We’ve seen Microsoft’s Kinect used in countless ways, but 3Gear Systems means to better these predecessors with the beta release of its SDK, which turns all the subtleties of hand movement into actions. In addition to using two Kinect cameras for accuracy, the software compares hand poses against a pre-rendered database so gesture commands are executed with little lag. It offers complete control of a virtual 3D environment from the comfort of your natural desk position, so you won’t have to worry about flail fatigue after long stints. A free public beta is available now until November 30th, at which point bigger companies will require a license, while individuals and small enterprises will continue to get complimentary access. We know what you’re thinking — it’s just another Kinect hack — but we suggest you reserve judgment til you’ve seen the demo below, showing examples of how the API could be used for CAD, medical, and of course, gaming applications.
While Microsoft’s freshest Mobile OS is still a few weeks away from its big debut, versions of its SDK have begun to crop up online. The peeps over at WPCentral have snagged build 9900 of the software and are offering up a video tour of the reasonably-finished setup. It’s not clear if this is a fully-loaded edition or if we’re going to see a few more surprises if / when it launches next month, but if you’d care to see for yourself, check out the video after the break.
Virtually every corner of the Google universe is being touched at Google I/O, and that now includes Google Drive. A version 2 update to the Drive SDK gives Android and iOS developers the option of building the cloud storage into their mobile apps, whether it’s downloads, uploads or on-the-spot edits. The programming interface has likewise been expanded as a whole to handle everyday file duties, such as conversions, copying and revision handling. Web-only users are taken care of with support for embedded shares and opening Google documents in any given software that will take the exportable formats. The updated Drive SDK is ready to go, with a flood of apps either coming or already here — if you want to hop on the bandwagon, just take a peek at the source link.
Even though all signs indicate Samsung will be joining the Google TV party shortly, it’s not going to give up on its own existing Smart TV platform just yet. We don’t know if it will run the two side by side as it has operated with Yahoo! Widgets, but the Korean manufacturer has announced it plans to release version 3.0 of its SDK January 5th. The new Samsung Apps toolkit supports mobile devices and TV sets, and lets developers build in support for remote controls, as well as USB mice, keyboards or gamepads. Of course, not all devs will work for free, so they’re also adding a way for them to get paid through the built-in payment system or advertisements. Currently, Samsung claims 25,000 developers from 140 countries in its forums, but we’ll have to wait until CES 2012 to find out if its products live up to the hype and attract more innovative software to the segment.
Eric Schmidt was addressing the crowd at Le Web in Paris and recounted a tale when an Android user asked why apps were often written for iOS first, and then ported over to Google’s OS. His response? “My prediction is that six months from now, you’ll say the opposite.” After the uncomfortable silence had died down, he added that Android’s “open” model meant the company had volume on its side — and volume is what he feels will attract developers. He added that Ice Cream Sandwich would redress Android’s device fragmentation and the sheer number of hardware makers would ensure that 2012 would be Google’s year. At which point, everyone in the audience probably went back to their iPadsto read Twitter.
Ever since the mighty Galaxy Note first popped up at IFA we’ve been curious about that S-pen and how it’ll make its way into our real-life workflow. Samsung promisedthere’d be an SDK back at its October London launch and it’s finally here, letting developers get busy adding some S-pen magic to their apps. Version 1.0 lets you add a basic canvas, a pop-up for pen settings (opacity, line color and so on) as well as erase and un/redo. Sure, ICS might natively support stylus input, but as Samsung is keen to point out — with its capacitive tip and configurable button — a simple stylus this is not. And remember: until the Note gets an ICS update, you’ll be scribbling all over that snappy Gingerbread install anyway. Tap that source link if you want to get your hands on the goods, and let the tic-tac-toe commence.
