This week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai, notable Chinese smartphone maker Huawei announced a partnership with Volkswagen to bring connectivity to cars. Together they showed off a suite of apps that will allow users of Huawei phones to safely link their devices to infotainment systems mounted in select Volkswagen vehicles. Included in this suite are apps to aid navigation, text messaging, music, and phone calls.
To manage all of this information in real-time, Huawei has utilised MirrorLink to seamlessly connect devices. MirrorLink is an open technology standard designed to bring instant information to the car screen. It has gained ground abroad, but has not been introduced to the US.
Android Auto has also began rollout in the US, and Google has also created a partnership with Volkswagen, so it is unclear about how much ground MirrorLink will gain in the US, if any. Currently, only the Volkswagen Lamando and Golf 7 are running MirrorLink with Huawei’s suite of vehicle safety apps, and both are locally produced in China. Still, it’s good to see more manufacturers taking smartphone/automobile connectivity seriously.
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Sony announced a kind of new device recently in the Sony Xperia Z3+. I say “kind of” because for all intents and purposes, this smartphone is exactly the same as the Sony Xperia Z4 that Sony announced for Japan-only a few weeks back – ironically, Xperia Z3+ is a much more pertinent name once you take a look at the specifications and the exterior of the device compared to its predecessor. Despite this, we’re always interested in checking out the wallpapers of new devices, so we’ve got all the Sony Xperia Z3+ wallpapers available below for you to look at and download – check them out:
Showing the “flow” theme that Sony has made their own over the last few device generations, these wallpapers are on the minimal, simplistic side, which is perfect if you’re looking for something along those lines while still using vibrant colours. All the images have a resolution of 2160×1920 which makes them perfect for anyone using a 1080p device – Sony appears to be pretty adamant about not moving to Quad HD resolution. Yet.
What do you think about the Sony Xperia Z3+ wallpapers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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LG was one of the quickest manufcaturers to update its flagship at the time, the LG G3, to Android 5.0 after its release, however since then, there’s been no hide nor hair of any update to the latest version, Android 5.1. Naturally, LG’s latest flagship, the LG G4, ships with Android 5.1, so LG’s other customers have been left in the dark wondering when it will be their turn. Which excited me greatly when I saw a 110MB software update being uploaded to my LG G3 yesterday, only to be let down when I realized it was only a minor update to the LG G3, citing improvements in “phone usability and functionality”.
This update increments the software version from V20f to V20i, but unfortunately the Android version has not changed from Android 5.0. The only difference that I have seen in this latest version is that a new launcher function has been added to allow you to add homescreen windows on the fly (by swiping inwards, a la some custom launchers) – if you’ve also got this update and can see any differences, feel free to drop us a line in the comments below. And the wait for Android 5.1 continues…
What do you think about this minor update to the LG G3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post No Android 5.1 in sight: Minor update to the LG G3 improves “phone usability and functionality” appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
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Just in case anybody has forgotten, Samsung promised in November 2013 that flexible, foldable displays would be possible in 2015. Fast forward to today in 2015 and some news has recently dropped regarding a certain Samsung Project Valley, which SamMobile alleges is potentially related to a foldable smartphone. It’s not a bad guess given the connotation that Project Valley, or Project V, presents, and is apparently a concept in very early development at Samsung involving a device with two screens.
Now before you get too excited, we do have to remind you (and ourselves) that this is just a rumour, and even if it is true, being a concept project, it’s possible that Project Valley will never see the light of day. Still, with dual screen devices like the YotaPhone gaining massive interest, we could definitely see a dual screen, possibly foldable Samsung smartphone being a very popular device. Only will time will tell, as usual.
What do you think about the prospect of Project Valley and a foldable smartphone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post Samsung Project Valley could be a foldable, dual-screened smartphone coming in the near future appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Following the incredibly futuristic announcements of Project Soli, Vault and Jacquard, Google’s ATAP team had yet another crazy announcement at its presentation earlier today at Google I/O. This next endeavor goes by the name of Project Abacus, and it aims to eliminate passwords for good by looking at the way you type, walk, talk and a variety of other signals. By confirming that you are in fact the one holding your smartphone or sitting at your computer by means of the aforementioned signals, Project Abacus would like to get rid of passwords altogether, and use the data collected about you as sufficient verification.
During the presentation earlier today, head of ATAP Regina Dugan explained that previously, research completed by academic institutions had a difficult time creating a system that was as secure as even a four-digit PIN code. So, Google partnered with multiple universities, along with 25 experts from separate institutions to take part in a 90-day research period in hopes to improve these numbers. With the help of 1,500 participants overall, Google has improved the system so much that it’s now apparently 10x more secure than fingerprint systems.
The whole system is based on a trust score, of which the highest scores are needed to access something like a mobile banking application, and the lowest scores would still get you access to a game. If the phone falls into the wrong hands, though, the device should be able to recognize that it’s not you, and ask for the users password, just like it currently does.
ATAP has certainly made huge improvements in this security field, but unfortunately it might be awhile until we see this tech make its way to the real world.
While we didn’t see any new Project Tango hardware at Google I/O this year, that doesn’t mean Google forgot about the platform in the slightest. Google today announced that it’s teaming up with Qualcomm to create a Project Tango smartphone powered by the Snapdragon 810 processor. These new smartphones will unfortunately only be geared towards Tango developers and device makers.
Qualcomm has just issued a press release, detailing that the smartphone will be available for purchase for developers in Q3, though no price estimate was given in the release. The image below gives us a good example as to what the Tango/Qualcomm phone will look like.
