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Google updates Photos for iOS, but no Chromecast support just yet

Waiting for the revamped Google Photos app to arrive on iOS? Well, the company has just rolled out an update on iTunes, but we’re afraid it doesn’t come with all the new features Mountain View promised at its Nexus event. The latest version for iPhones and iPads lets you share animations via Whatsapp, and if you’re in the US, it gives you the power to label people and merge face groups. Similar to the Android version, you can easily search for the names of the people you labeled or even combine search terms (say, name + location) to find particular photos. However, it has one glaring omission: it’s not Chromecast-enabled just yet. Google says that’s “coming soon!” in its announcement post — in the meantime, it has sprinkled in some bug fixes and added the ability to fire up the app faster.

Source: iTunes, Google Photos (Google+)


Aetho’s ‘Aeon’ GoPro stabilizer looks slick, and so will your video

“Shoot video that’s worth watching” reads one of the straplines for Aetho’s “Aeon” handheld GoPro stabilizer. It sounds kinda obvious, right? But, if you’ve ever walked/ran/danced/dived/whatever with a GoPro in your hand/mouth/knees/whatever you’ll know it’s not that simple. You thought you had an oak-like steady grip, turns out you shake like a cold chihuahua — and the GoPro does a wonderful job of translating that to your videos. Aethos’s marketing copy suddenly doesn’t seem so vapid, does it? Especially once you see what the Aeon can do for your footage. Which, helpfully, you can right here in this article.

Let’s back up a little. What is Aeon? It’s a camera gimbal (stabilizer) designed for GoPros. If you’ve ever watched a silky-smooth drone video, you’ve already enjoyed gimbal-stablized video. But, handheld versions of these already exist, right? Yeah, they do. In fact, when I recently wrote about some of the best accessories for the ubiquitous action camera, I cited an existing gimbal as my “must have” add on. The problem with current products, though, is they either feel a little delicate, a little clunky, or simply lack practical design.

Aetho’s goal with the Aeon is to make a stabilizer that looks and functions as slick as the video it produces. I spent some time with a 3D-printed prototype, and I have to say, it looks and feels very promising. Firstly, the design is unlike most competing products (which usually resemble a frame on the end of a pole). Aeon, on the other hand, looks like the offspring of a traditional steadicam that got friendly with the steering controls of a supercar. The curved handle feels much more comfortable to hold for extended periods, and it also places the camera directly level with your hand. With other gimbals, the GoPro is usually above your hand, which makes framing less predictable. With Aeon, you just point your knuckles where you want to film, and the GoPro follows. A small, but significant detail.

The Aeon also allows a broader range of lateral motion. The camera’s 3-axis articulation is designed into the handle itself, so instead of motors moving on the end of a pole, the grip has much more ability to twist and maneuver. To make use of this, Aeon has an analog joystick (a-la PS Vita etc.), that lets you pan the camera left or right (or up/down) without your wrist moving. This means you can be moving (say, on a board/bike) and track your subject with your thumb, while keeping your hand naturally pointed forward. Another big plus, is a circular LCD display at the top of the grip so you can see exactly what you’re filming at all times. At the base of the grip, is a GoPro mount, letting you attach this to helmets, selfie-sticks and any other compatible accessory you might already have.

The prototype I tried didn’t have some of these extra features (no LCD or GoPro mount), but the gimbal and joystick worked perfectly, and the results are impressive. I took it for a walk, which might not be extreme, but the movement of walking is one of the best ways to bugger up your handheld video — and you can see below how smooth it is (the video starts with unstabilized video first). Frustratingly, I realized after shooting that the GoPro in the Aeon has a bust lens hood, so there’s some blurring from the camera, but the results are unmistakably much, much smoother than the camera that’s just on a regular grip (GoPro’s 3-Way, incidentally).

Aetho Comparison

Other details I noticed, is that where the motors in my current gimbal can jam when you reach the end of their rotational range — creating an annoying vibration in the gimbal and your footage — the Aeon prototype didn’t do this once. That alone make me excited about this product. It only takes one rogue wobble to ruin your meticulously planned cinematic skate intro, right? Oh, and the Aeon can be charged via USB cable — no weird-sized batteries with a cradle (if you have a Feiyu, you know what I mean). I still love my Feiyu G4, but Aetho’s taken a good idea, and tried to make it great — and from what I can see, it works. If there are any concerns, it’s whether it’ll deliver the five hours of battery life promised, and how rugged or delicate the final units will be, something I can’t judge from the prototype.

