While Vic Gundotra wasn’t willing to talk Glass in our run-in here at Google I/O, a few others were. In speaking with folks from Google, we learned a few new details about the project, while confirming some whispers that we’d heard floated in the past. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Engineers are currently ‘experimenting’ with connectivity options. Existing prototypes — including those worn in the skydiving stunt this morning — do not have any sort of built-in WWAN connectivity.
- While it’s possible that a 3G / 4G module could end up in production devices, the general idea is that latching onto nearby WiFi hotspots or relying on a wireless tether with your smartphone will be the primary way that Glass gets its data to the web.
- Controlling Glass will eventually rely on a mixture of inputs: it’ll recognize voice commands, while also taking cues from the right sidebar. There’s a touch-sensitive pad on there that’ll understand gestures.
- It’s entirely probable that Glass will also be able to be controlled via one’s smartphone, but physical inputs will be the preferred ones.
- Glass has an accelerometer and a gyroscope, enabling wearers to tell Glass what to do by nodding, shaking one’s head, etc. (For what it’s worth, we’ve seen similar demoed by NTT DoCoMo.)
- The internal battery sits just behind the ear on the right side; the capacity and longevity weren’t confirmed, though.
- Glass will be able to record locally, but the idea is to have ‘most everything’ streamed live to the web; it’s the “live, right now!” nature of Glass that Google intends to push as one of its differentiating factors.
- In an area where wireless data isn’t available (like a remote National Park or a hospital room that forbids phone usage), storing video locally would be possible for uploading later.
We also confirmed that the team is playing around with various colors, with orange, white, black and blue editions being sported here at I/O. Whether or not all of those hues make it to market remains to be seen, of course, but we’re adequately jazzed about the possibilities.
Scalado just released Album, its first ever Android app to land in Google’s Play store. The company — which is best known for imaging technologies such as zero shutter lag, Rewind and Remove — usually provides software to device manufacturers instead of end users directly. Album is billed as “a simple to use, high performance, photo/video viewer with a clean and smooth user interface” that handles pictures up to 200 (!) megapixels in size. The app costs $0.99 and is available for both smartphones and tablets. It features some interesting touches, like the ability to browse geotagged images using a map view.
We had the opportunity to take Album for a spin before launch and the app offers an intuitive and responsive user experience. Beyond organizing photos into bins like the “camera roll” and the existing folders on your device, the main screen lets you browse content by time (monthly) and location (including nearby). Pictures can be deleted, shared, rotated in place, cropped and turned into wallpaper. Animated thumbnails are used for videos, and multiple items can be selected. Check the gallery below, and hit the break for Scalado’s demo video and PR.
When it rains it pours. Hot on the heels of last week’s fabulous white Nokia N9, we just received Samsung’s freshly minted “chic white” Galaxy Nexus thanks to our friends at Negri Electronics. This handsome phone — which is spec-wise identical to the HSPA+ version we reviewed last year — sheds the default gunmetal gray skin for a lovely satin white finish. Further differences include a chrome camera pod (instead of black) and a much smaller dot-pattern on the textured battery cover. The handset, which is running Android 4.0.2, goes by the name “yakjuxw”, meaning that unlike its official “yakju” cousin, it won’t be getting software updates directly from Google. Still, the bootloader is unlocked, making it relatively painless to switch ROMs. What’s most intriguing about this particular unit, however, is that it shipped with a North American charger instead of the expected UK adapter. Is this an unannounced US / Canadian market device? Go ahead and ponder that while you savor a taste of vanilla-flavored Ice Cream Sandwich in our gallery below, then watch our unboxing video after the break.
Texas Instruments demos first OMAP 5, Android 4.0-based reference design, promises it in laptops next year (video)
Texas Instruments promised us a new helping of OMAP right around a year ago, and sure enough, OMAP 5 processors will be sampling to partners as early as next week. Texas Instruments’ Remi El-Ouazzane (VP of OMAP) just debuted an OMAP 5-based reference design (or “development platform,” if you will) on our CES stage, a solid four years after OMAP 3 debuted on a nondescript Archos tablet. OMAP 5 brings along a pair of cores and plenty of power savings, a dual-GPU architecture and more raw horsepower than the average simpleton is used to handling in a single palm. We saw quite a bit of swiping through Android 4.0.1, and as you’d expect, everything looked decidedly snappy. 720p video at 30 frames per second is no real chore, with the platform capable of pushing 1080p material at 64 frames per second (130 frames per second without screen refresh limitations). Of course, with everything being hardware accelerated, we can’t feign surprise about its future on netbooks and laptops. To quote Remi:
We’ve been hitting Fujitsu phones for a while, looking in awe at the super-thin gear that remained firmly in the hands of the Japanese. Fortunately the Consumer Electronics Show is the perfect time for the company to further tease us with a product that might just make a trip to the west. Yesterday we got our mitts onto the Arrows Mu and today we’ve got a really special exclusive: a first look at the prototype of the quad-core packing Arrows super-phone. So, what delights are tucked inside and is this going to be the phone of 2012? Head on past the break to find out.
Sure, you may already lead an exciting life, but wouldn’t it be great if you could broadcast those daily escapades — you know, to all of your internet friends? ZionEyez hopes to deliver a method for sharing your point of view — quite literally — in realtime, across the web. The company’s first product, a set of 720p embedded-camera eyeglasses called Eyez, houses a tiny camera to the left of the standard-size eyeglass lens, with a processor, Bluetooth and WiFi module embedded in the adjacent ear piece. We first read about the inconspicuous specs when the company launched a Kickstarter page, netting nearly $350,000 in pledges from curious backers, but just had an opportunity to spend a few hours with the device, recording the journey to a meeting in New York City. Jump past the break for a closer look, and our sample footage.