Now, there are already Project Tango smartphones out there, but they’re only available to a small subset of devs. But now that Google is partnering with a notable manufacturer to bring its augmented reality platform to a smaller form factor, it’s clear that Google’s intentions are to bring Tango devices to the public, even if it’s not sometime soon.
This news comes after Google just recently began selling its Project Tango tablet to the general public, no invite needed, for just over $500.
Chaos Rings III has all the elements of a classic Square Enix RPG, despite being built from the ground up with mobile in mind. In Chaos Rings III, the main character is thrown into an intense story-driven adventure that takes him to an azure planet called Marble Blue. What’s special about Marble Blue is that it hosts monsters, treasure, unexplored lands, and legends. Like all other Square Enix RPGS, there is a massive amount of lore, and incredibly large weapons.
With high-quality graphics, Square Enix is giving you your monies worth which is great as they are charging a series record of $20. For such a high price tag we would expect that there would be no in-app purchases, and thankfully, there are none in sight. New to this installment is a battle system with three or more character parties, where previous installments had a minimum party of two. Though this change came as an unwelcome shock for some, the game has a 4.4 star rating based mainly on international reviews. Also new to Chaos Rings III is the immediate inclusion of an ESRB rating, in this case T for Teen.
If you have been a fan of the Chaos Rings series in the past, then this game shares a loose connection to past games and will be a good investment. For anyone new to the series, then know that Chaos Rings is one of the best RPG series on Android. With a very wide compatibility, you can be fairly certain that your device will be supported.
Earlier this morning we told you about a new feature that was included in the newest version of Google Play Services, which is rolling out to devices as we speak. The feature is called Smart Lock for Passwords, which will automatically sign you in to compatible applications, as long as you’ve saved your login credentials into Chrome. Since this feature is specific to Google Play Services version 7.5 and not Android M, starting today, everyone will get to take advantage of the new service.
To access all of your saved passwords in Smart Lock, simply head on over to passwords.google.com. This new interface allows you to easily manage, view and delete passwords without the need to do it on your smartphone. From here, you can also disable auto sign-in or Smart Lock altogether.
On the phone side of things, you can find your Smart Lock Passwords menu in your Google Settings. The new option can be found all the way on the bottom of the screen. From this page, you can disable Smart Lock for Passwords and auto sign-in as well, though you still need to head to the webpage if you want to manage your passwords.
Password managers are already some of the most handy applications out there, so it’s really nice to see Google bake this feature into Android. Google should be rolling out the new version of Play Services any minute now, so try to stay patient if you haven’t received the new feature yet.
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During ATAP’s breakout session this morning they demonstrated a slew of amazing technology. Many of which I will get to as time allows. Yes, they showed Project Ara booting nearly instantly along with hot swapping the camera module and taking a photo. Among the myriad announcements of amazing tech was a smaller, but very exciting, announcement. The Motorola Spotlight Player has become Google Spotlight Stories.
While not a milestone announcement, it is still one that is quite fun. The Spotlight stories app brings immersive story telling to users around the world. In a nutshell, you launch the story you want to watch and interact with and you are able to hold your phone up and look in different directions.It really lets you get mixed in the story and gives you the feeling that you are part of the story.
ATAP partnered up with Justin Lin, the guy that brought us all the Fast & Furious movies, to bring a pretty outstanding Spotlight Story that is real life video in the form of a short movie called Help. He used a specialized set of cameras that caught the story in full 360 degrees.
At their booth they showed the Epic RED 6k cameras, as seen above, and it was actually live streaming to a TV. You could grab the Xbox controller and spin the view around. The interesting thing was it didn’t spin the camera, just what was displayed. They had a set of computers behind a wall that was handling all the real-time stitching of the imagery.
It is a pretty thrilling visual adventure. They took the experience one step further and created a complete new audio experience for Help that delivers the sound from the movie and the environment to your ears based on where you are looking. Technical terms they talked about were ambisonics and binaural rendering.
If your device is supported you should really head off to the Play Store and get the new Google Spotlight Stories app installed and pick up Help. it is a really unique experience.
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Just yesterday Google announced its new Android Pay platform, which allows users to pay for products with their mobile devices without the need to open an app. The new mobile payment system isn’t slated to make its way to the public until sometime in Q3, but that’s not stopping Google from releasing yet another mobile payment system. The new system is called Hands Free, and it will begin testing in the San Francisco Bay Area sometime later this year.
So what is Hands Free? Well, we’re not exactly sure yet. The not-so-informative video (attached above) shows a bunch of people having a really difficult time paying for things the old, boring way. The end of the teaser shows a woman saying, “I’d like to pay with Google”, and the teller just hands over the customer’s items. We’re assuming this has something to do with your phone’s Bluetooth connection, though like I said, details are still pretty scarce at the moment.
When you make a purchase, your full card details will not be shared with stores. Once you complete a purchase, you’ll receive an instant notification right on your phone. We’ll also alert you to any unusual activity so you can go hands-free and be worry-free.
Since Google seems to be putting all of its eggs in the Android Pay basket, it seems unlikely that the company would roll out another mobile payment system. It wouldn’t surprise us if this mysterious Hands Free technology made its way to Android Pay, so users can have the option to pay via NFC or by vocalizing their payment method, like in the video.
Google is bringing Hands Free to McDonalds and Papa John’s at the start, with more partners to likely to jump on board later.