The Aeon’s currently taking orders on Indiegogo, but, from my conversations with Aetho founders Harrison D. Lee, and Ian Nott, all the development is done (for real, it used to look like this), and production is ready to go — slated for early 2016. The money pledged is to directly fund the production of those devices. How much for one you ask? If you’re quick, $300. If you’re not so quick, $350. That’s about $100 more than the popular Feiyu G4, but with LCD, and other design advantages above, that seems about right.

Aetho’s 3D-printed prototype might not look as pretty as the final product, but it works a charm.

Source: Aetho (Indiegogo), Aetho


The 220 day old 2015 Moto E wont be receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow

We believe your phone should look and behave like you want it to. That means our approach to software is ‘less is more’, so you can focus on the choices that are right for you


Motorola, taking the “less is more” line a little too literally, will not be updating the 2015 Moto E and the Verizon and AT&T variants of the 2014 Moto X to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The 2015 Moto E, one of the best budget phones around, was announced in only February. In the marketing video for the Moto E, these fateful words were uttered.

And while other smartphones in this category don’t always support upgrades, we won’t forget about you, and we’ll make sure your Moto E stays up to date after you buy it.

Magno Herran, Marketing Manager for Moto E (2nd Gen.), February 25th, 2015.

Apparently what Motorola meant by that statement was that the Moto E would be upgraded from Android 5.0 Lollipop that it was launched with to Android 5.1. This, frankly, is ridiculous. For a company that promises quick updates and a stock-like experience, the new Lenovorola is going in the wrong direction. Gutting much of the workforce, not updating their recent phones and bad customer service is not the recipe that turned Motorola from the disaster it was into a favorite among stock Android fans.

I can’t tell if it’s worse that they’re not updating a popular budget that came out in February or their flagship from a year ago on the two most popular carriers in the United States.

Full list of devices receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow:

  • 2015 Moto X Pure Edition (3rd gen)
  • 2015 Moto X Style (3rd gen)
  • 2015 Moto X Play
  • 2015 Moto G (3rd gen)
  • 2014 Moto X Pure Edition in the US (2nd gen)
  • 2014 Moto X in Latin America, Europe and Asia2 (2nd gen)
  • 2014 Moto G and Moto G with 4G LTE2 (2nd gen)
  • DROID Turbo
  • 2014 Moto MAXX
  • 2014 Moto Turbo
  • Nexus 6

Motorola will also be sunsetting their work on Moto Assist, Moto Migrate and Moto Connect. The logic is a bit more clear on these apps though. Moto Assist and Migrate have had their functionality move into the core of Android and will come on all phones so it doesn’t make sense for Motorola to devote time and resources to a redundant program.

To say this turn of events by Motorola is disappointing would be underplaying it. A lot of people had hoped that after being acquired by Google, Motorola would be the “chosen one” going forward, giving us fast updates, great hardware and an attractive price but now that trust is broken for many people.

Source: Motorola blog via Android Police

The post The 220 day old 2015 Moto E wont be receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Current subscribers won’t receive a Google Play Music credit with a new Nexus purchase

Sorry Google Play Music subscribers. It looks like you won’t be getting an advertised three month credit when you purchase a new LG Nexus 5X or Huawei Nexus 6P. In the terms for the Play Nexus 90 promotion, it says the following:

“The Offer is only open to residents in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Greece, Japan, Australia and New Zealand (each an “Eligible Territory”) who:

  1. have purchased an Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X in a Eligible Territory (“Phone”) between September 29, 2015 and midnight Pacific Standard Time on April 18, 2017; and
  2. at the time the Offer is redeemed: (i) are not current Google Play Music subscribers; (ii) have not been Google Play Music subscribers in the past 12 months; and/or (iii) have not participated in a Google Play Music trial in the past 12 months.”

In past cases, even as recently as the Nexus 6, current subscribers would get a credit towards their bill. I personally have a credit until December due to buying a Nexus 6 and I’ve been a subscriber since the service begun a few years ago.

Definitely disappointing but probably not something that will keep many people from purchasing the phone. If you’ve only used the free version of the service it appears that you’ll still be able to redeem the offer and get three free months.

Source: Google via Reddit

The post Current subscribers won’t receive a Google Play Music credit with a new Nexus purchase appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Samsung offering freebies for activating Samsung Pay on your phone

If you have one of Samsung’s recently released phablets, a Note5 or S6 Edge+, you can get a free gift from Samsung. All you need to do is activate a card on the tech giant’s newly launched mobile payment app, Samsung Pay. For activating a card you’ll get your choice of a free flip case or wireless charger. Unfortunately it’s not one of Samsung’s new fast wireless chargers.