Just as we were settling down to another calm and banterful Engadget Mobile Podcast, our special guest had to go and throw us some hard news. Yup, and rather than making you sit through the entire two-hour recording (pleasant as that would be), we’re just going to come right out with it: Nicole Scott from netbooknews.com has it on good authority that the Asus Padfone will be coming out at MWC 2012 in February. What’s more, it won’t be powered by a Qualcomm Krait S4 as suggested by that strange GLBenchmark we saw earlier — it will in fact sport a Tegra 3, just like its highly capable big bro the Transformer Prime. See? That’s the kind of juicy reward our podcast listeners get for tuning in each week.
Ready for today’s grain of salt? We just got handed imagery and specs of a possible HTC device in the works codenamed the Zeta. It’s a quad-core handset, much like the Edge that was leaked last week, but it has a much faster 2.5GHz APQ8064 CPU along with 1GB of RAM running the show, on a 4.5-inch 720p HD display. According to our source, the uniquely shaped smartphone will come with Ice Cream Sandwich pre-installed with Sense UI (version 4.0 wasn’t specified, but we’d be surprised to see it any lower on an ICS device) and have 32GB of internal storage space, an 1,830mAh battery, Beats Audio, Bluetooth 4.0, an 8MP rear camera with dual LED flash, 1080p video capture and a 1.3MP front-facing cam. Dimensions? We have those, too: the Zeta is said to measure at 109.8 x 60.9 x 9.8mm (4.32 x 2.4 x 0.39 inches) and weigh 5.15 ounces (146g). Pricing and availability aren’t known, and we’re still digging for more info. It certainly has an intriguing look; the sharp corners would be a huge departure from HTC’s recent design choices, though it appears to have HTC’s signature unibody build in the back. So are we just looking at a cool concept or is this the next flagship phone? We’re hoping it’s the latter.
A top Nokia exec just confirmed the much-rumored schedule for the next Windows Phone update, codenamed Apollo. Michael Halbherr, Executive VP for Location and Commerce, told us that it’ll launch in mid-2012 and be a “very different game” to Mango — hinting that Apollo actually refers to Windows Phone 8 rather than any mere decimal increment. What do we know about Apollo at this point? Well, not a great deal, but Halbherr also revealed that he’s been pushing Microsoft to integrate NFC and a “positioning framework” to make its mobile OS work better with Nokia’s Navteq mapping platform and thereby provide new location-based services. Sorry HTC, Samsung, but everything points to a more ‘Nokia-fied’ OS.
Peter Skillman knows a thing or two about making beautiful devices. He’s Palm’s former VP of design, and he’s the man behind Nokia’s glorious N9 — its look, feel and user experience. We bumped into him at Nokia World here today and asked him what went into the N9′s — and by association the Lumia 800′s — design. He shared quite a few interesting details with us, including tidbits about the “curvature continuous form” of MeeGo’s icons, Nokia’s Pure font and the nuances of the N9′s sinuous taper. We even discussed the Play 360 Bluetooth / NFC speaker, which follows the same aesthetic principles. Take a look at our exclusive video interview after the break.
Samsung’s latest Android Tab has already gotten the in-box hands-on treatment from the blue shirts at Best Buy, but now we have official word on pricing for the 8.9-inch WiFi-only model, set to hit stores as soon as Thursday. Willing to settle for the 16GB flavor? Get ready to hand over $469 to take one of these slim slates home, or pull out another Benjamin to double capacity to 32 gigs — that beefed-up model will run you $569. You’ll also get Android 3.1 Honeycomb with “the freedom of TouchWiz,” a 3 megapixel camera on the rear with 2MPs up front, and a dual-core 1GHz processor. Check out our Tab 8.9 hands-on, or hit up the source link for the full feature rundown from Sammy.
Do you own a Boxee Box and have an account with a little streaming music service called MOG? Well, soon enough you’ll be able to pick and choose from the company’s 11.5 million song strong library right on your TV. That’s 320kbps audio and album art in 1080p that you can peruse using your double-sided Boxee remote and a welcome expansion of the media box’s music repertoire — which currently includes Last.FM and Pandora. You can try MOG for 14-days for free, but after that you’ll have to sign up for either a $4.99-a-month basic account or a $9.99-per-month Primo account if you want to keep enjoying its streaming audio selection.
Shortly after MasterCard announced plans to become entangled with Google Wallet (and a few months after those ambitious Isis plans were shelved), it looks as if the aforesaid company is diving into yet another mobile payment arena. And this time, it’s personal. MasterCard and CSI Enterprises already offer a smattering of customized business cards for those with highly specific needs, and soon that partnership will extend to iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS. We’ve confirmed that the CSI Virtual MasterCard app is currently scheduled to launch in July, presumably enabling folks with a GlobalVCard to use their mobile device of choice to make payments. What’s interesting here is the inclusion of RIM and iOS; there’s no BlackBerry device (nor iOS device) on the market today with NFC, which leads us to believe one of two things: that’s either changing by July, or this here service won’t rely on NFC at all. Needless to say, we’ll keep you posted — nothing like another way to more easily indebt yourself.
Well, what do we have here? Sure enough, it’s that coveted white Nexus S with AT&T-compatible 3G that we mentioned yesterday, and we just got our dirty little paws on it thanks to a friendly tipster. This particular handset was purchased from Negri Electronics, and it’s both unlocked and running Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread), the version that just barely started rolling out to existing AWS Nexus S units in February. As you can see, it’s pretty much identical to the current model, except of course for that white tuxedo and 850 / 1900MHz-friendly 3G radio. Feast your eyes upon Google and Samsung’s latest prodigy in our gallery below, and hit the break for our hands-on video.