devices like smartwatches (and beyond, he says) could also take advantage of Ara’s blocky component modules, which allow you to mix and match whatever features and components you want to have.

During his presentation at the Ara Developer Conference, Kazi showed the above slide depicting a module being removed from the Ara phone and placed into a wearable device. Indeed, just as the handset has an endoskeleton which makes it possible for blocks to attach to the phone in the first place, a future wearable could certainly be constructed the same way. Kazi’s example here relates to activity trackers with 9-axis sensors and Bluetooth LE, but it’s not limited to just that particular use case; such a thing would be wide open to the imagination of module makers and developers.

Kazi’s quick to point out that this is purely an idea at this point and isn’t actually in development. Still, it goes to show how easily adaptable this kind of platform could be to other form factors — if consumers love using modular smartphones, might they feel the same way about modular tablets, smartwatches and other wearables? Naturally, the folks behind Ara don’t want to bite off more than they can chew — just putting together a phone in less than two years is a job and a half for the team, after all — but it makes sense to see how many other ways the same tech can benefit our lives.

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16
Apr
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Engadget HD Podcast 394 – 4.16.14


If you can’t make it camping this year, perhaps Sir David Attenborough’s upcoming wildlife TV project in VR will suffice. And for immersion in something with fewer dimensional dynamics, maybe Sony’s lineup of 4K TVs will fit the bill. Yes, it’s been a relatively slow week for HD, but Richard and Ben need a breather since Chromecast, Aereo and so many others keep dropping news bombs on a regular basis. Richard’s been so busy lately that Must See TV recommendations are at a minimum, but Ben shares an interesting DirecTV ad to keep your eyeballs busy. So, please join us at the streaming links below, as we serve up another entertaining and informative episode of the Engadget HD Podcast.

Hosts: Richard Lawler, Ben Drawbaugh

Producer: Jon Turi

Hear the podcast:

08:48 – Prime-time TV enjoys its highest ratings since 2007
14:00 – DirecTV’s Genie DVR extenders clip the cord with a wireless version
18:38 – Netflix speeds soar on Comcast following controversial deal
21:10 – House of Cards S2 Blu-ray goes on sale June 19th for those who prefer a hard copy
22:28 – Broadcasters’ backup plans for thwarting Aereo include live TV streaming
27:17 – Aereo brings live TV to Chromecast on May 29th
29:05 – Chrome beta for Android makes it easy to send web video to Chromecast
29:52 – TiVo update lets you set recording defaults, when it isn’t creating chaos
33:27 – Mohu Channels wants to give cord-cutters a unified menu
44:36 – CNNx lets you watch only the news you care about
49:06 – Sir David Attenborough’s latest wildlife show is coming to VR headsets
54:49 – Sony has a 4K TV for every budget (that’s at least $2,099)

Get the podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
[RSS - AAC] Enhanced feed, subscribe to this with iTunes.
[RSS - MP3] Add the Engadget HD Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.

LISTEN (MP3)
LISTEN (AAC)

Contact the podcast:

Connect with the hosts on Twitter: @rjcc, @bjdraw

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16
Apr
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Samsung to offer Android Wear-powered smartwatch this year


samsung

Samsung will deliver its first Android Wear-based smartwatch later this year, reports Reuters. No details are known about the device however The Verge also confirmed the time frame with their own sources. Samsung first got into the smartwatch space with its Android-based Galaxy Gear in fall of 2013 only to introduce a second-gen model a few months later..

The Verge | Reuters

via SmarterWatching

Read the rest at the source, SmarterWatching.com

The post Samsung to offer Android Wear-powered smartwatch this year appeared first on AndroidGuys.

16
Apr
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Google intros Chrome Remote Desktop for Android


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Google on Wednesday announced the availability of a new Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android. As you can surmise, the tool allows for Android devices users to remotely access PC/Mac computers.

Since 2011, Chrome Remote Desktop has let you remotely access your machine from another laptop or computer in a free, easy and secure way.

In order for a user to access a remote PC they will need to first install software on the computer as well as the Android app – both of which are free. Once set up, users should be able to access files from their mobile device.  Users will be able to access files from their Android device in the same manner as if they were at the desk.

An iOS version of Chrome Remote Desktop mobile app is due later this year.

Google

The post Google intros Chrome Remote Desktop for Android appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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