Chances are good that the Samsung Pay app is already on your phone but you may need an OTA update for it to work. Check your phone update section in settings app.


To redeem the offer, activate a qualifying card then hit “more” in the top right corner, select “announcements” then “Samsung Pay Activation Offer” for more details. Unfortunately, you have to have one of the few cards that Samsung Pay currently supports. If you have an American Express, Bank of America, Citi or US Bank card, you’re good to go. If not, you’re left out for now but Samsung says they’ll be adding more supported cards soon. If you’re on Verizon, you may not be able to use Samsung Pay at all.

Samsung has a big advantage over other mobile payment options like Android Pay or Apple Pay due to the fact that they can work on older magnetic secure transmission (MST) payment machines as well as newer machines that also support NFC. Samsung acquired LoopPay earlier this year who pioneered these MST payments and are accepted in about 10 million stores.

Source: Samsung

The post Samsung offering freebies for activating Samsung Pay on your phone appeared first on AndroidGuys.


What I learned from spending a week with the first big Apple Watch update

By Jared Newman

This article originally appeared on Fast Company and is reprinted with permission.

As the first Apple Watch update big enough to merit its own official web page, WatchOS 2 is supposed to be a big deal.

Yet in day-to-day use, many of WatchOS 2’s improvements can be easy to miss. You might have no desire to use the Apple Watch as a beside clock, and may never frequent the retailers whose rewards cards now work with Apple Pay. Siri’s new voice controls are useful in only a handful of situations, and an expanded contact list doesn’t matter much if you’re not initiating many calls from the Watch in the first place. Public transit information is nice, but only if you’re in one of the select cities where that data is available. As a way to tell time and view notifications, the Apple Watch is largely the same as it ever was.

But that doesn’t mean WatchOS 2 is unimportant. It’s just that the biggest changes are happening behind the scenes, as app makers rework their software to take advantage of new capabilities. WatchOS 2 is a significant update, but one whose effects won’t truly be felt for some time.

I’ve spent about a week with WatchOS 2, and so far my experience hasn’t changed drastically from before the big software update. Most of my Watch usage involves managing emails, checking sports scores, controlling music playback, and fielding the occasional phone call or text message. WatchOS 2 does little to improve those experiences.

But in dabbling with the first WatchOS 2 apps, it seems the update is more about establishing the product to be far more useful in the future.

In Search Of Native Apps

The most noteworthy change in WatchOS 2 is support for native apps, which can run on the Apple Watch without being connected to a nearby iPhone over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Already, this has opened the door to some offline utility apps, such as PCalc, a basic calculator, and Pomodoro Pro, a timer for managing productivity. But going native should also benefit apps that still rely on an iPhone for Internet connectivity; in theory, they should be faster and more reliable, since they’re not banking so heavily on the iPhone for processing power and core app logic.

The native WatchOS 2 apps that I have tried do seem slightly more reliable than their non-native counterparts. The weather app Dark Sky, for instance, loads just a little faster, and doesn’t revert to the loading screen as you move between various sections of the app.

So far, however, most Apple Watch apps are no different than they were in WatchOS 1. Several developers have told me that switching to a native app isn’t especially easy, because it requires rewriting much of their existing code to run on the Watch instead of the iPhone. And certain features, such as iCloud and GameCenter, are a lot trickier to implement now. In other words, it’ll be a while until native apps are the norm.

Making Watch Apps More Useful

Apple Watch apps aren’t just getting a speed boost in WatchOS 2. They’re also getting more powerful as Apple provides access to more of the Watch’s hardware capabilities.

A twist of the Digital Crown, for instance, can now control software knobs and menu boxes within third-party apps such as PCalc and The Weather Channel. Access to the accelerometer and heart rate monitor open the door to third-party fitness and sleep tracker apps. Haptic feedback allows for surprising new apps such as Tacet, a metronome that counts the beat by tapping on your wrist.

In time, these types of capabilities will help the Apple Watch become more than just a notification machine. By using the Digital Crown for selecting items, Apple can pack more information into the screen. And with wearable sensors and haptic feedback, they can accomplish things that just aren’t possible on your phone.

Complicated Complications

Even when you’re not actively using third-party apps, WatchOS 2 extends their usefulness by letting them appear as Complications on the main watch screen. DataMan Next, for instance, can show how much wireless data you’ve consumed, and WaterMinder can show how much more hydrated you ought to be. These apps can also use WatchOS 2’s Time Travel feature to show past and future information with a twist of the Digital Crown. An obvious example would be a weather app that lets you scroll through the next several hours of forecast data.