We’ve already inspected every inch of Samsung’s big bad phone-tablet hybrid, but a soupçon of extra news has trickled out from the Galaxy Note’s bombastic launch event in London yesterday. Those looking for brighter color scheme to match the striking glow of its HD Super AMOLED display are in luck, as the Galaxy Note looks set to arrive in white; the ethereal ying to its companion’s midnight blue yang. Sammy added that the Galaxy Note’s S-Pen SDK will be available to third-party developers starting December, hopefully bringing more uses for that slide-out stick. And that’s despite the latest Android OS offering native stylus support — the Galaxy Note remains a Gingerbread affair. The current smartphone king was unable to confirm if the UK would be getting the white model on the November 3rd launch day, or ever. Similarly, we’re still waiting on Samsung to put S-Pen to paper on pricing and any possible US launch details.
Remember the display on your first mobile phone? If you’ve been chatting on the go for as long as we have, it was probably barely big enough to fit a complete telephone number — let alone a contact name or text message. And your first smartphone? Even displaying scaled-down, WAP versions of web pages was asking a lot. Now, those mobile devices we couldn’t live without have screens that are much, much larger. Sometimes, though, we secretly wish they were even bigger still.
Samsung’s new GT-N7000 Galaxy Note is the handset those dreams are made of — if you happen to share that dream about obnoxiously large smartphones, that is. It’s as thin as a Galaxy S II, lightning fast and its 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display is as gorgeous as it is enormous; the 1280 x 800 pixels you once could only get with a full-size laptop (or in the Galaxy Tab 10.1) can now slide comfortably into your front pocket. Its jumbo display makes it the perfect candidate for a notepad replacement and, with the included S Pen stylus, you’ll have no problem jotting notes on the fly, marking up screenshots or signing documents electronically. But, is that massive display too much of a good thing? You’ll need to jump past the break to find out.
In an attempt to edge its way into the crowded mobile payments market, a new credit card scanning system is saying “ah, hell no!” to typing and swiping. Card.io is billed as an SDK that takes advantage of smartphone cameras to let devs accept credit, because, as its creators point out, “typing on mobile phones is slow, and most consumers don’t have a separate hardware attachment.” When it’s time to pull out the plastic, Card.io gets your phone’s camera going, and up pops a little green rectangle, in which you frame your card and snap a pic. Your credit card info is then processed by a third-party merchant, and the details are subsequently deleted from your phone. Can you hear that? That’s the sound of our chubby thumbs breathing a sigh of relief. The Card.io SDK for iOS is now available at the source link below, and an Android version should be close behind. For now, hop on past the break for a video demo.
Google I/O is still ongoing and at the session for teaching developers how to build Android apps for Google TV the team has just shown off a quick peek of the new Honeycomb-based UI that will be released later this year. Shown above you can quickly compare it to the original UI to see how different, and hopefully improved it is. The new icon layout should make getting back to live TV a simpler process, while there’s also that large space above for widgets and support for notifications. Developers will be able to run their ADBs on devices later this summer, but prior to that it will have a “Fishtank” program for some devs to take home their internal test units to run apps on now — no hardware modification necessary.
The team also just announced that the source code to the existing Google TV remote app for Android is being open sourced, so anyone who thinks they can do better (it wouldn’t be difficult) can have a crack at building their own. Also available is code for the Anymote Protocol it runs on so developers can make tablet or phone apps that integrate with and control the Google TV — both are linked below. Other features mentioned included support for 3D, and game controllers using Android 3.1′s expanded USB compatibility. There were no product announcements before the session ended, and no word on the rumored and expected ARM base for new products, but the project manager confirmed new product announcements “later this year.” Google TV will need new product announcements if it’s going to receive a boost over other smart TV technology, but the potential of the market and availability of open source code is still providing a tantalizing vision of the promise it’s failed to capitalize on so far.
We’re still waiting for some specific US launch details for the Xtion Pro and Wavi Xtion motion sensors that ASUS showed off at CES earlier this year, but it looks like folks in Japan can now already get their hands on half of that duo. Unity Corportation has just announced that it’s releasing the Xtion Promotion sensor (complete with an SDK) in the country for ¥19,980, or roughly $240. That should work similarly to a Kinect considering that PrimeSense is responsible for much of the technology behind it, although you should be aware that this one is aimed squarely at developers looking to created their own games and applications for it. You’ll have to wait for the more consumer-friendly Wavi Xtion for something that you can simply plop down in your living room.