For now, if you want more Complications, you’ll need to seek out the handful of specific apps that offer them. (And sadly, none yet exists for sports scores or fantasy football.) But over time, it’s likely that app makers will treat Complications and Time Travel as a high-priority feature. After all, it’s an opportunity for their apps to be the first thing you see when you glance at the screen.

The current situation reminds me somewhat of Android home screen widgets in their early days, with too few Complications overall and too many of dubious value. But as app makers catch on, I suspect the inclusion of clever Complications will become a lot more commonplace.

Seeding The Future

Whereas WatchOS 1 was largely about the apps and services that Apple built in on its own, WatchOS 2 extends those capabilities to third-party apps. The difference is barely noticeable now, but over time there should be a cumulative impact as apps become faster and can do a lot more. (And one can imagine these effects will be more pronounced whenever the next version of the Apple Watch hardware arrives.)

That may explain why Apple calls this update “an even more personal experience.” The tagline no longer refers to just the watch faces and wrist bands you choose, but to a new wave of apps that you’ll come to rely on.

[Photo: courtesy of Apple]

More from Fast Company:


Samsung Galaxy Active Neo coming to Japan

Samsung_Japan_Galaxy Active Neo_image_100315Samsung is known for creating lots of variants and different line-ups of smartphones in order to soothe everyone’s needs. Just this past week, the company announced the Galaxy Active Neo in Japan, aimed for the outdoors man.

The Galaxy Active Neo is a new ruggidized handset running Android Lollipop. It packs a low in class 4.5-inch display with 480 x 800 pixels, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front-facing camera, 16GB of expandable storage, an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance, LTE connectivity and a 2200 mAh battery. Buyers of the Galaxy Active Neo handset can additionally claim 100GB of free OneDrive cloud storage for 2 years.

The Galaxy Active Neo will cost you around $168 USD, and will be available in Japan beginning in early November via NTT DoCoMo.

Source: Samsung Japan

Come comment on this article: Samsung Galaxy Active Neo coming to Japan


The interfaces that bridge the human-machine divide

First it was toggle switches. And then keyboards, the mouse and other standard interface devices gave us control of computers and the digital world. From the tangible, to hands-free and beyond, the ways in which we control digital systems are expanding. We’ve collected just a few of the interesting products and concepts that are breaching the two-dimensional world of computing and merging it with our physical reality.

[Image: Jinha Lee / MIT Media Lab]



Recommended Reading: Microsoft’s knack for predicting NFL games

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers

Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

How Microsoft Got So Good at Predicting Who Will Win NFL Games
by Tim Stenovec
Tech Insider

Have you been using Bing’s sports predictions to make “friendly wagers” and set your fantasy lineups this football season? Microsoft’s Bing Predicts team has been picking winners for NFL games, other sporting events, reality shows and elections for a while now. As it turns out, the small group of researchers employ machine learning to make the predictions and they’ve gotten better at it over time.

Here it is, Moog’s Badass New Synth
DJ Pangburn, The Creator’s Project

Moog revealed the Mother-32 semi-modular analog synth this week and The Creator’s Project offers a bit of background on the new gear.

I Went to a Robot Cage Fight and Learned How to Be Human
Matt Simon, Wired

Robot cage fighting? ‘Nuff said.

At Google, Breathing Room for New Ideas
Alistair Barr, The Wall Street Journal

The autonomy of Nest, even after Google bought the company, is being used as a model for new projects under Alphabet.

Carrie On: Making Peace With Five Seasons of ‘Homeland’
Andy Greenwald, Grantland

Homeland was a pretty good show… until it wasn’t. Grantland’s Andy Greenwald stuck it out, though, and offers a preview of the new season that begins this Sunday.

[Image credit: Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images]


ICYMI: Grippy robot hands, smarten up your dumb car and more

ICYMI: Grippy Robot Hands, Smarten Up Your Dumb Car and More

Today on In Case You Missed It: MIT developed robotic hands of pliable silicon that are also studded with pressure sensors so it knows how tightly to hold something. A small dashboard camera and advanced computer vision software are being tested in the San Francisco Bay Area to record potential roadway hazards and track the drivers eyes. And a robotic solar-powered mirror light is here to give Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers another option for Vitamin D.

You definitely need to know about the Experian credit hack at T-Mobile but it might be more fulfilling to check out the livestream or YouTube channel of this year’s migration of animals in Africa via HerdTracker. It’s really beautiful.

If you come across any interesting videos, we’d love to see them. Just tweet us with the #ICYMI hashtag @engadget or @mskerryd.

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